Thursday, January 23, 2020

How to Nail The 5 Frequently Asked Interview Questions

By

Are you preparing for a job interview? If so, ask yourself the following: How certain are you that your responses will make the grade? How can you build rapport, speak to your abilities with confidence and leave a favorable impression? How might you best position yourself as a knowledgeable insider—someone who can be counted on to hit the ground running?

In order to present yourself well at a job interview, it goes without saying that you need to prepare in detail. You have to thoroughly research the company, the needs of the hiring manager and the principle goals of the organization. Once you’ve done that, you will want target your responses to the specific skills and attributes they are seeking in a future employee.

But there are some shortcuts. You can count on several basic questions coming up—in one form or another—in almost every job interview. And fumbling your answers to these frequently asked questions can really trip you up. If you don’t take adequate time to prepare and target your responses, you will swiftly be eliminated from the candidate pool.

The following are 5 basic questions you absolutely need to nail:

4) Give me a time when you… (the event-specific, behavioral-style  question)
  • Study the job description and pinpoint the specific skills requested in the ad
  • Anticipate questions and prepare targeted examples
  • Create a “cheat sheet” (using a resume copy for yourself) complete with trigger words that will help you remember the examples you want to use
5) Do you have any questions for us?
Yes, you do! It is critical that you come with a list of well thought out questions. Then you can pick and choose the most appropriate as the interview unfolds.
  • It’s best to start with open-ended questions that will get the hiring manager talking about his/her true needs.
  • What do you see to be the most critical components of the job?
  • What needs to be done immediately?
  • What are some of the long-range goals of the position?
  • How can the new person make your life easier?
Also be certain to ask questions that show you’ve done your homework.
  • I understand your company is expanding into new markets in Asia. How will this affect your department?
  • With the launch of product X, how do anticipate customer reaction?
If you prepare compelling and targeted responses to these 5 typically asked questions, you can approach the interview from a position of strength. Take pride in the skills and experience you offer a future employer and get yourself psyched to win. With the right attitude, confidence in your abilities and a little luck, you just might find yourself at the top of the candidate list!

Read all 5 Questions and their Answers + the complete article

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Job Hunting Advice for People Over 50

By Karen Wickre

My new book, Take the Work Out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count,  is for job seekers of all ages, but I’d like to offer some advice here about networking and job hunting specifically to people who are 50+.

It’s easy to understand the reluctance people this age sometimes have about networking — meeting strangers, especially those who might be younger and may represent the change they fear. Not unreasonably, the older worker might think: Why would they help me? What will we have to talk about? What if they say no?

I’ve seen quite a few work veterans set their sights lower or stay in a stale longtime role, playing the waiting game for a severance package, because of such fears.

Job Hunting Advice About Age Discrimination

To combat age discrimination of employers, when you’re job hunting look closely at the diversity and inclusion record of companies you’re interested in, search LinkedIn to see if people in your age range work there and make connections to get a reality check.

An efficient way to learn about a new industry or pick up a variety of skills quickly is to join a specialist consulting agency (for example, marketing and advertising, tech support, communications) that has clients across a range of businesses.

Or you might consider roles in firms that are not brand names, less well-known companies outside the spotlight where you can get the skills you need to transition into a new area.

The Networking Advantage People 50+ Have

Two more points about job hunting and networking when you’re in the 50+ club:

First, the longer you’ve worked (and lived), the more contacts you’ll have from a wide variety of backgrounds. Your weak ties (people you know very slightly at best, perhaps worked with briefly or met through a friend) are especially useful as you explore new options and locations.  Think very broadly about who you know, including people you may have met in passing or who are colleagues of friends, to learn about opportunities that are not familiar.

Second, think about how you can position yourself as a “men- tern” — a neologism that describes someone who can mentor others while learning new skills as an intern does (not that you have to actually be in that role).

In his new book Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder, the seasoned hotelier and entrepreneur Chip Conley tells the story of joining Airbnb at age 52. Though Chip has earned plenty of EQ (emotional intelligence) over his career, he says he came to the young company with no discernible DQ (digital intelligence). As he tells it, his time at Airbnb helped him gain DQ as he was able to impart EQ to younger colleagues.

If Your Network Is Dormant -- Read the full article for more advice, tips, and tricks...




Thursday, January 9, 2020

The 5 Deadly Phrases To Avoid In The Job Interview Process

Chris Westfall

When it comes to the job interview process, whoever tells the best story wins. But certain phrases and ideas can short-circuit your career plans. Are you really able to have the kind of leadership conversation your job search deserves? When it comes to creating the career conversation that leads to consideration, avoid these five show-stoppers in the interview.

1 - When Is Honesty NOT the Best Policy? - do you ever find yourself saying a version of this phrase: “If I’m being honest...”? TBH, that phrase is honestly hurting your chances in the interview process. Here’s why: if I need to call out the fact that I’m being honest right now, doesn’t it make you wonder if I’ve been honest with you up until this point? Why did I wait until now to get real and spill the T? Actually, in the interview, honesty is the only policy that works. Highlighting the fact that you are getting to the truth, but only just right now, can arouse suspicion and make people wonder why you aren’t full-on honest all the time. If you are a person of integrity, honesty is your default setting. Don’t create unnecessary suspicion. “To be honest...” is a filler phrase — like “umm” “Uh...” and “like.” None of those fillers are very satisfying in the job interview. So be really honest with yourself, and leave out the words that don’t serve you.

5 - Ultimatums - an ultimatum is a statement of what you won’t tolerate, usually phrased as a demand. Ultimatums reflect terms that you will or won’t accept, period. By definition, ultimatums point to your lack of flexibility and adaptability (two characteristics that might be useful for a new hire, wouldn’t you agree? Why would you demonstrate that you lack these two key qualities?) Now some ultimatums are important: “I won’t tolerate racism on my team,” for example, points to your beliefs and values. But “I won’t work on weekends” or “I need every Thursday afternoon off, or I can’t work here” is really pointing out your limitations. Look for phrases like “I can’t accept _______,” “I won’t allow that” or “That just won’t work for me.” Because if it won’t work for you, maybe you won’t work for this company. Every job interview is a negotiation. Once you get to “yes” you can decide if you want to take the job or not. You’re in the interview to explore your options — why start cutting yourself off from possibilities? Does it help your career to present demands and requirements, or are there other ways of looking at the situation? Is your ultimatum a personal preference that you’re clinging to, like a security blanket, or a statement of your integrity, values and work ethic? It’s better to keep your options open if you really want the job. Know the difference between uncompromising values and limiting statements that knock you out of the running. Keep your options open. Find out what’s really on offer and make a business decision to see if it fits for you. Ultimately, what you will and won’t accept is your choice, but arriving at that place without ultimatums is a smart way to frame the conversation.  

See all 5 deadly phrases and the complete Forbes article

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

8 Secrets Recruiters Won’t Tell You (But Really Want To)



Recruiters may seem intimidating, but they genuinely want the best for both candidates and the company. Good recruiters want you to have the best experience possible during the application and interview process — but even though they want the best for you, there are some things that they just can’t share. 

Salary bands, candidate competition, internal HR tactics — let’s just call them trade secrets. They are the confidential information that, unfortunately, recruiters cannot divulge. 

To get to the truth, we reached out to Omer Molad, CEO/Founder of Vervoe, a recruiting company that replaces face-to-face interviews with online simulations for small and medium-sized businesses. Molad built his business on the premise that hiring is painful, and he has unique insight into the frustrations and insights of recruiters. 

Here are a few of the secrets that Molad says recruiters won’t tell you, but really want to. 

1. “We could have gone higher if you had negotiated.”

Salary negotiations are like a game of poker — both job seekers and recruiters are trying to maintain control and win the hand. “Very few (if any) recruiters will be so bold as to say ‘we took advantage of you and we don’t value you highly,’” says Molad. In fact, there is often a salary band or range that recruiters have for each role. Their initial salary offer is very rarely at the top of their salary band, so base pay — as well as benefits like vacation days, work hours, etc. — can usually be negotiated. 

6. “We already gave the job to an in-house employee.”

Unfortunately, it’s perfectly legal to advertise a job that is almost certain to be filled by an insider. In fact, some research has shown that internal hires generally perform better than external ones. However, “phantom jobs” can be downright annoying when you’re looking for a new position. Even though federal labor rules don’t require employers to post openings, many HR departments require roles to be listed on a job board for some period of time to ensure a fair hiring process. Therefore, Molad says, don’t expect recruiters to come right out and say, “It was a beauty parade to show management we ran a process, but it was a sham and you were never really considered.” 

Instead, shake it off and get back on the horse — there are plenty of opportunities out there, and the job that fits your life is just a few clicks away. 

See all 8 secrets and the complete Glassdoor article




Thursday, November 21, 2019

Job Hunting After 50: The Power Of Creativity And Persistence



Brave New Workshop is an improv theater in downtown Minneapolis. Several years ago, I participated in its 55+ improv class taught by theater veteran Jim Robinson. A dozen students and I went through classic improv exercises, including spinning a tale one sentence at a time by saying “yes, and” before adding to the story.

The big lesson I took away about creativity from those classes is how vitally important the “yes, and” mindset is. Lately, I’ve come to realize that’s especially true when you’re looking for a job after 50.

Most of us, at work and at home, often respond to others with “yes, but,” pointing out what’s wrong with what we hear. The “yes, and” response instead encourages openness to new ideas and opportunities.

Tom Zitzmann

Then: Laid Off Travel Group Trainer; Now: Gold Mine Truck Driver

I thought of the importance of improv and the “yes, and” approach to the job search in the second half of life after recently meeting Tom Zitzmann in a coffee shop in Plymouth, Minn. Zitzmann, who’s 66, drives a truck in an underground gold mine near Elko, Nevada. The job isn’t something he ever imagined doing. But he loves the work, and the income has stabilized his household finances.

“I was able to talk my way in,” he says. “I really like the job.”

For 23 years, Zitzmann worked with the Carlson Travel Franchise Group, mostly training owners, managers and agents. Then, he was unexpectedly laid off in 2009 at 56. Money was tight. Zitzmann kept applying for full-time positions while making ends meet with a variety of part-time jobs — for the 2010 Census, Best Buy and a small marketing company where he poured liquor on weekends. He was putting in 60 hour work weeks and not getting ahead. In 2011, his wife — now 68 — got laid off from her job at a computer company.

By January 2012, “I knew it was time for a big change,” Zitzmann says.

And that’s where his story takes a twist. Zitzmann, who was adopted right after birth, had later in life contacted members of his birth family (his birth mother and father had died). One birth brother lived in Elko, Nev. and owned a small trucking business. He encouraged Zitzmann to come and be a truck driver at one of the area’s underground gold mines; Zitzmann had some experience driving trucks and construction equipment, mostly in high school and college.

So, on April 15, 2012, he took a chance, drove to Elko and started some creative job hunting.

“I’d call people on the phone establishing contacts. I’d apply online with all the major mining companies working in Northern Nevada. I kept notes on everyone I talked to and used their name when I contacted someone else from that company. Jobs were there, but still tight for a rookie like me,” Zitzmann recalls.

To make himself a stronger job candidate, he read all the mining journals and newspapers he could find. That way, he’d know some of the jargon and be able to use it in job interviews. And, Zitzmann says, “I’d tell my story to everyone and try to make connections.”

It worked. He landed a job and started on June 7, 2012. Since then, he’s been driving a truck in the mines for seven days straight followed by seven days off, typically working 84 hours a week. Household finances have definitely improved and he’s contributing to the company’s 401(k). He returns to Minnesota whenever practical on his off weeks.

In 2018, he won a Safety Champion award from the Nevada State Mining Association.

I’m consistently amazed at the creativity some people over 50 exhibit when looking for work that offers them purpose and a paycheck. Park ranger. Housesitter for wealthy families. Work-camper, or modern-day nomads in RVs holding jobs at seasonal businesses.

But this kind of creativity and persistence by older job seekers is pretty unusual.

“Ninety-five percent of the time, people are conventional in their job search,” says Steve Jewell, a Twin Cities-based human resources consultant and corporate recruiter. “But five to ten percent say: ‘I’m going to get what I want in a different setting.”

Read more examples and the complete Forbes article


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

How to Pick the Best Resume Format?

Roy Maclaughlin 

Each resumes is written to tell a story about what you’ve done, what you will bring to the company, and eventually who you are. The more conveying a story is, the more chances you have to land an interview. At the same time, a resume is an extremely flexible document that allows job seekers to adjust their experiences and skills depending on their target jobs and career goals.

In other words, candidates can alter the format of the document as well as tweak their content based on their needs and wants. However, the challenge is to know which resume format will help you tweak the story in a way that will land more interviews.

Unfortunately, not many job seekers are concerned about choosing the right resume format to showcase their accomplishments and skills. One format doesn’t fit all (and unlikely ever will).

1) Reverse Chronological Format

This is the number one choice for most job seekers.  Although it may seem that a reverse chronological resume is somewhat ordinary, employers and recruiters prefer this format over the others. The reason is simple – a reverse chronological format allows hiring managers to quickly skim through the document and locate necessary information (remember that decision-makers on average spend 6-10 seconds on reviewing a resume).

This format implies you will list your work experiences starting from the most recent ones. This helps to hire managers to see one’s recent experiences first, which is exactly what they want.  Besides, this layout helps see career progression, including which positions you have held and for how long.

Therefore, candidates with consistent work history that have an upward career trajectory should choose a reverse-chronological format. It helps narrate a story with the most recent plot and flows in the reverse order of occurrence.

Because this particular resume format places a huge emphasis on work experience it is sometimes criticized for being experience-based rather than accomplishments-based. However, one can easily substitute generic bulleted statements with the list of accomplishments. This way you will be able to show the results of your work under each employment.

If you are an entry-level candidate or you have significant career gaps and inconsistent employment history, you may want to consider one of the resume formats below.

Use this format if

  • You have no employment gaps
  • Your recent work experience relates to the target job
  • Most of your work experience is in the career field you want to land your next job in

See resume formats 2,3, as well as non-traditional resume and the complete article

 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How To Answer The Salary Question On Online Job Applications And Other Common Job Search Negotiation Questions Answered

Caroline Ceniza-Levine

Here are five job search negotiation questions:

1 - How do you address online applications that require a dollar figure and avoid being screened out?

Getting the salary question so early in the hiring process is one of the reasons to avoid online applications if you can help it. It’s hard to give a desired salary when you don’t know much about the job. The desired salary should always be about the job at hand, not what you were making before, what you hope to make, even what you think you deserve.

Therefore, if possible, try to get referred to someone and get a chance to speak with people to learn more specifics about the job before suggesting a salary. However, sometimes you don’t don’t have an existing connection into the company, and you want to apply before too many others apply. First, see if you can just skip the question or write a text response (such as “commensurate with responsibilities of the job”). If not, put a nonsensical number like $1 so that you can move past the question. If you get asked about the $1 response in the first interview, then you can mention that you need to learn more about the job first before estimating the appropriate salary.

2 - How do you avoid mentioning a salary range during your first interview?

Related to the first question, another attendee wanted to avoid giving a salary range, not just at the application stage, but even in the first interview. While I agree that you want to have as much detail about the job as possible before quoting a desired salary, you don’t want to avoid discussing salary at all costs. Some recruiters don’t move forward with a candidate if they don’t have an idea of target salary because the candidate might be too expensive and it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Refusing to discuss salary may prevent you from moving forward.

Therefore, you don’t want to avoid mentioning a salary range at all – just avoid mentioning a salary target too soon. Too soon is when you’re not clear about the job. It’s also too soon to discuss salary if you have not researched the market and may underestimate or overestimate your value. For that reason, you should be researching salaries now, even before you get into an interview situation. You don’t want to be caught unprepared to discuss salary. Your lack of readiness is a problem for you, not the employer.

Read Questions / Answers 3-5 and the complete Forbes article