Your First Days on the Job: 10 Tips

By Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com Editor

Now that the excitement of landing that coveted job has tempered a bit, you may be feeling some anxiety anticipating those first days. It's only normal. After all, you're jumping headfirst into new surroundings, meeting all new people and facing many new challenges.

Follow these 10 tips and you'll lay the groundwork for success at your new job:

1. Show up on time. Don't think because you are new you will just blend into the woodwork and no one will notice if you're a little tardy. Nothing says, "I'm a slacker," like arriving late for your first days on a new job. If you can, even show your face a little early.

2. Dress appropriately. First impressions can be lasting. Just because you're not wowing them in the interview anymore, it doesn't mean you shouldn't dress to impress. Rather than have to work twice as hard to erase the image of the rumpled or dirty shirts you wore your first week, knock 'em dead with a clean, polished look.

3. Meet your co-workers. Make an effort to remember names. Nothing is more inviting than being greeted personally. Try to learn the names of your colleagues, including support staff, and you'll make friends fast.

4. Listen. One of the best ways to learn is to listen. Consider yourself a blank slate and take note not only of information you hear in formal meetings, but pay attention to the little nuggets shared during casual breaks or in the lunchroom.

5. Ask questions. Not only does asking questions give you visibility at meetings and involve you in discussions, it's a great way to learn and demonstrate your industry knowledge.

6. Get involved. Even if it's just organizing a lunch meeting or a happy hour, head up a project to get your name out there and to meet some of your co-workers.

7. Communicate. Communication is very important not only in your first few days, but everyday. Just about every company has 'unwritten rules' so don't be afraid to ask your co-workers for advice. And make sure you keep your boss apprised of your current projects and let her know if there is a particular project on which you'd like to work. You can't expect people to read your mind.

8. Avoid gossip Don't get sucked into the rumor mill. Because you're new and still relatively unknown, some colleagues may feel more comfortable venting to you. Don't respond or give unspoken credence to the barbs by laughing, nodding or displaying exaggerated facial expressions.

9. Stay past 5. Even though you may not have a lot of work to do yet, it couldn't hurt to stay a few minutes after the whistle blows. Don't shut down your computer at 4:59; rather stay 10 to 15 minutes after quitting time to show your commitment.

10. Be upbeat. These first days can be awkward, confusing and full of doubt. But don't let it get you down. Begin and end each day with a smile and a cheerful greeting. Your positive attitude will brighten the office.

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Testing

Companies often use pre-employment testing tools.

  • 1. Drugs / Alcohol. Includes questionnaires and blood, urine and hair analysis testing. If you are turned down because of a positive drug test, ask if a validation test was done. If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, indicate it prior to the test. It will point to positive results. Make certain that the employer is consistent in testing procedures.
  • 2. Psychological. Includes personality and career interest tests. Do not try to outwit the test. Be honest and truthful. Some questions by culturally biased. If you find many of these questions, discuss them openly with the recruiter. You may inquire if this test is constructed to reflect job success in the position you are seeking.
  • 3. Skills. Includes keyboard, mathematics and dexterity test.
  • 4. Honesty. Reliability / Dependability. Includes questionnaires and background checks.
  • 5. Assessment Centers. Various exercises simulate day-to-day (usually management) activities, including teamwork, conflict management, decision making and writing skills.
  • 6. "In" Basket. Type of skills test. Tip: go through the entire basket first and set priorities. You may find in a later direction that cancels a prior one.
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Telephone Interviews

  • 1. Make sure you know who is calling, title, spelling and pronunciation
  • 2. Stand up; you will be less nervous and will project better.
  • 3. Enthusiasm and passion are all you have to sell.
  • 4. Have a copy of your resume in front of you - so you can see what the hiring authority is seeing.
  • 5. Know your background. Review your past job history, including dates and earnings.
  • 6. Think about the key functions of this job… where have you had experience and SUCCESS in similar responsibilities in your past?
  • 7. ONLY use a cell phone if you are stationary and KNOW you will have good reception. Do not risk being mobile and dropping the call. (Not to mention, you should be prepared to take notes on the conversation)
  • 8. Focus! Distractions are a killer. i.e.; emails popping up, barking dog, screaming kids, etc.
  • 9. Use notes rather than a script, a highlight film.
  • 10. Active listening - watch the flow of the conversation, is there a balance of who is talking and who is listening?
  • 11. Be sure to avoid cutting the other person off (count to 3 when they pause).
  • 12. Have a series of questions ready. Choose questions that show you've done some homework - maybe refer to a recent press release from the website!
  • 13. You must try to find out if there are any questions about your credentials. Flush out objections with, "Is there anything about our conversation today that would keep you from setting up a second interview?"
  • 14. If you are interested in pursuing- let them know, try to close on the next step…

"I've enjoyed our conversation. There is only so much we can cover on the phone, when can I meet you (or have another phone call)?"

Phone calls are different than Face to Face…

"Let me share with you the benefit of what I've learned from the countless debriefs I've done. I would say that at least 50% of the time, when one of my clients decides not to pursue one of my candidates it's because the candidate dominated the call and did all the talking. A lot of candidates feel like they need to take their entire [15] year career and cover it in a 40 minute phone call. The thing to remember about phone interviews is that you can't read your audience. You are unable to tell how engaged the hiring authority is. Therefore, you need to make sure you are answering each question concisely and check in with your audience regularly. Very often a person excels not in the content of their answers, but on the quality of their questions. Open ended, thought provoking questions that show that you've done some preliminary research and have reflected on this opportunity are ideal.

Mo

["I know you are busy but there is only so much we can measure on the phone. Based on what I've accomplished in my career and what you've shared with me as to what needs to be accomplished I think we should meet. When are you available?"}

Use a scheduling technology such as Microsoft Outlook. You want to receive an acceptance upon scheduling and ensure the meeting appears on everyone's calendar - including who is calling who, at what number, and clarifying time zones.

Some Tested Questions You Can Ask:

"How can I make an immediate impact?"

“Who is doing this job now?”

Always ask the hiring authority what his/her background is.

“I am interested in going to the next step. I would like to sit down with you and further discuss how I make a contribution with your company.” If you have your day timer, can we see when it would be convenient for our getting together?”

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Resume Formats

There are three basic styles of resumes: Chronological, Functional and Combination.

Each format organizes information differently and has distinct advantages and disadvantages. The following description will help you determine which format is most appropriate for you.

CHRONOLOGICAL

This type of resume lists work experience in reverse chronological order. It is best for the person who has had extensive experience in a chosen career field.

Advantages

  • · Allows for different formatting to include key words and career highlights.
  • · Human Resources interviewers, recruiters, and employers seem to prefer this format.
  • · Easiest to prepare since it is arranged by titles, accompanies and dates.
  • · Steady employment record is highlighted.
  • · Provides interviewers with a guide.

Disadvantages

  • · Reveals employment gaps. (It is recommended that any gaps include reasons, e.g.: job search, family responsibilities, travel, or educational opportunity in cover letter.)
  • · May not emphasize areas that you want to maximize.
  • · Skills and achievements at last position must match current position search.

FUNCTIONAL

Generally not recommended because it raises too many red flags.

  • · Organizes work experience into skill clusters.
  • · Dates and places of employment are left out. Re-entry people and recent graduates may find this style effective.
  • · A special section, Analysis of Experience, is written instead of listing employment history. Usually three to four areas are emphasized, showing results and accomplishments.
  • · Sections may be arranged in any order.

Advantages

  • · Stresses selected skills and experience areas that are marketable or in demand.
  • · Attempts to camouflage a spotty employment record.
  • · Allows the applicant to emphasize professional growth.
  • · Positions not related to current career goals can be played down.

Disadvantages

  • · Employers are suspicious and need to see additional work history information.
  • · It does not allow you to highlight companies or organizations for which you have worked.

COMBINATION

This type of resume combines the skills and achievement section from the functional format with the employment history listing from the chronological format.

Advantages

  • · Provides opportunity to emphasize the applicant's most relevant skills and agilities.
  • · Order of sections on the combination resume can be changed to market yourself in the best possible light.
  • · Good tool for almost anyone; however, re-entry people, recent college graduates and career changers find it particularly useful.
  • · Provides opportunity to highlight skills, while showing evidence of employment.

Disadvantages

· Employers can lose interest unless it is very well written and attractively laid out.

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Resume Do’s and Don’ts

The purpose of the resume is to describe your life-work experience to best advantage for the prospective employer. It should be a precise description about accomplishments, skills, and experience so that employers will want to know more in an interview. You may need more than one version for different jobs.

The Resume Should Indicate:

  • · Contact Information - your name, address, phone number, fax and e-mail.
  • · Background information in a summary or brief overview.
  • · Specific accomplishments related to performance on the job and leadership activities in professional, civic, or community affairs.
  • · List employment experience and education, in reverse order (highest degree or most recent job).

Omit

  • 1. Names and addresses of references. These can be supplied at the interview. Listing "References available on request" is not required it is assumed.
  • 2. Salary information. If requested, include in cover letter.
  • 3. Personal data, such as age, marital status, height, weight, ect. Prospective employers must consider you solely on the basis of your qualifications. It is illegal to request pictures or information related to race, religion or national origin.
  • 4. Personal pronouns. They weaken statements.
  • 5. Objectives narrow your options. Your objective is to get an offer from the company.

Include

  • 1. A generally stated professional summary. It is an overview of what you have done and how you fit the needs of a company. Includes business environment experience, personal characteristics and industry key words.
  • 2. Unpaid experiences as well as paid employment if it is significant, professional, and pertinent to the industry.
  • 3. Resumes placed on Internet sites must follow company format. Avoid bullets, italics, and underlines. Use HTML format.
  • 4. Careful editing to check for typos and grammatical errors. These may suggest to prospective employers that your work is careless.
  • 5. May be more than one page with experience, but not more than two.
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Purpose

The purpose of the resume is to describe your life-work experience to best advantage for the prospective employer. It should be a precise description about accomplishments, skills, and experience so that employers will want to know more in an interview. You may need more than one version for different jobs.

The Resume Should Indicate:

  • · Contact Information - your name, address, phone number, fax and e-mail.
  • · Background information in a summary or brief overview.
  • · Specific accomplishments related to performance on the job and leadership activities in professional, civic, or community affairs.
  • · List employment experience and education, in reverse order (highest degree or most recent job).

Omit

  • 1. Names and addresses of references. These can be supplied at the interview. Listing "References available on request" is not required it is assumed.
  • 2. Salary information. If requested, include in cover letter.
  • 3. Personal data, such as age, marital status, height, weight, ect. Prospective employers must consider you solely on the basis of your qualifications. It is illegal to request pictures or information related to race, religion or national origin.
  • 4. Personal pronouns. They weaken statements.
  • 5. Objectives narrow your options. Your objective is to get an offer from the company.

Include

  • 1. A generally stated professional summary. It is an overview of what you have done and how you fit the needs of a company. Includes business environment experience, personal characteristics and industry key words.
  • 2. Unpaid experiences as well as paid employment if it is significant, professional, and pertinent to the industry.
  • 3. Resumes placed on Internet sites must follow company format. Avoid bullets, italics, and underlines. Use HTML format.
  • 4. Careful editing to check for typos and grammatical errors. These may suggest to prospective employers that your work is careless.
  • 5. May be more than one page with experience, but not more than two.
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Practice Everything

Visualize and rehearse the entire interview. Writing your answers in a practice session before you verbalize them is a powerful technique to make you more comfortable and effective.

  • 1. Determine marketable skills and be clear about your achievements.
  • 2. Research the company and the industry.
  • 3. Make a trial trip getting to the interview, if possible, to anticipate traffic or parking problems. If you are taking public transportation, allow time for delays.
  • 4. Be prepared for answering questions. Have short, summary type answers that begin with words like "Summarize for me……" or "Give me a brief recap of….." as well as specific details about….." Be concise, but not so brief that important information is omitted.
  • 5. Rehearse with others. Ask a mentor, member of your network, friend or family to ask you questions and actually go through several interviews. The more you tell your story, the more relaxed and adaptable you are. A tape or video recorder can give you valuable feedback.
  • 6. Facts about the company. Find information about the company and decide how you will use it in the interview. Include how your achievements fit the company objective.
  • 7. Questions you will ask. Asking questions shows your interest. The best questions are about the job, the company, expectations and other related areas.

WHAT TO TAKE TO THE INTERVIEW: extra copies of resumes, references, letters of recommendations, portfolios or work samples..

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Non-Verbal Language

Non-Verbal Language

Handshake: Always offer your hand; use firm but not crushing pressure.

Eye contact: Be natural as with any conversation. Avoiding eye contact is a sign of deception, disinterest, or lack of confidence.

Sitting: If a place to sit is not indicated, choose the chair closest to the interviewer; sit relaxed, but do not slouch. Leaning slightly forward shows interest, but never lean on the desk.

Gestures: Use hands naturally to emphasize a point. Do not cover your mouth, hold your head or twist your hands together.

COCKTAILS OR MEALS

They may be held to see how you handle a social situation. If there is a spill or other problem, stay calm and on track.

Order a non-alcoholic drink. You need to be in control.

Order a meal in the middle price range or follow the lead of the interviewer. Order something easy to cut, chew and swallow. You will be doing a lot of talking and may not even have time to eat.
Do not smoke.

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Making The Descision

Making The Descision

List your priorities related to responsibilities, salary, location, working conditions, benefits, and how the position fits into your career goals. Match the offer with your list. Examine advantages and disadvantages separately. You may want to assign a numerical ranking system to make your decision easier.

If you have had a firm offer, it is OK to contact other pending companies to find out their time frames for action.

Contact all the people who have helped you in your search. Tell them about your new job and thank them for your help.

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Job Questions

Job Questions

  • 1. Is this a new or replacement job?
  • 2. Is there a formal training program?
  • 3. How would the responsibilities of this position fit into the overall goals of the company?
  • 4. To whom does this position report?
  • 5. What qualifications does your ideal candidate need? (This is your opportunity to match your experience and skills to their needs).
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Interviewing

First Impressions Count

Interviewers often make decision about an applicant during the first few minutes and spend the interviewing time justifying that decision. Be ready to take advantage of that small amount of time to make the right impression. The following tips will assist you in creating a positive image of credibility and liability. Personal chemistry is as important as job qualification.

Arrive Early with extra resumes, research about the company, questions you want to ask, contact numbers of references, and work samples.

Be friendly to the receptionist and others you meet. Show appreciation for any help or information given. Observe the work areas and how employees relate to one another, to customers or vendors. These are clues to the company culture.

Review your notes to instill confidence in the expert on your skills and experience - YOU!

DURING THE INTERVIEW

Collect Business cards; give them your card. If you are not employed, have a generic card printed with your contact information. Take notes related to the job duties and major points discussed.

If another interviewer enters the room during the interview, stand and introduce yourself. This person could make the final decision.

APPLICATIONS

Complete the entire application, even if the information duplicates the resume. This form often is an indication of how well you follow instructions. The consistency of information provided may be necessary for the final hiring records.

Read through the application first. Determine what they are asking. Follow all directions explicitly. If the application states "print", do so.

Never leave blanks or say "see resume". Be specific; use notes and resume being accurate.

Read disclaimers at the end of the application. They refer to references, employment requirements and other information. Sign the application and be prepared to follow the rules.

Inconsistent or incomplete information can result in dismissal after hire.

PROFESSIONAL DRESSING

If in doubt, visit the location to see how current employees dress. Telephone call requesting information about dress codes WILL WORK FOR YOU. Avoid "casual Friday looks." Clothing, hairstyles and accessories must fit the company image and the job. Conservatism is always in good taste. Your image is a sign of your credibility, and they expect you at your very best.

For Women:

Wear a suit, skirt and tailored jacket, dress with sleeves or a dress with jacket in conservative style, color and fabric. Be feminine, but business-like. Avoid very short skirts. Clothing must be appropriate to the position you are seeking and the season of the year. The following are general rules:

  • 1. Keep makeup and accessories to a minimum. Less is more when it comes to jewelry; avoid jangly bracelets and more than one pair of small earrings. Avoid fragrances - some people have allergies.
  • 2. Hair should be worn in a conservative style; nails manicured, short to mid-length, with clear coat or light color polish.
  • 3. Shoes should be suitable in color and style to your clothing, polished and repaired. Consider lower heeled shoes; sometimes an extended tour of the facility is part of the interview.
  • 4. Hosiery is a must in colors that complement your outfit. Never wear hose darker than your shoes. Carry an extra pair in case of emergency.
  • 5. Use a purse or a briefcase. Portfolios of your work are acceptable. Either should be of good quality and purses should match outfit. You need a hand free to greet people, open doors, etc.

For Men:

Consider the position you are applying for, the time of the year, styles, and the rules in general.

  • 1. Wear a suit, preferably in blue or gray; in a conservative style (pinstripe pattern is allowable). Blazers, slacks and a shirt with a collar but without a tie are acceptable in a few instances. Consider the image you want to project. Make certain the outfit is tailored to your body, weight, height and is freshly pressed.
  • 2. Shirts should be a solid color; ties should also be conservative (small pattern or stripe to coordinate with the suit and shirt).
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Interview Types

Interview Types

SCREENING

Conducted by the Human Resources department or an outside firm to eliminate persons who do not meet the basic requirements of the company. They will usually compare your qualifications against a job description or the job requirements.

Treat screeners as if they were making the final decision - they are deciding if you will go to the next step.

Use information from this interview to your advantage.

Your main purpose is to make a good impression.

ONE-ON-ONE

Informal: Interviewer has a general idea of what will be asked, but after the first question, the interview follows the trend of a conversation rather than any pre-set pattern or list of questions.

Structured: Questions will be written out, based on the job requirements, and will be asked of every applicant. This is often a longer interview, since all questions must be asked of all candidates and then compared.

Unstructured: Can be interpreted as a type of stress interview if you are not prepared. After one or two questions, the interviewer may sit back and wait for you to make the next move. Ask questions about the job or the company and after the answer, respond with how your strengths and interests match.

Sequential: Interviewing with several people, one at a time. Handle this as though each one was the only one, even if it means many things will be repeated.

GROUP

You may meet with more than one person at a time

Teamwork is important to the company. They want to see how effective you are as part of a group.

Take it one question at a time. Focus intently on the questioner.

Answer the person who asked the question. Follow-up with a statement or summary to include the group. When you look around, see if anyone seems to need further clarification.

Do not assume the questioner is the decision-maker. Try to figure out the power structure within the group, but do not let it distract you.

Make eye contact with each member of the group.

BEHAVORIAL

You will be called on to act as you would in real-life situations. An example would be a sales presentation. If you have a choice of selling anything in the room, choose yourself!

You will be asked questions that describe how you would do things under certain circumstances or how you have done things in the past.,/p>

TELEPHONE

Designed to screen out less qualified applicants. Initial screening can also be done by faxes and e-mails.

  • - Expect a call outside of normal business hours.
  • - Eliminate background noises.
  • - Have all information by the phone.
  • - Stand while you speak. Your voice will sound stronger and more confident.

STRESS

Conducted either to see how you handle pressure; or may be an untrained interviewer on a power trip. Interviewer stares, lets long silences go by, fires questions, interrupts answers, uses sarcasm, etc.

When you recognize this:

  • 1. Take a deep breath and keep calm.
  • 2. Answer as much as possible before the next interruption.
  • 3. Do not let silences rattle you.
  • 4. Do not be defensive or argumentative.
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Interview Protocol

Interview Protocol

  • • Do your homework on the company; from your recruiter, web site, & “Google”.
  • • Arrive early, at least 10 minutes early. Make certain you know the location prior to your interview. Take no chances on being late. “MapQuest” if necessary.
  • • Dress accordingly, you’re a professional. Remember the rule; “First impression is the lasting impression.” Ask your recruiter if in doubt. Business casual is normal.
  • • Shake hands firmly with good eye contact. Speak clearly and distinctly.
  • • Sit erect in the chair and lean forward slightly.
  • • When asked the question, “Tell us about yourself”. Don’t do the wife and kids routine, stay with your accomplishments in previous positions. Let them ask about your family if they want personal information on the first interview.
  • • Stay with the basics on what you bring to the table.
  • • Have writing material with at least 6 questions to ask during the interview

Suggested Questions:

  • o Ask what your responsibilities will be. Is there a formal job description?
  • o Ask how they will measure the success for the position
  • o Ask if this is new position if not, who has been doing the job
  • o What kinds of projects would I be expected to complete and in what time frame?
  • o How do you think I could help you in this position?
  • o What would my first assignments here look like?
  • o What direction is your department taking? Your company?
  • o What are some of the greatest challenges in this position? Are there problems that currently exist?
  • o How does this position fit into that direction?
  • o If I meet and exceed your expectations, where could this position lead?

Make notes of who you meet.

  • • No negative conversations during the interview process. NEVER “bad mouth” prior employers or supervisors.
  • • Do not talk money. When asked, tell them what you are making and then tell them that you will consider any reasonable offer.
  • • If you’re interested in the position – tell them so. Ask what the next step is in the hiring process.
  • • Be sure to call your recruiter within 1 hour after your interview. It is not uncommon for the hiring manager to call the recruiter for feedback. Be sure to do this.

Additional questions to consider asking if you feel comfortable

  • 1. What are the traits of the successful reps within your organization?
  • 2. What are some of the challenges you see this person being faced with?
  • 3. What are the expectations of this position?
  • 4. What attracted you to this company?

Ask the interviewer:(Get Personal)

  • 1. When you made the move to come here, what was the most compelling reason?
  • 2. What keeps you here?
  • 3. I'm looking for a leader who I can believe in and whose coattails I can ride. Tell me your ambitions.
  • 4. What do I have to do to get your job?
  • 5. (End of interview) Do I have your vote? Are you going to recommend I be considered?

(Reality Check Questions)

  • 6. You're not hiring because everything is wonderful. What are the problems that need solving?
  • 7. Carpe Diem...companies hire short term solutions to short term problems. How can I stand out in the next 60 days?
  • 8. I'm happy to give you references, are there people here or at some other company that I can talk to about you?
  • 9. Profile your top performer for me. What does he/she do that makes him/her so much better?
  • 10. When it comes to work, what keeps you up at night?

Most important – be sure to call the hiring manager and thank them for the interview.

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Informational Interviews

Informational Interviews

NETWORKING & DEVELOPING CONTACTS

Best way to research a company or industry and to make a positive first impression.

  • 1. Attempt to get a referral from someone who knows someone in the company or the hiring manager. Research the name of the hiring manager to ask questions about the company. This can be done by telephone calls or found on Web pages. Dispel expectations that you are seeking a job. You are seeking information, resources and referrals. Be on your toes, it is still a first impression.
  • 2. Organize questions to take a minimum amount of time. If time runs out, request another appointment or the name of another contact for additional information.
  • 3. Send a follow-up letter. Thank them for their time and information. Ask for additional referrals or leads that may be available. Find out if you can leave your resume with someone in the company.
  • 4. Keep your contacts informed of your progress.

SAMPLE NETWORK QUESTIONS

  • 1. What skills or training are needed for this work?
  • 2. Are there special qualities or attributes that enhance entry-level job seekers?
  • 3. What are the career paths or advancement opportunities?
  • 4. How do my skills and experience fit into this industry?
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How to build rapport and make your interviewer love you

How to build rapport and make your interviewer love you.

You only have a finite amount of time in an interview to successfully build a rapport with your interviewer. There is no doubt that this will come easier to some, than it does for others. However, by fostering a meaningful connection with your interviewer, you will positively impact the outcome of your interview. After all, people recruit people they like.

10 ways to make your interviewer love you:

So, you have just one hour (or maybe less) to convince your interviewer that they like you, and can see you working alongside them, at the heart of their organization. I believe that in this short period of time, it’s entirely possible to build rapport – here’s how


1. Smile

Make a conscious effort to smile when you are first introduced, when you say goodbye and regularly throughout the interview. This may sound like an obvious one, but it’s interesting how many people don’t. I’ve met numerous unsmiling interviewees in my time. Given that nerves will be a factor, make the effort a deliberate one.


2. Shake hands

Be the first to extend your hand for a firm handshake and to greet your interviewer. Again, it may sound obvious, but first impressions really are vital.


3. Maintain eye contact

Establish and maintain eye contact during your meeting. Too much eye contact is clearly off-putting, so look away regularly, but keep that contact. If you never meet your interviewer’s gaze, you will come across as slightly shifty, nervous or disengaged entirely.


4. Remember your interviewer’s name

Make a conscious effort to remember the name of your interviewer (having made sure you’ve heard it properly), and use it quite often and as you leave. It’s an old trick that politicians use when establishing rapport with journalists who interview them, and it’s surprisingly effective!


5. Create a 50/50 dialogue

Create a 50/50 dialogue in which you listen as much as you speak, and don’t save all your questions until the end of the meeting. Show you are interested – and listening – by asking intelligent questions (you should have thought of some relevant questions to ask as part of your preparation). You can also sometimes surmise or paraphrase something your interviewer has said, and repeat it back to them in question form. Again, this shows you are paying attention.


6. Remember your interviewer is just another human being

Help your brain put things into perspective and keep those nerves at bay by remembering that your interviewer is just another human being, who may also be feeling anxious. This should help you break down the barriers.


7. Make the interviewer feel important

Do your research on the company, your interviewer and the role you are applying for (LinkedIn is a great resource to help you do this). Nothing helps flatter and build rapport more than a little inside knowledge on the person you’ll be meeting. Come prepared with some follow up questions pertaining to the interviewer to help build a stronger connection – for example, you could ask about their career path or their history with the company.


8. Mirror body language

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and mirroring body language can help the interviewer envisage you working with them. Mirroring could be anything from speech patterns and voice tone to gestures, but don’t overdo it, obviously. Match and mirror subtly. Adjusting to the interviewer’s demeanor and behavior can also help you both feel a little more comfortable.


9. Be memorable – show the real you

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through to help your interviewer see who you really are. Answer questions honestly and clearly. And remember, an experienced interviewer can easily spot the signs of a candidate who is trying toohard.


10. Follow up afterwards

Follow up the interview with an email thanking the interviewer for their time and reiterate how much you enjoyed meeting them. Send this before the interviewer has a chance to forget you.

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Follow-up

Follow-up

Follow - up is critical. It is an opportunity to build upon your first impression. Many companies wait for your follow - up, and eliminate anyone who fails to do so.

Collect Business cards; give them your card. If you are not employed, have a generic card printed with your contact information. Take notes related to the job duties and major points discussed.

If another interviewer enters the room during the interview, stand and introduce yourself.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW

Critique your performance immediately after the interview. Make additional notes on important points and answers requiring strengthened explanations. Write the interviewer within the first twenty-four hours. You may fax or e-mail if appropriate, but also mail a hard copy on quality paper.

FOLLOW - UP LETTER (very important)

One typed page expressing appreciation for their time and restarting your interest in the job with a brief recap of how your qualifications meet the needs of the company. Close with another statement of your strengths, your belief that you will call at a specific time to follow-up on the process. Asking for the job is not only appropriate, it is a must! Mail this letter the same day if possible.

FOLLOW - UP FAX, E-MAIL OR TELEPHONE CALL:

  • 1. Must be done within 24 hours of the interview, but others may follow at appropriate intervals to determine progress.
  • 2. Phone calls must be planned and organized just like a letter or an interview. Write a script and keep it short and business-like.
  • 3. When you have sent a follow-up and have not heard back for a week or two, a follow-up fax or brief note may generate some interest or an answer about whether you are still a candidate.
  • 4. When you have received another job offer, and a company you have not heard from is your number one choice, a call will let them know of another pending offer.
  • 5. If something affecting your application has changed, and you want to make the company aware, a telephone call or brief note should be sent.

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Expressing Skills and Achievements

Expressing Skills & Achievements Article:

Expressing Skills & Achievements

The following guidelines are important. Translate skills and achievements into action statements.

  • · Express skills with action verbs and industry key words to show benefits or results of the work you have performed. Express problems you have solved that lend punch and add variety to your resume.
  • · Quantify and qualify using statistics, percentages and numbers whenever possible.
  • · Include key words or nouns that specify areas of experience, e.g.: Team leader, Manager, Strategic Planning, MIS, Bilingual, Computer Software Skills, and Systems Analyst.
  • · Begin statements with actions that are followed by results: Increased company market niche and profitability by designing customer preference survey and focus groups. Supervised Ten focus interview teams to conduct focus groups of more than 350 people and 2,000 surveys. Analyzed data and presented results of 2,000 interviews to senior management.
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Cover Letter

Cover Letter

Always include a cover letter explaining your reason for submitting the resume. It serves as an introduction, highlights specific qualifications or objectives you may have for this job, and exhibits written communication skills. Do not use standard letters from books. Create your own business letter. Every resume, whether faxed, e-mailed, or hand delivered, must include a cover letter. The cover letter can also include additions to the resume that specifically match the job description.

Other Uses for Letters

  • · To initiate networking
  • · As follow-ups after interviews, to thank interviewers, emphasize skills, and summarize your fit for the position.
  • · To cover any omissions or errors during the interview.
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Counteroffer Acceptance – Road to Career Ruin

Counteroffer Acceptance: Road to Career Ruin

(Reprinted with permission from Paul Hawkinson from the National Business Employment Weekly, Sunday, December 11, 1983)

A Raise won't permanently cushion thorns in the nest. Mathew Henry, the 17th-century writer said, "Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colors that are but skin deep." The same can be said for counteroffers, those magnetic enticements designed to lure you back into the nest after you've decided it's time to fly away.

The litany of horror stories I have come across in my years as an executive recruiter, consultant and publisher, provides a litmus test that clearly indicates counteroffers should never be accepted....EVER!

I define a counteroffer simply as an inducement from your current employer to get you to stay after you've announced your intention to take another job. We're not talking about those instances when you receive an offer but don't tell your boss. Nor are we discussing offers that you never intended to take, yet tell your employer about anyway as a "they-want-me-but-I'm-staying-with-you" ploy.

These are merely astute positioning tactics you may choose to use to reinforce your worth by letting your boss know you have other options. Mention of a true counteroffer, however, carries an actual threat to quit.

Interviews with employers who make counteroffers, and employees who accept them, have shown that as tempting as they may be, acceptance may cause career suicide. During the past 20 years, I have seen only isolated incidents in which an accepted counteroffer has benefited the employee. Consider the problem in its proper perspective.

What really goes through a boss's mind when someone quits?

  • • "This couldn't be happening at a worse time."
  • • "This is one of my best people. If I let him quit now, it'll wreak havoc on the morale of the department."
  • • "I've already got one opening in my department, I don't need another right now."
  • • "This will probably screw up the entire vacation schedule."
  • • "I'm working as hard as I can, and I don't need to do his work, too."
  • • "My review is coming up and this will make me look bad."
  • • "Maybe I can keep him on until I find a suitable replacement."

What will the boss say to keep you in the nest? Some of these comments are common.

  • • "I'm really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you. Let's discuss it before you make your final decision."
  • • "Aw, gee, I've been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you, but it's been confidential until now."
  • • "The V.P. has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities."
  • • "Your raise was schedule to go into effect next quarter, but we'll make it effective immediately."
  • • "You're going to work for who?"

Let's face it. When someone quits, it's a direct reflection on the boss. Unless you're really incompetent or a destructive thorn in his side, the boss might look bad by "allowing" you to go. His gut reaction is to do what has to be done to keep you from leaving until he's ready. That's human nature.

Unfortunately, it's also human nature to want to stay unless your work life is abject misery. Career changes, like all ventures into the unknown, are tough. That's why bosses know they can usually keep you around by pressing the right buttons.

Before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these universal truths:

Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or better working conditions, is suspect.

No matter what the company says when making its counteroffer, you will always be considered a fidelity risk. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you will lose your status as a "team player" and your place in the inner circle.

Counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.

Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Conditions are just made a bit more tolerable in the short term because of the raise, promotion or promises made to keep you.

Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions?

Decent and well-managed companies don't make counteroffers? EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable. They will not be subjected to "counteroffer coercion" or what they perceive as blackmail.

If the urge to accept a counteroffer hits you, keep on cleaning out your desk as you count your blessings.

The Georgia Association of Personnel Services will not be held liable for the use of any of the above information.

Most important – be sure to call the hiring manager and thank them for the interview.

"Additional questions to consider asking if you feel comfortable"

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Compensation Rules

Compensation Rules

SALARY QUESTIONS

Never ask about the salary! The company will discuss salary with you when appropriate. Usually reserved for the second interview or when there is a firm offer. You are in a better position to negotiate. Be realistic and flexible. Know their salary budgets and the market ranges. Companies want people who are interested in doing a good job for the company. When the offer is made, the following will help you negotiate a good compensation package:

  • 1. Is there a sign-on bonus or commission in addition to the salary?
  • 2. How often are reviews?
  • 3. Is the salary at or above what others are getting for the same or similar jobs and experience?

BENEFITS QUESTIONS

Company benefits are often worth from 25% to 50% or more of the cash salary offered and are important to consider:

  • 1. When am I eligible for each plan?
  • 2. Do I have a choice of the benefits available?

NEGOTIATIONS

Everything can be negotiated after you have received an offer. Know the market and request their consideration in terms of salary, benefits and perks. Salaries may stay consistent, but sign-on bonuses, temporary housing, tuition reimbursement, personal time off, etc. can be added to a package. Never demand. It will show an unpleasant side of your personality that could rescind an offer.

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Company Questions

Company Questions

1. What are the plans of the company for the future?

2. How would someone with my background fit into the plan?

3. How would you describe the company culture?

4. Is there a career path?

5. What are some of the challenges and priorities of the company?

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Chronological Format

Chronological Format

1. Use of word "resume" as heading unnecessary. Good use of space for the information employer needs about you. Uses only two lines instead of three or four. E-mail and or fax numbers are helpful. Omit cell phone number. You do not want an employer calling you when you are busy with something else.

2. Profile emphasizes general background related to employer or industry needs. Includes business environments, skill areas, and general accomplishments. The use of nouns is important for detection by scanners looking for a good fit. Uses both hard and soft skills that are more detailed in body of resume. This should be a good general statement. It may be explained in detail, or with examples in an interview, or with follow up activities. May also be used as 30-second sound bite in response to "What do you do?" or "Tell me about yourself."

3. Strengths that have been developed through experience and accomplishments. Key words for electronic scanning or passes reader's five to 15 second glance test.

4. Use titles at beginning before company name to emphasize level of position. Dates ate included in right margin. Company name, short description of the company, if not generally known, with some indication of size or sales volume is helpful. 'Do not include street address.

5. Progression in a company and promotion titles with different dates may be confusing. Use a general statement and be prepared to discuss at the interview or on an application.

6. Bullets can be used to set off each major accomplishment. Remember electronic scanning or the internet listings may change formatting. Use spacing between each to make certain that it can be read in all formats. State problems, actions, results; Quantify whenever possible. Never exaggerates. Be able to substantiate with documentation that does not compromise confidentiality of previous employer.

7. Position somewhat unrelated to present career focus but must be used for chronological order. Not necessary to go into great detail.

8. Previous employment or professional history is summarized if it has been more than 10 - 15 years. Do include names of companies and length of time for credibility. Interviewer can ask you more questions if needed.

9. Education is at the end of the resume unless applying for an academic position. Degree followed by major, if related, name of institution, city and state. Date of graduation not included unless it is recent. Do not indicate that you have been out of school for more than 10 years - a red flag of age or that you may not be current. Omit GPA's, Dean's lists, etc.

10. Add additions continuing education and training to indicate keeping current with professional development. Continuous learning is important in a changing business environment.

11. Professional leadership and community affiliations replace hobbies and interests that are not relevant to job performance.

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10 Ways to Blow the Interview

10 Ways to Blow the Interview By Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com Editor

Information abounds regarding what you should say in an interview. But it can be just as important to realize what not to say. It is also imperative to note that what you say say can be communicated through both your words and actions.


1. You arrive late to the interview.

What it means: "I really don't care about getting this position."

Arrive a healthy 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to give you time to collect your thoughts, review your notes and make a good first impression.


2. You're rude to the receptionist.

What it means: "I'm difficult to get along with."

Receptionists are the gate keepers and it's their job to be the eyes and ears of the company," cautions Lauren Milligan, founder and CEO of ResuMAYDAY, Inc. Besides, if hired, you may need their cooperation one day.


3. You answer questions with trite or cliché responses.

What it means: "I'm just one of the crowd."

Telling the interviewer you are a perfectionist and expect too much of yourself is sure to elicit a yawn, if not a discreet roll of the eyes, Milligan warns. Prepare potential responses ahead of time to avoid relying on the usuals.


4. You don't ask questions.

What it means: "I'm not that interested in your company."

The interview should be a two-way conversation "to determine if you are the right fit for the company, and if the company is the right fit for you," Milligan says. Use the interview to gather as much information about your potential new position as possible.


5. You answer the standard "Tell us about yourself," with "What would you like to know?"

What it means: "I have nothing special to offer this company."

This is your opportunity to steer the conversation into areas where you truly shine. Don't waste this chance by appearing to lack any outstanding qualities you want to share. And please don't start with where you were born. Focus on your career unless your birthplace is relevant to the job.


6. You use inappropriate language.

What it means: "I'm unprofessional and if it shows in the short span of an interview, imagine what I'll be like in the office."

Even if they're only mild and somewhat acceptable words, there still is no place for them in the interview.


7. You trash-talk your former boss.

What it means: "I have no discretion; I'll blab any inside information."

"If you left your prior job on poor terms, you need to put this relationship in a positive light for the interview," Milligan advises. "Even if your boss was to blame." You never want to bring negativity or antagonistic emotions into the interview. Keep it positive and upbeat.


8. You ask the interviewer to not contact your former employer.

What it means: "I have something to hide."

Even if you do not get along with your boss, you can always name someone else in the organization as a reference.


9. You exaggerate your accomplishments or credentials.

What it means: "I'm not good enough on my own merits, so I need to lie to make myself look good."

A skilled interviewer can easily identify fabrications in your background or experience. State your qualifications with confidence. You don't have to be Superman to get hired; you just have to be right for the job.


10. You don't thank the interviewer.

What it means: "I have no manners."

Forgetting to thank your interviewers in writing for their time can take the luster from even the most stellar interviewee.

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