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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted July 15, 2019 by

Can I Text You?

Can I Text You? (Is it okay to use text messages during a job search?)

Scrolling though job listings and even applying for jobs on your phone’s web browser is becoming more commonplace. But, is it okay to communicate via text with prospective employers?

According to Jackie Ducci, CEO and founder of Ducci & Associates, a talent acquisition agency in Washington, D.C., the answer is “no.” “It is rarely, if ever, a good idea for a candidate to text a potential employer during the job search process,” says Ducci.

Unless you’re specifically asked to send a text by an employer, you should skip texting for several reasons:

1. It’s too informal. Texting is convenient and used more than calling or emailing these days. However, while its perfectly fine for friends, partners and even co-workers in some cases, it’s still considered too informal by most employers. Remember, you’re trying to be professional and create a good impression.

According to some recruiting experts, an inappropriate thank-you note after a job interview is worse than sending no thank-you note! For instance, handwriting a note on casual stationery would be considered too informal, as would a text. This is especially true if it’s a conservative industry/business.

2. It’s a missed opportunity. Even though it’s more intimidating to call and talk to an employer, it gives you an opportunity to really communicate with that person and make a human connection. Talking conveys tone of voice and inflection, which are lost or often misconstrued in texts. It also allows you to answer questions and expand on subjects. In other words, talking is better for two-way communication, which helps build relationships.

If you’re writing a thank you letter (and most experts agree that you should), it gives you an opportunity to reinforce your qualifications, express your enthusiasm for the positions and the company, and demonstrate your communication skills.

3. You don’t know how the person feels about texting. According to a Gallup poll, sending and receiving text messages is the most common form of communication for many Americans under 50. However, while you and your friends may use texts as your primary means of communication, others might take offense to receiving a text. Text messages can seem “flippant” or dismissive, which may cause the employer to feel that you’re not taking the job seriously, even if that’s not the case.

Of course, the exception to this is if the person has already texted you first. For example, if the employer texts you first to ask for more information or schedule a follow-up interview, then it’s fine to text back. In general, however, save the texting for keeping in touch with friends or urgent messages with already-established business contacts.

Now, having said all that, don’t be surprised if texting becomes more accepted in the future. TopResume’s career expert Amanda Augustine says she wouldn’t be surprised, at least for newer professionals, if texting becomes a commonplace thing. After all, everyone is looking for ways to save time and be more efficient. So, don’t be shocked if the recruiter or hiring manager from your next interview follows up via text. If that happens, feel free to text back!

Sources:

“Can I text a thank you after a job interview?” by Rose Mathews, Chron.com, 2019.

“Forget the phone – your next employer wants to interview you over text messages, by Courtney Connley, CNBC, March 2018.

“This is one thing you should never do during a job search,” by Jennifer Parris, The Ladders, May 22, 2018

Posted July 01, 2019 by

8 Interview Questions Job Seekers Should Ask

You’ve landed the interview and spent hours researching the company and preparing your responses to the most common interview questions. You’ve got this, right? Not so fast.

An often-overlooked part of the interview process comes near the end when the interviewer turns the tables and asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” Believe it or not, most employers are expecting you to have insightful queries ready. You can impress employers by being prepared with a few insightful questions that show you’re an attentive listener and truly engaged in the process. The answers can also give you additional insight as to whether this position and company are a good fit.

Consider the following:

1. What particular areas of my background or experience interest you?

The company selected you from the pile of resumes or applications they received for a reason. You may have “checked all the boxes” when it comes to the job requirements, such as having the right degree, skill set or related experience, but typically there is something “extra” that caught their attention and set you apart. Were they impressed with your internships? Did they find your leadership skills in past roles important to this position? Or, was it the way you demonstrated your ability to work well on a team? Asking this question not only shows that you’re interested in the position and what it entails, but it will give you a clue as to what to emphasize in your follow-up letter.

2. What are the most challenging aspects of the job for which I’m being considered?

Again, this question demonstrates your interest in the position-both the exciting, interesting aspects and the difficult, challenging parts. You may find from the answer they provide that the challenges associated with this position are not something you’re willing to accept (e.g., long hours, tight deadlines, or a lack of teamwork between departments). In this case, you may not want to pursue the position. On the other hand, by addressing the fact that you’ve successfully navigated similar situations in the past, you’re demonstrating your ability to handle this position and that you’re not afraid of the challenges that may come your way.

3. What are the most important characteristics needed to succeed in this position?

There are job requirements and then there are the “other” skills that may not be listed that are necessary for success. Job postings often list generic proficiencies such as good communication skills or the ability to work in teams, but what are the real qualities they’re looking for? This question can sometimes tease out those underlying characteristics so you can respond to them either in the interview or in your follow-up communication. For example, if the interviewer says they need someone who is good with details or very organized, you can provide a specific example related to those characteristics.

4. Where do you see this position going in the next few years?

Asking about the future shows that you’re interested in the long term. These days, with so many employees hopping from one job to another, it can be reassuring to an employer that you want to stay with them and pursue a career versus just taking a job as a step toward something else. The answer may also help you decide whether this job is the right fit for you. If the answer you receive is vague, it may indicate that there is no room for growth, or the direction may not be where you want to go.

5. What does a typical day look like?

It’s one thing to describe a job and its responsibilities, but how that position plays out day to day is quite another. Learning about a “day in the life” of someone in this position can help you decide whether you’re really a good fit. Asking the question shows that you’re interested in more than the basic responsibilities-you want to know more about the culture, the interaction with other employees, etc. As a bonus, employees who love their jobs and the company they work for will be enthusiastic about describing a typical day around the office, so you’ll get a sense of the culture. If they aren’t enthusiastic, it may indicate internal dysfunction. If you’ve developed a good rapport with the interviewer, you may want to follow up with a more personal question, such as “What do you like most about working here?”

6. Is this a new position or are you replacing someone?

If the position is new, it may indicate that the company is growing. On the flip side, because it’s a new position, it may not be well defined, which presents its own challenges. If it’s an existing position, it’s fair to ask why the person who previously filled this role left. Does the company have an issue with turnover? Does the position report to a difficult manager? While it’s highly unlikely that the interviewer will provide this type of negative information, the answers you receive could raise a few red flags.

7. Does your company have a mission, vision and set of values? What are they?

If the company lists these things on their website, there is obviously no need to ask. You should already be aware of them from your research. In that case, you may want to mention that you were impressed by the company’s mission or values and feel that you are a good fit with those values because… (insert example here). If there is no mission, vision or values on the website, then it’s okay to ask the interviewer if the company has them and what they are. It may give you a sense as to what’s important to the company, as well as some insight into their culture.

8. Where are you in the hiring process and what’s the next step?

If this information hasn’t already been covered, it’s a good way to wrap up the interview. Again, this reinforces your interest in the position and indicates that you are ready to take the next step. Just as importantly, it lets you know what to expect and how to follow up.

Research shows that as many as 42% of job seekers do not come prepared with questions for the interviewer. Therefore, having some insightful questions at the ready can set you apart from other candidates. It also conveys your interest in the company and helps you decide if it’s where you want to work. Remember, interviews are a two-way street.

Posted May 15, 2018 by

Entry-Level Job Seeker’s Guide to Interviewing

 

Got a job interview coming up? We would love for you to get that job! We’ve been connecting students and grads to entry-level jobs for many years now, so we know a thing or two about what will make you stand out. Don’t make the mistake of showing up unprepared. To help you prepare, we put together a guide just for entry-level job seekers. Download the Entry-Level Job Seekers Guide to Interviewing here (no registration needed). (more…)

Posted January 23, 2018 by

What to say at a career fair, and more preparation tips

 

If your school hosts a career fair, don’t miss out. Not attending is a missed opportunity to advance your job search. We heard from three experts with years of experience advising and recruiting college students, and they shared deep insight into what impresses recruiters today, including what to say at a career fair, what to wear, the right attitude and what to do after the event. (more…)

Posted January 17, 2018 by

When your talent acquisition strategies don’t work for technical roles

 

EY is known as one of the Big Four accounting firms, not for being a tech giant. And yet, like employers across the world, they are seeing an increasing need for technical skills in their workforce. Laura Mills, Faculty and University Relations Consultant at EY, spoke to us about shifting their talent acquisition strategies to better approach college students about careers in consulting cyber security, user experience, programming, etc.

(more…)

Posted July 16, 2016 by

10 most tricky HR questions for students

Interview photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You know what the problem is when you graduate and start the interviewing process? You have perhaps half a dozen, perhaps twice that number of interviews under your belt. The people sitting there behind those big desks staring at you steely-eyed? They have done hundreds. That means they know the tricks, they know the strategies, and they know how to make you stumble. If you want to stand a chance at beating them at their own game, you have to be prepared.

Why should I hire you?

This one catches people a lot. They are afraid they will either come across as too arrogant or that they will not push themselves enough. The thing is that is not really what the question is about, and both those traps can be easily avoided if you realize that.

This is not about you telling them how amazing you are. This is about you showing how much you know about them (which is everybody’s favorite topic). So show them that you know what the position entails and what skills will be required. After you have done that you can modestly admit that you have those skills (preferably with a few examples of where you’ve used those skills as showing is always better than telling).

Why is there a gap in your work history?

You have been unemployed for six months because you needed some time to chill out and get your priorities sorted. Or you spent some time living on a beach seeing if it is really true your skin turns green when you drink too many mojitos. Or you lived in your parents’ basements and played video games. Fantastic! You do not necessarily want to tell them that though.

Instead, talk about how you used that time to make yourself a better person. Talk about freelancing work you did, social outreach, or how you spent your time searching for the perfect job (which is obviously the one you are interviewing for right now). Put a positive spin on things by showing how much you grew as a person.

You have been fired from your last job. How did it make you feel?

You have to demonstrate that you can take a blow without becoming either angry or resentful. So even if you are, burry that deep and instead tell them about how you used this as an opportunity to improve yourself so that nothing like this can ever happen to you again.

What is your biggest weakness?

A nasty question! There is no doubt about it. You better prepare to meet this one every so often, because a lot of HR managers have this one in their repertoire and like to throw it out there to see how you react.

The right way to go is to remember that strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin. So if you have a weakness, admit it and then explain to them how in some situations it can be a strength. Alternatively, take your greatest strength and admit when it might actually be a weakness. That way you show you understand yourself.

Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?

This one is as much to see how you handle being put on the spot as to see if you will be honest. Remember, everybody is bound to have bad experiences occasionally. We are all human. So they are not going to believe you when you say ‘no, never.’ Instead think of something that did go wrong then admit that it was at least partially your fault and explain how you learned from it and how you will be better next time. That shows both humility and wisdom.

Do not bag on your previous employer! That will raise all sorts of red flags. Yes, it they might be bad people, but this person sitting opposite you will not have a better impression of you if you decide to tell them that.

Frustrated businesswoman screaming photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Tell about a day when you messed up at work

Another one of those situations where you have to be honest and admit you have done something wrong. After all, nobody is perfect, and if you are not willing to admit you have screwed up you can wave the job you are interviewing for good-bye. Just like with the last question the trick here is to show what you have learned.

How would you deliver bad news to a colleague?

Here is your opportunity to demonstrate empathy and your ability to deal with a stressful situation in a grownup manner. So do not suggest you would send them a text or first let everybody in the office know so that you can all have a laugh. Instead, show them how diplomatic you are.

Will you be out to take my job?

Okay, here you can lie. ‘No’ is the correct answer. ‘I doubt I could do it as well as you’ is a good follow up.

How did you prepare for this interview?

Here is where you demonstrate that you care enough about the job to actually have researched the position (you did research the position didn’t you?). So tell them how you went to the website and read this that and the other. Here you get to show off some of the things you learned, including talking a little bit about the industry as well as what their company specifically does.

Where would you really like to work?

‘Here’ is the right answer. Now you can be a bit honest and suggest that you want to ultimately move into another area in the company, but whatever you do, do not say another company name! That is a fantastic way to close the door on any opportunity to work there.

Last words

The most important thing to remember is that there will be other interviews and however many ‘no’s you get you only want one ‘yes’, so don’t get too stressed out. You will get there in the end. After that, you will have to go through the hard work of keeping the job. That is not exactly easy either, but at this moment, that probably feels more like a ‘wish I had that problem’ problem.

Need more interview tips? Visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Dante Munnis, guest writer

Dante Munnis, guest writer

Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics, and success issues. He shares ideas for students living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance, you can get in touch with Dante via Twitter.

 

Posted May 11, 2016 by

How to conduct a successful informational interview

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Interviewing is hard. And stressful – especially for the recent college graduate or entry-level job seeker who has limited experience in an interview setting. To gain more experience, and to expand your professional relationships, consider conducting an informational interview. The purpose of an informational interview is to gather information and meet someone who is in a role or company you aspire to be in. It’s not a job interview – the person conducting the informational interview (you) should be the one asking the questions.

“Informational interviews are a good way to get the answers you need to make career choices,” says Bill Driscoll, the New England District President of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, and the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. “Asking experienced professionals who have specialized expertise about their role and what it involves can give you real-world insights.”

In fact, 36 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said these meetings are becoming more common, with nearly one-third (31 percent) receiving informational interview requests at least once a month. Job seekers should take note – 84 percent of executives said when someone impresses them in a meeting, it’s likely they will alert that person to job openings at the company.

Although informational interviews are not intended solely to seek a certain position in a company, it can set you up for consideration of future roles if you make a good impression. It could also lead to referrals to other contacts or job openings.

Informational interview etiquette guidelines

There are some basic etiquette guidelines to follow when requesting an informational interview, says Driscoll:

  • First, narrow down who you would ask for an informational interview. Create a list of companies you would like to work for, identify career paths that would suit your strengths and interests, and consider which industries interest you. Once you’ve identified these key factors, do some online research to choose the correct contact to interview.
  • Email is a good introductory mode of communication. Keep it simple – be concise but friendly. Briefly go over your background, state the reason you are reaching out to them, and request a meeting or phone call. Be sure to include why you want to meet that person in particular.
  • Look to your professional network to make an introduction. Seeing a message from a familiar name may increase your chance of getting a response.
  • LinkedIn can help you identify contacts and send messages. Keep in mind that people don’t necessarily log on to LinkedIn each day or check their messages on the site, so you might not get a quick response.
  • A phone call is another option to reach an informational interview candidate. Be prepared with what you’ll say in case you get a hold of the person or their voicemail.

How to prepare for an informational interview

Research the company and person you are meeting. Informational interviews tend to be short, so use the opportunity to ask the questions you genuinely want answered. Come prepared with your list of questions. Things you might want to ask are:

  • How did you get started in this industry/company/career path?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • What are the most important skills required in this role/industry?
  • How did you get your job?
  • Can you name some industry associations that I should join?
  • What do you like most about your company?

Dress professionally for your informational interview – just like you would for a job interview.

“Remember this is a business meeting and the way you dress can say a lot about you,” says Driscoll.

Go into an informational interview with a clear understanding that this is a chance to learn about a career, industry and company, to expand your professional relationships and to become better prepared for future interviews. Just don’t expect it to always lead to a job or job interview with that company.

“An informational interview is a great way to meet someone who can make hiring decisions, but don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t lead to a job interview,” says Driscoll. “The point is to learn and establish an important business relationship.”

When the informational interview is done, don’t forget to show gratitude. Always mail a handwritten thank-you note after an interview and keep your new contact updated on your job search and career progress.

Need career advice as a recent graduate? Go to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

Bill Driscoll, Accountemps

Bill Driscoll, New England District President of Accountemps

Bill Driscoll is the New England District President of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, and is based in the company’s Boston office. Bill oversees professional staffing services for Robert Half’s 23 offices throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and portions of New York. Bill is considered a local and national expert on recruiting practices, hiring and job search trends, and other workplace issues.

Ready to begin your job search? Start at College Recruiter today!

Posted April 28, 2016 by

Google before interviewing job candidates

Homepage of Google.com courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock.com

Before requesting job candidates for interviews these days, recruiters and hiring managers are doing their homework. Thanks to Google, employers can learn more about potential employees on social media and elsewhere and decide whether or not candidates fit their company culture. The practice of Googling candidates is becoming more common. Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software, Inc., says this practice is now normal and not just a trend.

 

“In the fourth quarter of 2014, we surveyed 350 corporate recruiters. These are recruiters at US-based, small and medium-sized businesses. We found 67% of these respondents do indeed Google search their applicants before making contact or a decision on whether or not to interview applicants. Our hunch was “Googling” applicants was more than just a trend; it’s become the new normal way to gather tidbits of social proof before engaging with job seekers. We found the pervasiveness of Googling job seekers so strong that we actually added a feature to our applicant tracking system to allow users to Google a candidate with one click. As such, Googling candidates during the early stages of the applicant lifecycle has become a feature!”

If you’re interested in more interviewing advice for employers or job seekers, go to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software

Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software

For nearly a decade, Joel Passen spent his days in the belly of the beast as a corporate recruiting leader where he consistently drove change. Passionate about the intersection of technology and talent, Joel co-founded Newton Software, a technology company developing cloud-based recruiting solutions for small and medium-sized employers, where he serves as the Head of Marketing. In addition to his responsibilities at Newton Software, which was acquired by Paycor in 2015, Joel actively serves as an Advisory Board Member for two growing companies in the talent acquisition industry.

Posted April 27, 2016 by

Benefits of using video and phone interviews in recruiting

Female boss talking with applicants online on video conference courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

While face-to-face interviews have not become obsolete, new interviewing methods are becoming more popular today. Video and phone interviews not only benefit job candidates but also benefit recruiters. Recruiters can save time and learn more about candidates to make the best hiring decisions. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, explains why video and phone interviews are effective in college recruiting.

“Video interviewing benefits both candidates and hiring managers. For an organization, pre-recorded screening questions create a consistent candidate experience by asking the same questions to applicants the same way. Candidates benefit because the technology is easily accessible and simple to use — just hit record.

Before in-person interviews, companies want to know the basics such as candidates’ skill sets, ambitions, what they can contribute to the company, etc. All of this valuable information is easy to gather through phone and video interviews.

The problem many organizations face when recruiting college students and recent graduates is a skills gap they possess and the skills needed to get the job done. While these interviews don’t fix the skills gap, they give recruiters a better understanding of the candidates. Recruiters can evaluate them more efficiently to avoid eliminating top talent who may not communicate their potential as clearly on their resumes, as they can when responding to specific questions. This affects the quality of hire, the most important measurement that tells employers how well their hiring teams recruit.

When using video interviews, recruiters are effectively finding high quality candidates and eliminating those who fall short. Additionally, they are reducing time to hire significantly and improving their return on investment (ROI).

We use our own talent management platform, which offers a video interviewing feature that seamlessly integrates candidates’ recorded responses with the applicant tracking system. This allows the entire hiring team to engage by watching the recordings at their convenience and collaborating by providing feedback through the platform.”

Do you want to learn more about phone and video interviews? Head to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Posted April 26, 2016 by

[video] 5 tips for following up after job interviews

 

Just because your interview went well doesn’t mean you can rest. Following up after a job interview is absolutely important and affects your chances.

Imagine this scenario: You finish the interview. You stand up, straightening your new suit jacket. The recruiter smiles broadly and extends her hand.

“Thank you so much for your time today. You should definitely hear from us within the next two weeks about our hiring decision.”

It’s in the bag, you think to yourself while you shake hands with her, smiling and thanking her for the opportunity to interview with her company and colleagues. (more…)