Despite some recent improvement, unemployment rates for veterans — especially those who served post-9/11 — remain much higher than the national average.
Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It was developed to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses obtain meaningful employment. The program will be hosting a hiring fair at the Amtrak Beech Grove Shops on September 18.
The event is free for both employers and job seekers and will focus on careers in the rail transportation industry. The job fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and an employment workshop will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sessions at the workshop will include resume building and writing, as well as interviewing techniques.
The Indiana Chamber’s 24th Annual Awards Dinner in November 2013 featured a salute to the military and veterans theme. In May, the Chamber conducted a Policy Issue Conference Call focused on employment for veterans and military spouses.
Twice now I’ve had the pleasure of venturing back to my alma mater (Franklin College) and helping the journalism department with some student mock job interviews. In the interviews, I am the employer and the student is testing out his or her interviewing skills, with the ultimate goal of helping the students build confidence in those skills.
I came across this infographic on Ragan Communications and found it pertinent to that experience and to anyone currently searching for a job. If you’re getting ready to interview or if you’ve had no luck in landing new employment, read on for some helpful guidelines that might just tip the scales in your favor next time.
Make sure you’ve done your research. Of 2,000 employers surveyed, 47% said the No. 1 mistake job seekers make during interviews is having no knowledge about the company.
Another one to be aware of (but this should come as no surprise): 65% of employers say clothing influences the decision between two candidates. But don’t think being overly fashionable or trendy will land you the job: 70% of employers claim they don’t want applicants who dress that way. Aiming for modest and professional is probably your best bet. And don’t go too heavy on the perfume or cologne. Your interviewer can’t focus properly on your responses if there’s a giant pink cloud of perfume surrounding you.
When I work with college students, most have some serious handshake work to do – and 26% of employers also see a weak handshake as tanking your probability of landing the job. Other physical actions that aren’t great: failure to make eye contact, not smiling, hunching over, keeping your arms crossed over your chest, making too many hand gestures, or just simple fidgeting.
The infographic also gives some handy lists to help with your interviewing, but here’s a quick one to keep handy:
Learn about the organization.
Have a specific job in mind.
Review your qualifications for the job.
Be ready to briefly describe your experience.
There’s been some buzz lately in the social media and human resources arenas about the practice of employers asking for Facebook passwords from job applicants. While the practice sounded risky from the start anyway, Facebook is now chiming in, siding with those who think it’s way out of bounds. USA Today reports (via the Indy Star):
Facebook is warning employers not to demand the passwords of job applicants, saying that it’s an invasion of privacy that opens companies to legal liabilities.
The social networking company is also threatening legal action.
An Associated Press story this week documented cases of job applicants who are being asked, at the interview table, to reveal their Facebook passwords so their prospective employers can check their backgrounds.
In a post on Friday, Facebook’s chief privacy officer cautions that if an employer discovers that a job applicant is a member of a protected group, the employer may open itself up to claims of discrimination if it doesn’t hire that person.
"If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password," Erin Egan wrote.
Speaking with the media can be tough, especially if you’re not used to doing it. Christina Khoury of PRbreakfastclub.com offers some quality advice for businesses (it’s actually for PR pros to pass on to clients) about how to get your message across effectively in only 5-10 minutes, so you come across a little more like George Clooney, and a little less like Rod Blagojevich or Animal from "The Muppets":
Prepare. Inform your client about the outlet, host, market, and if you’re lucky the questions that will be asked (don’t count on it). Note: no matter how much you prepare, prepare for the unexpected and plan for possible damage control.
Draft no more than three talking points. If there are more than three, clients feel rushed to make sure every point is discussed and it makes the interview seem less conversational. Work with the client so that he can discuss the points comfortably with improvisation instead of memorizing them. This will help create a more genuine interview. If needed, index cards are beneficial but should only have key words instead of phrases in case your client forgets something. And if he does, it’s not the end of the world. Stay positive, give feedback, and move on to the next one.
This is not an advertisement. Be careful how many times your client mentions his product. If the audience wanted to watch informericals they would turn on the TV in the middle of the night. No one wants that during prime time. My rule of thumb, especially for short interviews, is to mention the product twice. Once in the beginning and once at the end as a call to action to communicate where or how to purchase/experience said product.
Smile. It’s easy to sound monotone on interviews especially if they are over the phone. By smiling clients can change the entire tone of their voice and people are more inclined to listen to a voice that is inviting.
Relax, breathe, and have fun. I’ve had clients sing on the radio, tell embarrassing stories, and some hosts have even professed their love for some clients. Just have fun. No one wants to listen to anyone that takes themselves too seriously, especially during drive time.