Employers Want Self-Starters

March 15, 2017

By Dan Charney, President

A big deal is being made about self-starters these days because it is at the top of a hiring manager’s list. It’s considered one of the key traits that employers are looking for in their employees.

However, in the real world, most people are not self-starters. We don’t always live up to expectations or our own ambitions. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change and become a self-starter. Here a few ways to get fired up:

Go for it and don’t be afraid to fail. The fear of failure can paralyze you and keep you from reaching your goals. Instead, learn from failure and apply what you learned. Self-starters turn setbacks into successes. There’s nothing wrong with taking a few chances. Without risk, there is no reward.

Take responsibility. A self-starter accepts the job at hand and takes responsibility for the decisions and actions they carry out. In addition, they often take on additional duties and responsibilities because they know that if carried out effectively, it can speed up a promotion.

Be reliable. Your boss, the people you work with, and clients should be able to rely on you on a daily basis, especially during peak or urgent periods. Be there on time and be the one they can count on.

Take ownership. Hold yourself accountable for your actions and how well you do your job. Always think of ways to improve how the job gets done. Bring fresh ideas to the table. But backup your actions with commitment and always keep your word.

Finish what you started. Don’t stop working on a task half way through it. Instead, follow through until the very end. Then, follow-up. This shows you care about the task even after it has been completed.

Stay ahead of deadlines. Do your work early. Don’t put it off even if it’s a task you don’t like. Self-starters don’t dillydally. They are diligent and finish a project or task even before the deadline.

Show respect. Treat your bosses and colleagues with respect and help them out whenever possible. Refrain from office gossip and from complaining about the company, your boss, or co-workers. Self-starters stay away from negativity. They focus on the possible.

Be a problem solver. We are all faced with problems in our work and life. Solving those problems and minimizing the occurrence of problems takes courage and good decision-making skills. Self-starters meet problems head on before circumstances force their hand.

Don’t call it work. Self-starters do not feel like they’re in a daily grind. Rather, they focus on the long-term goal or reward that work brings. Those rewards might include a down payment on a house, saving money for a vacation, or simply growing a nest egg.

Overall, a self-starter is able to work effectively without regularly being told what to do. They realize that success requires work. Employers don’t need to micromanage them or worry that their workload won’t get done or meet the deadline.

The best part of being a self-starter is that anyone can learn to become one. You need to replace some of your old habits and adopt the new ones mentioned above. This is the first step in becoming a self-starter instead of a self-stopper.

Interviews: The Most Common Questions Answered

July 27, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

You have a job interview coming up and you’re beginning to prepare by planning your outfit, confirming the time and place, and printing out resumes, cover letters, and reference sheets.  More importantly, you start to think about the questions that will be asked and how you should answer.  No matter how many interviews you have been on, it is likely that the first thing you do is type “interview questions” into Google to refresh your memory on the common questions and the best way to answer.  Odds are, you’ll have an idea on how to answer these questions, but do you know why they’re being asked and what the interviewer is really trying to find out?

Take a look at these 5 common questions, why interviewers are asking them, and good approaches to giving the best answers possible.

Tell us about yourself.

                This prompt often happens at the very beginning of the interview.  At first glance it seems self-explanatory why an interviewer would ask this, but normally this question is more important than you might think.  This is the opening for you, as an interviewee to make a great first impression as well as the chance to show how your background is relatable to the position.  It is a good idea to show the interviewer that you are qualified right from the start.


  • Keep the answer concise so you don’t bore the interviewer
  • Relate your background to the details of the position


  • Don’t get too personal
  • Don’t just list off what is already on your resume

What are your strengths?

Commonly used to gauge confidence, and again, see how you align with the position as a candidate, interviewers ask this question to identify what you are good at and find out if you will do well in the position.  Always think about this question before your interview and make sure that you are prepared with strengths to offer that show you will excel in the position.  While you may have many strengths, be sure to pick the strengths that are most relatable to the job.


  • Provide short examples of your strengths in action with recent accomplishments or positive results
  • Be confident when discussing your talents


  • Don’t pick a strength that is irrelevant to the position
  • Don’t be too vague – be able to elaborate

What are your weaknesses?

                This might be one of the tougher common interview questions.  Even more important than the actual weakness, employers will pay attention to how you handle this question.  As you may know, while it is important to give an actual weakness you have, you also have to tell the interviewer the ways in which you improving upon it or how you are overcoming the weaknesss.  Try to decide on a weakness that won’t directly ruin your chances at the job, but make sure to be honest.


  • Try to turn what may be perceived as a negative into a positive
  • Talk about what you are doing to improve


  • Don’t make a claim that you have no weaknesses
  • Don’t talk about weaknesses that will immediately eliminate you from the job opportunity

Why do you want to work here?

                This question gives you an opportunity to show off how much you know about the company you are interviewing for, and how you are the right candidate to fit into the culture.  Make sure you mold your answer to project how you can help the employer in this position.  Do research on the company, the industry, the company values, financials, and the position to give a knowledgeable answer while adding value to yourself in the eyes of the interviewer.  Check out the company’s website, LinkedIn, and other social media channels.


  • Show your interest, while speaking competently on the company and position
  • Take a look at company values beforehand and mention if they happen to match up with your personal values


  • Avoid giving vague answers such as “I heard it’s a great company.”
  • Don’t focus your answer totally on yourself – try to show how you can be valuable to the company

Tell about a challenging situation and how you overcame it.

                Most interviewers will ask at least one situational question in an interview.  What they’re really trying to find out is how you handle stress, working with others, and how you solve problems.  Be prepared with examples of situations you have been in with previous experience and make sure to tell how you solved a problem while remaining professional and calm.


  • Have multiple examples of different situations because this question could vary
  • Exemplify how you came up with a solution in the situations logically


  • Don’t bring up a difficult situation where you were the cause

It is always smart to prepare for as many different types of questions as possible before going into an interview.  For additional interview tips, take a look at our Candidate Toolkit here:  https://www.directrecruiters.com/for-candidates/candidate-tool-kit/

Importance of a Vision Board

December 16, 2015

By Danielle Ketterer, Project Manager, DRI’s Healthcare IT Practice 

Our women’s group in the office always tries to come up with a new idea of what to talk about at our monthly meetings. Many different ideas were thrown out and then someone thought of a great idea for our meeting last month to all make vision boards and then talk about it all together. I was skeptical about the idea at first because I thought to myself, “Why would a vision board help me accomplish my goals?” So with that question in my mind, I decided to do some digging into the benefits of a vision board and here is what I found.

Flipping through a health magazine, you could probably find: one hundred different pictures of what you wished you looked like, one hundred more pictures of how you wish you ate, and probably many more materialistic items that you wished you had. But are these realistic goals? How are you going to accomplish these things? How are achieving these goals going to benefit you? These are all questions that come to mind when trying to decide what to put on your vision board. Every person is different in what their ultimate vision is, but putting it down on paper and looking at it every day is important to accomplishing that vision.

Steps to making a vision board:

1. Be realistic: Owning a multi-million dollar home would be amazing and anyone would love to live in one, but making $10 an hour at the coffee shop twenty hours a week is not going to get you to have the resources to own that dream home unless you inherit your great aunts fortune. Think of what it is going to take to get you to have those resources. So maybe it is going to school to get a degree that will help you get on the track to that dream home. Being realistic is going to help you be motivated to do what it is that you would like to accomplish instead of having this large vision in your head, but no idea of how to get there.

2. Be long term thinking, but also think about the short term: Thinking of your ultimate goals in the future is important, but what is more important is how you are going to get there. If you want to lose 100 pounds, that is not just going to happen by pasting a picture of someone with a six-pack on a paper and looking at it every day. You have to have action in order to get where you want to. So maybe you would like to lose 100 pounds, but instead of posting a picture of a half-naked person you post a picture of three new workouts you are going to try this week. That way you know those three workouts are going to help you achieve the ultimate weight loss goal.

3. Quantifiable: “I want to make more money” is something that you hear from everyone. Changing that to a statement like: “I want to make $100,000 this year” makes the goal more attainable. Making the statement quantifiable, makes it better to have a plan on how to get there. As recruiters, we might have to close 25 deals to get to $100,000 so every time you close a deal you know you are one step closer to that yearly earnings goal.

4. Encompassing different facets of your life: Making more money and owning a fancy car are great, but those should not be the only areas on your vision board. Whether it is improving your spiritual life, working on friendships, seeing your family more, or managing your stress these are important parts of your vision boards to not forget.

After doing some research I realized the value and importance of having a vision board and how they can help you to achieve your goals. Our women’s group all put ours at our desk, so having that vision board where we can see it all days helps us to always have those goals on our minds. I suggest to anyone to make a vision board to help give yourself some direction.