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Posts Tagged ‘interview’

four tips to help you get hired

July 4th, 2010

In this current economic atmosphere of employers downsizing, jobs heading south and overseas, and sky-high unemployment rates, the skill of quality job interviewing is suddenly at a premium.  But sadly, most job seekers–even those perfectly qualified for sometimes highly-technical jobs–are lousy at interviewing.  Oftentimes even the basics:  knowing what to say, how to dress, and the right way to act, are lacking.  Would you like an edge on the competition in this super-competitive employment environment?  Here are four killer tips on how to interview for that job, and get hired!

First of all, show up on time.  Seems to go without saying, but it NEEDS to be said.  Far too many applicants show up at their interview five minutes before it’s scheduled or right at the appointed time, or (gasp) even late.  The reasons why you can’t get there on time don’t matter.  Simply put, if you hope for even a snowball’s chance of getting the gig, arrive ten to fifteen minutes early.  Acclimate yourself to the surroundings, fill out any required paperwork, and focus.

Secondly, although it seems like another no-brainer, dress appropriately.  What you look like conveys so much about who you are, and that is important to an employer.  This does not mean you need to don a tux for a lawn care job, nor should you rock your jeans and polo for that bank teller position.  Dress up or down to the duties required by the job itself.  Also, run a comb through your hair, apply the right amount of makeup (for women only), and a hint of cologne can’t hurt.  Nobody gets hired from a first impression, but you can certainly lose a job based on one.

Third, sell yourself.  Don’t answer the interviewer’s questions in one or two-word responses.  Elaborate as applicable, giving the interviewer a sense of your intelligence, your personality, and your ability to do the job.  Relax, if you appear so nervous you can barely speak, you have no shot.  A desperate job seeker is one who will remain unemployed.

Fourth, and this is key—know the answer to the “magic question.”  In virtually all job interviews the same important question will be asked, and this one answer all by itself can get you hired.  You might even start the next day.  It might be asked in different variations, but here’s the gist:  Why should we hire you for this job?  This is where you talk about your dependability, your reliability, your knowledge and experience, any positive aspects of the total you that tells the employer why you and you alone are the right person for this particular job.  Expect this question going in, and have a reply that will knock out the interviewer.  Even work out a written version, and rehearse it until it’s perfect.

Remember, most job applicants can’t follow these four simple tips.  But now YOU are aware.  You know these keys  to focus on and make yourself unforgettable to an employer.  So get there early, look nice, relax and speak intelligently, and tell them why YOU are the best person in the world for this job.  Now, head out there and get hired!

how to answer the question, “tell me about yourself”

June 29th, 2010

How to Answer the Interview Question “Tell Me About Yourself”

There is no excuse not to be prepared for this question in an interview. And, in fact, rule number one is to always, always be prepared for it. You know this question is coming up, the interviewer knows this question is coming up, and, most importantly, the interviewer knows you know this question is coming up. Therefore, if you’re not prepared, then it’s almost certain that the interview will terminate there and then – at least in the interviewer’s eyes.

What The Question is About

The reason this question is asked at interviews is to help the interviewer assess you as a person. It lets the interviewer see how confidently you can talk about yourself, and how focused you are on your career aspirations. In asking this question, the interviewer wants to see how you can relate certain aspects of your career to the job on offer, how well you know what’s involved in the advertised job, and how much you want it. This question is nearly always posed at the beginning of an interview and largely determines its success: answer well and you have a very good chance of being hired or at least being invited for a second interview; answer it badly, and it will take something akin to a miracle in order to turn the interview around in your favor.

So while you may know that you need to be prepared for this question, how exactly do you prepare for it?

What The Question is Not About

First, this question is not about any aspects of your personal life; it relates entirely to the job on offer. The interviewer doesn’t want to know about your marital status, how many children you have, or where you went on vacation last year. The interviewer wants to know what you did before in your previous job, how it changed you, and how it positioned you for the future, and, most importantly, how you can relate what you’ve done to date in your professional life to the qualities needed for the advertised job.

Make it Short and Snappy

While most people dread this question, it does actually present a candidate with the perfect opportunity to put him- or herself in good light. But to do this you need to be well prepared. When thinking about what to say in your answer, remember that you won’t be expected to talk for very long (nor will the interviewer want you to!). Make your answer short, no longer than one to two minutes. However, you should be prepared to provide more details if requested to. Once you’ve given your answer, ask the interviewer if he or she wants you to elaborate on any points and if so, do so.

What to Say

When preparing your answer, ask yourself what are the skills and expertise required for the position on offer. Once you’ve worked this out you can then tailor your answer to highlight the skills you’ve have gained over the years that make you the ideal candidate for the job. For example, if the job is in sales and you believe the qualities and skills needed include the ability to set goals, stay motivated, and handle rejection well, you can say in your answer that you possess those skills, and then give examples of when and how you’ve brought them into play in your previous professional positions, and what they’ve helped you achieve for your previous employers (remember, this isn’t so much about you as it is about what you can bring to the company!).

The details you should include in your answer are:

–  Your current or last position

–  What you do or did in that role

–  One or two significant achievements in that role that directly relate to the job on offer

–  Why you’re applying for the position

For example: “For the past ten years I’ve worked as a sales manager for XYZ Promotions. During that time I’ve mastered the skills to enable me to train and motivate team members to consistently reach company sales targets. The sales campaign I implemented in the company’s southeast division involved focusing on procuring new contracts as well as nurturing existing ones, and turning around those that were under-performing. Within a six-month period, my team and I were able to achieve a 75 percent sales increase in that region. Given my proven experience in this area, I believe that I can assist your company’s sales team with the current challenges it’s facing.”

Remember to always back up your statements with examples.

From Interrogation to Discussion

At this stage, it’s always a good idea to try to get the interviewer talking as well so that the interview becomes more of a discussion rather than merely an interrogation. Therefore, once you’ve delivered your statement about who you are and what you’ve achieved to date, finish off by saying that you’re interested in delivering something similar for the recruiting company and then let the interviewer tell you how you can do just that.

Being prepared for this question will help enormously when you’re in the hot seat and have to answer it. Don’t refer to notes, or to your CV or résumé. Presenting a polished and professional attitude in response to this question will ensure that the interview gets off to a flying start, and, as a result, your increased confidence will help you to sail through the rest of the interview.

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get your dream job :: interview do’s & dont’s

April 12th, 2010

So you’ve cleared the first hurdle and got the interview. Now comes the most daunting stage in getting any job. Give yourself the best chances of a good interview by preparing in advance.

Possible Questions and Answers

You should have a good idea at this point of exactly what the job will entail. Take another look at the advert and, if possible, call the company to ask further details. Make a note of any specific tasks or goals, and research similar positions using the internet.

Sit down and think about what questions the employer may ask, then come up with your own answers. Have a few key points for each response – keep them concise and not too specific.

For example, if the job description mentions adhering to deadlines, you might be asked a question about when you have done this. Think along the lines of organizing yourself or a team, what tasks were set and how they were distributed according to difficulty, time taken, and specific skill-sets.

Put yourself in the employer’s place. If you were hiring for the job you are applying for, what questions would you ask a potential employee to judge their working character?

Experience and Examples

Your résumé should have given a history of previous employment that was relevant to this job. Take a copy along in case they don’t have the one that you sent. If there are any gaps in your employment, make sure that you have reasons prepared that don’t seem like excuses – employers will be looking for stability and commitment.

Make sure you don’t bad-mouth any old bosses, or you may come off as arrogant and rash – however bad your previous treatment was. Mention previous jobs that bear the most similarity to the one you are interviewing for and emphasize the most senior roles you have held.

If certain qualities are needed for the job, have good examples of why you have them. You can mention previous punctuality and attendance records, how you managed to change a downturn in sales, or how you were given responsibility for certain important tasks.

Employers nearly always ask for a personal opinion of your bad qualities. Try not to use the cliché of working too hard, as this is looked on as a cop-out. Use an example of where you slipped up, but then turned the situation around and made the best of it. Customer complaints can often be turned into an opportunity to display good service.

Dress for the Occasion

The general rule for dressing to interviews is to go one smarter than the job would normally be. If there is a specific uniform then try to wear something similar. If workers are normally in jeans and t-shirts: wear jeans, a polo, or a good shirt without a tie, and semi-smart shoes or trainers. If the job is smart-casual: wear smart trousers with a shirt and tie. For anything smarter you should always wear a suit.

Give Yourself Plenty of time

Find out how long it takes to get to the building where the interview will take place, and leave with plenty of time. Have a small snack and a cup of coffee – if it doesn’t give make you jittery or sweat – before you leave. Aim to arrive 15 minutes early in order to find exactly where the interview will take place. Punctuality is an easy way to stand out from the crowd. There is no worse way to start off a job interview than having to apologize for being late.

Relax and Think Positively

Before leaving for the interview, make sure you feel relaxed. Listen to a favorite album or read quietly. Relax your shoulders, breathe deeply and keep a smile on your face. Going through your notes and CV a few times before you leave will keep important information at the front of your head.

The Interview

First impressions count for a lot, and the first few seconds of meeting someone last an age. Smile, stand when being introduced, and look people in their eyes. Don’t be too firm with your handshake. This can be seen as a show of aggression, or compensation for nerves. Sit upright, don’t slouch, and keep your hands on your lap.

Looking relaxed and confident is an indicator of competence and honesty. Try not to um and ah when speaking, instead slow yourself down a little and don’t be afraid to think for a few seconds before giving an answer. When the interview is over, thank the interviewers for their time, shake their hands and express that you look forward to hearing from them.

Getting a Reply

With these tips you’ll have a much better chance of getting that Dream Job, and with a little luck you’ll get an offer. If the salary is what you wanted, ask a few more questions and check the contract before saying yes. If something looks too good to be true, it often is.

If you don’t get a reply or are not offered the job, don’t take it badly. You will have at least learnt something from the experience. Now you can go forward with more knowledge of how to handle yourself in an interview situation.

job hunting 101: impressing potential employers with a flawless job interview

October 11th, 2009

If you are on a job hunt, there are several things you need to have in order to attract the attention of potential employers: a glowing resume, notable references, and an overall positive aura. Although these elements are all very important, there is one aspect that takes much higher priority and that is your skill in doing job interviews. For most employers, a large percentage of the decision in hiring new people lies in an applicant’s performance during the job interview. In fact, some people get hired despite not having the best credentials among the bunch of applicants simply because they gave a stellar performance during the interview. For this reason, it is crucial that you learn all the skills you can in order to impress prospective employers during a job interview.

Come Dressed for Success

One of the first issues you need to take care of is your attire. Too many people underestimate the value of dressing in proper business attire even for a preliminary interview. If you show up wearing a smart professional outfit, you immediately gain the respect of the interviewers before you even utter a single word. On the contrary, a sloppy or overly casual outfit can easily turn off potential employers, no matter how good your interview answers may be.

Smart Answers to Interview Questions

Another important aspect of the job interview is your skill in answering questions. Most job interviewers tend to ask the same questions, so you can prepare most of your replies ahead of time. For instance, interviewers typically want to know your strengths and weaknesses, your ability to work with other people, and what you have that you can offer the company. While it is recommended that you answer each question honestly, you should also avoid dwelling on the negative. Highlight the positives in each of your replies instead. For example, when you are asked about your weaknesses, avoid falling into the trap of saying you don’t have any. Honestly say what your weakness is but do it in such a way that it can be viewed positively at the same time.

Towards the end of the job interview, you’ll probably be asked if there are questions you want to ask the interviewer. Even if there’s really nothing you want to ask, come up with something intelligent to inquire about. This showss the interviewer you are truly interested and want to learn more about the company or the job you’re applying for. The lack of questions is typically regarded as indifference and aloofness, qualities you certainly don’t want to portray to your interviewer.

Ending the Interview

Once your job interview is over, remember to give your interviewer a firm handshake and to thank him for his time and for giving you the opportunity to be considered for the job. This is the perfect way to end an interview because your professionalism and your courtesy will leave a lasting impression on the interviewer and may make a huge difference as they evaluate your performance.

Finding a good job is definitely harder these days, what with the economy as it is and with more and more fresh graduates making the competition tighter every year. But by following the above mentioned interview tips, you can give yourself a significant edge over other applicants and give yourself a greater chance of getting the job of your dreams.