Five Initial Signs That Your Job Interview Went Well

Of course, the ultimate sign of a successful job interview is being informed that you’ve secured the position. There are, however, some other — more immediate — signals that a prospective employer may be seriously interested in you as a candidate.

Here, we review some direct indications that you have “aced” your job interview.

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1. References were requested.

According to CareerBuilder.com, “If the hiring manager asks for a list of references, it means they are seriously considering you and want to make sure you are a qualified candidate”. Hiring a person who is the wrong fit for a position can cost a company thousands, so investing in this process is a good sign that an employer is considering hiring you.

2. You were called back for a second interview.

This is one of the most notable indications that a company is interested in you as a candidate. Interviewers who are unsure of an applicant, will tend to be more elusive as to “when and whether you could expect to hear back,” according to CareerBuilder.com.

3. They introduced you to other team members.

If you’ve been given the opportunity to meet with individuals not included on your original interview schedule — particularly those in high level positions — this can be taken as a positive sign. CareerBuilder.com reiterates, “Bonus points if they are a president or senior executive”. When high-level employees have been made aware of your presence, it’s safe to guess that news of your skills and expertise has created a “buzz” throughout the company.

4. You were asked about the specifics of leaving your current position.

Job candidates who have made it to the “short list” can expect hiring managers to request details regarding the length of time they will need for their job transition, or what agreements may be in place with their current employer. Employers looking to move toward a job offer are keen on identifying and solving “any potential roadblocks that would slow down your departure from your current organization”, according to CareerBuilder.com.

5. You were asked about your salary requirements.

While it is not recommended that interviewees volunteer their salary needs during a typical job interview, if a hiring manager directly asks you the specifics of your compensation requisites, this can often be taken as good sign. Although some interviewers may be looking to whittle down their candidate list through this process, many will not bother to bring up earnings unless they are already viewing you as a top match for the position. However, candidates should at least be sure they are prepared with this information, should the topic be broached by the employer.

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To Conclude

Although there may not be one definitive sign that you have landed a job immediately upon leaving an interviewer’s office, there are certainly ways of gauging the quality of your job interview. Each time you meet with a hiring manager, you are gaining valuable interviewing skills; so even if you did not acquire that particular position, you likely came remarkably close if you experienced many of the indicators listed above. Therefore, remain on track, learn from your feedback, and you should soon find yourself in receipt of a well-deserved (and well-fitting) job offer.

More from Stewart, Cooper & Coon:  Interview Advice: Answering The Question, “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Tips for Brainstorming a New Career Path

Time and Change

Sometimes we become so overly-involved in our established paths and daily routines that a day may come when you lift your head and wonder, “What am I doing?” Sooner or later (and sometimes more than once) we most all arrive at such a crossroads. This is a time for reflection if not a stern reevaluation of just what we’re doing with our lives. Beyond the childhood ambitions of becoming a firefighter or astronaut, deciding what exactly you want to do with your career is, most often than not, a rather daunting prospect.

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This is because, unlike our childhood selves, we have come to see that life is a journey of many detours, rather than a singular destination resulting in automatic happiness and contentment. Additionally, personalities and interests and talents may develop with time, and preferences frequently change. Colloquially speaking, you may have utterly loathed broccoli as a child, and it may well now be your favorite food. What changed, other than time and experience?

And so it is the same for professional careers. Naturally, the financial incentive plays a powerful role in one’s decisions of what path to take. There is, however, so much more to that equation if you want a career that is not only lucrative, but fulfilling and personally rewarding. There is no unwritten rule that says you can’t take pleasure in your work; in fact, the most productive and rewarding careers are those that intersect both passion and professional performance.

Strategy

With this in mind, how then, does one go about searching for the career that best suits individual interests and goals? The first good notion is fairly simple: Isolate keywords that align with your strongest professional experience and perform some basic online searches based upon those areas. Extrapolate a little and develop a touch creative. For example, if your work history is in sales, begin searching for and targeting fields which overlap with your technical expertise. If you have some computer skills, you could then try searching for “technical marketing”. The combinations are nearly infinite.

In all, it comes down to a matter of both strategy and approach. To take the refinement even further, consider some of the following questions:

  • What are your ideal work days/hours?
  • What kind of activities would you most enjoy throughout the day?
  • What manner of office or corporate culture most suites your preference?
  • What kind of people do you want to be working and collaborating with?

The answers to these questions will help you continue to filter as well as enhance your professional aspirations. The greater clarity you can put down on paper for your ideal match, the finer the returns will be for the companies that match the profile, and subsequently you can demonstrate why you would be such an excellent fit for their openings.

More from Stewart Cooper & CoonWhat To Look For In A Job Posting

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Wrapping Up

When it comes down to it, you have to really consider not only what you want, but what you don’t. If a company profile or history strikes you negatively, think twice before investing your time into it.

More so, remember that any choice you make is just a single step forward, not the whole game. Therefore, don’t become overly preoccupied with the notion that this new transition is going to a ‘forever’ choice. Rather, be aware that it could well just amount to few years of good experience and powerful new networking, or even just a springboard, which is equally valuable. There’s always tomorrow; so make it a good one.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon: Making Your Dream Job a Reality

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Job Seekers: Four Ways to Stand Out to Your Recruiter

When working with a recruiter, it’s common for job seekers to assume they can finally relax and allow their consultant handle all the work. While recruiters carry quite a hefty load of responsibilities to assure a successful matching of candidates and companies, there are certain actions that job seekers can take to increase their leverage among competitors, resulting in an accurate and speedy placement.

Related:  Behind the Scenes of Corporate Recruiting

The goal is to create a reason for your recruiting consultant to truly advocate for you; to become their “go-to candidate” for the best positions. So, how does a job seeker increase their value in the recruiting world?

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Sjoerd Gehring, Global Head of Recruiting at Johnson & Johnson, shares four key pointers:

1.  Be Ready and Organized.

One of the most important factors in a successful recruiter/candidate relationship is communication. Ensure that your recruiter is aware of your goals, skills and experience, as well as reasons for any noticeable gaps in your employment history. If they are in the dark as far as your background, they cannot effectively “sell” you to an organization, let alone the right one. “So”, Gehring advises, “proactively send them an updated resume if there have been any changes since the last time you spoke. Then, have your work portfolio and references prepared and ready to go as soon as they ask for them. Respecting their time – and lack thereof – will help you stand out”.

Related:  The Right Way To List Job Titles On Your Resume

2.  Honesty is the Best Policy.

If you are tempted to misrepresent yourself in any way because you think it will fast-track to toward a better position, let go of that notion immediately. This includes exaggerations or withholding important information that may impact your future employment. Without honesty, there cannot be trust, and if your recruiting consultant feels they can’t trust you, they may be quite hesitant to place or refer you. Gehring reiterates, “Just think how badly it will reflect on you (and the recruiter!) if you hold something back or tell a ‘white lie’ that later comes to light; [and] be under no illusion, these things always do”. If you do feel somewhat underqualified for a position, Gehring suggests highlighting your transferrable skills in an honest way.

3.  Show Your Enthusiasm.

Gehring agrees, “Recruiters are looking for qualified candidates who are serious about switching to the company they represent”. If a particular role is meaningful to you, by all means, let your recruiter know. Perhaps an organization possesses a similar value system to your own or you have a high esteem for their dedication to philanthropy or readiness to take on new forms of technology.  “Whatever your reason, demonstrate that affinity, so the recruiter knows why you’re committed to securing a role at their company,” suggests Gehring. Moreover, this information can be used to your advantage as a recruiter promotes you to the company as a well-suited candidate.

4.  Maintain Graciousness.

Perhaps your consultant has placed you on track toward a position that doesn’t quite appeal to you. If this is the case, don’t feel obligated to accept an ill-fitting role. However, it’s important to graciously advise your recruiter of your concerns as soon as possible so that they can begin working toward a new opportunity for both you and another candidate who would perhaps be a better fit for the position. On the other hand, if you are set for an interview, and experience a rejection, do not blame your recruiter or consider this the end of the road. Again, remain gracious for the opportunity, and move forward. You recruiter is likely actively working toward filling another role, so it’s important to remain in their good standing.

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Conclusion

As Gehring reminds candidates, as with any relationship (whether personal or professional), you receive what you invest; and this certainly applies to the affiliation between job-seekers and recruiters. Remaining conscientious, honest, motivated, and gracious can only bring positive results.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Unemployed’s Guide to Getting Hired

Those who are currently – or have ever been – unemployed can attest to the fact that it is certainly not a paradise. Despite the constant media banter about the ‘gainfully unemployed’ and those who adore consuming government benefits, we have yet to actually meet many people who would embrace a lifestyle of absolute minimums and purely subsistence level income (if even that, which it’s very often not).

In the vein of a realistic approach – and one that doesn’t commence by belittling those in an already uncomfortable position – let’s have a look into some of the particular (if not completely unique) challenges faced by those currently unemployed and seeking a good position.

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To begin, and this one is obvious, getting a job is considerably more difficult if you don’t already have one. Many people will tell you that this is all a matter of perspective and attitude, and to a degree they’re not entirely wrong, as impression matters a great deal. However, preconception can matter even more, and the conventional wisdom (antiquated as it is) does hold that if you’ve been let go from your previous job, there must be a good reason for it, and it most often tracks back into thoughts of the quality of your work and performance. What this perspective fails to account for is that we live in a day and age of major, sweeping layoffs; not the fine-edged, carefully tailored pruning of corporations of the past. Huge swaths of people will be sheared off the payroll for purely budgetary reasons on a common basis these days, and there is little to nothing they can do about it.

Moreover, the longer you’re unemployed, the more heavily the (possible) discrimination weighs. Consistent studies show that after eight months of unemployment, the hire rate drops by over 50%. That is a staggering number.

The Upswing of Impression

Despite having the uphill struggle already in play, impression can be a powerful ally to offset these poor misconceptions. By and large, the majority of your advantage comes in the face-to-face interview. Overall, these few tips will go a long way toward not only getting your foot in the door, but your feet under a desk:

  • Don’t appear too eager: As earnest as you may be in your ambition, visible over-eagerness is often, and unfortunately, read as desperation. While there are few situations more worthy of desperation than being unemployed (say, with a family depending on you), being perceived as such is almost always an instant shutdown. Therefore: Don’t be too quick to agree, don’t pander, don’t be overly obsequious. Although generally affability is important, seek the right balance and remember your value. Approach the interview with it firmly in mind that you will be a worthy asset to the company.
  • Stay active: Even when you’re off the job, you can still be active in ways that demonstrate the quality of your abilities and person. Volunteering is a huge bonus, especially in ways that give you managerial or organizing positions. Even if you spend a year traveling the globe, that allows you to bring some pretty relevant cross-cultural experience to the table. Get creative.
  • Be persistent: This is the big one and perhaps one of the most challenging. Powering through a wall of what can feel like pointless and endless repetition is, in a word, tedious, and possibly depressing, if you are not receiving the results you desire. However, if you can manage to stay positive and keep at it by sending out resumes and applications every day, following up with leads, and doing your research on companies you’re looking into, then it will pay off.

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The Takeaway

Although job-seeking while unemployed certainly holds its tests and trials, keep your ears open for advice and support that rings true, and maximize it to your advantage. Once you get past this hurdle — no matter how long it takes — you will be that much stronger for it; which is, after all, the very purpose of challenge, itself.

Further Reading:  The Best Ways To Save Time During Your Job Search

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

How Do Companies Know When It’s Time to Seek a Retained Executive Search Firm?

As a hiring manager, how do you know when the time has come to seek out a retained executive search (RES) firm?  The answer to that question is simple:  Every single time you are hiring a senior level executive.

Leaders may toss around figures like 50k and 100k, but the cost of an unfilled position is likely much larger than numbers written on a single check.  How much does it cost to divert the work of others to fill the gap until the role is filled?  How much business is lost?  How much goodwill could you potentially lose by openly poaching from partner companies?  How long is it going to take to personally find an individual with the precise mix of skills that you need?

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Residents of the C-suite should rather take a holistic approach to finances when it comes to hiring senior executives.  Using a RES firm is slightly more expensive than using contingency firms (no hire/no pay), but truthfully, when it comes to hiring executives for top positions, the latter are less suited to the task.

 

Compare and Contrast

Consider: Contingency firms get a list of requirements, sort through their files looking for reasonably close matches, and then forward some CVs in the hopes that you’ll hire one of them, and then the contingency firm will get paid.  While this is a legitimate working system, the time and detail dedicated to ensuring that a particular candidate is “the one” is significantly less. This is not to downplay the work or necessity of contingency search firms; simply to display how a different set of needs (i.e. filling an executive/c-level role) requires a more comprehensive approach.

The nature of contingency firms requires them to be less invested in one particular prospect; simply due to the mere volume with which they are dealing.  Contingency firms serve their purpose; they provide a broad range of candidates for many generic executive positions.  The candidates are vetted, but in all likelihood, not as thoroughly as you are going to need for a senior executive.

The last thing you want is to hire is someone with an obscured track record of failure.  If you don’t find out first, your competitors will, and they will likely have the ability to use it against you.  For instance, the last thing you want to discover is that your CFO was implicated in a pension scam in a foreign country, in a position that he or she held for only two months; one that was likely omitted from their resume.

RES firms provide thorough vetting of all candidates.  They approach them directly, interview them face-to-face, and then provide detailed assessments of the candidates to the hiring companies.  The reports often include intelligence assessments, aptitude assessments, and personality traits (a type of “psychometry”, if you will), as an aid to determining their compatibility.

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Time is Money

More importantly, RES firms provide credibility.  The “cream of the crop” that you are looking for may not necessarily be looking for you.  Top executives are well treated, well paid, and well compensated.  This amounts to them being passive candidates that are most likely not looking for a change.

Most top executives only work with RES firms.  It would be atypical for them to even consider working with standard headhunter who is looking to build a portfolio of candidates.  If the recruiter doesn’t come to the table with a solid, fascinating offer, there are plenty of other ways that an executive can use their valuable time to achieve their goals.

Skill and Experience

Even if the position isn’t the precise one which that executive needs, they are now aware that this recruiter has serious, legitimate offers.  Plus, studies have shown that executives are much more open to discussing their capabilities, desires, and accomplishments with a third party, rather than directly with the competitor looking to lure them away from their current position.

The fact of the matter is that these candidates are willing to discuss their goals, their plans for the future, and their ambitions. Simultaneously, RES recruiters have the advantage of getting to know the executives, not just for their capabilities and accomplishments, but for how they integrate with other team members.

Retained executive search recruiters decipher the environment in which executives will thrive; they can place them in corporate cultures that match their personalities and tendencies.  It is in the company’s best interest to obtain an employee for the long term, because the length of time that the average senior executive spends in a particular position is only three years.

If they are matched with the right company, the affiliation could technically develop into a years’ long employment relationship.  That, in turn, is going to save the cost of replacement, downtime, diverting other people to cover the necessities of the position until it’s refilled, and all sorts of other needless annoyances.

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The Takeaway

Ultimately, the RES firm will provide much greater value.  They have a vested interest in being successful because that will establish a business relationship, and then you will work with them again.  Better yet, you’ll recommend them to others.

Free up your HR department to do their real job of managing your people on a day-to-day basis.  In reality, they are likely not equipped for senior executive searches any more than contingency firms.  Hire a RES firm and let them get on with the job, solving your problem quickly and permanently.

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200