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Posts Tagged ‘behavioural interviewing

I shared this Q& A over a year ago, I have since made some updates – enjoy!

Q: With the job market so competitive, getting beyond the resume to an interview is difficult. Resumes are screened by recruiters or systems – any advice on how to get noticed?

A: The purpose of the resume is not to get you a job – it is to get you an interview. Therefore, the resume must optimize your key strengths and competencies and highlight them in a way which “catches the eye” of the recruiter or whoever might be reading the resume. Therefore, it is important to insure your key strengths and competencies are identified and strategically placed on the resume using “keywords”. This will improve the odds of your resume being noticed during the screening process. Also make sure your email is hyperlinked – the easier you make it for the recruiter to contact you the better.

Q: Do cover letters really get read?

A: Depends on the person – I have been a recruiter for 20+ years – if the cover letter is in the body of the email I will read it. If it is attached to the email along with the resume I will open the resume first. If it is incorporated into the resume document well I might scan it quickly. The shorter the cover letter the better, recruiters are just not going to read a 2 page cover letter. Three short paragraphs – First Paragraph contains your interest in the job. Second Paragraph makes the link between the key skills required for the job and your strengths. Third Paragraph is the close.

Q: I do not have a problem getting the interview; in fact I get good feedback on my interview skills. I usually get invited back for a second interview; however I just can’t seem to get beyond this point. Do you have any words of wisdom?

A: Oh to have a magic wand when it comes to the interview! There are so many things riding on a successful interview, some of them are out of your control. I coach my clients to be as prepared as possible. Find out all you can about the company on the internet, its website and Linkedin. If you know any employees ask for a few minutes of their time to chat about the company. Spend time going over the skills required for the job and identifying your accomplishments which demonstrate these skills. Be prepared with specific examples which link your skills to the skills required for the job. If the interviewer does not perform a behavioural interview work some of your good examples into the conversation.

Q: Does it matter if my resume is a Word document or PDF when applying on-line?

A; Many companies are purchasing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These systems may or may not be integrated with the rest of their business systems. If not integrated, then the system may or may not open a PDF.doc so to be safe I suggest using a Word doc Why? Because if the recruiter cannot open your resume he or she will most likely move on to the next resume on the list.

Q: You talk about a “system friendly resume” what does this mean?

A: Again, it goes back to a company’s technical infrastructure; and if there is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), whether or not it is fully integrated. If you up-load your resume online and it happens to contain fancy formatting, graphics and tables there is a possibility the text will be distorted when the document is opened at the other end. To be on the safe side, keep the formatting simple; avoid graphics, table and fancy bullets.

Q: I am in career transition and have been told to put a profile on Linkedin. As a recruiter do you use Linkedin to locate talent?

A: Absolutely, Linkedin is the best social networking tool out there and is very popular with corporate and agency recruiters when it comes to locating qualified talent. Again, remember “keywords” are critical – use them in your Summary and list them in the Specialties section. Don’t forget to monitor the Jobs section and take full advantage of all the other nifty job search functions.

Q: I have a few companies I am targeting and would like your option on asking executives at these companies for an informational meeting – what has been your experience with this type of approach – does it work?

A: It depends on how and who you ask. I know of a PhD grad that targeted a pharmaceutical company she was very interested in. She sent an email to one of the executives asking if he would mind taking time from his busy schedule to meet with her for the purpose of learning more about the company. He agreed and when they met he asked for a copy of her resume and suggested she send her resume to Human Resources. She sent the resume and sent him a thank you note (letting him know she sent the resume) and the next thing she knew she was being invited in for an interview and yes, received a job offer.

Remember to take one day at a time as one never knows what tomorrow may bring!

Lee Koren. PHR
lkoren@selectionstrategy.com

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I just read an article by Dawn Papandrea which outlines 3 key reasons why young professionals are not getting hired. I found it to be right on target with one exception. Under the heading “One Size fits all Resume” Dawn suggests the candidate insert a few keywords in their resume from the job posting.  It has been my experience, that if done properly, a person only needs one resume.   First, the individual needs to do his/her homework in advance – i.e., identify key strengths, research the job market and job posting for applicable skills and take the time to produce a resume which accurately  portrays their skills, knowledge and abilities. Couple this with a focused job search strategy based on key strengths and the need for multiple resumes goes away.  In fact, having several different resumes can come back to haunt you!   For instance, I was interviewing a young man for an entry level consultant role. I asked him to please explain his role at ABC Company. He was very quiet and then said “Lee can I please see the resume” I said “of course” and shared my copy. His face turned red as he stated – “I’m so sorry, somehow you have received the wrong copy of my resume”.  Well alrighty then – let’s continue shall we?  Needless to say the interview was cut short – why? because as a recruiter I expect the person I’m interviewing to be able to talk to everything on their resume. Hence my point, if you start customizing a resume for each position you better have a darn good memory.  I understand there may be exceptions; however, as a rule and to be safe, try to have one resume that does an excellent job of representing your strong performance and technical skills.  Remember, the purpose of the resume is to get you the interview then it’s up to you to sell yourself.  You only have one chance to make a good impression so make sure there are no stumbling blocks.

Enjoy the article by Dawn http://bit.ly/X5nq39

 

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources and Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.  Her passion and expertise is selection and recruitment.

Today I was helping a young lady with her job search.  We discussed the typical things – Resume, Job Search and Interview Strategies.   She told me about an interview she recently attended wherein the interviewer asked her “If you could be a fruit, what type of fruit would you be”.   Hmm, I’m surprised these questions are still being asked in interviews.  I immediately asked her if the interviewer disclosed herself as a doctor (psychologist or psychiatrist) – she said no – but could not confirm that the interviewer did not hold this distinguished designation.    Then I asked her if the interview was with Apple – I mean maybe the interviewer was looking for “apple” as a good faith answer – a little interview humour?  However, the company was not Apple.

Ok so here I go – up on my soap box.  What in the world does “fruit” have to do with getting a job as a customer service rep?  I’d like to see that job description – really how do you incorporate “fruit” into the job requirements?  Let’s see – “Must love all fruits” or “Only fruit lovers will be considered” Or “Must be able to deal with all kinds of fruits” – I mean really!!!!

Unless the interviewer is a bona fide psychologist or psychiatrist and knows how to decipher the answer then he/she has no business asking the question.   These types of questions asked by inexperienced interviewers almost always lead to subjective and bias decisions without any measureable evidence to back up the decision.   Think about it – my response might be “a peach” – when I’m asked “why a peach”  I say” because I like peaches” – little do I know that the interviewer dislikes peaches –  or maybe he/she is allergic to peaches – there’s one subjective strike against me.

If you are asking junior shrink questions in the interview try replacing it with a behavioural interview question?  It is much better to identify the skills and competencies required to perform the job and develop behavioural/performance based questions to help you evaluate each candidate consistently – so much more objective.  Remember, poor hiring decisions are very costly; and questions about what type of fruit, colour or dog a person prefers will end up costing your company in more ways than one

Lee Koren is a Human Resource Professional with extensive international experience.  She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management and a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.  Lee possesses over 25 years of experience in selection and recruitment.  She has recruited and hired thousands of resources for large global corporations.  Born and raised in Toronto, Lee spent a large portion of her career in Dallas, Texas where she enhanced her knowledge and expertise in behavioural interviewing.   She has facilitated behavioural interviewing workshops worldwide for corporate leaders.  Lee’s passion and talent is “selection” which inspired her to develop and deliver a variety of workshops.   Lee uses a common sense approach in sharing her vast knowledge.  

Today I’d like to talk about personal strengths.  Each of us has them, yet most of us do not know how to identify and leverage these strengths.    It is a fact that when we are engaging our core strengths we feel much better physically and mentally.   If employed, you are likely to be more engaged at work when utilizing your strengths.  When not using these strengths you may dread going to work, have more negative interactions with your colleagues and achieve less.  Same can be said for the Entrepreneur who may have a great service or product; however, if not utilizing and leveraging their core strengths on a daily basis it can affect their confidence, direction and ability to win business.

So how do you discover your core strengths and better still how do you leverage these strengths?  Well, there are ample books, videos and behavioural assessments available to help with this process.   However, the problem is not so much identifying as it is engaging the strengths on a daily basis.   Ever since I was a young child I have possessed a strong intuitive ability, I am told it is a talent handed down from generation to generation.   As I matured I channeled my gift into my career.  My passion and expertise are in recruitment and selection, I am certified as a Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing and because of my strong intuitive ability I am able to take this methodology to a whole new level.   In 2009, during the high point of the recession I decided to use my talent to help those in career transition.  Utilizing their resume, I took clients through a performance based interview.   Nine times out of ten the results were always the same, we discovered that their key strengths are not displayed on the resume.   Hmm, not so unusual, we are good at depicting our experience but not so good at representing our inner strengths – yet it is our experience coupled with these strengths that make the person and tell the whole story.

Earlier this week I attended Donna Messer’s new book launch “Cycles of Life – Keeping you on Track”.  During a break one of the participants came over to speak to me about his small business and resume.   As with most of us who are starting off in business we look for some type of supplemental income to help pay the bills while we get the business off the ground.    This young man was no different; however he could not understand why he was not getting a better response to his resume.  After all he does have a good technical background.  I asked him to describe himself in a few words – he gave me  “artistic” and “storyteller”,  next I asked him if these words were on his resume – the answer was “no”.   Ok! – So this young man is a graphic artist and my first thought is “artistic and storyteller” are very important when it comes to standing out as a graphic artist – right?  Yet these strengths are not mentioned.  Now if he was a client I would conduct a performance based interview to confirm these strengths and help identify other core competencies along with updating the resume to enhance visibility.   In addition, I would help him verbalize these strengths with examples of successful past performance utilizing the mock interview.   You see, this is my strength and I believe by helping others succeed, I too will be successful.

I encourage everyone to discover and identify their key strengths, but don’t stop there! Figure out the best way to leverage these strengths each and every day whether at work or at play.  If you invest the time to do this I guarantee you will feel better about yourself; and that positive energy you are generating is bound to get you noticed in a very rewarding way!

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Lead Mater Trainer in behavioural interviewing.   She has over 25 years of international experience in recruitment across multiple industries and levels along with developing and implementing talent acquisition strategies.  In addition, Lee possesses a unique talent when it comes to career transition management.

By Ryan Rancatore

I came across this article and as a Senior Recruiter with over 25 years of experience found it quite interesting.  As more and more generations leverage and embrace the power of social media one can only assume the resume, as we know it today, will definitely change.

Hope you enjoy Ryan’s post

What’s the Prospect of Job Resume – Will Resumes Be Extinct By 2020?  http://bit.ly/IPFhU7

 

Lee Koren is certifed as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) – her passion and expertise is selection and recruitment.

Please take a few minutes to check out the article I wrote for Trish King’s Blog Second Wind Job Search.     Enjoy!       

http://secondwindjobsearch.blogspot.com/2011/05/you-resume-and-interview.html

Lee Koren, PHR

This is a great article – validates a lot of my thoughts and opinions.

http://bit.ly/fP1aqd

Enjoy!

Lee Koren, PHR


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