10 Hidden Perks Job Seekers Should Ask Their Recruiters 

If you are in the process of negotiation with a potential employer and have achieved some deals for salary, don’t stop there – you could be leaving a lot on the table.

Many job seekers – including you, maybe – are looking for a new job for a bigger paycheck. However, your salary might have a limit based on your industry and experience level. No amount of negotiation will raise the offer from the average market salary. 

While your salary could not go up from the maximum market salary, you could ask for more non-financial perks from your recruiters, such as a flexible schedule and higher education tuition help. All you have to do is to bravely ask. Do not be afraid to negotiate no matter what the position or level of the job you apply. Negotiating this during an interview will also make you feel better because there is a great chance you’ll receive something more and become an engaged employee when the deal is finally made. 

See also: What To Expect during a Job Interview?

Here are 10 hidden perks and benefits you should be asking during your interview: 

1- Paid time off 

Paid time off could give you both full salary and time to rest. This is a perk most job seekers often forget to ask as they only focus on a bigger number on paycheck. 

2- Professional training 

These days no job is guaranteed or stable. You need to think less about pension and more about training opportunities that will help you scale in your expertise. 

3- Continuing education and licensing 

If the position requires continuing education credits to maintain your professional license, you can ask whether  the company will cover the expenses incurred. This might include travel budget. 

4- Stock options 

If the employer you’ll work for offers stock options to employees, you might want to ask for some stock option when starting to compensate for an offer with a lower starting salary. But before you negotiate this, make sure you do your due diligence. 

5- Unpaid vacation days 

Many companies have moved to the unlimited vacation policy. In this case, you should ask for a guaranteed number of vacation days. 

6- Offer a choice to the recruiter 

“Or” is the best word to use when you are thinking about what will make you happy at your new job. For instance, I want a 10K more salary or work from home on Fridays and Thursdays. I want a more flexible work schedule or more unpaid vacation leave. A successful negotiation is when both sides win. 

7- Student loan repayment 

If you are a new grad and salary is not as high as anticipated, you might not be able to pay off that debt looming over your head. Ask your employer if they are willing to offer student loan repayment assistance. This could be a good negotiation because you might not only have to ask for extra dollars per month, rather than a bulk increase in your salary. 

8- Transportation stipend 

If you have a competing offer closer to your home, you might have the leverage to negotiate for some commuting funds. 

9- Work lunch and/or dinner 

Some companies offer daily or weekly food stipends. Other companies might offer lunch or dinner packages that will save you tons of money and time which would otherwise be spent on meal preparation. 

10- Exercise stipend 

Your employer satisfaction is important, but your wellbeing is also important. Therefore, ask for what is important for you to improve your wellbeing. For some, it might be flex hours, a stipend for exercise, or gym membership. These benefits could help you stay healthy which means less sick days and less risk of long-term injury for employers. It’s a win-win negotiation for both. 

Read also: 6 Reasons Why Recruiters Avoid Hiring Candidates with Employment Gap

6 Reasons Why Recruiters Avoid Hiring Candidates with Employment Gap 

Are you a dedicated job seeker but have an employment gap in your resume? Here’s what you need to know.

Job candidates with years of employment gap are often perceived as an inadequate candidate by recruiters. Difficulty of job placement is cited to be the number one reason why recruiters avoid employment gaps in resumes. Another reason is that individuals who work freelance or are out of work to pursue their own ventures are often seen as having a lack of responsibility. Here are some other reasons why employers avoid hiring candidates with years of employment gap in the resume. 

  • More training – Recruiters often avoid hiring a person with a gap in resume for a senior-level position because they might require training which could add more work for HR and teams. Higher position needs professionals to do the job, so talents with a gap might have a lower chance of getting hired here. 
  • Employment gap means a hard time to verify employment background and it will be an extra task for a hiring manager. 
  • Recruiters often perceive that when you are out of work, your skills might not be good enough. 
  • If you quit the job to build your own business and fail, a recruiter might think that you are not good enough on your own and it could be a weak point because an organisation would prefer hiring a reliable person. 
  • Hiring qualified talents with a gap in their resume is more costly than hiring freshers. Fresh graduates can be paid less because they have no work experience, while qualified individuals with gaps might demand higher pay.  
  • Recruiters often fear low performance, instability, or unreliability at work if they hire someone with years of an employment gap. 

See also: What To Expect during a Job Interview?

Don’t be discouraged just yet – how to handle employment gap 

There is a way for job seekers to get employed even when they stop working for years. One way to hide employment gaps without lying is to use a Functional Resume. Concentrate on your skills and accomplishments and downplay when and where you did them. However, there are times when employers or headhunters ask you for a chronological resume or a separate work history. If this is the case, jump to trick number two. 

If employers or recruiters ask for work history, the chance for you to showcase your skills on paper might be low. But you can always showcase it in realtime. Thus, make sure you complete a project or certification before applying for the new job. This will help sell your skills again after years of no career advancement in the workplace. But remember, with those years of gap, applying for senior-level might be tricky even when you have completed some of certifications. It will be wiser to apply at a lower level and scale through time when you are employed. 

Once you have addressed the gap and explained what you did during that time but the conversation continues in a direction you are not comfortable with, you have the option of saying, “I’d prefer not to go into more detail. I am very interested in sharing details of my work experience, however.” From there, you can supply another anecdote from your work history that makes you qualified for the position. 

If the conversation continues to make you feel uncomfortable, you might want to consider ending the interview by saying, “I’m not comfortable with where our conversation is headed so this might not be the right fit. Thank you for your time.” This will not only show that you appreciate recruiter’s opportunity given to you for an interview but also show that you respect both of your time and recruiter’s. 

Ending a job interview unilaterally might decrease your chance to be hired. But it is better than explaining yourself in a way that the recruiter could not understand. If you are looking for a job that fits you best, check here and you might find a better employment opportunity than the one you are applying for now. 

Read also: 5 Things Recruiters Know that Job Seekers Don’t 

What To Expect during a Job Interview? 

If it is your first time to come to a job interview, it is normal if you think that interview is nerve-wracking. In such a case, knowing a few best practices can calm your nerves and keep you sharp. The first step is getting familiar with types of questions you’ll be asked, which include:

  • Background questions – These questions help hiring managers get an overview of your experience, goals and why you’re interested in the company. 
  • Behavioural questions – These are designed to uncover your past “behaviours” in different work situations. These questions also help employers decide whether you will fit company culture. 
  • Situational questions – Your answers to these questions should demonstrate your ability to overcome challenging workplace scenarios. 

See also: The Power of Informational Interviews

It will be all about you.

Besides the interview questions above, you can expect that a job interview will be all about you – as a job seeker. Therefore, set aside shyness or reticence and prepare to explain yourself thoroughly. First impressions always count, especially on particular occasions like job interviews. Practice and school yourself on what to do when employers ask illegal questions, such as queries about your marital status, children, or health issues. Understanding what you should disclose and what should be kept as secret will leave a good impression to recruiters. 

If you have an employment gap, explain it.

It is always a good policy to be honest about employment gaps, especially if it is lengthy. Having an employment gap will not decrease your employment chance if you know how to communicate it. Thus, be honest on why you take the gap, is it because you are working to find a new job, volunteering, becoming a parent or caregiver, or travelling? These reasons might be viewed in your favour. When explaining this, remember to emphasise the skills you’ve gained during employment gaps that will put value to the company if they hire you.

Be ready to discuss salary. 

When it comes to salary discussion, don’t disclose exactly what you expected. What you need to do is to prepare yourself by knowing what you are worth based on your qualifications and your salary history. You can also consult authoritative sources, such as Payscale. Once again, don’t feel it is your role to bring up specific numbers, but if you are asked, be prepared with salary ranges, based on your research. 

You are also required to ask questions. 

As the interview is winding up, the hiring manager might turn the table and ask if you have questions for them. When the time comes, make sure you take the chance to dig the company deeper, such as understanding the work hours, company culture, etc. Check here to know what questions you should ask. Nonetheless, it can be totally okay to finish with a non-question grace note, such as expressing that you’ve enjoyed the discussion and look forward to the next step in the hiring process. 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

5 Things Recruiters Know that Job Seekers Don’t 

Do you often find that recruiters and hiring managers are intimidating? Don’t worry, they are not. They simply want to give you the best hiring experience in their own way. What you should pay more attention to is the secret behind their actions, because there are certain things that hiring managers do not want to reveal in front of their candidates. According to Dandan Zhu, Founder and CEO at DG Recruit, here are a few things recruiters and hiring managers know that job seekers don’t. 

#1 – All basic qualifications having been met 

“The smartest people do not actually end up succeeding the most in real life, while the dumbest people also have just as good as a chance to survive, if not thrive.” 

It means that B or C level students might be as good as A+ students in real life.  In other words, when it comes to the workplace, this means that the most talented and technically savvy engineer doesn’t always become the CTO. Most of the time, it is usually the politically admired and personally connected talent who wins and progresses into the C-suite. Basic qualifications are important to be considered as a feasible candidate, but success is dedicated more by one’s ability to influence, actively listen and respond appropriately, level of social etiquette, and general accentedness by their peers and superiors than one’s technical scores. 

See also: Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation

#2 – HR people are not that important in the hiring hierarchy 

“As you become a serious professional, you can utilise LinkedIn to directly approach hiring managers.” 

Most graduates might think that HR people deserve the utmost respect as they were the gateway to their future career prospects. Yet, Zhu emphasised that it is the hiring manager that makes the utmost decision, while HR is the service and administrative function in the process. Hiring manager dictates everything, including who to interview, what price to pay them, who to hire, and which headhunters to utilise. 

#3 – Job applicants can negotiate and leverage other offers to great effect 

“In today’s world, it is all about the etiquette and manner in which you communicate.” 

As a job applicant, you might be scared of upsetting prospective employers about disclosing where else you are going for job interviews and how much money you actually want. Yet, if a high-demand labour market where the supply of jobs outstrips candidates available, you actually hold a lot more power than employers do. 

Therefore, it is vital for you to research your niche and whether the position you are applying for is currently in the high demand labour market or not. Only then, you know your worth to negotiate and be transparent about offers. If handled appropriately, this will increase employers’ desire for you, not penalise you for looking greedy or not interested. Communication is the mother of all success when it comes to negotiation, thus master it. 

#4 – Interview your interviewers harder 

“Don’t be scared to say what’s on your mind. If something important to you does not align with your future employer, things won’t work out anyways, so it is better to know before you take the job to begin with.” 

Commonly, candidates are so scared of losing job offers or being looked at as needy or demanding so they don’t actually say what’s on their mind. This, however, could hurt your success on the job even if you manage to get a great salary and offer. Chances are, you probably agreed to something that you did not fully understand or align with.

That’s why it’s your prerogative to be a strong communicator. Get the answers you truly need during interviews by asking tough questions that are detailed and specific. This is where you’ll be spending your next few years; you better be aggressive in how you get it out!

#5 – Interview even if you don’t need to 

“Go out and interview even if you don’t need to.” 

Due to loyalty, fear, laziness, and/or arrogance, most candidates refuse to proactively learn about what opportunities are available. Don’t be like these most candidates. No matter if you need to look or not, once you hit a certain amount of experience in your role, it is time to take your head out of the sand and start interviewing, even if just for your own education. 

Read also: What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application?

The Power of Informational Interviews

Typical job interviews are started by recruiters asking a series of questions to see job seeker’s qualification. But in an informational interview, it will be the other way round. In an informational interview, job seekers will be the one who asks questions to obtain information of their preferred employers and/or job positions.

An informational interview is an opportunity to start a conversation with someone who works at a department that you’re interested in, or someone on your desired career path. Experts often refer it to ‘relationship building’ because this implies making authentic connections with people who could become friends, mentors, or maybe future colleagues. 

See also: Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation

Benefits of informational interviews 

Informational interviewing is effective for a college student looking to start their career. But it can be just as effective for mature adults who are in some form of career transition. Considering its major benefits (career exploration and networking), informational interviewing is designed for professionals at any career stage. Here are some other benefits: 

  • Obtain a great deal of information about your career field and the skills needed to do that job effectively. 
  • Gain a perspective of work that goes beyond the limitations of job titles, allowing you to see not only what skills are required for the job but also how you might fit into that work setting. Thus, you have greater flexibility in planning options.  
  • Get the opportunity to make personal contacts among management-level personnel.  
  • Gain insight into the hidden job market (employment opportunities that are not advertised).  
  • Become aware of the needs of the department and the realities of employment. First-hand and current information allows you to learn what happens on the job beyond the understanding provided through research. 
  • This exposure not only provides personal understanding but it could also result in your becoming a more impressive job candidate in the future.  
  • Informational meetings are comparatively low-stress because you are the interviewer. This is a great opportunity for you to gain confidence in talking with people while learning what you need to know.  
  • Because you are only asking for information, you are in control of the meeting; you decide which questions to ask. Later, evaluate the acquired information for personal use.  
  • It is an opportunity to learn whether you might fit into a particular organisation.
  • You can explore careers with someone who is actually performing the work you might want to do, thus allowing you to clarify your career goals.
  • You can obtain valuable feedback on your resume (and qualification in general), and help you determine what you need to do to make yourself more marketable for the career in question. 

Who to interview? 

Some tips for locating with whom to conduct informational interviews are as follows: 

  • Start with your current network, people you know personally. 
  • Search for professionals on LinkedIn. It is one of the largest databases of professionals in the world. 
  • Tap into professional and industry associations in your field of interest. They are great sources of career information – and contacts. 
  • Contact the alumni development office at your previous university, and colleges you have graduated from. They might be able to connect with alumni working in your field of interest. 
  • Identify the target companies you’d like to work for. Call them and ask for the names of individuals who occupy the careers of interest to you. Then, contact that person to request an informational interview. You can even connect to them on LinkedIn and use these connections to leverage an introduction. 

Read also: What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application?

Subscribe to Jobiness newsletter for the next series of informational interviews tips. 

Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation 

Congratulations on your graduation! So you have finished college, earned a degree, and now it is time to practice what you have learnt at school in the world of working. Whether you are dabbling with ideas or searching furiously for that first big gig, there are small steps you can take to ensure your first job works in lock-step with your long-term career goals.

What is a job and what is a career? 

A job and a career are usually used in the same context but serve different functions. Both are focused on how an individual earns money, but there are some differences you might never realise. 

See also: How to Answer Behavioural Questions

A job – is short-term oriented and tends to focus on earning money. 

Jobs have a small impact on future resumes because they aren’t typically related to what an individual career is or will be. Jobs also offer less networking opportunities because coworkers often won’t be continuing on the same field in the future career. In addition, most jobs consist of hourly wages, are more short-term, and focus on getting a task done. 

A career – is a series of related employment in one field that provides experience for your future and helps you earn better paychecks and living status. 

Career is all about building up skills through various employment opportunities, strengthening ability to move on to higher paying or more prestigious jobs. Careers provide a foundation of experiences that help fuel professional life for many years. In addition, careers are more long-term focused on learning, gaining experiences, building connections, and putting yourself in the right position for promotions and raises.

Creating professional life with purpose 

As a graduate, you might now look for an opportunity that can both help you earn money and earn dignity through skill advancement. If this is exactly what you are pursuing, ensuring that your job and career goals are aligned is important. Here are three tricks you can use. 

  • Overcome pressure – At times, you might feel immense pressure. It is natural, but don’t let it stop you. Work hard, learn and develop a lasting relationship and soon enough the pressure will pass. 
  • Be proactive - Employees, especially millennials, often get bored easily but do nothing about it. If you are among these people, make sure to turn your boredom into opportunity by getting proactive. Get creative and seek solutions. Young professionals who solve problems move up faster. 
  • Set simple goals – Workplace can be wonderful, yet confusing at the same time due to tight deadlines, ungrateful bosses, etc. Shadow talented co-workers. Gain control by getting simple goals. Make a list of skills you want to learn and get senior professionals around you to weigh in. Keep a checklist and hold yourself accountable. 

Read also: What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application? 

How to Answer Behavioural Questions

Employers want to know that the candidates they hire will fit in both company culture and the position applied. In the job interview, hiring managers need to ensure that candidates have the qualities they are seeking for, therefore they often ask behavioural questions to uncover it.

Behavioural interview questions are questions that focus on how a job candidate has handled different work situations in the past to reveal their personality, abilities, and skills. Interviewees could use their work experience, volunteer positions, or sports experiences to answer behavioural questions. 

See also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview

Simplify with the S.T.A.R Approach

STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. This interview technique offers a straightforward format which job seekers can use to answer behavioural interview questions. This technique requires interviewees to provide a real-life example of how they handle a certain kind of situation at work in the past. 

Behavioural questions usually are easy to recognise as they often have telltale openings like: 

  • Have you ever encountered a situation that makes you grumpy? How do you handle the situation? 
  • Describe your most daunting challenge and how you handle the situation?
  • Talk about a mistake you made. What happened and how did you handle it? 
  • Please describe a scenario in which you were under pressure. What was going on and how did you respond? 
  • Tell me about your proudest accomplishment. 

In some cases, recruiters can provide a situation in which interviewees have to answer with a real-life example based on their past experiences. 

Preparation checklist 

When answering a behavioural question, interviewees should be able to identify the most interesting event, hence could grab the attention of the interviewer. However, if interviewees do not have any work event related to the question, they can pick the most relevant ones from personal experiences. When doing so, make sure to tell a recruiter that the event happened not in the workplace but instead it is based on the personal experience. 

Here are tips to pick the best event and how you can relate it to the question: 

  • Categorise your experiences into successes, challenges, leadership moments, teamwork skills, and problem-solving situations. 
  • Practice your answer out loud before the interview session and plot the answer neatly. 
  • Get comfortable with your strengths and weaknesses because interviewers might ask more questions regarding your strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Always be honest. 

“It is all about lessons learned. Your answer to behavioural questions should demonstrate how you tackled and solved a problem. And of course, what you learned from this situation.” - Jodi Glickman 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application? 

Have you ever sent resumes to some companies but none call you back? Or, did you hear radio silence after an interview? If yes, you are not alone. CareerBuilder survey found that a staggering 75 percent of job seekers said they did not hear back from a position they have applied for. The reasons for not getting a follow-up generally comes from employers or recruiters themselves and not the job seekers. Some of the reasons are as follows: 

  • Employer has lost job seeker’s job application
  • Human resources policy that does not allow company employees to respond to any inquiries from interview candidates. 
  • Lack of consideration to not notifying candidates, except for those employer’s interested most. 
  • Change in hiring plans, such as teams getting cut.

See also: Dos & Don’ts when Asking Questions to Recruiter

Hearing bad news is a bummer but not getting a response at all, especially from an industry you expected, is worse. The good news is that there is something you can do about it: be proactive. All it takes to get the ball rolling again is a little push in the right direction. Here are some of the ways you should try: 

  • If possible, contact the recruiter or hiring managers and ask if they can give you a quick update regarding your application status. It will remind them that it has been a while since they’ve worked on their hiring responsibilities. 
  • If you apply through an applicant tracking system, check the system to see if your status has changed, for example from ‘submitted’ to ‘under review’. If it hasn’t changed, the problem lies in your resume, thus it is better to rewrite the resume and apply again when appropriate. 
  • If you have a contact inside the company, ask them to track down the hiring manager. See if they can get a status update for you. 
  • If the job was posted online, check the web site if the job is still listed. If it is not, the job opening might have been closed or they have already filled the position with somebody else. At this point, you should move on and start anew. 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

Being a suitable job candidate for a specific position in a company requires more than a well-written CV. While having confidence could be one of the biggest advantages to being a candidate of choice, it might not be enough to secure a job offer. Job seekers must go beyond just well-written resumes by showcasing their personality.

See also: 4 Tips to Find a Job that Fits and Suits You

According to Heckman et al., personality has been a scientifically-proven predictor of job performance and assessing a candidate’s behavioural tendencies in a work environment. This allows recruiters to determine whether a candidate will be a top performer and if he/she will fit the culture of the company. Recruiter Experts cited there are three more advantages for job seekers when showcasing their personality during an interview: 

1- Your personality is a success indicator 

Personality is the driving force behind how one thinks, feels, acts, adapts and works. The stories you share in a job interview regarding past experiences can be an indicator of how you will deal with adversity and opportunity. Potential employers want a glimpse into your future successes and failures. Often, the simplest indicator is your personality. 

2- Skills can be taught, personality cannot 

More and more companies are realising that skills and knowledge can be gained on the job. However, personality is hardwired. If you come to the table with a personality that matches with a company’s culture, other technical skills can be learned over time. 

3- Culture is king 

Your personality can indicate that you will build good culture in a company which will create a healthy place to work, not only for yourself but also for others. 

Using insights from personality assessments and your past experiences to really understand what an ideal environment looks like will lead you to the right career path. Remember, it needs to be a fit on both sides. There is no use in denying your personality. 

Read also: 10 Suitable Jobs for YOU Who are Bad Communicators

Dos & Don'ts when Asking Questions to Recruiter

If you, as a candidate, are enthusiastic during an interview, the chance of getting hired is higher. An interview session is a place where you can figure out whether the job and workplace culture is a fit for you. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask the questions you prepare beforehand to the interviewer.

See also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview

Here are the dos and don’ts that will help you get the most out of every question you ask: 

DO

  • Ask your most pressing questions first. These could be about the culture, goals of your future team or how performance will be evaluated.
  • Ask probing questions. Consider asking which personality traits are most common among the most successful employees, or what employees enjoy most about working there. 
  • Ask interviewers about their own career paths. For example, ask them how they decided to go into their field, or what steps they took within the company to attain their current position.
  • Ask about challenges. What will make this job difficult? What will you need to overcome?
  • Ask for their contact information and whether you can connect with them for further information.

DON’T

  • Don’t ask questions to sound smart. For example, interrupting the recruiter before he/she finishes their questions, just because you know the better option or better solution to the question asked. 
  • Don’t ask about something you could find online. This might make the recruiter think that you haven’t done your homework well. Remember that searching and researching information about the company before an interview is vital to your interview success. 
  • Don’t be unprofessional. You should limit yourself when asking questions even when the recruiter says that you can ask anything, NEVER ask about personal life, such as marital status, his/her personal salary, etc. 
  • Don’t push. If the hiring manager won’t answer your question, it’s best to leave it alone.

Read also: How to Discuss a Gap Year in an Interview