Tag Archives: questions

Common Interview Mistakes You Might Be Making

Interviews. You have an hour, maybe less, to make an incredible first impression. But that’s tough! There are so many ways you could mess up, from arriving late to wearing the wrong clothes to sharing too much of your personal life.

Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered. As a staffing company, we have plenty of experience with interviews. That means that we know what works and what doesn’t.

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Talking About Your Experience in an Interview

So, tell me a bit about your experience.

“Tell me about yourself.” “Could you speak about your previous work experience and how it’s shaped you as an employee?” “Oh, this job on your resume sounds interesting. Could you tell me more about it?”

These phrases are all essentially alternate ways of asking you about your experience, which eventually comes up in every interview.

However, interviewers aren’t looking for your life story. They want to know specifics on how your individual experience makes you the ideal candidate for the job. (more…)

Ask a Recruiter: Your Questions Answered—Part 1

Everything you wanted to know about the recruiting process.

Last month, we asked readers what they wanted to hear about from recruiters. The response was huge.

The same few questions kept popping up again and again, so we decided to feature them in a two-part blog series. We took your questions to our top recruiters, and they replied with expert responses.

  1. If an employee asks for a staffing company to help them find a new job, do they tell your current job that you are looking for work elsewhere or keep that information confidential?

All our recruiters agree that keeping the job search confidential is key. They never notify your current employer that you’ve started the job search, and they recommend that you keep quiet on the topic as well.

“It would depend on the situation. I have found that when a layoff is imminent, managers know and understand that their cohorts will be looking and interviewing at other companies. If this is not the case and business is ‘good,’ I would advise against letting your manager know that you are looking for work.” Desiree Stevens, Littleton, CO.

“In my experience, many applicants ask that we do not contact their current employer in fear of losing their job. Last week, a coworker of mine was working with an associate who was looking to leave their current employer. The employer overheard a conversation that took place at work and fired them for it.”—John Calabrese Jr., Utica, NY.

  1. Why do companies require a college degree when it isn’t necessary for the job?

Many companies use a college degree as a baseline. Sometimes a degree is indicative of passion and hard work. However, that doesn’t mean that you might not be able to make up for the lack of a degree in other ways.

“Sometimes this is a company policy. I tell people to never let it deter you in applying. Many clients will take on-the-job experience in lieu of a degree.”—Shannon Jacoby, Bellingham, WA.

“Some positions may require a degree for specialized positions, for example, a mechanical engineer. For other positions, completing a degree signals to an employer that you are a person who is determined to see a task through and committed to doing so.”—Desiree Stevens, Littleton, CO.

  1. Why do some companies/staffing companies continue to post jobs that have already been filled ?

This one’s a bit complicated. When it’s a posting from a staffing company, it could be that the same position is being offered at multiple companies. In addition, some job listings are purchased for a certain amount of time and will stay online regardless of being filled or not.

“A lot of the time, for a staffing company, there is more than one job available or the same job is available with a different company. Also, when a job is posted, it usually has an ad run time of 30+ days to attract the most job seekers. Even if they find an applicant before that time, the ad will continue to run.”—Heather Buster, Texarkana, Arkansas.

“Our office often leaves jobs up on the job boards just in case the candidate who was chosen doesn’t work out. It is good to have extra candidates in our back pocket if we need them. We also use the same strategy for jobs that we may not have now but know we will get soon, so we can cut down on the time it takes to fill the position.”— John Calabrese Jr., Utica, NY.

Have any more questions for our recruiters? Let us know in the comments below!

What Does Your Job Search Competition Look Like?

12-28 Competition2When it comes to your job search, competition is inevitable. Job seekers are in a fierce battle for quality positions, and you may wonder how a recruiter chooses between two similar applicants.

Although no two cases are alike, there are ways to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Consider these tips:

Dress the Part
To get the job you want, you must look the part. The old saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is often-quoted for a reason. Hiring managers will evaluate you almost instantly based on how you dress. When you look your best and as professional as possible, you’ve already beat the first hurdle.

Ask Intelligent Questions
At the end of most interviews, you are asked if you have any questions. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask thought-provoking questions about the company and its culture. A good tip is to visit the “about us” section on the company website to find topics to ask about. Not having questions implies a lack of engagement or interest in the business.

Share Your Achievements
When interviewing, share stories that demonstrate your work abilities, your personality, and your successes. If you can “show, not tell” how you are a perfect candidate for the position, you’ll stand out from your competition. Don’t just rattle off a dry list of skills. Instead, tell a tale that shows how those skills helped your former employer.

Follow Up With Current and Former Interviewers
As soon as an interview is over, send a thank you letter that summarizes your abilities and skills. However, don’t forget about contacting businesses that you’ve interviewed with in the past, especially if you were shortlisted for a position that went to another candidate. Maybe the person they chose didn’t work out or maybe they have a new position open that is a good fit.

Make Sure You Stay Sharp
You can’t compare yourself with others, but you can compare yourself to your past. Are you learning new skills? Are you updating your resume and websites? Have you practiced your interview questions lately? It’s important to always keep improving.

In your job search, you can send in a cover letter and resume like everyone else, or you can take steps to stand out from the competition for all the right reasons. Do not beat yourself up by trying to compare yourself to other candidates, but be aware they too are looking for ways to stand out.

In what ways do you stand out from your job seeking competition? Share some tips with us in the comments section below!

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

How a Lack of Planning May Be Costing You the Job

lack_of_planning_webWhen job searching, planning is an important step that can make or break your chances of success. A good resume and application may land you an interview, but planning is necessary to ace it and get the job offer.

Is your lack of planning costing you? We’ve put together some resources to help you pick out serious errors and interview flaws due to a lack of planning. These mistakes can destroy what could have been a great interview and result in a lost job opportunity.

  1. Not Preparing to Be on Time

Before the day of your interview, plan out your drive to the location. Always allow extra travel time for accidents, bad traffic, or car trouble. If you can drive to the business location a day or two before your interview, you’ll have a better idea of how long the trip will take.

  1. Not Being Properly Dressed

Showing up at a job interview in inappropriate attire or in clothes that are wrinkled is another deadly sin. If you haven’t planned ahead of time to iron your clothes or explore the company culture, you could end up looking shabby and embarrassing. If you have a chance to drive by your potential employer’s office to see how other employees are dressed, do so. At the very least, pick out your interview outfit the night before, try it on, iron or clean as necessary, and set the pieces out for easy dressing.

  1. Not Preparing for Your Interview

Have you practiced answering interview questions? Have you read the company’s website and annual report if available? Have you looked up news about the company? Preparing for an interview takes effort, but that effort pays off when you have rehearsed answers to difficult questions and can have an intelligent conversation about the company itself. Not preparing for the interview may leave you looking nervous and uninformed.

  1. Not Preparing Extra Copies

The company already has your resume, but you should plan to bring extra copies. While you’re at it, bring extra copies of any portfolio items, references, awards, and anything else a recruiter may be interested in. Never walk in empty-handed. By planning ahead, you can present yourself in a strong light by having extra copies of important documents.

  1. Not Having a Follow-Up Plan

After the interview is over, do you have a plan for following up? The lack of follow-up can hurt your chance to be hired. Instead, make a plan to send thank-you cards and professional follow-up emails. Write the thank-you cards as soon as the interview is over and craft an email asking if the company needs additional information from you to send in a week or two. Not having a plan to contact the company after the interview may take you out of the running.

It’s tempting to leave your career to chance and not plan, but the people who are most successful are prepared ahead of time for any job search opportunity. Take time to put together your plan, and stop letting lack of planning cost you.

How do you plan ahead of time for job interviews? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

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

How to Interview Your Next Boss

interview_your_next_boss_webDuring most interviews, there comes a point when the interviewer turns the tables and asks if you have any questions for them. Though this may be intimidating if you’re unprepared, it can also be a great time to stand out from the competition with some well-crafted questions of your own. Plus, asking questions about the job, the company, and your future employers’ goals helps you learn more about the job.

The Right Questions
The next time you’re faced with this question during an interview, don’t panic. While some questions will emerge from the conversation you have with your interviewer, there are some back-up questions to have ready just in case. To help you have an even more successful interview, consider the following questions:

  1. How do you evaluate a person’s performance in this job? What are the important milestones that show they’re successful?
  2. After this person starts work, what tasks would you expect them to accomplish?
  3. How much travel is expected in this position?
  4. Can you tell me a bit about the make-up of the team? How does this position fit into the rest of the department?
  5. What are your goals for 2015 as a department/team/company?
  6. What does a typical day here look like? What are the hours, and what are the norms when it comes to working overtime or answering email after hours?
  7. What do you think are the major events or trends that have shaped your company’s plans this year?
  8. What do you enjoy most about working here?
  9. What is your career story? How did you get this current role?
  10. Does this company have a strong social media presence? What are the norms for using social media here?
  11. What does a typical career path look like for the person in this role?
  12. How has this position evolved since it was created? Is it a new position, or a vacancy?
  13. How do people within the company communicate? Are there regular staff meetings, or is email the main form of communication?

The Wrong Questions
While these are great questions to keep the conversation going during a job interview, there are some questions you should avoid.

  • Don’t ask your interviewer what the company does. This shows that you didn’t research the company before you arrived and may suggest a lack of interest in the position.
  • You should also avoid asking about time off for vacations, as discussing previous commitments before being offered a position is generally frowned upon.
  • Avoid asking about salary during the first interview, and don’t come right out and ask if you got the job. This puts interviewers on the spot and makes you seem impatient. Instead, consider asking about the next steps in the process and following up with a thank-you note.

What are your go-to questions during a job interview? Share with us in the comments section below!

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

Keep Your Cool: Job Interview Prep Guide

keep_your_cool_webYou’ve scored the big job interview you’ve been waiting for, and now all you have to do is ace all those questions, make a good impression, wow the hiring managers, and keep your cool. No pressure.

Okay, let’s be real. While getting a job interview is good news, it can also be a stressful time. You’re worried you’ll mess it up. The questions might throw you for a loop. You might end up looking like you aren’t a good fit for the job.

Everyone has those fears from time to time, but with a few tips and tricks, you can alleviate those doubts and lessen the stress of going to a job interview.

When Preparation and Opportunity Meet
Great preparation prevents poor performance. Lessen your stress by analyzing the job posting and description. Be clear in your own mind about what the company wants in a potential employee. Make a list of which skills and qualities you have that match the job description.

Why is this important? Preparing beforehand ensures that you’ll be able to discuss your skills confidently, and it also reminds you that you’re a pretty impressive candidate.

Assimilate Your Assets
While you’re at it, create a list of 10 assets and qualities you have that could benefit the company. Include certifications, computer skills, professional accomplishments, and unique abilities. Making this list again reminds you why you’re pretty awesome, but it also helps you prepare to discuss those skills during an interview.

You’ll be ready to answer specific job questions with confidence and flair.

Reconnaissance
Like a spy, gather as much information as you can about the company before the interview. Look to your professional network to see if someone knows a little more about the business and can give you a competitive edge over the other candidates.

Being able to confidently discuss the company shows you are prepared, thorough, and engaged.

Practice Makes Perfect
Take some time to practice common interview questions. When you practice interviewing with a friend or family member, the actual interview becomes a little easier. Think about each question and how you will respond before you even get to the interview.

Practicing a job interview helps calm your nerves and prepares you for tough questions so you aren’t left scrambling and fumbling for a response during the real interview.

Dress It Up
The night before your big interview, pick out what you’ll wear. Put on the outfit and then lay out the clothes so they are readily available. By doing this, you won’t be rushing around trying to find the right clothes and stressing out about how you look. You want to be well groomed and professional in order to project a positive image to the employer, so make sure your clothes are clean and ironed before the big day. Now that you’re looking ready for the interview, your stress level should be decreasing.

Early Bird Gets the Worm
Whatever you do, don’t be late! Be sure to leave early enough for your interview to account for unexpected delays like traffic or construction. Hurrying and worrying about being late can cause your stress level to skyrocket, so be sure to look up the directions to the office and give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get there.

Now, you can relax and practice your interview answers on the way!

Do Your Best
Right before you walk into your interview, take a few deep calming breaths. Smile, pull your shoulders back, and give a confident handshake. You’ve researched, you’ve practiced, you look great, and you arrived on time – you have this in the bag! Be honest, open, engaging, and bright.

By preparing ahead of time and taking these steps, you’ll reduce the stress associated with interviewing. Now, all you need to do is show the interviewer why you’re the best person for the job.

Do you have any tips and tricks for not stressing out before a job interview? Share your best tips in the comments section below!

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