Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why You Should Use a Staffing Agency

                Finding your first job can be a very daunting experience. It takes hours and hours to work through all the job postings, want ads and applying directly to websites of companies you would like to work with. You apply to the position, you wait, and you wait, and you wait some more and in some cases, you never hear back from the company. The whole application process can be absolutely frustrating. But, you don’t have to go it alone. By using a staffing agency, you have a partner to help you through it. There are a few advantages to working with a staffing agency too.
First of all, companies working with staffing agencies are going to look at the resumes sent by their staffing agency partners before they look at resumes sent in directly. Why is this? The company is paying the staffing agency to find them a candidate, so it’s worth their while to look through those candidates before others. These candidates are usually more qualified because the staffing agency has done due diligence to make sure the candidates are a fit for the position.
In addition to showing up first on the hiring mangers desk, recruiters have industry experience they can relate to you. Even if they can’t find you a position right now, they can give you advice that will help you in your job search. For example, a recruiter might see hundreds of resumes for an analytical chemist position and he or she will get a good idea of what a properly constructed resume for a position like this one should look like. That recruiter can relate that information to you, and boom, you have a better resume.
One final thing that can be a benefit of working through a staffing agency is the potential of building up connections that can help you out further down the road. You can work with a couple different staffing agencies at a time, and if you build up a relationship with a recruiter at one but don’t end up taking a job through them, it’s just fine. You may find that after a couple of years at a company, you’re interested in something different. If you’ve worked with a couple different agencies that have gotten to know you, you have some great connections to increase your odds of finding a better job.
Staffing agencies have gotten a bad reputation in the past. Some are better than others, but overall, most staffing agencies are working with your best interests and their client’s best interests in mind. At VERUM, we work to meet the needs of our clients and candidates equally, without exploiting one group to benefit the other.  We look forward to seeing your resume and helping you find that very first job. What are you waiting for?

                Stay tuned for our next article coming in the New Year! Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please apply at  to set up an informational interview. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Following Up After the Interview

Now that the interview is done, it’s time to play the waiting game.  What should you be doing while you wait to hear back from the company?  One thing you shouldn’t do is wait around and hope that you will receive an offer.  What you should do is continue applying for jobs and interviewing with other companies while you wait. 

It is possible that you might receive multiple offers.  Let’s say that you’ve interviewed with Company A and Company B.  If Company A calls you up and offers you the position, don’t ask them how long you have to make a decision.  They will likely give you a shorter timeline than you need.  Instead, ask them if you can have a few days, or even a week, to make your decision.  They might not let you have that much time, but it never hurts to ask for it upfront. 

Once you know when your response is due, you can call Company B and let them know that you have another offer and what the deadline on accepting that offer is.  If they are really interested in you it might force them to make a decision sooner.  If they tell you that they won’t have a decision in time for the deadline from Company A, then you will just have to weigh your options and make the best decision that you can at that time.  Will you accept the sure thing or will you wait for the unknown?  Only you can know the answer to that.

As an entry-level candidate you won’t likely have much say when it comes to negotiating your salary.  Most of the time that figure has already been predetermined by the company.  There is nothing wrong with trying to negotiate the salary, but you better have some good reasons to be asking for more money.  If you do decide to negotiate a higher salary, take some time and research some techniques for how to do it successfully.

The art of saying thank you has changed over the years.  A lot of people will receive a business card from a hiring manager and elect to email them.  Others like to go about it the “old-fashioned” way and send a personal thank you card.  It doesn’t matter which option you choose.  You do have to be careful with what you write though.  You want to express your interest, but you don’t want to oversell yourself.  It would be beneficial to do some research and see how to construct a well-written thank you card.

Hopefully these tips will help you negotiate a successful follow-up to your interview, and stay tuned for our next article on 12/18/14! Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please apply at  to set up an informational interview. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What to do on the day of the interview.

Ignore everyone that says the day before the interview is the most important. There is no more important day in a job hunt than the day you actually sit down and interview. Sure a lot of prep should be done the day before. Directions should be acquired, research done, cloths picked out, alarm set, etc., but there is nothing more important than what you do the day of your interview.

Waking up on time is the best way to start the day of the interview. Humans need time to fully wake up in the morning. It is important to have all of your mental faculties about you when you are interviewing. You never know what questions they are going to throw at you, and it is important to come off as sharp and alert. It just doesn’t look good if you have dark circles under your eyes and look obviously tired. Set an alarm early enough for you to wake up and get fully ready in a comfortable amount of time. Then set another alarm that would wake you up with just enough to get ready if you hurry a little. It may seem like overkill but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

This double check approach is something that can also be carried over into dressing for the interview. First impressions go a surprisingly long way, and the first aspect of that first impression is the way you look. Interview clothes should be picked out the day before an interview. This way there is no indecision the day of, or last minute panic when you realize your last clean dress shirt isn’t actually clean. When you are getting dressed, after you have showered and taken care of the other grooming necessities, take a little bit of time to double check that your clothes are not wrinkled, dirty, or ripped in any way. Right before walking out the door check two things. One, that you have extra copies of your resume, as well as a couple of copies listing references you can use if they are not on your resume already. And two, double check how you look. Make sure you have the right belt and shoes on and make sure that nothing is horribly out of place. After these double checks walk out the door feeling confident that you look good and are ready to ace the interview.

When driving to an interview, it is important to leave with a comfortable amount of time to get there. There is almost nothing more embarrassing than having to call the company and say you’ll be late because you were pulled over for speeding. This doesn’t look good to anyone and sends a horrible message before you even have a chance to meet your potential employers. Not to mention you will likely be flustered and distracted during the interview. Leave with plenty of time to spare,  it is important, however, to not show up super early either. As a general rule of thumb try to arrive at an interview no more than 15 minutes beforehand.  If you are going to be late, make sure to call someone at the company and let them know. This shows that you are proactive in dealing with problems, and it shows that you value the time the company is giving you.

The interview ultimately is the make or break point of the day. For all intents and purposes the interview starts the minute you pull into the parking lot. From here on out you should be on your best behavior. Have good posture, look everyone you speak with in the eye, be polite, nice, and courteous. You never know when the hiring managers are going to ask someone you wouldn't expect their opinion of you. A number of very successful companies employ this tactic. If you have arrived on time go to the bathroom after you have checked in. Having to use the restroom in the middle of an interview is a horribly uncomfortable experience. Once you are called to interview shake the interviewers hand firmly but not hard, make small talk while walking to the interview room, and don’t sit until they tell you to. Be on your best behavior! Once in the interview try to treat it less like an interview and more like a conversation. They are not grilling you hoping to find something wrong, they are trying to get to know you. Thinking of it as a conversation is a great way to relax and be more at ease when interviewing. Both of these characteristics look very good to an interviewer.

The most important thing is to know is that everyone is a little different in what they need to fully prepare for an interview. Some people might need to sit under a tree and meditate for 30 minutes beforehand, while other people might need to drink an extra cup of coffee and exercise for an hour. Everyone is different. The internet and your friends and family can give you advice and tips about what they do. These are good resources that should be pursued, especially for people who do not have much experience interviewing. Everything written above is simply a suggestion. Ultimately though, do what you need to. If the necessary individual steps have been taken the interview will go well. Once the interview is over there is nothing more you can do. Just sit back, relax, and wait for them to make a decision.  

Stay tuned for our next article on 12/04/14! Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please apply at  to set up an informational interview. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Research the Company Before an Interview

Finally. Finally you have an interview lined up for a job you really want. Now what? You have two options.  Option one put on your best suit and walk into to the company the day of your interview ready to wing it. Option two is to do some research and walk in confident ready to ace the interview. The more logical choice is obvious here. Do your research. Research is a key component to interviewing successfully, and a key step in landing the job you really want.

The first step to take when researching a company is a very simple one. Google the company. Google will provide you with a number different avenues to explore when researching a company.  Googling directions before the interview can be very helpful. It will help you game plan for traffic, know a good route, and have a reference of what the building looks like from the ground if you use the streetview function. Other resources like news articles, Wikipedia articles, and social media sites will all provide you with some great general information on the company itself. They will give you an idea of the company’s public perception, and what they have been up to lately. Googling the company and taking the time to read some of the articles, reviews, and poke around the social media sites will provide you some great talking points and questions to ask. It is important to have a few good questions about your position or the industry as a whole to ask. Asking good questions and being able to have an informed discussion will help the interviewers realize that you are genuinely interested in the company.

The next step to take would be to look around the company’s website. Find their news section or “about us” page and do some reading. This will give you an idea of how they view themselves and how they want to be viewed by others. Often the best thing to do is to find the company’s mission statement. This is the best place to get a general idea of what the company is doing and how they want to be perceived by everyone. Let the mission statement inform your discussion with the recruiters. For example, if it mentions specifically taking an ethical approach to recruiting be sure to remember that and work it into the conversation, or be prepared for an interview question that deals with ethics. If you are unsure about the dress code for an interview this is also a good place to start. If everyone is wearing suits and looking serious you should probably also wear a suit. If there are people in lab coats or dressed down a bit you probably don’t need to wear a suit. As a general rule of thumb you should never dress less than business casual.

One of the last steps, if you have the names of the people you will be interviewing with, would be to do a bit of reconnaissance on the interviewers from the company. The best place to do this is on Linkedin. Looking at their Facebook profiles can come off as a bit creepy. Linkedin is a safe place to look and is built for researching specific people’s professional profiles or companies themselves. Briefly look at their profiles and try and find some common ground to talk about. Maybe you went to the same school, worked at the same place without knowing it, or enjoy the same activities.  You can be sure that the interviewers have googled you and looked at your profile. If you cannot find common ground just knowing what your interviewers look like or a little bit about their past work history can help your confidence tremendously when interviewing. It takes a little bit of the shock out of walking into the interview and seeing the people for the first time. 

Finally the last, and arguably the most helpful, thing is to see if you know anyone personally, through a friend, or through an alumni association who works for the company. Try and connect with them and ask them any questions you may have. Questions like: what is the dress code like, what were you asked when you interviewed, what’s the company culture like, etc. These are all very helpful things to know. Often times a person within the company is your best possible resource. They can give you an honest and trustworthy opinion of the company, as well as answer some questions if you cannot find the answers to on the internet. It would also be a great chance to ask them to be a referral if you feel comfortable doing so.

Researching the company provides a sense of confidence that will help you possibly ace the interview. It is not like studying for a test; you don’t have to have every little thing memorized and ready to fire back at the people interviewing you. You just need enough information to have insightful questions and be able to confidently speak with the interviewers. Bottom line, researching is for developing confidence and showing that you genuinely want to work for the company. A little bit of research goes a long way when it comes to landing the job.

Stay tuned for our next article on 11/20/14 where we will walk you through a game plan of what to do the day of your interview. Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send apply through our site  to set up an informational interview.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Asking Questions During an Interview

Now that you are going in for an interview there is something you need to think about.  Sure, you need to practice answering questions they could ask you, but just as importantly, you need to think about the questions you could ask them.   

For some of you, if it is your first time interviewing, you may not realize that you could ask questions.  Asking questions not only gives you more insight into the company and the position, it also gives you a chance to have some control of the interview.

Interviewing isn’t a one-way street where the interviewer is the only one asking questions.  You have, not only the right, but also the responsibility to ask questions as well.  How will you know if an opportunity is right for you if you leave without getting your questions answered?  You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.  Don’t forget that!

Most hiring managers are given a list of questions from someone in human resources and they just go down that list one-by-one.  They are supposed to get through all of the questions and take notes on what you said.  A lot of the people conducting the interviews may be just as uncomfortable in there as you are.  Therefore, if you could turn the interview into more of a conversation, instead of an interrogation, it could benefit both of you.   

Most people who do well in interviews ask plenty of questions.  They don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking them though.  They ask questions to determine if the company is one they want to work for and if the position is a good fit for them.  When you ask questions, it not only shows that you are engaged in the interview, it shows that you came prepared. 

Below is a list to help get you thinking of the types of questions you could ask.

Ø  Why is this position open?
Ø  Who has been successful in this role in the past?  Why were they successful?
Ø  Who has been unsuccessful in this role in the past?  Why were they unsuccessful?
Ø  What would I be doing on a daily basis?
Ø  What is the culture of the company?
Ø  How much turnover have you had in this position?  Why is it happening?
Ø  What type of training will I receive?
Ø  What makes this a good company to work for?  Why do you like working here?
Ø  What is your leadership style?
Ø  As a member of your team, what will you do to help with my development?

Stay tuned for our next article on 11/06/14 when we will discuss tips for researching a company prior to your interview. Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please visit our site at to set up an informational interview!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Phone Interviews

                It is always exciting to have a recruiter or company call you back and say that they are interested in interviewing you. Getting to that point takes a lot of hard effort, both in your schooling and your job search! The next step, however, is just as critical if not more so. And this of course, is the interview.
                During our previous article, we discussed a variety of techniques to prepare for an interview. These included researching types of behavioral questions, understanding the STAR technique, and especially practicing how to answer these questions. If you’ve followed these steps, you should be fairly prepared to answer interview questions. You may be expecting that being invited to interview means that you will be going in to the office, manufacturing plant, or the like to meet with your interviewer. In many cases this will be the standard protocol. However, there are other types of interviews that may take place. One other such type is the phone interview.
                A phone interview naturally has a lot in common with a standard in-person interview, although there can of course be several key differences that you should be prepared to deal with. In many cases, the phone interview will act as “round one” of interviewing for a position. In these situations, you may be speaking with someone besides the hiring manager (the person who would be your supervisor in the job), such as someone from human resources, who is checking to see whether you have the basic skills, education, and/or work experience for the position. If that is the case, the phone interview will most likely be short. If you were invited for a “round two” of interviews, it would most likely indicate that the next interview would then be an in-person meeting.
                Regardless of whether you speak with the hiring manager or another employee of the company, it helps to be prepared for the interview. Expect to answer basic questions about your qualifications for the job, as well as possible behavioral questions. Remember, since you are not there in person to present confident body language, your answers are even more important. Silence on the phone is not a good way to show yourself in the best possible light! Since the interviewer cannot see you, it is perfectly alright to keep a copy of your resume, the job description, information on the company, etc. in front of you for quick reference.
                Another quick tip that may help: although you are not going to interview in person, consider dressing up a bit anyways. You may not need to wear a suit to speak on the phone, but dressing up (if only for yourself) can help to put you in the right frame of mind. Remember, this is still an interview and should be taken seriously! Other things to consider:

·         Make sure that when you are setting up the interview time, you double check whether the interviewer will be calling you, or if you are expected to call in to the company.
·          If you are interviewing for a position out-of-state, double check that you have the correct time zone information. For example, if you live in California, but are interviewing for a position in Minnesota, there is a 2 hour time difference; this would mean that to call in for a 3:00pm interview in Minnesota (CST), it would be 1:00pm in California (PST).
·         If you are using a cell phone, make sure that you are in an area where you have great coverage. A dropped call is not something you want to deal with when you are trying to answer a hard question!
·         It helps if you can take the call in a quiet area. If you are able to be in a quiet room by yourself, so you are able to hear all the questions and not be distracted, this is best. 

                Hopefully these tips will help you to be at your best for your phone interview! Remember, a phone interview is still an interview, and as usual it helps to be prepared! Stay tuned for our next article on 10/23/14 where we will discuss the other half of the interview: what questions YOU should be asking during the interview. Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send an email to to set up an informational interview.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Practice Interviewing, Behavioral Questions, and the STAR Technique.

So you've polished your resume, combed the job boards, and applied to a few positions that you really feel could be a great fit. And then the great news comes; a recruiter has looked over your resume and is inviting you in for an interview! It may seem like you are home free at this point, but the truth is you’re far from it. Although the company has determined that you meet the qualifications, there is still a long road ahead of you. For starters, you may not be the only candidate invited in for an interview. And even if you are, you still need to impress the company sufficiently for them to even consider extending you an offer.  Today we’ll take a look at some preparation techniques you can use to prepare for an interview and get ready to shine.

The first piece of advice we’ll discuss today is likely the most important, and also the simplest. Practice. Yup, just like any other skill, interviewing is something you can practice at and get better at. As a soon-to-be or recent graduate, there are several options available to you for interview practice. The career development center at your college/university is a great place to start, as most will offer sign-up times to practice interviewing with a career counselor. A friend or family member with experience in job interviews can be another resource for you. Here at Verum Staffing, we offer interview help/practice for candidates, as do many other staffing agencies. Take advantage of these informational interviews, and ask for feedback when you are done. The only way to improve upon your interview skills is to practice, so get to it!

While you are scheduling those practice interviews, take a moment to really research and familiarize yourself with some of the common questions that crop up in interview sessions. The first of these we’ll discuss is called a “behavioral” question. A behavioral or situational question gives the interviewer an inkling of how you may behave if a given or common work situation crops up. For example, the interviewer may ask “tell me about a time where you saw a co-worker who wasn’t following the rules; what did you do?” In this case, they may be looking to see if you are someone who would try and work things out with a co-worker, if you would run to tell a supervisor, or if you didn’t say anything. Behavioral questions are part of most interviews, and can vary in the type of question (and resulting answer) the interview is looking to hear. You will be hard pressed to research every behavioral question that may come up, but seeing and practicing a variety of them can give you a good head start. As a general rule of thumb, when you are asked to answer a behavioral question, the interviewer is asking you to describe one specific time. If we go back to our last example, you would want to describe one instance where you caught a co-worker not doing their job, not what you would do in most situations.

Other types of questions that may be asked of you in an interview can included the following:

·         What can you tell me about yourself?
·         Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
·         Are you planning on attended graduate school in the future?
·         What is one of your strengths?
·         What is one of your weaknesses?

Even if you have researched the questions thoroughly, you’ll still need to be able to give well thought out answer in order to impress your interviewer! Practicing the questions and receiving feedback is a good start. As a note, you do not want to try and memorize an answer. If you have a “script” answer that you plan to follow, you may get thrown off or forget your answer. A better idea is to have an outline of various situations that could serve to answer a multitude of those behavioral questions. 

Another idea is to use what is referred to as the “STAR” technique. STAR refers to the following:

·         Situation
·         Task
·         Action
·         Result

In this way, you think of the situation that best answers the question, describe the task at hand, the action that you took to resolve the situation, and what the result was.

To sum up today’s advice: practice! The more prepared you feel heading in to an interview, the more likely you are better to do! Good luck!

Stay tuned for our next article on 10/09/14 where we’ll give helpful tips for interviewing by phone. Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send an email to to set up an informational interview.