Tag: job seekers

Preparing for the Interview

As the expression goes, “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. It most certainly doesn’t count in a job interview. In fact, given today’s competitive job market, when it comes to sitting down for the all-important interview, you had better be bringing your “A” game. And that means a lot of preparation.

Wonder how to achieve pre-interview Zen? Here are some tips:

If you’re on-time, you’re late

Preparation is key when it comes to stacking the deck in your favor. Consider doing a dry run in advance of the actual interview. Check out the building, figure out where you’ll park (or the nearest train or bus stop), and time how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B at roughly the same time of day. Don’t forget to factor in plenty of extra time to complete any necessary paperwork or freshen up.

Dress well, feel good

Appearances count when making a good first impression. Be sure to try on what you’ll be wearing down to your shoes and accessories and have a backup outfit ready. Thirty minutes before you’re set to leave is no time to discover you’re still carrying a few extra holiday pounds and can’t button your shirt. And don’t forget to get a haircut so you’ll walk in feeling on-point.

If it’s the interview itself that is causing the most angst, try recreating the environment to the best of your ability. Standing in the kitchen running through practice questions with your spouse or roommate probably (hopefully) won’t make your heart race and your palms sweat. Instead, try soliciting the help of a friend of a friend or an acquaintance, then meet them someplace public for an interview prep session.

The bottom line is that you want to eliminate as many variables as possible so your mind is free to focus on the task at hand.

Study up

Going into an interview armed with well-thought out questions designed to elicit whether the company and position align with your values and goals is key. And it serves two purposes: First, you’ll be better able to ascertain if it’s the right job for you, and second, you’ll be showing the interviewer that you understand their company, their market space, and are eager to learn where you might fit in. Coming in without questions or with the idea that you’ll just wing it indicates that you’re not that interested and makes it exceedingly unlikely you’ll be asked back.

If you really want to show that you’ve done your homework, learn a little bit about the person who will be interviewing you. Thanks to the wonders of social media, it’s never been easier to find out what university your contact attended, their favorite teams and their work history. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about how their education and previous jobs prepared them for their current position or career and what they love most about working for the company.

Still worried you might not ask the right questions or have the right answers. Here are a few ideas to get you in the interview mindset.

You ask …

  1. Can you describe a typical day or week on the job? It’s easy to sell a coffee bar and an open office plan, but it’s what you’ll be doing every day that counts. Listen for answers that will allow you to utilize your strengths and that appeal to your interests.
  2. How long did the person who was previously in the job hold the position? Why did they leave? If you’re interviewing for an entry-level position, this question might not be as relevant but learning that the previous job holder was promoted after several years as opposed to leaving the company bodes well for low staff turnover and promotion from within.
  3. What do you see as the greatest challenge for whomever takes the job? If the answer is tight deadlines and a high-pressure work environment and you prefer a more laid-back vibe, this probably isn’t the job for you.
  4. What do you like most about working here? If it’s the company softball team, you might want to reconsider no matter their winning record. Office camaraderie is great, but you won’t be spending your days on the baseball diamond but rather at your desk and across conference tables.
  5. How would success in this role be measured? Another way to think about this is how will you be judged as successful in the job. Will you be able to utilize your skills and unique traits?
  6. What attributes do you see in your most successful employee? This is a great question to help tease out some of the intangibles that the ideal candidate will hold.
  7. What’s the corporate culture like? Today’s job seekers are looking for more than a 9-to-5 with benefits. They want a purpose and want to enjoy work when they come in every day. Make sure that the corporate culture aligns with the way you work and your personality.

You answer …

  1. What are you most proud of professionally? This is your chance to showcase an award-winning project you worked on or how you overcame a professional challenge.
  2. Why are you interested in working here? Now is not the time to trash your previous job or company. Every position, no matter how ill-suited, is a learning experience. In answering, don’t talk about generous leave policy or 401k match—it will appear that you’re only there to do the bare minimum. Also, if you’re interviewing for an entry-level position, don’t describe it as your dream job. That implies you’re not looking to grow professionally, a big red flag to interviewers.
  3. Describe a situation where you were put in an adverse situation and how you handled it? Your answer will show how you handle stress and adversity, but you don’t need to limit yourself to professional challenges. Think about a time outside the workplace where you were able to think on your feet.
  4. What is something your current employer would say you need to work on? What are you trying to enhance every day? When answering these types of questions, avoid labeling anything as a weakness but rather phrase it as an area you want to improve upon.
  5. How would you handle a work environment where you or your peers don’t all get along? Your answer here will tell a lot about your ability to interact with a team of varied personalities and skill sets.
  6. What inspires/motivate you personally and professionally? This is the chance to share a bit of yourself. Make sure that your answer is authentic. Saying you are inspired by a talented team of people won’t ring true if you are someone who prefers to work on their own.
  7. Name five things you’d do with a paperclip? / You’re walking into a stadium with 80,000 people in attendance. What song would they play to introduce you? Curveball questions are often asked not so much for what you will answer but how. How do you react to a sudden and possibly uncomfortable question? Can you think on your feet?

Looking to Insight Global to help you find a job? Submit your resume or start your job search.

Considering a Sales & Recruiting or Operations career with us? Submit your resume for an internal job with Insight Global.

Learn more about Insight Global and what we do.

After the Interview

Turns out your mother was right. Manners do count, and perhaps no time more than when you interview for a new position. Whether you’re looking to move up the ladder within your current company or land a job with that cool new tech enterprise down the road, a firm handshake and direct eye contact go a long way. And while the ways in which people today apply for jobs has changed dramatically since their grandparents—or even their parents—were in the job market, some advice still holds true.

Know your audience

No matter the job, dress to impress, meaning clothes should be clean, pressed, and professional. Don’t wear clothes with slogans, obvious logos or something you might wear to school or worse yet, to go to the gym. A good rule of thumb is that it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Err on the side of conservatism but keep in mind that dressing professionally is a relative term.

Want a career in corporate America? Don’t wear jeans and a t-shirt—you’re already off on the wrong foot. But not everyone is looking for candidates to come in wearing a suit. Sales people should, of course, but if you’re looking to work with a company such as Levi Strauss or a tech-start-up, you’ll be better served to come in wearing jeans so long as they are clean, neat and without holes, no matter how on-trend it might be.

This is where working with a staffing agency such as Insight Global really comes into play. Hiring firms have relationships with their customers–they know them and what they expect. If you apply blindly to a job online, you don’t know what you’re walking into and might find yourself sticking out like a sore thumb.

Remember the Boy Scout motto

When it comes to interviews, it’s best to be prepared. Do your homework on the company and what they do. Better still, go a step beyond and research the industry as a whole, including competitors. You want to show the interviewer that you have a real interest in the company and the space they inhabit.

Interviewers want people who are excited about the company and what they’ll be doing so having meaningful questions prepared is key. Unfortunately, it’s an area where most people struggle. Unsure of where to start? Ask about the position itself and what a typical day might entail, what’s expected from the job, turnover rates, why the previous employee left, and so on. And don’t forget to bring a copy of your resume.

It might seem old-school but there’s something about having something physical to look at. It can make a big impact, especially in the creative arts or digital media. And while you don’t have to haul in your entire printed portfolio, bringing your iPad with all your material on it is a smart move.

In the hot seat

The second you arrive, the interview begins. Consider the fact that every person you interact with is a potential influencer, from someone you pass in the hall or speak with at the front desk to the person you’ll be sitting across from answering questions.

Recruiters know that it’s often what do you do when no one is looking that seals the deal. And not always to your advantage. Let the door slam on someone without an apology or be overheard speaking rudely to someone on the phone? Those won’t be considered points in your favor.

Other business etiquette tips? Be sure to give the interviewer a firm handshake and look people in the eye when speaking to them; make sure your phone is turned off; and be mindful of body language, i.e., look engaged and lean slightly forward in your seat. While it might seem obvious, don’t chew gum, slump in your seat, fidget, or otherwise behave as if you have someplace else to be.

Remember when your mother told you not to interrupt? She was right. Let the interviewer take the lead and allow them the chance to finish their question before jumping in. Small talk is great—not only can it build rapport with the interviewer, but it can showcase some of your personality and interests that might not come through on your resume. However, when it’s time to answer, don’t ramble. Get to the point without getting off topic. You want to be sure that your answer conveys your knowledge. There’s no need to throw in a story about your last vacation in Cabo, no matter how hilarious.

Smile like you mean it

An interview is an interview, regardless of whether it’s in-person or over the phone, and should be treated as such. Accordingly, make sure you are someplace quiet with excellent phone reception. Now is not the time to grab a quick macchiato or chat in the stairwell of your office building. Some candidates go so far as to put on a suit to put themselves in the right frame of mind.

It’s hard to stay engaged (and sound engaging) over the phone, especially when you don’t know the person on the other end, but keep distractions at bay and stay in the moment. Print your resume out and have it in front of you for quick referral. And don’t forget to smile. Even if the interviewer can’t see you, a positive attitude comes across. A study out of the U.K.’s University of Portsmouth Going off-site: This link takes you away from Insight Global. found that even if people can’t see a person’s facial expression they are pretty good at picking out who is smiling just by the tone of their voice.

Business etiquette 101

Regardless of whether you are working with a staffing agency or secure the interview on your own, don’t forget to send a thank-you note, letting the interviewer know you appreciated their taking time to speak with you and reiterating why you are interested in the position.

If you worked with a staffing agency, don’t forget to follow up with them, as well. Because of their client relationships, they know the company’s hiring process and can shed light on next steps and provide a timeframe of when you might expect to hear back. Even if you aren’t hired, their feedback will help you nail the next interview and possibly even land the job.

Looking to Insight Global to help you find a job? Submit your resume or start your job search.

Considering a Sales & Recruiting or Operations career with us? Submit your resume for an internal job with Insight Global.

Learn more about Insight Global and what we do.

Why Should a Job Seeker Work with a Staffing Agency Like IG

Looking for a new job can be a job in itself. There’s polishing your resume, searching for and culling through search results, and finally, uploading your resume into anywhere from 10 to 20 different job sites and company hiring pages. It’s exhausting and time-consuming, especially if you are already working full-time. So why not let a staffing agency do the leg work for you?

Staffing agencies conduct targeted searches every day on behalf of potential candidates and know the market better than anyone. They’re in the business of matching people to positions. And, because they do this day in, day out you have a better shot at landing that dream job.

Still on the fence. Consider these reasons:

Feedback to help you hone your resume and interview style.

Been a while since you last looked for a job? Does your resume seem stuck in the previous decade? Lack confidence in your ability to draft a decent, let alone killer, cover letter? Do you even need one? Your recruiter can help you with all these questions and more. Whereas you might have written five resumes over the course of your career, they’ve seen thousands and know what makes a hiring manager sit up and take notice.

They’re in the business of taking resumes (and candidates) who are a little rough around the edges and turning them into polished gems. They’ll coach you through interviews, massage your resume, and make it stand out. They can work with you to explain any employment gaps you might have and translate volunteer experience into resume-worthy achievements. And, if you’re in the fast-paced tech field, where a year of unemployment might as well be a decade, they can provide you with the chance to take what Insight Global terms “prove it” tests, where they determine whether an IT person’s skills are up-to-date following an employment gap. Best of all, you get to keep the test results regardless of whether you work with them in the long run.

Streamline your search:

Staffing agencies tend to specialize in various industries, everything from creative fields, IT/Tech, healthcare and even law. Insight Global, for instance, is an industry leader in IT, accounting and finance, engineering, and government staffing and managed services. Do your homework, and select a firm that knows the space you are looking to enter inside and out.

Inside information, hidden opportunities.

Staffing agencies are aware of jobs that aren’t listed as open on the major job sites—by working with a recruiter, you’ll get in ahead of the pack. A recruiter knows you, the company and where you’d fit in and enjoy working. (And to think that company wasn’t even on your radar.)

Show ‘em what you got.

Sometimes, part-time jobs can lead to full-time employment if you go in with enthusiasm and an eagerness to tackle any challenge that comes your way. Even if this position doesn’t lead to permanent employment, hiring managers will remember your work ethic, and recruiters will be eager to place you in other positions that could translate to full-time work.

Deepen your pool of connections.

Staffing agencies help you leverage your industry contacts. Going on interviews, working in a variety of positions across multiple companies are all ways to grow your list of industry contacts. Regardless of whether you are hired full-time or even continue working with a given staffing agency, those connections are yours.

On the job.

If you’re still employed (whether in your current position or a short-term contract through a staffing agency) you’re in an enviable position. Together with your recruiter, you’ll have time to review the possibilities, educate yourself on various corporate cultures and help narrow the field. Your staffing agency has more time to find the perfect opportunity for you, and you can afford to be choosy.

Try it before you buy it.

Considering a career change, but still not 100-percent convinced? Working with a staffing agency to do contractor work in your new field is a great way to discover if the grass really is greener on the other side of that career fence.

It’s free!

Working with recruiter won’t cost you a thing. Quite the contrary—they’ll be out there negotiating salary rates in your favor. Their goal is to make sure all candidates are extremely happy and want their contracts to be extended. Good for them; great for you.

Looking to Insight Global to help you find a job? Submit your resume or start your job search.

Considering a Sales & Recruiting or Operations career with us? Submit your resume for an internal job with Insight Global.

Learn more about Insight Global and what we do.

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