How To Win Your Next Job
Onward Search Career Cast, Episode #19
In this episode of Onward Search's Career Cast podcast, you'll learn how to win your next job with the best job search advice from Onward Search's National Director of Recruitment, Jeff Gampel.
With over 25 years of experience in staffing and recruitment, Jeff Gampel knows what it takes to impress your future employer from the moment you apply to a job, all the way to your very first day at work. Onward Search's Online Marketing Manager, Hillary O'Keefe, speaks with Jeff about every stage of that process and what all job seekers can do to ensure they'll win their dream job once they find it. With tips on when to apply, how to follow up, and how to arrive properly at your interview, this is a must-listen episode.
The steps you take after you've found that perfect job can make all the difference for your job search success. Tune in to this episode of Career Cast for the most valuable guidance on how to win your next job.
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 29, 2011
Welcome to Onward Search Career Cast, the podcast that brings you the latest insight and career advice from experts within the Internet marketing and creative space. Onward Search is a leading nationwide provider of web-based talent and offers a full range of recruitment and staffing solutions. If you’re looking for a career in search engine optimization, interactive design, or emerging technologies, you should apply online at onwardsearch.com or call 1-800-829-0072 and speak with an experienced recruiter today.
Peter Clayton: Welcome to an all new Onward Search Career Cast. This is Peter Clayton. Once again, we’re turning the microphone over to Hillary O’Keefe, online marketing manager for Onward Search.
Hillary has a great guest lined up today, so let’s get started.
Hillary O'Keefe: Hi Peter. Thank you so much. Welcome back everybody to Onward Search Career Cast. The theme for today’s show is how to win your next job. So if you’re looking for some solid job search advice, you’ve certainly come to the right place.
I’m talking with my good buddy, Jeff Gampel, who is the National Director of Corporate Recruitment here at Onward Search.
Happy Friday, Jeff. How’s it going?
Jeff Gampel: Hey Hillary, it’s going well. Having a wonderful day today. Thank you for having me.
Hillary O'Keefe: Of course. Thank you so much for joining me. For everybody out there who doesn’t know Jeff, he’s been working in recruitment and staffing for about 25 years, so he knows a lot about how to successfully go from the job application to the job offer without getting tripped up.
Today, we’re going to focus on all of the opportunities to impress and succeed, right Jeff?
Jeff Gampel: That’s it. There is a lot of little points that need to be looked at. An expression I heard a long time ago really does hold true; sometimes the person who interviews most effectively wins – not the person most qualified. Perhaps some of the tips we talk about today can help along those lines.
Hillary O'Keefe: Excellent. Let’s start at the beginning. If I’m a job seeker and I just came across the perfect job for me, how should I tailor my approach to ensure that I stand out from other job seekers?
Jeff Gampel: First of all, you’re going to send in a résumé. I love to see a résumé come in Tuesday mornings about, maybe, 11-11:30. At this point, the inbox from the weekend has been cleared out and whatnot; otherwise you just kind of get lost in the shuffle. That’s a wonderful time to send it in to get the full attention of the person who’s receiving it.
Hillary O'Keefe: Excellent. That’s really about sort of separating yourself from the rest of the pack. What about a cover letter; is that something that’s antiquated at this point, or do you still recommend it?
Jeff Gampel: I think anything that can help you stand out. I think a cover letter is terrific. The reality is most of the cover letters that come in with my name on it, I’m going to pay attention to immediately because I see somebody took that little extra effort, “Dear Jeff, I’d like to talk to you about a position with your company, Onward Search.” Now I know that they’ve really paid attention, they’ve done some homework. After that, may be you might say, “Dear Hiring Manager…” but more important than how it’s titled, it’s are they paying attention to the company, and are they saying something that I know that they did some homework.
A cover letter is just like a phone call; it’s absolutely effective. I think they’re very important.
Hillary O'Keefe: Speaking of phone calls, do you recommend doing a follow up call after you’ve sent in your résumé, because I hear so many stories about people who apply and then they never hear back but they’re unsure as to whether or not they should approach the hiring manager?
Jeff Gampel: I think too many people get analysis paralysis, too much thinking. Pick up the phone, have a conversation, meet somebody new, that’s what it’s all about. It’s a very competitive marketplace. So by all means, after the cover letter, pick up the phone. “Hey, Jeff, my name is Hillary; I just applied to your ad and I’d like to talk with you.” It’s two nice folks having a conversation. It’s the best thing to do at all levels. It doesn’t matter if you’re in sales, or if you’re an Internet marketing specialist, or graphic designer – sure, pick up the phone, talk. Absolutely.
Hillary O'Keefe: Very nice. So at this point, I’ve sent in my résumé at the right time, my cover letter makes an excellent clear first impression, and I’ve followed up to let you know that I’m serious about this position. So I’ve established this good connection with you. Is this the point where the “real interview” starts?
Jeff Gampel: No, not really. The interview started a long time ago. It started as soon as you decided you were going to send in your résumé and from that point, right through the offer stage and through the first month or two, you’re still interviewing for the position, so you have to be on your game at all times. I kind of compare it to being an actor; you’re on stage, the curtain is open, and there’s the audience. What are you going to do? You hope they’re going to give you a standing ovation. So you have to be ready and so the interview starts right at the first thing that you do, the interview has now begun.
Hillary O'Keefe: So this also ties into making sure that you can talk to that hiring manager at any point, whether it’s a casual call or you’re actually scheduling something to meet later; you have to be ready to speak clearly and be heard at any point, right?
Jeff Gampel: Yeah. You want to be ready. You also want to be in a nice, quiet area. If you’re in your home and maybe you’ve got the kids around, or maybe there’s a dog in the house, just go into another room, close the door. I think that’s effective. You want to make a good impression. Maybe standing on the streets of New York City with the busses and whatnot in the background isn’t the best place to be, so get yourself a nice, quiet area, be comfortable, and be ready for the conversation. It’s your chance to impress that other person on the other end and you don’t know if that person is the owner of the company, the hiring manager, maybe the recruiter; it doesn’t matter, that’s who you need to impress at that moment.
Hillary O'Keefe: And if you take all these steps and you line them up, you’re on your way to an in-person interview, right? And for me, this is the most nerve-racking part of the whole process. So what are your top recommendations for making sure it’s a smooth comfortable experience all around?
Jeff Gampel: Be a good listener, Hillary. The interviewer is going to give you the information. They’re going to tell you what you need to do and you need to be focused on everything. So for example, they’re going to tell you where to go, what time to show up, where to park your car perhaps, what door to go to – all these little pieces are very important.
So if they say parking space #22, you want to do that. If they say go to the front door and not the side door, you want to do that. You want to show that you’re on top of the game, you’re paying attention, and you’re really anxious to give the best interview. The reason you’re interviewing is to get a job offer. You don’t have to say yes, but if they don’t offer it to you, you’ll never have a chance to say yes. So that is the only goal of the interview is to get an offer.
Hillary O'Keefe: Now, how do you feel about taking notes during an interview? Because some people may want to pick up those points, but they’re a little nervous about may be just busting out a notepad and sort of following along or asking for the interviewer to take a pause. How do you feel about that?
Jeff Gampel: I think it’s fine to take notes, but you want to walk in with your portfolio ready. You’ve got yourself 4 or 5 copies of your résumé, you’ve got a pen that works, your cell phone is in the car, and you ask permission early on you might say, “Hillary, if you don’t mind I’m going to take notes during the interview.” And you open your binder at that point, show that you’re taking charge. You are asking permission, but you’re doing it. But you don’t want to open up the binder in the middle of the conversation, reaching into your bag, pulling it out, that becomes awkward and it sometimes can feel rude to the person conducting the interview.
Do it upfront, be ready, and keep your eye contact really strong. You want to be writing notes, but you don’t to just be looking down at your paper. Just make a few keynotes so you can remember afterwards. For example, you might put down Peter, Hillary, car, boat… the little things that will help you remember after and little points that will help you in the conversation in case you have to go back. No full sentences, just a few keynotes; that is the best.
Hillary O'Keefe: So, all of this again is as you just said, moving you towards the goal of getting that job offer, but even if you do get that job offer, you still don’t have the job, right, because it’s not your first day and if it’s not your first day, you don’t have the job, do you?
Jeff Gampel: Well, no you don’t have the job. Let’s say that they make you that offer, alright now what? Well, again, you’re going to be given some instructions. It could be can you send me back the offer letter by Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock? After you review it, can you initial each page, can you sign the last page? All of these little pieces of the puzzle are very important. Now if you do that, that’s great. If you don’t do it, they’re going to think, “Gee what’s the matter, they’re not paying attention.” So follow the instructions, do what’s asked, and by all means if you have any questions, pick up the phone and address those questions right then. Don’t wait or be afraid to ask questions. There is no bad question. It’s all a good business environment. Do it intellectually. Be smart about it, but don’t avoid asking any difficult questions or it could be something simple, like I’m not clear on the vacation policy and before I accept, I want to be sure I understand everything. There’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of folks are afraid to ask for vacations. Of course you’re going to get a vacation, that’s part of the offer. So be sure you’re clear on everything.
Hillary O'Keefe: And you know what, ladies and gentlemen, that from start to finish is how you apply for a job and win your next job. Jeff, you make it sound so easy. This is all such wonderful advice. Thank you so much for breaking it down for me today.
Jeff Gampel: You’re welcome, Hillary. Thanks for having me.
Hillary O'Keefe: Of course, of course. And by the way, everybody out there, if you are interested, Onward Search has tons of opportunities internally. We’ve got a great company. If you really want to impress Jeff, you’ll check out the About Us page on OnwardSearch.com and look for the corporate opportunities. Right, Jeff?
Jeff Gampel: Absolutely. And by the way, if someone wants to pick up the phone after hearing this and they want to call me, all you have to say is, “Hey, Jeff, Onward Search rocks on!” And I promise I’ll give you immediate attention.
Hillary O'Keefe: Excellent. Thank you so much, Jeff, and thank you everybody for tuning in. Happy job hunting, and I’ll meet you right back here for another episode of Onward Search’s Career Cast.
Thank you for tuning in to Onward Search Career Cast. For more information on the career opportunities available through Onward Search, you should visit us online at onwardsearch.com or call 1-800-829-0072 and speak with an experienced recruiter. And you should also follow Onward Search on Twitter at twitter.com/onwardsearch.