Why You’re Really Hired

June 30, 2009

interview v2While a carefully crafted resume is a crucial part of your job hunt, it’s important to acknowledge that your resume serves one task: getting you an interview. The resume does not get you hired – your interview does.

That’s why it’s so surprising to see so few candidates prepare thoroughly for each job interview and take the time to understand what’s really important to the hiring manager.

Too many job seekers focus exclusively on their specific skill set. Their accounting skills. Their programming expertise. Their writing ability. Although these skills are essential to any hire, they are the minimum required for anyone invited to interview. How will you separate yourself from every other candidate with the same professional skills?

Focus on your personal skills. In an excellent post in the Detroit Examiner, Christine Wodke outlines the seven personal skills that employers are looking for in any hire. These include:

  1. Leadership
  2. Team Player
  3. Motivation
  4. Communication Skills
  5. Time Management
  6. Flexibility
  7. Sense of Humor

Your job in the interview is to find a way to weave these personal skills into stories relating to your previous positions.

Don’t just describe the technical complexity of your last programming project, detail how you assembled a team, kept them motivated, managed the project to ensure you met the deadline, and how you stepped in to help when one of your team members needed support. These are the truly valuable skills that separate you from every other candidate whose answers focus solely on their professional proficiency.


Don’t Forget the Blogroll

June 29, 2009

blogrollThere are dozens of wonderfully written, informative blogs dealing with career and staffing related issues. Some are very specific, addressing a single topic in great depth while others take a much broader perspective. We’ve made an effort to collect the best of the staffing world bloggers and include them in our Blogroll.

Check out the list in our sidebar, and let us know if you think we’re missing someone important.

And You Think Your Job is Tough

June 29, 2009

firefighterMost people think their job is tough. Long hours, demanding boss, unyielding stress. But does your job crack the list of the top 8 most demanding jobs in the country?

CareerCast.com released a study of the country’s most demanding jobs, and they were, in order:

  1. Firefighter
  2. Surgeon
  3. Corporate Executive
  4. Police Officer
  5. Roustabout
  6. Sailor
  7. Physician
  8. Psychiatrist

The study factored in work hours, stress and physical demands to arrive at their conclusion. While it’s not surprising that firefighters topped the list, many may be surprised to find Corporate Executives at #3. The study’s authors claim that while the physical demands of the typical executive are low, they work very long hours and are under constant stress, especially in today’s deteriorating economic climate.

Still want that promotion?

Ohio Partners With Monster

June 23, 2009

Ohio jobsOhio became the first state to launch a job connection website in partnership with internet giant Monster.com. The new website, OhioMeansJobs.com, is designed to connect both employers and job seekers with available jobs in Ohio.

The collaboration between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Monster.com launched a site that collects data from approximately 8000 job boards throughout the state and aggregates them in a single, searchable website.

The site is available to any employer who pays taxes in Ohio. Employers who use the site will have access to about 8 million resumes and be able to post jobs at no additional cost. The Web site will also offer new or updated resumes from job seekers living within a 50-mile radius of Ohio who have expressed a willingness to relocate to Ohio.

The website also integrates technology from Indeed.com which allows job seekers to search for the most recently posted positions and allows employers to identify specific characteristics that they are seeking in potential employees.

Social Media’s Impact on Hiring

June 19, 2009

magnifyng glass linkedinA study released by Jump Start Social Media reports that “of the hiring managers surveyed, 75% use LinkedIn, 48% use Facebook, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making a job offer.”

This study simply confirms what we’ve understood for the past several years: social media channels are becoming integral to both the job search process and the hiring process.

Job seekers now have the ability, as never before, to exploit their personal networks and their extended networks to announce their availability and make personal contacts with potential employers. For job seekers, the ability to disseminate their professional and personal interests and capabilities can be a double edged sword.

Although it’s terrific that your entire professional history, replete with references, is immediately accessible to interested hiring managers, it’s also important to note that your public profiles on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace may also be accessible to the hiring manager so it’s critical to keep the posted content professional.

It’s understandable why hiring managers turn to LinkedIn first. It’s designed for the professional, focusing almost exclusively on career activity. However, to gain a more thorough picture of a candidate, more hiring managers are also examining Twitter posts and other social media channels to gain insight into a candidate’s personal characteristics, interests and views.

So, be careful what you post. Once you hit Send, it’s forever.

They’re People, Not Parts

June 16, 2009

people gearsThere are days when I’m jealous of my counterparts in the manufacturing sector. They deal with precision every day. Engineering drawings show detail to .001″, the machinists program their machines to produce parts with specific tolerances, and customers know exactly what to expect when they open the box.

I deal with people. Employers. Employees. Recruiters. Managers. Just people. All of whom are distinctive individuals with their own values, priorities, interests and motivations. Not at all like precision machined parts.

So we face an entirely different set of problems every single day. An ideal candidate whose resume is polished perfection, whose references are sterling, who dazzles at their interview, whose follow up is immediate and who shows their appreciation for getting the job by not showing up. Ever.

Think it’s unbelievable? Well, it happens. And when it does, you can imagine the anger, frustration and disappointment on the part of the hiring company. All of it entirely justified.

What can we do? The best we can do is apologize, empathize and try again. Believe me, we’re just as disappointed as the hiring company. We invest an enormous amount of time in finding, screening and presenting potential candidates and are just as shocked and frustrated as our client company when the process goes bad – no matter who instigates the breakdown.

But the satisfaction of placing the right people in the right jobs, of helping companies find the precise talent they need to thrive trumps the occasional disappointments that working with people, not parts, provides.

25 Ways To Sabotage Your Job Search

June 15, 2009

There was a terrific post on CNN.com that listed the 25 ways that job seekers sabotage their own job searches.

As someone who has been involved in the staffing industry for nearly 20 years, this list resonated with me because I’ve seen so many job seekers ruin their chances by committing one (or many) of these career killing mistakes.

The mistakes fall into two basic camps: lack of thought and lack of manners.