Tag Archives: IT Recruiters Northern Illinois

Be Prepared for Reference Checks

Most job seekers put so much time and effort into preparing their resumes, targeting their ideal employers, and brushing up on their interviewing skills that they forget one of the most important steps in the process: reference checks. Taking the time to prepare your references can have a significant impact on your ability to land your ideal position.

While it is true that many employers don’t conduct thorough reference checks, there has been a push in recent years to focus more on this step of the hiring process. Employers are looking to improve their retention rates, and they are starting to understand the value of references. As a job seeker, you should never underestimate the potential positive impact of glowing references, or conversely, the potential negative impact of even a single lukewarm reference.

What are the keys to preparing for reference checks? Use this checklist to ensure that you – and your references – are ready for your potential employer:

  • Leave references off your resume – Don’t use up valuable resume space on a list of references. Keep a separate list, and only provide that list when the employer requests it.
  • Create a strategic list – Your references don’t always have to be former supervisors, especially if you have any reservations about what they may say. Choose references who have deep, first-hand knowledge about your skills and accomplishments. Sometimes co-workers or supervisors from other teams may make better references than a manager.
  • Include a variety of categories – You want to create a list that will allow hiring managers to get a feel for your work ethic, your skills, performance on the job, and accomplishments. This will typically mean using former co-workers and supervisors, but it can also mean including mentors, personal references, customers, colleagues, supervisees, or references from your volunteer work.
  • Always get permission to use someone as a reference – Never include someone on your reference list without asking for their permission. Most people will be more than happy to help, but you should always give them the courtesy of seeking their approval ahead of time. Be ready for someone to decline your request, and don’t take it personally if someone turns you down.
  • Verify their contact information – Once you’ve sought someone’s approval, be sure to ask them how they prefer to be contacted. Some may not want you to use their personal cell phone number or their work email address, for example. Verify that you have the correct telephone and email once they let you know how they prefer to be contacted.
  • Provide them with a copy of your resume – To ensure your references are prepared, provide them with a copy of your resume.
  • Say thank you – Thank your references once they give you permission to include them on your list, and when you land a job, reach out again and thank them for their help in the process.

Always remember that references can make or break a hiring manager’s decision. Approach your reference selection strategically, and put as much thought into your list as you put into your resume, cover letters, and interview preparation.

If you are a professional in sales, marketing, engineering, IT or operations looking for new opportunities, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team of executive recruiters can help match you with a position that aligns with your long-term career goals, and we can work with you to help you create a resume, cover letter, and reference package that will dazzle hiring managers.

How a Recruiter Can Enhance Your Career

As a job seeker, you may have toyed with the idea of working with a professional recruiter. Some professionals hesitate to explore recruiting relationships because they just don’t know what to expect, nor do they understand the ways in which a recruiter can help them enhance their careers.

Recruiters can give you a leg up in the job market by providing benefits that you simply can’t attain if you approach a job search on your own. Those benefits include:

  1. Access to Unpublished Opportunities – Job boards are fine, but remember, thousands of other people are viewing and applying to the same postings. Professional recruiters have long-standing relationships with their client companies, and they are often actively recruiting for jobs that have not been published on job boards or even on the company website.
  2. Keeping Your Resume Out of the Black Hole – If you’ve been on the hunt for a job for any amount of time, you know the frustration that can come from the resume “black hole.” It may take weeks to hear back from an employer, or you may never hear anything at all. When a recruiter presents you as a candidate, you know that the hiring manager will receive your resume, and you know that your recruiter will stay on top of the process, letting you know where you stand every step of the way.
  3. Providing Feedback – When you’re all alone in your job hunt, you never quite know what an interviewer thought of you, which means you can make the same mistakes over and over again without ever realizing it. Working with a recruiter, however, you will receive feedback on each interview so that you can grow and improve your skills.
  4. Letting You Know Your Market Value – You may think you know your value in the marketplace, but a professional recruiter can tell you precisely what types of jobs you are qualified for, and what type of salary structure you can command in the marketplace.
  5. Conducting a Confidential Search – Keeping a job search confidential is essential while you are employed, but unfortunately it is also extremely stressful. It can be difficult to conduct a search when you have to worry about your boss noticing your LinkedIn activity or stumbling across your resume on a job board. A recruiter can help you keep your search confidential, acting as your liaison to hiring managers. They will know when to call you, so that they are not interrupting your workday, and they will know which email address to use to ensure the utmost discretion.

Best of all, the services of recruiters are free. This means that there is no risk involved in testing the waters, and you only stand to benefit from their efforts and advice.

If you are a professional in sales, marketing, engineering, IT or operations looking for new opportunities, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team of executive recruiters can help match you with a position that aligns with your long-term career goals, and we will work as your advocate, helping you to achieve your long-term career goals. Let us connect you with the next phase of your career.

How to Show Enthusiasm in a Job Interview

Landing a job interview can be exciting – but it can also be stressful. There are so many things to remember throughout the course of an interview, and “career gurus” offer so many conflicting suggestions about how to conduct yourself, that it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the entire process.

One of the most important things to remember when you’re sitting face to face with a hiring manager is to demonstrate your enthusiasm. You may feel nervous, stressed or even scared, but you should do your best to let your enthusiasm for the position and your chosen field shine through.

Be Enthusiastic About Yourself

It’s important to show enthusiasm for the job, but many candidates forget to show just as much enthusiasm for themselves.  Some people shy away from this, assuming that it can come off one of two ways: desperation or arrogance. Abandon both ideas. Remember, you’re there to sell yourself to the employer, and if you don’t demonstrate that you believe in yourself and your abilities, you’ll never be able to convince a stranger that you deserve the job.

Before an interview, prepare a list of stories from your career that showcase your skills and achievements. Talk about times in which you felt pride in overcoming obstacles. Frame everything as a story and an illustration of a real-life situation, so that you don’t feel as though you’re bragging for bragging’s sake.  The interviewer can draw his or her own conclusion from your examples.

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

If the idea of working for an employer thrills you to your core, don’t hide it. Be direct and tell the hiring manager that working for the company would mean achieving a very specific goal. If their company is your first choice, say so. Let them know that you are interviewing at other companies, but if they were to offer you a position, you’d accept.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

As a job seeker, you know how important it is to ask questions during your interview, but you want to be sure you are asking thoughtful questions. Avoid talk of raises, job security, benefits, and turnover in your first interview. Those subjects can be discussed later on in the process.
Another great technique is to ask questions naturally, as topics come up in conversation rather than holding all of your questions until the end. This shows that you’re paying close attention to the flow of the interview and helps the interaction take on a more conversational tone.

Ask What the Next Step in the Process Will Be

At the end of the interview, do not forget to ask about the next step in the process. Ignoring this step can lead the hiring manager to believe you aren’t interested in moving on. You can also ask the interviewer how you stack up to the other candidates they have seen, and if there is anything about the interview that would prevent them from calling you back for the next round.

Don’t Forget the Thank You Note

Follow up after an interview should never be ignored. As soon as you get home, sit down and craft a thoughtful, enthusiastic thank you letter that reminds the interviewer of your relevant experience and expresses your continued interest in the position.

If you are a professional in sales, marketing, engineering, IT or operations actively seeking new and exciting career opportunities, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team of executive recruiters can help match you with a position that aligns with your long-term career goals, and we can work with you to help perfect your interviewing skills to ensure that you feel confident exhibiting your enthusiasm with each interaction.

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

Now more than ever before, hiring managers are integrating behavioral questions into their interviews. These questions are designed to help the interviewer determine whether or not an applicant possesses the qualities, skills, and traits to be successful on the job.  It is essential to prepare for these questions so that you aren’t caught off guard during an interview.

What Are Behavioral Interview Questions?

Behavioral interview questions are designed to give the interviewer a look at how you’ve handled yourself in the past. Traditional interviews rely on hypothetical questions like, “How would you handle it if your boss asks you X?” “What would you do if a customer presented you with Y problem?” It’s relatively easy to craft answers to these questions, whether or not you’d actually handle yourself in the manner you describe. Therefore, hypothetical questions actually provide very little insight for employers.

Behavioral questions, on the other hand, ask you for examples of how you handled specific situations in the past. They often begin with phrases like, “Tell me about a time when X.” They may include questions such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to take initiative to solve a difficult problem.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to complete a project when you did not have all of the information you needed in order to get started.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particularly difficult customer.
  • Give me an example of a challenge you faced in your current job and how you solved it.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem by tackling tasks outside of your job description.

Assessing how you’ve handled specific situations in the past can help the interviewer determine how you will handle those types of situations in the future.

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

Preparation is the key to successfully answering behavioral interview questions. While there is no way to determine just which questions you will be asked, there are some steps you can take to determine the types of questions that might be likely:

  1. Read through the job description. What are the responsibilities of the role? What challenges might that person face?
  2. For each of those responsibilities and challenges, generate examples from your career that illustrate how you would excel on the job.
  3. For each example, write an outline of an answer that addresses the problem, your response, and the outcome.
  4. Practice your answers with a friend, family member, or with a professional recruiter. Don’t memorize your answers. Simply practice telling your stories out loud in a concise manner.

As a job seeker, it’s important not to fear behavioral interview questions. Instead, look at them as an opportunity to showcase examples of how you rise to challenges and overcome them. If you are a professional in sales, marketing, engineering, IT or operations looking for new opportunities, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team of executive recruiters can help match you with a position that aligns with your long-term career goals, and we can work with you to help perfect your interviewing skills to ensure that you enter each interview with poise and confidence.

Don’t Burn Bridges! 5 Tips on How to Properly Resign

Whether you are tendering your resignation because you’ve accepted a new opportunity, or because your job has become completely intolerable, you should always exit in a professional manner. It’s never a good idea to burn bridges because you never know where your career path may take you. You may need a reference from your former employer, or the boss that you loathe could wind up as a colleague down the line.

Resigning gracefully can be especially difficult when you are leaving a stressful or tense work environment. No matter how gleeful you may feel about quitting, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that the door won’t be sealed and locked after you exit.

Keep Your Resignation Letter Short

Your resignation letter should be short and simple. At a minimum it should include the name of the person to whom you are submitting the letter, your statement of resignation, your last day or work, and your signature. You can include positive statements about your boss and the organization, but never put any criticisms in writing. Your resignation letter will be a part of your employee file, on hand for HR staff to see in the event of a reference check. Choose your words carefully.

Resign Face To Face

Type up and print your resignation letter at home, and bring it with you when you speak to your supervisor. Tell your boss verbally that you are leaving, and then follow up by giving her the letter. If you have taken a new position, say so, and always express your appreciation for the opportunities that your current position has afforded you.  If you are leaving a bad work environment without another position, simply tell your boss that you are moving on, and again, express your appreciation.

Give as Much Notice as You Can

A minimum of two weeks is standard practice, but if you can give your employer more notice, do so.  Two weeks is usually not enough time for employers to properly transition your work to new employees.

It’s never a good idea to schedule vacation during your notice period, even if you’ve given as much as 30 days. There isn’t much your employer can do to stop you, but it will leave a bad taste in the mouth of your managers and coworkers.

Offer to Help With the Transition

Offer to be part of a transition plan to wrap up your current projects or hand them off to other employees before you leave. Transitions are never easy, and it can ease a lot of stress if you commit to seeing your projects through to completion.  Your boss may or may not take you up on the offer, but she will appreciate the gesture.

Things You Should Never Do When Resigning

Employees can often act impulsively when they resign. No matter what your circumstances may be, there are several things you should avoid doing at all costs:

  • Don’t announce your new job on social media before you’ve given your notice.
  • Do not announce your resignation through a company-wide mass email.
  • Do not use your exit interview as a therapy session to get things off of your chest. Always be gracious and constructive.
  • Don’t lie about where you’re going or what you’ll be doing. If you don’t want to share your new position with your current employer, you don’t have to.
  • Do not delete computer files or remove any paper files from the office.

Following these tips will help you resign with grace, even under extremely tense circumstances.  Always remember that impulsive decisions can lead to regret, and you never know who you’ll run into later on in your career.

If you are an IT professional seeking new opportunities for professional growth, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team of recruiters can help you locate ideal information technology jobs in northern Illinois that align with your skills and your long-term career goals.

Give Your IT Resume a Makeover Employers Can’t Ignore!

The IT field is competitive. For every job opening, you could be running in a packed field of qualified candidates who all have the same skill sets. That’s why it’s critical to craft a strong resume that gets you noticed.

Because the IT job market is so competitive, hiring managers (especially those in larger organizations) often choose to automate their initial resume screening process. HR software packages have made it easy for recruiting teams to scan resumes for critical keywords, as well as red flags, to help them select qualified candidates.

What are resume keywords? More often than not, they are the skills and qualifications listed in the job posting. If the posting states that candidates should hold a bachelor’s degree in a tech field, automated scans will weed out those that do not include terms like, “bachelor of science,” or “BS.” If the posting requires experience in SQL, resumes that don’t include that term will be eliminated. Always scan your resume to be sure your qualifications match those listed directly in the job posting.

Be Clear About What You Want

An objective statement used to be mandatory for all resumes. But as the market became crowded, some “gurus” suggested omitting objectives so that your resume wouldn’t be immediately pigeonholed. If you don’t clearly state the type of position you are looking for; however, hiring managers won’t know how to classify you.  They typically scan resumes before studying them more closely, so be clear about the type of position you are looking for. A strong objective will tell the reader that you know your goals, and that you are truly interested in their open position.

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

There’s a lot of debate about how long a resume should be, and the trends are always changing. There was a time that many HR managers suggested that IT professionals whittle their resumes down to one page. But that’s not always practical, especially if you’ve been in the field for 20 years. At the same time, you don’t want to submit a 10-page dissertation outlining every task you’ve completed throughout your career.

If you’re new to the field, a one-page resume will probably suffice. But if you’ve held more than one position over the years, two pages is the sweet spot. This gives you plenty of space to highlight your relevant experience while giving hiring managers a good overview of your skills and expertise.

Seek Help From a Professional

Professional IT recruiters can work with you to help you craft a concise, yet effective IT resume that will get you noticed by hiring teams.  Some benefits of working with a recruiter to polish your resume include:

  • Quality writing. Not everyone can write well. And often, technical employees don’t focus on writing from day to day, so they can be out of practice. Recruiters are trained in resume writing and can help you edit and proofread your resume to eliminate errors and improve flow.
  • Modernization. If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, your resume may have a dated feel to it. IT recruiters can help you bring your document up to date, keeping with formatting and layout trends.
  • Positioning. Perhaps you were a job hopper early in your career. Maybe you left work for a while to take care of children or ailing family members and have gaps in your experience. Or maybe you’re a new graduate with only a little internship experience. A professional IT recruiter can help you structure and position your resume so that these types of issues don’t prevent you from getting interviews.

If you are an IT professional whose resume could use a makeover, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team can help you find open IT positions in northern Illinois that match your experience and your career goals, and we can work with you to craft a resume that employers can’t ignore.