Wednesday, 21 December 2011

on doing research before your job interview

Today's theme: doing research before your job interview.

My advice, as an industry insider, would be: you should, like, do it.

Let me put it another way.  You know how it's bad to turn up at an interview drunk and do that trick where you waggle your finger through your trouser zip?  Turning up having done no research is sort of like that.

Most of you will agree with me, but there are a few avant garde job-seekers (naming no names) who seem to have difficulty with the idea.

As recruitment agents, we can tell you about the company, we can send you a link to their website, we can urge you to research the company prior to your interview, and we can advise you on how to go about this. We can't, however, do the research ourselves, dress up as you and then attend the interview in your place.

We'd love to! But since the laws changed in 1986 we can't.

Now, we make a point of actually begging our candidates to do research - tears, hand-wringing, the whole shebang - and most of them do, but if you're one of the minority who prefer to prepare for your interview by doing nothing whatsoever, you might profit from the following 'behind the scenes' insight:

When candidates turn up at interviews with our clients having done no research, the only thing the clients ever say to us afterwards is, 'We're not interested in taking it further.  They obviously hadn't done any research.'

They never say, 'Bob turned up completely unprepared, and didn't even know we were an online marketing agency. We've hired him - he's a maverick.'  Any more than they say, 'The moment Bob put his finger through his fly and waggled it around while crashing drunkenly into our cardboard cutout of Bill Gates, we knew he was the one for us.'

Let's recap.  When our client asks you what you know about the company, it's usually not enough to wipe your nose on your sleeve and say, 'Something to do with the internet?'

To those of you who refuse to heed my advice (and there are plenty of you out there): Instead of going to the trouble of attending job interviews, why not consider staying home and watching television in your underpants while eating Monster Munch?

To those of you who do your research: Take heart; your competition may not be as competitive as you fear.

Monday, 12 December 2011

more on standing out as a jobseeker

Just in case I didn't get my point across sufficiently in the last post (about getting useful information about yourself up front where hirers and recruiters can see it), here's a real live screenshot from an internet job site this morning.  Notice the marvellously helpful information provided by the middle candidate:

Oh, how we in the office laughed!  Those of us who weren't weeping.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

job hunting and jigsaws

You know when you’re doing a 5000 piece jigsaw?  No, me neither, it's my idea of hell, but imagine it. Imagine the thousands of bits of cardboard on a coffee table. You’re looking for a specific piece. Your eyes become accustomed to homing in on bits that fit in with the shape of the gap and the colour scheme of the surroundings. After a few days of staring at the coffee table, around the same time that you go mad, your brain completely gives up caring whether the pieces have any visual merit - so long as they look like they might fit.

Welcome to recruitment!

At a time when good job opportunities are increasingly scarce and competition is increasingly tough, many job-hunters are striving to make their applications and CVs and interview presentations stand out from the crowd.

Tip of the day: don’t bother.  Employers used to spend their days panning for gold.  But ever since people started putting CVs on the internet, hiring managers, struggling to deal with a deluge of applications (both solicited and unsolicited), have become jigsaw puzzlers.  Different mental processes are involved.

The jigsaw puzzle approach to recruitment militates against creativity and idiosyncrasy and c-c-c-craziness on the part of the job-seeker. Let's say I’m looking on a job board for a (say) C++ Developer in (say) Wigan and I see the following list:

In theory, any one of these candidates could be the C++ Developer I’m looking for. But I don’t have time to look at all of them. I’ll go straight for Yehudi’s, because he’s bothered to try to match his profile to what a recruiter might be looking for.

That’s how you make yourself stand out in the internet generation: look like you fit in.

Next time: how job hunting is exactly like backgammon.

Bookmark and Share  

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

blog, reborn

Behold! The new HTS blog stirs in the smoky ashes, opens its eyes, peers up at you and coughs.

We've moved from to a little known blogging platform named, quaintly, 'Blogger', engineered by some upstart named 'Google'. Essentially, it's the same as Typepad, but is free more supportive of my technical preferences.

The quality of postings will remain the same, for which I apologise. Loyal readers from across the whole spectrum of my immediate family can look forward to the same middling articles served up every six months at intervals. Of course, the old articles are still here if you want to relive the old days. Or you could just move on.

Seriously, just move on.

We'll post the usual thoughts on careers, new jobs, recruitment and such like, as well as info about new services we'll be offering, such as our Appraisal Administration service, hitherto reserved for those private clients who are sick of automated 360-degree feedback systems and prefer for their peer appraisals to be handled by actual humans.

Next post: Ending your blog's first post without resorting to cheap tricks.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bookmark and Share