With over 40 years of experience in executive management, Fred Winchar, President of Max Cash®, has seen and done it all when it comes to hiring new employees and guiding them through their careers. As the economy continues to shift and many companies are cutting back on staff and implementing hiring freezes, it comes as no surprise that getting hired in 2024 is increasingly difficult. Combating market saturation won’t be easy, but armed with the right tools and knowledge, making yourself stand out among the competition can be simple.
By reviewing the perspective of President Winchar through this article, you can learn what employers are looking for in a candidate and how you can position yourself as the ideal candidate in 2024. Additionally, you can gain insight into optimizing your chances of getting hired by understanding the current trends in the market and what you need to do to stay ahead of the competition. Finally, you can gain valuable advice on how to approach the job market before you even start your search.
Before you can even jump into the interviewing process, make sure your resume is clean, up-to-date, and free of spelling and grammatical errors. According to President Winchar, the biggest mistakes often seen with applicants include the lack of attention to detail and unnecessary fluff. If your resume is filled with spelling mistakes and random achievements that mean nothing to your prospective employer, you likely won’t be able to secure an interview. As he puts it, “You’ve failed the first assignment I gave you.”
Instead, keep your resume as simple as possible. Skip the weird layouts, small fonts, and fancy graphics. On top of that, try not to overload your resume with fancy buzzwords. You’re there to impress the interviewer, but you don’t need to sound like a walking billboard for the job.
Take pride in your work and revise your resume in accordance with the job you are applying for, and whenever applicable, include relevant skills in your resume. Do not include your entire life story – only incorporate recent experience relevant to the position. Think of your resume as the first step to starting your sales pitch. If the product you’re selling is yourself as an employee, your goal should be to do everything in your power to put yourself above the other candidates.
Once your resume meets the applicable standards, the next step is to create a cover letter and apply. President Winchar states, “It needs to be targeted to the job you are applying for… One paragraph is enough. I see so many applicants clicking (on application forms) without purpose and do not include one.” A lack of a tailored cover letter is another simple way to fail your interview before it begins. In today’s job market, something as small as a cover letter can be the difference between an employer calling you in for an interview or moving on to the next candidate.
Learn How to Effectively Navigate the Entire Interview Process – Not Just the Interview
Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Do as much research as you can about the company you are interviewing with in order to understand the culture and show that you are fully interested in the position. Additionally, it will help to create a positive impression and build rapport with the interviewer. Remember, your actions before, during, and after the interview will be perceived either positively or negatively by the interviewer, so make everything count!
That includes cleaning up your social media before you hit “apply now” for a position. Conduct yourself in a professional manner online and get rid of photos that make you look like a degenerate. “I don’t want to see a picture of you and your friends with a bong.” President Winchar chuckled. “Employers want to see pictures with kids or puppies.” Fred goes on to say that he looks up the social media of every candidate, so making a good first impression is key to moving your application forward. If you are able to secure an interview, make sure to dress for the part and show up on time for your interview.
Your skills speak for themselves in most cases, but another facet of an interview that is easily overlooked is how you connect with your interviewer. According to President Winchar, understanding the company culture and how to connect with your interviewer is another important element of your interview. Try to make a personal connection with them and mention something you both can relate to. Fred states, “I definitely consider whether I want to see you tomorrow. Will I want to interact with you in the break room? Can I joke with you?”
Fred goes on to add that it is important to showcase your personality and to be yourself because your interviewer will be looking for someone who is easy to talk to and is a good fit for the company.
Prepare yourself for questions like, “Why should I hire you?” President Winchar recommends not only answering questions with confidence, but with purpose, meaning that you can show you are willing to be an outstanding employee in the present and the future. Your answer should be that you are committed to making their lives easier, working hard to get promotions, and maintaining the company’s mission while pursuing profits.
When asked, “Why did you leave your current job?” Do not speak badly about your former employer. Instead, simply say that your decision to leave was for the betterment of your career and you’re looking to get to the next level.
If you are discussing compensation, first and foremost, be aware of the salary or wage before heading into your interview. Then, if you believe that you deserve more than what they are initially offering, you can say, “I acknowledge what was advertised and (x amount per hour or year) initially attracted me to the position. Is that number negotiable for an overachiever like myself?” This question creates a dialogue and opens up the playing field for both sides.
If you do not acknowledge their starting price point for the position, it can be seen as an insult, so be mindful of how you approach this section of your interview. Upon this negotiation, some employers may start you at a higher offer for the first 90 days of employment, which is typically subject to change based on your performance.
Once your interview is over, send your interviewer an email and thank them for their time.
You should also thank them for the opportunity to learn more about the position and company.
Make sure to sound positive and upbeat because it is the last impression that you get to make before the final decision is made.
Leave the best impression you can and leave the rest up to them!
Consider the Soup Aisle (Really)
One of the most powerful analogies President Winchar told involves something as simple as the soup aisle at your local grocery store. Let’s say that you’re sick and you have a hankering for some old-fashioned minestrone soup. There are a lot of choices in the aisle, including rice and chicken, chicken noodle soup, and ramen. But you only want minestrone soup, and you search the aisle for that section.
Once you find it, you consider all of the options in front of you. Maybe one has a picture of the soup, and it looks good, but you’re not sure if it will still look like that out of the can. Another may seem perfect and organic, but it’s expensive.
The next option you see may be cheaper, but you wonder if it will taste bad, and you’ll just end up going back to the store to buy the expensive one. There’s another in a glass jar that shows everything, but that’s a little forward for your tastes. If you settle on a soup with a nice picture of it, you may take it home and heat it up, only to find that once warm, it’s not as good as you thought. It may sort of look like the picture that initially drew you in. But, you feel cheated when it comes to the taste.
Think About What Your Future Employer Wants
Think of how the soup is labeled as both your resume and interview. The consumer hunting for soup is just the employer. Essentially, the employer doesn’t want chicken noodle. They want minestrone, so tailor your resume to fit the right soup, so to speak. Don’t be too forward or seem like the cheaper option that they have to settle for.
They don’t want to hire a candidate who is asking for less and delivers poor work performance. On the flip side, they don’t want to begin the hiring process all over again because a more expensive soup can’t handle the heat.
Set Yourself Up for Success to Get Hired in 2024
What it all boils down to is this- will they get what is advertised if they hire you? Or will they just return to the store and get something else? You don’t want to be deceptively hired. Instead, your goal should be to set yourself up for success and find the right stepping stones for yourself and your career. Make sure to be honest about your skills, experience, and goals. Research the company thoroughly and ask questions during your interview to determine whether you will comfortably fit in the position and the company culture. Although you may be searching for growth in your career, know your limits, and don’t set yourself up for failure! In whichever company you choose to work for, you want to be an asset to the organization to ensure you can start your career off on the right foot.