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I once asked a Chef what he looked for when making a new hire. His reply had very little to do with culinary skills. He said he’d be spending a lot of his time with this new teammate and he ultimately wanted someone who he’d enjoy working with. He went on to say that personality, character, and ability to get along with others were his main hiring criteria. These personality traits were how he judged whether a candidate was a good or bad fit.

Business owners, HR Professionals, and Recruiters all have a set of preconceived notions whenever they review a resume or conduct an interview. They try not to be, but it’s human nature to be judgmental. The person perusing your resume or asking interview questions may have been at their job for 20 years or 20 days. This unique perspective may or may not work to your advantage as a job-seeking candidate.

We all are judged in whatever we do and in every aspect of our lives.  Whether you thrive in the job seeking process is an inexact science. With that being said, what is going through the mind of the business owner, HR Professional, or recruiter is all based on what they have been exposed to, good and bad, leading up to judging a candidate for a new job opportunity.

There are certain basic protocols or tips all candidates can focus on to help avoid being judged negatively.  A clean resume, free of typos, email or phone correspondence that is professional, and a social media presence that is neutral, can all help in leaping over the first hiring process hurdle.

If a candidate does succeed in getting an interview, there are ways to present yourself in the best possible light. This includes asking in advance for the best way to dress for the interview. Also, reviewing the company’s website is essential in terms of preparation. To not do so can only be construed as laziness.  Not talking excessively during an interview while still showing good communication skills are essential must haves in nearly all hiring success stories.

Value added extras include walking a fine line regarding not pestering the employer too much after an interview. A personal thank you note can sometimes be a difference maker. Providing references that will offer an accurate portrayal of your business acumen is also helpful.

A candidate’s resume, interview skills, and ability to get along all are stepping stones for helping a hiring manager make the right judgment. The truth is, we can’t help but judge the people we come in contact with. How you present yourself in your professional life today, will speak volumes on how you’re judged tomorrow. Like a good chef, provide your new boss with what he or she is hungry for, and you’ll both be satisfied.

Tim Cotroneo is an Account Manager at MDS Staffing

So you picked up the best selling novel you’ve been hearing about. You read the first page and it draws you in. The characters are lively, the plot is intense, and this appears to be just the kind of book you hoped for.

You turn the page and the book stops. You scratch your head and say, “I want more.” Why is the author being such a minimalist?

The same philosophy could be true when writing or reading resumes. What is too much and what is too little?

When is it okay to include more than a page?
My personal belief is that if a candidate has worked for more than five years, it’s almost impossible to keep your resume to only one page. You definitely want to avoid information overload. Then again, if there is a valuable bullet point regarding your experience or skill capabilities, then share this with your future employer.

If you’re an entry-level candidate, then a one page resume makes sense. For those candidates with a wealth of experience, a two or even three page resume has merit. Just try to avoid redundancy.

Think of your resume as a best selling novel. Keep the reader involved and give them what they want. The reader will hopefully tell their friends about you…. or at least the person making the hiring decision.

Tim Cotroneo
MDS Staffing

So you’ve just arranged for an interview and you’re wondering how to prepare. Take a deep breath, a step back and put yourself in the place of an employer.

One of the employment industry’s greatest secrets is this: The person doing the interview wants to hire you!!! The last thing an employer wants to do is see the hiring process drag out indefinitely. They want you to be the right person for the job.

Rather than being the candidate, what if you were the person doing the interview? What would you look for in a perfect hire?

Someone who is dependable– What if you could tell the interviewer you had perfect or near perfect attendance at your last position?

Someone who is easy to get along with– What if you had one or two work references who would sincerely say that you rarely rocked the boat or were one of those people who always went beyond his or her job description?

Someone with the skills pertinent to the company or industry- What if you were proactive in picking up the computer skills or industry certifications that were the latest and greatest in your chosen field?

Someone with a portfolio that represented that you can do the job– What if you had specific examples of your capabilities? When the interviewer brings up one of the key attributes they are seeking in their new hire, you can show them, rather them tell them that you can do this special something.

Yes, it’s a plus if your next job is fulfilling and meets most of your career criteria. What’s doubly critical is if you can convey that meeting the employer’s needs are important to you.

Think like a furniture sales person when preparing for your interview. In other words, what would it be like to sit in the interviewer’s chair? Make the interview as comfortable as their favorite recliner and you could be walking out the door with an offer sheet.

Tim Cotroneo

So you are without a job and you’re assuming the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are a terrible time to get hired. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Here at MDS Staffing, we annually see a boost in new hires during the month of December. We can only assume that companies evaluate their budgets and positions where they are thin during this time of year. What better time to add talent than after January 1.

Your personal employment situation and attitude should have nothing to do with the time of year. When Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all time, used to play in one of golf’s major tournaments, he felt he had a huge edge. He believed that 80 percent of the playing field thought they didn’t have what it takes to win a major. Your philosophy in your job search should be the same way. Believe that you are taking steps when others have thrown in the towel.

One more job hunting morsel to help put you over the top. We regularly speak with candidates who have gone through a dry spell finding a job and then receive two job offers within 24 hours. Life can be a feast of famine proposition. Believe it, you’ll have one or possibly two job offers when your job hunting competition is watching reruns of Dr. Phil on television.

It’s the holidays. Think of it as a jolly time of year for employers hiring and you receiving the job you deserve!!

Tim Cotroneo

Have you ever spoken to someone on the phone for the first time and created a mental image of what that person is like? This mental imagery is doubly important when dealing with employers while applying for a job.

As a recruiter in the fields of engineering, architecture, manufacturing, and construction, not a single day passes that we don’t make assumptions about candidates when working with them over the phone. Have you ever stopped to think about the impressions you are creating based on your phone conversations?

Put Yourself in the Chair of the Employer
How would you like to be perceived? Do the words professional, positive, and good communicator come to mind? What are the chances that the employer offering the job you’d love to have are thinking the complete opposite.

Do you have a voice mail that’s more geared toward your drinking buddies? Do you speak in a rapid fire way? It might be wise to ask a neutral party how they describe you on the phone.

Speaking from the standpoint of someone who tries to coordinate interviews between candidates and employers, we do have some pet peeves. First and foremost is the candidate who makes themselves very hard to get ahold of. In this day of cell phones, emails, and text messaging, it’s frustrating when you’re trying to help a candidate and they respond by playing hard to get.

A courtesy phone call explaining that you are dealing with some important issues and you’ll get back to the employer or recruiter soon goes a long way toward keeping future relationships golden. The world gets pretty small, especially in certain industries. Think of your phone presence as a way of building a personal reference of how you’re regarded by people in your industry.

Phone Interview Persona
Phone presence is especially important during a phone interview. More and more Hiring Managers and Human Resource personnel are maximizing their time by conducting preliminary phone interviews to weed out questionable candidates. Those candidates who are prepared, positive, and personable often make the grade for a face-to-face interview. Excellent communication skills are essential in most professional positions and a value-added dimension for others. A mediocre phone experience can be a deal breaker in many positions.

The saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” certainly holds true when it comes to how you present yourself on the phone. The next time your phone rings, respond with the idea that the person on the other end is important. Make them feel that way and you’ll build a legion of supporters.

Tim Cotroneo

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