Category Archives: Interviews

Job Interviews are like a First Date

Interview

by Jessica Boutros, Intern at Linkus Group

You are nervous and jittery, feeling as though there’s an entire butterfly conservatory in your stomach as you approach the front desk. You tell the waitress you’re here for your seven o’clock dinner and wait to be seated. You walk to your table, give a firm handshake, smile politely, make small talk, and then your date begins, I mean interview, I mean date.

When you think about it, they’re nearly identical. An interview is like a first date – it can be a deal maker or a deal breaker. A first date can bring you closer to your dream man or woman, just like a great job interview can bring you closer to your dream job. But keep in mind: job interviews and dates are used to establish one thing: fit.

If you have made it past the first qualifying round before an interview, it’s safe to say you’re qualified for the job and the company has an interest in hiring you. A good recruiter is well aware of the fact that there is no perfect candidate, and no perfect answer, so why have an interview? An interview is so much more than answering tricky questions like “what’s your biggest weakness?” or “where do you see yourself in five years?” Interviews are used to determine how well your qualifications and personality fit within an organization. The right candidate gets the job because they’re the right candidate for that organization.

Interviews are also really important for the interviewee. The candidate needs to determine how he or she feels about the work environment, structure, and co-workers.

A good recruiter knows that a candidate’s organizational fit is not determined by their qualifications; it stems from the company’s corporate culture. A Forbes survey found that out of 20,000 new hires, 46% of them failed within the first 18 months – 89% of the time for attitudinal reasons and only 11% for lack of skills.

Attitudinal reasons, also called “soft skills,” include: lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament. Organizational culture is so important because it drives productivity. Recruiters and HR managers need to ensure they hire people that will contribute to their organizational culture, but the company first needs to understand what their culture is in order to determine how their new hire will fit with their purpose, values, and organizational goals.

A problem arises when companies dont know what their culture is.

Organizational culture and fit is hard to assess because it is intangible. One cannot simply have it or not have it; it’s falls on a spectrum of varying degrees. It takes a recruiter’s keen eye to determine where a candidate is situated on the spectrum. Interview questions and answers can really help recruiters determine a candidate’s organizational fit.

Just like your first date, the answer to “do you like cats or dogs?” isn’t just a laughable icebreaker: you’re really getting to know someone, you’re assessing their personality and your fit. The good looking person sitting across from you at dinner might be perfect on paper: they have a great job, nice sense of style, and come from a great family, but the success of your first date, and entire relationship is going to be determined by how well you fit together. Both you, and your date, need to get to know each other as individuals apart from your credentials to determine where you fit on the spectrum because fit is the real determinant of a successful long-term relationship – both in your personal and your professional life.

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Employment After Graduation

-Written for Linkus Group by John Kobrossy, HR Student

Being a new graduate is an exciting time in anyone’s life, it is a time of new beginnings. This new beginning comes with a lot of change and a lot of important decisions that need to be made. These decisions are influenced by many things such as fears or perceptions held about going into the real world. In a small sample group surveyed regarding obstacles new grads may encounter, or fear they will encounter, were the following:

  • Too much competition or an over saturated job market
  • No available job openings
  • Not having the minimum relevant work experience required on job postings
  • Ending up in a position that you won’t enjoy
  • Only being able to find unpaid internships
  • Not yet having all the skills needed to perform at a high level

Linkus

Sometimes coming out of school and being lucky enough to land a job can be a relief and an opportunity that you do not need to think twice about. However, your first career decision does require some serious consideration.  You need to ask yourself whether or not a big brand name corporation is the best for you or whether you might be better off with a start-up company in your field? There are various factors when considering the best answer to this question. There is not one right answer for everyone; before making a final decision, it is important to consider it from all angles.

To begin with, the learning curve can be more flexible with a start-up. Unlike with larger corporations that can rely on their name and resources to supply them with a large candidate pool, a start-up is more likely to commit to you once they have made the decision to bring you on. . On the other hand, there are benefits to a big name company as well. In a larger corporation the reputation of the brand carries itself. You can clearly see the corporate hierarchy, and understand from the beginning how you fit into it. Your path of advancement is clearly drawn out for you if you stay with that company and because of its abundant resources; they are more capable of providing perks as you climb internally.  A start-up however, will train you and appreciate the advantages which you as an intern or entry-level employee afford them. Furthermore, an employee’s feeling of contribution can be greater in a start-up because you come in while the company is still building itself. You will be able to clearly notice the work you do and view the company’s success in direct relation to your efforts.

There are also a lot of personal development benefits to working for a larger corporation. In a larger organization, there are potentially more employees and a longer history; it is very possible that you may share an educational or career background with one of your new co-workers. This opens up the possibility for mentoring arrangements, because even without the shared experiences larger organizations possess the manpower to structure a mentoring program. Although it all depends on what you feel is most beneficial to you, in a start-up you can gain confidence and more significant experience. Within a start-up, rather than just having the resources to bring on interns for solely developmental purposes or even if you were brought on as a new hire, you would be put straight to work. You would build confidence through more autonomy, which in turn would give you meaningful experience because you would have to problem solve and rely on yourself. With a start-up company, rather than feeling that all your competency came from being micro-managed, you could be assured that you are actually capable of standing on your own two feet in your chosen profession.

Ultimately, there is a lot to consider when you are making your decisions after graduation. It goes without saying that hard work would be required in either scenario for success, what you have to consider is if you want to be part of something from the ground floor. Succeeding with a start-up can do wonders for your resume and your career; your achievements would stand alone and allow you to be recognized. In the end no one can make this decision but you and as long as you’re doing what you love you’ve made the right decision. After all, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

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Employee Perks: What’s on Trend


iStock_ILoveMyJobSign_350-by Shada Mahboob, Recruiter at Linkus Group

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy (CEO at Xerox)

Statements like the above lead one to question: how do you make an employee feel like a “whole person”? Perhaps it is in supporting a good work-life balance or delegating rewarding work assignments? Regardless of the answer, employee perks can play a significant role in making an employee feel appreciated. Although some small perks may seem insignificant, they can make all the difference in boosting employee morale.

The Linkus Group has been interested in the trends surrounding employee perks. We conducted a survey of employees in various industries to analyze their current perks and their ideal of what should be offered. The survey data covered a range of employees from a start-up online magazine, a marketing firm, and a large mining company. While these companies may not have much in common regarding the services they offer, they all have kept in mind the importance of employee perks.

Competitive compensation is a hot button topic in all organizations; however, a focus on “total compensation,” including intrinsic rewards such as perks, may be the key to reaching true employee satisfaction.

Here are some interesting perks, we have found, that employers are currently offering!

  • Free breakfast essentials
  • Year-end vacations –based on profit
  • Corporate gym memberships
  • Choice of office colour
  • No dress code
  • Yearly “healthy living credit”
  • Commuting allowance
  • Stock options for all employees
  • Complete flex hours –option to work from home
  • Beer fridge
  • Company car for management
  • Discount to Wonderland
  • Christmas Gifts
  • Free housecleaning for employees every 2 weeks

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Recruiting: Researching the Right Fit

-by Rebecca Garber, Human Resources/Recruitment Intern at Linkus Group

I have spent the past several months trying to gain a better understanding of the different recruitment services offered in Toronto. Sending copious emails, cold calling, and networking was the core of my daily research routine. After speaking to several individuals in the industry, I came to understand that their response or lack thereof, could be seen as a reflection of one’s personal style of recruitment.

One of my first emails was met with a rapid response, suggesting a time to meet the next day. Enthused by the immediacy of my success, I inquired about current job openings. When I received a simple yes, my excitement continued to grow. My initial inquiry into gaining more information had transformed into an interview; I had struck networking gold. Upon my arrival, I met with several individuals in the company. I spent the next several hours screening resumes, perfecting my sales techniques and making cold calls. Although these are all important functions of the recruiting process, the accelerated speed had me question the authenticity and potential longevity of this position.

On the flip side, there were several occasions where my efforts to make contact were not reciprocated. For instance, during one particular experience I finally received a response after weeks of persistence, only to be told that I did not have enough experience for the position. When I reiterated that I was simply interested in learning more about the firm, I still sensed hesitancy. To my surprise, I received a phone call later that week asking if I was available for a meeting. When I arrived at the appointment it was evident why my status had shifted to high priority. The individual I was meeting with felt that I would be an appropriate candidate to fill one of the current positions at the firm. As a potential candidate, the suddenness of this situation seemed very obvious to me and I felt slightly uncomfortable. Placing candidates is what recruiters do, but there is a way to do this so that your candidate doesn’t feel like a “pawn in a game”. It is important to be subtle about personal gain and emphasize benefits to the candidate. .

Although my requests were not always met with unprecedented altruism, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by many of my interactions. I had the privilege of meeting with some extremely helpful and inspiring individuals. The fact that people were willing to spend time with me when there was no apparent immediate benefit, is an indication that they understood a very important principle. I believe it is difficult to find success unless one approaches all interactions with an element of foresight; something beneficial does not necessarily mean something immediate.

In the end, I found myself at Linkus Group; a recruiting/HR agency that structures client and candidate interactions, based on the principle of quality over quantity. Whether it is a personal job search or a recruiter in search of a suitable candidate, finding an appropriate and well-researched fit should never be comprised of the temporary satisfaction of simply filling the role.

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The Candidate / Recruiter Relationship

-by Lani Wise, Recruitment Coordinator at  Linkus Group

Recruiters pride themselves on being able to read people.  Highly developed instincts and skills are used to understand what the employer is looking for OR what key strengths a candidate has.  When you find that perfect person and you know they’re going to fit, it’s really thrilling!

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