July 4th, 2011
A job interview is a two-way street. A hiring manager tries to find out everything he can about you, while you try to find out everything you can about the position and your potential employer.
To decide whether or not you can thrive in an organization long-term, you need to learn about more than the basics (e.g., salary, job responsibilities and organizational structure). During the interview, you must also determine if the company is a “good fit” for you – if their values, beliefs, ethics and rules of behavior align with your own.
But how do you ascertain if an employer’s corporate culture is right for you?
Before the Interview
Learn as much as you can about an employer before the formal interview starts:
- Research the company before the interview. Search online for clues about the employer’s culture. Review their annual report, website and what others write or say about the organization. Plenty of resources are available online to guide you in your research.
- Arrive a few minutes early. Observe how current employees are dressed, how they interact with one another and how courteous and professional they seem – before they know who you are. Pay attention to what’s on the walls, how clean the space is and how much room employees are given to work. All these details will provide a clearer picture of the company’s personality.
During the Interview
Use this list of sample questions to dig deeper in your next interview and uncover important information about an employer’s culture:
- What does it take to succeed here long-term? The traits an employer encourages and rewards speak to its corporate culture. Ask this question early in the interview and incorporate those sought-after characteristics into your subsequent answers.
- If you could describe your company’s culture in just three words, what would you say? This question accomplishes two things. First, it helps you learn about the salient aspects of an organization’s culture. Second, it positions you as a thinker, setting you apart from the crowd.
- Does this company have a written corporate values statement? A progressive organization (i.e., one that has put the effort into developing a formal values statement) understands the importance of corporate culture and is just as concerned about making a values match as you are. If the company has no written cultural values, their mission statement may provide insight for you.
- What are the best and worst parts about your work environment, that I wouldn’t understand unless I’d been working here for several months? Some workplaces are quite different once the “honeymoon” phase has passed. This question may help elicit some candor from your interviewer and get him to share the realities of the work environment – both good and bad. Beware of the interviewer who has nothing negative to say. The fact is, all cultures have their positive and negative aspects.
- What are your favorite aspects of this company’s culture? This question tells you what brings the interviewer back to work each and every day. Because it’s personal, ask this question at the end of the interview – after you’ve had a chance to establish rapport with the interviewer. You can end the interview on a positive note and leave a great final impression.
As you ask all these questions, pay attention to the interviewer’s nonverbal cues. Sometimes the words an interviewer says aren’t as important as how he says them. Body language, eye contact, facial expressions and posture don’t lie. Compare the interviewer’s actions with his words to decide if he is really telling the truth, or just trying to present the company in the best possible light.
Looking for your next food & beverage position?
Kinsa Group has the inside track with leading food & beverage employers and can help you make smarter employment decisions. We provide you with invaluable details about corporate culture, interviewers’ personality styles and other intangibles to ensure you thrive in your next position. Contact a Kinsa recruiter today or search available food & beverage professional and executive positions.
November 1st, 2010
Right now you may be asking yourself, “Why would I need to go on an informational interview?”
As an experienced food & beverage industry professional, you may think that an informational interview would be a waste of your time. Because typically, informational interviews are associated with job seekers who are new to the employment market, or have no clear direction for their careers.
But conducted properly, even a seasoned professional can benefit from an informational interview:
- Expand your professional network
- Set yourself apart from the crowd in a competitive job market
- Gain valuable insider feedback on potential future job openings
- Sharpen interview skills that may have become a bit “rusty” from disuse
- Practice selling yourself and your personal brand
In short, this type of interview can provide you with invaluable visibility, information and practice – all in a low-stress setting.
Tips for Successful Informational Interviews
- Do your homework. It goes without saying that you’ll get out of the informational interview process what you put into it. So read industry journals and annual reports, and study operating principals, product and financial information for any company in which you’re interested – before making phone calls.
- Use your networks. Leveraging these contacts will distinguish you from entry-level job candidates, get you in front of key decision makers more quickly and make potential employers take you seriously.
- Find out how your skills will translate. If you already know how your experience will benefit a potential employer, now is the time to say so. But if you’re unsure where you might fit into a different sector of the food and beverage industry, the informational interview provides a perfect opportunity to find out.
- Be honest. Since you’re not interviewing for an available opening, be candid about your professional strengths and weaknesses, as well as career goals. If your skills, desires and priorities are not a match for a particular organization, it’s always better to find out up front. In this case, the interviewee may be able to connect you with potential employers that are more in-sync with your needs.
- Ask about next steps. If you’re intrigued by the prospects with a potential employer, take the initiative and find out the next step in being considered for an available or upcoming position. And if the connection is not there, ask if the interviewee knows anyone else with whom you should speak. But be sure to do so tactfully, so that you leave behind a positive and professional impression.
A Final Thought
Informational interviews can happen anywhere and anytime – not just in the board room. So keep an open mind and seize potential opportunities whenever they present themselves, because you never know who might be helpful in your career search.
Jump Start Your Career Search with The Kinsa Group
If you’re in the market for a new job, or are just curious about what kind of professional food and beverage jobs are available right now, please call us today. As national recruiters specializing in the food & beverage industry, Kinsa Group offers a variety of excellent career opportunities.
October 11th, 2010
The Kinsa Group–a leading recruiting firm for the food and beverage industry–currently has a variety of outstanding job opportunities, including the following position:
National Accounts Manager – Food Service
Rapidly growing Midwest food manufacturer in a hot niche is looking for double-digit growth over the next three years. They have the capacity to do this in both their bakery and sauces lines of business, and want to continue to grow their meat business as well. To facilitate this growth, they have created a new position for a National Accounts Manager to call on major Foodservice National Accounts like Panera, Subway and other similar delis, etc.
Grow National Account Business at least $2 to $10 million in one year. The ideal candidate must have the wherewithal to design and execute the sales strategy to achieve this growth. The National Accounts Manager will collaborate with resources at headquarters including Marketing, R&D and Supply Chain for materials, planning, forecasting, etc.
Ideal candidates will possess the following:
- Bachelor’s Degree with 5 to 10 years of food sales experience.
- National Sales Management experience. Client is looking for a subject matter expert, who can overcome objections and close the sale successfully.
- Team leadership skills, with the capacity to manage a sales team or brokers / distributors. Should have managed a team or brokers / distributors in the past.
- An established track record of growing national accounts to $10 million a year.
- Active leadership experience developing a Sales Strategy.
- Bakery business experience a plus. Meat also preferred.
Discover more about this National Accounts Manager – Food Service including salary range.
And to search our comprehensive list of Food and Beverage Industry Jobs please visit www.Kinsa.com.
September 20th, 2010
Everybody makes mitsakes (oops, that should read “mistakes”).
But while a blog typo may be easily forgiven, other mistakes on the job can have serious consequences – for you, your boss, or even the company as a whole. And frankly, the way you handle your slip-up can be just as critical as the mistake itself.
So what should you do when you make an error at work?
- Assess the situation. As soon as you realize your misstep, take a minute to consider the ramifications, as well as whether or not you can correct the mistake yourself. If you can solve it, do so immediately; but if not, take a moment to brainstorm possible solutions. This way, when you approach your boss you’ll appear proactive and responsible.
- Own up to it. Never try to cover up your mistake. If a boss finds out later that you hid a problem, it can permanently damage your credibility. So take the initiative and bring the situation to your supervisor’s attention. When you’re honest from the outset, your boss won’t feel the need to underscore the situation’s importance to you.
- Take responsibility. Don’t make excuses, act defensively or place blame elsewhere. Negative reactions like these will cause equally negative reactions from your boss. Instead, use your mistake as an opportunity to step up to the plate and demonstrate your responsibility and problem-solving abilities. If someone else is involved in the mistake, encourage him or her to follow your lead and do the right thing.
- Explain what happened and what you plan to do about it. Once you’ve acknowledged your misstep and apologized, you must present a plan for correcting it. You can say something like, “I’ve made a mistake and I apologize for the error. I’ve come up with some possible solutions and would like your feedback on how to best resolve the situation.” It’s fine to ask for help developing and implementing your solution – the key here is to not simply ask for your boss to bail you out.
- Demonstrate that you’ve learned from your mistake. When a mistake occurs on the job, it’s not enough to just solve it and move on. Once you’ve resolved the problem, you need to determine what caused it in the first place – and discuss your plan to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Explaining to your boss what you’ve learned from your mistake demonstrates that you’re conscientious and have the organization’s best interest in mind.
You’re human. You’ll make mistakes from time-to-time (we all do). And if you handle a mistake at work correctly, you can turn a difficult situation into a learning experience – an experience that actually provides an opportunity to demonstrate your honesty, integrity and problem-solving ability.
Handle Your Food & Beverage Career Search the Right Way
Don’t make the mistake of going it alone in your career search. Contact the Kinsa Group today. As experts in recruiting for the food & beverage industry, we can match you to the ideal food & beverage industry career opportunities – from Food Safety Manager to VP of Marketing.