Job Hunt with the Influence of Social Media

Social media job sites have completely revolutionised a ‘job search’ leaving job seekers who are not technologically minded at a great disadvantage, as consequently the impact of social media has completely changed the way in which people now find employment.

We can all appreciate that the impact of social media has taken conventional networking to a new up-to-the minute technological level.  For instance a graduate could attend an interview and whether his perception of the firm is good or bad, can immediately sway the brand of that company’s reputation within minutes all because of the power of social media.  Opinions and reactions to comments etc. can all spread rapidly irrespective of a physical presence.

In today’s competitive market networking is about connecting with the right people, identifying with key players in building up contacts and receiving valuable information, because it will be the resourceful and self-motivated individual who actively participates in social media that will find their perfect or dream job.

More than half of the UK’s companies are using the influence of social media to screen potential employees.

However, bear in mind which sites recruiters target and format your profile efficiently, using paragraphs, subheadings and bullet points make your profile easily readable.

Online first impressions matter: Maximise your potential and attach a photograph – you must dedicate time to catch an employer’s attention.

Display your skills for example if you write a blog connected to your field of employment, link this to your profile.  Current and up-to-date knowledge is fundamental in order to recognise industry trends and this should emphasise a candidate’s enthusiasm.

Today social media sites are crucial in order to gather and exchange online connections and to support and encourage others in pursuance of employment.  Do not always consider how networking can benefit you personally, but how you may help others because every contributor must bear responsibility for maintaining effectiveness and results for employers and talent alike.

Consider the following:

Facebook Many employers use Facebook to promote their brand and graduate programmes – it is a way of getting relevant up-to date information about a company – make use of it and if interviewed you will come across well informed as regards company knowledge.

LinkedIn This is a business-orientated social networking site and it has over 90 million members worldwide, it delivers an opportunity for anyone to network online with professionals from a variety of employment divisions.  It is imperative that your LinkedIn pages markets you to your full potential – this is your online cv, you want to stand out therefore list any outstanding achievements.

Viadeo This is a French based site comparable to LinkedIn – it has far fewer users but apparently is the number one site in Europe for business networking and is expanding world-wide.

YouTube  Youtube is presently the second largest search engine so take advantage to interact and receive advice from people who may have a similar work-background, shared interest in job opportunities or desired career paths etc.  Also for example you can get a first-hand insight into what a certain company may expect from their employees.  The ability to connect with people online should provide a realistic assessment of what areas of employment and companies are expanding.

Twitter Take the opportunity to follow companies, brands or people this can give you a clear understanding of current issues and you can use your own tweets to state your own interest in a job, company or curiosity in developing your career path.

Your Online Image

All the information that can be found about you on the internet is referred to as your 'online presence'. Increasingly this information comes from your profiles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It also includes photographs of you and anything that you have written or has been written about you. This may be on blogs, forum posts and wikis.

Don't assume your prospective employers won't Google your name, even if this is not an official part of the selection process. When they do, if the first result is a photo of you half-dressed and falling into a hedge on your birthday, that doesn't immediately convey a measured attitude to life and you're unlikely to get that dream job in risk management. Un-tag yourself in any potentially compromising photos on Facebook and use their 'View As' function to see how your profile looks to the public. Facebook is known for its frequent alteration of privacy settings, so make sure you check your profile often.

If you've applied for a job where you will be expected to communicate with clients or potential customers, it's quite likely that someone from the company will search for you on Twitter. If they scroll through your timeline and your tweets are all in capitals and are mainly sweary, emoticon-ridden rants at judges on The X Factor, they may no longer see you as the composed, well-educated person your CV conveys.

LinkedIn is arguably more difficult to make mistakes with as its purpose is to convert you into an ever-professional living CV. However, just because your photo is in focus and you're not posting offensive updates about previous employers, don't assume you're a LinkedIn success. If the employment history on your LinkedIn profile is different to that on the CV you've been emailing to recruiters or potential employers, it looks suspicious. Poor spelling and grammar, and few connections or endorsements can also create a negative impression.

Before you apply for that job, Google yourself and see what comes up.

Preparing Your Answers

Many questions can be anticipated in advance and it is wise to have some well constructed answers that you can tailor more closely on the day. It is advisable to at least have a number of key phrases available to use.

Some interviewers use very broad questioning techniques such as "Tell me about yourself?" This can present the most difficult challenge of the interview. You need to perceive whether the interviewer wants an exhaustive resume of your career to date, or just a brief overview. You may need to confirm which it is with a question back before you make an assumption. If you feel you need to go into more depth, don't hesitate to stop and ask if the interviewer would like you to expand on the point.

Before the interview, it is often beneficial for you and your consultant to jot down your answers to these questions. By having a fair idea of what you are going to be asked and by rehearsing your answers, you will have greater confidence during the interview.

Some frequently asked questions include:-

How you see yourself:

  • Tell me about yourself? Or how would you describe yourself?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Impress the interviewer by saying that you look upon weaknesses as challenges you seek to work on, not bad points!

For example:

  • Make a list of your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to this particular job.
  • Can you turn any of your weaknesses into strengths?
  • Make a list of the reasons why you want the job.
  • How do you behave in a crisis/when under pressure?
  • What motivates you?

How you see and interact with others:

  • What sorts of people do you like working with?
  • How have you handled a difficult colleague/boss in the past?
  • How well do you fit into a team.

Your current/previous role:

  • What was the most interesting/rewarding project you've ever worked on?
  • What was the most difficult aspect of your job?
  • How did you overcome the difficulty?
  • How do you handle criticism?
  • Why did you leave your last job? Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Why have you frequently changed jobs?  Why have you stayed so long with one employer?

What you want from your role:

  • What do you see as the next step in your career?
  • What are your long term aims/where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?
  • What are the most important factors you require in a job?

Research and fitting in:

  • What do you know about the company?
  • Why do you wish to work for the client?
  • What makes you think you will fit in?

Personal Development:

  • What training have you done in the last year?
  • How do you keep up to date with changes in technology?

Outside Work:

  • What are your hobbies and interests?

Recommended Questions to Ask

These questions are merely suggestions but it is important to limit any enquiries to your role and the company.  Bear in mind that the interviewer’s main objective is to successfully fit you into their organisation.

  • What responsibilities will be expected of me?
  • How has this position become vacant?
  • What type of person are you looking for?
  • Will there be any training?

What challenges does the interviewer see in the role?
It is important for the interviewee to get the person or panel interviewing them to talk about any possible challenges which may arise in the role.  If you say the word challenge and avoid the word ‘problem’ then this shows that you are positive and will face situations optimistically.

Consider the following when discussing the company:

  • Who are your major competitors?
  • How are you ranked against your competitors?
  • Ask your interviewer how long they have been with the company;
  • Which particular range of products are successful at the moment and why?
  • Are there any plans for expansion within the company?
  • What are the major benefits for a client entering into a contract with you?

It is one the most fundamental parts of the interview when the interviewee is asked questions, if you have none, or perhaps only one or two questions, then this can show a lack of interest in the company and job role.

Preparation will result in the correct balance, it is not only your answers that are important but to place focus on key questions.

How to Close an Interview

If you really want the job, or if indeed you need to secure a second interview, the close of an interview can be crucial.  Think of the role of the interviewer, they are a liaison officer who aids an organisation in finding qualified applicants and selecting the wrong person will ultimately reflect upon their poor judgement.

Keep in mind the following:

Restate your interest and dedication to the job, remind the interviewer of your skills, credentials and relevant experience, which will positively contribute to the company.  However, be careful not to be over-enthusiastic.  Do not for example say “when do I start” this is being over presumptuous.

A person’s personality and style of communication are key factors to consider when arriving at a decision.

  • Enquire as to what is the next step, if for example, do they have several candidates to interview, or there is a second interview, some sort of time frame indication.
  • Perhaps ask if you are allowed to contact the interviewer – a direct telephone number or a business card providing contact details.
  • As whether any samples of your work are required, if you feel this could increase your chance.
  • Make sure you have addressed the interviewers concerns as you want to be certain all issues have been dealt with.  If for example, the interviewer has a negative view on a matter, state how you will overcome this, suppose you cannot drive – could there be a concern regarding travel?  Clearly explain that this will not be a problem.
  • Your main objective is for the interview to end on a positive note, remember to maintain eye contact and smile, as this will maintain a confident disposition.
  • You need to leave the interviewer with a lasting impression that you are the right person for the job.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time. 
  • Remember to send a thank you note for the interview because manners go a long way and if it is close between two people, this could just tip the decision in your favour!

Typical Interview Questions

An interview is a nervous experience for anyone but bear in mind that research has proven that the most successful candidate for the job is not always the person whose experience, skills and intelligence is far above other candidates but it is the individual who possesses learning agility – a worker who can adjust rapidly, a ‘quick learner’ adapting to a new situation and working environment together with excellent communication skills.

Therefore, consider common interview questions listed below and when preparing your answers try and prove your point by showing an example. It is important to show commitment, flexibility, as well as loyalty and, of course, good manners.  Do not interrupt the interviewer, wait to be seated and at the close of the interview remember to smile and thank the interviewer.

Typical Interview Questions by the Interviewer and Suggested Answers

Tell me a bit about yourself?
This is your opportunity to create an immediate impression with a simple introduction of your background, include a quick summary of your academic qualifications, if attended university you could say “since graduating I have worked at …” highlight your dedication but make it brief. Do not sound to rehearsed but speak slowly and clearly.

Why have you applied for this job and why should the company employ you?
Study the job description highlight something from it by demonstrating what experience and skills you have and how the company would benefit from you, speak enthusiastically about previous jobs and apply past examples to this new role.  Demonstrate commitment and loyalty.

Are you a team player?
This is extremely important, bear in mind that you have to fit into the company’s culture, the capability of blending within a team is crucial.  Provide examples, a model answer would be to demonstrate a working example but also illustrate instances outside of work, such as sport, if involved in an organisation which supports a charity etc.  This is an opportunity to deliver a lateral response because this will show flexibility. Highlight occasions where you have lead a team as this confirms leadership skills.

What is your weakness?
Admit to a weakness do not attempt to disguise it or turn it around and say well perhaps others may consider that to be a strength – for example, if you feel, you are under experienced in a particular area state your enthusiasm to learn to better yourself in this specific subject.

Why do you want to leave your current job?
Be extremely careful not to criticise your current employer or colleagues this shows negativity, be positive about what you have learned and that you have been happy but now feel it is time for a further opportunity to develop and progress.

How do you think your current employer and colleagues would best describe you?
Be factual and professional – do not make any flippant remarks, for example you could say “I am punctual, hard working and always ready to help some one if for instance a computer becomes jammed or breaks.”

Where do you want to see yourself in 5 years time?
This is where you need to state you would be committed to the company – you have applied for this job because you consider this organisation to be a progressing business and you would welcome the opportunity to develop alongside this enterprising firm.

What kind of a salary do you have in mind?
If afraid of asking for too much or selling yourself short, perhaps you could turn it around and say “what would you normally pay someone for this role with my qualifications and experience?”

Have you got any questions?
It is essential that you have some questions relating to the company because this will show that you have adequately prepared for the interview, homework equivalents enthusiasm.

How would your strengths benefit the company?
It is not just saying what your strengths are try and prove them by fact, if you have won an award, for example,‘employee of the year’ alternatively express your ability to prioritise work, adapt in new situations and being confident at multi-tasking.

Can you work with minimum supervision?
Your response, if ‘yes’, will indicate that you can just get on with the job and cope with ease.

What are your hobbies?
The purpose of this question is to determine if you are a well-rounded individual because the employer wants to get a broader perspective of you and your life outside of work may tell the interviewer a little more about you.  However, try to balance a list of individual interests but also hobbies as being part of group activities.  Highlight any outstanding achievements.

Second Interview

It is very likely that you will be interviewed by another person, along with the first interviewer, and that you will be asked very similar questions to those in the initial interview. Repeat everything from the first interview that got you to the second.

Remember to share your eye contact with all interviewers, not just the one you feel comfortable with.  Also, answer the questions fully again, the other person has not heard your answer. Have another set of questions - refer back to the previous interview or a question from their company literature.

Reiterate your interest in the role and enthusiastically ask for the job again.

You will probably be asked more questions regarding your personal skills and specific interests at the second interview, be prepared for more challenging questions and try to back up your responses by examples and facts.  It is essential to remain composed, do not flutter and take your time it is important that you can effectively communicate your opinions.

The second interview is your opportunity to ask questions, which you were probably hesitant to ask at the first interview, for example issues regarding salary, bonuses and training schemes.

Although you have been selected for the second interview, and it is probably between two or three people, be careful to remain practical and do not be over presumptuous assuming that you are the successful candidate, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.  Competition for most jobs nowadays is high and it is crucial to at all times display good manners in a confident but unassuming manner.

Bear in mind that the second interview is your opportunity to showcase your intense interest for the job and this is demonstrated by everything you say during the interview, your sole objective is to convince the employer that you are the right candidate for the role.

Interview Preparation

Many of these difficulties and concerns can be overcome by research, preparation and rehearsal so here at Premiere People your consultant will work with you to plan how to make your interview an easier and less stressful experience.

Do your research
There are a number of things you are certain to be asked during an interview and they tend to cover the following topics:

  • The company - an online search on the company's website is the best place to start. As well as information about the business itself you'll get a feel for how they market themselves, there maybe some key people within the organisation and often there will be a news page with recent stories and updates about them. Google news is also a good place to look for up to date reports about a business and it shows you have gone further than just the easy route to find information. If you can get an annual report too this can be really useful.
  • The products or services they sell - know and understand the product range. Get brochures from the company if possible and find out who their competitors are including strengths and weaknesses as well as unique selling points. Most industries have trade magazines and websites so this should give you a wealth of information to work with.
  • The market - look at the market the products/services will be sold to and potential new areas that could be exploited. Talk to users of the products if you can to find out how they are perceived in the market. In short, get to grips with the issues of the industry. This is where industry publications could come in useful again.
  • The job - your recruitment consultant should be able to brief you fully on all aspects of the role you are being interviewed for, so you should make written notes on how you perceive the job, the responsibilities and how you would go about doing it. Try to relate specific areas of your CV back to the job description. It will help the interviewer see clearly why you are right for the job.
  • The journey - plan the journey, check how long it takes online and then if possible do a dummy run, plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early, as late arrival for an interview is inexcusable.

Appearance counts
Your appearance is the first thing people notice about you and will leave a lasting impression so getting it right is really important.   You need to feel comfortable as this will make you act comfortably and can make you appear at lot less nervous, if in doubt always go for a classic business suit in a dark colour. For both men and women this conveys a serious approach but shows clean lines and can be bought inexpensively in all shapes and sizes. Either a crisp clean shirt and tie or smart top will finish the look along with polished shoes and clean nails. A few more specific points would be:

  • Ties - keep them sensible. No  cartoon characters or strange shapes and colours
  • Facial hair - this must be well-trimmed and clean to maintain a smart appearance
  • Make up - keep it subtle
  • Piercings and tattoos - if they can't be removed then keep studs small and cover as much as possible
  • Accessories - keep them to a minimum. Sometimes big earrings or chunky chains can be distracting for an interviewer and can detract from what you are discussing
  • Odours - too much aftershave or too little deodorant can be very off putting in an interview. Smoking just prior to your meeting may leave a scent on you which is hard to get rid of, so make sure you are not leaving the wrong impression.

Prepare what you want to talk about

  • You can never guarantee what you will be asked at interview but your consultant can help you prepare for some of the most common ones to come up. By having an idea of what could be asked and rehearsing your answers you will have greater confidence during the interview.
  • Prepare what questions you want to ask your interviewer. Remember that the interviewer knows that you will have been briefed on the job specification by your consultant so asking what the job is and how much the salary is will not be greeted with positivity. Your questions are a chance to sell yourself so asking what makes their best employee so successful or what background their best employee came from gives you a chance to match your skills and experience with what they have already confirmed is a successful person.
  • Write down your questions and take them into the interview. This allows you to relax and not have to remember everything you want to ask, as often this section of the interview is left until near the end. It also shows that you have prepared in advance even if your questions get answered early on in the meeting.
  • It's always useful to know the reason the job has become available. This will give you a number of different avenues to pursue in your questioning.
  • Is it a competency based interview?  If so then your consultant will be able to work with you to prepare the right kind of answers. This is a specific technique so we can help you get it right!
  • Know how you will close the interview. Finding out what reservations or concerns an interviewer has about you before you leave gives you an opportunity to sell against them and hopefully overcome them to leave a positive image of you in their mind. You will want to know about timescales and decision making processes so your Consultant will spend time making sure you know how best to close your interview depending on the type of position you are applying for.

Lastly, smile, have positive body language and shake hands confidently with your interviewer. Good eye contact puts both of you at ease, builds a relationship and sets the scene for a great interview. You have done the preparation so you're set up for a great interview!

Panel Interview

The golden rule of a panel interview is to engage with the whole panel not just one specific member of the group.   By definition a panel job interview is when an applicant is interviewed by a group (panel) of interviewers.  In many instances a candidate will meet the panel separately; this is most common for a senior position.  However, in other scenarios there will be a panel of interviewers and several candidates all in the one room.

A panel interview can be extremely uncomfortable for a candidate nevertheless it saves an employer time and money because it creates an opportunity for the employer to screen multiple candidates at once.

It is the usual practice for multiple candidates to sit behind a desk whilst the interviewers sit facing the desk, each interviewer will then ask every candidate a question.

If you cannot anticipate likely questions, study the job specification to best effect, prepare as far as possible questions and a response.  Maintain eye contact at all times with the person asking the question and do not be disrupted by other people in the room.

When entering the room look at all of the interviewers, try and remember the names of each and address them accordingly.

The whole idea of a panel interview is to put an interviewee under a lot more pressure rather than a typical one-to-one interview.  It could be the case that you will have four or five people all asking you questions.  The panel will consider how you cope under this pressure.

This could be your opportunity to make your interactive practical skills shine, bear in mind that you want to appear better than your qualifications on paper.

Although it may be an intimidating experience it has its benefits because it is much more objective and reliable due to multiple opinions and of course a collective decision.

The Jobseekers To-Do List

Looking for employment is a full time job in itself and treat it like so because it is only through continuous application that you will eventually be successful.   Plan your day when job searching, set goals for what you will accomplish each day, vary your job hunting, for example do not buy the same paper every week try different newspapers, consider different areas of employment and keep records of all your job applications.

We appreciate, as a recruitment agency, how demoralizing it can become to have to continually complete application forms and look at the same jobsites daily, but perseverance is the key to success. 

In order to be of some assistance, we have produced a ‘to do list’, it is a good idea to keep this at the side of your computer or desk, place it somewhere so that you can look at it daily – this is your reminder that every day counts.  Bear in mind that you are going to maximize your daily free time to optimistically accomplish tasks.

Register with Premiere People recruitment see where your nearest branch is and arrange an interview.

  1. Every day is precious; consider alternative options in order to broaden your search of employment.
    It is very easy to get into a rut and slip into a depressing mood, the only way to overcome it is to spend a good part of your day job-seeking, and also some time developing a skill, something that will keep your brain active.  Perhaps take up learning a language or furthering your computer skills.  See what courses are available at your local library, if you are registered unemployed you will not be charged. When applying for jobs short list jobs which you consider you will have a good chance of interview then follow-up your application with a telephone call – ask for the HR Department, remind them that you sent your cv and stress your interest.
  2. CV together with a covering letter  - Your CV must be current and up-to-date in its presentation, however bear in mind that it is useful to slightly alter your CV for different jobs that you apply for, tailor your CV to the exact requirements of the job description.  If posting a hard copy of your CV to a potential employer, ensure you use good quality white paper, the feel and texture of superior paper will help your cv to standout.
  3. Approach some companies and offer to work may be one day a week as a way of broadening your experience, particularly if you are seeking office work, as this will keep you familiar with up-to-date equipment.Also it shows a future employer that you have not allowed yourself to remain stagnant and have actively participated in a working environment.
  4. Practice job interviews – consider your voice, you do not want any depression to be detected by speaking in a monotone voice, think of inflection, tone and pace, as well as speaking slowly and clearly.Pay attention to your body language – you want to deliver an optimistic presentation therefore positive body language is crucial.Practice and reflect on your image daily, so it will become natural and you will be perceived as having an overall confident disposition.
  5. Personal Marketing – give some serious thought to how you can market yourself and put some effort into creating both an online and offline presence, establish your own marketing campaign.Sometimes it can be the most simple idea or activity which can catch a potential employer’s eye, for example the young graduate who wore a sandwich board walking in London, advertising himself as “young graduate 2:1 degree needs a job”.He was recruited within a mater of days and successfully found employment.