How to prepare for your job search, interview and beyond

Change is hard. And the current landscape of the job market is rapidly changing. Even recruiters are having to make adjustments. Due to the increase in resignations, many people are going on interviews, some for the first time in many years.

I was lucky enough to be raised by a recruiter, so I learned how to give a firm handshake at 10 years old. That’s very rare and I count myself lucky to have a parent that understood how corporations look for top talent. More importantly, how crucial that first impression handshake is.

I’ve used the skills I learned from my mom in my job search as well as every day while prepping candidates for interviews with my clients. I know what my client is looking for, and I know what my candidate has to offer. An interview is a place for both parties to see if the role, the company and the potential employee’s skill set align with their expectations.

At Synergis, we set up interview prep calls with each of our candidates to ensure they present themselves in the best way possible. If you don’t have anyone in your corner, and you’ve never interviewed anywhere, how are you prepping for an interview?

Here are some things to keep in mind during your job search:

Why are you looking? And what are you looking for?

These are the first questions I ask every person I speak with. It surprises me how many people have no answer. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to these questions but thinking about them is key to finding the right fit. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it leads to a reactionary job search. And in some cases, you end up interviewing and settling with a company that finds you first. So, what do you do?

First, ask yourself some questions while looking for jobs to apply to:

  • Is there an industry you’re interested in?
  • How do you want to spend your days?
  • How do you want your career to progress?
  • Do you want a salary, hourly or commission-based pay?

What is your target compensation range?

Recruiters present your information to a client along with an expected pay rate. Having the conversation about money upfront gives you more time throughout the process to discuss those numbers. The time to negotiate pay is before you are presented with an offer. I do this for my candidates as a part of my job, but many don’t know to do this. In fact, a lot of people just entering the workforce don’t utilize recruiters as a resource to ensure they get the rate they need and, in most cases, deserve. Remember, don’t sell yourself short when it comes to compensation.

Do you have any questions for us?

Most people forget that they should ask questions during an interview. You are there to interview them as well, not just them with you.  However, the interview should be a conversation between professional adults. The best questions are those that can’t be answered on the internet. They are about the intangibles as well as the day-to-day of the role.

Some basic questions to ask a potential employer:

  • How does this role fit into the organization as a whole?
  • What can I do to ensure I am successful in this role?
  • Is there anything about my background that makes you hesitant to move me forward in the interview process?

The last question is especially important. This is a scary question to ask because no one wants to hear negative feedback, but this question does two things for you:

  1. Shows you are open to growth, constructive criticism and have self-awareness.
  2. Gives you the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings and allows you time to refute any objections.

Should you accept the offer?

Congrats! If you got an offer and it is exactly what you wanted with pay, responsibilities and day-to-day, then what?

If you are not currently employed, or this is your first job opportunity, confirm the start date and report any expected vacations in the first 90 days. Being upfront about needed time off, just like talking about rate expectations early on, ensures the conversation happens before it’s too late. The onboarding process should take two weeks and engaging with HR during your onboarding will ensure you are prepared for your first day.

If you are currently employed, be ready to resign from your current position. Resignation should be respectful but firm. Many organizations will present a counteroffer upon receiving a two weeks’ notice from an employee. My advice? Don’t take it. It is a well-known fact in the staffing industry that 80% of people who accept a counteroffer leave within the first six months. That number jumps to 90% at the year mark.

How can I be successful in my first 90 days?

Settling in can take some time and adjusting to a new environment has many growth opportunities. At Synergis, we have Consultant Advocates that walk our consultants through the onboarding process, as well as check in on how they are adjusting to the new role. If you are looking on your own, you will need to advocate for yourself. Self-advocacy in the workplace can take many forms such as:

  • Making sure you have the right equipment
  • Establishing rapport with your manager
  • Creating short-term and long-term goals
  • Seeking out a career or peer mentor

In short

The job search process can be difficult to navigate, especially in this unique job market. If you’re going it alone, keep this list of advice handy. On the other hand, if you’d like someone in your corner – somewhat of an advocate – reach out to me. That’s what recruiters are here for!


About the author

Lindsey Carbo serves as a Technical Recruiter for Synergis. She started as an Associate Recruiter and was promoted within the first six months. In this role, she sources candidates for clients, specializing in project management and data analytics roles. Lindsey is a fervent advocate for her candidates, guiding them through the hiring process every step of the way. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Appalachian State University. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and playing board games.

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