Interviewing 101: Relax!

By George Bernocco

“What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind!” – Homer Simpson

You’ve done it. A call has come in scheduling you for an interview. You’ve been practicing with your friends, family and even your hairdresser about how to answer interview questions. The interview date is approaching, everything is lining up for this dream job you are hoping GOING to get. You’ve planned your route, outfit, childcare, meals for the day. The routine is set and the big day has finally arrived.

Now what?

Feeling nervous is the body’s natural response to perceived stress. Everyone reacts differently to stress but it can be described in various forms: butterflies in your stomach, shortness of breath, body pain, sweating, and migraines are just some of the symptoms. As you can imagine, these might distract you from your interview game. So now, let us talk about ways to minimize, if not remove, these symptoms that can affect your big day.

  1. Look before you leap

Planning ahead will minimize your stress immensely. Nothing can stress you out more than being stuck in traffic and your interview is in two minutes, or not finding the required interview paperwork before you leave to your interview. Making the interview day as easy as possible by planning ahead will give you more of a sense of control, and control is good. Scrambling around for unwrinkled interview pants on the day of the interview may leave you flustered and it can impact the interview negatively. Plan anything and everything, down to when you will leave your house to how many copies of your résumé will already be printed out.

  1. Rock-a-bye

Going along with planning your day, you will also want to plan the night before. Getting the right amount of sleep can help reduce stress. This involves being your own parent and instituting a bed time. Save the all night benders for your celebration and the Netflix marathon for another time. Ensure your alarm is set before you go to bed and start counting sheep.

  1. Nitrogen-Oxygen-Argon-Carbon Dioxide-Methane

Taking moments during your big day to slowly inhale and exhale will produce a calming feeling. As you read this post, hopefully you have tried taking a deep breath in and released it slowly. Doesn’t that feel good? Even if you are not experiencing shortness of breath, the slow breathing will give you pause and more of a sense of control.

  1. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”

Stay positive! Look into that mirror and compliment yourself. Use this to assure yourself that the position is right for you. Providing yourself with this positive outlook will make the interview hurdle seem that much smaller. Also, believing you are fit and right for the job will become a self-fulfilling prophecy as the interviewer will believe it too. Doubt and negativity will only impact your interview poorly, so make sure you spend some time casting doubts aside.

  1. Crochet your day away

When you’ve done the planning for the interview and you have spare time, spend it doing the things you love. Hobbies keep us entertained, relaxed and sane, so it makes sense to use this to your advantage. Go for a run, peruse through your stamp collection, finish that 3-D puzzle or turn on your X Box. Just like dessert comes after the meal, use your hobby as a treat for all your interview preparation. If you’re using your hobby in place of preparation, then it’s counterproductive and just regular old procrastination.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the things to do to stay calm, let’s discuss some of the things not to do. We are going to turn our attention to the interview itself, which may be the most stressful time out of the whole ordeal. All employers/recruiters know interviews can be stressful and the interviewee is most likely nervous. By the interviewee appearing more confident rather than nervous, the employer will have more confidence in you. When we are nervous, even just a little bit, we all have bad habits. Here is a list of habits to avoid doing as they can distract the interviewer so that you, the interviewee, can appear more confident:

  1. Fidgeting

Shuffling around in your seat, crossing and uncrossing your legs, looking all around the room, touching your face, playing with your hands. Avoid all of the above and keep your focus on the interviewer(s). Locking eye contact with the interviewer will have you less likely to shuffle around and more focused and “honed in”.

  1. Biting your nails

Avoid at all costs. If you are a nail-biter, keep your hands folded during the interview. Usually people who nail bite don’t even realize they are doing it, so at the start of the interview keep your hands folded in your lap or on the table in front of you.

  1. Playing with your hair

Not only does this nervous habit demonstrate anxiety, but it can also be tied to other negative opinions about you. The interviewer may feel you appear uncertain when you listen/talk while twirling your curls. Lock your hands by folding them in front of you, like the nail-biters, to prevent you from doing this.

  1. Biting your lip or cheek

Biting your lip or cheek subliminal indicates to the employer that you are uncertain or even deceptive. You want to avoid it at all costs. By constantly smiling, it makes it harder to bite your mouth and chew on your lip. So smile away, and that is much more of a positive action.

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Our Current #LaborMarket: Where do we stand?

By George Bernocco

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I figured I would not only do an update, but rather update us all on our current labor market. Questions still remain as we have transitioned out of the recession. Are there jobs and where are they? Let’s take a quick glance as 2014 begins to close out.

Unemployment Rate is down

The numbers show that, as of September 2014, unemployment rate is at 5.9% for the national rate (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm). Just so you can see the decline of the rate:

September 2011 = 9.0%

September 2012 = 7.8%

September 2013 = 7.2%

September 2014 = 5.9%

(http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/unemprateCTUS.asp)

The number suggests that the labor market is getting better nationally. Now for Connecticut, the numbers are as follows:

August 2011 = 8.9%

August 2012 = 8.5%

August 2013 = 7.8%

August 2014 = 6.6%

Although the numbers show a decline, the unemployment rate in Connecticut is still above the national number.

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Want vs Need

As the layoffs hit during the recession, no one envisioned it might take a long time for them to return to work. As a result, employment gaps among the unemployed population became the biggest concern of an “employer” market. As employers were much more selective in determining their candidates during the recession, more and more people became “discouraged” unemployed. This process occurred over about six years, where unemployment extensions came and went.

And then, everything started to get better. Numbers started to fall back below pre-recession rated. Jobs started to come around. The result was people taking jobs they needed rather than wanted, as support benefits at state and federal levels were not enough for not long enough. Jobseekers, unable to get into the field they wanted for so long during the recession, began picking up employment opportunities as they were offered to them.

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“College Graduate working as wait staff”

The labor market has changed since before recession levels. Jobs are not quite up to where they were before the recession hit, especially when we talk industry specific. If we looked at hospitality and restaurant workers, there is practically a job out there for every single job seeker. These are jobs that some, not all, would be willing to take, or have obtained in the wake of the great recession. However, these employees may have never left “job seeker” status.

The job seeker today, which may be you reading this article, might be employed. Might be at a job they don’t see a future at. The job may have been something to pay the bills, and had little or nothing to do with the career you have in mind. The job may be part time. The job might be in your career field but pays significantly less than what you made before or what you were expecting. You might be a recent Computer Engineer college graduate working as a waiter. As a result, the job seeker is looking to get back on that path towards their career as they receive a pay check from their job.

employer_sponsorship

Employer Market vs Job Seeker Market

What has been predominantly an employer market is in the process of changing towards job seeker market. As the jobs begin opening up across career fields, job seekers (whether employed or not) will be more in control. Employers will still be selective of who they want, but may have to go out and find their candidate. Employers will have to create more incentives (Pay amount, vacation, bonuses, perks, etc) to hire people, and job seekers will have more of a choice of where and who they want to work for.

The process of transition from employer market to job seeker market has already begun. Which is why as a job seeker it is important to let the employers know that, even if you are employed, you are interested in a career with them. Making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are out on the internet is crucial right now. Employers might be contacting you without you even having applied to them. This is a stark contrast from the recession era, where one would apply for a job over the internet and may never hear from the employer.

In conclusion, the job market is improving. The average job seeker varies from the job seeker of four years ago. Make yourself marketable now so that employers can find you and reach out to you for a career. When we talk about this recession, not only can we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can begin to feel some of the warmth the light provides.

How to use the #Top10 #SocialMedia sites to help you find a job.

By George Bernocco, CPRW

 

woman-on-computer-small

When looking for work on the internet, a lot of the same sites come up. LinkedIn, for example, is one site people tie social networking with job search. Facebook, however, is more tied to losing jobs. My argument in this post is that you can use any and all social media sites to help you find a job. In this article, I will break down the pros and cons for all the major social media sites to help you get a job (or even keep a job). Lastly, I also will discuss showing personality on your social media profiles.

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DISCLAIMER BEFORE WE GET STARTED: I contemplated adding this section to every single cons section below, but I figure I’d rather not repeat it over and over again:

 

spider-man-with-great-power

 

All these sites are powerful ways to connect, but you always have to be aware of what you post. Images, videos, tweets, status updates or personal information can be shared with everyone. With that, job offers can be retracted, you can be terminated from a job and some people have even faced legal consequences for what they’ve said on these sites.

 

Yes, these sites all have privacy settings that sometimes are difficult to navigate and correctly manage. Your best bet is to just be aware of what you say and do on the internet, and remember that the delete button doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone for good. Internet sites keep records (caches) of themselves which may have something you thought you deleted. Also with online websites there is always the potential of scams. Always be aware of anyone asking for your personal information over the internet.

 

  1. LinkedIn ( www.LinkedIn.com )

LinkedIn

Pros: LinkedIn a website that comes up on our blog a lot. More and more employers, job seekers, network contacts are joining this social networking website. Whether you want to connect with former employees, follow your favorite company, apply for jobs, build your interactive resume (profile) or join groups related to what you do, this website is for you. By creating a profile, you’ve notified employers that you have computer skills beyond e-mail and that you have social networking skills, something that has been building and building since the internet began. A lot of jobs allow you to fill out their online application using your LinkedIn profile to show you how advanced and almost required it has become. This website is also great to network! (surprise surprise for a social networking site). Get in contact with people to help you find a job, including career advice people such as myself.

 

Cons: LinkedIn doesn’t have many cons, and it has changed vastly throughout the years. LinkedIn does expect you to know what career you want (what industry you’re in) and does not allow you to select multiple categories. It is strongly advised that you know where you want to go career-wise and build your profile based upon that.

 

  1. Twitter ( www.Twitter.com )

Twitter

Pros: Hello Tweeters! Twitter has to be one of the most explosively popular sites out there because of the relatively short period of time it’s been around (since 2006). And with that popularity comes people to network and companies to follow. A lot of companies have accounts on Twitter and sometimes they may even have a separate account just to tweet jobs to followers. Twitter is a public forum, which even allows you to directly talk to company’s (or at least the person/people managing their social networking account). You can also question or comment to career experts for advice to help you with your job search. Bottom line is that Twitter can help promote your product and brand to make you stand out and be found by employers.

 

Cons: Twitter is a great site but there are some setbacks that can hinder your job search. The only thing someone needs to create an account is an e-mail address. Because of this, false accounts (sometimes called troll accounts) are created. Some accounts are verified (usually happens with celebrities or major corporations) and you’ll see a blue check mark that shows someone verified that this account is tied to who or what they represent. Other than that it may be difficult to determine if a person and/or a job posting are real (same problem with craigslist jobs).

 

  1. Facebook ( www.Facebook.com )

Facebook

Pros: The most popular networking site has a bad reputation when it comes to jobs. Facebook has tons of potential connections on one site to network with. This can help you easily find a job if you use it correctly. After all, networking has been the best way to find a job even before computers existed. Websites like Facebook let you connect with people, maybe former coworkers or friends of friends, to see if they know of any job postings, help with cover letters/resumes, or creating/joining career-related groups. Posting information related to your career can help you stand out amongst your friends and they can assist you with finding a job. Also a lot of companies have Facebook pages which you can follow and interact with them to assist you in job search.

 

Cons: Its worthwhile mentioning the disclaimer from above again because of the bad reputation Facebook has received regarding people LOSING a job offer or a job because of Facebook. Be careful of what you post and what other people post about you. Be careful who you’re friends with and who can see your profile. Even simple things like your birthday can possibly alter you opportunities for a job. It’s worthwhile digging into your privacy settings on a regular basis. Remember that no employer wants to see that embarrassing Christmas photo from last year.

 

  1. Pinterest ( www.Pinterest.com )

Pinterest

Pros: A visually stimulating site, Pinterest comes to mind for a lot of artists and visually creative fields. With this site, it can be geared towards job search and developing your brand. By managing images (and videos) related to your field, you can network with other people and use your Board to demonstrate knowledge of your field or create a portfolio for employers to review your work. An example for me, as a resume writer, would be to save images of resumes I’ve assisted with (minus the contact information, etc) to demonstrate my work as a living Portfolio.

 

Cons: Pinterest may not apply to everyone’s field because it relies heavily on visual media, and this problem can come up with a few other social media sites (i.e. Instagram, Vine). Employers do like someone who is creative so if you can manage to use this site to your advantage you would really stand out.

 

  1. Google+ ( www.GooglePlus.com )

Google+

Pros: Google+ can be mentioned in the same context as Facebook when we are talking about job search. Although only having less than a quarter as many users as Facebook, you can connect with people you’ve worked with, as well as others, to assist you finding a job. Google+ has your “circles” which you can create an organized group of network contacts. Circles allow you to share content to only specific groups of people, which helps maintain your privacy. Also you can follow companies and join communities related to your field allowing you to network with other people. Google+ lets you connect by adding someone to a circle of choice, without the person necessarily having to reciprocate the offer (this is more like Twitter than Facebook). Google+ also allows for free video conferencing in their “Hangouts” section which can be useful to practice teleconference interviews and share documents with people and employers.

 

Cons: Google+ has a following of people who use it and it is listed as the second largest social networking site after Facebook. However there are reports that people who are subscribed to it do not use it as often which may be difficult to use for networking. There are some career pages for companies on Google+, but not as many as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. However, Google+ is becoming a strong contender amongst social networks, and a job seeker should keep an eye out at how it can help you find a career.

 

  1. YouTube ( www.YouTube.com )

YouTube

Pros: A video sharing site, YouTube lets you upload videos to their site for others to view. Besides being in the artistic fields such as being a Director, YouTube can help you obtain a job by means of informational videos from job services professionals, or recording a “video resume” for employers to see. Employers also have accounts on YouTube which allows you to connect with them. You can also use videos on YouTube to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities about a subject related to your field to build your portfolio. You can conduct seminars and informational videos to share with employers and your network. You can also do research about company’s and job hiring.

 

Cons: YouTube has a wealth of information and comes from a variety of different sources. You may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of videos there are. People use YouTube for fun as well as seriously. You may have to sort out the videos you don’t need to find the ones you do.

 

  1. Tumblr ( www.Tumblr.com )

  2. Blogger ( www.Blogger.com )

  3. WordPress.com ( www.WordPress.com )

    Tumblr  Blogger  WordPress

    Pros: I incorporated some of the top blogging sites together to express how great blogging can be. Most people know of blogging as a diary or a journal of sorts. As you are reading this on a blog, you can see how it can be used to help you find a career. Not only can you find career advice, but you can develop and create your brand with your own blog. By demonstrating knowledge of your career through a blog, you can show employers that you are active. It also showcases your writing ability which is very important for any career that requires you to write regularly. By following blogs related to your field you can also network, comment and communicate with others in your field to help land you a job.

     

    Cons: Having a website that allows you to speak your mind can be dangerous. While reminding you of the disclaimer above, by having a blog you may get users commenting on your blog with unwanted remarks. Also, scammers and “troll accounts” can advertise their products on your page. You may have to restrict privacy settings and require approval before someone posts something on your page.

     

  4. Instagram ( www.Instagram.com )

Instagram

Pros: A visual social networking tool, Instagram can be used just like Pinterest as a visual portfolio to show off your creativity and work. I would say that Instagram would truly benefit those who work is really based upon visual art because it also adds the means of filters and image alteration. Instagram really demonstrates your ability for photography. Companies do have accounts on Instagram (i.e. Starbucks, IBM, Disney) so you can follow them and communicate with them. Having an Instagram account geared towards employment would have images related to your work to help build your online brand.

 

Cons: I debated about adding Instagram to this list because it really is based entirely upon photos and videos….but it has sharply increased in popularity. Major companies do have accounts on there just to keep up with social media trends and to market their products to users. Instagram really was designed to have fun with photos (and videos), so you’d have to be creative to think of ways it may help you land a job.

 

As you can see you can use your profile accounts for these sites to help land you a job. It is ok to demonstrate in your profiles for these websites your personality. For example, if on your Pinterest board you have ideas for decorations for your house don’t feel the need to delete it just because you want your board to be more professionally oriented. Same goes if you are a sports fan and you use Twitter to talk about games. If you’d rather not use your Facebook account (or any of the other accounts listed above) towards obtaining employment, just make sure you adjust your privacy settings.

Old School vs New School #GenerationCompany: 5 Tips to get #Hired

By George Bernocco, CPRW

old fashionednew

One of the most important steps to getting your ideal career with your ideal company is research. Understanding the company will give you an advantage during the hiring process. But we must also look at a company’s hiring process on the whole. Is the company up to date with technology? Are they still trying to catch up? Do they rely on “standard” methods of communication? Does the position you are applying for require you to assist with the transition into newer technology?

Although some of these questions I’ve posed require “insider” knowledge, others can be deduced by you noticing the company’s and it’s employee’s behavior. Also being very aware of what the job posting is requiring from you, especially computer skills may help you get a better idea about where the company is in today’s technological age. Gaining insider knowledge involves listening to any current or former employee’s perspective about their work can also give you clues into the company’s culture.

We are at a stage where more and more careers require some method of computer interaction. However, some companies are still trying to advance themselves into the technological age. Recognizing where a company you wish to work for stands on the spectrum of technologically advancement will give you insight into the job laid before you.

Here are some basic tips to give you an advantage with your job search:

  1. You’ve Got Mail

mail

More and more companies are cutting down on the length of time for the application process. If a company is asking you to submit your application over regular mail, it should immediately notify you that they are not up to date with technology. Also, I would even go as far as to say that because everything is done over mail, the pace of the company is much slower. Asking for your application information over e-mail tells you they are more advanced. In this case, I would recommend sending a “thank you” e-mail after the interview. If you sent a “thank you” e-mail to a company who required everything over fax or postal mail, they might view it negatively.

  1. What’s Up, Doc?

Doc

Understand your file types! When applying for a job on the internet, the website or e-mail instructions may require you to upload a file for your resume or application package. Depending on what they ask for can give you a hint to how advanced they are. For example, asking for a .DOCX file format can tell you they expect you to know Microsoft Word 2007 or later. Asking for a .PDF may require you to have understanding of Adobe Reader and conversion of your resume into that format. Asking for a .DOC or .RTF would signify to me they are not as advanced when it comes to Microsoft Office.

  1. Socialite

social

Any mere mention of social networking sites during the application process should give you a big clue that the company is more advanced. Most likely you might see a way to use LinkedIn to apply for the job on their website (a feature becoming more and more popular). Also, if the company has social networking profiles gives you an idea about where they are on the technology spectrum. Some companies, particularly large companies, will have multiple profiles on a website like Twitter (some geared specifically towards their career openings). Knowing that a company consistently utilizes social networking should get you bonus points when you are asked during the interview: “What do you know about our company?” Getting yourself involved in social networking sites can also assist you with standing out. On the other hand, knowing about this information for a company who is behind can produce a selling point on your behalf. Let the company know you are more than willing to assist in the transition to the technology age.

  1. Have You Heard?

newspaper

How you heard the job and where you found it will provide basic clues to the company. An extreme example would be finding a job in the newspaper versus finding a job on LinkedIn. If the job was in the paper, I might stick to more traditional ways of applying. For example, mailing in my resume (or dropping it off in person) and calling for an interview.

  1. Show Off

webcam

Communicating with the company through the computer may mean interviewing through the computer as well. Teleconferencing gives you a big indication of the company’s stance on technology. Some companies may require you to travel long distances (flight and all) for an interview, as opposed to conferencing over the internet. Having the capability to teleconference and understanding how to use Skype and other teleconference services would be an advantage for you. Fumbling around with your computer during a teleconference interview because you can’t get the audio to work would work against you.

A company is an intricate and complex organization which relies on procedures to function. Companies that fall behind in technology will see themselves struggle to stay afloat. Knowing where a company is technologically will be a great advantage to you in the hiring process. Make sure you are up to date with current technology. Some companies will be hiring to help transition themselves into the technological age. Make sure that is a topic you cover during the interview to really make you stand out.

#JobSearch: You are the #Brand; Your Skills are the #Product

By George Bernocco, CPRW

Brand-Story

If you’ve ever tried to sell something to prospective buyers before, you may understand the concept of marketing. Trying to match what the buyers are looking for with the goods you have to offer. When you create a “Brand”, you are not only trying to match the buyer’s needs but you are trying to distinguish yourself and your merchandise from other vendors/products out there. Making your product stand out from the rest sells your product and thus creates a brand.

When we apply the concepts of marketing and creating a brand to job search, not much has changed. The product you are trying to sell is your skills. To create your brand essentially means that you get your brand name out into the market so that it can be found by interested parties. Word of mouth is a very popular marketing tool, which is why job search networking is crucial. The idea behind having a strong network is to have network contacts recommending your brand name product (your skills) to a prospective buyer (employer). By having more and more people discussing your product, your brand name has begun to develop a “presence”. By having a presence, you’ve become recognizable, memorable, relatable and authentic.

Let’s step back to think about some of the day to day items we purchase. There are some brands I prefer over others, and it depends upon my experiences with these brands. Commercials we see on television, or even before a YouTube video, are all about trying to make a company’s product real to you. When you are applying for work, you are on the business end of trying to make yourself real to a company. Interviews can be viewed as a live-action commercial, or “infomercial”, to the employer. Some commercials are more interesting and relatable than others, which is why we don’t buy everything that we see on TV.

So we’ve established network contacts that will also provide “word of mouth” recommendations about you. Now what is the next step to getting our brand out there? We can follow the business model of how companies get their name out there. Business cards, for example, sell a company’s product easily because they can be passed on to interested parties who have a reminder of their services. They are small little reminders about services and goods that are portable and easy to carry. Networking cards are identical to business cards and with the only difference being that you are the brand and your skills are the products being offered.

To take your brand development to the next level, technology has the potential to move your brand name through the world. Much like commercials have expanded from billboard ads to radio to television and now online videos, we must get our brand out there and up to date with current trends. The internet is an exceptional tool for you to utilize to get your name recognizable. As soon as you created any sort of profile that is visible to anyone else on the internet, you’ve started what we call a “digital presence”. Facebook, LinkedIn, a personal blog, Twitter, and much more can be all tied to your digital presence. You should select each social networking site carefully with the goal of controlling your digital presence. How you market yourself on these websites is imperative to your brand name. An employer wouldn’t hire an potential employee who has images of them doing drugs on Facebook much like you wouldn’t buy a car that catches fire in their commercial, nor would you probably trust the car-maker brand name. To sell your product, you must protect and maintain an “image” for your brand. In regards to your job search, your image should be professional, interesting and relevant.

Be aware of what may hurt your image when it comes to your digital presence. Much like a bad review at a restaurant can hurt its business; a negative search with your name can hurt your chances of getting a job. Your brand must be solid and dependable, which will reflect your product (the work you do).

Being a member of organizations and being published in relation to the work you do also assist with developing your brand. If your name is out there where employers can trace your work, you have successfully developed something that the potential employers can identify with. Just be aware that other information outside of your field could help or hurt. It is important to know what is out there regarding your product.

When you create your own brand and market your abilities as your product, you are answering the employer’s question: “Why should I hire you over the other candidates?” Identifying your strengths as brand name recognition will put you ahead of the candidates. In the end, the employer will select a brand (candidate) that is most in line with their goals and fits well with their corporate environment.

5 Tips for the #SecondInterview

By George Bernocco, CPRW

round two

Getting the call back from the employer is always a good sign. Something about your resume may have stood out, or something about your first interview made them want you. However, you might not be the only one that has caught their eye. They may need further information to determine who the qualified candidate really is. Having made it through a first interview, you may not know what the second interview will entail. Here are some expectations, information and suggestions when you get the call.

  1. The follow-up interview should not be a surprise

When the employer asked you at the end of the first interview if you had any questions, one of them should have been “when can I expect to hear back from you?” In the answer, the employer might tell you they are looking to narrow down a pool of candidates. Or they might tell you “there will be another round of interviews by this date”. Even if you didn’t get a response about a second interview, you should always expect it. Phone interviews (or teleconference interviews) can typically lead to in-person interviews. A strong candidate will know that there is always more to say about how qualified they are for the position, and should not be afraid to come back in to do it.

  1. You were seen as a viable candidate

Coming in for the second interview, you stood out to the person (or people) who interviewed you the first time. If you do encounter this person at the second interview, chances are that they will not be alone. They will be demonstrating you to their boss, colleagues or your future coworkers. Acknowledge this person, and don’t be afraid to reference anything you spoke about in the prior interview. This person is your key to the success of the second interview, and you want to make sure you elaborate. By the time the second interview has commenced, you should know why they identified you for the next round.

  1. What wasn’t asked, will be asked

If you feel like there were areas you didn’t cover in the first interview, rest assured you have your “second chance”. The second interview will be tougher, meaning more questions, more elaboration, more about you and more about the position. Some second interviews will bring up your salary requirements so be prepared for that question. Just remember that you should always let the employer bring up questions surrounding salary and you should never initiate the discussion. Situational questions, stress questions and/or tests will be provided to really distinguish you from the rest. Details you did not have time to cover in the first interview should be elaborated upon. Think of it this way: the first interview was generic, the second interview is specifics.

  1. Third interview is always a possibility

Don’t assume the interview process is complete when you walk out the door of the second interview. A third interview and beyond can occur when an extremely large amount of people applied, or the employer just wants to be extra sure about whom they hire. Usually with the third interview, they’ve narrowed down the applicant pool to less than a handful of possible candidates. By now you should be more than confident about the position, and at this phase the employer will be discussing very specific details about the job to see how your knowledge and skills can apply.

  1. Don’t forget the Thank You letter

Just as with the first interview, make sure you follow up with a thank you letter. The same rules apply: send or e-mail it out within the first 48 hours (the sooner the better). Mention specifics about the second interview and send it to any individual you met with. One page should always suffice and specifics from the interview should be mentioned.

Do not get discouraged if you are not offered the position after the second interview. You’ve stood out; they’ve seen your resume and talked with you. This company will remember you if other positions are available. They may contact you as soon as the position is posted, before any one else applies. Interviews are a way of networking, and you should have the name(s) of any one who interview you as a connection for the future.

In the years before the job market seemed to crash, second interviews were usually a great sign. They combined an interview with an orientation of the job, having the job seeker fill out necessary employment paperwork as well as negotiating salary. Now that the amount of job seekers has increased significantly, second interviews are ways of narrowing down the pool even further. Just remember that you have stood out, and elaborate on that fact. The employer will ask, in their own way, how you stand out from the other candidates. Ensure you are able to answer this as the most qualified and best person to work for their company, and your second interview will end in success.

When your #Resolution is to get back into the #Workforce: FAQ

By George Bernocco, CPRW

A new year brings about new promises, hopes, dreams and goals. Will this year be better than the last? In terms of the job market, we hope so. Over 1.3 million people are losing their unemployment extensions at the end of 2013 and now must look to the New Year with uncertainty about employment and employability. Let us look at some of the factors that will come into play for the 2014 job market:

Is the job market getting any better?

Yes. Slowly but surely the job market numbers have gotten better, especially towards the end of 2013. Every state is different, but Connecticut has improved recently in the fourth quarter. Unemployment rates across the board are shrinking, jobless claims are also going down and jobs are being created. The year to come looks promising when we observe what happened to the job market in 2013.

What will employers be hiring for?

Many different sources can point to many different directions, but I feel confident saying that technology and healthcare jobs will be at the forefront of hiring. Especially if any of the jobs cross over due to the new healthcare laws. Technology is an extremely important skill to have, whether is using a computer to creating an “app” for a tablet, the world has become more reliant on technology.

How will employers hire?

Marketing your skills successfully has always been the best way to get employment. I feel that the 2014 year will still be an “employer market” where companies can be pickier about whom they hire because of the amount of job seekers. Continuing to build a digital presence to get noticed by employers will follow through into 2014. Some of the items to obtain employment that will continue are:

  • Professional resumes and LinkedIn profiles
  • In-person interviews and videoconference/teleconference interviews
  • Cover letters and thank you letters; cover letter e-mails and thank you e-mails
  • Networking and social media
  • Online applications

Will I be paid enough?

Across the United States, at least 14 states (including Connecticut), will raise their minimum wages. Some of them are even adjusting their laws regarding how they go about raising the wage every year. The federal government is also looking at raising the federal minimum wage. Average rates of pay across the United States have increased by 3% for 2013, and are expected to continue for 2014.

Moving on towards 2014, our country is recovering from a long and difficult recession. The important part is that we are recovering and it may take a long time for the entire nation to feel parts of that recovery. Continuing to pursue your ideal opportunity, working on your digital presence and networking to break into the job market will all assist you in 2014.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind ?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

new years

Sources:

http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/compensation/articles/pages/2014-salary-increases-flat.aspx

http://www.npr.org/2013/12/24/256879640/living-wage-effort-eclipsed-by-minimum-pay-battles

http://www.careerinfonet.org

http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/index.asp

#WorkExperience in today’s #JobMarket

By George Bernocco, CPRW

“I’m looking for the right Tea Kettle to fit in my kitchen.”

Red

Employer’s have an idea of what they are looking for. There are candidates who have done the job before which is one aspect of what makes a candidate qualified. Job seekers often think “Well, I have done this for years; I should be the top candidate for the position hands down.”  Experience is not the only thing an employer is looking for, and now more than ever it seems like having “too much” experience can hurt you. Let’s take this dynamic into visual representation, in which the employer is looking for a Tea Kettle to buy:

Job Posting

“Position: Exciting Youth Educator

We are seeking a unique individual to teach innovative ideas to a class of 8-10 year old kids through 6-week journey of creative product development. This unique course is hands-on, fast-paced, vibrant and meets once weekly.

Candidate(s) must be curious, confident, evolving, friendly, ground-breaking personality and versatile. Background in education helpful. Previous teaching experience is not a prerequisite provided candidates are able to connect with motivate and inspire students.

Other qualifications:

  • Passionate about inspiring kids of all ages through a combination of art, science, business and fun.
  • Ability to lead, supervise and engage a class of 16-20 children.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills.
  • Patient, enthusiastic and resourceful.
  • Ability to contribute positively to overall mission, marketing efforts and relationship with community.

Please send relevant information — hires will be made in the next few weeks.”

This is the kind of Tea Kettle the employer is looking for:

Modern

Cover Letters

Incorrect Response:

“I am inquiring about the position you had posted on your website. I am a Teacher with over 30 year’s experience in the school system having taught over 4,000 children. I have experience administering tests, homework assignments and curriculum. I am noted to be an excellent educator and received a Teacher of the Year award in 1979. I have been rewarded for my discipline abilities and maintaining a safe, quiet educational environment. I believe my experience qualifies me for the position, and please see the attached resume depicting my extensive work history. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to schedule an interview.”

The Tea Kettle that was marketed by this individual:

Older

The problem with the above cover letter, besides not incorporating any key words from the posting, is that the experience reflects an educator who’s personality does not reflect what the employer is looking for. The individual only utilized experience and nothing else, to suggest that he is qualified for the position. Experience cannot be the only determining factor is obtaining employment and employers are concerned with how your personality can mesh with the job duties.

Correct Response:

“I have a very strong interest in pursuing a teaching career at your exciting school. With experience working at the elementary level, as well as in activities outside of the traditional classroom, I have a diverse background with much to offer.

I am a friendly, enthusiastic individual with extensive teaching experience on the first, second and third grade level, in both suburban and urban school districts. I am passionate about working with children in dynamic and exciting environments that facilitate learning. I exhibit patience for lessons which allow me to break down sometimes complicated concepts to simple examples that my young students to grasp.

I am an active child advocate in my community as a volunteer at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and am constantly involved with ensuring proper education is taught to our youth. I can manage dynamic learning environments of up to 25 children in a fast-paced setting. I can also ensure excellent communication between colleagues, parents and students to create a productive educational experience.

My resume is enclosed. I will forward an official copy of my transcript along with references under separate cover. I will contact you next week to discuss employment opportunities. I look forward to speaking with you.”

The Tea Kettle that was marketed by this individual:

Basic

Experience is important, but it’s really a single element of the job hiring process. One must identify the key words used in job posting to identify the personality the employer is looking for. The employer likes to be able to mold someone into their ideal candidate, and the easier you are to mold the better chance you have of becoming hired.

Expect the Unexpected: Seven things to know when you get called by the #Employer

By George Bernocco, CPRW

Bad-Phone-Interview-8.28.13

Besides residing in a digital age, the house phone is slowly becoming obsolete. Most resumes nowadays contain one number and it is a cell phone. As most of us know, there are pros and cons to having a mobile device that you carry with you. First and foremost, you can be reached at any time and it is only at your discretion if you choose to answer the phone or not. Employers are also joining in on the digital age, and more often they contact candidates over e-mail. Phone conversations are not obsolete yet, so be prepared for that employer to give you a ring.

After completing an application and after an interview, it is important to be on high alert when it comes to expecting the call. Your phone should already be set up to be as professional as possible:

  • No “ringback tones”.

  • Voicemail recording with your full name.

When you do get the call, there are seven things that you should be aware of:

  1. Number Recognition

phone

A call to your cell phone from an unknown number can mean numerous things. After you’ve applied to several jobs recently, it is easy to assume that it can be an employer. If you’ve done your company research (or even called the employer before), you may recognize the number immediately. If you try to find the number before they attempt to call you, it will be less stressful on your behalf and also less of a mystery.

  1. Availability to Talk

Subway Loud

Recognizing that you may not be able to talk at the time of the call is important. If you are in the middle of a crowded supermarket or entertaining guests at your house, you have a decision to make. Should you try to get some place quieter to talk, or should you let it go to voicemail? Be aware that I have heard stories from jobseekers who attempt to call the employer back after a voice message and have been notified that they are no longer scheduling interviews. Most employers understand and are human, and know that you may not be able to pick up the phone that instant. Just call them back at your earliest convenience.

  1. Preparation

phone prepared

When you answer the phone and decide you want to conduct the conversation then and there, you should at least grab a writing utensil and paper, or open up a blank document on your computer to take notes. You want to grab what you’ll need for the conversation (resume, cover letter, reference numbers, etc). Usually the employer will ask for what they need and it is ok to let them know that it will take you a moment to pull that information up. It does not look good on your behalf if they hear you constantly fumbling around for information. If you cannot pull up what they require, ask them if you can submit it to them at a later date.

  1. Accidental Answer

oops

You may get caught off guard by an employer call and suddenly be trapped. You answered the phone without looking at the caller ID assuming it was someone else, or you “unlocked” your phone just as they were calling. It is important to know to keep calm. Depending on why they are calling you, they may ask you if this is a good time to talk. A decision has to be made on your part if it truly is a good time to hold a conversation. If you are out and about, no where nearly quiet to talk, or about to parachute from an airplane, you should let the employer know that you cannot talk this very instant and you would like to reschedule. If you do reschedule a talk, make sure you mark it down and are available. Rescheduling again is not an option.

  1. Phone Interview

old-telephone-icon

A phone interview is a time consuming process. Employers can schedule this in advance (usually in place of an in-person interview). However, every once in a while an employer may call and interview you on the spot. This is highly stressful, and can be viewed by the employer as a “stress test” to see how you respond. Usually they may ask you questions such as “why did you apply for our company” or “tell me about yourself”. It’s important to be aware and prepared for questions like this once you apply for the job. Make sure you get the person’s name, title and contact information for a follow up thank you letter or e-mail. Ask them for their information at the beginning and/or end of the interview.

  1. Job Offer

job offer

When you get the call and it’s a job offer, you will need to instantly be prepared for dialogue with the employer representative. This includes questions about accepting the position, salary negotiations and a start date. Make sure you are in a place to write this information down so you do not forget.

  1. Thank You

thank you

As the conversation ends, ensure you are grateful for the time that was given on your behalf. Always try to get the person’s name whom you spoke with and have it placed somewhere for you to save for the future, especially if it was a phone interview. If you somehow forgot to say thank you, send an e-mail as soon as you get off the phone ensuring that you appreciated the time they took to speak with you.

#Interview Success: Align Your #Goal

By George Bernocco, CPRW

alignment-1024x790

If you want to pass the interview and get the job, it revolves around a simple idea. You were selected to see if you match what the company is looking for. Even though it is considered an “employer market”, it is important for your goals to align with the company’s goals.

Alignment

1372712534_planetary_alignment_by_eviloverseer-d33wbgf

Companies want to know if you can do the job, simple enough. The company has goals of their own which usually involve staying in business and getting more business. An employer also wants to know if you mesh with their idea of a perfect candidate. A necessary question you must ask the employer during an interview is:

“What is your idea of a qualified candidate?”

Their response will give you the information required to correctly align yourself as that qualified person. However, it is important for you to know what your plans are if you get hired.

1. Is this job a place you plan on staying for a while?

2. Are you going to be seeking a promotion?

3. What is your ultimate goal when you get within the company walls?

These are questions employers are wondering, even if they do not come out and ask during the interview. The questions they do ask will give them an idea of what your goals are. Assumptions will be made, and it is important for you to either verify or adjust any assumption the employer makes. For example, if you are considered “overqualified” for the position, the assumption might be made that you will not be at the company for long because you may be offered something that better suits your qualifications.

When you identify any incorrect assumptions about your goals, and correct them during the interview, you have aligned your goals with that of the employer. Addressing the issues at hand can be a direct question asked to the employer:

“Is there anything I have mentioned during this interview that concerns you?”

The direct approach can work in your favor, but it is up to you to determine if it is appropriate to ask and to have the courage to ask it. Once you’ve demonstrated that your goals are similar to the employers, you’ve successfully passed the interview. Qualified candidates have the ability to ask questions to the employer during the interview to gauge what they are looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they think about you as it can help you stand out in a positive manner.