Tag Archives: the job interview

Let’s Talk About You – 5 Questions JobGiraffe Will Ask

by Ben Horwitz, Communications Director, JobGiraffe

Ben Horwitz, JobGiraffe, World Giraffe Day
Ben Horwitz, JobGiraffe

As a job seeker, working with a recruiting and staffing professional can be a rewarding and enlightening experience. Recruiters can give you access to a wealth of jobs that are never posted publicly, while at the same time help guide you to the right position. Recruiters, in this sense, are your advocate or coach. Because of this, interviewing with a recruiter is not the same experience as interviewing with a potential employer. You aren’t trying to get your foot in the door of an organization, you are supplying the consultant with the information they need to go to bat for you by marketing you to their clients.

Here are the top five things that every recruiter will want to know about you

One: Tell me about your education. All of it.

Sometimes you’re an Accounting major looking for an accounting job. However, you never know when your familiarity with Classical Portuguese Literature is going to come in handy. You may have applied to a position that, on the surface, has little to do with your major, but a good consultant knows that every area of education comes with its own unique set of skills. History major? A consultant can talk about your research skills and attention to detail. Philosophy? Your analytical skills and ability to think outside the box. Econ? You’ve probably got some pretty decent math skills.

The point is, consultants know jobs, and they know what skills, traits and experiences are necessary to a particular role. Even if you never received a degree, your education has armed you with skills, knowledge and experience that our clients will want to know about.

Two: What are your skills and experience?

Every company does things a little bit differently, so be sure to tell your recruiter all the unique softwares, systems, certifications and experiences you have accumulated. These pieces of information form the bedrock of what companies are looking for in new hires. Also, since recruiting and staffing professionals frequently work to fill more than one open position at a given time, they can use your skills and experiences to “shop” you around to their clients. Who knows…they may know the exact company looking for your exact set of skills for a project or position.

Three: What’s your work history? More so, what’s your story?

When it comes to recruiters, you’re the product – and every good salesman needs to know what they are selling. Aside from your education, skills and experience, a good recruiter will want to know a bit of your story. In short, what makes you you? This will help them find you a company where you would be a good cultural fit, explain any prolonged absences from the workforce (due to school, family emergency or whatever!), and find you a position with a company that will not only advance your career, but also share your values.

Four: Why did you leave your previous positions? How are your references?

Chances are there is a reason you are looking for a new job. Things happen, and that’s ok! But be sure never to lie or “massage” your resume to make it look like you have more experience than you actually do. If we think we know the right position and company for you, it’s much better if we have a complete, accurate picture of your work history. That way we know what to highlight and what to smooth over or explain to a client. If there are past employers you think will give you a glowing reference, tell us, even if that person comes from outside the industry you are looking to move in to. We want you to get hired (it’s how we get paid), so think of us like a partner, not an obstacle or gatekeeper.

Five: What are you looking for in your next position? In your career??

Culture, values, hours, salary, benefits, location, room for growth? All of these play a role in your job search. We need to know your priorities so that we can send you to the right client. Many recruiting and staffing agencies even include a “refund period” on their candidates, so if you walk away from the job after one week, we have to find someone new for our client and a new opportunity for you. It’s simply not enough for us to find you any job; we need to find you the right job. One way to do that is by learning from your past decisions.

We know jobs and we know our clients. What we need to learn more about is you!

Tune in next week to learn the top five questions that you should be asking every recruiter.

Reach Higher!

Ben Horwitz
Communications Director
JobGiraffe

Death By Interview

by Karen Rae Horwitz, President, JobGiraffe

She had superior experience…death by interview, karen horwitz
He had terrific skills…
And now… they’re lost forever.

Such a shame.

Do we know what killed them? (Or at least what killed our client’s chances for hiring either of these great candidates?)

Death by INTERVIEW (gasp)!

Death by Interview is a malady that was first noted in 2009. Yes, companies were laying off and firing far more people than they were hiring, but in those few instances where an opening existed, the first signs of this serious condition were being seen.

Offers that were once made following a second interview were suddenly absent. Then, at the third interview, a small sensation of repetition was observed, followed by an increase in unnecessary pain on the fourth interview. Uncertainty set in during the fifth interview and by the sixth meeting it was too late – the patient or, excuse me, candidate, couldn’t be saved. Any sense of excitement or enthusiasm for the position, or desire to join the team or admiration for the firm itself, was crushed. The candidate’s only hope was to take another job!

As President of JobGiraffe for over 20 years, much of my time is spent studying the numbers – statistics that have held true, for the most part, year after year even through wild economic gyrations. Yet in 2009 something was different. Suddenly the amount of interviews required to produce an offer took a startling jump and even more shocking, all of these interviews were not resulting in an accepted offer!

My staff watched many great candidates walk away from great positions because the process our clients were putting them through had just become too long. What was accomplished by asking a candidate to return 7 different times to meet 7 different people? Were HR managers and/or department heads simply too afraid to make a hiring mistake?  Did more visits mean a better hire?

The epidemic continued unidentified until I read an article last year by Dr. John Sullivan that put a name to the crisis.  Dr. Sullivan’s article accurately pointed out all the symptoms we had been observing – plus, it also noted more visits did not make a better hire, and frequently resulted in no hire at all.

Dr. Sullivan cites Google as a firm that has justifiably earned a reputation of demanding a double-digit number of interviews. Its justification was that because hiring impacts everyone that the new hire interacts with, “everyone at the firm should be able to interview a candidate.”

Fortunately, its well-earned Death By Interview reputation forced Google to eventually conduct internal research that demonstrated that “after four interviews, you get diminishing returns.” And since Google is interviewing for positions that require advanced skills and innovation, it’s time to realize that for most jobs, any number beyond three interviews is probably unnecessary.

The JobGiraffe staff had been alerting our clients to the dangers of this disease all along, but sadly, not all took action quickly enough, and some candidates were still needlessly lost.  But, as we prepare to close 2014 and the job market continues to heat up, great candidates are getting harder and harder to find, and the most talented individuals will not tolerate this unnecessary practice.

It’s obvious that employers are simply going to have to face the hard truth of the hiring environment and come to decisions earlier in the process or face losing the best candidates. Therefore, I confidently predict that this outbreak of ‘Death By Interview’ will be cured very soon.

Karen Rae Horwitz is President of JobGiraffe and is a noted expert on recruiting, staffing, and employment issues. Formerly Paige Personnel Services, JobGiraffe has offices in Chicago, Downers Grove, Schaumburg, and Vernon Hills, Illinois. 

Karen Rae can be reached at KRH@JobGiraffe.com.