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Providing you with information on the IT and Digital marketplace.


How to answer the Interview Question,

During the interview not only does the company find out about you, this is also your opportunity to find out if this is a job, position, and company that you really want to work for. Engaging with your interviewer is the first step in forming a relationship with him/her. Starting with a smile and a firm handshake and keeping upbeat during the interview process are all the basics needed for a successful interview.

THE COMPANY NEEDS YOU

You are being interviewed because the company has a need for someone with your qualifications. Answering the interviewer's questions precisely and confidently will help put you in the driver's seat. You have the qualifications. It's important to remember that an interview shouldn't be an interrogation, if it feels like that, you need to quickly try and turn it back into a conversation between 2 people who have the same goal - filling a position in the company.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE POSITION?

The next step in the process is to show them that you are interested in the position and the company. Researching the company is always the first step before your interview. (Truthfully it should be the first step before you send in your resume.) Making a list of questions to ask during the interview process is all part of the preparation. The answers to some of these questions will come up as a natural part of the interview process. Now it is your turn to ask specific questions. Don't stall the interview by asking questions just for the sake of asking a question. Make sure your questions are going to help further your relationship with the interviewer. They need to be engaging and smart. Do not ask a question that is answered on the company webpage, this shows you didn't do your research. Try not to repeat questions that have already been answered. Break your list into 2 parts, questions likely to be answered during the interview and questions more likely to wait until the end.

QUESTIONS LIKELY TO BE ANSWERED DURING THE INTERVIEW

  • What would a typical day be like for the person in this role? Do different time frames affect the position? ie does the job vary at month/quarter end?
  • What is the most challenging part of this position?
  • What are your future plans for this position?
  • Is this a replacement for someone or a new position? If a replacement, was the employee promoted, transferred or left the company?
  • Is there travel involved?
  • Will I be on call? How often?
  • Who is my direct report? How many members are on the team?

QUESTIONS TO END THE INTERVIEW ON

  • What is the chance of advancement for this position? Does the company like to promote from within?
  • Is there training/education possibilities?
  • Are there team and company events?  
  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • Are there performance reviews? How frequently?
  • What is the start date for this position?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process and when should I hope to hear from you?
  • Is there anything else I can provide you with?

QUESTIONS NOT TO ASK

Yes, surprisingly, there are questions you shouldn't ask during the interview - especially the first one below. These questions should be saved for the negotiation stage or discussed with your recruiter before hand.  

  • What is the salary?
  • How do yearly bonuses and performance raises work?
  • How much vacation would I get and when can I start taking it?
  • What are the benefits?


Interviews are stressful. Being prepared is the first step towards relieving some of your stress and anxiety levels. When you smile your whole body relaxes and smiling is contagious, so start the interview with your smile and a handshake and end it the same way with an added Thank You to all the interviewers.


5 Tips to Help Keep the Jitters out of the Interview

Interviews are stressful. Whether this is your dream job you are interviewing for, a promotion, or your first job, there are little things you can do to help ease the stress. There are very few people in the world who don't get pre-interview jitters. These jitters will be worse if you are not prepared for your interview. Here are our 5 tips for helping to get you to the interview with a few less jitters.  

DON'T BE LATE

There is no valid excuse for being late to an interview. You should plan on being there at least 10 to 15 minutes early. You don't need to check in until 5 minutes before but at least be in the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. This allows you to go to the washroom and check your hair, teeth, wash your hands and relax before you are called in.

DO A PRACTICE RUN

If you aren't sure where you are going or where parking is or how long it will take, then do a practice run. Schedule your practice run around the same time as the interview if you can to get a feel for traffic flow and/or public transportation glitches. Nothing worse than being on the subway and having an emergency stoppage. Find that nearest taxi stands and get going.

PREPARE YOUR OUTFIT THE NIGHT BEFORE

Yes, lay out your whole outfit. Hopefully you have picked up your suit from the cleaners ahead of time! This is also a good way to know if you must leave earlier to pick up a new pair of nylons. Are your shoes shined? Yes, people do still shine their shoes or at least get the dust and grime off of them! Remember don't overdo the cologne or perfume, if possible just don't use any. Cleanliness and hygiene is more important than your cologne.

PREPARE YOUR KIT

Take a couple of extra hard copies of your resume with you. They will ask you questions relating to your resume, so this gives you the chance to reread it before your interview. Kleenex, a couple of safety pins, a charged phone, and breath mints, can come in handy in case of an emergency. Don't forget to put in a hard copy of your references (that you have prepped ahead of time) just in case the interview goes really well, and they want to move to the next stage.

FIND OUT HOW TO PRONOUNCE THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME

In our multi-cultural Canada, it's important to verify how to pronounce the person's name. The last thing you want to do is walk in and say "Hi Mr/Mrs ........" and have them say "well my name is .........". Ask your recruiter, phone the actual company and ask for their extension - hopefully if you pronounce it wrong they will correct it for you. Write it down phonetically so you will remember the pronunciation.


Being prepared for your interview will help to set the tone for the whole interview. Let us know what little practices/rituals you do before an interview to help you start your interview off on the right foot.


Job Hunting Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

For every person who wakes up one day to a recruiting call for a perfect job, there are 100 people who must pound the sidewalk/internet for openings. Job Hunting has changed dramatically since the introduction of the internet, 30 years ago you did pound the pavement. You had 1 to 200 copies of your resumes in envelopes and you basically went and knocked on doors. "Do you have any openings?", "Here's my resume just in case something comes up". Networking was still important only it was done by word of mouth. "Jimmy's daughter is looking for a job" was a refrain through the workplace, clubs and soccer pitches. And yes my first job came from my dad's friend's girlfriend who worked for Ontario Hydro. Lucky Me!

Job Hunting might be the hardest job you ever do. You want to find the perfect job. You want to be fussy. There are 2 categories of Job Hunters and depending on which category you are can make the hunt more or less stressful.

You already have a job:

Needless to say, if you are the job hunter who already has a job but is looking for a change or upgrade, the stress you have you are putting on yourself. Maybe you don't like your boss or your job. Yes, it is time to move on, looking for a job while you have a job is still the best scenario. Because you aren't behind the 8 ball, you can wait for the perfect position. Hiring Managers will have to make you a competing offer.

YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB:

Other than maternity leaves or going back to school, being out of a job for any length of time can make that climb back into the workforce extremely difficult. Employers start to wonder why no one else has hired you.

FOR BOTH SCENARIOS DON'T FALL INTO THESE PITFALLS:

Getting discouraged is inevitable but try to focus on the positive. Negativity will come across in your interviews. Treat each interview as a learning experience.

Don't take rejection as a negative, it's not that they don't like you, it might just be that the other candidate had something extra to offer. Ask for feedback. What do you need to do to move forward with this company? If this position isn't for you ask about other openings in the company. Keep in touch with the Interviewer and Hiring Manager.

Try not to apply to every job on every job board. Chances are if you are interviewed for a job you don't want, you won't present well in the interview. Interviewing for jobs you want will make you more positive and exuberant about the position.

Don't try and trick the systems by applying to the same job with different emails and changing your name around. Yes, people do that. It clutters up databases and can make you appear desperate.

Networking still works. It can be embarrassing to be out of work, your first reaction can be to hide your unemployment. Some companies give their employees bonuses for referrals. People like helping people, let them. Even just a referral to their recruiter will help you get the door open and pass the 1000's of resumes that recruiters receive in their inboxes. Don't hide. Put it up on LinkedIn, mention it to the parents at your child's hockey game, everyone knows someone who knows someone. You never know where your break will come.

Forget that times change. Systems are updated, there are new languages. You may just have to bite the bullet and go back to school or upgrade those certifications. If you have been out of work for a while, be prepared to lower your expectations both re salary and management positions.

Highlight your achievements when job hunting. Looking back on your career, pick out the key times when you really made a difference. Duties are boring, make your career a story that people want to read and add a chapter too.

Keep in mind there are some great resources out there for job hunters, from government programs to internships to using a professional recruiter. Take advantage of their expertise and remain positive your door will open.


What To Expect When Working With a Recruiter

Recruiting Companies started making strides into the marketplace in the 70's. They were probably one of the first outsourcing practices large companies moved to. Also known as head-hunters, they were known as just a step above a used car salesman. This all changed when large companies like IBM, Ontario Hydro and the Banks realized they were being inundated with resumes for every job they posted.

Remember every resume back then was paper, yes, I said "paper". Delivered in the mail, gasp! The mail room, to the HR secretary to the actual HR Managers were being drowned in paper. Not only did they have to manually screen (no ATS systems) each resume, they also had to reply - yes, gasp, again by paper and stamp. HR Departments were being clogged. Great candidates were being missed. Hence the rise of the "employment/recruitment agencies".

These agencies also had to change the way they did business. Companies didn't want them sending over 100 resumes, they wanted 3 to 5 for each position. The agencies now had to screen all these resumes and find the best candidate. Just like buying a house, the companies attitude was "find me the right candidate or I'll go to another supplier". Keep in mind the agency was only paid if the client hired a candidate. Recruiters had to become experts in their field (technology, finance, administration to name just a few). They also had become experts in the interview process.

Over decades, the recruitment process has changed. Which leads us to the question, "What to expect when working with a Recruiter?"

Industry/Company Knowledge

Recruiters tend to specialize, so if you pick the right one they should be a wealth of knowledge about their field. If you have hooked up with the wrong one the first thing they should do is direct you to an expert recruiter in the field you are looking for. Take advantage of the Recruiter's expertise in the company. Ask them detailed questions about the company and industry. Start with a few simple questions:

  • Company culture - will you fit in, is it a stuffy company, is it too relaxed, does it promote from inside, is training available?
  • is the company expanding?
  • is the company doing lots of hiring?

Expertise in Their Field


Live Jobs

  • Recruiters sign contracts with companies for specific live jobs. These positions could be exclusive to one or more recruiting agencies. They aren't available on the company webpage. This gives the Recruiter you are working with direct access to the hiring manager. Part of this relationship includes knowing what the hiring manager is looking for, and what kind of candidates they have liked in the past.

Resume Help

  • Yes, I said Help. Because of their expertise, they know what the company is looking for. Most companies don't want to see 10-page resumes. Your recruiter will help you to discard the superfluous information and leave in the information the company is interested in for that particular position. Be prepared for them to reformat your resume. Move education from the last page to the first. Highlight the key technologies. Resumes with "I did, I was", "John changed, John has" will be rewritten to use prominent action words. Expect this from them, they are experts in having their candidates (you) get to the next step.

Interviewing

  • Screening Interview: after receiving your resume, be prepared for a screening interview. This interview is basically to make sure you are available, do you have the education and technologies, finds out if you would be willing to do the commute or relocate if necessary. This interview can be done by a Junior Recruiter.
  • Telephone/Video/Face2Face Interview: Prepare for this just like you were being interviewed by the company, with a little less stress. The recruiter's job is not only to find out if you are capable and experienced enough to do the job but also to help you to interview well. They will be looking for your accomplishments and helping you to present them in a relaxed manner. Your "elevator speech" will be fine tuned. Practice your questions and possible interview answers with the recruiter.

Salary/Benefits 

  • The Recruiter will discuss the salary/benefits with you. You don't have to worry about it being discussed in the actual company interview. The Recruiter is your salesman, after finding out what you are expecting they will present this to the Company and help find the perfect match. This will include not only salary negotiation but also vacation, benefits, bonuses, start dates, etc.

Job Offer

  • This will be presented to you and explained. And then you will take it home and read it over again. If you have any questions - call your Recruiter.

Feedback

  • Why didn't you get the job? The recruiter will have feedback from the Company and they should explain to you why you didn't get the job. What were you missing? Was it experience? Education? Too nervous? Too cocky? What can you do to improve? Was your salary expectation too high? Remember they want you to get a job so it's to their advantage to help you improve and analyze what happened.

References

  • This also falls under the bailiwick of the recruiter. Depending on the company the Recruiter will call your references. That doesn't mean they will lie for you so make sure your references are up to date.

Resigning

  • This can be very stressful especially if you have been with the company for a while. The Recruiter will help you through this step. They will offer advice on how the company may make a counter offer and whether you should take it or not. Although their client is the company they also want you to be satisfied in your decision. Recruiters love repeat customers.

 

Do you only get in touch with a Recruiter if there is a specific job you are interested in? Definitely NOT. Recruiters can help you with career changes, re-education advice, getting back into the work force, etc. They are a job hunting resource, use them and form an honest and fulfilling relationship with them.


Every interview is different. Each Interviewer uses different tactics. Most interviews start with trying to put you at ease by asking a little about yourself. There are the technical questions - you better be able to answer these questions – “you stated on your resume that you had the technical skills to be able to do the job.” Then come the off the wall questions - "what superhero would you be?"

 

"What strength would you bring to the position?" This is a standard question that you will be asked in most interviews. The best way to be prepared for this question is to sit down and write down your strengths from a previous position, or if you are a new graduate then experiences from school. Below are a few examples of strengths that can be expanded upon with your experience as they fit the job description:

  • Team Player
  • Time Management
  • Good at managing people
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Always finish my tasks
  • Good listener
  • Deal well with difficult customers/situations
  • Able to see the big picture
  • Good with detail
  • Pick out a skill from the job description, ie “With my strong web design, creative writing, phone skills, etc”, then expand on this strength.
  • Problem Solver
  • Able to juggle more than one task at a time
  • I am very good at listening and putting people at ease, this allows me to deal effectively with difficult situations. In my previous position there was a customer/employee…
  • Although I am a detail orientated person, I am also able to see the big picture, in my previous position (or while at school) I was assigned the task of…
  • My creativity has been tremendously helpful in designing web pages over the last 5 years. One particular webpage was just not… and I…

If you are having a hard time coming up with a strength, then ask your family, friends and co-workers. You will be surprised at what they come up with. Just don’t get too bloated from all the accolades, it is important to be a little humble with this question. You don’t want to come across as having an “I’m GREAT, I’m a STAR” attitude.


Don’t stress about this question, you have applied for the job because you know you can do it. Now tell them why and how. Be a "star".


10 Simple Tips to Remember As You Prepare For Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as you try to calm yourself down and relax.

These are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic, but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the drycleaners. Pick your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • clean and crisp
  • a suit for men
  • a skirt and blouse, or basic business dress for ladies  
  • No sundresses or shorts

This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry. Gentlemen, do you shirt buttons up, and no gold chains hanging out. Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

No Perfume or Cologne 

Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary. Why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne. They’ll reschedule if you are lucky!


How do you get to the Interview

Google it, and do a test run if you aren't sure. If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby. 9am and 5pm interviews mean rush hour. Be prepared for it to take 30 minutes longer to get there. Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. Be prepared!

Never be late for the Interview

It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.

And yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them. "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world. And you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

Be polite to everyone

That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer. You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator. The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers. Be polite to everyone all the time. It is a good road to travel down.

Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly. Ask the recruiter or phone the company. Write it down phonetically and practice.

Keep your right hand free

Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview. Move your portfolio, purse, or extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office.

Just before you get to the Interview

Turn off your phone and tablet.

Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

It starts as soon as you enter the room. Smile, firm handshake, and speak clearly. Relax and take part in the conversation.

Tell me about yourself

This question is totally about relaxing you. Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit". The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones version. Keep it professional.


Don't let a little thing muck up your interview. Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process. Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to Survive a Video Interview

To think that 20 years ago every interview was set up as a F2F (face to face). That's right you went into the office, dressed to the nines - suit, skirt/dress, shined shoes all freshly scrubbed. There weren't any telephone interviews. Skype wasn't even invented. And now we have video interviews.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION.  HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A VIDEO INTERVIEW?

Check your Equipment

You don't want your battery to run out before your interview is over so make sure everything is running smoothly. Clean the lens on your camera, nothing worse than a fingerprint showing up in the middle of your face. Practice with a friend so you can find the appropriate volume for a normal speaking voice. You don't want to have to yell and you don't want to miss the question because you can't hear the interviewer properly.

Where are you going to set up your Interview?

Find an area that is quiet from distractions. You don't want to hear the dog barking as people walk down your street. Make sure the area is clean and clutter free. If you are doing it in your bedroom you don't want the Sports Illustrated Bathing Suit calendar showing up in the picture. Empty or full beer bottles on your counter won't set a very good example.

Dress like you were meeting in Person

Dressing professionally makes you feel more in control and self-confident. So put your dress or suit and tie on, make-up, hair, shave. All the things you would do if you were heading to the office to meet the interviewer. Try not to wear white as it can look very bright through a camera, also busy patterns can be distracting.

Camera

Have your camera set up at a level so you are looking up just a little bit. This will emphasize your face more than your body and will make you look a little slimmer. It also helps to stop the camera from looking up your nose if you do a bit of a stretch. REMEMBER - don't look down or the interviewers will be looking at the top of your head. Look directly at the camera, maintain eye contact and smile.

 

Cheat Notes

Yes you can use cheat notes, perfect for writing down your interview questions, but remember that rustling paper can be picked up by the microphone and is very distracting. You also don't want your eyes roving around the room or looking down, leaving the interviewer looking at the top of your head.

Truthfully it isn't that much different than a F2F.

  • Be prepared - practice those interview questions and research the company.
  • Sit up tall and don't wiggle around too much.
  • Relax and speak clearly.
  • Remember to thank everyone for their time.

 

Don't treat a video interview lightly. You have to have the qualifications and you have to be able to sell yourself. All you are doing is using a different venue. So, Take 1 and wow them the first time.

 

Good luck job hunting!


Your Resume Checklist

 

Before you submit that resume, have a 2nd and a 3rd look. Once you send it there is no way to get it back, so proofread, proofread, proofread! Verify everything you need is mentioned in the resume. Below are some do's and don'ts to help you with your resume submission.

  • Your name (first and last) is bolded on the first page, followed by contact information (town/city, country, phone, email, LinkedIn) in a smaller font. On subsequent pages include your name, email and phone number in a smaller font at the top of the resume.
  • Do not include personal information like: marital status, children, father's name (yes I have seen it on resumes), passport number or SIN number.
  • How long is your Professional Profile? Keep it to 1 paragraph, 5 to 6 sentences and possibly a couple of bullets. Make sure they highlight the skills you have that match the job you are applying for. A 1-page profile will lose the interest of the recruiter after about the 5th line. Keep it short and concise.
  • Is your Education listed with the highest degree on the top, followed by certifications and training in reverse chronological order?
  • If you are applying for a technical position. This is a good spot to list your most current technologies. Needless to say if there are specific technical skills in the job ad and you have them, then put them in here so they will stand out.
  • The next section should be your Professional Experience. Again, the jobs should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most current position first.
  • Do your achievements start with action words: Develop, Create, Built, Performed, Managed, Coordinated, etc. Here is a webpage with 100's of action words: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/positive-resume-action-verbs/ or just type "List of Action Words" in Google.
  • NEVER NEVER NEVER start a sentence with "I" or "your name". "John created a test plan and test cases" or "I created a test plan and test cases" should become: Created a test plan and test cases.
  • Put your keywords from the job ad in your achievements as often as you can. If the job is looking for someone who has worked on an "on-line banking system" then say so. Created detailed test plans for the CIBC On-line Banking System using Mercury Tools.
  • Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are looking forward to their call.
  • If you notice that it is taking you a long time to read your resume, then it is probably too long, cut it down to 2 or 3 pages. You can always put in a line that says: Detailed job information from 1999 and back is available upon request.
  • Hobbies - not needed on the resume. This is a question that may come up at the interview to get the conversation going. Be careful what you tell them. Reading, Golf, Skiing, etc are probably good topics of conversation. Telling your interviewer that you like to go to the casino every Saturday night might set off some warning bells for him/her.
  • References - don't go on the resume, in fact don't even put in the line "references available upon request", that's a known.
  • Take out the graphics, logos, graphs, pictures.
  • Don't include a letter from your mother, yes it has happened.
  • Don't lie on your resume, this is a legal document.
  • Have someone proofread it, have them read the job ad as well. You want to make sure your points address the job description.

Resumes can be adapted to different jobs/positions that you are applying for. But remember to always tell the truth!


What should you do after your Interview?

 

Interviews come in many shapes and forms. The telephone interview, the video interview, the first interview, progressing hopefully to the 2nd, 3rd and job offer stage. There are things you can do to help you through each stage and give you an advantage when you get the call for the next interview. As you leave the interview, smile, shake hands, ask for business cards, make sure to ask the always important question of "When do you expect to make a decision?" and then head over for a coffee to help settle those interview jitters. Don't just bask in the warmth of your favourite coffee (go ahead add extra sugar and cream) get out your phone, tablet or good old fashioned note book and start making notes about the interview.

WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE INTERVIEW?

  • How long did it last? First interviews should last between 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Were you relaxed? Did something happen that flustered you? It could just be a little thing, maybe you had your hard copy of your resume in your right hand which made it awkward to shake hands. Great next time you'll know to keep your right hand free. Were you running a little late? Nothing worse than running into your interview without a chance to catch your breath or take a minute to pat down your subway blown hair or check your teeth for broccoli.
  • Did your elevator pitch work? Was it too short, no personality, did you talk too fast. These are all things you can correct for the next step.

DID YOU PROVE YOU ARE QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB?

  • Did you do well on the technical and job description related questions? Write down the questions you can remember. Grade them – which ones need improvement, which ones you could expand on and how you could improve your answers for the next interview. Highlight your strong points and make sure to mention them in the “Thank you Note”.

DID YOU DAZZLE THEM WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMPANY?

  • You already have your questions written down that you asked them about the job and the company (RIGHT). Again, grade them, which ones impressed the interviewers, which ones were not answered to your satisfaction (ie future growth, training, etc).
  • Do you need to do more research on the company, especially on their plans for the future and where their growth is?

WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging. There is nothing wrong with either side. It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • After you have analyzed how the interview went go home and write a professional but personal thank you note.
  • Thank you for their time.
  • Expand on why you are a good fit for this position and the company. Be specific, don’t just generalize. “My background in leading and mentoring a team of 7 developers while at … will …..”
  • Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are looking forward to their call.

CONNECT/NETWORK

  • Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job. Should you connect on LinkedIn? Check them out for sure, if they have 500+ connections then go ahead and request a connection. If they only have a few connections then wait until you get the job.
  • Definitely follow their company accounts, ie Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Stay away from their personal accounts.

ARE YOU WORKING WITH A RECRUITER?

  • Call them after you finish your notes. Let them know what you thought of the interview and whether you want to pursue the job. Most recruiters have a good rapport with their clients and are able to get a good idea of how you did in the interview. What they liked about you and what you need to improve. These insights will help you in future interviews.

Every job interview is a learning experience. Be critical, be positive. Don't wing it. At the end of the interview, you need to decide do you want the job or not. Is this a company I want to work for, is it the environment I want to spend 5 days a week working in. Your notes and your analysis will help you make educated decisions in finding and attaining the right position for you.


8 Questions to Ask Yourself when Changing Careers

It is important to assess or clarify exactly what you are looking for short term and also where you want to be long term.  Remember when changing your career it also affects your family life and your social life.  Here are 8 questions to help you analyze your next career change:

  • What is your objective
  • What type of organization
  • Supervisory or not
  • Salary
  • Type of employment
  • Location
  • New technologies
  • You and/or your family

1. WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE?

  • Are you looking to gain new skills?
  • Do you want to move into a leadership position?
  • What technologies do you like working with the most?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years and what will help you get there?

2. WHAT TYPE OF ORGANIZATION?

  • Is there a specific industry you are interested in, ie finance, manufacturing, health, government?
  • Would you be interested in a large national/international company where there is room for transfers to other locations?
  • How about a start-up?  Do you have the skills that could take a start-up to the next level? Or just like the excitement of new and innovative environments?
  • Do you like bureaucracy or are you more comfortable in a family environment?

3. SUPERVISOR OR NOT?

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging.  There is nothing wrong with either side.  It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • Do you like a challenging puzzle? If you like getting involved in a puzzle then supervising might not be for you.
  • Supervising means making time for people and their problems and idiosyncrasies.
  • You have to be tough and soft and fair.

4. HOW IMPORTANT IS SALARY?

  • Is money the most important thing in your life right now?  No shame in admitting this.  Money makes the world go round and helps you buy a house, go on a vacation, or pay off a loan.
  • Is learning a new skill more important than the salary?
  • Is this a good time to add extra experience and education to your resume and not worry as much about the salary?  Sometimes a long term career path means not necessarily going for the big pay cheque.

5. CONTRACT OR PERMANENT?

  • Do you like the security of a permanent position?  These can include scheduled raises, health benefits, vacation time, possibility for advancement.  Your job may be like your family.

OR

  • Are you more comfortable being a contractor and being your own boss.  Like having control of your salary and where the write-offs go.  The larger salary compensates for time off between jobs.  Do you like the idea of being able to take a summer off or travel for 4 months?  Do you find that new people, new systems, new companies enhance your work experience or do they stress you?

6. LOCATION – TO COMMUTE OR NOT?

Commuting is a big deal breaker on my list.

  • Do you like to drive?
  • Are you and the company close to public transportation?
  • How about the expense of car, parking, public transportation?
  • How long does the commute take?  Are you going to be happy with needing an extra 2 hours for transportation?
  • Don't forget to think about those long Canadian winters when you factor in commuting.

7. comfortable with NEW AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES?

Are you comfortable with the technologies you are using or do you want to train with the new technologies on the marketplace?

  • Keep up to date on new/emerging technologies and what companies/systems are using them.
  • What’s hot, what’s not?  COBOL, Java, Hadoop.  What companies offer training in the new technologies?
  • Read industry publications to keep up to date on emerging technologies.
  • Do you need to go back to school or take a course/certificate?

8. what about YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

Times change and so do you.  Just graduated, no family ties – then long hours and travelling with your job are great.  Add a family into the scenario or have an older parent you need to help with.  Your needs change and so do theirs.

  • There is nothing more fun than coaching one of your kids at yours/their favourite sport.  Will the new job provide the opportunity to get home early enough for that?
  • Does the new company have a day care centre?
  • Health Benefits can make a huge difference in your life style.
  • Older parents, spouse’s career, are you at an age when you would like a little more time off.  These are all factors that you have to analyze when you are looking for a new position.

WHAT FACTOR IS THE DEAL BREAKER FOR YOU?

Everyone has different needs.  As you grow in your career your needs will change.  It’s important to analyze each factor for each time in your life.  Be honest!!  Changing careers and companies is a hard decision and not something you want to regret.
Start with these 8 questions and analyze each one.  


10 Simple Tips Prepare for Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as your try to calm yourself down and relax.

Here are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

1. Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the cleaners.   Look your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • Clean and crisp
  • A suit for the guys and a skirt and blouse or basic business dress for the gals - no sundresses or shorts. This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry.
  • Guys shirt buttons done up, no gold chains hanging out.
  • Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

2. No Perfume or Cologne

  • Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary, why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. 
  • Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne? 

3. How do you get to the Interview?

  • Google it, do a test run if you aren't sure.
  • If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby.
  • 9 am and 5 pm interviews mean rush hour.  Be prepared for it taking 30 minutes longer to get there
  • Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. 

4. Never be late for the Interview

  • It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.
  • Yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them.  "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world.
  • Yes, you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

5. Be Polite to everyone

  • That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer.  You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator.
  • The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers.
  • Be polite to everyone all the time.  It is a good road to travel down.

6. Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

  • We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly.
    Ask the recruiter or phone the company
    Write it down phonetically and practice

7. Keep your right hand free

  • Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview
  • Move your portfolio, purse, extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office

8. Just before you get to the Interview

  • Turn off your phone and tablet.

9. Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

  • It starts as soon as you enter the room.
  • Smile, firm handshake, speak clearly
  • Relax and take part in the conversation

10. Tell me about yourself

  • This question is totally about relaxing you. 
  • Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit".  The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones.
  • Keep it professional.

Don't let a little thing mess up your interview.  Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process.  Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to answer

Companies are always interested in why you are looking for a new job. Depending on the answer they can get a good feel for you as a person and whether they want you working for their company.

  • Do you like to change jobs? bad attitude
  • Are you looking for advancement? good attitude
  • Are you trying to increase your knowledge? good attitude
  • Did you have an issue with your boss/co-workers? bad attitude

Positive, positive, positive - yes always try and keep your answers positive. Below are some guidelines that you can expand on by bringing the job opening and your skill set/goals into the answer.

  • I had reached the top of my level in my previous position and am looking to expand my knowledge. This position and your company will offer me the opportunity to do that.
  • The last company I worked for was very small and I felt it was time to move into a large corporate office to increase my challenges.
  • My last position was a wonderful place to work for right out of school, and now I would like to move my career into a new path.
  • My family life has changed and I am looking to work closer to home. Your company is closer to my home and still offers me the challenges and opportunities I need in my position. I am very excited about being able to utilize some new skills and polish up some old ones.
  • A friend sent me your job posting and the position sounded right up my alley. After researching your company I feel like I would be an ideal match for this position.
  • It is very important for me to be challenged in my position and it was time for a change. Your company is using a system I am looking to increase my knowledge of.
  • My last company went through a down turn and I realized that my position was being downsized. This has given me the opportunity to look for new challenges and after researching a number of companies, I feel that my entrepreneurial nature will fit in very nicely with your company...

It never pays to be negative. The last thing you want to do is sound whinny. You also don't know if there is a relationship between the position you are leaving and the one you are interviewing for.

  • I couldn't work for my boss anymore
  • My co-workers were impossible to get along with
  • They were always advancing their children

So remember:

  • Be positive
  • Answer the question
  • Follow it up with promoting your skill set
  • And finally why the new company is so much better suited to you

Yesssss!!! You’ve designed your Resume and your Cover Letter..Kudos!!! But wait… there are ways to continuously improve your Resume.

In Part 7 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, we discuss some Do’s and Don’ts while and after you have written your resume


In Part 6 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Jim Carlson discusses the much pondered and puzzled “Cover Letter”, the partner to your Resume..

Everyone has their version on the Cover Letter, a place to showcase who you, as a person, really are.

It gives the reader a little more insight and is a chance to get the reader interested in you further.

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the Cover Letter Example


In Part 5 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about how you could present your “Work Experience”.

Don’t we all love stories, even when we have grown up?

Why not make your Resume a storyline of your projects, your experiences and a lot more!

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the CV Example

Download the CV Sample

In Part 4 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana continues her discussion on the Experience Section of the Resume.

The experience section should give a lot more insight into your work history in terms of company, industry, size of the company, your job and further details.

If your experience has been off-shore, make sure to mention some additional details so as to give the reader a comparative analysis.

Listen on further to see how you can take your Resume up a notch.

Download the CV Sample

In Part 3 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about the most important part of the Resume - “The Work Experience”

Starting with the basics, Archana discusses some important things to keep in mind while framing your Resume.

Download the CV Example


In Part 2 of our video series, 7 Steps to Building a Great Resume, Archana talks about the next part of the Resume - “Education, Certifications & Technologies”

You have graduated from the best university, have the certifications for the latest technologies and have worked with some really cool technologies, but what happens if it is not presented well?  No one reads it..

Watch this video and learn how you can make your resume attractive…

Download the CV Example



Kicking off the 7 Steps to a Great Resume video series, Archana Ravinder, a Senior Recruiter with Planet4iT is going to walk us through the different sections of the quintessential marketing document, the Resume and how to make it stand out.

Download the CV Example



Jim Carlson, President for Planet4iT, brings to you a series of talks; our motto being “Recruit, Train and Retain”.

Planet4iT has been in business for 20 years and has seen the evolution of the industry from “Candidate Recruitment” to a “Career Building” Industry from many different angles.

But one thing has remained the same…

The Resume…

The Resume, a carefully crafted document does 3 things:

  1. Express who you are
  2. During an interview, lets you describe that to the interviewee
  3. Makes you feel great about yourself!!!

And this comes together as positiveness, which reflects in the interview.

Our first series is about this first step towards your next great career move..