March 2012 Archives

Thursday March 29, 2012

More Employers Are Asking Hard Questions

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John was a well seasoned engineer looking for a new job. He entered the interview feeling confident that his resume was strong enough to land him the job. Then the interview began, and the panel's first question was: "Tell us about your most impressive contribution that you've made at your current company." John simply froze. He couldn't think of a good example in those few seconds and realized he'd lost the job by not being better prepared.

Expect Situational Questions

Questions.gifMore employers today, especially Fortune 500 companies, are using a difficult interview style of questions to weed out job candidates. My career counseling clients say these "behavioral" or "situational" questions are the hardest type to answer. If you are not ready for them, it's easy to make a fatal error.

The interviewer uses a probing style to ask questions seeking very specific examples of your actions in a work situation. These questions begin with these phrases: "Tell me about a time ...", or "Describe ...", or "Give me an example ..." The interviewer is looking for details of your past abilities and how you acted in a specific work situation. The correct answers offers specific details, a clear specific illustration of what the problem or situation was, where it took place and the RESULTS you personally achieved. The interviewer often then rates each response to determine how well you reacted to these situations in the past, as a way to predict your future performance with their company.

Here are several questions that my career counseling clients were recently asked in their job interviews:

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Tuesday March 27, 2012

ASA Reports Staffing Employment Up 18.3% Since Beginning of 2012

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According to the ASA Staffing Index, the March index is 89, February was 87. Since the beginning of 2012, temporary and contract employment has grown 18.3%, according to the index.

American Staffing Association.jpg

The ASA Staffing Index is reported nine days after each workweek, making it a virtual real-time measure of staffing employment trends. ASA research shows that staffing employment is a coincident economic indicator and leading employment indicator.

Wednesday March 21, 2012

Are Headhunters Calling You, Or Ignoring You?

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Ex-Recruiter Reveals Secrets to Gaining Headhunter's Attention

In my former life as a recruiter (also affectionately referred to as "headhunter"), I received hundreds of resumes a week from all parts of the country. The statement that a person's resume gets a 15-second read is not far from the truth. In fact, 15 seconds is a generous assumption. In reality, a resume must capture the recruiter's attention in the first five seconds to avoid the round file. Candidates can greatly improve their chance of catching the recruiter's attention by following three simple rules:


  1. Use the correct format
  2. Include plenty of quantifiable accomplishments
  3. Sprinkle liberally with appropriate keywords.

The first rule, use of correct format, is crucial. There is one, and only one, proper resume format for recruiters -- chronological. Recruiters do not have time or patience to figure out the complexities of a functional resume. To recruiters, time is money. A second danger of using a functional resume is that recruiters automatically assume the candidate is attempting to hide something. This assumption is universal. No job-seeker on earth can hide unpleasant facts within a functional resume. Recruiters are trained from the start to pick up on any possible "red flags" that identify the job seeker as an undesirable candidate.

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Tuesday March 6, 2012

Settling Split Disputes

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Simple Rules for Candidate Ownership

Every candidate we bring to light or enter into our tracking system is like a little piece of a dream: a new and exciting job for the individual; a problem solved for the employer; and - just maybe - a bigger paycheck for the recruiter.

Unfortunately, whenever placement fees are split, even the most well-meaning staffing firms can get sideways with their recruiters over who gets credit for what. That's not to say there's a conspiracy afoot to short the recruiters or play favorites. It's just that whenever money's on the table, the issue of how it's divvied up can get confusing and emotional.

If you've ever had to fight a fellow recruiter for what you felt was rightfully yours - or played King Solomon with a $25,000 baby - you know firsthand how fleeting the sweetness of victory, compared to the enduring bitterness of defeat.

Property Rights for Recruiters

Luckily, there's a simple way to minimize split-placement disputes - and settle more equitably - those that cross your desk. By setting up rules that are fair and enforceable, you can turn a fractious, suspicious environment into one that's more positive and productive.

The first step is to set up a policy regarding the terms of ownership. For anyone not familiar with the lingo, "ownership" simply refers to which recruiter is tagged to a specific candidate, usually for the purpose of earning a commission when the candidate is placed. Here are three simple guidelines:

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