31 March 2014
You’re scrolling through job listings when you come across a job you’re particularly interested in. You collect the necessary materials to apply, tailor your resume and cover letter to the position, and hit “submit.” Then, you sit back and wait.
28 March 2014
The Execu|Search Group is proud to announce that we have been awarded the Best Recruitment Agency/Staffing Firm Mobile Website Award by the 2014 Global Mobile Recruitment Awards. The awards program, which was founded by Mike Taylor, Managing Director of Web Based Recruitment, aims to acknowledge excellence and innovation in mobile recruitment while raising awareness of the importance of having a mobile recruitment strategy. After making the shortlist of three companies from different countries for the recruitment agency category, The Execu|Search Group was selected for the honor. “As we’ve grown as a company, it’s been really important to us to adapt our business with the changing times,” explains Hannah DeGiovanni, Chief Marketing Officer of The Execu|Search Group. “As technology evolves and becomes more engrained in the hiring process, we knew that a growing number of professionals were searching for jobs from mobile devices, and wanted to make sure our site was easily accessible for all of the users who were visiting us while on the go.” As a result, with ease of use always being a priority, in 2013 we re-developed our main site using adaptive technology for a responsive design in order to display content optimized for different devices – computers, tablets, or smartphones. So far, traffic to The Execu|Search Group’s site from mobile devices has increased 46% year over year, with application rates and general engagement rates on the upswing as well. “With our responsive design website, the ease of use improves the process for every visitor to our site, no matter what device they’re using or what content they may be trying to find,” notes Hannah. “With one site address that reformats for all devices, the site is truly a one stop shop, and it reduces the confusion that can sometimes exist when users need to move back and forth between sites or apps for different intended actions.”
27 March 2014
Imagine the following scenario: You’re on your way to an important meeting. You’ve left yourself just enough time to get there, but due to traffic or a delayed train, you’re now running late. After a close call and some hurrying, you just barely make the meeting, only to arrive in a breathless stupor and spend the first several minutes collecting your thoughts and organizing the materials you brought. The rest of the attendees sit quietly around the table, pausing the conversation and patiently waiting for you to settle in, as the clock ticks loudly in the background. All eyes are on you. Do you feel anxious yet? Nobody likes the feeling of running late—and yet, many of us wind up rushing to our next commitment more frequently than we should. Arriving early, whether it be to a meeting, an interview, or even just a lunch date, is one of those rules that’s become so canonical it’s often overlooked; however, once broken, it’s a rule that can make you stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. Arriving early has many advantages. Not only will you be setting a great example and displaying your commitment by showing up before you’re expected, you’ll be reminding the person or organization you’re meeting with that you respect their time. It gives you the opportunity to collect your thoughts and materials and prepare yourself for what lies ahead. And, perhaps most importantly, it keeps you in a positive mindset to tackle the rest of the day. Of course, this is an often-touted tip for job seekers who have been called in for interviews, but punctuality shouldn’t end with the concluding handshake. Extend your time management skills to the everyday—meetings, networking events, getting to work every morning, or even waking up on time to tackle your job search! Studies have shown that taking such a professional approach to even home-based tasks, such as applying to online job postings, can put you in the right mindset for success. To make sure you give yourself this advantage, check for any possible problems on your commute ahead of time. If there are no foreseeable issues, give yourself 15 minutes extra as a rule of thumb. Remember, even if there don’t seem to be any transportation- or weather-related delays between you and your destination, there are always unexpected factors to consider. Protocols such as security clearance and filling out paperwork can make you late even if you’ve arrived on time, and even simply navigating an unfamiliar building can slow you down. Need more motivation to get up and out early? According to a study by The Economic Times, 34%—over a third of employers surveyed—said they have terminated employees for chronic lateness in the past. Just as there are numerous positives to arriving early, there are several downsides to being late—including missing out on a job opportunity or being let go from your current one. Likewise, if you’re giving a presentation, you may very well lose your audience if you don’t respect their time.
25 March 2014
The month of March Madness college basketball is finally upon us! Whether you’re rooting for your alma mater to make it to the big game, anticipating a “Cinderella Story,” or a “David and Goliath” matchup, you watch with great excitement and anticipation all the way to the end. As a jobseeker, you share one common bond with every basketball team competing, which is the desire to separate yourself from competitors—winning the championship or that well-deserved job offer. As a potential candidate, you will play this game every time you participate in a group interview. Luckily, group interviews are rare, but since some companies may choose this type of interview process, there are two types of group interviews that you should have knowledge of. Candidate Group Interview – Candidates interview for the same position at the same time, this may include group exercises Panel Group Interview – Candidates interview individually with a panel of two or more members of the company. The competition is always fierce, but it’s the applicant that works collaboratively with their peers, while finding the right moment(s) to “take the big shot” and stand out from the crowd, that will usually be the person who succeeds in the end. The following are some skills and strategies to put into play when you are faced with your next group interview: Know your Audience. Doing research about the company before you interview is standard procedure, but actually looking into which members of the organization will be conducting your group interview is a sure way to get a leg up on your competition. Whether you’re interviewing for a position at a consulting firm or a medical facility, there could be a unique makeup of the partners involved (e.g., Human Resources, Accounting, Marketing, Compliance, etc.). Although their positions may seem unrelated, your position may require working with all of them, so it’s important to appeal to everyone involved in the process. Therefore, a candidate that researches this will be better positioned to tailor responses specifically to the individual asking. For example, if you’re asked, “How would you manage an employee who struggles in their current role,” your answer may differ depending on the person asking. As a result, the candidate that plans accordingly and knows who will be in attendance will stand out from the crowd. Be Engaging. The purpose of a group interview is not only to measure your ability to solve and answer questions under stressful conditions, but to also assess how your personality fits in with a team. Effective teamwork skills are critical in workplace scenarios; therefore, maintaining a strong point of view without undermining your teammates is the best way to get noticed. For instance, if your group must create a solution to a complex issue, there are two ways to stand out in discussions: Engage everyone individually by name. Why? When you use names as opposed to “team” this shows that you are personable and engaged with members of your team. Make it known at some point that you are playing the “devil’s advocate.” Though you may have contesting ideas, it’s important to show your intent to respectfully provide an alternative point of view and to examine all angles of the problem. In addition, this shows you are creative when you reach roadblocks and your input and willingness to disagree with others contributed to a solution. These two points will not only show off your collaborative skills, but also your leadership skills and ability to rethink a strategy under pressure. Listen to Your Teammates. The overall objective of the group interview is to anticipate how a candidate is able to interact competitively and think strategically, while being inclusive of your teammates. The biggest mistake you can make as a teammate is interrupting anyone that is speaking. This is not only detrimental to your team’s performance, but this shows your interviewers you are unable or unwilling to listen to others’ opinions. A strong recommendation to avoid giving off such impressions is to acknowledge a teammate’s comments by waiting until they’re finished speaking, then shortly summarize their key point(s) and give your response that builds from those points whether positively or negatively. This not only shows that you are a good listener, but it shows your interviewers that you have the abilities to think on your feet and constructively use team input to meet objectives. Navigating through all aspects of your job search can feel like working through a bracket where you have to choose the right techniques to put you in a position to win and move on to the next round. Therefore, with preparation, patience, strategy, and research you can come out on top in your next group interview.
20 March 2014
If you are a professional who works within an office support setting, think of the resources you used to help you find your most recent job. Does networking come to mind? If not, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to get in front of hiring decision makers, ranging from human resources professionals to the executives you could be supporting. “Though ‘traditional methods’ of job searching such as applying to jobs through job boards are definitely good resources to utilize, networking events have more of a human element to them,” explains Erin McCarthy, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support and Human Resources divisions. “This human element is important because it allows you to build personal connections with people who could ultimately help your job search.” As a result, Erin suggests that administrative professionals attend all the networking events they can, regardless of whether or not the topic being discussed seems relevant to them. “Remember, if you are a job seeker or simply someone interested in learning about new career opportunities, one of your main goals should be to meet decision makers who can either help you get an in with their company, or refer you to someone who they think you could connect with,” advises Erin. “Therefore, when researching events to attend, make sure you pay more attention to the industry the event is targeting and who the attendees are than the actual topic or title of the event. This information, not the topic, is more important to your job search.” At each event you attend, make it your goal to hand out at least 5 business cards. If you have access to the attendee list before the event starts, it may be helpful to do some research on the attendees to decide who would be the best people for you to introduce yourself to. Once you are at the event, when connecting with these professionals, if it feels appropriate, it’s important to be able to tell your story and how this relates to your career path. “People are interested in hearing stories,” explains Erin. “If you can come across as genuine, hard-working, and motivated, most people will be interested in helping you; something I can personally attest to.” Another piece of advice that Erin always gives her candidates before attending any networking event (or interview) is to make sure they are educated on current events. “Whether you just skim the newspaper every morning, or listen to the news for 5 minutes, it’s important that you have an understanding of what is going on in the world. Talking about a current event is not only an excellent ice breaker but you also never want to be caught off guard by a question about something that you have no idea about.“ Finally, Erin stresses the importance of sending a thank you note to everyone you connected with. “Sending a personalized thank you note to your new contacts is not only common courtesy, but also a good strategy for helping them remember you.” Your note shouldn’t be overly promotional, so air on the side of caution and simply write a quick note expressing your gratitude, and desire to stay in touch. It will be this note that will encourage them to reach back out to you.
19 March 2014
With the recovering economy and hiring on a steady incline, employers may have to reconsider their hiring efforts. Many candidates are now becoming aware that their services are in high demand and, as a result, they know they can now be more selective when making career decisions. This has created what’s being called the “war for talent”—the struggle for one company to outdo the other in attracting and retaining top talent in the industry. In order to adjust your staffing strategies for these changes, focus on two major aspects: attracting talent and retaining talent. Attracting Talent When attempting to attract the best possible candidates, a company has to outshine the others—and with multiple industries booming, that can be difficult. Therefore, you should make sure you are… Making faster, more competitive offers. There is no time to waste when offering a position to a great candidate with today’s job market, and in addition, the offer you do make should reflect the candidate’s worth. Job seekers know their services could be picked up in a timely and well-compensated fashion by another company if your organization doesn’t pull through. Promote your company’s culture. More and more candidates are becoming concerned with company culture and turning to social media, word of mouth, and their own personal research to gauge proper cultural fit. When a prospective candidate is researching you, you want to make the best possible impression, and having a polished and active LinkedIn and/or Facebook page is just one of the many ways to ensure you do that! Build a good reputation. Ultimately, candidates will hear of an organization’s reputation through the grapevine, and you want yours to be a positive one. This can be done through internal tactics, which play into… Retaining Talent Hiring and promoting from within is a great way to not only retain your current talent but to attract future talent, since serious candidates typically steer clear of organizations with the “revolving door” reputation. Whether you’re looking to retain current or future employees (preferably both!), you should be… Discussing growth from the beginning. Keeping candidates aware of their future potential from the get-go is a great way to keep them invested in what they do. If there is room for growth in a position, make sure to be clear on what is expected of the candidate in order for them to get there. Be flexible. While every company has their own policies and limitations, being as flexible as possible in scheduling, vacation time, and other aspects that play into an employee’s work-life balance can help raise employee satisfaction. As an added bonus, this should further boost your reputation as well. Acknowledge and reward. One of the biggest complaints of disgruntled employees is the feeling of being underappreciated for their efforts in the workplace. Make a point of acknowledging hard work and accomplishments, and you should notice a significant increase in employee outlook and retention—which then creates a better reputation for your organization and cycles back to attract future talent.
18 March 2014
Nobody wants their interview responses to sound like they’re reading from a script they memorized, but even more daunting is the possibility of tripping up on interview questions for a job you know you’re perfect for. In order to have a successful interviewing experience, the best strategy is to review the job, think about why you are the best fit, and how you can help deliver results. This will help you gain the confidence you need to go into the interview with genuine authenticity. To do this, consider the following tips: Consider your talking points and how to express them articulately In order to feel comfortable talking about yourself, think of the common qualities interviewers typically aim to assess in candidates, such as their strengths, weaknesses, motivations, work style, experience, and other job-specific abilities the role may call for. Though it can be helpful to prepare some bullets for common interview questions as a starting point, knowing yourself inside and out can help you answer questions that you may not be prepared for. Practice alone There are numerous ways to prepare for an interview, but you may want to start by using more casual individual methods of practicing, especially if you dislike mock interviewing. For instance, experts suggest interviewees record their practice responses as a way of analyzing their performance. Using this method, you can pick up on any patterns you’d like to change, or body language you may want to work on. For interviewees who have no means of recording themselves, the next best suggestion is to practice in front of a mirror. Rehearse with a friend Mock interviewing isn’t for everyone, but that might be because the process replicates real life situations, which could rattle anyone’s nerves, especially given that they know the person “interviewing” them. However, there are benefits to asking an industry insider or honest friend to help you. You can evaluate your readiness through the quality of your answer and how quick you are to respond to the “interviewer’s” questions, as well as get helpful notes and constructive criticism on what to work on. Work on your communication style There are ways to practice your speech by exposing yourself to situations in which you have to introduce yourself to others and hold a conversation. One way of doing this might be to attend networking events or professional associations to meet people you don’t know. After your initial introduction, incorporate your industry, interests, and competencies, directly or through telling a story to help you develop a good habit of learning how to illustrate and highlight your achievements or experience. In order to respond intelligently and naturally to your interviewer, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with you, as odd as that may sound. Knowing your own capabilities and strengths, among other topics, will give you the natural confidence to be able to speak about yourself articulately when meeting with a hiring manager.
14 March 2014
Have you ever told a little white lie in a job interview or on an application? How about a big one? If you’re guilty, you’re not alone. According to researchers from the University of Massachusetts, 81 percent of people lie about themselves while speaking with employers. While you may think there are plenty of good reasons to embellish your skills or experience in the hiring process, it’s important to remember that candidates are expected to be truthful in every step. If you have ever been rewarded for being less than honest when pursuing a job opportunity, consider yourself lucky. The consequences of having false or misleading information discovered are dire, and can jeopardize your job prospects and lower your integrity. According to a nationwide survey done by Careerbuilder: 38% of candidates embellished responsibilities on their resume 18% embellished their skill set 12% lied about their dates of employment 10% fibbed about their academic degree 7% lied about which companies they worked for in the past 5% changed their job title 36% of employers who recognized they were given falsified applications considered the candidate but did not hire him or her Employers can easily verify your statements regarding several basic and vital pieces of information you have supplied them. In fact, that job application that you fill out is actually considered a legal document and allows companies to check an applicant’s education, work history, and perform both criminal and basic background checks. If the employer discovers that you deliberately misrepresented yourself on the application, it can cost you the job. This same sense of integrity should be applied to any additional application materials you are required to or choose to submit. For instance, if you are applying to a job that requires strong writing skills and choose to submit a writing sample that you did not actually produce, the employer will eventually find out if you were extended a job offer based on that sample. In most cases, once the employer discovers you are incapable of performing even close to the high standards of the writing sample, you will be fired. Lying has no place in the work setting, and can be detrimental to your reputation. After all, in the corporate world, you never know who talks to who. If you’re concerned about standing out from the competition, there are many ways to give yourself the edge, such as by applying on this day to ensure your resume receives maximum exposure, or by following these twelve interview , resume, and networking best practices. Always remember that employers value honesty and are looking for new hires who can not only deliver strong results, but can also take accountability for their actions. Owning up to a mistake you made in the past or admitting you don’t have all the skills needed for the job, but are willing to work on them, can go a long way.
12 March 2014
Most job seekers know the importance of networking and the various ways to do so. From career fairs to reaching out to fellow alumni, there are a multitude of ways to seek others in your industry to connect with. But once you’ve identified a network of professional contacts with whom you feel there can be a mutually beneficial relationship, how do you strengthen and maintain it over time? Of course, one of the biggest faux pas of networking is only reaching out when you want something. It’s important to reach out to offer help, share news and industry updates, and the like in order to maintain a genuine connection rather than an exploitive one. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a communicative network: Step One: Connect on LinkedIn. When you meet someone you’d like to network with, your first step should be to add them to LinkedIn (or invite them to join if they haven’t yet) with a personalized message. When you do so, LinkedIn will send you email updates about your new connection, including anniversaries, career changes, promotions, etc. Just make sure you have the applicable notification settings enabled so you get these emails and don’t miss an important update. Step Two: Take advantage of birthdays, holidays, and special milestones. Once you receive these updates, be sure to use them to their full potential. If your contact receives a promotion, for example, send a congratulations their way! This also applies to holidays, birthdays, and other events and milestones. Sending an email or calling to say congrats can go a long way and spark some conversation. Step Three: Send your connection(s) relevant articles. When you come across something interesting that you think a particular connection would enjoy reading or benefit from in some way, send it over. This is one of the easiest ways to start conversing and, as a bonus, it shows you have them and their best interest in mind. Step Four: Keep in touch regarding industry news. There is no better reason to reach out than to discuss the latest advances in your industry and what they mean for your careers. Even an email to ask if your contact has heard of the latest industry news can be a great conversation starter. Step Five: Invite a contact or two to professional events. Going to a networking event? Bring one—or several—of your current contacts! They may notice something or someone you don’t, and if they make a great connection as a result of your invite, they’ll be sure to keep you in mind for the future as well. Step Six: Just ask to catch up! If it’s been a while since you’ve spoken to a contact, don’t let the distance grow until you need something. Reach out and simply say that you haven’t spoken in a while and you’d like to reconnect. In most cases, your contacts should be receptive to this and appreciate the honesty. Remember, there are plenty of means for staying in touch, but meeting in person—even for just a quick coffee—is the best way to network.