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Make your next interview a success with these three things

Interviewing is hard work. If you’re currently looking for something new, you know that finding a job is a job. From preparing your favorite suit to revising your resume to networking and rounds of interviews – there are times it feels like it will never end. It can be tough to keep your head above water with your existing role while you’re balancing your life and your job search. To ensure you’re making the most out of every interview, do these three things.

Research. The best part about job searching in the age of the internet is transparency. This is something that has never existed in the same way in the past. Take advantage of it. Use websites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, and Indeed to find out how much companies are paying. Look up company reviews to find out what employees think of their workplace. Read through the common interview questions for the company you’re interested in. Search on Google and the company website to learn what new changes the company has recently undergone. And, use LinkedIn to learn more about the hiring manager– or better yet, use it to find the hiring manager’s name. The internet is an invaluable tool to job seekers.

Customize your application materials. If you’ve been working to crank out a high volume of applications every day, it’s something you may not have thought of. The more you target your application materials to the company (and the particular job), the more you increase the likelihood a company will be interested in you. And, it’s not hard to do. Start with your resume. Read the job description closely and ensure you’re highlighting the skills the employer is looking for. Customize your objective statement to include both the job title and the company name. Use a similar approach with your cover letter. Specifically mention the job title and company name — and ensure you explain why you’re a perfect fit for this particular role.

Don’t take it personally. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get every job you interview for. The higher you climb the ladder and the more specialized your skills are, the truer this becomes. Just because you weren’t hired doesn’t mean the hiring manager doesn’t like you. There are a number of reasons you might have been overlooked that have nothing to do with your skills. For example, an internal candidate may have been preselected. The job may have been put on hold. The hiring manager may have left the company. None of these reasons are about you.

When you’re rejected, you can either choose to walk away unhappy. Or you can choose to build a relationship with the company. Very often, when you first interview with a company, they’re just getting to know you. If you stay in touch, you will increase your odds of being hired the next time they’re looking for someone with your skillset.

Doing your research, customizing your application, and moving through rejection are three keys to making your job search a success.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Key To Winning Job Candidate’s Heart? Flexibility

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Austin, Texas to meet a number of folks who work at the job website Indeed.com. If you’ve looked for a job in the last ten years, there’s a good chance you’ve visited Indeed. In 2010, they passed Monster to become the highest trafficked job site in the United States. In May, a report from SilkRoad found that Indeed helps people get more jobs than all other sites combined. According to SilkRoad, the site delivered 72% of interviews and 65% of new hires in 2016. That’s powerful stuff.

I spoke with Paul Wolfe, Indeed’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources. I wanted to get his take on what job seekers are looking for in a future employer. Not only does Paul lead the charge on Indeed’s hiring, but he has insight into the hiring process at companies around the world.

As you might expect, one of the key things employees are looking for is flexibility. Since 2014, job searches including words related to flexible work arrangements (think ‘work from home’ jobs) has been on the rise globally. “Flexibility is a big thing,” said Paul. “With the advances of technology, you can do your job from any place really.”

Student debt is also on the minds of job seekers. 25% of students say that loan assistance is a high priority for them, while just 3% of employers are offering it. “In some cases, it takes twenty-one years just to pay off your four-year degree. You’re in a hole before you even start your career, which is tough.” For the companies that do offer this benefit, some structure it around specific performance goals similar to a bonus payout, while for other companies, it’s a fixed amount.

Paul is an advocate of unlimited paid time off too. I’ll admit – I find this concept a little hard to picture at first. Paul explained, “I want our employees to be happy. I want them to continue to nurture relationships outside of the company – with family and a significant other, friends, colleagues.” Paul says he wants his employees to take time off before they hit a wall. “As a HR leader, I know that when you hit the wall, productivity is not great. Your work product suffers. You have probably become a little disengaged at that point.”

Paul also observes other trends related to flexibility, such as expanded maternity and paternity care plans that offer longer leave periods.

Indeed’s employee tagline is, “We care about what you care about.” Ultimately, if a company wants to capture the hearts and minds of their employees, they need to find out what’s important to them. I speak with job seekers every day who would give up a portion of their paycheck in exchange for flexibility, respect, and fulfillment. It seems that Indeed is finding the same to be true within their organization.

For my entire interview with Paul Wolfe and to learn more about Indeed, watch for the upcoming podcast episode on iTunes.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

136 | Indeed Interactive – Paul Wolfe, Austin, TX

Episode 136 is live! This week, we talk with Paul Wolfe in Austin, TX.

Paul is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Indeed.com. He oversees all global human resource functions, including talent acquisition, employee retention, compensation, benefits, and employee development. Paul has over 15 years of experience as a human resources executive having served as a VP and SVP at number of well-known companies, including Match.com, Orbitz, Conde Nast and Ticketmaster.

On today’s episode, Paul shares what benefits employees want, including unlimited paid time off, loan assistance, and increased parental leave.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about Paul or Indeed, visit the Indeed website at www.indeed.com.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

Get Inside the Head of the Job Seeker

Typically, this column is targeted toward the job seeker. Today, I’m going to take a slightly different approach. I’ve received the same question from multiple different employers in the past week, “How can I hire better candidates?”

Although this sounds like a straightforward question, the answer isn’t so easy. But, I’m going to try to share a few observations with you that I’ve seen working with job seekers.

The internet has changed the job search game. In particular, candidates are studying employer reviews. Sites such as Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com both give employees a way to leave a company reviews in the same way that they’d leave restaurant reviews on Yelp. If you’re hiring, check yours and do what you can to improve it.

Beyond online reviews, job seekers are looking for fulfillment and flexibility. Rarely are candidates looking for money alone. They want to be able to work from home on Friday or to have more vacation time with their families. They want to be able to take leave when their children are born. They’ve been down the road of being worked to the bone and they want to get closer to happiness and balance. Although they value money, they’d often give up some to feel happy at work.

Last, but not least, the job seeker wants to feel like a respected human being during the job search process. It makes them uncomfortable to be forced to divulge too much sensitive information such as their entire pay history. It’s upsetting when a company asks them to do extensive homework in early stages of the interview, such as building a portfolio or completing other paperwork beyond a normal application. Job seekers understand why this type of information gathering can be helpful, but wait to ask it of them until they’ve made it to the final stages of the interview process.

And, when you make a promise to the job seeker, keep it. You expect them to keep their promises to you. They expect you to do the same. When you tell the job seeker that you’ll let them know something by Friday, let them know something by Friday. If you haven’t been able to come to a decision for one reason or another, let them know that. They’ll understand. But, what they won’t understand is radio silence.

If you’ve spent hours interviewing a candidate and then decide not to move forward, send them a personal email to let them know. If they email you after the interview, respond. Don’t ignore them or send an automated email. If the candidate asks why they weren’t selected, consider giving them feedback. Candidates are left reeling after a great interview when they aren’t selected. Perhaps there was nothing wrong with the candidate, they were just second in line. Let them know. You may want to hire them for another job one day.

In summary, job seekers want to be treated with honesty and respect. If you value them, they will value your company.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

It’s really okay to say no.

Okay, this is going to sound strange. But, bear with me. After having coached hundreds of folks on their job searches, I’ve noticed a pattern. And, it’s not one I would have expected.

What’s one of our number one fears when it comes to job searching? It’s actually that we will get the job! That’s right. We are afraid of being offered a job.

Why in the world would that be the case? It’s a great question, and the answer to this important question could unlock a key to the job search.

First, let’s rewind a bit. Think back on how you got your current job. Then, think about how you got the job before and the job before that. If you’re like most people, you got most of your jobs through a networking contact. Someone happened to know who you were. They thought you might be a great fit, and they offered you a job. It was as simple as that.

This makes our deliberate job search so much more difficult. We have much less experience selecting what we want to do, and then going after it. We’ve typically just gone with the flow. If a friend thought we might be good at sales, we tried sales. If an uncle had an operations role available at his company, we gave it a shot.

Proactively and deliberately searching for a job takes on so much more responsibility for our own futures. So, why would we fear a job offer when we are clearly looking for a new job?

Well, if you’re like most people, you have taken most every (if not every) job you have ever been offered. When your friend or your uncle told you about a great opportunity, you went for it.

The thing is, when you aren’t quite sure what you want to be, you might be afraid of getting a job offer because it could mean taking a job that’s not right for you. We are afraid that we will be offered something because we assume that being offered a job means taking a job.

So, we sit and stir. We think and think about what we might want to be – one day. But, we are so paralyzed with fear about making the wrong choice that we make no choice.

But, what if – what if we decided that it would be okay to say no to a job offer that didn’t feel like the right fit? What if we decided that it wouldn’t be wasting the company’s time to go through the interview process, even if we didn’t take the job?

My guess is that we would be less paralyzed by fear. We would look at job searching more like a fact finding mission rather than a scary commitment. And, why not? The company would happily interview a candidate five times before walking away if there wasn’t a good fit. Why wouldn’t we as candidates be willing to do the same thing for ourselves?

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Should I go back to graduate school?

“Should I go back to graduate school?” This is a question many professionals wonder about each day. If you’ve struggled to find a new job in the difficult economy, you may be seriously considering it.

I challenge you to carefully weigh the pros and cons of graduate school before enrolling. It’s both expensive and time-consuming, so if you’re going to go, you want it to be for the right reasons.

If you’ve had trouble finding a new job, and think graduate school is your golden ticket to that perfect opportunity, think again. After graduating, you’ll find yourself going through the same process you are today: building your network, applying for jobs and interviewing. Contrary to popular belief, job offers will not pour in just because you have an additional piece of paper from another university.

Do a cost-benefit analysis of a graduate degree. Add up the total cost of your education, including salary you will forego while in school and the cost you’ll pay in tuition and expenses, such as books. How does the total cost compare to the increase in salary you expect to see after graduation?

If you want to go because you’re not sure of what you want to do with your life, look for another alternative. Graduate school is a very expensive way to figure out what it is you want to do. If you’re unsure, talk to professionals who work in the fields you’re interested in to learn about what they do. Look for an internship or volunteer opportunities to test the waters with less commitment.

Most of all, don’t go back just because society dictates that you should – or because mom and dad think it’s important. Society isn’t going to pay off your student loans, or stay up late at night to help you study.

On the flip side, there are a number of very good reasons to go back to graduate school. I went back 10 years ago and earned a Master of Business Administration. I did it because I was often pigeonholed with an undergraduate degree is in engineering, and wanted to move up in the ranks of management. I also knew that financially, the investment would pay off at future jobs. It opened doors that allowed me to grow my career.

Another great example of when a graduate degree makes sense is when you want to work in a profession like law or medicine. These are both examples of jobs that require advanced and highly specialized degrees. Without a medical degree, you can’t practice as a doctor.

If you’re still unsure if graduate school is for you, Google “grad school calculator.” You’ll find a number of sites that help with your own cost-benefit analysis. They’ll look at your current salary, the cost of graduate school and your expected future salary.

Whatever decision you make, be confident in your choice. Understand what you’ll give up and what you’ll get in return to ensure a positive experience, whichever direction you choose.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach