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OPINION: Looking for a job? Here’s what to bring to the interview

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Bruce Hein

Bruce Hein

Despite a falling unemployment rate this is still a difficult labour market.

Due to an ever-widening skills gap, there are many jobs that can’t be filled by available jobseekers. In many cases, employers may need to compromise on their hard skill requirements to fill a position because the “perfect” candidates are already employed.

Our recruiters at Express Employment Professionals in Sarnia interview numerous jobseekers every day, so they know a thing or two about what to look for. We asked these professionals in our local office to share what they see at interviews that translate into hard-working employees on the job.

“Their resume is up-to-date, they can provide work-related references, and can speak to their most significant on-the-job accomplishments,” said Marcia Perry.

Justin Rockwood says it’s important to stay up-to-date with technology and trends in your field.

“Many industries are constantly changing so it’s crucial that your skills don’t become outdated,” he said. “Show your interviewer that you are taking the initiative to upgrade your skills and you will stand out.”

Recruiters are human too and like people who are friendly with a positive attitude, said Joe Viher, who specializes in industrial recruitment.

“Prove that you are reliable and dependable, willing to learn, and prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up.”

A good candidate doesn’t have to be a perfect candidate. However, he or she should be honest and truthful about any question asked of their work history.

“A strong job candidate will have a relatively stable work history,” said Kari Marin, an administrative recruiter. “And it’s important to be transparent about past employment, whether positive or negative.”

What is a major warning sign that a candidate might not be ideal? Unprofessionalism. Dress is a major issue.

“I’ve interviewed administrative candidates that have showed up as if they are going to work in a factory,” Marin said. “A suit and tie aren’t necessary, but show me that you care about first impressions and how you present yourself.”

Complaining about a previous employer is another bad sign.

“There’s a way to tactfully state why you left a position,” Marin added. “Instead of saying, ‘My boss was a jerk,’ note that you didn’t share the vision of management or the company.”

A great job applicant also understands how to summarize accomplishments quickly and succinctly.

“It’s not necessary to give 20-minute answers to each question,” Perry said. “Spend your time explaining how your experience makes you a good fit for the job.”

Getting a job isn’t easy. But the key to a successful interview is knowing as much as you can. A great applicant will know what they want in terms of their career and monetary requirements. They know themselves and their personality, and how that plays in an interview.

A little well-founded confidence goes a long way.

Bruce Hein is the franchise owner of Express Employment Professionals in Sarnia


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