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art of listening

The Art of Listening (Getting Back to Basics)

art of listening

Throughout my career, every so often I need to reflect on an old skill and “get back to basics” as I am now in the Staffing Industry, I am constantly speaking to clients, candidates, and communicating with my team. Regardless of your line of work or industry, getting back to the basics of active listening is essential.

As we get busy in our daily work lives, we can sometimes forget to listen. I have found listening is one of the hardest selling skills or general skillsets to master, yet it reaps the biggest benefit. Tendencies are to want to “sell, sell, sell” and talk about our product or service and how great it is without “listening” to what the customer wants and needs. Customers can be people you work with on a daily basis or even with your family and friends.

Some quick tips to getting back to basics:

  • Always take notes when someone is speaking. Note taking is a great way to force you to actively listen and be able to reflect on your conversation in the future.
  • Allow them to finish their thought. Don’t interrupt someone before they even finish speaking. It’s rude and disrespectful.
  • Use phrases to respond like “I understand” and “I see.” Show the speaker that you are actively listening and understanding what they are saying to you.
  • To be sure you understand what they are saying and ask questions to clarify, if necessary. Say something like: “So what you are saying is…” and refer back to what they said to ensure you understood correctly.
  • DO NOT have distractions while you are listening and look at the person to show interest. If you are speaking in person, make eye contact and have appropriate non-verbal cues to illustrate you are listening to what they have to say.
  • PUT DOWN THAT CELL PHONE. Put down your phone when someone is speaking to you. This is a sign of respect and demonstrates that you value what the person you’re speaking with has to say.

Getting back to basics reminds me of the skills that I learned years and years ago, but sometimes it’s easy to forget to focus on this in my daily life. As a Director of Business Development at JSG, I have to be attentive to the needs of my clients and candidates. I must ensure that my team and I are finding candidates that fit their company, their culture, and have the skill sets necessary to successfully perform the job.

Regardless if it’s a customer, co-worker, or your boss, getting back to the basics and being a good listener will go a long way in your career. Happy Listening!

turned down

Why Do I Keep Getting Turned Down?

turned down

In a perfect world, you come across an opportunity that you love, you apply, and you get hired! But more often than not, the job search is not this simple. Often, our search consists of applying to dozens of jobs online with the hopes of securing an interview. If your search results in being turned down, it can be quite a blow to your self-esteem and motivation.

If you find yourself passed on for the job opportunity you really wanted, don’t get down on yourself. Instead, control the things you can control; try to make small improvements in these areas to create a lasting impression and transition from candidate to employee.

Your Resume

You could be the perfect fit for a position; however, if your resume doesn’t communicate this, you probably won’t get the chance to demonstrate this. If you aren’t specifically tailoring your resume to fit each position you apply for, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Different companies and roles will stress different requirements and skills. Large companies sometimes utilize an ATS to filter through online resumes before they’re even viewed by a hiring manager. If you failed to include the information the software has been set to identify, you could be robbing yourself of an interview. Instead, analyze a job description and highlight the key skills or experiences desired in your resume. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short by leaving off key information!

The Interview

Even if you make it past the resume stage, you probably still have a few steps to go before officially being hired. The next step is an interview, often with the hiring manager or a panel of individuals who collectively make hiring decisions. Failing to answer a certain question or demonstrate that you’re a fit for their culture can result in being turned down. While companies won’t try to trick you, they want to create a setting that forces you to demonstrate the abilities you claim to have. Interviews can make even the most qualified of candidates feel nervous. Combat this with practice and research well ahead of your interview. Prepare answers to commonly asked questions like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “Why do you want to work here?”

Partner With A Recruiter

Make all the difference in your career by partnering with a recruiter to find your next position. Not only do we have a pulse on the market, but we also have direct connections to hiring managers. This allows us to skip any ATS systems or job application black holes and fast track your resume straight to the people making hiring decisions. Additionally, we hustle to receive constructive feedback at every stage of the hiring process. Ready to take the next step in your career? Contact us today!

why do you want to work here

How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” In An Interview

why do you want to work here

If you find yourself in a job interview in the near future, there is a high chance your interviewer asks something along the lines of, “Why do you want to work here?” We live in an age where technology connects us in more ways than ever. However, interviewers still like to ask this question to gain an understanding of the motivations behind your job search. The good news is, you can use the web to your advantage and arm yourself with a great answer to this question.

Answers To Avoid In An Interview

First and foremost, you want to avoid giving a completely one-sided answer. It’s important to stay away from anything that focuses only on how the job will serve you. Your prospective interviewer is well aware of the perks and benefits offered at their company. Next, do no say you just want this job to pay the bills. Highlighting these things only comes across as self-serving in a setting where you are trying to show the value you will provide to them, not the value you will receive as a result.

Finally, don’t use this as an opportunity to bash your former employer. You may be unhappy with your current role, but it isn’t appropriate to focus on negatives while trying to improve your situation with a new company.

What to Focus on Instead

Instead, focus on how you identify with the company. Are you a lifelong user of their service or product? Do they have a mission or cause that resonates with you? Do you have a lot in common with their employees? Use the information you’ve gathered online to form a solid opinion about the company. We also recommend that you reference comments made by the interviewer throughout your meeting. Did they mention that the team is extremely collaborative? Or that you’ll have the independence to run your own desk? This serves a dual purpose in both answering the question and showing that you’re listening. And most importantly, don’t forget to mention how well you envision yourself fitting within their company culture.

recruiter

Your Best Friend in a Job Search is Your Recruiter

recruiter

Whether you are passively searching or are actively searching while unemployed, there is no better person to assist you on your job search than a recruiter. They may contact you through social media on sites like LinkedIn or through email. (And don’t forget, you can always reach out to them!) While you may be hesitant to put your career in the hands of someone you may not personally know, there are tons of reasons why working with a recruiter is in your best interest.

They Save You Time

Finding a new position can be extremely time-consuming. Between keeping your resume updated, finding openings that fit your skillset, and scheduling interviews, it’s basically a full-time job. And while you may have to balance several things including your current position and personal obligations, it’s a recruiter’s job to fill open positions with qualified candidates. Sharing this responsibility with them ensures you have time to focus on what’s most important.

They Cast A Larger Net

Even the best networkers or relationship builders can benefit from a recruiter’s connections. By connecting you directly with hiring managers and exclusive job opportunity, a recruiter can add exponential value to your job search.

It’s Their Job!

Recruiters will do everything in their power to place you in a job. First of all, they love their careers helping to place qualified candidates with great companies. Additionally, this is their job and they get paid for it! (And at no cost to you!) Our recruiters do this quickly, honestly, and work with you through the entire process to find you a situation that you will love. Keep in mind that they are just as invested in finding you a job as you are!

So, are you ready to work with a recruiter to find your next opportunity?

panel interview

5 Tips on How to Prepare For a Panel Interview

panel interview

Interviewing isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, for me though, it’s the best part of the job hunt. But, there are tons of different interview styles. And the panel interview, in my opinion, is the one most people are least prepared for.

A panel interview can be extremely nerve-wracking. Especially when you have 3 – 12 people from different departments deciding if they could work with you. Most of them are more focused on what you bring to the table and what working with you will be like.

Will you be easy going, or someone that causes problems? Will you have good ideas that help move, not only your department forward but others as well?

A panel interview is a totally different style and it’s important you’re prepared, or the nerves will take over. So here are a few steps that’ll help you be ready to impress everyone on the panel.

Do your research about the people on the panel

LinkedIn will be your best friend! Using it to see their titles and what content they interact with will help you know a little bit more about them. You may even find that you went to the same college or are from the same town. These little details may not seem like a big deal… But familiarizing yourself with their names and who they are, will help you feel more comfortable in the interview. It will also help you interact with them and their questions on a more personal basis.

Interact with each person

They may not all ask you a question. But it is pertinent you include them with body language and eye contact. This way they feel like you’re still including them. And it helps them know that if you get the job, you’d be easy and comfortable to work with.

Body language and eye contact speak volumes. And it can show that you’re a person who wants to be involved and is ready to take on a new role. But it also can go the opposite way showing that you’re a person who will need a lot of coaxing and training. The good thing is, body language and eye contact can be practiced!

Memorize the Job Description

Memorizing the job description is a must! This will help you prepare for questions and give you time to really tailor your answers to the keywords and responsibilities that the position is looking for. The more you demonstrate that you’re the perfect candidate, the more likely you’re going to get the job!

Come up with questions to ask

In a panel interview, it’s very important to have questions ready to ask as well as jot some down during the interview. With there being so many people it’s important you take the opportunity to really ask questions you’re wanting to know. It gives you a chance to ask questions you may not have been able to if you were in a different interview.

Having questions prepared only shows the interviewers that you’re very interested in the position and that you came prepared to learn more about the job you’re wanting.

What to Bring to the interview

In a panel interview, you’re most likely going to be asked more questions and be there longer. So, bringing a pad to write down notes is essential. But you also want to remember to bring extra resumes too! The more prepared you are to help your interviewers get to know you, the better off you’ll be when it comes to getting that offer letter.

If you follow these steps you’ll be able to rock the interview with the confidence and knowledge you need to land the job you’ve been working so hard to get!

Resume

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Resume

As a Sr. Recruiter with over 20 years of experience, I have seen thousands of resumes.  Some have stood out and others fell flat. Your resume creates the first impression for recruiters and hiring managers. Sending a sharp, well-written resume that describes your technical skills and reflects experience relevant to an opening is key to getting noticed. And most importantly, you must include proper grammar and punctuation. Especially when it comes to making sure there are no typos.

Taking the time to really review and clean up your resume is worth doing before you start a job search. A good habit is finding time once a year to update and fine-tune your listed skills and accomplishments. This keeps your resume relevant and ready for a new opportunity.

As a recruiter, I am guilty of resume scanning to identify keywords, skills, and relevant job histories. So here are a few ideas to make your resume stand out to people like me who are scanning them:

Keep the Design Clean and Sharp

  • Say no to Photos and Graphics – They distract from your skills
  • When submitting a resume online via a portal (such as Indeed), the formatting and visuals get lost and can impact the recruiter’s ability to see your skills
  • Don’t use Tables/Columns – They create a distraction for the recruiters
  • Use a readable font and avoid using multiple fonts; it makes the resume hard to follow

Delete the Resume Objective

  • Make yourself stand out! “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in your industry” is old school. Highlight what you bring to the table rather than telling them how hard you work

Replace your Objective with your Skills – Make your Talent Stand Out

  • The days of a “One Page” resume is behind us; sharing your career history and relevant skills makes you more marketable
  • The skills section of your resume includes your abilities that are relevant. Recruiters want to see abilities and expertise that are applicable to the position you are applying for, such as computer skills, software skills, and/or language skills. Specialized or hard-to-find skills are especially important to make you stand out
  • Make sure the skills section of your resume not only highlights the skills for the job you are applying for but also emphasizes how you utilized those skills under your previous positions
    • The closer a match your skills are to the job requirements and how you previously used those skills, the better your chances are for being called for an interview
  • I’m primarily a Technical Recruiter. And I recruit for Information Technology professionals. So if you are a Software Developer, state the programming languages, software, platforms and other Information Technology proficiencies you have
  • In the Digital Age, most employers utilize automated applicant tracking systems and searchable sites such as LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice to search for specific keywords that match the jobs they are looking to fill. The more skills you share, the more likely it is that your resume will be selected for consideration

Delete Personal Data

  • Omit any reference to your birthdate, marital status or religion. It’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your resume
  • If you’re more than a few years out of college, don’t include your graduation dates or GPA. You don’t want recruiters to inadvertently discriminate based on your age
    • Move your degree to the end of the resume; your skills and most recent positions are more relevant to you getting noticed

Spell Check

  • Grammatical and spelling errors can mean your application is more likely to be overlooked. It is critical for you to make sure your resume has no spelling or grammatical errors before you submit it to a recruiter or hiring manager

Following this advice will help get you noticed in your next job application! Remember, the old adage is true in the world of recruiting: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Happy Job Hunting!

 

Questions

How to Answer the “Why Should We Hire You?” Interview Question

Interviews

In most interviews, you have questions that may seem easy to answer but end up being trickier than you originally thought. The “why should we hire you?” interview question is one of them. However, if you hit on the following four points, you will provide the interviewers everything they’re looking for.

Hirable Skills

When they ask you this question they want to know what skills you have that fit the needs of the position. It’s all about the job description. So if you’ve done your homework on the position and know what they are looking for, being able to hit this point should be easy. Because keywords are everything and if you know those and are skilled at them you should be able to convince them that’d you’re the person they should hire.

Soft Skills

While answering this question, pointing out your soft skills is very important. Nowadays, companies are putting a lot of importance on candidates having great soft skills because they will be more likely to work well with others, adapt to new changes, and stay with the company.

With 87 percent of companies hiring candidates with little to no experience, the turnover rate ends up being extremely high. But if you have the skill set and soft skills, you’ll be a shoe-in for the position.

Experience

Experience is sometimes one of the requirements that can knock you out of even being considered for an open position. You obviously have it since you’re in an interview with them, so make sure you talk about it! With this question, you have tons of room to explain how your experience has helped you be over and beyond prepared for their open role.

And you’re ready to bring knew attributes to it as well. Experience is the key to any successful job interview and with a question like this, using it to your advantage will only hammer the nail into your much waited for offer letter.

Culture Fit

And finally, companies are looking to see that you’re a great culture fit. They more than likely will have already given you an idea what working for them will be like, so spinning off it and explaining why you love working in an environment like theirs will show your excitement; it will also prove that you’re the right fit they’ve been looking for.

If you like how their office runs, it will help you continue to push forward to success. So, make sure to mention this in your answer.

If you’re able to hit all four of these points, you’re sure to blow away the interviewers. Sometimes we over think these questions. The most important thing to remember is to break them down and answer them with these key topics.

thank you

How to Write the Perfect Post-Interview Thank You Note

thank you note

Congratulations! You’ve navigated your way through the job interview and you’re excited about the opportunity. The company is everything that you are looking for and you feel like you nailed the interview. But wait! Now is not the time to sit back and wait to hear back from HR. You must send a thank you note to seal the deal.

Here’s how to write the perfect thank you note that’ll leave a lasting impression on the interviewers.

Highlight why you are the best candidate

Now, I’m not saying you should actually state that you are the best candidate in your thank you note. However, this is your opportunity to remind them why you are a perfect fit for the position. Remember, your goal is to express your gratitude, not make another pitch. Subtly remind them why you are a good fit for not only the position but also for the organization!

Send a thank you to each interviewer

This is crucial. You must send a thank you note to each person you interviewed with. And you can’t just send the same thank you note to each interviewer. You must make each email unique. The easiest way to do this is to bring a notebook with you for an interview.

To be polite, you can ask the interviewers if it’s okay to jot down some notes during the interview. Write down everyone’s name on a notebook so you remember their names. When crafting your notes, reflect on something each interviewer said and mention that in your interview. For example, if an interviewer brings up a new product launch, you can say something like “I enjoyed discussing ABC company’s recent product launch and how it…” By mentioning a certain talking point in your thank you, it proves that you mean business about the job.

Send it promptly

This is key. Sending a thank you note is important. But sending it promptly can make or break your chances of progressing through the interviewing process. If you wait until the end of the day to send it, chances are, the employer has interviewed another candidate. Think about it: If they have interviewed another candidate and they promptly send their well-crafted thank you, you instantly become an afterthought.

If you want to leave a lasting impression, it’s best to send a thank you note within the hour. What happens after a job interview? Everyone that sat in on the interviewer starts talking about you and how well you did. The best possible scenario that could happen is them sitting around the office talking about how much they liked you and boom! They get a notification on their phone from the thank you note you just sent. Pretty impactful, right?

Let your personality shine through

Yes, hiring managers are concerned with your hard skills and qualifications. But they are also interested in learning your soft skills. Employers can train you to learn hard skills, such as using Excel spreadsheets, understanding a new CRM, or blogging. However, they can’t teach you soft skills like critical thinking or certain personality traits.

With this tight market, employers want to know the real you and ensure that you’re a good fit for the organization as well as the role. Showing your personality is a great way to prove that you’ll be a successful addition to the team.

If you follow these steps, you’ll surely get a call back from the hiring manager. Good luck!

Why Job Hopping Isn’t as Bad as People Think

job hopping

The stereotypes of job hopping include people who are only out for the money, lack reliability and think they’re better than they are. Well, that’s normally what you hear, right? The thing is though, this normally isn’t the case.

Most people are wanting to find a job and company they’d love to stay with. It’s not always about making more money or moving around every chance you get. So here are some reasons why job hopping isn’t as bad as people think.

Help People Grow Their Expertise

When people move to a different company, they take skills from their previous position, but they also learn new ones. It’s one of the fastest ways for an employee to grow their portfolio, knowledge, and experience. It helps them hone their skills but also learn new ways of approaching projects, people, and different tasks.

As someone grows in their career, it’s important to make moves to other companies. This helps them move forward and climb up the ladder of command. Fearing leaving a job that doesn’t give you that same opportunity is only holding great employees back from achieving a management position and great pay raises.

Know What They Want from a Job and Company

The one thing job hoppers understand is what works and what doesn’t when it comes to a well-run company. They know what they want in a manager as well as the type of environment they work best in. When they are looking for a move, it’s to find an even better company as well as a chance to move up and gain more responsibility.

You’re always told your first job won’t be your last but when it comes to jobs you shouldn’t be staying with a company or position you’re not happy with. So, before thinking people are just job hopping for selfish and money-driven reasons, remember, chasing happiness in a position is also a big reason why people are doing it now.

Find Their Passion

With job hopping people are searching for that one position that makes all their work experience and passion click. When you find that position, you do everything in your power to keep it because happiness at work turns into happiness at home. Passion at your job should be everyone’s goal and if that means job hopping until they find that position, that should be okay.

More Money

And of course, when changing companies and positions, you’re likely to get a higher pay raise! And so yes, job hoppers may be seen as money hungry but it’s just a part of the process. When it comes to finding a new job, everyone is hoping for a little more money and when you have the experience, that’s what you get paid off of.

And who is going to say no to an average 10% – 20% salary increase when you find a new job? Exactly!

When it comes to being a “job hopper” just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re wanting to move up, be happier, gain more responsibility, or find a better company fit, then it may be time to find a new job. And as we all know, today’s job market is the perfect time to do it!

Interview

5 Phrases to Never Say in an Interview

Interview

Interviews can make or break your chance of getting a job offer. And when you’re interviewing for a company, it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do in certain scenarios. So here are five things you should never say during a job interview.

“So what does your company do exactly?”

First off, this is one of the worst things to ask or say in an interview because it shows you didn’t do your homework. Before every interview, you need to be researching the company and know as many facts as possible. If you walk into an interview not knowing what the company does, how are you supposed to demonstrate that you’re a good fit?

If you don’t show initiative and you expect those interviewing you to be “pitching” their company to you, you’re going to be cut from the running of the position. They’re the ones interviewing you. And if you think that not doing your research before coming into an interview will help land you the job, you’re sadly mistaken.

“I hated working for my last company.”

Even if this is 100 percent true, you shouldn’t say this in an interview. It will just give the hiring manager a bad taste in their mouth. Everyone knows there are obvious reasons you’re looking for a new job. But bashing your old company makes you look pessimistic and that you think you’re too good for people. This is obviously not the impression you want to be giving off in an interview.

So, instead of focusing on the negative that has happened in your past work history, focus on all the skills you learned that have prepared you for this new position. Maybe explain how the difficult working conditions helped you advance your leadership skills. This way the interviewees know that even in adversity, you take the high road and do the best you can.

“I need to be paid X amount”

When it comes to discussing salary and benefits, it’s a huge part of negotiating a new job. But if you are in the first rounds of interviews, it can show that you’re a little too eager and expecting to be hired. Which can be seen in a very negative light.

Don’t bring up salary expectations until it is prompted by the interviewee. This way you don’t make the mistake of hiring yourself before the company does.

“I’ll do anything”

The last thing you want to do in an interview is set yourself up for failure. When saying this phrase, it makes you look desperate and that you might be easily taken advantage of. Every company wants employees that will go over and beyond. But they want each person to know they can’t do everything. And it’s impossible to expect someone to do that.

When you say this in an interview, it looks like you just get walked on in a working environment. The last thing you want a new company to think about is that you’ll get burned out quickly and leave.

“I don’t have any bad qualities.”

First, we all have bad qualities. But not being able to spot them is an even bigger red flag for a future company. Of course, no one wants to talk about these weaknesses, but there is a way to make them sound positive instead of negative. With this answer, you’re coming across as someone who doesn’t want to work on themselves. And someone who might not be much of a team player. In an interview, this isn’t the way you want to come across.

So, instead of saying you don’t have bad qualities, just be honest. Make sure you tell them how working on these characteristics has helped you become a better employee. And more willing to work on yourself to get better so that you can help the company become more successful.

Overall, avoiding these statements in an interview will help you tremendously. Interviews can be hard and stressful, but if you’re prepared on what not to do, you’ll be more successful and could even get that job offer you’ve been waiting for.