8: “We need to talk.”
“We need to talk” is the most frightening phrase in all the world. It doesn’t matter if you hear it from your partner or spouse or your boss. If you hear it from your boss there are only two outcomes: You are being fired or you are being given more work that you don’t have time to do. Derivations include: “Can you step into my office?” and “Close the door behind you.”
7: “I need an update on the project.”
Translation: Someone above your boss wants to know what is going on with your project. He or she is anxious for reasons that are either: a) so obvious, you were already working 80-hour weeks to finish it, or b) so opaque that you will now spend 80 hours per week finishing the project that no one wanted in the first place. If it’s a client, you can bet the finished project will sit on a shelf three months after you finish it anyway. Derivations include: “The client has new parameters,” and “Drop everything, Friday afternoon is a great time for a fire drill.”
6: “That was fine.”
If your boss’s response to “Did you get that thing I worked all night on?” is “That was fine,” one of two things is true: a) It wasn’t fine and the boss is going to fix it behind your back, or b) it wasn’t important to begin with. Either way, you’re in trouble. This is the ultimate “meh.” And your career is now meh, too. Derivations include: “I submitted your annual review. Sign it when you get a chance. No we don’t need to talk about it.”
This dreaded, seemingly trick question will no longer be difficult to answer in job interviews.
Most job candidates are familiar with the “What’s your biggest weakness?” interview question, but few feel equipped to answer the it with confidence.
The next time you’re asked the stress-inducing question in an interview, use these tips to provide a powerful response.
Avoid faux weaknesses.
Recruiters and employers don’t want to hear that you’re a perfectionist or any of those other faux weaknesses that can be turned into strengths. They actually want to know about an area you’ve struggled with, and most importantly, what you’ve done to overcome that limitation. Steer clear of the “positive” weaknesses and stick to sharing something that’s genuine.
Choose something work-related.
This is not the time to discuss your fear of commitment or that you get awful road rage during rush hour. Focus on an area that’s relevant to your professional life. For example, perhaps you struggled with multi-tasking earlier in your career but have become a master at it in recent years.
Don’t mention essential skills.
Remember, the goal is to share a shortcoming that you’ve already taken steps to improve. This demonstrates to the hiring manager that you’re not only self-aware, but you’re dedicated to self-improvement. If your greatest weakness is a critical requirement for the job and you’re still struggling in this area, then you may want to reconsider whether it’s the right role for you.
Whether you’re looking for a job or just want to keep your options open, connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn can help maximize your networking opportunities. Here’s how to approach recruiters to improve your chances of landing your dream job, today or down the road.
How to Find Recruiters:
1. Use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find recruiters in your field. In the keywords section, type in your field of interest and “recruiter.” For example, searching for “accounting recruiter” would result in a list of all recruiters who are currently working or have worked in the past with accounting. The next step is to check their profile, so as to be sure they still are in the field you are interested in and to connect with them.
2. Since not all recruiters are interested in networking (which could seem strange, but is still true, especially if they work for niche organizations or have moved on to different roles), another way to approach recruiters more confidently is to search by adding the acronym “LION” in the last name section of the advanced search discussed above. LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. This allows you to search for people who’ve expressed an interest in connecting, so chances of them accepting your invite are higher.
Tips 3-4 and How to Connect with Recruiters
In the past several years, mobile technology has simplified a wide range of the cumbersome, time-consuming, and unpleasant chores required of the professional class.
There’s Homejoy to clean your apartment, Uber and Lyft to hail a cab, and more food delivery apps than you can count.
But for all of the solutions created to improve the lifestyles of affluent urbanites, finding a job – the initial step that makes such a lifestyle possible – remains a lengthy and universally miserable process.
Sure, massive job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder alert us to an unprecedented number of potential openings – but who wants to give up hours of their precious leisure time crafting the perfect cover letter, only to submit the application into the internet equivalent of a black hole?
And while LinkedIn makes countless powerful people available for networking, the site is not perfect, especially for those who don’t have the time or the moxie to take advantage of it.
The result is that many would-be job seekers, lots of them talented and capable, choose not to bother until their current jobs become too bleak to bear.
Or at least that is what they have done until now.
In the past year, a new crop of apps has sprung up with the goal of hacking the job search for a new generation of professionals – one that is constantly on the lookout for the next opportunity and never very far from a mobile phone.
“We’re trying to liberate passive job seekers,” says Yarden Tadmor, founder and CEO of the New York City job-hunting app Switch. “Eventually, what we’re trying to create is an environment that connects people with companies and hiring managers.”
Switch, which went live this past summer, was inspired by Tadmor’s experience hiring for teams at several media technology companies, including the content recommendation engine Taboola.
Read the full article to find out what the hot new apps are.
It’s important to remember that every interview is a two-way street. You should be interviewing the employer just as much as they’re interviewing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.
So, when the tables are turned and the interview asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” take advantage of this opportunity. It’s the best way to determine if you’d be happy working for this employer, and whether your goals are aligned with theirs.
“The very process of asking questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and the hiring manager’s perception of you,” says Teri Hockett, chief executive of What’s For Work?, a career site for women. “Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to discover details that you might not have otherwise unveiled.”
Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says there’s another reason you should always prepare questions. “It’s expected — and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.” You should have at least four questions prepared, though, in case your original two are answered through the course of the interview.
But, Hoover says, don’t just ask questions for the sake of it. To actually benefit from them, you’ll need to think carefully about what you want to ask.
“Your questions can, in fact, make or break an interview,” she explains. “If they’re not thoughtful, or if you ask something that has already been addressed, this can hurt you way more than it can help. Asking smart, engaging questions is imperative.”
Here are 11 questions you should always ask in a job interview, if they weren’t already answered, to help you get a better sense of the role and the company, and to help you prepare for the next steps:
- Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?
- Who held this position previously? Why is he/she leaving the role?
- What do you like most about working for this company?