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Tips for the Interviewers / Recruiters (Part 2)

February 25, 2009 2 comments

Hello everybody,

As promised, part 2 is here. Now I’m going to give you all some insight on how to be a good Recruiter.

Your ability to conduct a good interview will determine your ability to find the best candidate to fill in the position. Remember that not all candidates will be excited and desperate to work with you. Some of them will be in a position where many other employers and companies are trying to hire them because of their talent, intelligence and knowledge. These are candidates you will have to work harder on if you want to impress them. Main motivators that will determine which job they will choose are, amongst others:

• Career Growth and Expectations
• Salary offered at the time of joining, and salary projected for the next couple of years
• Benefits (i.e. what else are you offering them other than money. Not everyone is motivated by money only)
• Work Environment
• Job content
• Challenges presented
• International Exposure

Be sure to highlight all benefits, monetary and non-monetary. However, don’t build up expectations higher than what you can give them. For example, at my Company there are possibilities for people to travel to India once in a while. This possibility isn’t open to every employee, which is why I can’t go and promise every candidate that if they get the position, they will get to travel for a few months. I don’t deny the possibility either. I simply tell them there’s a chance they might get to travel.
In the globalized World we live in today, International Exposure has become particularly important at the time of selecting a Company where you’d like to work. Be sure to highlight this benefit, as long as it exists in your Company.
The work environment is also important, mainly for young people. They don’t want to associate work with suffering and boredom. The work environment as well as the organizational climate work as big motivators, which improve productivity at the same time. If your Company or Team can offer a fresh and different environment, be sure to portray it well in front of the candidate, because this represents big leverage.
Career growth; this can be a difficult point. Let’s face it, there are certain positions within companies where there are simply no opportunities to make a career, even for a professional. This is a delicate point, because you still have to make the job look appealing to the candidate. This is where leverage plays a big role. Here you can sell them the Company beyond their position: the climate, the exposure, the prestige, the location. Maybe you will nto be able to use the salary as leverage, but you have to think beyond money.

Now, if you’re offering your candidates a position that represents potential growth for their career, then take advantage of this as well and let them know about all the possibilities they have ahead of them if they join you.

When we talk about benefits, as mentioned before, we focus on monetary and non-monetary ones. Always. However, you will sometimes find yourself facing applicants who only care about getting paid and don’t give a damn about their career growth or the job they’re doing. If you’re looking for value adding people, then kindly discard such applicants from your selection process.

Challenges are somethnig that few people are happy about. Most employees will like to sit in their comfort zone and perform the job they do best. Put them in front of a challenge, something unknown and there’s a chance they will freak out. When interviewing applicants, test their readiness for challenges, by asking them difficult questions regarding complciated situations or problems they may face on the role. Asl them how they’d feel if their jopb content changed overnight and they had to adjust to performing different tasks. See how excited they sound about it, or how disappointed. In time, you will be able to recognize the adventurous type. But hey, don’t get too carried away. You don’t want a job hopper either ;). Remember that people who are always looking for challenges and new experience will not be willing to stay in one place for too long.

 

Questions you should avoid

(*source: http://www.jobinterviewquestions.org)

Let’s move on to the type of questions you wouldn’t want to ask a candidate during an interview because of their illegal nature in some countries. Let’s look at a few examples below:

– Age? Date of birth?

Inquiring about a person’s age is considered discriminatory, especially for people above 40 years old. If you want to find out whether someone is “old enough” for a job, then you can find alternative queestions:

Example of Illegal Questions Possible Legal Alternatives

How old are you?
 When is your birthday?
 In what year were you born?
 In what year did you graduate from college/high school?

Are you over the age of 18?
 Can you, after employment, provide proof of age?

 

– Marital/Family Status (often alludes to sexual orientation)

These qustions usually intend to inquire whether there’s anything that could provoke tardiness or absenteeism. What makes these questions even more illegal is the fact that they’re asked mainly to women. There are other alternative questions you can ask if you want to inquire about this:

Example of Illegal Questions Possible Legal Alternatives

 

Are you married or do you have a permanent partner?
 With whom do you live?
 How many children do you have?
 Are you pregnant?
 Do you expect to become have
a family? When? How many children will you have?
 What are your child care arrangements?

 

Would you be willing to relocate if necessary?
 Travel is an important part of the job. Do you have any restrictions on your ability to travel?
 Do you have responsibilities or commitments that will prevent you from meeting specified work schedules?
 Do you anticipate any absences from work on a regular basis? If so, please explain the circumstances.

 

– Personal

Asking a person about their height and weight is discriminatory and should be avoided. Unless the employer can prove that the job to be performed requires a certain height or weight to be executed, such questions shouldn’t be asked.

Example of Illegal Questions Possible Legal Alternatives

How tall are you?
 How much do you weigh?
(Questions about height and weight are always illegal unless it can be proven that there are minimum requirements to do the job.)

Are you able to lift a 50-pound weight and carry it 100 yards, as that is part of the job?

 

– Disabilities

Inquiring about a person’s disabilities or health is unlawful. However, if you need to know whether the person will be able to perform the tasks without accommodation, you can modify your questions:

Example of Illegal Questions Possible Legal Alternatives

 

Do you have any disabilities?
 Have you had any recent illness or operations?
 Please complete this medical questionnaire.
 What was the date of your last physical exam?
 How’s your family’s health?
 When did you lose your eyesight/ leg/ hearing/ etc.?

Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job with or without reasonable accommodations? (Legal if the interviewer thoroughly described the job.)
 Will you be able to carry out in a safe manner all job assignments necessary for this position?
 Are you able to lift a 50-pound weight and carry it 100 yards, as that is part of the job?
 NB: Medical exams are legal AFTER an offer has been extended; results should be held strictly confidential except for reasons of safety.

Other illegal questions you should avoid asking:

  • National Origin/Citizenship
  • Arrest Record
  • Military Service
  • Affiliations
  • Race/Color/Religion
  • Credit or Garnishment Record? Charge Accounts? Homeowner?
  • Use or Nonuse of Lawful Products? Do you smoke? Do you drink alcohol?

All questions above are irrelevant to the job. If they were relevant in any case, it should be explicitly explained to the applicant and justified by the job description.

 

I hope this helped!! Stay tuned for another update…

 

Caro

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Interview tips… for the interviewed (part 1)

February 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Hello everyone. Thanks again for stopping by.

Today I have some more tips for you, this time they are Interview Tips. I have gathered some that I found online, as well as by personal experience in the Recruitment area. On part 2 I’m going to hsare tips for the interviewers, for all of your Recruiters out there!

So, let’s start with tips for candidates, for you who are preparing for one. You applied to a job, or someone in the Network Marketing industry is looking into adding you to their success team. You’re getting ready to go to your first interview. You’re nervous. You want to cause a good impression! You want to show them that you can be an asset to their company or team and that they should pick you over anyone else.

How do you go about doing that? The first step was selling yourself and your capabilities through your CV (you can read my tips on how to build a strong CV here ). They contacted you, so they expect you to live up to their expectations.

Two relatively superficial tips:
– Dress nicely: don’t show up with jeans and sneakers. Always wear a tie and a suit if you’re a guy. For girls, the possibilities are endless, however, don’t wear a gown, or a night dress. Wear whatever makes you comfortable, as long as you look formal. Guys: shave, unless you already have an established beard.

– Arrive on time: this says a lot about yourself and the first impression will not be good if you arrive late. If you see yourself stuck in traffic, then please call and let the interviewer know that you will arrive late. What I recommend is foreseeing things such as traffic jams and leave your home earlier. It’s better to arrive earlier than later, that’s a fact! Being late shows disrespect and lack of commitment. You don’t want to give this impression on your first interview.

Now, getting into the good stuff…

How to Answer interview questions (a few bits taken from Times Online)

1. Tell me about yourself:
This is your big chance to sell yourself, so go for it. “Outline the skills and personal qualities that are relevant to the job. The interviewer wants to know how you are going to behave in the role, so draw on real-life ancedotes to illustrate the points you make” says Lynn Williams, author of The Ultimate Interview Book.

2. Why do you want the job?

This question is very basic and the answer, although simple can determine the direction the interview is going to take. As a recruiter, I want to know what motivated the person to apply to this job. If they are currently working at another company, why are they considering this shift? What are they not getting at their current job that they think they can get here? This also helps set the right expectations about the role within the team and the Company. I’m also interested in knowing whether the person has done any research about the Company. If not… well, you know they’re there just cause they need a job.

3. What drives you to achieve your objectives?

An interviewer is looking to fulfil certain competencies, in this case motivation and commitment. “You might say ‘I like doing a job well and perform best when stretched’,” says Tim Forster, the head of UK experienced recruitment at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

4. Tell me about a problem you have solved:

A recruiter wants to know how capable you are in the Problem Solving field. Problems are not strange to any job or company. You will always have to face them. As a recruiter I will expect a convincing and good example of how the person used their skills and knowledge to reach a solution.

5. What are your weaknesses?


This is a question I don’t ask very often, because I know it’s a difficult one. People are good at defining and admiting what their strengths are, but not always their weaknesses. Of course, you will be afraid to admit that you are weak in certain aspects, as they might be key to the position. But saying you’re good at everything would be a lame response. Think about areas where you think you need training and development, and how perhaps this position you’re applying to can help you improve.

6. Why have you taken the career path that you have?


This question aims at discovering the drivers and goals the person has. Be consice and clear about your career goals, as well as your personal goals in life. Define the paths you have taken so far to get to where you are, and the paths you have yet to take to get where you’re going. How can this job/company help you take another step closer?

 

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

“We are looking for an ambition that hangs together, is realistic and coherent,” Alberg says. So, it is OK to say you want to have the interviewer’s job if that is a realistic aim.

 

 

Here are questions we expect you to ask us:

What is the next stage in the process and will I receive feedback on this interview?
What are my promotion prospects?
Will I be given a mentor to oversee my development?
How is my career path determined?
Why should I join your organisation over another?
How do you measure success?
What have previous people who have held this role gone on to do?
What will be the main challenges I will face in the first six months?

And here are a couple of articles that will help you prepare yourself better:

Ten tough questions and Ten great answers

How to give job-winning answers to interview questions

Twenty-five most difficult questions

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 !

 

cheers,

Carolina

 

 

Tips to build a good CV

January 12, 2009 1 comment

Hello bloggers and readers,

Today I received a huge amount of applications to our Company. When you have to look at so many CVs a day, you can’t help but think “Jesus, who taught this person how to write up a CV? This is terrible!” or “Wow this person seems amazing for the opening we have”.  So, I decided to write an entry focusing on some tips for you to improve your CV and get more interest and more calls when applying to a job.

 

Tip number 1 – Less is More

No, I’m not talking about make up. When people add information about their academic background to their CV, many of them commit the following mistake: they include every useless seminar they have attended, where they did their Kindergarten, and even where they were taken for day care . Well ladies and gentlemen, this is completely Irrelevant! When speaking about your Academic Background, provide only the information that will be useful for a job. How do you know what’s useful? When looking at your CV, people will not care about your kindergarten, or about a seminar about wine catering that has nothing to do with your career. Several companies will not even care about your High School years. What matters the most here is your professional degree, what your thesis was about if it applies, and any seminar that added value to you as a professional, and anything that sets you apart from the crowd.

This tip also applies to your Work Experience. Here’s a big mistake that I’ve seen on several CVs. People just add everything and anything they have ever done, from handing flyers or promotional material on the streets, to selling cosmetics,  to wrapping up Christmas presents for a department store, to holding a managerial position. Well, let me tell you something. Think about the type of job you are applying to. If you are looking for a serious job, then dismiss the experience you have in babysitting kindergarteners. It will not give a good impression. If you are applying to a summer job where you have to promote a product or hand flyers on the streets or near beaches, then add your previous experience in this field. You may have years of experience in babysitting and sales, but if you’re applying to a company that has no interest in this experience, it’s better that you remove it. It’s very likely that the HR executive in charge of recruitment will overlook your relevant experience if it gets lost within the irrelevant one.

Tip number 2 – Highlight your skills

During my experience in recruitment, I have also noticed how some people never put any special highlight on their skills. What do I mean by this? People limit their information to adding their work experience and their academic background. You should always focus on any particular skills you have that make you good at what you do, be it leadership skills, programming skills, people management skills or language skills. Perhaps you studied art, but you are really good at using financial software, and not just photoshop. Now, don’t take this tip to extremes. If you’re an Engineer, then the fact that you can use MSN Messenger well is irrelevant. Think about your previous experience and what you did best at. Perhaps you were really good and handling pressure and respecting deadlines. Maybe you had good communication skills and always managed to convey the information to your clients and supervisor. Or perhaps you were really good at problem solving and trouble shooting. There is always something to highlight that can interest an employer. Again, don’t go to extremes and highlight things that make you a better professional and a better person.

Tip number 3 – Sell Yourself

This tip has proven to bring great results. People will reconsider your CV even if it has been rejected on a first round. How do you sell yourself? One very effective way is by adding a cover letter. A cover letter should include the following themes:

  • Provide brief professional information . This includes your profession, your postgraduate degrees, and a brief on your previous work experience. Don’t go deep into detail here, as that should be covered in your CV.
  • Explain why you are applying to this position and why at this company. It’s important to modify your cover letter depending on the job/company you are applying to. Having a standard cover letter that you can modify would be the best option. Show the recruiter that you have done some research on their Company by explaining what motivated you to apply there.
  • Highlight previous achievements. Again, you shouldn’t go deep into detail here, leave that for your CV, but be sure to highlight your greatest achievements at other organisations with relevant characteristics.
  • Tell them how you’d add value to their organisation. Provided you have done research on the Company, be sure to show them how You could be an asset to them. You can back this up with your previous experience, achievements or your background. Be sure to elaborate on what motivated you the most to apply, mentioning personal and professional reasons.
  • Finish the letter with a strong argument as to why they should pick you. Maybe you have previous experience in the field; maybe you have the qualifications they require, or perhaps you are a loyal and perseverant leader. Show them that they will not find the qualities you possess in every applicant. Show them why they should call you up for an interview, even if you don’t end up getting the job.

Cover letters are important, but try to keep them short and interesting. One page is more than enough. If it’s too long and complicated, the recruiter will skip through it and might miss out on important details about you. So be sure to catch their attention from the start.

Tip number 4 – Contact information and References

Believe it or not, I have received CV’s from people who fail to provide a phone number and an e-mail address. Always put this information on the first page, either on the header or on the first paragraph. A phone number and a valid e-mail address is crucial if you wish to be contacted, as smoke signals aren’t very popular these days.

Professional references are always welcome. It’s not necessary that you provide a huge list of contact details for people you’ve been involved with professionally in the past, but two or three names and e-mails would suffice. You can also finish your e-mail with “References upon request”, and always have your list of verified references handy. Don’t include friends and family, as their opinion on you will be biased. If you don’t have previous work experience, then you can always provide information about your teachers and tutors at University. They will be able to highligh your skills and your performance while you were a student. This can help you in your initial quest.

Tip number 5 – Don’t add a photo

Although it has been prohibited in some countries to add or request a photo on a resume, some people still include them voluntarily. Unfortunately, and to their dismay, a photo can ruin a good CV. I have seen CVs with the most awful photos, and as they say “an image is worth a thousand words”. If you appear half naked or drinking at a party on this photo, it doesn’t matter how good the CV is if you are causing the wrong impression. I have received CVs where girls put full body pictures, as if they were posing for a magazine or something. Some people add angry photos that look as if they had just come out of jail. Now, I always try to ignore any prejudice when looking through a CV, but you might not be as lucky with other people. Don’t add a photo unless it’s a very professional one. You should ideally be dressed up, and the photo should be taken at a studio. Don’t smile too much, but don’t look angry either. Look professional without missing the You aspect. Again, it’s better not to add a photo at all, but if you feel the need, be careful.

Tip number 6 – Don’t add salary expectations.

This is also a very important aspect that you cannot miss. Adding salary expectations, especially when they are high, can mislead the reader. You have to be open to negotiate and always focus on your career growth more than the money you expect to make. Usually when I get a CV with high salary expectations I don’t contact the person, unless they are applying to a role where the salary requested is within the range. Be realistic and don’t overrate yourself. However, low salary expectations can also be misleading. If I receive a CV from a good professional who expects a very poor salary, it makes me think that they don’t value their own work. This is why my best advice is not to include them in your CV at all. They will be discussed in due time during the interviews. Don’t risk not being contacted because of this detail.

 

Well my friends, this are the first tips I’m giving you. I hope you can use them wisely, and be sure to comment after reading! Stay tuned for more on my next entry. I will also include a few interview tips.

Thanks for reading.

Carolina