How to keep your candidates comfortable during the interview process.

April 27th, 2012

Though it is certainly the candidate’s responsibility to be prepared for the job interview, it is also important for companies keep them comfortable during the process. It is terrifying to sit on the other side of the table answering personal questions. Here are seven ways to make sure the process is comfortable for the candidates.

 

  1.  Provide detailed instructions. Make sure that the candidate has everything they need before the interview. Provide detailed directions and verify that they understand any instructions for contacting you if they have a problem or once they arrive. Discuss the steps of the interview so they know what to expect.
  2. Smile when you introduce yourself. The candidate doesn’t need to know all the other things that are on your mind while they are interviewing. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake and smile. Make sure the candidate feels welcome. Introduce anyone else who will be a part of the interview process as well. Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted during the process and leave any other stress behind.
  3. Provide a tour. The best icebreaker is to show the potential employee what a general day will entail. Show them where the job would be performed and any common areas so they feel included.
  4. Don’t be overly formal. Be friendly and semi-casual, but not inappropriately casual. Make sure the candidate feels welcome and at ease. They are more likely to answer questions candidly if they feel comfortable. Be sure to use their name as you’re talking with them so they don’t feel like a number.
  5. Ask about their interests. There are some things you can’t ask in an interview, but inquiring about hobbies or other interests is not one of them. The candidate will enjoy telling you about themselves and you will learn quite a bit about what makes them tick.
  6. Keep friendly body language. Don’t stare and don’t avoid looking at them. Make sure that your eye contact is natural. Don’t use aggressive body language. Lean in to listen or mirror them to show that you are paying attention.
  7. Follow up. Following up with each candidate is not always as easy as it sounds. When companies are interviewing multiple people for each opening it can seem like a waste of time to call everyone back to tell them that the position has been filled. You never know what could happen with your new hire so companies shouldn’t burn bridges either.

Looking for candidates for your next interview process? Contact Gage Personnel to tap into their talent pool.

Resume Tips – Back to Basics

April 26th, 2012

 

By Kristi Gage
Corporate Branch Manager and Bilingual Recruiter, Gage Personnel


  1. HEADING: Present your resume in a clean, easy-to-read fashion by starting with your name, address, telephone number and a professional email address.
  2. PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: Present your strongest skill sets in a brief Summary at the top of your resume. Remember to keep this very broad as you may be applying for a variety of jobs.  A Summary is different than an Objective, and can help employers see why you could be a good fit for their organization.  It takes less emphasis off of your GOALS, and puts more emphasis on your SKILLS AND STRENGTHS. If you are a sales representative, Google “Professionals Summary for Sales Representative” for examples of a strong Professionals Summary for that field.  Be sure not to plagiarize; this is just to give you an idea of how this section should be worded.
  3. EXPERIENCE: Remember to present your work history in chronological order, with your most recent employment first.  You must provide dates of employment (Month and Year, or just Year), and above all, make sure the dates are correct.
  4. EDUCATION: Remember to present your education in the next section, with your most recent education first.  Dates are not necessary in this section.
  5. SKILLS: You may add a list of additional skill sets that will highlight your strengths, experiences and any additional training you might have.  For example, you may want to include your experience with Microsoft Office programs, which may not have been made clear in your work history.  Don’t take your skills for granted – it’s OK to brag!
  6. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:  While this section is not necessary, many employers like to see candidates that can highlight their volunteer efforts, memberships to local organizations, committees, etc.

Remember that it is important to include a cover letter that is very specific to each job and company that you apply for.  Your cover letter is your chance to set yourself apart from a sea of resumes being submitted to an HR person.  In your cover letter, you should include why you think you may a good fit for a particular position or why you may be a great match for their company.  It would also be a great idea to research a company or position prior to submitting your resume… this way you can stay up to date on current news, and perhaps congratulate an employer on their recent successes – such as awards, accolades, expansions, etc.

Be careful not to talk yourself out of a job before you even get the chance to interview.  It is best NOT to include your salary requirements in your cover letter or resume.  Today, employers find it acceptable to receive resumes that are longer than one (1) page.  If you can keep it to two (2) pages, that may be ideal for most employers.  Use the same font throughout your entire resume… and remember to double check your spelling!

New Ways to Explain Gaps on Your Resume

April 20th, 2012

The job market has been very difficult in the last few years. Many perfectly employable job seekers have been experiencing prolonged periods of unemployment through no fault of their own. Layoffs coupled with the scarcity of new jobs have caused many people to have gaps in their resume. Hiring managers still prefer to see consistent job history on a resume, so job seekers have some extra work to do when discussing their experience in an interview. Here are three ways to address the issue of employment gaps.

  1.  Plan Your Answer. A hiring manager will ask what you were doing in that period of time. Whatever you do, don’t say “Looking for a job.”  Explain what you were doing during that time. Were you volunteering? Freelancing? Taking care of family? School? Traveling? Working on your novel idea? Whatever answer you give, it needs to be thoughtful and compelling.
  2. Stay Positive. Not all reasons for lack of employment are negative. Stay focused on the positive information. If you were laid off or fired, spin your explanation in a productive way. Let them know that the layoff gave you time to expand your experience. If your gap is because you pursued other interests, talk about your accomplishments. Talk about your travels. Talk about specific successes you had at school. Employers want to hear about the things that make you a better choice than someone else.
  3. Always be Honest. If you do nothing else when answering this question, make sure that you are 100% completely honest. However, don’t be honest in a way that makes you sound negative. If you were fired from your job, don’t tell them how you and your boss didn’t get along. Instead, make sure they know that it wasn’t a good culture fit for you and it made sense for you to move on to something else. Confidence and integrity are two things every employer is looking for in their next new hire.

Looking for your next interview? Contact Gage Personnel Services to learn more about our current opportunities.

Invest in Mobile—not PC— in 2012

April 13th, 2012

The 21st century job seeker is a very different person than job seekers of the past. Just as the transition from pre-computer job hunting to home computers was a game changer for companies, the newer movement from PCs to mobile devices is the make it or break it moment of 2012.

With the saturation of smart phones in today’s market, technologically forward companies need to use these new platforms to be on the leading edge. Why?

  1. Mobile apps are simply more accessible. Imagine a potential candidate sitting at a restaurant waiting for their friends or family to arrive. They have only a few moments to check their smartphone for news updates or responses to emails, texts or tweets. If your company information is available at the tap of a fingertip, you are engaging more people more often. Not only will a potential applicant be able to see the opportunities you have to offer, they may also be able to submit a resume with one click.
  2. Ease of communication. Texting is a great way to reach out to current employees for updates or requests. Most employees are very open to receiving texts to learn about new opportunities, to solve issues or to learn new information that may help them in their job or job search. Integrating this technology with your company’s website will make it easier for you and for your employees.
  3. Android vs. iOS. There is some debate in technology circles over which is better: Apple or Android. The truth is, either or both will reach a large audience of users. Android has the added benefit of being somewhat more affordable in both the smartphone and the tablet market, but Apple remains most popular overall. It might make sense to create a mobile campaign that can make use of both operating systems.
  4. Better visibility. There is nothing like a mobile app to make sure you company is on the forefront of everyone’s mind, not just the minds of customers, but also the minds of job seekers. If a simple click of a button on a readily accessible phone can make an individual interested in your business, it is worth the cost.

Want to reach a bigger audience for your job openings? Contact Gage Personnel to create a customized recruiting strategy for your business.

Social Media Advice from Professionals

April 6th, 2012

Social media is the 21st century job seeker’s best tool. Utilizing these sites is the fastest growing way to find connections and potential job matches. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the sea of available apps and websites. Here are a few tips from CEOs, Human Resources directors and other professionals to help you get your own social media campaign off to a good start.

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete. When you log on to LinkedIn for the first time, it suggests a number of things to do to maximize your experience. There is a small meter to track your progress. Do everything it tells you to do, including uploading a professional photo and requesting recommendations. You can add extras like a link to your own website.
  • Start a Blog. Are you an expert any anything? Would you like to steer your career in that direction? Start a blog on this topic and publicize it across social media, including your LinkedIn page.
  • Find Friends of Friends. Narrow down the types of jobs or companies that you want to work for and search LinkedIn for those people in your area. Then pay attention to the ones who are second level connections. Reach out to those people but don’t ask directly for a job. Break the ice by telling them you have a friend in common. This will open up a conversation where you will discover if they or anyone else they know are hiring.
  • Search for jobs on Twitter. When you’re on Twitter, search keywords and locations for available jobs. Then use the micro blogging site to impress them. Compose a response using the allotted 140 characters. A company that’s using Twitter to advertise would be excited to see a candidate who embraces the media.
  • Update your Facebook privacy settings. Even though Facebook can be used in the job search, a lot of people view it as the personal counterpoint to the professional LinkedIn profile. Make sure you set your Facebook profile privacy setting to what makes you most comfortable. The photos of what you did on your family vacation or posts about your cat don’t need to impact a company’s hiring decision.
  • Don’t be negative. Most importantly, do not use any social media as a vehicle to be negative about former companies or your job situation. You want potential new employers to see that you would be a positive addition to their team.
  • Looking for ways to maximize your social networking? Contact Gage Personnel for your next opportunity.

Social Media Advice from Professionals

April 6th, 2012

Social media is the 21st century job seeker’s best tool. Utilizing these sites is the fastest growing way to find connections and potential job matches. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the sea of available apps and websites. Here are a few tips from CEOs, Human Resources directors and other professionals to help you get your own social media campaign off to a good start.

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete. When you log on to LinkedIn for the first time, it suggests a number of things to do to maximize your experience. There is a small meter to track your progress. Do everything it tells you to do, including uploading a professional photo and requesting recommendations. You can add extras like a link to your own website.
  • Start a Blog. Are you an expert any anything? Would you like to steer your career in that direction?  Start a blog on this topic and publicize it across social media, including your LinkedIn page.
  • Find Friends of Friends. Narrow down the types of jobs or companies that you want to work for and search LinkedIn for those people in your area. Then pay attention to the ones who are second level connections. Reach out to those people but don’t ask directly for a job. Break the ice by telling them you have a friend in common. This will open up a conversation where you will discover if they or anyone else they know are hiring.
  • Search for jobs on Twitter. When you’re on Twitter, search keywords and locations for available jobs. Then use the micro blogging site to impress them. Compose a response using the allotted 140 characters. A company that’s using Twitter to advertise would be excited to see a candidate who embraces the media.
  • Update your Facebook privacy settings. Even though Facebook can be used in the job search, a lot of people view it as the personal counterpoint to the professional LinkedIn profile. Make sure you set your Facebook profile privacy setting to what makes you most comfortable. The photos of what you did on your family vacation or posts about your cat don’t need to impact a company’s hiring decision.
  • Don’t be negative. Most importantly, do not use any social media as a vehicle to be negative about former companies or your job situation. You want potential new employers to see that you would be a positive addition to their team.

Looking for ways to maximize your social networking? Contact Gage Personnel for your next opportunity.