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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.


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.