Four Facts You Should Know About a Company Before You Interview

facts_about_company_webScoring a job interview with a company you’re excited to work for is always a positive thing. But, you still may experience the famous mix of anticipation and dread that goes along with an interview.

Rest assured that nervousness and wariness are normal feelings when faced with an interview, but gaining a little pre-interview knowledge about the company will go far in helping to reduce the nervousness. Here are four facts you should know before walking through the door:

  • What does the company do, how does it do it, and what is its mission statement?
    Because most businesses have a website, look up the company and read about its services, products, business model, press releases, and any other information available. Learn what is most important to the company so you’ll have a good starting point to speak from during the interview.

On the company website, look specifically at the “mission statement” or “about us” page. If the mission statement emphasizes customer service, you’ll know that’s important to the company. These pages also typically give the history and philosophy of the business you’re interviewing with.

  • How is the company doing financially? Most companies have a website, and most websites have something like an “investor relations” tab. Some companies list their quarterly earnings publically and publish an annual report. Even small start ups have information available on websites like Crunchbase.com.

Why is this important? You’ll be able to speak intelligently about the future of the company, based on the facts you’ve read. In addition, you can decide if a company is financially healthy to be able to hire you long-term, offer a competitive salary or benefits, and be around for the next several years.

  • What is the company culture? This might take a little more effort. An easy way to see what the company dress code and culture looks like is to drive by early in the morning or at the end of the work day. Doing so may allow you to see how the employees entering or leaving the building dress. Or, if you know any employees, simply ask them about the code.

Again, websites are great ways to explore the feel of a company. Check to see if the company is active on social media, which may help you discover if they value healthy lifestyles, are involved in the community, or other information that can come in handy when answering tough interview questions.

  • What is the company’s reputation? Local and national news media often report on large corporations, so research news articles about the business. Some businesses may have a marketing page on their website with access to press releases and awards. You can also visit the company’s social media pages and mentions to see what they are saying to followers and what others are saying about them.

The more you know about a company, the better you will feel about answering questions. You will also appear more knowledgeable to potential employers. Knowing these facts about a company is a great way to come up with potential questions for your interviewer and show that you are interested in the job.

Are there other things you should know about a company before you go on the interview? Share your thoughts and tips with us!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview: 5 Dos and Don’ts

how_to_prepare_interview_webAlthough no best way of interviewing exists, we do have a list of “do’s and don’ts” in preparing for that important conversation with hiring managers that may help improve your chances for interview success. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a job interview is not being prepared. Preparation for a job interview makes the difference between getting that job offer or getting a rejection letter.

DO:

  1. Do research the company at which you are interviewing. By researching the company, you show that you’ve done your homework and that you are interested and engaged. An added advantage to researching the company is the ability to speak about the company culture, mission, growth strategy, and more in a clear and intelligent manner.
  2. Do prepare informed questions to ask if prompted. Once you’ve researched the company, make a list of questions on topics you’d like to know more about. Asking about your position’s growth potential and the future of the company can indicate to hiring managers that you are interested in a long-term relationship.
  3. Do bring an up-to-date copy of your resume. Also, proofread your resume for errors and highlight items on your resume that reflect the job you are interviewing for.
  4. Do maintain good posture, a neat appearance, regular eye contact, and a positive attitude. Most college career services offer mock interviews and interview workshops, but you can also practice interviewing with family or friends.
  5. Do send a thank you or follow-up note to the interviewer(s). A hand-written note will have much more impact than an email or text. A professional thank you note sets you apart from other candidates and has the added bonus of reminding hiring managers about your skills and experience.

DON’T:

  1. Don’t use your cell phone. Never take out your cell phone to talk or text during a job interview. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse and put it on silent. If you forget to turn your phone off, do so quickly and apologize to the interviewer if the phone rings or dings.
  2. Don’t interrupt or talk over the interviewer. While you are anxious to impress, interrupting the interviewer is not only rude, but shows that you are a bad listener. Be patient and let the interviewer finish what he or she is saying.
  3. Don’t misrepresent your experience, priorities, or background. In other words, don’t lie. Be as honest as possible about your capabilities and job experience and don’t exaggerate. Lies have a way of coming back to haunt you.
  4. Don’t speak negatively of current or former employers – or anyone for that matter. Nothing leaves a bitter taste in an interviewer’s mouth like someone who talks badly of other employers. Not only is it unprofessional, negative talk makes them wonder what you will say about them in the future.
  5. Don’t be late. Give yourself enough time to navigate possible traffic delays or mishaps. Arrive roughly 15 minutes early. Being late is a big negative during a job interview and only makes a stressful situation even more so.

“Much of this advice should be common sense, but experience tells us it’s not,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Interviewees should always set a high bar for themselves. Spend plenty of time researching the company, gathering your thoughts, and preparing for an informed discussion. Preparation is key to wowing your interviewer.”

Your job interview goal is to show the employer that you are the best candidate for the job and that you can fit into the company’s culture. Remember, most employers do not just look at skills, but at personality, communication skills, confidence, and enthusiasm. By following the simple do’s and don’ts, you are on the right track to receiving an offer.

Do you have your own list of do’s and don’ts? Share those with us here!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

What’s Best for Your Career Path: College or Vo-Tech?

It’5FactsaboutStaffingComanpanies_July2013_webs time to break a taboo: college isn’t for everyone. For many, there’s a better—but much less advertised—option: Career Technical Education (CTE). Let’s be more specific. A four-year stay at a traditional university won’t be the best fit for everyone. College is right for many people—but certainly it’s not right for everyone.

In today’s economy, it may not be a good fit for those who want an affordable education. It may not be the best option for those who are ready to embark on a clear career path. And it’s not for those who want to enter the workforce sooner rather than later.

For those people, CTE could be the answer. Career Technical Education, previously known as vocational-technical education, provides the skills and training needed for many in-demand careers, including:

  • Mechanical Drafter
  • Welder
  • IT Technician
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Biomedical Equipment Technician
  • Legal Secretary
  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Real Estate Appraiser

And a Career Technical Education doesn’t require thousands of dollars in loans.

It’s almost instinctual to think of a four-year college as a natural step after high school. After all, so many of our nation’s leaders, along with private organizations, urge young people to go to college. Although conventional wisdom wrongly suggests that a four-year degree is always better, it may not always be the case.

According to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), “Career and technical education (CTE) prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities.” Here’s what you need to know about Career Technical Education:

  1. CTE-trained workers are in demand.
  2. CTE leads to high-paying jobs.
  3. CTE is affordable.
  4. CTE keeps businesses competitive.

The research shows it. CTE offers industry-specific training in highly skilled trades and gives students the opportunity to earn a range of credentials:

  • Postsecondary certificates
  • Certifications
  • Licenses
  • Associate degrees

So the next time you’re thinking about going back to school, consider both college and career technical education. After all, CTE may be a better fit for you.

What about you? What led you to choose college or a career technical education? Do you have any tips for others making this decision? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Peak Performer’s Life: FOCUS … Your Personal Guide to Success

walterbond_webIf you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know how quickly big things appear small. Cars look like ants, acres of land become colorful squares, and skyscrapers become miniscule. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do. Being able to see from a different perspective can make a significant difference in life, and can help you focus on the things that matter. This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond continues his series on the importance of focus.

According to Walter:
“I believe this topic is a game changer for you. I believe this topic might be the one thing you’ve been missing all these years that can position you to be successful. ”

Check out Walter’s inspirational message below:

 

 

What are some ways you can change your perspective in your work life? In your personal life? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each Wednesday for a new message from Walter Bond! If you missed an episode of Peak Performer’s Life, visit the archive to catch up.

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.

Movin’ On Up and Peak Performers Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going Back to School

going_back_to_school_webIf you are considering going back to school—whether to earn a degree or learn a new skill—you need to have a plan and determine if this is the right path for you.

Hundreds of adults and other non-traditional students go back to technical school, specialized schools, colleges and universities or training programs every year.

Post-secondary education is never a poor choice, but you also have to weigh the payoff against the cost and time involved with returning to school. Additional degrees and certifications are valuable and can boost your career, but there are four questions you should ask yourself before going back to school.

  1. Is college the best path for me? For so long, people assumed college was the only path to success and that everyone needed at least a four-year degree. However, community colleges and technical schools offer associate’s degrees or specialized certification in less time that could result in more success. Welders, medical technicians, engineering, and computer technology are all offered through community college and tech schools without the time commitment of a four-year course of study. “A stable career doesn’t always require a four-year degree. Career Technical Education can deliver what so many Americans want – a promising career at an affordable price,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “I see who’s getting hired in the modern economy, and it’s clear that career tech can lead to not only a job, but also a successful career.”
  2. Speaking of time, do you have the ability to meet the time requirements of going back to school? Life as an adult can be packed full of work and family obligations. Be honest with yourself about your available time to read, study, or attend classes. Can you manage the stress well and will you have time to enjoy your life and family?
  3. Can you afford school? School can be expensive, but grants, student loans and programs are available to help. Loans aren’t the only option, and you may be able to take advantage of financial aid. If you don’t qualify, pay as you go, but prepare ahead of time to get a clear picture of how much you need each semester. Check to see if your company offers a tuition reimbursement program that you may qualify for. Many companies offer employees full or partial tuition reimbursement if you’re studying subjects relevant to your current position.
  4. Can you afford NOT to go back to school? Your education and investing in education could be the biggest pay off in your career. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a 25-year-old male with a bachelor’s degree earns $22,000 more in pay on average than a male with a high school diploma. If your company reimburses tuition expenses, then not taking advantage of schooling is COSTING you money. Look at the advantages to your income, lifestyle and career and make the decision wisely.

Many colleges and universities offer flexible degree programs to accommodate working adults or offer online degree and study programs. Going back to school is a big decision. For many of us working folk, juggling a job and school can be difficult, but it’s probably the best move to bolster both your education and career success.

So what do you think? Is going back to school the right choice for you? What other questions should you consider before making that choice? We’d love to hear from you.

Five Careers Worth Going Back to School For

Millenial_Poll_SummaryLate summer and fall is the traditional start of a new school year. Children around the country slip on their shiny, new backpacks and tromp off to school, ready for a new year. However, many adults may be considering slipping on their own backpack and heading to the classroom for a career change.

As the old saying goes, it’s never too late to go back to school and in today’s fluid and changing economy, going back to school may be a rewarding and lucrative choice for those already in the workplace. But what careers are worth the expense, time and effort to go back to college or technical school? You’d be surprised.

We’ve listed five fast-growing, high-paying careers that are worth going back to school. These careers not only have a hefty salary attached to them, but, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are among the highest demanded fields as well.

Many of the most in-demand careers require only a two-year degree or certification through technical schools while others demand a bachelor’s or doctorate degree. For many, going back to school for a rewarding job certification may take as little as 18 months, while others can take four years or more.

Take a look and decide for yourself if these careers are worth going back to school for.

  1. Dentists – Those with dental degrees can expect a 16% growth in demand, and according to the BLS, the average median pay for dentists in 2012 was $149,310 per yearor $71.79 per hour. To become a dentist, you must attend an accredited dental course of study at a university or specialized school. Dental school takes four years and that’s after completing undergraduate school. Students must be able to pass written and practical exams, and dentists must be licensed in all states.
  2. Welders – The manufacturing industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., and coupled with oil and gas booms and pipeline construction, the demand for skilled welders is incredible. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, and teachers. Training ranges from a few weeks of technical school or on-the-job training to several years of combined technical school and on-the-job training. The average starting pay is $36,300.
  3. Meeting, Convention and Event Planners – A bachelor’s degree is often needed for this growing field, but those returning to school can also earn a Certified Meeting Professional accreditation. Average pay for event planners was $45,260 in 2010, according to the BLS, and this field is expected to grow more than 40 percent by 2022.
  4. Information Security Analysts – If you’re good with computers, this job area may be worth going back to school for. With the onslaught of cyber-attacks, information security analysts will be fought over for their ability to design security to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. The average pay is $86,170 per yearwith an expected growth of 37 percent by 2022. You will need a bachelor’s degree and experience in a computer-related field.
  5. Physical Therapist Assistants – As the population ages, physical therapy assistants will be in high demand. According to the BLS, the need for this career will grow almost 46% by 2020. This job requires at least a two-year associate’s degree, and the average salary was $49,960 in 2010, according to the BLS.

These five careers are just the tip of the iceberg. Any career in the science, medical, technology, engineering and math fields are also in high demand.

It’s a big decision to go back to school. For those who study hard and keep their eyes on the payoff, going back to school may be the right investment into the future.

Have you considered going back to school? If so, what field are you interested in and what is holding you back? We’d love to hear from you.

How Important Is Your Education?

how_important_is_your_education_web

In today’s world, education is often the best tool for getting ahead. It can help you grow in a variety of ways—you can pursue a passion, increase your long-term income, and have the experience of a lifetime. In fact, college graduates earn more than twice as much as high school graduates. Some studies have found that college graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn 80% more per year than those with only a high school degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the more education you have, the more your average salary increases.

Although college can be expensive, and the overall student debt has increased to roughly $1 trillion, the pay gap between those with a college degree and those without is increasing yearly. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98% more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree—that’s a number that has consistently increased since the early 1980s when it was at 64%.

Educational & Social Benefits
Making more money in your lifetime isn’t the only benefit to a college degree. There are other educational and social benefits that can be drawn from a college education.  These include:

  • Quality of Life – Individuals who attend college make informed decisions, which can also lead to having more money. Studies have shown that college grads save and make more money and have more assets, including homes, cars, and investments. People who attend college tend to work in white collar jobs, in office buildings, or other facilities with air-conditioning, heating, and conveniences that improve the quality of life. Additionally, the Council on Contemporary Families reported that college graduates are less likely to divorce.
  • Work Productivity & Opportunity – If job satisfaction is important to you, then consider pursuing a college degree. Studies have shown that people who attend college have greater work opportunities, are more satisfied at work, and tend to have skills that can be easily applied in different work settings and different geographic locations. Additionally, those who attend some college are employed at three times a higher rate than those who have not.
  • Longer & Healthier Lifespan – In addition to the income boost that comes with higher education, college grads are healthier and have longer lifespans as well. A survey by the Center for Disease Control indicates that between 1990 and 2008, the life expectancy gap between the most and least educated Americans grew from 13 to 14 years among males and from 8 to 10 years among females. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that those with less education are more likely to have risk factors that predict disease—such as smoking and obesity. Having a higher socioeconomic status (measured by total family income, level of education attained and professional career status) is directly correlated with better physical health and life expectancy.
  • Self-Esteem & Psychological Well-being – When you walk across that stage with a diploma in hand, there is a sense of pride and confidence that no one can take away from you. Not only is it a rite of passage, but you’ve accomplished something that can never be taken away. Additionally, studies conducted by the College Board have found that those who have completed some college are not only more well-equipped to handle mental challenges, but also report a higher level of satisfaction when doing so.
  • Building a Legacy – One of the best parts of a college education is passing the benefits on to your kids. Children of college-educated parents are smarter, more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to attend college, and have a better quality of life.

Diverse Opportunities
Whether it’s a bachelor’s degree from a traditional four-year college or a Career Technical School, higher education has benefits far outside of knowledge and books. Whether or not education plays the most important role in your likelihood of getting hired, there’s no doubt that taking opportunities to learn and grow in your career is a beneficial piece of the puzzle. And, you don’t necessarily have to follow a typical four-year degree path. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in America require an associate’s degree or less. If you’re hoping to further your education without following a four-year plan, check out this article for more information.

 

What other benefits have you seen from attending college? Let us know in the comments section below.