Interview Advice: Contractors

If you’re like most people and have been working since your later teen years it is safe to say you have some interview experience under your belt. Typical interview questions include asking about your strengths and weaknesses, conflict resolution scenarios, what your learning style is like, and whether you work better within a team or individually. Most of those questions are not very hard to answer. The following is the #1 topic brought up by Hiring Managers looking to fill a temporary/ contract roles. We will examine possible answers and tell you exactly why they do not work out/ will work out.

When providing candidates with interview advice I generally make it very clear that they should demonstrate interest and passion for the role. Because we work with a few prestigious companies most contractors want to land a role there to ‘get their foot in the door’. Which is definitely an excellent idea for the candidate career wise. However ‘getting my foot in the door’ is the last thing the Hiring Manager wants to hear. The Manager will interpret your response as, “I don’t really care what I do as long as I work here so I can leave the role I’m interviewing for and begin a new one that I really am interested in.” The Hiring Manager wants to know that you are genuinely interested and passionate about the role at hand. Do as much research as possible to find out what the Hiring Manager’s group or department is all about, their current projects, corporate culture, any scientific literature about new products they are developing etc. Make sure you also look into the company. As always you should look into the company’s vision statement and core values to make sure that your answers reflect the core values of the company. Align yourself with the company as if you were already hired.

Through the grape vine I heard the question, “What will you do after this contract is complete?” and for the first time I can truly say my colleagues and I were all stumped at an interview question. The trick to any and all interview questions (and everything in life really) is to practice, practice, practice. Ask yourself these questions at home and think of all possible answers and what you are implying when you answer them. You want to address 3 things: a) that you are very excited about the opportunity at hand because what you will be doing involves one of your passions b) at the same time you are also happy that the manager took the time to interview you and the possibility of joining that company would be wonderful to your long term career goals c) perhaps if a role becomes available internally and your contract is coming to a close you might apply if the role is relevant to your work. This way you are hitting all possible angle and addressing every concern. However, don’t focus very much on what you will be dong after the contract. Redirect the question in a way that you can let the Manager know that you are interested in the role at hand.

As always don’t forget to ask when the Manager will be making a decision and when you can expect to hear back. This question struck a chord with me; given the nature of my role I believed I had answers for all interview questions. However it took several minds to concoct the perfect answer. Move forward with your dream and aspirations and be sure to practice for interviews!

Your Skills and Decoding the Job Description

Seeking a new role is always challenging; especially when looking on your own and scouring the internet for job descriptions. Being highly selective and waiting for that perfect role to come along before applying is not always the best strategy. Chances are you’re not going to find a job description that is 100% close to the type of role you are looking for. Typically it is recommended that you possess all skills listed on the job description; or at least it would be recommended you revise your resume to reflect the job description as closely as possible. Do you ever come across a description that is perhaps a 6/10 in terms of what you are looking for? Perhaps you should apply to these roles despite the discrepancies. There are several reasons why should apply to those roles you might be questioning even though you think you can only perform half (or less!) of the duties.

Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to have all skills outlined in the job description. Sometimes soft skills are valued over technical skills. Attention to detail, organization, communication, and conflict resolution are all skills that cannot be taught that employers tend to value. When you interview with a company they are looking for professionalism, eagerness, and passion for your work. Excel, PowerPoint, SAP, or Oracle are all systems that can be taught to anyone. Don’t let those bullet points on the job description prevent you from applying.

If the job description is similar to what you are looking for, but you are unsure that it is right you, send your resume in anyway. You might be surprised to find that most job descriptions are not 100% descriptive of the role that will be performed. Request a phone call with the Recruiter/ Hiring Manager and allow yourself enough time on the call to ask any questions you may have. You can learn much more about a role through a phone call. This way you can avoid attending an interview for a job that is not a good match for your search.

When writing your resume make sure you showcase all your soft skills and be sure to demonstrate your willingness to be trained, your ability to absorb information and learn quickly, your passion for the industry/role you will be pursuing, etc. It is always refreshing to see those bullet points in a candidate’s resume because most candidates forget to include those characteristics. Take the time to think about the non-technical skills in your arsenal and include them towards the top of your resume.

You should make it a goal to apply to as many jobs as possible. Looking for work is partially a numbers game. If have not sent your resume to very many employers and think you might be getting a bit too picky try these tips out! You’ll have a new job before you know it.

 

6 Signs You Need Staffing Help

By Nick Curtin
There are a plethora of reasons for a company to reach out to a staffing firm. If one of the following signs is happening in your business you should reach out to Apollo:

Deadlines and Fluctuating Periods of Employment:  If your organization faces an increase in responsibilities due to unforeseen obstacles or hiring for seasonal periods, our temporary workers can immediately impact your business without having to deal with long term staffing costs.

Time: Candidates through Apollo Professional Solutions are screened by our experienced recruiters, mitigating the need for your staff to spend time scouring resumes, verifying qualifications, and  following up on references.

Company/Department Expansion:  If there is a great need from your company to hire a multitude of employees across varying fields, Apollo has a database pool of prescreened candidates that allow for optimum staffing submittal to fill ratios.

Expert, Unique Skill Set Required:  Finding the right talent is not always easy, especially when you are looking for particular skills, experience, and certifications. Apollo utilizes an excellent referral network in conjunction with staffing trial periods prior to permanent placement.

Turnover:  If turnover is high or the job imposes a great deal of pressure on those who perform it, working with temporary staffing can help reduce the costs of turnover and alleviate some of the pressure.

A need to reduce labor costs: Similar to time management, time equals money and hiring a new employee is an expensive proposition. There is time spent searching, posting on newspapers & online job boards, screening resumes, verifying employees, as well as onboarding cost like background checks, healthcare, holiday pay, etc.  Reaching out to Apollo can help your organization reduce these staffing costs and the risks of choosing the wrong person for the job.

If you believe a staffing firm might be right for your organization or you want to learn more, do not hesitate to contact us at Apollo.  At Apollo Professional Solutions, our experienced recruiters can help you find the temporary employees you need.  Contact us today to learn more!

How Mediocre Hires Impact the Company?

By Nick Curtin

A number of factors can result in a mediocre hire – or in a long-term employee losing his or her drive, doing only the minimum required to keep going.  Mediocre employees have no long-term connection to the company’s ambitions or vision; merely clock punchers who work to a time and not a task.

This lack of motivation, workplace apathy, can be detrimental to a company because the costs associated with this employee lack transparency. Some examples consist of:

  • They drag down other team members.  When a mediocre employee does the minimum amount of work required, other team members have to pick up the slack.  This situation breeds resentment and the increased workload drains energy and fire from other team members.
  • They are more likely to quit – or be let go.  Whether the mediocre employee quits or is fired, the company must then deal with the resulting costs of replacing the worker.
  • They require additional manager attention.  Mediocre employees lack either the internal perseverance to work through a project or the initiative to identify and address potential problems proactively.  As a result, managers must spend more time working with mediocre employees.
  • They can harm your company’s reputation.  When a mediocre team member interacts with clients or customers, they may convey the image that your company as a whole is mediocre.  Clients or customers who are discouraged by their communication with an unmotivated employee may assume your whole company is unprofessional, and may seek help elsewhere.

How can you avoid allowing your business to slide into the mediocre-employee trap? Consult with Apollo. By working with Apollo, we can help you identify and enrich your talent pool and utilize our vast experience in finding productive, motivated workers.

Client satisfaction is a never-ending pursuit, as we are constantly working to improve on our work and allow our clients to work as efficiently as possible. Contact us today to learn more!

THE IMPORTANCE OF SOFT SKILLS

 Written by Lilly Segura

When searching for candidates, be it for entry-level or executive positions there are always underlying characteristics that we, the recruiters, seek out. These characteristics fall under the term soft skills. Soft skills are rarely found on resumes. For instance, as a job seeker comes across a job description, they might find the employers stating a need for individuals who will, “posses the ability to make independent decisions,” or, “the ability to interact with all team members across the company.”  Qualities of this nature are defined as soft skills. These are often times skipped over by candidates and not included on resumes. It is hard for a recruiter to assess those skills by simply reading a resume since they are more personality based as opposed to a technical skill such as autoclaving a laboratory instrument. How are such skills assessed?

While screening prospective candidates recruiters look for enthusiasm, excitement, and professionalism. The best way for you to show a recruiter or employer your interest is by remaining on the phone with them and take the time to engage and ask questions which show you are interested not only in the type of work but also interested in becoming a part of their team.  This can be accomplished by demonstrating your social habits and expressing that you enjoy team work (if the position calls for a team work environment) or by telling the recruiter about the most recent team project you took part in.

Company culture is also a key indicator. Once you head to your face to face interview you want to show the hiring manager that you took the time to research what the company and their products are all about. Go on the company website, see if they have a blog or news section, or a section where your interviewing managers, supervisors, or peers, are highlighted. Perhaps you can even Google them to see if you can find information that exists outside of theirs. It is also imperative to remember if you go through an agency, you are representing their name. We send over candidates when we believe that they will all around get the position, and will represent the star work ethic which Apollo stands for. When you succeed, we also succeed.

Demonstrating your soft skills both through your resume and demeanor is an easier task than you might think! For example, the perfect Entry Level Manufacturing Technician with a leading Biotechnology company is a person with a BS in Biochemistry with only Hot Dog on A Stick experience! These intangibles are definitely qualities that should not be ignored.

 

Happy Hunting!