A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog discussing alternative ways to present yourself to employers (opposed to just sending in a generic resume). The post received quite a bit of positive feedback/discussion via e-mail so I am following the post up with a Part 2. See the original article here Why Can Resumes Hurt Your Chances of Getting Hired?
For this post, I had an e-mail interview with Linda Fahey. Linda is the co-founder of Dark Horse Media. With over 30 years of professional experience and growing Dark Horse Media into Tucson Arizona’s top advertising agency since 1996, she has a depth of knowledge to learn from.
In this post, I decided to focus my questions specifically on what employers look for in potential employees.
RYAN: Hey Linda,
First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to help our readers gain a better understanding of what business owners look for when finding great employees.
Question: I feel that resumes are helpful at first glance to see a potential employees work history and skills, but what other traits/qualities do you look for that can’t necessarily be seen on paper when interviewing a candidate?
LINDA: Answer: It’s important to me that the applicant fits in with the rest of the team. We are a small office and it is important that the chemistry is just right. Also, I look for people that are self starters and aren’t afraid to take a risk.
For me personally, I like to hire people that have been athletes in the past. They don’t have to be a past Olympian, a professional or a collegiate athlete. I look for high school or better. I feel like they know how to compete, are more disciplined, and know how to go the extra mile when needed. They don’t whine as much, are generally sick less, and they know what being on a team feels like, looks like and what is expected of them.
RYAN: Question: In my opinion, a majority of job applicants make the following mistake: They fail to express to the business they are applying for what unique abilities & strengths they bring to the business itself. Have you encountered strong applicants in the past with great resumes, yet they failed to understand the most important question, how can they help your business? (yes/no, feel free to explain)
LINDA: Answer: Yes, I have had candidates in the past that were more concerned with how this job was going to fit into their lifestyle and did not think to see how they could fit in to our company needs. I had one recent candidate who wanted me to work around her travel schedule to visit her grandkids and a second interviewee wanted to know if she could work four 10 hour days and get paid for exercising during work (that is the arrangement she had with her current employer the US Forest Service).
RYAN: Question: What was the best interview you’ve ever had with an individual? What made it memorable or what surprised you about them? What could applicants that are looking for work today learn from this great example?
LINDA: Answer: The person that had the best interview was a person that was applying for our accounting position. We met for lunch and she let me know she had exactly one hour for lunch as she was currently employed nearby. That impressed me because she was not taking advantage of her current employer. During the interview she gave me her resume, extraordinary reference letters and two documents that impressed me. One was marked Sensitive but Unclassified form the Department of Homeland Security that had important information on it and the second document was her credit report. She said if I am going to be handling your money I want you to know that I have a clean record, and that I pay my personal bills on time. That was all very impressive, but the thing that got her the job is when she leaned forward and said, when you go on vacation, I can run your company for you.
What applicants can learn today is to be prepared during the interview. Do some research on the company so you can have an intelligent conversation about the position. The person above wanted the job by bringing every tool she had. Instead of references upon request, she provided them. She didn’t want me to have an doubts about her abilities or integrity. And she was very confident.
If you have any questions at all about how you can stand out in your field when applying for a position, please ask us via e-mail here. Thanks!