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

Posted June 14, 2016 by

7 ways to make a good impression during business dinners

Attending business dinners and professional networking events often brings on anxiety for many people, particularly college students and recent grads. It should! It’s not something most people do on a regular basis, and it requires a special skill-set. How do you remember which fork is which? Should you place your napkin next to your plate or in your chair when you stand up to shake someone’s hand? And what if you take a bite of something disgusting and need to spit it out—oh geez!?!

The possibilities for embarrassing moments at business dinners are seemingly endless.

If that weren’t enough, you’re most likely attending business dinners for specific purposes. You’re either attending to network with coworkers, supervisors, or potential employers, or you’re attending as part of the interview process. Either way, you’re under pressure to demonstrate your best table manners.

This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, suggests seven quick ways to make a good impression during business dinners.


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

1.Skip the alcohol.

If offered alcohol, consider passing for multiple reasons. Drinking in the company of coworkers, supervisors, and potential employers can be dangerous. If you’re underage, it’s a clear no-no. If you’re of legal drinking age, it’s still questionable because you may inadvertently consume more alcohol than intended and wind up singing karaoke in the bar next door to the restaurant with your future boss watching. Need I say more?

A good general rule to apply to business dinners is “all things in moderation.” Don’t eat too quickly. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu, but don’t order the cheapest item either. Don’t fill up six plates on the buffet. Don’t hog the conversation; listen as much as you talk.

2. Don’t comment on food.

When possible, stick to pleasant, neutral topics of conversation like family, weather, weekend plans, and hobbies. Avoid commenting on what you’re currently eating; it’s considered rude. You should also avoid discussing religion and politics, but of course, take the lead of your host and/or supervisor to an extent. If your boss engages you in political banter, you might follow her lead, but remember to tread lightly. What you say can and may be used against you at work!

3. Try to avoid being picky or whiny.

Unless you have a legitimate food allergy and receive items which may trigger an allergic reaction, don’t make demands or send your plate back. If you behave in a picky, demanding manner, this behavior says something about you and not about the restaurant or wait staff.

4. Attend career services’ etiquette dinners.

When you have the opportunity as a college student, attend etiquette dinners hosted by career services offices. These events might seem boring while you’re in college, but after you attend your first business dinner, you’ll wish you’d attend them. You’ll learn the ins and outs of formal business dinners. Sure, you can look these tricks of the trade up online and Google infographics on how to set a formal dining table, but there’s no teacher like experience. If in doubt, work your way from the outside in with flatware and take the lead of your fellow diners who seem experienced and comfortable, particularly your supervisors and potential employers. Perhaps the greatest mistake you can make is to appear really flustered and to allow your nerves to keep you from making conversation with those around you.

5. Treat servers well.

Be kind to the restaurant staff. There’s nothing which speaks more loudly than snobbish behavior toward servers and wait staff. Remember, what you say and don’t say—your non-verbal skills—speak loudly to your employers and future employers. Soft skills truly matter, so be kind and courteous to everyone around you.

6. Don’t chew with your mouth open!

This one is common sense. Don’t chew and speak simultaneously. It’s just plain gross.

Whatever you need to say can wait until you’ve swallowed your food—promise.

On that note, the best way to obtain great table manners is to practice them on a daily basis, so consider chewing with your mouth closed every day, even when you’re eating alone. If you don’t, you might find yourself smacking your pizza with your mouth wide open while sitting across from your potential boss. And you know that won’t impress her.

7. Say thank you.

As always, an attitude of gratitude always makes a great impression on others. Say thank you to your hosts, servers, to people who open the door for you, and to others who extend kindness to you during the meal. Again, it reflects well on you and your soft skills when you treat others well.

Need more networking tips to help you obtain a great internship or entry-level job? Keep reading our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted May 19, 2016 by

Soft skills in the workplace: IBM offers tips to candidates

When entry-level candidates apply for jobs, they often claim to have great soft skills. However, after employers hire candidates, they may find that candidates don’t have the excellent soft skills they boasted about possessing. This creates a problem for employers in the onboarding process and afterward, too, as they are left to deal with new employees lacking basic soft skills required to adapt to the workplace and corporate culture.

Can the new employees interact well with their teammates? Are they capable of making strong decisions on their own without input from management every step of the way? Do new employees manage their time well, resolve conflicts as they arise, and communicate clearly, effectively, and appropriately with clients and coworkers? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ employers have big—often expensive–problems on their hands.

Pete Joodi, Distinguished Engineer for IBM, provides entry-level job seekers and employers with insight into why soft skills matter so much in today’s workplace, particularly in the field of information technology. In this interview by Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, Pete Joodi discusses the soft skills dilemma.


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At IBM, Pete Joodi, Distinguished Engineer, focuses on research and innovation in information technology. He focuses on optimization strategies; his goal is to find ways software and technology can improve energy efficiency, cost containment, and compliance.

Pete mentions that within the last 50 years, the world has truly expanded thanks to technology. We need to know how to work with each other now more than ever. This is the reason soft skills are more important than ever before.

IBM conducted a study in 2014. One of its findings indicated that soft skills are in great demand by employers but are most lacking in students graduating from institutions of higher education today. Pete Joodi doesn’t see this as a negative finding, however. Instead, it indicates an opportunity for growth and improvement for employers.

At IBM, the focus is on leading and contributing to technological innovation in the ‘cognitive era.’ Candidates applying at IBM need the following soft skills in order to succeed: communication skills, teamwork and collaboration skills, problem-solving skills, adaptability and flexibility skills, language and translation skills, ability to interact well with colleagues and clients, critical thinking skills, and conflict resolution skills.

Truly, soft skills are highly relevant at IBM. The world is more complex than it was, but it’s also more rewarding to work in the world today. In order to create consumable products, IBM and other companies must hire candidates with excellent soft skills.

For more details about how to improve your soft skills, transferable skills, and non-verbal skills, visit CollegeRecruiter.com, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

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…)

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 12, 2016 by

6 non-verbal interview tips

Do actions really speak louder than words? Many psychologists believe that 80 to 90% of communication is non-verbal or body language. Studies have shown that 55% of communication is body language or non-verbal communication, 38% is tone of voice, and 7% is the spoken word or verbal communication.

If this research proves true—and when it comes to interviews, these numbers don’t lie—it’s probably a good idea to spend time not only reviewing common interview questions but also brushing up on your non-verbal interview skills. The following brief video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, will prepare you well for your next interview.


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

1. Care what you wear.

You only have about seven seconds to make a first impression when you meet someone; think strategically about how you present yourself from head to toe. How will you fix your hair? Have you bathed (and smell clean) but aren’t wearing strong scents (perfume and cologne)? Are you wearing obnoxiously bright colors or flashy jewelry? Did you choose a neutral-colored suit? If you’re a female, avoid open-toed shoes. If you’re a male, be sure to shine/polish your shoes and match your socks to either your shoes or slacks.

Consider every element of your attire and appearance. This lets recruiters know that you value details.

2. Control your facial expressions.

Facial expressions play a big role in how others perceive our non-verbal skills or body language. Smile—avoid a deadpan facial expression during your interviews. It’s also critical to respond rather than react emotionally to interview questions. This doesn’t mean you want to keep a strict poker face when prodded to respond to questions about the worst boss you’ve ever had, but at the same time, you don’t want to snarl and roll your eyes, either. In general, keep your emotions in check at all times during interviews. A great way to do this is by maintaining a positive, pleasant facial expression and by pausing briefly before responding to difficult questions.

3. Maintain good posture.

Be mindful of your posture during your interview. Sit up straight unless you are physically unable to do so. This presents you as looking alert, interested, and full of energy; these are all desirable qualities in an employee. Avoid slumping or leaning on armrests of chairs. Adjust your seated position if you must. Try not to sit on the edge of your seat the entire time, though. Leaning back against the chair makes you appear more comfortable and relaxed, even if you’re totally nervous. Never let them see you sweat, right?

4. Shake hands firmly.

That old adage about having a firm handshake is absolutely still valid. This one applies to everyone. Don’t go overboard, though. Shaking hands isn’t a “feats of strength” contest. You also want to avoid shaking hands and holding on to your interviewer’s hand for a long time. That’s just plain creepy. A simple, brief, firm handshake is pretty easy to master and is a key non-verbal skill. You might need to practice, though, long before your first interview.

5. Avoid distracting mannerisms.

Mannerisms include nodding your head (avoid bobblehead syndrome), excessive hand movements, rapid eye movements or blinking, touching your face unnecessarily, playing with your hair, picking at your nails or cuticles, and other tiny habits you may have acquired over the years but don’t pay much attention to until you’re in the spotlight. In the interview setting, every distracting mannerism is noticed. You don’t need to sit completely still, but you do need to avoid fidgeting.

This is one reason you should think carefully about your choice of hairstyle, accessories, and outfit. You want to be completely confident and comfortable. If you’re not, you’re going to be fidgeting with your clothing, hair, and jewelry; what’s better is to be focusing on the words you’re saying and the words your future employer is saying. You want your future employer to remember your savvy questions about the job opening, not the way you twirled your hair incessantly.

6. Make consistent eye contact.

Be sure to make consistent eye contact with your interviewer(s). You don’t want to stare down your future employer, but you do want to have a natural conversation during the interview. When you have a conversation, you make a moderate amount of eye contact. This is important in all interviews, even in group or team interviews. If one person asks a question, you must make eye contact with all team or group members when you respond, not just with the person who asked the question.

Ultimately, attempt to strike a balance when it comes to non-verbal skills and body language during interviews. You really can’t go wrong with this approach.

Need more interview tips to prepare you for your job search?

Read articles on our blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. When you feel ready to apply, register and begin your job search with us.

 

Posted January 12, 2016 by

3 steps to a flawless telephone interview [video]

 

With travel costs skyrocketing and recruitment budgets shrinking, telephone interviews and online interviews are becoming more common. If you’re a recent college graduate, and this news scares the pants off you, keep calm and read on.

Relying solely on your words to carry you through an interview can feel a bit intimidating. Even traditional face-to-face interviews feel intimidating when you’re a newbie. With a little practice and lots of preparation, you’ll become a pro.

Watch our 5-minute overview of a simple 3-step process to a flawless telephone interview:

If the video is not playing or displaying properly, click here to watch on YouTube.

1. Schedule the interview and set reminders

It’s helpful to schedule telephone interviews because you won’t be sawing logs in your sleep when the phone rings and catches you off guard. You’ll be alert, prepared, and much more likely to perform well during phone interviews if you schedule them.

Another important part of scheduling telephone interviews is knowing who’s calling whom. If you’re calling your interviewer, set a reminder in your phone, and keep your phone charged and with you so you’ll hear the reminder/alarm. And don’t forget one other important thing—contact information for your interviewer. It’s best to have two ways to contact your interviewer in case one phone number doesn’t work that day or technology fails you. Obtain both your interviewer’s phone number and email address if possible.

Related: Phone interview questions and answers

2. Prepare

Tursk Aleksandra/Shutterstock.com

There are several ways to prepare well for telephone interviews. Let’s hit the high points.

Above all, prepare for a phone interview the same way you’d prepare for any other interview—reviewing basic interview questions, researching the company, getting a good night’s sleep the night before, etc.

Telephone interviews are a different animal, though, than face-to-face interviews, so let’s focus on how to prepare specifically for phone interviews versus face-to-face interviews.

Related: How to respond to the 5 most basic interview questions

Ensure you have all documentation and sources you might want to refer to during the phone interview on hand and available. This should include a copy of your resume, cover letter, digital portfolio, and company website. Be sure to send copies of said documents in advance as well (resume, cover letter, and portfolio link).

Related: Latest rules for resume writing from expert career counselor

Prepare a distraction-free zone. Schedule your call at a time and in a location free from as many sounds as possible, including children, friends, romantic partners, other students, coworkers, cars, etc. Even if you are great at zoning out and focusing on conversations, your interviewer might not be, and there’s no faster way to turn off a potential future employer than to schedule your phone interview and force your interviewer to try to compete for your attention or discern your voice from five others in the background. It’s also best to eliminate visual distractions from your sight. Give yourself the gift of focus during your telephone interview.

Keep a bottle or glass of water handy, but don’t consume too much. You can’t pause the interview for a restroom break, and you don’t want to cause yourself any discomfort which would distract you either. And by all means, don’t crunch and munch on snacks during your interview, chew gum, or eat candy. Noises like this are amplified over the phone, and you don’t want to come across like a chipmunk on the other end.


TIP: Make sure to supplement your online job search with networking. Once you get guidance from your network, target your online search to the right job titles and companies. After you apply, follow up with someone who works there. College Recruiter lists thousands of entry-level job opportunities. Would it make sense to start searching?


3. Communicate as if face-to-face, but remember you’re not

When you smile, stand up, nod your head, and sit up straight, you sound more positive, energetic, and focused. This is probably the way you would carry yourself physically if you were interviewing face-to-face, so sit/stand this way while interviewing by phone, too. If you’re physically able, standing up while conducting a phone interview, at least periodically, is usually a good idea. It helps you maintain a higher energy level, and believe it or not, it’s conveyed in your voice tone.

Related: How recent grads can ace the second interview

Conduct yourself as if you’re face-to-face, smiling and doing all these little things (honing your non-verbal skills) while on the telephone interview, but remember you’re not face-to-face—your interview can only hear your words and the tone of your voice. Be sure to enunciate clearly and use words you’re familiar with to avoid mispronounced words.

If you follow these 3 simple steps—scheduling and setting reminders, preparing, and communicating as if face-to-face—your telephone interview is bound to succeed.