Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Interview That'll Bag a Job

By Sarah E. Needleman

In recent weeks, recruiters for Consolidated Container Co. have seen job candidates arrive up to an hour early for interviews. Other candidates have alluded to financial hardships while in the hot seat, and one person even distributed bound copies of documents describing projects he completed for past employers.

These sorts of tactics aren't exactly winners.

In today's ultracompetitive job market, even getting an interview is a feat. Yet recruiters and hiring managers say many unemployed candidates blow the opportunity by appearing desperate or bitter about their situations — often without realizing it.
"People are becoming a lot more aggressive," says Julie Loubaton, director of recruiting and talent management for Atlanta-based Consolidated Container. "They often wind up hurting themselves."

At an interview, you want to stand out for the right reasons. To do so, you'll need to leave your baggage and anxiety at the door. For starters, wait until 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time to announce yourself. Arriving any sooner "shows that you're not respectful of the time the hiring manager put aside for you," says Ms. Loubaton, adding that a candidate who arrived an hour early made workers uncomfortable. "Companies really don't want someone camped out in their lobby."

Signal confidence by offering a firm handshake, adds Wendy Alfus Rothman, president of Wenroth Consulting Inc., an executive coaching firm in New York. Focus your attention on the interviewer. Avoid looking around the room, tapping your fingers, or other nervous movements.
No matter how you're feeling, keep your personal woes out of the interview process, asserts Ms. Alfus Rothman. Instead, always exude an upbeat attitude. For example, if you were laid off, instead of lamenting the situation, you might say the experience prompted you to reassess your skills, and that's what led you here. "You want to demonstrate resilience in the face of unpredictable obstacles," she says.

Meanwhile, show you've done your homework on the company by explaining how your background and track record relates to its current needs, adds Deborah Markus, founder of Columbus Advisors LLC, an executive-search firm in New York. This is particularly important if the firm is in a different industry than the one you worked in before. To stand out, you'll need to look up more than just basics on company leadership and core businesses. You'll also need to find out — and understand — how recent changes in the marketplace have affected the firm, its competitors and industry overall. Read recent company press releases, annual reports, media coverage and industry blogs, and consult with trusted members of your network. "Companies that may have been performing well just a few months ago might be in survival mode now," says Ms. Markus. "You want to understand how [they're] positioned today."

Also, be sure to show you're a strong fit for the particular position you're seeking, adds Kathy Marsico, senior vice president of human resources at PDI Inc., a Saddle River, N.J., provider of sales and marketing services for pharmaceutical companies. Offer examples of past accomplishments — not just responsibilities you've held — and describe how they're relevant to the opportunity. "You must differentiate yourself like never before," she says. "You need to customize yourself and make yourself memorable."

Sherry R. Brickman, a partner at executive-search firm Martin Partners LLC, says a candidate recently impressed her with this sort of preparation. "He knew the company's product line and what markets it was already in," she says of the man, who was interviewing for an executive post at a midsize industrial manufacturer. "He clearly and effectively explained how he could cut costs, increase sales and expand market share based on what he'd done in his current job." The candidate was hired.

Be careful not to go too far, though, in your quest to stand out. For example, it may be tempting to offer to work temporarily for free or to take a lesser salary than what a job pays. But experts say such bold moves often backfire on candidates. "Employers want value," says Lee Miller, author of Get More Money on Your Next Job ... In Any Economy. "They don't want cheap."
Your best bet is to wait until you're extended a job offer before talking pay. "In a recession, employers are going to be very price sensitive," says Mr. Miller. "The salary you ask for may impact their decision to move forward." Come prepared having researched the average pay range for a position in case you're pressured to name your price, he adds. You might say, for example, that money isn't a primary concern for you and that you're just looking for something fair, suggests Mr. Miller. You can try turning the tables by asking interviewers what the company has budgeted for the position.

In some cases, you may be looking just for a job to get you through so you might consider a less-than-perfect fit. But if you aren't really excited about an opportunity, keep it to yourself, warns David Gaspin, director of human resources at 5W Public Relations in New York. "I've had times where people come in and it's clear that if they really had their preference, they'd be doing something different," he says. "You don't want to put that out on the table. Nobody wants to hire someone who's going to run for the door when times get better."

After an interview, take caution with your follow-up. If you're in the running for multiple jobs at once, make sure to address thank-yous to the right people, career experts advise. Also look closely for spelling and grammatical errors. In a competitive job market, employers have the luxury of choice, and even a minor faux pas can hurt your chances.

If all has gone well, don't stalk the interviewer. Wait at least a week before checking on your candidacy, adds Jose Tamez, managing partner at Austin-Michael LP, an executive-search firm in Golden, Colo. Call recruiters only at their office, even if their business card lists a home or cell number. Leave a message if you get voicemail. These days, recruiters typically have caller ID and can tell if you've tried reaching them multiple times without leaving a voicemail. "There's a fine line between enthusiasm and overenthusiasm," he says.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Job Hunting Tips for a Challenging Market Environment

During challenging job-hunting times, some people are resorting to desperate measures thinking that it will help their chances of securing a new position.

Here are some useful tips from Worlco that will help you avoid a few of the major pitfalls during the job-hunting process.

Be honest. The old adage … “Honesty is the best policy” really applies here. Misrepresenting your current compensation, education level or dates of employment will be detected in nearly all cases. Misrepresentation of material information on either your resume or application will be cause for immediate disqualification or termination.

Covering gaps in your employment history. Rather then trying to fabricate activities to cover gaps in your employment history, be honest and prepare a good explanation of why you were out of work and what you did during that period of time (i.e. care for a relative, started a small business, took time off to travel, spent time with children, looked for a new job, etc.).
Have good responses prepared for the most commonly asked questions.

“Tell me about yourself?” – Describe your most recent experience, first. Presenting job related information in a concise manner is a “learned” skill. Take the time to practice what you’re going to say. Your high school record is of little importance at this point in your career.

“What do you want to do next in your career?” – Be specific as to what you would like to see in your next job and where you would like your career to head (i.e. management track or technical track).

“Why did you leave a company or why are you currently looking?” -- Be able to, specifically, tell why you left a job and what you thought the new opportunity might be or why you are currently in the market. What motivates you to look for a new job at this point in time?

Resumes …
Use spellchecker. Misspelled words and poor grammar are “show stoppers” in most companies.
Don’t try to be all things to all people in your summary. Make your summary as specific and informative as possible.

Explain gaps in your work history (remember the honesty discussion).

Pictures, graphics and Internet links should be avoided (it’s too time consuming to download and deal with). Using a simple Word attachment is most effective. Don’t let Zip, PDF or Mac technology hinder your chances. Don’t try to get “too cute”.

Don’t be too general, technology industry managers want to know, (a) what you have done, (b) when you did it and (c) with what technology. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Be cautious about “spreading yourself too thin” across the Internet. Blasting your resume to hundreds of companies is difficult to follow-up on and can work against you.

Keep your references informed; the worse thing that can happen with a reference is for them not to be prepared when the reference call comes.

Positive first impressions are critical either ‘in person’ or ‘in written form’.

We look forward to helping you find the right job and Best of Luck in your job search

Worlco is again one of the top Executive Search Firms in the Philadelphia Market.

Worlco ranks Number 1 for Executive Search Firms in New Jersey by NJBIZ for 2009.

Worlco ranks among the top Staffing Companies in New Jersey by NJBIZ for 2009.

Worlco is again rated by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a Top Placement Firm in the Delaware Valley for 2009.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Worlco is a Total Information Systems staffing organization founded in 1982. Our company specializes in Permanent Placement, Contract Consulting and Customized Staffing Solutions for Information Technology organizations and the technical pre-screening of the employment marketplace on behalf of the candidates we represent.

Worlco provides a full range of recruiting and consulting services relating to the computer industry. Contingency fee placement, executive search, contract consulting services and customized staffing programs are some of the services we provide locally, nationally and internationally. Through our worldwide affiliates, we are able to present a selection of qualified candidates when a client is interested in relocating individuals.