First impressions are a big deal when it comes to interviewing, but most people believe that the issue of first impressions revolves solely around those going in to an interview. However, an article by Nancy Saperstone offers some great advice about making great first impressions to those who are conducting interviews. These are some really good tips and at Govig Senior Care, we employ all these in our recruiting practices to bridge the gap between candidates and clients to ensure that the first impression is their best.
-Nancy Saperstone, December 3, 2012
“We all know the importance of first impressions when we’re the applicant, but it goes both ways when you’re the employer trying to attract the talent. First impressions can mean the difference between closing the deal on a great candidate or losing them to another employer who did a better job of wowing them.
Employers who want to attract the best talent should not underestimate the importance of making a candidate feel special. This doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money on them or having an elaborate interview process. It can be as simple as not rushing an interview or following up with a candidate in a timely manner.
Keeping some simple tips in mind can sometimes make all the difference in helping to portray a company as an employer of choice:
- If you like a resume, follow up with the candidate promptly to schedule an interview.
- Keep the appointment, whether it is a phone interview or in person. Don’t be late and only cancel in an emergency.
- Be prepared for the interview by reviewing the candidate’s resume in advance and staying focused on the discussion.
- Don’t rush the interview.
- Provide the candidate with your contact information or a business card following the interview and let them know when they can expect to hear about next steps.
- Follow through and get back in touch with candidates by the date you’ve told them you will.
- Be honest and don’t promise anything you can’t deliver on.
Most candidates are not looking for royal treatment but everyone likes to feel welcome. Being a good listener and taking time to get to know a candidate shows that you are interested in them and who wouldn’t want to work for an employer who cares about their employees?”
Employing this advice will definitely cultivate a prosperous relationship between the right client and candidate, and having a good recruiter to facilitate the process can be extremely beneficial both to candidates looking for the right opportunity and clients looking for the perfect hire.
Don’t hesitate to contact Govig Senior Care to help you find your dream and make that seamless first impression.
3 Interview Questions That Reveal Everything
Employee fit is crucial. Here’s a simple way to know if a job candidate is right for your business.
Interviewing job candidates is tough, especially because some candidates are a lot better at interviewing than they are at working.
To get the core info you need about the candidates you interview, here’s a simple but incredibly effective interview technique I learned from John Younger, the CEO of Accolo, a cloud recruiting solutions provider. (If you think you’ve conducted a lot of interviews, think again: Younger has interviewed thousands of people.)
Here’s how it works. Just start from the beginning of the candidate’s work history and work your way through each subsequent job. Move quickly, and don’t ask for detail. And don’t ask follow-up questions, at least not yet.
Go through each job and ask the same three questions:
1. How did you find out about the job?
2. What did you like about the job before you started?
3. Why did you leave?
“What’s amazing,” Younger says, “is that after a few minutes, you will always have learned something about the candidate–whether positive or negative–that you would never have learned otherwise.”
How did you find out about the job?
Job boards, general postings, online listings, job fairs–most people find their first few jobs that way, so that’s certainly not a red flag.
But a candidate who continues to find each successive job from general postings probably hasn’t figured out what he or she wants to do–and where he or she would like to do it.
He or she is just looking for a job; often, any job.
And that probably means he or she isn’t particularly eager to work for you. He or she just wants a job. Yours will do–until something else comes along.
“Plus, by the time you get to Job Three, Four, or Five in your career, and you haven’t been pulled into a job by someone you previously worked for, that’s a red flag,” Younger says. “That shows you didn’t build relationships, develop trust, and show a level of competence that made someone go out of their way to bring you into their organization.”
On the flip side, being pulled in is like a great reference–without the letter.
What did you like about the job before you started?
In time, interviewees should describe the reason they took a particular job for more specific reasons than “great opportunity,” “chance to learn about the industry,” or “next step in my career.”
Great employees don’t work hard because of lofty titles or huge salaries. They work hard because they appreciate their work environment and enjoy what they do. (Titles and salary are just icing on the fulfillment cake.)
That means they know the kind of environment they will thrive in, and they know the type of work that motivates and challenges them–and not only can they describe it, they actively seek it.
Why did you leave?
Sometimes people leave for a better opportunity. Sometimes they leave for more money.
Often, though, they leave because an employer is too demanding. Or the employee doesn’t get along with his or her boss. Or the employee doesn’t get along with co-workers.
When that is the case, don’t be judgmental. Resist the temptation to ask for detail. Hang on to follow-ups. Stick to the rhythm of the three questions. That makes it natural for candidates to be more open and candid.
In the process, many candidates will describe issues with management or disagreements with other employees or with taking responsibility–issues they otherwise would not have shared.
Then follow up on patterns that concern you.
“It’s a quick way to get to get to the heart of a candidate’s sense of teamwork and responsibility,” Younger says. “Some people never take ownership and always see problems as someone else’s problem. And some candidates have consistently had problems with their bosses–which means they’ll also have issues with you.”
And a bonus question:
How many people have you hired, and where did you find them?
Say you’re interviewing candidates for a leadership position. Want to know how their direct reports feel about them?
Don’t look only for candidates who were brought into an organization by someone else; look for candidates who brought employees into their organization.
“Great employees go out of their way to work with great leaders,” Younger says. “If you’re tough but fair, and you treat people well, they will go out of their way to work with you. The fact that employees changed jobs just so they could work for you speaks volumes to your leadership and people skills.”
While counter-offers may be tempting and even flattering, there can be pitfalls that you need to be aware of.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Will your loyalty always be in question?
- If there are future cutbacks, will you be the first to go because of concerns about your loyalty?
- If you accept the counter-offer for more money, are you just giving your employer the time they need to locate and select your replacement?
- Will your career track remain blocked if you accept it?
- Will your responsibilities be expanded?
- Will you have to report to a person you don’t respect?
- Will you receive next year’s raise or bonus early?
- Is the counter-offer a ploy to avoid a short-term inconvenience by your employer?
- What are your realistic chances for promotions now that you have considered leaving?
Counter Offer Statistics
According to national surveys of employees that accept counter-offers, 50-80 percent voluntarily leave their employer within six months of accepting the counter-offer because of unkept promises. The majority of the balance of employees that accept counter-offers involuntarily leave their current employers within twelve months of accepting the counter-offer (terminated, fired, laid off, etc.).
As attractive as counter-offers may appear, they greatly decrease your chances of achieving your career potential.
Source: Govig | Candidate Toolkit
Need more information
Finding a job, flourishing on the job and moving into a better job demand plenty of work–especially during a jobless recovery.
That’s why I am offering my five best lessons for managing your career, gleaned since I launched this column in July 1993. They include the importance of out-of-the box networking, sweating the small stuff and knowing yourself well enough that you’re always ready for reinvention.
The lessons’ common theme? No one can manage You Inc. better than you. And here’s how to do it:
1. Network effectively rather than aimlessly.
Focus on forging “strategic relationships” at 10 prospective employers, suggests Paul Anderson, a career coach in Redmond, Wash. That means avoiding an “elevator pitch” in which you buttonhole people and give them your career pitch on the fly.
“Relationships can’t be built in 60 seconds,” Mr. Anderson insists. “People hire people they like and trust.” So, work on building better ties with your contacts by being a reliable resource for them and offering frequent updates about your career.
You can land strong introductions through your closest contacts, social networking sites and good “connectors,” who may have nothing to do with your line of work. These professionals, such as hairstylists, dentists, ministers and accountants, amass connections that cut across industries.
Connectors “make introductions because they like to,” notes Diane Darling, a networking consultant in Boston. She expanded her connections and consulting gigs by creating a personal board of advisers.
For the same reason, attend industry conferences that attract targeted businesses. Scrutinize the guest list, pinpoint executives you wish to meet and schedule encounters there.
When Tayari Howard was an aspiring radio personality in the ’90s, he attended about 10 public events hosted by a San Diego station before meeting a department head and pitching his candidacy for a job. “Persistence paid off!” says Mr. Howard, who was hired by the radio station in June 1995, and still hosts a nightly show there.
2. Sweat the small stuff.
Tiny missteps may derail your career. You appear unpolished when you talk like an adolescent, curse at colleagues or proffer a sweaty palm.
Outdated clothes, frayed cuffs, messy hair, scuffed shoes or excess cleavage also signal poor judgment. “Looking your best at any age is what you should aspire to,” advises Patricia Cook, an executive recruiter in Bronxville, N.Y.
Even bathroom habits count. High-tech recruiter Dora Vell once worked for a major search firm where the receptionist alerted partners if candidates using the guest toilet near her desk failed to wash their hands. (She could hear the faucet.)
This lesson also applies to cover letters. Inspirica, a New York high school and college tutoring concern, found mistakes in 93% of 220 letters from tutor applicants over the past year. Many flawed letters came from experienced writing tutors.
“Pay attention to everything you write in cover letters,” warns Lisa Jacobson, Inspirica’s CEO. “Otherwise, you will get weed whacked right out.” Her firm hired just 15 tutors in the fiscal year ended in June.
3. Make your résumé and business card work overtime for you.
Too often, résumés chronicle your past rather than promote marketable skills that would benefit potential employers. An additional “pre-résumé” may make more sense, says Rick Gillis, an author of two job-hunting books who devised the concept. The one-page document contains a brief objective statement that describes precise ways you will improve a particular company, he adds.
A pre-résumé also includes highlights of four career accomplishments–plus a string of key words (such as “multi-task professional”) that get detected by resume-tracking software.
An online résumé offers another approach. You can show work samples, references’ video testimonials and any data that may demonstrate successes in your career, such as surpassing sales targets.
It’s equally important that your business card convey a memorable first impression. List your strongest skills or highest degree right under your name. But omit your physical address to appear flexible about relocation. Don’t overlook the reverse side of your card. Rather than leave it blank, you can display the name of a prominent prior employer.
4. Pay it forward.
Whether you’re on the job or seeking one, you should help others propel their careers without expecting return favors.
New Directions, an upscale executive-transition-planning firm in Boston, encourages jobless managerial clients to aid welfare mothers, homeless veterans and others hunting for work. Banker Mike Lenihan served as an unpaid mentor all three times he was a New Directions client since 2003.
He says his latest stint, involving coaching unemployed administrative assistants about the tough job market, impressed a U.S. Bancorp hiring official. He joined a unit in January as a senior vice president.
So many people assisted Mary Steele throughout her career that “I wished to pay it forward,” the head of executive compensation for Delta Air Lines Inc. says.
During a 2006 job hunt, Ms. Steele began compiling a list of high-paid human resources vacancies she didn’t pursue. She now emails similar job-lead updates 300 times a year to more than 500 people, mostly seasoned HR managers.
5. Know thyself—and be ready for reinvention.
You should constantly take stock of your dreams, values and transferrable skills. Scrupulous self-assessments can ease jitters about changing your occupation, industry, locale or pay.
After losing his job as an hourly manufacturing worker in 2006, Christopher Pearsall became a product manager for a business-software developer the following year. When the part-time paramedic got laid off again in 2008, he decided to pursue what he really loved: health care.
Mr. Pearsall will soon finish nursing school. “I have re-reinvented myself,” he says.
To succeed at your current workplace, you must be equally flexible about accepting lateral moves. Businesses like such switch hitters—as I can attest.
Today marks the last print version of a column that sought to provide uncommon solutions to common career dilemmas for 17 years. Soon, in my new monthly advice column on WSJ.com, I’ll tackle a new challenge: helping senior executives make the most of their careers.
—Write to Joann Lublin at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the other hand, as my colleague Alison Griswold points out in a thoughtful, well-researched piece, experts recognize that language rules evolve, rather than remain static. Alison gives some great examples, like the use of the words “google,” “access” and “reference” as verbs. “Access” only went from being a noun to a verb in 1962, Alison learned from the Online Etymology Dictionary. Alison has several wonderful quotes from linguistics professor Alice Harris at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Harris’s conclusion, in short: language is constantly changing, and often those changes bubble up from informal usage. I should probably let go of my fixation on “lay” and “lie.”
Still, as a plainspoken piece on today’s Harvard Business Review blog points out, it’s better to err on the side of grammar caution. The story is written by Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, an online repair manual. Wiens says, simply, that he won’t hire people who have bad grammar. He gives all of his job applicants a grammar test, making exceptions only for people with serious extenuating circumstances like dyslexia or those who are learning English as a second language. “If job hopefuls can’t distinguish between ‘to’ and ‘too,’ their applications go into the bin,” he writes. Wiens explains that he cares about grammar for two reasons. One, he points out, is that in this digital age, when we communicate increasingly in written texts and posts, “your words are all you have.” We project ourselves through our written words, he notes. Another reason is that poor grammar shows a kind of sloppiness. Wiens wants to hire people who pay attention to detail.
I can think of several other reasons that grammar is important, in spoken English as well as in the written word. When you speak, you project your level of intelligence and thoughtfulness. You also demonstrate how organized you are, in your thoughts and in your intentions. If you can get your sentences straight before you say them, you’re promising that you’re more likely to master tasks at work. In addition to good grammar, it’s best if you can scrub your speech of awkward pauses, “ums” and “uhs.” The other thing eloquence suggests is that you are listening closely to the other person, and you’re serious about what you want to convey to that person. Good grammar and clear sentences suggest respect.
Given how fast the digital world is changing the way we communicate, we may witness a more rapid change in grammar rules. But for now, as Kyle Wiens sensibly points out, it’s best to keep grammar rules in mind and try to abide by them, when writing and speaking.
Susan Adams, Forbes Staff
I cover careers, jobs and every aspect of leadership.
- I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why. (blogs.hbr.org)
- Does grammar matter anymore? (LOL) (cbsnews.com)
Develop Leadership Skills in Any Job
No matter what position you hold, leadership skills are valuable for moving you through your career and into a leadership role. Smart companies and employees know it’s critical to business survival to cultivate leadership skills at all levels.
Get Ready for Your Future
During your career, you will learn myriad leadership skills, but the following tips should give your career a jump-start:
- Show Enthusiasm: Personal energy is contagious, and so is the lack of it. No matter what the job, complete it with a sense of urgency. When others notice, they will become enthusiastic also.
- Build Optimism: Negativity in the workplace is destructive. Your boss doesn’t want to hear what’s wrong with a project; he wants to hear your suggestions for making it better.
- Be Flexible: You can’t survive in business today while resisting change. Show you can handle change by volunteering for a new project or by helping others with change.
- Cooperate: Since companies must do more with fewer resources, teamwork is essential. If you insist on having your own way or controlling others, your career will run into a brick wall.
- Be Creative: What process can be improved? How can you make things easier for customers? Use your creativity to continuously improve processes, and you will stand out.
Your First Leadership Role Requires Special Skills
Once you get the call to serve in a leadership role, you need to make some adjustments to your library of skills:
- Delegate whenever possible. Give projects to the right employees, and don’t micromanage them.
- Dedication is a critical skill in your first leadership role. Eight hours of work is not enough to show dedication. Spend a minimum of 12 hours per day on your job or your self-improvement.
- Hire employees who complement your abilities. You will limit your accomplishments hiring only people like you. When you hire individuals who have the skills you don’t, you will exceed your goals.
- Ask your peers for advice. When you are new to a leadership position, you don’t know everything. Identify your most respected peers, and ask them how they have succeeded.
- Stand by your employees. Show you trust them, and they will be trustworthy.
Stepping Up to the Next Level
When you’ve shown you are worthy of upward movement, you will need an additional set of skills for success:
- Vision: Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, had awesome vision. In 1954, he saw the McDonald brothers’ hamburger stand in California and knew he could build a business by selling 15-cent hamburgers. Over the years, he set the pace for fast food. Be a forward thinker, and share your vision with every employee.
- Become a Mentor: As you have learned along the way, you should share that knowledge with others. Look for enthusiastic employees and spend some time cultivating them.
- Share Celebrations with Your Employees: Nothing inspires a team more than knowing you appreciate everyone’s hard work.
- Give Back to the Community That Made You Successful: Get involved in the local community by making donations and volunteering. What you give out comes back to you twofold.
- Don’t Blow Your Own Horn: Others will be talking about you, which will make you appear more successful. Be grateful for the acknowledgements, but stay humble.
If you start cultivating your leadership skills, moving up will be much easier. If you realize how many times you provide guidance at work, it would be easy to realize you are a leader no matter what your current position.
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