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DEALING WITH RECRUITERS

If you have any questions about ISG advertisements or application processes, the advising consultant will be glad to help you. The name of whom is always to be found at the bottom of the advertisement. Our consultants always make an effort to get information to the interested parties as soon as possible. Because of interviews and client appointments, we ask for your patience. We are happy to answer your questions via email. You receive the email address of the back office of ISG Personnel Management. Our staff will gladly connect you with the consultants in charge.

DEALING WITH REJECTIONS

Don´t shy away from getting feedback from the respective recruiter and to ask for the reasons for rejection. Here you get first-hand information that will help you with the next application process. The reasons for a rejection can be varied - lack of skill, too much / too little experience, lack of language skills, etc. and frequently a high number of competing and equally well-qualified candidates. Wherever your skills meet the requirements in the advertisement, it is especially recommended to ask what the reasons were. If it comes to a rejection after a personal interview, additional criteria, such as conversational behaviour, presentation style, appearance, etc. can decisive. Tip: Practice the interview with a neutral person that can give you factual and critical feedback. While training stay authentic and professional.

EXERCISES IN THE AC AND FINAL DISCUSSION

• GROUP DISCUSSIONS

Group discussion is an exercise in interaction between participants. The priority is not the content but the social skills. The duration of such a group discussion varies between 15 - 45 minutes. However, this is often not sufficient to lead to an actual result. Then the following rule applies: Don´t panic, dealing with time pressure and stress is also part of the test repertoire.

• MAIL BASKET EXERCISES

You must manage this AC exercise alone within a given time frame. You should be able to put yourself in a particular situation where you are almost always under time pressure and in which you must make quick decisions and efficient delegation. Your task is to describe how you would act in the situation, and what priorities you set.

• PRESENTATIONS

This is a short lecture on a given topic (usually with background information, rarely with just keywords). The listeners are normally the AC observers, sometimes also your competitors. The presentation is about summing up the content and giving your audience the best possible presentation in the time available. Possible presentations are impromptu speeches with 5 - 15 minutes of preparation time. Exceptions are thorough presentations with several hours of reading and reference work in advance.

• ROLE PLAYING

This involves simulated conversations between applicants and observers with predetermined roles. The topics are often operational interactions, e.g. conflict conversations between a supervisor / manager and an employee (Like: criticism of work results). The role play usually lasts between 10 and 30 minutes, approximately 5 - 15 minutes preparation time is given.

• THE FINAL INTERVIEW

As feedback at the end, the applicants will be asked to come to a final individual interview
concerning the following topics:
• Personal experience of the AC: satisfaction with one´s own performance
• Assessment of personal "qualifications" for the given position
• Assessment of the AC from your side 
• Feedback and evaluation of your performance from the perspective of the observers

PILLOW TALK AT THE WORKPLACE

In Austria there is no legal regulation that prohibits people from getting closer in the work environment. Here are some tips for making the private and the occupational world function well together:

  • The supervisor may not prohibit a love relationship, however, it is advisable not to flirt in your own department and not to have relationships with subordinates. If this goes wrong, the work climate often suffers and efficiency is lower. It also increases the risk of workplace bullying.
  • Being caught red-handed”: work spaces may not be "misused". This can lead to a warning and result in termination if the violation     is repeated.
  • If people go separate ways, and the work climate consequently suffers and efficiency sinks, a warning can also be issued.
  • (Source: working-wirtschaft.at and AK Wien)
POSSIBLE QUESTIONS IN AN INTERVIEW

How did you find out about our company? What do you know about our company?

Why should we choose you? How would you justify our taking you on if you were in my place?
Why did you end your last job?

Give five characteristics that describe you? How would your partner or best friend describe you?
What are your special skills? What strengths and weaknesses did your supervisor point out in your last review?
What would you like to change about yourself?
What was the biggest challenge you ever faced?
Why do you want to change your job?
What opinion does your last employer have of you?
What does success mean to you?
What books have you read recently? What do you like doing in your spare time?

How has your job search been so far?
How do you handle your personal time management?
What activities do you like the most. What is the hardest for you?
What qualities in other persons do you find most disturbing?
What frustrates you the most? What makes you worry?
Where will you apply if we do not take you?
What does leadership mean to you? What leadership style do you prefer?
Under which leadership style do you work well?

What do you expect from your next job?
What should your supervisor be? How should your work environment be?
What do you not appreciate about your current supervisor?
Do you currently have any other applications running?
Do you know employees from our company?
Do you have professional role models?
Do you mind if I contact some of your references?
What salary do you imagine?
From which side was the employment relationship ended?
How long will you need to become familiar with your work for us?

There are some legally impermissible questions that you do not have to answer truthfully, as they impose upon the private areas of your personality.

Questions about:
party, trade union and religious affiliation
private life, family planning (pregnancy)
previous diseases
financial circumstances, debt

Party, trade union, and religious affiliation may only be requested if these are relevant to the job. For example, the question of religious affiliation when applying at a religious institution.

READING AND INTERPRETING JOB ADVERTISEMENTS CORRECTLY

Job advertisements are usually subject to a standard structure, which can be helpful in locating what is important and finding what one is looking for quickly, as follows:

INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMPANY

Usually a job advertisement begins with information about the company. The job location is also indicated here.

TASK DESCRIPTION

In bullet points or body text, starting with the primary tasks and the main goals of the position.

REQUIREMENTS PROFILE:

The requirements are subject ideally to a certain order to optimize orientation – at the beginning education and experience background, followed by the desired soft skills and language skills.

For job specifications, we distinguish between criteria that the company absolutely wants fulfilled and desired criteria: Indications of mandatory criteria may include the following wording;"absolutely required", "absolute prerequisite", and for desired criteria we use "nice-to-have", "advantageous", "Ideally, you have...".

The more the profile covers the requirements of the position, the more promising are the applications for this vacancy. However, profile changes often occur in the course of a recruiting process.


A recruiting process can also lead to profile changes where the fulfillment of certain criteria is for various reasons no longer mandatory. An application makes sense even if it only partially fulfills the the profile requirements. A revealing motivation letter in which you briefly summarize your relevant qualifications is of help to the recruiter.

THE COMPANY OFFERS...

If not already at the beginning, then at least at this point comes a presentation of the benefits offered by the company - for example: discount lunch, modern office space, good working atmosphere ...

SEND YOUR APPLICATION TO ...

At the end you normally find next to the contact details for your application, brief information about the desired submission form (e-mail, mail, online application platform) or information on the desired content (for example: "... include a photo" or "... state your salary requirements ")

RETURNING TO WORK AFTER PARENTAL LEAVE

The following tips will help make your return to the job smooth and professional:

INFORM YOUR SUPERVISOR ON TIME

Inform your boss about the pregnancy first, before he / she finds out from your colleagues. Take your time and find the right moment so he/she does not feel ambushed.

PLAN YOUR TIME OFF AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TOGETHER WITH YOUR EMPLOYER

Plan your baby break together with your employer. Think about how long you will stay away, what work hours are acceptable after your parental leave, and especially if you even want to return to your position. It is advisable to record these arrangements in writing.

KEEP CONTACT WITH THE COMPANY

Keep as much contact with the company during your parental leave. Take advantage of company parties, intranet, internal e-mail lists, or visit your colleagues / superiors and colleagues with the baby. This will help you remain close to the action and your re-entry will not be as difficult. If possible, during your parental leave you can take on minor or temporary employment in the company to help out or work as a vacation substitute or for sick leave.

TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR FURTHER EDUCATION

Many companies offer their employees on parental leave the opportunity to participate in continuing education. Show commitment and take advantage of this offer. After all, the better your qualifications and the more demanding the job, the faster you should go back to your original work – in order not to lose it.

ARRANGE CHILDCARE

You can work more focused if you know your child is in good hands. Therefore, plan and arrange childcare. Do your work hours fit with those of the childcare facility? What happens in case of illness, if the child can´t go to the kindergarten or day care center? Do you have a plan B? Are grandma and grandpa perhaps available?

NEW EMPLOYER

Even if you want to enter a new employment contract after your parental leave, you need to decide whether you want to work part time or full time. Unfortunately only few attractive part-time positions are available. Speak openly with the potential employer about your situation.

THE APPLICATION FORMS

WIN FAVOUR! – HAVE AN APPROPRIATE APPLICATION PHOTO

The photo is an important element of the application documents. It often subconsciously influences whether decision makers invite a candidate for an interview or not. The size of the image should be chosen so that it visually blends in well with the application papers (max. 8 cm x 10cm). Please do not use passport images or snapshots. Have the photograph professionally done. (In the Anglo-American application photos are not common. For international applications it is generally advisable to obtain advance information about which form of application is customary for the country.)

WORK REFERENCE CERTIFICATES AND THE STRENGTH OF THEIR STATEMENTS

As an employee you have a legal right to a work reference. But you must specifically request that a work reference certificate be issued. The employer shows his / her appreciation for the worker in the form of the work reference certificate. The wording of the certificate must be chosen truthfully and show good intentions.

The qualified work reference includes, in addition to the personal aspects, the nature and duration of employment (= simple job reference), details of all major tasks in the correct order (the most significant first). And a performance evaluation (description of special knowledge and skills, expertise, tangible success, information on training, assessment of motivation, work style and leadership skills, portrayal of personal commitment and loyalty; assessment of behavior towards superiors and colleagues and customers. The reason for termination should not be mentioned unless it is a "company layoff".

Notice if vaguely formulated or bad reviews may be standing in the way of your career. Check the exact wording in your job reference certificate! If necessary, you can request your former employer to make corrections.

The terms "always, all the time, consistently, in every respect, during the entire period of employment", etc. may sound exaggerated or antiquated, but are of great importance for a trained reference reader. If these qualifiers are missing, this is interpreted as a shortcoming. The words "by and large, in general, in essence, etc." are considered to be negative. Concise notes of appreciation or lack of gratitude, regret and good wishes for the future express disapproval.


The following points may not be directly mentioned in the work reference certificate: salary, criminal history, illness, absenteeism, disability, or private commitment (trade union, party, or religious affiliation).

 

THE E-MAIL CONTACT – MAKE THEM HUNGRY FOR YOU!

The email contact should make the reader curious about you. It must be apparent that you are the  right one for the advertised position and want it too.

• In the subject line specify which position you are applying for.
• In the introduction you need to wake the interest and curiosity of the reader in the first sentence.
• In the main part briefly describe your qualifications and experience (successes and achievements) that are related to the requirements of the target position.
• In the final part, express your interest and anticipation for a personal interview and conclude with a friendly salutation.
• Provide your contact information.

Maintain the usual rules of courtesy. Follow generally accepted spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation.

THE ASSESSMENT CENTER

The assessment center (AC) is a method for detecting behavioral patterns, which is usually applied simultaneously to many participants based on previously defined requirements (but sometimes as an individual assessment center).  In practice, this means a combination of group dynamic exercises and tests, presentations and praxis-relevant work tasks in which candidates are systematically checked whether they are suitable for the vacant position. It is important that you take the situation in the AC seriously, as the observers want to see inside your usual behavior in order to assess you properly. In any case: Get ready for the unexpected!

PREPARATION

Usually an AC is used in the course of a recruitment process after a telephone or personal interview. The duration of the ACs can range from 2 to 3 hours to full day ACs (in exceptional cases even two-day ACs). So feel free to ask! Stay active during the ACs to give the observers an authentic picture of you.

ADVANTAGES OF AN AC FOR THE CANDIDATE

Feedback from the assessor can help in the comparison of your self-image and your external image to identify potential for improvement. In addition, you get to know the company and the company culture. Because the exercises are designed upon daily business operations, you get an insight into future tasks. In the AC, several corporate members decide whether someone will be hired. This fixes the position in the company.

THE INTERVIEW QUESTION: „WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?“

Also formulated as: "What stands out most about you?" or "What could you still improve?” or “Where do you see your potential for improvement?".

Hardly anyone who is unprepared for these questions can list (many) ad hoc strengths and (a) weakness.

The situation is often quite different with the follow-up question asking for examples when the strength / weakness was helpful / obstructive. It pays to be prepared for this.

The most common and worn-out answers for “weakness” heard by recruiters are "impatience" followed by "pedantic" and "chocolate" ... answers other than these are highly recommended. It is important to keep in mind what position you are applying for and which of your skills constitutes a real strength in performing this job. You should focus on these strengths and on weakness(es) in areas that are not of central importance to the respective position.

BUT WHAT ARE MY STRENGTHS / WEAKNESSES ACTUALLY?

The best way: make a list of skills from job advertisements and assess for yourself (for example on a scale of 1-10, or according to the school grading system) to what extent these are applicable to you. In this analysis it helps to ask questions like: "What tasks have been especially easy / difficult for me in the past?". Since one´s self-image and the perceptions of others do not always agree, you can let family, good friends, or former work colleagues/supervisors use this list to give you an evaluation of your competences. The comparison shows whether one assesses oneself properly.

THE PERSONAL INTERVIEW

GREETING AND INTRODUCTION

First impressions count. You should present yourself well here. Introduce yourself by your first and last name and speak understandably at a reasonable volume. Maintain eye contact, especially when you are addressed. Your handshake should not be too tight nor too soft. Of course you may accept beverages.

PRESENTATION OF THE COMPANY

Afterwards the company usually presents itself. You will receive important information. Listen attentively and take notes as appropriate. If you have questions, ask them. HR managers appreciate your interest in the company.

 

SELF-PRESENTATION

Tell the story of your own career in a clear manner. A mere listing of the respective positions is not enough. The company should receive a detailed overview of your qualifications and your areas of responsibility. Your presentation should be tailored to the job description. Particularly worth mentioning is experience that is relevant to the position. Consider also the following points:

• Avoid losing the thread and design your presentation with interesting examples.
• Describe your work without judging it.
• Stay realistic and avoid exaggeration.
• Avoid negative formulations.

 

TO BE ASKED IN THE INTERVIEW - ABOUT EXPERIENCE, EXPERTISE AND PERSONALITY

The questions in the interview basically cover the following topics:

• Education, training, and career experience
• Hard skills (IT skills, languages, etc)
• Career goals
• Motivation for your application
• Personal qualifications (soft skills, strengths / weaknesses)
• Reasons for leaving previous employments
• Dedication to work (Are you willing to work overtime?)
• Availability
• Salary requirements

 

QUESTIONS IN THE INTERVIEW - ABOUT THE POSITION AND COMPANY

By asking qualified questions in the interview you indicate interest in the vacancy and show that you are seriously considering the company as a potential next employer. It also helps you to consider whether the position and company are the right choice for you.


Some examples of possible questions:
• Why is the position vacant (replacement, new position)?
• Are there development prospects in the company?
• What are the reporting lines within the company? Where is the job located within the organization?
• Questions about the area of responsibility / activity – What are the essential main tasks? What goals are to be achieved?
• Questions on working time (core hours, flexi-time?)
• How would you describe the corporate culture?

 

SAYING GOODBYE - THE LAST IMPRESSION IN THE INTERVIEW:

At the end of the interview it is recommended that you agree upon how things will proceed and what is the horizon for decision making. This way you can coordinate other running application processes better - especially if you are already in final-round interviews.

BODY LANGUAGE

Determined, a confident walk, open eye contact, and a firm handshake usually come across well to others, in some cases this may even increase your likability. Much more important is to remain authentic and to stay yourself in conversation - which is hard to accomplish with the many rules for proper use of body language in mind. At worst one is possibly distracted from the actual conversation or tense and makes an unnatural impression.

THE PRELIMINARY TELEPHONE INTERVIEW

HR managers usually carry out a telephone interview before agreeing to a personal interview. Details (such as salary, desired qualifications, employment, start date) are discussed in advance to make the application process efficient for both sides. With regards to this we recommend you have a professional mailbox greeting.

THE PRELIMINARY TELEPHONE INTERVIEW

HR managers usually carry out a telephone interview before agreeing to a personal interview. Details (such as salary, desired qualifications, employment, start date) are discussed in advance to make the application process efficient for both sides. With regards to this we recommend you have a professional mailbox greeting.

WORKING AT "OLDER AGE" - CANDIDATES WITH 50 +

Many employers underestimate the potential that lies in "older" job seekers. You should not let this discourage you, because companies will eventually also have to adjust to this demographic change.
Some companies have already responded by removing age restrictions from their job specifications in order to benefit from this experience, skills and abilities.
In Austria there are currently 56,774 people over 50 looking for a new professional challenge (Source: WAFF March 2011). This is 0.3% less than the same month last year. In Vienna, it looks less good because here there was a rise in unemployment by more than 11 percent. One of the many ways to improve your chances in the labor market is further education. And this is not only required but also encouraged. For more information about your re-entry possibilities and financial support, please contact your local AMS.
Tip: Use the additional education check at the Chamber of Labour!