Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: client interview

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to client interviews.

Making the Most of That One Big Chance to Make a Lasting First Impression

This guest post was provided by the good folks at Effortless English

Making the Most of That One Big Chance to Make a Lasting First ImpressionThere is a good chance that you have had at least one job interview, and probably more than that, where you review your performance and feel frustrated that you could have given some better answers to the questions put to you.

Trying to anticipate the sort of questions you are going to be asked will help you to prepare for the process and stop you from freezing in the headlights when you get thrown a curve ball question.

Rise above the crowd

Of course, it is not just about rehearsing some carefully crafted stock answers to certain questions, as your interviewer will probably have come across these responses many times before. To get the job or even be considered for the job, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and make it easy for your interviewer to remember you and mark you down as a potential candidate for filling the role.

As this resource demonstrates, the mindset that you need to adopt is that you are not applying for a job as such, but selling yourself in the style of sales presentation. Your pitch might well amount to the same thing as submitting your application for a position, but the mindset and approach are different.

If you are trying to perfect your English and want to come across as grammatically correct as possible, the fundamental point being put across by the Effortless English service in the link above, is that to present yourself in the best possible light, it is not a case of sitting down and laboriously going through a set of rigid grammar rules, it is much more a case of learning to think English grammar.

There is a difference between the two learning methods, and that can definitely come across in a much more personable way when you are sat across the table from an interviewer, and trying to sell yourself as the best candidate they have seen.

Good listening skills are essential

The art of listening is also often grossly underestimated when it comes to coming across as a strong candidate.

Some consider listening to be one of the most important communication skills that you can possess, and it could be argued that one of the most powerful ways to make a meaningful connection with another person, is to listen.

This is an attribute that can serve you well in an interview process. Yes, you are expected to do a lot of speaking and provide convincing answers when being interviewed for a job, but just as important is knowing when to stop and listen to what is being said to you and what is specifically being asked.

Listening doesn’t just mean interpreting the words being spoken. It also means non-verbal as well as verbal communication skills.

Your ability to listen successfully hinges greatly on the extent to which you are able to accurately perceive and understand the verbal and nonverbal messages being portrayed to you in the interview process.

Many companies put a lot of emphasis on good communication skills, and if you are able to demonstrate this ability in abundance during your interview, by the way you speak, listen and present yourself, you will be increasing the odds of getting the call to say the job is yours.

Do Your Part to Have a Successful Job Interview (Infographic)

Every recruiter here at Eagle has a story of an interview gone wrong. We’re confident that recruiters at every other employment agency and within any other company’s HR department have a few of their own horror stories as well. Vice-versa, most job seekers and independent contractors also have stories of their own where they messed up a job interview or client meeting.

Bad interviews happen no matter who you are, but the good news is there are many techniques and skills you can learn to minimize these occurrences. Sure, a bad interviewer or shabby recruiter could play a big role in the disastrous meeting, but following the job interview tips provided in this infographic from Company Folders will at least ensure that you’ve done your part.

Graphic Design Interview Tips
Learn More Graphic Design Interview Tips

What to Do When You Miss Your Job Interview?

This post by Joe Issid was originally published on the Monster Career Advice Blog

miss-your-interviewI’m sure we’ve all had some version of the same nightmare: you wake up disastrously late for an important meeting but, try as you will, you simply cannot get your legs moving fast enough to get you there on time. I must have had dozens of these dreams while I was a nervous student around exam time. Fortunately, as an adult, these types of fear-inducing events happen with far less frequency. Having said that, there are few meetings that are as crucial to your future prosperity as a job interview, which can certainly leave the best of us feeling anxious. So, it should stand to reason that all efforts are made to show up prepared and on time.

But, unfortunately, sometimes the universe conspires against you and forces you to unexpectedly and inexplicably miss the interview without providing any advance notice. If this nightmare scenario has befallen you, don’t fret too much. Here are some ways to help you recover.

Gather yourself

Before making a breathless and panicked phone call to your interviewer and begging for mercy, take a beat and think of your options. Admittedly, accidentally missing an interview does not reflect well on you so it is critical that you don’t compound the issue by making an emotional and disorganized appeal. Do your best to formulate a game plan, which should certainly include a reasonable explanation for your absence (more on that below). However, you should try and reach out as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the less credible you may sound. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the issue.

Be contrite

Make no mistake about it: this is 100% your fault and you should be unequivocal about taking ownership. Without assigning any blame to outside parties, you need to offer your sincere apologies and assurances that this type of behavior is extremely uncharacteristic. If you come across as trying to deflect responsibility, it will reflect poorly on you and make the interviewer feel even more distrusting. It may certainly hurt your pride to apologize so effusively but it may just be your one saving grace.

Be pro-active

Rather than passively hoping the interviewer will forgive you and reschedule the meeting, take pro-active measures to ensure that you can get your foot back in the door. You should follow up all verbal communications with an email (and vice versa). You should also offer additional insights into your candidacy for further proof of your seriousness; for example, I would suggest providing additional references or offering to perform additional interview steps as a means of demonstrating that you are dependable and industrious. Let’s face it, you are now going to have work harder than any other candidate to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job.

Work on your excuse

I’m going to be honest: it is extremely hard for a recruiter to forgive a candidate who misses an interview. (Of course, if you endured a personal emergency or something wholly unforeseen, most interviewers should certainly be sympathetic.) In all likelihood, though, you will certainly have an uphill battle on your hands – especially if you have a weak excuse. To wit, if the interviewer demands an explanation, you are going to need to provide something quite compelling to get yourself back in the running. So, if you missed
the interview because you overslept or forgot to put the interview in your calendar, do yourself a favour and come up with something better. This is a rare instance where telling the truth may not be in your best interest.

Remain professional

Look, it may be that you have simply blown this opportunity. Try as you might, the interviewer may no longer be interested in your candidacy. While this is regrettable, it isn’t hard to understand why. In such a case, I would advise you to take your lumps and move on. Don’t lash out at the interviewer and do not take to social media to voice your displeasure. You should retain a strong sense of professional decorum and remain contrite in your communications. You never know when another opportunity may arise so keep all your options open by keeping your emotions in check.

You Have a Job Interview… Now What???

Cathy Marks By Cathy Marks,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

You Have a Job Interview... Now What???It’s important to work with your recruiter and obtain enough information to put your mind at ease before an interview with a client for an IT contract. You want to gather as much information possible about the client and technology project to ensure you arrive at the interview without stress; you need to make a perfect first impression.

Here is Some Information Required for Job Interview Prep:

  • Location: Ensure you have the correct logistics for the job interview. Correct client address, floor number, and parking if available. View the location on Google Earth. This will allow you to picture the building before you get there.
  • Date, Time and Duration: Reconfirm you have the correct date and time for the interview. Ensure you have saved enough time so you are not be rushed during your interview.
  • Job Description: Obtain a detailed job description from your recruiter. If the job description is vague, work with your recruiter to identify people who have worked in this role in the past and learn what their responsibilities were.
  • Hiring Manager Details: Ask who you will be interviewing with — is it a panel interview or just one person? Research your interviewers and gather information about their titles, group they work in, and their previous experiences. Also ask your recruiter about the hiring manager’s interview style and what questions they have asked in the past.
  • Company:  Research the company with whom you have a scheduled job interview. Know the size of the organization, their main focus, their mission statement and look for any latest news and updates.
  • Your Resume: Know your resume and make sure you can speak of examples from your resume. Cross-reference the job description to your resume and make sure you have all the skills required, or at least, at a minimum, skills that are comparable.
  • Interview questions:  There are a lot of questions that can be found online; however, refrain from memorizing questions and answers as you will sound robotic during an interview. Instead, write down some of your own examples so they are top of mind.
  • Seek Advice: Ask your recruiter to identify potential flaws in the communication style, they will be honest with you and you will appreciate the honesty in the long run. For example, you may have a habit of saying too much so they will advise you to slow down and be clear and concise. Use the below STAR method when describing examples so you don’t lose the hiring manager with too many details about an IT project that they have little interest in.
  1. S = Situation   (Describe the situation: general/specific)
  2. T = Technique   (What approach did you use?)
  3. A = Action   (What action did you take?)
  4. R = Result   (What was the result of your action?)
  • Prepare Questions:  You always want to have a couple of questions for the end of the interview. If your questions have already been answered by the time it gets to that point, it’s okay to say so.
  • Plan what you are wearing: Lay out your attire the night before and make sure you have a nice crisp shirt/blouse to wear. Don’t dress casual too any interview.
  • Be positive: Last but very important, be positive and have fun. It’s better to speak about a glass half full than a glass half empty. Smile — it goes a long way.

Once a job interview has been completed, it’s also important to follow up with your recruiter. They will want to hear how your interview went and if you are interested in the role. It’s also important to let your recruiter know if you have other interviews or offers in progress so they can push the hiring manager for feedback.

Hiring Managers Reveal the Qualities That Make Candidates Stand Out

By Elizabeth Bromstein at Workopolis
This article originally appeared in the Workopolis Career Resources Blog

Hiring Managers REveal the Qualities that Make Candidates Stand Out Standing out in the job search can be hard. HR folks see a lot of people. What you really want to do is make them sit up and take notice, to say “Wow! What a fabulous and unforgettable candidate. We really must hire him/her as soon as possible in case someone else snaps him/her up first!”

Most of us probably don’t know how to make that impression. So, I asked hiring managers what qualities make them sit up, take notice, and even say “Wow!”

Interestingly, many listed a lack of grammatical or spelling errors in the cover letter as a “rare” thing that gets their attention. Still? Seriously, people. What’s wrong with you? I guess it’s good for some folks that the bar is so low. But it’s a sorry state of affairs.

Another one that came up was communication skills, and the ability to articulate oneself without using “ums,” “uhs” and “likes.” I mentioned that in “How to make people think you’re smarter than you really are.” Learn to speak. It’ll work wonders.

Here’s some more of what they said.

Confidence. High energy, but also patience in their body and verbal language. When a candidate can answer a question in a brief, bright and confident way, that is a unique skill. And intellectual curiosity. A candidate who enjoys problem solving, dedicates themselves to their profession, is a student to their trade, and is using that curiosity to drive their profession forward.”

Ben Martinez, HR director at HireVue, a digital recruiting platform

“The qualities that make a candidate stand out are, unfortunately, not that common. I like to see strong volunteer activity; to us, giving back to the community or to specific charities tells us the candidate has a ‘world’ perspective rather than a ‘me’ perspective. Also, when the candidate sends a cover letter that is genuinely specific to our company and the position he or she is applying for. When I receive template letters, it tells me that they could – and probably have – sent the same letter to 100 different companies.”

David Bristol, president and CEO of Employee Solutions

“The number one quality that makes job applicants stand out is demonstrating that you are results-oriented. Whether it’s a college student who led a project with a student group, or someone who has ten years of experience, I need to hear them talk about their past work in terms of achieving and working toward goals without significant prompting from me as the interviewer. Many times, I’ll ask someone to tell me about a big accomplishment from a job I’ve selected from their resume, and many candidates draw a blank.”

Tracy Brisson, founder and president of The Opportunities Project, a talent development and recruitment consulting agency

“What gets our attention are the candidates that respond quickly and are persistent. That may sound overly simplified, but I am constantly amazed at the lack of follow through candidates demonstrate. So many times I will contact a candidate who has applied and it will be DAYS before I hear back!”

Leslye Schumacher, talent analyst/management consultant, TalentQ Consulting, LLC

“We are impressed with interviewees who ask questions that show evidence of having conducted some sort of background research on our organization or suggest something that has the potential to bring in business or add revenue in some innovative way that we have not yet considered. The former shows initiative and the latter creativity and innovation, all of which are high in importance.”

Lynda Zugec, managing director, The Workforce Consultants

Interesting stories. Being memorable is key, and interesting stories help hiring managers remember candidates. Many candidates say during interviews that they are “quick learners.” The problem with statements like this is that they are generic.

“One time, I had a candidate tell a story about learning six new software systems in one year. She learned three new software systems upon being hired for a company. Three months later, the company transitioned to completely new software systems, and she learned three new systems AGAIN. Better yet, she became an employee trainer of the new software systems and helped others learn the systems. This story showed me that she was a quick learner and definitely a leader. I was not only impressed, it was a memorable story, and I hired her.”

Kent Lee, Yahoo Career Consultant, CEO of Perfect Resume

How to Do the One Thing Interviewers Just Wish You Would Frikkin Do

By Elizabeth Bromstein at Workopolis
This article originally appeared in the Workopolis Career Resources Blog

There is one thing hiring managers want you to do before the interview, which I hope you know by now.

What do they want you to do? Your research.

img_frustrated-interviewersI keep polling hiring managers on what they want from candidates (I’m hoping to find things to write about), and they always come back with one answer. They want you to research the company before you come into the interview. The vast majority of candidates still don’t do this, so if you just do that one thing, you will stand out. And you still don’t do it.

I got to thinking about why this might be. And I came to the conclusion that maybe you don’t know how. So, here’s how. Here are some of the things you should research – maybe not all are applicable and maybe some are missing – before the job interview and how to do that.

What does the company do? What goods or services do they offer? What do they make? Do they make beer, knit sweaters, or provide financial services? Let’s say they make beer.

How do they do it? How do they make the beer? Is it made locally in a small brewery or mass manufactured? Where? What do they make it out of? Spring water, organic barley and angel tears? Or sludgwater and poison? Do they stand on their heads while making the beer? If they do, that’s something you should know.

Who are their clients? Who drinks the beer? Hipsters? Baby boomers? Students? Who is their target market?

How do they reach that market? Do they advertise on YouTube or in magazines? Do they rely on word of mouth? Social media? Do they have a Facebook or Twitter page? Sandwich boards?

Who is the competition? Who else makes beer and makes that beer available to the same market? How is that beer different or the same? How is that beer’s marketing different or the same? Who are the big players in the market and who are the up and comers?

What is the company culture like? What’s the dress code? Do the people at the beer company wear jeans and skateboard around the brewery, which is in a big warehouse space with a pool table and karaoke machine, where every one of all levels works together? Or do the managers wear suits and shiny shoes while working in a head office while others work elsewhere? Is it fun? Is it serious?

What are the company’s mission and values? Do they place a premium on sustainability or the environment? Are teamwork and accountability important? Do they value employee development, career pathing, diversity? Find out.

Who are the managers? Who runs the show? Who are you interviewing with? What’s their name and title? What are these people’s professional histories?

What are the industry trends of challenges? What’s in the news? You would want to know about the rise of craft brewing and the hipsterification of beer, for example. Also, if you were in Ontario, you would want to know that Ontario is planning to sell beer in grocery stores.

Where is it? Find out where exactly you’re going so you don’t get lost.

OK. Now, how/where do you find these things out?

Company website: Obviously this is your first stop. Find out as much as you can about the organization from its website.

Company social media accounts: Check out their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever other accounts they might have. Read the voice, read their posts, see what is important to them, how they interact, how large their network is, and see what other information you can get there.

Corporate blogs: Read industry blogs and see what’s going on. Is the company mentioned? Do they have their own blog?

Personal social media accounts: Don’t stalk managers on Facebook – that’s creepy and unwelcome – but do read their LinkedIn profiles carefully.

Your own network: Do you know anyone who works there or has worked there, or anyone who knows anyone? Ask around.

The news: Is the company in the news? Set up a Google alert. Read up on news about the industry. Know what’s going on.

Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a database of “company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more.” All the information is provided by company employees, so it’s extremely valuable information, and you can prepare yourself accordingly.

There may be other ways to prep. It’s up to you to figure out what they are. Be prepared, and I guarantee you will already be far ahead of the competition.

Now you have no excuse.

How to Stalk Your Potential Client Online

Jennifer Farrell By Jennifer Farrell,
Proposal Team Lead at Eagle

We are often surprised by the number of contractors who attend a client interview unprepared. Reading and understanding the Job Description is important and its a good starting point. But let’s not stop there. If you really want to win the contract and land the perfect role, you need to understand the client better than your contractor competition. What you need to win is a basic understanding of your potential client.

The easiest way to start is with a Google search and a visit to the company’s website.  Look up their press releases, review their service offerings, and read their entire management page. [Tip: If you’re serious about this contract, read their entire website. If you don’t, someone else will and that gives them a serious competitive advantage over you.] While you are reading, take lots of notes and make sure to answer the following questions:

  • What do they do?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are they publicly traded and, if so, how is their stock doing?
  • Have they been in the news lately?
  • Who is the Executive Team?
  • What are their Vision, Mission and Core Values?

Next, find the company on LinkedIn, join their main page, and then read the five most LinkedInrecent articles they have published to get a ‘flavor’ for what the company is doing.  Search their employees and find the interviewer.  Click through to the Hiring Manager’s LinkedIn page and review their professional background. Don’t be nervous that they will know you checked them out. It is very gratifying to see a potential contractor conducting their due diligence and we’ve never met a client who was offended that a candidate prepared in this way.  [Tip: Prior to clicking through to the Hiring Manager, make sure your own LinkedIn page is flawless.  Copy your own page content into Word and run a complete spelling and grammar check. Read it again. Then print it off and read it again. Most mistakes are caught faster on paper than on screen. Once you’re happy with it, go ahead and update it.] While you are on the page of the person who is interviewing you, find something that you both have in common and write it down in your notebook. If you can, find a way to bring up your common interest during the interview.  This trick will help you connect on a personal level, which ensures you stand out from your competition.  [Tip: Don’t force the conversation about the personal interest. It is more important to keep up with the real-time pace and topics of the interview.]

Remember, while you are conducting all of this research you should be taking lots of notes in a notebook – a key tool to interview success. This is the same notebook you’ll use to brainstorm questions for the client and the same notebook you’ll bring to the interview.

The client’s website, Google, and LinkedIn are the three easiest online sources for researching a company before an interview.  There are, of course, many other great sites across the Internet.  Do you have any favourite websites you use to prepare for an interview?  Add to our list by leaving us a comment.