After Birthday parties, Christmas or any other times of celebration my children sit down and write thank you notes to all those who have sent them a gift. It’s time-consuming ( they are lucky kids, too often spoiled rotten by doting Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles ) but I think it important that they acknowledge the time and effort people around them have gone to.
This is not a lesson in parenting, nor am I trying to extol my virtues ( there are very few! ) It did however get me thinking of the values of saying thank you and the part that very simple yet enormously valuable expression can play in the job search.
How many of you ever write to say thank you after an interview? Have you ever considered the value were you to do so?
Think of the impact on your application. You may be one of three, five, ten invited in. That process is often protracted ( it ought not to be but invariably is ). Standing out from the crowd is tough.
Success is in the margins, the small things can make the biggest difference. We are all human. Anything that can help you to remain at the forefront of the hiring managers mind is to be recommended. How long would it take you to write a note to thank your interviewer for their time and to re – affirm, politely, succinctly, your interest in the job?
Even if you have made the decision that this particular post isn’t for you, what impact a short note of thanks? If another job was to arise in that organisation that is more in line with your ambitions, how would such a note impact your chances of success in a future job application?
It takes a second to say thank you, minutes to write an email to express your thanks. Think of the potential impact on your job search? What harm can it do?
Manners cost nothing. Think about that next time you apply for a job.
Looking for a job is a serious business. If you are out of work it’s no laughing matter, finding employment can be an incredibly stressful experience. From time to time to shed a little humour, to offer a little light entertainment can help.
A survey published by career site www.careerbuilder.co.uk offers fascinating ( and indeed entertaining ) insight in to what not to do on your job application. Some of the highlights include ;
The job seeker who cited God as his referee!
One job seeker who boasted that he was a direct descendant of the vikings!
An Applicant who gave only a name and number and the phrase ” I want a job ”
A CV written in rhyme!
An application sent from the email address ” loves beer”!
Standing out from the crowd is incredibly difficult. However there are some basics that you should apply that will greatly enhance your chances of success. Like all good advice, there is little by way of startling revelation. The simple consistent application of best practice gets results.
Want to know what employers want to see? Careerbuilder.co.uk surveyed 700 employers. The following link will take you to the newspaper article highlighting the key findings of the report. There is some great advice to be found here.
A couple of articles over the weekend focused on the decline of the business suit. One such article on the BBC website highlighted a recent poll of 2,000 British workers by online bank First Direct that “found that only one in 10 employees wears a suit every day, more than a third of staff opt for jeans and only 18% regularly wear a tie”
This got me to thinking as to the impact of the ever-changing face of workplace attire on the interview process. Knowing your audience is crucial to interview success. Doing your homework as to the culture, the people, the environment in to which you are heading is a crucial part of your interview preparation. So, what to wear?
A simple rule of thumb applies. You are unlikely to be criticised, to lose out on a job opportunity, for being overdressed. You are however very likely to be ruled out for being under – dressed ( in every sense of the phrase ). So don’t hedge your bets. Once your through the door you have earned the right to sit alongside your colleagues in board shorts and flip-flops if that’s de rigueur. Until that happens, step up, smarten up, sharpen up.
I promise you I have a sense of humour. ( Many may argue otherwise, but I can assure you I do ). I mention this if only to assure you that I haven’t lost that sense of humour before you go on to read what I have to say about this advertisement from job site www.TheLadders.com
Finding a job is a serious business. If you are out of a job it becomes yet ever more serious. Arguably a sense of humour can be a great asset in the face of tough circumstances, but if you are going to engage with someone, whether that is online or face to face, you want to know that you can trust that representation.
You want to know that the person with whom you are engaging is going to represent your career aspirations with professionalism and integrity. If online, you want to know that the jobs board you are using is able to attract employers to the site that are consistent with your aspirations. Even more so if you are paying for it.
www.TheLadders.com is one such site that you as the job seeker pay for access. Google The Ladders, you get the following;
“With Career advice, Job postings, and Job search tools for professionals”,
www.TheLadders.com lays claim to offer “Job search for professional jobs in the most comprehensive source of £50k+ ($100k+ in the US) jobs on the internet”.
Surely if you are offering job search tools and opportunities for professionals your employer branding should reflect such professionalism? If you want to attract the very best employers to advertise their very best vacancies on your site, you have a responsibility to promote a professional image to ensure those paying for your site (the job seekers) can expect the very best in professional vacancies behind the pay wall?
Like I say I have a sense of humour. Have a look at this advertisement from The Ladders. Would you pay to join a site that claims to offer the cream of opportunities after having watched this? Does it reflect the way you feel about your career?
I would love to hear your comments. Is this the worst recruiter advertisement ever?
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In our final guest blog of the week, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber, President of leading Search Firm ISC continues her series of interview tips for job seekers.
- Close the deal- you want to end the interview on a positive note. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and let them know how you feel about the job and why you are interested in working for their company. Recap main points of why you are qualified for the job and while it can be intimidating at times, ask them directly in a sincere way if the interviewer sees you as a good fit for the position. If they say no, find out the objection and try to overcome it.
If they say yes, ask for the interviewer’s next steps. Lastly, be sure to get a business card from them as well for a correct address to send the thank you card. You always want to send a thank you note to all the persons you interviewed with. Remember..if you want the job, ASK FOR IT!! We always half joking tell candidates not to let their hand touch that doorknob to leave until they have an invitation to come back.
- Have an effective follow up plan- if you do not get the offer, be sure to write follow up thank you letters, thanking everyone that interviewed you for their time, and restating your interest in their company. It is a classy thing to do and something that will definitely separate you from the rest of the interviewees. If they give you specific reasons on why you were not chosen, work to correct those.
- Visualize, and it WILL Materialize! For long-range goal planners, I would encourage you to go onto one of the job sites, like www.indeed.com, which compiles all the job postings everywhere on the web, and look up your literal dream job. Look at the requirements and go out there and start building a resume that reflects those requirements. Also, make a follow up folder and check in with companies that you interviewed with on a monthly basis. It’s always a good idea to create Google alerts for specific companies alerting you to job openings, changes in their company, etc. That gives you a terrific reason to contact them again when you are alerted to new positions opening up, news in the industry that may affect them, etc. You would be surprised at the number of people that end up in their dream job after being turned down initially, but through perseverance and determination, end up in just that job.
A huge thank you to Ann for her tremendous contribution to The Recruiters Little Black Book. We shall leave week with this poem from Ann, an inspiring and thought provoking piece of prose on the subject of success.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.” ….. The Success Poem, attributed to Bessie Lefkowitz, an American housewife who won a poem contest in 1934
Continuing in our series of guest blogs, we welcome back Ann Zaslow-Rethaber, President of ISC with her second installment of tips for interview success
- Be prepared for the questions that you will be asked. If you have a spotty job history, rest assured you will be asked your reasons for leaving each position, and have ready replies, that are brief and positive. The more you can prepare yourself for a variety of questions, the better you will do in the interview. For example, some sample behavioral questions the interviewer might ask include:
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
- Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
- Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
- Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
Keep in mind, that a question that often can throw a candidate is when the interviewer asks them to describe their worst trait. A great response is to tell the interviewer with a straight face that you have always been accused of being a work-aholic or something that is somewhat funny but doesn’t reflect poorly on you….a little humor can be a great thing. Have a good answer for that question, funny is great, but for goodness sakes, have an answer in mind. And remember, never interrupt the interviewer!
- Prolong any talk of salary — When it comes to money, defer that topic as long as possible. You already know the salary range when you applied for the position or when you were approached for the job. Other than that range, you should not be talking about what it would take to get YOU, until an offer is made. Statistically, we have found that the longer you can put off talking specifics, the more money you will get.
- Let them fall in love first, BEFORE you tell them what kind of ring you need –-You get the picture…you are not going to open the door for your first date and tell your date that it will take a three carat, unblemished stone, top grade, etc for you to date him or her. In the same way, you do not want to tell the interviewer that you will take the top end of the range and endless benefits to get you interested in the position. We have had candidates do that and it never fails, the entire interview the interviewer is comparing that candidate to others in the pipeline, thinking are they worth it? Are they THAT much better than the other candidates? Much smarter to focus on making sure the position and corporate culture is a great fit, and then sell them on YOU, get the offer and then you can push for more money if desired. But never before the offer. “Let them eat the steak BEFORE you give them the bill. “
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber will be back tomorrow with yet more great interview advice including affecting the close and getting the job offer you deserve.