Job Seekers

Before Searching Indeed for a Job

by Dave Nerz

find-job-300In today’s job market, the first thing many job seekers do is start searching Indeed for a job. Some of these jobs are posted by corporate recruiters or HR staff making internal hires, but a significant percentage are posted by independent recruiters seeking candidates for the employers they represent. I recently asked a group of independent recruiters what a job seeker should do before going to Indeed and applying for jobs. Here are the results of those conversations: Read the rest of this entry »

Job Seeker Tips: Writing Thank You Notes

by Veronica Blatt

coffee-cup-desk-pen-300Today’s guest blogger is Nick Hutchison, business development intern for NPAworldwide. Nick is a junior at Davenport University studying business and marketing. We are happy to have him on the team!

After recently attending an etiquette training session as a team building experience with NPAworldwide, we had many takeaways. The most important takeaway for me was the importance of a thank you note. Thank you notes can happen in many fashions; email, handwritten, etc. The importance of a thank you note is best described by this survey infographic from CareerBuilder:


Some of the highlights from the infographic are:

  • 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they don’t send a thank you note after the interview
  • 86% said it shows a lack a follow-through
  • 56% said it indicates that the candidate isn’t really serious about the position
  • 89% said it is okay to send a thank you note in the form of an email

Thank you notes from both candidates and employers can make all the difference in the hiring process.  Following are some job seeker tips for writing thank you notes:

  • Send the note on the same day as the interview
  • Keep notes brief, 2-4 sentences
  • Send after every interview, not just the first interview
  • Mention a key topic from the interview
  • Make each note personal

To improve the candidate experience, here are some tips for thank you notes from employers:

  • Send a “thank you for your time” note after a candidate is chosen
  • Offer where to look for new opportunities within your organization
  • State the position the email is in reference to

Whether you are a job seeker or an employer, it’s important to write thank you notes. Be timely and follow the job seeker tips above for the best results! Do you have any other job seeker tips you can share?

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How the Best Bosses Impact A Career

by Dave Nerz

image of young boss with business teamAs we move through our careers, the bosses we have shape us. As your career progresses, you will learn from good bosses as well as bad. Our styles, methods and flaws are likely a reflection of how bosses made us think and work. Sometimes your relationship with a boss causes you to stay with an employer and in other cases it can drive you to search for a new career. Let me share with you my Mount Rushmore of the best bosses.

The Motivator/Results Boss – Kenny

One of my first bosses was Kenny Sanders. He was both inspirational – in almost a cheerleader kind of way – and at the same time a results-focused freak. He was like the player Jerry Maguire represented in the movie, with a “show me the money!” approach to the business world. While my current employees would have preferred me to adopt more of the cheerleader components of Kenny, I think the results focus had a more lasting impact. I remember Kenny (by the way who has a boss that actually goes by Kenny?) always had us clearly focused on the numbers and the deals we were doing.

The Risk Taker/Empowering Boss – Bill

Still early in my career, I was hired as a sales manager by a boss. He was the consummate risk taker. Bill always had a bet going with someone about something. In fact, when he hired me he was breaking a company guideline on how to fill an open position based on seniority and process. He wanted me and didn’t care what the HR department had laid out as the “proper” way to do things. He pointed his reports in a direction and then let us do our work. He hated to be surprised by things and although he was quiet and reserved in most instances, maybe not one to share much unless asked, he expected full disclosure from his direct reports. No holding back. I saw my fellow direct reports try to work him and hold back details…it was the downfall of many. The best thing you could do is step into his office and say “I made a mistake, let me tell you what happened” and let it loose. He would get mad and reinforce your mistake but when it was over, it was over. Mistakes did not get repeated.

The General – Dave

Dave was always at war. With corporate, with the distribution channel, with customers and with his staff. He was a win-lose guy. He wanted to win and everyone else needed to lose. He sent people on “missions” and into “battle.” He was not ex-military, but it sure felt that way. He demanded perfection and complete loyalty from employees. He supported employees to the ends of the earth, right or wrong, he was there 100% of the time. While he was fun to work for because everything was so clearly black or white, I learned a great lesson from him. When he is gone you need to remain comfortable with how you worked and what you did even for a new boss, perhaps less directive and less supportive. So it was a business is a balancing act. You cannot always win; you need to find more win-win options and exercise the win-lose scenarios less frequently.

The Coach – Manny

As you mature in your career and in business, sometimes you need someone to hear you out and offer ideas. Manny was a great listener and could offer feedback on the many options in front of you. He never needed his way, just offered advice. Always told you when you did good things, was willing to work with you on any ugly task or situation side-by-side, and was gentle on you when mistakes were clearly made. He made you want to do more, take more chances and to take on the ugliest of challenges. Never demanding, but rather a good reminder of what was required and when it was due.

So through your relationship with a boss, you are picking up leadership traits, styles and perhaps learning to do things a certain way. The best bosses can be making you better. The bad ones could be taking you down a path that will require correction in the future, perhaps even a search for a new career. Be aware and take the best and leave the rest behind.

Anyone willing to share their Mount Rushmore of best bosses or worst bosses?

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What can a corny motivational poster teach you?

by Veronica Blatt

Today’s blogger is Amy Teske, NPAworldwide Membership Engagement Manager. Amy joined the NPAworldwide staff in June 2015. We’re happy she’s here, and happy for the extra blogging horsepower as well!

How are you engaged and inspired? Have you ever associated your engagement and inspiration with a message from a motivational poster? Probably not…but sometimes as corny and outdated as it seems, the message can be a thought starter and a way to reflect on certain situations we face in our careers. Read the rest of this entry »

3 Reasons Job Seekers Should NOT Expect a Return Call

by Dave Nerz

image of man waiting for phone callWhat if you were a BMW car collector and reseller? You made your living by finding out about all the great BMWs available, buying and reselling these to others that collect BMWs. What if every day you got calls from people asking you to spend your day talking about Mercedes? Got so that every day you could spend 6 to 8 hours talking to collectors, owners and resellers of Mercedes. Do you think that spending 6 or 8 hours a day on Mercedes discussions would improve or damage your income, skills and reputation as the best darn BMW reseller in the world? You could learn about how to make Mercedes run more like BMWs, you could become expert in being the nicest BMW collector in the world, but your sales and income would forever be impacted by investing so much of your time on something that is not going to support your core business. Read the rest of this entry »

Too Many Job Interviews!

by Veronica Blatt

frustrated-business-womanI think I have a new pet peeve – candidates who are subjected to endless job interviews. I’m talking 5, 6, or more interviews. It is madness! What do employers think they are gaining by this?

Here are 3 ways excessive job interviews are harmful to employers:

1. The best candidates back out. Top candidates simply don’t need to put up with an excessively-slow hiring process. They have other options, and will exercise those options.

2. The employer looks indecisive. Having candidates interview repeatedly sends a message that a company is disorganized, or indecisive, or both (or worse). That is not a strategy for attracting top talent.

3. The employer’s reputation is harmed. More and more candidates are posting reviews of their interview experiences on sites like Glassdoor. If the interview process is long, drawn-out, poorly communicated, with silly questions, candidates are going to share that information online. This negatively impacts an employer’s ability to attract top talent for future roles.

What’s behind all these job interviews? Fear of making a bad hire. No doubt about it, hiring decisions are big and important and need to be “done right.” Here are five ideas that will help employers feel more confident that they have an interview process that both evaluates candidates fairly and accurately and allows the employer to hire the person who can best “do the job.”

1. Develop a standard set of questions. Make sure every candidate is asked the same set of questions (and that the answers are documented). This is the only way to know if candidates are being evaluated on the same criteria. Pre-recorded video screening is a great way to do this.

2. Develop (and use!) a scale to score a candidate’s answers to interview questions. For each question, determine in advance what would be strong, average, and weak answers.

3. Determine, in advance, what success on the job looks like. For example, a specific project will have been completed, a new store will open, sales will be increased by a certain percentage or similar. Once success has been defined, it will be easier to develop questions that help an employer determine which candidates are likely to meet those targets.

4. Figure out which information needs to be gathered during each step of the process, and who needs to be involved. Without a defined process, candidates often are asked the same questions over and over again. Not only does this frustrate the job seeker, it also does NOT add value to the hiring process, since there is no new information being shared. If possible, limit the number of people involved in the interviews.

5. Tell the candidate in advance what kind of information is being sought. Job interviews are stressful! It *is* possible to have a rigorous interview process that still allows a candidate to focus her preparation on the skills and information that are most critical to an employer’s needs.

Too many job interviews alienate the best candidates and don’t improve hiring results. What’s your best tip for improving the hiring process?

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Before the Interview

by Veronica Blatt

smiling-woman-interviewToday’s guest blogger is James Seidel with James Seidel & Associates located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. JSA is an owner-operated firm with clients across western Canada. The firm primarily places candidates in I/T, engineering, and sales. James is a former leader of our IT Trading Group and is currently serving on the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

Your resume has earned you a job interview, and now you have the most highly competitive stage of the recruitment process to overcome.

The interview process, in general, has become less subjective and more structured – with increased use of psychometric testing as an example. Despite this, first impressions still count and the key to success still lies in being prepared.

  • The time to start thinking about the potential employer, your aspirations and questions you may wish to ask, is not when you are sitting in reception immediately before the interview (or in the car afterwards!). Careful and effective thought before this stage will pay dividends later. Here are some pointers: Research the organization thoroughly – most organizations expect candidates to undertake research prior to the interview. Look at their website, go to Linked In and see who’s who in the department you’re looking at, read the annual report and press releases. Find out all you can about the organization, including company history, organizational structure, size, locations, profitability, and competitors. If at all possible, speak with colleagues who may have worked there.
  • In advance of the interview, and immediately before, think about the likely questions you are going to be asked and how you will answer those questions, as well as the questions you would like to ask. Bear in mind the two most common formats are the Standard Interview and the Behavioural Interview. Research them both. Give some thought to how you would answer some of the questions for each, then have someone ask them to you.
  • Know where to go for the interview – be sure you can arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Make sure, if possible, that you know who you will be seeing for the interview, what position they hold within the organization, the amount of time they have allotted, and the likely format of the interview.
  • Dress smartly – you are generally less likely to offend by dressing conservatively. Put another way, it is generally wiser to be the best dressed person in the interview room than the worst dressed.

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Job Seeker Salaries on the Rise

by Veronica Blatt

blue-arrows-growthI took a look at some of the placement data we capture from our members, and it is clear that job seeker salaries are on the rise compared to a year ago. In fact, two-thirds of the placements reported by our members this year involve a salary of at least USD $80,000 annually, compared to 63% of placements a year ago. In each of the past two years, the single largest salary category is $100,000 and above. The growth in job seeker salaries is consistent with a candidate-short market; traditional laws of supply-and-demand are clearly at work.

The highest salaries we have been seeing are in the chemical process and IT / hardware / software / electronics areas. Here is a sampling from the past four months:

  • Plant Manager, chemical industry, $180,000
  • Director of Operations, chemical industry, $175,000
  • Business Systems Project Manager, food & beverage industry, $163,000
  • IT Site Manager, food & beverage industry, $132,000
  • Senior Performance Analyst, software industry, $127,000
  • Senior Project Manager, oil/gas, drilling industry, $120,000
  • Test Engineer, electronics & semi-conductor industry, $118,000
  • Process Control Engineer, chemical industry, $110,000
  • Production Engineer, chemical industry, $105,000

It is interesting to note that in the chemical process segment, we have had both an increase in salaries as well as a decrease in the number of total placements year-over-year. Members are anecdotally reporting that clients are still too slow to hire, in the mistaken belief that there is still widespread unemployment. There is still tremendous demand for candidates (chemical process jobs represent about 37% of the total jobs in our shared database), in spite of the recent decline in the price of crude oil. Candidates have an extremely short shelf-life and are able to command multiple offers. Counteroffers have also increased as companies are reluctant to lose high-value employees, knowing they may not easily find new talent.

There has been a modest increase (6%) in placement activity in the IT / hardware / software / electronics segment, and another modest increase (7%) in the manufacturing / mining / construction /supply chain segment. Jobs in the IT / hardware / software / electronics segment remain especially plentiful and account for approximately 20% of the total openings shared by NPAworldwide members.

Independent recruiters should be in a position to financially benefit due to the rise in job seeker salaries and the continued talent shortage.

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Counteroffers: Just When You Thought You Were Ready to Leave

by Veronica Blatt

rope-tugOur guest blogger is Tanya Sobti of Arnold Group Australia in Melbourne, Australia. Arnold Group Australia has been a member of NPAworldwide since 2004. Arnold Group Australia has a number of specialist divisions that provide recruitment services in safety, injury management, general insurance, broking, sales and marketing, and shared service.

I recently had a counteroffer situation which has prompted me to put my thoughts on paper.

In my opinion, most people decide to look for a new job due to one of two reasons: the push and pull factor come into play here. These reasons are:


  • Seeking new challenges or career growth — essentially the “pull” into a more enticing opportunity and a positive environment.
  • The lack of financial rewards and career growth, poor culture etc. — essentially factors that “push” you to seek an environment that is better.

The cost of replacing an employee, especially in a candidate-short market, can be quite high. Hence, some employers make counteroffers to save themselves the trouble of recruiting a replacement and do everything they can do to keep the current incumbent. Sometimes these counteroffers are accepted. However, the statistics are 80% of these employees leave the organization within 6 months because the real reasons for wanting to leave have not disappeared.

Once you’ve made your employer know you’re not happy, it’s never the same again. From this day forward you will always be considered a fidelity risk. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you are likely to lose your status as a “team player” and your place in the inner circle. Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions?

Accepting a counter offer rarely eliminates the factors that drove you to look for a new job in the first place. Even in the rare instance that these factors were resolved, why did it take a resignation for you to get better working conditions, career progression, salary raise etc.? Did your employer not think it was worth it before?

Counteroffers should never be accepted….EVER! Those very few instances where accepting a counter offer is beneficial occur just about as frequently as being struck by lightning.

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Mobile Job Search Is the New Normal

by Veronica Blatt

It’s official. Mobile job search is mainstream. Earlier this week, Indeed announced its acquisition of MoBolt, a technology platform that allows job seekers to apply directly for any job, from any device. Further, in the same announcement, Indeed reported that half of all Indeed job searches are performed on a mobile device. Yet only a small percentage of Fortune 500 employers provide a fully-mobile job application process. The Indeed/MoBolt relationship means virtually any employer can now accept mobile job applications, without any IT integration.

A recent infographic from indicates that 64% of job seekers prefer to use a smartphone for job search activities because they can search for jobs anytime, anywhere. However, only 8% of survey respondents indicate that it is EASY to apply for a job via their smartphone. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said when they find a job of interest on their smartphone, they wait until later to apply via a desktop computer. Click the image below for the full infographic:


And here’s the rub: other research indicates that job applications must be received within the first 72 hours after posting or are 50% less likely to even be opened. Forcing job seekers to ‘come back later’ because the mobile application process is so cumbersome means a lot of job seekers won’t come back. Glassdoor says that 75% of job seekers will conduct a mobile job SEARCH, but only 44% will APPLY via a mobile device. That means employers could be losing out on almost half of potential applicants. In a talent short market, who can afford to lose out on even ONE great applicant?

That leads me to my final point. One of the current hindrances to applying via a mobile device is that most people do not have a copy of their resume stored on their mobile device. And most career sites still require a resume to be uploaded. So I ask, is it finally time to  replace traditional paper-based resumes with a digital alternative? LinkedIn offers the ability to apply using your LinkedIn profile, but many profiles lack polish or aren’t up-to-date, and not all candidates are using LinkedIn. Similarly, Indeed offers an “Apply with Indeed” button (ZipRecruiter offers an interesting comparison between the two here), which works well for employers who post on Indeed and job seekers who search with Indeed. True, that represents a lot of employers and a lot of job seekers — but not all of them. And not necessarily the right ones. Could a link to a digital portfolio be an acceptable alternative? Can recruiters and employers and candidates (and ATS’) leverage the visual content trend so that it works for everyone? In my opinion, recruiters and employers who figure out how to turn mobile job search into mobile job applications (with a great user experience) stand to win the talent war big-time.

What are your thoughts on the disconnect between mobile job search and mobile job applications? How are you adjusting your process to accommodate mobile usage?

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