Tag Archives: interviews

Three Tips for a Video Interview

3_Tips_Video_interview_webAs more and more companies become comfortable with technology, video interviewing is becoming more common in the recruiting process for many employers. Video interviews allow you to have an in-person connection without meeting face-to-face. Technology is making many aspects of our lives easier than ever before, even the job search and interview processes. So how do you ensure you’re ready for a video interview? Here are three tips to make a great first impression.


1.    Prepare Yourself

Preparation is key to success in any interview. Prepare yourself by researching the company you’re applying for. You need to gather as much information as you can about the job you are applying for and the company you’re interviewing with. Advance preparation will not only help you determine the right questions to ask, but it will also show you’re taking the interview seriously. The more you know, the more direct your answers will be. Remember to speak clearly and with confidence.

2.    Posture Matters
Your body language indicates how focused and interested you are in a conversation, so be aware of how you carry yourself at all times. Always face the interviewer and remember to keep body movement minimal. The more movement there is, the more distractions there may be.

3.    The Camera is Your Best Friend
Keeping eye contact with the camera is very important. Looking away from the camera may cause the people on the other end to wonder what you’re looking at and it will seem as if you’re not interested. Although looking around may help you gather your thoughts, do your best to look forward and remain engaged. Make sure your camera is placed at eye level and a couple feet away from your face. The objective is to present yourself from your shoulders up.

It seems obvious, but do everything in your power to make the video interview as professional as possible. Like any technology, video chatting can have some technical hiccups. Speak slowly and clearly, because sometimes there may be a delay in the audio transfer. Remember to smile, be confident, and prepare to ace your interview. Always follow up and let the interviewer know you are thankful for their time and consideration.

Do you have any additional tips on how to prepare for a video interview?  Share them in the comments section below.

The Three Best Hard Skills to Have

HardSkills_August2013_webWhile soft skills, including dependability, motivation, and communication, were cited recently in a report from Express Employment Professionals as the most important skills employees possess, hard skills still play a vital role in today’s job market. In fact, one could argue that even if your soft skills are perfect, at the end of the day, there are certain critical hard skills needed to succeed. Because Express hires and employs more than 376,000 people per year, we have great insight into what is important in landing the job. Let’s take a look at the top hard skills ranked by Express franchises as important to employers.

  1. Experience
    Work experience ranked highest on the list of hard skills. Education is great, but there’s still the need to prove that you can do the job. And if you have trouble getting a job in your career field, find a job within the industry, even if it isn’t your ideal role. Being able to list a related industry on your resume can show correlated work experience. Check out this recent post on unemployment versus underemployment supported the value of getting work experience to your overall career.
  2. Technical ability
    To best showcase your technical abilities on your resume or LinkedIn profile, use specific versions of software you have experience with or qualifying descriptions. Be specific about your ability, not just that you have skill, but how fast or at what level you can do the job. Understand the numbers in your job and be able to market yourself with specific results.
  3. Training
    Whether it’s conflict resolution, goal-setting training, or a continuing education event, keep a record of the training you’ve received and what you’ve learned from it. Be able to explain what you’ve taken away and how you’ve applied it. Additionally, have a plan of your own on how you’re going to stay informed on changes and advancements in your industry to stay on top of your game.

    What hard skills have been your biggest asset in your job search? Share with us in the comments section below.

Save Money by Thrift Store Shopping For What to Wear For a Job Interview

Interview AttireWhen it comes to finding appropriate professional attire for a job interview, the cost of what you need could be a challenge. Shopping online or in person at malls and suit stores can rack up the dollar signs and quickly go beyond most moderate budgets.

Luckily, that doesn’t have to be an issue. In a news segment from Triad Area North Carolina news station Fox 8, fashion designer and motivational speaker Craig Stokes gave an overview of classic job interview attire and how he was able to find a professional wardrobe in a thrift store for less than $20.

Depending on your area, you might not be able to find perfectly fitted attire at your local thrift store. But if you consider some of his advice, you might be able to save a pretty penny for your next job interview while still looking fashionable and professional.

Maximize Your Freelance Experience on a Resume

Freelance on a ResumeThe Great Recession and its aftermath has made it difficult for many people who have been trying to start a career in the past few years. Because of that, eager job seekers, like me, turned to freelancing to hone their skills and gain experience while looking for more stable work.

One challenge I always struggled with is making it work on a resume. How do I explain consulting for two companies, doing contract work for a major retail chain, and event coordinating for several nonprofits without looking like a job hopper?

Here are some simple ways you can use your freelance experience to your advantage on your resume and carry it over into an interview.

Condense or Attach
The easiest way to include your freelance work on your resume is to file it under its own section labeled “Freelance Work” or “Freelance Experience.” If you’re freelancing full time, consider putting it at the top of your experience list since it should have some of the most relevant and current experience in your career. If freelancing is a side project or a part-time endeavor, consider placing it under any current part-time jobs you have. This way, employers know you’re still working somewhere while you’re furthering your career. If you have more relevant information on your freelancing experience than the part-time job, you may consider putting it at the top of your list.

If you’re a young worker, still have a few years of solid work with an employer, but your freelance work doesn’t apply to the jobs you’re looking for, consider putting the experience on a resume addendum – a separate piece of paper with additional information about your experience. This will put the focus on your professional work instead of the freelancing. Once you have an interview, you can bring the addendum to show your commitment to self-improvement.

Results Over Variety
Your resume shouldn’t be the same for every potential employer or job opening. It should be tailored to best match the requirements needed for the job. That’s why including all the details of your freelancing experience might be a bad idea. Choose projects that have results that best reflect the job you’re applying for. You might even showcase specific clients who best represent the industry you’re interviewing in. Showing measurable achievements with a few projects is better than displaying generic job duties from a laundry list of big name clients.

If you want to use the names of your clients to your advantage, consider including them as references. Having an employer hear from someone else about the quality of your work is far better than the text included on a resume.

Consider Your Cover Letter
There’s a chance employers could see your freelance history in different contexts. Some may interpret it as your way of being an ambitious go-getter who made work for yourself between jobs. Others may be concerned that your entrepreneurial spirit means you will jump at the chance to own your own business or a job opportunity with more variety and flexibility. Depending on how much freelancing you do, they might wonder if it will conflict with your full-time responsibilities for them.

Consider including the reasons why you freelance in your cover letter so you can help clarify your goals and objectives. Understanding what you plan to do with your freelancing can help ease any potential worries an employer may have with your history.

How have you used your freelancing experience during your job search? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Worst and Best Interviews in Movies

Job Interviews in MoviesPreparing for a job interview can be a big task. It can take hours at a time and could start days in advance of the actual interview. They can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and exciting all at the same time. But, job seekers can spend so much time and energy practicing and preparing to avoid mistakes that they don’t notice how much they actually do right.

To ease the tension that comes from interviewing, here is a list of my favorite job interview scenes from the movies. You’ll see interviews that go horribly wrong, and others that go really well.

Please note, the video clips herein and their sponsors do not necessarily represent the views of Express and are used for educational purposes only.

The Worst

Staffing Agency in “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Robin Williams plays Daniel Hillard – a down-on-his-luck father whose lack of responsibility and maturity have caused divorce and custody battles. Before he hatches a scheme to disguise himself as a British nanny, Daniel tries to find solid work through a staffing agency. While hobbies and passions can be used as an aid, not displaying solid transferable skills can result in a less than productive interview experience.


In it For The Money in “The Wedding Singer”

Honesty is one of the most important aspects of the job search. But, when it comes to payment and negotiation, being honest is expected. Employers know you are there to work for money, but they want to know why you want to get paid by them instead of their competition. Focus on applying for jobs at organizations you are passionate about so you don’t end up like Adam Sandler’s character Robbie Hart.


Columbus Day in “You, Me, and Dupree”

You are trying to sell yourself in an interview. The whole point is to prove to an employer that you are the best candidate for the position. Owen Wilson, playing Dupree, does the opposite. He even gives up after learning that he won’t get off work for Columbus Day. While he’s a comedic example of an extreme slacker, you could take notes on being aware of company culture when interviewing.


The Best
I Know All About You in “Family Man”
Nicholas Cage plays Jack Cambell, a man trying to regain his old life back. While he appeared unqualified and only had knowledge from his past life, Jack came into the interview prepared and well educated about the potential employer.

Internship Interview in “The Pursuit of Happyness”
Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith, was arrested the night before his interview and had no choice but to show up wearing his painting clothes. Being calm, collected, and aware of his situation helped him get the internship he was after, despite making mistakes.

What are your favorite interview scenes in movies? Sound off in the comments section below.

To Be a Super Job Seeker, You Need to Sell Your Kryptonite

what is your greatest weaknessLast month, Movin’ On Up asked readers what they think is the toughest interview question to answer. With more than 44% of the vote, the toughest question was, “What is your greatest weakness?”

It can seem like a trick question at first. You’re supposed to be like Superman – flying in to save the needs of the employer. How can you talk about what you’re doing wrong when the whole point of an interview is to convince them you’re the best for the job? Even Superman, who is weak to kryptonite, still manages to save the world.

When you’re selling your personal brand to an employer in an interview, you have to stamp out the concerns an employer may have with hiring you. That’s why it’s important to be a candidate that is aware of your faults and working to improve them. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and the most common answers can do more harm than good.

Super Strengths Aren’t Weaknesses
Weaknesses are often strengths taken so far that they end up hindering you. Either way, most employers can tell you’re spinning these weaknesses as strengths. It’s important to know your specific weaknesses and avoid general strengths as weaknesses like, “I work too hard,” or “I care too much.” Superman being too powerful may make him a less interesting hero, but it doesn’t make him less capable of saving Metropolis.

During the 2008 Democratic presidential debates, the candidates were asked their greatest weakness. Hilary Clinton and John Edwards gave the typical answers of, “I get frustrated when people don’t seem to understand that we can do so much more to help each other” or “I sometimes have a very powerful emotional response to pain that I see around me.” But Barack Obama gave a different answer. He said, “My desk and my office don’t look good. I’ve got to have somebody around me who is keeping track.” President Obama’s honesty made him relatable, which helped him win the primary.

Super Honesty Isn’t Super Either
While you should never lie or stretch the truth about your weaknesses, there is a point where you can share too much, which can leave negative impressions on the employer after the interview. Be honest but brief when talking about your weakness. If they ask for more, stick with your two greatest, but end with a positive note about what you’re doing to improve them.

Superman with a Super Plan
The most important part about discussing your weakness is what you are doing about it. People aren’t so much interested in how you fall, they want to see how you get back up.  Superman may have been weak against kryptonite, but he always had a lead suit ready to protect him if he had to deal with it.

Being an introvert, I’ve always had to deal with my energy levels when interacting with customers, clients, or co-workers. When working long periods of time with several people, my work quality deteriorates and I tend to have a short fuse. That’s why I logged the times of the day I felt most energetic and planned meetings around those times. At the job I even resorted to pinning a color code to my apron so my co-workers knew when I was good to help them or when I had low energy.

To prepare, talk to your former professors, mentors, or managers to see what they see you need to work on and come up with a plan to improve those areas. You will never be without faults, but it’s important to an employer to know that you are aware of them and working on them.

As Superman has his kryptonite, every job seeker has a weakness. That’s a given. But what can separate you from your competition is what you’re doing about it. What are you doing to combat your weaknesses?

What Are Your Toughest Interview Questions? Take Our Poll!

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollEarlier this year, business news website Business Insider ranked the 25 most difficult companies to interview with. Some of the better known companies that made the list included Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

Another interesting tidbit about the ranking was that it included percentages and ratings for negative interview experiences and employee satisfaction, so that you can decide for yourself if difficult interview questions lead to productive and satisfied employees.

With some of the biggest companies in the world being known for difficult interview questions, it made us wonder what are some of the most difficult interview questions you’ve been asked? If you have a unique question not on this list, let us know in the comments section below.