Tag Archives: Interview

How Not to Baba Booey an Interview

6 Jan

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We know it. We have studied it. We dread it. The Interview. When you are actively searching for jobs many thoughts run through your mind: “This position looks like it fits me, I’m going to apply!” or “Awesome! They sent me a positive email/phone response to my application!” and “What do I wear? What time do I arrive? How do I act for… The Interview?!” Let’s face it interviews are terrifying! No matter how prepared you are, how well you are suited for the job or how nice the interviewer is, that “interview panic” stays with you before, during and for a little while after you knock their socks off…or don’t (but that’s why you are reading this!). So here are seven tips and tricks for how to make a positive impression:

1.    Make Your Resume Relevant

Over the course of our professional careers our resumes are going to be edited dramatically not only from the variety of positions we will hold, but also from altering each resume for each job application. You may have held 10 internship positions in your college career, from working at a magazine, graphic design, carpentry, etc., but that doesn’t mean that your potential future employer needs to know, nor cares about all of these positions. Make sure that what you list on your resume applies to the job you are hoping to get! Sure, add a few things to show that you are well rounded, but not too many. Make it relevant not ridiculous.

2.    Practice, Practice, Practice

No matter how many interviews you have attempted, practice always makes perfect! Look up common interview questions and practice your responses to them. Make sure that your responses are short and relevant to the position. The more you practice the more confident and competent you will look!

 3.    10-15 Minutes

Arriving on time is arriving late. If your interview is at 9:00 a.m. be there at 8:45, 8:50 at the latest. Without saying anything, your timely, or not so timely, arrival shows how important this position is to you and what kind of worker you are. Arriving early is the easiest way to make a positive impression, so plan ahead and show them you are serious!

4.    Do Your Homework

One of the most common interview questions is: So tell me what you know about (company’s name)? If you can’t sum up the basics from what is on the company’s website or social media pages, you mine as well just apologize for being a moron/wasting their time, and leave. Like showing up early, knowing basic facts about the company’s history and goals is a must and shows how seriously you do and will take this position. Make them feel like you have been a part of the team for years from all that you know about the company!

5.    Dress The Part

Dressing the part goes hand-in-hand with doing your homework on the company. For example, showing up for an interview at a laid-back company that sells surfboards in a suit is not appropriate and quite frankly borders on embarrassing. The same goes for showing up at an interview with a law firm in jeans and a t-shirt. Like showing up early, this is a non-verbal cue that shows how much work you have put into your research on the company and what you know about the position you are hoping to fill.

6.    Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Some Q’s!

The best way to show that you are engaged in the interview is to ask questions throughout, and end it with a few closing q’s! Questions like: What are you looking for in the employee who fills this position? And, When are you hoping to fill this position by? Are great ways to look as though not only do you want the position, but you are willing to be whatever they need you to be and you are ready to start immediately. Obviously, do not ask these questions if they have already been discussed in the interview, so make sure you come up with a list of 5 or 6 ahead of time. 

7.    Follow Up!

Lastly, after your interview, when they smack themselves in the head wondering where you had been hiding all this time because of how perfect you are for this job, follow up. Send an email, or hand-write a thank you card (the latter is a great choice in an age where technology has overtaken personal mail), expressing your gratitude to them for taking the time to interview you and emphasize your continued interest in the position. Be prompt and professional! As I have repeated, show them that you are serious about their company and this position!

Interview Questions to Dodge

12 Sep

Before every job interview, it is necessary to prepare for the questions you may be asked. It is also important to be aware of the types of questions to not answer during an interview. Most often an interviewer is not asking such questions maliciously, but in a friendly manner. Keeping a friendly demeanor yourself and not responding defensively will allow you to transition the conversation to find the real reason behind the questionable question.

Five d's| Search Solution Group

Be ready to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge around these following questions:

1) How Old Are You? : Your first instinct may be to say, “Not as old as your mom!”, but we all know that wouldn’t turn out well. Some companies have established retirement age and may ask if you are below that age or on the opposite spectrum ask if you are above the legal minimum for a job. These questions are acceptable for them to ask and pertinent for you to answer. However, if an interviewer directly asks “How old are you?” or “What is your date of birth?”, be prepared to redirect that question with the answer ” I do not feel my age is an issue with my performance in this job”. This will give the interviewer the opportunity to explain if age might be an issue, or take your answer and move on to the next question.

2) Are You Religious? : During an interview, you may be asked if you are available for normal hours of the work week. However, if you are asked what about your religious affiliation, that is straight up illegal. Be prepared to answer any questions regarding religion with the succinct answer: “my faith will not interfere with my ability to do the job”.

3) Are You Married? Do You have Children? Are You Planning on Having Children?: The interviewer could be trying to establish if you would be able to travel for the position, or it could just be friendly small talk. But it is actually illegal for an interviewer to ask about your marital status, if you have children, if you are planning on it, and your spouse’s occupation and salary.  To answer, you could turn the beat around say “It sounds like family is important here, are you married?” or let them know that you are able to perform all the duties of the position.

4) What is Your Nationality?  While you may want to immediately say ” Uh, no. My forefathers are not the ones interviewing here”, the question may have been asked to determine whether or not you are bilingual or if you are legally able to work in the country. Before jumping to conclusions,  you can either say  “These questions do not pertain to my abilities” or you could say “Yes! I am actually fluent in German, Swiss, Chinese, and Portuguese”.  Just make sure you actually are that multilingual.

Illegal Interview Q's | Search Solution Group

What did you just ask me?

5) What is Your Credit Score? Questions about your financial situation or your credit score are not ones you should answer unless you are interviewing for a finance or banking position. Additionally, employers can check your credit history only with your permission. It is up to you whether or not to divulge that information. Any question that you may be uncomfortable with is not a question that you have to answer.

Before going in to an interview, think of any other questions that may pertain to you and find appropriate ways to answer these questions without putting yourself in perilous position. Our recruiters at Search Solution Group are experts at navigating such situations. If you have any questions, we are here to help!

 

Golden Post-Interview Steps To Take

30 Aug
After an interview, as soon as you can get back to your computer, send a quick and thoughtful email thanking the interviewers for their time.
The age-old suggestion to send a thank you note after an interview is still the best step to take. It doesn’t take long to write a simple note and it’s a good way to reiterate your interest in the position. Plus, any extra time that the interviewer is thinking of you positively is a huge plus.
A good tip to remember when writing your thank you email and note is to KISS ( Keep ISimple Stupid ) !
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Sample Layout of a successful thank you note:
Paragraph one: A few quick sentences on your appreciation for the interview and their time. Remind them why you are writing.. to thank them! 
Paragraph two: This is the part where you remind the interviewer of how you are a great fit for the position and how you will be an asset to their company. If you felt you need to improve or add to any question that occurred in the interview, now is your time.
Paragraph three: Emphasize your enthusiasm and appreciation again, thank them, and if you had discussed the follow up process, mention how you are looking forward to following up with them soon. 
After you have squared away the important pleasantries, get down to business taking notes on your impression of the company, how you think you did in the interview, and ways to improve your next interview with the company.
Unless the company asked you to get back in touch with them if you have heard from them in a designated time-frame, only reach out to your recruiter if a week has passed and you haven’t heard any response.
Search Solution Group Recruiters are always willing to help with any step of your interview process!

First Impressions In The Blink Of An Eye

19 Aug

It takes only a quick blink of the eye for an employer to initially evaluate you. Within those first three to seven seconds of an interview, you could either be making a great professional impression, or failing miserably. Your appearance, behavior, body language, and how you are dressed are all taken in to account and judged accordingly. To make a great impression, follow these cardinal interview rules.

Be On Time

An employer you are meeting for the first time is not interested if the train was long or if traffic was slow. Taking those possible delays into accordance is imperative when traveling to an interview. It is better to sit in the parking lot for 10 extra minutes then walk in one minute late.  Plan to show up five to 10 minutes early to hit the sweet spot.

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Look Your Best

While you may not want to sit in the bushes to stalk the company’s dress code, it never hurts to ask the hiring manager. Having freshly cleaned and pressed clothing is a no-brainer, but the little things like shining your shoes or lint rolling off the dog hair are conditions that employers notice. Covering up tattoos, removing excessive piercings, and having a clean-shaven face and controlled hair could be impressive or could doom you to failure in your career search if left unchecked.

Let Your Body Talk 

Mirroring body posture and communication style of your interviewer instantly gives you an edge. Humans unconsciously associate strongly with people they see following their body posture and expressions.  By mirroring, you are effectively saying to an interviewer that you are trustworthy, receptive to his or her opinions, and will be a confident and familiar employee.

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“Look Eye! Always Look Eye!”

In the words of Mr.Miyagi, making eye contact shows confidence and confidence is key. In relation to good eye contact is a firm handshake. Limp-fish style handshakes are related to timidity and no one wants a timid employee.

Be Prepared

Like a good Scout, being prepared with pen, paper, extra resumes, and any sample work will do wonders to make a good impression. Taking notes during your interview will give you material to make a decision on your part while showing an employer that you are interested in what he is saying.

Look the part, be the part, get the part. And don’t forget to smile!

Be PREPARED

25 May

I recently heard a good story and it is a TRUE story, which happens to be my favorite kind of story.

So this guy wants to purchase a new house and despite all the warnings out there he proceeds to use a “not too sharp” realtor. Not to digress too much but I am pretty proud of myself for not insulting the realtor during the beginning of this story. As things proceed he finds a nice home that he would love to purchase and settle into. Sounds like the American dream coming true…..

For time sake lets fast forward to day two of the negotiating between the two parties. In the blue corner we have the buyer and his realtor and in the red corner standing by himself is the seller’s realtor. Like any good negotiation you go into it prepared having done research on every angle possible and then you prepare mentally for the conversation. What is your angle? What will they counter with? How will handle that? What will be my close? What will my tone be and how will I win?

All of this is basic. It is the same stuff that I do for my candidates or clients when we are negotiating salaries, vacations and total offer packages. HECK it is the same stuff we do here at Search Solution Group sometimes to convince a client to interview a candidate. It is all about being prepared and knowing your industry and client. This is the bottom of the barrel type of skills it takes to be employed….it really is!!

Guess what happens? Come on GUESS!!!!!!! This is great…the realtor for the buyer starts shooting her mouth off about the school districts and how they are not as good and blah blah blah. This is where it really gets GREAT for a sarcastic ahole like me, if I was in the room. The opposing realtor as described to me in vivid and great details from the buyer just starts to slowly smile and sit up in his chair a little higher. He arches his back and extends his spine. You know the feeling when you are playing poker with your friends and you know you have them beat because you have the final ACE!! He just slowly and confidently with all the swagger of a classic John Wayne movie says that you have the wrong zip codes and that this is the best school district…..BAMMMMM

The buyer said that his gut sank and he felt like throwing up!! His last chance to save some money on his dream home was just LOST due to an incompetent, poorly prepared realtor!!! OUCH!!

My point of this story is BE PREPARED! I do not care if it is a first interview or a cup of coffee for an informal get together or if you are going to purchase a new TV. All of the successful people I know in my life are always prepared. They get it right the first time because they are committed to being successful.

The Greatest Baseball Franchise that was‏

17 Feb
Gary Carter

Gary Carter (Photo credit: AxsDeny)

I have written a few blog posts about the lessons I learned on the baseball field in the past. I am not sure if this is a lesson or more of a memory. Gary Carter passed away the other day from a long fight with brain cancer. Gary Carter was one of the great Montreal Expos from the 1980’s. He was a catcher and the foundation of a team from 1974-1984  that had great players on it like Charlie Lea, Pete Rose, Dave Palmer, Jeff Reardon, Andre Dawson and TIM “Rock” RAINES!! I don’t think it gets any better for me at that time. I was in my little league glory, sporting my red, white and blue Expos hat and pretending to be an Expo. My parents were driving me back and forth to baseball practices for multiple leagues during our short Buffalo, NY summers. I was listening to my folks tell me stories all the while listening to the oldies on the AM stations day dreaming about being an Expo.

 Playing little league meant playing catch with mom and dad until the street lights came on, or going to the park with my friends and playing home run derby. It meant making friends with people I did not know that would eventually lead to lifelong friends and family. It taught me how to be competitive, how to work hard to get better at something. It taught  me the value of practice and what it meant to be consistently good at what I was trying to do. Little league taught me the how to lose with dignity and win with grace, thank God we won a lot more than we ever lost. It taught me to dream and have goals and allowed my parents and I to have another bond that lasts today.

 Gary Carter is my first baseball great to pass away and I will always have those childhood memories. Thank You.

Job History & the secrets that they tell

13 Jan

I have been in the recruiting business for over twelve years and have owned this firm for almost a full ten years, the anniversary date is fast approaching. We have worked with clients from California to Maine and across the ocean in Europe. We have filled all sorts of interesting positions for our clients, some have been easy others much more challenging. But there seems to be one common job qualification that our clients have almost unanimously asked for or asked about……JOB HISTORY. They want to hire candidates with a good JOB HISTORY. I get it and I want to explain it to you.

 I am sure not everyone is going to agree with me and those who don’t will probably be those who have poor job history for either being fired(most likely numerous times), being stupid and quitting a job without another job or starting a business and not being smart enough to have it last more than a few months.  When I am trying to coach candidates and my employees on how to handle certain situations in this business I often use dating analogies because interviewing is so similar to dating. You need to make a really good first impression and leave the interviewer wanting more and excited to want to see you again. Heck after a good first date we all go and tell our buddies or girlfriends, that is what we want the interviewer to go and do. We want that person to tell their co-workers, make a special trip to see the VP or CEO and tell them how good this candidate is that we just interviewed.  However seldom if ever is someone running down the hall telling everyone how great the interview was and saying it is ok ” they have been laid off from the last 6 jobs in the last 3 years, but none if it was their fault”. That is such crap!!  We were just doing our morning meeting when one of our favorite clients called, she and most of her team have all been with the same company for over 20 years!! That is incredible and the majority of them live and work in a borderline economically depressed area of the country, so I don’t want to hear the excuses. They don’t quite get people who leave job after job and for that matter job history is an important part of the resume and interview process for this client and many more we work with.

Now this leads me to one of those moments when I finally saw the light. As a lot of you know I consider myself more of a behaviorist than a recruiter or business owner. Just like a really good poker player can read and find tells in their opponents I can read and hear what people are going to do most of the time when it comes to interviewing, selling and how they will react to certain situations. How do I do this?  If I told everyone than those of you smart enough to read might actually be half as successful as I am, so for now it’s my secret(s). But back to the light, I was attempting to get back together with my girlfriend for the 3rd time when she asked me to help her with her resume. That is when it finally made sense to me, she had a span of 3 years when she had 6 jobs. Just leaving for any old reason (my boss was mean to me that day, this other company offered me 1.00 dollar more) running from one problem to the next without trying to make her current situation better or for that matter herself better.

Again, dating is so much like interviewing if you ever get the chance to see your significant others resume and they have  bad job history, put on your NIKES and run like Forest Gump did !!!