Ahmed Pothiyawala | Aclivity

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All posts by Ahmed Pothiyawala

Interview

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Second Interview

Congratulations! You passed the initial interview and have convinced the hiring manager that you are worthy of a second look. They have invited you back for round two!

The second interview is an ideal time for you to dig deeper into your background and provide specific examples of your experience and skills. Below is advice we have compiled from several hiring managers on the “Do’s and Don’ts” of preparing for a second interview.

Do:

  • Have a professional presence; be well groomed. You should look as sharp for the second interview as you did for the first.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume; you may be interviewing with a new group of people.
  • Have at least 10 great questions to ask that demonstrate your curiosity. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t be afraid to ask tough or challenging questions (just frame them eloquently & respectfully!)
  • If you have not already, study the company’s website, press releases, SEC filings, and competitor information. You will gain insight that can help you generate questions and demonstrate industry knowledge.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your resume and articulate your responses:
    • If you have bounced around a lot, have a good reason; but tell the truth. It’s OK to say a job was not a good fit, but never slam your prior boss or employer.
    • If you have been out of work for some time, articulate what you have been doing. Good answers are volunteer work, taking classes or attending seminars. Focusing on family time is OK, but the interviewer will need to know your skills are not stale.
  • Anticipate the interviewer’s five most obvious questions and practice your answers.
  • When questioned in the interview, answer the specific question asked. If you do not know the answer or need to think about it, be honest! Never try to make up an answer; it is fine if you need time to think!
  • Demonstrate with examples that you are a self-starter and a team player with a “can do” attitude. Remember to prepare your examples ahead of time!
  • Remember that personality and behavior are more important than technical skills. Skills can be learned, but personality determines how you learn and how you use your skills.
  • Put your networking connections to good use. Feel free to name drop, just don’t over-do it.
  • Come up with a good “close”: e.g. “How do you feel about me as a fit for this job?” or “Will you be recommending me?”
  • Follow up with a thank you email. Be sure to include each interviewer.

Don’t:

  • Ask thoughtless questions; and do not ask just one or two. This is a mutual exploration.
  • Have an incomplete resume. This can be an indicator that someone is less than forthcoming.
  • Have a sloppy resume. Typos, font inconsistencies or omissions demonstrate poor attention to detail.
  • Have a resume more than two pages in length.
  • Include references on resume unless the company has asked specifically for references. References typically come later in the interviewing process.
  • Sound anxious, get flustered by difficult questions or lose your temper.
  • Say anything about other jobs you are considering. Employers expect you to be on the market.
  • Say you have to start by a certain date. Start dates will be determined when you are offered the job.
  • Conduct the interview via phone or Skype if it is possible to be there in person.

For more ideas on how to put your best foot forward in your next interview, call us. We’re here to help!

Questions to Ask in an Interview

Questions to Ask in an Interview

Interview

Employers will make assumptions about you based on the questions you ask (or don’t ask) in an interview. If you have not thought up good questions before your interview, you might send a message that you are not prepared, have no independent thought process, or are not very interested in the opportunity. You questions will demonstrate if you have done your research on the company. Are you asking questions that you could find answers to on the web? Are you only asking questions about minor details like salary or hours? If you want to be seen as intelligent and thoughtful, you need to ask intelligent and thoughtful questions. Try the questions below in your next interview.

  • What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face? This question shows that you do not have blinders on and you recognize that every job has difficult elements, and that you’re being thoughtful about what it will take to succeed in the position.
  • Can you describe a typical day or week of the person in this position? This question shows that you are thinking beyond just getting the job but visualizing if you would be a good fit.
  • What would a successful first year in this position look like? Asking this illustrates that you are thinking in the same terms that a manager does—about what you need to contribute to the team or company over the long-term to be considered a valuable team member. You will also sound like someone who is not seeking to do the bare minimum, but might truly excel in the role. This question will reveal the skills the manager finds most important and guide your decision about taking the job. You may discover that the job description emphasizes skills A & B and the manager actually cares most about skills C & D.
  • How would you describe the culture? If you thrive in a casual, low-key environment, and the position in a structured, aggressive environment, the job is probably not a great fit.
  • What are the strengths/personality types of the current team members? This rarely asked question will allow you to better understand the current team dynamics of your potential colleagues, as well as give you the opportunity to elaborate on how your strengths can complement the team.
  • Are there any reservations you have about my fit for the position? This is a great way to give yourself the chance to proactively address any doubts the interviewer might have about you. Far too often, this question isn’t asked, and the manager’s doubts are not shared, leaving the applicant without an opportunity to speak directly to the manager’s concerns.
  • What is your timeline for getting back to candidates about the next steps? Always wrap up with this question, so that you know what to expect next. That way, you will not be sitting around wondering when you will hear something, and you will know when it is appropriate to follow up.

It can be helpful to practice your questions in a mock interview. Contact us today to talk about the best way to present yourself in your upcoming interview. We’re here to help!

Why Should I Hire You?

“Why should I hire you?”

This question might be a lead-in to your worst interview nightmare. However, every employer wants to know why you deserve the job. Be prepared to tell your interviewer why “you” would be a great fit for the position! Better yet, present yourself in a way that provides an answer before the question is ever asked. This is a very valid question if you are to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes.

  • Know the job description: Do your homework and make sure you examine the job description point by point. Know the requirements of the position you’re applying for and how well suited you are to the position. Make notes on work you’ve done or skills you’ve grown that exactly match points on the job description. Also note skills you may need to learn to be successful in the role. Be honest with the interviewer about your limitations, but focus on your strengths. Tell the interviewer why you would be great at the job.
  • Give concrete examples: While you are looking over the job description, make notes about past projects, growth experiences or life skills that make you well suited for the position or company. Take your notes into the interview and make sure you speak to specific points that show them you’re right for the position. Employers want to know that you’ll fit into their culture and that you’ll hit the ground running.
  • Be confident in your abilities: The best interviews end with you silently asking yourself, “Why wouldn’t they hire me?” Sell your skills and experience in a confident, but non-arrogant way. You bring unique skills, knowledge and experience to the table. Remember that the interviewer is just getting to know you, so you will need to tell them (and show them!) who you are and what you will contribute to their company.
  • Dress for success: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Strive to be someone they remember as well put together from head to toe. Even if you know the work environment is casual, go to the interview as if you are applying for a CEO position. A well-dressed person oozes confidence, professionalism and respect; all traits employers seek.

With a little practice, you can master the art of giving a good interview. ACLIVITY offers a variety of Career Services that help you get the job! Call us for coaching, resume help or interview skills training. We’re here to help!

Conducting a Successful Job Search

Thanks to the Internet, searching for a job today is vastly different than it used to be. Until fairly recently, a job seeker browsed local classified ads, found a compatible-sounding job listing, prepared an elegant résumé on bond paper, and sent it out by fax or U.S. mail. That has changed. Today, finding and landing a great job comes with the challenge of learning how to utilize the many available Internet resources to aid in your search.

Searching for a Job on Internet Job Boards
Searching for a job online has become a common, but not always fruitful, approach. With all the publicity given to Internet-based job boards and career sites, you might think that online job searching makes finding a job easy. Job board sites such as CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com list millions of jobs, but actually landing a position is much harder than just clicking your mouse and waiting for a reply; it takes perseverance and wise use of online job boards. my review here

  • Career Builder (careerbuilder.com): CareerBuilder claims to be the nation’s largest employment network. Users can search millions of jobs by category, geographic location, keyword, industry, or job type (full-time, part-time, internship).
  • Indeed (indeed.com): One of the newest and fastest growing job search sites on the Internet, Indeed.com is a metasearch engine that uses a Google-like interface to search the Internet for open job listings.
  • Monster (monster.com): Monster.com offers access to information on millions of jobs worldwide using a search technology called 6Sense that matches applicants with the best job opportunities for their skills. Because of this cutting-edge search system, many consider Monster.com to be the Internet’s premier job site.
  • College Grad (collegegrad.com): CollegeGrad advertises itself as the “number one entry-level job site” for students and recent graduates. In addition to searching for entry-level jobs, users can also search for undergraduate and graduate degree programs to help them develop marketable skills.
  • Career Journal: Part of The Wall Street Journal; CareerJournal provides listings for high-level executive and finance positions. Check centrelink loans.

Beyond the Big Internet Job Boards
Many job seekers may turn their backs on job boards but not on online job-searching tactics. Savvy candidates know to search for jobs in other ways. Some examples are:

  • Company Web Sites: Probably the best way to find a job online is at a company’s own website. Many companies now post job openings only on their own websites to avoid inundation by the volume of applicants that respond to postings via online job boards. Many job seekers find that they are more likely to obtain an interview if they post their résumés on company sites. This allows a more direct connection to decision makers, and job seekers can keep their job searches (and personal information!) more private than on job boards.
  • Professional Organization Web sites: Online job listings have proven to be the single-most popular feature of many professional organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Sales Professionals, the National Association of Legal Assistants, and the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Although you pay a fee to join, the benefits of being a member of a professional association in your career field are enormous. Remember that it is never too early to start networking. If you join a professional organization while you are still in college, you will be setting yourself up for future success as you build a network of professional connections.
  • JobCentral National Labor Exchange: JobCentral is a public service website provided by the DirectEmployers Association, a nonprofit consortium of Fortune 500 and other leading U.S. corporations. Many companies now use jobcentral.com as a gateway to job listings on their own websites, which results in the advertising of millions of jobs. Best of all, this service is free and bypasses the big commercial job boards. You can search for a job description or job title, and apply directly on the website of the hiring company.
  • Local Employment Web Sites: Although many of the big job boards allow you to search for jobs geographically, many job seekers have more luck using local employment websites such as Craigslist, Cumulus Jobs and JobStar.
  • Niche Web Sites: If you want a job in a specialized field, look for a niche website, such as Dice (dice.com) for technology jobs, Advance for Health Care (www.advanceweb.com/jobs/healthcare/index.html) for jobs in the medical field, and Accountemps (www.accountemps.com) for accounting positions. Niche websites also exist for job seekers with special backgrounds or needs, such as older workers (www.workforce50.com) and veterans (www.veteranjoblistings.com).

Social Media Sites
Perhaps you already use sites such as Facebook or Twitter to communicate with family and friends. Did you know that users are-increasingly tapping into social media sites to prospect for jobs, and that recruiters use these sites to find potential employees? Linkedln is currently the top site for job seekers, with over 200 million users, including job seekers and recruiters. Other popular sites include Plaxo, TheLadders, BlueSteps and Jobster. Twitter has created a job search engine called TwitJobSearch (www.twitjobsearch.com), and many companies now post recruitment videos on YouTube. Savvy job seekers use these tools to network and to search for available positions. Of course, the most successful job seekers understand the necessity of maintaining a professional online appearance and taking the time to connect personally with recruiters.

Use Caution
Be aware of dangers associated with using Internet job boards and other employment websites. Not only could your current boss see your résumé posted online, a fraudster could use your information to steal your identity. The following tips can help you safely conduct an online job search:

  • Use reputable sites: Stick to the well-known, reputable job boards. Never use a site that makes you pay to post your résumé or a site that makes you feel uneasy.
  • Be selective: Limit the number of sites on which you post your résumé. Employers dislike “résumé spammers.”
  • Use a dedicated e-mail address: Set up a separate e-mail account with a professional-sounding e-mail address for sending and receiving emails related to your job search.
  • Limit personal information: Never include your social security or other identification numbers on your résumé. Consider omitting your home address and home phone number to protect your privacy when posting on big job boards.
  • Post privately: If given an option, choose to post your résumé privately. Doing so means that you can control who has access to your e-mail address and other contact information.
  • Count the days: Renew your résumé posting every 14 days. If you keep it up longer, it will look as if employers have no interest in you. If you have not received a response in 45 days, pull your résumé from the site and post it somewhere else.
  • Keep careful records: Keep a record of every site on which you post your résumé. At the end of your job search, remove all posted résumés.
  • Protect your references: If you post your résumé online, do not include your references. It is unethical for job seekers to post their references’ personal contact information online without the references’ knowledge.
  • Do not respond to a “blind” job posting: Respond only to job postings that include a company name and contact information. It is unfortunate that many scammers use online job boards to post fake job ads as a way to gather your personal information.

Finding the Perfect Job (For Students)
A successful job search requires an early start and a determined effort. Students with proactive personalities are the most successful in securing interviews and jobs during and after college. These successful candidates are not passive; they are driven and “make things happen.” Recruiters respond to a proactive nature. They will also consider your education, life experience, grade point averages and internships when reviewing your qualifications. Communicating what you have learned inside and outside the classroom—and connecting with other—people will continue to be critical elements in landing a great job. Traditional job search techniques, such as those below, can help you find a position that fits your interests and skills, while building your professional and personal network.

  • Check announcements in publications of professional organizations: If you do not have a student membership to professional organizations, ask your instructors (or librarian) to share current copies of professional journals, newsletters, and other industry resources.
  • Contact companies in which you are interested, even if you know of no current opening: Write an unsolicited letter and include your résumé. Follow up with a telephone call. Check the company’s website for employment possibilities and application procedures.
  • To learn immediately of job openings, use Twitter to follow companies that interest you.
  • Sign up for campus interviews with visiting company representatives: Campus recruiters can open your eyes to exciting companies, job locations and positions. They can also help you prepare by offering mock interviews.
  • Ask for advice from your instructors: Your teachers often have contacts and ideas for conducting and expanding your job search and growing your skills.
  • Develop your own network of contacts: Networking still accounts for most of the jobs found by candidates. Therefore, plan to spend a considerable portion of your job search developing a personal network.
  • Attend career fairs: Job fairs are invaluable in the quest to learn about specific companies and future career options. The more you know about the company and its representatives, the more comfortable you will be soliciting a position and giving a great interview.

For information on conducting a successful search for a job, creating a standout resume or performing well in your interviews, contact us. Our Career Services can help you succeed!

Networking

Networking for Students

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” The saying is true. Ask any senior executive, politician or community leader which single skill or habit helped them excel in their career. An overwhelming majority will respond with one word: Networking.

Developing relationships with a network of other people provides you with professional and personal opportunities—and connects you to people who need what you have to offer. The process of networking for students is centered around making connections during your college years in order to jump start your career and find opportunities for development through professionals linked to your network.

What is Networking?
Networking is all about making personal connections; creating long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals in a web of interconnected people. Your network might include friends, professors or students in your classes, co-workers or professional mentors. You can network anywhere, anytime—in your personal or professional life, on the ski slopes or golf course, at school or cocktail parties. Your network will provide references for you, and points of reference for you as you grow, learn and develop your career.

Why Network?   
Networking might be initially daunting, but you will find compatible personalities in your networking whether you are shy or outgoing. Consider a few good reasons for networking:

  • Personal relationships enable you/your organization to stand out, rise above the noise and remain at the forefront of others’ minds
  • Relationships are a catalyst for success
  • People do business with (or hire) those they like and trust
  • If you offer others your experience, knowledge and connections, you can help them succeed
  • Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization
  • Networking will undoubtedly provide you with opportunities to learn, share and grow
  • Networking could quite possibly open the door to your next career move
  • Networking goes hand in hand with recruiting. When it’s time to find a job, your network can help you find opportunities you’re well-suited to
  • Networking with accounting societies provides many opportunities for recruiting, including the opportunity to intern during your college years.
  • Every year companies send their top recruiters to colleges to start identifying future employees to court for positions within their company. If you have built strong connections, odds will be good that a member of your network (who is connected to the recruiter’s network) will speak up for you when recruiters ask for recommendations.

Networking: A True Story
A senior-level accountant lost his position during a corporate restructuring and did not want to relocate. He received company-paid outplacement counseling and spent the next few months following the standard process of researching opportunities, making calls, scheduling interviews, tracking listings on online job boards, and sending resumes to employers. This process led to a few new leads every week, but none that were such a perfect match that his interviews brought job offers.

On his way home one Friday afternoon (after another unsuccessful interview) the accountant pulled into his local gas station. The station owner struck up a conversation with the accountant and asked, “How are things going?” Instead of giving a thoughtless reply like, “I’m fine”, the accountant answered honestly. He explained that he had lost his job a few months before and was not having any luck finding a new position close enough to home. The station owner asked what he did, and when the owner learned that this customer was an accountant said, “My sister was telling me last weekend that her company is having a hard time finding a new accountant, and she’s just a few miles from here.”

The accountant had a job interview a few days later. An offer followed within a week. He accepted.

Where Can I Go to Network?
Many professional associations offer networking events, which connect you with a circle of contacts in a particular field or area of interest.

  • You can get information on local networking events from various industry organizations. The accounting organizations below provide networking forums:
    • The Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org
    • The local chapters of Institute of Internal Auditors iia.org
    • The Institute of Management Accountants: imanet.org
  • Look into student accounting societies such as Beta Alpha Psi
  • Talk to your professors; they can help you make connections with people in varying circles of influence
  • Try a student membership for the Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org. They can connect you with a mentor that can help you chart your career path and recommend networking opportunities

Tips for Networking Events
When you attend networking events, you are opening the door to making many acquaintances that could grow to become part of your network. It can be a little intimidating to attend social events focused on making personal connections, but you can set yourself up for success by considering the ideas below:

  • The purpose of a networking event is solely to meet potential business contacts and to have them meet you. Go in with an open mindset and be willing to share yourself in a professional, authentic way.
  • Hold your drink in your left hand, because the right hand is the one you will be using to shake hands. A cold and clammy hand does not make a good impression!
  • Put your name tag on your right shoulder. This way, while you are shaking hands, your contact can focus on your name.
  • Do not be afraid to mingle, introduce yourself to strangers and shake hands. That is how people strike up new connections!
  • Searching for conversation ideas?
    • Offer to introduce people, and share a few details about each person during the introduction: “Edgar, this is Mary. Mary is an auditor at Company X and a chess champion. Mary, this is Edgar. Edgar is a CFO at Company Y and a great golfer.”
    • Share your opinions about a great book you have just read or movie you have seen.
    • Ask people to tell you about themselves. Many people like to have an open invitation to choose what they will tell you about their life and experience. They may give you an answer to a question you did not think of asking!
  • Remember to have fun! Networking isn’t just about finding a job, promoting your company or keeping your name “out there.” At the core, it’s really about making personal connections.
  • Don’t forget to stay connected! In a world of text messaging and e-mails it’s easier than ever for people to stay in touch. Distance breaks networks down, so be sure to reach out to your contacts frequently to let them know you are there.

Networking is an important skill in every stage of your career. You can benefit from connections made through your network, and you can help others by making connections for them. Next time you’re looking for new opportunity, put your (or our!) network to work!

Do you want help learning the art of networking? We offer candidate coaching!

Call us! We’re here to help!

Working with Aclivity

The Aclivity interviewing and placement process streamlines the challenging task of finding the right career or candidate. When you join up with Aclivity, you’ll have our national recruiters working together on your behalf—connecting you with the right people and the right opportunities at the right time!

Clients, we save you time and money:

  • We free you from the work of posting and renewing employment ads, reviewing resumes, setting up and conducting interviews
  • We bring resources right to you; offering well-screened, position-appropriate candidates
  • We build your team and meeting your project deadlines – without the hassle of finding the right help
  • We adapt our placement services based on your specific needs. Need help locating qualified candidates, but want to handle the interviews yourself? No problem! Need a short-term consultant? We’ve got one! Our recruiters are flexible experts and will take on the parts of the hiring process that you don’t have the time, or resources, to manage.
  • We get clear on your needs up front! Our recruiters are great at helping you to define your needs, outline your goals, and clarify requirements and prerequisites of the role you need to fill.
  • We understand that sometimes skills aren’t everything! We get to know your company culture—and our candidates’ behaviors and proclivities—to find the right fit for your team. Our candidates are interested in actively developing their skills, and in the right environment, they—and you—thrive!

Candidates, we make your job search easier:

  • We get to know who you are and what you bring to the table before trying to fit you into an available position. It’s important to us that you find a job that fits to ensure that you’re happy and that you’re offering our clients the expertise and professional attitude that meets their specific needs.
  • We represent your interests and needs in a market that can often be impersonal and difficult to navigate without the right personal connections.
  • We leverage our well-developed professional network to market your expertise to a trusted community of successful clients.
  • We offer support throughout your career! Our Career Services include educating you on the ever-changing job marketplace, mentoring you on career development goals and coaching you on creating a resume that highlights your unique experience and skill set.

At Aclivity, we believe in building relationships that endure. That’s why we consistently offer well-targeted connections between candidates and clients. We succeed by helping candidates put their unique skills to work and by offering our clients stable, qualified talent. And, we stay connected over the long term, so you know that when you need us, we’re here to help! Contact us when you are looking for a new job opportunity or star-candidate. Our placement and consulting expertise will help you succeed!

Why Employers Should Use Recruiters

Many managers would say that 90% of their success in their management role depends on the performance of the employees on their team. From this vantage, hiring the right people is a key to any company’s success. When you know you need help—the right help—it can be difficult to spare the staff, time or focus to search for the needle in the professional haystack.

When you need top talent, using a recruiter is a great idea!

  • Recruiters are the right tool for the job: If you need your car fixed, you take it to a mechanic. If you are sick, you go see a doctor. If you need outstanding human resources, you hire an agency that succeeds by leveraging their network of talent to meet client’s staffing and consulting needs.
  • Recruiters help you define what you’re looking for: A recruiter can help you flesh out your position description, understand the market rate for the role you’re filling and connect you to pre-screened, available talent.
  • Recruiters keep employers focused, saving time and money: For companies without a dedicated Human Resources department, finding new talent is not always the best use of time or energy. Recruiters save employers the distraction (and cost!) of hours spent evaluating resumes, managing online postings, scheduling interviews, testing basic skills—and then doing it all again every time a position opens up or turns over.
  • Recruiters know where to look for talent: Recruiters have the data-mining tools, subscriptions and network you need to find the right employee for the position you are filling. Recruiter’s networks develop with an eye for finding, and keeping in contact with, the best available talent.
  • Recruiters are less likely to lose the best candidates: The talent you are looking for should be handled with care. When a recruiter finds the one best candidate for an open position, they have already done their homework. Recruiters know the types of positions or companies the candidate is most interested in. Recruiters know the job market and what your competitors might offer the candidate for a similar role. And, recruiters can encourage the candidate that’s best suited to the position that it’s a good idea to join your team.
  • Recruiters produce risk-free results: Recruiters work on a contingent basis. Though they have no control over the actions you take to ensure the success of a placement, recruiters guarantee their placements. There is no risk since you pay after your needs are met!

When you’re looking for your next great employee, contact Aclivity! Our Five-Star Client Promise (www.aclivity.com) guides all of our actions, guaranteeing you a great recruiting experience. Call us today and let us put our network of Finance, Accounting and IT professionals to work for you!

Resignation Letter

Don’t Forget the Resignation Letter

Found a new opportunity? Don’t forget the resignation letter!

A resignation letter is more than an official notice that you are terminating your employment with your company, it is also a professional means of ensuring that you will leave your employer on good terms. When it’s time to move on to another position, don’t forget to resign at least two weeks in advance with a tactful, diplomatic letter. You will show respect for your employer and better your odds of a positive reference in the future.

To create a resignation letter, use the basic elements below (or search online for a template):

[Company Name] [Supervisor Name] [Supervisor Title] [Supervisor Department] [Company Address] [Company City, State, Zip Code]

 

Dear [Mr./Ms. Supervisor Name],

As of [Date], I will be resigning my position as [Your Title] at [Company Name].

I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had during my employment with [Company Name] and offer my best wishes for your continued success.

[Conclude by providing summary information relevant to the next steps that you will take; i.e. offering to help with the transition, or terms for return of key cards or company equipment.]

 

Respectfully yours,

[Handwritten Signature] [Typed Signature]

 

Though you could resign verbally (or leave a Post-It on the computer saying “Goodbye!”), it’s a good idea to take the time to tactfully end your relationship with your current employer. It will give you good practice at communicating in a potentially difficult situation, and will remind your employer that you are a respectful employee. Get Bad Credit Loans Australia .

Need help with your resignation letter? Want to find a new career?

Call us! We’re here to help!

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