• Predictive analytics and interview bias

    April 28, 2017 by

     

    The following are excerpts from “Predictive Analytics, Bias and Interviewing”, written by Kevin Wheeler of Global Learning Resources Inc and The Future of Talent Institute. Published to College Recruiter blog with permission from Kevin Wheeler.

    To download the full white paper, click here.

    For centuries people have been captivated by the idea of predicting the future. Crystal ball gazers and fortune tellers all promised to be able to do this. They played on our biases, weaknesses and gullibility and counted on us attributing chance occurrences to their predictive powers.

    But the rise of predictive analytics gives us the ability to reduce uncertainty by applying statistics and determining the probabilities that future patterns will emerge in the behavior of people and systems.

    By tracking things such as our location, Facebook likes, re-tweets, where we check-in, what and when we buy, what we search for and so on, analysts are able to make reliable predictions on our future behavior. When aggregated, correlated, and combined and then analyzed with the tools of statistics this data becomes not only relevant but commercially valuable.

    Commercialization that plays on our predilections

    Predictive analytics has had tremendous commercial benefits. Firms such as Amazon are built on predictive analytics that help them predict what we will buy, how much of it and when so that they can stock warehouses and order products before they are needed. Most retailers are investing in hiring analysts, which is a growing field.

    Biases that impede truth

    All humans have biases and many that tend to impact human resource professionals and recruiters.

    The selection and hiring of people is fraught with bias and subjectivity. Psychologists have assembled long lists of these biases which include our tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts something we believe to be true. Or the tendency to search for and remember information in a way that confirms our preconceptions. Recruiters need to do everything they can to make objective and unbiased decisions – even though perfect objectivity is never going to be possible. I offer a few suggestions below on how to reduce the impact of biases.

    There are numerous common biases. For example, if we believe that people with high GPAs, for example, are better workers, then we will seek evidence to prove that and dismiss any that contradicts it. We call that confirmation bias.

    Recruiters also often rely too heavily on one trait or piece of information when making decisions -often the first piece of information acquired or the information obtained from a trusted source. If someone recommends a candidate, for example, that recommendation may outweigh any facts that contradict or suggest that the person is not so good.

    Analytics can help dispel many of these [biases], but only if the results of the analysis are believed and acted on.  We need to trust the data more than our gut, and although data is not always right, the percentages are on the side of the data.  There are also many instances where our biases were unconsciously built into the algorithms that analyze our data, so it is important to understand what is being measured in an algorithm and with what weighting.

    Analytics can offer insight and help make sense of mountains of data that have been beyond our reach. Analytics can help us make choices that are based on facts. They can provide us insights and reduce uncertainty. But, as with everything, there are dangers. We need to troll the waters of data with care, ethics, and human judgment.

    What you can do to reduce bias

    Each of us has a responsibility to actively think about our prejudices and biases and work to manage their impact on our decisions.

    1. Know Yourself: What are your biases? Think about what you like and don’t like in people and then ask yourself why do I think this way?  You can ask yourself what you are really looking for in a candidate – is it something like GPA or age or a very specific kind of experience — and then ask yourself, what’s the evidence for this to be a decision factor? Is this really evidence that the candidate will perform well or just a self-fulfilling prophecy because of my bias?  Biases are hard to discover, hard to articulate and even harder to objectively measure.  But if you work at it, you can reduce the number of them and their impact.
    2. Prepare Neutral Questions: When you prepare for an interview, make sure that your questions are not aimed at bringing out a bias of some sort. Keep them job-specific and relevant to the work you want the candidate to do. Never ask about age, politics, or anything that is not job relevant.

    Read more concrete advice for reducing your bias by downloading the full white paper here.

     

    Kevin Wheeler of Global Learning Resources and Future of Talent InstituteAbout Kevin Wheeler: Kevin is the founder of Global Learning Resources and The Future of Talent Institute. He is a consultant, sought-after public speaker, writer, and university lecturer.   Kevin is the author of hundreds of articles on talent management, career development, recruiting, human capital, leadership, and on corporate universities, strategic planning, workforce planning, and learning strategies. Global Learning Resources and The Future of Talent Institute work to help organizations discover emerging trends that impact the talent marketplace and help organizations implement creative talent strategies to meet the challenges of the future.

     

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  • How recent college grads can ace the second job interview

    April 27, 2017 by

     

    Almost every job interview boils down to three key questions in the mind of the interviewer, says Steve Koppi, Executive Director of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Mass) Career Development Center.

    1. Can this candidate do the job
    2. Will this candidate do the job, and
    3. How will this candidate fit in or get along with others?

    “These same principles apply to second round interviews,” says Koppi. “The good news is that you have cleared at least that first hurdle. The employer believes you, the candidate, can do the job, and you have the skills and knowledge they are seeking in a new hire.”

    Thao Nelson, Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Career Services at the Indiana University Kelly School of Business, is also a former recruiter. She invited recent college grads to a second job interview when they convinced Nelson of these three things in the first interview:

    1. That they can do the job and provided strong, impactful, and relevant examples
    2. They really wanted to work for her company.
    3. That they were likable, and she or others on the team would enjoy working with them.

    A job seeker who makes it to a second job interview has demonstrated they have the background, core aptitudes, and transferable skills to do the job, says Cheryl Goodman, Talent Development Manager with Alexander Mann Solution’s, a talent acquisition and management firm with clients in 80 countries. Goodman is based in Cleveland, Ohio and heads up Alexander Mann Solution’s new graduate recruitment program.

    In the second interview recent college grads are “being assessed for long-term potential to thrive within the culture and contribute to the company,” says Goodman. “It’s about ROI, too, because the company will be investing in your career launch and professional development, so they are looking to be sure that’s a wise investment.”

    What to expect in a second interview

    A candidate who makes it to a second interview can expect to be presented with scenario-based questions, such as how they would respond to certain situations and why, says Goodman.

    Continue Reading

  • 6 tips for writing a great sales job description [Examples of good and bad]

    April 26, 2017 by

     

    Every day that a sales spot is left vacant in your company means revenue is being lost. In addition to losing money, an unfilled sales role can wreak havoc on customer relationships, day-to-day operation, and overall productivity in the workplace. The goal is always to fill the position as quickly as possible, which might tempt you to cut corners when you are writing your sales job description. Continue Reading

  • 10 reasons why college grads should consider entry-level sales jobs

    April 25, 2017 by

     

    Entry-level sales jobs present a great opportunity for recent college grads to learn professional skills that last a lifetime. And below, a variety of entry-level sales professionals, as well as business owners and sales executives with experience at companies like Google, IBM, AOL, and Dell Computers, talk about the unique and life-long skills developed through an entry-level sales job. Here is what every recent college grad needs to know to succeed in a career in sales:

    1. Sales jobs are not restricted based on one’s degree

    Recent college grads and entry-level sales professionals who are able to participate in a company-sponsored sales training program will learn skills that last a lifetime, says Maddy Osman, an SEO content strategist and digital marketing professional. Before she started her own business, Osman worked as an account representative for Groupon, where she went through over two months of cold-calling sales training, graduating among the top 5 of 25 trainees in her class. Osman says she still refers to the sales materials she learned in that training and applies it to her digital marketing role.

    “Even if you never work in sales again, you’ll learn about psychology, and negotiation, which will help you when getting a new position, negotiating for a higher salary, or creating strategic partnerships,” said Osman.

    In her role at Groupon, Osman worked alongside employees who majored in liberal arts, theater, marketing, and history, to name a few. The common denominator among those who were successful was that they were outgoing, and/or held student leadership roles at their college or University.

    “There wasn’t one area of study more represented than another,” said Osman. “So it’s not necessarily about the degree – as long as you have one.”

    That being said, one doesn’t have to go through a dedicated sales training program to succeed in entry-level sales jobs. Learn why below.

    2. Everyone can succeed in sales – even those who don’t think they can sell

    Mac Anderson graduated from Miami of Oho in 2015 with a degree in marketing. Anderson achieved a lot while in college, working a part-time job at a bar/restaurant, volunteering for two non-profits, and maintaining a full course load and active social life.

    Related: Why employers covet soft skills developed from working in restaurants and retail 

    “I learned a lot about myself by trying new things and making a leap of faith,” said Anderson.

    Sales jobs don't require specific experienceAnderson had a wide variety of other experiences too. He coached a traveling youth baseball team, and was a laborer on a construction crew. He also worked in sales, marketing, and logistics for a non-profit called Top Box Foods.

    But it’s his current entry-level sales job at ParqEx that has Anderson buzzing about where his career is going. ParqEx is a marketplace (mobile app + website) that allows owners of underutilized parking spaces to rent out their parking, by the hour, day, week or month, to a driver in need of convenient, affordable parking. ParqEx specializes in hard-to-park neighborhood and has partnered with many local neighborhood organizations and chambers of commerce to solve the parking nightmare.

    “I honestly never thought of myself as a salesman because I did not think I had the right characteristics,” said Anderson. Soon after Anderson started in his current role, he was presenting to a group of over 100 builders (and potential clients) – an experience that has played a key role in him developing a positive, can-do attitude, and desire to succeed in sales.

    “I have learned that I can do literally anything I set my mind to,” said Anderson.

    But many recent college grads are afraid to do what makes them uncomfortable, or not familiar to them in their job or career. Especially early in their career, and especially if it’s a 100 percent commission-based sales job. That’s why many recent college grads shy away from sales careers. But it’s been the exact opposite affect for Anderson, and has helped him thrive as a professional

    “Getting out of your comfort zone is essential for personal and professional growth,” says Anderson.

    Every sales person has a different style, says Anderson. That’s why he feels there’s no one-size-fits-all template to sales success. “Just try new tactics, do what feels right for you personally, and always be positive and confident,” says Anderson. “You will get comfortable and find your style.”

    Kevin Cote, Director of Sales at Namely, a leading HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform for mid-sized companies, agrees.

    “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” says Cote. “The only way to grow in sales and win business is to be confident in asking difficult questions, navigating awkward or tricky objections, and mastering the science of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”

    3. Sales is perfect training for future CEO or business owner

    Cote started at Namely in 2013 as a Sales Development Representative, but quickly learned that successful sales professionals learn more than how to sell their product. They also gain training and exposure into learning various aspects of how businesses work and grow, says Cote, including:

    • Implementation and customer success: During the hand-off post-sale and ongoing after a client is live.
    • Accounting and billing: When discussing payments.
    • Legal: During contract negotiation.
    • Marketing: On the front-end of the funnel and for content support throughout the sale.
    • Product development and engineering: By passing along front-line feedback from potential customers.

    Use that industry knowledge to your advantage.

    “Hustle in everything you do,” says Cote. “Successful sales people thrive in situations where little direction or structure is provided by being a self-starter and diving head first into every opportunity.”

    Those looking to start their own business should consider a career in sales, says Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of Yourgreenpal.com, which allows users to select lawn care companies who bid for work. Caballero worked for over eight years as a corporate account manager for Dell computers, a Fortune top 50 tech firm. Sales teaches organization, the ability to handle rejection, and how to close the sale, he says.

    “You will need to be organized and know how to follow up, as it takes at least 7-8 customer touches to close a sale,” says Caballero. “Getting told no several time a day can deflate anyone, but individuals that have grit will never let no slow them down. Personality is essential because you will be the quarterback that will have to deal with other types of people and your personality needs to mimic the person and the situation.”

    Those are areas business owners, entrepreneurs, and startup face, too.

    4. Sales jobs teach the art of handling rejection

    Working in sales is hard, Anderson says, especially when one is told no, time and time again. “If you persist through the challenges and mistakes of the job, good things will happen,” says Anderson. “You have to get knocked down a few times before you will be able to achieve your goals, but determination, practice, positivity, and confidence can guide you through any challenge.”

    5. Sales jobs teach art of relationship building

    SalesmanEvery sales professional has unique ways of growing leads and closing the sale. Anderson generates leads through cold calling, Craigslist, walking around and canvassing neighborhoods, setting and going on meetings, creating relationships with organizations, working with builders groups and developers, using LinkedIn to network, and strategically targeting areas with high demand and low supply, among others.

    Being able to cold call and email prospects is still essential to success, says Anderson. Those methods also help recent college grads gain confidence and experience. In sales, it’s all about relationships.

    “Relationships are probably the most important aspect of what I do – both maintaining and creating new ones,” said Anderson. “I work hard to make sure my clients are happy, no matter what it takes, because in sales, people are buying you, not just your product.”

    6. Sales jobs forces one to learn how to use technology

    Technology plays a huge role in the success of an entry-level sales professional, says Steven Benson, Founder and CEO of Badger Maps, a sales route planning app. Before starting Badger Maps in 2012, Benson worked in Sales at IBM, HP and Google, where he was Google Enterprise’s Top Sales Executive in 2009. Benson rattles off a wide variety of technologies top sales professionals can use, among them:

    • Email: Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Groove
    • Cold calling: Close.io and Insidesales.com
    • Automating field sales activities: Badger Maps, MileIQ
    • Lead generation: InsideView, Data.com, ZoomInfo

    “Leveraging technologies like these effectively can be the difference between success and failure for an entry-level sales professional,” says Benson. “Over my career, I was definitely able to get an edge by leveraging technologies before my competitors figured out how to use them.”

    7. Sales jobs provide opportunity to learn from a mentor

    “The best advice I can give a sales person just starting out in their career is to look at what the successful people on the team are doing, and get them to teach you how to do it,” says Benson. “Great mentors can really accelerate your career – if you don’t have them, you end up reinventing the wheel.”

    8. Sales jobs forces one to learn from mistakes and how to be persistent

    Training is essential, but “jumping into the water” on your own, messing up, and learning from those mistakes is also essential to growth, says Anderson. “I made mistakes, but the most important thing is getting over those mistakes, learning from them and moving on.”

    Anderson has had at least five clients tell him his persistence is why they chose to meet with him, talk to him, or do business with him and his company. “My persistence meant that I would work hard on their behalf,” said Anderson. “Persistence, positivity, energy, and product knowledge are critical.”

    9. Sales jobs provides the foundation for your future

    Businesswoman looking to her futureMike Scher, Co-Founder of FRONTLINE Selling, a B2B sales software and methodology helping companies reach decision-makers faster, says entry-level sales careers provide great training for the next step in one’s career, whether one stays in sales or pursues a completely different career path.

    “Learning how to sell early in your career provides you with an invaluable set of skills you’ll use the rest of your career,” says Scher. “You need to sell yourself on the job interview and later to get promoted. You sell your boss and colleagues on your ideas, and you sell your organization on your value every day. Sales is about the transference of belief. In every position you hold, you will need to convince others to your point of view and entry-level sales jobs will not only provide those skills, but also the confidence to use them.

    10. Sales job requires ongoing training, learning

    Sales teaches recent college grads humility, says Scher. Those who are open to new ideas, and can take constructive advice and use it to their benefit, will find most success. Those who also understand the importance of learning new skills, completing ongoing training, and adapting to change will also succeed.

    “Even the most veteran sales professionals participate in continuous learning through training, webinars and seminars,” says Scher. “Learning is on-going and with the speed in which technology and methodologies evolve, grads must be willing and able to evolve, too.”

    Are you ready to evolve into an entry-level sales professional? These tips and strategies can help recent college grads find success in an entry-level sales job.

    Want more career advice like this? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • How to negotiate salary: Must-read tips for female college grads [infographic]

    April 20, 2017 by

     

    Many recent college grads are unprepared to negotiate salary during an entry-level job interview. And in the long run, they pay the price – financially, that is.

    According to a recent Paysa study, younger workers, or those with only 0-2 years of experience, are 42 percent likely to be underpaid. The same Paysa data also found that women in markets across the U.S. are 45 percent likely to be under-compensated while their male counterparts are only 38 percent likely to be under-compensated. Paysa is a Palo Alto, California-based company that uses proprietary artificial intelligence technology and machine learning algorithms to analyze millions of data points, including compensation information, to help employees understand their market salary. Continue Reading

  • Three key employer branding strategies to recruit college students

    April 19, 2017 by

     

    In today’s competitive talent market, successful employer branding strategies go a long way toward attracting top college students and grads to your organization.

    However, the particulars of your employer brand – what your message is, how you deliver it, the aspects of the organization you choose to emphasize – will depend almost entirely on the segment of the talent market you wish to attract. If you are trying to engage entry-level workers in the media industry, your employer brand should look very different from an employer who wants to engage mid-career professionals in IT. Continue Reading

  • Recruiting salespeople who are adaptable, not just competent

    April 17, 2017 by

     

    You obviously want a competent sales team, as that’s tied to the rest of your financial performance and metrics. But the definition of “competence” may be somewhat shifting in the sales function. You need to be recruiting salespeople who can adapt and adjust to a new environment fairly quickly. And that’s likely to require new approaches to thinking about, and measuring, candidates in our sales pipelines.

    The value and quantification of sales

    Sales is also one of the most trackable elements of an organization. While the ROI on a training program or employee engagement program could be more subjective, sales is often very direct. Salesperson A sold X-items for Y-total, and Salesperson B sold A-items for B-total. If Y is higher than B, we can infer Salesperson A did a better job in that time frame (typically a quarter).

    At the intersection point of “crucial function” and “relatively easy to measure/compare,” we come to this question of whether hiring managers overrate competence.

    Competence and adaptability

    First: in this context, I define “competence” as conventional recruitment markers of success. For a salesperson, you’d measure their previous sales. For an entry-level salesperson, it might be GPA, college attended, etc.

    One of the biggest arguments against hiring on conventional competence measures is that skill sets can be learned. Today, salespeople need to be adaptable. The idea of “adaptability” is that a salesperson could learn a new skill set (or learn how to sell a new product/service) within a relatively short amount of time, even if his or her background was in an entirely different industry. In essence, it means someone who is receptive or responsive to changing priorities at work.

    Don’t hire brilliant jerks

    There are some generalizations here. In a long-form article on Quartz a few years ago called “This is why people leave your company,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had this to say (see photo below):  Continue Reading

  • Ask Matt: The best job interview questions to ask employers

    April 13, 2017 by

     

    Dear Matt: Do you have any interview tips? I always read about how important it is for recent college grads to ask the right interview questions during a job interview, but, I never know what job interview questions to ask. Can you provide a list of these interview questions and what employers want recent college grads and entry-level job seekers to ask?

    Matt: I will say this, I wish I had a list of job interview questions to ask when I was interviewing for entry-level jobs. Because it certainly would have not only helped me ask the right interview questions, it would have also helped with interview preparation, and confidence.

    Good news! There is a great, extended list of the best job interview questions to ask employers listed below, featuring outstanding advice from recruiters from corporate America, and career management leaders from two of the top business schools in the country.

    The reality is, if you are confident, and prepared, going into an interview, you can relax, be yourself, and shine.

    But many job seekers, especially recent college grads, are shy or timid when going into those first job interviews. I was one of them, and looking back at those early interviews, I never did ask the right questions, because I wasn’t prepared to ask the right questions. That makes a huge difference in how employers view you, and your potential to succeed in the job and fit in with the team.

    “Not asking questions can signal lack of interest, and a missed opportunity to sell yourself,” says Susie Clarke, director of Undergraduate Career Services at Indiana’s Kelley School of Business. “It is important to remember that an interview is a two way street and they expect you will have questions, so show them you are prepared and interested in their position.”

    Corinne M. Snell, Ed.D., the Assistant Dean of Student Professional Development at Fox School of Business at Temple University, agrees. Prior to her current role, Snell worked in corporate America, working in college relations roles for Campbell’s Soup Company, Siemens Health Services, and Lutron Electronics.

    “A certain level of spontaneity is expected in any job interview, but candidates should have a list of questions prepared in advance,” said Snell. “The worst thing one can do is indicate he/she has no questions or say something like, “Um, I think we already covered everything.”

    One of the biggest things a college student or recent graduate needs to remember is that just as much as the recruiter or hiring manager is interviewing them, they are also interviewing the potential employer, says Justin Bischoff, Talent Acquisition Advisor at Buffalo Wild Wings, a casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise.

    “Ask questions about the things that matter to you,” says Bischoff. “These should be things that you feel will make you stay with an employer long term.”

    Try to keep it conversational, says Bischoff. For example, if you’re interested in sales, ask something such as “earlier in our interview you mentioned that one of the main focuses of this role is to drive sales in the restaurant, can you tell me a little more about that?”

    Asking about the culture of the organization and development programs also impresses employers, says Bischoff.

    “I am also impressed by a candidate who has done their research on the organization and the position prior to the interview,” says Bischoff. “By asking questions on matters that are truly important to you about what you have learned, you are able to showcase the time and effort you’re putting into joining the organization’s team.”

    Snell puts it bluntly, saying “Job seekers need to prepare for that moment when the employer turns the table and asks ‘what questions do you have for me?'”

    That’s what impresses today’s corporate recruiter, says Asma Anees, a Talent Advisor with Blue Cross, a Minnesota healthcare provider. She leads college relations at Blue Cross and is one of the first persons to interview/phone screen recent college grads and entry-level employees who interview with the company.

    Anees suggest job seekers break down interview questions into four categories, focusing on asking about:

    • The position/job
    • Evaluation
    • Training
    • About the company

    Anees provides these job interview question and answer tips:

    The position/job
    Job seekers who ask about the challenges of the position stand out, says Anees. Employers like candidates who want to be challenged, and who want to know about what it takes to succeed in that role. “It helps me understand their willingness to take on certain duties,” says Anees.

    Evaluation
    Anees likes it when job seekers ask job interview questions such as “What are the performance expectations or how will I be evaluated?”

    “These students have received grades for everything they do for the last however many years,” says Anees. “These Millennials want to know where they stand, and I can appreciate that. It tells me they want to perform well and be rewarded for it.”

    Training
    Good question to ask: Will there be any training or mentorship for this role? Anees says job seekers who want to pursue professional development opportunities stand out to her.

    Company
    Job seekers who are curious about the business, strategic plan, how the company makes a difference, and if the company is growing, are “all great questions,” says Anees. “It tells me they care for the well-being of the organization and their future.”

    Snell provides these sample job interview questions to ask employers:

    1. Questions related to the position:

    • What are the key qualities necessary for someone to excel in this role?
    • What are your expectations for this role during the first 30, 60 and 90 days?
    • What is the typical career path for someone in this position?

    2. Questions related to the company?

    • How would you describe the company culture (or values)?
    • What do you like best about working for this company?

    3. Questions related to the industry (these should vary from industry to industry):

    • What recent changes has the company made to product packaging?
    • How has industry consolidation affected the company?
    • How does the economy affect company sales?
    • What percentage of revenues does the company invest in R&D?
    • How is the company challenged by government regulations?

    4. Questions related to the hiring process:

    • What are the next steps in the interview process?
    • When do you expect to make a decision?

    “The likelihood of having sufficient time to ask a multitude of questions is slim, so the candidate needs to be prepared and have several questions ready,” says Snell. “Interviewing is a two-way street and employers do expect job seekers to be prepared with thoughtful, insightful questions.”

    Remember this though – thoughtful and insightful do not revolve around asking how much vacation time one gets, salary, or benefits. In time, that information will be discussed.

    Some of the best job interview questions to ask employers, says Clarke, include:

    1. Would you please tell me about yourself and your career path?
    Yes – job seekers should ask the person conducting the interview this. This will allow you to learn more about the employer, what this person likes about the company, and could create a common interest to make the follow-up connection stronger. “It is all about building relationships and showing genuine interest is important,” says Clarke.

    2. What are the reasons you stay with this company, or why did you recently join the company?
    Their response will typically tell you a lot about the work environment/culture of the company. “For many college students and recent college grads, the company culture is an important criteria when making their decision,” says Clarke.

    3. What skills or characteristics have led to your success here?
    This is an opportunity for you then to highlight your strength that relates to one of these skills if you have not already.

    4. I have learned a lot today and even more excited about this opportunity, so is there anything else I could provide or questions I can address about my ability to do this job?
    “This shows that you want the job and want to eliminate any concern that they might still have,” says Clarke.

    When the interview is near completion, and if the employer has not covered this already, Clarke says you should always ask: What are the next steps in the interview process?

    “This is important, so you know what to expect and when to follow-up if you have not heard back from them,” says Clarke.

    Asking the right questions during your interview can impact your chances of landing the job, says Bischoff.

    “When a candidate asks thought-provoking questions, it shows that they have solid communication skills, are genuinely interested in the opportunity, and are looking to make a long-term investment,” says Bischoff. Ultimately, asking the right questions makes that interview and the candidate memorable when it comes time for a hiring decision.”

    Dara Warn, Chief Outcomes Officer, Penn Foster Education Group, says that asking questions about how the company onboards new employees can impress employers:

    How does the company onboard new employees? Can you talk about what that process looks like?
    Why this question: By asking this question, the job candidate is demonstrating their interest in the company culture and its commitment to employees and their career path and setting them up for success from the outset. “The first several months in a new job are a key period in building the relationship between employee and employer, and the candidate wants to know that the company is a place they can grow and mature,” says Warn. “In our work with employer partners, we’ve helped design mentor programs, where new employees develop and strengthen workplace and interpersonal skills.”

    Another good question, says Warn, is asking “How does your company encourage its employees to collaborate/work as a team, and demonstrate integrity and initiative?”   
    Why this question: This question coming from a candidate demonstrates that he/she already possesses some “soft skills” that are typically learned and honed once in the workforce. This student may have graduated from an institution that offers soft skills (or “power skills”) training in the form of a standalone program and is already ahead of the curve when it comes to developing these critical work/life skills.

    Good questions will show that you have researched the position, company, and even highlight some of your strengths. “This signals to the employer that you are very interested and enthusiastic about the opportunity,” says Clarke.

    Show enthusiasm and interest when wrapping up the interview.

    “I appreciate when candidates take the last couple of minutes to reiterate their interest and why their skills and abilities would make an impact to the team,” says Anees. “Don’t forget to smile and a firm handshake.”

    Want more career and job search advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    Matt Krumrie CollegeRecruiter.com

    Matt Krumrie is a contributing writer for CollegeRecruiter.com

    About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
    Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.

  • An entry level job seeker’s guide to interview outfits

    April 11, 2017 by

     

    The saying you only get one chance to make a first impression really holds true in today’s job market, says Melissa Wagner, Career Services Advisor for Rasmussen College. Your interview outfit is a big part of the first impression you make at a potential employer.

    “An interview is the candidate’s opportunity to sell the employer that they’re the right fit for the position,” says Wagner. “So it’s important that candidates bring their best game to the playing field.” Continue Reading

  • 5 Ways to wow your interviewer and show you’ll be a highly engaged employee

    April 07, 2017 by

    In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, businesses have identified the “secret sauce” for better overall performance. Highly engaged employees. The candidate who lands the job is the one who shows that they will be highly engaged at work.

    Highly engaged employees always give 110%. They volunteer for new and challenging assignments. They’re always looking for ways to improve on past performance and they consider their success and the company’s success to be one in the same.

    “A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow.” – Gallup, The Engaged Workplace 2017

    Employers love highly engaged employees because they have a positive impact on a number of important business metrics. Because they go the extra mile for their customers, they drive up customer satisfaction and NPS scores, known to be accurate leading indicators of strong financial performance. They tend to stay with an organization longer, lowering attrition and recruiting costs and adding value with every day they stay with an organization. Highly engaged employees also communicate and collaborate well, helping to break down silos and increase cooperation between departments. They also project success and confidence into the marketplace, bolstering your employer brand and helping to advertise the quality of your company’s workforce.

    Knowing all this, you can see why employers would seek to hire someone they knew was going to be highly engaged every time, if given the choice.

    So how should you present yourself in an interview to demonstrate that you will be your prospective employers’ next highly engaged employee?

    1. Be Prepared!

    Engaged employees go the extra mile and make sure to show up to meetings and assignments prepared, having done their homework and knowing what the situation requires. You can show your potential to perform like this by demonstrating it as an interviewee.

    Research the company’s needs. What are their biggest challenges and opportunities? Who are their top competitors? Visit Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Hoovers, and the company’s website. Read some of the content they have posted in their resources section and on their blog. You should be able to ascertain what their key messages are and then be able to speak their language in the interview.

    Make sure you prepare a few examples of how you have addressed a particular challenge in the past, the solution you came up with, and the results you achieved. Bonus points if you can relate these stories back to the specific challenges you might face in the job you are interviewing for and which your prospective employer is facing.

    2. Be Well

    Health and wellness is one of the most important but often overlooked aspects of employee engagement. To consistently perform at the highest level, both body and mind need to be running like a well-oiled machine. This isn’t rocket science, but you would be surprised how many people, especially those many would consider high-performing are actually doing themselves a disservice by not getting enough sleep, or not making the time for exercise. We all lead busy lives, but it has been proven that getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night and at least 30 minutes of exercise a day makes a huge difference in both daily performance and overall health.

    With that mind, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before your interview and, if possible, try to fit in a good workout as close to the interview as possible. If you can’t do that at least take a brisk walk or do some light calisthenics. It will get your heart pumping, help remove any pre-interview stress and put you in the right frame of mind to be limber in both body and mind. And lastly, don’t forget to eat. Not anything too filling that will end up lowering your energy as you try to digest a huge meal, but make sure have a nutritious breakfast that will help contribute to your mental acuity.

    3. Ask Questions

    Engaged employees are not afraid to ask questions and have the confidence to do so, knowing that a questioning mind is a sign of curiosity, which drives innovation. Critical thinking and an analytical mindset are two extremely important qualities of high performing employees. Today’s employers don’t just want unquestioning automatons, they want employees who will add to their company’s knowledge base and help bolster a culture of innovation.

    As you are preparing for your interview by reviewing the company website, looking into their competition and reviewing recent their media coverage, be sure to write down questions that occur to you. Be prepared when you walk into the interview with 5-10 questions about company strategy, competitive landscape, product or market positioning, etc. Also, don’t forget to ask about the corporate culture and values. If you don’t share that company’s values, even if you do end up getting hired, chances are you are not going to be engaged at work and the marriage isn’t going to last long.

    4. Be Confident and Know Your Strengths

    Highly engaged employees know their areas of strength and how to apply those strengths to helping their company succeed. More and more companies today are moving towards strengths-based development and performance management to ensure that their employees are put in the best position to succeed on a personal level and to help the company succeed.

    With this in mind, go into your interview feeling confident of your strengths and prepared to highlight them through specific examples of how you have used your strengths in the past to contribute to the success of a team or organization that you were a part. We can’t all be good at everything, but we all have unique talents and skills that can add an important element to the mix. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, reflect on past experiences. When did you receive praise and why? When did you feel proud of your work and why?

    5. Be Yourself, Be Passionate

    Highly engaged employees are passionate about what they do. They have connected to their work on a level that allows them to put their whole selves into it and make it more than “just a job”. This goes back to values. If you connect with a company’s values – whether those values emphasize a culture of innovation, of corporate social responsibility, or competitiveness – if you can see yourself in that company’s values, you are going to be happier and more engaged as an employee. So don’t be afraid to be yourself and to show your enthusiasm and passion for whatever it is that reflects those shared values.

    If you follow these five tips, you should have no problem demonstrating you have the potential to be a highly engaged employee, and will nail your next interview. Soon you will be contributing your particular strengths to some lucky organization.

    Josh Danson at AchieversAbout Josh Danson: Josh is Director of Content Marketing at Achievers. An accomplished marketing and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of marketing and PR, Josh graduated from Kenyon College and lives in San Francisco with his wife and 9 year-old daughter. In addition to work and family, he is passionate about music, politics and fly fishing (not necessarily in that order). Twitter: @dansonshoes