Monthly Archives: November 2015

How to Ace a Phone Interview

photo_18375_20100618Phone interviews. To some the thought is horrifying, to others it seems like a waste of time, the first step in a long process. Realistically, phone interviews are a very important first step, if you don’t succeed here, there won’t be additional interviews. Here are some phone interview tips to ensure you are on the path to a face-to-face interview:

  1. Be prepared! Have a copy of your resume long with the job description in front of you during the call. Prepare to have questions written up and in front of you before the conversation starts. In addition, have the company information in front of you so you are prepared to discuss in full what products/services they offer.
  2. Restrict phone features. Whether it’s call waiting or an answering machine for an additional phone line, turn off all your phone accessories. These noises can be a total distraction.
  3. Use a landline if possible. Remove the chance of experiencing choppy cell service. Making the call from a landline leaves less room for misinterpretation and cuts the odds of disconnection to a minimum. Also be sure to use a high-quality phone.
  4. Call from home. Making the call from a comfortable, controlled environment will allow you to keep noise to a minimum, speak at a reasonable volume and give you fewer distractions. Be sure to have your pets or kids (or any other noise makers) in the care of someone else during this time.
  5. Make the time for a full interview. Many job seekers make the mistake of trying to fit a phone interview during their lunch hour at work. Disaster could strike if the interviewer is running a few minutes late. Also, the longer the call, the better you’re doing! Most phone interviews last only a few minutes, but if you end up hitting it off with the interviewer, the last thing you want to do is have to cut them off.
  6. Answer the phone professionally and use your name. Avoid an awkward start to the call; take charge by answering the phone by stating your name. This lets the person on the other line know exactly who you are and saves them the trouble of asking for you. Know exactly how you will greet the caller and start the conversation.
  7. Smile while you talk. Smiling when you speak brings energy and excitement to your voice. When speaking on the phone, your voice actually loses about half of its energy during transmission. Make sure your enthusiasm gets across by overcompensating.
  8. Watch your movements. We each have our own phone habits. Some pace, some stand like statues, some may even lounge on the couch. During a phone interview hold your body in an upright position and don’t be afraid to use your hands to be expressive. If you are the type of person who is on the move when on the phone, give yourself an enclosed area that is large enough so you avoid wondering around the house.
  9. Use the mute button. If you need to take a sip of water or handle a situation outside of the interview, the mute button can be your best friend. On most phones, the person on the other line will never know you hit the button. However, it’s always a good idea to test “mute” before the call to see if the person on the other line gets an indication that it’s been activated.
  10. Honesty is the best policy. If a major distraction occurs during the phone interview, mention it. Your honesty will likely be appreciated; after all, the person on the other line is human too and has likely encountered a similar situation. The worst thing you can do is attempt to cover up something that takes you out of the moment, because it could make you look like you weren’t paying attention.
  11. Ask. The interviewer is closing the call but there has been no talk of a next step. Speak up! Express your enthusiasm for moving forward and ask about the next step. If an in-person interview is not scheduled at the end of the call, find out when you can follow up with the employer. Be sure to ask for contact information (name, phone number, and email address) of the person who will be your contact.
  12. Speak and write your gratitude. Unlike a face-to-face interview, there’s no commute afterwards. Send a thank-you note an hour or two after the phone interview. The goal of a phone interview is to get a face-to-face meeting; don’t be bashful about making this request. If you can’t send the email right away, make several notes about the call while they’re fresh in your mind. These will come in handy when you send the thank-you note later in the day.
  13. Avoid benefit and money questions. Now is not the time to ask about benefits or salary. However, the interviewer knows you might attempt to do this and may try to force the issue. After all, determining an employee’s desired salary is part of the filtering process, which is why they are conducting a phone interview in the first place. Try to keep your answer vague by telling the employer that you need a better understanding of the total compensation package until you can state your desired salary. Phrases like, “I’m negotiable,” “I’d rather discuss compensation in person,” or “I currently make X but am looking to make Y” can often get the interviewer to move on.

While keeping all of these tips in mind, don’t lose sight of your phone interview mission: to earn an in-person meeting!

Source: 17 Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview, by George Arms; Acing the Phone Interview: Preparation Is Key, by Marc Cenedella; Phone Interview Etiquette Can Propel You to the Next Step in the Hiring Process, by Maureen Crawford Hentz

Avoid Holiday Burnout at Work

By Marcelle Yeager, US News and World Report

Now that we’ve made it past Halloween, the busy, often dreaded holiday season is ahead. While it’s supposed to be a celebration of joy, peace and what we are thankful for, it is typically the opposite. There are many reasons: You likely have year-end work tasks looming and mandatory office holiday parties. Prepping for the holidays takes a huge amount of energy, and spending inordinate amounts of time with extended family often makes people feel anxious.

How can you make the holiday season at home and work a time of rejuvenation instead of exhaustion? There are small changes you can make to be more aware of your state of mind and turn those negative holiday pressures into more positive endeavors.

Decide that there is more to life than being busy. How much do you dislike when you ask someone, “How have you been?” and their response is always: “Busy!” Don’t compete in the game of who has the busiest life. Wouldn’t it be great to hear and say, “Great! Enjoying [fill in the blank].” Typically you hear that response from people in retirement. We need to attempt to feel this way preretirement. Almost everyone is busy, so it’s not news. Focus on things that you love doing rather than the fact that you are busy. If you’re hyper-aware of just being busy all the time, you probably are not taking time for things that bring you happiness.

Spend time on things that bring you joy. There is always work for the next day, just as there are always things on your to-do list at home. Learn to prioritize to-do lists and figure out what must be done that day, and what can wait. You will probably find that there are a lot of tasks on those lists that are not essential. Cross them out, or move them to another list.

The next step is to figure out what brings you joy, because this will make both your day at the office and at home calmer. It could be that you like to take the dog for a walk or to go to the dog park in the morning before work. Build in time for that. Playtime with your kids after work? Carve out the time. Animals and children aren’t consumed with busy schedules and can teach us to live in the present.

Make a difference in others’ days. Bringing a smile to someone’s face only gives back to you. Say hello to colleagues in the office and people riding in the elevator with you. Greet the cleaning staff at the office, and remember to say thank you. All of these gestures will make you feel good and give you energy surges for the day.

Record or share positive events from the day. For a big shift in mindset, either write down positive events from your day or simply share them with a friend or partner. You may not notice it immediately, but over time you will feel more engaged in work and home life. It’s a way of training your mind to look at the glass half full rather than half empty. This can be challenging for certain personality types, but it is worth the effort. Just like anything, practice can bring you closer to perfect.

Escape once a day. Even if you live to work, everyone needs an escape. This could mean reading a good book for 15 minutes before or after work. Perhaps it’s a walk around the block during the day to refresh your state of mind. Try taking a lunch break instead of eating in front of your computer. Maybe it’s a seven-minute workout. Whatever it is, try to incorporate something in your routine that makes you feel disengaged from the daily grind.

Take deep breaths. It’s not easy to make yourself stop what you’re doing – especially when you’re extremely busy – to take a deep breath. But it has amazing restorative effects. Do this whenever you are faced with something frustrating either at home or at work. It is a good relaxation technique for your mind and emotions and can help you recalibrate quickly to focus on what’s important.

Stress is known to cause physical and emotional damage. This happens frequently as people are busier than ever. If you don’t take the time to figure out what is significant and what can wait, you won’t be able to escape from your day in small ways. These tiny shifts can have a big impact on your overall well-being and stress levels, and may help you avoid burnout that you feel now or are certain to feel when the holiday season is in full swing.

Attract the Right Talent

Man on top of mountain. Conceptual design.Attracting talent isn’t always easy, especially in low unemployment periods. Here are some tips to writing effective ads for hiring the right person the first time:

Use an Informative Job Title
The job title really isn’t the place to get creative.  The job title is the first piece of the puzzle that job seekers see and will make a quick decision on whether or not to read on.  Use a title that best describes the position and utilizes common keywords (ex:  sales, accounting, customer service).

Explain Your Company Culture
What makes your company so great to work for?  Explain your company culture and highlight your signature attributes in your job ad.  This job ad is, after all, an advertisement for your company.  Highlight perks offered, unique benefits and why anyone would love to work for your company.

Give a Descriptive Job Summary
Represent a full scope of the functions the successful candidate will be completing as well as what their role will be within your company or organization.  Don’t just list tasks, make it all encompassing and inviting.

Describe What Your Company Needs
While most applicants know that you are not going to find someone that meets all of your expectations in an employee, if you are clear about the skill set that is necessary to perform the job and which additional skills would be valuable, you will cut down on the time it takes to sift through résumé’s after you place your ad.

Group Information
There is a lot of information to include when posting a job, but a complicated posting can deter job seekers from reading or applying.  Keep your information grouped in a logical manner using bullet points and breaks to make it easier to read and follow, as well as bold, italics and underlines to make it appear more interesting.

Make it Easy to Take Action
Once you have the attention of candidates, you want to present an easy to execute way to apply.  This could be a direct link to an online application, an email to send a resume to, or use the CareerBum.com site for a one click application for job seekers.

Share the Job Posting
After you have finished writing your job post, share the information on your network.  Post it to your social media sites, post it in your foyer, share it with your employees to repost on their social networking sites and share it off of CareerBum.com’s page.

Bring Your Power to Your Job Search

Quote-LauTzuYou are job searching, there is power in that. This is the opportunity to polish yourself and be the person you want. Develop your skills, refine your resume and grow your network. Here are some tips to find your power on the road to job search success.

Get your resume out there to be seen, but don’t spam it.

Applying for every job that you see may feel productive, but quality over quantity is very important in a job search. With CareerBum.com you can set up job alerts that notify you when a job matching your keywords has been posted, and then you can easily apply. Of course, we do recommend frequently reviewing the site as well.

Utilize your online resources to research the companies you are interested in working for and positions that you are qualified for. However, do not apply for multiple positions within a single company, keep your search focused.

Keep your resume fresh.

When job searching, it is an absolute must to have your resume online to easily send off in the digital world. With CareerBum.com we offer an easy resume upload, or you can enter your information for your profile. Either method makes it convenient to apply for multiple positions.

Include keywords in your resume that match the job description you are applying for. Make it easy for hiring managers to connect the dots between the position and your ability to excel in it. In addition to keywords, add your job skills and accomplishments that are being sought in the position you are applying for.

Be an online presence.

Hiring companies expect established professionals to have an online presence that is easy to find. If you have a history in the industry, but your online presence is not there, more than likely companies won’t be interested.

LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly important site to be an active member of.  Keep your profile updated with relevant industrial accomplishments, organizational involvement and portfolio pieces.

Keep your online image clean

Do a search on yourself and see what comes up, because more than likely that is what a hiring manager will do. Look at the images that show and if any of them are questionable or embarrassing, work to get rid of them. Change your Facebook privacy, untag yourself from questionable images or try burying it with positive content.

Keep these tips in mind when conducting a job search. In today’s world your online presences is vital to landing that dream job!