The Rise of Video Interviews

The rise of video interviews

Over the last several years, organizations of all sizes and from all industries are increasing the usage of video interviewing. For hiring managers, the incentive to use video interviews is in the rich benefits gained in their ability to manage the speed and candidate accuracy for their specific recruiting process.  With all industries participating in the rise of video interviews, being prepared is of ultimate importance.

If you haven’t yet been asked to engage in a video interview process, chances are you will sooner than later.

To understand the popularity from the employer’s perspective let’s browse a few perks from their side and why they are engaged in the rise of video interviews.

  • Easier process for high volume job applications.
  • A decrease in the volume of poor quality in-person interviews.
  • Reduced hiring process timeframe.
  • Better collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers.
  • Accessibility to non-local candidates.

So how to prepare for yours?

When you attend an interview, consider how long it takes to prepare for the face to face meeting.  Then add travel time. It’s not a short process. Undoubtedly, the perk to video interviews lies in the time-saving.

Dress as you would for an in-person interview from head to toe. Doing so will make you feel more confident. Don’t try the old newscaster trick of wearing a blazer with sweatpants assuming you’ll only be seen from the waist up. 

It’s also recommended to avoid wearing bright, flashy colors as this can look too busy on camera. Choose something that looks neatly pressed while you’re sitting down. Wear your interview outfit during your trial run so you can get feedback from your friend or family member about how it looks on screen.

Choose a location that’s free from the distractions of children, roommates or pets. Hang a sign on the door asking mail carriers and package deliverers not to ring the doorbell. Avoid public places such as coffee shops or courtyards which can suddenly become loud. Likewise, steer clear of libraries where you could be interrupted and asked to quiet down.

Make sure the background is free from clutter and embarrassing items like laundry piles. Set up lighting that’s bright but not glaring, illuminating your face from the front. Natural light is the best.

Turn off email, text and social media alerts. While it may seem like a stretch, be aware of any software updates and other notifications that may show up on the screen during the interview. Turn off programs that might interfere with the webcam and close browser tabs.

Test your technology

A few days before the interview, do a technical trial run to make sure your equipment is working correctly. Download any apps or plugins you’ll need. Whether you’re using Skype for Business or another video interview platform, make sure you have a username that’s professional, just as you would with your email address or social media handle. 

Check that your computer’s camera, microphone and internet connection are working. If possible, do a trial run with a friend or family member so you have ample time to adjust if any of your equipment or software is malfunctioning.

Charge it up

If you’re using a laptop or tablet, make sure it’s fully charged on the day of the interview. Better yet, keep them plugged in during the interview.  And pick a spot that has strong Wi-Fi. If you must use a tablet, find a way to keep it stationary. Otherwise, the screen will appear shaky when holding the device. Avoid using a smartphone for video interviews if possible.

Testing, testing ….

Check your volume controls and speak clearly so the microphone picks up your voice and the interviewer doesn’t have to strain to hear you. This can take practice but you really want to understand how to project your voice. And remember that digital connections can sometimes be delayed. To avoid talking over the interviewer or having your first few words cut out, let the interviewer finish the question and then pause for a few seconds before delivering your answer.

Prepare for the Questions

Like the in-person interview, you’ll want to prepare for the interview questions. To be a key player in the rise of video interviews, you’ll want to nail these questions.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What’s your expected salary?

As you would in a traditional interview, close the video interview by sharing your appreciation. Be gracious and listen for the cue to end the interview on a high note.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Standing out in a Competitive Industry

Standing out in a Competitive Industry

When you’re applying for a job, standing out from the crowd is always a challenge. But, this tough task can suddenly seem insurmountable when you’re applying for an extremely competitive position. Have a read below for 5 actions that are helpful to you standing out in a competitive industry.

However, spending all of your time obsessing over the intense competition will only serve to make you feel more anxious and self-conscious—qualities that definitely won’t help you approach your job hunt and interviews with confidence. So, let go of that intimidation and instead focus on doing what you need to do to separate yourself from the pack.

But, how can you draw positive attention to yourself, when there are hundreds of other people applying to that exact same job? Here are five tips that are sure to help you stand out from that pile of other applicants.

1. Get Personal

Feeling like you’re submitting your materials into cyberspace is always frustrating—especially when you put so much time and effort into them. And, when you know that tons of other people are following that exact same process, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a long line just waiting to draw your number.

This is when making a personal connection can make a huge difference. What exactly does this mean? Start by seeing if you know anyone who currently works for that employer. Whether it’s an old friend or an acquaintance on LinkedIn, having someone who can hand-deliver your resume or put in a good word for you can really help to put your name at the top of the interview list.

If you can’t track down someone who can refer or recommend you, you should still make an effort to be as personal as possible in your application materials. Skip that generic “To Whom It May Concern” line (those letters typically find their way directly to the wastebasket!), and instead do some digging to see if you can find the name of the person you’d be working directly for—or even the hiring manager.

Knowing that you put in the legwork and research necessary to personally address your documents immediately portrays you as a dedicated and resourceful applicant. And, that reputation is sure to put you back at the top of the pile!

2. Improve Your Documents

A resume that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors. A cover letter that contains the wrong company name. Yes, they’re all sure to make the hiring manager remember you—but not necessarily in a positive light.

It seems basic, but going through your resume and cover letter with a fine-tooth comb is absolutely necessary. Not only is this a best practice when applying for any sort of job, it’s also a surefire way to help you differentiate yourself from the crowd—you wouldn’t believe how much of your competition is immediately discounted, simply because their documents are sloppy.

Aside from just scanning for basic errors, now’s also a great time to polish your materials and make sure that they’re memorable and impactful. Ensure that you include quantifiable achievements in your resume that don’t only tell how great you are at what you do, but show it as well. Start your cover letter off with an engaging and captivating story, rather than that standard, “I’m writing in regards to…” line.

No, you don’t want to send a singing telegram or print your resume on hot pink paper. However, these more subtle tweaks and additions can really help you to be remembered—in a way that’s not eccentric and over-the-top.

3. Go Above and Beyond

I won’t deny that your resume and cover letter are extremely important documents for job search success. But, does that mean they’re absolutely the only things you need in order to land your dream job? Absolutely not.

You should never hesitate to go the extra mile, show some initiative, and share some other materials that a potential employer might care about. Go ahead and send them a link to your portfolio or personal blog. Anything that helps them to get a better sense of who you are as a candidate will benefit you!

You can even take things one step further by completing a sample specifically for that employer. Applying for a social media management position? Pull together a brief example of a social media strategy that you think could work for them. Want to be a data analyst? Share that amazing Excel spreadsheet you built—complicated macros and all. Showing that extra effort demonstrates how interested you are in the position. And, if they actually like the sample work you create? Well, then you’ve already got one foot in the door!

4. Polish Your Social Media Presence

Your work examples and official career documents will only take you so far. After all, employers pretty much expect that you’ll put your best foot forward when it comes to those materials. So, what will they do next? More than likely, hiring managers will look you up on social media.

Believe me, you don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who stars in that video for “Phi Sigma Rho’s Longest Keg Stand” or the applicant who writes scathing reviews of every single ex-boss on Facebook.

So, before even submitting your stuff, ensure you’ve taken the time to clean up your social media profiles. Bonus points for actually taking the time to polish and update your LinkedIn profile while you’re at it!

5. Follow Up

You know all of that intense competition we talked about? Well, it not only overwhelms you—it’s also pretty overwhelming to the hiring manager as well. Suddenly, they have an inbox full of submissions, and it’s up to them to weed out the junk in order to find those diamonds in the rough.

So, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back immediately about that job you’re so excited about. In fact, you likely won’t receive a super timely response. This is why following up is so important.

If you haven’t heard anything (whether that’s a “yes”, “thanks, but no thanks”, or a “we’ve received your submission” email) in about a week or two, feel free to reach out personally and check in on a timeline for a hiring decision. Make an attempt to use the most personalized email address you can find. But, if you can’t hunt one of those down, a general “info” or “careers” address will suffice as well.

Craft a friendly message just asking for an update on the hiring process for that specific position, reiterate your excitement about the opportunity, and thank them for their time. Still radio silence? You’re free to follow up once more. But, after that, it’s time to let it go. We all know there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.

Standing out from the crowd when the job competition is stiff can undoubtedly be tough. But, it’s not impossible! It just involves some thought and creativity. Put these tips to use, and you’re sure to find your way to the top of that resume pile.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

3 Tips for Starting a New Job

3 Tips for Starting a New Job

The job search time has been invested.  The efforts are now paid-in-full. Your first day on the job is scheduled. Sweet victory! Now it’s time to focus on exceeding expectations after you join the company. Here are 3 Tips for starting a new job.

1. Make relationships your number one priority.

The first month in a job is an important time to meet new colleagues, both inside and outside of your team. It’s important to continue cultivating those relationships in the months that follow. 

Do this in ways that feel natural to you. If you’re a fan of formal feedback, schedule in periodic feedback chats with your manager and colleagues. If you’d prefer a more casual approach, put in the effort to organize coffee or drinks with coworkers.

Importantly, be sure these efforts are not just focused on your manager or people above you. While it is important to be on the radar of higher-ups, it’s equally critical that others get fair attention. This includes those you work with and who work under you.

Spending all your effort on people above you can be perceived as sucking up—which means you’ll not only not build relationships with other colleagues, but potentially that they’ll distrust your motives. 

2. Write down your goals, and get feedback on them

Your manager might have a very defined set of goals for you, particularly if you’re in a role like sales which typically has very measurable and predetermined targets. If this isn’t the case, however, it’s important to give yourself some goals to work towards. 

Think about it like this: If you haven’t set yourself a target, how will you be able to measure whether you’ve done a good job after six months?

Putting tangible deliverables on paper—even if they change—is a good way to both stay on track as well as to create evidence for your manager and colleagues that you can deliver. This is no doubt helpful for formal reviews but can be equally as useful as a reflection tool to make sure you’re prioritizing the right things. 

You might write your goals in collaboration with your manager and/or colleagues. If you come up with them on your own, however, be sure to seek feedback from (at least) your manager, as you’re still new to the role and want to be sure you’re focusing on the right things. 

Lastly, remember that goals aren’t useful if you simply write them down and forget about them. Schedule yourself reminders to review your progress, either alone or with others, which can give you a chance to re-adjust if things aren’t going as planned. 

3. Keep an open mind and ask questions

While starting a new job can be daunting. There’s a lot to learn, being new to the company also gives you a fresh perspective—and one that can be invaluable to the rest of the team. Since you’re coming in without preconceptions or biases, you may well identify areas for improvement that others have overlooked. 

It’s therefore important that you ask questions when you don’t understand why things are a certain way. Rather than accepting them at face value. Just because a process, standing meeting or team structure exists in a certain way, that doesn’t mean that it’s a big picture ideal.

As a new hire, you’re in a unique place to be able to identify inefficiencies and broken processes. 

That said, approach areas for improvement with curiosity. There’s no room for judgment since there may well be a reason that something is done a certain way. It’s better to appear curious and learn something new than to assume you know the right answer. And potentially be proven wrong.

We hope these 3 Tips for starting a new job help. This can be a very playful time to relax, be yourself and get to know your new work environment.

If you wanted to take it a step further, check our previous entry on Setting Career Goals. We’ve put together 7 helpful tips here: https://powerwriterscanada.ca/7-success-tips-to-setting-career-goals/

8 Tips to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

8 tips to beat applicant tracking systems

From the first known resume in 1482 by Leonardo DaVinci through the 1500s in England into the 20th Century and current Digital Age. Resume formats have changed dramatically over the years. Modern-day resumes must now contain a very specific format in order to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

If you’re on the search for a new job and not getting the desired traction, your resume may not be ideal for ATS. In which case, have a read below for 8 tips to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

#1 – Use ATS Resume Keywords Correctly.

The design of Applicant Tracking Software is to scan for keywords that relate to the job and industry. The proper usage of keywords is what sets your resume apart from others by gaining ATS high ranking. Like a high score in PacMan, ATS high ranking means your resume levels up.

Look at the job description of your ideal position. If you’re applying for a job within a specific industry, this is where you can identify the major keywords that relate to that industry or the position you seek. 

Include these keywords in a core competencies or skills section.

But be careful, one thing that’s just as bad as not having the correct keywords is over-using them. The ATS will reject an overstuffed resume as quickly as it would a resume with insufficient keywords.

#2 – Format Your Resume Correctly.

Stick to a traditional resume format at all times.

Text boxes, footers, headers, and graphics read as clutter during the scan which can result in your resume being rejected. Choose a basic format like reverse-chronological, functional or hybrid, to ensure the resume can be scanned by ATS and easy for a recruiter to read.

#3 – Send The Correct File Type

 Applicant tracking systems need to be able to scan and read your resume. The safest way to ensure that your resume will be read is to submit it in a Microsoft Word Doc file. 

Even though many of the systems are now advanced enough to read a PDF, you should still send a Doc file to be on the safe side. A Doc file is the preferred file type for both ATS and many recruiters.

You should also always check the job description to see if the employer wants a certain file type. Often times, employers will specify a certain file type, so it’s recommended to have both versions available.

#4 – Label Sections

If your layout is not done properly, the ATS may have trouble identifying where you worked, what you did, and how long you were there. We want to ensure the ATS can read the entire resume correctly. To do this, label your resume sections properly. Use subheadings such as work experience, education, and interests, etc.

Also, verify that the location, position, and length of employment information you provide is clear and consistent throughout your resume.

use a professional font

#5 – Use A Professional Font.

We can’t stress this enough, stick to a professional font. When your resume passes through ATS, the next step is recruiter review. And professional recruiters generally do not favor comic sans.

The best fonts to use for your resume are:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica

#6 – Make Spelling And Grammar Top-Level Priority.

Spelling errors can, and will, cause a resume to be automatically rejected. Additionally, the majority of recruiters will also dismiss a resume even if it contains only a single error.

Consider this, according to CareerBuilder, 58% of resumes contain spelling and grammatical errors. Read that again, over half of the resumes out there are a hot-mess in the actual wording department.  Join 40% of applicants that get spelling and grammar correct.

Pro-Tip: Grammerly is a wonderful tool!

#7 – Resume File Name

Yes, what you name the file matters. Even though it might get through ATS, recruiters will often ignore unprofessional resume names. Use your first and last name, or a combination of the two.

You should also add either the word “resume” or the position you seek.

Examples:

JohnS.Resume.doc

JohnSmith.Resume.doc

John.SalesManager.doc

This is also important because if a recruiter needs to go back and find you in the system, they can easily do so by searching your name in the database. This also holds true if someone is referring you. Your resume needs to be easily found should the recruiter want to pull up your file. 

#8 – Make Sure You Are Qualified For The Job.

To sum it all up, make sure you meet the qualifications of the job posting. Blindly sending out tons of resumes is a waste of your time.

It’s better to take your time and go through each job description to verify that you’re qualified. The ATS are designed to see if the candidate is a good match for the job and verify that he or she has the qualifications needed.

However, don’t be discouraged from applying for jobs where you meet most of the qualifications. If a position asks for 2 years of experience and you only have one, go for it anyway!

Patience and persistence are the names of the game now. It may take longer than you anticipated, or you could find the ideal fit quite quickly. Stay with it to step up to your next opportunity!

If all this overwhelms you…

Remember, you can always hire a professional. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWC has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

There’s a New Kid in the Office

new job new hire

As mentioned in our blog post from last week, the projected hiring numbers are currently on the rise all across the Bay area and throughout Q4. Naturally, this got our office talking about the inevitable situation yet to come. There’s a new kid in the office.

Here you are in that well-planned morning office routine. The computer is on, next up is the daily cup of chamomile. Knowing the office kitchen is empty at this hour, you come around the corner all sleepy and BAM. There’s the new kid standing front and center looking, admittedly, slightly lost. 

 Quickly the mind transitions through a few options

  1. Panic and run back to your desk – nope
  2. Welcome the kid, introduce yourself and offer a tour – nope
  3. Pretend you’re invisible, and with no sudden movement, get your favorite mug under that hot water tap and return to your desk immediately – yep!

To be fair, not all personalities would take this approach.  Some people may actually resort to option 1.  Others are naturally inclined to take on Option 2.

Me, not so much.  I’m that introverted-writer-type who can spend an entire day interacting with my client calls and then happily writing, writing, writing and more writing.

Nonetheless, new hires are imminent.

We’ve all been here at some point and, let’s face it, being the new kid in class is always a little nerve-wracking, whether you’re 13 or 45.

All humor aside, obviously new hires should feel confident to ask colleagues anything necessary to their increased comfort around the office. That being said, part of the stress that comes with starting a new job is avoidable if we prepare ahead of time.

new kid in the office

Now let change the perspective. 

The new kid in the office is looking around the kitchen, lost as all-time and just wants to get that next caffeine fix. There’s a 200-page report parked on his desk demanding attention.

We’ve assembled a few tips on how to ease the office jitters before the first day. The goal is to be so ready that your focus can only be on the job.

Do your homework.

Do research on the organization or institution you’ll be joining — its structure, mission, and overall philosophy. You may be asked to provide feedback or even to come up with some questions and insights of your own during your first week. You’ll want to know as much as you can in order to feel prepared if you’re put on the spot.

Ask questions.

Be confident. You earned the position based on your skills and personality so don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Everyone was the new kid in the office at some point and we all know what it’s like to feel a little lost on the first day.

Take notes.

Your first few days at any new job are a real learning curve, and you’ll be taking in a lot of new information, from the mundane to the really important. Take notes so that can be referenced when a question comes up a few weeks or months down the line.  

Listen and absorb.

You’re stepping into a new role and the first few days and weeks are focused primarily on learning in order to be successful and thrive within the company. Make an effort to actively listen to everyone you come in contact — let them do most of the talking. Understand how the company works and where you will fit in.

Don’t criticize.

If part of your role is to improve things or change the status quo at your new employer, you may want to wait a few days before you start pointing out all the areas that need improvement. Ingratiate yourself with your coworkers first before letting loose with all of the problems you see in the company, or else they may end up feeling bombarded and hostile to any of your new ideas (no matter how beneficial they are to the company).

As always Power Writers USA is here to help guide you through the steps.

Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Recruiter Resume Distribution are all available from our team at PWU. Connect with us for a free consultation and resume review!



5 Key Skills for General Manager Success

Any of us working in large or small organizations will attest to the high-value a good General Manager can bring to daily workflow. Although the title itself is very diverse, the executive role of a GM is to plan and execute an umbrella-like influence on business strategies throughout the organization. GM’s are business leaders positioned to assess the health of their market and to align appropriate growth strategies while simultaneously playing an essential role in delivering a delightful experience to customers and gracefully representing the company’s mission.

Jack of all trades and master of EVERYTHING.

We conducted a search for current executive employers seeking General Managers on LinkedIn and began to see patterns pertaining to key skills flagged as necessary for the recruiting and hiring process.  The data also reflected some ideal personality traits associated with successful GM leaders. Individuals with a tendency towards naturally optimistic attitudes achieve as GM’s as do industry leaders with a genuine sense of compassion toward their team. Powerful critical thinkers with instinctual abilities to review and act according to live situations are born for this role.

Check out our active search data here: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/search/?keywords=general%20manager

5 basics of general manager success

Whether your focal industry is retail, hospitality, food & beverage or running a multi-million-dollar hockey team, mastering these 5 skills can help you dive deeper into a successful leadership experience.

  1. Shaping the Work Environment – every company has its own individual work atmosphere which becomes the framework of which the new GM builds strategies.  These are the performance standards that dictate the pace and efforts from all employee’s, they are the business concepts that define the company’s operations and they are the key items that define the overall experience of employment with the company.  The details of these environments are never out of sight for a quality General Manager.
  2. Crafting a Strategic Vision – since the General Manager is the main executive who can commit the entire organization to an absolute strategy, the best GMs are invariably involved in the strategic formulations. They are actionable in approach to leadership rather than just presiding over their team at arm’s length.
  3. Marshaling Resources – allocating resources to support competitive strategies is a cornerstone of the GM role. This high-value operating technique maintains the company’s economic health and allows the company to produce high returns. The name of the game is an absolute focus on strategy.  For you to master this ability on a 360-degree perspective will aide you to gaining an important competitive edge.
  4. Developing Star Performers – The talk then comes to building an optimum team.  Everyone knows how important it is to attract talent, develop them quickly and keep the team challenged and pointed in productive directions.  Yet it’s a struggle to hire those that can make the calls when restructuring is in the company’s best interest.  Lack of management talents ranks at an equal degree to low standards as a cause of poor performance.  Making tough people decisions while nurturing the strongest aspects of your team is vital to success in the GM occupation.
  5. Up and Running – Strategies have been researched, formulated and educated across the organization and now the GM ‘s gaze looks to the supervising of operations and the particular implementation. GM’s are very detail-oriented with a heavy focus on result-based disciplines. Their operating plans are not merely goals, but actual commitments made to themselves and the company that hired them. A keen sense of an organization’s operational capabilities separates top GM’s from their less able executives.  
Job industry leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves.

These 5 responsibilities don’t tell the whole story, of course. Leadership skills and the GM’s personal style and experience are important pieces of the whole picture. However, focusing effort in these areas will help any GM become more effective. And that should mean making the right things happen faster and more often—which is what you want to achieve.

Every career change is unique and our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, and LinkedIn Profile Updates.  Contact us here for a free consultation and resume evaluation.