The ABC’s of Face to Face Interviews

There are many important points of a face to face interview that need to be considered. These are some of the most rudimentary.   We will call them the ABC’s:

-Dress for the occasion:

This does not always mean wear a suit whether you are male or female. I recently sent a candidate on an interview and they specifically said do not wear a suit as they are business casual. Do your best to find out from the person who set you up on the interview what the dress code for the interview is and how you should dress. If you can’t find this out then the rule of thumb is to dress professionally.  For a man you can’t go wrong with a pair of dress slacks, dress shirt with a collar and a sports jacket. You can always remove the jacket if it is more casual. For a woman slacks and a nice shirt will work. If you are interviewing for a bank or financial company a suit or pant suit may be in order.

-Come early:

Often at an interview there will be some paperwork to fill out such as an application, background check permission etc. Coming early you can often get this information taken care so it does not cut into the actual interviewing time. Also if you are driving or being driven to an interview coming early can handle if there are any traffic problems. Beyond these points there is something to be said for getting a little adapted to your surroundings before beginning your interview. I will make you more relaxed and can even give you a feel for the people coming in and out of the office.

-Bring prepared documents

It is good to have a small binder with several nice copies of your most recent resume. Also you should bring a list of your references on a separate sheet with their name, email, title, when you worked for them and phone numbers to reach them. If you are filling out an application at the interview a sheet with everything you would put on the application is generally a good idea, include exact dates of employment, who your boss was etc. will make it much easier to fill out your application. Human Resources may ask you questions on what you wrote on your application and if necessary you can refer back to this information. If you have a portfolio that supports your skills, say you are in marketing or Graphic Design, bring that with as well.  I would not whip it out at a moment’s notice like your Mother does with embarrassing pictures of you when you were an infant in the bathtub when you prom date comes over, But if requested at least you have it ready.

-Get business cards

Ask for business cards from everyone you interview with. Other than the simple fact it is a good professional thing to do, it also serves a few other purposes. Sending a thank you email is a good idea right after the interview and without a direct email address to the interviewer it is difficult to do this and make sure the email is received.

lso if you do not get a response for a while from the company you have a contact point to follow up with. Lastly the contacts you meet at an interview can be very useful in the future even if you don’t get the job.

-Make a good first impression

Make sure you smile look in the eye and shake the hand of your interviewer when you meet the person who is interviewing you. Try to be genuine as you do this. A fake or strained smile can do more damage than good. Be yourself, interviewers are looking to find out who you are not a just a perfect version of yourself you are portraying at the interview. Plus if you are hired and the fake version of you is all they see during the interviewing process, when they meet the real you, who is to say that your real personality is the right match for the culture of the company and not the fake one.

-Get your questions answered

Interviewing is a two way street. Certainly you’re there to be asked questions by the company to determine if you’re right for the role they are hiring for, but equally important you’re there to find out if the role and company are right for you. Definitely you need to have questions ready for the hiring authorities that you could end up working for related to job. But also it is important to have questions for human resources about benefits and the company in general. The more information you have early in the interviewing process the easier it will be for you to compare this opportunity to other potential opportunities you may have come up.

-Find out what the next steps are before you leave

A face to face interview for most companies is a considerable amount of effort and does not occur unless they are seriously considering hiring you.  Often it is the last step other than references or a background check before an offer of employment is extended. While you are at a face to interview and you are interacting with real live people, there is a certain obligation from the individuals you are dealing with to answer your questions; it would be rude otherwise. Therefore you should definitely not leave the building without getting some sense of what the next step is in the interviewing process as the sense of obligation to communicate with you tends to be much less when you are no longer physically at their offices. Take for example after a week of hearing nothing from the company you call HR and get nothing but an answering machine and no call back. The nerve racking thing about this lack of communication is that it does not necessarily mean that they are not interested in you and moving on. It truly may just be “their process”. So if you can find out exactly what their process is before you leave you will save yourself a lot of frustration.

Assume the person reading your resume is a Monkey

The title of this Blog is a bit insulting and rightly so. It is meant to get your attention so that you do not pass over the article – – to make you take notice!!!

If you were driving down the street and you saw a Billboard but you couldn’t make out what it said because the words were too small and the message was hidden in a thousand words, you would probably not understand it or crash your car trying to figure it out.

But on the other hand, if it said “EAT AT JOE’S” there would be no mistaking the message.

So is my message when referring to your resume. If you were trying to show something to a monkey you wouldn’t do it quietly or subtlety. You would be obvious about what you were doing. You’d talk simple to a monkey — Monkey wants a Banana? Monkey wants a toy? — Straight forward and obvious.

So how does simple talk, monkey talk, apply to a resume?

As a recruiter when I am sent an unsolicited resume or one that just lands in my inbox without me asking for it, I read it quickly. I am looking for the general gist of what it is about. Do I have a job for this person now, later or never? If it is later, I take a minute to review it. If it is never I take even less time. The “now” resume I will read in detail.

But if it is not obvious to me what your resume is about, what you are looking for, what your skills are, I could easily pass you by. A candidate’s submission that could be a “now” resume can easily be missed.

Let’s take for example a resume from Joe who sells software to wireless clients. Joe’s resume needs to spell out who he’s selling to, how much he sold, how much his quota is and how he achieved or exceeded it. Plus, if Joe knocked it out of the park by hitting a quota of 150%, this statistic had better jump out on the resume, bold-faced and blazing across the top of the resume.

Having placed many sales people, I have learned the hard way that when the client throws the resume back in my face because this blazing info was not included. A sales resume is not the exception to the rule. Every resume needs a bold-faced listing. Show a little confidence in your resume. Speak out. It never hurts.

In my business, we are submitting resumes for specific jobs. That means we have job-specific specifications. In “monkey” terms, — state the obvious, say what you do, say it boldly, say it so that it’s obvious, meet the specifications, tell me what you do best, tell me what you have achieved that apes (mimics) the job-specific specifications — because if you don’t, your resume won’t be a “now” resume to anyone who reads it.

Companies speak in their own language or nomenclature. If you have the exact skills in your resume that meet the job-specific specifications, and you call these exact skills “email marketing” and the company calls it “viral marketing” or “ECRM Marketing”, change your verbiage to read what the company is asking for on your resume. Make it obvious

Make it so that a Monkey could figure out that you’re the one for the job!

When you give a resume to a company, either through a recruiter or directly, you do not see the path that your resume takes. Your resume can pass through an “applicant tracking system” that looks for specific keywords. This “monkey-like” system only reads for key words — no key words and the monkey understands nothing.

Take my advice. Make your key points bold, clear and obvious. Always assume the person reading your resume is a Monkey.

How to avoid embarrassing recruiting calls at work

It amazes me how many times while calling a perspective job candidate, that I call someone in the middle of a meeting, or inappropriate time at work.

You would think in this world of technology that can make an unmanned space vehicle go to Mars a sheep genetically grown from a test tube and Joan Rivers still looks the age of 50 when he is actually 110, that they could create a way for job searchers to have their phone calls go somewhere else beside their cell phones.

Now with gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail and other free email services, people have handled the problem of receiving email at work from headhunters and companies.   In addition, with so many people today only having a cell number, how can one receive those inappropriate calls at work?

Well, believe it or not there are actually several solutions– Tossable Digits is a virtual number, meaning you can use it for a while and when you no longer need it, as if after finding a job, you just toss it away.  Some of the features include.

-Do Not Disturb:

Control when callers can reach you!

You decide when you want to receive calls by restricting the times that your calls are forwarded to you. If a call comes in after hours, your caller can leave a message on your voicemail.

-Advanced Voicemail:

Listen to messages via phone, web or email!

If you’ve activated voicemail on an Extension or Virtual Number, and a call is received during a time you have restricted, callers will be asked to leave a voicemail, which you can later retrieve via their website, phone or email as an MP3 attachment.

-Call Screening:

Hear who is calling before you answer!

Tossibile Digits’ advanced call screening system asks callers to identify themselves by recording their name. When a call is forwarded to you, you’ll hear your callers recorded name and can choose to accept or decline the call. If you decline a call, your caller will be forwarded to voicemail without knowing their call was declined.

Now, I have not personally used this service but a friend has and loves it. It is not free, but not too expensive, running about $5.00 a month.   If it saves you from getting busted by your current employer because of you’re talking to potential new employers, it is worth it.

Now with a little bit of “googling” you can find other similar products, but with slightly different features. Google Voice”  are among others, all of which approximate the cost of a ring tone or two per month and are well worth it.

My favorite and the one I use all the time is Magic Jack. For a one-time fee of $40.00 you have a VOIP line that you can call at no cost, anywhere in the US. You have voice mail, music on hold, can pick your area code, and check your messages online from a received email. It is a killer. In addition, to renew each year the cost is only $19.95. I have used it for several years and love it.

The point is this — don’t get your “butt in a sling” at work while driving in your car and answering your speaker phone. Just because the number is in your area code, and you think it is someone you know, it could very well be a recruiter calling about a job you’re not even interested in. In fact, he may be calling you because you forgot to take your resume off Monster three months ago, when you got a new job.

I know about this from experience. I have been that recruiter and it was ugly, real ugly.