Tag Archives: interviews

7 Must-Dos Before a Job Interview

Woman waiting before an interviewAcing an interview isn’t magic that only certain people possess or a skill that only experts can attain. You can become a pro at interviewing too, but just like anything else, it takes practice. So, to help you master the skill of interviewing, here are seven must-dos to practice every time you’re invited to an interview.

1. Research the company and the position.
No employer wants to hire a candidate who doesn’t know anything about the company or the position. Make sure to research the company and get familiar with their mission statement, goals, products, services, and news. Check out the company’s website, the Internet, magazines, newspapers, and your local library to find this useful information. By knowing these facts, you’ll be able to answer two commonly asked questions: “What do you know about my company?” and “Why are you interested in this position?”

2. Review your resume.
Employers will often refer to your resume and ask you to expand on a point you included or explain a project you listed as an accomplishment. Be familiar with the information you listed on your resume. You need to be able to talk about every line of your resume with why you included it and how it makes you qualified for the job.

3. Make a list of talking points.
Your resume and cover letter can’t always include every piece of information you want to share with an employer because you should limit it to one page each. But, an interview gives you the opportunity to share details you couldn’t fit that are relevant to the job. If you left something out of your resume or cover letter, or thought of another strength, experience, or skill you possess, this is the time to bring it up. Make a list of the topics you want to discuss in the interview, and you’ll be better prepared to answer the interviewer’s questions and ask your own.

4. Practice answering questions.
Being able to answer questions articulately will show that you’re prepared and serious about wanting the job. You don’t want to practice so much that you sound like a record stuck on repeat, but you need to practice enough to be comfortable answering questions. Have a friend or family member ask you questions for a mock interview. Since it’s a practice session, use your list of talking points. Try to relate each answer to something on your list.

5. Prepare questions for the interviewer.
Toward the end of your interview, the employer might ask if you have any questions for him. If you don’t, it may seem like you’re unprepared or uninterested in the position, so make sure you have several questions ready ahead of time. A few strong questions you might ask are, “What is the biggest challenge someone in this position might face?” and “What are the opportunities for career growth in this organization?” Some of your questions may be answered during the interview, so it’s best to come up with several to choose from.

6. Dress to impress.
Appearance is noticeable and memorable, so dress to create a positive first impression. When you research the company, don’t forget to find out about the company’s dress code so you can dress the part, or one step up. It’s OK to call ahead of time to ask. If you can’t find this information, it’s better to dress up than to dress down, so choose a professional look. Make sure your outfit is wrinkle-, stain-, and odor-free, and that your clothes aren’t worn through or holey.

7. Decide you want the job.
One of the most important aspects of an interview is your mindset. Before you go to the interview, decide that you want the job and that you’re determined to get it. Think positively, and give the interview your all. You may decide later on that the job is not the right fit for you, but you don’t want to blow an interview by appearing unenthusiastic or uninterested.

No one wakes up knowing how to master the interview, but anyone can learn the skills it takes to land a job. Practice the seven must-dos for every interview you’re a part of, and your interview techniques will become stronger and stronger each time.

Workplace Fashion Police – Just the Facts

The Workplace Fashion PoliceWorkers and job seekers, the advice you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the improperly dressed.

It was Friday, Oct. 26, and sultry day at Fashion Police headquarters. I was getting reports of neglected promotions, missing job offers, and lacking professionalism. I didn’t know why it was happening, but I had to try to stop it. Appearances can be deceiving, especially in this workplace-fashion lineup. According to Southwest Florida Business Today, 93% of executives across the country admit a person’s work attire influences his or her chances of earning a promotion.

This is a video. I carry a badge. I am the Fashion Police – I tell the difference between who gets hired and promoted, and who doesn’t.

Top Interview Questions for Temporary Jobs

Someone Interviewing for a Temporary jobInterviews for full-time jobs are scary enough, but how do you tackle the tricky subject of answering interview questions for temporary assignments? We all have different reasons for working temporary jobs, but you may get asked a question that you don’t know how to answer in the right way. To sharpen your skills, here are some of the most commonly asked questions from staffing agencies about temporary jobs and the best ways to answer them.

Q: What interests you about working a temporary job?
This question gives you the opportunity to demonstrate that you have a plan for your career and are willing to work toward your goals. Your answer should be more than just needing a job to pay the bills or something easy to pass the time until you find long-term work. This could be a chance for you to get some experience before deciding to go to graduate school, or provide you the opportunity to work while your children are in school and stay home when they aren’t, or you may need some experience after college to decide on a career path.

Q: What characteristics do you have that make you a fit for temporary work?
Some people like variety, and it’s ok to tell an interviewer that. Temporary jobs can provide opportunities to work in different work environments. Staffing agencies look for qualified individuals who enjoy working with new people and workplaces. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t do well working in one place for an extended period of time. You’re a quick learner and enjoy experiencing new things.

Q: Are you interested in long-term or short-term assignments?
If you’re looking for long-term assignments, inform the interviewer that you are looking for positions that could get you hired full-time by the employer. You’re thinking in the long run, which translates into strong work ethics to the interviewer. If you want short-term placement, give specific times of the year that you’re looking to work. The more detailed you are, the better tailored the assignments will be to you. If you have no preference, put the focus on the desire for a job that can develop and grow your skills.

Q: How easily do you adapt into new work environments?
Everybody has a different approach. It’s important to let your interviewer know so they can place you in an environment that best fits you. You may find excitement and energy working with new people and cultures and assimilate to new jobs easily. You may be quiet at first so you can internalize (http://blog.expresspros.com/movinonup/2012/06/climbing-the-corporate-ladder-when-youre-shy-and-introverted.html) your new surroundings and duties, but quickly learn to be productive. If you have a lengthy work history, think back to how you’ve handled the different work styles and tell the interviewer how you’ve developed your own style for managing new work environments.

Q: If you were offered a full-time position, would you be interested?
If temporary work best fits you or your family, don’t feel like you have to say yes. For whatever reason, you are looking to hone your skills without being tied down to a specific job or geographic area. Even if you are looking for full-time work with an employer, you should always tell the interviewer that it would depend on if the job and company is the right fit (http://blog.expresspros.com/movinonup/2012/02/warning-signs-an-employer-may-not-be-for-you.html) for you.

What are some questions you have been asked in temporary job interviews? Share them in the comments section below.

Your Hobbies Could Help You Get Hired

Using Hobbies to Find a JobFinding a job is serious work. Most job seekers wouldn’t dream of listing their favorite free time activities on their resume or job application. Employers want to know how your job experience will benefit their organization. While that’s true, that experience doesn’t always have to come from time on the clock or in the office.

Life is full of lessons to be learned that don’t happen between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Your personality has an effect on the hiring process and makes a difference when it comes to being a fit for a potential employer’s culture. The character you can put into your job search can help make it easier to grab a hiring manager’s attention and connect with those decision makers.

There are plenty of things you can do during your free time that can help you get a job offer. Here are some ways you can list your hobbies and free time activities to grab employers’ attention and make you a more desirable candidate.

Stand Out
When an employer announces an open position, keep in mind that hundreds of resumes and applications are being delivered. These applicants will have similar experiences, education, and training. What better way to stand out than to have some of your activities that can show a little personality while demonstrating the skills needed to do the job.

Tailor Fit
Just because you may be an avid reader, it doesn’t mean you should put it on your resume. However, if you’re an avid reader of medical reports and breakthroughs in medicine technology, that might place you in a position to be seen as someone who is forward thinking and willing to lead change in a hospital. Your hobbies have to be seen in a way that relates to the job duties of the position you’re applying for.

Take some time to think about your pastimes and see if you can’t use them in a way that applies to a job description. Are you an officer for a club? That means you probably have managed groups of people, helped grow an organization, or aided in raising large funds for the community or charity.  Use your imagination, but keep it slim. You will want to include your most important skills and experience first. If your resume is getting long, your hobbies will have be the first to go. They could be woven into your cover letter as a way to demonstrate your skills and add personality.

Connect In
There are several ways you can connect with others who share the same passions as you. If you haven’t already, consider finding, joining, or even forming groups based on your hobbies. Not only will you have fun and learn new things about your hobby, you will also have a chance to network with like-minded individuals.  In today’s job market, people are more likely to hire someone they know or trust. You never know who you might meet and build relationships with, or who could give you an opportunity to put your foot in the door with an employer or job opening.

Talk Up
Your hobbies can be great conversation topics during an interview. You have a small amount of time to convey your skills and build a rapport when being interviewed. Sometimes your pastimes can help establish a connection with your interviewer, which can help you feel more relaxed and confident, and support you stand out better in the interviewer’s mind. If you notice a lull in your conversation, try to use your experience with your hobbies to explain your passions and see if you can relate to the person asking questions.

If you don’t have any hobbies or impressive interests, don’t try to pick one up overnight. Interviewers can pick up on your lack of passion and it can make them wonder what else in your resume might be inflated. Now is the time to pick up a hobby and explore your interests. With fall and winter around the corner, there will be plenty of opportunities in various ways to volunteer during the holiday season.

You don’t have to hide the fact that you live an active lifestyle when looking for work. In fact, the things you do in your spare time can make you a more desirable candidate. How can you use your hobbies to make your resume stand out and make yourself a better applicant? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

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5 Qualities That Make Hiring Managers Say “WOW!”

Wow_march2012_webWhen you go in for an interview, what will set you apart from your competition? Odds are, the other hopefuls interviewing for the position have as much, if not more, experience than you. How can you impress recruiters and prove to them that you are the right person for the job?

They want to see if you’re the right fit for the company. They’re looking between the lines of your résumé for what you have beyond your work experience. To really make a good impression, you should project certain qualities that will make you a more desirable candidate. What qualities are they, you ask? Well, here are five of them that can make a recruiter or interviewer say “Wow!”

Passion

There are countless books, websites, and seminars about the best kinds of answers to interview questions. Job seekers are asked these questions to see if they have the ability to answer them competently. But, they’re also looking for something more. Many hiring managers want to see passion for their company, the position, and the industry. They want to know why candidates are truly excited about the opportunity, rather than viewing it as just another job interview. The truly passionate candidates are not only likely to excel in their role, but will also remain involved in their responsibilities and motivate those around them.

Professionalism

Being professional is something that is hard to teach. It’s a mixture of motivation, presence, and hard and soft skills. To be professional, you have to project an image that you are actively listening to what recruiters are saying and take interest in the job.

Preparation

You can really stand out among your competition when you do your homework. If you can demonstrate your interest in an employer and the issues they’re facing while showcasing your research skills, you can leave a lasting impression on hiring managers. Take the time to research and get to know the recruiter and interviewer, and you’ll find a quicker connection and develop a stronger rapport.

Poise

Confidence is a key component in every aspect of your job search. When networking or interviewing, it’s important to exhibit knowledge, modesty, openness, gratitude, and skilled verbal and written communication. Recruiters should be able to see that you can take tasks, jobs, or projects given to you and run with them. Prove that you are proactive and can handle the job requirements through your handshake, body posture, and communication skills.

Providing Humor

The hiring process can be a long and often trying process. Recruiters and hiring managers listen to the same pre-prepared answers from candidate after candidate. A job seeker with professionalism and a sense of humor lightens the atmosphere, but be careful if now you decide to use humor when talking to hiring managers. If humor isn’t a part of your everyday personality, think twice before taking it too far in an interview. If it doesn’t come naturally, there’s a bigger chance that it can backfire. You don’t have to crack jokes, but you can bring a light-hearted and happy attitude that can brighten the mood when talking to recruiters.

There are a lot of different things employers look for in a new hire. On top of work history, job experience, and specific skill sets, there are other traits that can help propel job candidates above the large number of job seekers vying for the same job. If you excel at any one of these five qualities, use it to your advantage. It could make the difference between silence and a call back. What are some ways you have shown one of the five traits when interviewing with an employer?

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Job Search: Part 2

Holmes2_feb2012_webLast time, in the “Case of the Missing Job Search:”

World-renowned English detective Sherlock Holmes helped eager job seekers find clues in the text of his own detective novels to get one step closer to finding a job. His words helped us remember the value of our networks, consider all options, and appreciate the lessons learned.

But, Mr. Holmes isn’t finished. There is more to learn about job seeking from the thrilling detective novels about our beloved private eye. Here are some more quotes from Sherlock Holmes and how it can relate to the job market.

All information is useful to the detective.

In many cases, knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can do in your job search. Even the little things can help. If you are networking, don’t just find out who is hiring, but get a sense of what is going on in the industry and how you can help others. When researching an employer, don’t just focus on the position and salary. Find out the small details and requirements so you can either market yourself better, or reconsider if it’s a good fit.

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”

One of the biggest mistakes when interviewing is not being prepared. Not just being prepared to answer questions about yourself, experience, and work history, but failing to have a real grasp and concept of who your potential employer is and what they are about. Never go into an interview with conclusions drawn from assumptions, opinions from others, or second-rate research. Get more assertive in finding first-hand information about your interviewers and the company they represent.

“What one man can invent another can discover.”

Do your research. There are countless numbers of job gurus and employment advice sites on the internet. Many of those gurus probably don’t agree on any single piece of advice as truth. The idea of best practices in certain characteristics of the job search may not result in a sensible list but rather a collection of advice. There are different methods and tactics to finding work, and you’ll have to find the ones that work best for you.

While challenging at times, the job search isn’t as mysterious as many make it out to be. With some head knowledge and a lot of perseverance, you can unlock the skills needed to crack the mystery and discover job opportunities for yourself. What are some other ways you think Sherlock Holmes would find a job? Let us know in the comments below.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Job Search

Sherlock_feb2012_webOften considered to be the greatest detective in all of literature, Sherlock Holmes and his gripping adventures have inspired TV shows, cartoons, comics, and even big-budget Hollywood movies. His intellect and uncanny ability to deduce any mysterious plot set before him have become world-renowned.

For many, there is a mystery that can appear out of reach of solving – the new job. The struggling job market can leave many job seekers frustrated, and the missing job offer may seem like a mystery that is unsolvable at times. So, let’s call upon the world’s greatest detective to see what Sherlock Holmes would say when trying to find a job.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

There are always opportunities and avenues to continue your job search. Just because you’ve had one door closed on a career search doesn’t mean there isn’t a proverbial window you can climb through to find work with the same employer or in the same industry.

When looking for a job, don’t rule out an idea you had just because it could lead to a dead end. Unless it’s something that will obviously hurt your job search, and as long as you’re professional and respectful about it, give it a shot. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

“Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.”

Never underestimate the power of your networks. Not only are your networks some of the best tools to help you find job openings and get inside information on potential employers, but they are also a solid source of support, encouragement, and advice. Even during the roughest points in your job search, don’t forget how your networks can lighten your load and help you continue with confidence.

“The work is its own reward.”

Think of all the skills you are building during your job search. Whether you’re freelancing, networking, temping, writing, or interning, you are learning habits and skills that can be applied throughout your career. No matter how frustrating searching for a job can get, you are still learning and improving every step of the way. Strive to continually develop your skills and habits. It will not only help you find a job faster, it will also make you a stronger employee.

Will our fearless detective be able to discover the footprints that will lead to getting hired? Tune in next time for the continuing adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Job Search!

 

To read part two, click here!