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Businesswoman interviewing candidate for a job. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted May 11, 2017 by

Ask Matt: How to respond to the 5 most basic interview questions [video]

 

Dear Matt: I recently completed an interview, and realized, I wasn’t prepared to answer the most basic interview questions. I spent more time preparing for that odd, or unique question that may come up, and not enough time on the basics. What are some answers or responses to the most basic interview questions every recent job seeker should be sure to master before the next interview?  (more…)

Posted November 30, 2016 by

Interview dress code: Common mistakes and tips for balancing professional with personal

dress code for workGuest writer Lisa Smith

The cliché holds a lot of truth: the first impression really counts. This is why most people suggest that you dress up prim and proper for an interview. It should come as no surprise that your prospective employer starts gauging you from the time you step into the interview room.

Many people botch up their interview just because they are unaware of the importance of interview dress code. There are a few common mistakes that you can avoid. Check out out some of the common interview dressing mistakes to ensure you don’t fall prey to these. Here is some advice to get ready for the big day:

Fit is king:

Before going for an interview, you spend a long time and effort in picking that perfect outfit. But what about the fit? The way your outfit fits can make a whole difference to your appearance. And this is what will gain you some precious points. If your clothes are too loose, you end up looking drab and careless. On the other hand, clothes that are too tight can make you look uncomfortable which can be misconstrued as nervousness or lack of self-confidence. So, first things first, make sure that the clothes you pick for your interview are fit you perfectly. If they don’t, take them to the tailor.

Tone down the colors:

Make sure you select the shades carefully. Bright colors like yellow or shocking pink are a total no-no as these tend to distract people’s gaze and are considered inappropriate. If you are thinking of going with prints and patterns, go for the subtle variety. Large prints and patterns give you a casual semblance which may not appeal to your interviewers.

Rein in your hair:

This can be tricky because hairstyle can be an important part of your culture. It is your choice how you want to balance professional conservatism with your personal expression. However, be aware that when it comes to an interview, your interviewer may consider some hairstyles to be a hint of non-seriousness, whether or not that is true.

Shoes are important too:

If you thought that you only need to pay attention to your clothes when getting ready for an interview, think again. Your shoes matter too. Though you may sit down across the table when interacting with your interviewer, he or she is bound to notice as you walk up to take your seat. Pick shoes that spell out a formal air. Men should go for leather oxfords or slip-ons. Women should stick to pumps or conservative platform heels.

Take it easy with the perfume:

There is no doubt that your choice of perfume speaks volumes about you. However, you don’t want to overwhelm your interviewer with its heady aroma. So, make sure that you spray only a couple of whiffs of your favorite perfume on your clothes, or skip it entirely. Heavy perfume wearers are usually frowned upon in the professional world.

 

On the job: Balancing between personal and professional

If you dress perfectly for your interview, you are bound to make a great first impression. This coupled with your smartness is sure to get you that much-coveted job. (Make sure to send a thank you email after an interview to the company, displaying your gratitude for the chance given to you.)

However, once you get that job and join the company, you have to continue to strike that balance between your personal expression and professional dress code that you so carefully created for the interview. Not doing so may give out wrong messages and get you into the bad books of your employers.

Understand the Dress Code:

Each company has its own dress code. So, the smartest thing you can do is to understand the dress code that your organization follows. This could be quite different from the one that you are accustomed to. However, taking to this wholeheartedly is what will portray you as a smart and a quick learner. This will also be proof enough for your easy adaptability to changes.

Creating your Own Style:

While you need to follow the company dress code, you don’t have to be a clone of the other employees. Experiment with the dress code to create new looks which are perfect for the work environment. This is a great way to prove that you are brave enough to experiment and innovate without questioning the company policies.

Keep your work style minimalistic yet smart. This is what will make your bosses and super bosses notice you. Your style speaks volumes about your thoughts and helps you to stand out in the crowd. So, take down this mantra and try to live up to it.

 

lisa smithLisa is a designer by profession and writer by choice, she writes for almost all topics but design and Fashion are her favorites. Apart from these she also Volunteers at few Animal rescue centers. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.

 

 

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Posted April 19, 2016 by

7 interview appearance tips

Did you know that 65% of employers admit that clothing can be the deciding factor between similar candidates in the hiring process?

Apparently what you wear—and your overall interview appearance—really matters. It’s important to plan ahead for your interview, and that includes thinking about your interview appearance from head to toe. No one wants to wake up the morning of an interview, hitting snooze too many times to the point of having to skip a shower, yanking the first presentable outfit out of the closet, dreading the interview the entire time. That’s really setting yourself up for interview failure.

Set yourself up for interview success instead by watching this video featuring College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace. You’ll learn seven simple ways to enhance your interview appearance.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1.. Research the position, the company, and the career field.

Expectations for interview appearance and attire vary based on these criteria. If you’re interviewing in a super casual work environment, you can get away with wearing business casual attire (slacks, blouse, and flats). However, if you’re interviewing at a large corporation for a management position, you better don a business suit. Doing your homework and understanding the corporate culture in advance will help you avoid major interview appearance mistakes. If  your homework doesn’t help you make a clear decision, stop by the career services office on campus and ask for advice.

2. If in doubt, err on the side of conservative and classy. Translation: wear a suit.

If you aren’t sure what to wear, and your research yields few clear results, wear a suit. It’s better to dress up than to dress down for a job interview. Your future employer will most likely be impressed that you took time and energy to invest in your interview appearance.

If you wear a business suit, be sure it’s clean, pressed, and tailored. If you can’t afford to have it dry cleaned, clean it yourself on the gentle cycle and iron it carefully on the lowest setting. Have it tailored to fit you (or hem it yourself if necessary), but do not wear a suit with cuffs that are too long and too-long hemlines. This makes you look like you’re wearing your grandma’s suit, and that’s not a cute look for anyone.

3. Don’t blow your budget on interview attire.

As a college student or recent grad, you simply can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive suit or interview outfit. Be savvy and scour consignment stores for great deals on secondhand suits in excellent shape. Try to find suits that are still considered modern or fashionable, though, if possible. You don’t want to sport a look that was popular three decades ago.

4. Clean up.

Don’t sleep late the morning of an interview. Take a shower and practice good hygiene in every way. Clean hair, nails, and teeth let your interviewers know that you take pride in your interview appearance as well as minor details—and this lets them know you’ll take pride in the work you’ll do for them if hired. Skip heavy doses of cologne and perfume, and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke before a job interview.

5. Avoid excessive everything.

Flashy jewelry, sparkly eyeshadow, dangly earrings, bold neckties, colorful patterns, and fun socks are all great ways to demonstrate your personality in everyday life. Skip these over-the-top accessories when dressing for your interview, though. Neutral colors and subtle patterns (or solid colors) are better choices for suits and clothing items. When choosing jewelry, shoes, and accessories, think classic.

6. Put the focus on you, not your appearance.

By taking the previous tips into consideration, you’ll allow yourself the freedom to relax. This will help potential employers to focus on YOU, not your appearance. You won’t be fidgeting or fighting your own outfit. Instead, your future boss will notice your soft skills, your ability to work the room, your great laugh, and your attention to details when answering questions and responding to others.

You never want recruiters to remember the way you fixed your hair the day of an interview. You always want them to remember the reasons you listed for why they should hire you.

7. Remember that if you’re not comfortable and confident, you can’t focus on the content of your conversation with your future employer.

Lastly, choose clothing and accessories you feel completely comfortable and confident wearing. If you feel constrained or awkward, it will show in your facial expressions and body language, and that won’t win you any brownie points. You want to appear alert, focused, and grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed. If you’re thinking about how tight your jacket is, whether your pants are going to rip when you stand up or sit down, or how large the blister is on your right foot while you’re touring the job facility, you will certainly not have a Zen quality about you.

Write a great resume, apply for jobs, and prepare well for interviews. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for regular job search assistance and for more Tuesday Tip videos and articles like this.

 

 

Posted April 11, 2016 by

10 job interview questions you shouldn’t ask

Bad job interview - concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Eviled/Shutterstock.com

Congratulations! You’ve landed an entry-level job interview. Now, it is time to prepare for the big day, which includes creating some interview questions to ask if you get the chance. Keep in mind, though, there are questions college students and recent graduates should not ask their potential employers during interviews.

1. How much does the job pay?

Asking about salary in an interview tells the interviewer you’re more concerned with money than the actual job. I’m not saying money isn’t important, but save this discussion for after you have received a job offer.

2. How many days of vacation do I get?

It’s not wise for job seekers to ask about vacation time before landing entry-level jobs. Focusing on time off without a job offer leaves an impression that you lack commitment to work.

3. Can I take time off during exams?

This question might indicate to employers that college students have trouble handling multiple responsibilities, or that school is more important than work. Even though school work is a priority for students, employers are considering what is important to them.

4. Can I use social media at work?

It’s probably obvious to most (if not all) of you why job seekers shouldn’t ask this question. Interviewers would feel you’re more concerned with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers than succeeding at the position you’ve applied for.

Businessman working from home on laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

5. Can I work from home?

Asking this question can leave an interviewer wondering if you have an issue with coming to work regularly. Wait until proving yourself for a while on a new job before requesting to work from home.

6. What kind of job is this?

Please don’t ask this question. If you do, you might as well walk out of the interview. The interviewer expects you to know what kind of job you’ve applied for. You can find this information in the job posting and on the company website.

7. When will I get promoted?

Asking this question makes the assumption that a job seeker has won the position, which won’t impress the interviewer. Remember, you need to get the job first so concentrate on that. With a good attitude and hard work, you may eventually earn a promotion.

8. Do you want my references?

The interviewer is concerned about you, not anyone else. It’s great you have references but save them for later, and focus on nailing the interview.

9. Are there any background checks?

Asking potential employers about background checks raises a red flag in their minds that you have something to hide. If you’re sure of yourself as a job candidate, a background check or drug screen won’t bother you.

10. Did I get the job?

While I’m sure you can’t wait to find out if you got the job, avoid asking if you did in the interview. Unless you’re told otherwise, follow up to learn the employer’s decision. Don’t follow up too soon. It’s okay to ask the employer at the end of the interview about the timeline for filling the position—this lets you know how long to wait before calling to check on your status as an applicant.

In a nutshell, job seekers should wait until after they receive employment offers before asking questions related to issues primarily benefiting themselves.

Are you looking for more information to help you in your job search? Come over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted March 22, 2016 by

How to use social media to engage with employers

How can college students and recent graduates use social media to engage online with potential employers (recruiters and talent acquisition professionals) during the job search process?

In this 5-minute video, Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, provides tips and information for students and grads about how to maximize connections with employers while searching for jobs and networking online.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

A study by Aberdeen found that 73% of 18-34 year-olds found their last job through social networking. Social media is truly valuable, not just for use in your personal life, but for professional use as well. 94% of employers admit to searching for candidates on social media before inviting them in for a face-to-face interview.

Clearly social media matters.

According to a Career Crossroads study, you’re 10 times more likely to land a job if your job application is accompanied by an employee referral.

Knowing the right people matters. But how can you obtain an employee referral if you don’t already personally know someone working within the company? By connecting with employers via social media!

First, do an advanced search on LinkedIn to identify employees within the company, particularly those who live in your preferred region, and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Next, visit the company’s website to see which social media sites the company hosts. Follow the company online, not just to check for job postings, but also to engage with recruiters and hiring managers who post LinkedIn discussions and host Twitter chats.

One way to brand yourself to potential employers on social media is to comment on social media discussions in a thoughtful, meaningful manner. Do not engage in discussions hosted by employers in a hostile, rude manner, even if you feel passionate about the topic; remember to keep online conversation polite and courteous at all times. This isn’t Reddit or your personal text thread.

Do make it a point to share your expertise in subject matter when applicable. This brands you as a subject matter expert. While it’s great to compliment people, or make bland comments like, “Love it!” or “I agree,” these comments are never memorable.

Comments that provoke further, deeper discussion are memorable. Comments with embedded links to other great content are memorable. Insightful, appropriate comments demonstrating experience and expertise are memorable.

If you never comment and simply read threads, you will not be remembered; you must participate in order to stand out from the hundreds (or thousands) of job applicants vying for positions.

To learn more about how to use social media to your advantage in your job search, follow our blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted August 18, 2015 by

Four things to do after your job interview

job applicant having interview. handshake while job interviewing

Job applicant having interview. Handshake while job interviewing. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Getting to the interview stage of your job application is an achievement on its own. In today’s competitive world, everything does not come the easy way and same goes for the job. Especially during the number crunching economic times, it is terrifyingly difficult to find a decent white collar job. This is why an interview chance is one of the best opportunities you can grab, more so if you are a fresh graduate looking to find a good job. When you reach to the interview stage, there are several things you must do the right way if you wish to have any solid chance of consideration after the interview session. (more…)

Posted July 01, 2015 by

6 Interview Questions a Job Candidate Should Ask

Okay, it is almost time for your job interview, and you are prepared for the big day, right?  However, did you remember to create a list of interview questions?  If not, then it is a good idea to do so.  If your interview goes well and there is time, you may be able to ask some questions.  As a job candidate, this is your chance to impress the interviewer and show more interest in a particular job, as well as the company itself.  Here are some questions to consider asking for your interview. (more…)

Posted April 06, 2015 by

Control Interview Nerves to Be at Your Best

Okay, so you have landed the job or internship interview you’ve been waiting for.  Congratulations!  Now, though, as the big day approaches, you are getting nervous.  Being nervous is not necessarily a bad thing; it is human nature and just means you understand the importance of the impression you make and do not want to take the interview for granted.  The key is understanding how to control your nerves.  Here is some information to help you feel better. (more…)

Posted January 01, 2015 by

The Job Interview: A New Look For the New Year

Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney, President of CareerJimmy

It’s that time of year again—the opportunity to start fresh as you plan for the job interview that’s coming your way in 2015.

Being invited for an interview is a good sign. It means you’ve said something in your cover letter or resume that prompted the employer to call you. So rather than letting worry or fear drive you, focus on the positive aspects of a job interview and look at the experience in a new way for this new year. (more…)

Posted December 09, 2014 by

College Students, Have a Job Interview Coming Up? Prepare to Win with These Tips

As college students work hard in school, they may also be working hard to find entry level jobs.  Once the students have impressed potential employers to their satisfaction, they may then be called in for job interviews.  A job interview is the opportunity you have been waiting for and you don’t want to blow it.  So, how should you as a college student prepare to succeed when this opportunity arises?  Here are some tips that can help. (more…)