Tag Archives: interview

Recruiters Reveal The One Key Interview Prep Tip You Should Never Ignore

interview

We asked our recruiters for interview “Do’s & Don’ts”. They all agree on what can make or break your chances for landing a job. They also share insight on things to avoid.

LizResearch the company to have an understanding of what they do, what the position entails, and prepare questions to ask about how you can make that company more successful. On the flip side, don’t talk negatively about past employers/jobs or  be unprepared. This would make me think you aren’t very interested in working at the company. Lastly, don’t show up late.
– Liz George, Precast Operations Recruiter

Kevin

I think the most important thing you can do is show your interest in the company by taking the time to learn about them, what they do, etc. In turn, the worst mistake would be to know nothing about the company going into the meeting.
– Kevin Lissow, Senior Corporate Recruiter

ErinPDo your research! Make sure you have a good understanding of the company and demonstrate that knowledge during the interview. Research commonly asked questions in the field you are interviewing for and prepare your answers for those questions. Practice speaking your answers to ensure you can smoothly answer those questions if asked. The worst mistake you can make is not knowing who you are interviewing with or what position you are interviewing for (yes, this does happen!).
– Erin Pummell, Operations Recruiter, Oldcastle Lawn and Garden

MattResearch the company thoroughly by looking at the website, Hoovers, Bloomberg, and social media. Interview prep should also include extracting key information from the job posting/description to highlight how your experience and skill set would translate, and where you can make the largest impact. Ultimately, the goal is to differentiate yourself from the competition, and you must be able to understand what the company does, and how you can add value. The worst mistake you can make is to ask about salary before you discuss the opportunity.
– Matt Kaul, Corporate Recruiter, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope

LilianLearn about the company, and come up with at least two questions: one about the company (or office) in general and one about the job specifically. It’s also important to “close” the interview by thanking the interviewer for their time and stating clearly that you are interested in the position.  Any ambiguity here is bad – you want the interviewer to come back to their boss and say “wow that guy/gal is amazing and they are really interested!”

I would say one big mistake is not having a concise, clear resume.  People sometimes don’t put dates on a resume, or don’t put things in the correct order.  Recruiters don’t have time to play detective and sort out work histories.  If we can’t sort out your career progression and timeline, we’ll move on to the candidate who did put that out clearly for us.

Lilian de Lascurain, Operations Recruiter

Photo credit: Pixabay

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

We are North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. In North America we adopted our parent company name to become CRH Americas, Inc. But, the strength, quality and legacy of our Oldcastle brand remains in our product groups, Oldcastle Precast, Oldcastle Architectural and Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, as well as our Oldcastle Building Solutions team.
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This Spring, Rely on Referrals!

network

Spring has sprung! For many, thoughts turn to Spring cleaning, better weather and new beginnings. If finding a new job is on your radar this season, LinkedIn’s latest feature is worth investigating. This past week, on LinkedIn’s Official Blog, they announced an easy way to find and reach out to potential people who could refer you to a target company.

Before we get into the specifics, here’s a reminder why referrals are so important.

  • According to a recent study showcased in an article by the Society for Human Resource Management, employee referrals continue to be many employers top source of hires, delivering more than 30% of all hires overall
  • Referrals are the #1 way job seekers report discovering a job for the first time
  • Close to 50% of recruiters say referrals are a leading source of quality hires 

Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you how valuable referrals are, how do you go about getting a referral into an organization? The process is as simple as a click of a button! Let’s go into LinkedIn and see how it works. Say, for example, you see this Marketing Job that you’re interested in. If you have any connections who can refer you, you will see them. In this case, there are quite a few. Now, click on “Ask for a referral.”

marketing1

This is what you will see next (below). These are connections with that company.

referral1

Then, if you click on the Message button, up pops a pre-populated message that you can edit as appropriate (as seen below).

referral3

Check out the rest of LinkedIn’s blog post about this topic for good suggestions about how to open that door, ask for a referral and personalize your request for best results.

#JobSearch #Career #LinkedIn


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

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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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.

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Introducing Our First Careers Podcast!

IMG_7691

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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Rough Job Search? Make your own luck

St Patricks Day dog

Not having any luck with your job search? Don’t despair!
1) Reevaluate your plan
How many hours a week are you REALLY devoting to your job search? Be honest. You may have to carve out more time OR maximize the time you are currently devoting to it. Mass blasting out resumes isn’t the best option. You should spend more time researching potential employers/contacts than you do actually applying to positions.
2) Always try to get a back door into a company
Applying to “Acme” company and don’t know anyone? Broaden your search. Are any of your LinkedIn connections connected with people at the company? Reach out to your connection to ask if they might be able to make an introduction.
3) Power up your social media
Use Facebook to research company pages and to see if any of your followers have mutual connections. Fill out your profile completely to show where you work. Recruiters and hiring managers could potentially look at it. Also, make sure all your profile and cover photos are employer friendly. Even if you have all your privacy settings locked down, anyone can see those photos.
4) Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Open Candidates feature
This relatively new feature lets recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities. Don’t worry -it does not inform people at your current company. To activate, go to the preferences tab on the home page, turn sharing on and fill out the info about role types you are interested in.
5) Customize that cover letter
The jury is still out on the importance of the cover letter. Some swear by them; others question their importance. Either way, you have to make yours the best it can be – just in case!

“Take the time to customize the cover letter so it fits the particular position you are applying for. You want to make sure it reflects the particular role, and it’s not just a stock template you use for every job you apply to.”
Damon Arnold, Corporate Recruiter, Oldcastle Materials Group

Damon also mentioned that, often times, he will see a cover letter come through with a different company’s name on it. It’s imperative to be sure this doesn’t happen. He can spot a canned cover letter immediately, and this can hurt your chances. “You need to take the time to personalize it. Attention to detail like this is important and also reflects your level of interest and commitment in the position and the company.”

The cover letter also showcases your writing/communications skills. Take the time to get it right. That means no typos or grammatical errors. Read it aloud to a friend, and make sure you proofread. It should flow easily. Don’t throw in unnecessary jargon or fancy language. Industry terminology is fine, but don’t go overboard. The resume is ultimately more important than the cover letter, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the time you spend on it. You never know which employer might weigh it more heavily.

Make tweaks like this so you’ll be the next ‘lucky’ one to land a new job!

** Bonus tip **
You can send a LinkedIn message to group members you share in common. This is a great way to reach out and communicate with people who may not be a connection.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

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.

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A Recipe For Job Search Success

cookieWith a little luck and a dollop of determination, you can cook up a great career for the New Year.

1) What jobs are you going to apply to?
Broaden your search parameters. Check out the  Occupational Outlook Handbook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/ This site identifies and describes almost every occupation you could imagine. It even includes education required and median pay. Another idea: When you go to the job boards – instead of always typing in the same job title – look for other titles. In addition, keep an open mind when you see the suggested jobs LinkedIn shows in your feed. There could be jobs out there that you’re qualified for that you hadn’t even thought of previously. Oh, and this same tip applies on the baking front too. Are you going to make cookies this year? Or maybe it’s pie? Sure, make those old favorites – but give new treats a try too!

2) Stir in two cups of patience
Any good baker knows that you can’t open the oven door when cookies or cakes are baking. It can be tempting to sneak a peek or poke at those cupcakes. However, the wait is worth the while. The same thing holds true for your job search. This is particularly true in December. Job search activity on all fronts slows to what seems like a crawl. You have to rise above the impatience and know that things will pick up again. January is just around the corner. Always keep your eyes open for positions, keep applying and be prepared for more activity in early 2017.

cupcakes3) Sprinkle in a pinch of creativity
Don’t be a cookie cutter candidate! On your end, what else you can do to differentiate yourself? Can you start a blog in your field? Is there a new networking group or conference you can attend? You want to stand out! While you do need to follow the rules when it comes to submitting applications, you can think and act outside the box too. Is the recruiter for the role on Twitter? Does the company have a careers Facebook page? There are other less obvious ways to reach out and differentiate yourself. For you bakers out there – we all know that the best recipes aren’t 100% by the book. You follow the directions to a point, but then add in your own special seasonings or alter the original. The results? Delish! Put that same strategy in play when you’re on the prowl for a position.

4) Don’t forget to add a dash of of love
You can always tell when a recipe has been made with love. The baker is passionate and excited about what they’re creating. Have you lost that excitement? It can be a challenge to maintain enthusiasm – especially for a job search that seems to be never ending. But, you have to find that inner strength to tap back into a better frame of mind. Interviewers (in person or on the phone) can tell when you’re just going through the motions. Even if you have to “fake it ’til you make it,” you need to do just that. Smile, think about the satisfaction of landing that job and what it will feel like to start a new adventure.

Thank you, as always, for reading. Wishing you all a sweet holiday!

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

P.S. Looking for holiday baking suggestions? Check out these recipes: http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/holidays/holiday-central-baking.html

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.

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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