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12 Tactics Smart Job Applicants Never Told You

12 Tactics Smart Job Applicants Never Told You

Do job applicants even know how to apply to companies anymore?

Apparently not because Internet job boards still exist, and people still create cover letters.

I remember wondering when employers didn’t respond to me and I could never make it to the second interview. But then I worked in a recruiting position for five months and had a period where I went through ten jobs in several years to find one that fit my skills perfectly. I had all the odds against me to land another job: considered a job-hopper, poor work references, and a startup spirit.

Even so, I continued to land job after job using specialized tactics that I knew worked. Many of them are common sense, but sometimes you just have to hear it from someone who’s gone through the job applicant path ten times over.

If you’re looking for a job, here are the twelve tactics smart job applicants never told you.

1. They know Internet job boards have the worst jobs.

Great companies don’t waste their time posting on internet job boards. They compensate with their brand. Ambitious job seekers will naturally go to their websites or companies looking for the job application process. It’s an easy way to weed out those who are determined and those who are not.

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For small companies without a brand and a ton of potential, you can find them on AngelList and Crunchbase.

Keep in mind, applying using Internet job boards keeps you as just another faceless resume and cover letter. The truth is your personality is everything when finding a job that will fit you, so if you’re just another resume, you’re not applying the right way.

2. They don’t admit to being a job-hopper; they just say they’re a freelancer.

Employers still frown upon job-hopping. Even in today’s fast-paced world with constant innovation, and the need to switch projects quickly, they want someone who will be committed.

At almost every interview I’ve had, they’ve asked me if I’m a job-hopper. I simply reply, “I’ve been freelancing.” Not only does this make me seem independent, reliable, and able to complete projects without supervision, but I receive much more respect. In an instant, I’ve turned my biggest hurdle to the job process into a huge benefit.

I suggest doing some freelance work, so you’re not lying to them. There’s nothing worse than a job applicant who doesn’t speak the truth.

3. They know their best option is to walk in with their resume.

Applying for jobs online is outdated. I suggest going directly to the company with your resume. Each time I’ve done this, I’ve received numerous compliments on my courage and determination. Moreover, almost every time, I was sat down for an immediate interview.

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Companies want to hire the type of employee who’s willing to walk in and hand the boss their resume because it shows you’re willing to go above and beyond to get work done.

4. They know small growing companies don’t want the suit and tie.

When a corporation has hundreds or thousands of employees, their company culture deteriorates, and everyone begins to wear a suit and tie and look like clones. When you’re working for a small growing company and possibly right next to the CEO, they want someone who has a personality they can work with.

The suit and tie look doesn’t say anything about your personality. Moreover, the suit and tie are for those who need to cover up their lack of expertise with good looks.

5. They know wearing glasses improves their chances.

Hiring managers and employers have a biased perception on how interviewees look. I’ve received much more positive feedback when I wear glasses. Employers naturally assume I’m smarter and more reliable.

So, if you don’t have glasses, I suggest a pair of inexpensive fake ones.

6. They know employers only care about the numbers on your resume.

Fancy job titles don’t mean anything. You can invent your job title up; however, you can’t fake the numbers from completed projects. I suggest almost every line on your resume contain a number reflecting what you’ve accomplished.

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For instance, if I said I built a better customer relationship management system for our company, the employer would have no idea what that means. If I told them I had built a customer relationship management system that resulted in $40,000 more revenue and a 7% improvement in customer support satisfaction—now that’s cool.

7. They arrive with a checklist of the immediate value they can provide.

I’ve landed several jobs by sending the hiring manager a thirteen-page write-up on what I can do for the company once I start. If they know you can provide immediate value, then they are less likely to hesitate to hire you. This tactic has won a job for me fifty percent of the time. It’s an all-in method, but the employers give you tremendous respect.

8. They join companies with less than twenty employees if they’re looking for growth.

I don’t care if the corporation you work for is Facebook, Apple, or Google. If you’re the fifty thousandth employee there, then you’re the fifty thousandth employee in a corporate environment with little room for growth. I’ve worked with people who held jobs at all three of these companies, and I’ve learned more in a year of working for a small company than they learned in several.

The reason: The earlier you’re in a company, the more risk you have to take and more responsibility you must pick up. Both of these factors quickly push you up the learning curve. It’s harder but well worth it.

9. They know networking will always be the best way to land a job.

I know many entrepreneurs who skipped out on college because they receive incredible jobs purely through networking. They opted out from creating their resume to create a blog with a list of their projects and accomplishments.

Also, they attend numerous industry events where high-end players are immediately interested in speaking to them because of their enormous ambition for their age. When you’re the only person at a networking event under the age of twenty-five, people take good notice.

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10. They know cover letters are for those who don’t have exceptional qualifications.

You don’t need to bring a cover letter if you’re applying in person because you can quickly recite everything on that piece paper in a couple of minutes. So, if you created a cover letter and are wondering why you haven’t received a job offer, it’s because you’re applying in channels that require that piece of paper.

Remember, you’re a human being, not two sheets of scribble. If you can find ways to reach out to companies and show them that you’re not part of the line outside their front door, then they’ll show you respect. Job seeking is all about perception.

11. They understand that traditional resumes won’t exist shortly.

By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the workforce. Freelancers don’t have traditional resumes; instead, they have an online portfolio and excellent networking skills. These are the must haves to land a job in the next three to five years.

12. They believe corporate culture is more important than pay.

If you don’t like your fellow employees or your boss, you’ll hate your job. I’ve been there, and there are millions scared to leave this position because they might not land another job.

According to research, just 40 percent of U.S. employees trust their companies to keep their commitments; 52 percent don’t trust what their management tells them; 67 percent “do not identify with or feel motivated to drive their employer’s business goals.”
Sounds pretty awful, right?

If you’re looking to stay employed with a company for the long run, I suggest putting corporate culture first in mind. There’s nothing worst than working forty plus hours for a job you’re slow to get up for in the morning.

Most of all, continue to believe in yourself because your biggest obstacle is a lack of confidence.

Good luck on your job search!

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Published on September 17, 2018

17 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview And Land the Job You Deserve

17 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview And Land the Job You Deserve

There is one thing standing in the way of you and the job of your dreams: a phone interview. The screening interview is an opportunity for companies to narrow the list of presumably qualified applicants and determine who merits a closer look.

So many candidates exclude themselves from the phone interview by being unprepared or by failing to take this screening session seriously. A phone interview should not block you from living the life you have always imagined.

Here are 17 tips to help you ace your next one:

1. Clear the deck.

If you are reading this blog, you are likely busier than you would prefer or even imagine. Even when you schedule or accept phone interviews, they are likely sandwiched between meetings.

To show up fully present, energized and engaged, I recommend you clear the deck and give yourself at least an hour of uninterrupted time before and 30 minutes following the interview.

You can use the time to mentally prepare, develop a list of questions, rehearse answers to likely questions and ensure you are comfortable and ready for the interview.

2. Look the part.

It is no secret that we perform better when we look and feel the part. If you have a phone interview, dress up for the interview, if dressing up is comfortable and allows you to put your best foot forward.

Even though you will likely do the interview from home or a private location, be sure you are dressed professionally. This will allow you to be fully engaged and present.

In the event, the interviewer asks to connect with you via Zoom, Google Hangout or Skype, you will be prepared.

3. Resend your resume and cover letter prior to the call.

As a courtesy, resend your resume and cover letter prior to your screening interview. You never know if the person interviewing you has had a busy day or if a schedule change forced him or her to work from home rather than the office where the individual has access to their files.

There have been many times in my career where a last-minute change or a mix-up with support staff has left me scrambling at the last minute to find a candidate’s resume. It is quite embarrassing to misplace a resume and ask the interviewee to resubmit it.

You can save the interviewer the trouble and earn extra points by resending both documents in advance of your call. A simple message will suffice, such as “I am looking forward to speaking with you in an hour, and I am resending my resume to ensure it is at the top of your inbox.”

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4. Research the interviewer.

Once your interview is scheduled, be sure to research the person facilitating it.

You will want to Google the person and check their social media accounts. When you research the interviewer, try to get a sense of the individual’s personal and professional interests.

Once you identify those interests, acknowledge them in the interview, but do not dwell on them, because you do not want to make the interviewer uncomfortable. Follow his or her lead. If the interviewer indulges your questions or comments, by all means, continue the conversation.

I am always impressed when someone I am meeting with takes the opportunity to learn something about me ahead of time. This projects interest, which is important in my line of work.

5. Research the company.

In addition to researching the interviewer, be sure to research the company.

Ask people in your network if they know anyone who works or has worked for the organization in question. Conduct a Google search on the company, and be mindful to look beyond the first page of the search query.

If there are yelp reviews on the company, be careful to review those and look for trends as well as how recent the reviews were posted. While more recent reviews are obviously cause for pause, older reviews – depending on their nature – could be problematic as well.

6. Check the staff listing or “About Us” section of the company’s website.

Part of your research into a company is assessing whether you know staff or board members who are connected with the company.

Most organizations list their staff or board members in the “About Us” or “Our Team” section of the website. Prior to a phone interview, check these sections to determine whether you know someone who works for the company. If you do, reach out to that person to request a phone interview to learn more about the company.

7. Remember interviewing is a two-way street.

As much as the company representative wants to learn about you as the interviewee, you will want to learn about the organization.

Try to ferret out information on the company, the job for which you are applying as well as the manager to whom you would report. You will also want to ask questions to assess the interview process.

Additionally, because culture is important and will permit or slow your ability to do your job, ask questions to assess company culture, such as “What do your employees say they like most about working for your organization?” “What do employees say they like least?” “What do you do to create and maintain a healthy workplace culture?”

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8. Develop questions prior to the interview.

Prior to your interview, develop a list of questions about the company, the position for which you are applying, growth opportunities in the company, the ideal candidate for the position, and so forth. This will save you the trouble of thinking of questions on the spot during the interview.

I have found that once I become nervous, it is a lot harder to come up with questions on the spot, and interviews can be anxiety-producing without preparation.

9. Stand during the interview.

I train leaders and, incidentally, graduate students to become spokespersons.

I recommend that they stand during media interviews. I find that it helps the person speaking to project better, and it reduces the urge to get too comfortable in an interview setting and say something that could be too informal.

Similarly, I recommend interviewees stand for at least a portion of their phone interview.

10. Allow the interviewer to talk.

While it is essential you ask questions during an interview, you should not dominate the conversation.

Most people love talking about themselves and the company they represent, and it is your job as the interviewee to walk a fine line between allowing the interviewer to talk and interspersing questions when and where appropriate.

I am not suggesting you remain silent – you want the interviewer to learn about you; but you should ensure that the interviewer has ample opportunity to do what most people do best: talk about themselves and their work.

11. Refrain from multitasking.

We all live hurried lives, and most of us have to-do lists that are impossible to complete.

When we have multiple due dates and obligations, it is typical to want to avail oneself of every seemingly free moment of time.

When conducting or participating in a phone interview, be as present as possible. This means refraining from multitasking, which could mean responding to emails, text messages or social media messages. It could mean researching the company during the interview.

Whatever multitasking means for you, simply do not do it, especially during a screening interview.

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12. Conduct the phone interview in a place where there is minimal noise.

A common thread throughout this post has been that most of us live busy lives. So, it is natural to be on the go.

If you have the luxury of conducting a phone interview from home or a private office where there is minimal noise, do so. You may also rent a co-working space or ask a friend if you can borrow his or her office.

Whatever you do, select a place where there is minimal noise and distraction. The person interviewing you should not have to strain to hear what you are saying or compete with ambient noises.

When I am interviewing a candidate and competing with background noise, I grow frustrated and my focus can shift from getting to know the person to silencing the noise. Do not force your interviewer to choose.

13. Be punctual.

Do not leave the interviewer waiting. This is both rude and unprofessional, and it may count against you.

If you are able to follow my earlier advice and not schedule meetings within an hour of your phone interview, you should have no time being prompt for your discussion.

If you foresee that you will be late, be sure to give the interviewer a heads-up at least 15-20 minutes prior to the start of the call.

14. Focus on how you can and will help.

Let’s face it: people are naturally self-interested.

When you walk into an interview focused on what you can bring and how you can solve a hiring manager’s problems, you will set yourself and your candidacy apart.

Think about the challenges you could potentially solve and then share how your joining the team will benefit the company, not just you.

15. Take the interview seriously.

Do not assume you will have an opportunity to meet face to face with company representatives. Do not discount the weight that may be placed on phone interviews.

I once applied for a position on the East Coast while living on the West Coast. While my first interview was face to face, my interview with one senior leader was over the phone. I walked into the interview thinking it would be less intense than it was.

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From the moment the leader got on the phone with me, I was on my toes. I had to quickly recalibrate to handle the intensity of the questions lobbed on me.

To this day, more than six years later, that phone interview remains one of the most difficult interviews I have ever had. Fortunately for me, I was offered the job, but the experience still stands out as a learning lesson.

16. Send a thank-you note.

Kindness is underrated. We live in a society where most people are overscheduled and overbooked.

When faced with intense pressure, it can be easy to underestimate the role of kindness. But when someone shares a portion of the day with you by granting you an interview, you owe it to that individual and to yourself to send a thank-you note following the interview.

The note can be via email, a standard letter or a card. So few people do this that those who do stand out.

Become an individual who remembers this gesture of kindness and professional courtesy.

17. Be positive.

Energy really is contagious. If you don’t believe me, consider locking yourself in a room for one hour with people are upset. By the time you leave the room, you will be upset right along with them. It is natural to mirror the other person even if you do not realize you are doing it.

During your next phone interview, mirror positivity, both about the position, the company and most importantly, your skill sets. The interviewer will pick up on your energy and positivity and that will reflect favorably.

I cannot tell you how many times I have interviewed candidates who communicated no excitement or enthusiasm. Getting through the interview was difficult, not to mention, I kept thinking about what it would be like to work with the person daily.

Being positive not only helps you feel better, it helps the person interviewing you as well.

If you have read this list and want to add other tips, please tweet the link to this article and include the point you believe I missed. Use the hashtag #AceIt when you reach out.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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