Interview Tips – How to Make Your Interview Count!

A few pointers to slam-dunk your next face-to-face meeting!

  • Research the hiring company prior to your interview.
  • Prepare at least three questions you have about the job and company.
  • Arrive early but not more than 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Dress conservatively. Avoid strong perfumes/aftershaves and excessive jewelry.
  • Don’t bring other people to the interview.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume.
  • Turn cell phone off.
  • Smile, make eye contact, and offer a firm handshake.
  • Focus on your strengths and how you can help the company.
  • Speak positively about current and former employers, colleagues and jobs.
  • Address salary, benefits and time-off policies ONLY if the interviewer initiates the topic.
  • Let them know if you are impressed with the company and want the job.
  • Promptly send a thank-you email to all who were present at the meeting.
  • Call Pinto Employment as soon as possible afterwards.


Negative Talk

Don’t engage in it while networking.

There are many reasons people are in the job market.  Unfortunately, some of those reasons aren’t pretty.  You were downsized, the company moved out of state, or you resigned because you didn’t see eye-to-eye with new management.  While it’s important to be honest, there is a fine line between candor and what can be misconstrued as unprofessionalism.  Many candidates, understandably upset with the situation, are quick to finger-point and assign blame.  Maybe the boss was an unreasonable jerk, but saying this is not advisable.

First, companies are interested in candidates that are not just qualified to do the job, but enthusiastic about their organization.  They want someone who is genuinely interested in making a commitment and a contribution.  Plus, they might wonder if they too will be smeared if any difficulties should arise.

Second, we all know by now how small the world is.  Word gets around very quickly.  Social networking allows us to “meet” people with a few clicks.  Therefore, what you say about so-and-so can, more easily than ever, get back to him or her.  This is especially important in niche industries like logistics, where, if you talk to someone long enough, you are bound to know someone in common.

Finally, peppering a conversation with all the ways the previous company wronged you undermines your strengths and detracts from all your shining qualifications.  Don’t avoid questions about why you are no longer with a particular company or why you’re looking for other opportunities, but use diplomacy and tact.  People tend to be more understanding than we think, especially with something out of our control.  You can’t go wrong by staying POSITIVE!

Driving Me Crazy

I moved from New Jersey, where traffic is no joke, to Los Angeles, where the traffic is less funny.  Clearly, I enjoy sitting in my car.

But seriously, I understand what commuting to work is like, especially in areas where inclement weather is a reality.  This is why here at Pinto Employment Search we demystify the location of an available position by publicly advertising it.  Why am I writing about such a seemingly insignificant detail?  Because once in a while I’ll speak with a candidate who is inexplicably taken by surprise.  At best, they just didn’t notice.  At worst, they ask – before an interview is even scheduled – if working from home would be an option.  This will probably all end in a waste of precious time for both parties.

Commuting is not the company’s problem, it’s the job seeker’s.  I’m not saying an employer shouldn’t be flexible, and many have come around to telecommuting and flex time.  Thanks to technology and enlightenment, work hours and locations are more fluid than ever.  But unless the job is advertised as virtual or at-home, you gotta go somewhere.  After you’re hired, use your skills and ambition to earn all the perks you’re going to get when you wow your bosses with your performance!  You might end up being entrusted to work from home after all.

When You Don’t Get the Gig

Almost everyone who moves to Los Angeles eventually takes an acting class, even if they don’t expect it to become a career. You’re lured in by the Hollywood sign, the possibilities, the fact that it’s actually easy to run into people at all levels of show business. It’s not uncommon to see filming taking place in random places. In my day to day life, I’ve met actors, producers, composers, animators, even corporate employees.

And so, curious to see what it was all about, I too succumbed and began taking all kinds of classes. One of the lessons learned is that when you go on an audition, you’re more likely to not get the part than to get it. That’s not to discourage anyone; that’s reality. As big as the market for entertainment is, there’s a lot of competition. You just have to keep putting yourself out there and trying, and eventually someone will hire you.

A regular job search is parallel in that there are many candidates going for the same jobs. The logistics industry has seen many mergers and acquisitions in the past decade, unfortunately resulting in countless layoffs. Thus, when a company is looking to hire, they tend to be deliberate, even picky. Your resume may be flawless, your skills current, your interview smooth and professional, but in the end they went with someone else. The reason could be anything: maybe the other candidate lives closer, making a commute easier in inclement weather; maybe the other candidate doesn’t need medical benefits; maybe the manager liked you but had a gut feeling that the fit with the company culture wasn’t quite right.

Whatever it is, it’s out of your control. As with an audition, you prepare, execute to the best of your ability, and thank them. Learn from anything you think you could have done better. Wait hopefully, but keep your options open. Then let it go. If you get the job (or part), fantastic! If not, and you don’t get a reason, move on. Don’t lose your confidence. There’s something better waiting.

Who? What? Where?

Collective wisdom states that when you’re out of a job, your full time job is looking for one.  We’ve all been in this position at one time or another – some of us during the era of scouring newspaper ads and snail-mailing resumes!  With the internet and the proliferation of job search websites, it’s easier than ever to submit applications for dozens of jobs any given day.  Because of this, it’s also easy to forget all the different positions for which you applied.  A recruiter might call a few days after seeing a resume posted online and catch you off guard. Many times we’ve called applicants and you could actually hear the deer-in-the-headlights look over the phone – no idea what job we were calling about!

Therefore, it’s a good idea to devise some sort of tracking system to keep your job search organized.  Whether you use a spreadsheet or some type of app, it should be quickly accessible and include:

Date applied
Documents sent (resume, cover letter, references, etc.)
Any actions with the date and outcome (spoke with recruiter; received email from HR, etc.)
Last but not least, interview dates and locations – even for phone interviews. This should go in every calendar you consult on a daily basis.

Life is busy, and no one can predict how long a hiring process will take.  Sometimes there are multiple phone calls or interviews.  The last thing you want to have happen is to miss an important appointment.  Maintaining a structure can greatly help your job search process.

Lose the Sweatpants!

Imagine this:

You score a date with someone you’ve been after for a while.  From mutual friends, you’ve heard nothing but good things about this person.  The phone conversations have been smooth and fluid; emails exchanged have been intelligent and funny.  Finally, you find yourself waiting excitedly for him or her at a nice restaurant.  The moment has arrived!  But your brain has trouble processing what the eyes are seeing:  your object of interest is wearing baggy gray sweatpants, a t-shirt, and an attitude that says “So what?”  Giving this a chance (maybe it’s an anomaly – he had a bad day; she had to rush to the dentist right before dinner), you initiate friendly conversation.  All you get in return are one-word answers, no questions, no discernible interest in the meeting.  Would you ever see this person again?  Would you be surprised if this person remained single until the end of time?

Replace the situation above with a job interview.  Unthinkable, right?  Wrong!  A horrified client recently told me the true story of an applicant whose resume was top-notch and who interviewed very well over the phone, but when he arrived for his appointment, he looked like he’d rolled out of bed, with a slouchy, disinterested posture to match.  I was flabbergasted.

You would think an adult already in the workforce several years would not need to be guided on what to wear – and not wear – to a job interview.  And 99% of people know how to present themselves.  For the 1% who have any doubt whatsoever, it is best to err on the side of a conservative suit, whatever is in style and appropriate for the company.  Obviously if you’re going for a job as a gym coach, the dress code might be a little more relaxed.  In most environments, however, and especially if you’re just not sure (most companies nowadays have business casual dress codes) it is advisable to dress a little more formally until they tell you about the company culture and dress.

In either of the above scenarios, do all you can to make sure you get called back!

Your Friend, the Thesaurus

Imagine you’re reading a novel, and the author uses the same words over and over and over again (see what I did there?).  The book starts to feel a bit dry; you wonder where the imagination went.  Well, the same applies to our resumes and CVs.

One rule of resume writing that hasn’t gone out of style is to use powerful verbs and descriptions throughout the document.  This takes some work, but is well worth it because it makes the resume more interesting for a hiring manager to read.  Strong action words make a resume “pop” with accomplishments.  Diversity of vocabulary shows an investment of time and thought, qualities desirable to any potential employer.

Of course, since in real life we don’t write the way we speak, it can be difficult to come up with unique ways to describe your responsibilities, achievements and strengths.  This is particularly challenging if you’ve held the same type of job at different companies.  Here is where an online thesaurus comes in handy.  Just Google “another way to say handled” and you’ll get a slew of related words.

Still stuck?  Ask Pinto Employment Search for help!  We will create a one-of-a-kind resume – no templates – that will showcase your talents while being reader-friendly.  And we will not repeat ourselves.  I repeat, we will not repeat ourselves!

My Resume Is A Living, Breathing Document

Certain dates are unchangeable: birth dates, wedding dates, death dates (sorry!).  The start date was a specific day, as was the end date.  No gray area here.

Titles are also pretty firm.  President, Accountant, King.  Pretty obvious what each role entails.

Yet we continue to see discrepancies such as this:

Old Resume:  Granny Annie Logistics Inc., Manager, Customer Service, January 2000 – August 2002 / Peyton Grace Consolidators LLC., Supervisor, November 2002 – January 2003

New Resume:  Granny Annie Logistics Inc., Manager, Customer Service, January 2000 – January 2003  (no mention of Peyton Grace Consolidators)


Old Resume:  Export Coordinator, May 2013 –May 2014, Export Manager, May 2014 – Present

New Resume:  Export Manager, May 2013 – Present                                                                             (Made yourself manager for a year longer than you were)

Why do we fudge titles and dates of employment on a resume?  Because we’re trying to hide something.  It may look good on paper, but the gesture may backfire.

Here are a few ways companies find out:

  • the new resume doesn’t match one previously submitted (assume wherever you submit keeps database records!)
  • the resume doesn’t match the candidate’s LinkedIn profile (assume it’s going to be viewed!)
  • people get accidentally “outed” by a mutual acquaintance, especially in a niche industry (assume six degrees of separation!)

The risk you take is that the company or recruiter thinks you’re trying to get one over on them.  Remember, this precious document is the first impression people get of you as a worker.  Companies are a lot more understanding and sympathetic than they’re given credit for, so I would err on the side of honesty and a good explanation.

Consulting Dual Paradigm Synergies to Conduct A New Vision For Global Solutional Fulfillment

The beauty of a buzzword is skin deep.  Strung together, they sound impressive.  Look closely though, and there’s no depth.  Questions immediately come to mind, such as:  “What exactly was done, and how?” and “What was the result?”  Buzzwords look great in company brochures; they’re big and colorful and important-sounding.  But in a resume, they are often used to disguise a lack of actual achievement.

When a hiring manager reviews a resume, they want to see facts and figures (e.g., “Closed 5 new accounts in Q1 representing $1 million in air freight revenue.”).  They’re not interested in fluffy words that ultimately mean “I looked up a company on the internet, and then made a to-do list.”  It’s not that they’re unimpressed by a strong command of the English language; on the contrary, companies want people with great overall communication skills.  They merely want to see what you accomplished at work, plain and simple.

So, go ahead and pepper your resume with intelligent vocabulary and industry jargon!  Just make sure to back it up with some substance.  If you need assistance, Pinto Employment will happily write your resume!  We’ll make it look and sound good.  We promise.

It’s Not You – It’s Me

We admire your ambition, persistence and patience.  But sometimes it’s just not the right fit.  As recruiters, we are asked to find candidates who fit a particular set of requirements given to us by our clients, the hiring companies.  Thus, we need to focus on speaking with applicants who meet those requirements.  We wish we could get back to everyone who contacts us, but because of time constraints this is not always possible.  This is no reflection on your application or our desire to assist.  Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes on a weekly basis, and because of the sheer volume are unable to respond to each and every one. We really wish we could!  Please be assured that we are keeping your information on file for future opportunities.  Badmouthing or chastising the recruiter will not help or serve anyone.  If there is a job description for the position to which you have applied, please be cognizant of the skills and other attributes required.  We look forward to speaking with you in the future and wish you the very best in your job search!