Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Insider Job Search and Interview Tips from Top Recruiters

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While the national unemployment rate remains at 9.7%, career experts are noticing more activity of late with many companies looking to hire in anticipation of a prolonged recovery.  But in a difficult economy, these same companies are being extra selective as to who they let in the front door, and only those with excellent job search skills are getting hired.  To address the needs of job seekers, and SixFigureStart teamed up to offer a free webinar earlier today to provide resume writing, interview preparation, and other job search-related advice from Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio and Caroline Ceniza-Levine, former Fortune 500 recruiters who have led staffing groups at Citigroup, Warner-Lambert-Pfizer, Merrill Lynch and Time Inc.

Straight into the webinar, Caroline squashed the notion that there is a hostile relationship between recruiters and job seekers.  She assured the 1,163 webinar attendees that recruiters want applicants to get the job and informed listeners that they are 80% responsible for the outcome of the interview.  She added that most recruiters can tell within the first few minutes of an interview whether they would hire that person. That’s bad news if an applicant is a late starter or has a tendency to ramble for 15 minutes before hitting the real meat of what makes them a good prospect.

For those that do get past the initial stages, Connie also addressed the ego issue where applicants feel they are almost guaranteed to get the job once they get into the final round of interviews. She noted that if four people are considered perfect for the job, they are all on equal ground with clean slates heading into the decision-making rounds.

In between the first and final rounds, both Caroline and Connie expressed the need to maintain contact.  Caroline expressed shock at the questions of some guests who wondered if a thank you note is necessary after an interview, a telling sign that even the obvious rules are not always obvious to all job seekers.  Caroline believes the thank you note is more than a simple showing of appreciation, but an opportunity to take the discussion from the interview to a whole new level.  In addition, she added that it is not only important to stay in contact with the recruiter, but with everyone involved in the decision-making process.  While applicants are 80% responsible for the outcome of an interview, nullifying the 20% that is out of your hands is just as important.  Anything an applicant can do in the “white-space” between one interview and the next can eliminate the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy some may have toward you.

On the networking front, Connie noted that it is always important to stay in close touch with notable contacts, from parents to former professors to a friend from the gym – whether it be a warm holiday greeting or a question about their plans for the summer; stay on their radar.

Here are more tips from the webinar:

Top 5 Needed Strengths for the Interview: Analytical Skills, Communication Skills, Teamwork, Integrity, Creative Problem Solving – applicants must be prepared to demonstrate examples of each.

Tips on References: Most applicants don’t think about references until asked.  They should be thought about well in advance – who will best be able to promote you in the eyes of those responsible for hiring you.  According to Caroline and Connie, it is ok to coach your references who may not know exactly what specific examples to address in order to help you get the job.

Four Things You Need To Get the Job: Networking Smarts, Excellent Research Skills, Strong Marketing Materials, Quality Follow-up Skills.

Volunteer vs. Temp Work: You do not have to say you volunteered at a company.  The substance of the work you performed is more important.

Salary Negotiation: According to Connie, everything is up for negotiation and she has never seen anyone withdraw a job if someone asked for more money.

Cheat Resume Trick: Put keywords at the bottom of your resume, such as investment banking or private equity, and then turn that type white, so they are invisible to the naked eye, but viewable by programs filtering out candidates based on keywords and advancing those who meet the criteria to the next level.

To hear more from the seminar, including additional advice, explanations and helpful anecdotes, download the webinar at

Vault is offering additional webinars.  Those who would like more pointed advice about the interview process should check out the following two offerings (note, these are not free webinars and cost $27 to participate):

Master the Interview, Part 1:  How to Ace Any Interview – Thursday, April 1st from 12-1pm EST

Get a recruiter’s perspective on how the process really works

  • What are the top 5 things you should do during an interview?
  • What are the biggest mistakes and how to avoid them?
  • What are the different types of interviews?
  • How can you ace any interview and get to the 2nd round?

Presenter:       Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio

Cost:      $27, includes live call and downloadable Mp3 recording

Click here to register

Master the Interview, Part 2:  12 Most Common Interview Questions Decoded Friday, April 9th from 12-1pm EST

What are the 12 most popular interview questions and what do employers really want to know when they ask them?

  • There is an endless amount of questions you might be asked.  What are the 3 types of questions and the best approach for each;
  • You know you need to give examples.  What are the 5 pieces of information that make up a comprehensive example;
  • Interviews are stressful!  What strategies and tips can help you be your best right at the start of the interview?

Presenter: Caroline Ceniza-Levine

Cost:      $27, includes live call and downloadable Mp3 recording

Click here to register


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