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Resource: Interview Info
Make a Good Impression With These 5 Interview Tips
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What makes you choose to eat at a particular restaurant or watch a certain movie? First impressions affect many of the decisions we make in our daily lives, even some of our preferences. First impressions are the access point for a first chance. Once a bad impression is established, a last impression can only do so much for damage control.

Instead of concerning yourself with the ways things could go wrong, stay focus your actions on what you can do to make your first impression a positive one. Here are five tips that will ensure that you'll save face while putting your best foot forward.

  • Open doors with your clothes
The level of formality in your attire often depends on the type of workplace and culture of the company. Nowadays there is such a thing as overdressing. Some companies embrace a more casual look and may expect the interviewee to have done their homework. A general rule of thumb when it comes to any important occasion, however, is that being overdressed is better than being under-dressed. Always make what you wear match the position you're applying for. Overdoing it with accessories or powerful fragrance can also make a bad impression so keep it simple.
  • Let go of words with dead weight
It's likely you'll be asked a question that you don't have an answer to right away, or even shortly after, but try to avoid repeating "um" and "like" as a way to fill in silence. Instead, come up with some phrases that you can lead into an answer with such as "I'm glad you asked that" or "Great question."  Pausing for those few seconds will give your brain time to find a starting point, rather than of rushing right into words and hoping the thoughts will follow.
  • There's no secret to the hand shake
Shaking hands when you meet them is a simple yet effective gesture. Even if the interviewer doesn't extend their hand, offers yours anyway to be polite. Of course, be aware of the state of your hands. If your nerves have caused them to get sweaty or clammy, have something to wipe them with in your pocket just in case.
  • Perfect your posture
Body language is a crucial communicator during interviews. The interviewer will study you and try to read what's on your mind through what you're exhibiting through your posture and movements. They'll also try to gauge what type of worker you are. The more you slouch the sloppier your work style might be interpreted. You should be relaxed in the interview and if there's any part of your body that has to be stiff should be your back.
  • Express gratitude
Hiring managers and interviewers want to see that their time was valued and appreciated. Interviews may be tough for you to get through but you should always end it on a good sincere note, as much as you want to get out of there as fast as possible. Be earnest in your goodbye and be sure to send a thank you note. In it, touch on some of the things you talked about to demonstrate your intent listening. The combination of a good first and last impression is hard for hiring managers to pass up.

Tips For Being a Great Interviewee
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

In a job market that has more job seekers than jobs available, those who are lucky enough to even snag an interview know just how precious getting that chance is. An interview is just a peek through the window into a job opportunity. You haven't actually gotten through the door until you know that the interview was successful in either getting you a second interview or, better yet, a job offer.

Getting through an interview smoothly isn't exactly tough, but nerves tend to have a way of taking over when it comes to high stakes situations. Naturally, the idea of being put under a microscope knowing that the end result can only be one of two things: the end or continuation of your job search. If you've struggled with job interviews in the past, these few tips can help you overcome what makes you nervous so that the interviewer can who you truly are:
  • Understand what you ultimately want in life.
Knowing where you want to end up down the road can help you map your steps on the way to your destination. If you work as a retail manager, but have aspirations of owning your own business, start by mapping your way backwards and connect the dots from destination to current location. The best way to succeed in any job, let alone job interview, is to have genuine passion and interest for the position at hand.

Acceptance for a job offer has to be like a marriage. Neither party will benefit if the partnership is founded solely on money and it will soon result in a lose/lose situation. If you and the company are compatible, you can share your future plans with the interviewer and they, too, can think about the best ways the position can help advance you toward those goals.
  • Don't create a persona based on who you think they want to  see.
What you put on your resume and cover letter should be 100% accurately reflective of you. That's the first impression that the interviewer has of you. The only person they expect or want to see is the person they read about in person. A resume and cover letter is your pitch for why they should be interested. The interview is your chance to sell yourself and close the deal for why they should hire you.

Remember that interviewers have gone through plenty of interviews and are well-seasoned in the process. They know that interviewees will be doing their best to impress but that kind of mentality can greatly alter a person's true personality thus making it difficult for the interviewer to pick a winning candidate. It's becoming more commonplace in the hiring process for a candidate to be offered a job because the interviewer took a liking to their personality. With that in mind, go into the interview without a front and you may be surprised at how comfortable it is being yourself around a complete stranger.
  • Realize that you won't have all your questions answered, even after the interview.
At the end of an interview, the interviewer will typically ask if you have any questions. Interviews are all about questions and answers, but much of the post-interview process is very vague. You'll be wondering things like: Are they going to call me?  How long will it take to hear back? Whether the interview went well or not, you can never really know where you stand with the interviewer. Perhaps they did like you and gave you the impression that they wanted to offer you the position. There is a chance, however, that they could interview someone after you who blew them away and you may never know.

Proper interviewing etiquette teaches us not to harass or annoy the interview with follow up questions. The only communication you should initiate with the interview after the interview is a thank you note. You have to stay optimistic knowing that your interview gave you a better chance than many other candidates. Your fate for that job may be out of your hands, but ultimately, you have control over your job search and any future interview that your efforts produce.

Tips For Staying Calm During An Interview
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweaty palms, accelerated heart rate, dry mouth. You've more than likely experienced those symptoms while waiting to be interviewed or in one. Being nervous for an interview is typical, everyone experiences some kind of anxiety before being evaluated for a job. For those who can't get a grip of their nerves, this can be a real problem.

When you're nerves have gotten the best of you, you can't see the interview for what it really is: a chance for you and the hiring manager to meet and get to know one another. Instead, all that goes through you're mind is the how much is riding on doing well on this interview and the pressure building up. Interviews usually don't take place in your comfort zone, rather the hiring manager's, so naturally you'll feel at a disadvantage here. There is nothing familiar to you which can make you feel isolated.

Whether your nerves simply cause you to react faster, slower, or not at all, taking control over them is essential to representing yourself accurately and make a good impression. Cracking in an interview often demonstrates to the hiring manager that you won't be able to handle pressures of the job. To help prove that you are capable, here are some interview tips for keeping your cool in a high-pressure interview.

Think of the interviewer as being on your side. To be honest, they really are. Hiring managers wouldn't be interviewing with you if they weren't. They're giving you a shot at filling the position because they believe you have potential to do it. However, if you go into the interview thinking that they're setting you up for failure you might end up sabotaging yourself. They want to fill the position, and you have a shot at it. Show them that you are qualified and ready.

Show enthusiasm in your body language. Slouching and fidgeting shows that you're not only
uncomfortable but you have no control over your nervousness. Take your time in your speech as it can be a dead giveaway for how nervous you are. If you respond too quickly to a question, chances are you'll be wishing for a re-do.

Know that mistakes will happen and accept it. Shooting for absolute perfection is an unrealistic expectation that will add unnecessary pressure which will make you more nervous than you may have already been. Instead, know that you may slip but have the confidence to pick yourself back up. Being able to come back from a fall in an interview is a good way to show the interviewer your problem solving skills.

Don't assume or making guesses about things you're unsure of. If you don't know what to wear or are unfamiliar don't leave it until the last minute or to assumptions to figure it out. Call the Human Resources department if you must to get a clear answer of what they expect you to wear to the interview. Drive to the building beforehand so you have an idea of where to park, how long it takes to get there, the best route, etc. That way, when your interview day comes, you'll already be two steps ahead.

The Interview Questions Designed to Trick You
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Interviews are challenging enough without having any curveball questions thrown in there. Many job search articles offering interview advice will emphasize the need for adequate preparation. Being well-prepared for an interview is more than just clicking through the company's website. It's understanding the expectations of the industry and hiring managers will do their best to test you on what you know.

In order to sort through the candidates easier, hiring managers will ask questions to catch you off guard. That last thing you want to do in this situation is to throw all your preparation up to that point out the window. Working your way through a tough question may seem hard but it's a lot easier than having to recover from it tripping you up.

To help you in your interview preparation, here are tips to help you navigate through common tricky interview questions:

1) What did you do to prepare for this interview?
The interviewer wants gauge how much getting this job means to you. The best way to answer this is to say that you researched the position, starting with the company website. But don't stop there. You want to impress upon the hiring manager that you really want the job. Continue explaining and giving examples of other ways you did your research. Show the interviewer how much you know about the position, company and industry. Don't be afraid to ask some of your own questions too.

2) Why have you been unemployed for so long?
Anyone who has been let go from their previous job will undoubtedly feel apprehensive to answer this question. It's very important to have a good answer lined up for this question because the interviewer wants to get down to the root of who you are by trying to expose your hidden flaws or weaknesses. You may start to get nervous upon hearing this question but don't immediately jump to answering it directly. Being a little vague will help to avoid incriminating yourself. 

3) If you had the choice, where you would you work and why?
This question may seem innocent enough but the interviewer isn't exactly interested in your answer. The point of asking this is to see what your real agenda may be; whether you're just applying to any and all jobs available. When interviewing for a job, you want the interviewer to get the impression that you believe you're perfect for this particular job. Listing off the names of other companies or job titles will defeat the purpose by making it seem that you have your heart and eyes set on other goals. Keep your focus on the position you're interviewing for.

4) What bothers you most about your managers or coworkers?
Answering this is a bad move. Talking about your gripes with others before even starting a job will portray you as a negative person. It could also make you seem like a difficult person to work with or someone with an ego problem. Even if you did have an issue with a past coworker, let bygones be bygones. Try to redirect your answer to the positives of working with others and what you enjoyed most about your former colleagues. Hiring managers like to see positive attitudes and optimism in the candidates.

5) Can you tell me about a time you made a mistake at work?
Here's another question that you would rather avoid answering but can actually make a good impression when the right answer is given. The interviewer will get a sense of how self-aware you are by what details you provide and how you take responsibility for your actions. Own up to your faults but avoid parading them. Mention something you messed up on then follow it up with what you learned and the positive insights you took from the experience.

Interviewing is a strategic game. You can never predict what will come at you, but enough practice can help prepare you to deal with the different possibilities. Unexpected or tricky questions are real possibilities in an interview situation and when these curveballs are hurled your way, you only get one swing before you strike out. 

Interview Tips to Crush the Competition and Land the Job
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Interviews aren't as hard as they seem. The actual hard part is beating the other candidates with your ability to connect and "wow" the interviewer. Whether in-person or through video, your likability needs to be at on-point throughout. Assume that the other interviewers are going to have nearly perfect interviews, so yours needs to be impeccable.

The pressure is on, but it's important to use it to propel you rather than overwhelm you with nerves. You  might think that in order for your interview to be flawless, every little detail has to be calculated. Attempting to do that though will end up leading to more stress.

Instead, that the saying of "less is more" as a guiding principle and focus on a few of the most important aspects of any job interview. If you've ever been to a fine dining restaurant, you'll notice that even though the menu isn't extensive, each dish is worth every bite. In your interview, you want to be able to master certain things that will linger in the interviewer's mind, by making the biggest impact possible in fewer. Here are three tips at the core of successful interviewing that will steer you toward landing a job offer:

1) Represent your brand on your body
Dressing to impress is basic interviewing advice but that doesn't mean everyone has it down. Your appearance is just as important as your tone, language, and body movements. When you want a potential employer to invest in employing you, you have to market yourself as a whole package. When in doubt, it's definitely better to overdress than underdress, but there is a fine line between overdressing and overdoing it. A professional look needs to be polished, but not necessarily formal. When doing your research, try to get a feel for what kind of tone and vibe the company has and aim to match your attire to it.

2) Find out everything you can about the company
This means going much further than a entering it into Google and browsing through the company's website. Doing adequate background research into the company means digging deeper into the crevices of the internet. Search trade publications to see if the company may have won awards or gotten recognition in its industry. Your research should give you a better understanding on the company and latest trends within the field. The more knowledgeable you are on the company's history and the direction it's going, it will make for better conversation and questions during the interview.

3) Expect the unexpected
Companies will often ask tough questions to throw off the candidate to see how well they recover. They're testing your ability to think quickly under pressure. The key is to think your answer through before saying anything. Some people might attempt to just start talking hoping that the answer will come to them along the way. Make sure that whatever kind of question it is--whether it's what kind of animal you would be or what your favorite move is--that your answer ties into your qualities as an employee. Your ability to answer the question without stumbling will prove to the interviewer that you have what it takes to handle the everyday stresses of the office.

How Being Fully Prepared Will Help You Masterfully Handle Any Interview
Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Getting job offer after an interview is usually determined by how well you did in it. The excitement of getting a callback is often quickly diminished by the nerves associated with the fact that it could also make or break your chances of getting employed.

The real cause of this nervousness is feeling of unpreparedness, similar to not having studied for a major test. You're afraid that you're not going to have the answer to something and that it will ultimately cost you. The way to combat this fear is through adequate preparation. The following tips will equip you with the essentials for interviewing success:

Cover all the bases in your research. There is no area not worth familiarizing yourself with even if you feel like it won't be an issue during the interview. Interviews want to see that you also took the time to find out when the company was founded, who founded it, what awards it may have won, etc. Many companies provide this information and if they don't, use it as a chance to demonstrate your investigative abilities. Don't forget to connect with the company's social media profiles to keep yourself in the loop. Plus, you might be able to meet some connections that way.

Be ready to fire away your talking points. You might think that it's better to come up with a response when prompted so as not to sound as if you're reciting lines. However, there's nothing more reassuring in an interview than walking in knowing your answer is has been practiced and smoothed out. In fact, it shows the interviewer that you put a lot of thought behind it and came readily prepared.

One reason that it's hard to carry on a conversation in an interview is that you're talking to someone you've just met. Remember that the interviewer is not there to intimidate you. They want to get to know you and relate that to how you would be as one of their employees. On that note, be sure to refer back to your resume. Don't assume that they were able to spend the same amount of time studying it. They'll expect you to explain its details during your chat.

Don't overlook the expected questions. It's easy to forget about the questions that should be a breeze to answer. Neglecting to go over them anyway could end up being what trips you up. These will be questions pertaining to why you left a certain job or what you did during the gap in between jobs. Answering them doesn't require divulging too many specifics but they should be constructed in a way that gives the interviewer a clear understanding of how the situation played out. Careful wording is especially important as you don't want your answers to sound like excuses.

When it comes to talking about your strengths and weaknesses, the key is to avoid selling yourself short or coming off as boasting. Humble answers show the interviewer that you didn't develop an ego over the years and didn't let your weaknesses hinder your competence. Mention what you do to stay at the top of your game such as the books you study, courses you attend, or organizations you are affiliated with. Got nothing? There's no better time to start than now.

Connect the dots between you and the job. Give the interviewer reasons for why giving you the job would not only be a mutual benefit but a sensible decision. When it makes sense to hire you, why wouldn't they then, right? Explain to them how investing in you will be money well spent. And when talks turn to compensation, don't be afraid to speak up. If you have number in mind, be ready to justify it with support. This may take doing some research as well. A fair figure, even if it is lower than what you've made at previous jobs, is easier for everyone to agree upon.

Taking into account that time is money, you want to show your appreciation that the interviewer spent some of theirs getting to know you. Showing that you to took time to show them that courtesy first is the best way. The more preparation you do before the interview can help you provide the kind of answers needed to pass this test with flying colors.

7 Simple Ways to Do Well In An Interview
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Once you land an interview, things can only go uphill from there. It's a different story once you enter the interview. The steps for doing well in an interview have to do with more than having appropriate etiquette. You can go through the motions but hiring managers have a trained eye for catching things that may seem slightly off.

It's hard to get over losing out on turning the perfect job interview into the perfect job offer. People often rack their brains over and over fore where they went wrong. Interviewees make mistakes all the time and many of them still get hired. Nevertheless, an interview that went badly rarely has a positive outcome. You can avoid becoming a distraught job seeker with these seven simple tips:

1) Impression is everything.
You already know that making a good impression on the interviewer is key if you want to stand a chance for a call back or job offer. But how you ask? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. Much of it does have to do, however, with your likeability. Impressing the interviewer has nothing to do with being able to brag about your resume. You want them to see you as an individual with something to offer. Tell yourself you are the complete package and then show them how.

2) Think twice about every word.
Starting off the interview by saying you want the job is a bad idea. The fact that you're in a job interview is obvious enought that you want a job but don't say that this is the one you want. Firstly, you're making a premature commitment before considering all the terms and details. Secondly, you don't know if after the interview you will still want the job. Thinking through everything you say before vocalizing it will keep you from wishing you could take something back.

3) Ask meaningful questions.
Don't ask questions with the sole intention of impressing the interviewer. The questions you ask should be relevant to your work style and pertain to whether you would be a good fit for the position. Ask things like, who would you work with, who you would report to, etc. Interviews are two-way conversations, and the more natural-feeling they are the better. Don't be afraid to ask several questions.

4) Equip yourself with a secret weapon.
Hiring managers interview so many people on a regular basis that it's hard to remember every single person that came through their doors. This is why you need to prepare a sort of clincher that will hook the interviewer. This could be a memorable item of clothing (still interview appropriate, of course), a funny story, a shared interest, or something unique about yourself. Use this to trademark yourself like how a character from a show will use a catchphrase to be remembered by.

5) Have your most valuable work attributes memorized.
By being able to list off what you can contribute to the company, it shows that there isn't a shadow of a doubt that you know what you're worth. After researching a company and learning about their needs and goals, think about which of your skills can benefit them. Share what you've done in the past that makes you particularly ideal for the position. Interviewers will be able to judge your compatibility with the job responsibilities.

6) Play down your shortcomings.
You may not have everything they've ever wanted and more in a job candidate but don't let that keep you from being an ideal one. If they ask if you have experience in a certain area that you don't, just be honest. Avoid saying anything with negative words like "can't," or "don't." If there's something you're missing, present something else to them that may balance things out.

7) Solidify your meeting with the proper follow up.
The right follow up can be just what was needed to seal the deal. Handwritten notes are personal and have a bigger impact on the recipient. It's also a good way to show the interviewer that you were attentive during your converstation and took it to heart. Leave a personal touch that shows gratitude for the opportunity. The right kind of last impression has potential to make up for a so-so first one.

Refining Your Interview Skills & Landing the Job
Monday, December 10, 2012

Going into an interview for a job that you desperately want can give you a feeling similar to stage fright. The pressure from wanting to impress someone can bring on terrible nerves. They say that the more practice you get from doing something, the easier it gets.

This doesn't apply as much with interviews because no two interview experiences are the same. On the other hand, the skills required for every interview are the same whether you're applying to a small family-owned company or a million dollar corporation.

Something that you'll learn from your interviewing experiences is that you will learn something new each time. Interviewers like to change things up with the questions they ask so you'll often have to think on your feet. The things that you can control, though, are what you should have no problem with.

Match the employees: Some hiring managers will tell you whether they expect you to dress differently than the typical interview attire. You should always be under the impression to dress on the nicer side. The feeling of being underdressed in an interview is much worse that being overdressed. Be cautious of overkill though. You attire should impress in subtle ways.

Avoid flattery: Flattering the interviewer is doing a bit too much. Schmoozing during an interview is an unwelcome tactic from hiring managers. Making an impression is meaningless if you end up making the wrong kind. Direct your comments away from observations of their appearance and talk about something that you notice you have in common with the interviewer.

Present your resume: It's typical practice to bring in all and any necessary documents to an interview such as resumes, cover letters, business cards, etc. Instead of waiting for the interviewer to ask you, offer them at the start of the interview. If there's something you want the interviewer to notice, don't assume that they will. Confirm it by bringing it up.

Prepared questions: Not having any at the end of the interview can make it seem like you're not invested in getting the position. Asking questions is how the interviewer gauges your interest in the company and the job. Of course, save the money questions for a later time either in another interview or when a job is offered. The first interview should focus on what you can bring to the table and how your contributed efforts will benefit the company's growth.

Body language: What you say in your body language can speak volumes. Be mindful of your actions and expressions. Refrain from scratching your head or rubbing your nose. While they may not seem like big deals to you, in an interview where you're being critiqued you want to make sure there isn't anything to hold against you. End the interview the same way you started it--with a handshake

Being able to do well in an interview has a lot to do with your ability to read the interviewer and feel out the situation. Building a rapport and connecting with interviewer is important to getting the job, but doing this easy. Forcing this type of interaction is obvious especially when it's due to nerves. The key to being relaxed in this situation is preparing yourself well enough to walk in radiating with confidence.

Be Equipped With An Interview Preparedness Kit
Thursday, November 29, 2012

Once you send a resume out, there's no telling when you'll get a call back or if you ever will. Because of this, some people might not even bother to prepare for an interview until they are certain one is in the works.

Not being prepared is never a good way to go. Most hiring managers will schedule interviews in advance but if they're in a hurry to get the position filled they might schedule one for the very next day. And if you're resume or application says that you're ready to begin ASAP then why shouldn't they expect you to be ready at a moment's notice?

If you woke up tomorrow would you have the appropriate attire and necessary documents ready to go? The following items are essential for any job seeker to prepare themselves for anything that comes up in their job search:

Dress clothes. While you might have them in your closet, you should double check that they are clean and ready to wear. That means no holes, tears and fits like it should. You might not have time after their call or before the interview to stop by the mall and pick up some new digs.

Questions to ask. Whether you had a day or a week to prepare for your interview you should always have questions ready to ask the interviewer. These shouldn't be run of the mill questions that you can find anywhere online. Do a bit of research and ask questions that will pertain the company. Interviewers enjoy being asked questions that are thoughtful and show genuine interest.

Answers for touchy questions. There might be some things you know the interviewer is bound to bring up that you'd rather not talk about. Knowing you'll have to anyway, better equip yourself with the best possible answers. If you were fired or out of work for a long period of time, provide an answer that doesn't seem like an apology or an excuse. Simply explain your situation while exuding a positive attitude about the situation. Bitterness and negativity are always a turn-off for hiring managers.

Your selling points. No matter who you're talking to, you want to be able to point out the things about you that make you a desirable candidate. Don't expect the interviewer to pull this information out of you. They might ask you surface questions to get to know you better but it's up to you to really convince them that you are the right choice. Hiring managers also love good stories.

Plan for following up. Follow up plans are pretty basic but you should always have one if you don't already. Thank you notes are an essential part of the interview process. You'd be surprised at how many people don't take the time to solidy their own standing with a hiring manger. These should be personal and reflect on points made during the interview. Did you and the hiring manager discover that you share something in common? Mention that in the note as well.

Keep a stack of Thank You notes that aren't too flashy so that you can send them to any company. Another important thing to remember is to spell everything accurately. The hiring manager will feel reassured that you can proofread both on the computer and on paper.

Common Interview Mistakes You Never Want to Make
Friday, November 16, 2012

It's a fact of life that mistakes happen to everyone. And even though they are unavoidable, they can oftentimes be preventable. We can try to do as much damage control as we want but when it comes to doing them in an interview, the situation is out of your hands. At that point, there's really no return.
Whether you simply don't know or think that it's not a big deal, there are certain mistakes that can ruin your chances of ever getting hired. Here are some of the major ones that will prolongue your job search:
1) Answering your a call or texting
Being on your phone in any kind of situation that involves interacting with other people can be rude,  unless it's important of course. In an interview setting, the most important thing is keeping the interest and attention of the interviewer. Of course, that has to be reciprocated. If you're more concerned with who your friend saw while they were out, you can be assured that you won't be answering any calls from a potential employer.
2) Seeming bored
You can't pull off being interested in getting a position if you aren't enthusiastic about it during the interview. Even if you aren't bored, you want to take every measure to look excited about being there. Your resume and cover letter passed the test of making a good first impression. The interview is your chance to bring it home, don't let it slip away by being unaware of youre facial expression.
3) Wrong attire
Companies will have their own look and feel. In some cases, dressing up isn't the right look. It's always a good idea to ask the interviewer what the appropriate kind of attire is to wear. They can also tell you what other materials they'll want you to bring. Getting a job is like a test. The hiring manger won't just give you the answers. If you're unsure, this is definitely something you'll want to clarify.
4) Too sure of yourself
Don't confuse confidence with being arrogant. It's extremely hard to seem friendly when you have an attitude that you're the best thing to walk through the doors. Hiring managers want to make sure that you'll be a good fit for the company and a major part of that is how well you'll get along with the rest of the team. Maybe you are the most qualified for the position, but let your qualifications speak for you instead of boasting.
5) Making previous employers look bad
Whether you've had a bad experience or are at a competitor of a former employer, bad mouthing of any sort is bad form. It looks very bad on your character to leave one employer only to start tarnishing their name to others. Talking down about employers will send a red flag to an interviewer because it shows that you have no problem pointing fingers and spreading the word. Not a good trait to adverstise.
6) Gum chewing
There are plenty of other ways you can keep your breath smelling fresh. Gum chewing is very inappropriate for a professional setting. Even if you are interviewing at a relaxed place, chewing gum still looks bad.

Using Your Observational Skills In An Interview
Tuesday, November 06, 2012

In an unfamiliar setting the first thing anyone does is scope out their surroundings. In an interview, an interviewee should be doing the same thing whether they feel completely comfortable or not. You could have all your moves and answeres prepared down to the handshake.

But without a good sense of the type of company you're in, no amount of preparation will ready you for whatever curve ball they throw at you. If you have an idea of what kind of workplace this is, there are no curve balls.

The appearance of the company's office is a reflection of its culture. It says a lot about who they are and how they want to represent themselves. When you begin to understand this, you learn a little about the people behind it and the people it hopes to attract. This will help you determine whether you will fit in well.

Look, listen, and learn. Take everything into consideration from the greeting you get upon arrival to the artwork displayed on the walls. One of the most important things to observe is the way people interact with others. Notice how they talk to certain people such as colleagues, subordinates, supervisors and even clients. This will tell you a great deal about how they conduct themselves as employees and as a company.

Companies don't typically offer tours but for big enough places, it doesn't hurt to ask for a quick one. The front and back end could be very different and it's better to know early. It always looks better for a candidate to get to know the company and it's people right off the bat. It shows that you're truly interested and aren't afraid to take initiative.

Take in the demeanors and attitudes of the workers there. You can easily gauge the company's energy from them. What are they wearing? Are they casual? Smiling? Do they seem busy or not so much? They can tell you a lot about the everyday ongoings at a company so be sure to take mental notes.

An interview is a good chance for you and the interviewer to get to know each other one-on-one. Since you can't interview the entire company, take in all you can while you can. In the case that the interviewer does like you and decides to bring you on, think about what you've seen and whether you want to accept their offer. As much as you might want a job, can you see yourself there for at least a couple of years?

An interviewer can tell you every detail there is about working there but it won't reveal as much as the office itself. Interviews are very much a two-way street. While the interviewer is evaluating you as to whether you'd be a good match, you should be making your own evaluations as to whether they are a company you would be happy working for.

Preparing Your Own Interview Questions
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dress clothes, check! Copies of resume, check! Notepad and pen, check! Missing something?
One other thing that many interviewers fail to adequately prepare for are the questions they'll have when the interviewer inevitably asks at the end of the interview, "Do you have any questions?"
Preparing for an interview is like getting ready for your first day of class. Being unprepared can be pretty embarrassing, especally in an interview when you can't turn to anyone else and ask to borrow something. Not to mention that your every word and move is being critiqued.
Job seekers often get so wrapped up in perfect their answers that they overlooking putting together well-thought out questions. What's worse than not asking the right questions are not asking any at all. Knowing that you'll be expected to say something, it's better to make it count.
So how do you know which kinds of questions are the right ones to ask? Well, for starters it's not asking any of the wrong ones. The wrong questions include things such as salary, benefits, holidays, vacation time, etc. These questions show what's really on your mind and that they have nothing to do with the actual job or company. Your want to convince the company that you're there for them, not yourself.
Here are some examples of good questions to ask in an interview :
  • What was it that brought you to this company?
Every one has their own, unique reason for ending up where they do. Learning what those reasons are can tell you a lot about them. Asking the interviewer what their reason was expresses your genuine interest for who they are. It also provides some insight as to their values and personal view of the company.
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
This is a basic and straight-forward question. It's an opportunity for the interviewer to tell you the good parts about working for the company as well as its strengths as an employer. Plus, it's another way to show interest in the interviewer's perspective.
  • How would you describe the company's culture?
Knowing what the company's culture is like is very important to determining whether you would be a good fit there. Asking during the interviews shows that you're thinking ahead. Interviewers are always taking into consideration your thought process based on your questions. This questions is an effective way of making a good impression.
  • What about the company do you think needs changes?
You can probably bet that not a lot of other candidates are asking this question. It's typically not something that many job seekers think about when they enter an interview. Companies are all about change and improvement. They want individuals who always have, "Now how can I make this better?" on their minds. Aside from potential brownie points, you'll also learn about what the interviewer thinks the company's weaknesses are.

Being armed with strong questions in an interview is just as important as delivering strong answers. You want your words to be effective and prompt the interviewer to do some deep thinking of their own. Often times, it's your questions that make them remember you, not your answers.

The Must-Have Clothes for Your Interview
Thursday, September 06, 2012

Networking and personal branding are all apart of the job searching process. Looking at it from a business perspective, you are a product that you want to sell to the company. In order to get them to buy, you have to have the entire package; that including the eye-pleasing wrapping on the outside.

Any interviewee who walks into an interview thinking that he or she can win the interviewer over with just their words and charm will walk back out with no more chance of getting hired than when they walked in.

People always say not to judge a book by its cover but those rules don't apply in the job market. When there are hundreds of people vying for the same position, employers can more easily base their decision on merit when distracting fashion statements aren't in the way. The sharper you look, however, is always an advantage.

Here are some articles of clothing that every wardrobe should have for attire success:

Properly fitting suit

In reality, a suit is a suit. The things that set them apart don't vary much as they all will have the same general compenents: jacket, shirt, tie, and pants. Things like color, cut, and material will also come into play when it comes to how nice a suit looks but the number one thing is fit. Even with the nicest, most expensive suit on, if it doesn't look nearly made just for you, it's not going to be flattering.

Classic accessories

Make sure your accessory choices don't overwhelm your outfit. Keep it simple while adding some flair to your look. Accessories and jewelry can give your look that extra oomph to show that you have a good sense of fashion style and taste. Employers will be impressed with your ability to refine a conservative look.

Basic black pencil skirt

A black pencil skirt is basic yet versatile. It can be as dressed up or down as the wearer. The thing about pencil skirts is that they are difficult to make look bad. Their style and length allow them to retain that professional, classy look that employers expect to see from serious candidates.

Nice portfolio...literally

In this case, we're not referring to the content that comprises your portfolio but the actual object itself. This applies to both men and women. It wouldn't be entirely appropriate for men to bring a suitcase in for their interview when the interviewer can already assume that there isn't much in there besides a few copies of resumes and a pen. Ladies, next to your mints and keys is no place to stuff professional documents. Instead of using your purse as a makeshift folder, get a nice leather portfolio to keep your papers, notepad, pen, and even tablet in.

Little black dress

A specific one you can wear to work, that is. Black is a good color because it's safe from making stains obvious and can flatter any body type. The key is to get a cut and style right for your shape to make sure that it doesn't show off too much skin. It doesn't have to be a drape, but it does need to remain professionally conservative.

Polished shoes

Everyone knows that shoes make the outfit. No matter how nice it is, your shoes will define how others perceive it. To guarantee that you'll look sharp, make sure to wear shoes that are shined, polished, and accentuate your attire. They should be dark and very simple. Your outfit needs to be one complete piece and the shoes are the cherries on top (or in this case, bottom).

Dress shirt

Dress shirts are great because you can wear them with that classic pencil skirt or with dressy work trousers. These need extra care, however. Ironing is very important in the appearance. Wrinkled clothes are the antithesis of looking sharp. These, too, should be a simple basic color like white, black, gray, or brown.


While this has more to do with grooming rather than apparel, it's part of the whole package. Guys with long, dirty fingernails are better off staying home than showing up with grimy nails. Ladies also need to keep theirs nicely manicured, nothing too crazy or loud. The focus should be on the content of the interview, not on 2-inch long leopard nails.

The optionals...

Ties and pantyhose are good to have around. They serve as that subtle addition to boost your outfit. Guys will look that much sharper and ladies that much refined. In the professional world, looking good means having style without having to flaunt too much. The corporate world wants people who can talk the talk and walk the walk without all the bells and whistles.

Social Media Marketing...Yourself
Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Your social media profiles are a representation of who you are and potential employers want to see how you represent yourself. Naturally, they're going to be curious as to whether you the same online as you are in-person.

The fact of the matter is that in our digital world, you have to stay current with the times and that means having an online presence for any and all purposes. To speed up the hiring process, hiring managers will turn to their online resources to find the best candidate. If you're not putting yourself out there properly it can hurt your chances despite having an immpecable resume. To beat the competition, you have to deliver everywhere it counts.

It's hard to draw a line between the right and wrong way to employ social media in your job search. What is clear is knowing which approaches are more effective than others. Much of that will come from using your own judgment but it should also be balanced out with thorough research.

Using social media to set up informational interviews are also great way to go. Social media platforms allow for a direct communication to individuals within the industry. You don't have to worry getting your foot in the door anymore, you're already in the room. The challenge is working it in your favor. At a minimum, you'll want to get on the major sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

When reaching out to employers via social media, you have to remember that they're doing you a favor by responding to you. You're more likely to get people to do favors for you when you make them as simple as possible.

Here are some tips for how to do so:

Know your M.O.: Don't make any moves before you draw up a plan first. Think about what you're going to say and have a reason for reaching out to a particular person. Don't just send out mass emails hoping someone will bite. No one will.

Short and sweet: Have a point and make it. Give them the pertinent information and be on your way that way they can help you and be on theirs.

Establish common ground: If you notice or find out that you and that person share an interest then point that out. It may make them more inclined to get back to you.

Spell it out: Don't be vague by any means. Try to make it as clear as you possibly can without rambling on for pages upon pages. Just be concise. They will not try to figure out what you're trying to say. Rememeber, the key here is SIMPLE. Explain to them what you're looking for and why.

Social media is your job-search friend, as long as you know what you're doing. Even though it has the word "social" in it, you should still be as professional and polite as you would in person. After all, the point is to get closer to a face-to-face meeting.

Selling Your Personal Brand to Score a Job
Thursday, May 31, 2012

The combination of advances in technology and the weak economy have altered the job market as we know it. Job searches go way beyond submitting a resume and cover letter.
They now consist of strategical networking and gaining recognition within your industry. In other words, spreading the word about YOU.

Personal branding is essential to making an imprint in your industry and furthering your career. In the same sense that you want your resume to stand out to a hiring manager, your name needs to the same for your network. When people can define you, they will remember you.

Here are some things that are must-haves when developing your personal brand:

1) Knowing your unique qualities. Figure out what is undeniably you and try to shape your brand around the ones that you want to focus on.

2) Knowing how you want others to view you. Once you've gotten your personality style down, you'll need to establish your appearance style. Looking the part is important for being able to play it.

This doesn't mean you need to be outrageous, just consistent. Keep in mind that this doesn't only apply to your looks, but also symbols or artwork that is authentic to you.

3) Knowing where you fit in. Like any marketing strategy you need to be able to identify who your audience is as well as the people you want to call colleagues. This will allow you to focus your message and energy to a certain group of people.

Establishing a solid, recognizable personal brand times time and lots of effort. You have to be constantly promoting yourself without being overwhelming.

Some other things to remember are to build online resumes or porfolio through a variety of websites such as a Wordpress blog. Also make sure that your social media profiles are clean and professional. You will need to be actively using these to connect with others so keep your personal sites seperate.

10 Deal-Breaking Behaviors In An Interview
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It happens to everyone. When nerves begin to get the best of us, we overcompensate by being extremely conscious of our actions. Sometimes this leads to people to become unaware of presenting normal behavior.

Take for instance someone who wants to sound friendly and casual in an interview. The interviewer might make a light-hearted joke that the interviewee laughs hard to, perhaps a little too hard. 

The interviewer might take this as a forced laugh even when the interviewee means well. It's understandably hard for people to really be themselves in a situation where they are trying to impress a complete stranger.

Here are some common things that people might not be aware of in an interview that could be costing them the job:

1) Arriving late. This needs no explanation and has no excuse for. If you're not on time for your interview you can consider yourself disqualified.This is the easiest way to mar your first impression.

2) Forgetting materials. Even if they didn't ask you to bring copies of your resume or a notepad these are a given.

3) Seeming uninterested. There's a difference between calm and unenthusiastic. If your attitude doesn't make a distinction between the two in the interview, the interviewer is going to assume you'd have other things you'd rather be doing. All it takes is simply smiling.

4) Bad attitude. You're always told to leave your issues at the door and this especially applies in a professional setting because it shows that you can balance different aspects of your life accordingly. If you show up to the interview with even a hint of bitterness, they'll move on to someone more approachable. Remember that your problems are not theirs.

5) Disrespecting the receptionist. Receptionists are always expected to be friendly and inviting, however, they probably won't be concerned with impressing you. Employers will usually ask their receptionists what they thought of you so you'll want to make a good impression on every person you meet in the office whether they gave you a warm welcome or not.

6) Saying that you don't have weaknesses. This claim is sure to get the interviewer down. Not only is that false, but that kind of response shows that you expect them to believe you. Always give the interviewer a realistic answer to avoid sounding fake. It will be obvious that you either lack insight or are trying too hard.

7) Being unable to provide specifics. Being vague in an interview will cause it to be boring and disappointing. Interviewers want examples of your work performance and to know that you pay attention to details.

8) Answering your cell phone. There is nothing more inappropriate than to not only have your cell phone go of in an interview but to answer it as well. Turn your phone off or keep it on silent and keep it out of sight. You might not think of it as a big deal, but interviewers will take checking your cell phone for being bored and won't hesitate to the cut the interview short.

9) Making stuff up. Making false statements can get you carried away and caught up. There's nothing more awkward than to be caught telling a lie during an interview. Think about if you had somehow mentioned working somewhere you hadn't and it just so happend that the interviewer had. This is a hole you don't want to dig yourself into.

10) TMI. Sharing too much unrelated work information with the interviewer should always be avoided. Things like gossip, bad-mouthing previous employers, or personal information isn't professional. You can be casual and keep boundaries at the same time.

How to Make Your Body Language Say the Right Things
Friday, May 11, 2012

You can easily say a mouthful without uttering a single sound. Actions speak lounder than words so the message your body language sends comes out crystal clear.

People sometimes aren't aware of their movements and don't realize that the interviewer is taking it all in and processing it.

Answering interview questions can be tough enough to manage. Having your body language well-composed can help you in making sure that you make a good overall impression on the interviewer.

Here are some tips on how to make your body language worth a thousand bucks.

1) Attitude

Going in the interview with a good attitude will put you in the appropriate mind set that will translate in your body movements. It's easy to tell when people in a good mood through their stance, the way they hold their head, and posture. Your positivity will also evoke your confidence.

2) Smile

This one is kind of a given. In fact, you're more than likely to see people over doing it in an interview. Then again, depending on the situation, some might get the impression that they need to remain serious. Even in these instances, you want to show that you're also friendly and approachable.

3) Greeting

A hand shake is the quickest way the interviewer establishes a rapport. A successful handshake can get the connection between you and the interviewer off on the right foot.

4) Voice

Make yourself a known presence. Nerves can often get the best of people and it becomes apparent in their voices. Either they are inaudible or they start to sound like mice. Having control of your voice is important to having clear and effective communication.

5) Eye Contact

This is another thing that nerves can hinder. But it's extremely important to have eye contact in an interview to show that you are attentively listening. Interviewers want to have a conversation with you, not at you. Be responsive by nodding to show that you're engaged in what they're saying to you.

6) Posture

Leaning forward shows that you're interested. When you lean back, you can almost seem to bored.  At the same time, keep a comfortable distance. Sitting up with an attentive posture is good professionalism.

Is she ready for an ?
?7) Eyebrows

A stiff face can reflect a stiff personality. Raising your eyebrows adds a little animation to your demeanor. It's another way to show that you're actively engaged.

8) Arms

Refrain from crossing your arms as it can seems little defensive and resistant. It's not a sign that you're open and relaxed. Keep your posture open and comfortable to maintaint that approachable appeal.

9) Hands

Using your hands while talking is similar to raising your eyebrows. The movement and animation in your body language shows enthusiasm in what's going on. Again, a rigidity is hard to approach.

10) Attire

Your choice in attire for the interview is another example of your body language. It's a visual respresentation of your tastes and the image you want others to perceive. The clothes worn in an interview are usually not what most people would wear in any other circumstance. Nonetheless, people still know the appropriate attier and and will dress according to the occasion. To work in professional setting, you've got to look the part first.

The Type of Interview Questions You're Supposed to Ask
Thursday, May 10, 2012

Interviewers will always ask at the end of an interview if you have any questions. They want to know what your thought process was during the process.

Usually, if the interviewee's questions can extend into a substantial conversation, it increases the chances of getting hired. The longer you two talk, the more the interviewer will remember you and that's exactly what you want.

It's hard to engage in a good conversation with a weak question. Most of the time it's better not to ask questions that aren't worth it as it will seem like you're forcing it. Interviewers can tell when you are and don't appreciate have their time wasted.

Your questions to pertain to what working at the company would be like. The types of questions you ask will show the interviewer whether you are really serious about working there. Questions like these...

1) How would you describe a typical day or week of in this position?

This is a good starting question to get more details for visualizing what working for them would really be like. It shows that you're thinking beyond the summarized job desciption and want to get a deeper understanding of what being in that position would entail.

2) What types of challenges does a person in this position encounter?

Realistic people know that it's not always going to be a walk in the park, especially not in the beginning. By getting an early sense of what's to come, you give yourself an advantage. The interviewer will see that you expect to face challenges and are willing to take them on.

3) How do you measure success for this postion?

This questions lets the interviewer know that you want to do well in this position. Asking what your expectations are shows that you're thinking ahead and that you intend to be a good hiring choice. Interviewers like this because it shows initiative and careful thought.

4) What is your managing style like?

Managers want to hire an employee who will be compatible with the company just as much as you want to work under a manager you won't clash with. This question clarifies each person's work style and personalities so that you both can get an idea of what working together may be like.

5) Is there anything else about me you might be unsure of and want to ask?

Allowing the interviewer a chance to be honest about any reservations he or she might have and you have a chance to address them. This eliminates any chance of walking out of the interview with doubts about your impression. Opening up communication like this lets you and the interviewerw feel comfortable around one another making it easier for him or her to consider you for hiring.

6) How would you describe the work culture here?

You want to know who thrives and who doesn't. Learning about the types of people who succeed in the company gives you and the interviewer a better judgment of whether you will be able to, too. Each company operates in its own particular way, learning how your work style will fit into that is crucial to you and the rest of the employees.

7) When you think about the person who did best in this position, how did you see this in his or her performance?

Any hiring manager can appreciate when a candidate shows that they want to not only meet expectation but exceed them as well. Learning about what the best person was able to do shows that them you want to be better.

8) What is the time frame that you get back to candidates for the next steps?

You always want to end the interview with this question. It shows that this interview is important to you and that you sincerely care whether you hear back. Plus, if you don't, at least you won't be left hanging.

7 Things Interviewers First Notice
Thursday, May 03, 2012

You'll definitely want to check your breath, but it isn't one of the first thing an interviewer is going to take note on when you walk in. Interviewers are looking for certain things from you to mark off on their mental checklists. Take a look at some of the things that, along with your breath, you should prep for to make the best first impression.

1) Time
As soon as an interview is notified of your arrival, they're going to be looking at the time you came in. If you're at all late, by one minute or ten, you've just earned your first strike. Arrive too early and you put the interviewer in an awkward position. If they're in the middle of something, they may feel rushed to greet you.

Stick to getting there no earlier than five to ten minutes as it bests shows punctuality and good time management. If you're unfamiliar with the area of the interview location, make a visit beforehand so you know the best route and the amount of time it takes to get there.

2) Appearance
When taking into account whether you  presented yourself appropriately they're looking beyond clothing. They'll be checking to see if you're well-groomed and clean. Make sure that what you wear is right for the company, some places won't require you to wear a business suit.

If you're still scratching your head, ask the person who set up the interview with you or even the receptionist what the proper attire is. Also keep in mind things like nail polish color, accessories, and body jewelry. Think about what you would  expect someone at that company to be wearing and try to emulate that.

3) Body Language
You may not be saying anything but your body could be giving you away. Being aware of your mannerisms is very important. Hiring managers are good at picking up on the unsaid. If you're fidgety, slouching ,or being too stiff, you could be coming off as uncomfortable and not a good fit for the company.

Professionals who have to sit through regular meetings wouldn't be caught tapping their feet or swiveling around in their chairs. Doing that in your interview won't do you any good either. Quick tip in Listening 101: Make sure to have eye contact, just remember to unlock your gaze every now and then so as not to be too intense.

4) Speech
Your ability to communicate well is a huge deal to interviewers. They want to bring people aboard who they can bounce ideas off of and work on projects with. Teamwork relies on good communication. Mumbling, using slang, or saying "um" after every word is hard enough to listen to let along try to work along side of.

Take your time with your answers and make sure that you're clear, audible, and making sense. Get a feel for the interviewer's communication style--mellow, energetic, etc.-- and get as close to it as possible to make it easier for them to understand you.

5) Preparation
A huge mistake is to forget to bring something that was required of you. Bringing a copy of your resume is a common request from hiring managers but you should do this anyway along with any other work-related documents. Things like a portfolio, cover letter, pen and notepad are good things to bring with you.

Sort of like being prepared with the necessary materials for class, you want to bring anything with a slight chance you may need it. If you've done your homework on the company then it will reflect in your preparedness. Most companies will expect you to know some of their background and history.

6) Qualifications
Nothing can make up for the lack of qualifications for a position. Resumes and cover letters are just introductions, like the impression before the first impresion. The interview is your chance to prove yourself.

Stay focused on tying together your past experiences and accomplishments with the new positions. You want the interviewer to feel like you were born for this job and it's up to you to convince them of that.

How to Conquer Tough Interview Questions
Thursday, April 05, 2012

They're out there and they're waiting for you. Interview questions shouldn't give you the same kind of butterflies as, say, bungee jumping blind-folded off of a hundred-story building. Rather, interviews should be an exciting experience since they offer new opportunities. The questions an interviewer asks are meant to get to know you better, not feel like an interrogation.

There are some interviewers out there who might ask trick-like questions just to test you such as, "If you could chose to be animal, which would it be?" Doesn't sound so scary but it can be in an interview when you least expect it. Remember, in interviews there is no "wrong" or "right" answer, but there is a "best" answer which is easiest to think of with a cool head.

So before you start slathering your underarms with deodorant on your way to your next interview, check out some of these tips to ease your nerves and keep your sweat glands at bay.

This is the easiest one. Take a metaphorical chill pill by doing a few simple exercises. First, moderate your breathing. If you keep your breathing at slow, steady pace it will keep your heart from beating out of your chest which adds intensity to your nervousness. If even ceasing to breathe completely doesn't lower your heart rate try to put the interview out of mind until you actually enter the meeting. Over-thinking it prior to arrival is part of the cause of your nerves. Instead of thinking about it like you're heading to defend yourself in trial, imagine you're going on a first date or meeting up with a new room mate--something that's new and exciting, not scary. The more casual you feel going into it, the better your mind can focus on the interview rather than keeping your composure.
This guy, nervous?! Not a chance!

There's nothing more awkward than an awkward silence and in an interview the feeling is mutual. Don't sit there in silence after being asked a question and then blurt out an answer. And whatever you do don't fill the silence with a drawn-out "ummm...." Talk out your thinking and let the interviewer see your thought process. This can also give them a chance to help walk you through it if you're struggling. Show thoroughness in your thinking and it will make a good impression.

It's true. Interviewers have heard it all so don't assume that you'll be able to get anything past them. If you don't know something, don't pretend to. Liars, cheaters, fakers...they all go into the same undesirable category for a new hire candidate. Unless the job description demands that you know everything, then simply answer as best you can with what you do know. If you're simply stumped just say so, that doesn't necessarily mean you're disqualified. The interviewer will still appreciate your honesty and that counts for something. In many cases, it's a rare trait.