Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Top 10 Ways to be a Top Notch Candidate

By Jennifer Phillips

Steffan and Co., Incorporated works with top-notch employers throughout the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area, providing them with quality employees in a wide variety of professional fields. The following are 10 ways that you can stand out from the “crowd” and be the best permanent placement candidate you can be.

1. Be On Time! It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But many of us have honest issues with time management, and during the candidate screening and interview process is NOT the time to let these issues get the best of you. When a professional placement candidate is late (regardless of what the appointment is for, whether it was a scheduled phone contact or face to face interview or meeting) there is little that can redeem that candidate’s professional image. Nothing can set a meeting, interview, or conversation off on such an immediate wrong foot than a candidate, who cannot, for whatever reason, be on time. It shows a severe lack of respect to the person waiting on you. Please note that being on time does not mean rushing in at exactly the right minute, out of breath and with some dramatic story of your travels. True professionals always arrive 5-10 minutes early, calm and well prepared. Scheduled phone interviews should be conducted in a quiet environment and you should have paper and pen ready to take notes. Being prepared and professional is key. If your using a cell phone make sure you charge your phone and have a full signal.

2. Be honest about what you really want Let the Steffan & Co., professionals know exactly what you want to do, and do not in your next job. Flexibility is usually acceptable and expected regarding certain job requirements, but it benefits all parties involved if you are clear about the “must” and “must not” of your next job. Before you begin your interview process sit down and make a list of 15 criteria your next job must have and then out of those 15 pick 5 that are nonnegotiable. This will help you know exactly what you want. Why waste everyone’s time arranging and participating in an interview for a job that you know for a fact you would not like or want?

3. Be truthful and consistent With today’s interviewing process involving reference and background checks regarding previous employment, education, criminal and credit histories. Never fudge on dates, duties, or education. Being truthful on resumes and job applications usually ensures consistency, while fibbing invites discrepancies that could affect your reputation as a trustworthy person. Many companies directly compare resumes sent at an earlier time to official applications specifically looking for differences in answers. It’s a huge “red flag” that a job candidate may not be what they seem, and one that can be difficult to explain your way out of.

4. Answer your telephone Don’t avoid phone calls from your permanent placement agency for any reason. People tend to avoid phone calls for a myriad of reasons: you are undecided and want a little more time to think, or you have changed your mind and are nervous about admitting it. This step is simply a part of Step #2 (Being honest). Your permanent placement representative is working within many different time constrictions, and truly needs and appreciates timely responses from candidates. If you need more time to think about an offer or have changed your mind, simply say so!

5. Dress the Part A true professional is always dressed as such. Never assume that “business casual” is acceptable for any interview, testing, or meeting. Save the business casual attire for after you have obtained employment and are certain of dress codes and requirements. First impressions are important and rarely do you get a second chance to make a first impression. Don’t let sloppy or inappropriate dress cast a shadow over your first impression to potential employers or the agency that is recommending you. If you have any questions just ask the professionals at Steffan & Co.

6. Rethink your Email address Don’t expect top employers and agencies to take anyone seriously whose email address is inappropriate. or along with similar types of email addresses are just wrong in the business world. Just set up a new account with your name only.

7. Keep your appointments Your permanent placement agency will not work hard for you, or refer you to their valued clients, if you are unwilling to keep commitments and appointments.

8. Check in regularly with your permanent placement agency. A quick email is always best. Once a week is appropriate and encouraged.

9. Listen to advice offered to you from your agency representative. Whether it is about your resume, your interviewing skills or anything else, you are being offered advice from a professional in the Human Resources field—you will always benefit from their advice.

10. Feedback Please let your representative know how you feel about them and the service provided by Steffan & Co. The only way we get better is if you tell us how too. Constructive criticism and compliments go along way.

This article was written by Jennifer Phillips