Tag Archives: interview

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

Green with envy upon hearing a friend just landed a new job? 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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5 Things you can start doing TODAY to get a job tomorrow

ToDoList

Try these tips to move your search forward faster.

1) Write down the job you want and your target start date

“I want to be in a new role as a sales representative by Labor Day.”

Why is this important? A goal without a plan is just a pipe dream. Having it in writing is the first step towards action, and shows your commitment. Now, you may not get a job by that exact date, but you would be surprised at the power of a self fulfilling prophecy. Creating a realistic deadline, combined with a plan, is a great way to start.

2) Create a simple list with target dates
Here’s an example:

  1. Update LinkedIn profile and resume by the end of the month
  2. Start researching target companies by next month
  3. Reach out and line up 3 potential references by January
  4. Start drafting a generic cover letter by end of the week
  5. Spend half hour each night looking for positions online

The theory here is the same. Looking for a job can be overwhelming. Break it down into manageable steps with corresponding dates.

3) Tell a trusted friend and your immediate family
A support system is crucial. If you’re currently employed, you do have to be careful about not making your search public. ONLY tell the people you know you can trust. You don’t want word to get out. Colleagues talk. You need to continue to give 100% at your current job, and only job search on your off time, away from the office. If you’re unemployed, you have more leeway, and should broadcast your job search to a wider net (on social media, to your circle of acquaintances, on LinkedIn, etc.)

4) Don’t underestimate the importance of the interview
How are your interview skills? Don’t be afraid to get another opinion – whether that be a friend, family member or someone who works in career development (at your state’s career office, your college career center, local library, etc.). Too many people think they can go in and wing it. Wrong. You need to be prepared. This means finding information on what the company is about, what is going on in your particular industry and being able to articulate what you bring to the table. Anticipate questions you may be asked, and be ready with a good response.

Erin Bardwell, a Staffing Manager for Oldcastle, stresses the importance of having accomplishments as part of your interviewing arsenal. “Discuss your success stories and how you made yourself invaluable to the companies you worked for prior.”

5) Reevaluate your plan monthly and adjust accordingly
If you’re not having any luck, it may be time to look at what your action steps are. If you aren’t getting calls for interviews, it could be your resume.

“Tailor your resume for the skills and technologies used at those companies, says Corey Listar, Staffing Operations Manager for the Oldcastle Recruiting Office in Rochester, NY. He also advises to “start researching companies you want to work for and try networking with people in those companies.” Use LinkedIn to see if you (or your connections) know anyone at places you are interested in. Then, reach out to those people.

Embarking on a job search requires a plan, concerted effort and support system. Let us know how it goes – we’ll be rooting for you!

P.S. Speaking of jobs, we have over 1200 openings nationwide. Check them out on our Careers Site.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Too fearful to start a job search?

sailboat

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” –Louisa May Alcott

Any sort of big change, career or otherwise, comes with a certain amount of discomfort. Who wouldn’t be apprehensive about starting something new and leaving familiar faces and tasks behind?

It’s not about loss
“A lot of people think about what they are giving up by switching jobs – vacation, seniority, comfort and familiarity – and that is scary! Instead, think about what you could be gaining by letting go of that fear.  This is an opportunity to grow within a new company, bring your experiences to a new team and make new friends and new experiences.” – Corey Listar, Staffing Operations Manager

Redefine what an interview is
Yes, they are testing you, but you are also testing them. Go into the interview with this mindset. You’re like a detective – gathering facts. This simple switch in mindset can help alleviate your apprehension about the interview process.

 “People should look at an interview as gaining additional knowledge or as an informational interview in the beginning.  They should interview the person they’re speaking with to get information about the company and about the role and expectations to ensure it’s going to be a good fit for them.”  – Erin Bardwell, Staffing Manager

Take a risk for the greater reward
Sure, you can stay at your current job. BUT, if you’re miserable there, where does that get you? Many people stay in jobs that are no longer a fit for them for far too long. By doing so, they are missing out on the chance for personal and professional growth.

“The only way you can change your life is to take a chance.” – Deonna Campbell, Corporate Recruiter

The more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets.
Do you get engaged after your first date? Highly doubtful. Along the same lines, few people land the first job they apply to, so don’t get discouraged nor give up if your initial efforts aren’t a success. It’s a competitive job market out there. Your biggest arsenal against the competition is to know your market value (there are many websites that can help you with this), the kind of job you’re looking for and how to show your future employer that you have the skills they need.

Don’t let the fear of the job search process hold you back. Believe in yourself, look forward to the possibilities ahead and take the leap!

Looking for more career advice? Check out this post: 4 Quick Tips To Improve Your Resume

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

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