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The Power of the Phone Interview – Part 1

This is day 11 of total social isolation for our team due to COVID-19.

That means in some of our cases, the kids or pets are home, are significant others are around, and as Recruiters, that means interviewing from home.

At Career Contacts, we have a really robust screening process, and an important piece of that is the phone interview.

Some of the perks of a strong phone interview are:

  1. Reducing unconscious bias
  2. Saving time (and therefore, money)
  3. Improved candidate experience (when done correctly)
  4. Increased quality of the hire by adding a step in the process

Now that our hiring managers are also conducting phone interviews, we’ve received a lot of questions on the do’s and don’t’s of phone interviews and thought we’d share our list!

DO:

Talk about salary

When possible, we encourage companies to be transparent with this process. If you are paying fairly, there should never be a worry of “leaving money on the table”. I also personally am a big fan giving candidates a range, and encourage them to share theirs.

Talk about culture fit / add

Instead of expecting them to know what you’re all about, take the time to share a bit about your values and what your company stands for. Tell them about your social events, your training programs, anything that highlights your company as a employer of choice.

PRO TIP: This might not be the right candidate for the role, but they might be for the next role, or be able to introduce you to your next dream candidate – it’s worth giving them a good feeling about the company.

 

Invite them to ask their questions

Candidates want to feel comfortable asking about what matters to them. It’s a great way to gauge what they value, and also allows them to screen themselves out early in the process if needed be. The more transparent you can be, the better!

DO NOT:

Ask what they make now

It’s really none of your business. They are applying for a new position, likely with new roles and responsibilities, and potentially with greater expectations. Ask them what they are expecting to make in the role they are applying for instead.

Be afraid to dig deeper

If they don’t ask, it’s ok to find out what they value from companies – vacation, work from home, benefits. The offer package has a lot of room and if you know what they value, you have more to offer them when it comes time.

This also applies to things like their computer skills, communication skills or previous experience with a specific tool or program. Take the time to ask them the non negotiables up front. If you need someone with SAGE software experience, get that out there in the first round and reduce your work on the back end.

Be Late

Disorganization in the hiring process reflects heavily on the company as a whole. Respect that the candidates time is equally as valuable as your own, and remember that they are interviewing you, as much as you are interviewing them.

If you are going to be late, you’re going to know an hour before hand, maybe even half an hour before – make sure you give them a heads up.

If you are cancelling all together, ensure that you are sincerely apologetic, and work with their availability to reschedule. Don’t normally work past 5 but that’s all they have available? Make it work!

The most important thing during a phone screen is to listen to your candidate, have a genuine interest in what they have to share, and be mindful of their time. Interviews are not easy for most, so walk into any interview with compassion and you’ll be pleasantly surprised what you get back in return!

 

Want some more tips?

Stay tuned for our next blog: Behind the Scenes of a Great Phone Interview

Working From Home Blog Series

Part 1: The Benefits of Your Employees Working From Home

Employees have been asking to work from home (or remotely) for years.

Over time, this has become more common to work from home, but is still not how most organizations operate. At the most, employees have options to work from home on occasion, and are rarely doing their roles 100% remotely.

Now, with the Corona Virus, COVID-19, employees are being asked to work from home with little notice, and less support.  Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the benefits of working remotely., but also support employees in being successful at home.

Here are a few of the benefits you may experience, depending on your role in the company.

Benefits to the company:

  • Companies are all upgrading IT so that employees are efficient with time and accessibility
  • Companies are able to show (not just tell) that they put trust in employees
  • Employees working remotely are often more productive (less interuptions)
  • Remote meetings are often more time effective and shorter in length
  • Companies are able to hire employees from anywhere in the world – global reach!
  • Allowing employees to work remotely is one of the best perks you can give them

Benefits to the employee:

  • Time is saved on the commute to and from work
  • Reduced costs of eating out, coffees etc.
  • Extra time available for continuous learning like online courses and learning
  • Allows you to work independently and demonstrate you are a hard worker and your value to the team – letting the work speak for itself

Benefits to employee and employer:

  • Our carbon footprint is reduced (everyone wins!)
  • Productivity will be increased on projects without distractions and interuptions
  • The balance of work / life improves
  • The cost of employee parking, bus passes, transportation is reduced

During this difficult time with COVID19 and the Corona Virus, let us all work together to be the best teams possible and support one another in finding success in our new work environments.

Collaboration over competition has always been our mantra and now more than ever, we are committed to supporting one another to come out of this time stronger, more connected and prepared.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our blog: How to Work from Home Effectively

How to Answer the “What is Your Weakness” Question Effectively?

Interviews are stressful – you want to be organized and appear to be fully qualified for each job you apply to.  When getting ready and prepared for a job interview, it is important to think of the questions you may be asked and be ready with great responses.

One of the most common questions that still gets asked is some variation of “tell me about your weaknesses”.

Let’s get ready for this one together!

First, let’s consider why interviewers ask questions about your weaknesses.

They ask about weaknesses to see how and if candidates will fit into their organization when it comes to taking ownership.  They also want to see if a candidate has the ability to recognize their imperfections and then be able to implement strategies to learn and grow to overcome them. Employers care about the process of coming back from errors, more so than the mistake itself.

Do not reply with “I am a perfectionist” or “I work too hard”.

It can be tricky to identify weaknesses.

One way to communicate positively about a weakness is to identify a skill or a trait that you are learning or have learned to overcome and that has now become a strength.

When asked “what is your weakness”, this is a great time to tell a story about yourself of how you have learned to improve yourself.  This can be done by identifying a hard or soft skill you wanted to improve and then telling you interviewer the steps you took to actually do it.

Show that you are ready for self-improvement and growth.

Here are a few examples of good responses:

EXAMPLE ONE

I am still learning to set boundaries. I have a tendency to people please and in the past, took on too much I don’t like giving up projects and can get caught up in the details.  To help with this, I have learned to give myself deadlines to stay on deadline. I also ensure I prioritize and delegate when needed.

EXAMPLE TWO

A weakness of mine is that I don’t speak a second language.  In my last job at ABC Company, most of our clients were from Mexico or Southern USA and spoke Spanish.  I took it upon myself to buy a Rosetta Stone (Audio Book) to learn conversational Spanish in my car to show my clients that I acknowledged my weakness and that I was committed to making a change.

EXAMPLE THREE

We also found a great response from Hubspot, about delegating.  “I’m incredibly self-motivated, and I sometimes find it difficult to delegate responsibility when I feel I can finish the task well myself. However, when I became manager in my last role, it became critical I learn to delegate tasks. To maintain a sense of control when delegating tasks, I implemented a project management system to oversee the progress of a project. This system enabled me to improve my ability to delegate efficiently.”

Remember that the common “what is your weakness” question can take many forms.

Interview questions can be straight forward or geared towards behavioral questions such as:

  • How has this weakness negatively affected you?
  • What would you like to improve in the next year?
  • What would your pas manager say you need to improve on?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

This is a great time for self-reflection.  It’s not only helping you rock your next job interview; it will also be a really good opportunity to check yourself and see what improvements you can make to eliminate an answer from the roster.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions.

Should I Send a Thank You Card After a Job Interview?

When we interview or meet people who are looking for a job or a new career opportunity, we are often asked by job seekers if they should send a “Thank You” note following a job interview.

The answer is always yes, definitely!

Sending a thank you note will put your application ahead of the pack immediately.

Also, it is nice for a hiring manager to know that you appreciate their time and consideration for a job.

Here are a few other reasons to send a thank you email or card:

  1. A thank note will confirm your interest in the position that you have just interviewed for.
  2. Writing a thank you note will show the hiring manager that you are organized, as well as a great communicator.
  3. If the hiring decision is equally divided between two candidates, a thank you note may tip the scales so that the person sending a thank you note is the person given a job offer.
Tip: A thank you card can either be handwritten or emailed.

A thank you card or email should be sent after an in-person interview, Facetime or Skype interview, or anytime you’ve spent some quality time with HR or the hiring manager.

when to send it?

A thank you card or email should be sent as soon as possible and within 24 hours of the interview.  It is important to send the thank you note while you are still on their minds.

what should it say?

Your note should be brief and to the point.  You may also make note of your best qualifications for the role.  If you have forgotten to provide any information about yourself, this is the time to let them know.

Tip: Use a strong subject line in an email.

If you are working with a recruiter should you still send a thank you note?

Yes, however in this case please send a thank you note to the recruiter to forward on your behalf to the interview team you have met with. You can also thank a recruiter for their time – we also love hearing from candidates!

We hope this helps you land a second interview as well as a job offer and gets you one step closer to landing your dream job, and keep it.

Please feel free to call or email us anytime if you have any questions.

Highly Effective Career Strategies for Success

To be at the top of your game at work, advance in your jobs, get promotions and land all the dream opportunities – it is a never-ending pursuit!

In this world of excess, we want more – we are seeking recognition, promotions and advancement opportunities at work and in our careers.  In order for things to fall into place, here are several habits (effective strategies) to incorporate into your everyday life for you accomplish success easily.

We wanted to compile a list of effective career strategies with the end goal being SUCCESS!

  1. Read and stay informed of activities happening in your industry. Keep learning and be inspired.
  2. Be fit and healthy. Exercise is important for stress management and mental strength.  Exercise 4 – 5 times per week.
  3. Be organized.   Create goals on a daily and weekly basis; write lists.
  4. Get up early – some people think that breakfast is the best meal of the day, or alternately giving yourself time to reflect and organize for the day ahead is excellent.
  5. Have balance in your life. Down time is equally important!  Remember to plan time for friends, family and extra-curricular activities.
  6. For some people 10 minutes of meditation a day allows for clarity and focus.
  7. Dress smart. Look like a leader.
  8. Speak to your boss. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or give input.
  9. Be a great listener and be present. Turn the phone off.
  10. Be on time or be early.
  11. Tackle the biggest priorities on your to do list or start with he most difficult things first.
  12. Create goals for yourself – be specific and visualize what you want to achieve. Reflect on these goals quarterly or annually.
  13. Do your best. Don’t confuse this with excellence. Doing your best allows time for creativity and continuous improvement.
  14. Surround yourself with smart people. Influence is great.
  15. Volunteer or give back where you can.
  16. Be positive, think of the glass as being half full. Never give up.
  17. Appreciate what you have and your small accomplishments along the way. Remember gratitude and being thankful.

 

Everyone has a different definition of success and the most effective way to get to your perception of it, is to ensure that you are focused on tangible, attainable, actionable tasks.

We hope to hear (and see) some of the new career strategies you will be putting in place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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