In today’s world of social distancing and Zoom meetings, virtual interviews are becoming the norm. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, studies showed around 75% of hiring executives used video interviews to connect with leading candidates. (more…)
Your resume is your ticket into the hiring process, and a strong interview performance can keep you in the running. However, to get the offer, you must have solid professional references, which can sometimes include a letter of recommendation. In fact, it can make or break your chance of securing your dream job. (more…)
Hiring mistakes are costly. In fact, one survey found that companies lost $14,900 on every bad hire in 2017.
Unfortunately, mishires are all too common with 74% of employers saying they’ve hired the wrong person for a position.
These numbers suggest that steps in the hiring process are flawed. The interview is a top suspect since companies normally lean heavily on interviews to choose a candidate. According to Murray Resources, 90% of survey respondents ranked the interview as the first or second most important factor in the hiring decision.
But unstructured interviews — interviews that have no set list of predetermined questions — are limited in their ability to produce qualified hires. Research suggests that standard, unstructured interviews are one of the worst ways to successfully select the right person for a job.
Here are three problems with relying too much on unstructured interviews and what you can do instead.
Interview Issue #1: Interviewer Bias
Interviewer bias is a common problem with traditional interviews. In fact, 42% of recruiters cite interviewer bias as a challenge. Interviewer bias means that our own conscious or unconscious biases skew our judgment of a candidate and their potential fit for a role.
There are different types of interview bias. For example, similarity bias is when the interviewer likes the interviewee because the person is similar in appearance, interests, background, etc. Confirmation bias is when an interviewer makes a quick decision about an interviewee and confirms that belief throughout the interview, even if it’s inaccurate. Intuition bias is when the interviewer trusts their “gut feeling” about an interviewee, instead of the candidate’s skills and experience.
The list goes on, but the damage of interviewer bias is clear. Interviewer bias isn’t only harmful to hiring decisions – it also makes it harder to generate a more inclusive workforce. Considering that a diverse workforce performs better, interviewer bias is worth eliminating.
Interview Issue #2: Top Candidates Aren’t Always the Best Interviewers
A great job candidate doesn’t necessarily equate to a great interviewer. Why? Great candidates with steady tenure don’t interview often. As a result, they don’t have as much practice sharpening their interview skills.
This lack of practice creates a distinct disadvantage for the candidate, especially if a hiring manager is relying on an unstructured interview to make the final hiring decision.
33% of employers say that they decide if they’ll hire a job candidate within the first 90 seconds of an interview. The best candidates might then be overlooked thanks to unpolished interviewing skills.
Interview Issue #3: Job Hoppers Have Extensive Interview Experience
Throughout the interview process, you’ll likely meet job hoppers — employees who regularly change roles every year, unrelated to layoffs, market downturns, or any other factor outside their control.
These employees are skilled interviewers because they have the most practice. They are also easily able to answer tough questions with confidence. Confidence is one of the most admirable traits in a candidate, according to 42% of HR professionals.
Unfortunately, hiring a job hopper can be costly if the candidate repeats their pattern and leaves the company within a year or two. The cost of employee turnover can range from 16%-213% of the lost employee’s salary.
Approach Interviewing Differently
Interviews shouldn’t be eliminated from the hiring process as they provide an excellent opportunity to build relationships and learn more about a candidate. Expectations for a role can also be set within an interview.
However, unstructured interviews are a problem. Here are ways to rethink the structure of an interview and how to better fit interviews within the recruiting process.
Solution #1: Follow a predetermined interview scorecard
A predetermined interview scorecard reduces the potential for bias within an interview. You can develop a baseline of standard interview questions for each skill related to the position, as well as a predetermined grading scale – the process is then fair and objective. All candidates are judged by the same scorecard and grading system.
For example, say that your scorecard has questions to assess a candidate’s leadership skills, culture skills, and technical skills. Each skill has a grading scale from “Low” to “Outstanding” that you can use to score the candidate. Companies like Google use this method as part of their hiring process.
Granted, it’s challenging to create scorecards for positions over and over again. It’s why many people don’t adhere to structured interviews. They feel confident in their ability to judge people without guidance. But the truth is, objectivity is needed in the hiring process. Interview scorecards add in a layer of objectivity.
Solution #2: Conduct pre-employment assessments
Pre-employment assessments evaluate candidates based on a consistent rating system. This method is proven to remove bias from the hiring process. It’s also a time-efficient way to screen applicants.
Pre-employment assessments are also called job assessments or skill assessments. Employers use these tools to objectively assess job candidates before they make a hire. These assessments can be cognitive tests (verbal/numerical reasoning), skills assessments (ex: Excel or typing tests), personality assessments (ex: Myers-Briggs), or job fit assessments (ex: Birkman for sales, Predictive Index).
Here’s how the hiring process might work for a sales role, with assessments integrated:
- Sales aptitude assessment (ex: Predictive Index or Birkman)
- 20-minute phone screen with hiring manager
- Personality assessments (ex: DISC)
- 60 minute, in-person interview
- Sales presentation / Blind audition
In this example, steps #1 and #3 serve as objective assessments. Step #2 (the phone screen) helps eliminate some of the natural biases that come with face-to-face meetings.
If a candidate successfully reaches step #4 (the in-person interview), they most likely have the skills and aptitude for the role. The impact of interviewer bias is thus reduced.
Solution #3: Host blind auditions.
Have you ever watched “The Voice?” It’s a singing competition where judges have their backs to the stage. A singer performs and judges select contestants based solely on their voice talent. This method is designed to remove bias. A blind audition works the same way in hiring. It reduces interview bias and reliance on traditional interviewing practices.
Here’s how it works: During a blind audition, you have an applicant complete a job-related task such as writing a case study or finishing a coding challenge. The applicant is then hired based on their merit and skill, rather than solely on an unstructured interview. This hiring method also helps generate a more diverse pool of candidates.
Solution #4: Decide on an area of focus for each interviewer
Unfortunately, too many conversations after an interview go something like this:
Interviewer #1: “What did you think?”
Interviewer #2: “I liked her. I think she could fit well here.”
Interviewer #1: “I think so too. And her experience with XYZ company was great.”
Interviewer #2: “Let’s ask Barbara what she thought.”
Despite this not being the most rigorous evaluation process, it’s far too common.
Here’s how to avoid a simple “thumbs up or thumbs down” hiring decision with the interview team: Give each interviewer a particular area to evaluate such as the interviewee’s culture fit, technical skills, or managerial acumen. Base evaluation assignments on each interviewer’s position within the company.
For example, the HR manager might evaluate managerial skills or culture fit. The hiring manager could evaluate technical skills. By dividing responsibility, all areas of an open interview are evaluated more objectively.
Beyond the Unstructured Interview
There are always mistakes involved in the recruiting and hiring process, but a poor interview system shouldn’t dictate who you hire. You might overlook the most qualified candidates. Introduce a level of consistency and objectivity into your hiring process and step away from the unstructured interview – your chances of mishiring will go down significantly.
Finding a job has become increasingly difficult.
Despite “business as usual” for some industries, overall hiring has slowed since March. Job postings were down 29% in June 2020, as compared to the same time in 2019. And in Houston, 35% of jobs were impacted by COVID-19.
In the midst of the downturn and more people flooding the job market, it has become more difficult for job seekers to stand out. Extensive skills and experience don’t guarantee an interview, even with an above-average resume.
That’s why out-of-the-box strategies for job hunting can pay off. I recommend the following five methods to break through and separate yourself from the pack.
1. Target executives
It may be counterintuitive, but the higher you go up in the chain at a company, the more likely you are to get a response. Approach executives with a thoughtful email clearly highlighting how you’re going to add value to their company and you’ll be surprised how many will respond.
Executives are busy, but one of the ways they got to where they are is by being efficient with their time. It’s well known how responsive billionaire businessman Mark Cuban is over email. Same with the late Steve Jobs.
Why are executives more likely to respond? Because they feel the pain of unfilled positions most acutely. If a project can’t be completed, it’s the executive who feels the greatest pinch from the loss of revenue.
Start by making a list of companies where you would like to work. For each company, find the executive(s) who relate to the type of position you want.
This executive might be the CEO, CFO, or COO. Find their email through online tools such as Twitter’s advanced search or Hunter.io.
Draft an email to the executive. DON’T simply ask if they’re hiring or send your resume. Instead, highlight key results from past positions. What unique skills can you bring to the table?
Also, don’t give up after the first email. One small business owner sent 380 emails to Marcus Lemonis, CEO of the Camping World and star of The Profit, before securing a meeting and funding.
2. Create content
Do you have a blog? Have you written articles on LinkedIn? Establish your credibility by writing content and demonstrating that you’re a subject matter expert.
You may attract potential recruiters/hiring managers, but at minimum, the visibility will pay off when recruiters and hiring managers are doing their research on your candidacy for a role. Hiring managers will see your thoughtful articles, helping you stand out from competitors.
Choose a content creation platform such as your own blog, Medium, or LinkedIn. Brainstorm articles that you’re uniquely qualified to write.
For example, if you’re a sales manager, you could write about effective cold calling tips. If you’re a project manager, you might create a comprehensive guide to project road mapping.
These articles don’t have to be long (e.g. 500+ words), but make sure that the ideas are coherent and that the grammar/spelling is accurate. Focus on the quality of content and share your unique perspective or experience to shine as a thought leader.
3. Establish relationships through social media
Connect with people in your career field via social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. With this approach, you can show your work and experience in an organic way and catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers. And the more active you are, the more likely you are to see shared job postings. 73% of millennials found their last position through social media.
Which platforms are best? I’m a big fan of establishing relationships via Twitter. The platform makes it easy to access almost anyone within an organization. Users tend to be responsive and you can quickly build a following. On LinkedIn, you can also easily comment and engage with content.
Before jumping into posts and comments, first make sure that your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles are polished and professional.
Next, join relevant LinkedIn groups that align with your skills. Follow thought leaders and companies on Twitter within your career field. Set aside at least an hour per week to interact with people on these platforms such as via comments.
When interacting, don’t try to sell your skills. Instead, participate in conversations. Answer questions. Ask for advice. Most importantly, be authentic. This approach can quickly catch the eye of a recruiter and others within a company.
4. Offer to take on a project
Most executives have a nagging project they would like to take off their plate. And completing a task may be the best way to show potential employers your skills in action.
If you have the time and resources to be able to take on a quick project, the initiative will help set you apart from other candidates.
Consider it to be a “job audition.” The project might be something that takes you a few hours, but most job seekers won’t do it. You’ll immediately have a leg up.
Ask the hiring manager or a company executive what project they have that you could assist with – at no cost to them. Once they respond, outline how you would approach completing the project and results you’ve had with similar work.
As an example, maybe the executive has to write an article for a major publication. If your expertise is in content marketing, offer to write the piece. Send samples of similar work and a bullet point outline of how you would approach the article. If approved, write and send.
You might have to negotiate a realistic, 2-3 hour project (you probably don’t want a project that will take 10-20 hours). Such an assignment can quickly demonstrate your unique skills as a potential employee, as well as give you a glimpse of what working with the company would be like.
5. Have your resume professionally written
As someone who runs a professional resume writing service, I recognize that this recommendation may appear self-serving – but the fact is, most professionals don’t write resumes for a living and most candidates only update their resume when they’re seeking a job.
Unfortunately, 75% of resumes are rejected before they reach the hiring manager. Resume writers know how to effectively structure a resume, while bringing out and emphasizing information that hiring managers find most compelling.
Even the most experienced executives turn to resume writers to help give them an edge in the job marketplace.
Reach out to a qualified professional resume writing service. At ResumeSpice, we require that you first complete a quick questionnaire to better understand your skills and experience. You can then schedule a conversation with a resume expert and share details about your career objectives.
With this information, the resume expert can create a personalized resume draft within two business days for your review. Two rounds of revisions are built into the process. After any revisions, your resume is ready to send to potential employers.
This approach has proven results. Job seekers with professionally written resumes found a job at a 35% higher rate than those who didn’t.
Think outside the box
Hundreds of qualified people will often apply for the same job. But out of these hundreds, how many will take the time and initiative to truly highlight their skills and experience? Stand out in today’s competitive job market by taking a creative approach to job hunting.
Gone are the days when you could simply include “Microsoft Word” or “Data Management” in the skills and work experience sections of your resume.
Now, you have to be more creative to successfully show off your unique skill set. Don’t only “tell”; show what you can do with concrete examples – whether it’s a hard skill (e.g. technology) or soft skill (e.g. leadership).
Need a little help? Here are the 12 best skills (+examples) to include on a resume and grab the attention of your future employer.
1. Communication Skills
Type: Soft skill
Companies want employees who can effectively communicate with internal and external stakeholders. Here are a few examples of desired communication skills:
- Actively listening.
- Giving constructive feedback.
- Developing rapport with co-workers.
On top of verbal and non-verbal communication, written communication is high on the list for employers. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 82% of employers desire candidates with strong written communication skills.
In addition to listing “Communication Skills“ on your resume, you should also provide examples of your communication skills in practice.
Use numbers and quantify your communication skills as much as possible.
2. Leadership Skills
Type: Soft skill
Leadership skills are one of the top skills desired by employers (67% of employers list leadership as a top attribute of candidates).
Here are a few examples of what employers look for:
- Resolving conflicts.
- Delegating tasks to the right team members.
- Aligning team members to achieve goals.
In short, demonstrate how you led a project, team, or initiative within your last position. Give real-life instances to back up your claims.
Prove that you can lead and motivate others to help hit company goals.
3. Project Management Skills
Type: Soft/Hard skill
While you might actually be applying for a project manager role, employers for any position want to see that you can manage a variety of projects. Project management skills include:
- Leading projects through project management software.
- Prioritizing the right tasks.
- Managing your time to meet deadlines.
Communicate how you managed a project such as through strategy creation, meetings, reporting, etc. and the final results.
4. Attention to Detail Skills
Type: Soft/Hard skill
Details can make or break company activities. Show that you’re detailed oriented and can be counted on to accurately complete tasks. Examples include:
- Editing and proofreading documents.
- Processing reports and company-wide emails.
- Following workflow procedures.
While you don’t necessarily have to include this skill under the “Skills” section of your resume, you can include under the “Work Experience” section as an example:
And don’t forget to proofread your resume to give this skill credibility.
Hint: A professional resume service helps ensure that there are no mistakes on your resume.
5. Time Management Skills
Type: Soft skill
Time management skills prove to employers that you’re able to prioritize tasks, spend company time wisely, and meet deadlines. Skills include:
- Making time-sensitive decisions.
- Multi-tasking different projects.
- Managing appointments and deadlines.
Also known as a “transferable skill,” time management shows that you can ultimately meet company goals.
6. Self-Motivation Skills
Type: Soft skill
Especially as more jobs become remote, employers want to see that candidates can take initiative and don’t require constant reminding to complete tasks. Think of skills such as
- Taking initiative on a project without being asked.
- Asking questions to get clarification.
- Completing an online course to improve your skills.
Here’s an example of a way to quantify your self-motivation skills:
7. Organizational Skills
Type: Soft skill
A component of time management, organizational skills demonstrate that you can successfully focus on the job and efficiently handle the tasks required. Examples include:
- Planning company projects.
- Using digital tools.
- Managing team schedules.
As you can see, organizational skills aren’t just limited to a physical organization such as administrative work. Other types of organization skills include teamwork (e.g. collaboration) and planning (e.g. decision making).
Check out this skill in practice:
8. Problem Solving Skills
Type: Soft skill
Any company position comes with its own unique set of challenges and problems. Show potential employers that you can think outside the box to resolve conflict or handle difficult situations:
- Researching to understand an issue.
- Analyzing different solutions.
- Clearly communicating solutions.
Here’s an example of how to effectively communicate your problem-solving skills:
NACE found that 80% of employers want candidates with problem-solving skills. Make yours stand out with practical examples.
9. Teamwork Skills
Type: Soft skill
Almost 79% of employers want candidates that can thrive in a team environment.
Demonstrate that you work well with others by highlighting how you’ve collaborated or worked with team members in the past:
- Listening to coworkers.
- Having a positive attitude.
- Giving constructive feedback.
And, as always, give actual examples of how you’ve successfully been a part of a team:
10. Research Skills
Type: Hard skill
Research skills on your resume highlight investigative and critical thinking abilities.
Employers want to see that you can a) independently find answers to certain questions and b) can use research tools to find qualified answers. Examples include:
- Collecting data.
- Using digital research tools.
- Communicating research findings.
Research skills are especially important for analyst, marketing, design, product development, and finance positions.
Here’s an example of research skills in action:
11. Customer Service Skills
Type: Soft skill
Customers are the lifeblood of any company. Even if you’re not specifically applying for a customer service position, show employers that you have the ability to engage and retain customers:
- Having patience with customer questions.
- Finding solutions for customer problems.
- Following through on customer requests.
33% of Americans say they’ll likely switch companies after one poor customer service interaction. Communicate with employers how your skills will help keep customers happy.
12. Technology Skills
Type: Hard skill
Highlight your competency with technology – from programming skills like HTML and C# to productivity tools such as Trello or Asana:
- Using spreadsheets to organize data.
- Managing company analytics.
- Generating reports from digital tools.
59% of employers want candidates with technical skills. And almost 55% of employers desire candidates with computer skills.
Whatever position you’re applying for, highlight your relevant experience with technology. Here’s an example of what this might look like for a content marketing manager position:
Customize the skills on your resume
Each job that you apply to will require different skills. Start with the twelve listed above, but include the resume skills most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a “Marketing Manager” position, you might highlight your communication, project management, and teamwork skills.
For even more guidance, check out our professional resume services here at ResumeSpice.
There are 20 million open jobs on LinkedIn. 55 job applications are submitted on the platform every second.
In short, if you’re using LinkedIn as part of your job hunt, you want to stand out. A professional resume uploaded to LinkedIn can help you do just that.
How to add resume to LinkedIn
LinkedIn makes it easy for potential employers to scope out your skills and experience. In fact, you have three options to upload your resume with the networking platform:
- Upload resume as an attachment to your LinkedIn profile.
- Save different resumes on the platform for job applications.
- Add your resume through LinkedIn’s Easy Apply.
Here’s how to add your resume to LinkedIn step-by-step using each option. We also provide guidance on when to use each one.
1. Upload your resume as an attachment on your LinkedIn profile
Save your resume to LinkedIn as an attachment. With this option, a potential employer can visit your LinkedIn profile and download your resume directly from the platform.
To upload your own resume, start by clicking “Me” on your LinkedIn toolbar and go to “View Profile.”
Next, select “Add profile section.” Go down to “Featured” and then click on “Media.” Find your resume on your PC or Mac and open the document.
Title your resume and add a description (note: description is optional). Once you’re satisfied, click “Save.”
Your resume is now featured on your LinkedIn profile. A potential employer can view this document when they visit your profile, as well as download if they wish.
When to upload: You can use this LinkedIn uploading option when you are publicly seeking new job opportunities and want potential employers to be able to download your resume.
It’s important to note, however, that your resume contact information will be available to anyone who visits your LinkedIn profile. Consider creating a professional, separate email address and a Google Voice number to include on your public resume and protect your privacy.
2. Save different resumes to LinkedIn for job applications
It’s time-consuming (and frustrating) to upload a different resume every time you apply to a new job.
Luckily, LinkedIn allows you to store different resume versions. This way, you can easily select and send to an employer whenever you apply to jobs on the platform.
First, go to “Me” on the LinkedIn toolbar and then to “Settings & Privacy.”
Next, click on “Job seeking preferences.” Select “Change” under “Job application settings.”
From here, simply upload different versions of your resume. LinkedIn will save up to four versions of your resume for easy access when you’re applying for jobs.
When to upload: You’re actively applying for a variety of jobs on LinkedIn, each requiring a tailored resume. For example, say that you’re applying for marketing and sales jobs.
You have one resume targeted at “Sales Rep” positions while another is designed for “Marketing Manager” positions. Upload both resume options and use when applying to sales and marketing jobs.
3. Add your resume to LinkedIn’s Easy Apply
If you’re applying for a job through LinkedIn’s Easy Apply option, you can quickly upload your resume as you go through the application process.
Click “Easy Apply” on a job posting.
Fill out your contact info and then select “Upload Resume” to add the document to LinkedIn. Click “Next.”
Finish filling out any additional questions, review, and then submit your application.
When to upload: Use this option if you’re occasionally applying for jobs through Easy Apply and don’t need saved copies of your resume. You just need to upload as you go.
Upload a professional resume
Whatever uploading option you choose, a well-written, professional resume is crucial to the job-hunting process.
At ResumeSpice, we’re here to help. Our career consultants at ResumeSpice will expertly guide you through creating an amazing resume and LinkedIn profile. Contact us here or call us at 832.930.7378. We’d love to work with you!
There are a number of great resources that can help job seekers prepare for an interview—a quick Google search will yield advice on what to wear, what to do before the interview, what questions to ask during the interview, how and when to write a thank you note post-interview…the list goes on. While the hard skills are critical, our team at ResumeSpice believes it’s just as important to develop a healthy mindset going into the process. Below are some tips for calming the nerves and getting into the right frame a mind, so you can perform your best.
Preparation is Key
Pre-interview stress is normal. It’s your body’s natural way of preparing you for something significant and for most people, a healthy amount of stress helps them get ready to perform. However, if your stress level is bordering on high-anxiety, that can certainly have a negative effect in an interview setting. What we recommend is to prepare the questions you’re most likely to be asked and then practice answering aloud, either in the mirror or to a friend. The practice and preparation will help take the edge off and give you the confidence that you are ready for (almost!) anything you may face in an interview setting. Next, envision a positive outcome. Imagine yourself smiling at the interviewer, shaking their hand firmly, and then answering every question with confidence and poise. Imagine yourself shaking the interviewer’s hand at the conclusion of the meeting and then expressing interest in the role. Between your preparation and envisioning techniques, you’ll be amazed at the positive effect on your confidence.
Put Your Old Journal to Use
Keeping a log of your interviews and progress can be an extremely valuable resource tool. If you are actively searching, keep a log of your interviews, note your areas of strength, questions you struggled with, and how you would approach the question the next time you’re asked. This can also serve as a nice record for contacts, reminder to send thank you notes, and a record of your progress. If you find yourself in a rut or becoming pessimistic, your log can help serve as a reminder of your progress and the network you’re developing. You never know when someone you meet during the interview process might turn into a future co-worker, boss, or even a customer.
Capitalize on Your Strengths
We all have unique strengths and your future employer needs to know what they are. This doesn’t mean you will not be asked about your weaknesses during your interview. In fact, you most likely will. However, by knowing what your strengths are, you will have the ammunition to nail that question. When responding to questions about weaknesses or disappointing situations, tell a story about how you overcame your weakness (preferably a weakness that is unimportant to the job you’re applying for) using your strength.
Take a Walk
The power of nature is far too underestimated. It’s well-known that walking and exploring nature improves mood and short-term memory by decreasing blood sugar, cortisol (stress hormones), and rumination (repetitive negative thinking). Yet many of us regularly ignore that advice. Even during a stressful job search process, it’s important to take of yourself and take a walk. The benefits of a 30 minute walk will likely outweigh that of an extra thirty minutes in front of a computer.
Let us Help!
Preparing for a job search isn’t easy, but the good news is that you don’t have to go about it alone. If you need help with interview preparation or marketing yourself to employers by creating a great resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile, contact the career consultants at Resume Spice today. Let us help!
Think a follow up after an interview is a waste of time? Consider these statistics: According to a recent CareerBuilder study, 22% of employers say they’re less likely to hire a candidate who doesn’t send a thank-you note. What’s more, is that 56% said not doing so showed the candidate was not serious about the position. (more…)
Your interview is wrapping up, and you aced every question. You’re anxious to get out of the office and breathe a sigh of relief. But in your haste, don’t make a common mistake that many candidates do: not asking interview questions. (more…)
Most employers require a background check before completing the hiring process. On average, a pre-employment background check takes between two and four business days to complete.
While instant background checks are available, they often include incomplete or inaccurate information. A more accurate report, typically run through a third-party agency, will take longer – but is usually more thorough and accurate. The exact turnaround time may vary and will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Background check firm has difficulty establishing contact with former employers and/or educational institutions.
- Courts can be backlogged or closed for a holiday, which can increase the time it takes for a criminal records check to be completed.
- If your background history includes information from multiple states and/or counties – and/or includes positions outside of the United States, the search may be delayed.
Need help writing a professional resume that get results?
Turn to the professionals at ResumeSpice. We are the #1 rated resume writing and career coaching service on the independent review site TrustPilot. Read hundreds of our 5 star reviews here. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.