Four Ways to Impress a Recruiter in Your First Meeting

Capturing the attention of a quality recruiter is often easier said than done. However, provided you have earned that well-earned connection, there are certain actions which can help propel your name to the top of a recruiter’s list.

Your initial contact may either be an in-person or virtual meeting (via Skype or GoToMeeting, for example), or the recruiter (or HR representative) may choose to schedule a phone interview with you. Regardless of the platform, it is crucial that you win over this individual from the very beginning. One place to begin gaining a recruiter’s praise is to secure a clear perspective of what they are looking for in a job candidate and strategize fittingly.

Impressing a Recruiter - Woman on Laptop holding Smartphone in home office

Recruiter, career strategist, and author, Jenny Foss, helps summarize some of the best approaches to “wowing” a job recruiter on your very first consultation.’

1.  Quickly show that you can cover the essentials.

The first course of action for a typical recruiter is to ensure that a candidate is capable of a job’s essential requirements. However, Foss explains, “That said, you should study the job description closely or talk with people working in the department [if possible], and then (before the interview) list out the things you think are the most important deliverables for the role”. So, while you want to remain primarily focused on the basics during your initial conversation, touching upon some your strengths as applicable to the more detailed specifics of the position is also imperative.

2.  Make your enthusiasm known if you’re interested in the position.

A candidate who is both qualified and excited about the job is a valuable asset to any recruiter, especially if you’ve made it to the next phase of the interview process. “[Assuming] you are reasonably interesting in the opportunity, you’ve got to make that instantly clear to the recruiter during the screening call,” says Foss. This ensures recruiters that their time invested has not been wasted; making it more likely that they will contact you if and when another, more suitable, position becomes available.

3.  Radiate a “cultural” match.

While online research and speaking with connected members of your network are effective ways of obtaining strong cultural cues about a particular organization, you cannot always be completely sure of a company’s culture until you actually beginning working there. However, any information you do gather will certainly help you score points with your recruiter during your initial conversation. Find opportunities during the conversation to show that you can relate to the company’s ethos; as this offers your recruiter a solid platform from which to convince other decision-makers in the company that you are truly a top-candidate for the job.

4.  Recognize the recruiter’s role and commitment to the process.

Simply stated, a recruiter wants to believe in you. Their goal is to come away from the conversation with a viable contender for the position. After all, it is at the basis of their career to align hopeful job seekers with a position in which they will not only thrive, but also provide value to the respective organization. “So,” with this in mind, Foss adds “never be afraid to ask for the interviewer’s input on how you can put your best foot forward with the hiring manager or for clarification on any questions you don’t understand. [This] person wants to send you through to the hiring manager. Make it easy to do so”.

Impressing a Recruiter - Man_professional_holding smartphone

Remember that when the right strategy is in place, you are more likely to win the game, or in this case, land the job.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon:  Navigating the End of Your Job Interview: What Questions to Ask


Fred Coon, CEO 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

How to Let Your Interviewer Know You’re a Perfect Cultural Fit

Let’s say that you’re a top-flight programmer, but you’ve decided that you’re not going to work just anywhere.  After figuring out exactly what you wanted to do, you took the time to do additional research and figure out precisely where you wanted to do it.

The problem remains, however, that even after you know that a prospective employer has an employee gymnasium, quiet rooms where you can grab a quick nap during the day to refresh your mind, an espresso machine, an open-door policy for all executives, and a convivial atmosphere where everyone’s ideas are accepted openly, you still have to convince them that you fit their perceptions of a good employee.  How do you do that?


Don’t Oversell Your Enthusiasm

The temptation may be to fawn over the company’s product line or services; to gush over the importance it has in your daily life. However, they already have customers who love their product; what they need is someone who is going to extend their product line, enhance the public’s perception, or improve their current offerings.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you use their products regularly; you must demonstrate that you not only desire to improve their offerings, but that you have the skill to do so, while fitting into their community structure.  According to a 2014 survey, HR people are now paying considerably more attention to that last category.

For example, while the CEO of AVON® is Sheri McCoy, 75% of the CxOs, 65% of the Board, and 60% of the Management Committee are male.  AVON’s male-focused product line is relatively small, so why are men overrepresented?  Simple—they persuaded someone at the hiring level that they could integrate with the company in a positive way, and make a difference.

An Emotional Connection

Being passionate about the company’s objectives, and then backing that up with a plan for how you are going to further them, is a key success factor.  If you can describe the challenges an employee is likely to face, and have a plan for dealing with them, you’re already one-step-up on the competition.  By showing them that you’re going to add value, and not require a great deal of handholding, you become a valuable asset.

Moreover, integration is not restricted to day-to-day business.  If part of the company culture involves donating laptops to under-financed schools or toward scholarships for kids to attend college, mention that you’re aware of it.  You can even outline some plans for your own ideas to enhance the effectiveness of their projects.  Make clear to the interviewer that you want to work for the company and further all of its goals.

Fit In

There aren’t many companies that value the lone-wolf approach (if that’s your style, and you found a company like that, congratulations).  Most companies prefer integration and teamwork, so when you’re talking about solving a problem, use the word “we” more frequently than you use the pronouns “I” or “me”.

Nevertheless, if a large part of your job is interacting with customers, make sure you emphasize that a happy customer is a valuable repeat customer.  Without them, “we” wouldn’t even be in business (yes, you slyly included yourself as part of the company team there, helping the interviewer to think of you that way, too).

Don’t be a Drone

You don’t have to toe the party line.  Interviewers, if they are sensible, are not looking for a new best friend.  If you’re in the right sort of cultural environment you are often appreciated if you have a different way of thinking about problems.  It can be a very attractive feature.

Different approaches to problem solving can be a huge benefit to a company.  Getting people to think about new approaches to problem-solving can banish longstanding hang-ups and bottlenecks; it can provide new “Eureka!” moments that could completely change the way a company does business.

Admittedly, it’s the job of the employee to conform to the corporate culture.  Expecting to stand it on its head and make it do your bidding is unrealistic.  But there’s little harm in being different, and often large benefits.


The Takeaway

Cynics tell us “Sincerity is great; once you can fake that, you’ve got it made”, but the truth is, as Abraham Lincoln pointed out, “You can fool some of the people some of the time…”  Even if you succeed, you won’t be happy, won’t do a good job, and you’ll be looking for something new in very short order.

If you find the place where you belong—the place you truly want to be—treat it seriously and show them that you fit, and not just that you want the job.  Anything else is just self-sabotage.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon:  Who’s Interviewing Whom: Valuable Tips for Job Interviews


Fred Coon, CEO 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

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.


1. References were requested.

According to, “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

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. 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

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.


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

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?


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.



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

What Not To Say During Your Next Job Interview

If you’ve been navigating through the job market for any length of time, you are well aware of how important it is to present yourself in the what-not-to-say-on-an-interview-professionals-at-tablebest possible light during a job interview.  Although even amidst the best of intentions, there is always the possibility that even a slight margin of error within our choice of words could cost us a job opportunity.  Chances are, you’ve expended a great deal of time and effort choosing the right responses and questions, but how much time have you spent researching what you should specifically avoid saying to an interviewer?

Your goal is to ensure that your prospective employer will remember you for your invaluable skills and winning personality, rather than any (completely avoidable) verbal blunders. Here are five of the most important statements (and questions) to steer clear of on your next job interview.

1.  “You can find it on my resume.”

If your interviewer feels that a question regarding a portion of your skill set, work experience, or education, etc. is important enough to discuss face to face, you can be assured it’s an important part of the job you’re interviewing for.  Be ready to verbally elaborate on aspects of your resume on the spot, and never refer your interviewer back to the page it’s written on.  Besides looking to learn more about your skills as they directly relate to the position, he or she is also observing your overall communication and articulation skills. Use this opportunity to show your interviewer that you are so much more than a just summary of your past job duties.

 2.  “What does your company do?”

One of the most prominent rules in preparing for a job interview is to research the company with which you’re seeking employment.  Luckily, some dedicated online investigating is really all it takes.  To go the extra mile, some extra networking inquiries can also help you glean more background on the company you have in mind.  However you choose to go about it, the one thing that cannot be argued is that it is really quite undeniably simple.  What’s more, employers know this; so asking such a basic question as “What does your company do?” shows an unfortunate lack of preparation on your end.  While there is always more to learn about an organization, a savvy candidate knows the basics of the company before he or she walk into the interview and is ready to appropriately present this knowledge.

3.  “My last company (or boss) was terrible.”

Any negative adjective at the end of that statement will still be equally as detrimental to the outcome of your interview.  While expressing thatwhat-not-to-say-on-an-interview-graphic you are looking to improve or build upon your prior experience or advance within your career is perfectly fine, directly disparaging or criticizing a former employer is never a good idea, whether it’s the company as a whole or just the individual for whom you directly worked.  While your friends and family may understand, speaking negatively about your prior place of employment during an interview-setting actually reflects more negatively upon you than the company you’re describing. If your last job was in fact a negative experience, try to at least keep your statements as neutral as possible, focusing mostly on the skills and expertise you developed and acquired while there.  Maintaining concentration on what you learned and how you grew within your position and field will help the interviewer understand your role with your previous employer, while reducing the need for you to elaborate on the company itself or its employees.   If your interviewer directly asks why you left your prior job, try simply expressing that while you respected the company for its decisions and understood their needs, you feel you would like to search for a better fit and opportunity.

4.  “What is your vacation/personal-day policy?”

Of course, we all want to work for an employer with reasonable, if not exceptional, paid-time-off policies, but unless the interviewer chooses to offer this information on his or her own accord (which is unlikely during a first interview), refrain from asking this question.  Considering all of the preliminaries to be discovered and understood on a first interview, advising your prospective employer that your next batch of days off is first and foremost in your mind may indicate that this job would possibly not be your first priority, or perhaps you are simply one to take off from work frequently.  It’s unlikely and rare that a quality organization would not have some type of paid-time-off allowances.  However, if there are personal reasons that make this an especially important issue for you, research ahead of time to find out if the company is considered a “family friendly” organization.  Otherwise, save this question for your last interview when you’ve sealed the deal, or perhaps for when you meet with HR, provided the information hasn’t already been presented to you.

5.  “I have a lot going on at home.”

This, or any statement, for that matter, that involves or describes difficult personal issues or challenges you are experiencing in your non-professional life, should be avoided.  While your interviewer may be sympathetic on a human level, it prompts the notion that you may be sidetracked or overwhelmed enough to not perform at your best working capacity, or that perhaps your personal challenges may even cut into the hours at your job.  Even if you actually are an extremely focused worker and none of these speculations are accurate, going into detail about your personal struggles is still enough to trigger some red flags in the mind of your interviewer.

The best advice:  When in doubt, keep it professional and be prepared!

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


Data Analytics and the Recruitment Process

Data-based Decisions

As human beings, we all have our preferences and partialities, and our preconceived leanings often influence our decisions; for better or worse. Yet, preconceptions and favoritism should never play a part when conducting a job interview. However, there are data-and-recruitment-connectors-blue-backgroundoccasions where even one’s subconscious views can contribute to what we call the “Interviewer Effect”.

To limit the “Interviewer Effect”, many organizations are beginning to move closer toward the effective use of data analytics when reviewing a candidate’s qualifications.  This allows employers to make more evidence-based decisions, rather than relying on, or being overly influenced by “gut instinct”.

The assemblage of large conglomerates of data-based information for purposes of analysis, commonly referred to as Big Data, also proposes challenges of its own.  However, data analysis can be a helpful tool when employers are faced with difficult recruitment decisions.

Data Resistance

There are many who resist Big Data due to its expense or apparent complexities, but the availability of BDaaS (Big Data as a Service) has now made the whole process much easier.  Eliminated, is the need to invest in the expensive infrastructure of Data Warehouses, specialized IT staff, Data Lakes, and discrete servers.  Right now it is a quarter of a trillion dollar industry, certainly not some newfangled idea that “won’t last”.

Even if you want to create a private Big Data resource, it is no longer particularly difficult.  With the advent of ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) software, transforming your databases from disparate to self-contained internal files has rendered the use of Big Data almost automatic; and running it at prescheduled intervals keeps it up to date without a great deal of effort.

Private Big Data used in conjunction with BDaaS is a highly effective combination.

People Analytics

BDaaS has innumerable applications, but in the case of recruitment, we’re interested in the portion known as people analytics. There are organizations that have dedicated themselves to analyzing all of the available information from every main social media site, in addition to a plethora of other less obvious information sources.

Hiring companies can provide these organizations with a list of their top 10 prospects and, in turn, be advised as to which one would be the best fit for their company.  Conversely, going in empty-handed with only basic specifications will still result in locating a closely suited prospective candidate.

The Role of Gamification

Even beyond data analytics, a form of strategy analysis, most recently known as Game Theory or gamification, now also has a pivotal role indata-and-recruitment-woman-connecting-profiles-on-screen many forms of problem solving, including hiring.

While reasonably new, the process has some key advantages.  It is intended to help employers move beyond resumé-based information by presenting a candidate with a game scenario, allowing the employer to isolate which individuals are more likely to devise innovative and effective solutions to problems.

The interviewing process of asking questions and interpreting the answers is basically analog in nature, and some believe, can increase the opportunity for biases.  Seeking results through a game which tests externalized thinking and creativity is digital in nature, in that answers are either right or wrong .

The gamification methodology has actually “gone corporate” with big names such as Google™ and Facebook™ offering the “Google Code Jam” and the “Programming Challenge“, respectively.  Winners almost inevitably get interesting, fun, and great paying jobs.

Candidates Don’t Need Big Data

Unless someone works for a Big Data specialist, it is essentially unavailable to private individuals, but ultimately, that is of little concern.  A simple web search will reveal companies matched to the interests of most job seekers, as will the services of a recruitment agency.

In terms of interview preparation, those interested in one of the more innovative companies may encounter tools designed to create scenarios, but essentially the strategy remains the same:

  • Isolate an issue which your potential company is currently experiencing;
  • Craft a solution; and
  • Use it to pitch yourself as the person who is best qualified to implement that solution.

Finding a Balance

The evidence is clear that data technology has not only affected employers and job seekers alike, but has changed the job market drastically. Not only has it created access to once unavailable prospects, it has become a crucial decision-making tool.

Of course, this is not to say that employers must not practice and perfect their own skills of objectivity, good judgment, and proper attention to their company culture when seeking new candidates or conducting a traditional job interview. However, smart employers are also embracing the advantages that data analytics has to offer, and consequently, opening their organizations up to a world of talented and compatible job seekers.

Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

The Best Way to Practice for Your Next Job Interview

There are very few skills in this world that can be acquired without practice, and mastering your job interview proficiency is certainly one of them.

mock-interviews-businessman-fastening-tieBy now, most of us have learned the basics of preparing for a job interview; dressing appropriately and professionally, being equipped with a powerful resume, becoming acquainted with the details of the job description, and researching the company with which you are interviewing. However, there is a notable difference between preparing for, and practicing for a job interview.

What is a mock interview?

The process of emulating or reenacting an actual interview for purposes of training is considered a mock interview.  It is intended to resemble an actual job interview as closely as possible to help candidates gain a more in-depth understanding of what will be expected of them in a real interview.  Job applicants can learn to hone in on their ability to present themselves confidently and professionally.  In many cases, mock interviews can be videotaped, allowing the interviewee to gain their own insight and feedback.

Making arrangements

Mock-interview training can be obtained through recruiting consultants and career coaches.  However, in addition to career professionals, it’s also helpful to try a mock interview with some trusted friends or family members in order to gain a broad perspective on what to expect.  Additionally, varied individuals can provide you with a wide range of feedback.

When approaching a mock interview, it’s best to treat it as closely to the real thing as possible.  Dress as you would for an actual interview, and even ask your interviewer to present you with some difficult or unexpected questions to keep it realistic.

Creating a mock interview

If you’ve sought the services of a career professional, then the mock interview will have already been designed, but if you have decided to rehearse your interview with someone you know personally, then you should supply them with a list of some common interview questions.  It’s also a good idea to provide your interviewer with a few extra questions to choose from in order to maintain a certain amount of spontaneity during the process.

The position you are applying for, as well as the nature of the company with which you are interviewing, may dictate what sort of questions you are asked on your actual interview.  However, there are a few typical questions that get asked at most interviews, despite the job or type of organization.

Here are some examples of questions to include when planning your mock interview:

  •  “Describe yourself and your background.”
  • “Explain your strengths (and weaknesses).”
  • “Why do you want to work for this company?”
  • “What was your reason for leaving your last position?”
  • “What is one of your greatest professional accomplishments?”
  •  “Describe how you would overcome a difficult situation at work.”
  • “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”
  • “What can you offer our organization?”
  • “Do you have any questions?”

The topic of salary is not always addressed on the first interview, but be prepared to answer in the event that it is.

Am I on the right track?

Having a general formula for answering common interview questions will give you an extra ounce of confidence.  While you may basicallymock-interviews-three-business-women-sitting-at-table know how you intend to answer a question, it helps to have a go-to system to really help you sharpen and streamline your responses.

Often interviewees who feel under pressure will ramble on a little too long, or even inadvertently omit important facts that may have ultimately help them shine.  It’s crucial to remain on topic and adapt your answers to the company you’re interviewing with, as is managing to give thorough responses that are also concise. Some recommend that direct, closed-ended questions, such as “Why do you want to work for our company?” should only require an answer of approximately 60 seconds, while open-ended questions, such as “Describe yourself and your background.” can require up to or slightly more than two minutes.

However, when answering any interview question, remember to always keep the focal point on the needs of the company, rather than your own.

Also, don’t forget the importance of body language during the interview.  Mock interviews are a perfect opportunity to practice direct eye contact and a confident handshake, all of which you can measure and perfect through viewing your videoed session.

Keep an open mind.

While the individual conducting the mock interview will certainly provide you with valuable feedback to take into account, videotaping the interview and watching the recording on your own, can also really help you streamline your professional communication skills.  It’s possible you may not be entirely satisfied with your first mock interview draft, but through determination, practice, and a balanced perspective, your next real interview will surely be a success.


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



Practical Interview Advice From Job Recruiters

Locating the most talented and qualified candidates for job openings is the main purpose of any recruiter, however, the amount of time and effort it takes to find the top job-seekers in any particular field is often overlooked.  Recruiters work within the center of the job market, so when looking for interview advice, they should be your first stop.

In the interview world, right and wrong are quite often differentiated by a very fine line.  Here, we’ll look at some practical advice based on expert research in the field.

Maintain Your Selectiveness.

When it comes to hiring, interviewers prefer enthusiasm, interest, and a specific sense of motivation, and any good job recruiter will be sure to respond more readily to a candidate with specific interview-advice-job-recruiters-business-professionals-standing-in-linegoals.  They have dwindling enthusiasm for those who come to the interview with an “I’ll take anything” attitude.  A recruiter can’t place you in a position if you don’t know what you are looking for.

Additionally, don’t lead a recruiter into thinking you may accept a position that you simply aren’t interested in and have no intention of accepting.  According to David Staiti, Managing Partner and Founder of Virus Recruiting, LLC, “Don’t get deep into the interview process, or take things to the offer stage, if you can’t see yourself working at the company. You’ll not only be wasting your time, but you could leave a negative impression with the people who feel like you wasted theirs.

Be the person who knows what they want and would be an asset to the team, and you will find you will swiftly move to the top of a recruiter’s list.

Have Questions Ready.

Interviews are certainly not a one way street.  No interviewer would or should denounce a candidate for asking a question, and the same hold true for meeting with a job recruiter.

In fact, the most disappointing candidate is the one who has no questions at all.  Simply by failing to demonstrate insight about the job, the company, or the market, you risk throwing away a perfect opportunity to convince the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job.

Follow Up the Right Way.

It is natural to wonder exactly what impression you have made on an interviewer, yet it’s important to resist the temptation to continue an intense level of communication after the interview has ended.  Asking what the next steps are before you conclude the interview should technically be your last question.  According to Abby Kohut, recruitment advisor and author of ‘Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets’, “Calling [an interviewer] constantly and demanding to be submitted to a company will just make them think you’re desperate and unhinged and a little scary.”

While a brief “thank you” or follow-up email post-interview is perfectly acceptable, do not barrage your interviewer with an endless series of phone calls and messages in hopes to speed up the process or gain answers.

Don’t Over-Simplify.

Often, a recruiter, or interviewer in general, may not necessarily be an expert in your specific field of knowledge.  However, don’t feel the need to rely on an over-simplified approach.  An experienced professional is likely used to speaking with people more knowledgeable about certain topics, and they will not be affronted or unsettled if an interviewee possesses more knowledge than they do on a certain subject. While you should avoid truly obscure trade jargon, it is not your obligation to reduce your knowledge to bare bones.  As Malcom Forbes once stated, “Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired do”.

Be Diversified.

Rather than being “all about the job”, aim to present as a fully rounded individual.  An interviewer most likely won’t care whether you collect stamps or play paint ball on the weekends, for example.  What they do want to know is that you are reasonably stable and socially integrated.

Appearing as an individual who is healthy in mind and body gives employers more confidence in your long term stability as an employee.  Since stability translates into long-term success with a company, recruiters find this desirable, as it means that you will also reflect well on them as a staffing service.

Share a Good Idea.

If you are interviewing for a specific position or are aware of which organization your recruiter is attempting to place you, try researching the company beforehand and ascertain whether you can isolate a problem they’re having. If it is within your skill set, try working out a potential solution for it.

Once the interview turns more conversational, that is your opportunity to present your observation of the problem and your solution.  Even if it’s not the best solution, at least it demonstrates creativity, and puts you head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.

The Takeaway

interview-advice-job-recruiters-professional-woman-and-man-in-interviewWhile interviewing in any setting, it’s important to bring all components to the forefront. Avoid reading from a proverbial script, and show your prospective employer the many facets of your professional self.

Show them that you can fit in their company culture, and do your part to learn about the organization.  As mentioned earlier, interviewing is a two way street; besides providing information about yourself, it is your opportunity to learn about the company.  It’s not only a matter of being offered the job; it’s also a matter of being offered a job you want to accept.

If a particular company’s culture doesn’t suit you, remember there are plenty of other companies out there that would welcome your skills and talent.  You can reject or accept them as easily as they can you, and with the proper interviewing skills, your chances of finding the right fit are tenfold.

Be prepared; be yourself; and be hired.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.


Who’s Interviewing Whom: Valuable Tips for Job Interviews

When you walk into a job interview, just what do you think is happening?   Well, the word interview actually comes from old Anglo-French entreveue, meaning “to meet” and “to see”.  Its essential purpose is to facilitate the exchange of Interview greetinginformation between two parties, presumably to their mutual benefit.  In other words, it is not a one-sided interrogation.

Here, we will discuss some ideas to ensure a smooth, and hopefully, successful interview.

Be Prepared

When you enter the meeting, it is essential that you are armed with insightful, evocative questions.  It is this keen sense of awareness that will impress your interviewer. However, in order to gain this esteem from your listeners, you must plan ahead.  Review the questions you will ask ahead of time.  This mental preparation will result in confidence.  When we are confident, we are less likely to fold under pressure, and more likely to make a positive and lasting impression.

Collecting Information

Essentially, this is the easiest part.  Search the company website and download the last annual report or the latest quarterly report; read the “Message to Stockholders” if it is a publicly- traded company.  It is usually within the first two pages, and it describes the company’s accomplishments; or, it may allude to how the company did not meet its expectations.  It often lays out the plans for the next term.  Note whether the company’s goals align with your goals.

Next, go to the company’s LinkedIn site.  Is it up to date?  Is there a lot going on?  Are C-suite executives and upper management participating?  Read the more recent material that is available.  This should give you insights into company working-on-laptop - researchculture and whether you two would make a good match for each other.

While you are reading, it will almost certainly occur to you to think “I wonder if…”  Write that thought down because it’s probably one of the questions you will want to ask at the interview.  More importantly, your interviewer(s) will probably be online here. (If they’re not, are you sure you want to work here?)  So you can learn a bit about them, what they’ve accomplished, and possibly make reference to it to show that you’ve done your research.

Heart of the Matter

Depending on the job you are interviewing for, you need to ask some specific questions; not only because they eagerly anticipate them, but because people who don’t have any questions can exude an air of indifference.  It’s best to be prepared with several questions —you simply can’t ask too many—provided they are relevant, but steer clear of topics which can be easily ascertained by looking at their website.

Your interviewer(s) is a veritable fount of information about the company.  They know the people; they know the company’s triumphs as well as transgressions; they have insights, and if you’re not taking advantage of that you are ignoring a fabulous resource.

ask-questions-reminderInside of simply creating “five great questions”, have an assortment because some of them may be answered over the course of the interview.  If you ask something that’s already been answered earlier, you’re risking appearing inattentive.  If you need to ask a question about something that was covered earlier, use the qualifier “Just to clarify, earlier we discussed…” and then ask your question.

Some Question Suggestions

  • Why do you like working here?  What makes this “the place to be”?
  • Can you walk me through a day here?  What typically happens from when I walk in the door until I leave?
  • Is this a newly created position?  Is this an established position, and if so, why did the last person leave?
  • Is this a “memo” based organization or a “meeting” based organization?  Are people rewarded for independent thought and creativity?
  • Is this company in a position to jump out in front of the pack and lead?  Which company might be our biggest competition, or threat to that success?
  • What is your take on the company culture?  Would you consider it a top-down model or more of a collaborative venture?
  • Do you have any insights on my manager or direct supervisor?  What is their management style?
  • How is this department perceived by the rest of the company?
  •  How will I be able to measure when I’m “successful”?  What sort of milestones should I be aiming for in 30 days, 90 days, six months, or a year?
  • Are there sideways-promotions available so I can gather more experience on my level before being promoted upwards?
  • Does the company offer any internal/external ongoing training (or courses) to keep employees up to date in their field?
  • What are the team-members like with whom I will be working?
  • Do you see any particular difficulties with my skills or competencies for fulfilling this role?  Is there anything I can clarify for you, or do you have any suggestions for actions I could take to improve my candidacy?
  • What is the next step in the interview process?  Is there a timetable when I would be likely to hear from you?

The Takeaway

Once you are in the actual interview, you’ll have a sense for how many — or which — questions are appropriate for the interview.  The more insightful your questions are, the better your chances of making a great impression.

Remember, this is your opportunity to learn whether you are a good fit for the company, and whether it is a good fit for you; so don’t waste it!

By Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

What to Ask an Interviewer

We are immensely concerned and focused on the questions that we expect to be asked by interviewers. We’re terrified that we might not have an answer, so we practice, rehearse, and review every aspect of our careers to date.

We learn it backwards, forwards, and upside down until even the idea of referring to our own résumé is ridiculous; we are ready for anything. Our “greatest success” anecdote is primed and ready. We have our “example of Failure, with the Lesson Learned” story all set to go.

We have the facts and figures about how we turned an organization, that it was about as effective as someone trying to herd cats into the streamlined powerhouse of business that just made its first billion last year. How could we possibly go wrong?

Ask the Right Questions

SC&C questions to ask during an interviewYou may be the best thing to ever come down the turnpike, but they’re interviewing people with skill sets very similar to yours, because those are the skills required for this job. Despite how incredible you feel you actually are, you still need to differentiate yourself. And it’s not their questions that are going to make a difference.

Whose questions will make a difference? Yours!

It’s no longer enough to be qualified. If you want a job in today’s business environment, you have to shine, and there’s no better way to show your excellence than by asking excellent questions–John Kador, Monster Contributing Writer

The most important question they will ask is the one that most people don’t prepare for at all. It’s that time near the end of the interview when they finally hand you the stage so that you can say anything you want, when they ask: “Do you have any questions for me?”

What is the most common answer to that question? “No, I think I’m good. Thanks for your time. Goodbye.”

People like that are enough to make me want to pull my hair out, then grab them by the lapels, give them a good shake, and say, “Are you really just here to waste my time?”

Interviewer Is a Great Source

SC&C interviewer is a great sourceIf you are such a hot commodity, how is it that you fail to recognize an opportunity to talk directly to an insider—to garner insight that could change your entire picture about this organization? This person knows things you couldn’t possibly know—and they are sitting right in front of you, ready to share!

To not take advantage of this person’s willingness to apprise you of some inside secrets is like saying to them, “You’re not important or wise enough to give me useful information.” Or, “You’re just a steppingstone to someone more important in my next interview”.

Of course that is not what you intended, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s outrageous. So you’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen! You’re going to prepare some questions for them that show that you’re insightful, and clever too.

What You Should Ask

  • “You know what? I’d love to get your insights about ABC Inc. Tell me, why did you choose to work here? What attracted you to this company?”
  • “You have a good grasp about the intricacies around here. What do you see as the future of this company? Where do you think it will be in the next five or ten years?”
  • If they are likely to be your direct boss, ask them about their leadership style. Are they into daily confabs, weekly roundups, or are they memo machines? How easy is it to consult with them when the need arises?
  • And whether they’re going to be your direct boss or a working associate you can’t go wrong with asking them to tell you what they believe are the keys to success for the position that you’re applying for. What’s the best way to be effective? What techniques or styles are good for directing or guiding the rest of the crew to accomplish goals?
  • “What targets or markers will define my success? What should I be aiming for three, six, or nine months down the road?

Look how you’ve changed the dynamic. What different thing is going through the interviewer’s mind now?

“Hmm. I like this person. They have good interpersonal skills and will integrate nicely. They’re interested in how to succeed. They don’t look like some itinerant that’s going to disappear in 6 to 12 months. Yes, they look like they’ll be a good fit.”

That’s right! You’ve demonstrated your people skills; you’ve made them feel important. They now understand that their opinion is valued, but more importantly, that you’re clever enough to recognize that.

So this is your new task. You’re already an expert in answering their expected questions. Now craft some perfect questions to the one that most often goes unanswered—Do you have any questions for me? Get this handled—it’s important.

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with The site and book will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.