While it makes sense for candidates to be challenged by a virtual interview, recruiters and employers need to up their games. Remote connections of all types will be expected by your target candidates. The process and the outcomes must be taken very seriously to win over most candidates and specifically the top talent sought. Read the rest of this entry »
Our guest blogger is Roman Duty of Recruiting Services International / RSI in Rushville, Indiana. RSI is a boutique executive search firm that celebrated 50 consecutive years of business in 2020. The firm provides highly individualized recruiting services to clients on a local, regional, and international basis. The firm’s recruiting activities are focused on high-level technical search and managerial placement in many manufacturing arenas.
In 2020, the recruiting industry has witnessed a record number of counteroffers, fall-offs, no-shows, and ghosting from all parties involved. Sadly, as we move past Q1 2021, COVID doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. Are the masses losing common courtesy to commit to their word, or the gumption to just be forthright when they change their mind or are displeased? Perhaps the relationships that are built are just too superficial, due to the speed and ease of technology, so everyone treats each other as transactional. Fingers point both directions. Read the rest of this entry »
Our guest blogger is Pam Robison of J. Gifford Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. J. Gifford Inc. is a small, quality conscious firm providing highly individualized recruiting services to clients on a local, regional, national and international basis. The firm’s recruiting activities are focused on professional, technical and managerial placement, as well as contractor and international staffing for clients. Pam is a member of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.
Isn’t it interesting how several people who share the same experience can have such different perspectives from one another? As a professional recruiter, I observe at least three sides to interview perspectives. There’s the employer (company), the candidate, and the recruiter side. I could probably write a book about this, but I’ll keep it short and sweet for now. Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s guest blogger is Paulette Steele with Real Resumes located in Queensland, Australia. Real Resumes is educating people from beginning to end on getting a job. Short videos cover all aspects including: where to look for a job, writing effective resumes, researching and preparing for the interview, and most importantly, mastering the interview itself. Paulette has 15 years of recruitment experience and a vast career in various industries. She writes below about the need for recruiters to evaluate thoroughly, but resist the tendency to judge a candidate on the wrong criteria.
Why is it that as humans we tend to judge people too quickly by their looks or words? As actor Michael J. Fox said, “The least amount of judging we can do, the better off we are.” Read the rest of this entry »
Recruiters, coach your clients on candidate interviews. The trends over the years have bounced back and forth from employers asking really quirky questions that had little to do with job performance to full-on behavioral interviewing with little to no time for the personal aspect of a candidate. Likely, somewhere in the middle is a good place to land. Recruitment best practices have long had a mix of job, skill, performance and personal aspects of the candidate in the mix. Help your clients add back the personal aspect without creating risk to themselves or the company. Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s guest blogger is Anthony McCormack, founding consultant, managing director and entrepreneur behind Macstaff with offices in Bristol and Abergavenny, United Kingdom. Macstaff is a high impact recruitment consultancy majoring on right-fit permanent placements in construction, property, manufacturing and engineering sectors in UK & Internationally. Macstaff joined NPAworldwide in 2019. Anthony McCormack takes you through several helpful and practical hints to give you the very best chance of being successful at an upcoming job interview. And some are more obvious than you think. This post originally appeared here.
So you are in an active job search and have secured yourself an interview.
Now this is where the ‘rubber hits the road’!
Personally, I think reliance on a job interview to determine the best candidate for a position is a broken system – but we will save this topic for another blog.
Nonetheless, the interview is how 90% of hiring decisions will be made. So be prepared to sell yourself. How you do that will influence the likelihood of an offer and the better the interview, the better the offer potentially!
So my first point will state the blindingly obvious. The best advice on preparation is… to actually prepare!
Many people spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering with the CV, browsing job postings and crafting the perfect cover letter – but little or no time properly preparing for individual interviews.
If you’re reading this, it looks like you are putting in some groundwork so give yourself a pat on the back, you’re heading in the right direction.
From a mental preparation point of view, I suggest making sure that you are ‘in it to win it.’ Don’t go to an interview to ‘check them out’ or to ‘see what they have to say.’ Go to an interview with the intention of winning a great job offer. If you get offered and choose not to accept, that’s empowering and your call to make.
I am always sad when someone is ill-prepared for an interview, goes in lukewarm or even suspicious about the opportunity, and realises during the appointment that the role is a dream job for them. It’s typically too late to inject passion to the interview and reverse the first impression formed by the interviewer that you only came to ‘kick some tyres.’
Logistics wise. Make sure you plan your journey and allow enough time. That’s enough time to get to the postcode according to Google maps or SatNav but also to park and sign in. I also suggest allowing enough time for heavy traffic, road closures, getting lost and spilling coffee down yourself! As sod’s law says, it’s going to happen.
You want to allow enough time to be on time but also to be in the right frame of mind. Five minutes decompressing from the journey and visualising a successful interview will pay dividends. Lastly, I don’t want to pile on extra pressure, but I’ve pretty much never seen someone turn up late to an interview and go on to secure the job.
Take a CV with you
Take a fresh copy of your CV and a separate reference sheet so you are ready to hand over either or both. You likely won’t need them but it looks organised and allows you to use them as a point of reference. Also, in the eventuality that they have lost the CV or can’t print it, your job interview still goes smoothly ahead.
Dress to impress
It’s an interview cliché to be sharp-suited, clean pressed shirt and shiny shoes. However, I think old-school rules still apply here. As you all know, first impressions are strong, difficult to change and are strongly based around visual aspects.
How you present is viewed as a reflection (rightly or wrongly) of how seriously you are taking the application and how much respect you are giving the appointment.
I would say that while you can mess up by under-dressing for an interview, you can never really fail by over-dressing. Many people have a concern that they don’t want to feel over-dressed when they attend an interview at a less formal office environment. So feel free to try and mirror their culture to an extent. I must point out though that their current employees are not attending an interview and you are!
Expectations are different so it really doesn’t matter if you are the only person in a suit. It’s kind of like the interviewer can swear in the interview and they won’t notice or remember, if you do, it’s going to stand out and reflect badly.
Paint a picture of a Win-Win
Candidates are going to want to satisfy themselves that they are going to win the job in question, with respect to salary, benefits, challenge, interest, career potential and so on before accepting an offer. Clients are going to want to satisfy themselves that they are going to win by hiring the candidate in question in respect to skills, experience, personality, attitude and future potential before making an offer.
What is less obvious is the opposite side of these points. Candidates should want to establish that the company will win by hiring them, meaning they add value, it is a good fit and chances are good it will work out in short and long term.
Clients should want to establish that the candidate will win meaning that they get to apply their skills in a meaningful way, enjoy the work and ultimately stick around.
In my experience, in the stressful set-up of an interview, most people overlook ‘part 2’ of the win-win. So ensure everything you say and do in the selection process points towards a conclusion of strong mutual benefit.
On a related note, be aware of how you are viewed outside of the interview itself, like while booking the interview, when you ring beforehand and how you interact with the receptionist. Even when you are not being officially assessed, you are still being assessed. I would never want to hire someone that was snotty to my receptionist, for example.
Prepare by researching the company
This is so you can talk intelligently about the organisation, their products and projects. Or at least be able to answer the obvious question of why are you interested in XYZ when asked. You can look for published information from their website, news sources or from employer evaluation sites such as Glassdoor to get the ‘inside track’. Also, try and make sure you know the job specification and potentially the person specification for the role too.
Prepare lots of questions
There will typically be an opportunity to ask questions during an interview. Hopefully throughout, allowing a good two-way street of communication, or otherwise towards the end. This is an opportunity for you to take.
The quality of your questions can differentiate you from an otherwise similar candidate. Questions that show you have done your research are great, and in general open questions that demonstrate your understanding or prove your interest going to foster a positive response and often further discussion.
Questions which can be seen as suspicious, negative or are just hard to answer will make for a negative atmosphere which ends up reflecting badly.
For example, try not to ask: “What happened to the last person in this role?” or “What’s your sick days allocation?” or “What’s the company’s financial position like?”
Believe me, I have heard them asked before.
There is some debate on this topic but I think it is okay to take some notes if you wish to capture key information for your future reference. Again, it can help demonstrate organisation and professionalism. Do ask permission and don’t overdo it as your note-taking can be off-putting to the interviewer, and of course, reduce eye contact which is important for building rapport.
This is a subject in itself and there is all kinds of advice to impart here. I’ll keep it simple and just cover two of them – confidence and enthusiasm.
If you think about it, the hiring company needs to work out two things: 1) Can you do the job (better than other candidates). 2) Do you want the job (and will you accept it).
Therefore you convince them you can do the job by feeling, showing and instilling them with confidence in your capabilities. You convince them that you want the job by demonstrating your enthusiasm for the job, company, product and projects in question.
This will be maximised by being prepared (as above) by knowing your CV, the job-spec and how they relate. Prepare specific examples you plan to leverage and questions you would like to ask. Be conscious of using positive body language and voice projection. Practice the power of belief.
Prepare all the valid personal reasons why this job is a great match for you in order to demonstrate an authentic win-win. Why are you passionate about the industry, what do you like about the company, what attracts you to the job, are the location and salary going to satisfy you long term. Enthusiasm isn’t all about being ‘bubbly’ if that isn’t your style but demonstrating your appetite for the job somehow is important.
The need to be specific will apply to many areas of the interview but particularly in terms of duties, responsibilities and achievements. Being specific and where appropriate using quantifiable examples moves you from making general claims about your suitability to giving evidence that you are the best candidate.
It’s a fine balance. You are going to want to answer questions fully, to score maximum points (either in the interviewer’s mind or often literally if you are being graded). However, you are also going to want to be succinct. The interviewer only has a certain amount of time and if they don’t get to ask all the questions then you certainly don’t get to score all the points. It’s easy with pressure and nerves to waffle on or go off on an irrelevant tangent. Much better to take a breath, get composure and then give a killer answer, rather than jumping in without thinking.
Ask for the job
I don’t think this is common interview advice but put in the right way, I think it is positive and powerful. This is typically for the end in respect to closing statements, and could be along the lines of: “On the basis of this conversation, I am even more excited about the job than when I applied. I would love to assume the role and look forward to hearing back.” This removes any doubt that you would be prepared to accept (offer dependent) and makes you a safer bet. Companies, like potential dates, hate being turned down and would prefer to ask someone who they know will likely say yes!
Again, I don’t think this a common area of interview advice, however, put in the right way I think this question can be a good strategic, assertive move. It again would come near to the end and would go something like: “I am very confident that I can meet all the requirements of the role, so do you have any questions or concerns?” If you are going to ask this, make sure you are ready to answer, address and perceived issues and hopefully overcome them.
So good luck with your current and future interviews. Expect success. The hiring company has a business issue to solve and given that you have been selected for interview, you are well qualified to solve this business issue. It is just about making sure that this comes across effectively.
The interviewers are also hoping that you are going to do well. So everyone is on the same side in that respect. My advice in short (as candidates who have worked with me will likely recall), is:
- Be prepared
- Be confident
- Be enthusiastic
- Be specific
If I can be of assistance in respect to interview preparation, hiring or job search issues across the spectrum, feel free to give me a shout.
Recruiters know to prep their candidates for an interview – a great resume only gets you so far. Sometimes, the best person for a job isn’t the best interviewee. Similarly, hiring managers aren’t always the best interviewers, and may not leave the best impression on the potential hire they interview.
At the end of the interview, the hiring manager often asks “so, do you have any questions for me today?”, and many recruiters take this opportunity to arm their candidates with penetrating questions in order to make a lasting impression. So if you have a hiring manager who isn’t prepared to answer these questions, the candidate might doubt the leadership at this company and lose interest in the role. It’s a candidate’s market, and in today’s fierce recruiting environment, you have to make sure your client sells not only the role, but themselves, to the candidate.
Here are some tips to give your client regarding the interview process:
- First, is making sure everyone is on the same page by using a calendar invite or similar software to get the interview on both your candidate’s and client’s calendars. Trying to coordinate calendars by calling or emailing back and forth with available times is a big hassle and time-waster. Get interview scheduling under control with something like Calendly or SimplyBook.me to find times that work for everyone and reduce cancelled or missed interviews. With scheduling software, your client can set their availability preference, share the link with you and the candidate(s) they want to interview, and let them pick a time, which is automatically added to you and the candidate’s calendar. It’s efficient and simple.
- Second, the interview itself. Sometimes recruiters are so good at prepping candidates that the interviewer isn’t prepared for the interviewee’s questions! A corporate headhunter told me a story of a time the hiring manager was at a loss for words when a interviewee asked about potential financial risks of the company’s that they garnered from the company’s public financial statements. Be prepared to answer questions about the company, its culture, career development, reductions in force, ethics, etc.
- You want every interview to be a dialogue, not just bombarding the candidate with questions. You want the candidate to feel comfortable opening up to you. Build in time during each interview for candidates to ask questions, and for the interviewers to thoughtfully respond to them.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell the candidate that you will get back to them. …And make sure you actually do follow-up within 24 hours.
- Many candidates do not want to waste time waiting, as they may have other interviews/offers on the table, so be prepared for direct questions like “When may I expect an offer?” or “When will you decide on filling this position?”
And importantly, if a candidate doesn’t ask questions, that is a huge red flag. It shows they didn’t take the time to research the company and shows a lack of interest. You want candidates who ask questions because that shows they have a genuine interest in your client and its success.
It’s a holiday week in both Canada and the USA, so we’re only posting once and giving you a chance to catch up on your reading if you are among the many people away from the office. In case you missed them the first time around, here are our top recruitment blogs of the year to date:
Three Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Interviews: How to Create an ATS-Friendly Resume Automation has made it more difficult for job seekers’ resumes to be seen by the proper hiring authorities. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) “read” resumes looking for keywords. If your resume doesn’t include the right words and the right formatting for machine-reading, it’s very possible you’ll be overlooked. This post includes tips for how to create a resume that will be “seen” and hopefully lead to more interviews! Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s guest blogger is Paulette Steele with Real Resumes located in Queensland, Australia. Real Resumes is educating people from beginning to end on getting a job. Short videos cover all aspects including: where to look for a job, writing effective resumes, researching and preparing for the interview, and most importantly, mastering the interview itself. Paulette has 15 years of recruitment experience and a vast career in various industries.
What’s the number one thing to do in an interview? It’s so simple and effective! Read the rest of this entry »
It seems to me that interviewing skills are all over the table. Sometimes I hear that candidates “don’t interview well,” and I’m sure that’s true. However, I’ve also been through some interviews where it could be fairly said that the INTERVIEWER didn’t interview well either! Since interviews are such a critical component of the hiring process, everyone could stand to improve their interviewing skills – candidates, clients, and recruiters alike. Below are some interview questions for recruiters to ask that will help assess talent more accurately. Read the rest of this entry »