Learn a little bit about this Mattress Firm team member and what her experiences with recruiting have been.
Tanya graduated from the University of North Texas in 2002 with a degree in Psychology. While working on her degree, she began looking for a job that would give her experience and fulfillment. She came across a Career Builder posting for Mattress Firm and after interviewing for a Manager in Training position in the Dallas market, she became very excited about what Mattress Firm had to offer. She spent the first 6 months as a Manager on Duty, where she traveled to different stores learning how to become a manager. She soon became a manager of the Denton location where she was able to grow as a manager and salesperson. Based on her performance, she was soon promoted to an assistant manager of a medium size store.
As she was finishing her Master's degree she began to get an itch to move out of the Dallas area. After speaking with her Area Manager, he recommended that she try out one of the markets in Florida. Six months later she moved to Tampa, Florida. Her experience in Tampa was very valuable. She was able to begin training and recruiting. She trained new hires, interns, and the people that would be moving to the new markets in Orlando and Miami. She also started attending career fairs, to find people that would like to work for such an energetic company. During her time in Florida, she also discovered how much she enjoyed training and developing the people around her.
During the time she completed her Master's degree in Professional Education, she became homesick for Texas. She made the decision not to pursue a career in education, but to pursue a career at Mattress Firm. She grew to love her job and the people that worked at Mattress Firm, and couldn't imagine leaving such a great company. She chose to transfer to Mattress Firm's headquarters city, Houston, because she felt that she would learn a tremendous amount by being near the corporate headquarters. Shortly after moving to Houston she became an Area Manager. As an Area Manager she ran 4 stores, and her main focus became training and developing her team to become better salespeople, better managers, and grow within the company. She is very excited of all the opportunities that will come with Mattress Firm’s continual growth!
Tanya’s advises job seekers to explore industries they may not otherwise consider:
“I would tell job seekers that although selling mattresses may not be what you envisioned as a career, it can be an amazing career that you will enjoy. In addition, when you go for an interview be confident, show them your personality, and have fun.”
What she looks for in candidates:
“I always look for people that are professional, outgoing, confident, and who seem like they are willing to learn and be successful in their career.”
Whether you are new to the job market or are a 30 year veteran, having some anxiety and a feeling of uncertainty are common emotions that most people go through after an interview. Naturally, someone who is more seasoned in the work force has had this experience and gone through the series of mixed emotions more times than someone who is, say, straight out of college.
However, more tenured employees don’t necessarily experience a lesser degree of anxiety or a lesser feeling of uncertainty. In fact, it might actually be the opposite. As you get older you may feel more and more lost in today’s fast-paced, high tech world that we live in. After all, today’s environment is ever changing and it can happen in the blink of an eye.
What if I told you there is a formula to increasing your chances of landing your next job, whether it is your first job out of college or the dream job you have been chasing for 30 years? I’m guessing that I’ve caught your attention right about now! The following formula I’m about to discuss will only increase your chances, so please don’t assume you can show up to the interview with your step-brother in matching tuxedos and believe you will for certain receive a job offer.
You have probably read a number of articles with tips and strategies on how to win in an interview. What many people don’t realize is that closing an interview is just as important as the interview itself. In sales, success is often measured by your ability to close the sale. An interview is no different; you are selling yourself, your own personal brand, and qualifications as to how they relate to the position. Now let’s get into the formula and discuss how to make that last great impression before you leave, because after all, the closer is always closer. The first step in the formula following the interview is to *show that you’re still interested. You want to leave no doubt in the interviewer’s mind about where you stand and you want to make sure to have a clear idea of what will happen next in the hiring process. A great phrase to use to ensure that you convey the above message is, “It has been a pleasure meeting with you and I’ve enjoyed our conversation. I would like for you to know that I am very interested in contributing to this company and hope you select me. I understand you have other applicants to consider, when are you anticipating on making a hiring decision and how soon will you notify candidates of your decision?”
Next, you will want to *set the stage for further contact. Ask the recruiter or hiring manager about their preferred method of contact to follow-up. Once you determine their preferred method of contact, be sure to ask for their business card. You will want to *promptly send a thank-you note. It is recommended to send a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview and then follow up with a hand written note that will arrive a few days later.
You can use the thank-you note to *introduce achievements that didn’t get discussed in the interview. If you were able to uncover any needs that the company is currently focused on you could also include *how you may be able to address and help solve some of those needs.
Now that you have done your due diligence in follow up and thank-you notes you’ve done all you can, right? Well you are not done just yet! It is recommended to *continue to research and keep thinking about the company. This ensures that you will be prepared for a second interview or series of ongoing interviews in the future.
Now you are officially done and hopefully you made a wonderful impression on the employer and you are selected as the top candidate! The last thing to remember is that if you are not selected for the position, don’t be a sore loser, *accept rejection gracefully. The future is always uncertain and you never know when the company might be hiring again. It may not be easy to accept defeat but swallow your pride and instead of leaving a sour taste in the company’s mouth, leave a sweet one. Follow up one last time with a thank-you note.
I was on a date with my significant other. Although we did combine dinner and a movie at the Studio Movie Grill, we had the traditional romantic date. Upon the arrival to the car, I patiently waited next to my door, anticipating my chivalrous partner would graciously open my door. To my surprise, he laughed at my gesture and joked that “chivalry was dead.” Of course we had a nice laugh, and he eventually came to open my door. However, this is something common with this generation. So many people don’t demonstrate proper etiquette. Maybe it is no longer needed, but I think there are some things in life that should be remain traditional.
The one place that we need to maintain proper etiquette is in interviewing. It’s important that you always shake your interviewer’s hand and make eye contact. Wait until the interviewer sits down before you sit. At the end of the interview, always ask questions. Your last question should always be something to the effect of wanting to know the next step. And last but not least, always follow up with a thank you note.
Hopefully I have saved the existence of interview etiquette. Chivalry maybe dead, but interviewing etiquette isn’t.
Just as the pros in sports do, suiting up is an essential part of the game!
As a recruiter, it’s my job to get the best potential candidates scheduled for formal face-to-face interviews. I do inform candidates that it will be business professional and I can’t tell you how many candidates we have show up business casual or no “business” at all. Remember the saying, dress for the job you want, not the job you have?
*According to Kim Zoller at Image Dynamics, 55% of another person's perception of you is based on how you look.
As a recent college graduate, I know how difficult it is to find a job during a down economy. It’s common to get flustered and just take any job for no reason other than to just make some money. Something I have noticed as a recruiter is how easy it is for job seekers to quickly jump onto a job-posting website and get “clicker-happy”. You may be confused by the term “clicker- happy”, well what I mean by this self-made term, is how people simply click on any or all of the jobs they may qualify for and apply to it before they know anything about it. Yes, you may have a lot of recruiters contacting you for interviews, but who can remember them all? Another flaw in this quick “clicker-happy” process is the fact that you may be applying to a company that you have no idea of its status, what the position actually entails and how to differentiate yourself from the majority of the workforce also looking for “anything.” Then, once you have been working for a few weeks, you find the job does not suit you and leave for one of the million other positions you applied for.
From a recruiting stand point, we can tell during the initial interview if you are truly interested or simply just “clicking” the apply button. How? Research. During the first interview, one of the initial questions will most likely be something along the lines of, “Why did you apply to our company?” or “What made you apply for this position?” This is the question that can make or break you. The candidates that pass to the next round of the interview process all have one thing in common: Research! If you want to make yourself stick out from the rest, do NOT answer the question by simply reinstating the job title or “I am applying to anything and everything.” Once I hear one of those statements, I immediately assume the person took the “clicker-happy” approach in their job search and they fall into the shadows of the ones who really want the position.
My advice to those who want to click “apply” on every job posting is to stop and take your time. Once you click the apply button, look up the company website, ask a few people who are currently employed with the company a few questions on how they are enjoying their job or where the company is headed and find how your skills and strengths will contribute to the company or the position. Just those simple few steps will set you apart from all who have come down with the “clicker-happy” flu and put you in front of the majority of job seekers.
The sound of the school bus driving around the corner. The smell of freshly sharpened pencils. The look of your new outfit. Do these memories bring you back to some of your first days at school? You’ve had a chance to have fun with friends at water parks, sleep in and play video games galore but now it’s all over. Do you remember the anticipation of walking through the doors to your school and how you hardly slept at all the night prior?
Now, compare this feeling to the first day at your new job – a place you are hoping to start your career. A place you are hoping to learn and grow from, feel a sense of belonging and meet new people. And just as you would build your reputation and transcript in school, you get the same opportunity to do this at your new job. So make sure you are always putting your best foot forward and take advantage of new projects and assignments handed your way. Going above and beyond with your co-workers and boss will surely lead to promotions within your own company which will allow you to grow professionally.
So, don’t forget how important that first day of school was and make a point to make every day that important with your new company.
The lockout is over and with pre-season games starting, football season is here! Fortunately for all those die-hard fans out there, football is back. What is it about this pigskin-slinging, body-crushing game that gets people so excited, or obsessed? Well… I don’t have the answer to that question, but we can learn a few things from this game in regard to our professional development. Like football, in order to become a “pro”fessional in your career it takes hard work, passion, self discipline and a lot of teamwork to be successful.
Hard Work. What are you doing to take your career to the next level? Professional athletes spend hours training to be the best. How long have you spent practicing your trade? When you feel tired or weak, do you simply give up or do you push through to get the job done right?
Passion. Passion is a powerful thing! Professional athletes have a passion for the game in which they play. They have a passion for doing whatever it takes to win. Think about the pre-game huddle, the chanting and the banging of helmets on the locker doors! Can you confidently say you have passion in your life? What are you passionate about? Bring that passion and enthusiasm to your career and see how it changes your game!
Self- Discipline. What have you done lately to challenge yourself professionally? Do you need someone to tell you when to start your job, when to quit, when you’re doing something right or when you’re doing something wrong? Becoming a pro football player requires self-discipline. How are you driving yourself? Do you set goals without someone making them for you and, if so, what are YOU doing to make sure you achieve them?
Teamwork. We all know the saying “Teamwork makes the Dream work,” but do we all really believe this? Are you a true team player or are you in it for yourself? When was the last time you took time to help out a co-worker, or took a “hit” for someone on your team? The football players that are really respected by their peers seem to be those that aren’t just great at the game, but those that they trust and know are team players. It takes a great offense, a great defense, a great special teams and great coaching to win football games. The same is true in your profession as well.
So as you’re gearing up for football season, picking your fantasy football team; make your career goals a reality! Instead of just cheering on your favorite team this year, learn from them. Push yourself to be the best, be passionate, set goals for yourself while following through on them and trust in your teammates. Do these things and you too will be headed toward the end zone scoring that touchdown… The question is… do you have your victory dance prepared?
Down, Set, Hut… good luck to you this football season!
It’s no secret that companies usually contact former employees for an Exit Interview. Let’s face it…they can be uneasy and uncomfortable. However, they are an important practice used by most companies to better themselves as an organization.
Below are some tips for a successful (and hopefully less awkward) exit interview:
• Be calm and professional…control your emotions.
• Be honest. Feel free to share the true reason(s) you are leaving the organization, maybe it’s something that can easily be fixed.
• Give advice. Companies love to hear raw feedback on how they can better the organization.
• Back to basics…remember the compliment sandwich? Provide something positive that you did enjoy about the company, then something constructive followed by another positive.
• Don’t burn any bridges; you may want to rejoin the company at a later time.
After recently getting engaged and planning a wedding I naturally have been thinking a lot about the concept of marriage and what it entails. I have been thinking about the significance of the ring, the vows, the wedding ceremony and why people choose to get married? With the divorce rate of 1st year marriages being at 50%, what is it that half of the married couples do that make the marriage work and what are some doing, or not doing to make the marriage fail?
You might ask “what does all this marriage talk have to do with my job?” Am I just being a “brideszilla” and letting this significant event control my every thought, or do these same questions apply to your career? Why is it that some people have a healthy and happy relationship with their co-workers, can find success with their career. While others dread going to work and cringe at the thought of hanging out with their co-workers for more than the required amount of time? And why is the unemployment rate, much like the divorce rate is at record highs?
Now I know your job isn’t what you’re technically “married” to, but should employees look at an offer letter more like a wedding ring- a symbol of trust between the company and the employee. A vow that you are going to commit to the company and the company is going to commit to you? Should companies and employees be thinking of the on-boarding process as the “wedding day/ honeymoon period” where both parties are excited about the future, wanting to look their best for each other, and celebrate the joining of two people… or company and new employee?
A marriage takes two people to make it work. The same applies in your professional career. Before accepting a job, or hiring a new employee, make sure you are certain this is something you can commit to. I don’t expect everyone to take one job and be there for the rest of their professional career, but only work somewhere you will be happy, only hire people you would want to work with everyday! After all you are with your co-workers more than your family. Work with people you can trust, would you marry someone you didn’t trust?
So as I might be stressing about the minimal details of planning a wedding (flowers, cake, linens) and you might be stressing about the minimal details of the job search (title, office building, name of company, what paper to print your resume on), remember to cherish and look for the things that will not fade and really matter. I know that I am marrying a man of character that I trust and love to be around. So when looking at your career look for the values of the company, the people you will be working with, and ultimately your overall happiness. Best wishes to you and your “marriage”!
Recently, I was asked, “Should I apply online or in person?” Without hesitation, I replied that you should apply however the job posting requested you to apply. Hiring managers tend to get a little irritated by people who don’t follow directions; it can be an indication of your work ethic.
These days, technology is everything. Most employers want you to fill out an extensive assessment. If you can’t figure out how to apply online, employers will get nervous about your technical abilities. Once they evaluate your assessment and resume, they will contact you to let you know the next step in the interview process. I am a part of that type of organization. It saves the recruiter time and allows us to interview and track more candidates who are potentially a better fit. So, if this was a question directed towards my company, my first answer would be to apply online.
However, I once had a candidate that wanted to apply in person. I’m not sure if she wanted to explain the gaps in her resume or if she just wanted to make a good first impression before I reviewed her resume. Whatever her reason might have been, this was probably one of the most impressive approaches I have seen in my career as a recruiter. I was called to the front desk because a visitor needed to see me. I wasn’t quite sure what this visitor needed, but I didn’t want to make them wait. Upon my arrival, I saw a young lady waiting with documents in hand. I knew at this point, she was applying for a position; I couldn’t turn back now. Had I known, I would have told the receptionist to have her leave her resume at the front, and I would review at my earliest convenience. I sat down with her, and she began to explain the gaps in her employment and how she was top in sales (a million dollar writer with her previous company in fact). She made great eye contact and much confidence; she totally won me over. Had she not made this approach, I may or may not have gone further in the interview process with her. But the salesman in her made her want to go over and beyond and make a great first impression.
I’m not suggesting that everyone take this unconventional approach. Nevertheless, I think that sometimes, if you find yourself applying for jobs and not hearing back from the employers, it’s crucial to find a way to stand out. Whether it’s in an email or a simple call, find a way to let that employer know why you will be a great asset.
Whether you are sitting on your couch having a phone interview or sitting across a desk from your potential new boss you need to make sure you are able to answer the questions they are fielding you effectively to make a good impression to continue in the interview process.
The STAR technique is a must to know when you are preparing for an interview!
S – Situations: Detail the background of your answer; provide a context – where and when.
T – Task: Describe the challenge and expectations, what needed to be done and why.
A – Action: Elaborate your specific action, what did you do and how, maybe what tools you used to accomplish the goal
R – Results: Explain the results and accomplishments, recognition given – quantify, give them a number they can relate to.
Time and time have I heard candidate provide very surfaced answers that basically do not answer the question, so my advice to you job seekers is to find specific examples that you can use during an interview and apply the STAR technique. Once you do, I’m sure you will find your STAR job!
It’s no secret that today’s job market is an extremely competitive one. A four year degree is now the norm so what else can you offer to a potential employer? One of the biggest downfalls that I observe every day from job seekers is they don’t know their own story. You can no longer rely on your college degree to get you through the first step of a company’s interview process. You must stand out and one way to effectively do this is to know your story and be able to convey that story to someone that doesn’t know you. Think of “your story” as being your own personalized elevator speech. If you were to get on an elevator with the CEO of your dream company to work for what would you say to sell yourself?
The first step in preparing to tell your story to a hiring manager is to research and analyze some commonly asked interview questions. If you have already had the opportunity to participate in a few interviews you should begin to recognize a common trend in interview questions. Of course companies, recruiters, and hiring managers will have different personalities and different styles so naturally interview questions will be worded differently but if you peel back the layers and get down to the core of each question you should be able to find that common theme in the question.
As an example, to help get the wheels turning, you might recognize questions like “Tell me about yourself?”, “What makes you unique?”, “What are your three biggest weaknesses”, or “Tell me about your biggest failure?”
Ultimately, if you come to an interview and are not prepared to answer commonly asked interview questions and are not able to tell your story, you will inevitably bomb the interview. Below are some simple tips to help you get prepared for an interview and hopefully help you land your dream job!
1. Research and write down the top 50 most frequently asked questions.
2. Spend time answering each question in the same manner in which you would deliver it in an interview.
3. When answering questions think about how your response will or could be perceived from a potential hiring manager. Simply put, put yourself in their shoes. If you were going to interview and potentially hire “you” what would be an appropriate response.
4. Use real time examples from your personal life or past work experience. Avoid hypotheticals.
5. Practice telling your story and answering interview questions out loud and in front of a mirror and repeat until you feel comfortable.
6. Last but not least, this may sound a little strange but have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview with you. Assuming you have completed step #5 you should be able to fluently, without stuttering, looking at notes, or using that pesky “uh” filler word be able to give a great interview that genuinely describes who you are and what you can offer to a potential employer.
As someone transferring from a position in sales into to the recruiting world, I have found something that seems to remain consistent in both fields. While I was in sales training, we referred to the definition of a sale as the transfer of enthusiasm. If one expresses a lot of passion and excitement for a product or service to another, it is almost certain that the other person will begin to show interest or grow excitement for the same. So why not use this method in an interview? Energy and positivity can be easily displayed whether your interview is on the phone or face-to-face. Here are some helpful tips on how to transfer your enthusiasm!
• Smile! A smile can be heard over the phone, be welcoming and set a good mood for the environment when face-to-face.
• Show your interest! Do a little research about the product or service and let the interviewer know that you would be excited to be a part of their overall purpose and help reach their company’s goals.
• Be prepared! Don’t wake up two minutes before answering the phone or speed down the highway on your way to the meeting place. Make sure you give yourself enough time to wake up, build some energy and refrain from being boring or monotone.
• Ask questions! The more questions you ask, the more interested you appear.
• Be yourself! There is never a time and place where you should be ashamed of your strengths. This is your time to shine! Let them know why you are great for the position. Sell yourself!
• Build rapport! It never hurts to make a friend! Consumers feel more comfortable buying from a friend than a stranger, so I’m sure the same would work in an interview. If the meeting is in their office, look around and ask about their kids or common theme, who knows you make have something in common! This will help the interviewer remember you and associate you with that topic of conversation outside typical interview questions.
Finding a job right out of college can be a long and stressful process if you are not prepared. With the unemployment rate just over 9%, recent college graduates find themselves in a unique position because they have an immense amount of competition compared to college graduates from previous years. In addition, candidates with more experience are currently willing to take jobs that offer lower salaries which is very appealing to hiring managers.
But don’t worry! If you are prepared and enthusiastic you can score yourself a great job. Below I have listed some tips that will help you land your first job out of college.
1) Get a mentor! This person does not have to be someone with experience in recruiting or in Human Resources. This is a person that is going to help you identify traits, characteristics and strengths that may not be so obvious to you. Even if have had jobs that may not seem to have given you that much experience, a mentor can help you breakdown past jobs and reveal abilities that can be relevant in the job that you are applying for.
2) Use the internet to your advantage: Many people use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook but only a small percentage of job seekers use networks like LinkedIn that actually give them resources, job postings and tips to finding new jobs. Monster.com and Careerbulider.com are great websites, but think about it, everyone is using those websites in their job hunt. Get creative when looking for a job and use networks that are not so obvious.
3) Use experience from Collegiate Clubs and Organizations, Fraternities or Sororities: These organizations can provide you with much more than just great memories during college. Don’t forget to list on your resume any responsibilities, charities, negotiations, and positions that you may have been a part of in these organizations.
4) Don’t limit your network: Friends, parents, grandparents and friends are great resources to use during your job search. Referrals are great ways for employers to notice you.
5) Use Career Services at your university: In most cases, career services has good relationships with employers that are very involved with that university. They can tell you of who is hiring and what positions they are looking to fill.
6) Don’t forget the obvious: When you are interviewing make sure that you know your resume like the back of your hand! This will ensure that you tell the interviewer everything they need to know about you and it shows them that you are taking their time seriously. Also, make sure that you are well dressed and polished. Typically, a nice suit will do the trick! Lastly, stay positive! Every interview is a new opportunity so go in with high energy and not with the feel of defeat.
Although what I’m about to reveal might seem obvious, there is a recent epidemic of unpleasant interviewing practices. To prevent this from happening to you, I have listed the top ten practices that should be avoided during the interview process:
1. Telling an interviewer how many applications you have submitted. People naturally get nervous and spill the beans that they have been applying for a plethora of positions. Although I’m sure every interviewer knows that their company is not the only place you have applied, we don’t want to lead them to think that you’re just applying anywhere because you need a job. The interviewer would like to know you are interested in their company.
2. Correcting your resume with a pen. You might think it’s okay to use pen as long as it matches the ink of the letters. However, it may show a lack of preparation and professionalism. Re-type your resume and save it on your desktop or USB. This way, you can make additions or corrections at anytime.
3. Interrupting the interviewer. Sometimes there is a point that you might want to get across. Maybe you want to explain to the interviewer that you fit the qualifications that they are explaining to you at that time. Wait until there is a clear pause before proceeding.
4. Asking about pay on a phone interview. This was the first thing discussed in Interviewing 101. It can create an uncomfortable setting and it’s too early in the process. You need to know that you are actually being considered for the role. A great question to ask is, “When would it be appropriate to ask about compensation?”
5. Keeping your cell phone on. I know that this generation has become dependent on cell phone devices, but nothing should be as important as landing your dream job?
6. Correcting the interviewer or telling the interviewer that you don’t like their policies. I know you would love to show the interviewer your intelligence or what you could bring to the table. But often this conversation could get heated. We don’t want to ruin our chances.
7. Presenting the interviewer with information about the complaints of the company. Unless you are asking what the company has done to overcome this hurdle, there should be no reason to bring this up. My co-worker had a guy actually print up information about company complaints, hand it to her, and follow that with an awkward silence. I’m sure he felt she was impressed that he did research. Instead, it was just an uncomfortable situation.
8. Chewing gum during an interview. Chewing gum can be a helpful way of freshen your breath. Try using Listerine strips or mints instead.
9. Forgetting to button the top button of your collared shirt. Sometimes it can feel like that top button is choking you. Find out the appropriate neck size at the nearest clothing retail store for men.
10. Showing up late to an interview. My grandparents were very well known for never being late. It was because they would drive to the place the night before so they knew where they were going. Although this might seem drastic, you still need to MapQuest or check your GPS the night before, and leave earlier than the estimated time to get there.
Most of these “no’s” happen because it has been a while since one has experienced a professional interview; one might not be prepared, or one might be nervous. Get prepared the night before your interview, make sure you have your resume, or have a friend conduct a mock interview. Good luck with your career search.
As a recruiter who spends most of her time conducting phone interviews, I cannot stress the importance of being able to recall your resume at the drop of a hat.
I had a phone interview scheduled with a gentleman one afternoon, I called him right on time and the first five to seven minutes of our conversation was spent on hold! He was having trouble pulling up his resume on his computer. The whole time I was waiting (which felt like an eternity) I was sitting there thinking, “Why can he not reference his resume without having it in his hands?"
You resume is your education and work history…its represents your life experiences so you should be able to reference these without necessarily having your resume right in front of you. This is not a pop quiz with a right or wrong answer; we just want to hear about your experiences!
As a good tip to make a good first impression: Know Your Resume!