Search Results for: interview tips

Interview Tips: Do This, DON’T Do That

You’ve spent days applying and sent in what feels like a thousand resumes. And now you finally have an interview. This is when the nerves start kicking in. What should you say? What should you wear? Do you know anything about the industry?

We’re here to help. Review this list of dos and don’ts to ace that next interview!

Do:

Dress for the Job You Want

That’s right, we’re back to that old cliché. But, there’s a reason people say it so often. This interview might be your only chance to make a lasting impression on a potential employer. You never get a second first impression. And if you do get the job, do you want to be seen as a regular employee or a candidate for promotion? Hopefully the latter. So dress like it!

Also, make sure to:

  • Get a haircut (if needed)
  • Trim your nails
  • Take a shower that morning.
  • Try to avoid any strong-smelling colognes, perfumes, body washes, or deodorants.

You don’t want anything to distract the interviewer from why you’re right for the job!

Learn Interview Etiquette

How’s your handshake? Everything goes back to making that immediate, lasting impression. If you give a puny handshake, you seem weak. If you give an overly strong handshake, you come off as aggressive. It’s getting to that happy medium that’s difficult.

The same thing applies to eye contact. You don’t want to stare into the interviewer’s eyes for a straight hour, but also don’t want stare at a corner of the room or look out the window. Be attentive and go for a balance between the two extremes.

How can you practice your handshake or eye contact? And, for that matter, how do you know if you have a good handshake? Join a local professional group!

  • Ask other members to practice interview techniques with you. These groups exist to help people master the fine art of business etiquette.
  • Even if the organiztion you’re interviewing with doesn’t have a traditional office setting, these groups can teach lessons applicable to all workplaces.
  • Mock interviews are especially helpful to highlight any flaws in your technique.

Always Have Questions Prepared

The the first thing you should do after scheduling an interview is research the company’s history, values, and culture. You want to make sure you fit in—and mentioning the company’s mission statement and how that applies to you is always a good start.

However, you also need to come prepared with questions. The more specific and tailored to the company, the better. Ask about:

  • The job and potential future responsibilities.
  • The work environment and culture. For example, asking the interviewer why they like working at the company shows you’re interested in the people and culture, not just climbing the company ladder.

Follow-Up

Follow-ups matter. Start writing a handwritten thank-you note immediately when you get home. Bring up a few things you learned in the interview, and send it off as soon as possible. When the applicant pool for a certain job is especially competitive, this helps you stand out. If you’re unable to send out a handwritten note, send a personalized email.

Don’t:

Be Late

Remember that whole bit about leaving a good first impression? If you’re late to the interview, you’ve already shot yourself in the foot. In the interviewer’s eyes, if an applicant can’t make it to the interview on time, they simply don’t want the job enough.

Be early. It’s much better for you, as an applicant, to wait on the interviewer, rather than the other way around. Just don’t arrive too early—ten minutes or so should be fine.

Talk Too Much … Or Too Little

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and some applicants find themselves rambling just to move the discussion along. If you take up your interviewer’s time with long descriptions of achievements, you’re preventing the interviewer from asking questions they want to ask.

But don’t make your responses too short either. Remember, it’s all about balance. Avoid giving one word (or, in some cases, one sentence, answers). When asked about what it was like working at “such-and-such” company, don’t respond with “great.” Your response should be about what you learned from working at a specific company with its own culture, values, and people.

Complain About Your Last Boss

This can be tempting—especially if you were fired or let go from a previous position. Who wouldn’t want to vent about their awful boss when someone specifically asks about their time at that company? However, complaining about anyone in an interview is the hallmark of an unprofessional employee. So come prepared to answer a question specifically addressing past negative experiences.

Bring Up Controversial Topics

Interviews are about showing the interviewer why you’re a perfect fit for the job. They are not a place to discuss religion, politics, and other hot-button topics. No matter how informal the style of the interview, it’s still an interview.

Lie

Most industries are fairly closely knit. Odds are the interviewer knows somebody who knows somebody else that is a best friend of a previous boss. So, don’t lie. Even if your industry isn’t closely knit, lying always comes back to bite you.

Go For It

In the end, you can only do so much preparation. When you’re ready, you’re ready. After that, it’s all about balance and confidence. Walk in with your head held high and knock that interview out of the park!

Have you ever had a bad interview experience? What did you learn? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Look! Interview Tips

Look_Interview_Tips_Feb2014
Have you ever wondered what goes through the hiring manager’s mind when you’re in an interview? Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they were thinking, what they want to hear from you, or what they want to see on your resume? We asked a few hiring managers to share their insight on interview musts and they shared these top four interview tips.

Have Professionalism
The employer you’re interviewing with has goals to grow and brand a company. It’s important to understand that how you present yourself in your personal life may not match the image of the organization, so remember to put your best foot forward. Dress appropriately for the job for which you are interviewing. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to ask the interviewer about the dress code. Additionally, there is so much more to professionalism than just dressing the part. Integrity and a good work ethic are also very important attributes to possess and can take you a long way in the hiring process. So make sure you can show these attributes to your interviewer and be ready to share good examples of those traits.

Have a Typo-Free Resume
Job seekers often trust their own eyes to proof and edit their resumes. If no one else reviews your resume, there could be typos that you missed. Find a friend who is great at spelling and grammar or someone that you respect professionally to review and critique your resume before your job hunt, and especially before an interview. If the interview process boils down to three people with the same qualifications and your resume is the only one with a typo, you’re making it easy for an interviewer to choose another candidate.

Have Interest in the Job and the Company
Jennifer Anderson, the hiring manager and vice president of Marketing and Communications at Express Employment Professionals, said, “Often I ask a job seeker to describe to me the ideal job and more times than not the answers come back with something completely unrelated to the job they are seeking. For example, someone may interview for a Marketing Coordinator’s position, but when they describe the ideal job, they want to be a stay at home mother and work from a home office.” So it’s important for the interviewee to understand not only the qualifications of the job they are applying for but also what it is they really want to do with their life and career.

Have a Commitment for More than One Year
Longevity is one of the top qualities employers look for in new hires. Most employers will spend the first six to nine months training you to do a job. Not only will they have invested their time and shared their knowledge, the company has been paying you a salary during your training period. Do your best to learn all you can during training and commit to making the most of your job for a couple of years. Anderson encourages people to let the interviewer know that you’re reliable, you’ll give it your best, and you plan on sticking with the company to help it grow.

After job searching for what seemed like forever, editing your resume, and applying at numerous businesses, it’s time to prepare for an interview. What are some interview tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ace Your Interview with These Top Tips

Here at Job Journey we want you to get the job you want.

That’s why we write about online job searching, interviews, and all that good stuff.

But it can be kind of hard to figure out where all those juicy brain-boosting articles are. They’re spread out—some are old and some are new.

So, we’ve decided to write periodic posts that put the articles you want in one place.

Today’s theme? Interviews.

(more…)

Nervous in an Interview? Get Rid of the Butterflies with These Three Tips

Job interview anxiety got you down? We’re here to help.

Being nervous isn’t a bad thing. It’s your body’s fight-or-flight response trying to protect you. But sometimes that normal response can be overpowering, causing you to doubt yourself and flub questions.

Luckily, it’s possible to reduce those nervous feelings with a few techniques.

Prepare

The best way to reduce interview question-related anxiety is to already know the answers to any questions your interviewer could ask. Although you might not be able to figure out every single topic they could quiz you on, a quick online search can teach you quite a bit about your potential employer.

Research everything you can about the company. Know a bit of the company’s history, the company culture, and see if you can find any information about your interviewer.

Next, find out where you fit with this company. What is it that you can do in this position that nobody else can do? Come in with specific statistics if you can (for instance, increased page views by ___%, reduced customer service call time by ___%, increased product turnover time by ___$, improved your safety rating to ___ level, etc.).

Prepare answers to the most frequently asked interview questions, like “where do you see yourself in five years?

For company-specific questions, check out Glassdoor. Users upload questions for their interviews so you can be sure to impress.

Practice

Great, now you’re prepared! The next step? Putting all that hard work into practice.

If you haven’t been to many interviews (or haven’t interviewed in several years), you might not be comfortable with the process. Being alone in a room with some person you’ve never met quizzing you on your life and experience can be awkward.

That’s where practice comes in! Grab a friend or family member and go over questions and answers together. Practice your handshake (it should be firm but not threatening), your eyeline (look them in the eye but don’t stare at them the whole time), and your timing. Make sure your responses don’t go on for longer than 60 seconds or so, unless you’ve got stories that can really capture attention.

The more you go through the interview process, the more comfortable you’ll become with yourself and your answers. And that’s the version of yourself interviewers want to see!

Calm Yourself

Obviously, this is easier said than done. On the day of the interview, you have a billion thoughts swirling in your head. Will they like me? Am I even good enough for this position? What was my name again?

Psychology Today has several techniques to cut down on these thoughts.

These include breathing (“try breathing for a count of 4, hold for 2, and breathe out for a count of 4”), sighing (“take a breath and let it out like a sigh. You’ll probably feel your shoulders relax”), self-compassion (“focus on these words: Wisdom. Strength. Warmth. Nonjudgement), and, interestingly, getting outside of yourself.

What does that last one mean? Caring about others. Anxiety makes you think about yourself and how your own personal world is going to end for one reason or another. That’s why Psychology Today recommends you “make a point of focusing on others and being empathetic.” Talk to people about their day and how they’re feeling, from the receptionist to your interviewer to texting friends and family. Realize you’re not alone out there!

You’re Ready!

That’s it. You’ve done everything you can do to get rid of that pesky interview anxiety. Odds are, there’s still a little bit nagging at you under the surface. But you’re the one in control. You’ve prepared your answers and interview style, know the company, and are as calm as you can be. Get in there and show them why you’re the best person for the job!

Have you ever been nervous in an interview? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

National Interview Day is Next Week: Prepare with Our Top Tips

Are your interview skills up to the task?

National Interview Day is coming up next week on Aug. 9!

To prepare for the big day, we’ve compiled a list of our top interview tips.

Introduce Yourself with an Elevator Pitch

In the world of interviewing, your “elevator pitch” is a quick way to describe who you are and why you’re right for the job. Think of it as a more concise version of your cover letter.

You should have one of these speeches handy for networking events and interviews. Or even when you run into someone who is in a position to hire you in a bid to leave them knowing more about you. An elevator pitch isn’t just for business professionals—it can also be helpful for any person as a quick and concise summary of who they are.

Prepare to Speak on Your Skills and Experience

Practice makes perfect, right? This mantra doesn’t just apply to sports’ it applies to interview, too! If you’ve never had an interview before, your first one probably isn’t going to go very well if you don’t prepare in advance. To avoid that, practice interviewing with professional groups, friends, and family members.

Also do all of your research on the company ahead of time. Have some idea of not only the position itself, but also the company’s culture and mission statement. Be sure to brush up on projects the company has done recently to sprinkle into the conversation.

Ask Relevant Questions After the Interview

After an interview ends, you’re almost always asked if you have any questions. And your answer should always be yes. Asking questions shows you’re interested in the company. You can ask for more information about the job, something specific about the company culture, a question aimed at your interviewer, or something about the recent history of the company. Remember to always ask about next steps! That way you won’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll email you back.

Come to Express for National Interview Day!

Apply now to join your local Express Employment Professionals office for National Interview Day on Aug. 9, 2018. Applying online will expedite your interview process and allow us to schedule a time for you to interview. Applicants are contacted for interviews based on the time of your application and the type of work you are seeking.

Express can help you find the type of job that fits for your needs and abilities, and you’ll never pay a fee for our services and support. Express matches job applicants with the needs of our client companies.

Contact a local Express office or register online today!

Click here for more information regarding National Interview Day at Express.

Do you have any questions about National Interview Day? Let us know in the comments section below.

Poll Results: Ace Your Next Interview With These Top Tips

 

Last month we drilled down on what readers want to see on Movin’ On Up. We asked one simple question: “What part of the job interview process do you need help with?”

Your answers were as follows:

 

What’s next?

The results were almost evenly split among the top four, so we’ll be sure to cover all those topics in upcoming blogs. But before that, here’s a bit of information about the top four.

Asking Relevant Questions

Questions you ask after an interview should be uniquely tailored to yourself or your interviewer. The key is to ask insightful, culture-based questions that won’t typically pop up during the interview. A few examples:

  • What is a typical day like at [company name]?
  • How is this company different from other companies you’ve worked at?
    • What makes it unique?
  • Tell me about a project or incident you experienced that truly embodied the spirit of [company name].

How to Create an “Elevator Pitch”

First things first—what is an elevator pitch? As defined by Investopedia, an elevator pitch is a “…term used to describe a brief speech that outlines an idea for a product, service, or project.” In the world of interviewing, your “elevator pitch” is a short way of describing who you are and why you’re right for the job. Think of it as a super quick version of your cover letter.

The easiest way to craft an “elevator pitch” is to look at your cover letter. You’ve already done the work! Just condense it into a few bullet points, and mix those with details specific to the job you’re interviewing for.

Despite the name, an “elevator pitch” doesn’t have to take place in an elevator. It works perfectly as an answer to an introductory question like “tell me about yourself.” When an interviewer asks that, they don’t want to hear you list your resume. They want to know about you as a person and how your experiences make you qualified for this position.

Discussing Skills/Past Experience

Listing past jobs in an interview is easy. Really getting into those experiences and the skills they represent is harder.

First, remember that you’re focusing on accomplishments, not job descriptions. Speak on how you increased ROI by a certain amount, typed a certain WPM (words per minute), or completed however many projects in a certain amount of time.

How Much to Share About a Previous Job

It can be difficult to answer questions about your previous job experiences when some of those experiences weren’t exactly positive. If you had a boss that was a tyrant, should you mention it? What about a company culture you didn’t fit in with?

Always keep in mind that your personality is being interviewed just as much as your job experience. You don’t want to appear rude or unprofessional. So, when an interviewer asks you about your previous manager, keep it to the basics. Feel free to mention why you didn’t fit in with a particular management style or company culture, but stay away from personal judgements.

Anything else you want to know about the interview process? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Resume Tips to Impress Your Interviewer

As the weather gets colder, heat up your resume

Interviewers and HR professionals go through hundreds of resumes a day. And that’s after computers have already gone through thousands more. If you really want to stand out, you need to add something extra to your resume. After all, you can’t make an impression without an interview.

We’ve previously provided you with the best words to use in your resume, and we’ve helped out with ways to maintain your resume over time. In this blog, we’ll focus on the little things you can do with your resume to truly stand out.

Get Past the Filter

In order for your resume to even be seen by a human being, you first have to get past the robots. No, this isn’t a science fiction story—we’re talking about the programs companies use to filter resumes.

These programs look for certain keywords and phrases that show how you match the job qualifications. A lot of that is industry jargon—words and phrases only those “in the know” would use. And guess where a lot of those words show up! Right in the job description. Find anything usable in the job description and pop it right back into your resume. Google is an invaluable resource for finding out more industry-specific words to use.

However, be careful of using too many keywords. If your keywords aren’t organically placed into the resume, they will look out of place once the resume makes it into human hands.  Instead of trying to pack your resume with as many keywords as possible, just make sure to choose the right keywords in the right places.

Cater Your Resume to the Job Description

Don’t stop at just customizing your resume for the industry. Make sure it answers each and every concern brought up by the job description. Make sure each bullet shows exactly how your individual work advanced the company as a whole.

You can accomplish this even if your prior work has not been in the same industry. Just re-frame your experiences with industry specific terms, and show how that experience would really help in this new job.

The only difficult part of all of this is answering requirements with bullet points. You obviously can’t just write out your answers like in grade school. You have to adapt them to the resume format. Look at a few different resume formats online, and choose the one that best matches your current needs.

Your Accomplishments

Companies want to know more than what you did. They want to know how what you did benefited the company as a whole. In other words, they want to know your accomplishments.

Quantify each accomplishment, noting how it led to an X% increase in efficiency or saved X amount of time on project. Use action verbs like oversaw, managed, led, etc.

Looking for more resume help? Let us know your questions in the comments below!