Tag Archives: job interviews

VIDEO: Interview Questions to Watch Out For

Know what interviewers plan on asking before you’re even in the room

Interviews are nerve-wracking because many applicants don’t know what to expect. What questions will pop up? What kind of personality will their interviewer have?

If you’re worried about an upcoming interview, check out this quick video. We asked a few of our top recruiters what their go-to interview questions are, and they even detailed a few of their favorite answers.

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Which of These Behaviors Have You Witnessed During an Interview?

Interviewers tell us about disruptive behaviors all the time. People that don’t make eye contact, never stop talking, or show up late. But today we want to turn the tables and see what interviewers have done that you found less-than-stellar.

Whether they came in the door 20 minutes late, spent the entire time texting, or showed up completely unprepared, we want to hear about it. Let us know in our poll!

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Ask a Recruiter: How Much Should You Share About Your Past Job in an Interview?

Are you telling too much? Or not enough?

You got past the phone interview and now you’re sitting in front of someone who could be your boss in the very near future. Then they ask the dreaded question: “Why did you leave your previous position?”

You have so much to say. Maybe your boss was a control freak who was impossible to work for. Perhaps you wanted a promotion that was never in the cards. It’s even possible you just wanted a change of pace.

But does your interviewer need to hear all that stuff? How much info is too much?

We asked our Express Employment Professionals expert recruiters to find out.

Avoid Negative Emotions

If you left a job because you hated your boss, it can be tempting to say so. But bringing that up in an interview is unprofessional. Keep the discussion to the job and any duties you were responsible for and leave your boss out of it.

“I always advise my candidates to keep anything negative about a previous job unemotional. If it was not a good experience, highlight what experience that you gained and stick to specific job duties. I’m against saying anything negative about previous bosses or coworkers. Most companies take that as you, the interviewee, being hard to please or get along with.”— Carlos DeLaFuente, Portland, OR

Be Honest

Obviously, you don’t want to lie during any stage of the interview process. But when it comes to interviews, being honest means answering questions truthfully but appropriately. For instance, if you’re asked why you left a previous position, don’t say, “The work was boring.” Instead, say something along the lines of, “There was a mismatch between the company’s work culture and my own way of handling job responsibilities.” The truth about the work is still there, but saying it in an impartial way is professional. Plus, you’ll avoid looking like a potential problem employee with a chip on your shoulder.

And if you were let go? Admit it. Just be purposeful with how you say it.

“I think people have to tread a fine line with being honest, but not oversharing the emotional side of it. I find a lot of people trying to skirt the issue or not being honest as to why they are no longer with an employer. I think it is good to be honest with why the employment ended and if they were terminated as to why they believe this happened and what they learned.” —Shannon Jacoby, Bellingham, WA

“Use phrases like ‘parted ways’ instead of quit or fired. Something like ‘the company was going in a different direction from my work goals.’ Most interviewers will understand that wording and realize that you are being professional and ultimately that is what a company is looking for, people that can maintain a professional demeanor during adversity.”— Carlos DeLaFuente, Portland, OR

Embrace Positivity

When it comes to talking about previous jobs, you want to show that you learned something. An interviewer doesn’t want to hire someone who was employed for four years and didn’t come out of the experience with any extra knowledge.

When you’re talking about your previous job, focus on what you learned and how exciting it was to learn those things. Interviewers love to see applicants who are passionate about their work.

“Instead of sharing how much you dislike a position and why it didn’t work out, flip it around and tell the interviewer what you learned while working in your last role and what your greatest accomplishment was during your time there. NEVER trash talk your previous supervisor or company! I have had situations were applicants have cried at my desk or talked negatively about their life or previous job. All that being said, keep it positive and professional!” — Kim Vargas, Howell, NJ

“Showing excitement about what you did is very appealing to an interviewer. Speaking highly of coworkers or ex-bosses is perfectly fine as long as it is kept to work relations. Avoid talking about personal time away from work with coworkers. An interviewer might read this as potentially bringing drama to a team.” — Carlos DeLaFuente, Portland, OR

Any more questions about how much to share about a previous job in an interview? Let us know in the comments section below!

Ask a Recruiter: Interview Blunders

Read on for lessons learned from what NOT to do.

Interviews are hard. You’re being tested not only on your skills, but also on who you are as a person and how your unique personality might work with the company in question. There are so many variables. What will they ask me? What should I ask them? What experience is relevant?

Plenty of prep time and research can eliminate many of these questions. However, regardless of preparation, there are a few basic rules of etiquette to keep in mind. Dress in accordance with what your interviewer asks for. Don’t interrupt your interviewer. Be kind and courteous. Don’t try to hide a barking puppy under your shirt. Wait, what?

That’s right, that happened. Some applicants bring a little extra something to the interview. We asked a few of our top recruiters for stories about the more outrageous interview experiences they have had.

Working Isn’t My Thing

One of our staffing consultants recently dealt with a strange occurrence. An applicant came in with a standard resume. Everything seemed above board. However, the first thing he said was “I get that some people are motivated by hard work, but that’s really not my thing.”

Honesty is great, and you should be truthful when speaking about your experience in an interview. However, most employers aren’t going to hire someone who doesn’t want to work. They have plenty of other candidates, and odds are that most of them didn’t say they don’t like to work. Even if you’re just working for a paycheck, there’s no need to mention that in an interview.

Batman Needs Me

Another staffing consultant recalled an incident that started off normal enough but immediately fell apart. A candidate came in for a 2 o’clock interview 15 minutes early. However, before the interview could get started, he left. He returned 20 minutes past his scheduled interview time and, when asked about the reason for his rapid departure and subsequent return, he said he “had to sell comic books.” Oh, and his mother was now accompanying him; he was not a teenager.

Your interview starts before you’re even in the room. Everything you do in the waiting area can have real consequences. Yelling on the phone, treating the front desk coordinator badly, and, yes, leaving without any notification—these are reasons to write you off as a candidate.

Coming back and expecting to fit into what was already a busy schedule is an even worse idea. If you do have to leave for any reason, notify the receptionist and attempt to re-schedule via email. However, save this for true emergency situations—there’s no guarantee you’ll get a second try.

Chad Truly Felt Chad Had the Skills for the Job

One staffing consultant had an interview that was unsettling, to say the least. A candidate walked in; let’s call him Chad. Chad immediately began explaining his experience to the staffing consultant. However, Chad repeatedly spoke about himself in the third person. Caught off guard, the staffing consultant had to take a few minutes to realize what was going on. When he asked Chad why he was talking about himself in the third person, Chad said he hadn’t even realized that was happening, and attributed it to being nervous.

Although it’s easy to blame Chad for his odd attitude in this scenario, there are plenty of other candidates who fall into similar pitfalls. This is due to a lack of interview training. Many candidates don’t know their strange interview tics because they’ve never been told about them. To avoid this problem, practice interviews with friends or family. That training will come in handy!

Job Genius

Want to make sure you never make any of these mistakes? Looking for a one-stop-shop for all your interview and job search questions? Job Genius is here to help.

Covering everything from the job market forecast to your resume, subsequent interview, and more, Job Genius is the perfect place to start (or kick start) your career.

Have questions about what NOT to do in an interview? Let us know in the comments below!

Why Companies Don’t Respond After an Interview

You thought the interview went well, but never heard back. Why?

Going through an interview is stressful enough, but it’s waiting for a response afterwards that can really get an applicant’s head spinning. Did they like me? Was I good enough? What could I have done better?

To make sure you stay in the loop, ask for a “next steps” timeline during your interview. That way you’ll at least have some idea of when they’re deciding on a candidate. After that, the only option is to send a polite email asking if they’ve made a decision yet. Then you play the waiting game.

But waiting can get unbearable. Especially when the company never gets back to you.

Isn’t this rude? Why would a company skip out on the goodwill a well-meaning rejection email can generate? Although we personally feel companies should always send out courtesy rejection emails, here are a few reasons why they might not:

They’re Busy

This may not seem like much of an excuse, but many companies, especially smaller companies, simply don’t feel they have the time to let every candidate know why they were rejected. Perhaps they interviewed 100 or so applicants, but only have one person dedicated to Human Resources. That one person has to devote most of their time to the new hire. When they finally do find time, it’s too late to send out rejection emails.

Busy companies might also send mass rejection letters via traditional mail. That could mean weeks before you get a response.

They Don’t Want to Start a Conversation

When companies send out a rejection email, it gives applicants an opportunity to ask why they were rejected. Companies don’t, or rather can’t, answer this question. Any type of rejection could be taken offensively, and offended interviewees might resort to legal action.

In some cases, candidates may not take rejection well, and respond by sending angry emails. Many companies just don’t think it’s worth it to respond, given their unique experience with sending out rejection emails in the past.

They’re Still Considering Applicants

In some cases, companies have one applicant they place above all others. Their first pick. But that first pick doesn’t always go through. Maybe they can’t agree on salaries or vacation time. When something like that happens, the company goes to their backups, their second, or even third choice. So if you don’t get a rejection right away, it might be because the company is holding onto your resume in case their first pick doesn’t work out. It’s even possible that the company doesn’t want to offend you with a rejection because they want to keep you in mind for a future position.

A company’s response time might also vary according to the industry they are in. State and government agencies, for instance, can take up to a year or more to place a position.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you’re never going to know why a company decided not to send you a rejection letter. Maybe it was for a good reason, maybe it wasn’t. So don’t dwell on it. It isn’t easy to let go, but when you do, it will become much easier to move forward. Get started on the next application and start preparing for that next interview.

Has a company ever kept you waiting for a response?  Let us know about it in the comments below!

How to Show Confidence in a Job Interview

Interviews can be nerve wracking. They can make your heart race and your palms sweat. But, it’s important not to let your nerves get the best of you. When interviewing, employers are seeking those who exude confidence and are able to present themselves as professionals. Confidence is a belief in yourself and your abilities. So, here are few tips to help give you some extra confidence before your next job interview.

Be prepared: Before every interview, take time to prepare. Visit the company’s website and get a good overview about the company and its philosophy. Also, if you can, find out general information about the person interviewing you. You don’t necessarily have to know everything about the individual, but definitely know their job title and how to pronounce their name correctly to help ensure you create a good first impression. Be sure to know the details about the job you’re applying for and be able to speak about it. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be. So make sure you do your homework and know about the employer researching the company.

Arrive early: Being late to an interview can make you feel flustered and stressed – not a great start for exuding confidence. So, be sure you arrive early to your interview to give yourself plenty of time to locate your interview location and familiarize yourself with the environment. And if you’re early to your interview, you’ll also have time to review your talking points and calm your nerves.

Know how to answer common questions: Be prepared to answer questions an interviewer is likely to ask. Go over common interview questions until you can answer them flawlessly. Ask a friend to pretend they are your interviewer and practice answering those questions in various ways. By practicing common interview questions, you’ll be better prepared for whatever questions come your way. Knowing that you have practiced in advance and that you have good answers prepared will definitely boost your confidence. Also, most interviewers like it when you can give them examples of past situations that can give them insight into your work ethic and professional demeanor. So, give examples of scenarios in your career or life when trying to explain a point. For example, if the interviewer wants to know about your strengths, give them an example of when your strengths enabled you to excel in a task.

Ask questions: This is where a lot of interviewees choke. Expect that an interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. Instead of replying no, prepare some questions you want to ask. This shows you’ve put some thought into your interview and you think it’s important. It will also show a potential employer your confidence and that you’re not afraid to ask questions. 

Dress appropriately: You can boost your attitude and self-confidence just by the way you dress. When you’re dressed well, you feel good about yourself. If you’re applying for a professional job, consider wearing a suit. If you’re applying for a construction job, a nice pair of slacks and a polo shirt might be more appropriate. In order to make a great first impression, choose professional attire which includes button down shirts, conservative shoes, and solid suits.

Be aware of nonverbal cues: Maintaining eye contact is probably one of the most important nonverbal cues you can have in life and definitely in an interview. This shows the interviewer that you are interested and paying attention to what they’re saying. It shows you’re engaged in the conversation. Be sure you look at them when giving your answers. But, you don’t want to stare them down. It’s OK to break eye contact and look around. Also, before you allow shyness to overwhelm you, sit up straight. Good posture communicates that you’re alert and excited about the opportunity. Slouching sends the impression that you’re bored and don’t care. Finally, mirror the nonverbal cues of your interviewer. Lean forward or sit back when they do to demonstrate that you’re engaged in the conversation.

Be confident even in your weaknesses: Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Letting the interviewer know your strengths will definitely show what you are capable of. But, it’s also ok to mention your weaknesses. Actually, interviewers prefer to know that you have some and that you are aware of them. After all, nobody is perfect. But, be prepared to talk about how you are trying to work for them. By telling the interviewer how you’re working to improve on those weaknesses, you will show your willingness to be better and how you’re trying to turn your weaknesses to strengths.

Confidence can easily set you apart from others applying for the same job, so be sure to be eloquent, clear, and concise when speaking. Follow these tips to help make your next interview a success.

How to Follow Up after an Interview with a Staffing Company

Staffing companies receive hundreds of applications and résumés each day from individuals looking for work. With so many job seekers vying for a staffing agency’s attention, it’s important you do what you can to assist staffing consultants in your job search. To increase your chances of landing a job, try these tips after interviewing with a staffing company to help you stay top of mind.

Call. First and foremost, staffing companies are there to help you find a job. Don’t be afraid to call after your interview to find out if there are any jobs available. Also, check with your staffing consultant to find out if they prefer a weekly or daily call for job inquiries.

Check. Depending on the staffing agency you choose, there may be certain guidelines to follow when inquiring about job openings. For example, some staffing companies may have a separate phone number for job opportunities, while others may post openings online. Check with your staffing consultant to ensure you know the process.

Update. If you have any changes to your personal information, résumé, job specifications, or qualifications, let your staffing consultant know so they can update your file. These changes could increase your chances of landing a job and help the staffing company market you to their clients.

Although finding you a job is their top priority, they can’t do it without your help. Stay in contact with your staffing agency by following these tips, and help the staffing company help land you the job you want.