Tag Archives: interview

Interview Tips

Need to brush up on job interview etiquette? Take a look at this short video with two quick tips to keep in mind for your next job interview.

Follow up

After the interview, take the time with a follow up email or message to say thank you to the hiring manager for taking their time to meet with you. Always remember to be patient and polite when asking about next steps etc.

Ask questions

When it comes to asking questions, make sure you have your most important questions ready to ask. Time them throughout the interview versus loading them up at the beginning or the end.

And remember – Don’t forget to relax…. You might find yourself enjoying the job-search process.

Sweet Sixteen

On the 23rd of September 1996, Sarah McNeill and Cheryl Nakamoto founded McNeill Nakamoto Recruitment Group, affectionately known as McNak. Recently, I met with Sarah and Cheryl separately to ask about the road they have traveled these past 16 years. Interesting how in sync these two are.

Congratulations on 16 successful years. How does it feel?

Sarah:  I think I love McNak more with every passing year. It truly only gets better!

Cheryl:  Pretty incredible given most partnerships don’t endure the test of time.  We have been able to create a strong brand and have lots of fun doing it!

What was your vision for McNak when you started in September 1996?

Sarah: To stand out in the vast sea of staffing agencies and provide the best staffing experiences for our customers.

Cheryl:  To be a great recruitment firm in terms of getting the RIGHT FIT from the onset. Also, an agency that cares equally about exceeding the expectations of our clients as well as the candidates. Having been a candidate at one point I know the struggles of looking for work and having some compassion – care to treat them with respect was top on my list.

Regarding business partnership, how do you ‘make it work’?

Sarah:  Cheryl and I are very different people with complimentary skill sets. We make a perfect yin/yang partnership. And we share a love for fun and for seeing the ‘glass half full’.

Cheryl: Really listening to each other and playing to each others’ strengths then trusting the other to make the right choices when implementing decisions that were made jointly.  Not acting unilaterally without consideration for the other.

You are very successful entrepreneurs. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in business now?

Sarah:  It’s a shark tank out there. Put your best ideas forward and hire the best people to execute your plan.

Cheryl:  Have passion for what you are wanting to accomplish otherwise it becomes too difficult to push through those tough times.  You need to know it’s going to be hard work and some long hours and seek out help in areas where you know you need direction.

Why is Corporate Culture important?

Sarah:  Without corporate culture the business is just a machine with no soul. The best employees want to be a more of something greater than just the product or service.  We wanted to create even just 10% of what the best brands have with their teams in terms of corporate culture.

Cheryl: Corporate culture is so important in that is defines the company.  With the enormous growth around using social media, corporate culture is even more important now.  People can get a sense of your culture and share this information with others, make opinions quickly and you are even more “exposed” to the public.  Brand and corporate culture are so closely tied together.  If you build a strong corporate culture then it can attract and help to retain top talent!

How do you make it FUN to work at McNak?

Sarah:  We embrace our inner quirks and let others do the same. It’s never ‘just another day’ at the office.

Cheryl:  We laugh at least 10 times a day…I just laughed at a joke right now with my team!  We harness and embrace all our inner quirks and it makes it a fun place to work!

What’s next for McNak?

Sarah:  To always remain true to our original McNak vision and to keep having fun!

Cheryl: Excited about building in our 2 areas of expertise- Finance and Real Estate and a new partnership formed that will allow us to offer Global Recruitment to our clients.

photo credit: bookgrl

Interviewing Karma

I recently came across this great blog post called Interviewing Karma and it has stuck with me…so much so that I wanted to share it with you.  The blogger is an anonymous manager in a large corporation who is sharing their knowledge along the way. I encourage you to check out some of the other posts they have written.

What I really like about this particular post is the simple message of being kind. Searching for a job has got to be one of the most stressful situations in anybody’s life. For those of you in the position as a hiring manager, please keep this in mind. Whether you hire the candidate or not, please make sure that the interview experience with you and your company is a positive one.

As the Greek author and philosopher, Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Etiquette 101 for Hiring Managers

This article appeared as part of Dennis Wolff’s quarterly column in the HR supplement of Business In Vancouver (October  26 – November 1, 2010; issue 1096). To view the print version, please click here.

How applicants’ experiences during the hiring process have a substantial impact on the employer’s brand in the candidate community

In my role as a recruiter, I spend a lot of time in interview situations. Like most hiring managers, I sure have my share of anecdotes when it comes to the topic of etiquette. There are numerous examples of applicants blowing their chances by ignoring the simplest rules of first impressions, ranging from being late to casually bringing along a cup of coffee to the job interview. However, basic etiquette (or the lack thereof) is not only a pet peeve for employers but also a hot topic in the candidate community. When asking job seekers about their experience applying for jobs, many are disillusioned and frustrated after having had poor experiences. The recessionary climate has put some hiring managers in a deceivingly comfortable spot where opportunities are scarce and applicants are plentiful. Qualified candidates complain about companies not responding to their applications, about poor interview experiences or a breakdown in communication after having gone through a formal interviewing process with a company.

What many employers seem to forget is that the interviewing and hiring process speaks volumes of the company’s brand as an employer. Smart companies know how important it is to treat every applicant respectfully and to offer an interviewing experience that reflects the company’s brand and values. It’s not just about courting the best candidates; job interviews can still be tough, intense situations. In fact, high potential applicants will expect a tough interview process which enables them to display their accomplishments and abilities which will make them stand out from the pack. A high performing, no-nonsense producer will want to feel reassured that the company they are interviewing with shares their sense of professionalism, respect and effectiveness. Here are a few ideas how your company can improve their brand in the candidate community:

  1. Set expectations properly: One of the major frustrations applicants experience is the complete lack of communication after an initial application has been submitted. If you are not planning on contacting every single applicant, at the very least include a disclaimer in the job posting indicating that only qualified applicants will be contacted. Ideally, you will also include a specific date by which an applicant can expect a response. At least they will know to move on if they haven’t heard anything by then.
  2. Communicate effectively: Most companies have applicant tracking or HRI Systems in place that allow them to properly track applications and to send out personalised emails to large groups of recipients. Why not set up an automated response thanking applicants for submitting their resumes and advising them of what they can expect moving forward? Even if your company doesn’t have a proper system in place, a basic email client has the ability to send automated responses or customised emails.
  3. Consider some advice from the dating world: As with any first date, a first impression is a lasting impression. When conducting the first interview, remember the basics: Be polite, be respectful, and be on time. Be an active listener but also be prepared to give an elevator pitch as to what an employee can expect from your firm. As the labour market improves, top candidates end up with multiple job offers and you want to make sure that your company is at the top of their list.
  4. Nothing trumps professionalism: I’ve heard numerous hiring managers say that they don’t really need to “interview” a candidate. They simply “know” when they see the right fit. While this may be true, the applicant is left with a disappointing experience. A strong candidate will want more from an interview than just a pleasant conversation. They want to feel that the hiring manager has a keen interest in their work history and previous accomplishments. In the worst case, a top candidate may not want to proceed after a weak interview experience as they presume it is a reflection of the company’s lack of focus on performance.
  5. Be smart when releasing applicants: At the end of the day you can only hire one person per job. It’s very tempting to focus entirely on that new hire. Sadly, taking down the job posting marks the end of the hiring process for most companies. Making an effort to not leave other applicants in the dark is more than just good karma: Those applicants who have been interviewed should receive personal feedback. Be constructive and explain your hiring decision. Thank them for their time and interest and encourage them to keep in touch should you feel that they may be of interest for future openings. Sending out an email to the other applicants who could not be interviewed offers a great opportunity for employer branding. By advising them that a hiring decision has been made and thanking them for their interest in your company, you are sending a clear message that speaks volumes of your professionalism and thoroughness not only during the recruitment process but also in how your company conducts its business.

As with any experience in an open market, negative news travels exponentially faster than positive. In a time when people can vent publicly about a negative experience, disgruntled job seekers can leverage the powerful world of social media networks by openly commenting on their experience with a particular company and an employer brand can suffer substantial damage. With every new job your company recruits for, your brand is put to the test over and over again. A lot can be gained from offering a great hiring experience. Much more can be lost by having a particularly bad one. What is the impression you think your organization is leaving in the candidate community?

~ Dennis Wolff

The Origin of Job Interviews

Check out this amusing video clip from BBC’s The Armstrong and Miller Show.  We hope your company doesn’t still interview this way!