Tuesday, January 3, 2012

10 Tips to Prepare for & Rock a Job Interview

Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply to, networking, writing fantastic cover letters & submitting applications. You should be proud you made it past the initial resume screen. It means you look great on paper. Now it’s time to prove you are even better in person!

Uses these 10 tips to Prepare for your Interview:

  1. Get organized - Write down the date, time and location of your interview in your smart phone or date book right away. 
      Tip: Ask the recruiter for key information like the name of your interviewer and the interview style to help you prepare in the below steps.

  1. Research the company:
      Their website - Check out their mission statement, values/competences, services or products, case studies, awards, blog and Executive. Be confident you can summarize why you want to work at the company and why you make a great company fit.
      Job Site – See what current job openings they have other than your specific interest. This will give you a well rounded view of the company.
      LinkedIn – Do they have a company page? Any relevant information that isn’t on their website?
      Google Search – Look for press releases or any awards/information that the company may not have highlighted on their website.
      Tip: Print off any key information and highlight it or take notes. Don’t be afraid to take this prep package with you to the interview in a folder so they see you are prepared. Also write down any questions you have to ask to determine if the company is the right fit for you and you are the right fit for them.

  1. Get the REAL Story via social media:
      Check out their Facebook page to see photos, comments and general company news. This can be a great place to see company social event photos.
      See if they have a twitter account or a company #hashtag so you can see what your future colleagues are tweeting about
      See if there are any employee videos on YouTube
      Check out Glassdoor.com and valut.com – see ratings and candid feedback from past employees
      Tip: Seeing the inside scoop from current employees helps you understand your future colleagues and the “real” experience working at Company X!

  1. Research your interviewers:
      If you have the interviewer names, check them out on LinkedIn. See how long they have been with the company, positions they have held.
      Tip: You can use this information when asking them about their experience at X Company or when asking questions at the end of the interview. Example: “I see that you have been at X for 5 years and have worked in the recruiting and marketing teams tell me why you love working here…” This shows you went above and beyond in your research.

5.      Research the industry:
      What are top trends in the industry right now?
      Why do you feel this industry is a great fit for you?
      Who are the biggest competitors of this company?
      Tip: Use this information when they ask you the question “why do you want to join company X or what interests you about this industry” - Show that you are passionate about the industry & well versed!

6.      Reach out to Friends or Connections
      Do you have any friends that work at the company or have interviewed? Find out what type of interview questions they ask – behaviour based? Is there a competency exam?  
      Tip: Getting the inside scoop always sets you up for success. If you have a friend who works there, ask them about the person interviewing you and typical questions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them to refer you or highlight your name to set you apart from the rest of the applicants!

7.      Practice Being Interviewed:
      Ask the recruiter what type of interview it will be (usually the answer is behaviour based). Google “behaviour based interview questions” and see a ton of great examples.
      Have a family member, friend, or roommate ask you the questions & practice giving answers. Some great sites will not only list the question but also key skills to highlight.
      The best trick with behaviour based interview questions is answer using the following technique: outline the Situation, Action, followed by the Result. Focus the majority of your time on your specific Action. Think of outlining the Situation and recapping the Result as bookends.
      Tip: Remember to always tell the truth and focus on situations that you played a lead role!

8.      Plan your Interview Outfit:
      Don’t wait until the morning of your interview to figure out what to wear. Plan it out the night before & ensure it is ironed and ready to go first thing.
      Tip: Do your research on the company dress code. My rule of thumb is to dress one level above their dress code for your interview. Example: If the office is very casual, dress business casual. If they are business casual, dress more business formal (suit).

9.      Re-Read Your Notes & Prep Your Own Questions:
      Read over your research the night before or even when you are having breakfast that morning. Don’t memorize everything but ensure you know their service offerings or products, their vision/mission statement and any top trends in the industry.
      Write down a list of potential questions you would like to ask the interviewer.  This always impresses!
      Tip: Remember that an interview works both ways – you are interviewing the company to see if it’s the right fit for you just as they are interviewing you.

10.  Arrive Early
      Leave yourself plenty of time to arrive at your interview location. There is nothing worse than panicking about being late.
      Tip: Remember to have confidence in introducing yourself with a smile, confident tone and great eye contact. Showcase all of your great research and

Good luck in your big interview! With this preparation you will have confidence and show them what a great employee you will make!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Simple Steps for a Social Media Audit

Social Media continues to be a strong branding tool for recruiting Gen Y. However, when recruiters mention it to Executives they struggle to gain buy in. This article will outline 5 simple steps to conduct an audit and shape your 2012 social media plan to set you up for success in the new year.

Building a business case includes understanding why there is business rationale to using social media and speaking to Executives in the language they understand – dollars & cents. This means building a case that includes targets and ROI metrics. To design your targets, first understand why you want to use social media, audit your current use, and build a case to showcase your plan.

Potential HR & Talent Acquisition Uses for Social Media:

      Recruitment & Promotion
      Employment Brand Management
      Employee Onboarding
      Executive Culture Check
      Knowledge Sharing, Training and Development
      Employee Reward and Recognition

Once you understand the ways in which you want to use social media, start shaping your business case. All business cases have 3 main components:

5 Simple Steps to Creating a Business Case & Completing a Social Media Audit:

1.      Conduct an Audit:
·         Who? Audit yourself & your top 3 competitors
·         What to look for? Understand trends (i.e. which platforms everyone is using) & what hook is being used on each platform
·         Where? Audit  main social media properties (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Foursquare) and then integration via widgets of social media into their traditional job sites
·         When?  Do it NOW! Determine a regular frequency to complete an audit (at least every 6 months)
·         Why? Your New Hires & Existing Employees are already talking about you. Be part of the conversation

2.     Determine Metrics to complete in regular Audits to help determine ROI

Examples include: Sentiment, Post Frequency and type, Engagement, Growth and Share of Conversation versus competitors.

3.     Set Objectives

Having targets allows you to measure learnings, mistakes & successes. Many social media objectives are around branding versus always clear applications, interviews & hires. Setting social media targets should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). Ensure you understand ROI and ask the right questions like:  What is the impact of shifting 1/8 of the advertising budget to build a Facebook page? Determine priorities that make sense for your recruiting targets and filter distractions.

4.     Work Your Plan

Remember as you work on your plan that you must:
·         Have a regular presence on social media sites
·         Listen and adapt ongoing as social media sites are always changing
·         Set monitoring and reporting standards for your organization/department
·         Assign responsibilities
·         Seek support & increased education with: internal departments and external resources  (tool kits, consultants, contractors)

5.     Work Smart

Use tools to work efficiently and effectively.
      Determine Content Mixture and Themes for each Platform
      Develop Regular Communication Calendar
      Automate Activities with Tools: Excel, Social Mention, Hootsuite, Google Reader, Crowd Booster

Good luck in evaluating your current social media activities and in building a 2012 business case for increased investment in graphic design time and recruiter time. With regular activity you can drive increased hires from this tactic.

Remember that social media is only one piece of a successful Gen Y recruiting strategy and must be used in conjunction with strong on campus branding and a strong Employment Value Proposition. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How Companies use Social Media for Recruiting

Are you as a company on trend in using social media to find the perfect candidate to join your team? Find out what your competition is using!

Credit: Mashable - http://on.mash.to/mXWPGR

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tips for Employees with New Managers

This post builds on last week's article setting up new managers for success.  Many look to their new manager to set the tone for a working relationship. It's also very important for new employees to be open, build credibility and want the new reporting line to work. Here are some tips if you have a new manager.

For an Employee with a New Manager:
There is comfort in having worked for a manager for a period of time – they know the way you think, they have trust in your abilities, they know the best way to coach you. How do you start all over again?  It’s a scary time but also a great time to grow your skills and be challenged by a new perspective.

-          Come in open minded. Your new manager is going to likely operate differently, seek to understand their perspective. Don’t make snap judgments.
-          Ask Questions – this is tied to not making quick decisions or judgments. Ask questions to seek understanding about changes your new manager is making if they aren’t giving you the rationale/background.
-          Deliver results - delivering results with a great attitude is the best way to will build your personal credibility with a new manager.
-          Speak with your current manager about the transition they are completing with your new manager. If you had an open relationship with your previous manager, you can help shape this discussion by highlighting key things that really work in your current relationship
o   If your current manager is unable to have a transition with your new manager, take matters into your own hands. Put together a “get to know me” email with your job description, org chart of your team (if applicable), previous performance review, and current targets/goals. Book time with your new manager to get to know each other and walk through your current work load and goals.

Open conversation & transparency will work well on both sides to create a strong relationship. Good luck!

Have you recently had a new manager? What do you think they did well to support you? What do you think you did well to set your new manager up and make them look good? Reading the above tips, what would you have done differently?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tips for New Managers

With fast paced moving companies, reporting lines often change due to realignment of departments, promotions or general business needs.  Change creates natural trepidation but also hints at great possibilities. Reporting relationships take time to build from both a manager’s and a direct report’s perspectives. This week’s blog post is for a manager with a new direct report & next week’s will be for an employee who has a new manager.

For a Manager with a New Direct Report:
Getting to know your team is a big challenge. You want to create quick wins and not steamroll new reports with big changes right away. These tips will help you gain credibility and build trust.

-          Listen first. Seek to understand procedures, strategies, organizational charts, and roles/responsibilities of your new team. As a new manager, you are likely eager to make your mark in your new role. First seek to understand why things are done a certain way before barging in with changes.
-          Ask questions - understand what your team thinks works well, how processes align to goals, and ask what they would change. If your team agrees on priorities they are more likely to buy into such change. 
-          Create transparency – talk to your team about your goals/mandate and what you are trying to achieve so they can be part of the solution.
-          Get to know your team – your people are your greatest asset to create quick wins in your new role. Potentially use a questionnaire that they fill out and then book time to review it together. It’s a way to have a little fun, get to know them professionally and start to build a personal relationship. I often use something called a management contract to start this (read here: http://bit.ly/gOr24X). You can ask things like: favourite coffee, morning or afternoon thinker, and then things like strengths, growth opportunities, personal goals, what they like in a manager, etc… Using this to facilitate a conversation can get you going on a great foot right away.
-          Transition from past managers - If you are taking on an employee from another manager within the same organization, book time to do a proper transition. Ask them to share previous performance reviews and tips for management.
-          Talk about your management style – just like you want to get to know your new team, they want to get to know their new manager. Talk about tips for working with you, the working environment you like to create and your plan for the team.
-          Have regular team updates – book a bi-weekly or monthly meeting with your direct reports to discuss your findings, recommended changes & the team’s progress. This will help you create buy in and overall transparency and be viewed as a leader who is creating team work right from the get go!
For those who have recently moved into a new role managing a new team, what do you think about the above tips? What helped set off your new relationship for the better and what do you wish you had done differently?

Stay posted for next week's post on tips for employees with new managers.