Why Should We Hire You? How to Answer This Hardball Interview Question
During the job interview, you’re in the hot seat with the hiring manager or Houston headhunter and going to be hit with many questions. Some are expected and others are curveballs. However, a common one that’s often asked – and can be tricky to answer – is “Why should we hire you?”
This question tends to make candidates squirm for the simple reason it requires them to sell themselves. It’s much easier to talk about hard skills or project experience. And yet, in many interviews, some form of it is inevitable. So how can you best respond? Here are a few different approaches to consider:
Connect your qualifications to the job.
Before your interview, review the job description and make a list of your relevant skills and experience. After you select a few corresponding strengths, prepare answers for each. For instance, you can say something like:
“In your posting, it stated you need someone with strong interpersonal skills. In my last position, it was my job to respond to and resolve customer complaints. Through that experience, I learned a variety of communication and conflict resolution tactics that would be valuable in this role. For instance, I always approached each complaint by asking questions and listening first to ensure I fully understood the problem.”
Another way to answer this question is to share a story or anecdote that illustrates your abilities. This can often be more effective since stories are memorable. For instance, anyone can say that they have strong communication skills. However, if you talk about a time you used those communication skills to persuade your team about an idea or to negotiate a new contract with a vendor, you’ll be able to back up your claim. Not only that, but a Houston headhunter or hiring manager will be more likely to remember you and your answer.
Focus on your uniqueness.
Your interviewer wants to know what makes you different from the next candidate, whether you have a specialized skill, unusual background or experience that lends itself to the role, or hold certifications that required rigorous training to earn. These are all the kinds of qualifications that make you unique and can help you to stand out in a sea of other candidates. That’s why it’s important to place some focus on them in the interview.
Whatever approach you do take with this particular question, keep it brief, emphasizing one or two areas, not 10. Also, practice your answer ahead of time, so you can respond with confidence and clarity.
Get professional help with your job search from the Houston headhunters at Murray Resources. Our clients are always looking for talented individuals for a wide variety of permanent, temporary, temp-to-hire, and contract positions. Contact us today to learn more or search our Houston jobs now.
5 Ways to Hurt Your Reputation in a New Job
As Houston recruiters, Murray Resources can tell you that when you’re starting out on the job, your goal should be to “wow” your boss. But sometimes, things can get in the way of your very best efforts. Some of them aren’t in your control – but others certainly are. Below is a look at 5 ways you could hurt your reputation in those first, very important few days of the job.
1. You’re late.
Adhering to the basics of office etiquette is critical when you’re just starting out. And getting there on time is one of those basics. So don’t let a traffic jam, or construction get in your way of making a great first impression. Start off well ahead of schedule on your first few days so you can get a sense of how heavy traffic is and if there are any additional delays you’ll need to factor in.
2. You’re overly assertive at meetings.
You want to develop a reputation as a contributor and “go getter.” But at this stage of the game, you may not have a whole lot to contribute. So instead of asserting yourself and looking foolish in a meeting, ask lots of questions so you can get up to speed faster – then offer opinions and ideas of value.
3. You kiss up to your boss.
It’s important to have a healthy, productive relationship with your boss. However, if you think getting there involves kissing up, you may want to think again. Not only will your boss lose respect for you, but your new co-workers will, as well.
4. You spend time gossiping.
It’s only natural to want to connect with your co-workers as quickly as possible. However, gossiping isn’t the way to get there. Not only will you develop a reputation as having a big mouth, but gossiping about co-workers – before you really get to know them – will cloud your judgment of them. It’s not fair to your co-workers and could harm your ability to develop long-term, productive relationships with them.
5. You make comments on Facebook about how much you hate your new job.
Remember, whatever you post on a social media site like Facebook is never private, even if you have your account set to private. And a fast way to fall out of favor with your new boss is to be lamenting to all your friends about your boss, co-workers, or new job. It’s best to keep it zipped; if, after some time on the job, there are some things you don’t like or that are unexpected, then talk to your boss directly about them. Don’t post them on Facebook first.
Need Help Finding a New Houston Job?
If you do, let Murray Resources know. Whether you are looking to move up the corporate ladder, re-enter the workforce, get more experience, or just gain more control over your schedule, our Houston recruiters can help you locate the position that best matches your skills and interests. Contact us today or search our Houston jobs now.
6 Mission Critical Job Search Tips for Veterans
Going from the military to civilian life can certainly be challenging. But, as Houston recruiters, Murray Resources knows that when it comes to your job search, you can leverage the power of your military experience so that you stand out in a sea of other candidates. Here’s how:
Tip #1: Reposition Yourself.
Employers may have a lot of respect for you…but that doesn’t mean they understand the value you bring to the table. They may picture you on the frontlines, not in a boardroom. That’s why it’s important to reposition your experience in a way that highlights your transferable skills, such as leading a team, problem solving abilities, and resilience in the face of challenges.
Tip #2: Speak Civilian.
Most employers aren’t familiar with military jargon, so avoid it in your cover letter, resume, and during the job interview. If you’re not sure what the civilian equation for a certain title, role, or assignment is, then look it up using the Military to Civilian Occupation Translator (http://www.acinet.org/moc/).
Tip #3: Be Relevant.
As a veteran, you may have completed dozens of training courses and hold many certifications. But you don’t want to submit a 10-page resume. So be selective about the educational and training experience you wish to highlight. For instance, if you’re applying for a management position, then include relevant leadership training you’ve undergone. Also, when you get a job interview, you’ll need to be able to explain how your education and training stacks up against a traditional, four-year college degree.
Tip #4: Promote Yourself.
You’re probably used to being a part of a team, rather than going it alone. But when it comes to your job search, it’s not a team effort. Therefore, you really need to work hard to promote yourself and demonstrate why an employer should hire you. To do so, be sure to:
• Customize your resume for each position.
• Go through past performance reviews in search of relevant accomplishments you can highlight on your resume.
• Hiring managers love results. So include statistics, percentages, and specific examples to demonstrate your successful track record.
Tip #5: Research Companies That are Hiring Veterans.
As Houston recruiters, Murray Resources knows that many companies today have dedicated programs for hiring veterans. So do some research to find out who those companies are and what kinds of job openings they have.
Tip #6: Be Persuasive.
Unfortunately, some hiring managers have preconceived notions about veterans, such as they’re only good at following orders. So it’s your job to change their minds and present yourself as a professional with highly valuable skills and abilities. It may be difficult to change minds via a resume, but be sure to highlight important achievements and results during your job interview.
Want More Help from the Job Search Experts?
If you’d like professional help from experienced Houston recruiters, let Murray Resources know. We can work directly with you to craft an effective resume, polish your interview skills, and search for jobs in the Houston area that are a great fit for you. Contact Murray Resources today to get started!
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How to Survive a Major Job Interview Blunder
As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources knows that job interviews aren’t exactly the most pleasant situations for candidates. They’re high-stress interactions that typically come at a time when you have a lot on the line.
It’s no wonder, then, that many candidates mess up during their interviews, from blanking on their answer to a question to blabbering on about nothing to sharing too much personal information.
Sound all too familiar to you?
If it does, then take a deep breath and relax. Most people screw up at least one job interview in their lifetime, so you’re certainly not alone. That said, there is something you can do to attempt to rectify an “interview gone bad.” What is it?
Send the interviewer a thank you letter – immediately.
You’re probably wondering what good that will do; but the answer is: A lot.
By doing so, you can attempt to salvage your reputation and perhaps put yourself back in the running for the job. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll demonstrate your humility and professionalism, which could help you should another job opportunity within the company arise in the future. And finally, even if you never see the hiring manager again, at least you’ll be able to leave a positive final impression.
But to craft an effective letter, it must contain a few essentials:
• Thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to interview.
• If you know you screwed up on a particular answer, then the hiring manager likely knows it, too. So use the letter as an opportunity to right the wrong. For instance, if you blundered the question about your career accomplishments, then highlight a few keys ones that pertain to the position.
• Re-iterate why you are, in fact, a great fit for the job opening and the company.
• Keep it short and sweet. And end it on a positive note.
Here’s what NOT to do:
Make it seem like it was the hiring manager’s fault…like somehow, they didn’t conduct an effective interview or ask the right questions, leading to your missteps. If you do that, then you won’t just screw up once; you’ll do it twice.
Want more help with your job search?
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Is Turning Down a Promotion Career Suicide?
Most people would be thrilled to get offered promotions to new Houston jobs. But for some, the thought of a heftier paycheck isn’t worth the price of added responsibility and longer hours – especially if the job promotion doesn’t align with future career goals.
So if you’re in the latter category, is turning down a promotion akin to committing career suicide? Maybe.
In a struggling economy, it could be unwise to turn down a promotion. For instance, your boss might know something you don’t: that your current position is on the chopping block in the near future. Or your boss might simply feel confident in your abilities and trust you to do a good job in the new role. Whatever the case may be, look at the bigger picture before making the decision to decline a promotion. Perhaps the promotion could be a steppingstone to better Houston jobs in the future.
However, if you’ve thought about it and feel adamant about refusing the offer, don’t just decline and leave it at that. Otherwise, your boss might feel like you’re leaving him or her in the lurch. Instead, sell your boss on the idea of why you should remain in your current position. And don’t just talk about how staying put benefits you; talk about how it benefits your boss and the company. Tell your boss about how you can offer more value from where you are positioned now.
After you explain why you should remain where you are, you should also offer your boss a solution. For instance, say you’ll take on more responsibility, if needed, until someone else is hired for the position. Providing a short-term solution not only helps soften the blow, but it also demonstrates that you’re still committed to the company’s success.
The bottom line is that declining a job promotion can be a risk. It might pay off in the future and it might not. So before making any hasty decisions, be sure to analyze all the pros and cons carefully. Your boss likely won’t mind if you take some time to think about it.
But if part of the reason for turning down the promotion is because you’re ready for a new opportunity with a new employer, Murray Resources can help. As Houston’s premier employment firm, we work with some of the top companies in and around the city and can give you access to a variety of rewarding and exciting jobs in Houston.
Can My Boss Really Monitor My Internet Use?
If you’re like most employees, chances are you’ve gone on to Facebook to post a status update; logged on to YouTube to view a funny video; or done some quick online research for vacation hot spots – all while you’re still on the clock at your Houston job.
But in a day and age of social networking and online access to just about anything, many employers are starting to monitor their employees’ Internet usage, from the web pages they read to the comments they post on blogs and in forums.
So is it legal? The short answer is yes.
Federal law gives employers the right to monitor all computer activity. Since the employer owns the computer system, employees have no reasonable expectations of privacy when using that system. Employers can even monitor your personal email accounts as long as you’re logged onto the company network or using company-owned equipment.
And if your company monitors Internet usage, they’re certainly not alone.
In fact, according to a survey by the American Management Association and The ePolicy Institute, two-thirds of employers monitor workers’ Internet use. More specifically, almost half of employers said they track content, keystrokes and time spent at the keyboard.
Generally speaking, there are three reasons why employers want to monitor Internet usage at work:
1. Productivity. In a tough economy, employers want to make sure that employees are being as productive as possible, not wasting time online.
2. Convenience. With advances in technology, it’s both easy and cost efficient to install software that helps employers monitor Internet usage.
3. Reduced liability. With most disputes today being settled in the courtroom, rather than the boardroom, it makes sense for businesses to protect themselves with monitoring software. Through it, they can ensure employees aren’t blabbing about trade secrets online, sending out nasty emails about their boss, sexually harassing a co-worker, or posting discriminatory comments on a blog.
Furthermore, your employer does not have to tell you they’re monitoring your Internet usage. So the fact of the matter is you may never know. That’s why it’s so important to be careful about your Internet use while on the clock at your Houston job. If you do have personal tasks you need to conduct on your computer or phone at work, keep them to a minimum. Otherwise, you could end up in hot water with your boss.
Help! My Boss is a Micromanager…and It’s Driving Me Crazy!
Having a micromanager for a boss at your Houston job can be a frustrating experience, from the incessant hovering to the frequent disruptions. Unfortunately, since micromanaging is more of a personality trait than a management style, it’s unlikely that your boss will change anytime soon. But there are some steps you can take to cope with the situation:
First, examine your performance.
There may be a reason your boss is micromanaging you – he or she doesn’t have confidence in your performance. So look around you. Are your co-workers being micromanaged, or are you the only one? If it’s the latter, then you might need to accept the fact that you’re under-performing and determine what you need to do to improve.
Second, don’t get passive aggressive.
When confronted with a micromanager, many people tend to begin to withdraw or get passive aggressive as a way to assert control over the situation. But since this is the person who signs your paycheck, you don’t want to make your boss angry. If your boss micromanages everyone, then understand that it’s not personal. Many times, micromanagers are perfectionists with incredibly high expectations.
Third, communicate on your boss’s terms.
You have to bear in mind that your boss is under a lot of pressure to produce good results, and that may be why he or she asks for frequent updates. If their constant requests are disrupting your ability to get your work done, ask your boss the best way for you to provide these updates.
For instance, should you send them via email or in person? Once a day, or three times a day? When your boss assigns you a task, repeat what they told you in an email to ensure you’re both on the same page – i.e. “This is my understanding of the assignment. Is that correct?”
If you get into a regular habit of communicating – and even over-communicating – on your boss’s terms, then your boss can get the information he or she needs and you can get your work done without regular disruptions.
Fourth, follow the rules.
Micromanagers like to catch people breaking the rules, as if to say “See, this is why I need to manage you so closely.” Don’t give them the satisfaction. Follow the rules, don’t be late, and do your job well.
If you continue to communicate frequently and deliver excellent work, then it’s possible that your micromanaging boss might let up a bit and allow you to do your work without constant hovering. But if your boss’s micromanaging has gotten so out of control that you’re ready to explore new jobs in Houston, Murray Resources can help. We work with some of the city’s leading employers and can give you access to top jobs as a result!
Cracking the Job Description Code
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:
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.
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.
4 Tips for Surviving a Company Merger
As the economy continues to recover, there’s been a recent uptick in the number of mergers. And while merging with another business might be good for a company’s bottom line, it can be stressful for its employees. Job loss and uncertainty are big concerns among workers.
So if your company is undergoing a merger with another, or there is a merger on the horizon, what can you do to ensure you not only survive, but thrive, in your Houston job? Here are 4 tips:
1) Expect a cultural change.
Two separate cultures can’t exist together, so expect the dominant company’s way of doing business to prevail. Don’t resist it; accept it and adapt to it.
2) Get to know the new owner and managers.
After a merger, it can be tempting to keep your head down and try not to be noticed. But most new owners are looking for people to step up to the plate. First, learn all you can about the new owner and managers. Then reach out to them via email or by making a phone call. Tell them what your department is doing, highlight your responsibilities, and offer suggestions for improvement within your department or the company as a whole.
3) Do a great job.
This is the time to go above and beyond. You want the new owner and managers to think they simply cannot live without you. So come in early, stay late, and offer to take on additional assignments. Ask the new owner or managers: “What can I do to make this transition easier for you?” Even if they tell you to “keep doing what you’re doing,” the perception will be that you’re an asset, not an obstacle.
4) Be positive.
It can be easy to feel defensive and stressed during a merger. But keep your attitude to yourself. Attend any informational meetings the new owner or managers hold, ask intelligent questions, and introduce yourself to new managers and staff members. You want to be perceived as a team player; not a complainer.
When it comes to a merger, you have to come to terms that things just aren’t going to be the same. But the faster you “get it” and adapt, the better your chances will be for surviving a merger. That said, it’s always smart to prepare a contingency plan. So dust off your resume and begin to rework it, just in case.
Also, if you’re interested in learning about job opportunities in the Houston market, please contact Murray Resources. As an employment agency in Houston, we work with many of the top employers and can give you access to new opportunities in your field.
How to Deal With a Difficult Co-Worker at Your Houston Job
When it comes to difficult co-workers, we’ve all been there at one time or another, whether it’s the diva personality, the two-faced liar, or the know-it-all. While dealing with a difficult co-worker at your Houston job can be challenging, it’s a situation you must face. Otherwise, it will simply get worse and you, not the difficult co-worker, will suffer as a result. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
Take a step back from your Houston job.
Sometimes when we’re embroiled in a tense situation it can be easy to lose perspective. So take a step back and ask yourself if you’re over-reacting, or if there’s really a problem. You need to be honest with yourself, especially if you’ve experienced issues with other co-workers in the past. Examine the situation as objectively as you can to ensure the problem doesn’t stem, at least partly, from you or your actions.
Talk to a colleague.
Is there a colleague at work that you know and trust? Then ask them their opinion. Explain the situation and ask for some insight. A fresh perspective can be helpful in emotional situations.
Confront the difficult co-worker privately.
Email your co-worker and ask if you can speak with them privately. Though it can be tempting to go on the offensive, try to be calm and diplomatic when you meet. Cite specific examples of the person’s behavior and how it offended you. In many cases, people don’t even realize they’re upsetting others with their behavior and will apologize immediately. That said, there are those few who will get defensive or deny any wrongdoing.
Speak with your manager.
If you are unable to resolve the conflict on your own, then it’s time to bring in your boss. Set up and time to meet with him or her privately and explain the situation. Again, be as diplomatic as possible. Your boss doesn’t want to get involved in petty fights or office politics. But if there’s a real problem, then it’s your boss’s responsibility to help rectify it, particularly if it’s having a negative impact on company productivity.
Find a new job in Houston.
If your boss isn’t willing to intervene and you’re still having problems with the co-worker, then your best bet may be to find another Houston job that offers a healthier work environment.
If that’s the case and you’re ready to make the leap, please contact Murray Resources. As a leading employment agency, we work with many of Houston’s top employers, including leaders in the energy industry, Fortune 500 firms, financial services firms, legal and medical practices, as well as dozens of other small to mid-sized employers. Contact us today. We can help!
How to Exit Your Houston Job Gracefully
Whether you’re looking for a new job in Houston or you’ve already landed one, it’s important that you leave your old position gracefully. You never know who you will cross paths with again during the course of your career and you don’t want to burn any bridges. With that said, here are some tips for a smooth exit:
Think of a brief explanation.
People will want to know why you’re leaving, so you’ll want to think of a brief, yet positive, explanation. For instance, you got a new job in Houston that’s a great opportunity to advance your career or learn something new. The trick is to be honest, without being brutal.
Write a resignation letter.
In your letter, thank your employer for the opportunities you’ve had during your tenure there. Also, be clear about the fact that you are leaving and give the date of your final day at work.
Give at least 2 weeks notice.
Two weeks is the standard amount; however, your company may require additional time, so you’ll want to consult with your employee handbook first.
Complete your work.
Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you get to slack off in your last days on the job. To ensure a smooth transition for your boss and co-workers, make sure you finish up outstanding projects and leave detailed instructions about any tasks you handle.
Help with the hiring process.
Nobody knows your position better than you do. So offer to help your boss find a replacement and train that person once he or she is hired.
Leave a positive trail.
You know the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”? This is especially true when it comes to your career. Whether there is a co-worker you don’t get along with or a boss you’ve butted heads with, keep your mouth shut. Otherwise, your words could come back to haunt you.
Keep in touch.
It’s a small world and you never know who could play a role in your career in the future. So be sure to give your new contact information to key relationships at your company before you leave. You may even want to send a note or email to those you developed a good relationship with, telling them how much you enjoyed working with them. Even after you’ve left, try to maintain a positive and professional relationship.
And if you’d like to exit your Houston job, but first need help finding a new one, please contact Murray Resources. As an experienced employment agency, we work with many of Houston’s top employers and can place you in a position that’s a great match for your skills and personality.
Hot Job Tip: Create a 30-Second Elevator Speech
You’re at a party when you overhear the man next to you telling his friend that his Houston company is looking for a new bookkeeper. You happen to be a bookkeeper looking for a new job in Houston! You have to make a connection with this man immediately. But where do you start? And what do you say? Finding the right words to sell yourself in an impromptu situation can get awkward. But by creating an elevator speech, you’ll always have the right words handy.
First, let’s discuss what an elevator speech actually is. An elevator speech is basically a short, 30-second sound bite that introduces who you are and what you do. The purpose of such a speech is to position yourself in the best light during those short, but sweet, chance encounters. After all, you never know who you’ll meet while at a wedding, at the bank, at a restaurant, or in a store. And having an elevator speech handy will help you introduce yourself to the important job search contacts you meet along the way. Besides impromptu situations, an elevator speech also makes for a good response to the inevitable job interview question: “Tell me about yourself.”
Tips for Preparing an Elevator Speech
1) First, write down what you do. Then think about the benefits your skills can offer to a potential employer. So instead of saying: “Hi, I’m Sara Jones and I’m a bookkeeper with 10 years of experience,” consider saying something like: “Hi, I’m Sara Jones and as an experienced bookkeeper, it’s my job to help companies keep their books up to date and in compliance.” See the difference?
2) Now, refine your elevator speech by saying it out loud and seeing how it sounds. You can even record it on your voice mail and play it back to really evaluate yourself. Do you sound engaging? Do you sound confident? Make notes for improvements.
3) Practice your speech a few times by yourself to get comfortable with it. But don’t memorize it word for word. Otherwise, it will wind up sounding forced and fake.
4) Practice your speech in front of others. Try it out on your family and friends and ask for feedback.
A Message of Thanks from Murray Resources
In 1789, then-President George Washington proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving as a reminder of the feast celebrated by our forefathers after surviving their first winter in Plymouth. More than two centuries later, we’re still celebrating Thanksgiving and using it as a time to reflect on our many blessings. And despite the uncertainty in our economy, there is much to be grateful for here at Murray Resources.
To our clients:
We are deeply thankful for your continued loyalty to our Houston staffing agency. Without your support, we simply would not exist. We also know that trust is earned and we pledge to continue delivering the exceptional candidates and top-notch staffing solutions you’ve come to rely on.
To our job seekers:
Searching for a new job in Houston can seem overwhelming, and at times, frustrating – we know that. And we are so grateful that you’ve chosen Murray Resources to help you along the way. We always have your best interest at heart and promise to continue to work diligently to match you with opportunities that are a terrific fit for you.
To our employees:
We are truly lucky to have a team of such smart and dedicated professionals. We know that each day, you go above and beyond to meet the needs of our clients. You care about our clients, and about our staffing agency as well, and it shows in your work. For that, we are grateful.
So, as 2010 quickly comes to a close, we invite you to pause and reflect on the many things you have to be thankful for this year. We’d also like to wish you a Thanksgiving filled with peace and joy. Happy Thanksgiving!
So You Want to Ace an Upcoming Job Interview?
Wobbly knees. Butterflies in your stomach. Sweaty palms. That’s how most people feel before a job interview. But to ace an interview, it’s important not to let your nerves show. Easier said than done, right? Well, here are some steps you can take to help you stay cool, calm, and collected on your next Houston job interview:
Change your mindset.
Don’t dread your job interview. Just think of it as a conversation between two people. You will be asked questions, but you should also ask lots of questions, as well. After all, you want to land a position with a Houston company that’s a good fit for you. And worst-case scenario? You don’t get the job offer, which could be lucky in the long run if something better comes along.
Make sure you’re properly prepared.
The best way to overcome job interview jitters is to be prepared. Learn as much as you can about the company and the person or people interviewing you. Also, make a list of some commonly asked interview questions (such as “Tell me about yourself,” “Why do you want to work here?,” and “Why should we hire you?”) and practice your answers. You may even want to video-tape your answers to these questions so you can truly critique yourself.
Give yourself plenty of time.
Arriving late can really get a job interview off to a bad start. Do a practice run beforehand if you’ve never been to the interview location. And always give yourself plenty of time just in case you run into bad weather, constructions, or a traffic jam.
Take a deep breath – and relax.
So you’ve changed your mindset, researched the company, prepped for the interview, and checked out the interview location. Now what? Relax. Take some time to work out, watch a funny movie, or go shopping. Do something you enjoy that will take your mind off the interview and help you relax.
If you’re rejected, don’t take it too personally.
Don’t let a job rejection crush you too much. After all, there may have been behind-the-scene elements in play that you weren’t aware of or had no control over, such as a family member being promised the position, or an internal candidate who was a better fit. So rally yourself, get back on that job search horse, and think positive. There is a great job in Houston that has your name all over it!
And if you need help tracking down good job leads in Houston, or preparing for an upcoming interview, contact Murray Resources. As experienced Houston recruiters, we can help you find a job that’s a terrific fit for you. We look forward to working with you!
How to Assess a Company’s Culture – Before Accepting the Job
You found a great job opportunity right here in Houston that sounds like a terrific match for your skills and background. The pay is competitive, the work sounds stimulating, and the location is nearby.
But what about the company’s culture? Is it a good fit for you? In other words, is the “personality” of the company a good fit for your personality? If not, then you could be in for a bit of a shock.
So how can you make sure you accept a position that’s a fit for you all the way around? By asking a lot of questions during the job interview, such as:
- How would you describe the company in five words or less?
- Does the company have a code of ethics? What is it?
- How would you describe the environment here? Laid back? Or more formal?
- What is the dress code?
- What’s the management style like?
- Does the company typically promote from within?
- Is there a mentoring or continuing education program for those looking to advance their careers?
- What are some of the traits that the company’s most successful employees share?
Once the job interview is over, ask yourself:
- Was the interviewer well prepared and on time?
- Did they answer my questions clearly?
- Was I treated with respect?
- What was my gut reaction when I first walked into the company’s office? Impressed? Underwhelmed?
- How did I feel once the interview was over? Uncertain? Excited?
Don’t think of a job interview just as an opportunity for a Houston employer to evaluate you. It’s also an opportunity for you to assess the employer – and determine whether or not you think the Houston job and company will be a good match for you.
Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Salary Negotiations
As a Houston executive recruiters, we know the process you go through to land a job can be daunting – from screening and interviewing to testing and reference checking. And after all that is said and done, there’s still one more crucial phase to complete before signing on the dotted line – salary negotiations. So how can you successfully negotiate to ensure you get the compensation you deserve? Here are some do’s and don’ts:
Do’s for Salary Negotiations:
- Do your homework ahead of time so that you know what the value of your skills, experience and achievements are worth in today’s marketplace. Use salary information websites or visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
- Do withhold information on your salary history as long as possible. Many times, employers use past salaries as a way to screen candidates out.
- Do be honest about your salary history. Padding your salary can come back to haunt you when the prospective employer calls your past employers to verify employment and salary.
- Do toot your own horn and highlight the experience and skills you can bring to the table so that the employer truly understands the value you’re offering.
- Do be realistic about your salary expectations. You have to keep in mind the current state of the industry you work in, as well as the economy when it comes to salary negotiations.
- Do try to negotiate additional perks, especially if you’re not successful in getting the exact salary you want. These can include things like extra vacation time or a performance bonus.
- Don’t start negotiating a salary until you’ve learned as much as possible about the Houston job and the responsibilities it entails.
- Don’t give the employer a specific figure when asked how much salary you want. Instead, ask the employer how much they would be willing to pay for someone with your skills and experience.
- Don’t be too eager to accept – even if the figure is exactly what you want. Many employers leave some room for negotiating, so you should still consider a counteroffer even if you are happy with their initial offer.
- Don’t get pressured into accepting if you’re not happy with the offer. Let the employer know that the offer is less than what you’re expecting by saying something like: “I have a better offer from another firm. Can you match it?” or “Given my level of experience and track record of success at my past employers, I feel like $65,000 would be a more appropriate salary.”
- It’s ok to be aggressive, but don’t go overboard. After all, if you do get the Houston job, you have to work with these people and you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. So always remain professional and upbeat, focusing on why you deserve a higher salary than what’s being offered.
If you need more tips on negotiating a salary, or help finding a job in Houston, contact Murray Resources. As experienced executive recruiters, Murray Resources can help you through each and every phase of the job search process so that you secure the position and the compensation you deserve.
Do You Know Which Houston Jobs Match Your Personality Best?
As a Houston employment agency, we know that people are most productive, motivated, and happiest when they’re in a position that’s a great match for their personality. As a result, they are more successful too.
So what type of personality are you – and which jobs in Houston would you excel in?
Using John Holland’s theory of career choice, we’ve outlined six personality types below, careers that are a good fit for them, and the different work environments in which each one thrives.
Personality type #1: Artistic:
These are the artists of the world – so highly creative, independent, and original. They are also unorganized and take an unstructured approach to work. Examples of jobs that are a fit for the artistic personality are graphic designer, musician, writer, and actor.
Personality type #2: Realistic:
These people generally like hands-on tasks and have a high mechanical aptitude. They are also pragmatic, stable, and logical. They typically excel in jobs that are more tool-oriented, such as IT, engineering, agriculture, and architecture.
Personality type #3: Social:
These people are nurturing and like activities that involve helping others. They have a high level of compassion, and are also cooperative and friendly. Careers that are a good fit for this personality include teacher, customer service representative, doctor, nurse, and therapist.
Personality type #4: Investigative:
These people are both intellectual and analytical. They are thinkers and like working with theories and information. They are also independent and curious. Positions in which this personality thrives include lawyer, professor, economist, mathematician, and pharmacist.
Personality type #5: Enterprising:
These are the people who are not afraid to take a risk. They are also highly competitive. They have strong leadership skills and are good at persuading people. Positions that are a good fit for an enterprising personality are real estate agent, salesperson, marketing executive, management, and public relations.
Personality type #6: Conventional:
These people are detail oriented and highly organized. They also value routine and structure. They are both precise and practical, and operate best when they have clear instructions to follow. Jobs that are a good fit for a conventional personality include proofreader, banker, accountant, and clerk.
Were you able to determine which personality type you are? Whether you have a conventional personality or an investigative one, please contact Murray Resources if you need help finding a job that’s a fit for you. As an experienced Houston employment agency, we can give you access to a variety of rewarding Houston jobs.
Career Tips: Tap into the Power of Networking
When looking for a new job in Houston, don’t just search online job boards or read the classifieds. Make sure you also tap into the power of your network. Here are some tips for successful networking:
Social networking tools, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, make it easy to get connected to people such as former co-workers and college classmates. If you’re lucky, someone within your network may know about a terrific job opening up in Houston.
Talk to as many people as you can.
If you’re more of an introvert, this can be a challenge. But it’s a critical step in order to truly leverage the power of networking. So wherever you are – at a wedding, on a plane, in line at the bank – talk to people. You never know who you will meet and what role they may play in advancing your career.
Ask lots of questions.
If you feel like making small talk isn’t your strongest suit, then keep this tip in mind. People love to talk about themselves – all you have to do is ask the questions.
Be a good listener.
There’s nothing worse then asking someone a question and then looking around the room as if you’re not interested in their answer. Everyone does this at one point or another, but no one likes it when it happens to them! So be a good listener.
Develop an elevator speech.
An elevator speech is essentially a 30-second response to the question “what do you do for a living?” So create a quick and clear answer and make sure you practice it so you’re prepared next time you’re asked this question.
Make sure you always have business cards with you.
And get comfortable with handing them out. There’s no point in having lots of cards in your wallet if you never hand them out.
Join a group.
This is one of the best ways to network. Whether it’s an industry group, a community group, or the PTA at your child’s school, you’ll meet a variety of new people – which could possibly lead to some positive results in your career.
If you’re looking for a new job in Houston and need a little help, contact Murray Resources. As a recruitment firm in Houston, we work with many of the leading employers in the area and can give you access to a variety of job opportunities that you won’t find elsewhere. Contact us today to learn more.
5 Tips for to Re-entering the Houston Job Market
Whether you’ve taken some time off from searching for a new job, or you stayed home for a few years to raise your kids, the prospect of re-entering the Houston job market can seem a bit…well…overwhelming. But have no fear. Follow these tips to help make the plunge easier and get hired faster.
Tip #1: Be upfront about your employment gap.
It can be tempting to gloss over those five years you spent as a stay-at-home mom. But not including details about your employment gap is a mistake. First of all, it causes the prospective employer to make assumptions about what you’ve been doing. In addition, you’re missing out on an opportunity to position the gap as a positive. For instance, “As a result of my five years as a stay-at-home mom, I’ve learned to multi-task with ease.” You get the picture. So be sure to include the details of your employment gap – whether in your cover letter or on your resume.
Tip #2: Don’t forget to include community involvement on your resume.
Some people seem to think that if you don’t get paid for a job, it doesn’t count. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Community involvement is a valuable component of any resume. And who knows? The hiring manager may be involved in a similar activity, which will allow the two of you to connect on a personal level.
So whether you sit on a museum board, are a member of the PTA, or volunteer at your local library, be sure to include the details of any community involvement or volunteer activities on your resume.
Tip #3: Be honest in your interview.
When hiring managers see a gap in employment, they are automatically curious. So don’t be surprised if they ask you about it during your interview. Whatever you do, don’t fabricate the facts – just be honest about the situation.
Tip #4: Make sure your skills are current.
Haven’t used a computer in a while? Then it’s time to update your skills. Take a class at your community college or enroll in a career training course. Most employers don’t want to have to train new hires, and are therefore more likely to offer the position to someone who has the right skills.
Tip #5: Focus on the bigger picture.
The fact of the matter is that if you’ve been out of the Houston job market for a while, you may very well have a harder time finding a new job when compared to someone who never left. But don’t get discouraged! While you might need to take a job that’s a step down from your last position, think about the big picture and how this move will help you reach your ultimate career goal.
In the process of re-entering the Houston job market?
Please contact Murray Resources. As a leading employment agency, we can give you access to a variety of job opportunities with top Houston employers – whether you’re looking for a position in accounting, administration, or management. We can also work with you to craft a strong cover letter and resume, and help you to position your employment gap in a positive light. Contact us today. We can help.
15 Critical Questions You Should Ask Every Temporary Employment Firm
Landing a position through a temporary employment agency can provide a host of benefits, like a flexible schedule, supplemental income, and the ability to test the waters at different companies. But if you’ve never worked for a Houston temporary employment agency before, you may have some questions. That’s a good thing! Before committing to a particular agency, you should ask each a variety of questions to ensure they’re a good fit for you.
Here’s a list of 15 important questions to help you get started:
Questions to Ask About the Temporary Employment Agency
1. How long have you been in business?
2. Why types of Houston employers do you work with?
3. What are some examples of the job opportunities that you fill?
4. How much do your services cost? (Hint: If the employment agency tells you they charge job seekers for their services, then it’s time to say good-bye. Reputable employment agencies don’t ask applicants to pay for placements in temporary job assignments.)
Questions About How the Process Works
5. Will you contact me when a position I’m suited for becomes available, or should I call to check in? How often?
6. What happens if I want to turn down a job opportunity? Is that allowed?
7. What if I accept a temporary job opportunity, but realize after a few days things aren’t working? What should I do?
8. If I show up to an assignment and the company decides they don’t need me, do I still get paid?
9. Will I receive training? Do I have to pay for the training? (Again, if the answer’s “yes,” it’s time to turn and walk away. A reputable employment agency will not ask you to pay for training.)
10. What if the Houston employer you place me with wants to hire me full-time? Can I accept?
Questions About Pay & Benefits
11. Approximately how much do the jobs I’m qualified for pay?
12. How do I track my hours?
13. How often will I be paid?
14. Do you offer any benefits, such as health insurance, to temporary employees?
15. Do you pay overtime to temporary employees? If so, what’s the rate?
Make sure you get the answers to these questions – and any others you may have – before committing to a particular temporary employment agency. And if you want to add Murray Resources to the list of Houston temporary employment agencies you’d like to possibly work with, then please feel free to contact us to learn more. Or, to get an idea of the types of positions we can give you access to, take a look at our current job openings in and around the Houston area.
How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job
Not on LinkedIn? Then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to promote your skills and search for jobs in Houston. In fact, the professional connections you make on LinkedIn can truly give you an advantage in your job search – and in your career.
Here’s how to get started:
Create your profile.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. Create a detailed profile, including past employment, education, and qualifications. Also be sure to include keywords (such as Houston civil engineer) so that you will be easily found. If you have a professional headshot, you may also want to upload that to your profile.
Build your network.
The more connections you make, the more opportunities you will have. With that said…don’t go crazy with your connections. Only connect to people you know and trust.
Let your network know that you’re looking for a job in Houston, TX. The more people who know you’re looking, the faster you may be able to find a job.
Recommendations from people you have worked with in the past carry a lot of weight. A variety of positive recommendations will put you in the best possible light to potential employers in Houston.
Use the job search section to find job listings you may be interested in.
Ask & answer questions.
The Answers section in LinkedIn is a great way to increase your visibility, as well as enhance your credibility within your particular field. Respond to questions, and ask a question if you need information.
Check if a company is still hiring.
Many companies today have their own pages on LinkedIn. So if there is a Houston company you’d like to work for, go to their LinkedIn profile and check out their “New Hire” section to see if anyone new has recently joined the company. Also, look to see if you know any of the company’s current employees so you can make a connection.
Get to the hiring manager.
If you do know someone at the company, ask that individual to forward your resume to the hiring manager. Hiring managers are much more apt to review a resume that comes from someone they know.
Find out about the company.
Again, if you know someone at the company, ask them for the inside scoop on getting hired at that company. If you don’t have an “in” at the company, then take a look at the profiles of existing employees to get a better sense of the backgrounds and experience of people who already work at the company.
Searching for a job can be a daunting challenge. But by leveraging the power of social media, you may be able to find the job of your dreams a lot quicker. And if you still need helping finding the right job opportunity here in Houston, TX, please contact Murray Resources. As a premier employment firm serving the Houston area, we can connect you with a variety of Houston job opportunities in fields such as administration, engineering, accounting/finance, and sales and customer service. We look forward to helping you!