Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interviewing: Dress to Impress

What's the point of going to the interview and not dressing the part? Nothing! ALL interviews have an expectation of attire. So why not make the best possible impression by dressing the part.

Depending on the position you are going after:

Professional Positions:
MEN - a dark suit, white shirt, stain free tie and polished shoes are most appropriate.
WOMEN - a dark suit (pants or skirt), modest accessories and respectable shoes are most fitting. I be you are wondering about the respectable shoes... sandals and stilettos are never proper for a professional interview (so put them away)!

Office and Non-Professionals:
MEN - slacks or khakis, clean button down shirt, matching sports coat and tie preferred.
WOMEN - matching skirt or pants with blouse, modest accessories and respectable shoes are most fitting. See not above about respectable shoes :-)

Skilled, Semi-Skilled or Operative Positions:
MEN / WOMEN - khakis, polo shirt and clean shoes. Sometimes, jeans and work boots are more appropriate for tradesman, especially in construction related fields. You may be hired on the spot and expected to start work immediately.

If you have a question about attire, you should ask.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Interviewing: You've Passed the First Interview, Now What

OK, you did it. They love you and now you are ready to move to the next step in the hiring process. What the heck? How are you supposed to know what comes next. Well, you ask. At the conclusion of the interview it is always a good idea to have a few questions that you would like answered. It demonstrates to the potential employer that you are interested in the opportunity and it also demonstrates how well you have listened through the interview. So what are some good (appropriate) questions to ask:

1. How long have you worked here?
2. Why is the position vacant and how long have you been sourcing candidates?
3. What do you like most about working here?
4. What do you like least about working here?
5. What are the next steps in this process (meaning the interview)?
6. What is your timeframe to fill the position?

Remember, if the interviewer has already answered any question above, don't ask it just to hear them repeat themselves.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Job Searching: What that Job Description Really Means

A job description is the primary document used to create a job posting or vacancy announcement. A job description will identify the position summary, primary tasks, working conditions, educational requirements, prior experience needed and additional licenses and certifications. Typically a job description is written by a functional expert who knows the intricacies of the position. Job postings on the other hand are often written by recruiters who may not know anything at all about the position they are trying to fill.

To a potential employee reviewing an actual job description is gold. It's like having all the answers to the test before you get asked a single question. Imagine going to an interview knowing all the primary responsibilities of a position and being able to tailor your every response exactly a company's particular need. You would be an interviewing machine - unstoppable - able to land any job, anywhere, at any time.

The next time you are in the hunt for new employment - do a little investigative work. Call up the human resource department and see if you can get your hands on a job description. If they say no (just as you might expect), Google or Bing your desired position and see what other companies are saying about the position. Check out the many employment websites and see if you can put a few more pieces together. You can also try searching for your desired position with the words "job description" after it and you will be amazed at the amount of data you will find. The more information you have, the more prepared you will be.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Job Searching: Job Fairs, Useful or Useless?

Well in true HR fashion, the answer is "it depends." It depends on you the attendee and your attitude and preparedness and it also depends on which businesses are in attendance and their reasons for being there. If you are properly prepared to interview and have all your ducks in a row then job fairs can and often do provide very successful outcomes. Many factors affect your success and guess what matters most... Yup, timing! Timing is almost all that matters.

Attending a job fair can provide real employment opportunities assuming that you find the needle in the haystack employer that is looking for someone exactly like you. Right skills, right fit, right place, right time. All things being equal, every applicant that walks into a job fair has just as much of a chance of being hired as the next person. Your strategy is to be the most prepared person in the room.

Here are a couple of tips when planning to attend a job fair:
1. Research the attending companies. Know a little something about them before you step up to their booth. Try to learn what their needs are and present yourself as the solution.
2. Dress the part. If you are a plumber and are applying for positions within your industry, dress one level up from your normal work day attire. Pressed khakis and a polo shirt or long sleeve button up with clean shoes or boots would be very appropriate. If you are a financial auditor looking for work, you would be best in your suit and tie.
3. Bring resumes. Bring clean, non crinkled resumes for distribution. Even if you have previously applied online, have a clean resume to pass out. Be sure your resume has your contact information, highlights your best qualities and accomplishments, is free of errors and has adequate white space.
4. NO GUM. Gum at a job fair is taboo. Use breath mints if you have a concern.
5. Turn off your cell phone. Turn off your cell phone while in the main expo and remove your earbuds. Playing music from any portable device also demonstrates a lack of interest in the process.
6. SMILE. A warm heartfelt smile can go a long way in breaking the ice and establishing rapport.

Job Fairs are a great way to make a first impression, provided it is the right one. Making a bad impression during a job fair can leave you earmarked as a nonviable candidate for a very long time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Job Searching: Contract Jobs, Why Should You Consider Them?

Are you considering a career change? Are you thinking about launching yourself into a new industry? Contract assignments might be worth some consideration.

Contract assignments generally have a specific start and stop time and are primarily project based work. Contract assignments may pay more or less depending on the needs of the organization. Generally, administrative, clerical and customer service professionals are paid on the lower end of the wage scale, while IT and engineering professionals are paid for their demand skills.

The trouble with contract assignments is that the "Employer" may not always properly vet the required skills and abilities or they may not fully convey the scope of what is needed to be done. Contract assignments can be very difficult - you almost have to take the bull by the horns and jump right in since you will not get the benefit of employee orientation.

When looking for an assignment, be careful to research those agencies that you will work with - as not all agencies are alike. Reputable firms will have a solid orientation program, clearly and easily understood processing documentation, history on their clients and a reputation for treating their employees well. If you have any concerns about working contract assignments, as for references. Employment is still a two way street and it is in your best interest to make sure you are working with a firm that pays their bills and pays you - ON TIME, EVERY TIME!