Tag Archive: interview


Some Basic Interview Advice

When it comes to hiring staff, there are a number of signs that are incredibly important to pay attention to but are often missed. Here are some interview tips to help you as a hiring manager learn more about the person you are interviewing than meets the “CV”.

Make them comfortable.
It’s a person’s job to sell themselves to you when interviewing for a position. It’s your job to understand though who they really are and to cut through the sales pitch as quickly as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to make them as comfortable as possible by creating a very casual environment and acting like the interview is no big deal.
You might be interested in a candidate based solely on their previous experience, but that doesn’t mean they are a fit for your team. Keep the questions coming, they should be able to talk at length about nearly anything and keep you engaged. If getting them to freely answer questions is like pulling teeth, the interview is over. Don’t waste your time or theirs. You can learn a lot about motivation and work ethic from their backgrounds and past experience.

Find out if they need to work and be successful to live? You don’t want to hire a person who doesn’t have to work, as their ‘need’ is non-existent. You do want to hire people who have the drive and passion for success, particularly when their failure means that they can’t pay rent.

Don’t go through their CV in front of them.
Sit back in your chair and casually chat for at least ten minutes about their non-working background. Ask simple follow-up questions to their responses and you will be amazed what people will openly divulge when they get comfortable. One can go through work related past experience after you have gotten them comfortable.

Now make them Uncomfortable.
Ask them direct and pointed questions about the wealth of information you just gathered from their rambling. Do not be abusive, but don’t hesitate to be abrupt and even interrupt them to throw them off track.

There are two reasons for this: The first is to put them on the spot and get honest answers about their past and abilities, the second is to see how they operate when they’re under pressure and flustered.

Risks and Rewards of Rehiring Former Employees
Kazim Ladimeji

With many economies starting to rebound, downsized companies are returning to the candidate market only to be greeted by critical skill talent shortages. This creates problems as employers need to tool up with top talent to help fuel their growth.

Of course, many companies are looking to develop training strategies so they can take on underqualified staff and groom them into superstars. While this is an effective approach, it is also a more medium/long term strategy and, to be responsive and flexible, firms need to hire off-the-shelf, ready made talent right now.

One often overlooked source of fully qualified, culture-ready talent are not peers from your close competition, but alumni—former employees who resigned or you laid off during harder times. They are a known quantity—good, average or bad, you know what you are getting which means they can often be a safer bet than a new hire.  There is likely to be a much shorter learning curve due to them having good job knowledge as well being familiar with company culture, procedures and having an existing network of go-to people, so they know how to get things done in your organization.
They may have developed new skills since they left and may be an even better employees.
They may have insider secrets (which they can legitimately disclose) from the competition.

But, there are quite clear issues with rehiring alumni that you should consider. For example, the rehire may still hold some grudge against your business or a current employee for letting them go – and this could translate into conflict and disharmony in your business. This is why it is crucial—no matter how tempting it may be to skip it—to still hold a formal interview process with the rehire to establish (amongst other things) if grudges remain present and if they may hinder performance.
Another issue with rehiring, particularly those who have resigned, is that the things that caused them to resign in the first place may still be present. So, what is to stop them from resigning again? Therefore, during your formal rehire interview, it’s important to probe and get a clear explanation for why they resigned. If the issue has not been resolved, you’ll need to discuss this openly with the rehire for their thoughts rather than encouraging them to blindly step back into the frying pan.

Also, think about how they will fit back into the new structure. Often when a person leaves a team, the dynamic shifts—people step up and take on new roles and responsibilities and achieve a higher status within the team. How will the rehire fit into the new team dynamic? Will they be able to adjust to suit the new team dynamic and can the new team adjust to let them back in? Clarify any differences in the role and team dynamic to the rehire so they don’t simply assume they are coming back to the 2010 structure when it’s actually a 2013 structure. For example, are they now in charge of a former equal, or is a subordinate now in charge of them?

Also, try and avoid simply giving the role to the rehire by ensuring that internal applicants get a chance to apply for the role otherwise you could generate resentment from internal staff who have been overlooked.

As a final word, I think that rehires have the ability to be a core part of an organization’s future talent stream, but there are risks as well as rewards from rehiring alumni and it’s important that employers put rehires through a formal interview process where their strengths and weaknesses can be considered alongside internal and first time applicants. This means that if you do select a rehire you know you have hired the best possible applicant available at the time.

by Luke Roney

Sweaty palms.

Shaky voice.

Blank mind.
These symptoms of nervousness can seriously sabotage a job interview, no matter how prepared and qualified you are.

To quell these natural responses and help you muster more confidence in anxious situations, consider these quick confidence hacks to help you perform better right before your next job interview — no energy drinks or cheesy motivational speeches required!

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist of Harvard Business School, talked about what people do while do while waiting for a job interview to start in a recent TedGlobal presentation.

“You’re sitting down. You’re looking at your iPhone or your Android. You are looking at your notes.”

This common waiting room behavior is not really ideal for maximizing your confidence right before an interview. Instead, the following activities will make you way more confident before meeting a potential boss:

1. Strike a Power Pose for 2 Minutes

According to Cuddy, rather than hunching up and making yourself small in the waiting room chair as you scramble to soak up last minute notes or practice one final interview question, what you should actually find a private place to do this:

Cuddy calls it a “Power Pose.” There are a few different variations, but the Wonder Woman pose is really easy to remember. So 10 minutes before your interview, go somewhere private, like the bathroom, and strike a strong pose where you take up as much space as possible.

In an interview with Inc. magazine, Cuddy talked about an experiment she did where she brought people into the lab and had them spit into a little vial to get baseline testosterone (the hormone associated with dominance) and cortisol (the hormone associated with stress).  Then, some people did a high-power pose for 2 minutes and others did low-power pose (hunched over). She tested their hormones to find that:

“The high-power pose caused a decrease in cortisol of about 25 percent and an increase in testosterone of about 19 percent,” Cuddy told Inc.

There you have it! Strike a power pose to prevent releasing those stress hormones!

2. Repeat a Positive Affirmation

“Repeating a positive affirmation can reduce production of cortisol and stress hormones by almost 50 percent, slow the mind, lower your blood pressure and heart rate and make you feel confident and powerful,” says Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of The Mindful Living Network and the Stress Institute.

Hall offers the following examples: I am confident in all things. I have unlimited potential.

Joyce Marter, psychotherapist and CEO of Urban Balance, would agree and suggests deep breathing while you recite a positive mantra in your head “using language you will want to use in the interview, such as ‘I absolutely will succeed in this job if given the opportunity.’”

You might feel a little silly at first, but these words will help you emit a more positive appearance — and that sure beats a nervous one!

3. Read Over Nice Things People Have Said About You

Thinking back to a time when you were successful and confident is a great way to recreate that confidence right before an interview. A quick and easy way to do this is to print out and compile anything nice that someone has said about you.

Read old letters of recommendation, LinkedIn endorsements, letters or notes from colleagues or teachers that have boosted your confidence in the past.

If you’re not really feeling this method, “Quickly review your biggest accomplishments in your head before going into the interview,” says Katherine Walker, founder and executive director of Lifetime Behavioral Health. “This trip down memory lane will instantly create a sense of confidence and serve to get your brain thinking about items the interviewer will no doubt ask you about.”

It’s the best way to remind yourself that all of your previous experiences have helped shape you and prepare you to succeed in this job interview!

by Tom Byrne

An Interview is the best opportunity you will have to gather information and market yourself to a prospective employer. Invest a few minutes in reviewing these tips for a successful interview outcome.

1. You’re on stage from the moment you get in the parking lot. From this point on, anyone whom you run into, smile, look them in the eye, and be pleasant. Be nice to the receptionist/secretary and be courteous to everyone, even if you’re in a rush. Don’t be short …you’d be surprised how much influence they can have in the hiring process.

2. You are interviewing them too. Not only do you want to identify 2 or 3 three qualifications in your background to bring forward, but you also need 2 or 3 things that are important to you about the potential working environment. Spend 15-20 minutes prior to the interview to plan your questions.

3. Don’t assume they have done a thorough review of your resume/background. Be sure to bring a copy of your resume with you. It’s your job to convey your strengths. Choose 3 things that match up well with their environment and convey those on the interview. If things turn out to be different that you expected, you need to be flexible.

4. You may be asked about your short and long term goals. Keep your goals realistic and along the lines of the things they’re looking for. For example, if you want to own your own company, you might not want to mention that on the interview. Make your goals pertinent to the interview and the work environment.

5. Try to draw comparisons to previous work experiences. A good way to answer questions is with real world experiences. For example, take a project you’ve recently completed and apply the experience to the company’s current challenges.

6. Think before you answer. Always be sure you understand the question before you begin to answer. If you’re unsure about what they’re trying to ask you – which happens a lot in technology because it’s so complex – check for understanding by asking them to explain what they’re looking for.

7. Rating questions are tricky. When you are asked to rate yourself, don’t give yourself the highest rating. Say “I feel good about my skills but there is always something new to learn – I’m sure I could learn something from you.” Always qualify your example with real world experiences.

8. Body language is vital to the interview and accounts for over 50% of the message. A firm handshake, positive body alignment, and good eye contact are vital for a successful interview. You’ve probably talked to someone who will not look you in the eye; they make you uncomfortable and you wonder what they are hiding. Make sure to maintain eye contact with everyone in the room – it also shows active interest.

9. Personal questions – don’t ask any!  If they ask you (where you live, etc)…it is professional business etiquette to answer the question, as you will be building rapport, but always let the interviewer open the door first.

10. In closing, before you leave, ask them “Based upon our interview, is there anything lacking in my background that would prevent me from getting this position?” This gives you one last chance to overcome any issues – no one can explain it better than you. Plus, it gives you a chance to turn a negative into a positive. Lastly, do not bring up salary! If they ask you what you are currently earning then tell them. If they ask you what you are looking in salary tell them that you are negotiable. Let your recruiter handle the salary negotiations for you. Thank them for their time and if interested in the position…. make sure to let them know it before you leave.

1. Traditional one on one job interview

The traditional one on one interview is where you are interviewed by one representative of the company, most likely the manager of the position you are applying for. Because you will be working with this person directly if you get the job, he/she will want to get a feel for who you are and if your skills match those of the job requirements.

You may be asked questions about the experience on your resume, what you can offer to the company or position. Many times the interviewer will ask you questions such as “Why would you be good for this job?” or “Tell me about yourself.” The one on one interview is by far, one of the most common types of job interviews.

2. Panel Interview

In a panel interview, you will be interviewed by a panel of interviewers. The panel may consist of different representatives of the company such as human resources, management, and employees. The reason why some companies conduct panel interviews is to save time or to get the collective opinion of panel regarding the candidate. Each member of the panel may be responsible for asking you questions that represent relevancy from their position.

3. Behavioral Interview

In a behavioral interview, the interviewer will ask you questions based on common situations of the job you are applying for. The logic behind the behavioral interview is that your future performance will be based on a past performance of a similar situation. You should expect questions that inquire about what you did when you were in XXX situation and how did you dealt with it. In a behavioral interview, the interviewer wants to see how you deal with certain problems and what you do to solve them.

4. Group Interview

Many times companies will conduct a group interview to quickly pre-screen candidates for the job opening as well as give the candidates the chance to quickly learn about the company to see if they want to work there. Many times, a group interview will begin with a short presentation about the company. After that, they may speak to each candidate individually and ask them a few questions.

One of the most important things the employer is observing during a group interview, is how you interact with the other candidates. Are you emerging as a leader or are you more likely to complete tasks that are asked of you? Neither is necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what type of personality works best for the position that needs to be filled.

5. Phone Interview

A phone interview may be for a position where the candidate is not local or for an initial pre-screening call to see if they want to invite you in for an in-person interview. You may be asked typical questions or behavioral questions.

Most of the time you will schedule an appointment for a phone interview. If the interviewer calls unexpectedly, it’s ok to ask them politely to schedule an appointment. On a phone interview, make sure your call waiting is turned off, you are in a quiet room, and you are not eating, drinking or chewing gum.

6. Lunch Interview

Many times lunch interviews are conducted as a second interview. The company will invite you to lunch with additional members of the team to further get to know you and see how you fit in. This is a great time to ask any questions you may have about the company or position as well, so make sure you prepare your questions in advance.

Although you are being treated to a meal, the interview is not about the food. Don’t order anything that is too expensive or messy to eat. Never take your leftovers home in a doggy bag either. You want to have your best table manners and be as neat as possible. You don’t need to offer to pay, it is never expected for a candidate to pay at a lunch interview.

by David Shindler

I once turned a job down after getting a response to a question I asked at the end of an interview. My question was “what’s the worst thing about working here?”

The interviewer was a little too honest and replied: “I didn’t get to see my kids growing up”. A very revealing comment about the employer’s culture and level of commitment expected that clashed with my work-life value at the time (I had young kids).

Getting a job you like and really want involves a two-way process of you and the employer checking each other out for mutual fit. You don’t want to be checking out too soon! Asking questions can demonstrate your interest, passion and intelligence for the position. Questions also provide a great marketing opportunity, so you need to think about:

  • Why you are asking the question (to seek or give information, clarification, testing?)
  • What type of question to ask (closed, open, hypothetical?) and
  • Know the consequences of each (factual information, opening up discussion and potential questions back).

Here are 50 questions to ask to help you make the right decision for you (the last one is my favorite!):

  1. What’s it like to work here?
  2. What is a typical day like for someone in this position?
  3. How has your experience been working here?
  4. If you had to ‘sell’ this company today to someone who is a great fit, what would you tell him/her?
  5. What’s the best thing about working here/this position?
  6. What is the most challenging thing about working here/this position?
  7. How is this company different from others you worked at previously?
  8. What keeps you working here?
  9. What is the biggest challenge you have personally faced in this organization?
  10. What are the main challenges I would face if you recruited me and I started tomorrow?
  11. Overall, how would you classify the financial health of the company?
  12. What do you see as your biggest advantages over your main competitors?
  13. What does the company need most right now?
  14. What excites you about the future here/in this section?
  15. How does the organization fulfill its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
  16. How do you describe your company’s culture?
  17. How do you describe your department’s/section’s/team’s culture?
  18. What is the predominant management or leadership style here?
  19. How do people have a voice in your organization/this section?
  20. What are the qualities of your best performing employees?
  21. What sets them apart and makes them special in your eyes?
  22. In what ways do you empower your employees?
  23. How will you support or invest in me so I can be at my best?
  24. What opportunities are there to take on management/leadership roles within the department or projects?
  25. What are the prospects for (further) progression or internal mobility?
  26. For this position, how frequently are people considered for new opportunities?
  27. How do you induct/on-board new recruits?
  28. How are expectations set and communicated to staff?
  29. How much autonomy/responsibility/accountability will I have?
  30. What support is there for dealing with difficulties?
  31. What is the primary goal or responsibilities of this position in the first year?
  32. Describe your impression of success for this position?
  33. What are the most important skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
  34. What are the most important attitudes necessary for someone to succeed in this job/organization?
  35. How will you know I’m doing a good job or not?
  36. What will you expect me to have achieved after 3 months? How will you know?
  37. Why is the position available?
  38. How many people have held this position in the last 5 years?
  39. What were the reasons they left?
  40. What was the reason the last person left?
  41. Can I see where I would be working/meet the people I would be working with?
  42. Can you show me some examples of projects I’ll be working on?
  43. What is the one character trait would you use to describe a successful employee here?
  44. What helped the previous person to be successful here?
  45. If I were employed here, what one piece of wisdom would you want me to incorporate into my work life?
  46. Can you describe the ideal candidate for this position?
  47. What advice would you give me so that I would be successful here?
  48. What further information do you need from me for you to make an informed decision?
  49. What further questions or concerns do you have about my ability to perform this job (or) that I need to clear up?
  50. What is the question you want me to ask right now?

Donna Fuscaldo, Glassdoor

With the job market extremely tight, even the small stuff counts, especially when you’re on a job interview. That’s why it’s so important not to say or do the wrong things, since that first impression could end up being the last one.
With that in mind, here are seven deadly sins of job interviewing.
1. Don’t Be Late To the Interview
Even if you car broke down or the subway derailed, do everything you can to get to that job interview on time.
“If you have a legitimate excuse it’s still hard to bounce back,” says Pamela Skillings, co-founder of job coaching firm Skillful Communications. “People are suspicious because they hear the same excuses all the time.”
On the flip side, you don’t want to show up too early and risk appearing desperate, but you do want to be there at least five minutes early or at the very least on time.
2. Don’t Show Up Unprepared
It seems simple, but countless people go on job interviews knowing very little about the company they are interviewing with when all it would take is a simple Google search to find out. As a result, they end up asking obvious questions, which signal to the interviewer that they are too lazy to prepare.
“Don’t ask if the company is public or private, how long it’s been in business and where they do their manufacturing,” says Mark Jaffe, president of Wyatt & Jaffe, the executive search firm. “Sharpen your pencil before you go to school.”
3. Don’t Ask About Salary, Benefits, Perks
Your initial interview with a company shouldn’t be about what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company. Which means the interview isn’t the time to ask about the severance package, vacation time or health plan. Instead you should be selling yourself as to why the company can’t live without you.
“Your interest should be about the job and what your responsibilities will be,” says Terry Pile, Principal Consultant of Career Advisors. “Asking about vacation, sick leave, 401K, salary and benefits should be avoided at all costs.”
4. Don’t Focus On Future Roles Instead Of The Job At Hand
The job interview is not the time or place to ask about advancement opportunities or how to become the CEO. You need to be interested in the job you are actually interviewing for. Sure, a company wants to see that you are ambitious, but they also want assurances you are committed to the job you’re being hired for.
“You can’t come with an agenda that this job is just a stepping stone to bigger and better things,” says Jaffe.
5. Don’t Turn The Weakness Question Into A Positive
To put it bluntly, interviewers are not idiots. So when they ask you about a weakness and you say you work too hard or you are too much of a perfectionist, chances are they are more apt to roll their eyes than be blown away. Instead, be honest and come up with a weakness that can be improved on and won’t ruin your chances of getting a job.
For instance, if you are interviewing for a project management position, it wouldn’t be wise to say you have poor organizational skills, but it’s ok to say you want to learn more shortcuts in Excel. “Talk about the skills you don’t have that will add value, but aren’t required for the job,” says Pile.
6. Don’t Lie
Many people think its ok to exaggerate their experience or fib about a firing on a job interview, but lying can be a surefire way not to get hired. Even if you get through the interview process with your half truths, chances are you won’t be equipped to handle the job you were hired to do. Not to mention the more you lie the more likely you are to slip up.
“Don’t exaggerate, don’t make things bigger than they are and don’t claim credit for accomplishments you didn’t do,” says Jaffe. “You leave so much room in your brain if you don’t have to fill it with which lie you told which person.”
7. Don’t Ask If There’s Any Reason You Shouldn’t Be Hired
Well meaning career experts will tell you to close your interview by asking if there is any reason you wouldn’t be hired. While that question can give you an idea of where you stand and afford you the opportunity to address any concerns, there’s no guarantee the interviewer is going to be truthful with you or has even processed your information enough to even think about that.
“All you are doing is prompting them to think about what’s wrong with you,” says Skillings.
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Read more: http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/deadly-interview-sins/#ixzz1tXC9HzfK

The Secret to answering:  “Why did you leave your last job?”

“Why did you leave your last job?” The question can strike fear in even the most confident candidate. Whether your answer is simple or complex, being asked to talk about it puts you on the spot, and it can be tricky to balance the truth while still painting yourself in the best possible light to your hopefully-soon-to-be employer. But, it doesn’t have to be as painful as you might think. Aside from wanting to know that you’re not a flake, your interviewer is asking this question to find out why you’re interested in the opening.

So, there’s an art to formulating your response that’ll enable you sail through smoothly and come out ahead (even if the circumstances were a bit dicey!). Here’s how to craft an expert answer.

Be Honest

This should go without saying, but you absolutely have to be up front about your reason for leaving, particularly if you were terminated—a prospective employer can (and in many cases, will) call your references or your last supervisor. And if you’ve been let go, don’t panic: It doesn’t mean you’re out of the running. Your best bet is to chalk it up to a learning experience and showcase what you’ve gained from it. People are often able to overlook mistakes if you admit to them and prove that you’ve grown in the process.

Stay Positive

Even if you suffered under the wrath of a Devil Wears Prada-type of supervisor, do not rant about a previous boss or company during an interview. And if you think were laid off unfairly, you still don’t want to paint yourself as a victim. According to corporate recruiter Deborah Osbourn, it’s fine to say the job wasn’t a good fit, but be prepared to give some concrete reasons to back up that statement—for example, you want to work in a more team-oriented environment, or the position didn’t make the best use of your skill set.

Keep it Short

Once you’ve answered the question, there’s no need to keep elaborating. The longer you continue talking, the more likely you are to start opening up about things that aren’t necessary. Yes, your back-stabbing co-workers, the CEO’s anger management problem, and the company’s “creative” reporting practices are all good reasons to leave, but they’re not appropriate to share during an interview. And if you’re leaving on good terms and are simply looking for a new challenge, that’s all you need to say on the matter. If the interviewer wants more information, she’ll ask you to expand.

Focus on the New Job

The best way to conclude your response is to spin it back to what’s most important—why you are interested in the job you’re interviewing for. “The person interviewing you wants to know that you want that job and will be interested in it for a while,” says Osbourn. “You would be surprised how many people are unable to clearly express their interest in the job.” Highlight job duties for the new position that spark your interest (“in my last role, I didn’t have much opportunity to collaborate with other departments, so I’m excited about working on cross-functional teams here”). And definitely beware of citing any dislikes from previous jobs that are clearly defined in the job description for this role. Hated cold calling prospects? Be sure that’s not listed as a requirement before spouting off! Remember, every question you’re asked is a chance to showcase your qualities, personality, and interest in the position. You’ve already passed the initial screen, and the interview is your time to shine.

So when asked about your previous job, just keep your answer short, honest, and positive, and you’ll be on to the next question in no time (and hopefully, the job!).”

 

This month’s newsletter article was written by Elizabeth Lowman, a freelance writer whose work has been featured in publications such as Forbes and the Huffington Post.

This newsletter article is written by a blogger – Harry Urschel.  It is entitled:  It’s not about you!  It is quite a lengthy piece, but one that I think brings us all back down to earth and puts the job market into an honest perspective.

Many job seekers pursue opportunities with a focus on finding a company that will…

  • “appreciate me for who I am”
  • “help me develop to my maximum potential”
  • “help me explore different functions to find where I’m most fulfilled”
  • “give me opportunities for growth when I feel I’m ready”
  • “judge me only by what I do, and not trivial factors like how I look, or how I talk”
  • “know that no one is perfect, and even though I might fail, people should always get another chance”
  • “not constrict me with uniform rules or expectations, but let each person do what works best for them”
  • “pay me what I know I’m worth”
  • “make me excited to come to work each day”

While it’s natural to want all these things, and more… frankly, for the most part, the company doesn’t really care!

Is it good for companies to have happy, fulfilled, employees? Of course, and most companies try to do all they can to that end. However, it’s for the purpose of facilitating an environment that will make employees as productive as they can be in order for the company to be as successful and profitable as it can for the benefit of its owners or shareholders.

Companies do not exist for the purpose of providing fulfilling career opportunities for people. They exist to provide a product or service in order to earn a profit. Providing fulfilling career opportunities is a side benefit, and not the reason for being.

So… particularly in this tough and competitive job market… what should you consider in order to land a job?

What does the company want? Ultimately, the company will hire the kind of person that they want. It’s not their responsibility to figure out what you want and offer it to you. The more you match their vision of an ideal candidate, the greater chance you have of landing the job.

You’re not the only one. When unemployment rates are high, companies have a number of people they can consider for any particular opening. You are competing with several people. The likelihood is that most of them can do the job, it will be additional factors that will make the difference as to who gets the job or not. It’s a buyers’ market!

Appearance matters. While you may think “I gotta be me”, you are probably competing with people that present themselves in a professional way. Loud tattoos, extraordinary piercings or hairstyles, too casual, or inappropriate clothing may express the image you want to portray to the world. However, a company has every right to expect their employees to appear professional to their customers, other departments, and co-workers. Way outside the box appearance rarely gets rewarded. If they are interviewing multiple candidates, others in that group are likely to fit the image.

Communication matters. While it may seem like you’re being “real” by speaking very casually, using a lot of slang, emailing with texting abbreviations, or occasionally cussing, it presents a less than professional image in a work environment. Similar to appearance issues, it’s not likely to fit the professional image they are seeking and they are probably interviewing others that do.

Express a willingness to do what it takes. While goals and ambition are good, a willingness to do the things necessary to prove yourself and achieve results before expecting more responsibility or other opportunities is important. Particularly with people early in their career, they often don’t know what they don’t know. They often expect opportunities to take the next step before they are ready, and don’t trust those who know better to decide. A candidate that understands that their own goals will be achieved best by learning all they can and excelling at their current responsibilities, is far more attractive than one who only wants to “move up”, even before they master their current role.

Know, and be able to articulate what you offer them. Often, candidates are best at expressing what they are looking for. What matters to an employer, however, is how you can solve their problems, get their work done, and help them be more productive. The better you can express what you can accomplish for them, the more attractive a candidate you become.

The more you focus on what a company wants rather than your own desires in a new employer, the greater your chances of landing a position.

Furthermore, you’re likely to find that the more you focus on accomplishing the company’s objectives throughout your career, you will much more likely accomplish your own as well. You will be given more opportunities and greater consideration when you’re viewed as someone that can achieve the company’s goals.

It’s an irony that… once you realize it’s not about you, your own desires are more likely to be realized.”

Another question that is almost always asked in an interview is the open-ended: “Tell me about yourself.” One must understand that employers are trying to gauge many things from the answer they get from you:
  • Do you communicate well (confident? well spoken? eye contact?)
  • Past work experience, reasons for leaving, future plans
  • Personality!!! (are you a culture fit? what type of personality are you?)
“They want to gauge how the person thinks,” says Eileen Finn, president of executive search firm Eileen Finn & Associates in New York. Even though there is no one right answer, focusing on the past, the negative, or the too personal can hurt your chances of making it through.
Here are some pointers to consider when formulating the answer to this question .
  • A good option would be to ask your interviewer: “Where would you like me to start off?” If they don’t tell you, or let you decide, then talk about your previous work experiences and tell them why you’ve chosen the career you’re in. Don’t bad mouth previous employers.
  • Keep personal negative events out of your answer: You also don’t want to tell an interviewer you’re divorced; you want to tell them something positive, like you’re a big believer in giving back to the community.
  • Length: If you’re too wordy you’re going to lose them, but if you just give them bullet points without any narrative or conversation then they’re going to think you’re not self-reflective or self-aware. It is a fine line! The answer should be short and succinct, never more than five minutes
  • Some things you need to include: Brief details about who you are, things you’re passionate about and areas you focus on, and past positive work experiences. Ensure you don’t go over any facts a second time during the duration of your interview. You should sound confident and at ease, but never cocky.
  • Mention achievements, but don’t brag about them.
  • Role-playing your answer to a family member or close friend can go a long way (if they are willing to be honest with you).
  • Preparation, however, is the key!
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