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Making a stellar first impression during any face-to-face meeting is key to moving the process forward.

Here are five (5) “sure-fire” DO’s to make your positive impact in the interview:

1. Make eye contact, smile, give a firm handshake, and anticipate the first question with a solid answer. These simple first steps relax the nerves for both parties.

2. Engage in collaborative conversation. The comfort level of the interviewer and his/her control of the interview promotes a positive atmosphere.

3. Be prepared to briefly explain a study/project that captivates an influential result or achievement that YOU controlled or for which you received credit.

4. Adjust your personality to make the interviewer feel in control. If you both get off topic and it’s the interviewer’s lead, go with it; but you be the one to bring the conversation back on track to continue the intended purpose of the interview.

5. Conclude by listening for “buying signals”. For example, “when can you meet with the rest of my team?” or “I would like you to come back next week to meet with my colleague(s).”

Now, you’ve made an impact! Consider these DON’Ts when preparing for an interview:

1. Never appear you are “running away” from your current company. If it is a bad situation, don’t let it influence your responses to the interviewer. Be positive about why you desire this new position.

2. Avoid giving yes and no answers. If an interviewer asks a closed-ended question, respond with “yes, but let me tell you….” Always respond with a brief, but informative answer.

3. Don’t look at your watch or the wall clock. Doing this promotes a feeling of “I’m not interested” to the interviewer. If you are late for your next interview, so what. The schedule will always vary somewhat so relax and concentrate on scoring points with the person across the desk.

4. Don’t leave until you have thanked your interviewer. His/her time is valuable. Offering a thank you means you are sensitive to the time and energy the interviewer has given you. That’s appreciated.

5. Never fail to make direct eye contact when the interview is over. That last glance and impression will stay with the interviewer if he/she is deciding to invite you back for the next round, or even make you an offer.

These simple, yet important steps can lead to landing that job you really want. You’ve got the experience, the skills, the desire for the job. Now go make a great impression!

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2011 has proven to be a very challenging, yet active and busy year – both in client business and candidate opportunities in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology/medical device arena.

At PharmaOne Search we anticipate further expansion in this marketplace for several reasons even though the economy has taken a dive:

1. It’s a Candidate-Driven Market.
In business cycles, anytime you experience above average growth in any one niche industry, the result is a healthy selection of open positions especially in this market. As one candidate remarked, “I have multiple offers, and a tough decision to make. It’s a happy problem!” Corporate recruiters have been predicting a “skilled labor shortage” for almost a year now.

2. Client Profits are Steady!
Profits have been consistent and solid all the way around. New product intro’s, robust pipelines, product teams are delivering, and sales forces are expanding – good stuff, good times, good feelings about this market are ringing true.

3. Candidates and Clients are becoming more Sophisticated.
Yes, career-wise we are becoming a “more selective – be patient” type of candidate. Clients, too, seem to be waiting longer for a particular candidate to be that “right fit”.

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If you are like most of us, you yearn for moments of recognition in the workplace. Lately, the pace is staggering. Your cell phone/Blackberry is a permanent fixture in your daily routine, and taking a break is tough. How can you find time to keep life, with all its challenges and enjoyments, in perspective?

Throughout the years, we have talked with many of you who are adjusting to a work/life balance, while simultaneously making an effort to get your next promotion. Here are four ways that will help maintain your focus and pursue that promotion:

1. Get out of the office and meet a non-workplace friend for lunch. Connecting with others away from work gets your brain off acceleration mode. It’s refreshing and motivating.

2. Participate in an intramural sport, contest, competition, or other recreational activity with your office/sales team. When others see you in “leisure/fun mode” it scores points in the meeting room. All work and no play keeps the promotions away!

3. Bring your son or daughter (preferably middle or high school age) to your office one Friday afternoon and let them see what you really do at work. Your child will enjoy the experience and colleagues will appreciate seeing you in a different, yet just as meaningful role.

4. Assist a co-worker with a key project and don’t take credit for it…yep, you heard it right here. It’s a surefire way to gain leverage in the workplace. Why? Your teamwork attitude will eventually make its way to a supervisor. No doubt your superior will be impressed with your selfless approach and advancement may come sooner than expected.

These are just a few examples of keeping the “sanity meter” on auto pilot. Work is challenging these days, so enjoy the ride to the next level!

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Getting prepared for out-of-town interviews is a comprehensive task these days. Travel by car and more possibly by plane is just the beginning. Preparation is key. Here are some tips:

1. Give yourself enough time to review and answer the Top 25 Interview questions (see our website for details). They are very worthwhile.

2. Know the client company website as well as names and titles of the people you are meeting in the interview. Your recruiter may know some background on each which will help you prepare.

3. Run to get the right directions to/from the airport and/or use a rental car with a navigation system.

4. Keep all of your receipts, e.g., mileage, hotel, meals, etc. (Note: Don’t use the hotel room minibar, even if you are paying for it. It could get charged to the client by mistake. Not good.)

5. Be as pleasant and professional as possible when “checking-in” with the receptionist. This is huge! Believe it or not, this person evaluates your first impression. They have input to the interview team and often give it openly. Don’t take this person for granted.

6. After interviewing, send a follow up email 1-2 days afterwards to the hiring manager first, then to the team members. Get their business card. Written thank you notes are deemed “too casual”. Keep it professional.

7. Update your recruiter on the positives and challenges you encountered. It is best you give feedback first so that the recruiter can have some idea of your impressions, etc. before he/she talks with the client.

Often times out-of-town interviews are more stressful than local drives because of all of the intangibles related to travel, forgetting a file, etc.

Plan well in advance and your efforts will pay off in getting the ultimate offer.

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A successful phone interview is certainly the big prerequisite to the in-house/face-to-face interview which will hopefully lead to the offer. So how do I start the process?

Preparation is Key

How should you prepare for the phone interview? Here are five of our best tips we have developed from experience over the years:

1. Be prepared and don’t “wing it”.
Prepare as you would for a regular interview. Compile a separate list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical interview questions*. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills. As a rule, follow the resume flow. It will impress the interviewer.

2. Have your resume in front of you.
From a point outlined on your resume, be prepared to give a project overview from start to finish. As you go through the project, shorten or lengthen your discussion based upon the interaction with the interviewer. But do keep it short and concise. Your objective here is to relay to the interviewer your thinking process!

3. Ask questions pertinent to the position.
Don’t ask those “pie in the sky” questions like “what’s the company outlook for the future?” Stick to the relevancy of the position for which you are interviewing. You are being evaluated on skills first. Save the company questions for later.

4. If you must use a cell phone, make sure it has a strong signal.
We have interviewed folks from their cell phones that had AWFUL reception. Technology and professionalism go together. Upgrade to a better phone or better signal–it will reflect better on you.

5. Remember your goal is to impress the interviewer enough to move on to a face-to-face interview.
If you focus on your skills, answer the questions precisely, and come across in a professional yet communicative manner, then you will hit the double off the center field wall. Now get ready to hit a home run when you get that call that says, “We want to bring you in!”

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Deciding on a career change is one of most exciting yet “nerve-racking” times in anyone’s life – especially in a competitive and candidate driven market. Here are some tips to digest when you get that call to join a company from your recruiter and/or the client:
1. While verbal offers are the first indicator of “WE WANT YOU!”, wait for the written offer as a next step.

2. Discuss the details of the offer with your recruiter. He/she may be able to suggest if there is any “wiggle room” on the salary. Nowadays, companies are giving out their best offer thus avoiding the “haggle” factor.

3. Don’t worry about minimal tweaks like 2-3% on the bonus or a few thousand dollars in the base salary. Hiring managers these days have a lot more flexibility and in some cases have discretionary dollars for a new hire after the first 6-12 months. The bottom line is this: Work hard, be a team player, produce quality work, and you will be rewarded.

4. Remember acceptance, even verbal acceptance is a commitment – make sure that you have all the details about the offer before making that commitment.

5. Don’t be pressured into a hasty decision. Be sure to ask for an appropriate amount of time to evaluate the offer and make a decision. Typically 2 or 3 days is a reasonable amount of time to make a decision – a week would be dragging it out, on the spot would be somewhat unrealistic.

6. Remember, an acceptance, even a verbal acceptance is a serious commitment. Don’t accept if you think you may have to back out later, unless something changes drastically (personal situation, etc.)

7. Before leaving your old employer, hand deliver a signed resignation letter to your immediate supervisor. Make it simple, upbeat about your tenure with the company, and always give a two week notice. You may wrap-up in a few days or stay the entire time – either way you get compensated for the two weeks.

8. Call your new hiring manager directly with appreciation about the offer and excitement about your new position!

9. As a courtesy, notify other recruiters/companies that your job search is over. It is unethical to continue a job search after accepting a position.

10. Congratulations! Treat yourself! Celebrate! You are now launched into a new company, new career track, and new environment. Enjoy! And make it count!