Job Seeker Blog
Looking for a job can be tough. It’s a series of putting yourself out there and often getting rejected – more often not hearing anything at all. As HR & payroll recruiters, Willory tries to never forget what it is like to look for a job as we have all been there. And I advise any and all of my clients to remember that every hiring is an opportunity to strengthen or weaken their brand and reputation – don’t blow it!
Saying something inappropriate or unprofessional might be the easiest way to blow an interview, but it’s not the only way. When interviewing, we’ve found some common mistakes HR and payroll professionals make that might not be so obvious. But they happen often and they’re not that hard to fix.
If you get called into an HR/payroll interview, there are a lot of things you cannot control, from your own experience to the biases of those interviewing you. There are things you can control, however – here are a few tips to get yourself a leg up on the next HR/payroll position you pursue.
You’ve gone through the application process… waited by the phone… taken interviews… waited by the phone… When you finally get that HR or payroll job offer, take a breath, pat yourself on the back, and take your time with an answer. Even if you are 99.99% sure you want the job, don’t be afraid to say – “Before I take this HR/payroll job, it’s my turn to think, take a minute, and get back to you.”
Be prepared. It’s the number one piece of interview advice for good reason. Being prepared for an interview shows you care about the opportunity and respect those involved in the process.
When Willory works with our HR and payroll candidates, we make sure they are prepared for their interview with a briefing regarding both the opportunity and company. When you’re looking on your own for an HR or payroll position and you get an interview, don’t blow it by going in unprepared. But what does prepared look like? How can you impress the hiring manager to set yourself apart?
Before heading to an HR or payroll interview, your research will need to unearth information about the prospective employer that will impress in the interview. Any information you uncover can (and should) be tied into your skills and why you’re the person for the open HR or payroll position.
You can find out a lot of information out by researching the organization, sometimes too much. However, if you stick with these areas you will come across as knowledgeable and prepared.
What do they do? Don’t assume you know what a company does – visit their website, the About Us and Services pages and make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of what the company does and perhaps how a past position you’ve held ties in. Depending on the organization you can also find out information through investor and annual reports. These can show you what is important to the organization’s stakeholders.
Your search for your next HR or payroll opportunity – if it is to be successful – will most likely need a strategy. It’s easy to get lost in the details of just checking job listings and blasting resumes out. But that is not strategic, and your chances of landing the HR or payroll position that’s right for you is much less without a plan.
Take the time to develop a job search strategy to best meet the unique needs of your HR/payroll career to-date and desired position.
A strong job search strategy is made up of many different elements. Whether it’s nailing down the kind of cover letter and resume to set you apart from your competition, or locating the best job board for your industry, your strategy should be as unique as the qualifications you have to offer.
Are you having trouble landing interviews for the HR or payroll jobs you are applying for? Well, you could blame luck, the economy, the president… the potential president. But have you thought about what may really be hurting your chances to land an interview? Your HR/payroll resume. As we work with HR and payroll professionals every day, we see some common resume mistakes that definitely stand in the way of interviews.
Have you ever said to yourself… “I’ll take anything, I just need to get out of here.”
When you have that mindset, your HR/payroll resume may stink of that desperation. Not literally of course, but it may be the resume of a generalist who is hedging bets and literally positioning themself for anything that opens up in the HR or payroll space. Take a hard look at your HR/payroll resume and see if you can ascertain who you are… the position you are best fit for. You may think HR is HR or payroll is payroll… but employers tend to be looking for cultural fit, the right level, the right skills for the level, etc. Figure out your HR/payroll niche – and have your resume target that.
Too often after you apply for an HR and/payroll job, you’re left wondering “Hey… wha’ happened?” The unfortunate fact of job seeking in 2016 is that employers are bad… check that… awful at following up. So you are left to play the “apply and wait” game. Fortunately, when you work with a recruiter like Willory, you will receive updates along the way. But if you are simply applying for positions you find online, here are some actions you can take to not only get answers, but maybe even land that elusive interview. Following up can separate yourself from the competition as it shows your interest – an important factor that employers consider.
Use LinkedIn and Your Network. Hopefully you have a robust network on LinkedIn – with people you actually know. Leverage this to find employees at companies where you apply. Ask them to contact the hiring manager and put in a good word.
As another year draws to a close, you may be taking a step back and considering a job search – at least dipping your toe into looking for an HR/payroll position. Before you jump in, there are several things you will want to do to get ready, and December is a great time to do that.
Cleanup Your Online Presence
Look at your social media and get rid of things that could even be considered borderline controversial and Facebook has pretty intense privacy settings if you use them. Also Google yourself for anything negative and if you find something untrue, try to get it pulled down or plan on how to address it in interviews.
Update Your Resume
We’ve talked about what makes a resume stand out – so don’t just slap your latest job on there and start sending. Spend time to polish your resume and customize it for a few different instances. Back your qualifications up with data and achievements. And of course make sure your resume is error-free and grammatically correct.
Our beloved Cavaliers open up training camp, getting prepared and tuned up for what will be a long, grinding season achieving what we hope is the ultimate prize. For HR and payroll job candidates, too often they jump into the interview without any preparation.
So as you go into your own campaign to find a new HR or payroll opportunity, take the following steps:
Make Sure Your Resume Tells the Right Story
Often we start with the basic resume and then just slap the most recent job information on top. That’s the easiest way to update a resume, but should your resume be built on a foundation that started with your first or second job? Your resume should show a progression and growth. It should tell the story that you’ve been building for this position – and you are ready to be interviewed. Remember, a resume doesn’t get you hired – it gets you an interview…hopefully.