Tom Gimbel is the President and CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing firm. Founded in 1998, LaSalle has served thousands of clients and candidates, placing job seekers in temporary, temporary-to-permanent and permanent positions. LaSalle is the only Illinois-based staffing firm named on the Inc. 500/5000 list for the last seven consecutive years. ReadTom’s latest on his blog, Past Five, or tweet him @TomGimbel.
This New Year, 83 percent of Americans will have one resolution in common: looking for a new job. The start of a new year is a great time to hit the refresh button on the job search and consider adopting new techniques while purging bad habits. Here are a few things candidates should consider before their next interview of the New Year:
Clean up social media – Before doing anything, it’s important to clean up all social media pages, delete inactive accounts and remove inappropriate content. Hiring managers sometimes reference a candidate’s Facebook or Twitter page to validate what is on their résumé or what was said during an interview, so keep it professional and keep it clean. It’s okay to post personal information, but not too personal….no one wants to hear about a sick cat or the details of a messy breakup.
Refresh your expectations – If a jobseeker has been unemployed for a long time, what they think they’re worth and what they’re worth in reality may be two different things. It’s like putting your house on the market. You put a worth of what you think is appropriate, and the longer it’s on the market, the less desirable it becomes. The same thing is true with jobseekers. If they can’t get a job at the salary they want, they may be out pricing themselves in the market. Instead, jobseekers should be willing to take a pay cut or accept a lower salary because you may not be as good as you thought you were.
Submit customized material – The quickest way to get a hiring manager’s attention and land an interview is to submit customized material, a cover letter and résumé tailored to the specific position. Candidates should highlight how their skillset matches the position requirements and explain how they will help the company grow in the first 30…60…90 days on the job.
Prepare – Research and study the position, the company, and the hiring manager’s background and interests. Prior to an interview candidates should, find a commonality between themselves and the hiring manager that can kick off a conversation. Be sure to share the information learned about the company in the interview…it shows preparation and interest.
Look polished – Comb your hair. Iron your pants. Shine your shoes. Looking disheveled shows laziness, carelessness and lack of professionalism. So, invest in a professional wardrobe. I recommend gray or black suits and navy or white dress shirts. Dress the part to get the role.
Be confident – Of course it’s important to be heard, but shouting comes across as being defensive and whispering just shows fear or weakness. Find a comfortable voice and stick to it throughout the interview. Don’t discount nonverbal communication! Sit up straight, uncross your arms, stop jiggling your foot and make plenty of eye contact during the conversation. Eye contact is critical!
The Follow Up – Regardless if it’s handwritten or sent via email, be sure to send some form of a thank you letter after the interview. A candidate should send a note one or two days after the first interview, then wait about two weeks to follow up if they haven’t heard anything back. The key here is sending different letters per hiring manager. Show your interest in the conversation and mention something that was brought up during the interview.