Interview Preparation: The Basics

Preparing for an interview can be nerve-wracking. Sometimes prospective candidates focus so much on preparing for interview questions that they often overlook the basics, such as what to bring and how to dress. More often than not, interviewers are taking note on more than just your conversation. Interviewers are taking mental notes on how well prepared you are, in addition to your appearance. Here are some quick tips on how to conquer the basics and make a positive first impression:

1. Gentlemen: Be sure to wear a sharp, well-fitting suit along with a pressed shirt, minus loose threads and stains, with a properly tied tie. Gentlemen, your tie must be tied and lengthened properly! Look well-groomed, because being dressed in nice clothing doesn’t necessarily mean you look sharp. Clothing that fits properly and is clean is what makes you look sharp.

Ladies: Women should always wear a properly fitted suit, as well. Revealing necklines and flashy jewelry are not advised, nor is overpowering perfume. The same goes for properly fitted and well-groomed clothing. Neat and tidy rather than flashy and revealing is what gets you noticed and respected by prospective employers.

2. Come prepared with accessories to take notes. Whether it is a pad of paper and pen or an electronic tablet on  which to take notes, be sure to have something to write with, and something to carry it in.

3. This is something many people do not think to bring: a print out of company information for the company you are interviewing with. This shows you have done your research and taken the time to highlight, annotate, and learn about the business.

4. Bring several copies of your resume. You might be interviewing with only one or two people, but you never know who might drop in during the interview. It’s better to be overly prepared than not properly prepared.

5. Have five or six written or prepared questions. Again, this will show that you have done your research on the company and will show an impressive level of preparedness. This will also ease the stress of having to think of questions off the top of your head during or at the end of the interview. It’s best to ask open-ended questions that will give you detailed answers about the company, position, and potential career progression. An example question is as follows: “What are the best things about working for this company?”

6. Job interviews bring a certain level of uncertainty; however, if you enter the interview with the appropriate materials, are well prepared, and dress to impress, you are already a step ahead. Last but not least, be sure to ask for the business cards of all the people at the interview so you can send a timely and imperative thank you email.

-Keith Styles


Check our Systems Personnel and HireEmpire in the News!!!

On Sunday August 3, 2014, the Buffalo News published an article titled “Job seekers, employers find common ground in local websites as search for work becomes ever-digital.” HireEmpire and Systems Personnel were featured prominently in the article.

We would like to thank Buffalo News Business Reporter, Brandon Schlager for the publication. We would also like to thank Kristen Rhodes and Veronica Meldrum for their kind words.

Here is the link to the article…

HireEmpire PNG


Fine tune your resume- Quick Hit by Joe M.

Hey loyal Expert Career Coach blog followers. Happy July! Hope everyone had a great 4th of July and is ready to apply to new jobs.

I am Joe Militello one of your guest bloggers. Stay tuned for my Career Search Quick Hits. If you know me you probably know I am a quick and to the point kind of guy. Stay tuned for my Career Search Quick Hits Series of blog posts!

I would recommend starting your job search in a place that you know best… YOUR STANDING RELATIONSHIPS. Ask friends and family if they know of anyone looking to hire. Be prepared to let them know what you are looking for and what your skills are.

The more you talk about your search, the more people know you are looking for a job. I’m talking about Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” type stuff here.  Put it out in the universe and see what comes back to you.

Don’t be afraid to get your resume in the hands of friends and family that may have connections to the type of people that can help you find a job in your field.

Next let’s tweak your resume!

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Contractor Bait & Switch

This title may sound bizarre, but this is more common than you might think.  In this blog I will share a real situation and provide some tips to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

One of our clients needed to bring on a group of contractors ASAP for an important project.

When there is a short timeframe, sometimes all the proper forms and paperwork can be delayed.  After one of the candidates had been on site for two days, the agency received the remaining paperwork that showed that this person was not the same person that originally interviewed.  When confronted with this information, the candidate recanted and admitted that she was not the person that the client originally interviewed.  This caused issues on several levels.

If you work with third parties to help with resources (we also do business with a few partner firms), there is a chance you might find yourself in a similar predicament.   Though it may be hard to believe, there are individuals and firms that have the audacity to do this- especially for short-term projects that involve a lot of resources.

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The Dreaded Resume- Let us Help!

The dreaded resume!  What’s in and what is out in resume etiquette.  The questions on everyone’s mind are.. Can it be more than one page? Do I still need a cover letter?  How far back do I add work history?  And should I keep the year off when I received my degree?

In my opinion, resumes being one page is definitely a thing of the past, unless you are just entering the workforce. Hiring managers are often booking interviews based on a resume… to cut yourself to one page, can cut you out of the opportunity of your dreams.  Don’t write a book but pick out key points that highlight the position you are applying for.

Cover letters?  Don’t bother.  I don’t read them.  In an email attachment I scroll down right to the resume to see your history.  Anyone else?

Golden rule, go back no further than 7-10 years for a resume.  Please don’t add on your first job as a pizza delivery specialist or a barista from Starbucks.  Exception to the rule would be a new graduate entering the work force. You want to highlight the fact that you have worked but not after 10 years! New grads don’t forgot to add those internships!

Will adding my graduation date show my age?  The answer is yes!  For those of you  changing careers or entering a new chapter in your career this is a dead giveaway to those resume road blockers (you know who you are.) This could automatically push a good candidate out the door before they even get a chance to tell their story.





Do not make it this simple!


Email Tips from Jennie

Watch this month’s tip from Jennie about your email address and interviewing!




3 Things to Consider Before Accepting a Counter Offer

To Stay or To Leave Your Job

To Stay or To Leave Your Job

Most of us have been in the position where we have gone into our employer’s office and let them know that we are no longer going to work for them. There are may ways I have seen this done, some are honest and professional conversations with a trusted mentor with and a two-week notice and some involve a heated exchange involving foul language. The advice here more likely pertains to the first example.

1- Don’t put your notice in unless you are ready to walk out the door. Assuming that you are valued at your job, your company may attempt to keep you from leaving. You may be given more money, a promotion, a leadership role, or perhaps a fancy new title. You may hear your boss say, “Oh, but we had such great plans for you in the future!” A good question to ask yourself is, “Why did it take until I threatened to leave to be recognized or rewarded further?”

2- Companies have a tough time when good people leave. It often causes the rest of the team to have to work harder to pick up the slack. The attempt to keep you there rarely works out in the long run. You may have a little more money in your pocket, but most often the job hasn’t changed. The reasons why you were looking in the first place are still there, and your boss never views you the same. Who will be cut first when money is tight? How will you be viewed by your co-workers?

3- 80% of people who accept a counter offer are back on their job search within 6 months. Remember, you were the one who was disloyal. You were the one who was going to turn your back on the organization and walk out that door. When the next promotion comes up, do you think it will go to you? Often, the counter offer is a stop-gap, allowing the company to find a suitable replacement for you before letting you go. After working at a recruiting company for multiple years, I have heard many stories where many things that were promised during the delivery of a counter offer, never came to fruition.

Just recently, I managed to get one of my candidates a 100% increase in his salary. Imagine that, a company doubling your pay when you threatened to leave. What taste does that leave in your mouth? What does that company really think about you?

Accepting a counter offer can look appealing in the short term, but realize, it can be career suicide.

-Craig Savage

P.S. – Like this blog post? Be sure to follow us on our social media sites for the latest career advice, job postings, and blog posts!


Social Media and Your Job Hunt

If you’ve been on the job hunt in the past decade, you know the game has completely changed. Job boards have replaced newspaper job listings and job listings are reaching thousands of applicants at a time. If you’ve used any of the online job boards, you know how difficult it can be to actually get your resume into the hiring manager’s hands.

Get-Hired-Fast-Social-Media-Job-SearchOne tool many job seekers tend to forget about on their job search is social media. Social media can be a powerful weapon on your job hunt that can get you ahead of your competition. Before a job is spread across multiple job boards, it’s usually posted to the company’s website or social media sites. Below are a few tips that can help you find your dream job through social media.

Clean Up Your Sites!  – On a job search you’re trying to sell yourself. Before you begin your journey, make sure you take the time to remove that drunken photo off Facebook and deleting that Tweet that bad mouthed your old boss. If you’ve been with the same company for a number of years, it wouldn’t hurt to update your LinkedIn profile with your skills and it would help to request some recommendations from old co-workers. Remember, you want to show your best self to future employers, so update your profile photos with a professional picture too!

Know What You’re Looking For – When it comes to looking for possible openings on social media, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and where to look. All social media sites have some sort of search bar where you can enter a keyword for your search. The best way to utilize these search bars is by using key words that are relevant to your job hunt. If you’re not sure exactly what to look for, many companies (especially on Twitter and Facebook) utilize the hashtag #hiring. By using this hashtag you can see what jobs are posted in a timely manner. LinkedIn is by far the most professional social media network out there that has a number of possibilities. LinkedIn provides you with the option not only to search for positions, but for companies, and to make connections with the people in your field. On LinkedIn you can join groups with like-minded professionals and where you can connect and inquire about possible openings. Google+ is another great way to find a position. Google+ allows you to also join groups (also known as communities), and to add professionals in your field to your circles. There are ample amount of opportunities to build your network through social media that could help you in the long run.

You found a position you’re interested in, now what? – The best way to go about applying for the position you’re interested in is by private messaging the person or company who created the post. You don’t want to submit your information over social media, but it is a good place to ask for more information. When you private message the person/company, let them know you’re interested in hearing more about the position. Provide your email address and your phone number and close your message as if it were an email. Once you get an email with the details, you can then request the name and email address of the hiring manager and submit your resume and cover letter from there.

Want more expert career advice? Be sure to connect with us on our social media sites! -> Facebook -> Twitter -> Google+ -> LinkedIn


Internship Opportunities at Systems Personnel

“We will bring tremendous value to you; we’re looking to see what kind of value you can bring us.” –Jim Cipriani, Jr, President at Systems Personnel

That was one of the first things I was told the first day of my internship at Systems Personnel and it has never left my mind.

I had no idea what recruiting entailed before I met Jim Cipriani, at a Sabres game, four years ago. Now, here I am, a proud member of the Systems Personnel team due to my internship, and I’m here to tell all of you college kids that you could not land an internship better than one at Systems Personnel.

Mark – Systems Personnel Intern

The Systems Personnel team gives you the skills needed to become a true professional. As an intern you will learn the ins and outs of the recruiting industry and get real life experience and training that can be sued throughout your career.

What can you get from a Systems Personnel internship that you can’t get from any other internship?
The skills to succeed. Systems Personnel can teach you everything you need to learn about the recruiting world, negotiation skills, prepping candidates for interviews, and everything in between. To put it simply, Systems Personnel can teach you how to be a true professional and gives you what you need to succeed in the real world.

Nobel – Systems Personnel Intern

Becoming a part of Systems Personnel will also allow you to walk away with a better mental perspective and attitude towards life. Living in a world that is filled with metrics will build your skills of:  seeking to understand before being understood, prioritizing and planning your day, strategizing how to overcome roadblocks and obstacles to help you succeed, and staying positive and moving forward when things don’t go your way. These skills are not only valuable in the professional world but in your personal life as well.

Simply put, if you want to expand your professional skill set an internship with Systems

Ryan – Systems Personnel Recruiter

Personnel will give you the tools you need.  Now that you have learned all of the value we bring to you, what are you waiting for? Please get in touch with me now to talk about the opportunity further.

If you’re interested in an internship with Systems Personnel, email me at


Travel Tips for the Business Traveler


Catching flights, losing luggage, making sure you didn’t forget anything – these are just some of the stress’ a business traveler can experience on a trip. If you’re new to traveling for business, our Expert Career Coach, Jack Hayes is here to give you a few pointers!

Flight Delays – If you’re rushing to get to your flight on time, only to find out that your flight has been delayed, use that extra time wisely! Keep your laptop in your carry for times like this. You could use this time to hash out the final details of your presentation or catch up on some emails.

Avoid Checking a Bag – Next time you take a flight for business, think twice about checking a bag. Read More