Category Archives: Interviews
So you think you’re prepared for the interview by prepping for all the common interview questions. However, there are still some subtle nuances you may forget or not know about during the interview that can really cost you the job. Here are some red flags interviewers tend to watch out for.
1. You focus the interview around you.
Interviewers can pick up on a “me, me, me” mentality, so make sure that whenever you answer the question, you’re not talking about what you want and instead talking about how you want to help the company grow. If you do want to talk about your needs, make sure it aligns with the company’s success.
2. You don’t take the time to think about your answer.
OK, so you got taken off guard. Many people jump to the first thing they think of because they feel like they need to respond ASAP. And oftentimes blurting what’s on your mind isn’t always the smartest or rational answer. Take the time to gather your thoughts, even if it means having a bit of silence. Don’t worry about the pause in conversation turning off your interviewer, she will most likely appreciate you taking the time to think about your answer. And if you don’t know the answer to the question, don’t panic. Here’s what to do you if you don’t know how to answer a question.
3. You beat around the bush.
Get to the point! Sometimes taking winding roads to get to the finish line (or what you really want to say) can really lose the interviewer. Think in bullet points. When you first answer the question, respond in bullet points, then you can take more time to explain each one. Be succinct and your answers will be more memorable.
4. You don’t understand the company and product
If you don’t understand the company or the product, it means you’re not even doing the basic research you need for the interview. Why should they even consider you if you’re not putting forward the effort? It’ll seem like you don’t have any passion for or interest in the company, which is a huge red flag. Your interviewer is taking the time out of her day to interview you and you didn’t bother taking the time to do a bit of research? This alone can cause an immediate rejection.
5. You are kind of boring
OK, you’ve checked off all your boxes and you’re coming across a little too perfect and polished. Show some of your personality in the interview and let the interviewer catch a glimpse of the real you. Don’t be afraid to do so — I’m sure they’ll appreciate your authenticity. Don’t just tell them what you think they want to hear, because that can sound a little too practiced.
6. You’re begging
You really need this job because your electricity is about to be shut off if you don’t pay off your bill soon. That’s important to you but not important to the company. They are hiring you based on their needs and not yours, so don’t ever try to use your dire situation as a reason for them to hire you. Instead, show them why they actually need you and would be lucky to have you. Be confident, and it’ll shine through.
7. You talk about salary and benefits before the interviewer brings it up
Look, I know it’s important to you, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Don’t bring this up before your interviewer does or it’ll do nothing to help your case and instead really annoy her. Your interviewer wants to see what you can do for the company, not what’s in it for you. Plus, by asking about it, you’re acting as if you already got the job, which can irk the hiring manager as well.
8. You say negative things about your former employer
Yes, you may have had the boss from hell, but badmouthing her will just be bad form. It does not look professional, and it will cast a negative tinge on you as a candidate. You only have one chance to make an impression and first impressions are what stay in our minds during interviews.
9. You don’t ask questions
THIS. Hiring managers have told me that questions candidates ask can make or break the interview, so make sure you’re asking all the right questions. The questions can show how serious you are about the job, how you care about the company, and how your mind works. The right and thoughtful questions can really impress the interviewer.
Job Search Tips from the Pros – Source: disability.blog
By Guest Blogger Paula Reuben Vieillet, President and Founder of Employment Options Inc.
When it comes to job hunting, it is often best to consult the professionals. Job and career counselors are certified specialists in their field and know from experience, with their own clientele, what works best and what does not. They also know the nuances of different stages of the job hunt and different industries.
Not everyone can afford a career counselor or has access to free job placement services. Therefore, I asked my job counselors, who helped more than 400 people on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) return to work last year, about their best suggestions for getting a job.
Every one of them began with “Preparation is the key to success!” So take these tips to bring out the best qualities you have to offer an employer!
The information can be found on Jobs4TN.gov. If you are not registered there, you should do that now!
“Have you thought about losing weight?”
Keep a sense of humor
Respond with a compliment
Problems happen when people are caught off guard by these questions. They feel pressure to answer, so they do and then resent it. Or they don’t get out of answering very tactfully because they simply weren’t expecting the question, she added. If you anticipate odd questions, they won’t be a big deal.
By Dominique Rodgers
Monster Contributing Writer
Even for the most fearless amongst us, job interviews can be nerve wracking. In order to give us the best chance of success we tend to prepare for many of the difficult questions we anticipate, questions like:
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
- What are your key strengths and weaknesses?
Of course, you can never predict how an interview will go and what questions you will get. You might get an interviewer who fires one tough question at you after the other, or one that turns the interview into a more comfortable, natural two-way conversation. Preparing, therefore is difficult. In most cases we practice the answers to a long list of possible questions. The problem is that this can leave you over-prepared and as a consequence your pre-conceived answers can come across a bit robotic.
From my experience, there are really only 3 questions you have to prepare for and you can link most of the interview questions back to these three. Preparing for these three questions also means you can answer most questions more naturally, simply by referring mentally back to your preparations for these three questions.
Basically, any interviewer wants to establish 3 key things:
- Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
- Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
- Will you fit into the team, culture and company?
However, during the job interview, the interviewer might use many different questions and angles to get to the answers. If the interviewer doesn’t get what he or she wants from one question, they might ask them in different ways. Or they might probe from different angles to test for consistency in your answers.
Here is what’s behind these 3 questions:
1. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
Think about the key skills you might need for the job you have applied for and assess your own level of expertise and experience in that context. It makes sense to identify the more specific or technical skills that your potential employer might expect as well as some more generic skills such as being a good communicator, having good IT skills, being a team player, etc. Once you have prepared for this question it will help you answer many different interview questions without getting sidetracked into talking about things that are not relevant. Remember that you want to demonstrate that you are aware of the key skills, expertise and experience required to do the job and that you have what it takes to perform it. Always go back to the key skills, expertise and experience when answering scary (and sometimes silly) questions like:
- Tell me about yourself?
- What are your greatest strengths / weaknesses?
- What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
- Why do you think you are right for this job?
- What do you think the main challenges will be?
2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
Any potential employer wants to know that you are interested in the company and excited about the prospect of working there. You therefore want to demonstrate that you have researched the company, understand its strategy, current performance, structure, market position and products and that you can’t wait to join them. For most, you will have done your homework before you even applied for the job, but if you haven’t then check out the ‘about us’ section on their website and search for the latest strategy documents, annual reports, key statistics as well as the company history. Show that you know them and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and company. Here you might also want to think about your ambitions and how they fit into the company you have applied for. You can then use the insights for answering questions such as:
- What do you know about our company?
- What do you think our company is aiming to achieve?
- What do you know about our products and services?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- Why do you think this job is right for you?
- What motivates you?
3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?
This final key question is about your personality and your style and how you as a person fit into the team and culture of the company. Companies have different cultures, which translate into different ways of behaving and working. It is important to make sure you fit in and don’t feel like a fish out of water. In fact, it is important for the company as well as for you. Again, hopefully you will have done some research prior to applying for the job. Sometimes, it can be tricky to find detailed knowledge about the company culture, in which case you simply talk about your assumptions and why you feel you fit in. One relatively new website that offers a glance inside companies is Glassdoor. The site is still in its infancy but provides a growing amount of data and information about what it is like to work for different companies. You want to map the culture of the company or the team you are planning to join and compare this to your personality traits, style and behaviors. Again, once you have done this you can use it to answer questions such as:
- How would you describe your work style?
- How would you describe yourself?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- What makes you fit into our company?
- What makes you a good team member?
- If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Of course, any interview is a two-way process. In the same way the interviewer wants to find out that you are right for the company, you need to assess whether the company is right for you. Each of the questions can be turned around so that you can assess:
- By joining this company, will I make best use of my skills and expertise and will they help me to grow them further?
- Is the company excited about having me work for them and will they give me the necessary support?
- Is the company culture the right fit for me so that I can flourish and be myself?
If you ask relevant questions from your point of view then this will make the interview more balanced and create a more natural conversation.
By JIM PAWLAK
You thought the interview went well. Then you got a call from a human resources staffer. “You’re overqualified” was the message. Just what does overqualified mean? After all, you weren’t overqualified before the interview. An employer wouldn’t waste time interviewing people who were overqualified.
If you hear those dreaded words, it means you flunked the interview. You talked your way out of a job not into one. How? Probably by talking too much about your total work experience rather than focusing on those experiences that apply directly to the position for which you’re interviewing.
In an effort to impress, you may have told the interviewer about tasks on your last job that aren’t part of the new position. That waves a red flag that you may become bored, and you’re not a good fit. Oops. That isn’t what a prospective employer wants to hear.
How can you avoid foot-in-mouth disease? By remembering that the key to a winning interview is the same as that of a successful sales call. Sales are made because the product satisfies a customer’s needs. The bells and whistles don’t matter.
A savvy salesperson finds out what their prospect needs before starting his/her presentation. Uncover the customer’s hot buttons by asking questions and taking cues from the target’s answers.
How can you find out what an interviewer needs? Start by asking questions instead of answering them. As soon as you can, get the interviewer to go over the job description to pinpoint what the job entails and how it relates to other areas of the firm. Ask questions like: “What are the key job functions?”, “What are the top priorities?”, “What are your ninety-day, six-month and one-year expectations for the person who fills the job?”, “What traits are needed to be successful in the job?” and “Who are the key people and departments the job holder will interact with?”
These probe the interviewer in a positive, non-threatening manner and show your interest in the job, the department and the firm. Their answers will show you how to tailor a discussion of your experience to the job’s qualifications and the interviewer’s needs. You’ll also have a good idea of what types of questions other interviewers are apt to ask.
In addition to talking too much about experience that is meaningless to interviewers, there is another subject that often ends up tagging a job hunter as overqualified. That subject is compensation. All too frequently, overqualified really means: “We can’t pay you what you were making.”
Usually, job hunters that strike out on the compensation issue name their price before finding out what the company is willing to pay.
How do you work around the issue? Three ways: 1. Do some research on the going price for the position. There are all sorts of local, state and federal salary surveys available at the library and online; salary.com offers free and premium services. Contact professional associations for salary information, too. Unless a firm’s salary structure is completely out of whack with the reality of the labor market, your survey results should put you in the ballpark.
Armed with this knowledge, you can respond to a question about compensation one of three ways: 1. “Some recent surveys from (insert sources) indicate pay for similar positions ranges from $X to $Y. That’s workable for me.”
2. Taking a page from Successful Selling 101, a salesperson will ask about a customer’s budget before quoting a price. Job hunters can apply that same technique by asking about the pay range for the position. Just don’t be the first to bring up the compensation issue.
3. Respond with a non-specific answer like: “Compensation isn’t what drives me. I’m looking for a job that challenges me to do my best every day. I’m sure your firm would fairly compensate me for the work I would do.”
Article found at http://jobs.palmbeachpost.com/stories/jobs_wisdom2_main.html.
When it comes to recruiting strategies, hiring decisions often focus largely on candidates’ technical skills and expertise, with relatively little attention given to soft skills. This can result in hiring employees who have the cognitive firepower to succeed but lack the social skills required to effectively use what they know. These employees tend to either rapidly leave due to interpersonal conflict and frustration, stall out in lower-level positions due to their inability to handle the social demands of leadership or bulldoze through the organization, leaving a trail of poor morale and increased turnover.
Hiring the right candidate based on technical knowledge without looking at social skills is like designing a race car with a powerful engine and substandard steering and braking systems. Your car is likely to go somewhere fast, but not necessarily in the direction you want; it may even hurt a lot of innocent bystanders along the way. Fortunately, there are relatively easy and inexpensive ways to decrease the risk of hiring the cognitively skilled but socially inept.
Social skills reflect a person’s ability to work with others in a way that accomplishes near-term business objectives while strengthening longer-term working relationships. The concept of social skills has been around a long time, although it is periodically repackaged under titles such as “emotional intelligence,” “tacit knowledge” and “interpersonal savvy.” Social skills depend primarily on four fundamental characteristics:
- Self-awareness: Monitoring how our actions affect the behavior of those around us.
- Sensitivity to others: Showing concern toward the needs and feelings of others.
- Social intelligence: Understanding methods for influencing others’ behaviors and perceptions.
- Self-control: Being able to control our actions and emotions, particularly when under stress
Click HERE for complete article.
By: Steven Hunt, PhD, Monster Contributing Writer
By Vicki Salemi | U.S.News & World Report LP, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/21-reasons-why-didnt-job-132549576.html
You aced it. Or at least you thought you did a stellar job during the job interview, but now that a month has come and gone, you’re not so sure. You thought you would get at least a phone call a few days or even a week later regarding next steps, but now? Not so much. Insert crickets.
And now you have to face the music: You didn’t get a shot at a final interview, let alone that coveted job offer. What went down? Let’s look at various scenarios:
1. You talked too much/too little.
2. You appeared nervous and lacked confidence.
3. Your soft skills weren’t so sharp.
4. Your technical skills weren’t up to par…
5. Or they were too on point and you were deemed overqualified.
6. The hiring manager felt threatened by your sparkling skills and spot-on experience.
7. You were too vague and didn’t illustrate examples when asked behavioral-based questions.
8. Not a cultural fit with the team and organization.
9. Too much of a fit – maybe you appeared overconfident.
10. Your salary requirements were too high.
11. Your references bailed on you and provided not-so-pleasant insight.
12. Your thank-you note had errors.
13. You were too aggressive when following up.
14. You were late to the interview.
15. Or maybe not very polite to the receptionist.
16. It wasn’t about you – it was about them, since they went with an internal candidate.
17. They closed the requisition, downgraded it or upgraded it into something else. Or hiring has been frozen.
18. The hiring manager is out of town so all decisions are on hold regardless.
19. You didn’t look the part – maybe you dressed a bit informal and the interviewers’ read it as you’re not taking the position seriously.
20. You threw your current/former employer under the bus.
21. It was simply not meant to be.
Essentially, there could be a plethora of reasons why you didn’t get selected to move to the next round and get the job.
Quickly replay the interview in your mind; tweak accordingly next time. Trust the process, the reasons and not having all of the answers. Don’t try to analyze too much, since it’s easy to become stagnant in your own head instead of pounding the pavement. At this point, you can conduct a succinct self-awareness check to see if you can alter anything for the next interview.
Yes, it’s deflating when you don’t get a job you’re yearning for, but every interview is an opportunity to learn and improve your approach. Maybe your experience was a stretch and didn’t quite translate into the new role you’re pursuing. As in not-so-relevant. Quickly scan the interview in your mind and tweak accordingly for the next one. For this example, next time you can connect the dots better with your skill set and strengths.
It’s not you, it’s them. In another instance, let’s say you were polite, arrived on time, felt comfortable and confident with your answers and the dialogue and demonstrated required skills and experience for the position. Trust that you did your best and it wasn’t meant to be.
Sure, you may be tempted to wonder what could have happened. The job requisition could have been filled internally, they could have selected another candidate who was a rehire or it could have been put on hold, to name a few. Countless scenarios occur behind the scenes; it’s challenging for a job seeker to surmise. Here’s the good news – you don’t have to surmise by spending too much time and energy thinking about it. It’s not always about you and the process isn’t very transparent.
Ever upward. You may be tempted to ask the recruiter for specific feedback, but chances are they won’t provide it. For starters, it could put the company at risk since they probably don’t provide feedback to every single candidate and because they should treat all candidates equally. Plus, it opens a can of worms – they need to focus on candidates they’re going to hire, not the ones they’re turning down.
And in the spirit of that mind set, you should also focus forward. Decide what you’re going to improve, such as providing a range for a salary requirement instead of a specific number, and pour your attention into prospective employers. Propel forward with your search and gain momentum with each and every interview, self-assess and then forge ahead. Ever upward!
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By Vivian Giang | Business Insider, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/11-common-interview-questions-that-are-actually-illegal-164547841.html
During job interviews, employers will try to gather as much information about you as possible, mostly through perfectly legal questioning, but sometimes through simple yet very illegal questions.
It’s up to the interviewee to recognize these questions for what they are.
Any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status and sexual orientation are off-limits.
“State and federal laws make discrimination based on certain protected categories, such as national origin, citizenship, age, marital status, disabilities, arrest and conviction record, military discharge status, race, gender, or pregnancy status, illegal.
Any question that asks a candidate to reveal information about such topics without the question having a job related basis will violate the various state and federal discrimination laws,” Lori Adelson, a labor and employment attorney and partner with law firm Arnstein & Lehr, tells Business Insider.
“However, if the employer states questions so that they directly relate to specific occupational qualifications, then the questions may be legitimate. Clearly, the intent behind the question needs to be examined.”
If you are asked any inappropriate questions, Adelson advises not to lie, but, instead, politely decline to answer.
“Could they not give you a job because of that? Sure. But if they do, they would be doing exactly what they’re not supposed to do.”
We compiled the following illegal interview questions that are often mistaken as appropriate from Adelson and Joan K. Ustin & Associates, a consultant firm specializing in human resources and organization development.
1. Have you ever been arrested?
An employer can’t actually legally ask you about your arrest record, but they can ask if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
Depending on the state, a conviction record shouldn’t automatically disqualify you for employment unless it substantially relates to your job. For example, if you’ve been convicted of statutory rape and you’re applying for a teaching position, you will probably not get the job.
2. Are you married?
Although the interviewer may ask you this question to see how much time you’d be able to commit to your job, it’s illegal because it reveals your marital status and can also reveal your sexual orientation.
3. What religious holidays do you practice?
Employers may want to ask you this to see if your lifestyle interferes with work schedules, but this question reveals your religion and that’s illegal.
They can ask you if you’re available to work on Sundays.
4. Do you have children?
It is unlawful to deny someone employment if they have children or if they are planning on having children in the future.
If the employer wants to find out how committed you will be to your job, they should ask questions about your work. For example, “What hours can you work?” or “Do you have responsibilities other than work that will interfere with specific job requirements such as traveling?”
5. What country are you from?
If you have an accent, this may seem like an innocent question, but keep in mind that it’s illegal because it involves your national origin.
Employers can’t legally inquire about your nationality, but they can ask if you’re authorized to work in a certain country.
6. Is English your first language?
It’s not the employers lawful right to know if a language is your first language or not.
In order to find out language proficiency, employers can ask you what other languages you read, speak, or write fluently.
7. Do you have any outstanding debt?
Employers have to have permission before asking about your credit history. Similar to a criminal background history, they can’t disqualify you from employment unless it directly affects your ability to perform the position you’re interviewing for.
Furthermore, they can’t ask you how well you balance your personal finances or inquire about you owning property.
8. Do you socially drink?
Employers cannot ask about your drinking habits because it violates the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.
For example, if you’re a recovering alcoholic, treatment of alcoholism is protected under this act and you don’t have to disclose any disability information before landing an official job offer.
9. When was the last time you used illegal drugs?
It’s illegal for employers to ask you about past drug addiction, but they can ask you if you’re currently using illegal drugs.
A person who is currently using drugs is not protected under ADA.
For example, an employer may ask you: Do you currently use illegal drugs? What illegal drugs have you used in the last six months?
10. How long have you been working?
This question allows employers to guess your age which is unlawful. Similarly, they can’t ask you what year you graduated from high school or college or even your birthday.
However, they can ask you how long you’ve been working in a certain industry.
11. What type of discharge did you receive in the military?
This is not appropriate for the interviewer to ask you, but they can ask what type of education, training, or work experience you’ve received while in the military.
1. Will she always be late like this? Even if you’re normally punctual, showing up late to an interview can cause the hiring manager to wonder if this is a regular occurrence. She may reason that if you were serious about this job you would have taken measures to circumvent the traffic/getting lost/not knowing what to wear excuse you used upon coming in the door.
2. Is this how he’ll dress at work? Come to an interview in less than professional dress, and you might get a raised eyebrow from the person interviewing you. They say “dress for the job you want,” so if you come in wearing flip-flops or a mini-skirt, the hiring manager might assume you’re not professional enough for the job.
3. Did he lie on his résumé? If you stumble when asked questions you should be able to answer, the employer may think you fibbed on your résumé. You might chalk it up to nervousness, but she may not see it that way. That’s why practicing how you’ll respond to certain questions, like those about your past work duties and accomplishments, can help you speak confidently in an interview.
4. Will he jump ship? If you have a short stint at a company (for less than a year), a hiring manager may wonder about your ability to commit to a job long-term. And it is, of course, her goal to find the right person for the job and avoid a difficult and costly replacement.
5. Is he this sloppy in his work? If your résumé is riddled with grammatical errors, you probably won’t even get a call for an interview. Even if your day-to-day job doesn’t involve a lot of writing, a hiring manager wants to know that you pay attention to your work and can catch mistakes without correction from a superior.
6. His personality isn’t a good fit. Your skills and experience plays a large role in a hiring manager’s decision of whether you’re the ideal candidate or not, but your personality and “culture fit” are equally important. This may be difficult to master, since you never know what she’s looking for in terms of what will mesh well with the existing team.
By Lindsay Olson | U.S.News & World Report LP – Mon, Jun 3, 2013 11:52 AM EDT
Click HERE to read entire article.
By DAVE JOHNSON / MONEYWATCH/ May 13, 2013, 8:18 AM
(MoneyWatch) Job searches are emotionally draining, and making it all the way through the interview process can be arduous. But unless the hiring manager offers you the position on the spot at the end of the interview — rare, but certainly not unheard of — you’re still not done. Put your best foot forward and improve the odds of getting a job offer by sending an awesome follow-up letter the next day.
Click here to continue reading article on CBS MoneyWatch
Back 2 Work 2013 Career Conference features career workshops and a Job Fair for job seekers in the Memphis area. If you are currently unemployed and seeking employment, this event is for you!
March 14, 2013 – 9 am – 2 pm
New Direction Christian Church, 6120 Winchester Road.
Participation is FREE to companies and job seekers.
NO PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.
Visit and interview with hiring companies during the Career Fair from 9 am – 2 pm. Bring plenty of resumes and dress professionally.
For more information, contact
Glenda Warren at 901-333-6812