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Things you should never do in a job interview
Classics, which are a lot to do with nerves, but: - Forgetting the consultants name - Forgetting the name of the company they're applying for - Forgetting to bring their resume - Making things up about themselves - [Making things up] about how much experience they've got - Forgetting the address, and being late So, you think of any excuse you can think of, we've heard them all. When you're in an interview situation, an organisation, an employer or recruiter should understand - it's one of the most stressful things a person can do. Changing jobs is one of the most stressful things, next to buying a home, buying a car, having a child, getting married, getting divorced, having some sort of emotional trauma. Right up there with all of those things is an interview and trying to get a new role. So, anyone doing the interviewing has to have some compassion and understanding. But you see just incredible things. I've seen candidates so tired, falling asleep, forgetting the question. Talking for too long. You get asked a question, they answer it, then they answer it again, then they answer it again and answer it again. They think, by talking, over and over and over, that will convince the interviewer that they're the right candidate. You need to think. I always say to people - The motto, particularly for all of us to remember, is that we have two ears, two eyes and one mouth and a nose and we need to use our senses, our sensory perception skills, in that order. So, listen a lot, look a lot and speak only as needed. And I think that's the motto for a really good interview.
Interview tips #1
What impresses me, is when I'm talking to somebody who I can really feel has researched my business, my organisation. So, gone online and done any searches they can for any articles, so they actually understand my business, they know the sort of business I'm in, and they know something about me. So I think that tells me they're interested. Someone coming and just saying "Well, I'm looking for a job as a recruitment consultant." ... well, they can get a job in hundreds of companies as a recruitment consultant, but why my company? Why me? I think that's a really important thing, to be interested enough to have done the research. Really, really good candidates know things about my business that I don't, which really surprise me. So they weave it into the interview somewhere. So that's the first thing. To know about the organisation you're applying [to]. There's just so much information out there. There's no reason or excuse that you shouldn't be able to find out something about the organisation you're applying for.
Interview tips #2
I think the second thing, that I find is really important, is 'Ok, you're a recruitement consultant, but what are you going to do for me?', 'Why are you different?' and 'What are you going to do for my organisation that other people are not going to do?'. So, think about yourself. Think about your strengths and talk to those things about why you are different, and what you are going to do for me. A lot of people don't realise they've got to have a reason to buy. An employer is the buyer, the candidate (in an interview situation) is the seller; although in very clever organisations they sell themselves to the candidate as well. But 'Why should I buy?' should be another perspective, looking at it from the candidate's point of view.
Interview tips #3
And thirdly, I think feeling that you have a match, in an emotional sense and a non-employment sense, so you like the values of the organisation. "I'm aligned to the mission that you have as an organisation, I like the social attitude you put on your internet site, I like the way you have community involvement and you use your employees in the community. I like those things. I like the values and the reason that you want to be, as a organisation." So, not only am I aligned in a professional sense, I'm aligned in an emotional and value-base sense. So I'm not like this (gestures misaligned hands), I fell I'm like that (demonstrates alignment). That's really what people want in an employee. People don't usually leave for money, the reason people leave jobs is about seven or eight. Number seven or eight - the money. But number one is they feel emotionally detached from the organisation. So, on the way in, you need to be able to say that I've looked at your organisation, your annual reports, the web-site; I've looked at all of these things and I really feel aligned with the values and the purpose of your business.
Leveraging off people
Well I suppose in a word these days that's called "networking", and networking's alive and well. From school, people have used "the old boy network", (you've heard that before), which is a sort of an incestuous networking thing. But these days networking's a much broader thing and it's much more respected by both individuals and organisations. So, I think you use your friends to talk about what do they think you're good at. So, use people you know to get an objective view about who you are and what you'd be good at and then, you've got something you can look for. So, who do they know? Does anyone know anyone in the IT industry? Who do know that works at Google? Your auntie, your brother, so ask all your relatives, send out emails to all of your friends. And the other way you can do it, which is something I really like, is if you're talking about an IT organisation, you start going along to functions that IT people go to, and you start looking for people who work in the organisation that you've targeted, that you want to join in and you say very up-front: "How do I get a job in your organisation? I've loved it forever." "Who are people that would hire a person with my skills and attributes in your organisation?" "How do I approach them? Where do they go to?" So try and meet the people out of the work environment. It's not devious, it's not being sneaky, it's just being clever. That's what networking's about: using that leverage, other people's knowledge and other people's contacts to help you get what you want, and it's not a bad thing. I don't mind when people ring me up and say "This is what I'm looking for. Do you know anyone who's can help?" It's not a big deal to help people who are asking, it doesn't take long these days to click on a mouse and forward a CV, or forward a contact or ring someone up and say, you know, "Paul Tyrrell, he's going to call you, can you please look after him?"
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This month's top rated article
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

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