It’s a Candidate’s Job Market, but Some Selling is Still Required

From what we’re hearing from our sources in the industry, 2016 is shaping up to be somewhat of a seller’s market for candidates looking for new jobs.

This can tip the scales a little in favor of the candidate when it comes to negotiating for salary and benefits. What it doesn’t do is offer a free interview ride for job-seekers and it doesn’t mean all interview etiquette and basic rules go out the window. Here are a few tips to think about when working with a recruiter.

I’m always a little surprised and quite a bit put off when I interview candidates who don’t understand how to conduct themselves in a job interview. Naturally, candidates want to come across as confident, but I see too many who’ve confused confidence with “you’re lucky to have me” cockiness.

Be prepared for the interview.

With all the information in the world electronically available at our fingertips what possible excuse can a job-seeker have for not preparing for an interview with some basic information about the hiring company?

At ProTech some of us wear two hats in hiring situations – on the one hand, our talent division spends a lot of time coaching people on how to conduct themselves during job interviews with our clients. On the other hand, as a fast-growing technology company we do our fair share of hiring new employees. From some of the candidates I’ve interviewed, I can only say that I wish they’d had a recruiter on the front end explaining the right way to prepare when asking for a job.

Let’s start with questions from the candidate.

Maybe this is generational, but I’m seeing more and more candidates who don’t ask questions during or at the end of an interview. Along the same line, why would anyone not take notes during the meeting? Do applicants think no questions implies that they have such a grasp of the topics discussed that no possible questions remain? And so great a power of retention they’ll remember every key detail?

What this tells me is, 1.) this applicant didn’t prepare for the interview, and 2) this person is not concerned with details and follow-up. Not good qualities for someone I’d need to trust dealing with ProTech’s customers. Ditto with communication skills, if you can’t carry on an intelligent conversation with me, how can I expect better when you’re talking to our customers?

On the flip side, our ProTech recruiters spend a lot of time making sure job candidates we recruit and send to our clients don’t make these easily corrected mistakes.

Here are some of the tips we arm our applicants with before sending them out for an interview:

  • Ask good questions. Asking a lot of questions does not mean you don’t “get it.” It demonstrates that you’re thoughtful, engaged and interested in understanding more about the company. If no questions come naturally during the interview, come with a few in your back pocket – like “what are some short- and long-term objectives I’d need to focus on in this job?” Or, “what distinguishes your company from the competition?” “What do you see as the most difficult aspects of the position?”

  • Be confident, not cocky. Do be confident in presenting yourself as the best candidate for the job. Don’t be overly confident and assume the job is yours for the taking.

  • Take brief notes during the meeting. I can’t remember every detail, why would expect the applicant to be different? Of course, don’t get so involved in note-taking you miss what the interviewer is saying, but do take brief reminder notes. You’ll be glad you did when it’s time for follow-up.

  • And speaking of follow-up, remember to do so after the interview. At ProTech, our customers are our lifeblood. They’re very important. If you don’t follow up with me, how could I be confident that you’d provide needed follow-up with them?

  • Try to, uh, you know, communicate well. There are several questions you know will come during a job interview – such as, “tell me about yourself.” Formulate your answers to these general questions and practice your answers in front of mirror. Do this until you’re confident you’ll answer the questions in a succinct and polished manner.

These are just a few of the obvious ones; here are some more interview tips to land you the job. Our ProTech recruiters have lots more to share with job candidates, even how to dress for the interview and how to followup afterwards

This year is expected to be a candidates market, with 61 percent of hiring managers and recruiters surveyed anticipating they’ll hire more in the first half of 2016 than the last half of 2015. But that doesn’t mean snapping up those jobs is a walk in the park.

By Dan Weddle

President, ProTech Systems Group Inc.

Posted by Dan Weddle at 3:30 PM
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