Have a Dream Company in Mind? Here Are 6 Tips on Getting Hired

December 18th, 2018

If you’re like most professionals, you have at least one of them: the dream company where you desperately want to work. You’ve been a fan for years, know you’d be a great fit for the culture, and are just looking for the right opportunity to come your way. But instead of sitting around and waiting, you can take action now to speed up the process and get noticed. Here are 6 ways to do that:

#1: Evaluate your social media presence.

Before you make a move and connect with or follow your dream company on social media, you want to ensure the impression you’re making online is a positive one. So go ahead and Google yourself. Review the results to ensure they’re professional and appropriate. If, in the process, you realize they’re not, take some time for cleaning up your online reputation.

#2: Follow their social media accounts.

Whether they’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, connect and follow them and then pay attention to their updates. When you do, you can find out about new job openings, as well as gain more insight into their culture and what it takes to get hired there.

#3: Find your connections.

As one of Houston’s top employment agencies, Murray Resources knows that LinkedIn offers an easy way to find out if you have any connections with the company. Even if a connection you have doesn’t work directly in the department you’re interested in, they can serve as an invaluable source of insight and guidance. They can keep you informed on if and when the company is hiring, as well as how to increase your odds of landing a job there.

#4: Set up Google alerts.

When it comes to your job search, you can use Google alerts in a number of ways, including to learn about new opportunities at the organization, where and how to network with hiring managers, and to monitor news about them. If you do land an interview, the information you find out through these alerts can be especially useful as you’re preparing.

#5: Look for career fairs.

Many top Houston employment agencies and companies rely on career fairs as a source for new candidates and to promote their open positions. Since these are totally focused on recruiting and hiring, they offer you an excellent opportunity to get your foot in the door with your dream company. So do a little leg work online to find out about upcoming career fairs. Their websites typically list participating organizations.

#6: Don’t step over the line.

In your excitement to get hired, it’s easy to go from eager to overboard. Make sure you don’t. If a company has a preferred way of applying for a job, for instance, follow it. Don’t try any wacky tactics or stunts to get noticed; stick to the tried-and-true so you can make the best impression possible.

Want more assistance finding a great new job in Houston in 2019?

Murray Resources can help. As one of Houston’s top employment agencies, we’ll take the time to get to know you and your background, all to connect you with the right job at the best-fit company. Contact us now or search our Houston jobs.

7 Job Search Tips that Will Help You Get Hired Faster

March 6th, 2018

Looking for a new job? As leading Houston headhunters, Murray Resources knows that when it comes to your search, there are many steps you can take to speed up the process of getting hired. To help you along the way, here are 7 quick tips to keep in mind:

Tip #1: Set up alerts on the major job boards.

Whether through text or email, you can use keywords and job titles to get job alerts to positions that were most recently posted. This can help you get your application in the door faster to opportunities that are a good fit for you.

Tip #2: Only apply to jobs that are right for you.

Don’t take the quantity over quality approach to your job search. If you do, you’ll simply end up wasting time and prolonging your search. Instead, invest your effort into applying to only those positions that you are truly well-suited for.

Tip #3: Don’t take a break.

Job searches can be stressful. But even if you’re tempted, don’t take a break. You never know when that ideal opportunity could come along and you want to be first in line to apply to it when it does.

Tip #4: Customize your resume.

You should have one main resume that gets tailored to every position you’re applying for. While this will take more time upfront, you’ll actually wind up shortening your search by sending in resumes that are more targeted and therefore make a better impression on hiring managers.

Tip #5: Commit to regular networking.

It’s true that many jobs are filled through word of mouth. That’s why networking, whether online or in person, can have such a big impact on your job search efforts. So commit to a number of hours each week where you plan to attend an industry conference, business seminar, or local happy hour sponsored by the chamber of commerce. You never know who you’ll meet and where the opportunity will take you.

Tip #6: Have references lined up.

As leading Houston headhunters, we know one thing that could slow down your job search process involves references. While you don’t have any control over how long it takes on the employer’s end, you can speed things up by having a list of qualified references ready to go when the hiring manager asks for them. Don’t wait to be asked, then spend the next few days reaching out to potential references.

Tip #7: Know yourself.

It’s important to not only know what you’re looking for in a potential employer and job opportunity, but also what sets you apart as a candidate. This will help to keep your search more focused and also enable you to more persuasively talk about your skills and abilities.

Want more tips on getting hired faster?

Call the Houston headhunters at Murray Resources. We can become your go-to partner in your job search success, whether you need help with your resume and interviews or connecting with great-fit opportunities in a broad range of industries. Contact us today to learn more or get started.


Posted in: Blog

Looking for a New Job? Don’t Forget About Company Culture

May 20th, 2014

As leading Houston, TX recruiters, Murray Resources knows when looking for a new job, most job seekers tend to focus on the position – is it a good fit, do they have the right skills, is it work they will enjoy? However, did you know that it’s just as important to assess the culture of the company when determining whether an opportunity is right for you?

The culture is the company’s personality. And not every company culture is a fit for every candidate. Consider the formal, structured culture of many large corporations and pair that with a laid back, free spirited individual.

So if you’re searching for a new job, how can you evaluate the culture – so you’ll end up somewhere you love? Consider these tips:

Determine what’s important to you.

Is it flex time? A company dedicated to helping others? A smaller, more family friendly environment?

When looking for a company that’s going to be a match for your needs, determine what’s most important to you and what the deal breakers are. Once you know, you can look and ask about those traits (and traits you don’t want) on your interviews. It will make finding a good employer/employee match a lot easier.

Find out why the last person left.

If you ask this question and hear a lot of stumbling, stuttering and a vague answer, then there’s a problem. The hiring manager should be able to tell you clearly why the last person left. Also, if you find out the position is a revolving door for people, then that’s a good indication of what’s to come should you accept the offer.

Dig deep during the interview.

Sometimes, hiring managers will exaggerate an ideal company culture during the interview. Then, when a new hire is on the job, they quickly become miserable because the position and culture don’t match up with reality.

That’s why it’s important to get specific with your questions – i.e. “What things do you wish you’d known before starting to work here?” Or “What one thing don’t you like about the culture?”

Ask around.

If you know someone who works for the company, or has in the past, ask them directly about what it’s like to be an employee there. Use sites like LinkedIn or your network of contacts to reach out to those who are “in the know.”

The bottom line is that the more you understand about a particular company, the better shot you’ll have at finding an employer that’s right for you.

Need more help with your job search? Contact Murray Resources. As leading Houston, TX recruiters, we work with top employers all over the city and can match you with opportunities that are a great fit for you. Contact us today to learn more.


5 Tactics to Stand Out as a Job Applicant

November 26th, 2012

We at Murray Resources, leading Houston recruiting firm, know it’s a tough job market out there in this economy. We’re committed to helping people become their best candidate possible when it comes to applying for a position, and we’ve acquired some tricks over the years that can help a candidate get that extra edge necessary to land an interview. Intrigued? Then check out our list of 5 techniques that will help you to stand out as a job applicant below:

Snail mail:

In addition to electronically submitting your application, cover letter and resume for a job opening, surprise someone in HR by mailing a hard copy directly to the reviewer. While some bloggers have written this tactic off as superfluous or outdated, we know firsthand that when wading through a sea of electronic submissions, it’s refreshing to receive the personal touch of a hand addressed letter containing a thoughtful cover letter and resume. Just be sure to follow all instructions in the application when doing so, and indicate in your cover letter that you’ve also submitted an electronic copy for their review.

Leverage Your Connections:

As we’ve stressed every week on this blog, networking is a huge part of landing your dream job. If you’re fortunate enough to know someone who already works at the company you’re interested in, or who is in the same industry as your ideal employer, see if they can help you get your foot in the door. Meet up with your connection for lunch or coffee and politely ask if they’d be willing to write you a recommendation or make an introduction for you. A good word from someone in the business can go a long way in a reviewer’s eyes.

Utilize Social Media:

More and more companies are turning to social media platforms to engage with customers as well as job seekers. Take advantage of these direct lines of connection with a target employer by interacting with them on their social media profiles. Liking their Facebook page, commenting on their LinkedIn posts, and following them on Twitter are all great ways to learn more about the company, its culture, and upcoming events and opportunities. As an award-winning Houston recruiting firm, Murray Resources is constantly using social media to share new job openings, career advice, and recent successes with clients and candidates who follow us.

Strategic Resume Naming:

We’ve touched on the topic of common resume blunders in some of our previous posts, but we think one of them in particular is worth revisiting. As the job application process becomes increasingly digital, reviewers are swamped with more and more generically named resumes, i.e. “John Smith Resume,” “Smith Resume 2012,” or worst of all, simply “Resume.” Your resume file name provides one of the first opportunities to convey your creativity and enthusiasm for the position you’re seeking to a potential employer. Don’t waste the opportunity to stand out by using a generic title to save your resume that you’re uploading to an electronic application. Name your resume document something specific to the job you’re applying for that will catch a reviewer’s eye, i.e. “John Smith- Coca Cola, Inc. Financial Analyst Resume.”

Show Your Appreciation:

If our first four tips helped get you through the first round of the application process and landed you an interview, congratulations! But you’re not finished just yet. If you really want to stand out as a job applicant, after your interview, always always ALWAYS (did we mention always?) send a personalized thank you note to your interviewer. Email is obviously the quickest and easiest way to do this, but handwritten letters are pretty rare these days and add a personalized touch to an already nice gesture. Aside from thanking your interviewer for their time, there are a number of other topics you can mention in your note: reemphasize something you and your interviewer discussed during your time together, congratulate the company on a recent success, or even include an article that may be pertinent to the industry if you think your contact would find it interesting.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to Murray Resources, award-winning Houston recruiting firm, for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.


How to Set Up a Successful Informational Interview

November 13th, 2012

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources has seen informational interviews work well for job seekers looking to enter a new industry or job function. A well-executed informational interview can provide job leads, opportunities for industry-related introductions, and a more focused search for candidates looking to break into a particular sector.

Below we’ve compiled a list of five crucial steps for conducting a successful informational interview:

1)      Target Your Search — Prepare a detailed list of intriguing industries and types of companies in which you would potentially want to work. Be sure to narrow your list to a few industries that are not only interesting to you, but also are practical for your abilities and an environment in which you could achieve success. From this list of industries and companies, compile a list of any personal contacts you might know in this sphere.

2)      Make Contact and Be Specific – After you’ve highlighted the people you know in your target industries and related companies, reach out to your contacts to set up an official appointment. It is extremely important that from the onset you convey to your potential interviewee that you are not looking for a job. Be specific in explaining the true purpose of your proposed informational interview- that you are looking for career advice and insights about that particular industry from someone who knows it well. Also, while it may be tempting to try and set up an informal meet-up to learn about an industry via casual conversation, this is a business interview and should be conducted as such. A professional atmosphere helps to ensure that both parties stay on topic, and you glean the specific information you’re looking for.

3)      Be Flexible – Remember, this contact is taking time out of their day to meet with you. Be flexible and understanding when it comes to working around their busy schedule. Someone who has agreed to participate in an informational interview has done so because they are passionate about their career and want to share their insights with an interested audience; the advice they have to offer is well worth the hoops you may have to jump through to accommodate them.

4)      Create An Agenda – Of all the steps, this is the one in which you get to showcase your professionalism as well as your creativity. When coming up with a list of questions for the interview, do some research on the industry/company of your informational interviewee. Thorough research gives you a foundation of knowledge from which you can create insightful and specific questions, and also shows your interviewee that you’re dedicated and committed to put in the time and effort to learn about their industry.

5)      Show Your Appreciation – After the meeting, make sure your interviewee knows just how appreciative you are of their time and insights that they shared with you. Send them a thank you email or handwritten note as soon as you get home expressing your gratitude for their willingness to take time out of their schedule to help you. It’s also a nice gesture to send them an update later on down the road if you end up acting upon a piece of advice they’ve given you, or landing a job in their industry. If they cared enough to meet with you, they likely want to hear about your progress and success!

Sticking to these five simple steps will ensure that you conduct a productive and successful informational interview. Armed with valuable knowledge about your career interests, staffing agencies in Houston, TX like Murray Resources can better help you take the next step of landing that dream job!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the staffing agencies in Houston, TX – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.


How Can Starbucks Advance Your Career? The Best Networking Tip for Job Seekers

November 9th, 2012

At Murray Resources, our Houston recruiters are always looking for new ways to help people find methods to improve their job search. When it comes to finding and capitalizing on new opportunities, there is no better technique than effective networking. The number one tip we always recommend to our candidates is to plan your meals as networking opportunities.

In his breakthrough book about networking, Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi discusses how important it is to set up business lunches with new contacts. The author cites several examples where success in business and politics is the result of personal relationships. He claims that reaching out to other people for help and looking for ways you can be generous is the best way to find a path to success.

Ferrazzi recommends that you set up new business lunches and networking opportunities as often as you can. By widening your network, you have the chance to meet new individuals and offer your services. Many people are more than happy to help out if you are sincere and ask for help.

Start out by making a list of people you would like to meet with in your industry. This can be accomplished executives, human resource managers or professors at business schools in your area. Houston recruiters recommend that you send each individual a short and personalized e-mail and offer to buy him or her lunch. Be sure to include your intentions for the meeting, such as asking the person questions about their industry or finding out about ways you can volunteer your services.

And since buying a new person lunch everyday can become expensive, offering to meet someone for coffee is just as effective. Many people are happy to sit down and talk about their work over a latte—especially when someone else is buying! Remember that you are asking someone else to volunteer their time to sit down with you; be flexible when it comes to accommodating his or her schedule.

Our Houston recruiters will all agree that sharing a meal with someone is one of the best ways to expand your personal network and find out about new opportunities that may be available. Keep in mind that you should always be looking for ways to provide value to these people before you ask for any favors. If you follow these steps then you will be surprised at how many new doors may open up for you.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to the top Houston recruiters at Murray Resources for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started


7 Top Job Seeker Tools and Apps

October 27th, 2012

In recent years, new technologies and online resources have changed the job search game. While looking for the perfect job still requires research and effort, professionals looking to make a change have access to more jobs than ever. Murray Resources – one of the leading Houston staffing agencies—looked beyond the more commonly known job search tools such as Monster, Careerbuilder, and Craigslist to compile a list of 7 top job search tools.

1) LinkedIn

You’re likely already aware of LinkedIn, the widely used social network for professionals. Most people are aware of its networking and status update functions, but it’s also a powerful job search tool. You can use LinkedIn to create an online resume, as well as search and apply for jobs by keywords, job title, location, and even salary level. The paid job seeker premium tool allows users to see who has been viewing their profile, which could be a source of job leads. It also allows you to send personalized InMails to hiring managers and recruiters, where normally you would need to have a connection.

2) Indeed.com App

If you have a smart phone, the Indeed app is worth a download. Indeed is essentially a job board aggregator – a one-stop (free) shop where you can view most jobs posted online. For example, if Houston staffing agencies such as Murray Resources post a new job on their website, it’s likely that the position will show up on Indeed’s app. You can use the app to search, save, and e-mail job postings. The app will also show new jobs added since your last search, a great time saver.

3) Job Compass App

Another useful smart phone app, Job Compass uses satellite technology to map potential jobs within a specific radius of your location. If you are looking for a short commute to your next job, this app could be a great place to start.

4) Twit Job Search

Twitter is one of the fastest social networks where users can follow other users’ updates for entertainment, news, and discussion purposes. Because of the enormous amount of twitter traffic, recruiters and employers are increasingly posting job openings on the site. Twit Job Search is a third party site that will search Twitter for keywords related to your job search. This can be an excellent way to find out about jobs that you may not find on your usual job search sites.

5) JobServe Connect App

JobServe was formed in 1993 and bills itself as the world’s first internet recruitment service. With headquarters in the UK, it serves the United Kingdom, US, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, Canada, Thailand, and the UAE. The company’s app allows you to search job postings on the JobServe web site. The Jobserve app uses the GPS technology in your smart phone to search for postings near you with an easy-to-use interface.

6) iPQ Career Planner App

More of a career planner than a job search tool, the iPQ Career Planner app can help you identify the type of job that’s most likely to be a match. The app provides a detailed questionnaire and will analyze the results to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a job candidate. It will then suggest jobs and career tracks to pursue based on your profile. This tool allows you to be more specific with your job search, which may help you find your ideal job more efficiently.

7) LunchMeet

LunchMeet is a networking app that can help you find people in your area who are interested in meeting up for coffee or lunch. All you need to do is enter your location and the times you are available and it will match you with potential contacts. The concept behind the app is to build your networking base – potentially leading to industry contacts and job opportunities you may not have otherwise known about.

Thanks to evolving technology, job hunters have many new resources to help them locate their dream job. It’s a good idea to try multiple tools to maximize your exposure to new opportunities.


Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top Houston staffing agencies – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Also, if you’re in the Houston area, be sure to attend the  Murray Resources “Resume and Cover Letter Tips and Techniques” workshop November 8! Receive individualized feedback and advice on how to craft an effective cover letter and resume that will successfully convey your interest to prospective employers.

Advance tickets are being sold for $25 through November 7th, and tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $35. Purchase your tickets online with a friend and receive a 20% discount for the both of you!


Can’t wait until next Saturday for more tips on how to utilize online job search tools? Check out our last Social Media Saturday post to stay plugged in to the most innovative ways to use the web.

How to Stay Productive While Looking for a Job

October 19th, 2012

Finding the right job takes energy and dedication and if you’re not working with one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, TX, you’ll be using multiple job-search tools and resources. This takes time and energy, so it’s important to stay motivated and productive while you are searching. If you are trying to find out how to stay productive while looking for a job, consider the following tips.

Develop a Plan of Action

In order to be most effective during your search, you will need to have a clear set of goals as you proceed through the process. Write down the steps you need to take and refer to the list as you go along. If a particular step seems overwhelming, narrow it down into manageable steps.

For example, one of your steps may be to compile a list of all of the companies in your area who may be hiring for a particular position. Break this down into manageable steps, such as searching the Internet, building a spreadsheet, and highlighting the companies that are closest to you.

Dedicate Specific Hours Every Day to Your Search

You should apply the same work ethic that you have at your job to your job search. Schedule a specific amount of time every day in which to set out to accomplish your tasks. Keep track of your progress as you go along so that you can keep yourself accountable.

Enlist the Help of a Friend

Do you have a friend who is also looking for a new job? If so, you should consider teaming up to increase your productivity during the search. Use this person to critique your cover letters and search for any typos in your resume. You may even consider conducting mock interviews with each other. Enlisting the help of a friend is a great way to stay productive and make progress.

Avoid Burnout

If you’re not working with one of the staffing agencies in Houston, TX, such as Murray Resources, it’s easy to find yourself spending hours on the Internet looking for the right job. One way to avoid burnout is to take breaks frequently during your job search so that you can return to the task refreshed and more focused.

Exercise frequently

One of the best ways to keep yourself healthy and focused during a job search is to exercise on a regular basis. Exercise will help regulate your mood by providing your brain with needed endorphins; regular exercise also has the added benefit of helping you sleep better at night, allowing you to return to the job search refreshed the next day.

Set Goals

Most staffing agencies in Houston, TX will recommend that you set goals during the job search process. These goals may be daily, weekly, or even monthly. If you are submitting your resume to multiple employers, track your activity. When you have a measurable goal to shoot for, you will feel much more productive as you progress.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, TX – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

8 Ways to Stay Upbeat While Job Searching

October 15th, 2012

While working with one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston can help job seekers stay positive during their job search, we’d like to offer additional tips for staying motivated and upbeat while looking for a job.

Here are eight things you can do to stay positive during your job search:

  • Turn off the news. The local and national nightly news give the impression that the entire country is unemployed and jobs are almost impossible to find. This information is plastered all over the media, a constant reminder of the fact that you are out of work. Turn off the television and stay clear of negative press as much as possible.
  • Make time for personal hobbies. Once a day, make time for those things you enjoy doing. Just as you would put work aside after a long day at the office, try to put you job search to the side and dive into an activity that you truly enjoy.
  • Spend time with positive people. Simply being around people who have a positive outlook on life is a great way to improve your morale.
  • Engage in conversation with people you meet in public. You don’t need to strike up a conversation with every person you come across, but don’t be afraid to engage with people you don’t know. Increased personal contact is a great way to improve your outlook – it may also help you get used to speaking to interviewers.
  • Pick up a book and read. Reading is not only a good way to stay occupied, it’s also a great way to help your mind stay engaged while unemployed.
  • Seek out previous mentors in your life. At some point in your life you most likely had a person you could go to in order to seek counsel or simply gain some good advice. Don’t be afraid to seek them out now when you need it most.
  • Volunteer your time to a social or community program. Giving is a great way to boost your own spirits, in addition to those you’re helping.
  • Finally, take stock of the positive things in your life. Being unemployed can be extremely stressful, but it’s important to realize what you do have.

Following these simple 8 tips is a great way to maintain a positive attitude while job searching.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Posted in: Blog, Job Search Tips

Ignore Call Waiting and Other Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

August 23rd, 2012

As a Houston staffing agency devoted to matching talented candidates with top employers, Murray Resources sets up lots of phone interviews. Read on for tips on how to make yours a success.

Work with your recruiter to set up a specific time for the call. You certainly don’t want the call coming right in the middle of your P90X routine. “Gasp – hello!?” As your Houston recruiter, we can help you avoid that.

Use a landline instead of a cell phone. As much as we love our cell phones, it’s still safer to trust a landline for a call this important. And test it out beforehand if it’s been a while since you’ve put it to use.

Make sure your voicemail message is courteous, professional, and includes your name. Got one of those quirky “Hello? [Pause] Hello?” voicemail recordings? Change it. And double check your message either way. Some people unknowingly leave outdated or awkward messages on their phones for years.

If you have given your home line as your point of contact, be sure to let your household know that potential employers will be calling. Try to answer the phone yourself, but just in case you can’t, ask your family or roommate(s) to answer the phone in a professional manner and to pass along messages promptly.

Conduct the interview in a separate room in order to avoid any potential distractions. Make sure the caller hears nothing except your voice. Got a yappy dog? It might be a good time to give him a new chew toy. You can also create a calm signal to let your roommates know that it’s the call you’ve been waiting on, instead of the standard frantic hand wave/shushing motion some employ.

DO NOT interrupt your conversation to answer another call. Silence your other phones, and if a call does come through via call-waiting, creating that distinctive break in the conversation, either ignore it or make light of the situation – “I told the telemarketers not to interrupt this call, but apparently they didn’t listen. Sorry about that!”

Talk directly into the mouthpiece. Most of us have talked on the phone to someone who holds the phone at their neck. Please don’t be that person. And if you have a bad connection and/or have difficulty hearing the caller, either have the person call you back, adjust the phone, or ask them to speak louder. Either way, do not move forward in the conversation if you can’t hear what’s being said.

Be fully prepared with notes in regards to: 1) the company, 2) the position, and 3) yourself (resume). All the interviewer is going on is how you sound, so sound organized and well prepared.

Prepare (but don’t memorize) responses to 5-10 common interview questions. We’ve made this part easy. For sample questions, consult our Typical Interview Questions resource document.


About Murray Resources
Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency, providing quality professional-level placement services, as well as temporary, temp-to-hire, contract, payroll and direct hire administrative/clerical services.

Over the past 24 years, Murray Resources has developed a unique placement process to match candidates based not only on experience and skill set, but also on how well a candidate can put that skill set to work within a particular corporate culture. Murray Resources’ 95% Performance Evaluation Score represents one of the highest placement satisfaction rates in the industry. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009

Why You Shouldn’t List Your Uncle as a Reference (and Other Tips)

August 20th, 2012

At some point in the job search, you’ll need to provide references. Do it the right way. As Houston recruiters, we at Murray Resources get asked lots of questions about references. And with over twenty years of experience as a Houston staffing agency, we’ve got answers.

Can I use my uncle/BFF/pastor/ex-wife as a reference?
We don’t recommend it. Your potential boss won’t be hanging out with you on weekends, and likely isn’t interested in how devoted of a niece or nephew you are. Sure, it’s probably a nice bonus if your new employer discovers you feed the homeless on Thursday evenings, but when asked for references, employers are really wanting to know how you perform in the workplace.

I’m just out of school. Who are my references?
In this case, your reference could easily be a professor who is intimately familiar with your work, or a supervisor from an internship.

How should I ask someone to be a reference?
First of all, stay in touch with past supervisors and co-workers by providing  periodic updates. Most of us enjoy hearing from past co-workers (and if someone doesn’t enjoy hearing from you, they aren’t the best reference anyway). Not only does this help maintain valuable connections, it also won’t feel so forced when the need for a reference does arise. “Hey Jim, it’s Danielle. You may remember me from 1998? So uh…” becomes “Hey Jim, how’re the kids? Also, I was wondering if I could use you as a reference?”

When do I line up my references?
Before an employer even asks for them. That way you won’t have to scramble about finding up-to-date contact information at the last minute.

What is the best way to prepare my list of references? How should it look?
Don’t make your potential employer have to guess anything. A good reference list will include the name of the reference, the company where you worked together, their title, your relationship (supervisor, co-worker, etc.), their email address and phone number, as well as where they are currently working (if different). Also include their preferred method of contact and the best days/times to reach them, if possible.

What will the potential employer ask my references?
Potential employers ask questions relating to the responsibilities of the job you’re seeking. For example, if the job requires a strong leader, they’ll probably ask a battery of questions about your leadership capabilities, including past examples. In most cases, employers are looking for a clear picture of your qualifications to find out if you fit the role.

What are the most common mistakes job-seekers make when crafting or submitting references?
Not adequately preparing references for the calls and providing friends or relatives as references. Give your references a heads up, and ask them to make an effort to connect with the caller. We’ve seen the hiring process drag on for weeks when references cannot be reached – and in some cases it cost the candidate the job.

And as far as providing friends and relatives, don’t do it unless asked. Of course your BFF thinks you’re grand, but employers aren’t interested in your best friend’s opinion.

Should I include “References Available Upon Request” on my resume?
Nope. These days, it’s obvious that you will provide an employer with references if requested. It’s like saying, “Will come in for interview upon request.” Of course you will! No need to waste valuable resume real estate with these fillers. Instead, use that line to add just one more example of how you saved your last employer some money, or to list another project you drove to completion.


Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency, providing quality professional-level placement services, as well as temporary, temp-to-hire, contract, payroll and direct hire administrative/clerical services.

Over the past 24 years, Murray Resources has developed a unique placement process to match candidates based not only on experience and skill set, but also on how well a candidate can put that skill set to work within a particular corporate culture. Murray Resources’ 95% Performance Evaluation Score represents one of the highest placement satisfaction rates in the industry. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009

Top 10 Ways Applicants Strike Out When Interviewing

August 15th, 2012

You’re qualified. You’re smart. So why didn’t you get the job? In a survey of 153 companies, the following reasons were most commonly given as to why they did not hire an otherwise qualified candidate. Avoid these common mistakes and you may just increase your chances of landing the job.

1) Poor personal appearance – If you refuse to have your slacks hemmed or style your hair for an interview, chances are you won’t put forth the effort to excel at your job.

2) Lack of interest and enthusiasm – Remember, employers are thinking about what you’ll be like as an employee. Not interested in the interview? Then you won’t be interested in your work, either.

3) Over-emphasis on money – Think, “I care more about pay than contributing to your company.” Next, please.

4) Condemnation of past employers – Nobody wants a sourpuss trolling around their water cooler. Keep things pleasant.

5) Failure to look at interviewer while conversing – Staring at your pants during an interview says, “I’m a nervous wreck and I won’t have confidence in this job.”

6) Limp, fishy handshake –Some are keen to dole out the limp fish specifically to women. Appalling! Give everyone you meet a solid grip, which conveys confidence, as opposed to fear.

7) Late to interview – Sure, traffic was a nightmare. It’s always a nightmare. Plan ahead.

8) Failure to express appreciation for interviewer’s time – If you don’t thank your potential employer, they’ll take note that you likely won’t thank their clients, either.

9) Asks no questions about the job – Employers will translate this to mean you don’t put much thought into details, like the projects for which they’re considering hiring you.

10) Indefinite response to questions – Houston recruiters look for confident candidates. Practice articulating what you can do for a company.

Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency, providing quality professional-level placement services, as well as temporary, temp-to-hire, contract, payroll and direct hire administrative/clerical services. Over the past 24 years, Murray Resources has developed a unique placement process to match candidates based not only on experience and skill set, but also on how well a candidate can put that skill set to work within a particular corporate culture. Murray Resources’ 95% Performance Evaluation Score represents one of the highest placement satisfaction rates in the industry. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009 or visit www.murrayresources.com.

Cracking the Job Description Code

April 19th, 2011

Proficient multi-tasker. Motivated team player. Independent self-starter. Job descriptions are typically laden with vague terms like these. In addition, some employers use glorified verbiage to make a job sound better than it really is. However, lack of specifics and inaccuracies can lead to confusion and disappointment on your end.

To avoid this frustration, here’s how to translate some common terms used in job descriptions so you can ultimately find the Houston job that’s a great match for you:

“Proficient multi-tasker”

Translation: This is probably a small company where everyone is expected to wear a lot of hats. That means if you were hired to perform one job, you may be expected to take on additional responsibilities outside the realm of that position. For some employees, this kind of variety in their daily duties is welcome; but for others, it can be frustrating.

“Motivated team player”

Translation: The company has a lot of cooks in the kitchen and you need to be able to work well with all of them to build consensus. If you consider yourself a diplomat and are good at negotiating and persuading, then this position could be right for you. Otherwise, keep moving.

“Independent self-starter”

Translation: The company doesn’t have a lot of time or resources to train you. They will likely expect you to hit the ground running without a lot of direction from management. If you’re a highly experienced professional, then this kind of autonomy could be appealing. But if you’re just starting out, you may want to instead consider an environment that offers more support.

“Works well under pressure”

Translation: This company regularly operates under tight deadlines, and you will be expected to go the extra mile to ensure projects are completed on time. If you’re like many people and actually operate better under pressure, then this Houston job could be the one for you. But if regular intense pressure gives you major anxiety, then you’ll probably wind up hating it.

“Potential for rapid advancement”

Translation: This is probably a start-up company that can’t pay you a lot of money to perform the job, so they’ll try to entice you by offering the opportunity for growth instead. If you’re passionate about what the company does and see potential, by all means go for it. But also understand that taking a job with a start-up could mean lots of long hours and working weekends, only to have the company go bust after a short time. So it’s a risk; but it could also be a risk worth taking.

“Ability to solve problems”

Translation: The company probably has a lot of problems that need solving. If you’re up for the challenge, then this might be the Houston job for you. However, if you don’t like confrontation and don’t perform well under pressure, then you may want to move on.

If you’d like more help in translating job descriptions, or finding a Houston job that’s a good fit for you, please contact Murray Resources today!

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