Monday, February 1, 2016

What makes a job seeker stand out

You submitted your resume and landed the interview, but what next? As you research the company and prepare for commonly asked interview questions, you must ask yourself one thing: How can I make myself stand out? Luckily, some of our expert recruiters here at CFS have some tips to help you do just that.

Be Professional
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You only have one chance to make a first impression?” This saying couldn’t be any truer when it comes to interviewing for a job. It is crucial to arrive 5-10 minutes early and to dress professionally. Our recruiters cannot stress that enough! This means a suit or a dress. Jeans are not acceptable. In addition, have multiple copies of your resume and a notepad and pen to take notes with.

Be Personable
In an interview, you need to turn the interview into a conversation. Ryan Glick, Executive Recruiter of CFS Shelton, remembers people who he connects with on a deeper level. It’s not just about proving that you have the skills necessary to do the job, but that you can fit in at the company. Ryan advises to not only speak about the position but to also be personable.

Be Able to Elaborate
It is crucial to be able to explain yourself. You need to answer each question with poise and provide strong examples with strong details. The interviewer has already read your resume, so now is the time to expand upon your qualifications. Now you can really delve into what you are looking for, why you want the job, and what you can bring to the company. This is your chance to put a face to the name and make a lasting impression.  

Diane Lemaire, Senior Managing Director of CFS Houston, highly recommends creating a story with your answers. Be careful not to ramble though. The goal is to create a visual in the interviewers mind. Diane adds that the interviewer wants to be able to picture you at the desk doing the job. If you can accomplish this during your interview, you will have a distinct advantage over other candidates.

Stable Background
The duration of employment under your work experience stands out to a recruiter or hiring manager. Yes, working for a strong company is an added bonus, but a proven track record of staying with a company truly stands out. Randy Schwartz, Branch Manager of CFS Nashville, says that staying with a company and making changes when it advances your career is noteworthy. If a candidate has long-term goals, knows the steps to achieve them, and makes the decisions necessary to do so then they will be successful.

On the other hand, if a candidate has held many different positions in a short period of time, then a recruiter or potential employer will question their loyalty. They will question how long you’ll want to stay at their company and hesitate when it comes to hiring you.

Have Questions
This is a great way to stand out! The question segment of the interview typically allows you to prove that you’ve done your research on the company and is essentially your time to shine. While you should ask some questions that illustrate your knowledge, don’t ask these questions because you have to. Ask uncommon questions as well. An interviewer will remember someone who asks unique questions and will appreciate your intellectual curiosity.

Strong Communication Skills
Aside from interviewing well, you must communicate via email/phone in a professional manner as well. Coleen Trombley, Managing Director of CFS Hartford, says that getting back to your recruiter/interviewer helps you stand out. Taking that extra effort to respond quickly and give feedback to your recruiter will set you apart from other candidates who are not as efficient.

Send a Thank You

Now that the interview is over, it’s time for the Thank You card. Mike Ruben, Managing Director of CFS Fort Lauderdale, says that sending a Thank You note is a crucial step that many candidates commonly overlook. An email is perfectly acceptable, but if a candidate sends nothing then they hurt their chances. If the decision comes down to someone who sent a Thank You and someone who didn’t, the recruiter will lean heavily towards the one who did. In addition, this note is your last chance to solidify why you are the best person for the position. Who wouldn’t want that chance?!

Have questions about how you can stand out in your job search? We want to hear it so comment below! You can also reach out to one of our expert recruiters. Find the closest location to you here.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Get your 2016 CFS Salary Guide!

To receive your complimentary CFS Salary Guide, please email and include which city you would like the guide for. To see a full list of locations available, please click here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The do's and don'ts of resigning from your job gracefully

Written by: Tatiyana Cure, Executive Recruiter, CFS New York

DON’T raise suspicion
If you start removing family photos and personal things from your desk too soon, it will raise suspicion about potential resignation.

DO inform your boss
Before speaking with Human Resources, give the courtesy of preparing your boss. Most likely he/she has no idea that you have been interviewing. Avoid the “Why?” as it may tempt you to say something you may regret.

DON’T be negative
Regardless of how much you hate your current company, department, boss, or position, do not say or write anything that could potentially harm your character or future.

DO give adequate notice
Refer to your company’s policy for clarification. If it’s not specified, use the two-week rule.

DON’T give too much notice
Remember, you are under no obligation to stay longer. Think about it like this: if your boss or your company needed to make cuts, would they give you enough notice to find a new job?

DO clean up
Even if you give a two-week notice, your employer may ask you to leave immediately specifically if you are heading to a competitor. Clean up your computer and your work area or all personal information prior to extending the resignation.

DO write a formal resignation letter
Regardless of whether you resign via an in-person meeting or phone call, draft a formal resignation letter. Here’s a sample:
(Company Name)
(City, State Zip)

Dear (Employer Name):

This letter is to inform you that I wish to terminate my employment with (Company Name) effective (Date). I have accepted a new position and have decided to move on with my career.

I want to express my gratitude for a rewarding opportunity with (Company Name) and with you personally. My decision to pursue another opportunity was not an easy one, but it is right for me as I work toward fulfilling my goals. I hope you will respect my decision in this matter.

My efforts until my end date will be to wrap up my products here and turn over my responsibilities as smoothly as possible.


(Your name)

DON’T accept a counteroffer
A counteroffer is inevitable, and not just because you may be great at what you do. Your boss also doesn’t want the added work from your resignation and the stress of filling your position. Either way, it’s never a good idea to accept a counteroffer.

DO keep your commitment to your start date
If you made a commitment to a start date with your future employer, keep your word. Don’t alter it based on needing more time with your current employer or unplanned vacation. This raises questions about your loyalty before you even start.

DON’T brag
Keep the details confidential. There’s no point of rubbing it into your coworkers’ faces about how lucky you are and how miserable they may be about staying in their current situations.

DO ask for a reference
Before you leave, ask for a letter of recommendation. As time passes, it may become difficult to track down your prior supervisors and their phone numbers. However, if you have a letter in hand or recommendation on LinkedIn, it may prove to be beneficial in the future. Even if it’s not enough, your prior supervisors and colleagues are more likely to remember your contributions and achievements if they had the opportunity to write them down. They are also more likely to pick up or return a reference call.

DON’T burn bridges
It is never a good idea to burn bridges with your current employer. That’s why it’s important to give adequate notice, offer help, and leave a good lasting impression.

DO offer help
Offer to train your successor or the person covering the role on interim basis. Even if your assistance is declined, part of leaving gracefully is offering help and answering questions after you leave.

DON’T skip the exit interview
If you are asked to participate in the exit interview, take the time to do so without being extremely negative.

DO get the details
Before you leave, ensure that you have adequate information about your benefits including COBRA, 401K, unused sick time, and any additional bonuses. It’s easier to get clarification while you are still in the building.

DON’T keep any company property
Return all equipment and do not remove anything from the premises that could be deemed confidential. If you do want to keep any work samples to aid your future job searches, it’s a good idea to ask permission.

DO write a farewell message
It doesn’t hurt to write a quick email saying a few nice things and a proper goodbye. You may even want to close the loop by specifying where you are heading (unless you have a prior agreement with your boss). I also recommend including your contact information for questions that may arise and for staying in touch. Keep in mind that your work phone number and email account will be locked after your last day.

We love to hear your questions and insight, so please comment below! You can also reach out to one of our expert recruiters. Find the closest CFS office to you here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ways to spice up your resume

We love to hear your questions and insight, so please comment below! You can also reach out to one of our expert recruiters. Find the closest CFS office to you here. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Overcoming interview jitters

Written by: Tatiyana Cure, Executive Recruiter, CFS New York

Some pre-interview anxiety is healthy and can actually help sharpen your focus, but you need to keep those jitters under control to have a successful interview. I have compiled a list of steps to guide you in this process:
Give yourself credit
Think about the numbers: applicants vs. interviews. You got the interview, and that’s more than the majority of applicants can say. Pat yourself on the back!

Be prepared
Don’t just skim over the job description. Research the company, the department, and the role. If you are working with a recruiter, ask about the short-term goals and expectations of someone in this role. Know how to answer, “What do you bring to the table?” so that it’s tailored to the company.

If you are not working with a recruiter, go through the job description point-by-point and ensure your experience matches with each of the responsibilities and qualifications. Be prepared with specific examples, and monetize them as much as you can. What did you do to save your company money? Did you assist in increasing revenue? Know how you are going to answer those typical behavioral and situational interview questions because you never want to be stumped. You cannot be over-prepared!

Practice makes perfect
It’s not enough to only think about your answers; you need to organize your thoughts. Write them down and practice what you are going to say. It’s best if you can participate in a mock interview with an impartial person who can provide feedback. If that’s not an option, I suggest videotaping yourself practicing your answer. The best sports players review their performance to improve, and you can do the same.

Sleep well
I realize that most people toss and turn the night before and interview, so my suggestion is to plan on getting a good night’s sleep for 2 nights leading up to the interview.

Avoid decision fatigue
What are you going to have for breakfast? What are you going to wear? What do you bring to the interview? Those are the easiest and most unnecessary decisions you can avoid the day of the interview. When I have an important meeting to prepare for, I always have a bowl of cereal that morning. My husband wears a white button-down shirt every time he prepares for a meeting. Knowing these things in advance eliminates having to make those decisions that day. Prepare your bag the night before with one more copy of your resume that you anticipate needing, a pad, a pen, your wallet, metro card, and anything else you may need that way you won’t have to think about it in the morning!

Eliminate travel anxiety
If you are able to take the day off, do it. Avoid the stress about traveling from one office to another, potentially having to change attire, and shifting mindset from work to interview. Relying on public transportation is stressful enough, so don’t cut it close with the timing. Get to where you need to be early! If you are too early, walk around the block and explore the area where you may potentially be working.

Utilize calming techniques
Yoga, meditation, stretching, and even Pilates all teach breathing techniques. These are also helpful in calming nerves. I like to sit for a full 120 seconds before my interview (either outside or in the waiting room) with my eyes closed repeating the mantra: “I create success from within.” I suggest repeating a mantra and focusing on it. If you are unable to do that, you can also listen to music that will either clear your head or pump you up for the interview.

Avoid negative thinking
There’s a reason why people tend to interview better when they’re already employed. They’re not thinking, “If I don’t get this job, I will continue to be unemployed and won’t be able to pay my bills.” Instead of thinking negative thoughts, focus on success. Prior to the interview, picture yourself being hired and working at your target company.

Don’t fear rejection
Typically a hiring manager will interview 3-7 candidates and extend 1 offer. Aside from possessing the right technical skills, there are many aspects that you cannot control like chemistry with the interviewer, internal candidates who are typically viewed more favorably, and candidates from direct competitors. You cannot fear rejection! Use this as a learning experience and perfect your interview skills.

Eliminate post-interview stress
Most people end the interview saying, “Thank you for meeting with me and I look forward to hearing from you soon.” They then wait by the phone for 2 weeks hoping to get some news from the interview. Why not know where you stand before leaving? Ask if there’s anything that would prevent you from moving forward and what the next steps are in the hiring process.

Want more information on interviews? Please comment below! Looking for a job? You can contact one of our recruiters here.

Creative Financial Staffing (CFS) is the nation’s largest, privately-held accounting and financial staffing firm. We provide qualified accounting and finance professionals on a temporary and permanent basis across a broad range of industries.

Visit our website:

Click here to locate and contact a CFS office near you