Interviews can be stressful – but if you prepare well, they can be enjoyable. And when you prepare thoroughly for an interview, you'll show the hiring manager that you'll go the extra mile if you're hired for the job.
Use these three tips to make the best impression at your next job interview:
Research the employer – Learn why the company may be a good fit for you before the interview. Use the employer's website and internet searches to learn about the company, its history, locations, products and services. Look for recent company press releases and news articles.
Research your interviewer – Interviewers are more likely to hire someone who has something in common with them. Learn everything you can about the interviewer including their background, interests and mutual connections you may have. Use the power of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other networks to ask people in your network if they have any connections to the interviewer.
Practice your opening and close – People tend to remember the beginning and the end of a conversation. Practice what you’ll say at the start and end of your interview – in the mirror, with a friend or with a job coach – so those parts will go smoothly.
Employers make half of their hires through their network. The top networking site is LinkedIn, with over 400 million users. It allows job seekers and employers to quickly research each other and find common network connections who can speak in depth about a job seeker’s character - something a resume can’t do. Fortunately, most of LinkedIn’s key features are free.
Follow these important steps on LinkedIn to open the door to jobs already in your network.
Optimize your profile – To get, on average, 21 times more profile views, detail your experience with keywords, skills and accomplishments that highlight your capabilities; write a sharp, short headline to reflect your brand and upload a professional-looking photo.
Activate your current network– Upload your email or other contact list to quickly expand your network with friends who are already on LinkedIn.
Find jobs and target employers– Search for openings in your area in the “Jobs” feature and find connections who can give you a warm introduction or go directly to the company LinkedIn profile and enter the target employer’s name in the search bar.
Following up with hiring managers– Stay connected on LinkedIn once you have had an interview or contacted someone to network for a job. Consider inviting the hiring manager to connect and/or comment on one of their LinkedIn postings. It will show your interest and keep your name in front of them without being annoying.
Did you know you can search for job postings from popular sites like Monster and CareerBuilder and have them sent to your email box automatically through Indeed.com? Indeed is the largest job board in the world, and fortunately, it's free to use.
To find jobs and set up your automated job search:
Search– Go to indeed.com and enter your desired job and location in the "What" and "Where" fields fields. Click "Find Jobs," then narrow the list, if you like, using the filters on the results screen.
Automate– Simply enter your email address in the "Get new jobs for this search by email" field to have new job postings sent to you for that search on a daily or weekly basis.
Repeat – You can set up searches for as many jobs and locations as you like and cancel a search at anytime. You can also enter your resume into Indeed to let employers find you.
Rather than spending all your time searching through job postings on various sites, use a job board aggregator and spend more time networking.
Most job seekers aren't sure how to follow up after an interview or submitting an application - not knowing when an employer will call or when to follow up if they don't. Don't miss this important step. Employers often watch how you work on your job search to assess how you’ll work in the job.
Follow these keys to effective follow up:
Follow the "Rule of Three's"– In the first 5 to 7 days after submitting your resume or application, follow up by phone or in person and express interest in the position. If you don’t receive a response within two weeks, try again by email or send a message through LinkedIn. If you still haven’t received a response after a month, consider sending a handwritten note. Continue following up every few weeks to touch base on the progress of the search until the position is filled.
Make the extra effort– Always follow up with a thank you note within 24 hours of any interview. Send an email as well as a handwritten thank you card. The extra effort and the sincere appreciation for their time will speak volumes as to what kind of employee and coworker you will be. Be sure to also let them know you are interested in going to the next step!
Be persistent– Don't get discouraged. If you don't receive a response, don't stop making phone calls. Even if it's uncomfortable, remember to be confident. If you've done your research, the employers you've picked will be lucky to have you. Even if they've chosen another applicant, you may get a job lead for another position with the company by demonstrating your interest and professionalism.
Job seekers often slow down their job search during the holidays and assume employers are not hiring or interviewing. But, according to studies, over one-third of employers expect to add employees during the fourth quarter including over the holiday season.
Here are three reasons why ramping up your job search over the holidays will give you an advantage:
You'll have less competition– While other job seekers are taking time off of their job hunt, you should increase your activity. It will demonstrate your commitment to your future employer, and make it easier on the hiring manager.
Hiring managers are more available – Although holidays can be busy, hiring managers’ calendars are often unscheduled, allowing them time to attend holiday gatherings, clean out files and plan for the new year. Reach out by phone or preferably in person to follow up on your application or schedule an informational interview.
You'll gain momentum for the New Year – While other candidates will just be trying to rekindle their job search, yours will remain strong and your relationships with employers will be primed for start of the year hiring decisions.
The NextJob Team
P.S. Consider seasonal work or volunteer opportunities during the holidays while you continue your job search. You’ll expand your network and gain new experience, knowledge and connections that may lead to a full-time opportunity.
Helping you land your next great job...faster.
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At NextJob we are so thankful for the privilege of working alongside our customers and their employees, helping them back to work. Customers of NextJob, have also helped us with our charitable Job for Job program: for every job search package our customers purchase, we donate a matching gift of our proprietary online job search skills system to someone in need.To reach those in need, we partner with organizations serving people who are homeless, in poverty, disadvantaged, disabled veterans, victims of domestic violence or chronically underemployed. Our mission is to help our partner organizations give a hand up into employment for our neighbors in need.
This holiday season, we thought we’d share two stories from Emergency Care Help Organization, our NextJob partner in Central Florida. ECHO serves residents in crisis with food and clothing and offers access to life-stabilizing programs and resources including our Job for Job reemployment program.
ECHO Director Eleanor Saunders recounted one of the more inspirational stories. “Mark was homeless. He walked four miles to class each week. We received a donated bike and gave it to Mark. He was faithful. After a few months, he landed a job in HVAC with a local company. He has since passed his 90 day probation period with flying colors!”
Another ECHO job seeker offered her story as well:
“I first came to ECHO for GED classes. Then I got more information on how to help my family by me attending Job for Job classes, where I was able to build my resume, practice for interviews and most important they gave me a confidence that wa
s lost somewhere down the line of my life or maybe never really had.
I got to practice different things and started to look at myself in the future with a real JOB and capable of being able to do something in the long term, not just an immediate need to pay a bill right now. I got the feeling of long term success and this was something I never experienced before…I did my interview and got hired with great benefits and most important, now I have the opportunity to help others and give someone else this boost that I much needed in my life.”
- Marlen, Job for Job Client
As we head into a season of giving, we’re thankful for the privilege of partnering with our customers to make a real difference in people's lives and wish you all a very happy holiday season!
John Courtney, President & CEO
P.S.As always, we welcome suggestions of nonprofits that could use our resources to make a difference in the lives of those they serve and we welcome support in spreading the word. Simply contact Dale at email@example.com to share your suggestions.
Employers can subscribe to our Reemployment Industry Insights mailing list and job seekers can subscribe to our Job Search News & Tips mailing list.
Despite over five million open jobs, the average job seeker remains unemployed over six months and over one third of unemployment insurance claimants are still exhausting all of their benefits, without landing a job.
This is costly for employers and job seekers alike. The average claim against an employer’s unemployment account is over $5,000 and, for job seekers who are parents, a six-month or greater spell of unemployment nearly tripled the rate of poverty.
Read this month’s Reemployment Insight, “The Six Month Question” to learn more about the 5 factors you should ensure are included in your reemployment support model.
With 2.2 M people still stuck in long term unemployment and another 6 M hoping to get back into the labor force, we all tend to know someone who’s struggling to land a job.
Many of us, especially those of us in jobs that touch workforce topics, such as HR or unemployment, are expected to know something about landing a job; and we often do. But it’s often difficult to know exactly what we can do to help. Fortunately, with the right approach, job seekers can improve their chances of landing a job by nearly 600%.
Over half of college graduates are unemployed six months after graduation and 39% of Unemployment Insurance claimants are considered long-term unemployed having been out of work for more than six months.
Research shows that job seekers receiving the right kind of help can increase their chances of landing a job by six times. What is the right kind of help? Broadly, the right help—according to the research—is teaching a variety of job search skills, providing motivation and encouraging proactivity. In the outplacement world, this can be provided using the right combination of the latest technology and a job coach.
I use the word coach, because a good coach helps people strengthen and sharpen their skills, in this case, job search skills. They fill the job search tool box with important stuff: advice, instructions, motivation, inspiration and direction.
A job coach can be many things to many people, but a good job coach will play the following key roles as part of the team that will help a job seeker land their next job.
A good job coach won’t just tell a job seeker how to do something. Instead, they explain why certain processes and actions in their profession are necessary and beneficial to the job seeker’s success. The coach will help identify and provide advice and direction on how best to target professional opportunities. They will also help develop strategies for improving performance in particular areas. This approach helps the job seeker understand not just how to do something, but why they need to do it.
For a job seeker to be successful in their job search they need to be motivated about their work history, career direction, skills and ability to move forward. A good job coach will help them identify what they are doing well and assist them in capitalizing on their strengths. At the same time, the coach will point out their weaknesses, or areas in which they need improvement, and help them develop an approach to bettering themselves. The coach needs to build an honest, trusting relationship with each and every job seeker they serve in order to help each job seeker achieve their goals.
A good job coach helps chart the course of the job search through goal setting. They help set agendas, develop timetables, plan for the job search, and help the job seeker stay focused and on-track. In addition to meeting with the job seeker on a regular basis to assess progress, the coach will be available on an “as-needed” basis to help evaluate opportunities, plan for interviews and develop networking strategies.
A good job coach will recognize and celebrate positive strides and remind the job seeker of the progress they’re making. They will help identify and highlight a job seeker’s strengths in a way that builds confidence.
Everyone has had a great coach in their past. It may have been a parent at home, a sports coach in school, a manager at a summer job who pushed them a bit or a mentor who took them under their wing. These were all coaches in their lives.
A good job coach can help each job seeker learn a critical life skill – job search.
Half of all job openings are “hidden”; that is, they’re not listed anywhere. Instead, they’re filled through networking, word-of-mouth and direct contact with job seekers. This is why building your brand online and putting it to work for you can mean the difference between finding a job and finding your “dream” job.
You’ve heard it said, “It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s also who you can get to know. There is truth in these statements, especially in finding your next job, and there are some good reasons for it.
It’s the same reason employers ask for professional references. Hiring managers want to know who you are, who you know, and that you share their core values.
If you know someone in their network, it's as if you have already had an initial interview. The hiring manager can rely on your network contact's recommendation to go to the next step.
Fortunately, your network may be even bigger than you think and it’s important to connect with the right people, in the right way, so they can connect you with the right jobs.
Here are the 5 critical truths to networking your way to your next job:
Don’t be antisocial: Use all of your networks, both personal and online social networks whenever possible. LinkedIn is especially important for establishing and nurturing business relationships.
Be a job-stalker: Evaluate what you want in an employer, what you value, and the best cultural fit for you and follow companies that interest you. Connect with their recruiters, key players, associates and company websites.
Rub some elbows: Seek out professional opportunities to meet these key players in person whether through mutual connections or local industry events.
It’s who you know: Don’t be afraid to ask existing contacts for introductions to make new contacts. You never know where a new connection will lead. Try out asking insiders for time to share their experiences in an informational interview but don’t be pushy – keep it informational.