Wednesday, February 19, 2020

4 Mistakes To Avoid In A Job Interview

Ashira Prossack

No matter how qualified or talented you are, there are a few mistakes you can make in a job interview that will reduce your chances of getting a job offer. 

1) Making a less than stellar first impression. 

Your job interview starts the second you walk through the building doors. Be polite to everyone you meet, from the doorman to the people you ride the elevator with. Remove your headphones and put your phone away when you check in with the receptionist. This shows respect and also ensures that you won’t be distracted by a notification when someone is speaking to you. 

Companies are starting to enlist the help of their teams to help choose candidates. This means that your interaction with the receptionist is actually part of the job interview, and you’ll be judged by how you treated her or him. Same goes for the doorman – did you say thank you when they opened the door or did you just walk by? The way you treat people when you aren’t being watched speaks volumes, so treat everyone you meet with respect. This extends far beyond just job interviews – we should treat people with respect at all times.

4) Not being prepared. 

It’s not just talent and credentials alone that get you hired. It’s how you show up to the interview. The hiring manager wants to see that you’ve researched the company and the role. Know the job requirements and how you can add value specifically related to points mentioned in the job description. Practice answering mock interview questions to get over any nerves you might have. 

You also want to have well thought out questions to ask at the end of the interview. This of course helps you get to know more about the job and the company, and it also shows the hiring manager that you’re truly interested in pursuing the opportunity. 

When hiring managers find multiple qualified candidates, it’s the mistakes that are made that set people apart – but not in a good way. Avoid these mistakes and end your interview on a high note by giving a sincere thank you to the hiring manager. Thank them for their time, the opportunity, and reiterate your interest in the job. 

See mistakes 2,3, and the complete Forbes article

Thursday, February 13, 2020

3 Tips To Find A Job You’ll Love

Kourtney Whitehead

Finding a job that you love is the goal of many, but few people are taught how to actually achieve it. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American workers average eleven jobs over the course of a lifetime, with this number projected to rise throughout the careers of Millennials and Gen-Zs. That’s at least eleven (if not more) chances to land your dream job if you know how to prepare.

Shifting toward work you love is a multi-step process. For most people, it takes a fair amount of trial and error to learn what kind of culture they want to work in and discover the daily activities that inspire them.

Some of your worst jobs are meant to serve as learning experiences that send you in the opposite direction. That too is part of the process.

But even once you have a clear idea about the kind of work you want to do, landing a job you love is easier said than done.

If you’re in that position today, where you know what you want and are ready to get started, here are three tips to help you attract better opportunities and push for that perfect fit.

3. Negotiate your job description

If you’ve followed the first two tips, you will enter discussions about new jobs from a position of power. You aren’t desperate to take anything that comes your way and the company likely sought you out because of your unique expertise.

Use this opportunity to negotiate the terms of your job throughout the process, and not just at the end.

Companies always have a business need to fill, but there is often flexibility on how exactly the need gets met. Sometimes they’ll reshape the role or add additional responsibilities for the right candidate.

During your initial discussions with a recruiter or a hiring manger, stay in listening mode to understand the business problem they are trying to address and any cultural norms you need to keep in mind.

As you move deeper in the process, don’t be afraid to share what parts of the job interest you most and ask for additional career or work-life enhancements (e.g. a higher title or the ability to partially work from home) that would turn their open position into the job you’d love.

Remember, any new opportunity has to be superior to the job you already have or it isn’t worth taking. Resist the urge to take a new job just because you’re flattered by the company’s interest or worry about when the next offer might come your way.

Finding a job you love is not for the faint of heart. You have to stand firm to your priorities and that often means letting a good job pass you by because it isn’t right for you.

Believing in yourself and being patient are perhaps the hardest but most important career skills to learn. One of the main reasons that most people don’t achieve the goal of finding work they love is an inability to trust that with sustained effort, a great job will materialize. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Tips 1,2, and the complete Forbes article

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The 5 top tech skills companies want in new hires right now

By Anne Fisher

It's worth noting that the top two, software engineer and senior software engineer, are the biggest categories by far, accounting for almost 11% of total job openings (including non-IT jobs) posted on Indeed. 

Software engineers now need to be expert in "at least one, or preferably several, programming languages," says Flowers, adding that "the most useful language to know depends greatly on the specific job in question." The six languages most mentioned in recent software-engineer job postings : Java, C++, Python, JavaScript, C#, C, and NET.
Even if you have all the right skills at the moment, what employers need can change fast, Flowers says, so "people who want these jobs must be quick and agile" about spotting trends and picking up new skills as they go along.

Tim Tully agrees. Chief technology officer at data giant Splunk—whose clients number 92 of the Fortune 100—Tully says that the most important trait IT job candidates need now is "a strong desire to learn." It might be too broad of a requirement, but consider Tully's own list of the five most essential tech skills now:

3. App development

"You need a mobile version of every website now."

4. A.I. and machine learning

They both "power everything, or soon will."

5. A composite of the first four skills

That is, "it's important to be at least fairly conversant with all of them." 

If that sounds like a tall order, it is. "You need to be like a Swiss Army knife," he explains. To shine in tech, "you used to be able to pigeonhole yourself as an expert in one area of IT, or maybe two. Not anymore."

See Skills 1,2, and the complete Fortune article

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

3 Things You Need To Know About A February Job Search

Kourtney Whitehead

There’s no bad time to look for a job, but there are seasonal trends that can work in your favor or slow your progress. 

Despite robust hiring and low unemployment numbers in the U.S., job seekers still need to prepare for the unique challenges and opportunities each month presents. 

If you’re planning to launch or continue a job search in February, here’s what you need to know to maximize your efforts.

3. You absolutely need a follow-up schedule
Without a system to track your follow-ups, you run the risk of letting some leads fall through the cracks while you follow up too frequently with others.

Unfortunately, few things are harder to navigate during a job search than knowing when to send follow-up emails. 

Timing depends on your previous relationship with the contacts, their temperament and the level of engagement they’ve already shown. While there are no hard and fast rules, here are some guidelines to help you plan and automate your follow-up schedule. 

Close contacts, that is, the people invested in you and eager to help, should be followed up with once a month with a quick update on your job search. This is especially true when things are going well and when you finally land that new job. Don’t wait to reach out only when you need something; make sure you continue to nurture your relationships throughout the search.

Loose connections, new introductions and recruiters you don’t have any open interviews with should be pinged twice, spaced about four to six weeks apart, with a short “thanks for keeping me on the radar” email and a hope that you connect again soon. 

If someone promises to make an introduction on your behalf but hasn’t yet, follow up with them after ten to fourteen days.

If you’ve had phone or in-person interviews but the recruiting team gave you no idea as to when to expect a hiring decision, you should inquire on the status of your candidacy approximately seven to ten days after your interviews. If you were told you would receive your next update within a specific time frame that has passed, follow up with the recruiter after three to five days.  

Finally, if you were contacted about a potential job but that lead hasn’t moved forward to interviews, reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager after five to seven days the first time you inquire on the status of the role, and then wait another two weeks before following up again, if needed. 

In general, you shouldn’t have to follow up more than twice to get a job lead moving to the next step. If you feel the need to ping someone more than that, this particular job lead is probably a dead end. By letting it go and not becoming an annoyance, you are more likely to leave the door open for the person to contact you later when they get serious about hiring.

All in all, February is a great month to gain traction in your job search if you stay focused. Take advantage while you can.

See things 1,2, and the complete Forbes article

Kourtney Whitehead is a career expert and author of Working Whole. You can learn more about her work at Simply Service.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

How to Nail The 5 Frequently Asked Interview Questions


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