Providing Insight and Strategic Advice about Legal Recruiting
Recently I read an article by a recruiter who very straightforwardly acknowledged that she often receives unimpressive application materials from job-seekers. This is often a non-starter and the result is…Delete. Why? I would not hire someone who either isn’t willing, able or savvy enough to realize how important this first stage of the screening process is.
When I say “unimpressive”, I’m referring to more than just the resume and academics – I am including and focusing on the cover letter here because the cover letter, which is typically the first impression a reviewer gets, is either poorly written or there is none.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH? The increasing use of email vs. snail mail has resulted in fewer cover letters than ever. Frequently I receive email submissions with no cover letter – no introduction at all. Attached is a resume with no explanation why the applicant is considering a job change or what position they seek. Those that really make me shake my head address me as the employer, rather than a recruiter. They clearly don’t know where they are even sending their resume! Not only does it require extra effort on my part to obtain this necessary information, but their apparent lack of basic understanding about this process often leaves me feeling that the lack of attention to detail reflects a lack of professionalism…and that is a real turn-off. Alternatively, perhaps the candidate has so much self-confidence that he believes that resume speaks for itself, but this is a huge assumption to make.
MATCH YOUR SKILLS TO THE JOB: Stunningly, I get numerous resumes from applicants who aren’t even attorneys. Anyone with basic internet skills and has visited our web site knows that we only work with attorneys. This seems either lazy or desperate to me – and the resume is deleted. What a waste of precious time on both our parts! Wouldn’t they research an employer before an interview? Respect your own time, as well as mine.
RECRUITERS ARE THE “GATEKEEPERS”. Candidates must pass our scrutiny in order to get in front of our employer clients. If your cover letter and accompanying materials don’t show thought, clarity, and relevant details at a glance, they just won’t make the cut. We want to help you get a job – that’s why we are in this business. Take the time to do a thorough and professional job if you truly expect to be taken seriously.
Summertime is almost here and numerous law students will begin jobs, many in law firms. These are probably the lucky ones, because they will have an edge over colleagues who were unable to secure a position. Our previous blogs discussed various strategies for these unemployed students to use to find jobs in order to avoid the summertime blues. But how about a few pointers for those who will be working in a law firm? Of course, you are required to do excellent work. What else do we suggest? Make yourself memorable!
Millennials are often viewed as self-absorbed with unreasonable expectations and a sense of entitlement. Sorry folks, it doesn’t sound pretty, and that’s the short version! But we know they also have technological skills that previous generations don’t. Everyone is replaceable, but position yourself such that the firm would really miss your contributions if you weren’t around. You may wish to consider:
- Tech Advantage: Use your special technological abilities not only to produce high quality work in a timely manner, but also to consider developing or contributing to your firm’s social networking sites. Go beyond the standard Blog and suggest topics that are cutting edge or may be unique for a multi-generational audience - but always ensure that you have your employer’s approval prior to publication.
- Dress Like A Professional: while it may be acceptable to dress in jeans and Birkenstocks, it’s just not professional. That is not the image that your firm wants intra-firm or with clients. It’s sort of like when you had your interview and sat at lunch with several attorneys…do you think they took you out merely to feed you and ask questions? Of course not, they also observed your manner and presence, thinking about how you might appear when taking a client to lunch. While “dress like a professional” does not necessarily mean wearing a suit or tie, dress the part. Ask yourself this “if the partner spontaneously asked me to go to court with him, how would I want to look to represent the firm and myself to the judge?” When in doubt, consider the three “C’s”: current, classic, conservative. [No, these are not contradictory, you can do it!]
- Social Abilities; Demonstrate that you can hold your own in a conversation with colleagues and clients. Maintain self-control at firm functions where alcohol is served, just as you (hopefully) would at a business lunch. Future employers are often part of a generation that wants to believe that you know how to communicate beyond the keyboard.
- Show Respect for Generational Differences: You’ll be working with people from several different generations. It’s very important to recognize that you must show respect for them and their ways of doing things, even though your own opinions may differ.
- Learn About the Firm Culture; understanding the firm’s environment will be an advantage towards determining how to best become memorable.
Congratulations on obtaining a summer associate position….now go make yourself memorable!
Today I read an article “The Confidence Gap”, espousing the premise that more women lack confidence than men. If true, why is this and can this be overcome? Is the stereotype true that, traditionally, women feel less confident in business situations than men? Is it still a “man’s world”, whether women do or don’t exude confidence?
As a teen of the 60’s, I’ve seen – and experienced - great changes and significant advances for women in the workplace. Hey – it used to be (in the olden days) that a stay-at-home mom had no legal way of even funding her own Roth IRA!
I did not develop my business experience in the larger corporate world, so I can only speak about this from the perspective of friends who have. These women felt strong and competent during those years, but had to learn to maneuver in a man’s world. Did they have to adapt to how men “operated” in order to get ahead? I am told that they often did. However, many women today believe that they are better off, long term, if they appreciate the differences and utilize them to their advantage.
Why would women WANT to be like men? If equal compensation is the issue, then we have laws to deal with these issues. Respect? Our behavior, actions and reputation should engender respect, as this is not a “given”. Women tend to have a sensitivity that men do not and, if not to the level of emotionality, it can be a true benefit in dealing with others in the workplace.
Do women have to be tough to be effective? If tough implies “strong”, “resilient”, and “stable”, I think the answer is probably yes. However, if “tough” is interpreted as “rough”, “harsh” or “hard-hitting”, then I doubt such women will be viewed positively. Even those of us outside the large corporate world know that there is much to be gained from strength through diplomacy, respect through integrity, resilience through a positive attitude, focus and forthrightness.
Should a woman behave differently during a job interview? Does the generational classification of the interviewer affect the outcome when it comes to stereotypes? I believe that we always have to have a healthy respect for, even if we don't agree withor feel in control of, the human element.
It is important to note that I believe young women today often view this issue as a nonstarter, expecting to be treated with a certain degree of respect out of the gate. I applaud this frame of mind so long as they behave in a way that deserves such respect.
Many folks might disagree with me, but I believe a woman has to find her confidence not only through results, but also by operating from within – and at times pushing the boundaries of - her comfort zone. The result can engender such a level of self-respect that it actually gives her the courage to ‘lean in” and accomplish whatever she wants to.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKES STUDENTS MAKE; THE SHORT LIST
REMEMBER - You are smart and have the technological savvy – but THEY have the jobs. Educate yourself about these differences, and show respect for them.
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME QUESTIONS FOLLOWING THE PRESENTATION
1. What are small and medium sized law firms looking for in applicants? Applicants who have the experience in the job description, and with a personality that will mesh in a smaller firm environment.
2. What is the hiring process like for small and mid-size law firms when they hire associates or law students? Typically 1-3 interviews, where you’ll meet main partners and associates. If the firm extends an offer, you will typically have 48 hours to 1 week to accept.
3. How can a student stand out from the rest? Personal presence and message, consistency of brand, impressively-drafted resume, LinkedIn profile, quality of developed relationships (references).
4. If grades are not your strongest asset, what can you do to make yourself competitive? See above, plus a professional Blog can prove valuable in many ways.
5. While in law school, what are some things I can do now that will help me later in my career? Develop an online presence, and start laying groundwork with individuals and at events. See networking tips, above.
6. What areas of law are growing and employing more lawyers? Labor and employment, IP Patent litigation (particularly with an EE or CS degree), some corporate and real estate positions are opening up. What areas of the law are tightening and hiring less? Litigation, Bankruptcy.
6. How did networking influence the job you have (or any jobs that you've had)? I was introduced to attorney recruiting by my brother – who had used a recruiter years before. During law school, we were not educated about the services of recruiters, so I was unfamiliar with the benefits of working with one. We had a good synergy and I joined her business. In 2005, I incorporated Rifkin Consulting.
Another example is that a professional colleague introduced to a journalist at a renowned legal publication. We get together regularly, have developed a really positive personal and professional relationship, and I’ve had significant opportunities to get meaningful PR exposure as a result.
7. After meeting someone at a networking event, what is the best way to cultivate that relationship? Pay attention to that person’s business card, and comment on it when possible. Too often people just discard business cards, but in Asian culture this is considered disrespectful. Send a nice note afterwards to people with whom you wish to remain in contact – calendar follow ups. Show value.
8. What is the #1 thing you should and should not do at a networking event? Ask for a job.
9. Any general tips for anyone that has not been to a networking event?
I hope this information has been helpful. Please check back for additions and modifications, and visit our Professional Resources page at www.rifkinconsulting.com .
PART 2; HOW TO GET STARTED NETWORKING
MAKE CONNECTIONS, DEVELOP THE RELATIONSHIPS
I. SOCIAL NETWORKING AND RELATED VENUES
LinkedIn: enjoy a 360 degree resume – for free!
TWITTER & FACEBOOK
II. IN PERSON NETWORKING
FOLLOWING UP: While you learn what those tips are, you can mention some of the things you’ve done, your skills, and other things that would show you’re a smart person working hard to accomplish your goal.
VENUES FOR NETWORKING
Part One; Why You Must Network
Based on a presentation at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles on 2/12/14.
In 1988, I graduated from Villanova School of Law outside Philadelphia. Villanova is viewed very much back east like Loyola is here in Los Angeles – a highly-regarded regional law school. I worked for a large law firm, and subsequently for small firms. When I relocated to California, I knew no one but a couple of family members.
Since I started attorney recruiting 14 years ago, more than half of those years were during a recession.
What does this information have to do with you? Well, in real estate you always hear the phrase “location, location, location”. What I want you to remember is “connections, connections, connections”. This realization changed my professional life – and I’m confident that it can change yours.
Connections, as well as hard work and a lot of patience, have contributed tremendously to my success in business. On a similar note, developing relationships after I moved to California was critical, and it took years of effort to develop friendships and acquaintances like I had back East for so many years. I mention this because developing connections is, in many ways, like making friends. But like friends, connections and relationships should be chosen carefully. Therefore, it’s important that you network with intention.
Developing personal networking habits and skills will always be essential to your professional success, as there is no replacement for the human connection. What about the importance and efficiency of social media connections and exposure, you ask? Our world is inextricably linked with Social Media. Therefore, it’s hard to separate what you need to know to interview well and/or land a job, versus [personal] networking advice.
You want to know how to get a job, how to keep a job, and how to become secure to weather a recession in the future…b/c the only thing you can really be sure of is…there will be change. Recession will happen again, and technology is rapidly evolving.
Competition may seem greater than ever, with more candidates having access to information about available jobs. However… the GOOD news is that, thanks to technology, you have more information and other resources at your fingertips than previous generations – so what are you going to do now that you are armed with these tools?
NETWORK WITH INTENTION; 3 PARTS TO THIS PRESENTATION
WHY YOU MUST NETWORK; THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
1. Networking is crucial for your career. Effective networking leads to relationships, and people tend to hire other people who they know and like.
2. You are unique – but look to your right and to your left – those people are also unique. You must distinguish yourself with a personal brand.
3. Brand vs. Reputation: Both your brand and reputation are important to your success
To be continued in Part 2: How To Get Started
Sometimes the dream job you thought you would love turns out to be a nightmare position from which you feel you may never escape. This is especially distressing when you have just started a new job and decide in a very short time that you despise the people or the position or both. How soon is too soon to start looking for another job? Will changing a job too quickly look bad on your resume?
The Dilemma of A Bad Job
Bad jobs create their own terrible dilemma. If you quit the job, you risk being earmarked as a quitter or a “job hopper”; however, if you do not quit, you risk not only being miserable but perhaps being fired by the boss who likes you no better than you like him or her.
Generally, your happiness and mental health are worth more than any job. However, you also have to be able to balance your own needs against the danger of moving from job to job whimsically.
A few things to consider when choosing whether or not to leave a job you just started:
How Unhappy Are You?
The biggest question to answer when you are considering leaving a job you just started is: how unhappy are you? You may honestly have given the job a fair chance, but it is also possible that you are allowing your dislike to color your viewpoint. One way to measure how reasonable your dislike of a job really is could be to talk with someone you trust and who is willing to give you an objective opinion of your situation.
If you find that you simply cannot stand to keep a job, of course you must move on. However, be sure that you are making the right decision and that you are willing to accept the consequences of making a sudden job change before you turn in your notice.
Hiring an attorney recruiter is a process, in some ways, similar to a job interview. You must be sure that the attorney recruiter is a good match for your needs, and the recruiter must be sure that you are the type of candidate he or she wants to represent. The process of “interviewing” a legal recruiter should be taken every bit as seriously as your job interviews and may well have even more lasting ramifications.
An attorney recruiter in CA such as Rifkin Consulting serves a very important purpose. Finding the right attorney jobs in CA is not a simple task, and hiring an attorney recruiter is one of the best ways to weed through the hundreds of law jobs in CA and find the one that best suits your goals and talents.
Therefore, there are several things you should ask your attorney recruiter before agreeing to representation. Here are a few questions you should ask to learn the important information you need to make the right choice in legal recruiting firms from among those available.
How long have you been working as an attorney recruiter? Ask to see the credentials of the person you are hiring to represent you to law firms throughout the state. A professional attorney recruiting firm has usually been in business for years, offering you a chance to review their success stories and see their development as a key player in the legal field.
How do you go about choosing the right jobs for me? This is a crucial question and is really the key to the success or failure of an attorney recruiter in terms of finding the right positions for you. The attorney recruiter should use a verifiable method of weeding out job possibilities so that he or she focuses only on those that will fit your demands. You do not want a recruiter who simply passes your resume to any law firm that is hiring.
Do you offer support services? An attorney recruiter should offer other services such as resume editing, interview preparation and advice on choosing the right job. Simply brokering your resume to law firms is not enough.
Do you have references to whom I can speak? The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” can also be applied to references. No matter how good a firm tells you it is, hearing it from someone who has used the firm successfully means much more. You should also search the Internet for possible bad references; while one or two do not mean much, a number of bad reviews may signal trouble.
How do you calculate your fees? An attorney recruiting firm is paid by the employer when a candidate is hired and begins employment.
It is also important to consider the necessity of maintaining confidentiality and discretion in this process. You may have other questions to ask a potential attorney recruiter. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification or information; after all, this may be one of the most important relationships of your life.
You may have heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This also applies to a well-written follow-up to an interview. Our attorney recruiters often advise attorney candidates that while once considered unique, a follow up is now just good manners. These days, it is expected that attorney candidates can and will follow up with interviewers to show a deeper understanding of items mentioned and an appreciation for meeting the busy members of the firm.
Even experts sometimes neglect the crucial time just after an interview, but this is a time when, psychologically, many things may hang in the balance of choosing a candidate for hire. The more you can do to make yourself stand out to the partners or hiring committee, the better your chances of securing the job. Our legal recruitment firm has compiled some great tips to follow up well after a good interview.
When you're looking for lawyer jobs in California, it can sometimes seem like an eternity before you're called in for an interview. Waiting to be called for an interview can be emotionally difficult. It can mean hours of sitting by the phone or the computer, waiting for a call or an email.
As skilled attorney recruiters, we see this frustration a lot. Instead of suffering and putting yourself through stress, why not use this time to your advantage? Here are some tips to help you use the time between sending in your resume and your actual interview wisely.
With the economy in recession, it may be difficult to find career opportunities that match your criteria, experience, and academic achievement. The economic crisis has left few jobs on the market and even lawyers are having difficulty trying to find employment that matches their requirements. You may have considered working with an attorney recruiter, but are still uncertain whether or not you should. Here are several reasons why an attorney recruiter can assist you in building an enriching and successful career as an attorney:
Appearance and Presentation:
Often, applicants do not hear back from potential employers because their cover letters and resumes are unsuccessful and ineffective. Most attorneys are so busy applying to numerous jobs that they do not research each law firm’s background and goals. Ultimately, many attorneys make the awful mistake of sending out generic and plain cover letters and resumes. This usually leads to fruitless results.
Cover letters should be tailored to the law firm and used to create a connection with the firm's recruiting department. If you are not referencing your knowledge of the firm or engaging the reader within the first paragraph, your cover letter will likely be tossed.
Additionally, if your resume and cover letter contain typographical errors, you will most likely not hear back from them. Your first impression, even though on paper, needs to be completely flawless. Fortunately, an attorney recruiter can edit your resume and draft an impressive cover letter while also providing background on the law firm to ensure that your presentation catches the reader's attention.
Interview and Impression:
Numerous applicants find the interview process utterly challenging with multiple phone and in person interviews. The process can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and brutal. It is of the utmost importance that you appear to be the right candidate for the position, but most often interviewees become nervous and fail to create the right impression. An attorney recruiter can help you with the interview process by providing effective tips to guide you in selling your skills and experience.
Ever heard the expression: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Well the statement rings completely true in searching for the right career opportunities. It is absolutely crucial to establish long-lasting connections and relationships in order to generate the best career opportunities. This may be a daunting task for a new or young attorney. At Rifkin Consulting, we offer the benefit of more than 25 years of experience with the legal industry and have many well established relations with successful law firms and exceptional attorneys.
Contact Rifkin Consulting
Whether you are a young associate or longtime partner, we can help provide you with employment opportunities for a permanent and successful career. Our attorney recruiters have your best interest in mind and will search for top tier law firms that exceed your requirements. Contact one of our consultants today so we can assist in achieving your long-term goals as an attorney.
Your resume is the first impression you’ll have on your potential new employer, which is why it’s imperative that you make no mistakes. You don’t want to miss out on a perfect opportunity because of a small error that could have been prevented. Here are some of the most common mistakes that might break the deal.
At a glance, your resume should already say three things: what you do, what you want to do, and what you’ve done in the past to get you where you are now. No one wants to spend precious time digging through the slush for information that could easily have been conveyed more directly. Be specific in your descriptions, work history, and what you hope to accomplish.
Irrelevant Work Experience
While your work history may be a versatile compilation of jobs, you might want to reconsider including all of them in your resume. Employers are only interested in your experience so long as it is relevant to what you’ll be doing in your new position. Only include experience that you feel are related to the job you’re interviewing for.
When your resume is littered with grammatical mistakes and typographical errors, it conveys that your work is sloppy. If you don’t have time to fix up your resume, what makes the employer think that you won’t carry the same mentality into your position? Double check and triple check your resume for little mistakes.
Listing Tasks Instead of Achievements
It’s easy to list every mundane detail of your job, but that’s not what your new boss will search for. They’re looking for someone who can accomplish and meet goals. Instead of listing your tasks, write down your accomplishments and what goals you were able to meet at your position.
Too Much Information
While you want to give as much information about yourself, you should avoid going on for too long. Even though it's not set in stone for how long a resume should be, the general rule of thumb is to keep it to one page. However, if you must go on at great length about your many accomplishments, there is no real reason you can’t. As long as the information that you include is relevant, descriptive, and straight-to the point.
Too Little Information
And yet, while you’re trying to include only relevant information, you might end up leaving out the important bits altogether. Keep in mind that as long as you are descriptive and specific about your work experience, and stay relevant to the position to which you are applying, you’ll have a solid resume.
A Fluffy Objective
Employers do look at your resume objective, but often, applicants put a fluff statement that has nothing to do with the company or position they are applying for. If you’re going to put an objective at all, then make it as descriptive as possible. List realistically what you want to accomplish at your new position.
Lack of Action
Action words convey that you will work proactively to meet your goals. For example, instead of phrases like “I was responsible for a team of legal staff,” indicate that you “managed a team of legal staff.” Using verbs displays the message that you are ready to take charge and act.
Unless you are applying for an artistic position at a design company, keep your resume’s design simple and black and white. Space is limited when you’re trying to synopsize your life onto one sheet of paper. Make every inch count.
Out-of-Date Contact Information
What if the many interviewers you had all wanted to hire you, but couldn’t reach you because you included either wrong or out-of-date contact information? It’s one of those important details that you should check, and check again, or you could be missing out on many opportunities.
"I am a new law school graduate, and I contacted a legal recruiter to help me get a job. Why won't they work with me?"
Don’t take it personally! Many recruiters want to be able to help new law school graduates; however, clients will only work with recruiters to hire attorneys with at least one year of post law school experience in a law firm setting. Why?
There are several reasons that firm clients take this position.
Additionally, few law firms will use the services of recruiters to hire young attorneys with only clerking experience. Often law firms and law clerks utilize internal connections to facilitate such hires.
It’s important to understand the aforementioned reasons why an attorney recruiter can’t assist you with your job search if you are a new graduate or Bar-admittee. You’ll need to be very proactive on your own if you weren’t successful during OCI, or if your school does not participate in OCI recruiting. Learning about the various venues for networking and research, such as your local Public Law Center, can provide valuable experience as well as leads. Good luck!
So your resume got your foot in the door. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back—but only a moment. You’ve still got that interview to get through. As you rev up for the upcoming meeting that has suddenly become the source of all your tension and nerves, we hope you've done your research on the company and planned your outfit for the day.
Now it’s time to take a look at some of the most dreaded and commonly asked questions—and how to best answer them.
What do you know about our company?
This is possibly one of the easiest interview questions since the beginning of time because there is no wrong answer—except for no answer at all. Conducting research on a company is easier, especially now that we have access to this brilliant thing called the Internet. Unless a company is hiding under a rock (which wouldn’t boast well for its business), it will have a website. Don’t just stop there. Browse the forums, look for articles, and think—you knew it was coming—outside the box. Do your homework so that when the interviewer asks you this question, you already know what services the firm offers, the key strategies and mission statement, commitments, and other information about the firm. When you prove to the potential employer that you’re committed to becoming a part of their company, they might actually make you part of the company. Fathom that.
Why are you leaving your current occupation?
One of the best ways to answer this question is to lock up your inner Negative Nancy and resist the automatic instinct to complain. Sure, your supervisor subjected you to years of menial tasks and busy work. Every position will have its ups and downs. But keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a perfect job—only positive attitudes. Instead, keep a professional outlook, mention how your last job was challenging (and while you’re at it, throw in a line about how you overcame those challenges), and convey that you’re looking for a different challenge, which you hope to find at this new position.
What are your central strengths? Your weaknesses?
Let’s face it, every interview boils down to bragging about yourself and marketing yourself as the perfect fit for the position. How do you do that in a mere fifteen to sixty minutes? When someone asks you about your strengths, don’t tell them something completely irrelevant, like how you just beat Angry Birds Level 3-5. Be sure to mention keywords that the firm is known for. As for weaknesses, no one is perfect. Don’t say that you don’t have any because that. Is. A. Lie. Instead, be honest about your weaknesses, but also say that you are working hard or have already overcome challenges you’ve faced at your last positions. Instead of saying “I’m a perfectionist,” say “It used to be harder for me to manage my time, but I have since learned the value of prioritizing and making schedules.”
Why are you right for the job?
When an interviewer asks this question, you should hear it as “What can you do for our company?” Reiterate your central strengths and elaborate, not just what you have to offer as a person, but as an employee as well. What is it about you that will ultimately bring these guys success? Applicable experience is gold, here. It proves you’ve got the skill to do the job, which is the ultimate goal of the interview. Choose your answer carefully, and always keep in mind that you want to make the interviewer happy. Not the other way around.
Those are just some of the most commonly asked interview questions and how to answer them. We’ll be looking at more in the future, so stay tuned and don’t forget to check back with us for more advice.
You might not even be realizing that you’re making them, but there are many mistakes that even the most experienced candidates make during interviews. Some of these common mistakes are so glaringly obvious, and yet many people are guilty of them all the time. Below, we list some of the most common mistakes, how to avoid them, and how to recover if you can’t.
Inappropriate Dressing. Everyone says that what you wear to an interview can make a big impression—and it’s true. Yet, so many men and women wear unprofessional outfits or casual attire to an interview. It doesn’t matter if the business is a startup company or a large corporation. Or even if the interviewer told you to dress casually. Until you have the job, professional appearance is mandatory.
Being Distracted. Cell phones, food, drinks—why anyone thinks these are appropriate during a work interview is beyond us. And yet, people bring their coffees, sodas, and snacks to interviews all the time. Some candidates even text or browse their cell phones, completely ignoring—and thus, disrespecting—the interviewer. Avoid this. If you must fuel up before the meeting, ditch your food and drink before entering the building. Silence your cell phone, and focus all your attention on the interviewer.
Not Paying Attention. And while we're on the subject, interviewers loooove when you are distracted and not paying attention--not. A common pet peeve is when candidates fail to focus on what the interviewer is saying. Their eyes glaze over, they start viewing the scenery. If you're bored during the interview, what makes the potential employer think that you won't be bored at your job? If you really are having a terrible time paying attention, then perhaps you should re-evaluate your work options. If it's some fluke that you tuned out the interviewer, then re-focus and pay attention.
Fuzzy Work History. Right, so we understand that job descriptions from ten years ago may be a bit difficult to recall. But when you don’t know the details of your own work history, it’s a bit of a red flag for potential employers. Brush up your resume beforehand so you’re not stumped by questions about your own past.
Knowing Nothing about the Company. While you're brushing up your own work history, don't forget to learn about the company as well. One of the easiest questions asked during any interview is, “What do you know about our company?” It’s easy because you could have done your research beforehand. In fact, you’re expected to. With today’s technological opportunities, it’s not difficult to browse the company’s profile online—at the very least. Don’t let the interviewer stump you with history’s easiest question. Do your homework and be prepared.
I’m Late, I’m Late, I’m Late. Arriving late is indicative of your poor time management skills and shows that you don’t care about your interviewer’s time. It ultimately comes down to a lack of respect for the company. Sometimes, you simply can’t help it due to an unforeseeable event, such as a traffic accident. In that case, study the traffic route to the interview location, and leave early.
Too Much Information. Answer the question. It’s simply that easy. Though your future employer is looking for more than the monosyllabic answer, don’t ramble, don’t go on and on about your life and future goals. Answer the question as specifically and directly as possible.
Taking Too Long. In other words, being unprepared. Interview questions are pretty standard and common, and while some interviewers will understand if you don’t know the answer to a question instantly, taking too long can be annoying. Some might let you skip the question, and though we advise against this, if you must, then you must. But it’s always best to prepare and anticipate standard questions before the interview, and know how to answer them. (We’ll be reviewing these common interview queries in a future blog, so stay tuned.)
Nothing but Complaints. It’s obvious that you want to leave your job for a reason. Why else would you be interviewing at a new company? But badmouthing a previous boss is simply bad form. It will reflect on how you might view your potential position at the new company. What if your interviewer turns out to be your future boss? He or she might wonder if you would badmouth them in the same way. Avoid it at all costs, and if your interviewer asks you a question about your former supervisor, answer it directly and professionally.
Keep in Mind: Be Prepared. Throughout all our advice on interviewing and preparing for a job, there is one prominent tip that will always remain. Always do your research and prepare for the interview in the best way you can. Don’t let anyone stump you when you could easily avoid the awkward situation by doing your research. Avoid these common interview pitfalls and you’ll be nailing that next interview.
Interviewing tips are a dime a dozen, but you might be surprised at how many candidates fail to follow some of the most simple advice. Potential employers are going to begin gauging you the moment you step foot into their building, and you only have about half an hour or so to prove them right or wrong. That's why it's imperative that you conduct the best interview you possibly can.
Here are a few tips from our recruiters on how to nail that interview and land the job.
Dress for the part. Once you land the job and understand the culture of the firm, you will be able to work with more freedom when it comes to fashion. Even if the interviewer mentions that the firm is “casual,” you should consider that it is always best to look too professional than not professional enough. It is a human instinct to judge upon first glance—and while you’ll get the chance to show the interviewer who you are, it is always best to set a positive foundation. Keep your appearance conservative and polished.
Know who you’re working for. Always research the company and position before you interview. It doesn’t speak well for you if you don’t know much about the company you supposedly want to work for. Today’s technology provides easy ways to research—open a tab in your browser and do a quick query on your next dream job. Don’t just stop at the company website. You might be surprised at how much more information you’ll find when you look through articles, comments, forums, and discussions about the company.
Prepare your own questions. Have you ever been in that position when the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions…and you actually…don’t? We’ve all been there—and it’s awkward. While some natural questions can develop during the interview, it is always best to prepare your own beforehand. During your research on the company, think of several things that you can ask the interviewer. It will make you seem even more enthusiastic and interested in working for them.
Anticipate standard, open questions. The dreaded standards queries of interviews—you know the ones we’re talking about. “Tell us about yourself.” “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” You won’t be able to avoid them. The best way to answer these is to stay on topic. Focus on your career goals and try to answer the question with the position description in mind.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. It is important to stay confident and know what you’re good at and what you’re not. The trick is to not come off over-confident, pompous or unbelievable. Rather, stay true to yourself, and understand that you also have weaknesses. During the interview, use those weaknesses to your advantage by explaining how you’ve overcome some challenges and used your insecurities to better yourself as a professional.
Stay enthusiastic. You’d be surprised at how bored many applicants appear during interviews. Yes, employers know you want the job. You wouldn’t have applied otherwise. But there are also at least a dozen other candidates who want the job just as much as you do, maybe even more. When you show enthusiasm and passion for a position, it shows that you are truly interested, and it will reflect on your attitude toward the position if they do choose to hire you.
Last of all, don’t forget to relax. Before an interview, take a deep breath and keep calm. It’s important to be prepared and do your best during an interview, but don’t stress about it so much that you are unable to prove your credibility to your interviewer. Your dreams aren’t going anywhere, so there’s no need to rush. You’ll reach them one day, as long as you keep working hard to make them come true.