In this interview series, we caught up with Interview Coach Margaret Buj who shares her expertise and insights about job search, career change,etc.in today’s marketplace.
Tell us a little bit about your company
I am an interview coach and experienced Talent Acquisition Manager who helps professionals worldwide get hired, promoted and paid more.
Helping my clients to achieve their goals is a passion of mine – I’ve worked with talented professionals from all over the world who succeeded in getting job offers in very competitive fields e.g law or consulting just after one training session. Many of them have had a lot of unsuccessful interviews before.
Having worked with people across multiple industries, in both private and public sectors, I’ve learnt EXACTLY what it takes to get hired in a competitive job market – and I love helping others do the same.
How did you get started?
A friend of a friend who’s been looking for a job for 8 months has asked for my help as he knew I worked in recruitment. I spent a couple of hours working with him on his answers and confidence – he got the job soon and he’s been getting every contract since then.
I thought there must be other people who need help, so did some research and set up my company within 2 weeks and had first 2 clients within the first week of my website going live.
Is this something you decided early on in your career?
I’ve always had a passion for helping people and have been interested in coaching for many years.
However, I’ve only decided to become an interview coach after working in recruitment for a couple of years and seeing how many people, often very qualified, struggle with interviews.
What is the most exciting part of working in this industry?
Definitely helping others get jobs – I’ve had so many clients who got the job within hours after the interview or after months of unsuccessful interviewing.
Getting these emails always make my day!
What is the best Career Advice you’ve ever received?
The best career or job is the one in which you’re using the skills you enjoy. But, not every job needs to address all of your passions. Use every job as an opportunity to learn something new and keep an open mind; you may find that you really enjoy something you never imagined would appeal to you.
Also, don’t take yourself (or your career) too seriously.
Plenty of accomplished people started out in jobs they didn’t enjoy or took paths that weren’t right at the beginning of their careers.
Professional development is no longer linear, and trust that with hard work and a dedication to figuring out what you want to do with your life, you, too, will be OK!”
How do to stay abreast of the industry as an expert?
I am always reading articles, watching webinars or listening to audios from other experts + I still work in recruitment which means I deal with hiring managers and candidates on a day to day basis.
Plus my recruitment work is very international – I’ve recruited across Europe and in the US – so I have experience of dealing with a wide variety of people.
What are some of the things that you see job seekers struggle with the most?
Most job seekers only rely on job boards (since that’s the easy way) without learning how to network effectively and how to target companies they are interested in.
A lot of them don’t know how to sell themselves as the best person for the role -their answers are very generic and don’t make them stand out from others.
A lot of people don’t know how to tailor their resume to increase their chances of getting invited to interviews.
What are the common mistakes that you see them do?
Sending the same resume to various jobs, only using job boards to search for a job, not getting help (the longer you look for a job, the more your confidence will plummet – if something is not working, get support before things get even worse.
How should job seekers approach job search today?
It’s important to have a strategic approach to job search – don’t just rely on job boards to get hired. Use your network, create a list of target companies, know how to approach them.
You need a strong achievement-oriented resume which needs to be tailored to each role and you need to learn to present your skills and experience in a convincing way.
Unemployment is at the lowest levels, why do you think that is?
There is obviously a lot of demand for labour, but it is really not easy to find a good job, especially if you’re quite senior and specific about what you’re looking for in terms of the company, salary etc.
Lots of people with great experience still take 3-6 months to find a job they want – so I don’t think it is as easy as some articles would lead us to believe.
What is the biggest trend(s) you see that job seekers will face in the next 2-3 years?
Assessment tools could decide if you get interviewed. Organizations are competing for a limited pool of talented workers. When they do hire someone, they want to be sure it’s the best fit. Thus, the growing use of cognitive assessment tools to analyze and evaluate prospective hires. These tools consider not only experience, skills and aptitude but also motivation, personality and behavioural factors.
Even if you’re not seeking a job, expect some outreach from prospective employers. Skilled workers are so scarce that employers aren’t waiting for you to respond to job posting. Instead, they’re constantly ‘sourcing,’ the term for proactively identifying potential hires and engaging them in a recruiting process. To signal your interest or at least let them know you exist, it helps to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile.
Hold out for work-life balance. To attract skilled workers, organizations realize that money isn’t everything. Skilled workers are just as interested in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. To that end, job seekers can expect to be offered expanded perks, from free meals to regularly scheduled social events to unlimited vacation days and more..
What is one advice you would give someone just out of college today?
Don’t let others dictate your passions and dreams.
Have the courage to specify and pursue that which you love, or could love doing for the rest of your life, even if it’s 100 different careers!
So many people follow the path their family wants them to follow, and then realize 10-15 years later they are in a job they absolutely hate.
Don’t be afraid to try new things – your 20s are a good time to experiment..
What is one advice you would give someone who is switching careers?
It is crucial when you’re considering a major career change to consider exactly why you want to do it. To what extent is your discontent tied to your organization versus the work itself?
Could you see yourself doing another role there, or continuing in your current functional area at another organization? What pieces of your job do you still enjoy, and what do you never want to do again?
If you don’t take the time to unpack what is going wrong, you will just make more mistakes, such as racking up debt to get trained in a new area that isn’t a good fit. So don’t make any sudden moves—take your time, and talk to a lot of people in your new field of interest before making big decisions.
How should job seekers get the most out of LinkedIn?
The more complete your LinkedIn profile, the better the odds that recruiters will find you in the first place. Make sure it is clear what skills you have, where you’ve worked, that you have recommendations – fill out every section of your profile and don’t forget to include some tangible achievements.
Although even though your profile is completed, it doesn’t mean it’s optimized. You’ll want to have a professional profile picture, a headline that showcases your value proposition; a strong summary section that shows your key skills and qualifications, and highlights your past results. When possible, include numbers and stats that prove success.
Also, avoid buzzwords like “responsible” or “driven” – these are some of the most overused words on LinkedIn.
You can also add multimedia to your summary – e.g. examples of presentations or videos.
Update your status often but do it professionally and strategically (e.g. share the article you just wrote).
Your entire network will see your updates, both in their news feeds and in the weekly LinkedIn network updates emails they receive.
Grow your network to at least 500 connections – I’ve recorded a quick training video on how to do that here.
What is the biggest trend(s) you see that hiring managers will face in the next 2-3 years?
A lot of hiring managers need to get better/quicker at attracting talent and selling the job to them. In this candidate-driven market where sought-after candidates are approached by multiple recruiters it becomes very difficult for recruiters to attract talented candidates. The top candidate that you have been trying to pitch might not be around when you finally decide to extend the offer after several weeks of interviews. Delay in the hiring process is killing the recruitment process, thereby making you lose out on top talent.
Millennials are starting to dominate the work sphere as the baby boomers start to retire. The peculiar thing about millennials is that they love technology and tend to favor their personal needs more than that of the organization they work for. They long for open communication & regular feedback. The challenge for recruiters and hiring managers is that these Millennials have the tendency to do job hopping that increases their workload as they have to search for candidates for the same positions more frequently.
Diversity and inclusion will continue to be a big topic, as organisations will search to attract more diverse workforce.
Margaret, what are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my YouTube channel and posting one video per week – feel free to subscribe.
I’ve also recently launched an online course “Get the job you want“ – I’d be happy to offer you a big discount, so you can get it for only £67/83 USD with OFFER19 discount code when you check out at:
It’d only take a few hours to view the webinars and I have so many amazing handouts there including salary negotiating scripts and an interview generating resume template – those alone are worth the price of the course!.
What are the best resources you recommend to job seekers?
I’d recommend my own online course but there are so many great resources online – I really enjoy reading career related articles on Forbes.com in particular.
What is the best way for our audience to reach you?
Please Email me.
Connect with or Follow Margaret Buj on Social Media:
Check out the Podcast interview – Margaret Buj has done with us, on the topics on job search, networking and Resume writing:
Margaret Buj has also been a contributor on CareerMetis.com on the topic of job interviews:
Margaret Buj has also been featured in our recent compilation of the most resourceful career experts and career blogs –Top Career Advice Websites.