Interviewing Like A Pro – How to Highlight Your 5 Year Plan Even If You Don’t Have One

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Employee turnover costs companies a lot of time and money in hiring, training, and onboarding, which is why employers are looking for candidates who will stick around for the long haul. With this in mind, a hiring manager will typically ask you how long you see yourself staying with the company, or where you see yourself in five years. When they do this, they are testing you to see that you have your eye on the future, and that you see yourself sticking with the company for the foreseeable future. When answering these questions about your future, here are three important things to remember:

If You Have Had a History of Staying With Companies Long Term, Show It Off

If your employment history shows that you stay with an employer for several years at a time, highlight that and connect it to the long and productive career you see with their company.  For example:

“In my 12 years at International Co., I was able to start as a temp and work my way up to management.  I bring a lot of real world experience and expertise to Worldwide Widgets, and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership here.”

If You Have a History of Short Tenures, Talk About Why This Will Be Different

You could have a history of short employment tenures on your resume. Instead of trying to awkwardly avoid this fact, talk about what has changed so that you won’t be making frequent job jumps moving forward. For example:

“In the past my wife had a job where we had to relocate several times. Now that she is with another employer with a set location, I am now able to find an employer that I can plan to stay with long term.”

If it would suit the answer better, you can talk about your appreciation for the employer that would cause you to stay longer. For example:

“Worldwide Widgets has a stability which was lacking in a lot of former employers. I’ve read a lot about this company and everything I have seen has me believing that I would be here for a very long time.”

Show How This Job Fits In With Your Career Path

It’s always good to show that you are ambitious with realistic plans for how you see your career progressing with them. If they’ve laid out a likely career path for the job you are interviewing for, talk about how that meets your goals. For example:

“In listening to what you have to say about the job and the company, I have to say that it fits perfectly into my long-term career goals. I always like to be moving forward in my career, and this company seems perfect for that.”

On the other hand, if they have not laid out a career path for you in this job, take the opportunity to raise it as a question. For example:

“I’m very interested in staying with this company long-term. Do you have a defined career path for somebody in this role?”

Don’t Miss the Best Job Candidates: How casting a wider net can help you win the war for talent.

Transferable Skills

 

As recruiting becomes more and more challenging, employers are getting creative about where and how to find leading job candidates.  One easy change is to consider candidates who may have come from other industries or professions but possess transferable skills that will enable them to be successful in your position. This three-step process will help you expand your pool of candidates to shorten recruiting times and find even better employees.

  1. Identify the core skills you need. Take an inventory of the skills your employee will need to be successful in the position. Then evaluate each skill to determine whether it is a general skill like creativity, communication or project management that may be shared by people with many professional backgrounds, or whether it is a skill that really is unique to your industry or department.
  1. Determine what can be trained or learned on the job. Once you have grouped the skills into broad transferable and specific skills, look to the specific skills to determine which if any can be trained or learned on the job. Every job comes with a certain level of on-the-job training to come up to speed on your methods of performing tasks, so you may find that even specific skills will not be used right away and could be acquired as part of your onboarding process.
  1. Look to parallel or complementary industries and job functions. For those skills that really are specific and that you need from day one, look at candidates from parallel industries or job functions. Somebody who understands sales could perform marketing functions and somebody who has handled recurring billing for a utilities company many be able to handle it for a software as a service web start up.

With this foundation in place it will help you evaluate and target candidates you wouldn’t otherwise have considered.

Hit a Home Run During An Interview By Gathering Company Information

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The best way to prepare for a job interview is to do your research. It’s not enough to simply read over the “About Us” page of their website, try to determine their company culture, major projects, and anything else that will give you an edge. If you are able to talk about the company, including specifics, you will have a leg-up on the competition. Here are three important things to remember when it comes to showing you know about a company during a job interview:

Asking Questions Is A Great Way To Show You’ve Researched The Company

During your interview, you are going to have the opportunity to ask your interviewer questions. These questions are an excellent way to show that you’ve done your research and are actively thinking about how you will fit into the organization and what you can contribute. While you will have a chance to ask questions towards the end of the interview, try to weave them throughout the interview to not only get information about the job, but also to show that you have done your research. For example:

“I read on your website that you are looking to expand into the Southwest Region in the next couple of years. I’m from the Orlando area and have recent experience dealing with tax laws in Florida. Is Florida on your roadmap?”

Talk About How You Will Thrive With Them

Companies are looking to hire candidates who will thrive in their new position. One of the best ways to prove this is to use researched information to show how you would fit and excel. Instead of just saying that you would be a great match with the company culture, give examples of how you would thrive by citing examples from their website, social media pages, and company blog postings. By weaving in this information, you can show that you have done your research, and that you will be a perfect addition to their team. For example:

“I saw on your Facebook page that you have weekly potlucks. Not only do I love to cook, but at International Widgets I volunteered to put together potlucks for birthdays and special events.”

Be Ready With Facts And Figures

Having in-depth information on a company will show that you are better prepared than the average candidate. Being able to rattle off information regarding current projects, recent achievements, or relevant historical information will look impressive in the eyes of the hiring manager. Do specific research on the department you are looking to join. For example, if you are applying for a marketing job, know the number of followers they have on Facebook or LinkedIn, and style of their blog posts.

Janice Bryant Howroyd to be inducted into National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame

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BIG NEWS: AppleOne CEO & Act•1 Group Founder Janice Bryant Howroyd is set to be inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame in a ceremony on September 25, 2015 in Atlanta, GA. A North Carolina A&T State University graduate, Bryant Howroyd owns the largest minority woman-owned employment agency in the United States, The Act•1 Group, and received the inaugural BET Honors Entrepreneur Award in 2008. You can get more information on this honor at http://bit.ly/1KkLCuG. Congrats @JBryantHowroyd

3 Reasons Why More Smart Employers are Hiring Less Experienced Talent

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In view of the growing talent deficit, more employers are beginning to relax their job requirements to avoid productivity gaps. What many are discovering is that hiring so-called “underqualified talent” is an underrated strategy that can pay both immediate and long-term dividends:

Quickly Fill Productivity Gaps

Hiring less experienced staff means productivity deficits are filled sooner – and lost output is minimized. More than half (54%) percent of employers are struggling to find people with the right skills to fill posts. In many cases, it takes around 90 days for advertised positions to get filled. Rather than sacrifice months of productivity due to lack of qualified talent, consider someone with the fundamental skills and career potential to fill the productivity gap.

 

Diamonds in the Rough Often Cost Less

The lower cost of hiring less experienced workers can offset the reduced productivity or additional training that is required. In many cases, new hire success is not determined by qualifications, but on the new hire’s attitude: enthusiasm for learning, willingness to be a team player, motivation and even openness to (constructive!) criticism.  In many cases, employers who hire diamonds in the rough are happy to discover they have trained and invested in actual gems.

 

Less Turnover, More Loyalty

No matter what level of experience, many employees consider their feelings for their employer a huge factor when planning their future move. A fledgling employee that you take under your wing and train to realize their potential could, down the road, be not only a superstar, but also your biggest champion. With retention and engagement being a big challenge for employers, having people who sing you praises to both current and existing employees can be priceless.

While there are positions that definitely require specific skills and levels of experience, it could be to your advantage to review your open positions to see where you can hire for potential and attitude. As an employer you hold the cards, and opening doors to less experienced but bright, motivated and high-potential talent might be a powerful ace to have up your sleeve.

The Art of the Stealth Job Hunt

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Searching for work while currently employed adds a little extra juggling, but don’t let that stop you from making the change your career needs. By mastering the art of stealth job hunting you can keep working while pursuing new opportunities where you will be happy and even more successful.

Use your own devices for your job search

Looking for work can be stressful; especially if you think your current employer may find out and replace you before you find a new job. To reduce the chance of that, make sure you aren’t using company email or internet connections that could be monitored. Compartmentalize the job hunt by setting up a personal email address for job search related activities, don’t use company phones to speak with recruiters, and don’t print out your resume at work.

Manage Your Time

We’re often asked whether it’s better to schedule interviews before or after work. The answer is that it depends. Before work, you may be fresher, but interviews can run longer than you expect, and you don’t want to be looking at your watch the whole time. After work, you may have less energy, and you increase the chance of being late to the interview, but once you get into the interview, you can give it your full attention and won’t have to worry about a ticking clock.

When scheduling the interview be honest and upfront about your work schedule and ask how long their interviews typically run so you can plan accordingly. For instance:

I am very excited about this opportunity. I am still working though, and I always give my employer 100% of my focus during work hours. My normal work day is between 7 and 4, and it will take 20 minutes for me to travel between your location and my work site. Do you have a sense of how long your typical first interviews run? Is it possible to schedule something after 4:30 so we don’t have to worry about the clock?

You may also want to consider using one of your vacation/personal days so you are free to focus on the interview without needing to worry about ticking clocks. This can be especially effective if you can schedule a block of interviews.

Keep your plans to yourself

A job search calls for effective networking, but be cautious about reaching out to people who used to work for your current employer. If that’s the only way into a target company, it could be worth the risk, but be aware that those people likely still have ties to other current employees and it could get back to your boss. To maintain confidentiality, put most of your focus on connecting with people you used to work with at other companies or family, friends, and current social groups who are not connected to your current employer. You can also use an agency like AppleOne that can conduct a confidential search on your behalf or just keep an eye out for positions that may interest you.

Be very conscious about how to communicate on social media – be careful about what you post, tweet, share, like, update, etc. Re-evaluate/update your social media account privacy settings and manage your broadcast settings. Throughout your hunt, branding yourself is a top priority – you will want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete – but you want to be sure every update is not broadcast to all of your connections. On LinkedIn change your broadcast settings so all of your connections don’t see every update.