Archive for July, 2012
Job Interview From Hell
Monday, July 30th, 2012
If you’re a regular reader of our blog then you know better than to walk into an interview without doing your homework first. But sadly there are still job seekers out there giving well-prepared candidates a bad rap by coming in cold. This Fast Company magazine article by Yesware CEO Matthew Bellows details how an unprepared, cocky candidate blew an interview big time. Interviewing can be stressful, but you have to keep you cool and do your best to handle even the most awkward moments with class.
At some point during an interview, you may realize you’re not the best candidate for the job. Have you ever considered being honest with the hiring manager, and instead of trying to sell yourself into a job you’re not right for, steered the conversation to how you might add value to the company in other ways? It’s a bold move to be sure, and not appropriate for all people in all instances, but the important thing to remember is this: Leave on a positive note. Impress the interviewer with your character, your competence and your charisma. Who knows, he or she may be in a position to bring you back in to interview for another opening, or recommend you to a friend.
This may sound like a stretch but I’m living proof that people you interview with can become your allies, even when you don’t get the job. My good friend Michael R. and I met when I was interviewing for a job in which he would report to me. The company announced a hiring freeze before I could get an offer, and so it never came to pass. But we had such a great rapport and strong connection that ten years later we are still friends, still allies, and still helping each other succeed in our respective careers.
Do you have a “interview from hell” story to share, or a question you’d like me to run by my personal network of recruiters and hiring managers? Leave a comment and let me know!
Tips For Working With Recruiters
Monday, July 23rd, 2012
For this week’s post I interviewed Susan Rosenstein, President of Susan Rosenstein Executive Search Limited, a boutique search firm focusing on the recruitment of middle to senior level executives in the functional areas of marketing, integrated marketing communications, digital marketing/social media, consumer insights, marketing research, shopper marketing and sales. While you may not be looking for a marketing job, you can learn a great deal from Susan about how to best work with recruiters:
Q: Susan, what advice do you have for recent grads just starting their career?
A. Build relationships early in your career. Don’t wait until you need to look for a job. Consider it part of your career planning. Think long-term.
Q. What is the best way to find a qualified recruiter that specializes in a particular niche?
- Ask your colleagues for recommendations
- Search LinkedIn on keywords in your industry along with the word “recruiter.” Recruiters often work nationwide, so don’t limit yourself to your backyard
- Explore industry associations. For example, marketers should consider the American Marketing Association. Recruiters with similar interests are likely to also be members.
- Don’t forget alumni websites and your school’s LinkedIn groups where recruiters often post jobs.
Once you have gathered a few names, do your homework. Visit recruiter’s websites to determine if they specialize in your functional area(s) of interest, level of experience and geographical preference. Understand how the recruiter works with his/her clients, e.g. retained, contingency, or “container”, a hybrid model.
Q. What are your top tips to successfully work with a recruiter?
- Introduce yourself via email and attach a copy of your resume. Briefly describe your qualifications and the type of work you’re seeking and request a phone meeting to explore if you’re a good match for their practice.
- Be prepared and organized for your call. Managing your career is first a “thinking” exercise, then comes the “doing”. Be prepared with a target list of companies including industry, culture, size, salary, geographic preference and any other important parameters. Create a vivid picture for the recruiter of your dream job.
- Be respectful of the recruiter’s time. Ask how they prefer to work, for example, how often should you provide updates, and what is the best mode of communication (email, phone, social media).
- Recruiters may not meet with you until they have a search that fits your background. When you do meet, remember that you have to “sell” the recruiter first, and only then will they feel comfortable “selling” you to their client! Help the recruiter see your personality and presence. The success of this meeting may be the deciding point of whether they send you for an interview or not!
- If you are able, offer to be a resource for the recruiter for any current or future searches. Being a valuable resource is a great way to stay top of mind.
Q. What are some ways candidates can stay connected in between opportunities?
- LinkedIn. This allows the recruiter to tap into your connections and vice versa. Be judicious in asking the recruiter to introduce you to their connections. Many of their connections are candidates and clients who they may not feel comfortable contacting.
- Facebook and Twitter – be a fan, be a follower.
- Email. Send updates when you have career news – a promotion, change in responsibility, updated contact information, or a new assignment. It not only keeps you top of mind but also helps us keep our candidate database current. If you are in transition, send periodic updates to let the recruiter know you are still looking and include any recent consulting assignments completed or interviews you’ve had, even if they did not result in a job offer.
You’ll find more advice on working with recruiters in an earlier blog. Have a specific question for Susan? She’s on Twitter at @susanrosenstein. And if you’d like to submit a question or suggestion for a future post, leave us a comment here!
The Future’s Top Employer – Healthcare, Healthcare, Healthcare
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
You’ve likely heard that healthcare opportunities will increase to meet the needs of the aging baby-boomer population. Still, it’s astounding just how many jobs this translates into.
According to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce, 5.6 million new healthcare jobs will be created – in just the next EIGHT years! Of course, this is great news for doctors and nurses, but what about other job seekers?
If you’re not a trained medical professional, there are still plenty of opportunities. Hospitals still need marketers to design their brochures, accountants to manage payroll, and information technology professionals to keep the computer systems up and running. This is in addition to non-clinical yet healthcare specific professions – which include Healthcare IT, CPT Coding, and Pharmaceutical Sales
Hospital not for you? There are plenty of other types of places to work. Nursing homes, private practice, and urgent aid clinics are just a few. You may even be able to work in academia, as an employee within a university’s medical school.
If you’d still prefer an office environment, consider associations. There are organizations for just about every trade, and in the medical industry, that’s a lot! For example, there’s the American College of Chest Physicians and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. As medical professions expand, so will the need for their trade associations.
One of the best things about working in healthcare is you’re not limited to a geographic area. People all over the world need access to medical care, so you can work wherever you want – in a rural area, major urban center, suburb, or abroad. For additional information, check out the resources below:
O*Net: Dig deeper and learn more about the different types of healthcare jobs.
I Want to Work in an Association – Now What???: Learn more about working in an association and get tips on how to find a job within the industry.
100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare: Use this list to brainstorm which organizatoins to add to your target list.
Got An Interview? Do Your Homework
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
This may come off sounding a bit like a rant, and that’s mostly because it is. I continue to hear stories of candidates being entirely unprepared for interviews, and I just can’t wrap my head around it! In fact just this evening I casually asked my husband, the CTO of an online company that is always looking for good talent, what his biggest pet peeve was when it comes to hiring. Without hesitation he said, “I wish candidates would spend even five minutes researching the company.” He said that he often starts an interview with a softball question to get the conversation rolling such as, “Tell me what you know about (the company.)” And to his dismay, few candidates can actually talk with any certainty about the company’s products or services, or even the industry at large for that matter.
The minute he shared his peeve with me, I flashed back to this past Monday morning. I had a 9am phone screen with a recent grad. She applied for a junior freelance position with my company in which she would perform light copywriting and basic social media tasks. The job description was purposely vague – I wanted to quickly separate the go-getters from the wanna-be’s. The call was over in under 10 minutes. She hadn’t done her homework. She hadn’t read my blogs, my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter stream… She hadn’t searched for me on Google to find out more about where I write, and on what topics.
Imagine how delighted I would have been had she come out of the gate ideas, citing examples of my work, asking how she might help do research, draft outlines, or repurpose my content for social streams. Any sign of life would have been welcome.
Okay rant over. The point is you have to prep for an interview as if you’re actually interested in the job and come prepared to sell yourself into it. The interviewer’s job is to find the best candidate; your job is to prove that there’s no one better than you.
Career Research – A Must Before Making a Move!
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
For anyone considering a new career, researching the industry’s outlook is vital. While nothing is a guarantee, it’s important to get a sense of if you’re targeting a stable industry – before you’re deep into a new career.
What are the best ways to conduct this research? The old standby is a Google search. Try out different terms using “growth” or “decline” in the search (for example, “pharmaceutical industry” + “growth”). You probably won’t find a definitive answer, and you may even find contradictory information. Either way, it’s a good place to start, and you’ll gain valuable insight you can use to conduct additional research.
Another great online research tool is O*Net online. Created by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration, there’s actually a section where you can find out which job functions have the brightest outlook. The other three selections – “new and emerging,” “rapid growth,” and “numerous job openings” are just as helpful.
Last but not least, nothing beats informational interviews! Tap your network to find people already working in your target job/industry. Getting their “insider” opinion on the future of the industry – along with other valuable information on qualifications, opportunities, etc. – is often more helpful than anything you can find online.
When you need a job fast, you may wonder if this research is worth your time – it is! A little extra time now could keep you from getting stuck in a dead-end job or facing a layoff later.
Picture: Designing on a Tablet by admeijer