Category Archives: Jobs

The Best Job Interview Tips of 2016

Article: The Best Job Interview Tips of 2016

Charlotte Seager, Journalist for Guardian Careers

Use breathing techniques to boost confidence
At the heart of job interview confidence is feeling relaxed, so breathing and mindfulness exercises are helpful, says chartered psychologist Dr Gary Wood in a blog on how to boost confidence at a job interview.

“Staying present by focusing on your breathing just before an interview should help calm nerves,” adds mindfulness teacher Gelong Thubten. “When we are anxious, our blood flows away from our brain as we are in fight or flight mode, and our cognitive functions can suffer.”

So slow, deep breathing will bring the oxygen back to your brain and help you to think clearly.

Don’t talk too much … or too little

“Your answers should be like concise mini-essays with a clear beginning, middle and end,” says Steve Agace, director of sales at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, in a blog on avoiding the most common interview mistakes. If your answer is too short it looks like you have little to say, too lengthy and you’ve probably babbled and missed the point. “Be composed, think before you answer and employ structure.”

Don’t ask your interviewer anything obvious

“When asked if you have any questions, steer clear of anything you should already know the answer to,” says Victoria McLean, CV writer and interview coach in a blog on ways to stand out in a job interview. Don’t forget that even though this is the end of the interview, the question is still an opportunity to sell yourself.

“I like questions that demonstrate intelligence or strategic thinking. For example: how is the current (insert relevant issue) impacting the strategy of your business? Any general question you ask can be improved by tailoring it to the business you’re applying to,” adds McLean.

Keep your answers under two minutes
Don’t start rambling, says Katherine Burik, founder of the Interview Doctor in a blog on how to answer common interview questions.

She says: “When answering questions it can be good to pick something you are particularly proud of to demonstrate your expertise in the job for which you are interviewing. But just give an overview – they will ask if they want more details.

“Practice out loud until the words flow off your tongue and you’ll make a great presentation.”

Remember private conversations are not always private

“Not all conversations outside the interview room are private and savvy employers will check the social media profiles of prospective staff when considering applicants,” says Emily Johnson, marketing executive at Give A Grad A Go, in a blog on what job hunters can learn from politicians.

As part of this, it’s a good idea to be polite to everyone you meet within a five mile radius of the interview. Likewise, think about the impression your social media profiles provide and mute anything that may appear unappealing to a future boss.

Don’t over-prepare, and be yourself

“It’s definitely a good idea to prepare answers to potential questions but make sure you don’t sound like you are reading from a prepared script,” says Lizzie Mortimer, careers consultant for the University of Edinburgh in a blog on ways to succeed in a video interview. “Have a few bullet points to hand so you remember the points you want to make, but still sound natural and enthusiastic.”

It’s important not to sound scripted when replying, as this can make your answers sound stilted and lack personality. “I once ran a phone interview where the candidate seemed to have scripted answers to every possible question. Each time I asked a question, I heard this intense rustling noise as he searched for his answer,” says McLean. “Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.”

Charlotte Seager is a journalist who works on Guardian Careers. She also writes for the Guardian books site. To learn more about Charlotte, follow her on Twitter @CharlotteSeager

5 things to bring to a job interview

5 things to bring to a job interview

Abridged: Pro Resume Center

1) Your resume. Use high-quality resume paper and make sure your ink cartridge is full before printing. Conduct additional research on the company, the department, the hiring manager, and/or the general state of the industry before the interview. Your research may prompt you to adjust your resume to better fit the position and company.

2) A cover letter. It will add value if you have a copy with you. Find out the name and title of the people you’ll be interviewing with and customize your inside address and salutation. Create a fresh, brief introductory message that emphasizes your enthusiasm, interest and value you’d bring to the position. 3) Your references. Ensure you include the necessary reference information to make it easy for the reader: name, company, title, direct phone line, and email address.

4) A strategic plan. Arrive with a strategic plan that will further “wow” the employer. For example, if you’re applying for a sales manager role, your plan may cover these three things: One, an assessment of the current situation. Two, steps you’d take to begin turning the ship around. And three, measurable objectives you will meet by the end of that time period.

5) Your portfolio. Portfolios add value, especially for graphic artists, other creative folks, and sales professionals. For example, a salesperson’s portfolio may include testimonial letters and emails from bosses, clients, colleagues, and vendors along with colorful sales charts or graphs showing your success.

Things Employers Look For in an Interview

3 Things Employers Look For in an Interview

By Steve Pollock, WetFeet

It’s all too easy to look at a job interview as an adversarial situation. The interviewer is interrogating you. She’s posing brainteasers and “gotcha” questions. But as tense as the situation might seem, just realize she has one goal in mind:

Identifying a plausible candidate and hiring that person. She’s seeking someone with a demonstrable capacity for delivering results.

So, give employers what they want and be the candidate they’re looking for. Prepare to shine. Know your strengths and highlight them. Make sure the personal strengths you plan to emphasize in your interview match the demands of the position. On the big day, present yourself as a candidate with the right skills and temperament for the job. Your confidence, enthusiasm, knowledge, and understanding should confirm what your interviewer is already predisposed to believe: that bringing you in for an interview is a wise move and that hiring you is even wiser.

When interviewing, hiring managers are hoping to explore some basic areas:

Do we want to work with you?

You might enter an interview prepared to recite a litany of skills and work experience, but interviewers aren’t looking for a walking, talking resume. They’re already intrigued by your skills–that’s why they’re interviewing you in the first place. The reason they need to meet with you in person is to gauge your personal qualities, to see if you’ll be an asset to the workplace. Intangible attributes–resourcefulness, initiative, creativity, adaptability, drive, and integrity–will set you apart from other qualified candidates.

Will you mesh with the team?

The corporate workplace is increasingly a team-driven environment. Because of this, organizations are especially eager to hire people whom they think will fit within a team. This might mean a tough adjustment for academic high achievers who are used to working on their own. But as much as interviewers might be gauging your individual strengths, they are also evaluating your ability to be a team player.

What’s your EQ?

Interviewers are probably less interested in your IQ than your EQ–your emotional intelligence. You can have a high IQ and still lack common sense and empathy. Employers are learning that intelligence isn’t always the most desired attribute for prospective employees, especially when it comes at the expense of good sense–after all, perfectly smart people were responsible for the downfall of Lehman Brothers. Although you’ll want to impress your prospective employer with your smarts, you also must convey you are a thoughtful, collegial coworker with a sense of personal responsibility.

Steve Pollock, Co-founder of WetFeet, a career site that provides profiles of companies, careers, and industries to help job seekers find the right career, industry, company, and job for them. They also offer articles about trends, markets, major players, and jobs in leading industries.

4 Job Search Rules to Break

4 Job Search Rules to Break
Posted on April 21, 2014 by Corey Fick, 20’s Financea

When it comes to job searching and submitting resumes, most job seekers follow the same tried and true rules. But what if these rules were actually preventing you from landing your dream job. Depending on what kind of job you’re looking for, you may find that breaking the rules can actually give you the upper hand against other candidates. Here are 4 job search rules that you should be breaking.

1. Give Your Resume to Someone You Know in the Company

Most job seekers swear up and down that the only way to really land a job is to know someone in the company. The general consensus is that having a connection in the company can get your resume to the top of the list.

While there may be some truth to this, you need to consider who your contact is before you get your hopes up. What if your friend inside of the company has a horrible reputation? What if your contact doesn’t even know the hiring manager? Don’t allow your job prospects to rest solely on the shoulders of someone you know inside of the company. In many cases, you are better off contacting the hiring manager directly or using a third party recruiter.

2. Do Whatever and Say Whatever to Land the Job

Job seekers are trained to put themselves at the mercy of the hiring manager. Most people are under the impression that they should be doing whatever it takes to land the job, but is this really a good idea? Believe it or not, hiring managers appreciate honesty and probably aren’t interested in hiring a candidate who is afraid to be themselves.

Should you do your best to highlight your skills, experience and achievements? Absolutely. Should you just tell the hiring manager what they want to hear? No. It’s important to find a job that fits you well. If you say whatever it takes to get the job, you may find yourself with responsibilities that are above your skill level, and your new employer may have expectations that you cannot live up to. Instead, just be honest and be yourself.

3. Submit a Standard Resume and Cover Letter

How is your resume and cover letter written? If you’re like most people, you probably describe yourself as a “team player” or “results-oriented professional.” The resumes and cover letters we are accustomed to submitting often sound mechanical or robotic. Try humanizing your resume and cover letter to make it sound like you. Tell your story and talk about your achievements. You are far more likely to catch the eye of the hiring manager if you use a human voice in your resume.

4. Focus Your Energy on Applying for Posted Jobs

Most people who are searching for jobs rely on job postings in the newspaper and online. They rarely venture outside of the box. While you certainly should dedicate a large percentage of your time applying for posted jobs, you should also spend some of your time taking an active role in your job search. Make networking a part of your routine and use social media to find new opportunities. There are so many ways to find jobs in the least likely of places, so keep pursuing every avenue you can get your hands on.

4 Secrets of Preparing For A Job Interview

4 Secrets of Preparing For A Job Interview
By Dana Manciagli, Career Expert, Speaker and Consultant

Congratulations! You secured a phone or face-to-face interview. Your odds of “winning” the job in this highly competitive environment just skyrocketed. Now, don’t blow it.

There are books, blogs, videos and more on how to ace that interview, including my own book, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” Right now, however, I want to share my top four secrets from the hiring manager’s side of the table.

After interviewing thousands and hiring hundreds in big corporations and small startups, I want to help you come out on the top of the list after every interview. Ready?

1. Compare yourself to the job description (which was written by the hiring manager)

I recommend you do this work before you apply so you can write a fabulous cover letter, but let’s fast forward to the interview.

Take out a piece of paper (or open a Word document on your computer). Draw three columns in a table and add the following content in short bulleted points.

Column 1: Major requirements from the job description
Column 2: Your skills for that requirement
Column 3: Stories or examples of how you performed that task

Here’s why this preparation works:

Column 1: is the list of items that the interviewer needs to measure you against
Column 2: is your answer to, “Have you done this before?”
Column 3: is the answer to, “Tell me about a time when you” This is called a situational or behavioral interview question and it is becoming more common.

2. Prepare your answers to the most commonly asked interview questions

I still find it shocking to watch candidates stumble on questions like these: “What are your strengths?” or “Why do you want this job?”

Write down your short answers to the following before you go into an interview (an entire cheat sheet for these questions and many more are free with my book):

What are your greatest strengths?
What are your greatest weaknesses?
Tell me about yourself.
How do you handle stress and pressure?
Describe a difficult work situation and how you overcame it.
Why are you leaving your current job? (or, Why did you leave your past position?)
3. The interview law of 3s

For your preparation for Nos. 1 and 2 above AND for any other questions asked during the interview, use this major trick, which will help you and the interviewer.

The Law of 3s: For every question, you are allowed no more than three short, concise answers. Think and talk in bullet points. If the interviewer wants more information, he or she will ask you.

This rule will prevent you from babbling on and on, which we do when we are nervous. For the interviewer, you will come across more confident, self-aware and prepared.

4. Prepare great questions for them

The interviewer is not the only one who should have questions. You should have several carefully considered questions for him or her.

Again, congratulations on you securing a phone or face-to-face interview! Block several hours of time to prepare, follow the above tips, and you will do a great job.

Dana Manciagli is a career expert, speaker and career consultant. She has spent more than 30 years as a Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive, now retired after more than a decade at Microsoft. Dana is the author of the book, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” and a prolific blogger. She sits on the worldwide board of Junior Achievement and has her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.