Saturday, June 18, 2011

1,000 Interviews Later

What can you learn in 1,000 (one thousand) interviews?  In a typical year, I interview approximately 1,000 people.  The overall “feel” of the candidate landscape changes each year, and some years are harder than others (especially lately when I speak with people who have been out of work for sometimes as long as a year or more).  But what I love most about my work is that I get to make an impact on people’s lives…whether I hire them or not!   It also affords me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.
The following is a partial list of types of candidates I have come across lately:
1)      There are the people with the funky ring tones.  If you’re looking for a job and you have one of those ringtones that will make me think I’m jamming out in the club, CHANGE IT!  Period.  It doesn’t matter if it’s rock or rap or country or blues, CHANGE IT!

2)      There are the eager ones who are willing to accept just about any job.  I call them up and they are willing to adjust their “experience” to meet whatever I’m looking for.  Again, if this is you…DON’T DO IT!  You should be looking for a position that actually matches your experience.  You should also consider the corporate culture of the company.  Not every corporate culture is a fit for everyone.  Be on the lookout for a place you can call “home”.  It will make your work life much more enjoyable, trust me!

3)      There are the ones with poor communication skills.  It happens way more often than it should unfortunately.   I call someone who isn’t expecting my call, and they either:

a)                   Sound like they just woke up from a rough night out at the clubs and should’ve let my call go to voicemail, or
b)                   They just have poor communication skills in general.
If you’re looking for a job (and have your resume out for recruiters to find) you should ALWAYS be prepared for our calls!  If you partied too hard last night, let the call go to voicemail and call us back when you’re better prepared.  If you have poor communication skills, PRACTICE!  Join a Toast Masters group in your area and work on your elevator pitch.  Try calling yourself up and leaving a voicemail for yourself or for a friend.  Play it back and hear how you sound.  Ask your friends how they think you sound.  Tell them to be honest, and if you need to make adjustments DO IT!
4)      There are the gems who just can’t seem to find a break.  This is the toughest part of my job.  When I call someone up who has been out of work for many months or a year (or in some cases longer), it is tough.  I can hear the desperation and despair in their voice.  Even if you’ve been unemployed for a long time, do whatever you can to keep yourself in a good space.  Eat right, get adequate rest, exercise and try to remain positive.  It will come across when you’re interviewing.

5)      There are the crazy ones.  You can’t have 1,000 (one thousand) interviews without coming across some characters.  I’ve had some candidates who felt they should’ve been considered for a position when either I or the hiring manager didn’t see it.  The most appropriate thing to do if you get a “no thank you” from a position you’ve applied to is to reply and thank the recruiter for the opportunity and ask them to keep you in mind for other opportunities. 
Once I had a guy who had lied on his resume.  When I realized it, I let him know that I wouldn’t be considering him for the role.  He became furious and even called back several times leaving me obscene voicemails.  Believe me- he will NEVER BE CONSIDERED for any position I EVER work on again.  Don’t let your emotions get the most of you (and if you really are unstable or having a tough time emotionally in your job search, talk to a professional!).
6)      Lastly, there are the ROCK STARS!  There’s nothing quite as wonderful as those first few minutes on the phone with someone who I “just know” will get hired.  They communicate well, they are prepared, they have researched the company and positions they are applying for, and they can present their case of why I should hire them.  Even if you’re the best candidate, YOU MUST BE ABLE TO SELL THE RECRUITER on your background.  Put together a 90 day plan of how you will make a difference in the position, prepare and rehearse your elevator pitch, stand up when you’re talking on the phone for better energy.  Go above and beyond and you won’t be interviewing for long….you will have yourself a job in NO TIME!

Until next time, I hope you have yourself a wonderful day!

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