It was an awesome summer, but I’ll leave it to our 2014 interns to tell you more about it. Applications aren’t yet open for 2015, but be sure to look back in early December for more info! And don’t forget to check out our blog – culture.fool.com – to learn about what’s going on at The Motley Fool.
By Sara Klieger
We’ve written a few times about what job candidates can do to stand out. But what can companies and recruiters do to ensure that great candidates apply to their jobs and finish the recruiting process feeling good about the company – even if they didn’t get a job offer?
I know a few people who are job hunting currently, and they’ve shared some of their frustrations with me. If your company is committing any of these recruiting sins, I guarantee you’re missing out on highly-qualified applicants. Or worse, you’re scaring them away.
1) Your online application system is the worst thing ever
If an applicant has to upload their resume AND manually enter the same information in a different place, it’s annoying. No one likes annoying. Look into a different system. Also, if applicants are following directions to upload resumes and cover letters, but the system still won’t accept the uploaded files, you’re wasting applicants’ time. They’ll give up on you and apply elsewhere.
2) You don’t give applicants time to prepare
A friend of mine recently applied to a job, and within two hours, someone from that company called them up and began a phone interview – with no advanced warning! Respect an applicant’s time. They might not be in a place where they can talk to you right now (maybe they’re at their desk at the job they want to leave!). Schedule the phone screen in advance so they can be relaxed, prepared, and truly ready to answer your questions.
3) You don’t tell applicants they’ve been rejected – after they interviewed in person!
This one, to me, is the big no-no. An applicant took hours out of their day, possibly taking vacation time, to interview with your company. By now, you’ve probably spoken on the phone and emailed a few times. In short, you’ve built up a relationship with this person. To not ever let them know you’ve made an offer to another candidate is so disrespectful. All it takes is a quick email.
In a world where people can slam you on Glassdoor, your company can’t afford to not treat job candidates well. Make sure the application process works seamlessly, work with candidates to schedule their interviews at a mutually convenient time, and keep up the communication with them, even if the news you have to share isn’t happy. You’ll leave candidates thinking more highly of your company, and more likely to apply again or recommend job openings to their friends.
How many articles advertise exclusive tips for rocking a job interview? Tons. In fact, there’s almost too much advice about the right ways to act in front of potential employers. Though we’ve certainly featured posts on improving resumes, perfecting applications, and details that stand out to those hiring, there’s still more of the story to be told. Here’s the reality check: in an effort to present themselves as the “perfect candidate,” job-hunters often leave less favorable impressions. With bad apple applicants in mind, our own Hiring Managers spoke from experience on conduct to avoid –if you want the job, of course.
The long application process is complete, and we hope you didn’t tell any white lies. Your clean cut resume and LinkedIn profile shouldn’t tell two strikingly different stories, because even a little exaggeration can cost you a lot of respect. If we like what we see, hopefully a phone interview will be offered. Our recruiters work flexibly with a candidate’s schedule, and ultimately it’s the interviewee who chooses the date. In this context, there’s no excuse to be unprepared. Before the opportunity to speak with a Hiring Manager, doing your fact-finding is key. Any top-notch recruiter can sense laziness, so check the organization’s website and take notes. Google is the best weapon for finding more company information, from employee reviews to (hopefully good) press.
Speaking of phone interviews, plan for a quiet, comfortable spot with a place to set up your notes in advance. As much as we all love coffee shops, please don’t try a phone interview at Starbucks. The environment always turns out much louder than you think, and you want the recruiter to hear all of the awesome qualities you could bring to the position.
If you’ve successfully made it this far, chances are good that you’ll be invited for an on-site interview. Show up with a confident attitude (read: not arrogant), but be self-aware and don’t dominate conversations. Keep a positive demeanor and, perhaps most importantly, be delicate when speaking of current and past employers. It’s not the time to bash the manager you hated, or say that one work experience was a total waste of your time. Now is an opportunity to instead prove your knowledge and impress the audience. And while we love enthusiasm, it may be a bit soon to exhibit your thoughts on a question by using the conference room’s whiteboard.
All of the research we recommended will pay off when you aren’t left empty-handed as the team asks if you have questions. We know you can think of at least one, so avoid the response that everything is all clear. At this stage in the interview game, don’t focus on what the company can do for you personally. Inquiring about the number of sick and vacation days, dental insurance providers, and how often you can work from home doesn’t read well. Rather, show how interested you are in the business itself, from their core values to competitors, office culture, and how this potential role will play a part in the company’s big picture.
Finishing an interview feels like a relief, but it’s also when anxiety can start to creep in. Try to block second thoughts from your mind and move on, all in hopes that you’ll get that coveted offer soon. Personalized thank-you notes are definitely appreciated, but this special gesture won’t make or break your chances of being hired. Should you choose to reach out, use nice stationary and make sure your handwriting is legible. And while an extra trip to the post office can be a pain, make the effort to send your note on the same day you interviewed. Email thank-you notes also aren’t frowned upon either, but don’t send a bulk email to everyone you encountered. Make each email message special, and never send from your work account.
Not such smart ideas? Sending Facebook friend requests and LinkedIn invites to your entire interview panel. They’ll likely decline the requests, and it’s too soon to make such quick connections anyway. If you don’t land the job, the awkwardness of having them in your network might be too much to take. In addition, don’t call the office asking to follow-up because, trust me, you’ll eventually hear news. Depending on the position, our Hiring Mangers aim to contact candidates within a week of the interview regarding their status.
Whether you’re applying to The Motley Fool or another organization, it can be eye-opening to consider nightmare interview situations. It’s also a nice feeling to know that it wasn’t you smacking gum or saying something is “totes your specialty” in front of seasoned professionals. And, maybe more so after this article, you won’t be that candidate. Weigh the bad – and the good – advice, and you’ll likely find yourself improving your interviewing game.
The Motley Fool is growing and growing fast. With any rapid growth, scale and efficiency are key. We are desperately seeking a new Fool to investigate, test, and learn their way in to creating value by finding those little gaps in our systems and processes. In this new and important role you will absolutely be improving systems and processes, establishing new systems and processes, or combining systems and processes to create efficiency.
Initial Project List Draft:
Have you ever begun the walk or drive from Starbucks to the office and a tiny drip of coffee magically, intentionally pops from the edge of your cup on to your finger? We at The Fool have noticed that the amount of time we spend cleaning up the coffee spills from the annoying, magical drip from a Starbucks cup is small amounts of time that add up over the year. The successful candidate will experiment with the Starbucks coffee cup to determine why that drip appears, seems to have a mind of its own, and is intent on attaching itself to my shirt or desk. There it is again, what the heck is going on with the devil drip?
We at The Fool are long time users of Microsoft’s incredible invention, The Outlook. Long ago The Outlook discovered that the most efficient way to get from one meeting to the next is to allow zero seconds in between meetings. It is a real stroke of genius, meetings can start right away one after the other will absolutely no breaks. At The Fool we haven’t yet figured out how to master the lofty goal The Outlook has laid out for us. We need to experiment with running super-fast, cloning, time travel, or riding cheetahs to take full advantage of TOKES – The Outlook Kalendaring Efficiency System.
Everyone knows that interns are super smart, get great work done, and…wait for it… we don’t ever have to spend time getting to know them or their name. There is a lot of time spent at The Fool getting to know each other, having fun together, and collaborating. This could be just a big waste of time. We’d like to transition our full work force to be interns who do great stuff AND we don’t have to get to know them on any personal level. Each intern will be named Templeton I (male) or Temptress I (female). We will need to train them not to eat all of our free food, though.
One pass through our office and you can see that the more computer monitors we have the more efficient we are. We’d like to move to a point where every Fool has six monitors minimum. Math and strength will be key for this task. There is a lot of ordering and heavy lifting in this role. You will need to be able to count the number of monitors currently on people’s desk, subtract that number from six, and then go get that new number for setup. Again there is a first number, some subtraction with that number and the goal number, and then a determination of need based on the final number. Pivot table training will be provided through FoolU, our internal University.
We are big on standing desks, treadmill desks, and cycling desks. This promotes health and yes, speed! With speed comes getting things done faster. We know that when we combine our core values with great ideas amazing things happen. Fun, Competitive, and Collaborative are two of our core values and, well,
why should they be a part of everything? We’d like to take this to the next level with the Fool Sports Desk. In this scenario you will be able to play full court basketball, soccer, and tennis while using your laptop. Fools can work, play, compete, collaborate, get healthy, and win. We are winners.
If these are the types of projects that get you excited and ready for systems, processes, efficiency, strategery, systems, and process then apply now!
This opportunity will close to new applicants on Friday February 21st
… a skilled technical individual (web developer, web engineer, or software developer)
… a high-performing problem solver with strong collaborative skills
… someone who wants to love their job
… ready to spend four months embedded in one of our small, fast-moving tech teams of three to seven people
… a multimedia financial powerhouse that is growing our technical capability
… Glassdoor.com’s “Best Medium-Sized Company to Work For in the U.S.”
… Business Insider’s “Best Media Company to Work For”, and included in Washingtonian magazine’s “50 Great Places to Work” and Washington Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work”
… working hard on exciting technologies, with remarkable coworkers, towards a meaningful purpose – and enjoying it
Interested? Read more about Techspandex.
Are you a college or grad student looking for an amazing summer internship? We’re currently looking for talented, curious, motivated students who want to spend this summer at The Fool! This is an 8-week paid internship where you’ll get to work on great projects with great people…and you’ll never have to wear a tie (unless you lose a bet or something). You’ll work in our Alexandria, VA, office, located just outside of Washington, DC.
If you’re interested in investing, writing, international studies, web analytics, software development, or retention marketing, we want to learn more about you! Find out more about our specific internship openings and submit your application by January 31, 2014.
Want to learn more? Some of last year’s interns were happy to share their Foolish experience!