As recent graduates head into a summer of interviews and new beginnings, one staffing coordinator lent them a little advice. Adecco Staffing Solutions Office Supervisor Sherry Barr-Diaz sat down with Staff Writer Molly Williamson to discuss interview tips, dos and donts and what every graduate needs to be successful.
If you had one piece of advice for graduates as they go on interviews, what would it be?
I think the main thing is honesty clarity of skills and what youre looking for. Dont just accept a job just because you need the money. Look at it and make sure its for you.
And why do you say that?
Well, we get these people who take a job spur of the moment because they need the money. Then, in a day, they are like, Oh, this isnt for me. Especially younger people do this. But if they burn their bridges (by leaving right away), they can never go back. So they want to make sure to keep that network open. Never close that line of communication with someone.
How important is dress nowadays? It seems like more and more people can dress casually for work.
I think its very important. Ive been in this business for 10 years. Ive seen a lot of changes. When you see someone walk in showing their midriff or wearing flip-flops, it gives you the wrong first impression.
Do you think if you make an error like that in the beginning, its hard for you to gain respect later?
I really do with some people. It depends on the type of job youre applying for, really.
What are some questions that kids need to ask in interviews to make sure the job is right for them or to make sure theyre prepared for their first day?
First of all, I think they need to have a resume. If they dont have a lot of skills, at least list classes they have taken, maybe have their transcript with them and a recommendation letter from one of their teachers.
A question they could ask is for (the interviewer) to give them job details instead of saying, Okay, what will I be doing? The person theyre interviewing with may only say, Oh, youll be answering phones, typing. Thats too broad. They need to kind of narrow it down with that interviewer. That way it will be a better job match.
So what would a follow up question be?
If I were the candidate for the job?
I would say, Okay, what type of people would I be interviewing? For what type of jobs? How many lines are coming in on the phone? What type of people would be calling me? Is there a lot of information I need to learn up front before I get on the phones? Think past the box. Dont just take the answer and say, Oh, okay.
How important is speech, good grammar, language in an interview?
Very important. When youre speaking to your interviewer sit up straight, cross you feet at the bottom, not your legs. And you dont have to directly look at them the whole time, but you dont want to look away a lot. Just keep eye contact with them. Be very sincere when youre talking to someone. Give them direct answers not yes or no. Try to elaborate and try to be comfortable with that person. Thats one of the top things just be comfortable in your interviews. Practice before you do it. Have a friend to practice with.
What are some common mistakes that people make in interviews or when they first start a job?
I know the younger generation, since theyre going to be nervous going in, probably do not ask the right questions or do not ask enough questions about what they will be doing. Dont wonder. Ask questions. Theres never a wrong question to ask. Just make sure you have all the specifics. Have a checklist of what you need to know, such as who your main contact is, what number you would need to call in case of an emergency, the dress code, for sure, hours and times for the breaks.
Another big mistake people make when they go on interviews is they show up way too early or too late. It is best to just be five or 10 minutes early.
When in an interview, how soon should they bring up money? Should they wait until a second interview or should they ask in the first interview?
I think its fine to ask in the first interview. Money drives a lot of people. If youre just graduating from college, you definitely want to start out at the highest rate possible. I would say thats a good question to ask closer to the end of the interview. Its not like youre going to make a decision right there and say, Oh, thats not enough. Bye. You can go home and think about it afterwards and you can always counteroffer. I think youre always negotiable, or should be. Never settle. If you dont think its for you, dont settle.
What are some skills that the job market is looking for right now?
In the Frankfort area, of course state government is the largest employer in town with administrative type and technical type positions. And what I see out of the staffing services is higher level administrative type positions. We still do have the light clerical, the general clerical, but we need to get more into the higher level administrative and possibly over into the technical type fields.
Like computer science?
Yes. Just so you know, we dont get a lot of the computer science. We have a technical division who handles the higher level technical type jobs. To be honest, our service right here does a lot more of the general laborer, production, manufacturing type jobs. Those people are looking for dedicated workers who are ready to get in there and go full time and start a career. A lot of them will pay for your careers.
So Adecco is a good option if you dont really know what you want to do yet?
Definitely. When I graduated out of college I started with Kelly Services. Its ironic because now, 20 years later, Im back at a service doing the job.
Are there any special skills that are good to have right now? I know that it seems there is more and more a need for people fluent in Spanish.
It never hurts to have diversity in your skills and your languages. Were seeking a lot of specialized skills like mid-welding. Im sure we would get more orders if we could handle services like auto mechanics. You know there is a lot of need for that out there that we cant service. I guess a lot of times I dont know exactly what the need is because we can only do so much. We dont get into a lot of the other fields.
Anything else youd like to say?
The main thing right now is loyalty to your employers, honesty and open lines of communication.
Its a rough business when youre in human resources and trying to get people to work with jobs. Its hard to always get that custom match that that person is looking for. Being in a small city like this, you dont have a lot to choose from so you have to take what you have to work with. Hopefully the people will accept it. If not, they have to move out and go to other cities to find the jobs theyre looking for.
Frankfort does have a lot to offer and there are some good paying jobs out there if a person is really serious about wanting to work. They can come through a temporary service. Sometimes theres a probationary period of 60 to 90 days and that customer will hire them on full time. Then, there they are, they have their career. The same with state government. If theres a position open down there, theyre more than willing to accept an application from our administrative-type people and fill it with those people. So its a great opportunity being in a staffing service like this. Were the largest in the world.