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Recruiters share 6 things job hunters can do to stand out

(BUSINESS NEWS) Some of this advice may seem common sense, but recruiters confide in us how infrequently candidates actually adhere to their advice.

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Real advice from real hiring folk

Job candidates typically adhere to online reviews, advice from professional friends, and personal experiences for tips on securing their dream position. While some may provide legitimately helpful advice, some may not – and bad advice can be counterproductive in the job search.

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To avoid such, we went straight to the horse’s mouths – the recruiters and hiring managers – and collected a list of things they wish candidates would do more often. If the job search has been solemn for you or any other candidates you know, share and use these exclusive tips.

Six tips for success

1. Ask meaningful questions
Typical questions like, “What’s a normal day look like in the role I’m applying for?” are okay, but candidates should think deeper. The best and most successful candidates treat the interview as a conversation.

Says Renee Diaz, Senior Recruiter with Vitamin Talent, “I would say [candidates] don’t genuinely interview the employer during their interview. They just answer and often ask vague questions. They don’t dig about the people – “rough” days, “best” days, biggest accomplishments, why the interviewer chose this company, or why are they still there.”

Lucas Mitchell, Director of Luna Data Solutions gives a great example: “I wish just one candidate would ask me how their role contributes to the business. I talk to more people than I can count that don’t care what their role does, they just want a job. That’s great, and congrats on wanting to earn an income, but if you don’t know why your job is vital for the business to grow, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”

Mitchell concludes:

If you don’t know why your job is vital for the business to grow, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.Click To Tweet

Justin Williams, Corporate Recruiting Manager with All Native Group, points out another interesting question to ask: “I have seen on rare occasion a candidate ask to meet with the team or tour the office so they can see what the culture is like. Now normally we won’t tour the candidates or have them interview other people unplanned, but I must say this is really impressive when they do. It shows above-and-beyond initiative and interest in our company. Out of the hundreds of interviews I’ve done, I’ve seen only 2 people do this. I hired them both times.”

2. Follow directions
It’s understandable to want to go above and beyond when applying for a job, but don’t overlook the basics.

Kevin Smits, Owner at Palmas Capital Partners explains that, “quite often [candidates] won’t follow the directions we give them to apply. We are very specific in our process and if they can’t get the steps right, we know they aren’t going to be a fit.”

Even if it’s exhausting, remember that each application, resume, and cover letter should be carefully crafted for each different company and position. And yes, reading and following directions is a part of the process.

3. Follow up
If you want the job, its natural to follow up. Smits also suggests doing so by sending a simple yet thoughtful thank you note. Thank them for their time and tell them you enjoyed meeting them.

Call back something specific from your conversation.

4. Understand and explain the impact of the job function
Brett Simon, Division Director with Modis, says candidates should “understand and be able to articulate how their job function impacts the rest of the organization. People that can do that effectively are always ahead of the curve.”

Renee Diaz once again outlines how imperative thorough research beyond just your desired role is: “Too few candidates research the company – who they are, what they do, their competitors, recent news AND they don’t research who they are interviewing with. It SHOCKS me.”

Good research makes you look more interested, more educated, and better equipped for the role.

Not only that, but it also provides you jumping off points for conversation and deeper questions (hello, #1) in the interview.

5. Have an elevator pitch.
DUH. Allyson Hoffman, agent with Vitamin Talent, explains that having a elevator pitch is a golden yet often forgotten rule, “I wish more candidates had a clear elevator pitch. It’s especially important for those just starting out or making a career shift. Don’t make the hiring manager figure out who you are and what you want to do.”

Don't make the hiring manager figure out who you are and what you want to do.Click To Tweet

6. Don’t dwell on the past
Although past experiences may be applicable and relevant, recruiters want to see up-to-date information. Staci Kae Alter, founder of Click Career Consulting says, “Everyone should have an up-to-date summary on their profile and resume so we understand what all of the past work history listed below has culminated in.”

How do you know what’s up to date?

Rob Howard, Director at Brooksource, suggests: “A candidate should never talk about experience at length that is older than 5 years old. Of course there are special circumstances, but use that as a general rule of thumb.”

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Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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Business News

Is insecurity the root of overworking in today’s workforce?

(CAREER) Why are professionals who “made it” in their field still chronically overworked? Why are people still glorifying a lack of sleep in the name of the hustle?!

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So you got that job you wanted after prepping for months, and everything seems cool and good… but you’re working way more hours than scheduled. Skipping lunch, coming in early and staying late, and picking up any project that comes your way. You’re overworked.

Getting the job was supposed to be a mark of success in itself, but now, work is your life and everyone is wondering how you can be working so much if you’re already successful.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Laura Empson delves into what drives employees to overwork themselves. Empson is a professor of Management of Professional Service firms at the University of London, and has spend the last 25 years researching business practices.

Her recently published book Leading Professionals: Power, Politics and Prima Donnas, focuses on business organizational theory and behavior, based on 500 interviews with senior professionals in the world’s largest organizations.

Over the course of her research, Empson encountered numerous reports of people in white-collar positions pushing themselves to work exhausting hours. Decades ago, those with white-collar jobs in law firms, accountancy firms, and management consultancies worked towards senior management positions to gain partnership.

Once partnership was reached, all the hard work paid off in the form of autonomy and flexibility with scheduling and projects. Now, even entry-level employees are working overextended hours.

An HR director interviewed by Empson noted, “The rest of the firm sees the senior people working these hours and emulates them.” There’s a drive to mirror upper management, even at the cost of health.

Empson’s research indicates insecurity is the root of this behavior. Insecurity about when work is really done, how management will perceive employees, and what counts as hard work. Intangible knowledge work provokes insecurity since there’s rarely ever a way to tell when this work is complete.

Colleagues turn into competitors, and suddenly working outside of your regular hours becomes seen as normal if you want to keep up with the competition. You want to stand out from the crowd, so staying late a few days a week starts to feel normal.

This can turn into a slippery slope, and when being overworked feels like the norm, you may not notice taking on even more extra hours and responsibilities to feel like you’re contributing efficiently to the company.

During her research, Empson found that some recruiters admitted to hiring “insecure overachievers” for their firms.

Insecure overachievers are incredibly ambitious and motivated, but driven by feelings of inadequacy. Financial insecurity and disproportionately tying self-worth to productivity are just a few contributing factors to their self-doubt.

As a result, these kind of people are amazingly self-disciplined, and likely to pursue elite positions with professional organizations. Fear of being exposed as inadequate drives insecure employees to work long hours to prove themselves

Even upper level management is subject to this same insecurity.

Organizational pressures can make even the most established leader overwork themselves.

Empson notes, “Working hard can be rewarding and exhilarating. But consider how you are living. Recognize when you are driving yourself and your staff too hard, and learn how to help yourself and your colleagues to step back from the brink.“

Analyze your organization’s conscious and unconscious messaging about achievement, and make sure you’re setting and enforcing realistic expectations for your team.

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Business News

The most common buzzwords (still) used in job descriptions

(BUSINESS) Employers are trying their best to attract really high quality talent, but the buzzwords that continue to plague the process are lame, annoying, and often insulting.

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It’s that time of year again. Year-in-review lists abound and Indeed.com is no exception. The website for employers and potential employees has taken a look back at the year in job descriptions and released its list of the weirdest job titles used in online listings.

They found the usual suspects — yes, sadly rockstar and hero still make the cut — but a few other keywords skyrocketed up the charts in 2018.

Indeed recognized seven top-performing buzzwords in its research: genius, guru, hero, ninja, superhero, rockstar, and wizard. Among these Top 7, some were up over previous years, while others’ popularity seems to be fading.

Employers really loved referencing masked assassins in their descriptions this year, resulting in a 90 percent year-over-year jump for ninja, and a 140 percent increase for the term since Indeed began tracking these stats in 2015.

Wizards and heroes didn’t fare as well. Job titles containing “wizard” were down 17 percent from 2017 and use of the word “hero” was down a whopping 44 percent since last year. Superhero ended the year up over 2017 (19 percent), but is still down by 55 percent since 2015.

So which states are touting these weird (some might say annoying) titles the most? The answers aren’t too surprising. California tops the list for ninja, genius, rockstar, wizard, and guru. Texas, whose capital is Austin, aka Silicon Hills, loves using hero, superhero, guru, rockstar, and ninja. Populous states New York and Florida make the list for using several of the buzzwords — no surprise there. But a few smaller states snuck into the Top 4, including Ohio (No. 1 “superhero” user) and Utah (No. 4 on the “rockstar” and “wizard” lists).

While many companies like to use these so-called creative terms to convey a sense of a hip and cool company culture, does using these “fun” titles actually find the best candidates? According to Indeed, the answer might be “not exactly.” Job seekers aren’t necessarily searching for terms like ninja or guru, so they might not even find the job they would be the perfect fit for. And truth be told, many experienced job seekers are turned off by these weird titles and might not even apply to the job in the first place.

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Half of the jobs Amazon will offer at their new headquarters won’t be tech

(BUSINESS NEWS) As Amazon begins laying solid plans to start hiring, some are upset that half of the new jobs won’t be tech jobs – let’s discuss why.

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As 2019 gears up, one of the biggest tech stories of 2018 will carry into this year, and that’s Amazon HQ. Amazon’s two new headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia and Long Island City, New York have promised about 50,000 new jobs coming in 2019 according to Engadget and the Wall Street Journal.

The catch? Only half of those jobs will be in tech. Some are upset about this, so we’ll explain:

Naturally, a behemoth like Amazon has many moving parts and these two facilities will require different roles to keep the company functioning. An estimated 25,000 jobs will be in support roles like administration, marketing, finance, maintenance, and human resources. For the cities they’ll occupy, this means there will be more than one way to find employment besides tech or IT.

It’s undeniable that Amazon’s $5 billion investment will vastly change these two communities. Employment opportunities can bring growth for residents, however it will depend upon the company’s ability to hire local. Likewise, Amazon’s presence will draw city transplants, a tactic that historically raises property values and living costs (looking at you, Seattle).

Crystal City is expected to see a huge influx in traffic and housing, according to The Washington Post. Although the state has promised to allocate resources into transportation, and Amazon assures a slow growth at first, thousands of workers will need accommodation.

For Long Island City, a community who’s already transforming from industrial yards to a blooming arts neighborhood, we will likely see its gentrification reach new heights. LIC is set to become the digital-lifestyle relative across the river from its cousin, Manhattan.

In any case, residents can hope to take advantage of the varying positions that will need filling in 2019.

However, everyone should brace for change as this corporate beast gradually awakens.

Whatever the new headquarters will bring, we can expect it to be, in typical Amazon fashion, bold and flashy.

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