Posts by mdsstaffing
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.
Once of the best things you can do to make an employer’s hiring decision easy is to have a letter of recommendation or provide quality professional references.
If you are laid off from an employer and you have a good relationship with your boss, ask for a letter of recommendation. Tell him or her what kind of position you’ll be applying for in the future and then ask for your boss to comment on your past responsibilities pertaining to this new position. Keep a file in a secure place or on your computer desktop with these valuable testimonials.
If your boss is slow to respond to your request, offer to provide a sample letter of recommendation and suggest that he or she can adjust to fit their needs. If you enter the words “letter of recommendation example” into a search engine, several options will pop up. Download the best example and then tailor this letter to your specific needs.
It’s also a good idea to have references handy when you go on an interview. Sometimes references are requested on the employment application. Other times references will be requested after a positive interview. Keep references handy in both hard copy and email attachment form.
Just like a restaurant, a hotel, or a car dealership, it’s always best to hear something or someone is good to work with from a third party. Letters of recommendation and references can go a long way toward helping you secure your next job.
When is the best time to prepare for your next job? How about today!
Candidates sometimes push back when we suggest apply for a contract position , rather than direct hire position. When you think about though, each job is day-to-day. There are no guarantees for the future, so it’s always a good idea to think long-term.
Keeping a Job File
One of the best ways to stay one step ahead is to keep a job file. Even if you’re not presently looking, whenever you find a job that looks interesting, save a hard copy in a manila folder or insert the job description in a folder on your computer desktop.
If or when the time comes that you are actively seeking employment, your job folder is a great resource for hitting the ground running.
Letters of Recommendation
Whenever you leave a job on good terms, it’s a good idea to get a letter of recommendation from the business owner, your boss, or an associate in a management capacity. These letters hold a lot of credibility leading up to a job interview. They basically say that you excel in your position and are someone a co-worker recommends.
It’s a good idea to join groups that pertain to your career. This can be done through after work networking functions or by perusing the Groups section of LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s groups column often shows fresh jobs posted on a weekly basis. Who knows when there may be something out there that sounds very interesting.
Hang in There
If you’re happily employed…. great!. You don’t want to gain the reputation of a job hopper and just jump at whatever new opportunity happens to be out there. The old adage that it’s always easier to find a job when you have a job certainly holds true. So if you want to control your own destiny, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive in a competitive economy and call your own shots by following the steps described above.
In the staffing business, we are looking at resumes and doing Internet searches constantly. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t discover something that makes us wonder out loud, “Is this how this candidate really wanted to be portrayed?”
Job Board Mistakes
We regularly find simple spelling mistakes attached to a person’s name on several of the major job boards. Glaring examples include not knowing how to spell the name of the job they’ve been working at for several years. Another example is not proofing the objective line at the top of a resume. A classic true example is a recent candidate who indicated he was seeking “a mentally challenged position.”
While doing research on a candidate, we were alarmed to see that his Facebook page had dozens of references to his drinking exploits. This was an entry level candidate who had little or no job experience to help present himself in a positive light. Do you really want employers to know how you carry on after hours?
Too often we receive emails from candidates that are littered with spelling or grammatical errors. We place the bulk of our candidates in positions where attention to detail is tops on an employer’s preference list. If a candidate is careless writing a email brief paragraph, how does that translate as to how they represent themselves on the job?
The moral of this story is try to give some consideration as to how you wish to present yourself with an employer, a search and staffing firm, or a first time acquaintance. The extra care you devote today could translate into a better job tomorrow.
Tim Cotroneo/ MDS Staffing
If you’re considering working with an employment search and staffing firm for the first time, there are certain points to consider that should prove mutually beneficial.
At MDS Staffing, we sometimes describe the service we provide as being “an extra set of legs to assist in your own job search.” So think of us as possibly finding certain jobs that you may not find on your own.
Two things to avoid when using a search firm
Resist signing a document that restricts your own job search or possibly using other relevant search firms in the future. Whenever we hear of a candidate doing this, we flinch. This sounds unethical and only benefits the search firm.
Do be polite to the person you’re speaking with at the search or staffing firm. You never know when this person might be your employment savior, so it’s always a good policy to treat people as you wish to be treated.
Also, tell the search firm rep that you would like to be in charge where your resume is submitted. This means that a good search firm will always ask your permission before submitting a resume to an employer. It’s a good idea to keep a log of where your resume is going, the position you’re applying for, and the date the resume was submitted.
Why silence isn’t always golden
Sometimes after a job offer or even multiple job offers, a candidate will go underground or refuse to respond to the search firm representative’s correspondence. We fully understand that the candidate is trying to buy some time in sorting out whether accepting a new job is a good decision. If that’s what going on in the candidate’s head, no problem. Just tell the search firm rep that’s what’s happening. It’s possible that the search firm rep can help with your decision making process. The rep has gone through this process dozens of times previously and probably can highlight the pros and cons to your offer. Please just keep the lines of communication open.
If you are employed while seeking other opportunities, the less people who know that you’re looking the better. The last thing you want to happen is to jeopardize your present position. Respect what you have, be professional, and be discreet.
All search firms aren’t created equal
Like every other service provider, there are good search firm reps and some that aren’t so good. Most search and staffing firms have specialty niches where they are strong and have a reputation established within a particular industry. That is usually, but not always a good place to start when considering working with a search firm.
Get a feel for how a search firm rep sounds on the phone and how they correspond via email. If your rep’s communications skills are weak, correspondence is less than professional or even pushy, that person may not be the best individual to represent your resume.
Finally, if time allows, a face to face interview with the search firm representative may be the best route when beginning your job search. Often putting a face to a voice is the best way to realize if this individual or company is someone you’d like to do business with.
Tim Cotroneo/ MDS Staffing