25 November 2014
The recruiting and job searching processes have been getting a bit of a makeover these past few years. Advances in technology are changing the game, leading to new job application processes, reference checking tools, and networking tactics. So it seems to be only a matter of time until the traditional interview is foregone for something quicker and more efficient, too—and that time may come sooner than we think. In recent years, many companies have taken a liking to video interviews, which come in two forms. A two-way video interview is much like a traditional one, only over a video service such as Skype; one-way video interviews, in contrast, are pre-recorded responses by the candidate to a list of questions provided by the interviewer. Regardless of which one a company or a candidate prefers, video interviews can benefit a job seeker in a number of ways. So if you’re called for a video interview, don’t panic! While “traditional” interviews are still what most candidates come to expect in their job search, there are numerous perks to interviewing via video technology. The one that everyone can appreciate is saved money and time—not only do you save on transportation, you don’t have to worry about dedicating a large portion of your day to an interview. Should video interviewing take the place of phone screenings or even first-round meetings, gone can be the days when candidates find themselves traveling a great distance, only to be passed on in the first round of interviews or discover that they wouldn’t fit well with the company culture. Another perk: you’ll also have more time to prepare for interviews when they’re conducted via video. For two-way interviews, add to your preparation the extra time saved by not traveling. For one-way sessions, do the same, then add the extra bonus of receiving the interview questions in advance. This should help with the pre-interview jitters, especially since you’re interviewing within your comfort zone. Don’t, however, get so comfortable that you forget it’s a still a professional meeting. Pick a tidy area that you’re comfortable in and present yourself as you would face-to-face: confidently, professionally dressed, and respectful. The area you choose should be well-lit and, ideally, not painted or decorated with any bold colors or patterns that could draw attention away from you. Make sure your space is quiet and without distractions, and arrive at your interview area early to allow time for fixing any technical issues. Better yet, test out the technology beforehand to ensure everything is running smoothly. Remember: when you interview in a company’s office, you’re entering into a space the hiring manager is familiar with—a space you have no control over. Video interviews, however, put that control into your hands, so the space you choose reflects on you. While the smallest of these details may seem insignificant, they all contribute to the overall picture of you as a professional. Of course, there are companies who prefer and will always stick with face-to-face, in-person interviews with their candidates, and there is much to be said for that tactic. But with technology changing job searching and hiring strategies by the day, it’s important to be prepared for whatever may come your way as a job seeker. By following these guidelines, you should be well on your way to a comfortable, effective meeting that highlights your best attributes.
24 November 2014
Things are looking great for your job search! You got past the screening process with a strong cover letter and resume, impressed the hiring manager during your interview(s), and now they want to check your professional references! That means you have the job, right? Not so fast. Contrary to the popular belief that the reference check is something that companies only complete right before they extend an offer, your references can hold a lot of weight in an employer’s final decision. In fact, prospective employers are reaching out to your professional references to measure how your interview performance aligns with what they have to say about your skills and working relationships. In fact, a CareerBuilder survey found that 69% of employers surveyed said they have changed their minds about a candidate after speaking with a reference. So, to avoid missing out on an opportunity because of a weak recommendation, follow these steps to secure great references throughout your job search. 1. Reconnect with your references regularly Throughout your professional career, you never want to be seen as someone who only reaches out to your network when you need something. The same rule should apply to connecting with your references; it’s important to maintain regular communication in order to establish a genuine, mutually beneficial professional relationship. For example, send potential references a quick email with an interesting article you came across, or give them a call to find out how things are going. Try to make it part of your routine to reconnect with any potential reference every few months, as doing this periodically will let people in your network know that when you ask for a reference, you’re not reconnecting solely for a favor. 2. Ask first before you submit There’s no better way to negatively impact your relationship with references than by having a prospective employer catch them unprepared to speak about you. As a rule of thumb, you should always ask permission to submit someone’s name as a reference before you are asked by the employer to provide professional references. You should try to confirm their availability and ability to vouch for you first. For instance, a scheduling conflict you were unaware of could affect your reference’s ability to speak. Additionally, avoid coming off as unprofessional by always asking nicely if they would be comfortable speaking about your skills and professional relationship. After all, if someone doesn’t feel comfortable acting as your reference, it’s better to give them the opportunity to decline, so that you can secure stronger references. 3. Manage your recommendations If you are in search of your next opportunity, a best practice is to manage your references based on the relationship (e.g., personal, professional, volunteer, academic, etc.) you shared. We recommend that you create a “master list” that breaks down each of your reference’s profiles by name, title, contact info, relationship, and time period worked together to avoid overusing certain references for every job you apply to. As a result, your ability to effectively manage your references will allow you to carefully leverage them in the best possible way for certain roles throughout your search. 4. Give your references detailed job descriptions The best way for your reference to confidently highlight your professional profile is by giving them a clear idea of the role you’re interviewing for. Once you confirm which references you will reach out to, be sure to provide them with a description of the position you’ve asked them to be a reference for, in addition to an updated resume. The better prepared they are to speak to your strengths that are in-line with your prospective role, the more likely you are to receive a strong recommendation. 5. Follow up with a “thank you” note Common courtesy is to say “thank you” to someone who takes the time out of their day to do you a favor. So as a sign of gratitude, send them a quick email or letter thanking them for their help whether or not you get the role. This will sit well with your reference and may make them more likely to help you again in the future.
17 November 2014
With Ebola still a very present threat, many healthcare facilities are now mandating Ebola preparedness training for their staff. Facilities are developing policies that, in the case of an outbreak, ensure anyone who may come into contact with the virus understands how to protect themselves and prevent its spread to others. This is important for all levels of staff, both clinical and non-clinical, from ICU nurses to administration—while a Receptionist at a hospital may not work directly with Ebola patients, for example, he or she will be the first to greet a potential patient and therefore must also be prepared. In addition to providing their current staff with training, facilities are now bumping up their hiring for temporary roles, often on a 13-week basis, for both local and travel opportunities. Our clients currently have a heightened demand for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Registered Nurses with an interest in infection control, Emergency Room Registered Nurses to take on the title of Ebola Preparedness Nurse, and Infectious Disease Nurses. Of course, those coming in with prior experience in infectious diseases—such as those employed during the H1N1 epidemic in 2009—and those who have obtained training on their own, are in especially high demand. Those who are currently unemployed can make themselves more marketable through outside opportunities and training courses. For example, on October 21st, an Ebola Educational Session was offered at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan to educate 5,000 healthcare professionals on the proper procedures when working with possible Ebola patients. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also provides a plethora of materials and information for familiarizing oneself with Ebola on their website and, in conjunction with the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) and New York State, has been hosting a number of conference calls and webinars to further update healthcare professionals on the latest information regarding the spread of the disease. “Ultimately, those looking to take on one of these short-term roles will have to ensure they do everything they can to familiarize themselves with the virus and its spread,” says Allison Fagan, Managing Director of Health Services at The Execu|Search Group. “Regardless of your title or involvement with patients, training is first and foremost in importance to ensure everyone stays safe.” Training classes and materials include topics such as learning how to properly put on and remove protective suits and gear, how to properly communicate with colleagues in the stages of an Ebola patient entering the facility, and how to contain and prevent the spread of the virus. In addition to hands-on nurses, many facilities and third-party companies are now seeking Nurse Educators to assist in these trainings, either internally or as a service to other facilities. One of our clients, for example, is currently seeking Nurse Educators to make rounds to healthcare facilities and ensure the proper training is being given. “Our clients are aware that this is an intimidating assignment and have been preparing themselves to compensate accordingly,” says Allison. “We encourage all our equipped healthcare professionals to consider assisting in this time of need and assure them that they will receive the proper training if they do so. In addition to helping out for a great cause, those taking on these roles will be given a unique opportunity to develop a specialized skill set.”
17 November 2014
Searching for a job can be stressful for many reasons, but getting too overwhelmed can hurt your chances of landing a position you’re happy with. Stress can lead you to making mistakes on applications, appearing fidgety in interviews, and even damaging your overall health. These are the tell-tale signs of a stressed job seeker, but they can be avoided if candidates take the right approach. The first step is to set realistic goals and follow through with them whenever possible. Keep a calendar or some sort of schedule and define concrete, manageable deadlines for your week, such as “apply to five jobs per day” or “have resume finalized by Monday.” At the end of a week, you can look back and review your progress; if you stick with your goals, this will give you a sense of accomplishment that can fuel you to keep going. It’s important to make sure you identify success as meeting these smaller goals, not simply “getting a job.” The end-goal of becoming employed might seem difficult to attain, but the only way to get there is to think positively and stay productive. Focusing only on whether or not you’re employed by the end of the week or month will lead only to stress, which might affect your productivity and therefore your chances of landing a job in the long run. Instead, reward yourself for your productivity as you meet these goals and acknowledge that you are doing the best you can. It’s best to also set aside time for regular breaks. It’s important to maintain a work-life balance while searching in order to stay as stress-free as possible; it’s all too easy to get sucked up in your job search and allow it to swallow up all your free time. When you schedule your goals, also schedule blocks of time or even whole days in which you can shop, watch television, spend time with family—anything but think about your job search. You’ll be more productive, and less stressed, if you’re refreshed and looking at your search with fresh eyes. This also minimizes the risk of making mistakes which can greatly stress you out. To feel the most at rest during these times, it can also be helpful to alert your network, as knowing that others are looking out for you can help ease your mind. Job searching can also be isolating, so having your contacts on the lookout can help you avoid feeling alone in your endeavor. Your time off will also be particularly restful if you stay organized—that way, when you return, you can pick up right where you left off. Finally, and possibly the most important, is to avoid perfectionism. It’s important to stay organized, meet your goals and deadlines, and do all you can to ensure you’re employed in a reasonable amount of time. But everyone must be flexible with their goals at some point to compensate for unexpected disturbances to their routine; stressing over the fact that you didn’t meet your goal for the day or the week will only set you back further. So learn from the experience, adjust your plan accordingly, and push forward!
14 November 2014
As 2014 comes to a close, the time to make important decisions that will impact your career in 2015 starts with your New Year’s resolutions, and for many, their resolutions are focused on finding a new job. If you are an office support professional that is considering making a job switch in 2015, what’s preventing you from starting your job search now? There’s a myth that Q4 is a bad time to look for a job, and our office support recruitment specialists have seen that an increasing number of candidates are delaying their job search until next year, and some are staying with their current employer just to receive a year-end bonus. However, we’re here to dispel that myth. 2014 has been a robust year for job growth in the office support space, and as the employment rate continues to improve, projections indicate that this trend will likely continue into 2015. If you are an admin professional that is postponing your job search until you receive a year-end bonus, Shana Cohen, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division, has three factors to consider, which may make you realize you should be searching now in lieu of waiting for a year-end bonus. Opportunities are plentiful Month over month, the unemployment rate has consistently improved, which has resulted in an increasing number of companies looking to bring on top office support talent. In fact, based on Execu|Search’s internal data, the office support industry has experienced a record year-over-year increase in permanent placements. “While this is a good sign, we encourage candidates to be proactive now before the New Year rush of job seekers pick up in January and February,” says Shana. In other words, the sooner you begin to explore your options, the better positioned you can be to make an educated decision on your next career move. Keep in mind, while it may be hard to walk away from money that you’ve worked hard for, luckily you’re not the only one that shares this sentiment. As the end of the year approaches and employers shell out year-end bonuses, companies recognize that prospective candidates may not be willing to leave their current employer without a monetary incentive. As a result, an increasing number of employers are offering office support professionals competitive compensation packages to compensate for considering a new role with their company at such a pivotal time period. Companies are willing to negotiate If you are concerned with missing out on a year-end bonus, Shana advises her candidates not to worry too much about it, as employers are increasingly willing to take your missed bonus into account when extending an offer. “For example, if your prospective employer is aware that you’d potentially miss out on a year-end bonus, they may be willing to offset your potential lost by offering a sign-on bonus comparable to what you anticipated on receiving,” says Shana. Not only may prospective companies offer sign-on bonuses, but they may also be willing to recognize your potential lost with an increase in your base salary. As the market continues to improve, so have the negotiation strategies of companies. For instance, “In 2014, the office support professionals we’ve worked with have experienced an average increase of 13%-14% in their base salaries,” says Shana. With this in mind, we still encourage candidates to consider looking at the opportunities available and take advantage of market trends this year. You have nothing to lose In such a thriving job market, exploring your options sooner rather than later may give you a clearer understanding of your current worth and whether or not you should pursue other opportunities or stay with your current employer. If you’re considering changing jobs, there are two potential outcomes that can come from starting your job search now, instead of waiting for a year-end bonus: Find a better opportunity – Since you have a reason to consider making a change, this means that it might be worth it to explore what’s in the current market before the heavy hiring season arrives. “In fact, by talking to companies and other professionals, this will educate you on what’s being offered to candidates with your skills/experience in the current market, which may help you focus your attention on pursuing an opportunity that is better suited for your career goals,” advises Shana. Instill confidence in your current role – On the other hand, by exploring the market earlier, you may realize that companies are actually offering smaller compensation packages to candidates with similar experience to yours. As a result, “This should instill confidence that your current employer values your talent and staying with them leading up to a year-end bonus is the smartest decision,” says Shana. At the very least, entering your job search sooner rather than later may increase your market knowledge, potentially expand your network, and give you confidence that your final decision is worth it.
14 November 2014
Finding yourself unsuccessful after an interview can be a frustrating experience, but stop your disappointment there! Even if you do your best and still find yourself sending out applications, it’s important to remember that you can learn a lot from even the most seemingly fruitless interviews. Here are some of the things you can still take away, even if one of those things isn’t the job itself: Practice. It’s no secret that the key to great interviewing is practice, but reciting your elevator pitch and running through possible questions can only get you so far. Real, one-on-one interviews that may not have panned out the way you wanted are never a failure—rather, they’re a great opportunity to review the experience after the fact and decide what you did well and what you can improve on. Pay attention to each question and answer and how you handle them and, of course, how your interviewer responds. Connections. Even if you feel that the interview didn’t go the way you would have liked it to, you should always consider asking the interviewer if you can connect on LinkedIn either before you leave, or in your follow-up email. This is a great way to keep you fresh in the interviewer’s mind— if not for this position, then maybe for other opportunities. At the very least, you could make a great connection for the future and add to your growing professional network. Research skills. If you prepared thoroughly for your interview, then you most likely did quite a bit of research on the company. The research skills it takes to job search, acquaint yourself with various companies, and ready yourself for whatever might come your way in the interview are valuable in most positions. What’s more, the more you go through this process, the faster and more efficient you’ll become at it. You’ll be better at preparing for interviews when that job you qualify perfectly for comes along. An idea of what kind of culture you fit best in. Not every office or workplace is the same, and oftentimes, too many candidates jump into a job offer before deciding whether or not the environment is right for them. This can be prevented if you ask the right questions and pay close attention to the atmosphere around you. The more interviews you go on, the better you’ll become at discerning which environments best suit your professional style, and the less likely you are to make a misinformed decision in the future. Examples of different interviewing styles. Every interviewer is different, and as a result, no two interviews are the same. Each interview you go on gives you a new perspective into what to expect and how similar questions can be approached from different angles. Furthermore, and possibly most important, you’ll learn how to adjust to different interview settings and styles for the future. The job market is flooded with candidates and more are being interviewed per position than ever, so don’t expect to land the first job you interview for. But should you find yourself discouraged after several attempts, reflect on the above knowledge you’ve acquired and apply them to your next interview. Eventually, with your new repertoire of interviewing skills, you’ll shine in comparison to your competition.
13 November 2014
In your quest to land your next opportunity with a hot tech start up, or find your dream job with one of the industry’s tech giants, you may be surprised to find out that on top of your interview(s), you may soon be required to take a technical aptitude test. An increasing number of tech companies are using these hiring tests to ensure that they are getting the best combination of technical talent and personality fit for the position, so don’t get caught unprepared. In response to the technical hiring tests, our IT recruitment specialists have seen that an increasing number of candidates are discouraged by this formal testing method, and instead, in some cases are opting to pursue employers that don’t use the aptitude testing to make hiring decisions. However, Ajmal Amin, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s IT division, advises his candidates that with the proper preparation and understanding of how your performance will be evaluated, you can better position yourself and showcase your technical talents. Therefore, if you’re an IT professional that falls into this discouraged group, continue reading to find out what employers are actually looking for and why it’s typically a good idea to take the technical test(s) even if it might not seem worth it. How will you be evaluated? In the past, companies tested a candidate’s basic knowledge (i.e., English, basic math, problem solving, etc.) to judge if they could perform their job properly. In today’s technologically-driven age, tech companies are testing candidates on exactly what they could be doing in their respective role to ensure their business operations continue to run smoothly. While companies are looking to test your specific skill set, candidates should be aware that these hiring tests are often open-ended—without a right or wrong answer. Instead of deeming an answer right or wrong, “Employers are more focused on how well you handle yourself under stressful situations, which could include your critical thinking and decision making skills,” says Ajmal. For example, instead of giving candidates an arbitrary coding/algorithm problem to solve, some employers may pose a problem that they are currently experiencing within their team/organization and have prospective candidates either attempt to fix it or propose a solution. While this may seem disadvantageous, keep in mind that employers are focused on a number of areas in your coding/problem solving process. In order to evaluate your performance, some of the areas companies may focus on include: How clean, readable, and maintainable is your code? When you find bugs, did you fix them effectively or did you just make random changes until you got it right? What other solutions did you come up with along the way? How did you get from one to the other? How did you communicate during the process? What should you prepare for? Companies are creating their own proprietary technical aptitude tests to rate your skill set. If you want to distinguish yourself during your testing, be ready to learn a new subject and rely on your entire technical background to create solutions that can address all angles of the problem. In addition to displaying your technical skills, be sure to communicate effectively with your interviewer. “The point of the testing is not always to see if you will solve the problem(s) correctly, but rather how well you are able to perform with little direction/resources and your ability to explain your thought process in reaching certain decisions,” says Ajmal. Take the test—what’s the worst that can happen? As a programmer or engineer in search of your next big break in the tech industry, we encourage you to refrain from withdrawing from an interview process solely because of the technical hiring test. “Although it may be an inconvenience, taking the technical hiring test(s) might ultimately give you a clearer picture of where your technical skill set ranks as an IT professional,” says Ajmal. In addition, taking the test may give you the opportunity to learn what your technical strengths and weaknesses are, which will allow you to fully evaluate your skill set and make improvements where necessary. In the end, we encourage all candidates to take the technical tests seriously regardless of your professional level, as the result could certainly have a positive impact on your career.
12 November 2014
Great news for those seeking temporary employment: according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, October saw a growth of 8.79% year over year in temporary job orders—the highest rise since April this year. Specifically, 15,100 additional temporary roles opened in October, with the year-over-year number of jobs reaching an increase of 237,700 from October 2013 to 2014. Of course, job numbers fluctuate, and October’s month-over-month numbers were actually less than September’s. But with this comes another record high: a 2.10% penetration rate for temporary jobs. At The Execu|Search Group, October has been one of the busiest months yet for temporary job orders across all divisions. Our October Employment Index noted a 34% increase in full-time jobs and an unprecedented 107% increase in temporary and temporary-to-permanent job orders year-over-year. So if you think Q4 is the wrong time to job search, think again! Temporary employment is notably high as employers seek help for the holiday season and beyond. As for permanent roles, hiring is ramping up to prepare for the new year. If you’re looking to secure a full-time position, remember: temporary roles are a great way to sharpen your skills, and can possibly lead to permanent placement for the right candidate. For more information on how to secure a position during the holiday season and extend it into a full-time placement, reference our article, Turn That “Holiday Job” into your “Job!”
12 November 2014
This morning, on National Public Radio (NPR)’s Marketplace Morning Report, the topic of conversation was the much-anticipated announcement of Goldman Sachs’ new Partners. The financial giant makes this announcement every two years, and for those who are selected, landing on that list can be the peak of their career. Mitchell Peskin, Partner and Executive Vice President at The Execu|Search Group who oversees our Financial Services division, weighed in on the event. “It literally becomes a huge compensation event,” said Mitch. “It means the ability to now participate in the Goldman Sachs Partnership bonus pool.” According to the radio show host, that pool can mean millions for each Partner involved—on top of a salary already reaching $1 million per year. However, the title of Partner can be taken away, so those who have worked hard to earn it will have to work harder to keep it. According to Mitch, the work pays off. “If money is important to you, and I would say it is to most people that work on Wall Street, it’s as good as it gets.” You can listen to the segment here.