Bad Week or Burnout?

May 16th, 2019


You’ve had a bad stretch – the professional equivalent of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Except, it’s lasted longer than a day … it feels like you’ve been overwhelmed for as long as you can remember.

And it’s starting to affect you. You’re tired. You’re irritable. You’re starting to spend most of your commute daydreaming about moving to some tropical island, and then drifting away on a lonely ocean raft.

Is this just a temporary blip? Or have you permanently burned out at this position? A bad week or a sign you might need a career change?

Here are some signs you might be looking at a longer-term problem:

Sustained Bad Attitude

Your co-workers have developed a series of nicknames for you: Grumpy, Crabby, The Grinch. You’ve become short-tempered and find yourself triggered into complaining at the slightest invitation.

Now, a bad week might prompt you to snip occasionally. One mild outburst doesn’t mean you need a sabbatical or a new gig. But a sustained period of unpleasant behavior might warrant some introspection, and possibly some resume polishing.

Getting Harder to Show Up

You start hitting the snooze bar a few extra times. Lunch used to consist of a sandwich at your desk. Now, it involves an hour-and-a-half epic feast at a restaurant as far away from work as you can reasonably get. You’re arriving late, leaving early and calling in sick at every opportunity.

An unpleasant stretch at work might have you daydreaming about checking out, but you eventually refocus and get your work done. However, if you start regularly playing hooky, it might signal a general lack of interest on your part.

Impact on Your Physical Health

A short-term period of intensified stress might leave you run down. But a little rest and relaxation should alleviate the problem. A couple of days off, or even a restful weekend, should reverse any preliminary physical damage to a tough week.

However, if you find yourself plagued by lingering illness or other physical manifestations of stress and frustration – like weight gain and insomnia – you might have to consider more drastic options.

Work Performance Slipping

You find it hard to fire yourself up anymore. You were once the company’s go-to employee. Now you’re happy to coast along. You’ve gone from great to adequate, and you just don’t care.

A bad week might leave you seeking the solace of a few slow days, just a respite to catch your breath. However, if nothing you do can reignite your inner drive, a more general funk may have become entrenched.

Daydreaming of Greener Pastures

Boil it down to this: How excited would you be for a new opportunity? If you have no interest in finding a different situation, if you’re excited to recommit to your current company, if you still think your present position offers you the best path to career fulfillment, then your recent troubles probably only indicate a short-term hiccup.

However, if your spirit leaped at the thought of somewhere new, if the prospect of different co-workers and a different boss fills you with glee, if you’d rather drive off into the sunset tonight than have to trudge back to work tomorrow, then you’ve probably reached full burned-out status. In that case, it might be time for a new opportunity.

If you’ve reached that crossroads, a recruiter provides a great entry into the world beyond your current slog. A top-flight staffing firm, like SmartTalent, can find you the kind of reinvigorating placement that will get your career back to its happy place.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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How to Prepare for Your Employee Evaluation

May 9th, 2019


It’s the most stress you’ve experienced since you interviewed for the position. Your annual evaluation. Every year, it feels like you have to apply all over again.

And like a job interview, the more you prepare, the more comfortable you will be. Also, the additional consideration and effort you put into getting ready will help you achieve a better outcome.

However, the kind of preparation necessary for a good performance at an annual review differs from the type needed for an interview. When you’re looking for a job, getting ready takes the form of fevered cramming, as you’re forced to get ready for short-notice meetings with strangers.

The annual review requires more a slow burn. You work closely with the people evaluating. And you have much more time to craft the narrative you want to sell.

With that in mind, here are some steps to take to prepare for your annual evaluation:

Make Sure You Responded to Last Year’s Comments

You need to start preparing for your evaluation early, even as early as the moment you leave the previous year’s meeting. Don’t just sweat it out the day before. You’ll need time to review last year’s feedback and build up an impressive portfolio of achievements to laud this year.

Write a List of Accomplishments

Go into your meeting with ammunition. Know exactly what sets you apart from your peers. Be specific. Have dates and statistics. If you beat output quotas, how much did you beat them by? If you volunteered for overtime, how often did you step up?

A year is a long time. It’s easy to forget specifics as time moves on. Keep a running tally all year long so you have it handy when the time comes.

Anticipate Criticism

You’re going to receive some negative feedback. Hopefully, your boss delivers it in a constructive way (not that a constructive delivery always softens the blow), but you can’t go into the meeting expecting a non-stop praise-fest.

Instead, steel yourself for the inevitable, so you can respond calmly and professionally. What’s more, anticipate the specific feedback you might receive. Put yourself in your boss’s position and guess the critiques they might have. That way you can consider possible replies and perhaps craft counter-arguments that will allow you to mitigate the criticisms.

Figure Out Your Goals

The evaluation isn’t just about absorbing punishment and making an argument for yourself as a good worker. It’s also a time to advance your own career goals. Of course, to advance them, you need to know what they are.

Think about how you want your career to develop, both in the near term and over the long haul. Formulate these as articulately as possible and discuss them during your evaluation. There may be steps you can take to acquire skills and steer your duties toward your long-term plan.

Prepare Some Questions

Along the same lines, use the meeting with your manager to ask questions. In the normal course of business, it can be hard to find time to get your boss’s undivided attention. You have it during the evaluation, so use the opportunity accordingly.

Take the Review to Heart

Time to bring the advice full circle. As soon as you walk out of this year’s evaluation, start preparing for next year. Commit to a program to correct any deficiencies your boss pointed out. Also, draw up plans to achieve the goals you want to accomplish by your next review.

Evaluations lose their edge when you have a good relationship with your boss and work in an environment well suited to your skills. A strong recruiting partner, like SmartTalent, can steer you to these ideal situations. Contact SmartTalent today to learn what we can do to jumpstart your career.

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Your Interview Starts the Minute You Arrive – Make It Count

May 2nd, 2019


We often make up our minds about people in a millisecond. That represents Tinder’s main operating principle.

It also applies to business, especially to the hiring process. HR managers have to shuffle through a lot of candidates to whittle their lists down to a manageable size. They aren’t in a mood to give the benefit of the doubt or offer second chances.

For that reason, you have to be ready to impress … instantly. As soon as you walk in the door for an interview, consider yourself on stage. The company reps have come there to judge you; that’s the point of the exercise. Assume that judgment starts from the second they see you.

Here are some reminders to help you make the most of your first impression:

Show up on Time

On time doesn’t just mean on time. Show up at 8:59 for a 9 a.m. meeting and the people who count will probably consider you late.

You want to arrive a little early, so you aren’t hurried or panicked. You want time to prepare and center your thoughts. Ideally, you should arrive a little early, so you’re calmly waiting to be called the moment the interviewers are ready for you.

Dress for Success

Different companies have different standards of dress. Before heading to an interview, find out the appropriate clothes to wear. And don’t be fooled by terminology. Casual doesn’t mean “just out of bed.”

If there is any doubt, dress a little better than you think necessary. Interviewers are more likely to forgive overdressing than they are underdressing.

Sweat the Small Stuff

As you put yourself together for the interview, pay attention to the details. Look closely at hair, shoes, belt, jewelry – hiring managers are prone to snap decisions.

Don’t let a single oversight define you. Don’t become the “dirty glasses guy” or the “lipstick on the teeth” girl.

Come Prepared

Have everything you need for the meeting. Bring some copies of your resume and a portfolio of your past work, if one is appropriate.

Also bring a notepad and some paper to keep notes. Theoretically, you could take notes on your phone, but that often backfires in an interview. It might seem more efficient, but some people might assume you are texting or otherwise not paying attention.

(And speaking of phones, make sure yours is on airplane mode before you walk into the room.)

Calm but Confident (Even If You Have to Fake It)

Get yourself in the right headspace before entering the meeting. Crank up Katy Perry’s “Roar” or repeat self-actualizing phrases in the bathroom mirror – whatever it takes to get in the right mindset.

If you don’t feel calm or confident, fake it. Think of it as playing a character. You only have to seem like a smooth operator for a half hour or so … then you can go back to the parking lot to hyperventilate in a paper bag.

Have an Ice Breaker in Mind

The beginning of the interview can be tense. Usually, the interviewers will take the lead, starting small talk or jumping into the questions. Other times, they’ll leave some space at the beginning. Just in case, have an opener ready.

Introduce yourself and make it clear how excited you are to be considered. Say something along the lines of “I’m so excited to be here … I love your [insert product here].” The point is to show you’ve done some research and are thrilled by the opportunity.

Preparing for the stress of finding a job gets easier when you have a strong partner. Teaming with a staffing firm, like SmartTalent, ensures you’re matched with opportunities that fit your background and advance your career goals.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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3 TED Talks That Will Motivate You in Your Career

April 24th, 2019


In our darkest moments, those times when the future seems grim and all our hard work seems destined to lead to little long-term benefit, we seek support from those closest to us. However, those might not be the best people to ask. They can give affection and emotional support. But are they in a position to give the best advice and the most inspirational pep talks?

Sometimes, it helps to get some direction from experts. Luckily, TED Talks is here to help. They provide advice and motivation from top achievers in various fields – the perfect thing if you need a little motivation to get your career going.

Here are three TED Talks to jump-start your career ambitions:

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love, so you might be excited about a TED Talk that advocates large feasts and constant dating as a way to improve your work life. That’s not the angle Gilbert takes, but her perspective still provides an important lesson about how applying softer skills to the office can lead to big, concrete rewards.

People sometimes view creativity as something separate from normal day-to-day jobs. Artists and authors (Gilbert included) leverage a lot of creativity in exchange for money. But most of us don’t have that kind of job. Filling out TPS forms or processing insurance claims or responding to customer-service tickets might seem a far cry from writing a book.

However, Gilbert argues that unconventional thinking provides a path to success in any field. Apply creativity to any task and you can find a better way to perform it … a version of the old “work smarter, not harder” career advice.

Tim Ferriss: Smash Fear, Learn Anything

You have to be interested in what someone has to say when they’ve written a book called The 4-Hour Workweek, right? That’s Tim Ferriss.

But he’s not on stage to teach techniques about how to avoid putting in effort at work (though he is serious about his free time; he holds the Guinness world record for most tango spins in a minute). Instead, he is about efficiency … about getting a lot done in as little time as necessary.

Here, he gives a lesson on how people learn. Specifically, he argues that many of the barriers we encounter are self-constructed. We worry we can’t learn a new skill, and this fear prevents us from really committing to the learning process.

Anyone who has ever been intimidated in a meeting or has felt overrun by the forward march of technology can attest to the truth in Ferriss’s thesis. Once you move past that fear, you can open up new horizons in your career that you didn’t know existed.

Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

People often seek happiness and satisfaction through work. They either look for a job that gives them personal enjoyment or they maximize their income as best they can, hoping to buy happiness with the cash they earn. Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall short on both ends: an unsatisfying job that also doesn’t pay enough to afford lavish hobbies.

Shawn Achor, psychiatrist and the CEO of Good Think Inc., suggests this perspective fails because it gets the order backwards. You might not be able to make yourself happy by becoming successful at work. However, he believes happy people will find themselves more successful in their working lives.

With this in mind, Achor argues that positive thinking can tap into this vein of happiness, and lead to career advancement in turn. A person can lift their view of the world, leading to better work outcomes, and from there, a more satisfying career path.

Finding a perfect work situation can go a long way in stoking motivation. A top-flight recruiter, like SmartTalent, can steer you to the perfect position for your long-term growth. Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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3 Ways to Become Irreplaceable at Work

April 16th, 2019


Protecting a job is almost as important as finding one. When you land a position you love, you want to stay there as long as it continues to feed your long-term career plans.

Unfortunately, the vagaries of corporate life might not cooperate. Situations beyond your control can push you out of a position you love well before you’re ready to leave. Takeovers, management changes, restructuring efforts and layoffs all represent unexpected corporate detours that can divert your near-term career plans.

While you can’t control the decisions that lead to these events, you can put yourself in a strong position to weather them when they come. If you make yourself a key contributor, you can survive almost any shift in company structure.

The best way to protect your hard-earned position is to become irreplaceable. With that in mind, here are three key ways to make that happen:

Stepping up When Needed

You can’t become a central figure in your office by hiding in your workspace and avoiding eye contact with your boss. You need to seek out new tasks and responsibilities.

Volunteer for assignments. If you see a task that needs to be performed, pitch yourself for the role. Don’t just nominate yourself for projects your boss proposes, create opportunities for yourself by seeking out new possibilities your manager hadn’t even noticed.

This strategy will help your short-term prospects by putting yourself on your boss’s radar. You’ll become the go-to employee when new projects arise.

Beyond the short-term benefits, you set yourself up for long-term success. All the additional projects you complete allow you expand your skill set and make yourself more attractive for future employers or higher-level positions at your current firm.

Specializing

Any business book will tell you that to have a successful company, you need a point of differentiation. That means you need something that makes the operation special. As an employee, this kind of advice may seem distant from your day-to-day experience. But while you aren’t the business owner, it has some value and relevance for your life.

You need to take this advice to the micro level: To stand out at work, it helps to have a skill that no one else can match. The further you dig into a specialty, the more necessary you become.

Become the only employee who can handle certain tasks. It may seem like concentrating too heavily might make your usefulness too narrow. But specializing in a key task makes you irreplaceable if a corporate shakeup does occur.

Networking

Relationships drive business. You’ve learned this in the job-hunting process. When you’re out of a job, the first thing you do is check in with your network to see what positions are available.

But networking isn’t only useful for finding a job. It can serve a key component in keeping one as well.

Building strong relationships with both management and your co-workers puts you in a good position to survive any unexpected reshufflings. You can call on these connections to protect your position in the worst-case scenario.

Meanwhile, having a wide acquaintanceship within the company can tip you off to upcoming changes ahead of time. The chances of an unexpected reshuffling diminish (at least the “unexpected” part), because you can count on getting advance warning.

Building a career takes a lot of help. Beyond your personal network, your development will benefit from professional input. Teaming with a strong recruiting firm can help you find strong opportunities and develop the skills necessary to keep them.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out what we can do to secure the perfect position for both your near- and long-term growth.

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Is Your Work-Life Balance Tipping More Towards Work?

April 9th, 2019


Balance in any endeavor is difficult. In fact, it’s definitionally precarious, as it involves an attempt to hold steady between two intense, competing forces. Consider the difficulty faced by tightrope walkers or NASA engineers attempting to send a satellite into orbit. Or just think back to yourself as a little kid, first learning to ride a bike.

Given these inherent problems, it’s no surprise you have trouble maintaining a satisfying work/life equilibrium. It’s a constant struggle of recalibration.

So, what can you do if you start to lean too far in one direction? What happens if work’s gravity starts to get the upper hand and you feel the other aspects of your life being neglected?

There are steps you can take to even things out. Here are some tips to help readjust when your work/life balance starts to tip too far toward work.

Don’t Make Excuses for Missing Out on Life

A lot of workaholics spin the devotion to their professional life as a crypto commitment to family and fun. “I’m doing this for my kids,” or “we have to have enough for retirement,” or “if I work hard now, I’ll have enough money to live it up when I’m older.”

Unfortunately, these are usually empty justifications. Be honest with yourself and realize the potential damage an over-emphasis on work can do.

Make a Strict Schedule

When mapping out your workday, you budget your time judiciously. Keep up this policy … just include your free time when figuring out your schedule.

Treat a date with your spouse like you would treat lunch with a client. Give your kid’s softball game the same priority level you would give a project meeting.

Put Devices Away

You might promise you’ll focus on family dinner, but if the phone dings, it’s hard to ignore that text from work. Don’t tempt your willpower.

Like an alcoholic throwing away all the bottles of booze in the house, sometimes you have to get some physical distance from your addiction. (Yes, we’re counting work as an addiction in this case.) During family time, stick your phone in a drawer in another room and keep your laptop in its case. Do whatever you have to in order to put them completely out of your mind.

Stop Multitasking

You know how it goes. You sneak back to the hotel during a family vacation to jump on a conference call. You try to bang out some emails during halftime of the basketball game.

But these attempts usually end up causing hurt feelings, while simultaneously lowering the quality of your work. Trying to split the difference between work and free time leaves you shorting both.

Take a Big Annual Getaway

Most of the year, you might have to dedicate yourself to work. Your job may require your almost undivided attention, and your family and friends will just have to learn to deal with it 50 weeks out of the year.

Even so, try to make up for it with a complete work-free holiday. When you unplug from work, unplug completely. Dedicate yourself to your non-work life during a grand, annual adventure.

It might not fully make up for the time you miss, but you can build memories and relationships, as well as stoking outside interests. It will help keep you a well-rounded person.

Great companies realize they ultimately benefit from allowing their employees to enjoy a positive work/life balance. If your current employer takes an overly shortsighted view of the subject, it might be time for a change.

SmartTalent can help you find a position that fits perfectly into your ideal lifestyle, allowing you to achieve the type of equilibrium that maximizes your overall satisfaction. Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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How to Approach Your Manager About a Full-Time Opportunity as a Temp

April 2nd, 2019


You’ve been working at your current post as a temp for a while now. You love the position. You love the company. You love your co-workers. You respect your manager and you buy into the firm’s overall mission.

You decide your goal is to turn the temporary gig into a full-time opportunity. But how do you make that transition? It’s like the professional equivalent of figuring out how to get out of the “friend zone.”

While the precise process of transitioning to a full-time position differs from situation to situation, there are some common themes. Here are some general steps you can take to make your goal more likely to come true:

Lay the Groundwork

Once you decide to ask for a full-time position, don’t just walk into the manager’s office in the next moment and start talking about it. That kind of move represents a big commitment for a company, so don’t treat it like a casual request. You need to perform some due diligence and start laying the groundwork.

Do some research. Make a plan. Hone your pitch ahead of time. Realizing you want to transfer out of your temp role is only the first step in a long process.

Know the Situation

If your company has never turned a temp into a full-time staffer, you might be facing a significant struggle. However, if that kind of progression happens all the time, your task becomes much easier.

Find out your company’s policies on turning temp workers into full-timers. Have a feel for the process and an understanding of what kind of convincing your manager will have to make to the higher-ups.

Think About Timing

You don’t want to ask to become a full-time staffer the day after the company lays off 200 people and announces a hiring freeze. However, if you know the company has been actively looking to hire, or if a project you have worked on just received the green light to expand, it might be the perfect time to float the idea of a more permanent role for you.

Drop Some Hints

You don’t want to surprise your manager with a request for a full-time assignment. It would be like talking about marriage on a first date. You want to ease into the conversation.

Bring up the idea slowly at first, letting the topic flow naturally out other business conversations. Get a feel as to your manager’s opinion on the subject before making a formal request. Ideally, your official conversation on the subject should start with something like, “We’ve been talking for a long time about me taking on an expanded role …”

Make a Thoughtful Pitch

Don’t expect the company to make you a full-time employee out of kindness. You shouldn’t center your request on ideas like loyalty or hard work. It’s a business, after all. You have to make a detailed case about how the move would boost the bottom line.

When you make the request, back it up with meaningful evidence. Come armed with stats and details about your contribution to the team. Explain how making you a full-time employee will help the company long term.

Finding opportunities that can grow into long-term relationships is the key to building a sustained career. SmartTalent can help you find these kinds of placements. Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.

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Spring Clean Your Resume

March 27th, 2019


Maybe it stems from a long-buried hibernation instinct, but it’s difficult to get anything done during the winter. Vacations, holidays, New Year’s hangovers, the general malaise of short days, bad weather and having to wear multiple layers – it all contributes to an overall sluggishness that drains the willingness to do anything productive.

Luckily, spring brings a sudden burst of energy. Stereotypically, this gets channeled into a thorough house cleaning. But you can gain more long-term value by directing some of this added vigor toward your career.

Your resume is a great place to start. You probably haven’t looked at it since the last time you went job searching. It may seem unnecessary (especially if you happen to like your current position), but regular updates in times of relative calm will prevent a panicked overhaul the next time you need to use it.

With that in mind, here are a few major points to focus on while giving your resume a spring cleaning:

Clean up Grammar and Word Choice

Look for small things that could be updated. Hopefully, you don’t have any grammar or spelling mistakes (or how did you ever get the job you have now?). Read the resume with fresh eyes to make sure.

Fine-tune the language and make any necessary improvements. Seek out passive constructions and add in those vibrant, descriptive words where you can.

Review the Formatting

Consider the potential benefits of a complete overhaul. Yes, that might open the door to a significant amount of work. But like finally tackling an overstuffed closet, sometimes you need to do more than a quick straightening up.

Standards change. If you’ve been out of the job market for a lengthy period of time, the expectations for resume presentations may have changed. Research the current style and update your resume accordingly.

Remove Outdated Items

Hopefully, your career has progressed steadily over the past few years. New experiences have taken precedence over things you learned years ago. And, triggering as it may be to think about, many of your older competencies may have become completely outdated at this point, overtaken by updates in technology or evolving industry standards.

Remove anything that is no longer a meaningful selling point.

Also, watch out for other kinds of dated information. Still got your high school GPA on there? Still touting that half marathon you ran in 2011? Better nix that stuff as well.

Add Anything New

Maybe removing older items from your resume brought up uncomfortable thoughts about aging and your own mortality. Well, cheer up: The flip side of the process is much more upbeat. The outdated items on your resume can (hopefully) be replaced by a host of new skills and competencies that you’ve picked up recently.

Add all the new skills you’ve developed since the last time you updated your resume.

Start a Plan for Next Year

Your resume clean-up shouldn’t end with an update of your resume as it is now. It should also include thinking about how you’d like your resume to look in the future. A kind of job-search vision board.

Think about things you wish were on your resume that aren’t there now and consider what it would take to acquire those skills.

When updating your resume, it can help to have an objective third-party take a look. Working with a recruiter gives you the fresh eyes you need to sell yourself effectively. SmartTalent can provide the direction and advice you need to maximize your potential.

Contact them today to find out more.

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Tips for Interviewing With a Recruiter

March 19th, 2019


In any sports league, there’s preseason and then there are the games that matter. The players tend to go through the motions on the preseason schedule, saving themselves for the games that actually count in the standings.

People often treat an interview with a recruiter like a preseason game. They assume that since the recruiter gets paid to find you a job, the meeting with them becomes a perfunctory obligation, just another step in the process for signing up with the staffing agency.

But an interview with a recruiter provides an important opportunity. It helps you direct the course of future placements, giving you a chance to lay out your preferences and your pet peeves.

For the recruiter, the interview offers an occasion to get to know you. They can also provide meaningful feedback that can help with your long-term career development.

A meeting with a recruiter can represent an important step in landing a meaningful position with a quality company. The recruiter’s goal is to put you in a position where you can leverage your skills and advance your career. The interview is your chance to help them do it.

Don’t Think, “It’s Just a Recruiter”

Treat the meeting like it’s an interview with an employer. Impressing your recruiter will help your cause. It will increase their confidence and allow them to put you up for plum assignments.

Making the right impression involves simple things like dressing appropriately and putting on your interview “game face.” Show the recruiter how you’ll present yourself in the workplace. It gives them a better reading on you and builds a strong foundation for a symbiotic professional relationship.

An interview with a recruiter also represents good practice. The meeting has less inherent pressure than appearing before a prospective employer, giving you kind of a “dress rehearsal” for the more intense interviews you’ll have to face.

Be Prepared

To get the most out of your meeting with the recruiter, do as much homework as possible. Craft questions you’d like to ask and anticipate the kinds of information the recruiter will want.

This will lead to a more meaningful conversation. The recruiter will get a fuller picture of your goals and your skill level. And you’ll have a deeper understanding of the process and what you can do to facilitate a placement.

Think About Your Long-Term Objectives

Your obvious goal when meeting with a recruiter is to find a job. You might even be at the point where your goal is to find ANY job. But when talking to your recruiter, have some longer-term goals in mind as well.

A recruiter can help facilitate your general career development. By sharing your extended aspirations, you can steer the process toward a more meaningful placement.

Understand the Recruiter’s Goals

Your recruiter has dreams too. Their plans to retire in Bermuda someday don’t really play a role here but understanding their professional motivations can help develop a more mutually beneficial relationship.

With that in mind, ask questions. Find out how the recruiter makes money and what you can do to make their jobs easier. By figuring out how to help them, you facilitate their ability to help you.

Working with a first-rate recruiter makes the process easy. The highly trained professionals at SmartTalent will make you feel at ease and lead you down the path to career fulfillment.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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The Right Way to Follow Up

March 12th, 2019


You thought the worst part was over. You sweated through the interview, overcoming the social and professional pressure of selling yourself to strangers (and you did a pretty good job too, in your humble opinion).

But something worse is on the way: the wait. Once the interview ends, you’re left in limbo as the powers that be make their final hiring decision.

What can you do now? Not much. The decision is out of your hands at this point. But you should follow up on your interview, in order to stay informed about the decision-making process and to build relationships. However, these efforts can easily slide into the “stalking zone,” actually hurting your chances of getting the job in question.

Don’t let that happen to you. Here are the key steps to following up the right way:

Say “Thanks”

Sending a “thank-you” email provides an excellent opportunity to establish contact directly with decision makers.

When writing your “thank you,” keep it short. Try to include something specific from the interview to make it personal. But don’t try too hard to be funny or overly friendly. The tone should remain professional.

Be Cool, but Not Casual

Tone is a key consideration for all your post-interview communications.

First, take a cue from the responses you get. If they get chatty, feel free to get a little chatty. But let them take the lead. Second, at all costs, don’t slip into desperation. Get pushy or defensive (or combative) and you’ve probably sunk your chances.

Give Them Time

Be patient. Corporate gears churn slowly sometimes. Multiple people have to be consulted, permissions have to be granted. If someone’s on vacation or gets busy on an emergency elsewhere, everything can get delayed.

Stay calm. If you start barraging your interviewers with questions, you won’t help your cause.

Check in Politely

While keeping in mind the hiring process might take some time, it’s acceptable to check in now and then. You want to politely find out if a timeline for a decision has been set.

You might also get in contact with your interviewer if your circumstances change. If you get another job offer, for instance, let them know. It likely won’t matter, but you want to give them the chance to make a counteroffer if they’re really interested.

Stay Positive

No matter how long they keep you waiting, no matter how terse their communication gets, don’t turn negative. That holds even if they turn you down. Don’t take rejection as an excuse to send an “I never wanted your stupid job anyway” email.

Even if this position goes to someone else, another job could open up at the same company at some point in the future. You want to keep all doors open. So, stay upbeat and polite.

Build a Relationship

If the company goes with someone else for the position, it’s certainly disappointing. But that’s not necessarily the end of the process.

Think of the post-interview process in the same vein as networking. Do what you can to maintain a relationship. Ask if you can make a connection on LinkedIn. Check in from time to time to see if any new positions have opened up. Also, offer your services for contract work. You never know what opportunities will materialize in the future.

Finding a job is filled with tense and aggravating waiting spells. Partnering with a recruiter can make the transition more tenable. A top staffing firm, like SmartTalent, will place you with the best positions, keeping your career moving forward.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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