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The Chameleon – What Your Recruiter Hopes You Don’t Do During Your Next Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 11, 2014 in Interviewing Skills, Lessons Learned

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Weird Tales from Behind the Recruiting Desk:  Chameleon

The jungle can be a tough place to find shelter, or in this jungle, a job, so let’s take a key piece of advice from our friend the chameleon – it can be in your best interest to blend in order to get ahead in the market. This thought came to light recently, as my last few months recruiting at the Merito Group has allowed me to uncover some of the more unique inhabitants of the jungle. Sticking out can be a great asset in an interview, but in these cases not so much.

In this blog series I will be examining a few candidates that were special cases – some facts may be exaggerated, skewed and twisted! These are meant to be lessons learned, not exposes of my stellar candidates, so please enjoy:

Be aware of your surroundings. The chameleon has an advantage above the rest of the jungle. They can slide under the radar of those trying to hunt them, but they still must be on guard! (It is, after all, a jungle out there.) Many companies in this day and age offer the flexibility of webcam interviews for those candidates who are still currently employed, but looking to make a move. Here at Merito Group we try to make the process as easy as possible for our candidates as well as our clients. I have had a few occurrences, though, that have made me wonder at the lack of professionalism exposed with this media.

Candidates who use their computer screen, phone, and other varying technologies as a security blanket: beware! Employers and recruiters will want to see you and meet you “in-person” so you must still present yourself professionally, even if it is from the comfort of your own home in a webcam or phone interview. Your interviewer will understand that your home is your place of comfort and exudes personality, but your cats, dogs, children, spouses, and cuckoo clocks are not a welcome distraction in an interview no matter where you are. Use a room where you have solitude from such distractions.

Technology is changing every day and to keep up with the times, we sometimes must use interfaces we are not used to. Please test your webcam, the platform, and your phone reception before calling in/showing up to an interview that is not “in person.” The most annoying thing our clients have to put up with on phone or webcam interviews is that the candidate doesn’t have great call quality or internet speed. Use a land line or go to a library, if necessary! Sometimes a webcam can freeze due to bandwidth limits, weather, or even user error. Please be aware that both sides may not always freeze at the same time: do not assume your interviewer cannot see you! Maintain your professional persona until after your interview is complete. Many technological issues can be avoided with the proper preparation.

Remember: You can’t re-do a first impression! More on that in my next post…

This guest post was contributed by Emily Craig of Merito Group. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Old Dog – New Tips (Tricks)

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Old dogs CAN learn new tricks! Every day, we are challenged with new issues which are opportunities to learn something about ourselves. 

As a seasoned recruiter who has trained thousands of people, I had a meeting today about time management purely because I felt like things were slipping through the cracks and I needed to grab hold before everything collapsed around me. (It’s not just me, right?)

Whether you are a job seeker planning your personal marketing strategy, a business person trying to gain market share, or an executive recruiter looking to capitalize on the resurgence in the hiring market, remember these tips when planning your day:

1. You need to plan!  Fail to plan, plan to fail! As a member of the Pinnacle Society (www.pinnaclesociety.org”) we discuss our business strategies for success openly and the number one indicator of success is your ability to plan!

     o   Where will you call and why?

     o   What do you have that is of interest or need for someone?

     o   Who should you contact or ask for and why?

          §  Find names on linkedIn

     o   What’s in it for them?

     o   Don’t forget to ask for referrals!

2. Block out your activities in one or two hour chunks.

     o   Your calls will sound fresher if you are remain interested and are not bored with your subject matter.

     o   Work all the angles you need to work each day, not one per day.  For example, if you are a recruiter that works job orders and makes marketing calls, do some of each every day.  You’ll find you’ll cover a lot more ground with renewed enthusiasm if you get to the end of the first page of calls and can check that off your list and move onto your next one.

     o   Only plan 75% of your time. 

          §  You need to be flexible to deal with interruptions and the results of your hard work!

3. Think outside the box!

     o   In my office we look for CPA’s every day.  Sometimes, looking for the names of CPA firms turns up candidates we didn’t find doing a search for “CPA”. 

     o   If you are looking for a job, don’t just search for job titles; create a list of target companies and research them for related positions they may be advertising.  If they have ads for positions in and around your field, they would likely have a job for you somewhere, sometime…you just need to find out who reviews the resumes for that department and mail them a copy of yours via priority mail.  They will get it!

4. As a business person looking to expand your client base as the economy begins to recover, start with your clients from the past three years before trying to earn someone’s trust you’ve never worked with before. 

     o   A check in call is a powerful thing.  Find out how they are doing and how your services may be of assistance in their economic recovery.

Even if you aren’t an old dog, it is never too early to pick up on what the slightly wizened canines have to offer! Visit my website www.carolynthompson.net for webinars on these topics!

Carolyn Thompson

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