5 Quick Questions with Kimberly Penharlow, HR Expert Monster.comAlexa Ehrlich | April 4th, 2011
For this month’s addition of 5 Quick Questions, I am beyond excited to announce our first female candidate! Kimberly Penharlow joined the Monster.com team back in 2008 and is a human resource expert with over 14 years of experience in multiple capacities. She is currently focusing on training Enterprise clients in the areas of job seeker behavior and best hiring practices so as you can see, her line of work is most fitting for our site! Please read below to see how you can stand out above the rest when job hunting and read what not to do, when Kimberly talks about trends she’s seen among the unemployed…
Q: How do you stand out in the job searching process, especially if you aren’t the most qualified? (Ex: A recent grad)
A: “A couple of things one should do… In an interview talk about all of your accomplishments, something you’ve done most recent like an internship, or maybe even a paper you’ve written. Always talk about things that make you stand out from the rest. Just because you don’t have 10 years of experience, show your strong points that could make you as valuable as that person with 10 years of experience. Discuss your exposure to new media, hone into what makes you personally unique in the job market and be proud of it, most importantly talk about the energy you will bring to the workplace/the job.”
Q: What are things one can do to stand out/ gain positive attention? Do you recommend networking? What about starting a blog?
A: “Once you land a job, get involved with associations that fit your type of work. Most importantly you need to start becoming visible in the industry you are now working in, meet up with various groups outside of work which will continue to help you network and with time make you more and more visible. If you work in a creative field and/or your job has to do with writing, then sure, start a blog. Just make sure it’s in line with your type of work. I absolutely think how you spend your time outside of work is important, the more you get out of your cubicle the better! Also the more you network and get out, the more chances for accomplishments down the line and hopefully all this networking will help the phone ring in a few years for a different or better job.”
Q: When job searching is there anything job seekers should avoid, for example if a company does x, y, or, z in the interview they are probably not someone you want to work for?
A: “Asking illegal questions in an interview should always be a RED flag. It’s also bad if you notice a lot of things you find questionable/ they go against your morals. Pay attention to the publicity this company gets/ what you’ve heard about them in the media. Ask yourself; do they have a good reputation? Also go with a little of your own gut feeling, are you comfortable there, is it a proper cultural fit for you? Do you see yourself needing to adjust A LOT to succeed in this workplace, then probably not the best fit for you.”
Q: What’s the coolest tradeshow you’ve been to for Monster.com? Anywhere they gave you “star-like” treatment?
A: “We go to HR conferences where Monster.com has a big presence and I guess I kind of feel like a celebrity there because a lot of people come to our booth! We play videos we’ve produced with our own success stories, and the companies we work with, with their hiring successes. It’s just an informal moment in time where we have fun with our clients and we get to introduce them to other colleagues. A nice time for us to say to our clients, “It’s been a pleasure working with you.”
Q: At the “Keep America Working Tour” what trends have you noticed among the unemployed?
A: “Still seeing people need to be as diligent as possible in their job search because the economy is still changing. We try to remind people it matters if you take even one day off of job searching. When you get out of the habit it’s hard to jump back in, so make a point to do something each and everyday. It’s also great to think about different ways to change up your resume and always think about different interview questions you could be asked and rehearse what your answers will be. Reach out to as many resources as you can to take off the pressure of being unemployed. At Monster.com you can let us do the work for you. If you sign up for a specific area of work, we will have the entire list of new job postings for that type of work emailed to you daily. This way you have no excuse everyday to apply to new openings.”
Q: Anything you’ve said on the “Keep America Working Tour” that you think really struck a cord with your audiences?
A: “I think it strikes a cord with my audience when I remind job seekers that recruiters are people too! A good recruiter should be invested in the candidates success, as well as filling the position. Remember to be yourself in interviews and be honest. When I was recruiting, I cared about the candidates and I tried to get them somewhere, tried to help them land a job even if it wasn’t with the specific company they came for. Recruiters should have a human side and be empathetic of your success.”
Q: Once you’ve landed a job, when’s a good time to start thinking about asking for a raise, a year in? When is too soon?
A: “For a raise it depends upon how quickly you can show them you’re valuable, try no to rush into it. The new employer wants to see consistency with their new hire. They want to see how well one can balance taking on new tasks so don’t jump the gun on it. Even if the new hire doesn’t ask for a raise, the manager will start a conversation eventually saying something like “I’ve seen you take on this and that and I would like to consider a promotion or a change in your salary.”
Q: What are your thoughts on moving around quite a bit, taking a different job (s) every year or so?
A: “Moving around quite a bit helps you build transferable skills that you can hopefully take across industries if you change. The key for anyone in the job market now is to be able to transfer skills from job to job. I went from a non-profit to Corporate America and for me I was able to make that change because I was in a flexible mindset. From a non-profit to corporate America there is a lot that’s culturally different, such as quarterly business reviews that are all about the money coming in. So the two were very different but luckily I was able to plug my skills into my new job. You have to be able to be flexible and nimble in any work environment, whether changing from one industry to another, just make sure you’re skills are not stale.”
That’s all for this month’s addition of 5 Quick Questions. Thanks for stopping by!
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About the Author: Originally from Danville, Illinois, I received my Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism and Second Concentration in Gender Studies from Indiana University Bloomington in May 2010. I am now an aspiring Broadcast Journalist with great experience in the field, which I have obtained through various internships and with my involvement in IUSTV, the student produced news team at Indiana University.I am excited for new challenges and new learning experiences with each day in this field of work.I enjoy writing, volunteering in my local community, traveling, reading, and working out. I am eager to see where my degree will take me! For now I am so happy to have the opportunity to be contributing to SDZR.