Let’s face it – job searching isn’t any fun and if your job search method is a waste of time , then the whole activity of job hunting can often turn into a personal nightmare. Read more
We get calls every day from candidates who have simply ‘had it’ with their current job or boss, but don’t know how to keep their job search private online, on LinkedIn or otherwise. Read more
There are first interviews, second interviews, phone, Skype, Google hangout interviews, lunch interviews, and group panel interviews and informal interviews.But all of these sessions have a purposes and most even have some kind of “best practices.” Read more
Given the current news that is regularly broadcast about the latest redundancies in Australia & New Zealand, it might seem ridiculous to even consider turning down a job offer, particularly if you have been on the job hunt for the last six months or more.
Most of the hiring professionals I speak to say they have become very reluctant to advise anyone to turn down a job these days. This makes it very tempting to jump at the first thing that comes along after several job interviews. However, even in today’s job climate there are still some reasons to consider declining that offer.
So, you’ve managed to land an interview. Well Done! It means you have the employer interested enough to want to spend some time with you. This is a big deal. Hiring managers won’t want to waste their time on rubbish candidates. That means you have to meet and exceed their expectations if you want to land that job. While you can make an educated guess as to what those expectations are, there are some basics which you need to cover as well.
That’s what I am going to talk about today.
While you may already know that you need to be on time, we are always astounded by how many people are late to an interview. We often book coaching packages for people who are consistently and thoroughly late. Not by 5 minutes, but by 20 minutes, sometimes longer. If you show up to a face-to-face interview this late, you will be pushing sh*t uphill for the rest of the appointment. This is such a simple interview mistake that you can easily avoid.
“but I can’t help if there’s traffic or the trains are late”
No you can’t.
But you can always apply Murphy’s Law to an important interview: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. What you can do is plan for things like this by giving yourself plenty of buffer time. I always schedule AT LEAST 30 minutes for delays and getting lost. Using this strategy, I have never been late to an interview. Ever.
It’s possible, but you have to plan ahead.
Remember, first impressions last.
Do you have a phone interview lined up? Be ready at your phone AT LEAST 5 – 10 minutes before the scheduled time. Make sure the place you’re in is quiet, and free from distractions. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is background noise from the person they’re on the phone with. It’s a common interview mistake we hear about very often. Having a distraction free spot also means that you will give better answers in your interview.
Being too casual
When walking into an interview, you might not have any clue as to the company culture but this shouldn’t be because you didn’t try and find out. If you genuinely have no idea about a company culture, the best thing to do is to be formal until it’s apparent something else is acceptable. This means greeting people as Mr or Miss/Ms, conducting yourself in a way that’s appropriate at a posh dinner (or something similar) and shaking hands formally (no fist-bumping or other shenanigans).
If you are invited to be more casual, then adjust your conduct to the level that your interviewer works. What does that mean? Well, it’s hard to describe, as it depends on context. Follow the lead of your interviewer and adjust incrementally. Remember: “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”.
If your interviewer doesn’t invite you to be a bit more casual, or you’re just not sure, then stick to being formal.
If you are too casual, then you risk as being seen as unprofessional or uninterested in the role. To state the obvious: this is bad. Your chances of getting hired will be much reduced if you come across as too casual.
Language that’s, like, totes unprofesh
This ties in with being too casual. If your language is unprofessional, you’re not doing yourself a favour. Using words such as ‘Like’, ‘Totally’ or ‘Literally’ will be a strike against your name. This is a common interview mistake for young people to make – often because when you’re under pressure, you resort to what feels most comfortable.
When interviewing for someone to fill my job as marketing intern, Uli had the pleasure of hearing a candidate say ‘like’ close to 80 times. He showed me the piece of paper with the tally on it. Needless to say this person was, like, unsuccessful. For an interesting article on what these filler words mean, check out this article.
With this being said, you don’t need to use extremely formal or strict language. What I am saying here is that you shouldn’t overcompensate.
What’s a filler phrase? It’s a more sophisticated way of saying ‘um’. This is a less common interview mistake, but I want you to stop using this tactic before you start. You might think you’re being super smooth using these, but you’re not, and your interviewer can see right through these. What’s an example of a filler phrase?
“Well that’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked”
I admit I am guilty of this interview mistake. In my own defence, I had a complicated answer lined up so I thought I would increase the anticipation while I quickly got my thoughts together. But it’s best that you avoid it in the first place.
I know – you have heard this one a million times. I’m going to address this interview mistake just to make sure that we cover everything. DON’T USE YOUR PHONE IN AN INTERVIEW!
The only exception to this rule is if you are expecting an important call or are on standby for a damn good reason. Some good reasons include: a sick family member who you may be waiting on news from, a pregnant partner or anything else that is a big deal in your personal life. It’s really important to let your interview know at the start that you are ‘on call’ for this very (very) good reason. Say something like “I just need to make you aware I have a family member in hospital, so if I get a call from my sister/brother/parent then I will have to quickly take the call. I hope this won’t be an inconvenience”. Most employers should be ok with this.
This does not include waiting to hear from another interview, a call from your current boss or a call from your mates.
As always, remember to Keep It Simple Sunshine
Have you heard any horror stories of people making these sorts of mistakes? Do you think there should be more included here?
Job hunting sucks. We all know that. The usual job search experiences range from seemingly unending rejections to permanent communication black holes from job sites or recruiting firms. The whole experience is definitely no fun, particularly if you are unemployed with bills to pay. Read more
During the last 21 months since we started TheJobSearchCoach, some of our coaches, (me included) have talked to over 300 job hunters about their job hunting or careers. Many of these job hunters express their worries – for reasons we all understand – as they are stressing out about finding new or better employment. Read more
You’ve been looking all over for a job. But it seems no matter what you do, you just can’t land one. The stress kicks in. Constant rejection destroys your confidence. And your actions are showing that you’re getting desperate. Learn the top 10 job application mistakes everyone makes and how you can avoid them. Read more
Whether you like it or not, recruiters, potential employers, the competition and anyone with a computer has the ability to check out your online identity. This is most common on LinkedIn, because that’s what it’s there for: a professional profile making you look all professional (and stuff). BUT it usually doesn’t stop there, as the same people are just as likely to check you out on other social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and G+
So if you want to be in the running for that dream job, make sure you stop, think and consider some, or all, of my social media career survival tips next time you post on social networks.
Social Media Monitoring and Checks
Reppler, a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image, conducted a survey of 300 hiring professionals in 2013 – 2014 and found that 91% of respondents thoroughly scrutinize an applicant’s online reputation during the hiring process. Here’s an interesting infographic on the subject.
It’s safe to say that what you do on social media these days can definitely impact your career path and employability. Professionals in the hiring trade will use any tool available to avoid an egg-on-face situation before inviting you to a job interview or introducing you to their client. With this being said, you can secure your social media image with these 10 steps.
# 1 Be a Social Butterfly
Become a listed and active member of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ as this does more than just make you look like a go-getter. It helps to eliminate the possibility of undesirable and uncontrolled information about you from making its way to the top of a Google search. These sites are so popular that results from this page always rank highly. That way any unauthorized content related to you (if it exists) is less likely to make an appearance to a possible employer. Contact us if you want to know more, or simply read up on previous blog posts on the subject.
# 2 First Impressions Count
You have only a few seconds before a view forms an opinion, so ensure that your social media accounts provide the best impression of you.
Everyone can benefit from regularly reviewing their profile once in a while. You’d never go into an interview with an out-of-date CV, so why ignore your social media profiles?
Make sure your social media accounts are completed, ensure that all your profile info is accurate, up-to-date and consistent across your various social media accounts. Most importantly always double check your privacy settings! Use a recent photo where you look smart and casual and don’t forget to smile.
# 3 Be a Social Networking Ninja
The ever-evolving nature of social networking has made it necessary to always clean up, and I mean more than just your browser history. Hide any networking nasties by pumping-up your social media security settings. That means selecting the highest privacy settings possible in all platforms in which you are active. Be aware: setting photos to ‘friends, network and friends of friends’ in Facebook is not going to keep photographic evidence of your naughties in safe hands. If any photos of you caked in beans are visible, make sure it’s you taking part in a charity event. Similarly – review the likes and events you are associated with.
Being part of a sexist or politically sensitive group or showing evidence of attending anything controversial is not likely to win you job application points. Also, check out the security settings of your friends and the stuff they are posting about you. The last thing, you want, is a clueless friend stuffing up your job applications for you. I’m not kidding, contact me anytime if you want to learn more on that subject – I am happy to assist. We have attended to many clients and showed them how important it is always to be aware of privacy settings as the activity of friends can affect your profile through image tagging and wall posting.
From time to time, social media platforms will add new features or update their privacy terms. So, whenever you’re informed of “updates” by-way of an automatic email from your preferred social network, examine privacy settings for signs of change. Profile updates could include reformatting of such settings and introducing new options that are defaulted to whatever the social network site decides.
# 5 Toot your own horn
We all brag a bit from time to time. You just have to look at your CV to know you’re guilty of it. But why not highlight your professional and personal achievements on social media? I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want to be ‘that person’ who’s constantly bragging about their achievements, but it doesn’t hurt to be a little proud of yourself. Good things happen to those who hustle.
Highlight your achievements, post updates about your work and the results you achieve on a regular basis. Source recommendations and referrals from your existing professional contacts: especially when you are in job hunting mode.
# 6 Become a Sounding Board of Good News
It’s ok to do a little self-campaigning but don’t just focus on yourself all the time. No one is interested in being connected with someone who focuses solely on how wonderful and successful they are. Just like you’d interact with different groups, use social networks to post interesting industry news, join in and contribute in discussions and polls on topics relevant to your work or personal interests.
Be genuine and honest and likable. By placing yourself at the centre of topical industry discussions, you’ll not only raise your personal profile among your contemporaries, you’ll demonstrate your passion and engagement with your work: an attractive quality to any future employer! Talk is cheap – potential employers like to hire doer’s not just talkers.
# 7 Perform a Positive Google Bomb
This is a simple but very effective activity if you have some time to kill. Simply conduct repeated Google searches of your own name with added words that highlight achievements. This is especially effective if these searches lead to information about achievements you otherwise wouldn’t put on a resume for the sake of space. Athletic, volunteer or academic achievements are a good example of search terms to Google bomb.
# 8 Shut Up!
I know it’s a bit harsh, but seriously, how else should I describe this one? “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. Wise words, particularly in relation to anything written online. Written content is everywhere, lasts longer than you think and can be publicly read all over the web. Don’t be tempted to reply negatively to content on Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Don’t bad mouth your employer, boss, colleagues or customers, as these comments have a nasty (yet strangely reliable) habit of being picked up and shared with the very people you’ve insulted.
Don’t allow anyone to do damage to your reputation online. Stay cool, calm, and contact the person directly to suggest that you move the discussion into a more private domain if need be. If employers check you out online, they are likely to see the fall-out of any ongoing argument, so it’s better to be seen as a peace-maker rather than the aggressor.
What about Humour?!
Be careful with humour as it is very subjective and while you may be confident enough that your joke will be appreciated by those who know you, it may be judged as extremely offensive by others, including customers, clients, and potential employers.
# 9 Trust No One and Always Double Check.
These days nothing is private. Trust no one… ever. This a bit dramatic perhaps, but seriously, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable with your parents seeing it, then it’s not appropriate to upload on any social media site. Think twice before you post any images online and always double check the settings. Remember that it’s not just the photos that you personally post that you need to worry about: you also need to keep a close eye on any photos your friends may have posted that feature you.
# 10 Protect Your Reputation Now, and Clean up with these tools.
Regularly review your social media profiles to make sure your content consists of information you would like to share with employers.
For Facebook, Secure.Me is one of many free tools that reviews content, protects profiles from dangerous links, and monitors photos and friends’ posts. If you want to know more about safe online protection tools, contact me or read up on my other blog posts. If you want to get the best image and reputation out on Google, use BrandYourSelf. They can clean up for you and ensure that Recruiters and Hiring Managers only see the very best of you , when they start snooping on Dr. Google.
So there you have it, 10 top tips on how to avoid damaging your employability while using social media. Use some, or all, of these tips and remember to not shy away from being yourself. Everyone has a unique personality, and the variations of our character are what make us special and employable. Continue sharing about yourself, just keep the above tips in mind when posting on a public site.
Share this blog post if you know a job hunter or career changer who would find this interesting and feel free to comment with your own tips and tricks.
Social Media is a great and very effective tool to enhance your job search, just always remember to hunt wisely!
Job hunting sucks. We all know that, but silly job application mistakes can be so frequent that I struggle to be patient sometimes.
There are the basic mistakes like lengthy resumes, useless “objective/mission” statements, lies and then there are the BIG blunders like embarrassing email addresses such as email@example.com or letting your online profiles be public instead of private.
Our team at TheJobSearchCoach regularly (and discretely) share some of the funny and not so funny moments of our coaching experiences. I could probably write a book’s worth of funny and sad material on mistakes job seekers make, but that would make for a very lengthy blog post. So for now, I’ll start with the 3 most common job application mistakes that really hurt your chances of getting an interview.
Do you recognise any of these job application mistakes?
#1 You don’t have a proper LinkedIn profile
Seriously guys, we are approaching the last days of 2014 and you are job hunting without a proper LinkedIn profile? For white collar job seekers, that is one of the BIGGEST job application mistakes you can make.
I am amazed how many of our clients have a LinkedIn profile with no content.
First of all, LinkedIn is the leading place for hiring managers to cross check your application and resume information – to check you out so to speak and to find and hire employees. So, if LinkedIn is one of the first places where hiring professionals go to cross check or hire new employees, what possible excuse do you have for not having an up-to-date profile?
Recruiters and hiring managers almost always look up your LinkedIn profile. Why? Because they don’t want to waste their time. Simple. They’re looking for more information in addition to your application to better decide if you’re the right fit for that first step in the recruiting process. You guessed it … the interview. Not having a proper LinkedIn profile puts you at a disadvantage.
Do you want to be perceived as a candidate who understands how to use social media and is therefore be categorised as tech and social media savvy, or do you prefer to be stereotyped as one who doesn’t? LinkedIn is a social media site and when a recruiter cannot find you or check you out on LinkedIn, the first assumption is that you may not understand basic things like Facebook, effectively using the internet, mobile technology, apps or that are simply not social media knowledgeable in general. Invest those 15 or 30 minutes to update your LinkedIn profile and don’t let this silly mistake hurt your chances of finding a great job.
#2 You are too lazy to follow up
I know, job searching is no fun – but suck it up. If you’re seriously searching then you probably don’t have a choice so you need to ALWAYS follow up with employers.
After initially applying for a job, following up is a smart and easy way to separate yourself from the competition.
If 250 people applied for a position, you can’t just rely on the strength of your skills and experiences to get an interview anymore. After all, hiring managers spend an average of only 10 seconds looking at a resume. That’s simply not enough time to make an impression. In today’s age, you have to constantly search for ways to stand out from the competition. A simple follow up can accomplish that goal.
You can follow up in two ways: over the phone or online. Most importantly, each follow up must add value. The goal of a follow up is to engage the hiring manager in a conversation, add value to yourself and ultimately create an impression. You can use your communication skills to start any kind of conversation, but the easiest way is to say your name, why you’re calling and ask a good question.
However, following up in the correct manner can be challenging. We all get nervous and you want to really try and avoid saying the wrong thing or accidently creating the wrong impression. So… practice and prepare before you make that call. Contact us if you need some training or coaching. We can help you master this important skill. Also, why don’t you share your own insights, tips and tricks right here in the comment box? Sharing is Caring.
When you follow up, have a conversation and do your best to say things that add value to you as a potential employee. Remember, you may be talking to the person who is in charge of giving you the interview and possibly, the job. If you have a chance to mention your particular skills or experiences in the conversation, jump at the opportunity to do so. Try to sell yourself at any chance possible and mention anything that would make the hiring manager give you greater consideration.
A follow up encourages a hiring professional to think about you, and that’s exactly what you want. You took the initiative to make the call or send the message and created some kind of impression for yourself. If you do this for every job you apply for then you’re very likely to get more responses and interviews.
#3 Your contact details
In a perfect world, you would end every new business interaction with “do you mind if we exchange business cards? I’m always trying to expand my network.”
How do people get great jobs?
I’ll tell you how. It’s not who you know, it’s who wants to know you. If you make it too hard for people to get in touch with you then they just won’t be bothered because you are wasting their time. Get it? I am talking about having your details clearly at the top or bottom of your resume, cover letter and your email message (which is currently likely without a proper email signature).
It’s not that hard to set up a proper signature which contains all the info I would want to find about you. No matter what the document is, your name, phone/mobile, email address and possibly mailing address are must haves. If you are switched on, add your LinkedIn tag. Click here to get your own unique LinkedIn badge (you have to login).
Email is still the most common communication tool. An email signature is simply a few words that are automatically added to the end of every email you send. Most people use an email signature to display their contact details like name and phone number. So don’t forget it when you apply for jobs. You can set one up and turn it off and on as well so you don’t have to worry about including your signature on all your personal emails.
Let’s be honest here, there’s a lot more than 3 job application mistakes that people make when job hunting. Don’t be someone that includes a watermark of a fancy design and only half the required contact details, without a contact phone number or LinkedIn profile, and don’t be someone that expects the hiring manager to read and search through the documents to find your contact details. I’ve seen this many times… Ouch – that hurts!
If you want to get a job interview – follow these 3 steps:
- Impress me with your professional application documents, including your contact details
- Prove that you are savvy and connected to today’s world
- Deliver with a professional Follow Up
If you get all that right, I’d consider calling you for a job interview. Don’t wait – do it and remember to hunt wisely!