How to Talk About Weaknesses in a Job Interview
Posted on: February 20th, 2019

Whether you’re interviewing for your first out-of-college, entry-level position or a more experienced leadership role, you’ll find one topic of questioning remains the same and can be a challenge to answer no matter your experience level. And that topic is about your weaknesses. Successfully answering this question can distinguish you from your competitors and help you land the job. But be careful, interviewers can trick you and pose this question in several ways.

From keeping it positive and honest to having the ability to identify weaknesses and share how you’re addressing them and self-correcting when possible, Avenica’s own Jacqueline Wolfson, vice president, Eastern region, provides some great advice for tackling this question for an article in which she was recently interviewed about this topic. Read the article currently posted on Tribune Content Agency.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.

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Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting
Posted on: January 3rd, 2019

As time goes on, Artificial Intelligence strings together an expanding number of moments throughout our lives. From whose posts we see on social media to which advertisers target us and how, algorithms are constantly curating our interactions with digital content.

AI has undoubtedly lent a crucial hand in revolutionizing many industries, but not without trial and error. Take a look at Amazon, for example, who found themselves in hot water after developing an AI system to identify candidates most eligible for vacant positions. Shortly after launching the program, it was discovered that Amazon’s new recruiting tool was discriminating against women.

How did that happen? Well, Amazon’s computer models were likely trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted over a ten-year period. Most of those resumes had come from men, in a direct and entirely accurate reflection of the tech realm’s everlasting issue with gender inequality. Consequently, Amazon’s system began to favor male applicants, further perpetuating an already concerning industry trend.

In the end, Amazon recalled the software and released a statement assuring that “no candidates had been evaluated by the program.” But, as a 2017 CareerBuilder survey sources more than half of HR managers as expecting AI to be a common part of their strategies within the next five years, this case poses an interesting question for recruiting pros: Is AI in the hiring process foolproof?

While we at Avenica certainly appreciate and take full advantage of technology and the societal advances it’s brought along, we also understand—and have appropriately addressed—the associated pitfalls. That’s why when it comes to our hiring philosophy, we incorporate technology for efficiency and a human touch efficacy. Our proprietary process utilizes behavioral-based interviewing, career discovery, and personal matching. This is when a real, human member of our staff works with recent college graduates to identify unique skills and aptitude along with career goals and aspirations. Attaining these insights allows us to understand which types of entry-level positions is best suited for each candidate and their career path.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions.

Are you a college graduate ready to launch your career? Don’t leave your career path in the hands of an algorithm. Join our network today.

Ready to hire strong entry-level talent? Partner with us.

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Don’t Ghost Employers, Do This Instead
Posted on: December 24th, 2018

Everyone’s been doing this for…forever, but now that there’s a new, funny, trendy name attached to it, it’s become a “thing” now. Disappearing suddenly, without contact, without warning, as if you up and died…and are now a ghost. In the professional world, this usually happens after an employer reaches out to connect with a candidate after receiving a job application. While this could be seen as acceptable in the dating world, where there might not be any real consequences and a new date populates within a swipe of a finger, this could really backfire for you in your professional life.

For those of you actively on the job hunt, it might sound crazy to throw away an opportunity, but in a strong job economy or with positions that a candidate might find less desirable, this happens a lot. And for the same reasons it happens in the dating world; it’s easier and less uncomfortable…for one side. The problem? Well for recruiters like us who are working with clients to fill positions every day, it’s quite frustrating. But for candidates like you, it could hurt your professional reputation.

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky college graduates who applied for several positions and received back more than one response from interested employers. That’s great! But before you go ghosting on any of them because you like one opportunity the best, consider the possible outcomes and our suggestions for how to handle:

Outcome 1:

You don’t get the job you wanted. Maybe you don’t make it passed the first interview, or you make it all the way through to the last round and you lose the opportunity to another candidate. No matter where in the process you are, you’re going to wish you had a backup plan.

Outcome 2:

You got the job you wanted but realized after being on the job for a while that it’s not the right fit for you. Either you don’t like the work, or you don’t feel like a fit with the company or team. You’re going to wish you had a backup plan

Recommended Solution:

Like a lot of people do in dating, you can play the field—especially in the interviewing stage. You don’t have to give up all your other options just because Ms./Mr. Right asks you on for an interview. And besides, how are you going to know they are “the one” so early on? Sure, you might not get any of the jobs, but at least you have a higher chance at landing something if you pursue multiple opportunities. In either scenario, it’s always best to have a fallback plan should your top choice not work out.

And hey, you’re never going to know if it could be a match if you don’t try to get to know them, right? You could be surprised and get a really great offer from the backup, or maybe you’ll end up liking the company culture, professional development opportunities, or career track more. It’s much easier to have a respectful, honest breakup than it is to grovel and ask for forgiveness and a second chance. This is especially true if you get the job but it doesn’t meet expectations and you find yourself back out there looking for another opportunity to swipe right on…or is it left? I always forget.

Try sending this email instead:

Dear (Hiring Manger’s Name):

Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with you and learn more about the role and company. After some careful consideration, I don’t think this role at this time, is the right fit for me. I hope to keep in contact and would like the opportunity to work with you in the future.

Again, thank you for the consideration.

Of course you can personalize this email to tailor your specific situation and engagements with the interviewer, but this is a great starting template. The hiring manager/recruiter will know not to continue trying to reach out to you and will be glad you’ve saved them the time and effort. It’s just always better to know, ya know? Plus, if for any reason, you find yourself looking for a different opportunity—maybe it’s pretty immediate after it not working out with your first option, but maybe it’s after a year or two and you’re looking for a higher-level position—you’re going to be glad you didn’t go “full Casper” and burn that bridge.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.

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Personality Tests: How Well Do You Know Yourself?
Posted on: November 29th, 2018

How well do you really know yourself? Do you understand your strengths and weaknesses, know what makes you tick, and recognize why you act the way you do? Even if you think you already know these things, there’s probably still a lot to uncover. One way to better get to know yourself is through personality tests. And there’s really no better time to do it than right now while you’re in college. Taking a personality test can help you navigate and determine your career options. Having an understanding of your future career goals now, can greatly help you in planning out the rest of your academics.

There are several widely used personality tests, many you’ve probably already heard of. Here are a few you can do online, and best of all, they’re free. Because college ain’t cheap, man.

16 Personalities

This test breaks people into four categories called roles; analysts, diplomats, sentinels, and explorers, with four sub-categories for each called strategies that identify preferred ways of achieving goals. Taking this test helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and understand how you interact with and engage in the world around you. You can also learn about other, more well-known people with your same personality type. Are you a Diplomat, Protagonist like Oprah Winfrey or an Analyst, Logician like Bill Gates? I’m positive that I’ll be Sentinel, Defender, because I’m obviously a Beyonce.

Sakanu Career Assessment

We’re all probably good at things we don’t necessarily like, and conversely, there are things we like but just aren’t that good at. Like, I love crafting, but my creations always look more like Pinterest fails, and I’m actually pretty good with numbers, but thought of doing anything in finance, accounting, or math is my nightmare. The Sakanu Career Assessment evaluates your aptitude and interests to help guide and provide options for your career discovery.

Emotional Intelligence Quiz

The concept of emotional intelligence has been a buzz-worthy topic for quite some time now and has become pretty ubiquitous in the professional/business world. In this assessment, you can learn about your EQ and how it affects your interpersonal relationships and interactions. The more you know about your EQ and EQ in general, the better you can get at recognizing and understanding your own emotions, as well as, having a better understanding other people’s feelings and motivations. Overall, it helps you build relationships, handle and resolve conflicts, and perform better in group and team settings. So, it’s basically like magic.

While none of these assessments are perfectly accurate, they provide a lot of good insight into the kind of person you are and provide some general guidance and direction for helping you plan your career and professional development goals. If anything, it’s a great distraction from the grind of classes, homework, and studying.

And just for fun, and because you’re dying to know…

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.

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College Clubs and Orgs: Choose Your Own Adventure
Posted on: November 21st, 2018

College is like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. You decide your major, pick the classes you want to take, and choose which activities to take part in. You really get to make of it what you want and create your own experience. One way to really tailor your experience is through on-campus clubs and orgs. The list of kinds of clubs to join is nearly endless. Even the smallest schools still have a robust offering, and most schools even allow you to create a club if the one you’d want to join doesn’t already exist.

Students join various on-campus clubs for a variety of reasons—to enhance social life, meet like-minded students, or pursue personal interests—but while providing all that and more, clubs also help to develop skills that can, and probably will, be used in your professional life, as well. From planning, teamwork, leadership, and networking, clubs can help you develop as a student and as the professional you’ll be after graduation. They also provide much-needed color and experience to what can be a sparse resume, especially for newly-graduated job seekers.

There are academic and educational clubs where students can dig deeper into their area of study with other like-minded students, and there are also other interest-based clubs that range from different kinds of hobbies, sports, and activities to community service, politics, culture, and religion. And don’t think that the only way a student can gain leadership or professional experience is through Model UN, student government, or student newspaper participation. While those opportunities are great, there are plenty of ways to get resume-building experience while also nurturing and fostering your personal interests.

Want a future in finance and have a knack for knitting? Set your sites on the treasurer position of your school’s knitting club to both satisfy your yearn for yarn and help you gain experience managing money. Or perhaps you’re a movie maven with an interest in international business. A foreign film club could help you cultivate some cultural competence while soaking up the silver screen. 

No matter how you build your own college adventure, consider how to incorporate club and org participation to enrich your experience and help working towards your future career goals.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.

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Taking Advantage of the Years Before Graduation
Posted on: November 7th, 2018

While graduation might seem like a lifetime away, there’s a lot you can be doing now to help make the transition from college student to working professional easier and more successful. From internships to part-time jobs, building up a network, and identifying future career interests, junior year is a great time to start preparing for life after college.

Load up on professional experience
Internship and other professional opportunities for rising college graduates are usually plentiful but can have a competitive and challenging application process. Gaining professional experience prior to graduation requires an application process that can sometimes seem lengthy. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to start researching and applying to opportunities that are of interest to you and would provide useful professional experience. Think of these opportunities as a free trial of your future career. Try to find something that aligns to what you’d like to do after college to see if the experience strengthens your interest or makes you reevaluate your career path.

Professional experience doesn’t have to come in the form of an internship. From customer service to leadership and management to problem-solving skills, there’s a lot you can learn from part-time and summer positions in the retail, service, etc. industries. Just make sure you’re taking advantage of any opportunities that might arise or taking initiative to seek out and request opportunities.

Study Abroad
If you’re able to, a study abroad experience is far more than the opportunity to travel to and experience a new destination and culture. As the world becomes more interconnected, it’s imperative to understand how globalization affects people and business. Studying abroad provides the international experience many students lack when starting a career and provides an immersive education on engaging with others from different backgrounds and cultures. This is especially important when applying to positions with companies who have global, international footprints.

Identify career interests
Few students start college actually knowing what their career track will be. Many students change their mind and major throughout college. Take advantage of your school’s career development center to help you discover where your interests intersect with your skills and strengths. Having more direction now will help you to hit the ground running and be more focused and targeted in your career search upon graduation.

Build up your professional skills
Professionalism is a nebulous, overarching topic, including everything from appearance, communication style, attitude, work ethic and integrity, and competence. It’s a lot. Start honing your professional presence by attending networking events and observing others’ interactions and behaviors. Request informational interviews which will help you practice speaking with professionals and provide helpful insider insight into various organizations and professions. The more you can learn from can learn from successful professionals, the more prepared you’ll be for life after graduation.

For many, your final year is going to be a crush of activities and experiences, and you won’t want to miss out on a thing. Setting yourself up for success in the years leading up to your final semester helps lighten your load and gives you more time to prepare, practice, and perfect.

Learn more about how Avenica helps college grads kickstart careers through the CareerActivation™ Program.

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