30 August 2013
We have previously discussed what you can cut out of your resume if you find that it’s too lengthy. But what if you feel that you don’t have enough information to flesh it out? You’re a well-rounded person; shouldn’t your resume reflect that? Some see a thin resume as a place for opportunity: CVs with more empty space mean more options to elaborate on your specific skills and experiences than CVs with little wiggle room. But for others, specifically those in entry-level positions, it’s common to feel that they don’t have enough real professional experience. Here are 6 things you can do to help bulk up your resume if it looks lacking in valuable details. Include volunteer work and independent projects. Don’t have any nonprofit industry experience, but want to get your foot in the door? Volunteer at a local charity and detail your responsibilities in your employment history. Did you work on a project related to your field in the past? Include that, too. As long as they’re relevant and appropriate, you should include any and all work-related experiences in your resume. This also (especially!) includes internships. Expand on your skills. Many professionals argue over the merit of a functional resume (one that focuses more on skills than employment history), so don’t provide so many skills that your resume looks like a list, but do include as much useful information as you can. For example, if you’re looking for a job in IT, be sure to include any proficiency you may have with relevant software. Start a blog that’s related to your industry. This is always a great way to showcase your interests, knowledge, and involvement in your field. Include a link to it on your resume and, if you need extra padding, include a brief description of it either in its own section or in work history. Keep the blog up-to-date and showcase your work on it, if possible. This is a great way to provide an entire portfolio in your resume without the bulk. Split up long job listings. For example, should you need to flesh out your employment history section and have had a long run at a single company, you can split it into two different listings at the point of a major promotion or shift in duties. If you started as an intern or a coordinator and were promoted to a new position with different responsibilities, create a separate listing for that. This gives you the space to expand on what you did over the course of your time there, as you’ll have room to list your responsibilities for each separate position you held. Outline and expand upon accomplishments. If you’re applying for an entry-level position, including honors you received in school could be helpful. If you’re further into your career, flesh out some accomplishments or achievements you earned at your previous positions. Detail your duties in your job history. This is where you have more freedom than on a tight resume; where you would normally use up space to include more past experiences, you can instead elaborate on the quality of your experiences. Mention specific projects or duties that are relevant to the position(s) you’re applying for, and do so in measurable results. For example, if you helped to increase sales for one of your clients in one of your previous positions, include a concrete number, such as the percentage of increased sales year over year. You never want to seem like you’re intentionally padding your resume, but the fact is, a well-rounded CV will usually win over a skimpy one. The rule of thumb is to never include anything irrelevant or superfluous. Instead, focus on the relevant experience you’ve had, and don’t forget to include some experiences you may have overlooked in the past. Many past experiences and skills you picked up along the way may be more applicable to future opportunities than you may think.
27 August 2013
“Tell me about your life from kindergarten onwards” or “If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?” – These may sound like outlandish questions from a shrink, but believe it or not, they’re actually legitimate questions that you may be asked on an interview. Employers have a multitude of ways to test your imagination! Those incredibly broad, and seemingly irrelevant interview questions came from two very well-respected companies. As ridiculous as these questions may seem, they’re becoming popular with large, well-known companies such as Facebook, Google, and Citigroup. The reasoning behind such oddball questions is rooted in a growing desire amongst companies to see their candidates think on their feet. Though your natural reaction may result in physiological phenomena such as an increased heart rate and/or confusion, try not to let your nerves get the best of you. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic “right” answer for any of these questions (believe us, if we had them, we would tell you). However, we can tell you what angle to take when answering so that you can attack these questions head on. Read on for a list crazy interview questions, compiled by CBS News, and what the best approach is to take when answering. Towers Watson (HR Consulting – Risk Management Insurance): “Estimate how many planes there are in the sky.” Procter & Gamble (Consumer Goods Company): “Sell me an invisible pen.” Citigroup (Financial Services Corporation): “What is your strategy at table tennis?” Lubin Lawrence (Consulting Firm): “If you could describe Hershey, Godiva and Dove chocolate as people, how would you describe them?” Facebook: “Twenty five racehorses, no stopwatch, five tracks. Figure out the top three fastest horses in the fewest number of races.” Brown & Brown Insurance (Independent Insurance Intermediary): “How would you rate your life on a scale of 1 to 10?” Gryphon Scientific (Specialized Small Business Consulting Practice): “How many cocktail umbrellas are there in a given time in the United States?” Answering These Questions: The thought behind this new line of questioning is two-fold. First is the concern that jobseekers now have widespread access to the Internet, making it much easier to answer predictable interview questions. With a simple search, a candidate can find detailed explanations on how to answer the classic questions, as well as answers that can be memorized. Second, highly sought-after employers have the luxury of searching through a large pool of candidates for that one star who can wow them with their out-of-the-box thinking and creativity. By asking such questions, and listening to the kinds of answers the candidate comes up with, hiring managers are able to deduce how well a candidate can think on their feet. Another factor they may be looking to gauge is how well a candidate handles stress. If you’re asked a question of this nature, remember, the hiring manager really wants to see a candidate’s aptitude and the way their mind works, so be sure to express yourself, whether that be through a logical answer, or an inventive one. For instance, a hiring manager at Clark Construction Group asks “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?” The intent of that unpredictable question is to see if you’re the creative type, whether you have a sense of humor, and how good you are at making a pitch on the spot. Be cognizant of the fact that the most well-constructed outlandish interview questions are actually relevant to the interests of the company, and have been structured to gather intel on potential employees, so try and read between the lines. For instance, when interviewing sales candidates, one CEO asks “Do you consider yourself lucky?” If the candidate answers “No, I never win anything,” their chances of getting a call back are much lower, as this lets the CEO know that they’re a negative thinker. Since positivity is important to success in sales, the CEO looks for a person who can see the bright side of any situation. The key to answering these questions is to take your time with the answer and calmly refuse to let the question faze you. Keep a smile on your face, and take a deep breath while you consider your response. The few seconds it takes you to come up with an answer will be much less awkward than the silence that will follow from an immediate nonsensical response. If you find yourself at a loss for words, and the question truly does seem unanswerable or completely out of left field, before responding, politely ask the interviewer if they can explain in more detail how the problem being asked of you relates to the problems solved at the company. Phrase your question in a way that shows you want to give the hiring manager as relevant of an answer as possible to ensure they get the best reading of you as a candidate and find the information they’re looking for. If you’re still drawing a blank, simply ask if you can come back to the question later. At the very least, your interviewer should appreciate the way you keep your composure in a jarring situation. To prepare for the possibility of weird questions, we advise studying this list, and thinking “what would I really say if I was asked this question?” Adapting your mind to answer the unanswerable is the best way to train for such out of the blue questions. Aside from that, we wish you good luck and hope that your charisma shines through in your answer to those tricky interviewers!
23 August 2013
The Execu|Search Group has been featured in Newsday’s August 12th, 2013 article, “LIPA hires temp staff to help with Sandy bills, PSEG transition.” The article details the recent decision by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) to take on temporary staff to assist with a major restructuring of its role as Long Island’s primary electric provider. As a result of Governor Cuomo’s recent decision to hand that title off to PSEG, there are a number of needs to be addressed, and LIPA has cited temporary staffing as necessary “to help the authority scrutinize and process more than $800 million in bills from superstorm Sandy; to prepare LIPA for ‘structural changes’ resulting from the recently passed LIPA bill and the transition to PSEG of New Jersey; and because of ‘departures of some key staff’.” At The Execu|Search Group, we are proud to offer our services to assist the Long Island Power Authority ease into this transition and help Long Island recover from the long-lasting effects of Hurricane Sandy. Our contract with LIPA extends to May of 2016, during which we will help LIPA take the necessary measures “to ensure that future staffing is kept at levels only necessary to ensure that the authority is able to meet its core obligations.”
22 August 2013
Picture this: you get a job interview. You nervously pick out your outfit, map out the route to get to the interview site, and show up bright and early just for the occasion. You’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, and prepared every which way possible. Now picture this: all that goes out the window because you’ve been asked to do a phone interview instead. At first, it seems like a lucky break – it’s the easier way to go, isn’t it? Yet, all the professionalism you could have shown through your preparation and presentation is no longer a part of the picture. The interviewer won’t see you, they won’t read your body language, or be able to build as much of a personal rapport with you. Instead, you’ll have to differentiate yourself by communicating strongly, which mean that you’ll have just a few seconds to start off on the right foot and make a positive impression. Read on for our tips on how you can prepare to leave a great impression within the first 15 seconds… Do a test run: Although your interviewer won’t be looking at you, they will be expecting to have a clear conversation. Test out potential spots for your interview by practicing calling a friend and getting their feedback on background noise, clarity of your voice, and overall call quality. Be timely: Although you can’t show your enthusiasm for the interview by arriving 10 minutes early, you can begin to build a positive image by answering the phone immediately. Though it won’t make the same impression as sitting alertly and beaming at the receptionist, it will still look good on you because you’re doing your part by answering promptly and saving the recruiter or hiring manager time, effort, and energy. Use a land line: If possible, it’s recommended that you opt for a landline as opposed to a cell phone for the interview. There are many factors that can potentially hinder your interview on a mobile phone such as dropped calls, strange noises, and bad feedback. If you can’t get to a landline, make sure the setting you’ve picked has great, reliable reception. On that note, also steer clear of using a headset for the interview as doing so often makes it more difficult for the interviewer to hear you. Avoid distractions: Avoid multitasking when talking to an employer because hearing you tap on your keyboard, play with a pen or even walking around your home will distract them from clearly listening to your answers. You should also try to steer clear of eating, chewing gum, or drinking during your interview. Finally, if other people reside in the place of your chosen interview, post a sign that requests that others respect your privacy during the duration of the interview. Keep important material in front of you: Prepare for the phone interview by printing out a copy of your cover letter, your resume, the job description, and any additional research about the company. Having those vital materials at hand will help you when you want to reference a point, either about the position or yourself. Additionally, keep a notepad handy with some essentials about yourself you’d like to mention, outlines of answers to tough questions, and some phrases you’d like to incorporate into the interview such as, “I am very excited about the prospect of being part of your organization because…” Smile: Smiling will bring a natural excitement to your voice and give the interview an energetic beat. Hitching a smile onto your face makes you sound enthusiastic about the position and the qualifications you bring to the table. Interviewing over the phone may not give your candidacy as much dimension as a traditional in-person interview, however, you can optimize the factors surrounding your phone call to ensure you make a great first impression. The most important goal of the interview should be to come across as an intelligent professional and good fit for the job, and these preparation tips will help you do that.
22 August 2013
20 August 2013
Information Technology jobs have been on the rise lately, but despite the drastic increase in job opportunities in recent years, there seems to be a decreasing number of students pursuing and completing computer science and other IT-related degrees. According to the official CareerBuilder study, the number of students graduating with such degrees is nearly inversely proportional to the rise in jobs—there’s been nearly as many professionals forgoing traditional degrees as there are new jobs popping up. What could be the cause of this trend? Most likely, the rising importance of certifications. Employers hiring IT professionals are increasingly concerned with certifications which, unlike a general degree, prove a candidate’s abilities in a particular software, skill, or focus within the broad spectrum of IT and computer science. Whereas a degree offers knowledge on a vast range of topics, a certification requires specialized knowledge and hands-on experience. Some even require work or lab hours in order to qualify. We’ve stressed the importance of certifications before, and they are important—but if you find yourself thinking about forgoing a traditional degree to pursue certifications, you may want to reconsider. . Though specialized experience and credentials are in high demand, a wider knowledge base can help you be more flexible with your career and specific projects. “In the highly competitive IT job market, having a degree in Computer Science sets a great foundation for one’s career and can set you apart from other applicants when applying to IT positions,” says Bradley Sona, Managing Director in The Execu|Search Group’s IT staffing division. “Technology certifications are great building blocks that add expertise to your resume in addition to the knowledge you attained while working toward your degree. However, it’s important to know that many employers do not consider certifications to be a full replacement for an undergraduate degree in a technology-related field.” Ensuring that you have a vast knowledge base could make you more valuable to hiring managers and possible future employers. Having a degree as well as certifications would qualify you best for the field which you are certified, but also opens you up to some other IT-related projects the company might have. For example, someone with Health IT certifications would be best suited for projects dealing with Electronic Medical Records, but should they also have a degree, could also assist in other areas of the IT department. If a company sees that you have numerous capabilities and can save them money by tackling a number of IT issues, you will be a top candidate in their search. Therefore, it’s best to flesh out your knowledge and back up your certifications with a full-bodied computer science degree. Doing so will make you a more well-rounded and dedicated candidate against fellow jobseekers who have cornered themselves into one specialty. Obtaining both also opens you up to jobs you may not have qualified for prior, as many require a certification, a degree, or both. You’ll no longer have to pass on a job that seems perfect for you because you don’t meet its core requirements. At the very least, obtaining a degree will speak volumes of your work ethic and dedication. Whereas even the most difficult of certifications only take some professionals a few months of study, a full degree encompasses an average of four academic years to complete. If you feel that you’re lacking something that’s negatively affecting your job search, it may be time to make room for a full degree to fill in the educational gaps.
20 August 2013
As an effort to provide wider access to both physical and mental care, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will extend mental health coverage to 62 million Americans—covering both those whose current health insurance does not include mental health as well as those who have been uninsured entirely. That’s a huge number of potential new patients for mental health professionals. As a result, behavioral health providers are likely to be in heavy demand once the ACA takes effect. “Not only will many uninsured New Yorkers now have access to insurance, the law removes existing state exemptions that prevent mental health coverage,” explains Melissa Becker, an Executive Recruiter in The Execu|Search Group’s Healthcare recruiting division. “Currently, health plans that cover small businesses can set limits on the number of inpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment care days. The ACA will eliminate those limits and lift similar restrictions on outpatient care.” Under each state’s Timothy’s Law, health plans that cover 50 employees or more must provide parity—meaning they must offer as much mental health care as they do medical care. But there is an exception for small plans. “We haven’t done any calculations on what that will cost under the ACA,” said a spokeswoman for the New York Health Plan Association, “but we agree that it will increase demand.” At a June meeting of the state Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council’s planning committee, member Dr. Glenn Martin, a psychiatrist, predicted that providers will be overwhelmed with patients seeking treatment. Of course, treatment is not the only objective. A major goal of the ACA is more emphasis on preventative care, and with more access to mental health, those with mental disorders and substance abuse issues will have more opportunities for a healthier future. Substance abuse has obvious effects on the body, such as heart disease and liver damage, and depression has been known to cause numerous health problems as a result of decreased motivation for healthy eating and exercise. Handling mental illness and substance abuse in their early stages, just like other diseases, can make a world of difference in a patient’s future health. With so many opportunities for behavioral health looming in the distance, there will be a much wider patient base for existing mental health professionals, and hopefully, more incentive for those looking to enter the field. According to a post on the official Whitehouse blog, a chunk of the $205 million budget put forth by President Obama will go toward training more than 5,000 mental health professionals, as well as teachers and other adults, in early detection and prevention. This extra attention to the study, prevention, and treatment of behavior health issues will undoubtedly give mental health professionals—as well as the industry, in general—an opportunity to shine. The more insured patients there are, the more the field will grow, not only in the number of patients but in the number of qualified professionals. As a result, we could see further improvement and advances in the field, as it will have more leeway to grow and change over time. The Execu|Search Group works with a number of clients seeking behavioral health professionals and there is currently a growing number of opportunities available. You can check them out, here.
19 August 2013
They Don’t Have 6-8 Years of Experience? Reconsidering Candidates Who Don’t Meet Experience Requirements
Hiring the right, qualified employee to treat your patients, work with their families, and serve as the liaison between your facility and the community is an important process that takes a great deal of consideration. When making the hiring decision, one must take a variety of factors into consideration, including the candidate’s credentials (highest earned degree, licensure, and certifications), background, and years of experience. However, in an effort to meet the increase in demand for health services, many organizations are ramping up their onboarding process, are strictly sticking to their predefined job requirements by quickly disregarding resumes that don’t match every checkbox. Prescreening resumes by years of experience is one of the most common ways employers are finding candidates. While you may believe this practice is the most efficient way to find new hires, or at least separate the no’s to an interview from the yes’s, in reality, you may be doing yourself a disservice; candidates are more than their resume. For example, if you’re looking to hire a new nurse, isn’t it just as important for them to have all the necessary certifications as it is for them to have excellent interpersonal skills? After all, you want to make sure the nurse can deliver quality care with a high level of skill and compassion, so that every person who steps into your facility has the most positive experience they can, despite the circumstances that may have brought them there. Compassion is just one quality that is impossible to quantify from someone’s years of working in the field. In fact, a lot of things are hard to read from simply a number on a piece paper. For instance, if you are looking for a candidate with 8 years of emergency room experience, how do you really know that someone with the exact credentials you are looking for, but only has 5 years of experience, isn’t qualified and should be immediately discarded? Here are some alternate things to consider outside of experience: Size of Previous Places of Employment: Someone’s 5 years of experience at a smaller facility may be stronger than someone else’s 8 years of experience at a larger facility. Smaller facilities typically allow their employees to take on more responsibilities and gain stronger, hands-on experience. If you are in between 2 candidates – one that has more experience at a larger facility, and one that has less experience at a smaller facility – it may be worth bringing them both in for an interview and discussing their experience in further detail. Their breadth of experience may surprise you. Nursing/Physician Shortage: Depending on the organization they worked at and the number of medical professionals on hand, an applicant who has less years of experience, but the right credentials, might have more in-depth knowledge of the field. For example, at short-staffed organizations, employees are typically fast tracked and given more opportunities. As employees quickly rise the ranks, they gain a wider scope of responsibilities that may make them more valuable than someone with more years of experience who has had a much more stagnant career. Cultural Fit: Perhaps one of the most important things to take into account during the onboarding process is whether or not the candidate is a cultural fit. A candidate can look great on paper, but when meeting them in person (or even during their first few months), it may become quite clear that they just aren’t the right fit. Unfortunately, when candidates or new hires simply aren’t a fit, the employer is forced to go back to the drawing board, and start what can be a stressful, time consuming, and expensive process over again. By automatically discounting applicants who may be missing a couple of years of experience, you may be missing out on a really great candidate who could be an excellent fit. To put it into perspective, think of qualifications as just one piece of the puzzle. Factors such as credentials, experience, degree of education, licenses, etc. are important and do lay the foundation for the puzzle by serving as a starting point. However, it is those intangible qualities and experiences that can’t be necessarily read from a piece of paper that complete the puzzle and put the image into focus. Healthcare recruiters are often invaluable in the process, as their ability to sort through resumes, pre-screen candidates, and really read people can assist organizations in finding an excellent fit (professionally and culturally) as opposed to only seeking candidates that match every check box on the list. We’ve seen that there are a number of great professionals out there who have less “traditional” experience in terms of their number of years working in the industry. However, what they lack in “traditional” experience, they make up for in other ways, and often go on to be successful placements. As recruiters, it is our job to find our clients the best candidates possible, and we have realized that if we want to find the best fit, one must be open to broadening their horizons and thinking of experience as more than a specific range of numbers. Alison Kuhns – Managing Director, Healthcare
19 August 2013
By 2014, there will be a sudden influx of newly-insured patients seeking care, and it’s predicted that in many cases there will be a shortage of professionals to meet the demands of the exponentially rising patient base. With some 32 million Americans soon gaining access to new insurance, and a projected 45,000 physician shortage by 2020, facilities will ultimately find it difficult to keep up with physician hiring. The new solution to this impending physician shortage? Hire Nurse Practitioners. There’s going to be a great imbalance of patients to doctors, and the only way to keep facilities running smoothly and ensure continued quality will be to build a sturdy support team. And hiring NPs—essentially, RNs with graduate degrees and the ability to perform many of the same responsibilities as doctors—is a great way to set the foundation for that team. Though our firm also offers locum tenens staffing and physician placement, many healthcare facilities are overwhelmed and simply do not have the resources to hire a new fleet of physicians. If this sounds like your organization, it may be time to consider hiring Nurse Practitioners instead. “At The Execu|Search Group, we have been seeing an increase in both Nurse Practitioner candidates and Nurse Practitioner positions in the job market,” says Becky Garson, a Director in The Execu|Search Group’s Healthcare recruiting division. “There are a lot of RNs who have gone back to school to become NPs and in the future will take the place of physicians, especially in urgent care and outpatient settings. It seems that this trend will continue and that NPs will serve as a pertinent solution to the physician shortage.” The duties of a Nurse Practitioner vary, and those seeking the certification can choose from a number of specialties to pursue including primary care, pediatric care, geriatric care, oncology, and psychiatric care. In each respective field, Nurse Practitioners can conduct check-ups, diagnose patients, and decide on proper treatments. Some NPs even take their own patients, much like a physician would. However, the legal duties of an NP and their ability to overlap or replace physicians currently vary by state. For example, in New York, NPs can only prescribe controlled substances with some degree of physician involvement. In others, they can prescribe independently of physicians. Currently, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, NPs are not being used to their full potential. The journal reports that they are limited to the care they can legally provide by state, and often less, whereas their education and training prepares them for the full scope of their current duties and beyond. As a result, take a look at your state laws to evaluate if your NPs can do more than they are currently doing. If they’re not, you should consider giving them more freedom to ensure you provide the best possible quality of care for patients, take some of the weight off physicians, and prevent patient rehospitalization and the associated fees put forth by the Affordable Care Act. If you do see your state’s laws limiting Nurse Practitioners responsibilities, this news may be of interest to you: in light of the impending wave of patients, a number of states are currently looking into reforming their laws to allow more responsibilities to Nurse Practitioners. In the process, there is a lot of disagreement over whether or not NPs should be allowed to perform independently as physicians do. Whereas Nurse Practitioners believe they should be allowed to take on such responsibilities, some doctors have responded that patient safety could be compromised if there are no supervisory physicians available. This could be the case, and independent NP practice may need more careful review, but one thing is certain: Nurse Practitioners, even with their current limitations, are a great solution to physician shortages in the coming years and can provide excellent support to already overwhelmed doctors and facilities.