Viewing posts from the blog category

Body Language: Secrets to Winning the Interview

Having great body language alone won’t land you your dream job, but it can certainly increase your chances of projecting a confident, smart, social and professional image which are incredibly important attributes to be remembered by. I’ve outlined 10 simple and easy tips below to keep you ahead of the game for interviewing and for life in general too!

1. Sit all the back in your seat: it shows confidence and that you are relaxed and ready, so try to avoid slouching as much as possible as it shows insecurity.

2. Instead of constant eye contact: instead, focus on your interviewers face. Eye contact is great, but it can be a little intense and uncomfortable at times so use it wisely.

3. Use hand gestures while speaking: this is a great trick if you’re really nervous and your hands are shaking.

4. Show your palms: it shows honesty and puts people at ease.

5. Plant your feet on the ground: don’t cross your legs, or ankles. Believe it or not, it is scientifically proven that we create the best thoughts with both feet on the floor… weird right?

6. Work on your walk: when your greeting your interviewer, make sure you walk directly towards them with your body pointing in their direction and with your neck elevated and shoulders pulled back; not like Naomi Campbell, but I think you get my point.

7. Don’t cross your arms: it shows disengagement and makes you look like you are closed off, and you want to always look open and inviting but not in a sexual way of course.

8. Nod your head while listening: it shows that you’re attentive, so even if you’re bored to death, it would be best to fake it.

9. Lean in: keeping your shoulders back and down, and your chest high demonstrates interest.

10. Smile: it shows that you’re friendly and approachable

Calling out of work –the do’s and don’ts!

DSC_0714Calling out of work has definitely become outdated and not as popular since we experienced the recession, however, it is now more frequent for employees to come into work when they really shouldn’t be. Taking the day off work may not always be an easy choice, but sometimes it’s the right one. So before you make your decision, consider the pros and cons and the impact that your absence might have on your colleagues and your company. We’ve constructed the top 5 reasons you SHOULD give your boss that call, and 5 reasons when you SHOULD NOT make the call.

Good Reasons

1) Contagious illnesses like the Flu or Common Cold: STAY HOME! A sick employee is usually not productive at work and poses a bigger threat to the company because you increase the risk of someone else getting sick. Don’t try to be Mel Gibson in Braveheart by proving your dedication to your work, you should dedicate yourself to your body and get better!

2) Mental Day: Sometimes We all get too caught up in what we’re doing and forget to take the time to unwind and relax. Overstress can lead to you burning out, physical illness, or worse…having a break-down. Take a yoga class, lay down or listen to the Zen Garden station on Pandora to cleanse your mind, body and spirit. Just make sure you don’t do this too frequently.

3) Severe Weather: Better stay home and be safe than risk the chance of not making back home.

4) Another Job Interview: Be discreet about it and try and make it in the morning or late afternoon, so you can come in late or leave early and don’t impact your current role and responsibilities.

5) Legal Court Dates: You have no choice!

Lame Reasons

1) A drunken night now: It happens to the best of us, but it’s not fair to the people who have to pick up your slack. Buy yourself a SmartWater, Gatorade, coffee, and 2 bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and I promise you’ll bounce back to life.

2) Sports Events or Sample Sales: That’s just wrong, no matter how right you think it is!

3) Beach Day: When it’s beautiful out, the last place anyone wants to be is at work. However, we’re adults, not rebellious teenagers and we’re getting paid to work. There’s a time and place for everything.

4) Inconvenient Weather: of course it’s hard getting out of bed in the morning when it’s raining and looks like it’s the end of world outside. Get out of bed, play something happy and wear something cheerful to get your mind in a more positive state.

5) You hate your boss: Studies have shown that almost half of employees don’t like their managers, but it’s still not a valid reason to bail out of work. Either get a new job, or focus on your behavior rather than your managers.

How To Present Your Portfolio: Turning A Vulnerability Into A Strength.

my pickHi! My name is Sophia, I am an Associate Search Consultant with The Melanie Andersen Agency. I work on all design and merchandising roles for our fashion and retail clients. I’m obsessed with all things fashion, and feel so privileged to play a role in the direction of the design and production of our clients’ products.

My favorite part of the interview process is looking at designers’ portfolios, so I created this 3 part blog series that gives some advice on how to maximize your chances of landing the interview. Resumes and portfolios should be the champions of your cause, not the Achilles’ heel for an otherwise talented designer. Last week, I gave some pointers and general advice on what you should be aiming to achieve with the layout of your resume and portfolio. For Part 2 of the series, I have laid out some tips on the content you should include in your portfolio. Hope you find this helpful!

Part 2: Content

What to include in your portfolio is a question every designer struggles with. The best advice I can offer is it needs to be a balance between inspiration, work for your previous employers, and personal work.

Although there shouldn’t be too many inspiration or mood boards, including at least one is important, because it is an inside scoop on your thought process and how you curate ideas, themes, and color schemes, etc. That being said, your portfolio should be a showcase of your work, you don’t want there to be any confusion as to whether it is your work or inspiration you are including. When I am looking at portfolios, I like to see a mix of work you have produced for a company, as well as personal sketches and designs. It is important for a hiring manager to see how a designer operates with and without the constraints of the company they work for.

I would caution not to make the portfolio too big, as hiring managers are usually impatient and don’t have a lot of time to look at a huge portfolio, so include only the best. It is also important for you to have digital portfolio samples, a lot of clients ask to be sent pieces of a designer’s portfolio prior to agreeing to an interview. Also, you should be sure that the file is small enough to easily send via email.

Now that you have the insider tips for layout and content, be sure to check out the third and final installment of this blog series: Presentation!

The Importance of Showcasing Personal Work

2014-07-22 04.08.37My name is Nina Malek and I am an Associate Search Consultant on the Creative Team here at The Melanie Andersen Agency.

Whether you work as a creative or not, you can show off your skills and experience to your employers in a fun, creative way by simply creating a visually appealing resume. A visual resume will help you eliminate lengthy wording and ensure that it stays under one page. Here are some quick tips on how to create a resume that will make you stand out from the crowd.

1. Use a visually appealing font – Times New Roman is very outdated and will blend right into an employer’s pile of resumes, so try out different fonts and use something that is easy to read, but isn’t boring. Creating a logo for yourself with a pop of color will ensure that your name stands out and gives an employer a glimpse of your aesthetic and style. Even something as simple as using color can help guide a hiring manager through your resume.

2. Clean and to the point – Remember to use white space throughout the document wisely, leaving enough white space throughout the document to give a clean and easy-to-read look. A resume that feels TOO visually complicated or looks like it will take too long to read will often get put to the site. Remember not to muddle your resume with unnecessary items- try to stick to thebasics and most important points that you want your employer to remember you by!

3. Replace lengthy sentences with graphics – A great way to eliminate lengthy sentences and ensure that a potential employer will notice important information is to use charts, icons or graphs. Replace a sentence about your growth in revenues with a chart or narrate your skills with icons. A cool site to use to find and download these types of icons is The Noun Project.

4. Links – It is 2015 and Google exists, so providing links to all of your relevant social media accounts in the header section of your resume will allow the hiring manager to easily access this information. Providing easy access to your LinkedIn or relevant Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr pages if you don’t have a website is a great way to give a potential employer more insight in life. That said, remember to only link those sites that are appropriate, professional and current.

Hot Topic Interview Questions To Land Your Dream Job

DSC_0714We all want to be remembered and leave a legacy behind, right? Well, good news… you can start practicing by preparing a set of questions to ask at the end of an interview. I’m not saying you need recite a song or preform a dance routine, as this is real life and not a pageant after all. However, you’ll soon realize that preparing to ask questions at the end of an interview can be as important as preparing to answer questions themselves. It gives you a powerful competitive advantage against other candidates and at the same time a chance at being the memorable star we all know you are.

Sad but true, you have got to always keep in mind that people conducting interviews are constantly meeting with tons of other candidates on top of their daily workload. I hope you find this set of questions below helpful while you prep for an interview and hopefully they will help set you apart from the rest of the bunch!

1) What does success look like for you in this position?

2) What is your company culture like?

3) What have you enjoyed most about working here? – this is where you can show them that you stalked them on LinkedIn and did your research!

4) What does a typical day look like for this role?

5) Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?

6) What are additional important skills I will need to do this job well?

7) Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?- this question is for the bold and the brave, it’s very honest.

8) What’s the most important thing you expect this person to accomplish in the first 60 days?

9) Who previously held this position or is this a newly created role?

10) What are the next steps in this process?

Interviewing With Potential Employers: Recognizing That It’s A Two Way Street

rachel_188x300So you’re getting ready to go on your first interview for that new job you’re dying to get, and you’re nervous because you want to impress these potential employers. What’s the best way to respond to their questions? How can I make them think I’m the best fit? Will my experience be enough? Stop right where you are! One of the most important things to remember when prepping for an interview, is that YOU are interviewing this new company and its employees just as much as they are interviewing you.

First realize that you made it to the interview- you got through the toughest part, and you’re in the door. This means that they’re interested in you, your experience, and are taking the time out of their day to hear about it. They WANT to listen to you. They’re curious about you. Just like dating however, it’s a two way street. You have power here, and you should be comfortable with that. This doesn’t mean you should go into the interview with an arrogant attitude, grilling the interviewer about her career trajectory, but it does mean you should inquire about his or her favorite things about the company, projects they’ve worked on and anything else you’re genuinely curious about. This could potentially be your life in the near future, and you want to know what you’re getting involved in. Truly observe the atmosphere, ask the types of questions that reveal the type of work they do, and try to gauge their general happiness at the company. Don’t be so nervous; YOU’RE the one with the talent, and you should remember that throughout the entire time.

Every potential employer wants an engaging interviewee, and the more curious you seem, the more intriguing you’ll come off, and like someone who really does have something to offer.

The Ultimate Thank You – Why Following Up Is Important

rachel_188x300Every step of the hiring process can make a difference, which is why we always encourage our candidates to be as professional as possible with all types of communication with potential employers from day one. From the minute you meet them to the second you leave, you are making an impression; and your electronic communication is just as important. More often overlooked, one of the most important steps of the interview process is the thank you note.

After you meet with potential employers, you should always send them an email thanking them for their time. A great thank you note reiterates why you are interested in the role and why you, and your specific experience, are right for it. It can also be used as a tool to highlight things you forgot to mention in the actual interview. In addition, the thank you note can be a great platform to follow up on certain things you discussed during the interview that did not have to do with the job, but rather personal anecdotes or topics you broached. I encourage you to follow up with those topics, and maybe include more information or helpful links to something they said they were interested in – it’s a great way to add a personal touch to an oftentimes informal letter.

Reminding the people you met with about your strengths and why you’re the best fit for a position will refresh their memory of you, make your name stand out next to other thank you notes, and show how much you really care about the position (something all employers want to see). No matter how many times you meet, you should always follow up with a thank you and restate your interest in the position – this can make a huge difference once you’ve made it past round one. Don’t get lazy! Make sure to follow up with each person you met with (ask for business cards after the meeting) and remind them that this opportunity is at the forefront of your mind, and is your top choice.

Even if they don’t respond, employers always appreciate a thank you note (most expect it) and will likely take the time to respond if you put some thought into it. Don’t underestimate its power, the way you say “thank you” can make a huge difference!

Is it right to ask for the salary on first interview?

DSC_0714Would you ask someone how much they were earning while on a 1st date? No. This concept should apply to your professional life as well (EXCEPT if you are meeting with a recruiter, it might be appreciated depending on the case). Everyone has the right to know how much the position they are seeking is offering, especially after investing so much time to meet the potential employer, but there is a time and place for everything. Asking how much the job you are interviewing for pays on the first interview is kind of tacky, like in a bedazzled multicolored floral vest from the 80’s kind of way…stay away from it! There are set budget ranges that companies work with and it is your job to prove yourself to be part of that top shelf tier. Instead of focusing on an offer that has not yet been extended to you, concentrate on selling yourself to get to that stage so you can leverage your abilities for the position at hand. Worry about asking specific questions about the company that you can use to highlight a strength that isn’t listed in your resume or that you haven’t talked about yet. The time will come when salary will be brought up (I promise), just don’t look like you’re thirsty for money- it isn’t a good look on anyone no matter how cute you are #stayclassy.

A Shift in Perspective And a Little Taste of Recruiting

Our Community Manager, Casey Fieldman, recently got the chance to work on a role of her own and get a little taste of the recruiting world. Although she never thought that was a side of the business she wanted to work on, this role pleasantly surprised her. Casey decided to share her thoughts and her success to show that sometimes the things you aren’t very excited about at first can turn out to be the most rewarding. Check out Casey’s blog below to learn a little bit more about her and her very first placement!

I recently made my very first placement, and I must say the whole process surprised me in ways I hadn’t expected. This was not only my first placement, but the first and only role that I have been given to work on. That being because I’m not actually a recruiter, I do Community Management here at The Melanie Andersen Agency. I am most definitely intrigued by the business of recruiting- that’s what drew me to this company. As Community Manager, I am responsible for helping the business run smoothly- working backstage and behind the scenes. I keep the recruiters organized by mapping out their hectic schedules, making sure everything is in its right place, and tying all the loose ends together.

We work on a ton of high level roles for a particular company, and so when they needed to fill a very junior level role for a luxury fashion brand, we agreed to work on it for them. All the recruiters were already exhausting all their time and energy on countless searches of their own, so Melanie asked if I could reach out to my network of young professional friends in New York to see if anyone would be interested. I agreed- and to be honest, I agreed reluctantly. I just never really thought I had that knack that all other recruiters seemed to have – the intuition they seemed to possess and the ease of conversation they exhibit. But Melanie was right, the odds were I knew a person that would be perfect for this role.

So I reached out to my immediate network of friends through social media, and immediately got a ton of responses. Then I started interviewing some of those people, which at first was the part that seemed the most unappealing to me. In my mind the interviews would be like forced small talk with strangers (don’t ask me why), which is probably my least favorite thing on the planet. But I was pleasantly surprised! The conversations flowed naturally and it was genuinely interesting to get someone’s mini history and hear about their ambitions or uncertainty of the path they wished to go down, which was common as I was speaking with young people who had just embarked on their career (and we all know what that’s like).

The last person I interviewed was actually a friend of mine from college. She was currently unhappy in her job and quite frankly feeling a little bit fixated on a path she did not wish to be on. She was incredibly excited by the prospect of this new position and I immediately knew she would be perfect for it. I submitted her, she interviewed, and was instantly well-received. Within about two weeks she was hired. She was ecstatic. I was ecstatic. The feeling was sort of amazing. I had just played an absolutely integral role in redirecting the career path of this individual back towards her passion, which was fashion. It was so rewarding to see how happy and grateful she was.

I always thought that my backstage role at the agency was best suited for my personality, but my experience working on and filling a role really shed light on some abilities I never thought I had. It was an awesome opportunity to explore the other side of our business and maybe an untapped part of my self. I will say I now understand what everyone means by the “recruiter’s high”. It’s a real thing! We really are doing amazing things for candidates by providing them with opportunities they may not have access to otherwise, and providing companies with amazing assets to their team. GO TMAA!

Shake Those First Date Jitters – Why Candidates and Clients Need to Practice Punctuality – Advice from Search Consultant, Nadine Knoblauch

We stress to candidates all the time the importance of being on time to an interview whether it be with us, the recruiter, or with the client. Sometimes the tables are turned, however, and the clients need to be reminded the importance of being on time to an interview with a potential new employee. While the client expects the candidate to be punctual and deserves that courtesy, the candidate deserves the same courtesy and if it is not shown, could ruin their experience with that particular company.

I recently had a senior candidate interviewing with a client for an important hire at the Vice President level. My client had reached out to me stressing the fact that she needed to hire someone relatively quickly and that this person would be playing a key role within the New York office. When I prepped my candidate I spoke about the company culture and touched on the importance of being Type A, organized, punctual and overall holding a ‘on top of your game’ mentality. She was happy to hear this as this is her in a nutshell.

My candidate was scheduled for a 1pm interview and planned for a 2:30pm departure back to her office (she had client meetings for the remainder of the afternoon, which my client was well aware of). At 1:10 my candidate emailed my assistant as the client still had not come to get her as planned. She patiently waited for another 10 minutes while we were unsuccessful in locating the client via phone and email. When we did get a hold of our client, she said she was running behind and had lost track of time, not seeming phased by her tardiness. They met shortly after at about 1:30, but the damage was already done. My candidate was thrown off, feeling rushed and unimpressed.

The initial interview between client and candidate is similar to a first date. Both parties need to be making a good impression on one another. Yes, the candidate is applying for a job with the client, but the client still needs to sell the position and company to the candidate. When a client wants to attract top talent they need to present like a top tier establishment. This is why timing plays such an important role. Not only was my candidate thrown off going into the interview (where tensions can already be high), but she left with a poor impression of our client and wasn’t interested in going back for a second interview. Don’t get me wrong, the same goes for candidates needing to respect the clients time. When a candidate shows up to an interview late, 99 percent of the time they are not asked to come back in for a second interview.

Being punctual is a great quality to demonstrate in your everyday life, but when interviewing its essential. Whether you are the client or the candidate, be sure to practice it.