Jobs may be won or lost before a candidate ever utters a word in an interview.
It could be the pajamas worn to pick up an application that makes a lasting impression. Or the resume may never make it to call back pile. But with a little effort, job seekers may be able to get the job they want.
Lakes Area Human Resources Association members were asked what they wanted to see in resumes and during job interviews.
Amy Sjoblad, a human resources generalist for Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, has a passion for the subject. Sjoblad works out of the credit union's Baxter office. With 12 years of experience, Sjoblad said she's had the good fortune to meet a variety of candidates and recruiting is one of the aspects she enjoys most about her job.
In an interview, Sjoblad said interviewers want to hear enthusiasm. If the applicant isn't interested in the job, why hire the person, Sjoblad said. An enthusiastic candidate stands out in a hiring process that can be timely and expensive, telling employers they may have found a qualified employee who will be with them for a long-term basis.
Amy Sjoblad, human resources generalist at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, has 12 years of experience and finds recruiting to be one of her favorite aspects of her job. She and other area professionals with the Lakes Area Human Resources Association helped create a list of what works and what doesn't for a job interview.
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She expects job applicants to be able to tell her why they are interested in the job. She looks for eye contact as a sign of confidence, looks for a thoughtful "thank you" at the end of the interview and is turned off by a weak or limp handshake. If a candidate uses profane language during the interview, Sjoblad said the candidate is not hired as applicants are expected to be on their best behavior during the interview. If they are willing to swear in the interview, the idea is the flood gates may open on the job.
In terms of resumes, Sjoblad said the key is to think like a recruiter. The resume should show how the applicant is qualified for the position. Sjoblad suggests the job applicant ask a few key questions about their own resume. Does it keep your interest? Is it easy to read? Is it free of errors? Sjoblad said one spelling error is enough to eliminate a candidate from the screening process. If applicants don't follow instructions or send in a shoddy resume, Sjoblad sees that as a sign they may not be able to follow directions or are willing to cut corners.
Visually, it helps to have the information lined up and easy to find and read.
At a minimum, Sjoblad said she likes to see the correct title on the resume and is amazed at the number of applicants who list a different job title than the one being offered by the company.
"This reflects the applicant's lack of attention to detail, lack of accuracy and lack of interest in the job and results in not getting an interview," Sjoblad said.
Sjoblad said recruiters like to see community involvement on resumes and employment stability.
"Job hopping absolutely eliminates candidates from getting an interview," Sjoblad said.
Other professionals have said applicants told them they were applying for the job because they were desperate. Another woman only wanted a full-time position but then said she couldn't work Mondays or Tuesdays or Saturdays or Sundays and was only available between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Kristine Hoheisel, general manager at Hawthorn Inn & Suites, said she is turned off immediately if the applicant is not dressed appropriately. Jeans, T-shirts, flip-flops are not acceptable, Hoheisel said.
She does appreciate it when an applicant takes the time after an interview to write a thank you note.
"That shows me interest and thoughtfulness," Hoheisel said. "It goes a long way in my book. I do not care for constant phone calls asking if I have made a decision."
Sjoblad said the interview is not the time to be trendy, unless the job really relates to that flare. She suggests dressing conservatively, generally a notch above the best dressed person in the company.
"I'm impressed when I have a candidate that is dressed professionally in line with the company, has a great firm handshake and good eye contact with a 'it's nice to meet you' intro," Sjoblad said. "This can get your interview off to a great start."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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