Category Archives: Interviewing

Introducing Our First Careers Podcast!

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We’re excited to share our first podcast with you! In this short, 15 minute segment, learn more about why references are so important and how you can maximize your chances of landing that job by choosing and prepping your references wisely. Simply click HERE to listen.

References

We enjoyed creating this podcast, and hope to record more in the future. Let us know what topics you’re interested in. In addition, feel free to reach out to any of the recruiters in this podcast by clicking on their profiles below:

Erin Bardwell, Staffing Manager 
Michael Dobreski, Corporate Recruiter
Frank Battaglia, Corporate Recruiter

Thank you for reading (and listening)!

P.S. If you want to learn even more about references, check out our last blog post on this topic.

Want to work for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About References But Were Afraid To Ask

references road sign illustration designOne of the most searched questions that brings people to our blog is – “Is it a good sign if they contact my references?” The answer is a resounding yes! If it gets to the point where a prospective employer requests references, you can feel confident that an offer MAY be headed your way.

However, a lot can happen between requesting your references and a potential job offer. Some of it you can control, some you can’t. Let’s start with the basics:

Why are good references so important?
You may think that reference checking is a formality – that either the employer won’t bother calling them or will only ask for verification of basic information such as dates worked. While this is true in some cases, it is very far from the truth in others. Go into your job search and interview expecting your references to be called if all goes well.

Who should you pick as a reference?
You want to pick a supervisor, boss or superior you’ve worked for over the years.  Your neighbor, pastor, best friend, colleague or parents are not good references!

Depositphotos_31386347_m-2015

How many should you have?
3 to 5 is a good basic number.

How do you prep your references?
By all means, let them know that they may be called! However, do NOT reach out every time you have a job interview. If you’ve had a few interviews and can tell the company is interested and asks for references, then you can give your references a heads up.

Sending your references a copy of your resume and even a link to the job description is helpful. Always make sure to thank them – even before they are called and definitely after! In addition, encourage your references to call the hiring manager as soon as they can (if they missed the call and were left a message).

Fair or not, you are being judged on everything – including how long it may take for a reference to call the hiring manager or recruiter back.

Think about it – which looks better – a reference so pumped about you as an employee that they call back right away or one who waits a half day or day to respond?

Poor employee ! Company performance audit checklist

What do recruiters and hiring managers want to hear?
They want to hear about your accomplishments – not canned or rehearsed answers. Enthusiastic, thoughtful commentary on why you were a good employee will go a long way.

How should younger job seekers handle references?
If you haven’t been in the workforce long enough to have former employers to use as references, you can always reach out to a former professor, sports coach or someone in authority who would be a good spokesperson on your behalf.

Do I need to put References Available Upon Request on my resume?
No. This is just a waste of space and is seen as a given. You should have a list ready to go when asked. Do not offer this list up. Wait until you are asked for it. Also, make sure all the contact information on there is current. It’s also helpful to add some context to the list – for example:
John Doe, my former Supervisor at Acme Corporation, 333-3333

What can job seekers do to make sure they have good references?
Don’t just reach out to your references when you need them! Keep in touch with them via LinkedIn, email or even a text. No one likes to be used! It’s up to you to cultivate and maintain good professional relationships so you will have a pool of people to draw from when the time comes.

What do I do after my references are called?
Reach out to them and thank them for being a reference. You can also find out how the call went.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

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Are You Too Scared To Look For A New Job?

grinningpumpkin

Listen, we get it. It can be hard to to put yourself out there. Let’s address some common job search fears and how you can move past them.

  1. The Fear of Change
    This is a big one. Even if you’re in a toxic work environment, leaving to start a new job is inherently stressful. All big moves are stressful – even good ones – like getting married, buying a house, going away to school, etc. Accept that leaving the comfort zone of your current position is going to cause emotional discomfort. This is part of the process. Not feeling at least a little apprehension would be more atypical.

“Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.” -M.Dhliayo

  1. Procrastination Nation
    It’s so easy to keep postponing your job search.” Oh, I’ll wait until after the holidays, after the kids get a little older, after ‘INSERT YOUR EXCUSE HERE’. Don’t do it. Life moves quickly, and, before you know it, we’ll be in the midst of the new year. Combat this obstacle by charting out your job search plan now. It can be as simple as drafting and following a plan: October – work on resume and LinkedIn page for a half hour on Wednesday and Thursday nights, search for jobs for a half hour on Monday and Tuesday nights, November – attend one networking event, get references lined up. You get the idea…
  2. Not understanding the process 
    If you haven’t searched for a job for awhile (or even if you have), you’ll soon realize that the process itself has changed. Completing online applications is commonplace. These ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) have their own set of rules. It’s imperative that you format your resume with keywords to increase your chances of the system making a match. Along the same lines though, good old fashioned job search rules still apply. You need to emphasize your accomplishments on your resume, as well as in an interview. The competition has never been fiercer, but knowing how to position yourself appropriately is half the battle.
  3. Thinking The Grass ISN’T Greener
    If you’ve ever left one bad job for another one, you may resist making a change again. However, if you don’t take a chance, you’ll never know! Yes, there is always the chance the next job may not live up to its potential. But, this is where your research comes in. Make sure to thoroughly research the company as best you can before you accept the offer.
    Besides perusing all their social media, look to see if you have any mutual connections or friends who know people who work there. ASK probing questions – for instance – What would people say is the best and worst thing about working here? If you could improve something in the office, what would it be?  LOOK for clues when you’re at the interview. Do people seem engaged and energetic or appear apathetic? What you hear (or don’t hear), see (or don’t see), can all be very telling. Be a detective so you don’t get burned.

At the end of the day, it’s a personal decision whether you make the decision to stay or to go. As they say though, no risk, no rewards. Fight through your fears and go for that new job!

Looking for more job search advice?
Join our Talent Community today HERE! You’ll receive receive a monthly e-newsletter with job search advice written by our own staff of recruiters and experts.To see past issues, check out our Newsletter Archive.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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Filed under Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice, job search tips

Are You In A Job Search Drought?

DroughtMany parts of the country have experienced drought like conditions this Summer. Feel like the search for your dream job has run dry? If your job search has slowed to a trickle, here are five strategies to get it flowing forward again.

1. Track where you are
Meteorologists reporting on the weather are quick to tell us how many 90+ degree days we’ve had and how many are on the horizon. Do you know how many jobs you’ve applied to, how many calls you’ve made and where you stand in terms of lining up references? It helps to track, monitor and review your current results so you can start adjusting them. Start by creating a simple spreadsheet in Excel to track your job search activities or use a free site like JibberJobber to keep tabs on applications submitted, contacts, companies, etc.

2. Make adjustments
During a drought, water and energy conservation rules are often in effect. While you may want to water your lawn, you can’t. In the job search, you may have your eye on target companies that just aren’t hiring right now. In that case, it’s time to move to Plan B. Start researching other companies. There could be smaller organizations out there that offer great opportunities. Don’t fixate on just one type of company or even industry.

3. Bust through that stationary front.
Still seeing and applying for the same few positions? Sometimes candidates get in a rut, and search for the same job titles and avoid networking on LinkedIn, joining LinkedIn groups or not customizing their resume for each job. Big mistake!

Amy Keenan PictureIt could be that your search string is too stationary – like  that stationary weather front. If the same positions keep popping up, you need to change what you’re searching for. It’s very important to be flexible and be willing to try something new. The goal is to change the climate of your approach (resume, interview skills, etc.) from cold to hot!
– Amy Keenan,Corporate Recruiter for Allied Building Products  and a former weather forecaster 

4. Set up advisories
We’ve all received weather alerts, but did you know that on some job search sites, you can input your search criteria and receive notifications about new positions? While this should not be the only way you search for jobs, it is an easy way to make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities.

5. Know that this dry spell is only temporary
It’s easy to get tunnel vision and think that the heat will never end, your lawn will remain brown forever and that you’ll never get called in for another interview. However, that’s simply not true! Just as the rain will fall one day again soon, you will get interviews and you will land a job. If you give up now or adopt a defeatist attitude however, that will show through in your efforts. Don’t let apathy or inertia into your life! Keep researching companies and applying for positions. Employers sense desperation. Putting less effort/energy shows and, even worse, it’s only going to prolong your job search that much longer.

If you follow these tips, the drought should end and you will be flooded with opportunities! – Amy Keenan

P.S. If this post helped you, or you think it can help others, please share it.

Looking for more job search advice?
Join our Talent Community today HERE! You’ll receive receive a monthly e-newsletter with job search advice written by our own staff of recruiters and experts.To see past issues, check out our Newsletter Archive.

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

Photo Credit: Brad Helmink, Unsplash

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us!  TwitterInstagramLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook for jobs and career advice.

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Filed under Careers, Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice

Mind Your Manners [Infographic]

At a glance – what to do when you interview

Looking to knock your next interview out of the park? Check out this infographic for wardrobe tips, preparation suggestions, and interview etiquette rules!

 

Mind Your Manners: What to Do When You Interview

Via AkkenCloud

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WordPress (our blog) and LinkedIn.

Join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice, job search tips

Resume Tips From a Recruiter

We recently asked Joel Burris, a Corporate Recruiter for Allied Building Products for his advice on resumes. Joel looks at hundreds of resumes weekly. Check out these two short clips to hear what he has to say.

How long does a recruiter spend looking at a resume?

You want yours to be the first. Yes, there are times they go back to the pile – but who wants to be second place?

Resume tips recap:

  1. Make sure it’s streamlined and flows easily.
  2. Use bullets to keep it organized.
  3. It doesn’t have to be fancy – no need for photos, charts or graphs.
  4. Use a timeline format.
  5. Gaps in your work history? Provide a brief explanation as to why.
  6. Two page resumes are ok. One is fine too. Three is too much.

How can you stand apart from a pool of similar candidates?

How to stand out recap:
1) Show enthusiasm
Be excited about the opportunity and be willing to have an upbeat conversation.
2) Do a little bit of research
Learn about the company and job, including the competitors of the company.
3) Be able to articulate accomplishments at your last job
Tell stories and give examples – don’t just describe duties.

See Joel’s other posts:
4 Easy Action Steps for Veterans Transitioning To Civilian Jobs

Making it Easier for Veterans to Find Jobs

Learn more about Joel: Meet Joel B.

P.S. Looking for more career advice? Check out this post:
5 Tips to Make Your Job Search Less Taxing 

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow Oldcastle Careers on Twitter, LinkedIn,Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook forjobs and career advice. And, don’t forget to join our NEW Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

 

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Filed under Careers, Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice, job search tips, Resumes

Interview Checklist [Infographic]

These tips will help you get ready for your big interview.  Good luck – you got this!InterviewChecklist

Looking for more interview advice? Check out this post:
After the Interview – 3 Steps To Success

P.S. If this post helped you or you think it can help others, please share.

Thank you for reading!

 

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us for jobs and career advice:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube
Facebook
Pinterest

Also, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice

Are You An Unlucky Job Seeker?

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If you’ve been looking for a job for awhile, you may be feeling discouraged. When is it going to be MY turn? The goal of any successful job search is to stack the odds in your favor, so you are the ‘lucky one’ chosen. Ask yourself these questions and be honest about the answers. They can reveal areas to improve upon in your overall job search strategy.

  1. Are you doing your due diligence?
    You may have read stories that reveal how quite a few people spend more time planning for a vacation than they do for their retirement. No surprise there – it’s fun to plan a vacation. Retirement planning or job searching – not so much. Nevertheless, it’s important to remain focused and dedicate yourself to important, not so fun things – like your job search. This means customizing every cover letter and resume to the job, researching employers prior to an interview, getting/prepping the right references, calling recruiters back and going outside your comfort zone when it comes to proactively networking.
  2. Has your confidence, attitude and energy changed since you started searching?
    It’s completely understandable that your enthusiasm for the process has taken a hit, especially after more time goes by. However, this is not the time to show it. Even if you don’t feel energized and optimistic, you have to act like you are. Eating properly, getting exercise and creating a good support system (family/friends/fellow job seekers) can help boost your mood too.
  3. Do you let rejection (i.e. not hearing back from an application, after an interview, etc.) get you down?
    It’s ok and normal to feel disappointed. The job search can be impersonal, unfair and frustrating. However, wallowing is your enemy. Allow yourself time to be mad or sad and then move on! Think of the job search like speed dating. You’re going from interview to interview, just like you would be going from date to date. Not every date results in a relationship, and not every interview results in a job.

    Going through the interview process makes you better at interviewing. Don’t think of it as a waste of time – think of it as practice!

Progress and forward movement/momentum in the job search isn’t dependent on luck. It takes time and continual effort. Don’t give up. It may take longer than you had hoped for, but the right job is out there for you. And, always remember- the employer is the lucky one for making the decision to hire you.

Looking for more career advice? Check out this post:
Reference Reality – 7 Things You Should Know

P.S. If this post helped you or you think it can help others, please share.

Thank you for reading!

Photo credit: Quentin Ray: Unsplash

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us for jobs and career advice:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube
Facebook
Pinterest

Also, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice, resume

After The Interview – 3 Steps To Success

OfficeOnce you’ve had an interview, it’s common to breathe a sigh of relief. “Glad that’s done,” you may be saying to yourself. While a well deserved high five is in order, your work is not done. Post interview actions can make the difference between getting called in for interview number two or the employer taking a pass and moving on to another candidate. So, instead of stressing – take action!

1) Do a post interview ‘audit’
While the interview is still fresh in your mind, go over what went well and what could have gone better. Was there a question you wish you had answered differently?  Was there a question you wanted to ask but didn’t? Type or jot down some notes. This isn’t a time to beat yourself up – try to be as objective as you can. At the same time, don’t go overboard and think there isn’t any room for improvement.

2) Create your thank you note or email
Now that you have your notes, go over them to see how you can clarify any missteps that occurred during the interview. For instance, say the job is for an office manager in a large, hectic office and they questioned how you would do since you worked previously for a smaller office. If for some reason you fumbled over the answer, your thank you note can clarify and provide a better response.

“While I worked with a smaller team at XYZ Corp, I was the lead for numerous branch meetings that involved coordinating large groups from multiple locations. Part of the reason your position appeals to me is because it also gives me the opportunity to work with and coordinate similar large scale events.”

3) Keep searching
While this may be the job you really want, it’s better to not put all your eggs in one basket, even if the interview went well. Continue applying!  The job search is a numbers game. Even if the interview went flawlessly, there are many circumstances you can’t control – such as whether they have a strong internal candidate or whether someone else is a bitter fit. It’s better to keep pursuing other opportunities. The job search is an emotional journey. Don’t get too attached to one position and ignore other jobs that may be just as promising/fulfilling.

Looking for more career advice? Check out this post:
Short on time? 3 Quick LinkedIn Fixes

P.S. If this post helped you or you think it can help others, please share.

Thank you for reading!

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Child – Unsplash

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us for jobs and career advice:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube
Facebook
Pinterest

Also, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

Leave a comment

Filed under Careers, Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice, job search tips

Reference Reality – 7 Things You Should Know

GirlonPhone“Is it a good sign if they call my references?” The answer is a resounding yes! If you get to the point of the interview process where the employer is putting time and effort into reaching out to your references, you are definitely a solid contender for the position. For that reason, it makes good sense to put some thought into WHO you choose for a reference and HOW to prep them for that call. Our recruiting team conducts reference calls on a weekly basis. Here are a few insights from their calls and interactions.

1) Your boss makes the best reference.
Your peers can certainly speak about your work ethic, character, etc., but try for a superior if at all possible. Some companies insist on it. If you can’t use your boss as a reference (since you are still employed at the company and it would raise suspicions), what about your boss from a previous position? Good reference checkers notice if you can’t provide solid references from previous employers. It can be a red flag that you didn’t have or maintain solid professional relationships at those organizations.

2) Some companies won’t be as thorough as others, but you want to be prepared either way.
Prepare as if the employer will be calling all your references and asking them probing questions about you.

3) Ask your references permission to be used as a reference.
This is just common courtesy. Some people may not feel comfortable being a reference and you need to respect that. You never want to blind side people. It doesn’t look good if a recruiter or hiring manager calls a reference who has no idea they were going to be one.

4) Prep your references.
Give your references your resume and tell them a little bit about the position(s) you are going for and the time frame they can expect the call. Mention the qualifications you would appreciate they would mention. For instance, say you’re interviewing for a sales position. You could ask your reference to talk about the success you had on a certain sales initiative. You don’t want your reference to sound rehearsed, but a few reminders of your skill sets and accomplishments gives them a base for the discussion.

5) The reference checker is listening to what the reference DOES say as well as what they DON’T.
A good reference check call is a conversation between the reference and recruiter. The recruiter is looking to see if the person is a cultural fit and can do the job. They can sense when a reference may be holding back. Lulls in the conversation or hesitations can be red flags to them.

6) Avoid the “perfectionist” line.
Saying someone is too organized or too dedicated isn’t fooling anyone. No one is perfect, and we all have areas to work on. Employers know this. Being too glowing in a reference discussion can backfire. It’s best for your reference to focus on your strengths, but they should never lie or exaggerate.

7)  Be willing to be a reference for others, if appropriate.
It’s good practice to return the favor (at a later date), if you can. If you’re not a boss or superior, you can always endorse the person who was your reference on LinkedIn or write a testimonial about them. This is another way to maintain good relationships and network. The truth is – you should always have your radar on as far as who you could potentially use as a reference, whether you’re currently employed and not looking or actively pursuing new opportunities.

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.

Photo credit: Victor Hanacek, PicJumbo

taglineOldcastle

Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

Follow us for jobs and career advice:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube
Facebook
Pinterest

Also, don’t forget to join our Talent Community to receive a monthly e-mail newsletter with expert advice on the job search process.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Careers, Interviewing, Job Search, job search advice, job search tips

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