July 2, 2015

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The Ultimate List of 400+ Job Interviewer Questions

3359500357_eb94b5b973_bType “interview” in the search box on the upper right hand corner of this site and you’ll find post after post about interview preparation. There’s a common theme throughout all of them: interviewing is a skill that takes practice. So how serious are you about landing a job? Ready for some rapid fire drills? Ready to flex those interview muscles?

Your answer should be yes! You might dread interview practice as much as you dread going to the gym or studying for a test but you’re not going to get results without working out — whether it’s your body or your brain.

So here it is: the ultimate workout. Click through to see a list of the 444 most popular job interviewer questions. You have a few options for practice:

  1. Run through the list by yourself. Speak out loud as you answer each question.
  2. Write down the most difficult questions on flash cards, shuffle them up, and ask a friend to read them to you or read them yourself.
  3. Hand the list to a different friend each day and have them ask you random questions.

When practicing by yourself, jot down your best talking points on a piece of paper  — or the back of that notecard. That way you — or a friend — can cross check your responses and make sure you hit all the best talking points. While practicing by yourself is better than not practicing at all, a friend can give you helpful feedback, even if it’s as small as “you said umm too much and you didn’t make eye contact.”

Feedback can hurt. Practice can suck. But every minute you spend preparing gets you one minute closer to landing that job offer.

Image via Beanbag Amerika/Flickr

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June 30, 2015

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4 Reasons Why Our Employees Love Working at Spectrum Brands

CAREERS 06 PROMO vimeo sdws from Spectrum Brands, Inc on Vimeo.

Kevin from Sales says, “A lot of people don’t know who Spectrum Brands is but they know all of the different brands that we have.” And the number of brands we own is one of the biggest reasons why people love working for us. Here are just a few reasons why working at Spectrum Brands is great.

1. The size is just right.
Goldilocks would be happy. Spectrum Brands might just be the perfect balance of large national brands and a small-town feel. There’s no need to move to a big city with a high cost of living to find a great career opportunity. We operate in a brand new green world headquarters just outside of Madison, Wisconsin in the family-friendly suburb of Middleton.

Madison was named the best place to live in 2015 by Livability.com, and Middleton has held the title before. “Its nice being part of a big company like this but it still feels like a small company,” says Kevin.

2. Every day is different.
It’s hard to get bored at a company where so much is going on. You’ll get to know coworkers across different departments and different brands. “I love my job. No day is the same,” says Dorothy in Supply Chain. “It’s always something different. It’s always new challenges.”

3. There are plenty of learning opportunities. 
Speaking of bored, if you’re looking for a change, look no further than across the hallway. Each brand offers a unique opportunity to learn a new business, a new product, and a new customer.

“I get to work hand in hand with our European team,” says Devon, who works in the marketing department of Remington. “If the opportunity arises I could raise my hand and be working on batteries tomorrow and really learning how to drive that business.”

4. There is room for growth.
Those learning opportunities can lead to more than just mental growth — they can lead to career growth too. With so many brands, we have plenty of opportunities for promotion within the company. “You definitely have a lot more opportunity to move forward with your career because of all the different brands,” says Tara, a web designer at Spectrum Brands.

Elizabeth from Creative agrees. She says, “Spectrum Brands is a company that when they see your potential and they see that you really love and have a passion for what you do, they give you opportunities that you never expect. They let you fly as high as you want to fly.”

P.S. We’re hiring. View our latest job opportunities.

 

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June 25, 2015

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3 Ways Interns Can Impress Their Internship Bosses

4164251472_5850e06585_bHiring an intern is a unique process in the recruiting world because an intern is often hired based exclusively on potential. Sure, you might have the right major. And perhaps you’ve joined a club or signed up for a few relevant classes. But let’s face it — you don’t have a lot of experience. So what can an intern do to show they were the right hire? Here’s what new interns can do to impress their internship bosses:

1. Be motivated.
As an intern, you’re looking for a mentoring and learning opportunity but a lot of your time may be spent on your own. And that’s your chance to show what you’ve got. Creative freedom is never a bad thing! Companies are looking for self starters who can hit the ground running. Projects that are passed off to interns are often projects that no current employee had time to tackle. So if you can take on this project and not only follow the minimum directions but take it up a notch, you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else. And you’ll prove that you have the ability to work on your own without constant supervision.

2. Be reliable.
Show up on time all the time. I know that it’s summer break and all of your friends might be doing fun things without you. But if you can’t show up to a temporary gig when you’re expected to, what does that say about your work ethic? An internship is a two-way street. You get a learning opportunity while a company gets the chance to alleviate itself of some work. If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain, you’re creating even more work for the company. And that’s not good. You want to get a recommendation at the end of this internship — or even a job offer! Don’t let a simple thing like basic time management rule you out.

3. Be flexible.
Some internship programs are more structured than others. View your time at the company as a learning experience and be open and willing to work for whomever on whatever. You never know what you may end up liking or learning. Some days may be spent doing exactly what you dreamed of while others may be spent doing more administrative work. If you feel that you are more capable, suggest a few ways the company could use your skills. Or ask to set up some informational lunches or job shadowing opportunities with people outside of the department that you are in. People will respect your ambition.

How did you prove yourself during an internship? Comment below!

P.S. We hire interns at Spectrum Brands. Read what it’s like to be a Spectrum Brands Intern then view our internship openings.

Image via Michael Lokner/Flickr

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June 23, 2015

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How to Stay Focused on Your Job Search This Summer

2667783619_592c3d226c_oAhh, summer. It’s not a bad time to be between jobs, right? But it might be a blessing and a curse. Who wants to stay inside and job hunt when it’s finally warm and sunny outside? Add in the weekend barbecues, festivals, pool dates, weddings, and all the other summer hoopla and before you know it, it’s Labor Day weekend — and you’re still without a job. Uh oh. Luckily we have a few tips to stay on track this summer. Stick with it and before September rolls around, you’ll be signing on the dotted line.

1. Create a schedule.
Find a consistent time each day and each week that you can dedicate to the job search. Even 30 minutes per day is better than nothing. Perhaps between 1 PM and 3 PM each afternoon is the best time for you while your kids nap. Or maybe it’s 1 PM to 5 PM on Sundays when you have fewer social commitments. For the next month, find your groove and pencil it into your schedule — scratch that. “Pen” it in. This is non-negotiable.

2. Ask for help.
Notify your family that you are unavailable during that time period. Ask for help with household errands or organize a babysitting swap with a neighbor if you have kids. Or find a summer program for the kids that’s in a building with wifi — for example, the library. You need a block of time that’s 100 percent distraction free. You’ll be able to get better work done faster. It’s all about being efficient!

3. Set a goal.
Applying for jobs is a bit of a numbers game so give yourself a weekly or monthly goal that you must hit. For example, “I must apply to 10 jobs each week and network with five new people each week.” It’s easy to spend most of your time just browsing the internet looking for that perfect position.  With a two-pronged approach — applying online and networking in person — you’ll have better luck.

4. Make it fun.
If you don’t want to be cooped up in the house while you job search, look for poolside or beachside restaurants with wifi. Or sit on the patio of your home if your wifi signal stretches that far. Or simply find a coffee shop with great lighting and delicious desserts that may tempt you to return — hey, a little bribery of the sugary kind never hurt everyone.

How are you staying focused on your job search this summer? Comment below!

…And if you’re still job searching, view our latest job opportunities.

Image via David Reid/Flickr.

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June 18, 2015

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How to Get on the Fast Track to a Promotion

6076843304_5cc55d90e3_zFeeling antsy? Like it’s time to move up or move on? Like you put in enough time and you deserve some recognition? We know the feeling. Waiting for a promotion is the opposite of fun. It’s completely out of your hands — or is it? There are a few easy steps you can take to show your boss that you’re ready for the next step in your career.

1. Go above and beyond your job description.
The only way your manager knows that you’re willing to accept more responsibilities is if you accept more responsibilities. That might mean accepting an offer to go above and beyond, volunteering when the opportunity arises, or flat-out asking for more work. It’s the value you’ve added to the team, not the length of time you’ve been a part of it that’s the real factor in getting a promotion.

2. Speak up.
Your manager is not your babysitter. That means they might not see all the great things you’re doing. Don’t give a daily report of your workday but do make sure that your big wins are known. Don’t downplay your involvement in a successful project. That’s not the time to act humble. If you stay out of the spotlight, that’s where you’ll remain.

3. Make friends.
We’ve written a whole post on this, but networking within your company is just as important as networking outside of it. Get to know your coworkers. Buddy up to your boss. Ask for a mentor. Make friends with people in another department. Being the friendly person that everyone gets along with can only help your career.

Image via Didier Jansen

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June 17, 2015

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The All-About-Millennials Post

17705922131_1deedbee5d_zIf you’re reading this and you’re a millennial, you’re a great hire. Or maybe not. Because you’re so educated. But you need more experience. But then again, you’re so ambitious! But you’ll probably leave in a year.

There have been thousands of articles written about the Millennial generation and their place in the workforce. Some see their independence as a breathe of fresh air and others see it as arrogance. Some see their lust for work-life balance as revolutionary while others find it lazy to video conference from the couch instead of come into the office. Some “lifers” think their job-hopping attitude is downright unacceptable.

We decided to round up some of the alleged strengths and weaknesses of this age group. Use some of these to your advantage in your next interview, and be ready to defend yourself against others.

Millennials are…

  • passionate
  • striving for work-life balance
  • spontaneous
  • risk takers
  • job hoppers
  • world travelers
  • obsessed with mobile
  • dream chasers
  • comfortable with technology
  • social
  • collaborative
  • independent
  • underemployed
  • not interested in titles, status, or salary
  • highly educated
  • ambitious
  • craving attention
  • entrepreneurial
  • transparent
  • in need of coaching
  • generous

Which ones do you agree with? Which ones do you disagree with?

Sources: 7 Millennial Traits that Employers That Baby Boomers Need to Learn via Inc, 6 Qualities Employers Want to See in Millennials via Brazen Careerist, 8 Things You Need to Know About Millennials at Work via Business Insider, 6 Things Millennials Say at Work and What They Really Mean via Inc, and 10 Ways Millennials are Creating the Future of Work via Forbes

Image via Optician Training

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June 12, 2015

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How Any Skill Can Translate into a Career

6937414589_d6a84af720_zYou’ve probably felt unqualified more than once during your job search. You see an exciting open position and think, “If only…” But your background may be more applicable than you think. Everyone has a story and unique experiences. Maybe, just maybe, you’re more qualified than you think.

That’s how Olympic skater Emily Hughes eventually landed a job as a business analyst at Google. After the 2006 Olympic games, her resume was devoid of any business experience. She needed a second career. After doing a little research, she realized she had a lot of experiences that were transferrable to the business world. As an Olympic athlete, she had to set goals, take feedback, improve her work, and get along with a team. Pretty relevant to the workplace, right?

You don’t need to be an Olympic-level athlete to make these kind of comparisons. Whether you’re changing careers, re-entering the workforce, or just starting out, look at your past with a business lens. How can you write resume-worthy copy for each of those experiences? Did you achieve goals? Work with a team? Create a strategy? Increase revenue?

It’s true that sometimes you may be flat-out unqualified for some positions. There may be a very specific skill that you just don’t know how to do. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for you. Sign up for a local class. You may be able to teach yourself via YouTube or with sites like Lynda.com. Or take an online course and get certified. Remember the library? There may be a book that will teach you everything you need to know. There’s really nothing stopping you, only yourself. Next time that exciting position rolls around, you’ll be ready.

Image via 0Four

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June 10, 2015

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6 Interview Questions That Might Throw You For a Loop

9379813470_169ddf2ccf_z

You’re the interviewee, not the interviewer. But you may as well brush up on some articles that recruiters are reading so you know what’s coming your way. A recent piece from Inc., titled 6 Interview Questions You Must Ask If You Want To Hire the Best People, is the kind of article that should draw your attention. You want to be the best person for the job, right? Then start crafting some great responses.

These questions aren’t pulled from a cookie-cutter interview script. They’re more theoretical questions that might lead you to this response, “Uhhhh……” And that’s not good. You gotta be ready for anything in an interview.

First, go ahead and give yourself a dry run of these six questions. What is your gut reaction? What would you say if you did have to fly by the seat of your pants? Then head over to the full article at Inc. to read how you can best answer each inquiry.

  1. Are you driven by the determination to succeed or the fear of failure?

  2. Why are you successful?

  3. If today were your last day on earth, what would you most regret not having accomplished?

  4. How is who you are now consistent or inconsistent with the person you were at 12 years old?

  5. Name someone who is alive today, whom I would know, and whom you consider to be exceptionally intelligent. How would you rank your intelligence against this person’s?

  6. When are you happiest?

Image via Jared Cherup

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June 4, 2015

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In Your 20s? Here’s the Career Advice You Need to Know.

4608963722_7c88e503f8_zHuffington Post featured an article on the Top 10 Most Difficult and Useful Things People Need to Learn in Their 20s. It’s no surprise that much of that advice is career related. After all, those precious years before you hit the big 3-0 can set your career on a path for success — or full speed into a train wreck. Before you freak out, know that there’s a silver lining. That exact chaos that you fear is just a part of being in your 20s. It’s not the end of the world. Here are our favorite quotes from the article:

On trying to figure it all out:

“Most 20-29 year olds (and many even after that) spend all their time worrying or wondering who they’re going to be. Who they should be. Who they’re going to become. Meanwhile, they miss moment after moment to practice skills and learn what they need to learn in order to become that “future self” right now, today.”

On learning new things and developing your talent:

“… it’s far easier to learn something in your 20s (especially when you’re motivated by your lack of funds), than when you’re moderately comfortable and in your 30s, or 40s, or 50s. Spend your time learning and harnessing your skill-sets.”

On networking like a champion:

“Find the ones who are passionate about what they do and connect with them. These are the people who will be successful 10 years from now, and just like how you would invest in an early start-up, invest in your relationships to keep doors open in the future. Remember, you’re net worth is your network.”

Read the full article over at Huffington Post.

Image via John Walker

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June 2, 2015

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How to Be Happy at Work

7357503268_a11f171c37_zYou are in charge of your own happiness in work and in life. Boris Sokolof says, “Like swimming, riding, writing, or playing golf, happiness can be learned.” And Mildred Barthel says, “Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.” So how you do become happy at work? You create your own happiness. An Entrepreneur writer came up with 16 Ways to Create Your Own Happiness at Work and here is a summary of our top 5 favorites:

1. Get some exercise before or after work. Schedule exercise in the same way you’d schedule a meeting and give that appointment the respect it deserves. It will make you happier, really!

2. Stop comparing yourself to others. Focus on yourself and your goals and accomplishments, and don’t size them up against those of your coworkers.

3. Forgo the gossip. It often leads to complaining and commiserating. It’s ok to vent sometimes, but venting all the time just builds up a negative wall that’s hard to break down.

4. Choose gratitude. When things go wrong, think about what you’re thankful for. Reminding yourself of the wonderful things in your life instead of dwelling on the negative can change your attitude for the better in a big way.

5. Hang out with positive people. The same kind of people who love to throw themselves pity parties (see number 3) are the kind of people you want to stay away from. Surround yourself with people who love to smile and laugh.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur.

Image via Daniel Go

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