Monthly Archives: July 2016

4 Most Common Questions Recruiters Ask & How to Answer Them

most common questions recruiters ask

Interviews are almost as nerve-racking as quitting your job. It’s uncomfortable to be analyzed for what seems like an eternity. However, with the right preparation and practice, interviewing will become much easier in due time.

As we all know practice makes perfect and a great way to practice interviewing is by meeting with a recruiter. Recruiters act as a buffer between you and the company you’re applying to work for. The initial interview with your recruiter can be instrumental because it is the perfect opportunity to refine the way you talk about yourself and your professional experience. At the same time, you want the recruiter to be able to capture your true essence and professional preferences so you want to avoid sounding rehearsed.

You’ll know an interview was a success is when you can walk out knowing you did your best to give a full picture of both your personality and professional experience.

Why did you leave your last position?

When you go into the agency, a recruiter will ask you this question only if you’re currently unemployed. If you’re still in your current role the recruiter may ask “Why are you seeking other job opportunities?”. Regardless of the wording, according to our Junior Freelance Account Manager, Sofia Alfaro, the best answer is an honest answer.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should use this as an opportunity to express your frustrations with the company and complain about how poorly you were treated, even if it is true.  This is an opportunity to speak honestly about what you want in a new job.

Remember, you want to find a job that you truly enjoy doing and it’s up to the recruiter to make that happen. The more upfront you are about your job expectations, including the people you want to work with and the type of environment you want to work in, the faster your recruiter will be able to place you in a position that makes you happy.

What do you feel are your strengths?

This is probably the most dreaded interview question of all, “Tell me your strengths and weaknesses”. You can answer this question many ways, but whatever you do, do not panic and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Humor is a great ice breaker. You could say something like, “Well, where should I start?!”.  This is a good segway into your true strengths. We all have them so don’t be shy and make sure you don’t leave any out when talking with your recruiter.

As far as your weaknesses go, if the question arises, now is the time to be pretty transparent because this helps your recruiter find roles that match your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.

The bottom line here is that your recruiter wants to place you in an environment where you thrive and you’re able to bet on your strengths to achieve professional success.

Tell me about your favorite aspects of your job.

Deciding on the career your want to pursue is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your life. That’s not to say you won’t change paths at some point, but being able to identify your likes and dislikes in a professional setting makes things easier down the line. So spend some time thinking about what makes you happy at work.

If you’re someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment your recruiter will likely set you up with a start-up company. If you like something more traditional and predictable, a corporate role might be best for you. Either way, this is a question that requires a confident answer because the more confident you are in what you like, the more confident your recruiter will be in setting up interviews for roles that match your preferences and skill set.

What is your current salary? What is your desired hourly rate?

Money is a sensitive subject to discuss but when it comes to getting a new job, negotiating your salary is inevitable. It’s important for your recruiter to know where you currently stand on the salary spectrum and what your desired salary is because this will limit or expand your job opportunities. Recruiters don’t want to put you in a position where you are underpaid.

Your experience level, previous salary, and current job responsibilities all play a factor in determining what you should be getting paid. So before you jump the gun and shout “I want $100,000!”, you may want to critically analyze how much you’re actually worth. That’s not to say you’re not worth $100,000 because you very well might be, it just helps when you can back up your salary desires with proof of concept.

 

After speaking with multiple top recruiters at 24 Seven we came to a consensus that an honest answer is the best answer for any question. So be honest, be humble, and be prepared and you will know exactly how to answer any question that’s thrown at you.

 

What questions has your recruiter asked you? Share with us in the comments. 

Written by: Brittany Johnston

Why You Need a Mentor & Where to Find One

why you need a mentor

Mentorship is something that many of our Career Over Coffee guests have attributed their success to, but is it necessary? Do we really need someone to give us that leg up to get to the next level in our careers? If so, how do we even go about getting a mentor? The answer is slightly more complicated than one may think.

It’s always nice to be able to collaborate and learn from someone who has been around the business block a few times. Mentors provide industry insight we never knew before and at the same time we offer mentors a fresh perspective as an outsider. Having a mentor is really a win-win. So where do we find this enlightened individual?

Finding a mentor

Your mentor does not have to be the CEO or MVP, because the odds of some super high ranking individual offering to hold your hand through every professional move you make are slim. Thankfully the idea of a mentor is so broad that virtually anyone can claim someone as their mentor even if they’ve never met the person face to face.

A mentor is someone who inspires you to do your best inside and outside of the workplace. A mentor can be a respected coworker, a former boss, an iconic motivational speaker or business guru. Either way, you must first establish some sort of rapport with this person and usually, that comes without flat out asking, “Will you be my mentor?”.

Maybe you send a cold email to a CEO asking x,y, and z and the conversation just takes off and you find yourself in a wonderful virtual mentorship. Or you might work closely with a coworker or boss and suddenly you’re bouncing ideas off one another and asking for advice and now you have yourself a mentor.

On the other hand, if your strategic moves to get a mentor fail, you can always look to YouTube, inspirational books, and informative podcasts. You may not be mentored directly but by studying someone you deem to be successful, you can still get the benefits of having a mentor, without the constant back and forth, which may make you more resilient later down the line.

Either way, there is much to be learned by having a traditional or unconventional mentor.

Mentors provide credibility

When you have someone in your corner, following your career journey, you’re building a reference you can use when you’re up for review at your company or if you decide to change jobs. Your mentor can vouch for you and speak to your achievements, work ethic etc.

The more people on your side, recognizing you for your hard work, personality, and talent, the better! Mentors have a particular advantage over your superiors at work because if your mentor is  someone who is highly respected and they’re giving you credit – that goes a long way.

When I was interviewing for 24 Seven I had a similar experience, though this person wasn’t my mentor, I apparently left a lasting impression on her because she recommended me for the job I have now. Since this person’s opinion was highly respected in the workplace so was my credibility.

Your coworkers can be mentors

As mentioned above, your mentor doesn’t have to be some big shot in the office. Even if Sally from the HR department doesn’t have a fancy title doesn’t mean she’s less knowledgeable than those who do. Sometimes our greatest teachers are the people right next to us. Your cubicle neighbor may be a retired Fortune 500 manager. Have you ever seen The Intern?

If you haven’t, Robert DiNiro is “the intern” and Anne Hathaway is the CEO of a huge fashion startup. Hathaway initially brushes off DiNiro thinking he’s a senior intern with little to nothing to offer. Traditionally speaking, you would believe Hathaway mentors DiNiro; however The Intern inverts this convention, proving the greatest mistake you can make is writing someone off before giving them a chance.

If you’re feeling lost and uninspired, a mentor is a great motivator. And if you’re feeling frustrated because you haven’t found a mentor yet, just remember that the greatest gifts appear when we stop looking for them.

Who is your mentor? Tell us in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston

The Right & Wrong Way to Quit Your Job

the right and wrong way to quit your job

It is an uncomfortable situation for all involved, but at some point in your professional career you may decide to quit your job. It will most likely pose as an inconvenience to someone but at the end of the day you have to do what’s best for you at all times, no matter what. And any reputable company will be understanding of that.

Opportunities arise and disappear, priorities change, and finally, you realize it’s time for a major career adjustment. Now you’re going over the seemingly terrifying scenarios of how you’re going to quit your job. You could lie about your reasoning, but you might get caught. You could give 1 week’s notice, but that wouldn’t be fair. You could just not show up but that leads to resentment and a guilty conscience. You could cry which would show honesty, but would it show too much?

The various scenarios are endless but one thing is for sure…

There is never a good time to quit your job.

There is, however, a right and wrong way to quit your job and we’re going to show you exactly what each way looks like.

The wrong way to quit your job

Unless you are in physical danger or have a family emergency at the exact moment you decide to quit, it is not a good idea to walk out and leave your job on the spot. No matter how emotional you are, it is not professional and cannot be justified.

Your boss should not be under the impression that anger, resentment, and blame played a part in your sudden departure. Anger is not a positive trait to have and when you place the blame on someone else it means you’re not taking responsibility for your own emotions or actions.

You should also not decide to utilize your last days at your job as a hall pass for bad behavior and gossip. Just because you’re leaving, doesn’t mean you’ve already left. You are still an active part of the company and should act accordingly.

Remember it’s a small world, and the job market is even smaller. So if you leave your former company on bad terms, it could come back to haunt you during your job search later down the line.

The right way to quit your job

If you’re planning to quit, decide that you’re going to handle it in a way that you can be proud of, so you can start off your next opportunity in the right mindset. If there’s an underlying issue that hasn’t been addressed, speak about it to your boss. Maybe you’ll solve it and quitting will no longer seem necessary? If after expressing your concerns to your boss and you still feel the same,  you should give the standard 2 weeks notice with class and dignity.

Use I-statements in your explanation such as, I feel or I’m looking for or I’m hoping. Remember to be honest, too. No one can fault you for being honest about how you feel. This will soften the blow and keep you in good graces with your coworkers so you can use them as references for future jobs. Also, who knows, you may wind up coming back to your past employer one day.

If you really want to go out with a bang, write a handwritten thank you card to the coworkers and leaders who have inspired you in some way. They will be humbled and think of you in the future. Again it’s a small world and you never know who you may cross paths with again in the future.

 

Deciding to a quit a job is never an easy task. It’s tough on you and your employer and the best way to handle the situation is by keeping that in mind. If you are looking for a fresh start, browse our most recent job openings today.

Have you ever quit a job? How did you do it? Tell us in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston

Career Over Coffee: Dan of Real Guys Wear Ties

dan chizzoniti real guys wear ties

If you’ve been following along you know we’ve started a new series at 24 Seven called Career Over Coffee, where we will interview various professionals on topics ranging from career advice to what to look for in a potential hire. You can submit any questions in the comments and we’ll be sure to answer them in the next Career Over Coffee.

This week we chatted with Dan Chizzoniti who is the blogger behind Real Guys Wear Ties about networking, cover letters, and his career mentors.

Q: Briefly describe your background.

I currently work for an agency within their social media team. My job is to give life to brands through social media.  I love being able to innovate unique strategies that help set a brand apart.

I kind of stumbled into my career in social media. Out of college is was hard to find a job because of the recession. Since I had a knack for social media, I began pursuing internships that eventually landed me a job. Now being years into my career, I’m so glad life took me down this path. I love what I do.

I’m originally from LI, studied at Boston University and currently reside in NYC.

Q: How has networking helped build your career?

They say it’s all about who you know. Part of that is true, but it’s a combination of knowing the right people and having the right talent to succeed. I am fortunate to have met the right people who have been able to mentor me. But, it’s up to me to solidify my future. Knowing people will only get you so far.

Q: What are the key elements of a cover letter that will land you the job?

Show your personality. Yes, you want to show the facts about what you have done, but this is a short glimpse into who you are. Don’t be afraid to stand out. I like to throw some humor into my cover letter. If the company cannot handle it, then the place isn’t a fit for me to begin with.

Q: What is your advice for someone looking to break into a creative field with no prior work experience?

If you don’t have the experience, you can create the experience. For example, create your own strategy for a brand you aspire to work for. Show them you have the creativity, the drive and the knowledge to do the job. Once you have this, you can work alongside a recruiter like 24 Seven to showcase your talent to potential employers.

Do you have a business/career mentor and how has he/she helped you on your career path?

I don’t think I can pinpoint one person, but there have been many who have helped me learn and grow along the way. I’m not afraid to ask for advice and it’s the best way to move forward in your career. Always be eager to learn and do because that will ultimately get you far.

Do you have any questions for Dan or questions you’d like answered on the next Career Q&A? Tell us in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

3 Reasons Not to Climb the Corporate Ladder

climb the corporate ladder

We’ve all heard the expression, “climbing the corporate ladder”, but what about navigating the job jungle gym? Because of an increase in multi-passionate job seekers, the days of staying with a company for 20 years are over. More employees are seeking meaningful work in a role where they do what they love and love what they do. Millennials especially have a low-tolerance for taking a job just for the sake of financial security. Our happiness and fulfillment come first. Can you blame us?

In fact, this was the case for me as I ventured from a career in teaching to marketing. As rewarding as teaching was, it wasn’t something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. And to be honest, I’m not sure if marketing is either. Is anyone ever really sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives?

All I know is I made my decision based on my level of happiness and haven’t looked back since and the entire 24 Seven team joins me in saying we hope you can find the same job satisfaction as we have.

That’s not to say switching career paths is easy, it is in fact, quite the challenge, but that’s what recruiting agencies are for. With a change of career comes some muddy water in terms of salary, title, and responsibility. The reality of what you will get paid in a new field versus what you hope to be paid is a hard pill to swallow… at first. (Our VP of Global Sales and Business Development is speaking about this exact topic July 25th, save your spot now!). Taking a few steps back to get to where you want to go is worth the risk.

The reward is greater

According to our 2016 Salary Survey when employees switch jobs the pay increase is greater than if they were to stay for the long haul. Not only are there financial benefits to be had by changing careers, but there is confidence to be gained.

When you look at navigating a new job like a jungle gym, you may take a few steps down or you may take a leap up, either way, you’re moving and making progress in the direction you want to be going. With that said, doing anything outside of your comfort zone, (like leaving your current job to pursue your dreams), drastically boosts your confidence.

You’re thrown into the land of the unknown and you’re forced to make the necessary changes to adapt to your new environment. Change is a scary thing and when we face our fears our competence increases which makes us more ambitious.

Not to mention all the new connections you’ll make! Networking is what drives your success in the working world, (hello LinkedIn). You never know who knows who that could help you on your next project or help you get to the next level in your career.

More room for growth

The beauty about starting from scratch in a new industry with a new company is the endless opportunities for growth. You have no knowledge of how the company is run, if anything is off limits, or what policies they already have in place.  You can create your own future within that company by going above and beyond the job description. The best way to do this is to find the company’s biggest problem and help solve it.

You are a fresh face with unique insight. You’ll be able to pick up on things that other people in the company have missed, which puts you in the best possible position to learn and grow.

Makes you a hot commodity

When you acquire various roles in various industries throughout your professional career you become a well-versed individual which makes you a hot commodity in the world of business. You’re able to use seemingly unrelated skills and experience in a new setting which adds value and diversifies the company. Companies much rather have someone who is skilled at many little things than a master of one major thing because roles within companies are changing constantly, especially with all the technological advances.  In other words, when you stop climbing the corporate ladder and start treating your career as a jungle gym, you’ll be the jack of all trades.

 

It may seem scary at first but taking that first step in another direction will be more beneficial than staying complacent in a career for the sake of stability. You have one life which you will spend the majority of your time working so you better spend it wisely by doing something you love. Climbing the corporate ladder is out and jumping on the job jungle gym is in. So what are you waiting for?

Take the leap and apply to 24 Seven’s recent job openings today!

Written by: Brittany Johnston

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