May 29, 2008

Video Resumes Hit You Tube

Check out the short video resumes several candidates have posted on you tube. While I'm not absolutely sold on video resumes, they are definitely the newest trend. Take a look for yourself and consider how a creatively placed and crafted video resume, blog, website, or social networking page could change your virtual brand in the job hunt.

Something else you might consider when posting your video resume in virtual cyberspace especially sites like You Tube is your inability to control who posts, reposts, and where those post your resume and personal data. Food for thought. . .

May 27, 2008

B4J's Tip of the Week: What Your Voicemail Says About You. . .

Small things matter to a recruiter. It's the small things that can make a huge impression like direct eye contact, a handshake, and your voicemail message.

Your voicemail message is often your first contact with your new prospective employer. How do you want to make a first impression? It has happened a time or two when I haven't left a message simply because of a voicemail message that was inappropriate or vulgar from a prospective candidate. I'm not talking about the message you leave me when you return my call, but the message on your phone that I hear before anything else when I leave my first message.

Petty, maybe, but unfortunately it's the way the world works. I recommend keeping your message clean and simple, "Hello. You've reached Cindy Smith's voicemail. Please leave your name and number and I will return your call as soon as possible." Leave the answer tone music and other comments to the kids.

May 21, 2008

Interview Types--Part II

Please take a look at part two of the Interview Types series. I, myself was involved in a Dinner/Stress Interview several years ago when I first moved to Oklahoma. My initial impression of the interview was that the hiring manager was rude and angry when he in fact was testing my reactions and professionalism in a stressful and heated conversation. Unlike in most interview situations, I was able to receive feedback with regard to the interview. The hiring manager was very impressed, and I learned a valuable lesson which was not to take everything so seriously and to let situations that I couldn't control to fall by the wayside. No need to stress and rehash something from the past that I certainly couldn't control.

Lunch/Dinner Interview

  • The same rules apply at a meal as those in an office. The setting may be more casual, but
    remember it is a business meal and you are being watched carefully.
  • Use the interview to develop common ground with your interviewer. Follow his/her lead in both selection of food and etiquette.
  • Eat less. Order an entree that is light and easy to eat. Baby back ribs are not an appropriate choice.
  • Do not drink alcohol at any point in the interview process.
  • Do you best to focus all your attention on the person you are meeting with.

Stress Interviews

  • This form of interview was more common in sales positions and is rare today. However, you should be aware of the signals. The stress interview is usually a deliberate attempt to see how you handle yourself under pressure.
  • The interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting. Don’t take it
    personally. Calmly answer each question. Ask for clarification if you need it, and never rush into an answer.
  • The interviewer may also lapse into silence at some point during the questioning. This may be an attempt to unnerve you. Sit silently until the interviewer resumes the questions. If a minute goes by, ask if he/she needs clarification of your last comments.
  • Stress interviews can often include two interviewers, a good cop and a bad cop.
  • Be prepared and confident with your interviews even under the most stressful of circumstances. Don't fall into the trap of being the victim or argumentative.

Networking Tip of the Day!

Earlier today while attending a Employment Law conference, a good friend of mine shared with me a tip on how to get noticed and great for networking!

When attending a presentation or conference in a meeting room, always sit in the front of the room. Not only will you draw the attention of your speaker but others will have to view you from the back for the entire presentation. This can increase your networking potential and visability.

Best of luck!


May 16, 2008

Voicemail Etiquette

It seems lately I've received a number of voicemails both at work and on my cell from customers or candidates that leave out important information when leaving a message. Here's a quick best practice for voicemail.

  1. Know the name of the person you are leaving a message for. Sounds simple, right? I think so too. You won't believe the number of people who leave a message for someone named Jennifer on my voicemail. Hello, my name is Jessica. What's the impression you'd like to leave your recruiter with?
  2. Repeat your name and phone number twice during the call. I receive a large number of messages where I can't hear the name of the person leaving the message or their phone number because of the wonders of cell phone technology. Your message should be something like, "Hi, Jessica. This is Sharon Andrews. You had left me a message about scheduling a phone interview for later this week for the Accounting position. Please contact me at 405.222.3200. Once again my name is Sharon Andrews at phone number 405.222.3200." Brilliant!!
  3. Practice your message and keep it brief. 15-20 seconds at most. Often times I'll have 2o messages when I arrive to work on any given day. Be respectful and keep your message short, professional, and to the point.
  4. Talk slowly and enunciate your words. You are not in a race. Talk confidently and professionally. Show energy & enthusiasm. My mom used to tell me to put a smile in your voice. And you should too!!
  5. Phone Stalking is a no no. The wonders of caller id have allowed me to see who has called me and how many times. Be respectful and leave a message. Don't call 25 times (yup it's true) in ONE day! Often times I am out of the office for the day or in meetings and don't get to returning candidate calls until the afternoon of the following day. A message every other day is just fine.

May 12, 2008

Ask the Recruiter--8 mo. Job Search

Dear bloggingforjobs,

I've been in the job search for 8 months. I've applied for over 150 jobs and interviewed 25 different times. I'm so fed up, frustrated, and feel like a failure. Can you please help me?



Dear Jobless,

I'm sorry you've been in the job hunt for so long. Depending upon the position you are looking for, your city's job market, your qualifications and salary requirements, it can be a long process. As a rule of thumb for every $10,000 you will make in salary, add a month to your job search. For example, if you are in the $60,000 salary range, be prepared for your job search to last at least 6 months.

Since I have little information to go on, I recommend attending a resume and interview training. Many vo-techs or community colleges offer these free of charge or at low cost. If you are an executive level or above, I would recommend working with a Job Coach. Many firms provide you professional job search software, resume writing, and interview training for a fee of 10-15% of your new job's annual salary. The service is not cheap, but these coaches are very connected and their job is to find you a job whether its in your current industry or not.

I also recommend reading up on industry requirements and new technology. Sometimes advanced training or certification can make all the difference. Volunteering is also a great way to develop relationships and partnerships that can aid in your job search. Take a look at my post on the 5 P's of Marketing and creating a marketing plan that will help you in your job search.

Stay positive and best of luck in your search,


May 8, 2008

Part I: Interview Types

Part I: Interview Types

Traditional Face to Face Interview

  • Most interviews are face-to-face. The most traditional is a one-on-one conversation.
  • Your focus should be on the person asking questions. Maintain eye contact, listen and respond once a question has been asked.
  • Use the STAR method when answering questions: Situations/Task, Action, and Result.
  • Your goal is to establish rapport with the interviewer and show them that your qualifications will benefit their organization.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum like hair twirling or tapping knees or legs.
Panel/Committee Interview
  • In this situation, there is more than one interviewer. Typically, three to ten members of a panel may conduct this part of the selection process. This is your chance to put your group management and group presentation skills on display.
  • As quickly as possible, try to “read” the various personality types of each interviewer and adjust to them. Find a way to connect with each interviewer.
  • Remember to take your time in responding to questions. Maintain eye contact with the panel member who asked the question, but also seek eye contact with other members of the panel as you give your response.
  • In some committee interviews you may be asked to demonstrate your problem solving skills. The committee will outline a situation and ask you to formulate a plan that deals with the problem. You don’t have to come up with the ultimate solution. The interviewers are looking for how you apply your knowledge and skills to a real life situation.

May 1, 2008

Interview Types--Four Part Series

Over the coming weeks, I will discuss different types of interviews. Some that I plan on discussing are Panel Interviews, Meal Time Interviews, Behavioral Interviews, Stress Interview, Informational Interview, and many others. I am planning at least a four part series with good information to get you fully prepared and ready to rock it!!

Often times in this blog, I come across topics that I face in my own everyday life and those of friends and family around me. A recent request, has been made to discuss interview types in more detail--specifically, the dreaded lunch interview.

Best of luck in your search! Keep your chin up and your handshake ready! You never know when opportunity knocks.