Adams & Garth Blog

14 Questions Every Candidate Must Ask During a Job Interview

October 14th, 2014

As Lynchburg’s job search experts, Adams & Garth knows that too often candidates go to interviews expecting to be interrogated. But when it comes to determining whether or a not a potential job is right for you, it’s vital that you conduct your own cross-examination. The last thing you want is to accept a position that isn’t at all what you thought it would be – just because you didn’t ask the right questions during the interview.

Asking questions can help you dig deeper and learn more about the culture, the company leadership, their management style and employee retention. These are all critical factors when it comes to deciding whether the opportunity is a good match not just for your skill set, but for your personality and lifestyle as well.

To help you assess your next potential job, be sure to ask these questions:

1. How long did the last person who held the position stay?

2. Why did they leave?

3. What are some of the obstacles of this job?

4. What constitutes success in this position?

5. Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?

6. Can you tell me about my potential boss’s management style?

7. What kind of person meshes well with it?

8. How would you describe the company culture?

9. What’s one thing you would change about the culture if you could?

10. What do you like most about working here?

11. What do you like least?

12. What types of people tend to thrive within the company?

13. What types of people wouldn’t fare as well in it?

14. What are the company’s plans for new products or growth?

Also, before the interview ends, be sure ask the interviewer about the next steps in the hiring process, as well as when they expect to make a hiring decision. If you don’t, you’ll spend the next week agonizing about your performance in the interview, whether you got the job, and when you’ll get a call about it. When you ask about next steps too, it gives you an opening to follow up with the interviewer if you don’t hear back within the allotted time. So, for instance, if they told you they’d make a decision by Friday and it’s now the following Tuesday, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to follow up.

Looking for a great new job in Lynchburg? Call Adams & Garth. As Lynchburg’s job search experts, we can offer you a variety of services to help you find a new job and advance your career. Contact us today to learn more or search our Lynchburg jobs now.

Do You Believe These 5 Job Search Myths?

September 23rd, 2014

When you’re searching for a new job, everyone has tips they swear by. But should you believe them all? As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we can tell you the answer is a resounding “no!” What are some of the biggest ones we’ve heard over the years – and what’s the fact behind the fiction? Here’s a look:

Myth #1: You will find your next job online.

You might, but chances are, you won’t. Most people find the greatest job search success by using a variety of different tactics. This certainly includes looking to online job boards. But it also includes working with a Charlottesville employment agency, networking with colleagues, attending association meetings and making an effort to forge new connections each day.

Myth #2: Human resources is your ticket to a new job.

Those who work in the human resources department are simply gatekeepers to the decision makers. They recruit candidates, screen resumes and conduct preliminary interviews. But at the end of the day, the decision to hire often rests in the hands of a manager or company executive. That’s why when you’re networking – whether online or in person – you should try to connect with those in management roles at companies you want to work for. They’re the ones asking human resources to start the hiring process and they’re also ultimately the ones making the hiring decisions.

Myth #3: You’ll hear back soon after you apply for a job.

You might. But chances are, you probably won’t. In fact, it might take a proactive approach – by following up – for you to get on the radar of the person doing the hiring. So don’t be afraid to reach out and ask whether your resume was received and what the time frame is for filling the job. Also, always ask when to follow up and whom to follow up with.

Myth #4: Your LinkedIn profile is just an online resume.

Don’t just cut and paste your resume into your LinkedIn profile. Sure, it should list your past jobs and accomplishments. However, you need to get a little more creative than that if you want to get noticed. Include any samples of your work, video presentations, ask connections to recommend you and write a testimonial, and share articles of interest with your own thoughts on the information offered.

Myth #5: Your resume needs to include all your experience.

Your resume doesn’t need to be your career autobiography. Instead, you want to list those experiences and accomplishments that are most relevant to each position you’re applying for. Showcase the strengths and features you think would be most attractive for each potential employer. Don’t tell them about every job you’ve held since high school.

Need more help finding your next great job? Contact Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout Central Virginia to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

How to “Wow” a Hiring Manager in the First Few Minutes

September 9th, 2014

As Harrisonburg recruiters, Adams & Garth knows that job interviews typically last a lot longer than a few minutes. But you never know when you could run into someone who could impact your career advancement – at a coffee shop, in the elevator, or at an industry event. And the impression you make can leave a lasting mark, good or bad. What can you do to ensure you “wow” a manager and set yourself up for an interview? Here are some tips:

Speak the Right Body Language

Whether you’re walking into a job interview or networking at an industry event, keep your posture straight, smile at the person you’re talking with and offer a firm handshake. Likewise, when you sit, don’t slouch or fidget. Even if you’re nervous, suppress the urge to drum your fingers or tap your foot.

Make Sure Your Hands are Dry

You don’t want your nerves to betray you with a cold, clammy handshake. Make sure your hands are warm and dry before offering it to someone.

Use Color to Stand Out

While you should always dress professionally for a job interview, that doesn’t mean you can’t stand out with a pop of color. Hiring managers are so used to seeing blacks and grays that a red tie or blouse can make you more memorable.

Focus on One Great Story

What’s one professional accomplishment or achievement that really showcases your skill set, experience and passion? Whatever it is, try to focus on it when you’re talking to the hiring manager. When they ask you the inevitable “tell me about yourself” question, you can relate the story and how it sums up the value you bring to the table.

Don’t Ramble

One of the easiest ways to undermine yourself is by rambling on and on when answering a question. Not only does it show you’re losing focus, but you’re probably also losing the attention of the hiring manager in the process. Instead, practice some common interview answers ahead of time to ensure your answers are clear and concise.

Follow Up

Whether you chatted for 10 minutes with a hiring manager at a conference, or had an hour-long formal job interview, you should always follow up afterward to thank them for their time and reiterate why you’re a good fit for the job.

Need more help finding a new job that’s a great fit for you? Call Adams & Garth. Our Harrisonburg recruiters will work with you to learn about your career goals and background, and then match you with job opportunities in which you can thrive.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

Silence Isn’t Golden When it Comes to the Job Interview

August 26th, 2014

You landed an interview for a terrific opportunity. You nailed it and know you’re in the running. But now it’s a week later and you still haven’t heard anything from the employer.

Sound familiar?

If it does, you’re certainly not alone. As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, Adams & Garth knows this scenario happens far too often to job candidates all over the country – regardless of profession, experience level or abilities.

The question for you is: Should you continue to wait, give up or reach out?

You should absolutely follow up after a job interview. But before you rush to the phone to call the hiring manager, read these tips for how to go about it:

Call or Email, It’s Your Choice

It doesn’t make a difference whether you call or email the hiring manager to follow up. Just make sure you do it in a timely manner. Don’t let weeks slip by before reaching out. Otherwise, it will be perceived that you’re not interested in the job.

Likewise, don’t be too eager either. If the hiring manager told you they’d have a decision by Friday afternoon, don’t call him or her at 8 am on Monday morning. Give them a few days leeway time so you don’t appear desperate.

Be Polite & Professional

If you were promised a decision by a certain date – and that date has come and gone – you’re probably annoyed. Rightfully so. But don’t let your emotions show in your email or phone call. Be polite and professional at all times. A hiring manager may or may not remember you if you’re gracious. If you’re rude, on the other hand, they’ll certainly remember you for the wrong reasons.

Word your message along the lines of:

“I know you mentioned you were going to be making a final decision by the end of the week. I just wanted to follow up with you to see where you are in the process.”

Follow Up Twice

Follow up once. If you don’t get a response, then follow up again a few days later. If you hear nothing back, don’t take it personally. You never know what’s going on inside the company.

Reach Out to Your Connections

If you still haven’t heard anything back, check your social networking connections to see if you know anyone who works at the company. If you do, ask them if they’ve heard anything about the status of hiring for the position.

Understand That Silence is an Answer

If a hiring manager hasn’t responded to multiple follow up attempts, then you need to read between the lines. Realize that “no answer” is your answer. Also, if you don’t hear back from the hiring manager, don’t attempt to track down his or her home phone or cell number, or personal email address. Instead, refocus your energy on other opportunities.

Need more help landing a new job that’s just right for you? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, we work with some of the top employers throughout Central Virginia and we can connect you with opportunities that are oftentimes not advertised.

Contact us today to learn more or search our Lynchburg jobs now.

How to Deal When You Get Turned Down for a Promotion

August 12th, 2014

You’ve been working extra hours. Giving your job all you’ve got. Vying for the attention of your boss. But alas, when it comes time for promotions, you get looked over. What can you do about it? Here are some tips to help you overcome a tough situation and come out ahead:

Take a step back.

Rather than getting emotional, take a step back and look at the situation logically. For instance, while it might be hard to swallow, was the person who secured the promotion more qualified than you? If they were, then determine what you need to do in order to obtain those same qualifications so you get the promotion the next time around.

Ask why you didn’t get the promotion.

As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, Adams & Garth knows that at first glance, it might not be clear to you why someone got promoted over you. If that’s the case, then ask your boss why they were promoted and what you need to do in the future to get a promotion, as well.

When you have this conversation with your boss, you may find there are specific areas that need improvement or new challenges you need to take on to prove yourself before you earn a new spot. If they’re able to give you clear cut reasons as to why you were passed over, then consider yourself lucky so you can work on turning their “no” into a “yes.”

Consider the situation.

Once you learn more about why you were passed over, assess the overall situation. Do you agree with your boss’s decision? Or do you feel underappreciated and ill-treated? Is there a way you can move forward in your current position, or do you feel ready to move onto a new opportunity?

Take action.

What steps do you need to take in order to achieve your goals? For instance, if you agree with your boss’s assessment, what specifically are you going to do to ensure you don’t get passed over for a promotion next time?

If, on the other hand, you feel their final decision was unfair, are you ready to start looking elsewhere for different opportunities? If you are, then what do you need to do – e.g. polish your resume, start networking, and looking for jobs online? Whatever your final decision, you need to take specific action steps in order to achieve your ultimate career goals.

Ready to learn about new job opportunities? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, we can help you craft a strong resume, prepare for interviews, and connect you with employers offering rewarding opportunities. Contact us today to learn more or search our Lynchburg jobs now.

What to Do When You Make Mistakes at Your New Job

July 22nd, 2014

If you’re like most employees, you want your first few days and weeks on the job to go off without a hitch. The trouble is, you’re new to the position and the company – and therefore bound to make some mistakes along the way. To help ensure errors don’t get the best of you, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Learn From Mistakes 

As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, Adams & Garth can tell you that mistakes are expected. But it’s when you make the same mistake over and over again that it becomes a problem.

So learn from your errors. Determine what you didn’t do correctly, why you didn’t, and how you can ensure you don’t make the same mistake again. Going forward, make sure you incorporate what you learned from your mistakes into your work.

Don’t Dwell On Them 

If you made a mistake, learn from it and move on. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Continually dwelling on a mistake doesn’t improve the situation and it will only hurt your confidence in the long run.

Take Notes to Avoid Mistakes

To help avoid making mistakes, always keep your laptop or a notebook handy for you to take notes on. Your boss or a co-worker may offer details about office procedures or project deadlines and you don’t want to have to ask for the information again.

Check Your Work…Then Check It Again

If you’re just starting out in a position, then chances are you’re not super familiar with the work. Mistakes are more likely to happen, so be sure to double check your work before submitting it to your boss. It’s better to take a little extra time to hand in an assignment – and have it be correct – then to hurry through the work in order to submit it early.

Ask for Feedback

If you’re worried about the mistakes you’re making on the job, ask your boss for feedback on how to improve. While you don’t want to pester them every day for input on your performance, asking how you’re doing in the first few weeks of a job is completely reasonable.

A new position can be daunting enough without having to worry about mistakes. But everyone makes them – because no one is perfect. The trick is to put forth an effort to avoid mistakes and to learn from them quickly if you do make one.

Looking for a new job in which to showcase your skills and abilities?  Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, we work with some of the top employers throughout Central Virginia and we can connect you with opportunities that are oftentimes not advertised.

Contact us today to learn more or search our Lynchburg jobs now.

Do Your Hobbies Belong on Your Resume?

June 24th, 2014

You’re a passionate musician, an avid cyclist, or an old car enthusiast. When putting together your resume, should you list these kinds of interests in order to help you stand out to a hiring manager?

On the one hand, including some personal information makes you seem like more of a…well…person. You’re not just a faceless job candidate. However, you also run the risk of appearing unprofessional or turning off the hiring manager completely.

To help you decide whether or not to list your hobbies on your resume, consider this:

If your hobby is related to the Charlottesville job, then absolutely include it. For instance, if you’re a sports enthusiast and applying for a bookkeeping position at a sporting good store, then your interest is going to serve as a competitive advantage for you over other candidates who don’t know anything about athletics.

Also, if you know you share an interest with the hiring manager, then include it, as well. This information can serve as a great conversation starter, fostering rapport and helping you stand apart from other candidates.

If your hobby is polarizing or controversial in any way, then skip it completely. For instance, if you are active in a political organization or are an avid hunter, then steer clear of listing those (unless, again, it’s relevant to the position or employer you are applying to). Also never list personal information about your family, children, height, or weight, or include any pictures.

If your hobby is neither, then it’s really up to you whether or not to list it. Keep in mind, though, that most hiring managers aren’t interested in your hobbies. They want to know how your skills, background and personality align with the Charlottesville job and the company. That said, you’re not going to get black listed from the interviewing process for listing a hobby.

One note: Volunteering isn’t necessarily a hobby. And if you’ve acquired relevant skills and experience through it, then you should include it under the “Work History” section of your resume or you can create a separate “Related Experience” section.

Need more help creating a resume that gets results?  Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville , we can help you craft a strong resume, prepare for interviews, and connect you with employers offering rewarding opportunities. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

Is Your Job History Scaring Away Employers?

June 17th, 2014

When you apply for a Lynchburg job, your work history becomes an open book to employers.

Just one quick glance at your resume or a few interview questions and they can quickly spot red flags without spending a lot of time digging deeper.

So if you think past mistakes are impacting your future career, what can you do to mitigate the situation? Here are some scenarios you might be dealing with and what you can do to overcome a job history that needs a little work:

You’ve been fired.

Being fired from a position never looks good, even if you have a perfectly reasonable explanation. Hiring managers are going to think that if you’ve been let go in the past, then it’s likely you could be fired from a future Lynchburg job as well – including their own.

If you faced a firing, then you need to figure out how you’re going to answer the interview question about why you left. Don’t focus too much on “the why”; instead, talk about what you learned from the experience. And be sure to practice your answer. You’ll feel more confident as a result.

You’ve been unemployed for a long time.

In today’s economy, there are many candidates out there who are unemployed for far longer than they may have been in the past. But if you’ve been on the job market for an extended length of time, hiring managers may still wonder why no one’s hired you.

That’s why it’s so important for you to stay busy, keeping your skills current and building new ones. Start volunteering, take on contract or freelance work, and enroll in continuing education classes. When a hiring manager asks what you’ve been doing during your free time, you’ll have a far more impressive answer as a result.

You have lots of employment gaps.

One gap in employment isn’t a huge deal. But several can indicate to a hiring manager that you don’t have any staying power with jobs. The last thing they want to do is hire someone they’ll have to replace in a few short months. For you to overcome this issue, you have to be ready to talk about it in your cover letter and in a job interview.

For instance, is there a reasonable explanation for the gaps – such as family responsibilities? If you don’t clarify, hiring managers will assume the worst.

Need more help overcoming your job history? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, we can help you craft a strong resume, prepare for interviews, and connect you with employers offering rewarding opportunities. Contact us today to learn more or search our Lynchburg jobs now.



Should You Deliver Your Resume in Person?

May 27th, 2014

Finding job opportunities that are a good fit for you can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. So when you do uncover an opening that seems ideal, you want to stand out and make the best first impression.

Could one way to do that be to deliver your resume in person?

As one of the leading employment agencies in Culpeper – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth can tell you the answer is “no.” (Unless, of course, the job ad directed you to do so.)

You may think that by buying some fancy resume paper and hand delivering your resume in person to the receptionist would make you appear unique. But you could actually hurt your chances of landing an interview by taking this approach.

After all, do you really trust the receptionist to ensure your information lands into the hands of the right person? For all you know, it could wind up sitting on his or her desk for weeks, or even worse, in the trash.

Follow some simple advice:

Apply for the job opening as directed. If that means online, then complete the online application. If they asked you to email your resume and cover letter to HR, then put together a compelling case for your candidacy and hit the “send” button.

Here’s a secret:

Hiring managers like candidates who can follow directions. So don’t get fancy or try to stand out with gimmicks, like hand delivering your resume. They have many candidates to choose from and the ones who ignore instructions are not going to be among them.

Besides following directions, what else can you do to stand out to a hiring manager? Here are some quick tips to remember.

  • Write a custom cover letter that allows your personality to shine through (that means no boilerplate or template letters) and persuades employers why you are a good fit for the job.
  • Create a resume that showcases your background and experience, and also includes specific achievements that illustrate what you can do once on the job.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t put together a five-page resume or a 5,000-word cover letter. Brevity is key. To achieve it, spend some time reading through the job posting and really thinking about how your background aligns with the position. Then focus on those key points (not your entire background and work history) that best sell you for the particular job.

Need more help finding your next great job? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Culpeper – and Central Virginia, we work with some of the top employers throughout Central Virginia and we can connect you with opportunities that are oftentimes not advertised.

Contact us today to learn more or search our Culpeper jobs now.



Think You’re Underqualified for the Job? Think Again!

May 20th, 2014

Imagine this scenario:

You come across what sounds like the ideal job opening. You have the right skills and the right education…but then you get to the experience requirements. The employer wants 7 – 10 years. You only have five years.

Do you walk away, or apply anyway?

You may not realize this, but as one of the leading employment agencies in Staunton – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth can tell you when an employer includes a list of “requirements” in a job posting, most of the time it’s simply “wants” and “desires,” not absolutes. After all, do you think a hiring manager is going to let the perfect candidate get away because that person has four years, seven months of experience, rather than the “5+” years listed in the ad?

No, of course not.

Obviously, if the job posting is for an experienced bookkeeper and you’ve never crunched a number in your life, then you don’t fit the bill and you need to walk away. But if you’re missing a few of the requirements, or don’t have the exact years of experience, apply anyway.

Here are some tips to help you sell yourself – and why you’re qualified for the job:

Write a killer cover letter.

There are likely going to be candidates applying who may meet – or even exceed – the criteria outlined in the job ad. That’s why you need to set yourself apart through a carefully crafted, compelling cover letter. One way to stand out? Learn all you can about the company and the position and then communicate why your background is a great fit for both.

Play up your accomplishments on your resume.

If you don’t fit the exact requirements of the job posting, it’s even more important to promote your relevant accomplishments on your resume. Hiring managers want to know one thing – what can you do for them if you’re hired. When you showcase your track record of success with specific, real world examples, you will get their attention.

Don’t forget! If you’ve got volunteer experience that is more pertinent to the position you’re applying for, include that as well. A resume does not only have to consist of paid positions.

Find your connections. 

If you know someone who works at the company, now’s the time to leverage the power of that connection. A candidate referred by a trusted employee is going to make a far stronger impression than a resume from a stranger.

Be realistic.

Don’t apply for positions you’re grossly underqualified for. When you do, you’re simply wasting your time as well as the hiring manager’s. And if a future opportunity comes along at the company that you are qualified for, that manager may just see your name again and assume you’re not a fit for that position either.

Looking for your next dream job? Let Adams & Garth know. As one of the leading employment agencies in Staunton – and Central Virginia, we work with some of the top employers throughout Central Virginia and we can connect you with opportunities that are oftentimes not advertised.

Contact us today to learn more or search our Staunton jobs now.