One Man’s Creation: Job Hunt Game Changer – OnlineBusinessDegree.org
One man has set out to raise the job placement rates of college graduates by transforming the methods used in the career search.
Christopher Lipari began his professional work as a career advisor helping everyone from students to C-level executives construct their resumes, prepare for job interviews, and find careers. He spent the last 12 years as an admissions director for various colleges and universities.
“I was doing a great job of getting these students into schools, but they expressed to me that they were having trouble getting jobs,” Lipari said.
Lipari wanted to do something to help schools increase job placement rates for their students. His answer was Mach Interview, a combination of hardware, software, and curriculum used by colleges and universities to prepare students for the job search, track their progress, and lead them to careers.
A key component of Mach Interview is the way in which students market themselves to potential employers. Rather than the traditional resume format, the Mach Interview system allows students to create online career profiles, which are searchable by employers.
“Technology has dictated that the world is ready to move forward from Monster.com and CareerBuilder,” Lipari said. “Sending resumes results in employers having stacks of resumes in front of them, and no employer likes stacks of resumes on their desk. Mach (Interview) provides an interface that is very simple and efficient. We help take several steps out of the candidate screening process for employers.”
The Mach Interview system is sold to colleges and universities, and implemented by the school’s career services center. Students can choose to create their career profiles at home using a computer webcam or create it with their career counselors at school. Either way, the career counselor has to manually switch the profile from private to public.
Employers can then search through a database of students’ career profiles by several different customizations, including school and GPA. The first page is the candidate’s snapshot page, which includes basic candidate information such as objection, areas of expertise, education, and employment history. From that page, employers can access other information, including the student’s resume, work samples, and references.
“One of the features I love most is the virtual interview,” Lipari said. “It includes ten interview questions – each school can select its own questions – which the employer can click on and see the candidate’s response as if he or she is sitting in an actual interview setting.”
Some common mistakes job-seekers make when creating their resumes, Lipari said, are failing to make them easy to scan and failing to showcase accomplishments and achievements.
“A resume is meant to be a commercial for that specific candidate. Employers usually only spend 20-30 seconds scanning a resume,” he said. “Employers don’t have time to read lengthy paragraphs and multiple pages. Students should really brag about themselves – include if they were employee of the month or helped to increase company profit. There’s no such thing as too many accomplishments.”
Mach Interview launched in July 2012 and Lipari said one school is already under contract to begin offering it and several other schools are in negotiations. It’s free for students and employers to use.
“These days, employers just don’t have the time to make a wrong decision on a candidate,” he said. “There needs to be a more efficient manner to screen candidates. Mach Interview showcases candidates’ personalities and character, and allows them to show themselves as people, not just pieces of paper.”
Lipari said he wants the Mach Interview system to become a major force with all career-focused schools.
“I hope to increase school enrollments and retention rates. One of the most important aspects of pursuing an education is finding a job after you graduate,” he said. “Students really value that when looking at schools. With Mach Interview, we’re engaging students early on in their college career and showing them the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Using his years of experience in job placement, Lipari shared some interview tips for job-seekers:
- Research the company. Know what they do, who their competitors are, and most importantly, what their goals are. Understand the position that you’re applying for. What does that position do to help the company meet their goals?
- Know the interviewer’s name and use it during the job interview. If you’re not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview.
- As uncomfortable as it might be, practice your answers in front of friends or family to get feedback. Find someone that has interviewed candidates before, or has knowledge of the industry so they can provide appropriate feedback. It’s better to mess up in front of Uncle Dave, instead of your interviewer.
- Practice answering questions directly in a clear, direct and concise manner. Nobody enjoys rambling answers.
Dress the Part
- Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. This is not the time for bright lipstick, too much perfume, or a 5-o’clock shadow.
- Bring a nice portfolio with copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note-taking.
Be On Time
- Be on time for the interview. On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the office ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there.
- During the job interview try to relax and stay as calm possible. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention – you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!
Show What You Know
- Focus on 3 key things you bring to the table that will help the company meet their goals, and provide examples. Don’t just say, “I am efficient.” Instead, say “I am efficient. For example, in my last position, I created a system to organize the files in a manner that were more easily accessible to the staff and saved them time.” It’s like pretending each answer incorporates “What is your greatest strength?”
- Try to relate what you know about the company and their goals when answering questions.
- Be positive and upbeat. Never talk negatively about a previous employer.
- There is no such thing as too many accomplishments. Integrate accomplishments and achievements into your answers.
- Always follow-up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. If you interview with multiple people send each one a hand-written thank you note.
Follow Valerie Jones on Twitter @ValerieJonesCMN