Adams & Garth Blog

“Why Do You Want to Work Here?” How to Answer This Common Interview Question

January 26th, 2016

If you’re searching for jobs in Central Virginia, then you know you’re eventually going to have to face the dreaded interview – and questions like “why do you want to work here?” As a candidate, it’s your job to persuade the hiring manager that you’re the person for the position – and the perfect fit for the company.

How do you go about doing that? Start with these quick tips:

Quick tip #1: Find out everything you can about the company.

You can’t tell a hiring manager why you want to work for ABC Company if you don’t know much about it. So it’s up to you to learn all you can – so you can offer a convincing answer.

Start by going to their website and reading through it, including the About / Mission, Services, Team, and News and Events pages. You want to know where the company’s been, but also where it’s going in the future. That information can give you some clues as to why the employer could be a good fit for you.

Beyond their website, use Google and sites like LinkedIn to read all you can about the company. Look for any news articles recently published about new product launches, key stakeholder moves, or other industry information that could impact the company. Be sure to check out the organization’s profile on LinkedIn, as well as any other social media profiles they may have. Research their executive team and try to get a sense of what skills and traits seem most valued there.

Once you’ve completed your research, you should have a much better sense of where you could fit in – and why you’d want to work there.

Quick tip #2: Craft your own answer.

When it comes to preparing your own answer to “why do you want to work here?,” there are plenty of resources online. But only look to them for inspiration, not to copy them verbatim.

Remember, you want to stand out during an interview, which means being unique and authentic. Beyond giving the interviewer a sense of why you do want to work for the company, your answer will also demonstrate to them that 1) you’ve done your homework and 2) you are enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Quick tip #3: Practice before your interview.

Once you have a good idea of what you want to say, write it down and practice it. Don’t just wing it. While you don’t want to come off as canned or too rehearsed, you also don’t want to forget to cover any key points.

So what should your answer sound like? Here’s an example:

“You know, Mike, I’ve done a lot of research about your company over the past few days and I have to say, I’m truly impressed. The organization has a reputation not only as a thought leader in the industry, but as an “employer of choice” among its staff members. That’s something I really want to be a part of: A company that places an emphasis on innovation, while still treating it’s people like part of a family.”

Want more help finding jobs in Central Virginia? Let Adams & Garth know. We partner with leading employers to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Do You Need a Video Resume?

October 28th, 2014

Making an impression on hiring managers is an important part of finding a new job in Central Virginia. After all, they get dozens if not hundreds of resumes from applicants – so standing out among them is critically important.

But does that mean you need a video resume?

Unless the job listing specifically requests that you submit one, the answer is “probably not.” If you have a solid background with the right skill set for the opportunity, then that’s what’s going to sell you as a strong candidate for the position…not a video resume.

In addition, a video resume can actually harm your chances of landing an interview. For instance, if a job listing does not call for a video resume to be submitted, a hiring manager might be frustrated by yours because they want to simply scan cover letters and resumes, not commit a lot of time to watching a video resume.

So when it comes to applying for positions, stick with the tried-and-true cover letter and resume. Spend ample time polishing and customizing yours for each opportunity you apply to. When you do – and your skill set is a match for a position – you will stand out to a hiring manager, all without a video resume.

That said, when a job listing does call for one, how can you develop a video resume that’s professional?

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Dress for success in the video. That means wearing what you would to a job interview.
  • Make sure the room you record in is quiet and neutral so there are no visual or audio distractions.
  • Make eye contact with the camera.
  • Start off your recording by stating your name and the job opening you are applying for. Segue into discussing your background and why it’s a good fit for the opportunity and the company.
  • Don’t ramble on. If you get an interview, you’ll have plenty of time to talk about all your accomplishments. Just focus on a few keys ones that are truly relevant for the job you are interested in.
  • Be mindful of your pace. You don’t want to talk too quickly or too slowly. Instead, try to keep a natural pace.
  • Once you’ve completed your video resume, upload it to a site like Vimeo or YouTube so you can share the link with employers. Be sure to include it too on your LinkedIn profile.

And if you need help standing out to hiring managers – and landing a new job in Central Virginia, please contact Adams & Garth. We’ve partnered with leading employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields.

The Friends & Family Plan: Be Careful When Working for Those You Know

March 25th, 2014

In theory, working for a family member or friend sounds great. After all, you know their personalities, what they do and what you’re getting yourself into – plus you have a shot at helping their business succeed. What could go wrong?

A lot. Before you accept a job in Central Virginia where you join the ranks of a company owned by someone you know well, keep a few things in mind:

Clearly defining roles and expectations is more important than ever.

When you work for someone you don’t know, you still need goals and expectations. However, when it comes to working for family and friends, this is even more important because there is so much at stake – namely your relationship.

But this can be hard because many times, small businesses are family owned and far more casual about job descriptions and responsibilities. So it might be up to you to insist on this aspect. When you do, your time at the company is far more likely to be productive and successful.

Use what you know.

You know your friend or family member’s personality. It’s unlikely they are going to be any different at work. So if they have a tendency to be sarcastic, a little too direct, let their tempers flare, or uncommunicative, then guess what? They’re probably going to be like that at work, as well.

The advantage for you though is that you already know this information going in and you can use it to help guide you when conflicts do arise.

Brace for conflict.

Speaking of conflict, expect it. Just because you know or are related to the person you are working for, doesn’t mean you are going to be given the VIP treatment or handled with kid gloves.

Don’t cross boundaries.

If your sister is the boss and out of the office, don’t act on her behalf when a decision needs to be made or fire put out, unless she told you directly to do so. If you do, you’ll not only undermine your relationship with her, but you’ll also make a bad impression on your colleagues. Know where the boundaries are and don’t cross them.

Put communication on your priority list.

Communication is important regardless of the work setting. But again, considering there are personal relationships involved, it becomes even more vital when you work for friends or family members.

So communicate when you have an opinion, or you’re upset about something. Don’t keep your mouth shut just because you’re afraid of offending a family member.

Whether you choose to accept a job with a family member or a friend is up to you. But if you do, follow the tips above to keep both your work and personal relationships in tact.

Looking for jobs in Central Virginia? Let Adams & Garth know. We partner with leading employers to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

6 Tips for Holiday Party Networking

December 18th, 2012

As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows that holiday parties aren’t just a time for eating, drinking, and being merry. They can also provide job candidates with a great opportunity to network.

So how can you get the most out of the gatherings you attend this year? Here are 6 tips to help you:

Tip #1: Just Say “Yes.”

If you’re looking for jobs in Central Virginia, you can’t afford to be choosy with which events you decide to attend and which you don’t. You should accept invitations to all holiday events. You never know who you’ll meet and what kinds of opportunities will cross your path.

Tip #2: Know Who’s Going to Be There.

Do some research ahead of time so you know who’s attending and whom you should be connecting with. Set a goal of meeting at least three or four new people at an event. Your aim here should be quality over quantity with your connections. You’re trying to build relationships, not beef up your rolodex.

Tip #3: Follow Proper Etiquette.

True, holiday parties are good opportunities to network. That said, you shouldn’t be carrying around a stack of resumes, ready to hand one out to anyone you meet. If you do meet someone of interest, then simply offer them your business card and make plans to touch base in the near future.

Tip #4: Ask for Advice.

Rather than asking for jobs in Central Virginia, ask for advice. People generally love doling out advice and the ones you meet will be much more receptive to being a resource for you. So simply say something like “Do you have any advice for getting my foot in the door at XYZ company?” or “What kind of advice could you offer me on how to break into ABC career field?”

Tip #5: Take Notes on Those You Meet. 

Obviously, you don’t want to stand around at a holiday gathering with a notebook and pen in hand. But bring a paper and pen with you and leave it in your car. That way, as soon as you leave a party, you can jot down notes and important details about those you met while the information is all still fresh in your mind.

Tip #5: Follow Up. 

After the holiday party, send out a handwritten note, along with your resume, to your new contacts. Be sure to reference something specific from your conversation and to make plans for touching base; for instance, let them know you’ll call them for lunch or coffee.

Looking for More Help With Your Job Search?

Let us know. As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, we can connect you with the top employers – and the top jobs in Central Virginia. Contact us today to learn more!

6 Great Jobs for Extroverts

August 21st, 2012

Do you love being around people? Are you often described as “the life of the party?” After a long day at work, do you want to go out and socialize?

If this sounds like you, then there are plenty of exciting and rewarding jobs in Central Virginia you might be a great fit for. Here’s a look at 6 of them:

1. Sales Manager
Median Salary: $98,530 per year*

If the idea of talking on the phone all day or being in meetings fills you with dread, then sales is likely not for you. However, if you are a true extrovert and love to interact with others – whether in person or on the phone – then sales could be a good fit. That said, there’s more to just being a “people person” to succeed in sales; you also must demonstrate the power of persuasion. And when it comes to being a sales manager, you must be able to effectively set goals, analyze data, and train and supervise your sales representatives.

2. Public Relations Manager/Specialist
Median Salary: $57,550 per year*

When you’re in PR, it’s your job to meet and connect with other people (typically the media or those within your industry) in order to brand and promote another person, company, product or service. You also need to be an excellent communicator since, oftentimes, you’re the face of the product you’re selling.

3. High School Educator
Median Salary: $53,230 per year*

As an educator, you’re not simply teaching students, you’re also interacting with them, their parents, your fellow teachers, school administrators, the school board, and anyone else involved in the education system. As a result, having strong interpersonal skills and a love of people is truly critical for success in this position.

4. Human Resource Specialist
Median Salary: $52,690 per year*

HR is the ultimate people-related profession. Whether you’re interviewing candidates, orienting a new hire, or handling issues between existing employees, your role is to understand people and different personalities, how they work and fit in the company’s culture, and help them to succeed.

5. Customer Service Representative
Median Salary: $30,460 per year*

Not only are strong interpersonal skills a must in customer service jobs, but so is plenty of patience. You’re going to be dealing with people with questions at best, or who are irate at worst. So you need to be able to diffuse stressful situations and keep a cool head in the process.

6. Physical Therapist
Median Salary: $76,310 per year*

As a physical therapist, not only do you have to help patients overcome injury or illness and manage their pain, but you also need to help them deal with frustration and setbacks in an encouraging way.

Need Help Finding a New Job in Central Virginia?

If you do, let Adams & Garth know. We partner with leading employers to offer you outstanding jobs in Central Virginia in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook

6 Reasons to Ramp Up Your Job Search Efforts This Summer

July 3rd, 2012

Summer vacation is here – and that means your job search is about to go on holiday, right? Wrong!

Even though summer may seem like a slow time for many companies, most businesses do hire during the summer months. So if you’re looking for jobs in Central Virginia – but are thinking of taking a vacation from your search this summer – you could be missing out on some great opportunities.

Here’s why:

1. Less Competition From Other Candidates.

Many job candidates do take the summer off from their job searches, which is great news for you if you continue your hunt. So while they’re lounging around the pool, or taking it easy, you can be searching for and applying to all the jobs in Central Virginia they aren’t.

2. Many Companies Want to Hire for Q4 projects.

Many projects have to get in gear come fall, and so summer is the best time to find the people necessary to staff Q4 projects.

3. Companies Ramp Up their Temporary Hiring Efforts.

For businesses in certain industries, summer is the busy season. So to deal with an increase in demand, they hire temporary help. While your ultimate goal may be full-time work, if you make a positive impression, there’s a chance that a temporary gig could turn into a permanent one.

4. More Turnover.

If an employee is going to leave their job, then summer is the time do it. These vacancies, whether expected or not, are just more opportunities for you to find a new job, particularly if a hiring manager is under pressure to hire.

5. It’s the Start of the Calendar Year.

Some companies start their fiscal year July 1, which means more money is available for hiring new people.

6. Plenty of Summer Time Networking Opportunities.

From barbecues and pool parties to weddings and garden parties, the summer offers a plethora of opportunities for networking. And, as you probably know, networking is one of the best ways to find out about jobs in Central Virginia and ask for referrals.

Want Help With Your Job Search?

If you do, let Adams & Garth know. We partner with leading employers throughout Central Virginia to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Why Do Employers Ask About Salary History During the Hiring Process?

February 28th, 2012

As a job seeker, when asked about salary history, you may be tempted to respond with, “None of your business.” Unfortunately, though, you probably won’t get a positive reaction from the prospective employer with that answer.

So why do they want to know about past salary? And what can you do to effectively negotiate a better one in your future job? Here’s a look.

Why They Want to Know

Employers want to know about your salary history for a variety of reasons. First of all, they like to see that you have been steadily increasing in what you are paid over the years. If they see a lot of major dips in salary or a steady decline, then that is a red flag for them.

In addition, they presume you want a raise from what you were making in your previous position. Most candidates expect one. However, they want to know what your most recent salary was so they can make an appropriate offer to you. For instance, if you made $65k in your last job, then they assume you’ll accept an offer of $70k.

Tips for Salary Negotiations   

  • When discussing your past salary history, emphasize to the prospective employer that you are looking to make fair market value in the position. To do so, you’ll need to understand your market value and use that information – instead of your past salary – as the benchmark for the negotiation process.
  • In addition, don’t forget about your benefits package. If, for instance, your total compensation package (including both salary and benefits) in your last position was $85k and they are offering you a compensation package of only $80k – even if the salary is more – use that as leverage during negotiations. Ask for more money or added benefits.
  • Finally, whatever you do, don’t lie about or exaggerate your salary history. Some companies request W-2s from prospective employees prior to finalizing the deal just to ensure salary history is accurate. And by lying, you could lose out on your dream job.

If you’d like more help with the job search process, let us know. As an employment agency with over 20 years of experience, we can give you access to some of the top employers and top jobs in Central Virginia.

Start your search now for jobs in Central Virginia.>

Should I Go Back to School After a Layoff?

November 8th, 2011

The answer is: It depends.

There are many issues involved in the decision as to whether to go back to school after being laid off from your job in Central Virginia. For instance, were you laid off because the industry you work in is waning? If that’s the case, then perhaps you need to go back to school or enroll in a re-training program in order to transfer your skills into a new industry.

You’ll also need to consider other practical issues, such as the investment of time and money it will take in order to earn that degree. Going back to school can be especially difficult for those with small children and lots of family obligations, so it’s a decision that needs to be weighed carefully.

And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to think about whether going back to school will help you move forward in your career.

  • If you’re not sure, then you should talk with others in your field. Ask them whether they’ve gone back to school to finish a degree or earn an advanced degree and how it’s helped them – or not – in their careers.
  • Also talk to hiring managers in the field and ask them what kinds of skills are needed for that industry. It may be that you simply need an internship in that field, rather than a degree.

If you do think you need to go back to school in order to switch careers or move ahead in your Central Virginia job, don’t let the financial constraints hold you back. There are many scholarships and grants available for displaced workers; colleges and universities will have access to all that information, including how to apply.

However, that said, you don’t want any surprises when it comes to finances. So make sure you have a very clear understanding of the amount of debt you’ll need to take on before you enroll in a school.

Also, when researching schools, look for one that offers a variety of scheduling options, including day and evening classes, as well as online courses. That way, it will be easier to fit classes into your life.

And finally, be sure to do your due diligence when choosing a school. Their website is a good place to start; but also ask around to see if any friends, family, or colleagues have attended the school. You’ll likely get a better sense of whether the school is right for you from someone who’s actually gone there, rather than just the website.

The bottom line is that just because you’ve been laid off, doesn’t mean you need to go back to school to access rewarding jobs in Central Virginia. It’s definitely not for everyone and there are plenty of wonderful careers that don’t require a degree. However, there are certainly some instances when an advanced degree, finishing a degree, or enrolling in a training program is a must in order to get ahead and access the right jobs in Central Virginia.

8 Bad Habits That Could Be Holding Your Career Back

May 24th, 2011

Some people seem to just effortlessly rise to the top at work; while others fizzle out and stagnate in their Central Virginia jobs. If you’re part of the latter group, one of the reasons you could be falling short is because of bad habits you’ve developed at work. Some habits might be minor and simply annoy your co-workers; while others can have a seriously negative impact on your ability to perform your job and your overall career success.

So what are these bad habits? Here’s a look at 8 of them.

1. Procrastinating.

Everyone is under pressure to deliver positive results; but if your co-workers can’t start on their end of the project until you finish up yours, then you could be creating some added stress, not to mention animosity. In addition, if you wait until the last minute, leaving yourself no wiggle room, then you could face unforeseen obstacles and miss your deadline altogether. As a result, you’ll be viewed as undependable by your boss and co-workers.

2. Poor grammar and swearing.

People form an opinion of you within a few seconds of you opening up your mouth. If what’s coming out of it is profanity or “like” every other word, then that most certainly is a detriment to your career. This is especially true for entry-level hires, fresh out of school. You have to work extra hard to prove yourself and bad grammar can undermine that effort.

3. Sloppy emailing.

Many of us type up an email and send it in haste, without proofreading it for errors or double-checking that it’s been sent to the right recipient. This can be a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re emailing important or confidential information.

4. Being unprofessional.

This bad habit can range from dressing inappropriately (think tie dye and flip flops) to being chronically late to not giving your boss or co-workers an appropriate level of respect. Even if you work in the most informal office in all of Central Virginia, there’s a certain amount of professionalism that every employee should exude.

5. Not networking or getting to know co-workers.

Having good relationships with your co-workers and other important industry contacts is critical to the advancement and success of your career. So regularly skipping office parties or networking opportunities can seriously harm your career. You certainly don’t need to be the “in-house partier,” but building a sense of camaraderie at work will go a long way.

6. Playing computer games, shopping online, or checking Facebook every few minutes.

Many employers don’t mind if you quickly check your personal email or read the news headlines for a couple minutes, but keep it to a minimum. You are being paid to work; not to play games or surf the Internet.

7. Being negative/complaining.

If you shoot down every idea you hear or are constantly complaining, your co-workers will simply want to avoid you. Nobody wants to hear a steady stream of negativity.

8. Being the office gossip.

It’s human nature to want to gossip, but being known as the “office gossip” can hurt your career because your boss and co-workers won’t trust you.

If you’re displaying any of the bad habits above, now’s the time to break them. Otherwise, you’ll continue to stagnate in your Central Virginia job and wonder why all your colleagues are passing you by.

5 Networking Tips for Shy People

April 19th, 2011

Not a fan of networking functions? Get completely stressed out when confronted with a room full of people? Prefer more intimate settings to huge conferences and events?

If so, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, walking into a room full of strangers and starting a conversation is nothing short of nerve wracking for most people. But whether you’re already on the job or searching for a new job in Central Virginia, networking is a crucial component.

So if you’re shy, and feel you’re not networking as effectively as possible as a result, here are some suggestions to help you prosper:

1. Get involved.

How active are you in the organizations you belong to? If you’re not very, or not at all, that could be part of the problem. Instead, try to get more involved by joining the board, volunteering, or participating on a steering committee. This will give you the opportunity to not only meet other people in a more intimate setting, but also to develop more meaningful relationships with each one. In addition, getting actively involved will serve to add to your name recognition and credibility, which will make it easier to connect with other people.

2. Arrive early to an event.

You might think you should arrive a little late, but earlier is better. Not only is the setting more laid back, but people also haven’t really started to form groups yet – so you won’t feel like an outsider when you walk in.

3. Befriend the extrovert.

These are the people who seem to know everybody and who are naturally friendly and personable. By befriending the extrovert, he or she can introduce you to others, acting as a link and an icebreaker.

4. Look for other wallflowers.

If you’re at a large event and feeling overwhelmed, look for the wallflowers. These are people who are just as shy and who are waiting for others to come up and talk with them. So go ahead and strike up a conversation.

5. Realize networking is an investment.

Networking is like making an investment in your career or Central Virginia job search. You may not reap the rewards right away, but they will come in time – and in many cases, when you least expect them. So don’t expect overnight success from networking. But if you get more involved and make more of an effort, you will see results in time.

And if you’re networking in the hopes of finding a new job in Central Virginia, please contact Adams & Garth. We can connect you with a variety of job opportunities in your field!