Archive | Candidate Tips RSS for this section

Ask the Recruiter – November 2017

How much detail should I share about my experience when I’m interviewing?

This is a great question and it’s near the top of the list as to why hiring managers pass on candidates. Candidates don’t get the job because they either talk too much . . . or didn’t give enough detail when asked specific questions and talked too little.

I’ve seen this happen over many different consumer product companies, different hiring managers, over a variety of positions (sales, category management, and supply chain) and different levels (analyst positions up to VP level). No one seems to be immune.

So where is the fine line between sharing enough information, but not sharing too much? Before I answer this, you need to be aware of one very important perspective.

The CPG industry is analytical, and for most everyone, the analytical side of their brain is dominant over the creative side. Analytical people are by nature fact-based, so you want to stick the facts, don’t give them any fluff, and most importantly, don’t ramble. Make your point and move on, but don’t ever shortchange your answer. If you have good information that the hiring manager is asking for, be sure you address all the points of what’s being asked: no more, no less.

So how much do you need to share?

As you’re sharing details your experience, usually you’ll hit a point where you can continue giving more detail, or related information about your experience. If you’re not sure whether you should continue to go into further detail or if you should stop, the best thing you can do is simply ask the hiring manager and let him/her tell you.

“Would you like me to give you further details about ‘X,” or move on to ‘Y’ or ‘Z’?”

It really doesn’t matter what the hiring manager says. The answer they give will tell you exactly what you should do. You’re allowing them to guide you as to how much information you need to be sharing.

By allowing the hiring manager to steer you, you’ll be in sync with the amount of information the hiring manager is seeking. Finally, it will also give you a strong clue as to how much detail to share in the next question as well.

Good luck!


Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Accept a Job Offer

Deciding whether to accept or reject a job offer is a major life decision that one should never make lightly. It’s easy to get swept up in the emotional aspect of the decision, but there are a number of logical factors you need to take into account as well.

Your decision might very well hinge on how you would answer the following questions:

  • Does the job seem like one you would truly enjoy and be good at?
  • Do you believe there are legitimate opportunities for growth and learning new skills in the job?
  • Will the company allow you to continue your growth you had achieved in your previous positions?
  • Will you be able to achieve your goals in the new position, both short-term and long-term?
  • Do you think you will get along with your supervisor and/or coworkers?
  • Are the salary and benefits fair and enough to give you the ability to provide for yourself and your family?
  • Is the commute reasonable?
  • Is the job in a stable company?
  • Will the new position help you to improve your resume?
  • Will any aspects of the job force you to compromise too much in terms of what you’re looking for in your career?

If you find yourself answering “no” to too many of these questions, the job might not be for you, despite the initial jolt of excitement you might have received upon being offered it.

Even if you have been unemployed for some time, you don’t necessarily want to jump into a position that is completely wrong for you and would either set you back in your career or your personal life. Consider these factors carefully when you decide whether accepting your next job offer is the right decision for you.

Don’t Base Your Happiness On Other People’s Lives

Another key point from Tim Hoch’s article in Thought Catalog, “10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than it Has to Be.”

The seventh point of the article is “you constantly compare your life to others.” Chances are, we’ve all had moments where we take a look at what other people have (money, jobs, success, relationships) and get green with envy. There have even been a lot of studies performed recently about the effect that social media has on a person’s overall happiness — seeing the highlights of other people’s lives can occasionally make us feel depressed, because we feel as though we have to compare what we have to what others have.

But there are many problems with this. For one, we need to realize that when we compare ourselves to others, we tend to idealize the lives that other people have, when in reality everyone has their own unique challenges and hardships that they face on a daily basis. “The grass is always greener on the other side.”

The biggest problem, though, is that the need to compare ourselves to others will never produce happiness. We cannot control the lives of other people, but we can control our own lives and, therefore, our own happiness. If there is something in our lives that we are unhappy with, we have the ability to change it.

Unemployment Rates Lowest Since the Recession

Now Hiring - Unemployment Rates LowMore good news for Americans in need of jobs: unemployment rates fell once again in October, giving us the lowest rates since before the recession.

The numbers were published in a recent article by USA Today, and as they stood at the end of the month of October, the unemployment rate was at 5.8%. That means that for the first time since 2008, unemployment rates are below 6%, a huge milestone in America’s recovery from the recession.

Now with the improved labor market, the average monthly job growth is rising above 200,000 this year as the unemployment rate continues to shrink. There is expected to be growth in available positions for jobs at all skill and pay levels.

The country has truly come a long way in the past few years — not so long ago, unemployment numbers were reaching their highest points in decades, and hope for a reasonable timeframe of recovery from the effects of the recession seemed bleak. Those who are currently on the hunt for jobs are now able to benefit from a much wider selection of types of positions and employers who have the luxury of being able to hire more people than they have in years.

For the foreseeable future, it would appear that these trends are likely to continue, meaning that people seeking jobs will continue to be able to benefit from increasing availability of positions.

Don’t Be the Star of Your Own Movie

star-of-your-own-movieIn August, we began looking at some great points made by Tim Hoch in his article, “10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be.” The second point Hoch makes: that being the “star of your own movie” can lead to more trouble than good.

It’s incredibly easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking the world revolves around us, our needs, our problems and we’re the star of our own movie.  It’s almost surreal that every single person we encounter every day, the thousands of people you see driving during rush hour, at the grocery store etc., all have their own script, cares and problems.

You’ve scripted your life’s movie out for yourself and know how you want it to go but not everyone else has that script. Other people aren’t playing bit parts in the movie of your life—they’re starring in their own. You may have scripted them to give you a promotion or help you achieve greatness, but unfortunately, life doesn’t revolve around you.  Instead of constantly asserting yourself as the star of your movie, forget your script and let others star every now and then be a supporting cast.

Candidate Tips: Resume Length

Question: How long should a resume be – one, two or three pages?  

Jim’s View:

Don’t worry about it.  I’ve never had a hiring manager or a human resource manager call me saying “Why did you send me this candidate? This person has a two (or three) page resume!

The short answer is that it depends on the length of your experience.  It needs to be long enough that the hiring manager can see the necessary skills they are seeking for the position.  The biggest mistake a person can make is to cut their resume short to keep it to one page (or possibly two pages) and in the process omit important information that the hiring manager is looking for on the resume.  

The resume has one purpose… to get you an interview.  If the hiring manager doesn’t see the skills he/she is looking for, you’ll never get the interview. 

The consumer products industry is analytically-based and many of the positions are detail-oriented.  Therefore, some of that detail needs to be on the resume… they’re hoping they see enough detail to make their decision easy, motivating them to say “I need to talk with this candidate.”

What two questions should a resume always answer?

1.  What are your responsibilities?  (What do you do?)

Consumer products is a fact-based industry and very analytical whether you are in sales, supply chain, marketing or (especially) category management.  Therefore, it’s essential to go into detail about what you do: the accounts you manage, the data tools you’ve used, sales volume, number of SKUs etc.  Don’t be afraid to give details – the individuals reviewing your resume are hoping you’ll give them enough information to show you are qualified for their opportunity.

2.  What are your accomplishments and achievements?  (Are you any good at what you do?)

If you are in sales, have you increased sales or the number of items?  If you’re in supply chain, have you made processes more efficient, cut costs or fixed recurring problems?  In category management, have you helped the category grow in sales, and what strategies did you implement to help grow the category?

The bottom line is that resumes should proactively answer questions, not raise questions.

If you leave pertinent information off your resume and leave basic questions unanswered, your resume is far more likely to be set aside… and forgotten.