Tuesday, September 29, 2020

11 Interview Tips You Wish You Knew Before Your Last Job Interview

So, what can you do to stand out in the crowd? Understanding the difference between an average interview and a great interview can help you narrow the gap.

When delving back into the job market, preparation is key to getting a step up. What will you offer that other candidates can’t? How will you answer certain questions? What soft skills do you bring with you? Let’s take a look at 11 tips that can help you not only have a great interview but give you a good chance at landing the job.

Interview Tips to Help You Land the Job: 11 Tips to Get an Edge Up on the Competition

1.       Ask relevant questions. When you’re in the process of being interviewed, there usually comes a point where they’ll ask if you have any questions about the position you’re applying for. Saying no isn’t a great way to close the interview. Instead, ask the right questions which show you take the process seriously and want the job. This back-and-forth engagement is not only important, but also allows you a chance to show your value to their company in the answers you give. Of course, always come prepared having researched the company, position, and what the competition may be like.

Here’s a list of nine questions to ask during your interview. You don’t have to ask a lot of questions but having a couple in mind is a smart move.

  • What type of work culture and values does the company hold?
  • Is there opportunity for growth?
  • What will my day to day responsibilities be?
  • What challenges do you feel come with this position?
  • Do you think I’m right for this role?
  • How does this position fit into the company’s overall plan?
  • What do you like best about working for this company?
  • What benefits come with working here?
  • How does the company measure success with their employees?

2.      Know your value and demonstrate that value. It’s not enough to simply go into the interview with confidence. Remember, there’s a lot of competition. This is about communicating your value and letting the hiring manager know that you’re the right candidate for the position they’re trying to fill.  If you’re a great fit, you’re going to benefit their team in reaching their business goals. It’s important to stand out amongst a sea of candidates. You do that by communicating your value, plain and simple.  Leave no question in their mind that you’re the right person for the job.

4.      Demonstrate problem solving skills. Problem solving skills is an important asset you can bring to the company you’re applying to. Being able to show that you have this soft skill adds value and shows you are able to work through issues as they arise. How do you do this? You can use one of two methods to easily show this skill. Let’s look at two acronyms that can help you recognize the best way to demonstrate you’re a strong problem solver.

  • STAR: Specific, Task, Action, Result. In this instance, you’ll discuss a specific situation (not generalized), what task needed to be accomplished, what action you took, and the final result which shows the outcome and success of how you handled things at the time.
  • PAR: Problem, Action, Results. This is another easy to remember acronym which shows you how to position your answers. You speak about a problem that occurred, the action in which you took, and the final results from taking that action.
  • Note: they both do a similar thing. You’re pinpointing a circumstance, you demonstrate you were able to handle the situation as it came about, and that with your problem- solving skills, you delivered a solution that had a positive outcome. This positions you as the hero of the story, but also shows them you are capable of tackling problems with a solid thought process.

5.      Show them you want the job by asking for it. This is not a plea of desperation. Rather, it’s showing you’re genuinely interested in the position and working for their company. Tell them that you’d love the opportunity to work with them, and don’t leave a question in their mind that you actually want the position if it’s offered to you.

Nothing says lack of interest more than a lukewarm response. In essence, it’s the same as asking somebody how you look, and they say “fine,” when what you really wanted to know was that you look okay for whatever situation you’re about to attend. Think about a bride on her wedding day, walking down the aisle, and asking her partner how she looks. Fine. Show genuine interest—don’t fake it.

See all 11 Tips and the complete article

Thursday, September 24, 2020

12 weird interview questions and what they reveal

Sharon Brandwein

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking as it is. Not only do you need to have some standout answers to set you apart from the other folks waiting in the lobby, but what happens when your interviewer tosses you a question out of the left field like “Who would win in a fight between Thor and Superman” — what?

The good news is, no one would ask that question because the answer is obviously Thor. But that doesn’t mean that other weird interview questions don’t make their way into interviews time and again.

More often than not, weird interview questions help the interviewer discern some things about you and your personality. Bear in mind that when your interviewer asks you these types of questions, they are not looking for accuracy. 

Bizarre interview questions can help the interviewer gauge critical thinking, deductive-reasoning, how you react to curveballs, and even your fit for the company culture. Moreover, there’s no way to anticipate or prepare for these types of questions. That’s precisely what makes them such an excellent tool for evaluating whether a prospective employee can think on their feet. And if your interviewer is a DC Comics fan and you chose Thor — well, good luck. Just kidding. 

Weird interview questions can reveal so much more than a resume could ever show. Your best bet to nail the answers is to familiarize yourself with a few of the stranger ones and decipher what your interviewer is trying to suss out. If you need an assist, here are a few exceptionally weird questions that interviewers often ask and what they reveal.

1) Are you more of a hunter or gatherer?

Believe it or not, this answer reveals what kind of employee you would be and the approach you would take towards your work. Hunters are perceived as more assertive and have a tendency to focus on one task at a time. They don’t necessarily back away from a challenge and are willing to tackle almost anything. Gatherers, on the other hand, tend to be more detail-oriented and good at multitasking.  

2) Why do hot dogs come in packages of 10 and hot dog buns come in packages of 8?

Glen Wilde, CEO and Founder of Diet to Success, noted that this is a great question for evaluating how a candidate responds to pressure. “What I’m looking for includes the applicant’s composure, the reasoning behind the answer, and whether there are visible signs of frustration.”

12) What media do you regularly consume, and where do you consume it?

When Jakub Rudnik, Vice President of Content for Shortlister, uses this question, he’s looking for “tech-savviness, media literacy, and even an interest in self-improvement.” Rudnik goes on to say that when it comes to content marketing, “understanding how to find information, and how to evaluate sources of information, are key traits for a potential employee.” 

See all 12 questions and the complete TheLadders article

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

5 buzzwords that cost the candidate the job, according to recruiters

 Una Dabiero

While business buzzwords like “synergy” feel very official while you’re typing them out, using certain popular terms and phrases can actually hurt your chances of getting hired, according to Jason Walker and Ian Scott, two recruiters cited by Seek.

Here are the five words that make them toss an application, why they’re especially peevish and what to say instead.


3. “Workaholic”

Despite popular belief to the contrary, no one wants to hire a workaholic. These folks are the most likely to burn themselves out, lash out and complain. In fact, most recruiters would prefer you speak to the boundaries you set for yourself and how you accomplish great things despite these boundaries. Instead of citing being a workaholic as your weakness at work, Seek suggests citing “a nice to have skill you could develop such as public speaking or not delegating enough.”

5. “Motivated by change”

While flexibility is, of course, a coveted skill, saying you’re “motivated by change” requires a thorough story. Otherwise, the claim falls flat — and sounds anything but interesting. Why? Of course, you’re motivated by change! You’re trying to make a big change right now, according to Scott.

“In my experience, many people become active job-seekers because they have experienced change,” he said.

See all 5 buzzwords and the complete Ladders article


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Best Way To Open An Interview To Secure A Job Offer

Robin Ryan

“We would like you to come in for an interview.” Those wonderful words are what every job hunter wants to hear. Kathy, 55, an HR Manager, called me immediately after she got off the phone with the recruiter. She said, “This job opportunity is ideal for me. I’ve been inside my company for the last 18 years. I haven’t had to interview as I just got promoted. I want to stand out and make a good impression, but I’m not sure how. Can you help?”

Kathy was pleased that her resume had gotten her this far. Next comes the difficult part of convincing the employer that you are the person to hire. The interview failure rate is between 75-80%. So how can you change that and dramatically improve your odds of being offered the job?

Answer: The 60 Second Sell

In an interview coaching session, Kathy learned how to take control of the job interview immediately. We developed her 60 Second Sell, a job interview technique I created years ago and have been teaching to book readers, students, and career counseling clients. It is a tool that helps you target your skills to meet the employer’s needs. It allows you to summarize your most marketable strengths in a brief and concise manner. Successful job hunters have found that the 60 Second Sell is the most influential tool they used during the interview process. They praised this technique because it was very effective in capturing the employer’s attention.

Think of this as your 60-second verbal business card. It will summarize your best skills, accomplishments, and previous experience in a well-thought-out fashion that will immediately make the employer know why they should hire you. The 60 Second Sell is a proven shortcut to your success. Many career counseling clients have reported it was the best job-search technique they’d ever used. It’s easy to create and easy to implement. Once you’ve learned this technique, your interviews will be significantly improved because you will be able to do the most important thing necessary to land a job—get the employer to recall you and top your abilities. 

The Formula: Creating Your Strategy 

Examine your previous experience. Write out the key responsibilities for each job you’ve held. Note any significant accomplishments. Zero in on your essential work strengths—those abilities where you excel and are most productive. Use your network to get as much background as possible about the employer and the position’s needs. Many times, your contacts will point out the very aspects that you must stress. Other times, there will be little information available, and you will need to guess based on your general knowledge about performing the job. 

After reviewing the employer’s and position’s needs, determine which of your abilities and which aspects of your experience will be most relevant to the employer. Then create your top five selling points, known as the 5 Point Agenda, and use each point to build a robust picture emphasizing how you can do the best job.

In Kathy’s case, the company wanted to find a progressive HR partner to lead its organization. They needed a strategic leader and a true business partner. Her 5 Point Agenda needed to stress her achievements. Here are the top five selling points she was going to emphasize.  

Job opening: Human Resources Director – 5 Point Agenda

Point 1: Award-winning human resources leader. 

See all 5 points plus the rest of the Forbes article



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

7 job search rules you should break now

 By Gwen Moran

When you’re looking for a job, finding ways to stand out and make a great impression can be everything. But, sometimes, the very “rules” that are supposed to help you do that can hold you back.

Career and leadership coach Kathy Caprino, author of The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, sees such “bad” information come from her clients regularly. “I don’t know where they’ve gotten it,” she says. “But we have to be braver, and we have to be more powerful and more confident.” Caprino says that when we’re braver about our job search efforts, we feel more comfortable ignoring conventional wisdom that doesn’t work and focusing on carving our own path—which probably means getting to our destination faster.

To help you be more effective in the hunt for your next job, ignore this tired and, sometimes, just plain wrong advice:

1) Head to the job boards to look for openings

Yes, job boards have loads of positions listed. But while they yield roughly 50% of applications to companies, less than 1% of those individuals land the job, according to the 2019 Jobvite Recruiting Benchmark Report. In fact, by the time many jobs are posted, the company may already have leads on great candidates or have made a decision about their next hire, says career coach Terry McDougall, author of Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms.

When she was a hiring manager, she would begin putting the word out on her network about an opening before she could get it posted. “In a big company, it would usually take at least two or three weeks for the job to be posted. And by that point, the person that resigned is already gone, so I’m in a hurry to fill the role,” she says. So, spend more time focused on your contacts than scouring job boards.

The team at Hatchit, an IT recruiting firm, says that more companies and recruiters are using creative sourcing and posting jobs in subreddits, Slack channels, and specialized platforms to get more targeted responses.

5) Don’t bother with a cover letter

Cover letters are often an afterthought, and there’s even debate over whether you really need one. But, as Fast Company recently reported, ResumeLab’s research found that a great cover letter can land you an interview even if your résumé isn’t strong enough to do so. So, be sure to craft a short, strong intro to go along with your résumé.

6) Résumé format doesn’t matter

“While certain résumé-writing guidelines appear to remain steadfast, many other elements have continued to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of hiring professionals and to adapt to the latest recruitment tools and processes,” says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume. You need to create your résumé to be picked up by applicant tracking systems. That means clear text and a simple, clean layout with clearly marked sections and white space, she says.

Typically a “hybrid” or combination résumé format is best, as it includes some upfront narrative that gives insight into the candidate. TopResume’s research has also found that résumés with a left-hand rail or column offer a fresher look that catches recruiters’ eyes but that also successfully passes through the ATS, whereas a résumé with a right-hand rail or column does not. Including the phrase “references available upon request” at the bottom of the résumé, using two spaces after each period, or including an upfront objective will all make your résumé look dated, she says.

 See all 7 rules and the complete Fast Company article

Friday, September 11, 2020

7 tips for troops transitioning to civilian world from a former Navy officer and career coach

His book, “Out of Uniform: Your Guide to Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition,” rereleased in April 2018, offers stories of triumph and misstep from veterans who have been there.

“I believe the book is as applicable to a civilian who has never worn the uniform as it is to my target audience — active duty, in uniform, getting ready to transition — what it does is illustrate points by telling these stories,” Wolfe said.

2) Know yourself and what’s important to you
Many transitioning veterans make the mistake of not taking the time develop self-knowledge, Wolfe said.

“The self-awareness that I understand my transition and before my job search, understand what exactly is important to me,” Wolfe said. “Until you know yourself and until you know your strengths, your attributes, your weaknesses, your wants and your needs, what matters to you at the end of the day, until you’ve identified that, you’re putting yourself at risk that you’re going to end up in a job for the wrong reasons.”

4) Learn how to translate your experience to the civilian world
The military has a very unique and specific way of operating that in many cases differs drastically from how civilian businesses and organizations do. Learning how to translate your experience into skills that civilian employers understand is key to landing a job.

“I think a great source would be the veteran service organizations. The dot orgs. The ones that are not in it for profit,” Wolfe said. “They’re in it for service. Most of them have tools that will help someone translate a military skillset. Some military skillsets have a direct civilian equivalency. Like a truck driver or a helicopter pilot. But then if you get an infantry officer, something like that, we don’t have a civilian equivalency anymore. Some of these people don’t think they’re qualified to do anything. They just don’t know how to describe what they do in terms of what civilian employers will understand.”

6) Get good at social media
Many employers do background checks, but more of them will search a candidate’s social media profiles. You can’t determine what a company will see in your background investigation, but you can control your social media presence. Learn how to use social media to your advantage, Wolfe said. Be sure to scrub your social media accounts for anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Put your best foot forward.

“If you go back 10 years ago and you had an insufficient or faulty resume, that was the kiss of death,” Wolfe said. “You weren’t going to get a screening interview, let alone a job. Well, now, social presence is that critical. If you do not have an appropriate, powerful, applicable social media presence across the board — if there’s anything missing or anything wrong — that’s the new kiss of death. You’ve got to be familiar with it. Social media is powerful for both the companies the organizations that are looking for people, but it’s also very powerful for individuals in preparing for interviews.”

See all 7 tips and the complete MilitaryTimes article

Thursday, September 10, 2020

9 Questions to Ask HR Before an Interview


Job seekers spend a lot of time preparing for job interviews, especially when it comes to asking questions to the HR manager. And they should. The interview is the best chance to prove you are the right person for the job.

But, before the company interviews you, you should take some time to interview the company. Asking questions before the job interview is a great way for you to prepare for your big moment. The more information you have will give you an extra boost of confidence before and during the interview.

9 Questions to Ask Before an Interview


1. Who Will I Meet With?

An essential part of an interview is the preparation you do before the interview. This means doing your homework and learning about the people you’re going to meet with. 

Knowing who you’re meeting with can help you figure out what questions the interviewer(s) might ask you, and it can help you figure out which questions you want to ask which people.

For example, the HR director probably can’t describe what a typical day is like. Likewise, team members may not be able to tell you much about the benefits package. Knowing who you’re meeting with will help you prep the right questions for the right people.

It also gives you a bit of insight into the company’s culture. For example, if you meet with the team, that tells you that teamwork is a significant part of this company (or team’s) culture. And, if you meet with other teams that you might work with, that tells you that interdepartmental communication is important, too.

Lastly, knowing who you’re interviewing with gives you a chance to check them out. Research them on the company website, social media, and, of course, LinkedIn. You never know—you may find that you have something in common with one of these people, which could be a great icebreaker in the interview!

8. What Should I Be Prepared to Speak to in the Interview?

It’s unlikely that the scheduler will have an answer for this, so don’t be surprised if the answer is vague and non-committal. However, on the off chance that you do get an answer, listen closely to what the scheduler says.

The answer will likely give you insight into the company’s most pressing issues. What are the problems the company is trying to solve? More importantly, how will you solve those problems? The answer can help you understand what the employer most wants from potential candidates, and having this information can help you structure your answers accordingly.

9. What’s Your Dress Code? 

Whether it’s an on-site interview or video interview, find out what employees typically wear, then use that as a guide to choosing your interview outfit. Wear something that’s a notch up from the dress code, so you don’t overdress or underdress, but still look professional. You don’t want to show up in your best suit, only to discover that jeans and concert T-shirts are the standard company attire.

See all 9 questions and the complete FlexJobs article

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

5 Simple Ways To Maximize Your Job Search

Caroline Castrillon

A job search can be stressful and overwhelming, especially in the middle of a pandemic. You may even question whether it makes sense to continue to apply for positions. Yet, the rapidly changing work environment may also bring about new opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a new job or considering a full-blown career change, these tips will help you maximize your efforts during these trying times.

2) Clarify your goals

The first order of business is to set goals for your job search. Without having a destination in mind, you will lack focus and won’t know where to invest your time. A big mistake job seekers make is applying to every position under the sun. Focus on quality over quantity. Rather than just dedicating a specific number of hours to your job search, develop measurable milestones. Consider establishing concrete commitments on a daily or weekly basis for tasks such as:
  • Sending out X number of resumes
  • Researching X companies of interest
  • Reconnecting with X former colleagues
Take small steps and be consistent in your efforts.

4) Practice video interviewing

Given the current climate, you will likely be interviewing via Zoom, Skype or some other video conferencing software. Don’t underestimate how unpredictable technology can be. Look for a location where you can control your lighting and surroundings. Test your internet speed to be sure it’s fast enough and use a wired ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. Consider using an external microphone and webcam for better quality and do a complete run-through at least the day before your interview. The number one thing recruiters say they hate to see in a video interview is distractions, so take steps to remove interruptions. Remember to look into the camera, smile and have a positive attitude. Ultimately, preparing for a video interview is the same as preparing for a face to face meeting. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel.

See all 5 ways and the complete Forbes article

Thursday, September 3, 2020

13 Clever Ways Professionals Can Leverage Social Media For Career Networking

The way you present yourself influences how you are seen and, ultimately, your success in business. Social media has made it easy to craft a profile customized to appeal to just about any online audience. For business leaders and professionals, the temptation to present an image of who you would like to be instead of who you are can be overwhelming. However, creating a false impression can backfire when meeting potential clients or business partners face-to-face, as they may feel betrayed to find that you are nothing like your online persona.

As a working professional, it’s in your best interest to ensure that the image you project of yourself online is an authentic and accurate representation of who you are in real life. We asked 13 members of Forbes Coaches Council to offer their best tips to help you confidently project your genuine self on social media platforms in the most professional way possible.

4. Don't Overthink It
Whether or not you realize it, you already have a brand that attracts people who are naturally drawn to you and to your perspectives. Continue to do what you do, in the way that only you can do it, and more raving fans will be coming your way. Trying to be someone you are not will feel like being in quicksand, and you will soon be sniffed out as a fraud. Yikes! - Karan RhodesShockingly Different Leadership

6. Clarify What You Do And Why
Projecting authenticity without purpose falls flat and comes across as boastful promotion. Be clear about what you do and why you do it. Your purpose doesn't have to appear great to anyone else. If you want to entertain, be a truthful and authentic entertainer. If your purpose is to teach, live your truth and teach your truth. Be consistent, and keep refining your authentic purpose every day. - Paul GeigerPublic Speaking Advantage

7. Determine Your Most Essential Qualities
You first need to get clear on the qualities that you most want to project. Make a list of 10 positive, professional adjectives that authentically describe you. Ask a few trusted work colleagues to pick their top five that they see in you. Then, whittle those down to your three most essential. Choose articles, infographics and other resources to share with your audience that embody your three words. - Loren MargolisTraining & Leadership Success LLC

See all 13 ways and the complete Forbes article

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Here are 5 skills researchers say employers are looking for right now

Who’s hiring – and what do they want? In the US, many clothing, home furnishings and gadget retailers are recruiting, according to Bloomberg. LinkedIn says young graduates, who have been hit hard, could aim for more than 1.5 million entry-level jobs and 65,000 internships in the US alone. 

The social network has analysed its data to identify the skills employers want most and how you can use them to raise your game. It says interpersonal “soft” skills (versus “hard” skills – abilities developed over time, like coding) are the most prized. This reflects previous research by organisations including Deloitte, and the World Economic Forum, which investigated the skills that will be needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in its Future of Jobs Report. 

Here’s a deeper look at five in-demand skills: 

2. Problem solving
Forget team-building exercises that involve building a bridge with a pair of styrofoam cups and a piece of string. Problem solving is much more than that.

It’s about identifying a task, breaking it down into its components, and fixing it, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. It’s about the skills around it, like sticking with the task and doing your research. And just like clear communication, it’s seldom been more vital.
There are many examples of businesses thinking differently about their problems during COVID-19, as the has crisis forced changes in everything from management to business models.
3. Analytical skills
“It’s an important time to be thinking critically,” says executive coach Joshua Miller. “Your actions are based on the types of questions you ask yourself and others on a daily basis.” Could they change the type of answer you get?
Businesses everywhere are facing and making tough choices, from budgeting to changing headcount. What’s clear is that evidenced, focused thinking can help at every level of an organization.