Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for October, 2013

Conflict in the workplace

So, what creates conflict in the workplace? Opposing positions, competitive tensions, power struggles, ego, pride, jealousy, performance discrepancies, compensation issues, or just someone having a bad day.

Affects of unresolved conflict

The reality is that the root of most conflict is either born out of poor communication or the inability to control one’s emotions, and unresolved conflict often results in loss of productivity, the stifling of creativity and the creation of barriers to cooperation and collaboration.

How to effectively deal with conflict when it arises

  • Hit Conflict Head-on: While you can’t always prevent conflicts, it has been my experience that the secret to conflict resolution is in fact conflict prevention where possible. By actually seeking out areas of potential conflict and proactively intervening in a just and decisive fashion you will likely prevent certain conflicts from ever arising.
  •  Understand the motives of others: It is absolutely essential to understand other’s motivations prior to weighing in. The way to avoid conflict is to help those around you achieve their objectives.
  • View Conflict as Opportunity: Hidden within virtually every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching/learning opportunity. Where there is disagreement there is an inherent potential for growth and development. View it as an opportunity to build rapport and trust.

Remember that leadership and conflict go hand-in- hand

“Don’t fear conflict embrace it…it’s your job”– Author unknown

Do Your Homework

Is Research really all that important?

Yes, even sports coaches regularly name preparation as the reason their team won a game. Scouting – finding out as much as possible about an opponent prior to a game – is an accepted practice.  This same researching process is necessary for a job seeker to win in the job interview.

Why not wait until the interview to learn about a company?

As a recruiter, and having a candidate participating in an interview only to withdraw because of information you could have obtained beforehand is a waste of time for the employer and you.  One employer told me, “When an applicant shows me they don’t already know the basics of my business, I don’t waste time with them.  I cut the interview short; I don’t want them. “One job seeker who did not do this research told the employer, “What do you mean work weekends? That’s my party time.”- This may seem like an exaggeration but you get the point.  Research saves both us timeJ

Another reason to do your homework

Knowing the pay scale for the company you’re seeking employment from is important because you can under-sell yourself or price yourself out to the market by not having the information need to properly negotiate. Sometimes you will be given the pay scale information in the classified ad or by your referral source such as the employment office or career service center. Normally, an entry-level job seeker can get information about pay scales of a local business by networking or simply asking a friend who works for the company.

What is the most effective way to research the company I’d like to work?

According to the NY daily news, many people are finding the below recommendations to be the most helpful when scouting a potential employer.

Visit the Company Website -Visit the company web site, review the company mission statement and company history, products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site.

Use LinkedIn-Company profiles are a good way to find, at glance, more information on a company you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. Take a look at your interviewer’s profile to get insight into their job and their background.

Use Social Media-Check Facebook and Twitter. Become a Fan of the company on Facebook and follow it on Twitter. You’ll find information you may not have found otherwise.

So take some time, in advance, to discover as much information as you can about the company. Spend time, as well, tapping into your network to see who you know who can help give you an interview edge over the other candidates.


Dress to Impress

According to a study by Frank Bernieri, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, within the first 10 seconds of meeting your interviewer–otherwise known as the meet-and-greet–that person has decided whether or not you’re right for the job.

What does this mean?

This means, those who come across as polished and pulled together are simply more likely to be hired than those who are seen as putting in less effort.

According to Bernieri, dressing the wrong way is equivalent to the worst social faux pas: “like picking your nose during an interview.”

How to Dress for an Interview:

You should familiarize yourself with the employer’s dress policy, and be observant of the company’s culture. In both an interview and in the workplace, it is always best to err on the side of caution.  When in doubt, select more professional, conservative clothing.

Here are some tips for how men and women should dress for an interview.

Men’s Interview Attire

  • Suit (solid color – navy or dark grey)
  • Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
  • Belt
  • Tie
  • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Women’s Interview Attire

  • Suit (navy, black or dark grey)
  • The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
  • No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Neutral pantyhose
  • Light make-up and perfume
  • Neatly manicured clean nails

So Remember, dressing professionally demonstrates respect, and also shows the employer that you take the interview seriously.

Why do I get so nervous during a job interview?

I thought it’d be cool to explore the topic- “Why do I get so nervous during a Job Interview”.

If you’re feeling butterflies in your stomach, cold sweats or mild panic attacks (I’m kidding but you get the point) you aren’t in isolation.  Many of us feel nervous even when we know we’d be great for the job.  So why does interviewing make us feel this way?  Today I’ll do my best to answer this question and give you neat tips on how to get past interview fear and calming your nerves.

Why do I get so nervous during job interviews?

  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being judged.
  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being the focus and having to come up with good answers for whatever the interviewer asks.
  • You don’t know what they’re going to ask.
  • You don’t know for sure if what you say is a good answer.
  • You don’t like talking about yourself.
  • You don’t feel comfortable “selling” yourself.
  • You really need the job.
  • You worry that if you don’t get this job there may not be another chance any time soon.
  • You worry that you’ll sound stupid.
  • You worry that there is something about you or your background that they’ll hate.
  • You hate the thought of being rejected.
  • You think you have to be more than you are.

A few simple tips to help fight those interview nerves

  • Do some relaxation exercises the night before, when you wake up the morning of the interview and right before the interview. Gentle slow deep breathing is a very good way to help relax your body.
  • Visualize the interview going well and everyone smiling and shaking hands.
  • Practice interviewing prior to the interview with friends or family. Practice a lot until you start to feel comfortable talking about yourself.
  • Research the company as much as possible to help you feel on top of things so you can answer intelligently.
  • And most of all just be yourself J- you are fine exactly the way you are and have things to offer your potential employer.

If nothing else works give yourself permission to fail. That’s right…tell yourself it’s ok if you answer every single question completely wrong and come out looking like an idiot. This will help ease some of the tension.

Good Luck on your next interview!