Jun, 2012

What to Tell Your Interviewer When They Ask “What’s Your Biggest Weakness?”

During an inBiggest Weakness Answerterview, when you feel like you’ve done everything right to impress the interviewer and show that you’re the best candidate for the job, the last thing you want to hear the interviewer say is the dreaded, “What’s your biggest weakness?” The problem is, this question will almost always get asked, no matter how you might hate it.

There might not be a “perfect” answer that you can recite to get this right. Don’t fret—there are things you can do to answer interview questions properly.

Jun, 2012

Three Keys to Interviewing for Older Applicants

Older applicants TipsMany people who are older than the average applicant fear interviews. However, seasoned applicants need not allow their age to become an issue. Older applicants should understand that they have something that average applicants don’t.

As an older applicant, you have experience. Prepare answers to interview question in which you can use this experience during an interview to prove that you will be the better employee.

Jun, 2012

Saying Thanks after Rejection

Job Interview RejectionYou submit your resume, get called for an interview, dress properly, arrive early, answer every question with ease, and basically breeze through the interview process seamlessly. Everything seems to be going right for you. You assume that the only thing left is the job offer, so you're already thinking of salary, benefits, and when you can start.

Suddenly, you get a call telling you that they decided to hire someone else, and then it all dawns on you. All of your expectations are now down the drain. Even though you knew that the job was yours, they went ahead and chose someone else. Now what? Send them a thank-you letter.

Jun, 2012

Two Easy Ways to Prepare for an Interview

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 You sent your resume to countless companies. After weeks of waiting, you finally get a call. Now, it’s up to you to dazzle the interviewer and get hired.

It’s no secret that preparation is crucial to acing an interview. Yet it’s funny how people neglect preparation and wonder why they don’t get hired.

Getting an interview is the easy part. Impressing and making an interviewer believe you’re the best person for the job is the hard part. But don’t fret—you can make the hard part easy. How? The answer is properly preparing for an interview.

Preparing for an interview takes time. You need to put in the time and effort to make sure everything goes  right for you on your big day.

Jun, 2012

What Beer Can Teach You About Answers to Questions in an Interview

drinking-beer-interviewWhen you think about how to deliver strong answers to questions in an interview, beer doesn’t usually come to mind (well, having one maybe, but...). So for a bit of respite from the standard sources of interview advice, I turned to one of my favorite sources for inspiration.

Here’s what I realized is true for both a job applicant walking into an interview and for a beer:

Jun, 2012

Answer to Interview Question: "Have You Ever Been Fired?"

job-interview-answersOne of the scariest parts of losing a job is the potential stigma attached to it. There’s a fear that you’ll never know when, in a future job interview, the interviewer will ask you the question, “Have you ever been fired?” or even, “Where are you working right now?” With the tumultuous job market over the past few years, a lot of people have been laid off. In fact, if I had to guess, I would estimate that at least one in four Americans in the job market today has experienced a layoff or been asked to resign. If you’ve ever involuntarily lost your job, you are definitely not alone.

 

So, how do you answer the interview question, “Have you ever been fired?”

 

May, 2012

Good, Bad, and Ugly Answers for Interview Questions By The Early SNL Cast And Others

saturday night live logoYou may have already received plenty of advice on how to provide answers to interview questions, the right way. However, you still need to know what it looks like when you step in it, so you don’t make a fatal interview mistake.

The question is, where can I find examples of good, bad, and ugly answers? Below you will find examples, sourced from quotes by original cast members of Saturday Night Live, and a few other contemporary comedians.

May, 2012

Strong Answers for Interview Questions: Avoiding the Cookie-Cutter Answer

job-interview-answers-2Having strong answers for interview questions depends on a number of factors. One of the key factors that is sometimes overlooked is authenticity. Do your responses give the interviewer a good sense of who you are and what you are about?

Job seekers sometimes forget about this concept of authenticity. Instead, they provide overplayed and generic answers that they think the interviewer wants to hear. These are answers like, "I’m a hard worker," "I’m a team player,” or "I have great attention to detail."

Such cookie-cutter answers are better than saying nothing, but every interviewer has heard these responses a number of times. Consequently, the interviewer doesn’t learn much about what makes this job applicant different from the next one. The interviewer also doesn’t know whether the interviewer is a hard worker or is just saying something that seems like a good interview answer. As a result, the interviewer is likely to dismiss this applicant.

So, what do you do if you really are a hard worker? You have a couple of options.

First, you can give examples to prove it. For example: "I work harder than other people. In college, I always took six classes, and never settled for a grade less than an A-" or "Being an architecture student, the norm was to do one or two all-nighters per week. I know how to work hard."

Alternatively, you can use less overplayed language that explains what makes you a hard worker. For instance: "I am someone who will dive headfirst into difficult problems and who only stops working when the problem has been solved." Or, as another example: "At this point in my life, my work comes first. I will put in whatever hours are needed to get the job done."

As you prepare answers for various job interview questions, think about how your responses can be less cookie-cutter. Focus on examples from your past that demonstrate your abilities, and come up with language that you feel comfortable with, that authentically represents you.

May, 2012

Show Me the Numbers

What should your resume, your cover letter, your interview answers and your elevator pitch have in common?

Numbers.  Numbers are one way to prove that you are the real deal. And, they can seriously change your job search. Let me explain.  

Here are some typical examples of phrases that individuals use in job searches, and where a few numbers would make a difference:

"Improved company sales"
Was that by $500 or five million dollars? By 2% or 20%?

"Revitalized school, resulting in improved academic performance"
Did student academic achievement improve by 1/10th of a grade level or two full grade levels? Did graduation rates improve by one student or 100?

"Implemented stroke recovery best practices, expediting rehabilitation"
Did the stroke sufferers recover a day faster or a month faster? Did they return to 60% of pre-stroke functioning or 90% of pre-stroke functioning?

As you can tell, adding numbers makes your arguments a lot more persuasive. You move from being vague to being specific. More importantly, you move from seeming like a big talker to a big doer, someone who produces results.

If you are like many people, you're saying,
1.    "Numbers don't really apply to me," and
2.    "Even where they do apply, I don't know the exact numbers and I don't want to say something that would be dishonest."

Let's dispel each of these.

May, 2012

10 Tips to Better Answers for an Interview

Below are ten tips to having more effective answers to interview questions. While these tips are pretty simple, making mistakes on simple things could mean missing out on the job offer.

Tip 1 -  Make sure you know how to pronounce the name of the company. Search for YouTube videos or double-check with the security guard or receptionist to make sure you say it right in an interview.