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6 Tough Interview Questions and How to Tackle Them

November 16, 2017

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Got an interview? Here’s your homework: brush up on the following strategies for tackling these tough interview questions. Because when it comes to this brain benders your best chance is to be prepared. Write down your answers, practice them out loud in front of the mirror, and you’ll do great.

Image via Russ Allison Loar/Flickr.

 

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A Surprising Question That May Come Up In Your Next Interview

November 14, 2017

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When you walk into an interview, you’re all business. So when a personal question gets thrown your way, it can really throw you for a loop! This type of question can come in many forms, like:

  • What do you do for fun on the weekends?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What was the last book you read?

Why the heck would someone ask you these kinds of questions? It’s because they want to see what kind of person you are outside of the office. After all, you’ll be spending a ton of time with your new coworkers so getting a glimpse into your personal life can be really eye opening.

It can also be a great chance to show off some skills that may or may not have come up in the interview. For example, maybe you’re apply for a very analytical job but it turns out you’re a photographer on the side. That’s super interesting. And it shows that you have a creative side, which could be very helpful to the position you’re applying for.

Or, maybe you run a side business or take on a leadership role with a volunteer organization. Those types of hobbies showcase your dedication, ownership, and time management skills among other things. Perhaps you’re a part of an intramural sports team. It shows you work well with others and lead a well-balanced life.

So, before you walk into your next interview, think of a few “fun facts” about yourself that will help make you a memorable candidate. After all, no one is all work and no play–even though interviews can make us feel that way!

Image via Peter Miller/Flickr.

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3 Ways to Nail the Phone Interview

November 9, 2017

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Phone interviews can be awkward. Without that prime face-to-face interaction, it’s hard to get a good read on someone’s personality and reactions. But the truth of the matter is, you’ll be hard pressed to land a job without landing a phone interview first. Here are some tips to keep in mind that can help you move on to the next round with flying colors.

  1. Keep it short and sweet.
    Remember that this is an introductory call. All they’ve seen is your resume and maybe your LinkedIn profile and a cover letter. It’s up to you to sum up you experiences in three to five minutes and really touch on the career highlights that are super relevant to this position. Don’t assume that the person on the other end of the line knows everything about you. But also, don’t ramble. Your goal is to simply get to the next round by proving you’re a worthy candidate.
  2. Get excited.
    Since you’re not face to face, you can’t show off your enthusiastic smile or handshake. Those feelings have to be expressed in your tone of voice and your word choices. Every interview–no matter how small–should end with you reiterating your interest in the position and asking what the next steps are. It shows that you want to stay in the game.
  3. Find the happy medium.
    Throughout the entire interview process, you should keep things as professional as possible. But don’t forget to add a little bit of personality–especially during something as “cold” as a phone interview. You can open the conversation by commenting on the weather or last night’s big team win. Or, if you’ve done a lot of research, you may know that you and the interviewer have something in common. Break the ice with that bit of information and the rest of the interview may go a lot more smoothly.

Image via Adam Rosenberg/Flickr.

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“Why Are You Interested in this Role?”

November 7, 2017

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Here’s a interview question that you’re bound to get: “Why are you interested in this role?” It’s a seemingly easy question but your answer is much more important than you think. It’s a chance to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

A simple, “It seemed like a great company to work for,” isn’t going to cut it. Neither is, “It’s a perfect role for me!” In fact, there’s a strategy behind this question (just like there is behind every interview question). If you keep this tip in mind, you’ll be steps ahead of the rest: don’t make it about how this role will help you, focus on all the ways you can help themif you are hired.

During a job interview, you should always try to weave in your experiences and skills–and how those experiences and skills will help this company–any chance you get. And this question is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Instead of saying…
“This job is everything I was looking for.”

Try saying…
“After reading the job description, I immediately saw many ways that I could contribute to this team. For example…”

Instead of saying…
“This is a perfect stepping stone for my career.”

Try saying…
“This role excites me because of my experience in X and my passion for Y. I believe I could deliver immediate results while also growing from new challenges like Z.”

Image via Eric/Flickr.

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What to Say When You’re Stumped in an Interview

November 2, 2017

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There’s nothing worse than getting completely tongue tied in the middle of an interview. But no matter how much you’ve prepped, you’re bound to get a question that throws you for a loop. And with an already nervous disposition, it’s not like you’re fully capable of crafting the perfect answer on the fly. However, “I don’t know!” isn’t a great answer.

If you need to buy yourself a little bit of time after a tricky interview question, here are a few things you can say:

“Great question. I would have to say that…”

“Let me think for a minute on that one.” [Pause for a moment.]

“That’s a tough one. Can we move on to the next question and then come back to this one?” 

“Can you repeat the question one more time?”

“Just to clarify, are you asking if I…”

“That question reminds me of a time…” [Redirect to something similar you feel more comfortable speaking about.]

“I’m sorry I just can’t think of an example at this moment. Is it ok if I follow up afterward?” 

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

 

 

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One Way to Definitely Stand Out In Your Next Interview

October 31, 2017

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When it comes to the job interview you already know how to prepare: research, research, research, and practice, practice, practice. But no matter how much company research you do and how many times you rehearse the perfect answers to interview questions, there is one not-so-minor detail that could hurt or help you: are a customer?

Have you tried this company’s product? Have you walked through a few different store aisles and seen it on the shelf? Have you truly understood the benefits? When you’re a customer and a job candidate, a magical thing happens: you understand other customers. And that’s what many companies are looking for–a way to please their customers.

Besides familiarizing yourself with the product line, get familiar with the competition too. (The company’s competition, not yours!) This will help you gain insight into the challenges they’ve faced and the successes they’ve found. Your interview answers will come more naturally when you truly understand the product and the customer base. And that’s a sure-fire way to stand out in your next interview!

Image via Blondinrikard Fröberg/Flickr.

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3 Simple Questions to Ask During Your Next Interview

October 26, 2017

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Interviews are all about getting bombarded with questions. Right? But interviews also offer you the unique opportunity to dig in to the company, the culture, and the job itself. Make sure that you have a list of questions prepared, and don’t be afraid to cut the interview short and ask if you can have five minutes to ask the interviewer your questions.

Here are three questions to add to your list:

  1. What is the on-boarding process like? Get an understanding as to what kind of training will be provided to you as a new employee and throughout the future. Ask about classes, conferences, and other learning opportunities.
  2. What are the immediate needs and challenges of this position? You may understand the job title and general job responsibilities but what will your day-to-day actually be like? Find out what projects will fall into your lap from day one, and it may help you understand whether or not this position is a good fit for you.
  3.  How will my performance be reviewed? It’s important to understand how your work will be rated and what expectations will be placed on you during the year. Also, you may want to get a better understanding of your performance can affect your bonus.

Image via Wee Sen Goh/Flickr.

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What Is Your Network Good For?

October 24, 2017

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We’re constantly touting the importance of networking, but when it comes down to to it, what can your network really do for you? It takes a lot of time and effort to build up your connections. And that network doesn’t often get utilized until we’re in the middle of a job hunt, which isn’t very often.

Luckily, there are many ways you can take advantage of your network on a monthly or even weekly basis! Here are our favorite ways to reach out to our connections.

  • Gather LinkedIn endorsements or recommendations. You don’t have to wait until you’re looking for a new job to look for some feedback. Be sure to keep your profile constantly updated by having the newest members of your network a part of it.
  • Make new introductions. Each member of your network has their own network. That means thousands of new connections are at your fingertips. If you’re looking to make a connection at a certain company or in a certain industry, ask you network if they can put you in touch.
  • Get advice. Whether you’re unsure of a new job offer or are looking for some general career guidance, there is likely a member of your network who could give you a little inspiration.
  • Learn more about your industry. Ask your best connections what conferences they attend, what books they read, and who their favorite influencers are.

Image via Jurgen Appelo/Flickr.

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How to Ask For Help at Work

October 17, 2017

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Feeling helpless isn’t fun. But let’s face it–sometimes you need help! And if you don’t ask for help, things could get even worse. More stress, more confusion, and not to mention the fact that you might be digging yourself into a deeper hole. It’s always better to fess up as soon as possible. Also, don’t apologize! There’s nothing to be sorry about. Your coworkers and your bosses are a resource for you, and you should all want to support each other on the path to success.

When you don’t understand something…

  • “I need a little more clarity. Can you repeat that one more time with a little more detail?”
  • “Would you be willing to meet with me one-on-one? I didn’t fully grasp all of the project’s details during the meeting.”
  •  “Can you walk me through this one more time from start to finish?”

When you know you’re going to miss an impossible deadline…

  • “This is a big ask and unfortunately we’ll need more time or more resources.”
  • “Realistically, I won’t be able to meet this deadline unless I have some assistance.”
  • “At this point, I can’t deliver those results to you at that time, but I can deliver X at Y.”

When you are stumped and don’t know what to do next…

  • “I’d really appreciate your help on prescribing the best way to move forward on this.”
  • “I’ve got a bit of a conundrum and was hoping you could help me decide if I should veer left or veer right. Here are my options…”
  • “Would you be willing to give me some guidance on this challenging situation I found myself in?”

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Reminder: Think Twice Before You Post

October 12, 2017

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Social media is a challenging concept to grasp. At first, it seems like all fun and games. Wow, what a great way to connect with friends, keep in touch, and share photos! But then things get more complicated. Many people have lost their jobs or gotten into legal troubles for things they’ve posted on social networks. In a nutshell it becomes a question of, “Where do I draw the line?”

How much should you really be sharing online? Every post is etched on the history of the internet forever. Do you want your boss to see your college photos? Do you want your acquaintances to know when you’re on vacation? Do you want your every thought broadcast to strangers? Maybe not. These might help you answer those questions about where to draw the line. We’re only going to cover the two most common networks for job seekers: Facebook and LinkedIn.

Facebook
This is a great network for close friends and family. Don’t feel obligated to accept every friend request you get. There are complex security settings you can change to prevent certain posts from being seen by certain people, but its easier to keep things simple and don’t connect with someone who you don’t feel comfortable sharing everything with. If you need to vent, save it for a phone call or email. Don’t blast it out to all of your friends.

LinkedIn
Here’s a fantastic place to network, connect with coworkers, and stay up on industry trends. This is a network that should stay 100% professional. That means you should probably avoid political rants, complaints about work or life, or anything else that could put your professional opportunities in jeopardy. If you wouldn’t say it comfortably in a job interview, don’t say it here. You should keep your LinkedIn updated just as much as you would a Facebook page though! Being active on LinkedIn will only lead to more opportunities.

What’s your favorite social network? Do you have any advice for those who post online a lot?

Image via Erin Kohlenberg/Flickr.

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