Spring Forward: How to Build Interview Confidence

How to bounce back from a bad interview and build confidence.

Look_Interview_Tips_Feb2014It’s perhaps the most nerve-wracking aspect of the job search. You submitted your resume and got the call. It’s time to meet for an interview, and you’re wondering what to do next.How do you prepare yourself with the necessary confidence to be successful in this important moment in your career?

Research

Preparation begins with researching and learning as much as you can about the company where you’ll be interviewing. Spend time browsing through their website and any social media channels they have to learn about their culture and mission.

You’ll also want to spend time reading through every aspect of the job description so that you have a clear understanding of your possible responsibilities. If there are any skills that you know to be strengths for you, make a note and think about how you’ll work those into the interview. On the opposite end, if any aspects are new to you or are a weakness, be ready to answer for those areas as well.

After you’ve done the research, write down three to five questions to ask your interviewer about the company or job. When you have questions ready, it shows that you’ve prepared and have a genuine interest in the company and the work they do. Anything you can do to stand out from the crowd is helpful.

Practice

The internet will be a great resource as you begin the next step in building your interview confidence. Doing a search for common job interview questions, then spending time reviewing your responses will be a big help when the time comes for you to answer them in person.

Practicing will also help you avoid as many surprise questions as possible. To take it a step further, use five to seven questions in a practice interview with a family member or friend. Let them ask the question in an interview setting while you answer the questions with appropriate eye contact and body posture.

After the mock interview, ask for feedback on your performance, including any tips on things you might have done that you didn’t notice. Do you say “um” too often when answering a question? Maybe you tend to bounce your leg while sitting in an interview. This feedback will be instrumental in preparing for a successful interview.

Review

As the day approaches, it’s time to sit down and go through your notes. Highlight and memorize the facts, questions, or traits you picked up during your preparation.

You’ll also want to review and make sure you have everything ready for the interview the night before. Spend time thinking about your outfit, how long you’ll need to prepare in the morning, and how long it will take you to get to the interview. Also, make sure to have several copies of your resume and a portfolio of your work if applicable to the job.

Interviews don’t have to be a scary. With time spent researching, practicing, and reviewing, your next interview could be an enjoyable meeting, an opportunity to learn more about a company while sharing your own strengths and passions. It’s all up to you and your willingness to build your self-confidence before you walk through that door.

Looking for more interview tips?

We’re here to help. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S. and Canada. We employed a record 510,000 people in 2016. If you have any questions about the job search, contact your local Express office or create an Express account to apply for jobs online.

What else do you do to build confidence before a job interview? Let us know in the comments section below.

Workplace Wearables: Smart Tips for Your Smart Devices

Modern businessman focused on his phone and smart watch

Do you own a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or other technological device known as a “wearable?” If so, you’re not alone. In fact, according to Forbes, just under 50 million wearable devices were shipped in 2015. And in 2019, 125 million more are expected to be purchased.

Millennials, the newest generation to enter the workforce, are known as technology-savvy. So, it’s no surprise that the majority of people (48%) who use wearable technology are part of this generation. And, 71% of younger workers want to own wearable tech if they don’t already.

The technology behind these devices has been around for decades, but the greater availability of internet access has made them significantly more useful in recent years. If you’re considering investing in the trend, make sure you know when and how it’s appropriate to use your smart devices.

A Growing Trend

Today, one in six consumers owns and uses wearable technology, which means these devices are becoming increasingly prevalent in the workspace. To take advantage of this growing trend, many companies have begun testing wearables for workplace security, time management, and communication purposes.

Luckily for employers, early studies have proven the trend may pay off. According to the University of London, employees who own wearable technology reported an 8.5% increase in workplace productivity. Additionally, they experienced a 3.5% increase in job satisfaction.

Be Aware of What You Share

As the workplace shifts toward the future, many companies will begin integrating their internal systems with wearables. This means, they may use your wearable (or provide you with a company-owned device) to track your productivity and health. If you have a fitness tracker that records your workout and sleep patterns, your employer may be able to locate that information.

This information could then be used to make changes in the workplace that improve your work experience and productivity. While there are benefits to this information sharing, it’s important to understand what information you may be giving your boss.

Study Your Habits

If you’re going to wear your fitness tracker or smartwatch to work, take advantage of the data these devices provide by tracking your habits. Doing so may help you increase productivity and implement changes that will have a positive effect on your work.

For example, if you notice you’re significantly less active between 2 and 4 p.m. every day, set a reminder to get up and walk around for a few minutes during this time period. You’ll be more active, alert, and healthy.

Pay Attention

During an important meeting, interview, or event, you wouldn’t look at your phone, right? The same applies to wearable devices. If you own a smartwatch and receive phone calls, emails, or text messages on your wrist, avoid the temptation to look when it’s not appropriate. Recruiters and potential employers will notice if you spend the majority of the interview checking your watch, and it may look like you’re in a hurry to leave. Don’t make the mistake of sending the wrong signals.

Remember to Take a Break

According to a Workplace Options survey, 84% of workers age 18-29 report working two or more hours per day after their work day ends. They’re spending time on their mobile devices, checking email and making calls. As the rise of wearable technology continues, it’s easier than ever to stay connected to your workplace when you’re at home. Now, just a simple glance at your wrist could reveal emails or phone calls that prevent you from truly disconnecting.

In fact, Ernst & Young reports that 24% of U.S. employees find it difficult to maintain work-life balance. Since work-life balance is essential to your overall health and happiness, don’t let your wearables upset that equilibrium.

Do you own a wearable device? How do you stay productive in the workplace? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

2017 Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast

EVE12RLL_SIMULCASTOn Wednesday, April 12, Express Employment Professionals will bring together three leadership experts for the eighth annual Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast.

The simulcast will be broadcast during events at participating Express locations and will feature:

  • Patrick Lencioni, Leadership Consultant, Speaker, and Best-Selling Author
  • Jimmy Johnson, Two-Time Super Bowl Champion Coach and FOX NFL SundayAnalyst
  • Robyn Benincasa, World-Champion Adventure Racer, CNN Hero, and Firefighter

Go to RefreshLeadership.com/Live to find a participating office near you and learn more about this event that is sure to inspire.

 

Take the Luck Out of Resume-building

Top topics to consider when writing a resume

Lucky  ResumeYou send off a resume with a sigh, knowing it could be one of hundreds that pass in front of a hiring manager or HR representative. With odds like that, it can seem like getting an interview is down to the luck of the draw. Hopefully they’ll notice your killer font choice and professional formatting.

But what content needs to be included on a resume to make it truly stand out?

Experience

Employers always look for applicable experience for the job they’re trying to fill. That’s a given. So it’s important to highlight any experience that matches the job, even though you think it may not apply. For example, someone new to the job market who has experience in another field should think creatively about how time spent in other roles applies to the desired position. Mention any teamwork lessons learned from volunteering with a non-profit or leadership skills gained from work in a different field.

Soft Skills

This is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit in the business world. But what exactly does it mean?  Soft skills are the characteristics or attributes that allow you to effectively work with others.

Think of these as “people skills.” A professional attitude, ability to problem-solve in a group, leadership skills, etc. Instead of expertise with a certain software or tool, soft skills highlight an individual’s ability to thrive in a communal work environment.

There are many ways to highlight specific soft skills on a resume. When describing a previous position, note your ability to communicate with upper management about changes that helped with production. If problem solving is a major strength, provide an example of when you assisted an employer with a specific problem and describe the outcome.

Digital Footprint

An online presence is basically required for both individuals and businesses these days. But an unprofessional Facebook post or embarrassing Instagram pic can cost an applicant a job.

What does this have to do with resume-building? On a basic level, if your skill set involves writing or graphic work of any kind, a resume should include links to an online portfolio. If the application is for a social media position, you’ll want to include links to any personal or professional social media pages.

On a higher level, an applicant’s online presence is an invisible portion of her resume. A 2016 CareerBuilder survey showed that 60% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates.  A quick Google search is the next step after approving a suitable resume. So give your online social life a thorough cleaning. If the position is in the business world, make sure to create or update a LinkedIn account as well. A professional applicant without LinkedIn is similar to a business without a website. It just looks bad.

The path toward a new career takes time and hard work

Luck doesn’t have anything to do with it. Which is why you need to leverage every possible strength. Think outside of the box and find the qualities that make you the best candidate for the job.

If you’re looking to expand your job search, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S. and Canada. We employed a record 510,000 people in 2016. If you have any questions about your job search, contact a local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

Have any resume-building tips to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

It’s Time to Break the Millennial Mold

MillenialsJobSearch_Sept2013_webEach generation has a stereotype. There’s the Traditionalists, the Baby Boomers, and the Generation Xers. Now, as more of the generation known as Millennials enters the workforce, stereotypes are increasingly prevalent.

You’ve probably heard the stereotypes about Millennials, or those born between approximately the years of 1980 and 2000. They’re seen as entitled, needy, self-absorbed, and privileged. They’re known as job-hoppers and “the trophy generation.” They’re famous for technology addiction.

If you’re a Millennial who doesn’t feel like part of that stereotype, you’re not alone. Research conducted by Beyond.com shows that it takes more than a feeling to shut down those stereotypes. In order to get bosses or potential employers on your side, you have to prove that you can break the Millennial mold.

Be a team player

In a national survey of Millennials and veteran HR professionals, Beyond.com uncovered striking differences in the perceptions of this generation. For example, the survey revealed that 60% of Millennials identify as team players, but only 22% of HR professionals think the generation works well on a team. In other words, recruiters think only one out of every five applicants possesses the ability to work well with others.

You can prove that you’re one of those team players by showcasing your experience working in teams and highlighting those skills in interviews or through networking. If you volunteer with local organizations, share how those experiences helped you grow. Explore your role as a team member in any school projects or previous jobs and explain how you worked well with others. If you can, collect references and letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your specific teamwork skills.

Communicate well

65% of surveyed Millennials believe they possess great interpersonal communication skills. However, only 14% of HR professionals agree. With such a large gap in perception, you have a significant opportunity to stand out from the crowd and break the mold.

Start by brushing up on your communications skills. Consider taking an online class in important communication practices. Join a group like Toastmasters to advance your public speaking experience. Or, read articles and books that share tips about communicating with older generations, as well as communicating through email, phone, and writing. By taking the extra step to learn these important skills, you not only become a more well-rounded employee, but also show recruiters and potential employers that you possess the initiative to grow.

Work harder

If you consider yourself a hard worker, you’re not alone. 85% of surveyed Millennials identify with the trait, in contrast to only 11% of HR professionals who believe the generation works hard. To further break that number down, only one in 10 Millennial jobseekers is perceived as a hard worker by potential employers. While this may sound disheartening, it means there is room for you to stand out.

One of the easiest ways to break the Millennial mold is to simply give your best every day. Luckily, you don’t have to be an existing employee to prove your work ethic to an employer. Start before you are hired by building a network of professionals who will speak to your skills. By showing up to work on time, staying late when a job needs to be finished, or taking on extra assignments, people will notice that you’re a hard worker. And chances are, they’ll be willing to serve as a reference or write a recommendation for you in the future.

Be a leader

Even if a leadership role isn’t on your current career path, it’s important to sharpen your leadership skills if you want to stand out. Less than half of Millennials identify as leaders (40%), but even fewer (9%) of HR professionals recognize leadership potential in younger employees.

As older generations begin to retire and exit the workforce, it will be up to Millennials to fill the void. Employers recognize this and make hiring decisions accordingly. They look for new employees who show leadership potential, have skills that make them great mentors, and aren’t afraid of challenges. If you’re hoping to land a job, you need to show potential employers that you possess the leadership skills to keep their business thriving in the coming years.

Consider joining industry organizations and volunteering for leadership roles within them, like secretary or treasurer. Volunteer your time as a mentor or tutor for local schools, organize a neighborhood committee, or assemble a team of colleagues to tackle a company initiative. When you show the initiative to lead, you position yourself as an ideal candidate in a changing workforce.

Focus on loyalty

In perhaps the most striking of findings, the survey revealed that 82% of Millennials define themselves as loyal. But only 1% of HR professionals agree. Are you part of that perceived 1% of your generation who embrace workplace loyalty? If you want to stand out from the competition, you should.

Millennials are often referred to as “job hoppers,” or workers who don’t stay with an employer for long before moving to the next one. While this lack of tenure is common in early years of employment, it’s important to not make a habit of it. Be mindful of the applications you send out and jobs you accept. If you don’t think you’ll be happy at a company, or think you’ll look for another job as soon as you start, it may not be the best fit.

While you can’t always turn down a job that isn’t a great fit due to financial reasons, you can help enact positive changes in the workplace. Offer suggestions, join committees, and try to get involved. And remember to focus on the benefits of the job, like health insurance, wellness initiatives, or paid time off.

When you focus on showcasing traits that contrast popular stereotypes, you can break the Millennial mold and prove your workplace value. Remember, you can’t just tell bosses and potential supervisors that your talents are a perfect match for the job. You have to show them, too.

How do you break the generational molds? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

How Not to Decorate Your Desk

Cabin of officeIf you have an office job, you probably spend a lot of time sitting at your desk. And with so much time spent in one place, it’s natural to want your space to reflect your style and make you feel comfortable. After all, your cubicle, office, or workspace is basically your home-away-from-home.

But when it comes to decorating a space you don’t technically own, there are some do’s and don’ts. In fact, if you’re decorating is too heavy on the “don’ts,” it may be costing you your reputation.

According to Barbara Pachter, author of New Rules at Work, “It’s hard to function in a messy office, and people assume your office chaos will spill over to their project and their files will be lost in your mess.”

To avoid this workspace blunder, take a look at these design tips and tricks.

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Thrilling Finish Predicted in Job Search Tournament Bracket

StreetballThe competition to land a new job or score a promotion is fierce. As a job seeker, you have to bring your A-game or you’ll find yourself on the bench. Before the NCAA college basketball tournament tips off later this month, we assembled an all-star line-up of job skills and qualities sought by employers and pitted them head to head in a quest to see which could outlast the competition and emerge as champion.

The Tournament Begins

In our hypothetical scenario, the field began with nearly 30 highly sought attributes chosen from a strong field of abilities and characteristics coveted by employers. We seeded the top 16 according to rankings accumulated from leading hiring managers. It’s important to note that there were many strong contenders who narrowly missed the field of 16, many of which on any given day are strong enough to help score a job. Among them were ambition, independent thinking, strong time management skills, good listener, goal focused, and a proactive mindset.

The Super 16 Battle it Out

As the competition heated up and the field narrowed to the Super 16, our job search tournament began to take shape with desirable skills occupying one side of the bracket and highly sought personal traits dominating the opposite side. A couple of surprise underdogs made the field due to emerging trends in the hiring mindset. Empathy made a strong showing in the bracket, underscoring a desire by many companies to employ a mindful, conscientious workforce. Flexibility also made a solid run for the title, demonstrating a need for employees who can adapt and evolve in a changing work environment. In what many observers viewed as a stunning upset, Writing Skills narrowly edged Computer Skills to advance in the tournament. Pundits suggest that in today’s job market, computer skills are readily expected from an applicant, thus giving the edge to Writing Skills.

The Road to the Favored Four

The field continued to thin as the tournament intensified. Powerful front runners emerged as many contests went down to the final buzzer. In a key match-up, Flexibility continued its strong push to go deep in the field by constantly adapting to changing conditions. However, the “can-do” spirit of Positive Attitude prevailed, refusing to be denied their rightful spot in the Awesome 8. Two favorites of hiring managers, Organization and Dependability both punched their tickets to the next round. However, when the dust settled, only the Favored Four remained to contend for the title of Most Desirable Trait. Set to contend on the “skills” side of the bracket, number one seed Team Player goes up against Problem Solving. The winner will square off against the winner on “attributes” side of the bracket, which pits number one seed Leadership Potential against Work Ethic. The outcome is far from set in stone, as any one of the four could be enough to tip the scale and score the job. Astute observers point out that the likely winner will be the one who can maximize its strengths, as well as adopt the qualities of the other contenders to present a multi-faceted approach.

What do you think? Check out our bracket (click to enlarge) and let us know how you’d fill out the remainder of our Favored Four. Are there early round match-ups you think should have turned out differently? What other skills or traits that should have appeared in the bracket? Tell us in the comments section!

Job Search Bracket