Ten Tips to a Job Winning Interview

These days, interviews don’t come easily. When you get The Call, make the most of your time — and go for it!

  1. Investigate the company’s culture, markets, and finances. But resist the temptation to show off what you’ve researched: “I just read that you’re about to embark on a new product line”) unless you have a question directly related to your career.
  2. Look like you belong. Learn the company’s dress code and err on the side of conservatism. When you’re seeking a senior position based on industry experience, you’ll be expected to know the rules without being told.
  3. Take charge of the interview! The most successful interviews feel like friendly conversations. When your interviewer has an agenda (such as the infamous “stress interview”) stay relaxed. Think of playing a game.
  4. Assume everyone you meet will provide feedback to the decision-maker. Some companies hand out comment forms to receptionists, security guards and potential peers who take you to lunch.
  5. Communicate interest and enthusiasm, even if you’re not sure you’re ready to commit. You’ll rarely have all the facts until you’re looking at an offer.
  6. Bring extra copies of your correspondence from this company as well as your resume, references, writing samples, portfolio and current business cards. Interviewers lose documents and conversations move in unexpected directions.
  7. Create a relaxed, positive attitude by devising a realistic game plan. When your career isn’t riding on a single interview, you’ll have fun and make a confident, relaxed impression.
  8. Write a thank you letter within forty-eight hours. Create a low-key sales letter, emphasizing how your qualifications match the company’s needs. Present yourself as a resource, not a supplicant.
  9. After you write the letter, forget about the interview. Email or phone only if you’ve received a competing offer with a deadline.
    Occasionally you may make points with follow-up mailings. A sports team public relations applicant sent puzzles, games and press releases — and she got the job. Use your intuition.
  10. Keep notes of what you learned from the process. What worked? What would you do differently?
    As soon as you begin your new job, develop a career plan and a safety net before you need one.

Traveling for An Interview? 10 Tips to Get You From Here to There

You’ve just been granted an on-site interview in another town. Hurray!
This means you’ll be traveling to an employer’s location so that they can further evaluate you for a specific job position.
Before you make any travel arrangements, it’s a good idea to discuss who will be paying for your trip – you or the employer. If you’re paying, find out if you’ll be reimbursed. It’s a good idea to save all your receipts from the trip if you’re being reimbursed for expenses.
Here’s some things to keep in mind when traveling to interviews:

  • 1) Let the employer know immediately if you have to cancel the trip or make any changes to your visit.
  • 2) Unless the employer is reserving your flight and hotel room, you will need a way to make reservations in advance.
  • 3) Get all directions and transportation instructions to your destination ahead of time.
  • 4) Factor in your commute time when planning to leave for the interview destination. How long will it take you to get there in traffic?
  • 5) Avoid late airplane flights. These can be cancelled or delayed at a moment’s notice.
  • 6) Bring your interview clothes with you on the plane – just in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed.
  • 7) It’s okay to wear casual clothes while traveling if there is no employer representative waiting to meet you when you arrive.
  • 8) When you check into the hotel, ask the clerk if there are any messages or information for you from the employer.
  • 9) Schedule a morning wake up call with the hotel so you don’t oversleep. Or, bring a travel alarm clock.
  • 10) Bring extra copies of resumes, recommendation letters, transcripts, contact information, etc.

8 Great Interview questions to help you find the right Candidate

As the economy expands and the competition for quality salespeople becomes intense it’s important to realize that you have to use different tools to screen for the right candidates. Use these interview questions to help you discover the right people to join your company.

1) Do you have written goals you want to accomplish and if so, tell me about them? You are looking for indications of maturity, focus, planning ability and desire for achievement.

2) How did you earn your first paycheck, how old were you, and what did you do with the money? With this question you are probing to check their work ethic.

3) What are the top three leadership traits that you look for in a manager? With this question you are attempting to gauge their expectation and ascertain their preferred management style.

4) Have you ever failed at something and if so, why did you fail and what did you learn from the experience? This question lends itself to a discussion on resiliency, personal responsibility and tendencies under pressure.

5) Everyone has strengths and weaknesses as employees. What are your strong points for this position? This question gives them the opportunity to tell you what assets they bring to the table and how they see themselves fitting into your organization.

6) What is the one thing you would improve about yourself? This question gives you an indication of his or her self- assessment capability.

7) Other than family members, who has been the greatest influence in your life and why?

8) If you were to fail in this business, what do you think the reason would be?

Use these questions as a guide and add to them as you wish. by having a set list of questions it helps you move the interview process through efficiently and effectively. Based on the candidates’ answers to these and other questions you may provide, you’ll have a good idea if you’re ready to take the next step with this person.

Good luck

How to Prepare For A Job Interview: Tips to Boost Your Skills

Even the smartest and most qualified job seekers need to prepare for job interviews. Why, you ask? Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. So study these 10 strategies to enhance your interview skills.

Practice Good Nonverbal Communication

It’s about demonstrating confidence: standing straight, making eye contact and connecting with a good, firm handshake. That first nonverbal impression can be a great beginning — or quick ending — to your interview.

Dress for the Job or Company

Today’s casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to look professional and well-groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call to find out about the company dress code before the interview.

Listen

From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not hearing it, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer, and match that style and pace.

Don’t Talk Too Much

Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time, you may ramble when answering interview questions, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position’s requirements and relating only that information.

Don’t Be Too Familiar

The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer’s demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.

Use Appropriate Language

It’s a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation — these topics could send you out the door very quickly.

Don’t Be Cocky

Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism and modesty. Even if you’re putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved.

Take Care to Answer the Questions

When an interviewer asks for an example of a time when you did something, he is seeking a sample of your past behavior. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only don’t answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills.

Ask Questions

When asked if they have any questions, most candidates answer, “No.” Wrong answer. Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions to demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what you’re asked during the interview and asking for additional information.

Don’t Appear Desperate

When you interview with the “please, please hire me” approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Maintain the three C’s during the interview: cool, calm and confident. You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can, too.

6 Sure Fire Tips to Land Your Next Interview

Did you know most managers only briefly glance through resumes as they select who to interview? Put yourself in their shoes and imagine receiving anywhere from 50 – 100 profiles for every job you post. How much time could you truly devote? Are you going to scan every line of each resume? Probably not! Take it from a person that reads resumes all day, there are a handful of do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing your resume to make sure you land that interview.

  1. Review the job description and make the necessary changes to your current resume. What does this mean? If you are or want to be a Business Analyst and the words “Business Analyst” aren’t anywhere to be found in your resume, you probably won’t be selected. It sounds simple, but we see it all the time. Take it a step further and look for action words like develop, implement, support and make sure yours match up to the job description. One thing I want to stress. DO NOT LIE on your resume, which brings me to my next point.
  2. Absolutely DO NOT LIE about skills, past jobs and / or durations your resume. Managers will find out real fast if you are lying once they start asking questions. The last thing you want is to be black listed from a company for wasting a manager’s time. Plus you never know who they might know.
  3. Stay away from 3rd person. Some managers don’t mind reading a resume in 3rd person. It drives others nuts! Just to be safe, don’t do it! I know we all like Star Wars, but let’s not write like Yoda! I would even suggest staying away from 1st person and only using statements. An example might be, “Innovative, results-oriented Information Technology Leader with expertise in building, leading and mentoring global organizations to efficiently deliver complex technical solutions.”
  4. Use bullets. Under each job in your employment history include bullets of your responsibilities including what you did where. Do not lump all the info into one gigantic paragraph. Boring!
  5. Stay away from funky graphics and pictures. It’s great that you have a creative side, but just because you love dragons doesn’t mean your future employer will share the same appreciation for mythical creatures. That’s a little extreme, but this also includes profile pictures, flowers and swirls. Believe it or not, I’ve seen all of the above in resumes.
  6. Stay away from overly fancy, hard to read fonts. I recommend using a clear generic font like Arial. You have to remember the person reading your resume might not have your font installed on their computer. Not every computer comes standard with the same font package. Even if they do, just because you like it doesn’t mean your employer wants to spend the extra effort trying to read it.

I’m sure there are many more tips out there and some I left out. Follow my advice and I promise you will be more successful at landing interviews.

10 Questions to Make the Interviewer the Interviewee

Have you ever been caught off guard on an interview when the hiring manager said, “Do you have any questions for me?” That question will haunt you if you aren’t prepared! I’ve put together a list of questions that will set you apart from other Candidates and make the manager think you might be sharp enough to hire.

  1. Describe the Ideal Candidate.
  2. Describe the candidate’s ideal background.
  3. What is the next step?
  4. Is there anything else in my background that I need to share with you to let you know I can do the job?
  5. Are there any uncertainties I need to address?
  6. What happened to the person that was previously in this position and who is currently filling this role?
  7. What is the size of the department?
  8. What did the last person or others in this role do that was applauded?
  9. What did they do that was not as good as it could have been?
  10. Sign me up! How soon can I start?

Asking the manager questions in return lets them know you are interested. It will also make the interview more conversational. 

5 Tips for Working with a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter is like any other relationship, it requires effort from both parties. Here a few tips that I recommend:

  1. Return the recruiters call/answer their email. Never mind that it is simply rude to ignore a call made in good faith, it can also leave a bad impression with the recruiter, which may come back to haunt you if you ever need to look for a new job (see #3 below).
  2. Be honest. Don’t tell the recruiter you are ready to make a move if you are not just because you think they may work harder for you. If you’re happy in your current job, but willing to explore options, tell them that. If you have no interest in exploring a new opportunity then tell them that too. If you are honest about your situation you will begin to build trust and lay the foundation for a good professional relationship.
  3. Keep the line of communications open regardless of your current situation. Recruiters are typically very well-connected and great net-workers so having one or more in your professional network can only be a good thing.
  4. Treat the relationship like any other healthy relationship; be open to give and take. If a recruiter reaches out to you for networking or referrals be sure to respond, even if you don’t have anything. Let them know you’ll keep your eyes open. Refer them when talking with a colleague who mentions he/she is looking, or to a client who says they need a new recruiter. Paying it forward will always lead to good things.
  5. Be positive. Just like in an interview with a client be positive about your current and past employers. Remember, the recruiter is interviewing you as a potential candidate they want to work with and represent. If you bad mouth your current or past employers it may turn them off.

Obviously, you want to do some homework on the recruiter and/or his/her company before deciding you want to be associated, but once you are comfortable moving forward if you treat it like any other positive relationship I think you will find it healthy and beneficial.

Can I Say No?

These days we all seem to be doing more at work with fewer people and resources. When will it stop? Can you ever say “no” when your boss or a co-worker asks you to do something new? This is tricky. You want to be seen as a team player, but you also are extremely busy. What do you do?

I think sometimes it is ok to say no with a good reason. Sometimes. Obviously, if it is a project that is critical to your business or is the top priority of the company; you probably need to do it. But, if it’s one of those odd projects that always seem to pop up or you’ve been asked to be on a large team you might not have time for, consider holding your ground and saying no; with reason, of course. Here are three reasons why you might need to say no:

  1. You need to keep your focus. If you are working on a big project or have a pressing deadline, you might not be able to help. You need to keep focused on your work.
  2. You are always the one who is asked. If you constantly are the one asked to join a team, take on a new project or help out on a program, maybe ask if someone else is available – kind of a “spread the wealth” for new work.
  3. Your time is valuable too. If this is just someone’s pet project or something that is non-essential, tell the requester that you need justification to give up your time. Your time means something. It’s the only thing we can’t get more of.

Again, if it’s a critical or very important project it can be tough to say no. However, don’t always feel like you can’t state your case. It’s nice to be a team player or the “go to” person, but there are only so many hours in the day! If you’re in a role where a boss doesn’t let you say “no”, maybe it’s time to move on.

Post-Interview Checklist

You survived the interview. Now what? Hopefully, before the interview ended, you asked about next steps and/or the hiring time frame; but what can you do while you wait for the news? I have a few ideas to keep you busy:

  1. Send a thank you email. This may seem like it’s an outdated ritual, but it’s not. Not only is it a simple display of common courtesy, it’s a great way to thank the interviewer for their time, mention something from the interview that really caught your attention and reinforce your interest in the position. You can even come back with a solution or new idea for something that was discussed. Or, if you had an outstanding question, you could ask it in the note.
  2. Review the interview. Take some time to rewind the interview. What worked? What fell flat? Were there questions you had a difficult time answering? Reflect on your feedback and figure out how to improve your performance next time (if needed.)
  3. Plan for the second interview. Think positive and start preparing for interview #2. Figure out how to incorporate what you learned in the first interview to make your performance the second time around even stronger.
  4. Follow up with your references. If you provided references to the employer, make sure to give your references a heads up to let them know who may be contacting them. Also, give them details on how you thought the interview went and why you are a great fit for the position.
  5. Continue networking. Even if you think you’ve got the job in the bag, don’t stop networking. Keep making connections. Stay in touch with your network. Let them know about your job search progress. And, always stay networking – even when you get the job!

Interviews can be a lot of work and after you’ve finished one, you may just want to relax – but not until you’ve finished your post-interview checklist!

What are some of your tips for after the interview? Let us know in the comments.

Let’s Talk About You – 6 Interview Tips to Make Things Smoother

Let’s face it when it comes to the interview, you have to be ready to talk. Not only about your skills and experience, but about you; what you’re all about and how you are the right person for the job. And, for some of us, this is easy. But for others, it is extremely difficult. So, what can you do?

  1. Be Ready. Once the interview is set, you know what’s coming. Start thinking about how you will talk about and present yourself. This is where you need to shine. You need to get comfortable making small talk, answering questions and selling yourself.
  2. Do your homework. Research the company that is interviewing you. Check out their website, press releases, social media sites, etc. Ask friends and colleagues if they have worked for or know anyone that’s worked for the company to try to gain some insider info. Prepare a few interesting facts that you can bring up, as appropriate, during the interview. You may also want to consider doing a little research on the interviewer. Check LinkedIn to view his/her profile and learn about their background.
  3. Review your resume. Know your resume inside and out. This is what the interviewer is using as a guideline for the discussion. Be ready to walk through your work experience and skills. Be ready to concisely discuss what you’ve accomplished.
  4. Know your motivation. Why do you want this job? What can you offer this company?  How does this job play into your career path and goals? Employers want to see that you really want this job, not any job.
  5. Anticipate probable questions. There is not a lot of mystery when it comes to the interview. You will be asked questions, and you probably know the majority of them before you start. A simple internet search will reveal common interview questions for different types of jobs. Also consider having someone conduct a mock interview to practice your responses and wording. Practice may not make you perfect, but it will certainly make you more prepared and more comfortable.
  6. Stay calm. Some employers ask tough questions. Always focus on the positive. Keep your answers to difficult questions on point. If one of these zingers comes your way, take a deep breath and pause before you answer. Think before you react to the question.

Interviews are always a stressful situation. Take some of the stress out by following these tips to make it a little easier to talk about you. Good luck!