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 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!

Avoid Saying The Wrong Things During A Job Interview

Avoid Saying The Wrong Things During A Job Interview

Everyone knows there are things you can say during a job interview that will get you all kinds of brownie points.  For example, a demonstrated knowledge of the company you’re applying with that includes noteworthy facts you gleaned during your research. A well thought out plan for how you plan to evolve with the company that weaves your experiences in with the trajectory the company is already on.

 

Then there are things you can say that will essentially end the interview well before that final handshake.

 

Undemonstrated motivation

When asked about your positive qualities you definitely want to convey how motivated you are. However how you express that motivation can either make the interviewer sit up in interest or send them off into a daydream about lunch. If you say “I’m highly motivated,” and leave it at that, you’re essentially not saying anything of note to the interviewer. A truly motivated person talks about achievements. They talk about skills. They convey exactly how they are going to change the world around them to the best of their abilities.

 

Empty words

If an interviewer asks you about your weaknesses and you say you are a perfectionist what are they supposed to take away from that? No matter what the question, dig deep and find an answer that shines a light on your potential. Approach it from the standpoint of measurable improvement. What you did in a given situation, what you learned from it, how you improved, how you would approach a similar situation now.

 

Lack of interest

You know the interviewer is going to ask if you have any questions. Maybe the interview ends and you are totally satisfied with everything you heard. You feel great about what you said and you’re pretty sure you’re a shoe in for the job. So you answer, “No, I don’t have any questions,” and all your good work slams into a bad answer.

 

Having no questions indicates a lack of interest in the job and the interviewer – whether that’s what you actually meant or not. Always have questions ready to ask. Raise the expectations and interest as you close off your interview. Don’t bring them to a grinding halt!

 

Discussing vacations at the wrong time

Obviously, benefits like vacation time are important considerations for any job, however there is a time for that discussion and it’s not during your initial interview. If you bring it up too soon you’re telling the interviewer that you’re more interested in what the job can do for them than what you can do for the job. If there’s a second interview that’s the time to discuss vacation time, otherwise save it for negotiations.

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!