Three Questions In Every Job Interview

Three Questions In Every Job Interview

Every job interview is different, but in a way every interview is also the same. There are certain questions you will almost certainly be asked and others that may throw you for a loop. By preparing strong, well thought out answers the ones you know you’ll be asked you’ll feel more confident about taking on the surprises.

 

Tell me about yourself

The interviewer is going to want to know about you, and they’re going to ask about your goals and hobbies. Have something short and to the point planned out to say. It’s hard to summarize yourself in general, and even harder to do on the spot. Come up with interesting examples of things you’ve done/learned that encapsulate the most important things you’d like to get across in the space of a single answer.

 

Walk me through your resume

They might not exactly come right out and ask you to walk them through your resume but they will certainly want clarification and elaboration on what you’ve written. Prepare something, again, quick and to the point to say about each paragraph. Also come up with something a little bit longer about whatever is most impressive. Your most salient selling point.

 

Why do you want this job?

This is where you need to most thoroughly plan out your answer. The other two are about you and your accomplishments, for the most part questions about your past. This one focuses on the future and potential and possibilities. You certainly don’t want to stumble here, so take some time beforehand and figure it out. Don’t ramble or go off on tangents. Explain your thoughts in concise, well thought out detail.

 

Now that you’ve prepared answers to the questions you know they’re going to ask it’s time to prepare for the questions they might ask!

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

There are all kinds of reasons that interviews don’t go well. Sometimes it’s as simple as you weren’t the best candidate for the position. However sometimes you were the best person for the job. You missed out because you were too nervous to present yourself in your best light. Or you weren’t able to convey just how perfect you were to the interviewer.

Let your power shine through

Let’s start with the nervous part. Most of us get nervous in competitive or stressful situations. But there are ways of tricking your body into actually feeling more confident. It’s all about creating a feeling of power and strength within yourself. You can do that with power poses. Striking a pose of power and holding it.

For example, before the interview, stand like Wonder Woman. Feet apart, hands on your hips, chin up. Take up space, breathe in and hold. You will start feeling more confident.

Or stand like a star athlete. Feet apart, arms above your head, fingers spread wide – like you just won the race of your life and hold.

Amy Cutty who has a Ted Talk online about how our body language shapes who we are talks about studies that have demonstrated the benefits of standing like a super hero. Testosterone increases significantly cortisol drops, people feel ready to take on more risks, their pain threshold his higher. They also think more abstractly and are more likely to do well in stressful situations – like job interviews.

 

Move from the general to the specific

While preparing for an interview people will often go online to research the sorts of questions they will be asked. Then they memorize the best way to answer them. The problem with that is they come off sounding rehearsed and mechanical in the interview.

 

The interviewer doesn’t want to hear the perfect answer to a question. They want to hear your answer to the question. That means read how you should answer the question then create an answer based on your experiences and qualifications.

 

Why are you perfect for the position?

You might not get asked this question specifically, but ultimately every question you are asked is working toward answering it. Think about your motivations, your strengths, your values, your personality. Bring those into every answer. Come up with examples from your life and your experiences. Make it personal. The more personal you make it the more confident you’ll sound.

 

You look confident, you sound confident. If you’re a perfect fit for the job, the interviewer will know it.

Not Sure If You Should Apply?

Not Sure If You Should Apply?

 

Sometimes you see a job listing and you are absolutely sure you would be a shoe in for the job. Your qualifications and experiences line up perfectly with the job description. All you have to do is research the company and customize your resume and cover letter to fit this job and send.

 

Not an exact fit

Then there are times when it’s less cut and dry. You don’t have all the qualifications they’re looking for. Your experiences are similar to what they’re looking for, but you can’t go down the list of requirements and put a checkmark beside each one.

 

However, you believe you could do this job. Not just that, you believe you could excel at it. Should you apply anyway? Here are a few things to think about.

 

How do your skills match up?

Read the job description carefully. Imagine what a typical day would involve. What tasks would you be required to perform? How would you interact with other people? Have you done similar things in the past? Will the skills you have enable you to do the job? Could they help bring a new perspective to the position?

 

Do you fit most of the requirements?

The requirements listed for a job are often an ideal set of qualifications and experiences the employer is looking for, but it doesn’t mean every one of them is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the position. If you have the majority of the skills listed, then don’t hesitate to apply. Qualifications can be learned. Potential is inherent in the person.

 

Think about transferable skills

The answers to the above questions will make up the body of your cover letter. Talk about the skills you have and how they can be transferred to help you excel in this role. Use them to help the hiring manager see the benefits of giving you an interview. From there it’s up to you to make the case for your potential in person.

Not All Great Interviews Lead To A Job

Not All Great Interviews Lead To A Job

You did everything right prior to your interview. Your experience and ambitions lined up perfectly with the job. You researched the company. Had pithy things to say about them and about yourself. You came home and told your partner it was just a matter of days before the good news came.

 

And then instead of good news, you got rejected! Everything was so great! You wonder what you could possibly have done better.

 

The sad fact is, not all great interviews lead to a job. Sometimes the situation has nothing to do with you or your qualifications. It’s them not you.

 

A change in the job description

There are times when you have a strong idea about the direction you see for a project. Then once you start working on it you realize things aren’t going to work out as expected and you have to change direction. The same thing can sometimes happen to a company. They put out a posting for a certain job and then something changes and they realize they need to fill a different sort of position altogether.

 

Experiences and qualifications of other candidates

If you felt good about your experiences and qualifications, chances are you were perfectly qualified to do the job. However, you don’t know what other candidates brought to the table. One of them may have experiences that while not directly related to the job, made everyone look at the position from another perspective. Someone’s experience of teaching abroad for a year might give them an up on the communication skills front.

 

They already had someone else in mind

It could be that the company already had someone in mind for the job before ever posting the position. Someone from inside. Or someone who had some sort of association with them. There might also be someone inside the company pulling for a specific candidate.

 

Personality clash

You probably don’t hit it off with every single person you meet. Through no fault of your own it could be that the interviewer simply didn’t get the warm and fuzzies during your interview. If that’s the case it most likely wouldn’t have been a good fit in the long run anyway. You spend too much time at work for personality clashes to be an issue.

 

On the bright side you had a great interview. Bring the confidence of that into your next one.

Accelerate the Hiring Process

Accelerate the Hiring Process

The job hunting process can sometimes go on and on and on, but there are some things you can do to put some gas in that engine.

 

Remember one size does not fit all

If you’ve been on the job hunt for a while you might be tempted to just send out the same cover letter to every position that seems like a possible opportunity. Creating different cover letters doesn’t mean just changing the name of the company. It means researching the company you’re applying to and including specific information about them, and you and them in the cover letter. It means highlighting specific experiences you bring to THIS position. One size actually fits no one well!

 

The same thing goes for your resume. Tailor your experiences to what best match the job you are after. You might want to change the order of your information to best grab the attention of the hiring manager for each job you are applying for.

 

Don’t just throw everything against the wall and see what sticks

Speaking of applying to everything that could possibly be an opportunity – don’t. If you are not suited to the job it’s a waste of your time and the interviewer’s for you to put in an application. Do your homework find jobs that suit your skills, experiences and aspirations and focus your precious energies on those.

 

Don’t forget your keys

As you know, there’s a lot of competition for jobs. Hiring managers read all kinds of resumes for every posting they put out there. By using key words you’ll ensure your resume and cover letter get more than a passing glance. To do this, look at what they wrote in the job description, then reflect their phrasing and words right back at them.

 

Look beyond your resume

Of course, you are going to update your resume with all your current experiences and qualifications. But that’s not the beginning and end of what a potential employer might see. They might check out what you’ve got on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. If you have a website, they will likely look at what you’ve got posted there. Make sure your online presence is as up to date as your resume!

Good News You Have A Job Interview Coming Up! Bad News You Were Fired From Your Last Job

Good News You Have A Job Interview Coming Up! Bad News You Were Fired From Your Last Job

The bad

You went through a rough patch last year. Your dad was sick and you ended up missing a lot of work because you had to help take care of him. You were worried and distracted. Things fell through the cracks at work. You made mistakes you would never make under normal circumstances. Rather than being understanding or sympathetic your boss was impatient and annoyed. Eventually you got the sack.

 

The good

All of that is in the past now. You took an online time management course. You won’t go off track again in the future. Your dad is better and you are mentally and physically recharged and ready to get your career back on track.

 

The great and the not so great

You’ve lined up a job interview at a place you where you’d be super excited to work. Your experience lines up perfectly with the job description and the company culture is exactly what you’re looking for. If you were never fired you’d be a shoe in. As it is, you’re not exactly sure how it will pan out. You know the question about previous employment is going to come up. What do you say?

 

Be clear and honest

Explain exactly what happened, quickly and succinctly. Don’t go into long explanations or create excuses or start blaming anyone. My dad was sick last year. I lost my focus and I was let go. Take ownership of what you did or didn’t do then move on to what you learned from it and the steps you’ve taken to ensure nothing like that will happen again.

 

Be confident and positive. Wow them with your all the things you bring to the table and exactly why having you as part of their team is going to strengthen the team in so many ways.

 

Our past does not define us. We are defined by what we do afterwards and going forward. There are actually a few upsides to being fired. Being fired helps put things into perspective. It makes you reassess what you’re doing and your motivation for doing it.

 

It brings hard questions you didn’t want to face to the forefront. Was that the right job for you? Do you need an attitude adjustment? What exactly do you want from life?

 

Answering those questions can put you on a whole new path. Often a much better one. And that’s the perspective/attitude you bring with you into the next interview!

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

You are on a job search. You will most likely eventually be asked for references. The time to prepare for that is now, before your interviews start. Not in a knee jerk response for a request.

 

The basics

At minimum a potential employer will want to confirm you had the job you say you had. They’ll ask about your dates of employment and title. They might also ask what you were like as an employee. Were you punctual? Did you take initiative? What was your attitude like?

 

If you provide a reference that will only give the basics, then don’t expect any fireworks on the part of your prospective employer. You want your references to be able to speak highly and positively about skills and experiences, but you also want them to hold credibility. The singing praises of your cubical mate aren’t going to get you far. The same words from a supervisor are good. If your previous boss is willing to vouch for you that’s even better. If you are a recent grad a professor can attest to your abilities and drive. In general, you want to have two or three professional references you can count on as references.

 

Credibility factor

When thinking about people we could call on as references, it’s important to consider how much weight their words will carry. If your reference is an expert in something related to what you are applying for that’s amazing. Someone who has seen you do (and excel at) a variety of different things will be able to speak confidently about your abilities.

 

Prepare them well in advance

The time to let someone know you are including them as a reference is early on in your job search. Give them time to think about you and what you can bring to the table. When you know they might be called on, give them a call. Let them know the kind of job you are applying for and the sorts of things you would like them to focus on. Confirm when it would be convenient for someone to contact them so they have time to give the reference their full attention.

 

Now that you’ve prepared your references, go out and get yourself in a position to need them!