Getting the Job You Want
It’s Work to Get Good Work
Getting hired into a new job isn’t just about having the required experience and a good work history. It’s also about understanding and learning the ins and outs of the application process, including making a good first impression at your initial employment interview.
Applying and interviewing for jobs is simply another skill set that you need to conquer in the modern economy. Like honing your computer skills or staying up to date on the latest developments in your sector, it’s simply a skill that needs to be studied, practiced, and developed.
To help ensure you have the best possible chance to land your next employment opportunity, we at Hire Authority LLC have developed this extensive “how-to” guide for successfully applying for jobs. Beginning with our expectations, we’ll move onto finding the right jobs to apply to, preparing your resume, preparing for your interview, and “day of” tips for interviewing.
We sincerely hope that this guide will help you hone your application and interviewing skills and lead you to your next opportunity.
Working with Hire Authority
We believe our job as labor brokers is to serve both employers and employees. One of our core objectives is to really get to know the needs and desires on both sides of the employee/employer equation.
Therefore, it is imperative that you create good lines of communication with Hire Authority LLC. An open, honest, and professional relationship with us will lay the groundwork for that kind of relationship with your potential new employer.
Your Initial Resume
So, first off, please don’t submit a “puffed up” — i.e., inaccurate — resume to us. We need to accurately know what you can do and what you have done so that we can match you with an employer that is looking for your skill set or is looking to train someone with your skill set.
In many ways, the resume you provide to us is our introduction. And you know what they say about only getting one chance to make a good first impression. If we find that you haven’t been completely on the up and up with us on your resume, then we will have to wonder about the entirety of our relationship. Let’s not go there.
Make Sure You’re Qualified
This may seem obvious, but … read carefully the job descriptions for the jobs you’re seeking. Are you really qualified for the job, or is it more a matter of wanting to be qualified for the job?
If you’re looking to move up the food chain in your area of expertise, we would love to help you. But we have to be realistic about what your current skill set is and what would need to happen to expand it.
Hire Authority LLC specializes in skilled manufacturing positions. The critical first word of that phrase is “skilled.” We do not handle entry-level positions. Likewise, if you’re in one part of the manufacturing sector and want to make a move to another sector, the fact is you may need additional training. We’ll help you navigate additional training and educational options but when applying for jobs it’s good to remain realistic about the amount of training that companies are willing to provide.
Once we’ve gotten off to a good start, let’s keep it up. Pursuing your employment goals requires good communication with us. In many ways, Hire Authority LLC is in the communications business. We communicate with employers about potential employees and our ability to maintain professional relationships with our clients is the key to our business.
So, we need to hear from you. We need that give and take in order to get you to the job interview you need to get to.
If we contact you about a position and you’re not interested in it — for whatever reason — please let us know ASAP. We’re not here to pressure you into a job you don’t want. But we are juggling a lot of job openings and potential hires all the time, so the sooner we have the information we need the better.
Likewise, if we contact you about interview requests and job offers, please respond quickly. Our clients are operating their businesses in a competitive environment and need to make hiring decisions in a timely manner. If you procrastinate they’ll move on to the next potential hire.
Remember, your skills are valuable and in demand, but other folks are out there with those skills too. Don’t be complacent. You’re part of a competitive environment too.
Finding the Right Jobs to Apply For
There are a lot of jobs out there, but finding the right one might feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Part of our job is helping you narrow down the possibilities so that you are focusing not only on the job you can get, but the job that you actually want.
Not every person wants the same thing from a job or considers the same things important. The level of compensation is important to everyone but, for some people, there are issues of work/life balance that also come into play. Or a commitment to environmental “green” manufacturing. Or the commuting distance.
These are the kinds of things we need to know so we can make the best match for you.
Some people hate to commute and will prioritize a job that is a short drive away (or even a walk or a bike ride!). And some people like the alone time in the car — with the music they want to listen to — before returning to a shared living space. To each his own. But this is the kind of personal preference that you need to think through and have prioritized as employment opportunities come your way.
And obviously, we need to know what salary and benefits range you are shooting for. We don’t want to waste your time with jobs that don’t pay a wage that you’re willing to work for.
We can’t guarantee that we’ll find a job that meets every one of your criteria. But we’ll try. And on our end, we’ll ask that you be realistic and flexible. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sometimes the right opportunity isn’t the perfect job (but it may put you on the path to the perfect job down the road).
You should think about what kind of corporate culture you want to be part of. Some companies are very cut and dry about making a profit and “keeping it simple.” Some have specific goals about how they want to operate and integrate themselves into the community. Some strive to create a sense of community within their workforce. Think about these issues.
If you know anyone who has worked at a company you’re thinking of applying to, reach out to them and get their thoughts. Word of mouth is always a good research tool. Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed often have reviews by employees of company work cultures.
If green manufacturing and the environmental commitment of your employer is important to you, let us know. There are businesses whose corporate philosophy might match your personal philosophy.
Preparing Your Resume
When looking for a new job, getting your resume into shape is just a fact of life. Gotta do it.
There are a number of things you’ll need to do give us the best chance to land you the job you want. Here are some of the basics.
Include Relevant Details
Our area of expertise is skilled manufacturing. The resume you give us to work with should include the specifics of your skill set, including industry machines and tools you are qualified to operate, specific job skills you’ve accumulated, training you’ve received, and day-to-day job responsibilities you have experience carrying out.
Many of our clients want to see the outlines of your skill set on paper. In addition, we do extensive keyword searches when trying to place potential employees with local companies, so having the tools, fabricating techniques, and computer systems you have mastered will heighten the chances that a keyword search finds you.
Make Sure It’s Up To Date
Needless to say, you don’t want to submit an outdated resume that doesn’t include the latest information relevant to your skill set. Employers want to see recent, regular, and relevant work history.
But a surprising number of our new applicants forward stale resumes. If there’s no job listed for the past three years on your resume, then the person reading your resume is going to assume you haven’t been working for the past three years. If you left the job market for child rearing or educational reasons we can explain that, but if it’s just blank it’s a red flag.
And this is a problem that’s usually easily solvable, since it’s oftentimes just a matter of the resume not being updated.
Don’t Include Too Much Personal Information
Another no-no is adding overly personal information to your resume. Information about your family, hobbies, and religious life really isn’t what employers are looking. They need to get a handle on your skill set and work and educational background. Once you get the job you can share your interests around the water cooler.
Likewise, don’t include links to your Facebook page or Twitter account. That’s social media, not professional media.
Your references should preferably be current or former supervisors who can vouch for you manager-to-manager. Colleagues who know your skill set and can testify to your responsible nature are the next best choice. If you don’t have a long work history, teachers of school advisors can be a good choice. Who you put on your resume as a reference is an important decision.
Alert anyone you are using as a reference that you’re doing so — a basic “heads up” — and you should probably ask that they be discreet (unless it’s your current boss that you’re asking).
Make sure any reference’s contact information is up-to-date. Having to track down a reference at a new job or new number won’t make a great impression with a hiring manager.
Other Resume Tips
Keep your resume to two pages, three at the most. And you don’t have to list every job you’ve ever had. Concentrate on the last five to ten years of work experience and, most importantly, work history and education that relates to the kinds of jobs you are seeking.
Don’t get too fancy with fonts or design. Make it easy to read. Your resume isn’t for you; it’s for the people who are reading it. Formatting should be consistent throughout the document.
Do not list reasons why you left a previous job (it’ll probably be covered in an interview anyway).
Always run spell and grammar check to catch errors. The website Grammarly is a good resource. But — after running those checks — proofread it again. Those apps aren’t foolproof, especially with the spelling and use of technical manufacturing terms. Then have a friend or family member read over your resume. Another set of eyes never hurts.
Preparing For Your Interview
Once you’ve scored a “hit” with your resume it’s interview time. As with your resume, preparing for an interview is something that should be approached with seriousness and care. Think of it a little bit like a test. You studied for your tests, right? (And if you didn’t study, how’d that go for you?)
Know Your Resume
This may sound like a simple one, but it’s not unheard of for people to not know their own work history off the top of their heads. That makes for some awkwardness in an interview.
You worked for these companies before and you did the job for them. Make sure you can answer any questions about your previous jobs, even if that means spending a little time going down the memory hole and taking notes. You’ll make a better impression if you can share specifics from every job listed on your resume, which is the blueprint on which your job interview will be constructed. Basically, brush up on what you’ve been doing with your work life before an interview.
Research The Company
Don’t go into an interview cold without knowing anything about the company you’re hoping to work for. Look them up on the Internet and poke around their website.
This shows that you’re willing to do your homework and show up prepared, which is what your potential new employer is looking for. It makes a good impression to show some knowledge of the company’s product line, history, and positions they are seeking to fill (even if they’re not the job you’re applying for).
This is especially true since a common interview question is: “So, what do you know about our company and products?” Most companies have “About Us” pages on their websites. Read it. Being able to cite the company’s mission statement off the cuff in an interview will get their attention.
In fact, if you have questions about the company after researching them, bring those to your interview. An applicant who is attentive enough to develop an interest and desire to learn more about a company will make a good impression.
Know The Job
You’ll be interviewing for a specific position and will have read the detailed job description. Make sure you can speak confidently about everything in the job description, even if that means being clear that you’ll need some training in a specific area.
Based on what’s in the job description you’ll know which aspects of the job you are most qualified for. If there are areas that you’re less experienced with, do some independent study so you can at least speak knowledgeably about those areas. Don’t fake experience and be clear that you might need some training in a specific area — but do the initial homework so that you can speak about these areas with a good preliminary understanding.
Know the Lingo of the Manufacturing Sector
As we’ve noted, Hire Authority LLC specializes in skilled manufacturing. Like any sector, there are specific terms and lingo that are common to it and that might be thrown at you in an interview. Here are some of the most common:
- Bill of Materials (BOM): The list of parts for a product assembly. The BOM is usually a spreadsheet of columns that give the BOM level, part number, name, revision, quantity, and reference designators.
- Document Change Request (DCR): A change request documents a problem in the assembly process that needs to be rectified via a change in the standard operating procedure (SOP).
- Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES): Computerized systems that track, manage, and document factory production lines. They are vital to reducing manufacturing time and material waste in the production process.
- Just-in-Time (JIT): A procurement method that seeks to cut down on over-inventory situations and storage costs by having a part arrive just in time, as opposed to well in advance.
- Quality Management System (QMS): A thorough documentation system that tracks issues via reports, monitoring, and permanent upgrade and training strategies.
- Return Material Authorization (RMA). A tracking system to determine the origin of a returned item. Often used when a customer returns a product so that it can be replaced or repaired.
- Supplier Corrective Action Request (SCAR): A change request to a supplier concerning problems with the process or material that the supplier has previously delivered.
- Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP): A system for ensuring that manufactured products meet quality standards.
- Kanban: A scheduling system allowing manufacturers to manage production levels and scheduling. Inventory is added when visual markers appear.
- Six Sigma: A method of eliminating faults in any manufacturing method using sophisticated data analysis.
- Lean Manufacturing (Lean): A production methodology that concentrates on waste reduction, resulting in greater efficiency.
- Batch Production: A manufacturing system in which components are built in groups and not in a continuous assembly line.
- Factory Overhead: Costs incurred during the manufacturing process, not including the cost of materials and labor. Some examples are rent, utilities, equipment set-up and maintenance, insurance, fringe benefits, depreciation, and property taxes.
- Things that can affect a manufacturing process include: a) Supply bottlenecks due to unexpected delays because of weather, transportation, or other issues; b) Equipment failures due to lack of maintenance or design flaws; c) Continuous power, which requires a Plan B ready if the regular power source fails; d) Failure of any hard-to-replace parts that will take time to have delivered; and e) A trained and motivated workforce, which is vital to any manufacturing enterprise.
- What is the role of the manufacturing supervisor? Maintaining control over the manufacturing process, including each individual phase of production and inventory levels.
- What is a product report? The full documentation concerning a product, including design, manufacturing, quality, sales, and repair information.
Practice and Visualize
Anticipate the kinds of questions that you are likely to be asked. The prepare responses in your head so that when the time comes you’re not gathering your thoughts as you speak. Practice makes perfect, as they say.
Expect questions like:
- “Tell us about yourself?”
- “Why are you interested in this position?”
- “What are your long-term career goals?”
- “What are your strengths? Weaknesses?”
- “Why should we hire you?”
- “What motivates you?”
- “Are you a good team player?”
- “What kind of salary are you looking for?”
When thinking of your answers, concentrate on not using “filler” words like “um, uh, you know, like, etc.” These can be grating to listen to. Visualize speaking in succinct, clear sentences that get to the point in a relaxed — but not overly familiar — way.
Have some questions prepared to ask at the conclusion of the interview. Very few job interviews don’t end with the question, “Do you have any questions you’d like to ask us?” Job interviewers expect you to have some, since it shows you’ve taken the time to think about their job and why you are applying for it.
The Night Before
Here are a few things to have in place the evening before an important interview:
- Plan out your route with a map application like Mapquest or Google Maps to get a sense of how long it will take to get to your interview.
- Then plan accordingly, including planning for bad traffic.
- Make sure your clothes are ready.
- Print and ready any paperwork you want to share at your interview (for example, copies of your resume).
- Get enough sleep.
Now we’ll move onto to some more in-depth interviewing tips. But first, the preliminaries:
Be On Time
This means arriving at least 10 minutes before your scheduled interview.
There’s just about nothing worse than arriving at a job interview late (other than your cell phone blasting out a Celine Dion song).
And if all goes according to plan and you get there early, kill some time before going in for the interview. Being 20 minutes early isn’t necessary or even welcome.
Don’t look sloppy. Even if you’re applying for a job on the shop floor, dress business appropriate, not in your work coveralls. A dress shirt, pants, or skirt in neutral colors — brown, black, white, navy blue, dark green — are best. No Hawaiian shirts.
Keep the tattoos out of sight if possible. You can show them off and the company picnic. Ditto the piercings.
And go easy on the perfume or cologne. You’ll probably be in a confined space and not everyone likes those scents. Some hiring professionals might even be allergic to them. Having an allergic reaction to perfume or cologne might be as bad as your cell phone booming out Kanye West in the middle of an interview.
Turn Off the Phone (Really, We Mean It)
Turn off your phone. Really! Digging through your pockets while your cell phone blares out an AC/DC song at high volume isn’t going to cut it.
Be Polite and Courteous
Be polite, no matter what. This is your chance to make a good first impression. In fact, it’s your only chance. Ask for things pleasantly and don’t chew gum (I know, we sound like your grandmother at this point). And did we mention not letting the Game of Thrones theme explode out of your phone is a good idea?
Don’t Get Stressed
Easier said than done, but try not to be to “tight” for the interview. Get a good night’s sleep. Don’t drink too much coffee and get jittery. Prepare for the interview and enter it confident that you’ve done your best to make the best of your interview.
Make A Good First Impression (Repeatedly)
When you arrive, introduce yourself politely to the receptionist. And don’t think that hiring managers don’t get input from their receptionists, who they depend on every day and who are part of their team.
Take a deep breath and get focused for the interview. You need to be on your game — alert and interested — during the interview. Job interviews can be nerve-wracking but they can also be … not the most exciting thing to be doing. But that shouldn’t show.
Potential employers expect you to seem interested in what they do and what they have to say. Act interested. Even better, be interested. Make eye contact, respond to their questions, create a conversation with the people who are interviewing you (who may very well have other things they’d rather be doing too).
Tell Your Story
Job interviewers want to hear your story. That’s why they’ve invited you in for an interview. Be ready to tell it in a way they can follow. You should be ready to go through the highlights of your educational and work background in chronological order — as opposed to jumping from this to that — so that a cohesive narrative is presented.
Be ready to share with the interviewers your experience and understanding of assembly processes and how the position you’re applying for fits into the bigger picture. Explain your understanding of quality control and your proficiency with specific manufacturing technologies. Share with them your eagerness and willingness — and ability — to expand your skill set.
Make sure they understand that you are dependable, a team player, and someone who will add value to their shop floor.
Give Hiring Managers What They Want to See
Here are some of the things a hiring manager will want to see in an interview:
- Do you listen well? Can you process verbal information? You’ll need to concentrate on the other people in the room and what they are saying. If something is not clear, ask for clarification. That’s a good thing in an employee.
- Are you prepared? You do this by offering to hand out additional copies of your resume (to show you’ve brought extras) and break out a notepad to take notes (to show you’re not just winging it).
- Do you understand body language? Making eye contact, leaning towards people as they ask questions, nodding gently — these are signals that you are listening and engaged. No yawning. No slouching. No looking out the window. It’s not freshman algebra class.
- Are you able to adapt and react? Challenging questions may be thrown at you. Perfect answers aren’t necessarily expected but the way you respond to a challenging situation is being judged. Don’t rush to blurt out the first answer that comes into your head. This isn’t a game show with a timer. Ask follow up questions if you feel you need more information.
When The Interview Ends
At the conclusion of the interview, make sure you thank everyone. Be upbeat and leave on a pleasant note.
If — after the interview — you still really want the job, then follow up with an email within 24 hours to thank them for the interview and stating clearly that you are interested in the position. This also gives you a chance to briefly bring up anything you may have forgotten during the interview.
We hope this exhaustive guide has helped you get ready for the job application and interview process. Good luck as you pursue your goals.