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Traditional Job Interview Questions Part 2
Job interviewing
Interview time
Why Should We Hire You For This Job? The reason they should hire you is because you're best person for the job because of your skills and competence and also because of the enthusiasm you will bring to the role. You can be assured that 90% of the candidates will start pitching their skills and achievements, but what makes you stand out more is your enthusiasm and passion for the role. When describing your skills and achievements, relate them to the job description and give reasons why you would add value to the business. When pitching yourself, remember the importance of body language. Sit up in your chair and be positive. Tip: Prepare for the interview by taking the job description and write down the skills you bring to each description and examples of accomplishments and achievements. Having examples ready to go can really help you when answering this question. Example answer: (applying for a sales position) "With my 5 years of work experience I have developed, maintained and expanded customer relationships, positioned new products to drive sales growth and developed new marketing strategies to ensure sales targets are exceeded and market share increased. I have expertise in the implementation of account strategies, tactical sales and marketing plans. As you can see my sales records speak for themselves, and in my previous role I was awarded for consistently exceeding sales and profit targets. Most importantly, I am extremely passionate about what I do and have a love for sales." Do You Work Well Under Pressure? This is an easy question to answer if you have done your research and prepared for this question. (Tip - telling the employer that you crumble under pressure and burst into tears is not going to help you get the job). Although this is a closed question and can be answered with a one word answer, always provide an example of a time where you worked under pressure and how you rose above the pressure to succeed. Tip: It may seem obvious, but keep the example work-related. I have interviewed a young man who told me that he kicked the winning goal with only one minute left on the clock. It may have been an example of working well under pressure, but what I was really asking for was a work-related answer. How Do You Handle Change? This is a classic interview question that always makes a candidate think! It is incredible the amount of times a candidate will say "I handle change well" before an awkward silence as they try to think about an example. Change is natural part of life and it is about adapting to change that makes you a stronger person. Choosing to embrace change is an opportunity for personal growth. The best answer is that you embrace change rather than opposing change out of fear or routine. No matter what the job throws at you, you're able to handle it. Provide an example of where you were able to handle change and come out stronger as a result. Briefly Describe Your Ideal Job? This is a "curve ball" question. My ideal job would be earning a million dollars a week and only working about 3-4 hours a day. Perhaps my ideal job is playing first base for the New York Yankees. Either way, neither of these answers is right. The right answer to this question is to keep it in line with the characteristics of the job and company you are interviewing with. Concentrate on your strengths and what you best bring to the job. A sample answer would be along the lines of, "My ideal job is where I can utilize my key strengths including X, Y, and Z and as a valued member of the team make a positive and significant contribution." What Makes You Want To Work Hard? This is a good question from the interviewer's perspective, but also an easy question to answer if you're prepared. If we were to answer this question in a court room under oath a large percentage of people (myself included) would naturally say material rewards, higher salary, big bonus, perks etc. Luckily we are not in a court room. Focus more on being part of a successful team, adding value to the organisation and the satisfaction you derive from it. How Would Your Co-Workers Describe You? This is a time for you to show off the attributes that make you unique and further convince the interviewer that you are the right person for their organization. This question is designed for you to put forward your strengths, but remember there is a difference between pride in how you believe you're perceived and arrogance. Answers such as "My co-workers think I am wonderful" or "They think that I am the greatest thing since sliced bread" do not go down well in interviews. As per every good answer, provide examples of accomplishments you have achieved. Power Words Attentive, Direct, Committed, Conscientious, Dynamic, Hard Worker, Persistent, Methodical, Motivated, Objective, Tenacious, Sociable, Reliable, Resourceful, Respectful, Creative, Confident, Trustworthy What Motivates You? This is a great interview question and a question that every potential job seeker should ask themselves while preparing for the interview. The right answer is providing a mixture of what motivates you as a person and what motivates you about the job you are applying for. Remember to be specific and tailor your answer to the job you are applying for. Question: Do you mention money or not? Typically saying that money or benefits motivates you is not the response a hiring manager is looking for. But as per always, the rules change depending on what industry you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a sales role that offers high commission, being motivated to succeed and earn greater commission is definitely a motivation. Rather than just saying money motivates me (which is not advised), tell the interviewer that you are motivated to sell and succeed and enjoy working in an environment where the more you put in, the more you can gain in return. What Are Your Salary Expectations? It goes without saying that everyone wants to make as much money as possible. The best way to answer this question is by researching the market value of the job you are applying for. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to salary expectations because if you are looking for a role that pays 60,000 but the role will only pay 40,000, it won't be long before you begin to lose interest in the role and start searching all over again for a new job. Show the hiring manager that you have thoroughly researched the role and have an understanding of how much the role pays. Many people try to avoid giving the interviewer a straight answer when answering this question as not to "rock the boat". The Worst Answer is a "Desperate Answer". Example Question: What are your salary expectations for this job? Example Answer: "I'm easy - whatever you guys are willing to pay." A Good Answer is a "Researched Answer" Example Question: What are your salary expectations for this job? Example Answer: "From my research, I know that the salary range for this position is between $60,000 and $70,000 - having worked in the industry for 5 years I feel that my value would fit into this range".
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Top 10 job interview blunders
Job interviewing
Preparing for the job interview
What should you NOT do in an interview? A poll into interview blunders found that when hiring managers were asked to name the most common and damaging interview mistakes a candidate can make, 51% listed dressing inappropriately. 49% percent cited badmouthing a former boss as the worst offense, while 48% said appearing disinterested. Arrogance (44%), insufficient answers (30%) and not asking good questions (29%) were also top answers. Below is a top 10 selection of mistakes to avoid. A big part of a successful interview is avoiding simple mistakes. Mistakes are deadly to the job seeker and easy to avoid if you are prepared: Arriving Late Get directions from the interviewer - or look up the location on a man. Wear a watch, and leave home early. In the extreme case that you cannot avoid being late, call the interviewer and arrange to reschedule. Lack of Preparation Not being prepared is just about the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to job interviews. You need to prepare for an interview in the same way you would prepare for an exam. When you are offered an interview, make sure you ask what form the interview is going to take so you can prepare. E.g. is it going to be a one on one interview? Will it be a group interview? Who will be attending the interview, and what are their positions? Not being able to answer basic interview questions such as "What do you know about this company?" creates the impression that you don't care, and it can end your chances immediately. Dressing Inappropriately You make your greatest impact on the interviewer in the first 10 seconds, and you want that first impression to be strongly positive. Dress for the occasion. You will certainly need to wear a suit if you are interviewing for professional position. When interviewing for another type of job, such as a casual summer job as a lifeguard or waitress, for example, dress accordingly in neat and casual attire. Badmouthing This includes badmouthing your current or former employers, employees or even the competition. Nobody likes a complainer and it portrays a negative image of your personality. In the world we live in, you never know who your interviewer might be friends with or who the company's clients are. You don't want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company in the future. Poor body language • Mumbling • Using constant slang • Crossing your arms • Rigid • Slouching • Nervous gestures e.g. playing with your hair • Using your hands too much when talking • Don't be rude or abusive You would expect this to be obvious, however an interviewer will want to test your patience and see how you react to their questions. Losing your temper, becoming defensive, and acting abusive are the best ways to not get hired. No matter how calm or apologetic you are, the damage has already been done. Poor Communication Skills This includes answering questions with "yes" or "no" answers. You need to display confidence. Engage the person you are speaking with, and let the interviewer know that you are an excellent candidate for this position. Talking Too Much The interviewer wants to know why you are the best person for the job. They do not need to hear your entire life story. There are few things worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on. Keep your answers concise, to-the-point, and focused. Don't ramble, and don't lie or make up stories. The best advice is to be honest and simply answer the questions. Not answering the question Nothing is more frustrating for an interviewer than to ask a simple question and not get an answer. Straight away it sets off alarm bells in the interviewer's head that the person is either unprepared or not listening. Make sure you listen to the question and take a moment to gather your thoughts before you respond. Forgetting to Follow Up No matter how well you think the interview went, always follow up. If you have not heard from the interviewer within a few days, don't be afraid to call and follow up and reiterate your interest in the position. A follow up thank you email or phone call can sometimes go a long way to securing you the job. It also leaves a good impression
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When you hear the saying "a picture tells a thousand words", this means that a picture can tell a story just as easily as a large amount of text. The same is true about your professional CV. Your CV can tell the reader a lot about the type of person you are and the type of worker you will be. During one of my earliest roles as a recruiting agent, I was asked to find a shortlist of 5 candidates to fulfill a HR position. The position was an entry level role for a very well known and respected investment bank and although the client had instructed several requirements that they wanted in the right candidate (e.g. Bachelor Degree), the most important aspect was to find a candidate that would be the "right fit" for this company. We began our search for the candidate by placing a job advert in one of the online job portals. Within 3 hours we had over 150 CVs sitting in our inbox. By the end of the day we had another 400 CVs (at that stage we decided to take the job advert of the Internet). With our client urgently calling us wanting to know how soon they would receive CVs of potential candidates, we had the task of trying to sort through the huge amount of CVs and find the top 5 candidates. How to stand out from the competition First impressions count! It is estimated that a hiring manager or recruitment agent will spend no more than 15 -30 seconds reading through your CV before either deciding to continue reading or pressing delete. Unfortunately there is not one secret that will guarantee your CV will stand out from the competition, but there are many factors that will get your CV deleted. In my experience the first thing I look for in a CV is professionalism. Spelling Mistakes and bad grammar It is an unforgiveable sin to have any spelling errors on your CV . Spelling mistakes and bad grammar send out a negative signal that that the candidate is careless, does not take pride in his or her work and lacks the professionalism that the client demands. Without even reading through more of the CV I would delete this CV. Layout and Presentation It is an undisputed fact that if a hiring manager has two CVs sitting on the table, they are instinctively going to be drawn to the CV that is professionally presented and easy to read. No matter what the CVs say, the first impression is already made. If both candidates share similar skills and experiences, just take a guess at which CV the hiring manager is going to choose. When you sit down to write your CV, remember one thing. Your CV is your representation. This 2-3 page document is all you have to prove to the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job. Present a professional picture and make sure that you stand out above your competition.
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How to make a career change
Career management
Manage your career
It is NEVER too late for a career change! Sure, you might not have direct experience in a certain industry or job, but you need to prove to any hiring manager that your existing skills are, in fact, transferable skills. If you're debating about making a career change, don't be afraid. Even if a career switch later in life seems like a completely radical change with many possible consequences attached to it, you should still go for it if it's something you really want to do. My best advice is to set up a plan before making the dive. A large-scale transition will not happen overnight, and this is why it's important to ensure you have a "plan of attack." Also, make sure your career change is realistic. Although I encourage everyone to follow their dreams, you also need to stay realistic. If your dream is to become a pilot, but you've worked in banking for the last 15 years, the chances of you becoming a pilot are a lot harder (but not impossible)! Also remember to be flexible. You are making a career change that could involve a lower salary or relocation. These are some of the sacrifices you could be asked to make in the short term. When you begin applying for new roles, you need to ensure your resume is targeted toward this new job. Obviously you are not going to have direct experience, so it's important to highlight not only your current skills and achievements, but also (and most importantly), that you are able to adapt your skills for this new job. In making the career change, your skills are by far your best selling point. Many skills that you use on a day to day basis (such as leading, managing, liaising and communicating, for example) are all transferable skills that you can use to prove to a hiring manager that you are right for a particular job. 5 point plan to making a career change 1) Make sure of your reasons for wanting a career change. One bad day at work or hating your boss do not suggest you want to change careers 2) Brainstorming - sit down and brainstorm ideas of the type of industry/job you really want to do 3) Planning - Set out a plan to follow. Make it realistic. Remember your career change won't happen overnight. Realistically, it can take about 6-12 months. Don't quit your job on day 1. Included in planning is financial planning. How much is this career change going to cost you? How much do you plan to get paid? You need to know these answers! 4) Networking - Talk to friends, speak to recruitment agents and sign up to online networking sites 5) Executing your plan. Speak to an expert in regards to interviewing, resume writing and cover letter writing. Apply directly, and begin to follow the steps of your plan.
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Dress for success
Job interviewing
Preparing for the job interview
"Don't Dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want to have" Does what you wear to an interview really make a difference in the hiring process? The answer is yes - the way you dress always matters Don't allow your appearance to damage your chances of being hired for a job. As the old phrase goes, "dress for success!" When you walk into an interview room the very first thing an interviewer does is look at you. No matter how many skills you have and how relevant your experience is, do not allow this first impression to ruin your chances. Make no mistake - dressing properly will not guarantee you the job, but dressing inappropriately can definitely lose you the job. Gaining employment is subject to numerous variables beyond your control and factors significantly unknown to you. You have no control over employer perceptions, personal preferences or the competitors for the job. You do, however, have control of your image and how you present yourself. How you look can send a powerful message to the interviewer and can portray a signal that you are a winner or a loser. You have made it this far in the interview process - don't let your appearance sabotage your opportunity to get the job. So make sure you exude confidence and look successful.
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This month's top rated article
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

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