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How Women can Best Prepare to Sit on a Corporate Board

Getting a seat on a corporate board is a prestigious accomplishment, and, as such, requires a lot of careful planning and preparation.  This is especially true for women, who only hold approximately 20.2 percent of corporate board seats among Fortune 500 companies .  One of the key functions of an effective Board of Directors is representing company stakeholders, including customers, employees, and shareholders, therefore a diverse, inclusive Board that combines a variety of skills and viewpoints is crucial.  With that in mind, we’ve compiled some tips and advice on how women can prepare to sit on a corporate board. One: Develop your Personal Brand All Board candidates must have a strong personal brand and value proposition that differentiates them from the pack, and you must be able to articulate this both in person and through your board-specific résumé.  Identify your strengths and correlate them with the experience you have gained...
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Six Ways to Ace a Phone Interview

Last week we wrote about six ways to bomb a phone interview , so, as promised, this week we’re going to provide some tips for acing a phone interview!  Phone interviews are becoming more and more common as companies and recruiters try to weed out poor applicants before spending the time and resources to bring in candidates for an in-person interview.  They have become an inescapable part of the modern job application process, so all candidates need to be familiar with the do’s and don’ts of a successful call. One: Use an Appropriate Greeting As we mentioned in last week’s article, answering the phone in an inappropriate manner can set the interview off on the wrong foot before it’s even officially begun.  When you answer the phone, make sure to use your own name so that the interviewer knows they have reached the right person, and, if possible, reference the...
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Six Ways to Bomb a Phone Interview

Congratulations: you applied for a position, your résumé and cover letter were well put together, and you have been asked to do a phone interview!  This phone interview is the crucial first test you will have to pass before you are taken seriously as an applicant, and, as such, requires a lot of preparation and forethought.  Unfortunately, we’ve noticed that many otherwise excellent candidates often do not take phone interviews very seriously, or don’t think they carry the same weight as an in-person interview.  In the hope of inspiring these job seekers, we asked our experts to put together a list of six common ways potential candidates can bomb a phone interview.  Next week, we’ll take a look at some ways to avoid these errors and ace a phone interview! One: Answering the Phone at an Inappropriate Place If you’re dealing with a recruiter or busy hiring manager, they may...
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How to tell if a Job is Not the Right Fit

Making sure they’re hiring the perfect candidate for the job is paramount for hiring managers, but job seekers also need to make sure that they're accepting the perfect position.  When you’ve been searching for months on end and are starting to feel a bit desperate it can be tempting to take the first job offer you receive, but you should always reflect on whether or not you actually  want that job before accepting the position.  Otherwise you’ll end up right back where you started, and everyone’s time will have been wasted.  Frictional unemployment – when individuals are unemployed because they are searching for a job that is the right fit – can actually be beneficial for everyone: job seekers, employers, and the economy as a whole.  With that in mind, we’ve put together some questions to consider before accepting a job offer. Question One: Do your career goals align with...
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Common Mistakes Companies Make when Hiring

Hiring the right talent is not an exact science: it takes finesse, experience, and a little bit of luck, and at some point everyone is going to make a mistake and hire the wrong person.  Company culture and the type of position being filled also play a role in hiring practices, which adds to the difficulty of creating a one-size-fits-all approach to hiring the perfect candidate every time.  Our hiring experts have, however, noticed a couple of common mistakes companies make during the hiring process, so this week they’ve put together a list of some of the more prominent errors and some simple fixes. Mistake 1: Not knowing what you want It’s impossible to fill an open position with a talented individual who will succeed and help the organization if you don’t know what specific skills, experience, and attributes a qualified candidate will need.  Developing a list of job responsibilities,...
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Making the Most of a Reference Check

Checking references is a step that, unfortunately, many recruiters and hiring managers decide to skip when bringing in a new employee.  It often seems tedious and time-consuming – the candidate has already passed through the pre-screening process, they’ve gone through phone and in-person interviews (perhaps even multiple rounds of face-to-face interviews), and they’ve managed to shine through it all.  What’s the point of going through their list and calling everyone just to get standard, canned responses about what a great employee they were?  Reference checks should never be ignored, though.  People can be trained on how to interview well and come across as competent, personable, and eager, so checking their references to make sure that they are actually a good employee , not just a good interviewee, is crucial.  Additionally, you need to verify that everything they’ve said on their résumé is accurate – you’d be surprised how many people...
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How to Simplify your Hiring Process

Hiring new employees is never going to be an easy process: identifying, interviewing, vetting, and on-boarding the right candidate takes time and effort, which pays off in the end, when you are rewarded with a competent and loyal employee.  There’s no need to struggle with an arduous hiring process if it’s leading to difficulties in attracting qualified candidates, though.   Take a look at these tips for simplifying your talent acquisition process, and see how many you can apply to your business! Tip 1: Shorten your application As an employer, you naturally want to have as much information about each candidate as possible before deciding whether or not to spend the time and effort to bring them in for an interview.  If your job application is too long and requires too many steps, though, it can negatively impact your hiring process.  Highly qualified candidates are turned off by lengthy applications that...
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How to Recover from a Bad Job Interview

There are a myriad of reasons why even the most well prepared job seeker can crash and burn during an interview: maybe your personality clashed with that of the interviewer, maybe you were running late and got flustered, maybe the job description changed, or maybe you just had an off day.  No matter the cause, though, there are a few things you can do to help recover from a poor interview.  Our experts have put together a list of five key steps you can take to improve the interviewer’s perception and make sure your hat stays in the ring! Step 1: Stay calm The first thing to do following a bad job interview is to stay calm.  Panicking is a natural response, but it won’t get you anywhere.  When your adrenaline is up and your mind is racing, you will be more likely to blow things out of proportion and...
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Quick Fixes to Boost Your Résumé

If you read last week’s article about résumé myths and were motivated to update your information but were not quite sure where to start, we at Potomac Recruiting are here to help!  This week our experts decided to take a look at some quick and easy ways to boost your professional experience and make your résumé stand out.  Naturally, a stellar résumé format will vary from industry to industry, but going through some of these simple tips is an excellent place to start re-vamping your professional image, no matter your field or experience level. Tip 1: Ditch the “Objective” Many people include an “Objective” section at the top of their résumé, without realizing that this may be hindering their search.  An “Objective” statement shows what you are looking for in a job – not how your skills may benefit the company!  Shift the focus back on the position for which...
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Making the Most of a Phone Interview Part 2 – As a Hiring Manager

Last week we took a look at some of the things candidates can do to ace a phone interview , so this week we are decided to flip the focus and offer some advice for hiring managers!  Phone interviews can be a valuable tool, particularly if you have a lot of candidates who have applied for the position and not enough time to meet with all of them in person, but there are some simple things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of each phone interview. Tip 1: Develop a Checklist Phone interviews are typically used to pre-screen candidates to determine whether or not they should be brought in for a full, face-to-face interview, so before you begin interviewing you should sit down and develop a checklist of immediate disqualifiers.  By going through this checklist during each interview you will be able to quickly...
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Making the Most of a Phone Interview Part 1 – As a Candidate

Phone interviews have a number of advantages over in-person interviews, particularly because phone interviews allow candidates to pull up information about the company and the position during the interview, and refer to notes on accomplishments and strengths.  There are challenges to phone interviews as well, though, as it is harder to build a rapport without the facial cues that separate a light-hearted, joking comment from a verbal barb.  To help you maximize the value of your phone interview, we’ve put together some tips and tricks for acing the call and setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicants. Tip 1: Double-Check the Time Zone Even if the person you are calling lives just down the street from you, remember to confirm the time zone prior to the interview – you don’t want to miss the interview because you are in Central time and your interviewer is in Pacific!  Plus,...
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Key Questions to Ask in an Interview

One of the myths we debunked last week was related to asking questions during an interview, and highlighted the importance of bringing up questions throughout an interview in order to keep conversation flowing, build a rapport, and demonstrate your curiosity and interest.  This week, then, we asked our recruiting experts to come up with a list of some of the best questions to ask in an interview, to help those of you who might be looking for ideas on what is appropriate to ask or what you need to keep in mind. 1.         How Do You Evaluate Performance?   Companies and managers have different ways of providing feedback, and it is important to know how you will be assessed.  If you prefer regular performance reviews, for example, you may not be the best fit at a company that does not have a formal review process. 2.        ...
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Six Interview Myths Debunked

We’ve been in the recruiting industry for a while, but every now and then even we still get thrown for a loop by some of the interview myths our clients believe.  So, we’ve built a list of common (and not-so-common) interview myths that seem to be lingering, with the hopes of dispelling them once and for all!  If you’re worried that you may have any additional misapprehensions about job interviews that we have not covered, feel free to shoot us an e-mail or give us a call , and we’ll be happy to speak with you! Myth 1: Withhold your Questions until the End of the Interview While you certainly don’t want to be left mute when your interviewer wraps up the discussion by asking if you have any questions, don’t save all of your points until the end!  Interviews are meant to be a dialogue, not an interrogation, and...
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How to Overcome your Toughest Hiring Challenges

        After a few articles focusing on helping job seekers build their résumés and turn networking meetings into job offers , it’s time to switch gears and look at some of the things hiring managers can do to make sure they are bringing in the best talent.  This week we will look at some of the common challenges human resources professionals face when hiring, as well as some steps to overcome these hurdles. Challenge 1: Not understanding the position you are trying to fill          Before you can hire the right candidate, or even begin the interview process, you need to make sure you and your hiring team have a deep understanding of the role that is being filled.  Sit down with the department that is hiring and work with them to gain a deeper understanding of the day-to-day tasks this new hire will be...
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How to Turn Networking Meetings into a Job Offer

         If you followed our advice from last week on getting an interview, perhaps you’ve been able to secure a couple networking meetings with contacts in your target industry.  You may be wondering, then, how you can turn a simple networking meeting, often also called an “informational interview,” into a solid job offer.  Potomac Recruiting’s expert career advisors have come up with some simple Do’s and Don’ts to help you navigate the tricky channel between “coffee with a colleague” and “you’re hired!” 1.  DO Come Prepared          Once you’ve secured an informational interview with a connection in a company you hope one day to join, start doing your homework and jotting down ideas and questions.  The meeting may be informal, but if you want to show that you are eager to be a part of their company, you need to demonstrate that you are...
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Why You Aren’t Getting Interviews

         Perhaps you’ve read the last few articles on our blog and realized that you aren’t happy in your current position: you aren’t engaged in your work , you don’t like the environment , and you’re worried about being left full of regrets .  Maybe you’ve already started applying for new jobs, but haven’t had much luck getting to the interview stage, let alone getting a job offer.  To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the key reasons why people have difficulty getting interviews, along with some tips for remedying these issues. 1. You are Not Targeting Your Résumé          Having a targeted résumé is one of the top ways to open the door to an interview.  Too many people are expecting HR to connect the dots themselves and see why you are the best person for the job, when...
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Why Hire A Professional Résumé Writer?

The most important step in getting a job is getting an interview; a résumé that stands out from others is the best thing you can have to get an opportunity for an interview.

       Your résumé is a selling tool and the most vital document in your job search, as it is often your first impression to a prospective employer. It is an advertisement of your skills and capabilities, and assures perspective employers that you have what it takes and would be a perfect fit in this new position or career.Job placement still comes down to what you have to offer (e.g. skills, experience, accomplishments), but presenting yourself in the best light possible is strategic and requires careful editing and polishing.

       As you search for a new job you will quickly find that in a highly competitive global job market, the quality of your résumé makes all the difference between getting an interview and getting overlooked. The goal of a résumé is to have you advance to the next phase of the recruitment process, whether that is an informal dialogue, telephone interview, or a face-to-face meeting. If you are looking to change jobs, up for a promotion, or concerned about the instability of today’s job market, having a professionally-written résumé is invaluable and essential! It can help distinguish you from others and ensure that not only do you get seen, but you stand out from the pack.

       Many job seekers ask why they should pay to have a professional write their résumé when they can do it on their own by going online and using pre-made formats. Additionally, many are concerned that a professionally written résumé is too expensive. We understand these concerns, but too often we encounter résumés that do nothing to help the individual!  A solid résumé is an investment in your future, and in today’s competitive job market a professionally written résumé is not an extravagance, but a much-needed leg up on the competition. Assume that there will be 100, 500, or even 1000 résumés for any given job, and imagine how an employer or a HR professional will sort through them all—to get noticed, your résumé will have to immediately catch their eye!  To stand out, your resume should be ideally tailored for each job, addressing every requirement of the job description and selling your background and skills as the best fit for the job and company.  

       What do we offer? As part of our career consulting practice, Potomac Recruiting has coached and advised C.E.O.s, mid- and early-career professionals, transitioning military and Federal employees, recent college graduates with limited work experience, and others in nearly every field of industry. Our professional résumé writers can help you develop your best general résumé, which can be tailored for the jobs you are applying for, or help target your résumé for a specific job.  We can make you stand out in a sea of job applicants!  We know that one size does not fit all, and as your experience level changes, so should your résumé. Potomac Recruiting career services has a variety of options to fit your experience level in order to give you that competitive edge. We provide you with personalized service – one where you can have direct communication with the résumé writer. To schedule an appointment, you can contact us through the information intake form under “Connect” on the website. We look forward to hearing from you!

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How to Dress for Success for a Federal Interview!

If you’re trying to leave the private sector or are a recent graduate who’s been wearing PJs to class the last four years, how to dress for a federal interview may not be overly obvious!        After you’ve done all of the leg work and research to finally land an interview, it would be a shame to cause a bad impression during it just because of how you dressed. There are several, simple solutions to guarantee that the interviewer will focus on the great qualities that got you there in the first place, not how you look! Working in the federal or intelligence sector means that you will be working for your country, and it is important to show your respect for this through how you dress. While wearing bright colors or bold patterns may make you think you’re standing out from the crowd, it could be for...
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About Us

Potomac Recruiting consultants are specialists in talent. Our experienced consultants are passionate about finding the right people for your business—that’s the Potomac Recruiting advantage. We specialize in finding the people who will help your business exceed its goals, and our success is measurable: in today’s fast-moving world Potomac Recruiting is proud that our retention rate is 93%.  

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