3 Stupid Questions To Ask In An Interview

I’m sure at this point you saw the news from this weekend – Reese Witherspoon’s husband got arrested for DUI and she did what any drunk celebrity wife should do – threatened a police officer with the best question ever asked by celebrities – “Do you know who I am!?”   Yep – Mrs. Legally Blonde herself asked the one question celebrities are trained to never ask, under any circumstances.  She broke Rule #1 of being celebrity – and it was glorious!

This got me to thinking, from a candidate perspective, what are the questions who could ask that would ensure your interview went from Fab to Drab in about 3 seconds!?  My Catfish Friend, Kathy Rapp, over at Fistful of Talent had a great post this past week – 3 Questions Freakin’ Awesome Candidates Ask – which gave candidates three absolute home-run questions to ask at the end of the interview to show you’re a Rock Star candidate.  My list does the opposite!

The cool part of my list – is that each of these questions are from actual candidates asked during interviews that I’ve been apart of:

1.  Do you drug test?   Nope!  But we do now!  I’m pretty sure the person who asks this question has already made up their mind they don’t want to work for your company and they use this to ensure you won’t hire them.  Believe me there are plenty of people who interview, to get their parents, spouse, etc. off their back, but they don’t really want to work – so they sabotage themselves.  Asking dumb questions at the end is one of the best ways to sabotage an interview! Other question on this path – Do you do background checks? Do you do credit checks? Do you hire felons?

2. How long before I get to use sick time?  Never!  Because you wont’ be working here!  Again, the person who asks this question asks it for a reason – that reason is they ‘plan’ on being sick.  Quick HR Pro Rule of Thumb – if someone plans on being sick – you aren’t going to be happy with that hire.  Other questions on this same path:  When would I get a raise? How soon can I use my health insurance?  What happens if I’m late to work?

Question #3 and the rest of the article

3 Questions Freakin’ Awesome Candidates Ask

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I read and essentially disagreed with a post over at Recruiter.com about “7 Questions Great Candidates Ask“, so figured I better pony up with some of my favorite questions.  It wasn’t that ALL 7 sucked, but they were predictable,  like “Why did the previous job holder leave?”  And, “job holder”?  Really??!  Who says “job holder”?

I did like #7 – “How do your employees wind down?”, but the suggested response blew. Candidates don’t want to hear about your commitment to work-life balance, because guess what – they won’t (and shouldn’t) believe you.  I’ve said before there’s no such thing as work-life “balance” as balance implies equality.  There can be work-life trade-offs.  Some weeks you kill yourself on a project.  The trade-off being when you need to get to your kid’s basketball game at 4pm you’re court-side by 3:45pm and not checking email.

Here are my 3 and why only freakin’ AWESOME candidates ask these questions:

#1.  Why should I leave a job I love to come over here?  This question says, I’m an extremely passive candidate and you’re going to have to really convince me to even continue in the interview process.  It is also asking for transparency.  What’s the real story about your org and this role?

#2.  What would my priorities be for the first 6-12 months?  Your candidate is intrigued.  He/She is now looking for detail about what their 1st year would look like.  It’s also a question to test if you (hiring manager) have really thought through your priorities and expectations of the role.  You better be able to answer this one – and with more than “I want you to build relationships”.  Duh.

5 Standout Things To Bring To Your Next Interview

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It may seem obvious. You were invited to an interview with the hiring manager or recruiter. They beckoned you because they like your resume and believe you are qualified for the job. At this point, it’s all about the dialogue, and you are a fantastic interviewer, so what else do you need but yourself and your confidence – right?

Wrong. Sometimes less is not more. And, interviews offer an opportunity to strategically slide in a value-add here and there, depending upon the course the conversation takes.
Following are five ideas of value-add items to bring to the interview to help enhance your personal marketing message, compelling your interview forward:

1. Tweaked Resume: Even if you recently updated your resume, assess if a tweaked headline or modified achievement would more perfectly align your message with this specific interview.

Then, print off five to 10 copies of your resume from a quality printer using good, 24 lb. paper. Use a neutral, earthy tone: off-white, tan, light brown, gray or something similar. Show attention to detail, ensuring the watermark prints in an upright position. With a stack of freshly printed resumes in hand, you are equipped to distribute them to additional hiring decision makers who may unexpectedly arrive, empty-handed, at your meeting.

2. Toot-Your-Own-Horn Book: If you are in sales, this is an especially valuable tool. However, brag books needn’t be limited to sales-oriented interviews. Consider what visual representations of your value you could provide. Buy about a dozen 3-hole-punched sheet protectors in which to display your horn-tooting items. Examples include a thank-you note, a printout of a sales graph, an email from a happy client and a project milestone chart showcasing results of a mammoth project. What this book may consist of is only limited by your imagination and creativity. Think colorful and glimpse-able.

3. Testimonials Page. While you may not be ready to hand off contact information of your valuable references during the initial interview, you could create a ‘testimonials’ page with a list of three to five key people (names only, without phone numbers and email addresses), who are wowed by the value you provide.

Diversify the references to include a client, a vendor, a senior executive, a colleague, a direct report and so forth. Then, organize the page to include three columns: 1. Name of person and their company affiliation; 2. Your relationship to that person; e.g., you and s/he collaborated on a specific project; you provided sales consultation to that person; or, you trained them in their new role, for example; and, 3. What they have said in the past about you or would say if approached today about your contribution to individual or team goals in relationship to saving time, trimming costs or adding to profits.

Things 4,5, and the complete article

Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most

Meghan Casserly


I know you: You’ve made looking for your next job, well… your job. You’ve scoured your resume of clichéd buzzwords, brushed up on body language and even gotten a handle on the dreaded video interview.

But all that might be for naught if you just don’t have the personality your dream employer is looking for. New research shows that the vast majority of employers (88%) are looking for a “cultural fit” over skills in their next hire as more and more companies focus on attrition rates. Lucky for you, we’ve drilled down into data from 1,200 of the world’s leading employers (think General Electric, P&G and Accenture) to find precisely the personalities big business is looking for.


Universum, the Stockholm-based employer branding firm that annually surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide on jobs-related issues, has culled their data to the top five personality traits employers are looking for in job candidates in 2012. How’s that for a leg up on the competition?

“We surveyed employers to get a handle on the challenges that face them in hiring,” says Joao Araujo of Universum. “What are they looking for in employees and what are they not finding?” By identifying both traits, he says, aspiring job applicants can both identify the most sought after traits—and brush up resumes and interview tactics to best position themselves.

Professionalism (86%), high-energy (78%) and confidence (61%) are the top three traits employers say they are looking for in new hires. Kathy Harris, managing director of Manhattan-based executive search firm Harris Allied says these first-impression traits are the most critical for employers to prepare for as they all can be evaluated by a recruiter or hiring manager within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate.

“A manager can read you the moment you walk in the door,” she says; from the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake, presenting yourself as a confident, energetic professional is about as basic as career advice gets. But don’t be off-put by this commonplace advice. Harris, who specialized in high-level executive placement says even the most seasoned of CEOs can get tripped up by the basics. Universum clients agree: confidence ranks highest on the list of skills companies think employees are missing most.

“We remind every candidate of the most granular advice,” she says. The most successful applicant is the one who walks into every interview with her hand outstretched for a handshake, has done her homework on the interviewer and company and is dressed to fit effortlessly into the culture of the workplace.

Traits 4,5 and the complete Forbes article

8 New Ways To Look For A Job

By Marty Nemko

Sometimes it feels that job searching hasn’t changed in eons: Write a resume, network, answer ads, interview. And you’ve been using just those to land a job without success. So you’re craving something new.

Even in our highly-digitized era, I don’t believe the cloud can replace coffee — that is, sitting down over a cup of coffee with a potential job lead. That said, the internet continues to yield new tools, job search strategies, and factors to consider. Here’s the latest crop:

Employers will Google you. If there’s something you’ve posted that you don’t want prospective employers to see, take it down. If someone else has written something unfairly negative about you, see if you can get them to take it down. Be sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, including an engaging headshot.

Try CareerSonar. It ranks all jobs available online by the strength of your connections on Facebook and LinkedIn. That makes it easy for you to know when to try to get a connection to try to help you.

Check out Glassdoor.com. The site makes it easy to dig up the straight scoop on what it’s like to interview with and work for a specific employer.

You might try posting a Twesume: a 140-character resume on Twitter. Employers like to screen fast and many are looking for social-media-friendly applicants. Sample: Tech PR pro. 16+ years experience both in-house & agency. Looking in LA.

Tips 5-8 and the complete article

7 Ways Your Resume Is Just As Boring As Everyone Else’s

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The economy seems to be picking up a little, and more and more job seekers are coming to us and letting us know about internal opportunities within their organization they would like to apply to. But even as more opportunities open up, the competition is as strong—or stronger than ever before. That’s why your resume has to be perfect.

7 Ways Your Resume Is Boring

Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So, take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.

1. It’s Still Sporting That Outdated Objective

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

2. The Design/Format Is Generic

There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry-level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.

3. It’s Missing Important Keywords

Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.

4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements

Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.

Ways 5-7 and the complete Careerealism article