Looking for a job can be overwhelming…especially if you haven’t done so recently. In this two-part conversation, a few of our amazing Corps Team staff answer some questions to help make your search more successful and the process less mysterious.
Is there a “best” time to look for a job?
Alison: Before you need it! Put your resume out there as soon as you know you want another job – or that something will be happening to your job.
Lynn: Agree…start when you still have your old job. Even if you’re unhappy in your current position, leaving before you have something else could potentially put you in a stressful situation financially (sometimes the process can take longer than expected).
Since Lynn touched on it, what can a candidate expect of the hiring process?
Jenn: To start, know that it usually takes longer than the candidate would like. Expect at least 2-3 months for permanent positions.
Alison: I usually spend 5-8 business days interviewing candidates for a position. Once we present a candidate to a client, we often receive feedback within three days. At that point, we set up interviews and debrief the candidate on what to expect during the interview. I know it’s frustrating when there’s a delay between the interview and the decision. Don’t hesitate to reach out for updates. I like the follow up and enthusiasm. After an offer is extended, you typically start 5-14 business later.
Lynn: When talking to your recruiter, ask them what the anticipated timeline is.
Complete this sentence. If you want to make a good first impression, you should…
Alison: Be on time, be alert, ask questions, know as much as possible about the position and the company, make sure they know you want the job, and always – smile and make eye contact.
If we’ve scheduled a time to talk about a position, consider that part of your interview. I expect you to be prepared to talk about the position and your background. I love to hear the phone answered by someone who sounds like they’re smiling and about how this position excites them. It makes me excited to talk with them.
Lynn: Yes, do your research on the company and demonstrate your knowledge of the company in your interviews. For example: “I will be an asset to you because your company (insert detail here) and I have this (insert specific experience here) that directly ties to what you need.”
Jenn: We cannot stress it enough…Prepare as much as possible for interviews. Like Alison and Lynn mentioned, read up on the company. Understand what is going on with them and their industry. Employers like to see you are interested in them, their industry, etc. Interviewing is like dating. First impressions and follow up matter! Focus on what you can offer an employer rather than what they can offer you. Show them the value you bring to them and why they should want to hire you.
Don’t dance around the salary issue. Let them know what you are making now and what you hope to make it your new role. Most employers have a salary range for the position and need to stay within that range. It’s not worth your time or theirs if ultimately they can’t meet your needs.
The first interview is important, but second interviews are second chances to stand out…or rebound from not knowing an answer in the first round. Jenn and Lynn, can you both share your stories of how your candidates nailed their second interviews?
Jenn: Recently we had a candidate for a junior level role go through a phone interview with the client. They liked her enough to bring her in for an in person interview. The client mentioned after the interview that they were impressed with how thoroughly the candidate had researched a question she didn’t know the answer to during the phone interview. Make sure you turn a negative into a positive like this candidate did!
Lynn: I recently had a candidate who knew that her 2nd interview was not going to take place until a few weeks after the 1st interview because one of the decision makers was traveling to Germany. The candidate speaks German (not a requirement for the job) so when she met this decision maker, she introduced herself in German. As it turns out, this decision maker didn’t speak a lick of German, but he, the CEO and the HR Manager (all present for this panel interview) were highly impressed that she remembered this small detail about the interview delay and took the initiative to try to make herself stand out. The competition was tight for this role and she was the one who got the offer.
Let go from your current position in the midst of the interview process? Read Rob Walker’s thoughts on how to handle this here, in his New York Times column.
We know ignoring a job offer you don’t want isn’t the way to go, but what is the best way to turn down an offer extended to you?
Alison: Simply explain why you’re declining the position. If you’ve been honest through the process, then it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone why you’re turning it down (i.e. not enough flexibility, commute is too long, another offer when we knew you were actively interviewing).
One final question…A candidate accepts a position, but after starting, realizes it isn’t at all what they expected. What should they do?
Alison: Tell your Recruiter. Is the issue something that can be fixed or adjusted (hours) or a skill set that can be taught (brush up on PowerPoint)? If the environment is hostile or there is an employee that’s making you uncomfortable – that has to be addressed. If you tell me that you accepted the position because you were desperate and now realize the commute is too much – yeah, I’ll be disappointed. Really think through your deal-breaker points like commute, enough time to pick up your kids. Be upfront about those from the beginning. If the position isn’t the way it was explained to you, tell me because that also needs be addressed.
Do you have additional questions about the job search process? Drop them in the comments and we’ll get an answer for you.