4 Ways to Attract Killer Talent

Finding killer talent to fill open jobs is a problem many companies are facing these days. In fact, 49 percent of employers report difficulties finding qualified candidates for their jobs.

So what are some things you can do to attract the best talent out there? Let’s look at a few simple actions companies are overlooking in the search for the best and brightest:

Pay Attention to Company Culture

It’s no surprise people are attracted to a healthy company culture. They like to wake up each day and go to work with a sense of purpose, an excitement to see coworkers, and to make a contribution to the company mission. In fact, experts suggest a 20-30 percent increase in corporate productivity when compared with competitors who pay less attention to cultivating a healthy culture.

If you are already proud of the culture you’ve spent so much time planning and building, you need to share the fact. Post employee testimonials on your website, plug it as a benefit in your job postings, share company photos on social media, submit guest blogs about the best cultural practices to online news outlets with high readership. Think of creative ways to highlight your culture and increase the visibility of such to new talent.

Offer Creative Compensation

Job seekers aren’t just looking for money anymore. While competitive salary structures are a must if you want to attract the best talent, there are other ways to creatively sweeten the pot.

Take vacation time, for example. While in most companies it’s a ‘given’, not every company offers opportunities beyond the standard two-week allowance. While not breaking the bank you can provide options like a few Volunteer Days Off (VDOs) in which employees can take a day to volunteer for their favorite charitable organization. In this way, you help employees give back to the community, which can significantly improve morale!

Take Part in Career Fairs

Much of the job search process is conducted online these days. While the Internet offers countless opportunities to find excellent talent, the old fashioned career fair should never be overlooked.

According to a recent survey, 44 percent of recent college grads apply to between one and five jobs at a time. Attending job fairs not only helps you get your brand in front of job seekers, but also gives you a better chance of ensuring one of the opportunities they pursue is yours. Job fairs also allow to you to get an in-person sense of these prospective candidates. You can gain valuable information about a person in a brief conversation; a chance usually only afforded by the interview process!

Engage Prospective Talent on Social Media

While you are taking steps to meet prospective talent in person, head to social media platforms to engage talent online. Recent statistics report 73 percent of employers successfully hired candidates who were engaged via social media.

The process to finding the best talent needs to start before you have a position that needs filled. Avoid simply posting your jobs on social media platforms and instead look to engage with prospective candidates. Engagement means interaction. Post relevant information about finding the best jobs, ask for followers’ input and opinions, and respond when someone has something insightful to say. When you increase the amount of communication you have with your followers, they will be more likely to pay attention when you do share available positions.

Finding the best talent for your jobs can be a challenge, so if you are having a difficult time navigating the obstacles associated with finding great prospective employees, consider adopting a few new strategies. By advertising your company’s best qualities in creative ways and engaging with talent more directly, you will be sure to attract killer candidates in no time.

What do you think? What tactics to you employ to find great new talent?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

 

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Why Your Resume Won’t Get You Hired

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You have been working very hard at your resume and cover letter, posting them online and mailing them out. Yet nothing is happening for you. There have been no phone calls to request interviews; not even a phone interview. You realize the economy is not 100%, but it’s not that bad.

You really are qualified and your experience is extensive. Why are you getting passed over and not getting hired? You have excellent performance appraisals and recommendations. All of this is on your resume. Where is the disconnect?

What’s Wrong With My Resume?

  • Outlandish Objectives

Most professional resume writers would tell you not to include an objective at all. If you need to put something at the top of the page, make it an overview of your skills. Don’t write an objective that sounds like you can walk on water and solve every problem a company might have. Don’t use code words like ‘seasoned professional’. Everyone knows that means you have been in the workforce a long time. Don’t make it sound like you will just be using this job to get to the next one.

  • Experience that is Irrelevant

Do not list jobs that have no relevance to where you are in your career now. Do not list part time jobs unless you have never worked full time. Unless you are applying for an entry level position don’t list your high school job at McDonalds.

  • Faux Achievements

Achievements are important, really important. However, they need to be real and they need to be relevant. If you won the Betty Crocker Homemaker Award in high school, it is not relevant. If you won an honors scholarship in college that may be relevant. However, it is not relevant if you have been out of college and in the workforce for 20 years.

Relevant achievements are the money you saved your company last year. Don’t say “I saved money.”  Instead say, “Cut department’s expenses by 34% , saving the company over $50,000 in 2013.” These are the kind of achievements you want on your resume.

  • Pictures

Some people are advocating putting a picture of yourself on your resume. This is a very European thing to do and most American hiring managers will either not care or be put off by it. Play it safe. No pictures on your resume.

  • Personal Stuff

Don’t put any personal information on your resume. Don’t say you are married or divorced. Don’t say you have 3 children. Religion, political affiliation, or anything else that is purely personal does not belong on your resume and could be held against you. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on most of these things. That is why they will not ask you about them in the interview. Don’t volunteer the information.

  • Inappropriate Email Address

You do want to list an email address where the company can contact you. However, if the only email address you have is partynow@partydown.com, then get a new one. Use a Gmail or Yahoo address with your name or initials. Make it professional. This one item at the very top of your resume might be the one thing that costs you an interview.

  • Negative Comments and Stressing Weakness

Don’t offer negative comments or stress your own weaknesses. Don’t point out gaps in your employments unless you can explain them. Don’t ever state that you were fired from a job. Never make negative comments about a previous company or a previous boss.

Avoid these mistakes that will keep you from being hired.

About the Author: Gerald Buck is the editor of ejobapplications.com, a site offering job applications and resourceful information. He is passionate in providing advice to those seeking job opportunities.

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3 Interview Misconceptions

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Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.

When it comes to the job search process, job seekers often have false impressions about how things work.  The interview is no exception, and understanding a few common misconceptions about the process can help you do a much better job – and hopefully put your mind at ease!  Read on for 3 big interview myths:

The Most Qualified Candidate Gets the Job

Okay, this is untrue for a myriad of reasons, with jobs going to individuals who know people on the inside, to those who simply reach out at the right time, and so on.  Bear this in mind during your interview, because it’s important to understand that you need to be professional, personable, and on your A Game at all times.  You can be the most fabulous job candidate on paper and in reality, but if you don’t bring confidence to the table, the job could go to someone who had better people skills and impressed the interviewer.  Conversely, if you know your resume may be lacking in certain areas, make up for it by giving a winning interview.

The Interviewer is Prepared for…the Interview

There are several reasons why an interviewer may not be prepared for an interview.  For example, this could be their first time interviewing a candidate and they may be nervous.  Or they could be bogged down with extra work – perhaps the reason they are hiring someone in the first place – and so they haven’t devoted proper time to preparing for the interview.  Thus, the more prepared you are, the easier the interview is for everyone, and the better impression you create.  Decide what you want to tell the interviewer beforehand, and do your best to find ways to mention your past achievements and what you can bring to the table.

The Interviewer will Ask All the Necessary Questions

Again, the person interviewing you might be distracted and might miss some important points. Or you might be speaking with a hiring manager who doesn’t know as much about the job as the person you will be working for, so the interviewer may not ask all the appropriate questions.  Thus, it is your job to bring up skills and qualifications you have that are specifically pertinent to the job, so that the person interviewing you can report these back to the individual who makes the final decision.  If they are the person who makes the final call, make the choice easier for them by addressing every aspect of the job description in a way that paints you as the perfect candidate.  There may be things that you want to bring up that the interviewer never asks about – if this is the case, don’t brush them aside.  Find ways to work these points into the conversation.

Interviews can be nerve-racking for individuals on both sides of the table.  And at the end of the day, an interviewer is just another human being.  If you can enter the conversation confident, prepared, and personable, you’re sure to impress.

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Prove Your Best Skills During an Interview

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HOW TO PROVE YOUR BEST SKILLS DURING AN INTERVIEW

Whether you’ve recently entered the job market or you’ve been in the workforce for a while, when it comes to looking for a new job, preparation is key for interview success.

As you prepare for job interviews, you want to market your strengths and skills that make you the best candidate for the position. Every job interview is different, but one thing you can do is set yourself apart by selling your strengths. According to CBN.com, only 80 percent of job seekers can prove their skills to employers during job interviews. How can you prove your best skills during the interview?

Use accomplishment stories to illustrate your skills.

The best way to prove your skills during an interview is to use accomplishment stories to support your abilities and expertise. The goal of the interview is to clearly articulate your strengths to the employer. Use examples from prior work and internship experience where you had to apply your technical skills. When explaining your story, tell the interviewer how your expertise created success for your organization. This will help you sell your strengths and provide the interviewer with an idea of what you can accomplish as an employee.

Include your best work in your portfolio.

Your portfolio is another way to highlight your strengths during a job interview. When building your portfolio, it’s important to include your very best work to help you market your strongest skills. It’s also a good idea to include examples that support some of the accomplishment stories you’ll share during the interview. This way, you’ll be able to provide the interviewer with tangible examples of your work.

Never underestimate your abilities. 

Confidence is key when it comes to proving your strongest skills during a job interview. The best way to be confident during an interview is to make sure you include skills in your resume and cover letter that you can translate into accomplishments. By doing this, you won’t have to worry about explaining a skill that really isn’t one of your strengths. You want to make sure you can feel confident about your skills, so focus on your strengths and never underestimate those abilities.

Don’t forget to sell your soft skills.

Your soft skills are the qualities that can set you apart from other candidates during the job interview process. Whether you’re changing jobs or re-entering the workforce, your soft skills are the strengths your can transfer between different positions. Employers look for candidates who are strong communicators, leaders, and team players in the workplace. If you can demonstrate those qualities during an interview, the hiring manager is surely to be impressed with the soft skills you have to offer.

Remember, proving your strengths during a job interview means explaining how you can help the company or organization achieve success. If you fail to explain what makes you the best candidate for the position, then the employer will lose interest. Allow your strengths shine through with your confidence and, by doing this, you will be able to prove your best skills during your next job interview.

What are your tips for selling strengths during an interview?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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How Do I Get a Job in Accounting?

accountingAs the global economy continues to recover, accounting is one of the fastest-growing fields. Increased hiring and a rise in mergers and restructuring in other fields, especially in financial services and health care, have necessitated growth in accounting to handle all the new activity. That growth, combined with senior employees retiring and leaving the workforce, has led to a robust job market for accountants.

What career options are available for job seekers with accounting degrees?

 The Big Four

KPMG. PricewaterhouseCoopers. Deloitte. Ernst & Young.

 These are the most prestigious employers for accounting grads. Why? Big Four clients work with Fortune 1000 companies, which means employees are exposed to complex accounting issues. A job with a Big Four firm is a great career move for someone entering the accounting profession. If, instead of moving up the ladder in your Big Four firm, you decide to work for another public accounting firm, take an in-house position in industry or government, or decide to hang out your own shingle, your Big Four experience will shine on your resume.

The central focus of the Big Four firms is audit services: verification of the accuracy of clients’ books. This also includes non-audit lines of business, including actuarial work (risk analysis and management), tax consulting, human resources management, and merger and acquisition advice.

Other Public Accounting Firms

Although the Big Four get most of the publicity, many smaller, less well-known national players and regional public accounting firms do plenty of hiring. Representative national firms include Grant Thornton, McGladrey & Pullen, BDO Seidman, and Moss Adams. There are also strong regional players around the country that usually affiliate themselves with some national network of similarly sized firms. Insiders tell us the hours are often a little better at these smaller firms than at the Big Four, the path to partner a little quicker, and the work more varied and interesting. If you go to a Big Four firm, your only responsibility for three months might be to audit the cash account at IBM. At a regional firm, you’ll be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, with a greater variety of job duties.

 In-House Accounting

Whether publicly traded or not, every company has internal accountants to set budgets, manage assets, and track payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and other financial matters. For mid-sized and large firms, the internal staff works closely with public auditors at the end of the fiscal year and with senior management and IT staff year-round.

Controllers and CFOs at smaller firms often enjoy even more important and influential roles in running and developing the business. These jobs are just as demanding as those in public accounting. Most accountants in the private sector stay in one place, in one job, working with the same colleagues, for extended periods. However, should you choose to move around, accounting skills are very portable.

 Government

The government hires a lot of people with accounting skills. Traditionally the biggest federal employers are the Department of Defense, the Government Accountability Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to monitoring individual and corporate tax returns, government accountants at the state and federal levels formulate and administer budgets, track costs, and analyze publicly funded programs.

Independent

You can always hang out your own shingle, individually or in partnership with other accountants, especially once you have your CPA. There is plenty of business preparing tax returns and advising small businesses, provided you have relevant expertise, such as a thorough knowledge of tax law. You also will need to market your services and manage your own business— time-consuming activities not everyone enjoys.

Some independent practitioners make a nice niche for themselves by specializing in a particular industry. For instance, an accountant specializing in tax prep for people in advertising and creative services may reap many referral benefits by virtue of their specialty. But beware: This kind of specialization can breed monotony because you’ll be working on the same types of issues day after day.

 

 

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Major Resume Myths

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1) Your Resume Can Only Be One Page

This is amongst the most common and hard to break myths surrounding resumes. The contemporary job applicant is dealing with filtering systems and various other unique technological advancements that were not in play within the recruitment field even 5 years ago. These variables have a direct impact on the response to this inquiry.

Resumes should be condensed and focused solely on key information that is from a relevant time span (ie. 10-15 years of recent experience). With that noted,resumes can absolutely expand beyond 1 page. From entry-level to C-level professionals, some applicants simply have too much information to effectively condense without hindering representation of their background. Additionally, inclusion of added content allows applicants to better optimize their document for Applicant Tracking Systems. Finally, certain industries, such as federal/government capacities, require more in-depth responses. For these reasons, 1-2 pages is now considered the standard amongst all recruiters.

2) Nobody Will Read Your Resume

While filtering systems are a reality of the contemporary workplace, simply filling a resume with keyword-optimized content isn’t doing an applicant any favors in the long run. Ensuring cohesive and seamless integration of keywords with professionally crafted content helps in all stages of recruitment, not just the earlier ones.

Make sure your resume passes the human test.

3) Your Resume Should Be Exhaustive

This is very common and one of the unfortunate mistakes made by the average applicant. Resumes are not intended to be exhaustive lists of past work experience. Instead, they should focus on the most 10-15 recent years of employment. Skills and accomplishments maintained during this time frame carry more significance for recruiters. Those are the positions that should command the most real estate on one’s resume, rather than referring to an older position over 15 years in age.

4) Your Resume Should Have an Objective Statement

Despite what may have been standard with past template-based resumes, objectives no longer have a place in the contemporary resume. Recruiters manage such a high volume of orders that they needn’t be told what the applicant is looking for in an employer. The recruiters want to know how you can benefit their company. Opt for a career summary, highlight achievements, and use this section to sell applicable skills.

About the Author: Sebastian King is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches and a Doostang Resume Expert.

 

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How Should I Follow Up After an Interview?

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You had a great interview, and you’re anxious to get an offer—now what?  Following up with the employer is essential. If the company took the time to meet with you, then you’re a qualified candidate and the employer will appreciate your interest in the position. Your follow up is a great opportunity to make any points that you forgot to mention in the interview, and remind the hiring manager why you are a great candidate.

FIND OUT WHAT’S NEXT

When you’re wrapping up the interview, find out when the company expects to make a decision about second interviews and/or filling the position. You should always ask questions during an interview, and understanding the company’s hiring process is essential for making the appropriate follow up.  If you don’t hear from them by the timeframe they give you, you can contact them again to find out their hiring status. Make sure you have the necessary contact information before leaving the interview.

ACT QUICKLY

Send your follow up e-mail and/or letter ASAP. Some employers may be in a hurry to fill the position, and you want to be at the top of their list. Don’t send a generic note; follow up with specifics from the interview, and indicate why you are interested in the job.  If you interviewed with multiple people, reach out to them individually. Thank them for their time, and express your enthusiasm for the position.

Laurie Berenson, President and Founder of Sterling Career Concepts, LLC, offers the following advice to job seekers:

“The most effective follow up letter is not simply a thank for the meeting, but rather a letter that addresses any gaps or concerns that the interviewer may have from your conversation and reiterates why you feel you are a strong candidate for the role. The best way to do this to pull detail in from your conversation to substantiate. If you feel that you could have addressed a question better during the interview, this is your opportunity to do so.”

TRY AGAIN

Be persistent, without being too aggressive.  If you haven’t heard back during the expected timeframe, send a quick follow up e-mail:

Hi Mark,

You mentioned that you expected to make a decision on the Account Executive position by the end of the month, so I wanted to check in with you.  I’m still very interested in the role, so please let me know if I can provide any additional information, or if you have any updates on your hiring timeline moving forward.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Beth

If you reach out via e-mail and don’t get a response, try leaving a voicemail.  Laney Lyons, author of Don’t Be A Yes Chick!, says “A candidate should follow up from an interview by email, phone and mail unless specifically instructed otherwise. Every hiring manager or business owner responds to mail, email and phone calls differently so you want to follow up using all three methods.“

Don’t harass the employer, but make it clear that you are serious about getting the job.

STAY POSITIVE

Always be friendly and professional when reaching out to a potential employer. You may be frustrated if you aren’t getting a response, but you could still be a potential candidate. Double-check your e-mails for any grammatical or spelling errors. Even if you are no longer being considered for the position you interviewed for, there might be other opportunities or future openings at the company and you want to remain in good standing.

Rebecca West, Owner and Principal Designer at Rivalee Design, agrees: “I also highly recommend sending a thank you when you do not get a position you really wanted. Something short, gracious, and positive can open up a door to another opportunity, either at that company, or by being referred to someone else looking for a great employee.”

What other follow up steps would you suggest?

 

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5 Genius Interview Questions

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It is difficult to get to know someone in the average 40 minutes it takes to conduct an interview. Sure, you may have spoken on the phone once or twice, but assessing a candidate’s worth to your company in the time it takes to conduct an interview is no small task.

As a hiring manager, you have to be creative on this front every day. You have to read between the lines of candidates’ answers to your questions to ascertain their potential. Most candidates will come prepared with stock answers to the most common questions, so you need to ask questions to engage them in real conversation. Here are a few suggestions:

1. What is one thing you would change about your last job?

There is much to learn about a candidate in this one simple question. Their answer will shed light on how they view management, how well they work as part of a team, and how much they invest in their company. It will also reveal some creative problem-solving skills. There are ways to improve any workplace, and employees who exhibit the ability to see a problem and come up with a constructive solution are a valuable asset.

This question also reveals potential leaders. Candidates who complain about an aspect of a past job they resented are likely going to do the same thing in your company. Those who come up with creative solutions, on the other hand, are likely to help your company grow. These are future managers and project leaders; people who can potentially make an incredible contribution.

2.  What is one thing you are interested in doing that isn’t in this job description?

The answers to this question will demonstrate how closely a candidate has read the job description and the amount of time they have spent considering how well they will fit. It will reveal skills the candidate may not have included on their resume, and different directions their career could take in your company.

Multi-faceted employees thrive when they are not pigeon-holed into one set of tasks, and the interview is a perfect time to find out how they might be creatively utilized in the workplace.

3. Why do you think you fit within our company culture?

This is a great question to ask if you want to know how a candidate will fit into your company culture, which is as important for you as it is for them. A good company culture is the second highest priority for most job seekers, second only to salary.

A candidate may be surprised when you ask this question, but a valid answer shows they’ve done their research, and further that they are interested in your company for more than just a paycheck. They’re interested in the lifestyle and culture of your workplace.

4. What did you learn from your greatest professional failure?

Most interviewers ask candidates to expound upon their greatest professional accomplishment. It is just as crucial to know how a prospective employee deals with failure. Some may hedge around the question, or give an example of a minor slip-up. This is indicative of a person who is ashamed of of failure and fearful of recounting examples to a prospective employer.

An honest candidate will not be afraid to tell you exactly what went wrong and the valuable lesson they took from it. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who learn from those mistakes experience professional and personal growth at an exponentially faster rate. You want to hire someone who will grow with your company, not someone who will shrink away from possible failures.

5. Are there any members of the current management you are interested in working with?

If you want to know how well the candidate has done their homework on the company, this is the question to ask. The candidates most dedicated to getting your job will know the management team and their backgrounds.

Further, this gives you an opportunity to suggest further training or mentorship if you hire the candidate. If you invest creatively in the professional growth of your hires, you will see your efforts rewarded in the form of a dedicated, loyal team member.

The interview process is your singular opportunity to asses the potential of a candidate, and making the wrong choice will result in the dissatisfaction of both the new hire and your management team. To avoid this, ask questions to engage the candidate in dynamic conversation. This will give you the information you need to find the perfect person for the job.

What do you think? What are your favorite questions to ask candidates during a job interview?


About the Author:
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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What Questions Should I Ask in an Informational Interview?

25 Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

The informational interview is one of the most underrated networking techniques. You can meet someone new in your industry, at a company where you’d like to work, or someone higher up in your own company and learn some truly valuable insight for your own career. It’s all about building a relationship with the other person. If it goes well, you may even land a new career mentor.

Informational Interview

Image Credit: Job Interview from Bigstock

Unlike a job interview, in an informational interview you will be asking all the questions. Once you decide your goals for the meeting, make a list of questions you’d like to ask. If you don’t know where to start, here are 25 examples of questions to ask when conducting an informational interview:

Ask questions about their career.

  • How did you land your current job? How did you get to where you are?
  • What do you do during a typical day/week? (If they say every day is different, ask them to describe any recent day they had.)
  • What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
  • What do find most enjoyable?
  • What is the culture like at your company?
  • What do you like most about your company?
  • What do you like least?
  • How has your job affected your lifestyle?
  • How is your company different from similar ones?
  • What is job growth like at your company?

Ask questions about the hiring process in their company.

  • What entry-level positions are available in the industry?
  • What kind of experience would you look for when hiring?
  • If I were applying for a job with you, how would you assess my experience so far?
  • What would make me stand out as an applicant?
  • Do you recommend I join any professional organizations?
  • What are some important keywords to include in my resume?
  • What do you wish you knew when you were in my position?

Ask questions about sharpening your own skills.

  • What hard skills are important for your job?
  • What soft skills make someone excel in this industry?
  • What courses would you have taken in college if you could have?
  • How do you stay updated on industry trends?
  • What industry blogs or publications do you read?
  • Who do you follow on social media?

Wrapping up the interview.

  • Is there anyone else you can refer me to talk with?
  • Do you have any last advice as I enter the job search?

There are hundreds of questions you could ask in informational interviews. Find out how much time you will have with the person and write a list of questions with your most important ones first, so you have enough time to hit them all.

Whatever you decide to ask depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Think about your job search and career goals. Because an this interview is not the same as a job interview, you need to think about the long-term. Build a relationship.

What are some other good questions for informational interviews?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

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