Do Employers Read Online Portfolios?

bar_biz[1]Web or online portfolios have been around for years and are now back in the news. Passe or vogue?

In a recent story by The Wall Street Journal, employers stated they don’t have time to read online portfolios. Per the story, “One big problem: Few employers are actually looking at them. Polls suggest employers might be interested in the sites—83% of respondents to a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey said an e-portfolio would be “very” or “fairly” useful in ensuring that job applicants have requisite knowledge and skills. But basic human-resources software don’t allow such links in the first round of application submissions, and many hiring managers are simply unwilling to carve out time to dig into the digital showcases, they say.”

Online portfolios work on interviews: While employers may not have time to look at a portfolio in an initial resume scan (employers receive 200 to 300 resumes per day 7 days a week according to one recruiter), candidates may be able to showcase their skills with an online portfolio during an interview. Candidates can back up interview question  responses with examples from their online portfolios. Additionally, time for portfolio highlights also depends on where the candidate is at in the interview process – such as a second or third interview. Type of job, company culture, and the interviewer’s personality will also play a role. Web portfolios can demonstrate proof of performance. And employers say that “past performance demonstrates future productivity.”

Old school: Mass Communications / Journalism grads like me had to build a portfolio of clips and send them to employers with our resume in some cases or bring them to  interviews as leave behind proof of our ability to write news stories. And that was in the late ’80’s.

New tools: Now, LinkedIn allows you to post proof – you can add links to videos, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, white papers and more.

Boost your personal brand: This all helps boost your personal brand. According to one poll, 86% of people use a search engine like Google before ever meeting you, the web portfolio gives people information you WANT them to see. As LinkedIn typically lands on page one, start there.

Readers rock! Hat tip to Thomasina for sharing the WJS story with me via Facebook. What’s your take on web / online portfolios?

Comments welcome: Have you got an opinion or story to share? Feel free to leave comments.

Recruiter Secrets to What Employers Want

George_Blomgren_med - picGuest Expert, George Blomgren,
MRA, The Management Association

What are employers looking for in candidates these days? That depends a lot on the company and the jobs for which they are hiring. Here are two common trends:

The first won’t come as a surprise. Companies are hiring because they are swamped. They are so desperately in need of additional staff they have  limited resources to train new staff. With this in mind, employers look for candidates who can hit the ground running — or as close to that as possible. This means they aren’t willing to deviate much from the requirements defined in the job description or posting. It also means they are looking for evidence that candidates can adapt to change and to new challenges. (Today 20 years in the same job at the same employer is no longer viewed as a good thing!)

The second trend may come as a surprise. Employers aren’t looking to hire superstars – that is, candidates who distinguished themselves as star performers in previous positions. They assume those candidates have peaked and now it’s all downhill. Rather, they are looking to hire candidates who have yet to peak. The candidate who is really ready to take that next step in their career and take things to the next level. For candidates with diverse backgrounds, who may have felt defensive explaining how their background fits together, this can be especially beneficial. If you can create a compelling case to an employer on why your diverse work experience makes you uniquely qualified for the position, you may get the job!

As a recruiter, I look for evidence of these things in your resume and your cover letter, and of course during interviews. But first and foremost, I look for it on your LinkedIn profile.

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has 20+ years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting),  and operations experience. Prior to joining MRA, George ran the advertising and marketing department for a fast-growing network of local employment websites.

How to Work with Executive Recruiters: Interviews

Guest Expert, Pamela Atwood,
Executive Recruiter

Part 2 of our executive recruiter series: How to prepare for recruiter-coordinated interviews.

  • Do your Homework.   Research the Company including all people you will be interviewing with.  Linked-In and Google are good resources here.
  • ALWAYS over prepare.
  • Communicate freely with the recruiter.  Phone them immediately after ALL interviews to share feedback.
  • Listen intently and learn from your recruiter’s coaching and feedback.
  • Plan for your interview just as you would a sales call. Interviewers notice when candidates are well prepared (and when they’re not!).
  • There are three parts to an interview: 1) Rapport Building (the opener); 2) Conversation (the middle).  You MUST prepare questions beforehand you can ask during the interview; 3) The Close.  Ask for the position if in fact you are truly interested.

Relationships are built on trust and communication over time. It’s important to keep recruiters up to date on your interviews to ensure they can negotiate the best deal for you.

Pamela Atwood, MBA, is President of Atwood Associates, an executive recruiting firm.  She brings more than 20 years’ experience in the healthcare arena, including recruiting, management, marketing, and business development. She is also serves as adjunct professor in Upper Iowan University’s Health Care Services and Human Resources degree programs. Pamela chairs the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” Executive Leadership Team.

Your Cell Phone Can Ruin Your Interview

By Guest Blogger, Isabella York

In today’s modern world, cell phones play a very important role in communication. Everyone, including students, use cell phones to keep in touch with others, to convey an important message or to find information in an instant.

For those looking for a job, your cell phone could be your best friend when you need to call companies to inquire about job openings or to confirm an interview with a prospective employer. But, when used inappropriately, cell phones could cost you the job you want.

You can’t answer your phone every time it rings. And you shouldn’t, especially when you’re on an important job interview. Unfortunately, though, a lot of people break this rule. This definitely calls for some brushing up on cell phone etiquette.

First, here are some pet peeves headhunters have when it comes to interviewing people who can’t seem to part from their phones.

  1. Gabbing or texting nonstop on your phone while waiting for your interview. OK, so it’s not your turn yet to impress the employer with your wit and charm. But that does not give you license to chat or text ceaselessly in the waiting area. That seemingly oblivious receptionist at the front desk could be eavesdropping on you or secretly eying you from a distance. Your private conversations could turn out to be not-so-private after all when word about your chatting or texting marathons reaches the hiring manager. That just gives a bad impression, so please, take your personal business elsewhere or wait until the interview is over.
  2. Using the internet feature of your phone. Many new cellphones these days come with browsing features that help people get information on the go. Even if your data plan allows you to surf whenever you feel like it, remember that you are waiting for a job interview. You may think that this is not as severe as talking or texting on your phone, but it is. Surfing while waiting shows you’re bored and that you’re better off somewhere else than waiting for hours for your interview to happen.
  3. Using your phone to take down notes. Surprise, surprise! Some people actually DO this during job interviews. You know from the moment you accepted the interview invitation that you need to take down notes to retain information. Why would you be using your cell phone to record information, when you could’ve brought a notebook or an organizer for that purpose?
  4. Answering a call in the middle of the interview. Unless you’re expecting an emergency call from your wife who’s about to give birth or other related emergency (although, if it’s an emergency, why would you be expecting it anyway?), your phone should be turned off during the interview. Making a potential employer wait for you while you finish your phone conversation is just plain rude. The hiring manager wouldn’t think twice about kicking you out of the room, at least mentally.
  5. Talking to someone in the company’s restroom. This can be summed up in one word: gross. Whatever your business is, don’t talk about it in the restroom, especially not in the company where you’re having an interview. You don’t know who else might be in hearing range and listening to every juicy detail you dish while on the phone.

Having said those things, there are good practices to observe so you don’t jeopardize the job of your dreams. Some tips:

  1. Instead of burying your face on the phone while waiting for your interview, consider mentally rehearsing your answers to possible questions that may pop up during the interview.
  2. Before entering the interviewer’s room, turn your cell phone OFF. Yes, you read that right: Off. Even if you have your phone on vibrate mode, your interviewer would still hear its buzzing sound and that could interrupt the flow of conversation.
  3. If you are expecting an important phone call, inform your caller not to contact you during specific hours.
  4. Ask someone else to take the call for you or run your errands BEFORE you head out to your interview.
  5. Turn on your voice mail so you can listen to your messages after the interview.

It is important to make a good impression on your job interview. Even if you have a list of great accomplishments, those things won’t matter much if you don’t show respect to your future employer. Nonverbal communication matters greatly especially when meeting someone for the first time. Use your cell phone sparingly when waiting for an interview or preferably not at all.

Isabella York’s background includes serving in Human Resources with Balsam Hill,  a provider of fine pre-lit Christmas Trees. She’s also a busy mother with a son to raise, who enjoys being outside in her backyard garden. 

Graphic by SnapHappy Creative LLC.

Want more help with interviews? Check out Invincible InterviewsSM

5 Quick Tips for Social Media and Your Job Search

On LinkedIn, a person asked how others were using LinkedIn and other “more personal” social media sites for their job search. The responses were helpful.

One thing struck me though, and that was the fact that some people mentioned they keep their more personal info on Facebook and have LinkedIn and Twitter for a more professional brand.

While the intention is good, it’s important to keep in mind these five tips to help you protect your brand and your online reputation:

1. Know that whether you use Facebook for your pals or for business, according to a 2017 survey by Careerbuilder and Harris Poll, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates, up from 11 percent in 2006. And 54 percent of employers chose not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles

2. Employers use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to check your online presence, and 57 percent are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online. So avoiding social media is also detrimental. You’ll want a strong online presence before, during, and after your job search. A strong personal brand online can impact your opportunities throughout your career.

3. ANYTHING you put online stays there forever. Remember when you were a kid and they talked about your “permanent record?” Guess what, your online ID is your permanent record. (Think about Google’s “wayback machine.”)

4. It’s always a good idea to check your privacy settings regularly and ensure they’re secure. Use two-factor authentication in your social media accounts, where available. However, if it’s online, chances are someone can find it.

5. Google yourself regularly to see what pops up. Put your name in quotes, like this “Wendy Terwelp” – then see what’s mentioned in the first three pages. LinkedIn typically lands on page one. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and on brand for your current career goals.

If you’d like more tips on how to use social media to get hired faster, check out Rock Your Job Search, which walks you through the job search process step by step.

Copyright 2010 – 2019. | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

I don’t kiss on the first date – LinkedIn Tips

Graphic courtesy of DryIcons.com

“I don’t kiss on the first date,” one LinkedIn employee said to my friend G, when he asked to connect with her on LinkedIn.

G’s mouth just hung open. “I didn’t ask you to. I just wanted to add you to my LinkedIn network.”

“Right. It’s like kissing on the first date. I don’t even know you. I just met you at this conference, and you want access to all my hard-won connections on LinkedIn,” she explained.

G had never thought about it like that before, he told me when relaying this story.

And most people don’t.

Many are going for LION or one million connections. Maybe it works for them. Typically, it doesn’t.

Think about LinkedIn invitations like this:

1. Is this person someone you know personally or would like to know personally? If it’s someone you’d like to know, schedule a time to talk with him or her to get to know the person better. Find out how you can help each other. After you do, ask yourself, would this person be an asset to your network? If so, ask them to join (or accept his or her invitation). If not…

2. Is this a person you already know, like, and trust enough to refer to all your other connections on LinkedIn? He is? Ask them to join your network.

3. Does this person have a strong LinkedIn profile, which includes a professional picture, solid recommendations, and a decent-sized network that adds value? She does? Accept her invitation (after you’ve talked of course).

4. Does this person provide value to his or her network already? You can check this out from reading the updates.

5. Does this person have a blog? Facebook? Twitter? She does? Great – check it out. Heck, people do background checks before dates, why not before accepting LinkedIn invitations?

6. Google him or her. What else comes up – besides his or her LinkedIn profile? Has he got digital dirt?

7. Know that LinkedIn is a professional network. Are the people you’re asking and who are asking you professional? Are they on brand for you and your business or career goals?

8. Check out your own LinkedIn profile with fresh eyes. Does your profile convey your personality? Do you have a professional head-shot? And NO, wedding pictures do not count here. Did you complete the entire LinkedIn profile? Are you providing more details about your employment background or only listing names and titles? Do you have recommendations from those in your network? Do you already add value to your network?

9. If you’ve answered NO to any of the above, beef up your profile. Answer questions from those in your network. Join groups. Provide recommendations to others in your network – that’s the easiest way to get them for yourself too.

10. Need more help? Check out Rock Your Network.

If you’ve more tips you’d like to add to this list, please share your thoughts!

© 2010 Wendy Terwelp