This week we spoke with our friend Melenee Suarez Burns an executive recruiter at a high-end retailer. Melissa and I turn to her when we have questions, so we wanted to share her advice with you. We all know times are tough but there are still companies hiring new employees. Melenee has some tips to help you improve your job search and interview skills. Read on to learn what she looks for in potential employees, good ways to network for new jobs, and of course a few of her fashion do’s and don’ts.
1- As an executive recruiter, what is your role?
I work with hiring managers to create job descriptions & identify potential candidates for open job. I research the position and post the job on various job sites. I conduct phone interviews and face-to-face interviews in order to narrow the candidate pool for the hiring managers. Once I have a handful of qualified applicants I present their resume to the hiring manager and set up interviews accordingly.
Once the hiring manager selects the applicant s/he feels is a perfect fit for the position. I extend and, if necessary, negotiate an employment offer.
2- The job market is tough right now, what are your top resources for finding qualified candidates?
1) Current employees
3) Professional networking sites such as Linked In & Plaxo
3- How do you recommend job seekers utilize social networks?
Be sure you have an updated and professional Social Networking page. Use site like Linked In for employment opportunities. If you have a page on Facebook or Myspace, be sure your Privacy settings are turned on. If you are active in blogging or such activity and feel it may be racy for the corporate arena or a conflict of interest with the company you want to work for, use a pseudonym.
4- When you receive a resume, what’s the first thing you look for?
1) Structure; is it easy to read (ie. bullet points)
2) Spelling and grammatical structure
3) Consistency (ie. all the same font, font size, did you use NY, NY in one place & then New York, NY in an other)
4) Objective (does it fit the job you are applying for)
5- We all know a first impression is important, remind us why.
People do judge books by the cover. (It is human nature…It is the trigger to our flight or fight mechanism.) So sadly the first time we meet someone will be the picture we form all else on…
6- How does one give off a confident impression? What are the traits you look for?
Voice (tone & pitch)
Handshake (if applicable)
7- For an interview outfit, what is an absolute don’t in your book?
Tight or low cut
Sandals, thong or flip flops
No make up
8- Do you have a good story of someone showing up inappropriately to meet with you?
This isn’t the worse story ever but recently I interviewed a young lady for a very technical job. She was currently doing the same type of job for a company in the financial industry. She was wearing a suit, but had on some sort of graphic tee underneath.
Since I recruit for a high-end retail, sometimes people come in wearing every bit of couture clothing they own… Not a good look!
9- So what is your advice on landing the job when so many people are vying for the same position?
These days, follow up with a thank you note (email is fine) but be sure it’s not a cut & paste job. Be sure to include something personal about our meeting as well as an honest recap of my business & what you will bring to the job.
10- Any other tips you’d like to share with us?
Be sure and confident about you salary expectations / needs. I can’t believe people are selling their skills & experience short by saying I was making 75K but with the market being what it is I will take 65K.
For me that reads: you feel you were being over paid in your last job. And at the first sign of the economy picking up you’ll be looking for a new job.
We love real life practical advice that we can all apply to our lives. Even if you are not currently job hunting. It’s good idea to keep your online profile’s up to date and free from anything you don’t want a potential employer to see. Plus you can take a look at your resume now and clean up that formatting. The next time you go on an interview remember to smile and make eye contact. Of course we know you will be dressed Workchic and avoid being someone’s inappropriate story. Don’t forget those thank you notes and our favorite advice- be sure and confident!
Special thanks to Melenee for taking the time to share her advice with our Workchic readers. If you’d like to learn more, leave a question in our comment area for Melenee. She will do her best to answer them. We all wish you Good Luck on your next interview!