Monday, June 4, 2018

The best way to answer, ‘Why should I hire you?’

BY ERIC TITNER
THEJOBNETWORK.COM

It’s the moment of truth: You’re on the job hunt, have landed an interview and it’s going well. You’re making a great impression on the person you’re meeting with, and it really feels as if you have this locked up. Then all of a sudden, you’re hit with the big question: "Why should I hire you?"

On its face, it may seem like an easy question, but that can be deceptive. There’s a lot riding on your answer (namely a new job), and the way in which you answer the question may reveal a great deal to the person who’s making the hiring decision.

Don’t worry — there are some effective strategies for how to handle this question that can help turn a good interview into a great one, ensure that you leave a positive, lasting impression on the interviewer and increase your chances of getting hired. The Balance, a personal finance website, published an article highlighting proven strategies for handling the, "Why should I hire you?" question. Consider taking advantage of the following tips: Build your pitch

Your answer to the question should reflect a deep awareness of the requirements of the position that you’re interviewing for, the needs of the company and the personality traits, skills and experience that make you an ideal candidate.

This means that you should always do your homework before getting to the interview, and you should be ready to confidently connect the dots between you, the employer and their needs. It never hurts to take a look at the keywords in the job posting and incorporate some of them into your answer. Still, you should always be ready to tweak your answer to reflect any new information you get during the interview.

Keep it brief

A good answer to the question should not be an endless soliloquy. Keep it short, simple and to the point.

Your one goal is to succinctly encapsulate why you bridge the gap between the position you’re vying for and the needs of the company.

Think a minute or two, tops.

Anything longer may exhaust the listener.

What makes you stand out?

It’s always smart to keep in mind that for every good answer you have for every interview question that arises, there’ll be a pack of other qualified candidates who are prepared with good answers, too. Make sure your response separates you from the crowd. Anything that makes you unique and could be viewed as a potential check mark in the "pro" column when hiring personnel are deciding about you is fair game.

Perhaps the interviewer mentioned that the company is seeking to expand its business internationally and you speak the language of a country that they may be looking to do business in — that could be a potential game changer.

Try to have your own game changer in mind when facing this question. Not only will you seem well-suited for the job, but it will also show that you’ve done your homework and know what the company is all about.

"Why should I hire you?" is a question that has the potential to leave you rambling while not saying much of anything.

Don’t waste your opportunity to create a powerful, pointed answer. Your interviewer will be impressed with your ability to summarize all you have to offer in a focused soundbite — you’ll look prepared, confident and responsible, all traits that are key to getting the job.

Eric Titner has been an editor and content creator for more than a decade. His primary professional focus has been on education- and career-related topics. He currently lives in New York City.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Candidate Q&A - Can I refuse to share my personal information?

Question: We are a small company. The owners want us to include personal information on their social media pages and be part of a monthly newsletter to clients. For example, information about what we’ve been doing with our families or favorite recipes. This makes me uncomfortable, as I want to keep my personal and professional lives separate. The owners are making this mandatory. Can I say no? — Michele L.

A: Yes, you can say no. But let me suggest another approach that involves conversation and compromise.  How about asking the owners to talk more about what they hope to accomplish by sharing such information?

Many businesses are eager to take advantage of the personal engagement that can be developed through social media or newsletters. However, sometimes they haven’t thought about the risks associated with putting such information out there.  Listen to their thoughts about why and how they want to use the information. Then share your concerns.

You might mention that publishing employee photographs or personal family information could potentially expose an employee or her family to security risks. Remind them that once photos and info are public, the company has little control over where they may end up.

You could suggest your company prepare an employee authorization/release to help owners understand they really should get your permission before sharing any personal information.
Now comes the compromise part. If your employer insists all employees participate, consider a middle ground. You could agree to post a favorite recipe, a photo of the family pet or other information that has less risk of revealing personal information than your picture.This could help your company meet its digital engagement goals and still keep most of your personal business offline.

Q: A recruiter requested that we FaceTime or Google Hangout as part of the interview process. This request made me uncomfortable. I pushed to meet in person, but the recruiter opted for a phone call. It didn’t go well. I feel the use of video is a way to potentially discriminate. (I’m in my 50s and African-American.) When I declined the video chat, it seemed as if the recruiter felt I was hiding something. What do you think about video interviews? Should I have said yes? — David L.

A: If you are unfamiliar with a new technology, it is understandable that it may feel uncomfortable, especially in the high-stakes context of a job search. But inevitably, the hiring process will reveal the candidate’s gender, race and age, so video interviewing doesn’t really present a significant additional risk.

Video interviewing is a growing technology used by employers in recruiting and hiring, and it is not going away. Not only can video help job seekers make a connection with a company earlier in the process without the added expense and disruption of an on-site interview, it allows recruiters to interview more candidates face to face earlier in the process.

Don’t let your discomfort with the technology be a barrier to using it. The secret to successful video interviewing is practice.  Try out different systems and setups. Watch how-to videos on YouTube for guidance on lighting and camera angle. Get comfortable chatting with friends on free video platforms such as Zoom and Skype.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., a human-resources expert, is tackling your questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

9 things young job seekers say that wanna make me scream!

Just came across this fantastic, biting piece from Ted Williams of CharlotteAgenda:

Recently, I’ve been talking to more and more college students and recent graduates looking for jobs in advertising, marketing, media and communications. When I give job search advice, they look at me like I’ve got three eyes. Ugh.

Somebody is giving creative students awful job seeking advice. It’s likely somebody who’s never actually hired a young creative.
The stuff I hear from creative students drives me insane.
It makes me so mad that I want to join a university and develop programs that spit out highly employable, skill-rich graduates ready to dominate — instead of deer-in-headlight creatives unprepared and $120,000 poorer.

If you’re a creative employer, please join me in trying to rid these 9 things that young creative job seekers say.

Keep in mind that these thoughts are only for 20-something job seekers looking for creative careers. It’s different for people beginning careers in industries like finance and engineering, which have much more established career tracks.
uptown skyline sunset from wework

“I just applied for the social media manager position on the website, but I haven’t heard anything back. Weird, right?”

If a creative job has been posted online, you’re too late.
Job postings on creative roles from companies you’ve heard of receive anywhere from 300-500 applicants on average. If you’re just randomly sending your resume into an online job posting, you’re screwed. Stop it.

“I’m definitely not interested in a sales role, I’m looking for something in digital strategy.”

If you think sales is just for Michael Scott types, you’re wrong.
If you can’t sell, you’re limiting your creative career. Go sell something.
Some of the best experience you can get as a young person is software sales. Look at growing software startups like Passport, MapAnything and AvidXchange.

“There are no open job postings, so I didn’t reach out.”

Creative companies are ALWAYS hiring smart people that can solve problems.
Hiring you just isn’t that expensive. You likely cost between $30k-$50k. That’s just not material to most employers IF they’ve got a shot at landing their next superstar employee.
If a company has under 200 employees, go directly to the owner/CEO and tell them how you’re going to solve their problems and grow their business. “But that’s hard to do,” you say. Exactly.

“I don’t want to meet with the CEO and pitch ideas on how I’d grow her business.”

Let me guess, you want to grab coffee and “pick her brain on the industry.”
It’s exhausting for a creative leader to spend 60 minutes in small talk at the Starbucks on East Blvd in a brain picking session — all the time knowing that you’re just thinking, “Can you hand me a perfect job without me doing anything?”
Don’t put them through this torture. Don’t take, give. Add value by pitching solutions to the CEO’s problems.

“I’m not looking for a freelance, contract or internship position — I’m only looking for a full-time job.”

And I’m looking to only fly private.
Whether you like it or not, without a track record, many top tier employers will test you with project work. Always get paid (don’t do unpaid stuff), but take it seriously — creative leaders are always watching everything.

“I think my resume is perfectly polished”

Oh cool, you have your 3.5 GPA, college involvement and industry-specific internship showcased on your resume. Guess what? So does EVERYBODY.
The best way to get hired is to have a reputation, not a resume. And the best way to develop a reputation as a young person is to go launch stuff.
There’s just no excuse for creatives who haven’t brought an idea to market. Go launch an Instagram handle dedicated to local fashion and grow it to 10,000 followers. Go run an ad campaign for your favorite pizza joint that drove 50 customers on a Monday night. Go shoot 15-second Facebook food videos that never get under 5,000 views on Facebook. Go sell social media services to 5 small businesses.

“Haha, no I didn’t put Snapchat on my resume, but of course I know how to snap.”

But let me guess, you put “Proficient in Microsoft Office” on the bottom of your resume?
Keep in mind, you’re a subject matter experience on how communication works in the 18-25 demo. Act like one. It’s valuable.

“I don’t want to keep reaching out with good ideas because I’m scared of being annoying.”

Deleting emails is easy. It’s really not annoying. Management at creative companies and high-growth startups probably delete 200 emails each day from somebody pitching something.
“I’m not interested in this candidate because they send too many good ideas and they’re too ambitious,” said no employer, ever.
Be persistent.

“I’m just really eager to learn.”

Wait, that’s your pitch?
Your pitch is that you want an employer to pay you so that you can learn from them? I give up.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Older Workers Should Watch for these Trends

by Eric Titner

Attention baby boomers — not all trends are created equal. Each year, we see a variety of new workplace trends take hold, which often vary by industry, geography and even individual demographics. One of these factors is age — simply put, there are factors in the job world that affect older individuals differently, based on their level of experience, personal needs, comfort level in a rapidly changing work environment and longevity in the job market.

Baby boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964), face some unique issues and challenges in the work world. This aging population possesses a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise, but is growing older in a workplace that increasingly prizes youth and vitality, and many are approaching the age where retirement is a consideration. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, approximately 29 percent of the workforce in the United States — which represents approximately 45 million workers — is part of the baby boomer generation. Although this number continues to shrink each year, it’s still a significant amount of people. Therefore, it’s worth taking a closer look at the trends these older workers can expect to encounter in today’s workplace.

More flexible work arrangements

Although this may not seem like much of a departure from the norm for younger workers, older workers who are typica! lly more used to the traditional Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 office arrangement may need some time to get used to the changing notion of what it means to be "at work." Advances in technology have made it easier than ever before to work remotely and telecommute — and older workers will get the opportunity to take advantage of the flexibility this allows.

Baby boomers who work in fields in which telecommuting is a viable option and possess the technical knowhow can expect to encounter more flexible work arrangements. This is often a good thing, allowing for a faster, easier and less expensive commute to the office — which might just mean walking into another room in your house.

Rise in contract employment

Another trend that may hit baby boomers harder than their younger counterparts is the change in how employers are hiring individuals to meet their needs. Many companies are embracing leaner approaches to staffing by using technology to get more work done with less people on their payrolls.
Companies are also increasingly relying on unorthodox work arrangements, relying more on contract, freelance and part-time workers to get things done.

These new workplace arrangements typically don’t include benefits like medical and dental insurance, which usually become more essential as workers get older, so workers are going to have to get creative and seek out alternative means for coverage. Another element missing from most forms of contract employment is retirement benefits, which will impact how workers prepare and save for retirement in the future.

Delaying retirement

A growing trend that many older workers are facing is the notion of having to delay exiting the workforce for as long as possible.

According to a recent article by U.S. News & World Report, this can be attributable to a wide range of factors, including older workers not having enough money saved, needing health insurance, desiring to stay active and productive and simply enjoying working and passing on their knowledge and skills to a new generation of employees.

These are the biggest trends older workers can expect to encounter in 2018. Those employees who will prove most successful in coping with a rapidly evolving workplace will stay one step ahead of these shifts and strategize accordingly.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Greenville Receives Top Honors from National Geographic!

National Geographic Travel is the latest to honor Greenville.

The travel magazine released its list of the best small cities in the U.S. this week, naming 29 "Cities on the Rise.

The list was sorted into 10 categories that the magazine said influence both residents and visitors.
Those categories are:

Most Hipster Friendly (coffee shops, tattoo parlors, record shops, vintage stores)
Musically Grooviest (music venues, live music, instrument stores)
Most Instagrammed (hashtags) 
Most Artsy (art galleries, art supply stores, art schools)
Best Groomed (barber shops, hair salons, hair removal services, cosmetic dentists)
Meatiest (butchers, delis, steakhouses) 
Sudsiest (breweries)
Most Dog Friendly (pet sitting, pet stores, pet groomers, dog friendly restaurants) (breweries)
Most Caffeinated (coffee shops) 
Greenest (parks) Greenville earned its spot as! one of the "meatiest" locales.

The city’s feature in the magazine notes Greenville’s number of butchers, delis and steakhouses, with a shout-out to Halls Chophouse.

Naturally, the feature also highlights Greenville’s Falls Park, the downtown spot that has become the face of the city.

See the full list at nationalgeographic.com 

What NOT to include on your Resume...


We’re not telling you anything you don’t know when we say that today’s job market is intense, across industries and professions, every job opening is met with a rush of talented and qualified applicants from around the country, all vying for the same spot.

With hundreds of people applying for open positions, you’d better be sure that every aspect of your job-hunting game is razor sharp, including your resume.

If you’re sending out resumes with any of the following things on them, stop what you’re doing and make some changes — fast.

Salary requirements
Unless you’re responding to a job ad that specifically asks for your salary history and requirements (and if it does, include it in your cover letter), save the salary talk for the negotiation once you’re offered the job. Your first impression and your resume should be all about what you can offer a prospective employer, not what you require from them.

Personal social media links
Save your limited resume real estate for professional accomplishments and experience, not your social media activities. In fact, it’s much more likely that there are things on your social media pages that could dissuade potential employers from hiring you than convince them that you’re the perfect person for the job.

"Creative" fonts and images
Sure, it makes sense that you want to stand out from the job-hunting crowd and make a lasting impression on prospective employers, but using a magenta-colored font or embedding photos of you and your dog won’t bring you the kind of attention you’re looking for.

Hiring managers are busy people with limited time, and won’t sift through a maze of creative flourishes to get to the heart of your resume and figure out whether you have what it takes to handle the job. Help them by making your resume as professional and easy-to-follow as possible.

A boilerplate objective statement
A generic, objective statement is typically a waste of space on your resume, as it likely just repeats the messaging you have in your cover letter, and often is full of tired clichés (more on that later).
Besides, hiring personnel know that your primary objective is to get this particular job, or you wouldn’t be applying for it.

Outdated skills
Are you proud of your Word-Perfect wizardry or your ability to operate a fax machine?
That’s great, but keep it to yourself — shining a light on your mastery of outdated office technology will not only fail to impress potential employers, it will make you seem out of date.

Also, don’t bother talking about your skills with obvious office tools like Microsoft Word, telephones or email.

In today’s job market, your ability to navigate basic office technology is a given, not a bonus.

Resume clichés
Are you a "team player," your office’s "go-to person," or a "passionate self-starter"?

While these may all be true, these tired and worn phrases come off as weak and meaningless on resumes — they’re simply overused, generic clichés that have long since lost their ability to impress hiring personnel and make you stand out from the crowd.

Save your bullet points for targeted, measurable, results driven facts that drive home your perceived value as a prospective employee.

Typos
This one seems obvious, right? Well, you’d be surprised by how many people think that too, and then send out resumes with glaring typos on them. A nationwide survey released by CareerBuilder found that 58 percent of resumes received by those polled had typos. Sloppiness is not a good way to introduce yourself! to prospective employers!

After crafting your resume until it’s just right, be sure to check it carefully for errors — and then check it again.

Better still, have someone you trust review it as well. Only when you’re absolutely, positively sure that your resume is free from typos and mistakes should you even think about sending it out.

Along with your cover letter, your resume is going to serve as your first impression, so there’s simply no room for error. Make sure that the things mentioned here are as far from your resume as possible, and you’ll be sure to make a better impression on hiring managers and prospective employers.

Eric Titner is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

Monday, January 8, 2018

How to Best Answer the top 4 Phone Interview Questions

BY ERIC TITNER
THEJOBNETWORK.COM

You’ve submitted your resume for a job opening, and now you’ve got your first bite — a phone interview. You might encounter the phone interview for two reasons: You’re currently far away from the hiring company, or the company wants to do a preliminary screening.

Either way, it’s likely a precursor to some kind of physical meeting. The main goal is usually to see if you meet certain requirements and would likely be a good fit for the job. If a company has a lot of great-on-paper applicants for a single position, phone interviews are a way to narrow the candidate pool.

How do phone and sitdown interviews differ?

There’s the obvious format difference, for starters. Instead of physically sitting face-to-face and being able to read body language cues, you’re sitting by yourself. That can be a benefit, but also a drawback. You’re in a bit of a void, counting on your conversational skills to get you through to the next round.

Also, while an in-person interview is usually with the hiring manager, you may be talking to a human resources representative or a recruiter for a phone interview. It’s important to know who the interviewer is upfront. If it’s a recruiter or HR person, you can be a little more general.
If it’s the hiring manager, you should be more detailed about your qualifications.

How to prepare

Make sure your voice is calm, confident and conversational. It may help to to dress up in your normal interview clothes and call a friend or family member right before the interview to get into a conversational mode.

You want to come across as friendly and competent. Make sure you’re allowing the person to finish speaking before you answer, and don’t feel like you need to fill in any brief silences with nervous chatter.

Do your homework on the company, the job and the interviewer. The beauty of the phone interview is that you can have notes right in front of you, without the interviewer knowing you’ve got a crib sheet, or the talking points about your resume that you want to emphasize.

Lastly, make sure you’re settled in a quiet spot where you can conduct your interview in peace.
Here are some common phone interview questions, and how to approach them:

"Tell me about yourself."

Limit your answer to a few highlights about your career, especially those relevant to the job for which you’re interviewing. An elevator pitch comes in very handy here.
"What interested you about this job?"

This is where your preinterview research comes in handy. Talk about one of your goals that this job would help you achieve or mention something you like about the company.
Make it clear that this job is an opportunity you didn’t want to miss. The more specific and authentic your answer, the better.

"Tell me about your current/most recent job."

The interviewer isn’t necessarily interested in every one of your daily tasks, thoughts and opinions about the work.

Instead, focus on the parts of your job that relate most directly to the job you want, and highlight the accomplishments.

"Why are you leaving your job?"

Part of the phone interview process is weeding out people who aren’t a good fit. They want to know you’re not a flight risk or unable to work as a member of a team. The answer shouldn’t focus too much on what dissatisfies you about your current job. Instead, emphasize your goals and this new job.

A phone interview may not be the main interview in your hiring process, but it’s such an important first step that it should be treated every bit as seriously as any other kind of interview. Being prepared will help you be read! y to answer any question that comes your way.

Eric Titner is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.