ARTICLES, BLOGS & VIDEOS

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 June 07, 2016 by

7 tips for networking in the workplace

Did you know that 80% of workplace conflicts and problems arise from communication glitches? It’s true. You can do your part to prevent workplace conflicts—originating from miscommunication—by developing your soft skills, namely communication skills and networking skills. If you improve your relationships with your colleagues, clients, and supervisors via networking in the workplace, you’ll be much less likely to face problems at work.

As a new employee, particularly as a recent grad or intern, it’s also important to network with others at work in order to build rapport with the people you rely upon for help and information to perform your job duties well. If you want to succeed, you’ll quickly learn that it pays to maintain positive relationships with everyone around you.

Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers seven tips for networking in the workplace in this short video.


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

1. Know yourself well.

If you can detect when you’re having an off day, take steps to prevent taking it out on everyone around you. Stay in your cubicle or office on those days if necessary or take more frequent breaks. Before you begin working, get an extra-large coffee and take some deep breaths or read some positive literature.  Look at some funny photos for five minutes. Find a solution that works for you. If you find yourself in a negative place due to personal circumstances, and you’re allowing your personal life to affect your work life, talk to your human resources officer confidentially to see if your company offers wellness benefits, including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

In addition, taking a DISC inventory or other personality inventory—ask your career services office about taking these inventories at no cost on your college campus—can help you to learn more about your work style. It might take one hour to take the inventory, but you’ll then be armed with information about how you work best, how you prefer to interact with others, and what to avoid when interacting with others. The sooner you learn this information about yourself, the better.

2. Treat others well.

Treat your colleagues and clients well regardless of their level of expertise, pay grade, or how much money they are spending with your company. When networking, your contacts will appreciate being treated with courtesy, kindness, respect, appreciation, and fairness. You’ll build a reputation of treating people well, and a great reputation goes a long way in the workplace. If you decide to stay with your present company, you may want to apply for an internal job promotion. If you’ve been networking with others at work and treating everyone well, your behavior will likely speak just as loudly as your resume, cover letter, and job application. If you decide to leave your company to pursue other job opportunities, you’ll be glad you treated others well when potential employers call to check your references and hear about how kind, thoughtful, and positive you were at work every day.

3. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share.

Collaborating and sharing ideas and information in the workplace today is a great way to network with your colleagues and to show them that you want to help, not hinder the growth of the organization or team. Sharing your ideas with others also encourages others to share their ideas, and the workplace becomes a more creative place.

4. Don’t do halfalogues.

What’s a halfalogue? A halfalogue is when you only participate in half the conversation or dialogue because you’re holding your phone, scrolling through a text message or email, and aren’t able to fully participate and interact with your colleagues as a result. At work, you have to put down your phone if you want to make good impressions and build positive relationships with your supervisors, colleagues, and clients. It’s not just rude to play on your phone during meetings; it’s also important to pay attention when stopping by someone’s office casually to say hello.

5. Address people by name.

This is like networking 101. Referring to people by name during conversations or even in emails makes them feel more special, and that’s always a good thing. How long does it take to type out, “Bethany?” Maybe one or two seconds. It’s worth it to improve your communication skills and reduce the potential for future workplace conflicts.

6. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

Be a positive influence at work. When networking, whether at workplace events or during daily interactions in the workplace, keep conversations “light and polite” and focused on positive topics and on solutions, not problems. It’s inevitable at work that you’re going to be asked to discuss problems and conflicts during meetings. What’s important is that you find a way to discuss problems in a positive light and to focus on taking constructive action.

For example, if you’re discussing a challenge you’re facing as a new employee tasked with visiting with patients at a clinic, and you have discovered you simply cannot keep up with the volume of paperwork and still provide quality service to the patients face-to-face, you can be honest about the problem yet discuss potential solutions.

“I am really glad we have so many patients coming to the office. I like talking to them and helping them get set up to see the doctor. I’m just feeling overwhelmed by the documents to scan and know I’m getting behind. I think I need more time to scan documents, but I don’t want to offer patients a lower level of service either. Do you think I could work on documents for 30 minutes in the morning before I start seeing patients every day? Maybe this would help me to keep it managed.”

Presenting a potential solution—even if it’s not the solution your employer prefers or selects to implement—suggests that you’re not just belly-aching about problems. It also showcases your soft skills, including your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These are not just great networking skills but are great workplace skills any employer values.

7. Interact face-to-face whenever possible.

It’s not always an option, but interact face-to-face if you can. Face-to-face communication helps you avoid most communication errors and opportunities for miscommunication because it is channel rich. When you’re speaking with someone face-to-face, you’re provided with multiple cues that help you interpret meaning: voice tone, spoken word, facial expression, hand gestures, and many more. When you communicate with someone via email or text message, communication is channel lean, meaning you’re relying on just one thing–words. Have you ever received a text message from a significant other, and the intended meaning is not the meaning you interpreted? This likely caused some hurt feelings or even a huge fight. The same thing happens in the workplace.

For this reason, it’s best to hold meetings face-to-face. If you work remotely, consider hosting meetings virtually via Zoom or Skype. If that’s not an option, you can conference in by phone. At least you can hear voices rather than simply read words. Simply hammering out emails back and forth gives you the illusion that you’re saving time, when in fact, you often waste time because you create confusion which you have to clarify by writing three more emails. Save yourself the hassle—and build better relationships—by talking to people face-to-face when possible. You’ll probably find that your networking skills and communication skills will grow, and you’ll build great relationships, too.

For more networking tips, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted May 31, 2016 by

5 tips for enjoying new employee training

New employee training is a basic part of the onboarding process in most companies. If you’re starting your first full-time, entry-level job, chances are, you’ll be required to participate in multiple training seminars and workshops with coworkers and other new employees. If you’re rolling your eyes and downloading new apps to distract you during the workshops, take five minutes to watch this video and read this article before making the decision that new employee training is going to be the worst part of the hiring process.

This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, might change your mind about what new employee training and professional development is all about.


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

1. Be prepared.

The night before new employee training, get some sleep. The worst thing you can do prior to a full day of training and workshops is stay up all night and arrive with just a few hours of sleep under your belt. While the coffee is usually free-flowing at most new employee training events, there’s no amount of coffee in the world that can compensate for lack of sleep when you’re sitting in a chair and listening to speakers back to back all day long, no matter how engaging the subject matter. Don’t set yourself up for failure (or for a huge embarrassment, like snoring or drooling on your first day of training). Get at least six hours of sleep, eat a real breakfast, and do some research online about the subject matter on the training agenda if it’s provided in advance. You’ll look like a rock star if you have a few great questions prepared on the training topics, and what better way to impress your new boss?

2. Get involved.

Be a mindful listener and active participant. Sit near the front and middle of the room; this helps you to stay engaged in conversation and pay attention to the speaker, whether you want to or not. If you have questions, work up the courage to ask. This helps you to get involved, but it also keeps training sessions interactive for everyone else, and that’s a good thing.

3. Be open-minded.

When reviewing new employee training agenda, try not to zone out immediately. It’s easy to assume none of the information will be helpful or apply to your particular position. If you make snap judgments about the material being covered or assume the speaker has little to share that’s interesting before he opens his mouth, you might miss out on great learning opportunities which could enrich your career. There’s nothing more attractive to an employer than a new employee who’s willing to grow and learn.

4. Don’t worry about what others think.

Are you afraid to sit at the front of the room because you don’t want people to look at you? Are you afraid to ask questions because you might sound stupid? Are you afraid to introduce yourself to the speaker or presenter after the workshop because you don’t know what to say? Those are normal fears, but if you allow your fears to dictate your actions in training situations, you’ll miss out on great opportunities for growth.

Remember that new employee training is for you. If you can remember this, you might be able to care less about what others think and base your decisions on what’s going to benefit you, help you perform your job well, and help you reach your career goals.

5. Think about networking.

Set a goal to network with at least two participants and one presenter when attending new employee training. If you find that the training topics aren’t that interesting, this gives you a side goal to focus on that’s still productive. At lunch or during breaks, introduce yourself to other new employees or to the recruiters and human resources managers hosting the training sessions. Introduce yourself to the presenter whose session you find most interesting, and ask at least one question about the subject matter. Follow up with these new contacts after the training session on social media via LinkedIn, Twitter, or another popular site, and maintain the connections you made.

Professional networking can help you form amazing connections, and these connections can lead to great career opportunities.

For more onboarding and networking tips, visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted May 24, 2016 by

How to have a great first day at work, Part 2

Starting your first full-time, entry-level job can be intimidating. Don’t let your nerves overcome you on your first day at work. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of this series.

This video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers five more tips to help you shake off the first day jitters and prepare for your first day of work with confidence.


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

1. Observe.

On your first day at work—or even within the first few weeks or months of a new position—spend more of your time observing and listening than you do talking, saying yes, and volunteering for every opportunity that comes your way. You will learn a lot about company culture, your coworkers, your supervisors, and your new position by observing. You can figure out which circle of work friends you want to align yourself with and which group of friends to join for happy hour. You’ll figure out how to fit in and how to avoid major communication pitfalls. And you’ll avoid getting in over your head by overfilling your plate with unnecessary commitments, too.

2. Say yes to lunch.

On your first day and within the first week of work, you may be invited to lunch by coworkers who are trying to make you feel welcome. In general, it’s a good idea to say yes. Going to lunch isn’t a huge commitment. It gives you an opportunity to network and to learn about the workplace in a less threatening and less formal environment. If you go to lunch with someone and determine you don’t necessarily click as friends outside of work, you haven’t lost anything or made a commitment to joining that person for lunch every day of the week. No harm, no foul.

3. Silence your cell phone.

You have to be responsible enough to remember to do this yourself; chances are, no one’s going to remind you, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than your phone buzzing or ringing during a team meeting, onboarding training session, or worse yet, an all-company meeting. Take it a step further and implement a personal policy of avoiding carrying your phone around with you during work. Sure, everyone needs to send an occasional personal text message or personal email. But for the most part, work while you’re at work, and tend to personal business when you’re not at work. This helps you to stay focused on doing a great job and learning the ropes of your new position, and it demonstrates respect for your coworkers when you’re communicating with them (rather than gazing at the screen on your phone).

4. Use names.

Referring to people by their names is a great idea throughout life for several reasons, but it’s particularly helpful when you start a new job. When you refer to coworkers by name, you make them feel more important. This is a basic networking tip. In addition, referring to people by name often softens the blow when you’re making requests, giving orders, sharing information, and sending emails which otherwise seem cold and impersonal. And lastly, referring to people by name helps you to remember who you’re talking to.

5. Say thank you.

When coworkers, supervisors, and others at your new company treat you with kindness and courtesy during the onboarding process, respond with gratitude. Say thank you if someone opens the door for you, gathers office supplies for you, sets up your computer, or invites you to lunch. You might even consider writing thank you cards or at least emails to individuals who go above and beyond to make you feel welcome during your first few weeks of work. Remember, you’re establishing long-term working relationships with people within your company, and what better way to do that than to demonstrate gratitude for their help and kindness.

For more onboarding tips, check out our onboarding YouTube playlist and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

Posted May 10, 2016 by

How to select a career mentor

When you graduate from college, you lose daily, immediate access to some of your greatest mentors and teachers—faculty members, advisors, and career services professionals who have guided you through some of the best and most formative years of your life. When starting your first entry-level, full-time job, it’s important to begin seeking out a career mentor.

This five-minute video, created by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, will help you select a quality career mentor.


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

There are at least two types of mentors you need to find, ideally, when you begin your first full-time, entry-level job. The first type of mentor you need to find is a workplace mentor. This mentor works for the same company or organization but has at least a few years of experience under her belt. She probably works for the same team or within the same division and can provide you with guidance related to company policies and procedures, the ins and outs about how to make coffee in the breakroom, and other important tips about surviving on a daily basis within your organization.

This video and article will help you select the other—and more important—type of mentor: a career mentor. A career mentor is a lifelong mentor; your career mentor has years of experience, preferably decades of experience, and works in your “dream career field.” A career mentor will provide career guidance and mentorship over the course of your career journey. When selecting a career mentor, be picky. You should spend at least a few months observing professionals and contemplating “fit” before asking someone to serve as your career mentor.

Here are a few tips to aid you in selecting your career mentor.

1. Look for elevator people.

Elevator people are defined as people who bring you up, while basement people bring you down. This trait is especially important in mentors. When you’re asking someone for advice and guidance, you don’t want to leave every conversation feeling controlled, manipulated, deflated, or picked apart. Not only does that type of relationship sound very unhealthy, but it’s also completely unproductive. Seek out a career mentor who lifts others up. Is the mentor you’re considering territorial with her ideas? Does she appear jealous when you discuss something you’re working on that’s exciting to you? Move on and consider option B.

2. Go for the “gel.”

Can you completely relax when talking to your career mentor? This doesn’t mean you need to think of your career mentor as a peer; she’s not. You should have a great amount of respect for your career mentor.  Competent communication is defined as communication that is both effective and appropriate. Of course you want to interact with your mentor with an appropriate level of respect; you won’t talk to your mentor about the party you hosted Saturday night or your conflict with your boyfriend. You discuss those matters with your personal friends.

But it is crucial to select a career mentor you “gel” with. Can you be honest about your career goals, or do you feel intimidated to discuss the future? Are you afraid your career mentor will laugh at your dreams? When you make mistakes at work (and don’t worry—every new entry-level employee makes mistakes), do you feel comfortable confessing those mistakes to your career mentor and seeking advice about how to overcome them? If not, you probably need to consider seeking out a new career mentor.

3. Find a great listener.

Motivational speakers may seem inspiring when you meet them, but remember when seeking a career mentor, you must find someone who can listen as much as she talks. You’re going to come up against obstacles over the course of your career journey, and it’s important that your career mentor listen well (without placing judgment). Only excellent listeners can offer excellent feedback and suggestions. Great career mentoring relationships tend to look alike—be sure yours matches up.

4. Reflect on your feelings.

Always reflect on your feelings after spending time with potential career mentors. Weigh pros and cons, make lists, and attempt to make a clear-headed decision before selecting a career mentor, certainly. But at the end of the day, relationships like this must be based at least partly on gut instinct. After going to lunch with your career mentor, do you feel better or worse? When you have a phone conversation, do you feel more positive or disheartened? Do you feel more motivated to go back to work and to try to reach your goals, or do you feel like taking the day off after talking to your mentor?

5. Don’t discount your feelings before you make the final decision about asking someone to serve as your mentor.

Lastly, when you decide to ask someone to serve as your career mentor, be gracious and grateful. Your career mentor is doing you a huge favor and will likely invest hours—if not days—of her life in yours. Mine has.

For more advice about starting your first full-time job off right, read our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted May 03, 2016 by

5 onboarding tips for recent grads

So you just landed your first entry-level job and are graduating from college soon. Congratulations! You’re completing two major milestones simultaneously. After you celebrate, settle in, watch this short video hosted by Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, and read this brief article before showing up for your first day of work.

What is “onboarding?” Why should you care about it? And how should you prepare for it?

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), onboarding is “the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.” Thankfully, most companies no longer have a sink-or-swim mentality regarding new employees. They have recognized the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, and they want to retain top candidates. In order to do so, they attempt to help new hires transition into the workplace as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

That’s the good news for you as a new employee.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have a part to play in the onboarding process, though. Here are five quick tips to ease the transition from recent grad to entry-level employee.


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

1. Onboarding is a two-way street.

When you’re a new entry-level employee, you’ll have a reasonable amount of jitters on your first day of work (and beyond). You’ll feel concerned about what to wear, who to talk to, and how to behave during meetings. This is totally normal.

But if it eases your mind, just remember that onboarding—the process of acclimation—is a two-way street. Your employer is just as concerned about making a great first impression on YOU as you are about making a great first impression on her. Does your new employer treat you well on your first day? Did your new coworkers greet you or ignore you? Did your supervisor have materials and office supplies waiting for you, or did you have to wait for three days for a computer to be set up? These might seem like minor details, but they’re really not. Pay attention to the way you’re treated.

There are many common onboarding mistakes employers make that reflect negatively on the employer and affect their ability to retain great employees (like you!). The way your employer (not just your supervisor, but everyone in the company) treats you speaks volumes about the corporate culture and work environment. This helps you make your decision about whether this company is a good long-term fit for you as an employee.

2. Don’t glaze over during orientation.

Even though orientation at many companies can seem a little dry (okay, ahem, boring), the information covered can actually be important. While the information covered may not be presented in the most entertaining manner, it’s probably information you need to either perform your job well or to function well in the workplace. Either way, attempt to pay attention rather than zone out by playing with apps on your phone. Not only will you appear to be a more engaged employee to your new employer, but you’ll also retain more of the content covered (which might come in handy later when you’re expected to remember it).

3. Stick around during breaks/lunch.

It’s easy to give into the temptation to skip out during breaks or during lunch and dinner invitations, which are totally optional, but that’s when you have the opportunity to truly network with your coworkers and supervisors. Not only will you build genuine working relationships with others, but you’ll also learn more about company culture by attending these “off the record” events. You’ll see people’s true colors and be more likely to enjoy the next day’s “on the record” events if you connect well with your coworkers over dinner the night before.

4. Ask questions.

If you’re sitting through a training session or orientation workshop and feel confused or have a question, speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many new hires often feel too intimidated to ask questions and wind up struggling in the workplace for weeks, or even months, as a result.

If you’re too intimidated to speak up during a large meeting, take notes and ask your supervisor questions later.

5. Get a mentor (or two).

Many companies now provide new employees, particularly recent college graduates, with official mentors. However, you may want to consider seeking out your own mentors. It’s never a bad idea to find one mentor in your company (someone with at least a few years of experience) and another mentor in your “dream” career field. This person might wind up being your career mentor for life, so select someone you truly admire and whose career path you may want to emulate. A career mentor can provide guidance from time to time and advice when times are tough in your career journey. It helps to hear an objective voice and encouraging word from someone you admire.

You’ve already done the tough part of landing a great entry-level job; just continue preparing yourself for those first few months of work as you transition into a brand new employee. You’re going to do a fabulous job.

For more onboarding tips, read our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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 April 05, 2016 by

4 interview preparation tips

Did you know that employers site lack of preparation as the most common interview mistake made by candidates?

Don’t allow yourself to make this common and costly mistake. Check out this five-minute video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, for four quick tips to help you prepare for upcoming interviews.


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

Before recruiters even select which candidates to interview, they conduct what are referred to as initial screening sessions. These are often conducted over the phone or online. Many recruiters weed out 50% of candidates during the initial screening process. This means you need to prepare not only for your actual interview; you need to also prepare for the screening process! Once you begin applying for jobs, be prepared and expect to receive emails and phone calls which may require you to respond quickly and in a thoughtful, meaningful manner.

1. Be prepared with interview skills.

This sounds like common sense, but many candidates overlook the need to brush up on interview basics: common interview questions, your own selling points, reflecting on your work history and educational background, and thinking about how you’ll respond if asked why you want the particular job (this question will most likely be asked).

If you feel inadequately prepared for your interview and are lacking basic interview skills, don’t panic. Search our blog for articles on the topic you’re curious about and be sure to visit your local career services office for advice, assistance, and to sign up for upcoming mock interviews or interview workshops.

2. Be prepared with questions for the employer about the position and company. Research; do your homework!

This step is vital. If you’re going to skip one of these four steps in the preparation process, do not skip this step. With access to company websites, you really have no excuse to arrive ill-informed about the company you’re interviewing with and to know nothing about the position you’re interviewing for. Nothing irritates a recruiter more than to interview someone who asks the exact same questions the candidate can easily find answers to on the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page of the company website. Don’t be that guy.

3. Be prepared with interview gear.

Print out your resume, reference page, and cover letter on quality resume paper. Bring at least two copies in case you’re interviewed by multiple recruiters/hiring managers. You should carry your documents in a leather-bound binder or neat-looking folder if possible, along with a pen and notepad with your prepared questions. It’s completely acceptable to take a few notes during the interview about main points made by the employer; avoid scribbling or writing so many notes that you avoid eye contact, though.

Be sure to prepare your interview outfit at least one day in advance as well. Dry clean your outfit or wash/iron your clothing to ensure you look your best. Shine/polish your shoes if necessary.

Make transportation arrangements if you do not own your own vehicle.

4. Prepare yourself.

Remember the tips your elementary teacher provided you with during standardized testing? Recall those tips when preparing for job interviews. Get plenty of rest. Don’t stay up all night partying or playing video games the night before interviews. Eat well, but don’t stuff yourself. Drink a little coffee if you like, but not too much. Drink plenty of water. Try to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke or any strong scents or odors before arriving on site for your interview.

Just remember when preparing for interviews that you’re investing precious minutes in your own future; you’re never wasting time.

For more tips to help you land a fabulous entry-level job, follow our blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.