When you apply for a job, many employers choose to perform a background check before finally deciding to hire you. A background check or background investigation is a way to find out a person's most common records, since many employers won't hire anyone with criminal records.
However through this pre-employment screening, they can also verify professional and educational records, so they can check how many jobs you've had through the years and decide whether you're a candidate who can stick with a job position for long periods of time.
It's not always the employer who performs the background check since there are special agencies that offer these services to companies.
This is one important reason why you shouldn't lie on your resume since, after all, they can and will find out the truth through this kind of process. Besides, all companies and employers will appreciate you being honest about everything on your professional and personal life.
Other tips on background checks:
How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Screening Software
In order to diminish the numbers of applications some companies will automatically screen applications, make sure you do not get filtered out with these tips!
When bigger companies advertise the opening of a position, it is not uncommon for them to receive a large amount of applications for the respective job. While not all companies do this, some use applicant screening software in order to filter out the applications by a set of rules that are predetermined by the employer. However, this sometimes also causes problems for the applicants. If your resume or cover letter does not contain certain keywords related the to the job for example, it is possible that no one will ever see your resume. It is a good idea to format your resume and cover letter correctly, in order to avoid being eliminated before the hiring manager has considered you.
Use keywords - One of the main things that screening software does is scan the resume for certain keywords. Problems arise when, for example, the job description requires the ability to use a certain program, however, it is not mentioned in your resume even though you are able to. This is why it is important to include skills that are required or maybe even seem obvious as screening programs often filter resumes out that do not contain certain words, in an effort to only select candidates that are fully qualified.
Repetition - If the job seems to focus on a certain skill or function it is a good idea to include it multiple times throughout your resume. Screening programs will often filter out resumes that do not seem relevant enough to the job, this can be combated however, by using the words from the job description especially those which seem to play a large role in the job.
Job titles - Applicant screening software also often scans your employment history and checks its relatedness with the job you are applying for. This is usually the case when the job requires a certain amount of experience. Sometimes however, the software will not recognize a job title and class it as unrelated. It is therefore a good idea, if your recent or current job title does not match with the one you are applying for, to clarify or even put the new employers name for the same job in parentheses. It is not recommended to change the job title entirely as this would be seen as a discrepancy if questioned about it.
- Save in a standard format - It is often debated which format is the best to send out a resume as, when the company does not specify. Using nonstandard software or formats may cause your resume to be discarded by the screening process or the company may have trouble opening it. Due to the number of applicants the company will not alert you of this fact and your resume will also be discarded. Therefore when sending your resume it is suggested to use a PDF or Word (.docx or .doc) file as most companies will view these as standard.
Tips for Submitting an Online Job Application
Online applications can be daunting for some, however by following these tips will help you avoid the most common mistakes when applying for jobs online.
Online job applications are becoming much more common, however for many people the process is fairly new and unfamiliar. The adopting companies often prefer the paperless aspect of online applications as well as the fact that losing documents also becomes a non-issue. The overall application process may be similar to when applications are done in person but there are some crucial aspects that need extra attention when applying online. The idea of applying online for a job may be daunting but using the following tips as a guide may clear up some worries or questions.
Top tips for applying for a job online
- Know what you are applying for - One of the most common mistakes made when applying for a job online is not fully reading the job description or advertisement. Hiring managers that use online mediums to search for candidates often complain about receiving applications from job seekers that are under qualified, or do not have the necessary experience to obtain the job. Make sure you read the whole job description and know what is expected of you, just because an application is online does not change the fact that job requirements are often not flexible.
- Avoid errors in your application at all costs - Although this goes for all job applications it is even more important when you are applying online. Online applications are often stored even if the candidate was not selected, therefore if you provide content that includes errors this may reduce your chance of seeking another job with the same company in the future. Make sure to check all work before you press the submit button, also reading your text backwards often helps detect spelling errors.
- Create a job specific cover or motivation letter (if required) - Make sure to write a good cover letter if one is required. Instead of using a template or writing one that is not specific to the job you are applying to, use the guidelines in the link below to create a unique specific cover letter.
- Check your social media sites - If you are applying to a modern company that you know either uses a lot of social networking sites or even conducts checks of these sites as a part of the hiring process, be sure to check your account for any information you do not wish to share with your employer or anything that could deter them considering you as a candidate.
- Be aware of applicant screening systems - Many employers will not send your details straight to the hiring manager. Often companies use an application screening system that allows for employers to cut down on the number of applications they receive. The system works by scanning for keywords relevant to the position or company, therefore remember to use include all skills and abilities even if they may seem obvious.
- Use the STARR method when asked competency questions - Many firms like to ask competency questions on their online job application form. These are questions which allow the employer to learn more about you on their own terms. The STARR method is a great way to answer these questions, it consists of describing a Situation, Telling the employer what your task or role was, describing the Actions you took, discuss the Result and how you Reflected about it. It is always a good idea to use specific, concrete examples of past situations when applying for a job, when applying online competency questions provide you with the chance to do so.
Job Interview: Top 10 tips
Follow these top 10 tips on how to prepare for a job interview and you will be flying with success!
So you've managed to get a job interview? Congratulations! But...the hard work has only just started! The key is preparation. Follow these top 10 tips on how to prepare for a job interview and you will be one step closer to your dream job.
Research is a critical part of preparing for a job interview. If the employer asks you the common question ´what do you know about our company?´ and you don´t know anything, it not only tells the employer that you´re not interested but you haven´t prepared for the interview. Not only should you research the company but the role you are applying for.
2. Arrive on Time
Arrive on time or even 10 minutes early (even better). There is nothing worse than hearing the phrase ´sorry I'm late´ it not only gives a bad first impression but shows poor preparation and bad time management skills. If necessary, map out the route you need to take or do a trial run so you know how long it will take on the day.
3. Revise your CV
It is vital to know your CV inside and out. Be prepared to speak about your skills, past experiences, hobbies and interests. Always remember to relate it back to the role you are applying for and avoid going off on a tangent, keep it short and sweet.
4. Practice Questions
It is a very good idea to practice an interview with friends or family to build your confidence and learn to answer questions with fluency without filling the gaps with érm´and ´hmm´. Think of possible questions and and answers that the employer could ask you and try to answer them.
5. Dress Code
Dress code is essential part of your first impression. Your future employer wants to be able to vision you in the role you are applying for, so make sure your appearance is of a high standard on the day. If you know you will be dressing more casual/smart for the role, it is always best to attend the interview smart and well dressed to give an excellent first impression.
ALWAYS be polite, shake their hand and look the employer in the eye. Always use Sir or Madame unless the employer asks you to use their name. Throughout the interview never slouch or sit on the edge of the seat as this gives an impression that you are not interested and eager to leave. Sit comfortably, up right and hands on your lap. It is important to show a professional attitude throughout your interview.
7. What to bring to an interview?
Do NOT turn up with a massive bag full of things you need for the gym or a bag full of things you don´t need. Be professional, take a professional folder including extra copies of your CV, references, a pad of paper and pen in-case you need to write something down.
Smiling and friendliness is important when presenting yourself in an interview. Greet the receptionist and anyone that passes you with a smile, as you never know if they have influence in the decision process.
9. Ask questions
At the end of an interview when the employer asks you if you have any questions, NEVER say no. You should have at least 5 questions written down to ask the employer to show your interest about the company and the role.
10. Thank you note
A Thank you note is a thoughtful gesture of appreciation for the employer taking their time to interview you. The sole purpose of this letter is to make sure your name is kept at the front of the pile. Keep the letter short as you just want to remind them of your interview and emphasise how much you do want the job. This will remind them of what a great candidate you were.
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