How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

Most hiring managers include at least a few behavioral questions in each job interview they conduct. What can you expect when you’re asked these types of questions? In a behavioral question or behavioral job interview, the interviewer asks you about your past work experiences. For example, he or she might say, “Tell me about a time that you had to multitask at work,” or “Give me an example of a conflict you had with an employee. How did you resolve it?”

1. How to Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions

It’s impossible for candidates to anticipate all possible questions you’ll be asked prior to an interview. Many will be specific to the job for which you’re being considered. However, by carefully reviewing the job listing and reviewing lists of common behavioral interview questions, you can prepare for the most likely questions.

Before going into any interview, take the time identify the qualities of the ideal candidate for that position. Look through the job listing for a list of qualifications, and scan for any keywords that give you a hint as to what the employer wants in a job candidate. Then match your qualifications to the job, so you’re prepared with examples related to the experience and qualifications the employer is seeking.
In addition to looking for any cues within the job advertisement, if time permits, conduct informational interviews with professional contacts in the field to get input regarding the preferred skills, knowledge bases, and personal qualities of successful employees in that type of job.
Once you get a sense of the questions you might be asked, the next step will be to come up with examples from your past experiences that have helped you develop the skills and qualities needed for a job. Create a list of seven to 10 key assets that make you a strong candidate for your target job. For each asset, think of an anecdote or story of how you have used that strength to add value in some situation. You can use anecdotes from your roles as an employee, student, volunteer, or intern.

2. How to Answer a Behavioral Interview Question

When practicing answers for behavioral interview questions, consider following what is called the STAR interview response technique. It is a four-step technique for answering questions about past behaviors at work:

  •  Situation:Describe the situation or set the scene. Explain the place you were working for or the task you were given.
  •  Task:Describe the issue or problem you were confronted with.
  • Action: Describe the action you took to intervene in the situation or solve the problem. This should introduce the key asset you would like to illustrate.
  • Results:Describe the results your action generated. Explain how you helped solve the problem or improve the company in some way.
Imagine an employer asks you the behavioral interview question, “Tell me about a time that you used your organizational skills to improve a situation at work.” A possible answer using the STAR technique would be as follows:
When I took on the job as an assistant at Marketing Solutions I soon learned that there was no easily accessible system for retrieving information on past campaigns. Each of the five consultants had their own computer files. I suggested to the director that we set up a shared online filing system with past campaign materials that would be accessed by all staff. I interviewed each of the staff to get input about how to categorize the files and proposed a system that was implemented. The system was a success; it is still in place four years later. My supervisor mentioned this accomplishment as one of the reasons for my raise at my recent performance review.
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How To Recover From Arriving Late For An Interview

How To Recover From Arriving Late For An Interview

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Better never than late.” So, by the Irish playwright’s logic, if you’re suddenly waylaid en route to an interview, are you better off just turning around and heading home? Or, can you find your way back into the interviewer’s good graces and salvage the opportunity?

Interview expert and author of What to Say in Every Interview Carole Martin says even those with the best intentions often find themselves in situations beyond their control rendering the most punctual among us helpless victims of tardiness.

When a potential new job is on the line, what’s the best way to handle this dilemma? The career coach offers five tips for rebounding from a late arrival.

1. Call if You Can

Martin says if it’s at all possible, give the interviewer a heads up that you’ve been detained and won’t arrive on time. When you call, let him or her know your ETA and ask if that time will still work. If it doesn’t, offer to reschedule.

“Everybody has an agenda; if you’re expected at 1:30 PM and you show up at 2 PM, that throws off the whole schedule,” Martin says. “Offering to reschedule shows that you’re respectful of that person’s time.”

2. Apologize, But Don’t Overdo It

Just like when you give your co-worker 17 excuses as to why you can’t attend her birthday happy hour, overdoing it can hurt you. Whether you’re apologizing on the phone or in person, be professional.

“Let the interviewer know how sincerely sorry you are and how out of character this is, but don’t ramble,” Martin says. “Make your apology and then move on. Things happen, and people understand that. Don’t undermine yourself by throwing out a bunch of lame excuses.”

3. Take an Extra Minute to Compose Yourself

You’re already running late. Who has a spare second to take 10 deep breaths and try to pull yourself together?

You do, Martin says.

Yes, you’ve started off on the wrong foot, which automatically puts you at a disadvantage, but going into the interview completely frazzled will only harm you further. Instead, Martin says, take a few moments and do whatever you need to do to get yourself back on track.

“Whether it’s a focusing on a quote or mantra, counting, or listening to music, take an extra minute to do whatever you need to do to calm down,” the interview coach advises. “If your blood pressure is up and your heart is going a hundred miles an hour, you’re not going to make a good impression.”

4. Keep it Positive

When you arrive, apologize again by saying, “I’m sorry; this is not ordinarily how I conduct myself,” and then let it go.

“Starting off with a ‘Please, please, my fault,’ isn’t a good way to set the tone,” Martin says.

Bear in mind that if things go well, this is the person you’ll either be working for or with, so keep the conversation positive and professional. Give him or her a chance to get to know you—particularly your strengths, such as how you can overcome a challenge like an unexpected detour on the way to an important meeting.

“Woody Allen said 80% of success is just showing up,” Martin says. “So when you show up, be present and give them 100%.”

5. Prove You are Adaptable

Martin points to the scene in The Pursuit of Happiness in which a bedraggled Christopher Gardner, played by Will Smith, arrives for the interview that ultimately changes his life in a paint-splattered tank top after spending the night in jail. Despite his inappropriate apparel, he conducts himself professionally and impresses his futures bosses not only by rising above his tattered garments, but also by proving he’s adaptable.

“Fifty percent of an interview is getting to know you as a person and getting a feel for who you are and if you’ll fit within that organization. How you handle yourself under pressure says a lot about you and how you’ll conduct yourself as the company’s employee,” Martin says. “If you’re late to this interview, chances are you could be late to see a client, and the company wants to know how you recover. At that point, it almost becomes a test of how you handle the situation.”

If you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of arriving late to an interview, all may not be lost. Being prepared and working through the situation like a professional could save the interview and the job opportunity.

 

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How To Test For Soft Skills In An Interview

How To Test For Soft Skills In An Interview

Some skill sets are easier to screen for than others. A writing sample will highlight communication skills; extremely tough questions will test a candidate’s ability to think on his or her feet; and asking the applicant to discuss previous roles will provide information about his or her experience.

But how can you test for “soft skills,” such as teamwork and empathy, during the interview?

There’s no magic formula, but essentially you need to look for two things: self-awareness (because you want a candidate who can make the connection between his or her actions and professional outcomes) and instincts (because you want someone who would intuitively take the empathetic, team-oriented, and optimistic approach).

To that end, read on for two questions you can ask in future interviews that will help you sniff out the perfect people to add to your team.

1. “Can you tell me about a time when you worked as part of a group?”

To start with, red flag a candidate who tells a story about how the group was useless until he or she rode in on a white horse and saved the day. First, this person hasn’t done the interview prep necessary to know you shouldn’t speak poorly of others. Second, it’s not a good sign if the story that comes to mind is one where he or she personally succeeded and the team failed. The “I’m smarter than everyone else” response indicates both low self-awareness and poor propensity for teamwork.

But what if the candidate is exceptional because the team was flailing and he or she saved the day? A candidate who works well with others will tell the story differently. He or she will include the merits of the other approaches and frame it more as a story that shows initiative, leadership, and creative thinking; rather than one about being the smartest person on the team. This time, the “I had the solution” answer works.

Of course, the best answer is one about a time when a team successfully worked together. The candidate would discuss the other members’ contributions as well as his or her own and include what it taught him or her about working well with others. You know this candidate will bring strong teamwork skills to the table (and that his or her first instinct is to discuss working with others positively).

2. “Can you tell me about a time when you had to ask for help?”

This is one of my all-time favorite interview questions. Why? Because smart candidates know that every answer should make them look like the best choice. So, seeing how an applicant approaches this question will let you know if he can describe (and view) himself as an asset, even when discussing a failure.

The red-flag answer here is, “I can’t really remember the last time I had to ask for help.” This person thinks the only way to make a good impression is to be perfect. He not only lacks self-awareness, but he could be a dangerous hire, because when he makes a mistake (and who hasn’t?) he may not be comfortable telling anyone.

A second-rate answer would be one that includes a “fake” example (similar to the cop-out answers to “what’s your biggest weakness?”). An example of this would be something along the lines of: “I thought I had the best solution to a problem, and then I hit an obstacle and reached out to someone, and then I realized I did have the best answer all along.” This candidate gets points for reaching out to someone else when she needed a sounding board, as well as having the ability to take a step back and reassess when things weren’t working, but she still isn’t comfortable admitting to making a true mistake.

The best answer is one in which the candidate identifies a mistake she made and how she learned from someone else. Why? Because it takes learning experiences in prior roles to apply the lessons learned to a future position. Moreover, an answer like this gives a candidate the chance to speak sincerely about mentorship and growth—which is great for her to share and for you to hear.

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Signs Your Job Interview Went Well

Signs Your Job Interview Went Well

How do you know if a job interview went well? Sometimes, it’s a gut feeling. Other times, it’s not so clear. However, there are signs to look out for that will help you determine if your interview was successful. There are many variables that determine the signs of a successful interview, and it’s important to consider them so you don’t come away with an inaccurate impression of your experience:

For example, if you are interviewing for a very large, corporate company, the level of personal engagement you experience during the interview process may be significantly less than if you were applying to a start-up, but that doesn’t mean those dry interactions imply you didn’t get the job. If your interviewer herself is a cold person, her mannerisms may not reflect your likelihood of getting the job—and same goes if she is an especially nice person. Make sure you consider the big picture, rather than just reading into the little details.

Remember, trust your gut but be fair to (and aware of) yourself. If you’re the type who constantly doubts yourself and you think you blew the interview, your judgment may not be accurate. Try to be as objective as possible when considering your interview performance. Review the experience without engaging extreme emotions.

1. Questions About Your Interest in the Job

It’s a good sign if your interviewer asks you questions about your interest in the job or where else you are interviewing. If she or he wasn’t interested in hiring you, your desire for the job—or interest in other companies—wouldn’t matter. Inquiries about your interest suggest the interviewer is considering whether or not you would accept a job offer.

2. Getting Specific About the Job Responsibilities

Did your interviewer dive into the specifics of the job and the daily responsibilities of the individual in that role? For an interviewer to take the time to get into the nitty-gritty can mean he or she felt confident enough about your capabilities to take the conversation to that level.

Bonus points if the interviewer referred to “you” in the role; for example: “You would be reporting to Martha, the digital marketing manager, each day.”

3. Your Interviewer Gives Positive Affirmation

This can be an obvious but tell-tale sign of a successful interview. Listen to how your interviewer responds when you answer questions. Positive responses like, “That’s exactly right,” “Great answer,” or “Yes, that’s just what we’re looking for” are key implications that an interviewer likes you.

4. You Get an Invitation for a Second Interview

Getting asked to come in for a second interview is the best sign that your first one went well! Remember, though, don’t let the news get to your head, as there is a good chance other candidates are also coming in for round two.

Embrace your confidence, but definitely don’t dismiss the need to prepare for a second interview just because you think you have the job in the bag.

5. Your Interviewer Sells You the Job

If the interviewer spends some time promoting the highlights of the position, the company culture and why he or she loves working there, this is a good sign. Your interviewer probably wouldn’t try to “sell” you the job if he or she had zero intentions of considering you for the position.

Another good sign is when an interviewer asks when you could start work if you were hired.

6. The Interview Runs Longer Than 30 Minutes

Did the interviewer spend time asking quality questions, listening to your answers and discussing the details of position with you? If you felt like you came away with a thorough idea of the position and your interview lasted for 30 minutes or more, consider it a good possibility that the interviewer was interested in hiring you.

However, in a case where there are multiple interviewers, however, one of them may feel the need to ask questions just to ask them in order to make it seem like they’re doing their job. So, bonus points if it’s just you and a single interviewer and the discussion still carried on for a significant amount of time.

7. Exchange of Contact Information

It is excellent news if your interviewer gives you a business card, or some direct line to reach him or her, like an email or even a cell phone number. Even better if he or she encourages you to reach out anytime if you have questions or concerns!

8. Office Introductions

Consider it positive news if your interviewer toured you around the office and introduced you to staff. It’s even better if he or she brought other staff members in during your interview for personal introductions and work-related discussions.

9. The Interviewer Responds to Your Follow-up

Once you’ve sent your thank you note expressing your gratitude for the interview opportunity, gauge how long it takes your interviewer or human resources contact to respond. A prompt response can be good news, but also keep an eye out for the tone of the message.

A message like, “Thank you for coming in to meet with us! We very much appreciate it and look forward to following up with you later this week. Have a great day!” bodes much better than something short and dry like, “You are welcome, and thank you. Speak soon.”

10. Salary Comes Up

Most interviewers won’t get into the (sometimes awkward) discussion of money unless they’re serious about hiring you. Interview questions about your current salary, past salary and what salary you are expecting to receive can be good signs that they are seriously considering you for the job.

 

 

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The Best Way Research A Company For A Job Interview

The Best Way To Research A Company For A Job Interview

Before you go on a job interview, it’s important to find out as much as you can about the company. That way you’ll be prepared both to answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions. You will also be able to find out whether the company and the company culture are a good fit for you.

Take some time, in advance, to use the Internet to discover as much information as you can about the company.

Spend time, as well, tapping into your network to see who you know who can help give you an interview edge over the other candidates. Here’s how to research a company.

Tips for Researching Companies Before Job Interviews

1. Visit the Company Website

Start by visiting the company website. There, you can review the organization’s mission statement and history, products and services, and management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site. If there’s a Press section of the website, read through the featured links there.

2. Browse Social Media

Next, check the company’s social media accounts. Visit their Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter pages. This will give you a good sense of how the company wants its consumers to see it. Like or follow the company to get updates. You’ll find information you may not have found otherwise.

3. Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at a glance, more information on a company you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. If you have connections at the company, consider reaching out to them – not only can they put in a good word for you, but they may also share their perspective on the company and give you tips that will help you ace the interview.

As well, take a look at your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile to get insight into their job and their background.

4. Get an Interview Edge

Glassdoor’s Interview Questions and Reviews section has a goldmine of information for job seekers.

You can find out what candidates for the positions you are interviewing for were asked and get advice on how tough the interview was. Use reviews to help get a sense of company culture. That said, take them with a grain of salt – employees are often most likely to leave reviews when they are unhappy. As you read reviews, look for repeated themes. The more mentions a given subject gets (whether it’s praise for flexible hours or frustration with senior management) the more likely it is to be accurate.

5. Use Google and Google News

Search both Google and Google News for the company name. This can be really invaluable. You may find out that the company is expanding into Asia, for instance, or received a round of start-up funding. Or, you may find out that a recent product underperformed or had to be recalled. This knowledge can help shape your responses to interview questions.

6. Tap Your Connections

Do you know someone who works at the company? Ask them if they can help.

If you’re a college grad, ask your Career Office if they can give you a list of alumni who work there. Then email, send a LinkedIn message, or call and ask for assistance.

7. Get to Know the Industry and Competitors

As well as researching the company, it makes sense to review the overall industry. If you’re interviewing for a job at a mortgage company, for instance, it’s helpful to be informed about current home ownership trends. Get to know the company’s biggest competitors and identify their successes and flaws, too. Insight into the company’s industry and rivals is bound to impress interviewers.

How to Use This Research During Interviews

During a job interview, interviewers ask questions to get to know candidates. But their main goal is to determine if a candidate will be a good fit for the position and company.

Your company research will make your responses to questions compelling and show that you’ll be helpful to their goals and bottom line.

Plus, your knowledge will help you give a specific answer if you’re asked why you’d like to work for the company. You can share details about things you find admirable about the company, its mission, or its culture.

 

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How To Ace A Group Interview

How To Ace A Group Interview

There are two types of group interviews, and your experience will vary depending on which one you’re participating in. Both can be challenging for candidates. Find out more about the kinds of group interviews that take place, what questions to expect, and how you can shine during this type of interview.

1. Types of Group Interviews

In one type of group interview, multiple interviewers (sometimes called a group or panel) meet with and interview a candidate. The panel typically includes a Human Resources representative, the manager, and possibly co-workers from the department where you would be working, if hired.

In another variety, multiple candidates are interviewed at the same time by one interviewer (typically the hiring manager). In this scenario, you and other candidates would be interviewed together, in a group.

Sometimes, a group interview combines both types of interviews: you might be interviewed in a group, by a panel of interviewers.

2. Why a Group Interview?

Employers hold group interviews for a number of reasons. Firstly, group interviews with multiple candidates are very efficient: they allow the interviewer to conduct multiple interviews at the same time, saving a lot of time.

When there is a panel of interviewers, a group interview becomes an efficient way to introduce job seekers to all the people he or she would be working with.
Companies may also conduct group interviews because they show which candidates work well with others. A group interview will also show an employer which candidates will fit well with the company culture.
Jobs involving high stress, fast-paced work, or customer interaction also commonly require group interviews. If you perform well during a stressful interview, you may be more apt to perform well doing a job that is stressful.

3. What to Expect During The Interview

There are a number of formats for group interviews.

For an interview with multiple interviewers and one candidate, interviewers tend to take turns asking the candidate questions.

There is more variety in an interview with multiple candidates. Typically, the interview will involve the interviewer/s asking each candidate group questions, as well as individual questions. The group interview might even end with everyone having brief individual interviews.
The interview may also involve a work simulation or problem-solving exercise, in which the candidates have to work together as a team. This gives the employer a chance to see if you can work well on a team project, if you are a natural leader, and if you get along well with others. Sometimes, the group work will end with a team discussion or presentation.

4. How to Stand Out

1. Be prepared.

Take the time to prepare for the interview by reviewing the interview questions you’ll most likely be asked, making a list of questions to ask the interviewer, and brushing up your interview skills.
Be confident and respectful. You want to make sure your voice is heard during the interview, but you also do not want to dominate the interview. When you see an opportunity to speak, calmly do so, but do not cut other people off or appear too impatient and competitive.

2. Be a good listener. 

An important part of working with a team is being a good listener. Listen carefully to what both the interviewers and your fellow candidates are saying (use body language to signal your listening). When you answer a question, refer back to what the person before you said, which shows you were listening. Try to quickly learn (and say) the names of the candidates and the interviewers, which will further demonstrate your listening skills.

3. Be a leader. 

If you are working on a team project, find an opportunity to lead. This does not mean  steamrolling your group. Leading can be as simple as including everyone, and making sure everyone has a task. If you reflect on the project with the interviewer, be sure to give credit to your teammates.

4. Be yourself. 

While you should make your voice heard, do not feel like you have to be extremely vocal if you are shy. Answer questions thoughtfully – it is better to answer a couple of questions with purpose than to talk a lot without purpose. Being a good listener who answers questions carefully can still set you apart from the group without forcing you to be someone you are not.

5. Follow up

Be sure to send a thank you letter to every interviewer in the panel. Try to mention something specific about your interview to help the employers remember you.

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Tips for Connecting With Your Interviewer

Tips for Connecting With Your Interviewer

There’s a lot that determines your success in an interview, from how you answer questions to the questions you ask, from the quality of your resume and portfolio to your timeliness and manners.

Though it’s always important to be polite and professional, establishing a rapport with your interviewer is also a key to success. If an interviewer feels an affinity for you as a person, he or she may feel positive about hiring you as an employee.

If you fail to connect with your interviewer during the interview, he or she might assume that you might not interface well with others on the job if you were hired, so it’s important to make a good impression.

The following suggestions will help you optimize the interpersonal component of your interview performance.

1. Start the interview the right way.

Greet your recruiter warmly as if he or she were a person you were looking forward to meeting. Say something like”So glad to meet you” as you exchange a firm but not crushing handshake. Here’s how to introduce yourself at a job interview.

2. Be friendly and personable.

Smile and exude personal warmth whenever appropriate during your meeting. Be genuine in your interactions and express positive emotions about the position and the company. Interviewers are more likely to view affable candidates favorably, so it’s important to be enthusiastic and optimistic.

3. Show your interest in the person as well as the job.

Show an interest in your interviewer during the warm-up phase of your interview by asking some questions about them. Making casual small talk before the substantive questioning begins can help to put your interviewer at ease. Questions like “How long have you worked here?,” “Have you had other roles at the firm?,” or “How long is your commute?” can help to draw out your interviewer.

4. Make it personal.

When appropriate, share some personal information about yourself. Revealing some of your outside interests or background information can help an interviewer relate to you as a person.

5. Remember good posture.

Sit up straight and lean slightly forward towards your interviewers to engage them and show an interest in what they are saying.

6. Eye contact is important.

Make frequent but not piercing eye contact with the interviewer to demonstrate that you are listening carefully.

7. Show your interest.

Nod and actively show that you are listening by saying things like “I see,” “I understand,” “Sounds good,” and follow up with questions when appropriate.

8. Pay attention to everyone.

 In multiple interviewer situations, make sure to distribute your attention to each person. It is important to establish a positive rapport with each interviewer, not just with those whom you feel a natural chemistry.

9. Show that you get it.

 Paraphrase important or complex messages delivered by your interviewer to demonstrate that you understand her point.

10. Ask about company culture.

Demonstrate your interest in the company culture, whether by asking a follow-up question or initiating the question on your own, so that your interviewer sees you’re keen to become part of the team. For example, you might ask, “What’s camaraderie like between employees?,” “Do coworkers ever get together outside of the office?,” or, “Do you offer any team bonding opportunities or excursions?”

11. Thank your interviewers.

Express your sincere gratitude for their time and the insight that they have provided as you complete the interview.

12. Don’t wait to follow up.

Follow up immediately with a thank you email or note, or even a phone call, and mention specific reasons why the interviewer was helpful. Include that you enjoyed meeting with them and hoped that you would have the opportunity to work together. If you have met with multiple interviewers, personalize your communications by adding something unique to each email.

 

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How To Handle An Informal Interview

How To Handle An Informal Interview

Just like many workplaces, job interviews are going casual. Instead of a structured, formal interview in a conference room, a lot of hiring managers now begin with a low-key, informal conversation.

Hiring managers or recruiters may invite candidates out for a cup of coffee, for instance, and instead of calling it an interview, the conversation may be framed as an exploratory or informational session.

These informal interviews are particularly common when hiring managers are actively recruiting a candidate. For candidates, this more casual interview style can present a new set of challenges. Learn why informal interviews are growing in popularity and how to ace the experience.

1. Why Are Informal Interviews a Trend

One common reason an employer will opt for an informal interview is that they’re still formulating the exact structure of the job. By meeting with a wide variety of candidates, without a specific job description, employers can flesh out the exact responsibilities and expectations for the role.

Or, employers may go this route because funding is too tentative to begin formal interviewing or because the company is considering another role for the current job holder and wants to explore alternative talent before moving forward with reassignment or firing.

Executive recruiters may just be trying to source some talent for future clients.

2. Preparing for a Casual Interview

Get ready for a “conversation,” “coffee date,” or any other casual interview in the same thorough way you’d prepare for a more formal, traditional job interview. It means conducting extensive research on the organization and its products/services, challenges, achievements, and competition.

You should be ready to discuss your career path and long-term goals and to itemize assets and strengths that have enabled you to add value to various projects and roles. Be prepared to cite specific examples or tell stories that demonstrate actions taken and results generated. And, just as you would at a formal interview, you should have ideas for how you’d fit in at the company and what positive role you could play.

3. What to Wear

Because this is an information meeting, you don’t need to dress in professional interview attire unless that’s what you usually wear to work. Otherwise, business casual or start-up casual attire, depending on your career field and industry, is appropriate. Of course, even if your clothing is a bit more casual, you should still wear an outfit that is clean and would be appropriate in the office of the company. That way, your appearance won’t distract from your qualifications.

4. What to Bring

Bring some extra copies of your resume, your business card, if you have one, and a portfolio with a pad and pen so you can take notes.

5. What to Ask the Recruiter

One advantage of a less formal interview is that you can ask some questions early on to learn more about prospective opportunities since you may not have been given a formal job description.

Asking questions like “Can you tell me a bit more about why you’ve reached out to me to schedule this meeting?” or “You’ve mentioned some potential changes in your operation, can you tell me a bit more how someone like me might fit into that picture?” will help you to develop a clearer idea about which of your assets might best meet the employer’s needs. It will also help clarify whether you are interested in the job.

6. On the Spot Offers

In some cases, you may end up being offered a job on the spot or very shortly after that. One job seeker I know progressed from getting a LinkedIn message about opportunities at a company to having a cup of coffee with a hiring manager to getting a job offer from the CEO three days later. When the fit is right, interviewers are often eager to lock in a candidate.

If the recruiter surprises you with a specific opportunity, be prepared to express your excitement and appreciation but know that you can reserve the right to process that new information and get back to them in the near future. Don’t feel compelled to make a decision about whether to pursue the job on the spot.

7. Watch What You Say

One danger of an informal meeting is the tendency to speak too freely. Even if recruiters seems down to earth or primarily to be trying to sell you on a company, they will take note of anything you say or do and factor it into their assessment. So never say anything negative about a colleague, former supervisor, or former employer. Keep things on a professional level even if the recruiter seems to have let his or her hair down.

It’s also a good idea to ask the recruiter to keep the meeting confidential, so you don’t jeopardize your current job. That should be understood, but it’s better to be sure that word of your meeting doesn’t get back to your present employer.

8. Information Gathering

Some recruiters will use informal meetings to pick your brain about other potential candidates especially if they sense that their opening is not appropriate for you. Gather as much information about the job as possible, but refrain from sharing any names of your contacts until you clear it with them. Your contacts may have a reason that they don’t want to affiliate with a particular recruiter or appear to be in job hunt mode.

9. Who Pays

When you’re invited to meet with a recruiter for a cup of coffee or a meal, they will pick up the tab. There’s no need to offer to pay. Do say thank you to the recruiter or hiring manager, however.

10. Follow Up After the Meeting

Ask the person you met with for his or her business card, so you have the information you need to follow up. It’s important to follow up after the meeting, especially if you sense that there will be some viable opportunities available through the recruiter. Since a primary goal for their meeting with you may have been to feel you out in terms of your interest level, make sure that your email or letter clearly affirms your interest in exploring things further, if that is the case.

If you have learned about a specific job or role which appeals to you, mention a few discrete strengths that might allow you to add value in that capacity. If the recruiter has hinted at any reservations or areas of your background that didn’t quite fit try to supply any information that would counter those concerns.

Even if you aren’t interested in the company, send a brief thank you note. Also, invite the recruiter to connect with you on LinkedIn if you aren’t already connected. A quick cup of coffee could turn into a future employment opportunity, even if the timing and job aren’t right now.

 

 

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How to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview

How to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview

1. The Best Way to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview

What’s the best way to introduce yourself at a job interview? How can you start off an interview making the best possible impression? First impressions can play a major role in how an employer perceives you as a candidate. What you say during the first phase of the interview may make a big difference in the outcome – in a good way or in a bad way.

In fact, some hiring managers may make a decision to reject a candidate based on what they didn’t do when they met them. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to interview manners and to carefully think through how you will introduce yourself during a job interview.

2. What to Say When You Arrive at the Interview

When you arrive at the interview site introduce yourself to the receptionist by stating your name and the purpose of your visit. For example: “My name is Tim Jones, and I have an interview scheduled with John Smith at 2 pm.” or “I’m Janine Bellows, and I have an appointment with Jack Clark at 10 am.”

3. What to Say When You Meet the Hiring Manager

You will either be escorted to the interview room, or the hiring manager will come out to meet you in the reception area. Again, take the time to introduce yourself so the interviewer knows who you are.

Offer to shake hands, even if the interviewer doesn’t offer their hand first. It’s good etiquette to include a handshake as part of your introduction. Tell the interviewer that it is a pleasure to meet them, smile, and be sure to make eye contact. For example: “I’m Tina Lionel, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Tip: To avoid sweaty palms, stop in the restroom prior to the interview and wash and dry your hands. If that’s not feasible, use a tissue to dry off your hands ahead of time.

4. Keep Your Introduction Short and Concise

You’ll have an opportunity to introduce yourself on an in-depth basis during the interview. Many hiring managers will start an interview with an open-ended question like “Tell me about yourself.” The core of your response should focus on the key elements in your background which will enable you to excel in the job for which you are interviewing.

You should carefully analyze the job before the interview so you can point out the interests, skills, experiences, and personal qualities which will enable you to meet or exceed the requirements.

5. Focus on Your Qualifications

Your introduction should be concise enough to hold the interest of the interviewer. Generally, a quick recap of your most compelling qualifications will suffice. You could also mention a couple of tidbits which are not essential to the job, but reflect your persona like the fact that you are an avid skier, have performed at comedy clubs, or collect African art.

Your goal is to connect personally with the interviewer, as well as to show that you’re qualified for the job and would make a great new hire.

Of course, your initial comments should show your enthusiasm for the job and organization. However, don’t overdo it and don’t spend too much time talking about yourself. The interviewer has an agenda and time is limited, so keep your introduction brief so you can move on to the next question.

6. Be Prepared for Follow Up Questions

The interviewer may follow up your introduction with more questions, so it’s important to remember that you will need to support whatever assertions you make during your introduction.

Be prepared to provide specific examples of how and where you have utilized your assets to successfully carry out work or volunteer roles, academic projects, or other productive endeavors. One way to provide detailed responses is to use the STAR interview technique to describe your accomplishments and achievements.

Also be prepared to ask questions during the interview. Have a short list of questions of what you’d like to know about the job and the company ready to ask the interviewer.

7. Manners Matter at Job Interviews

Manners matter during a job interview. Regardless of the job you are applying for, you will be expected to act professionally throughout every phase of the interview process from greeting the interviewer to saying thank you after your interview.

Review these job interview etiquette tips for before, during, and after a job interview to ensure that you’re minding your manners and making the best impression you can on the interviewer.

 

 

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How to Show Your Personality at an Interview

How to Show Your Personality at an Interview

Employers want to know that you are qualified for a position, but they also want to know how well you’ll fit in with the company culture. The only way to assess this is to get a sense of your personality. Thus, the more personable you are and the more you connect with the interviewer, the better your chances of being selected for the job.

So, what’s the best way to showcase your personality during an interview? Basically, relax and be yourself. But if that sounds scary, go ahead and read the following tips for letting your personality shine during a job interview:

1. Come prepared and relaxed.

By coming into the interview feeling calm and collected, you will be able to focus on letting your personality, rather than your nerves, come through. Practice answering common interview questions beforehand to boost your confidence. Find a friend or colleague who’s willing to act as the interviewer and read the questions to you so that you can practice answering out loud.

Also consider employing some relaxation techniques (like deep breathing or meditation) right before the interview. Coming to the interview relaxed and prepared will help you to feel at ease and to focus on putting your best foot forward.

2. Greet each person you meet with a friendly handshake and warm smile.

First impressions are extremely important, so demonstrate confidence right away. Stand tall, make eye contact, and give a firm handshake and a smile when you meet the interviewer. Managers want to hire people they’ll enjoy working with, so show you are approachable and have a positive disposition.

3. Be aware of your body language.

After the initial greeting, you want to continue to appear confident. Posture is important so don’t slouch. Stand or sit up straight and try to avoid any nervous habits (tapping your foot, biting your nails, etc.) that could make you appear nervous and unprepared.

It’s also a good idea to avoid crossing your arms, as this makes you look unapproachable. Staying calm and still with good posture is a great way to demonstrate your confidence and approach ability.

4. Don’t go into the meeting looking to deliver a stand up routine.

Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor. If appropriate, laugh at yourself or a funny comment the hiring manager makes, but avoid sarcasm, off-color remarks, or inappropriate jokes – this isn’t the time to show just how edgy you are. Just be friendly, witty, and personable, but don’t get too far away from who you are. And don’t forget – a genuine smile can go a long way towards demonstrating your friendly personality.

5. Give specific examples from your past experiences when answering questions. 

This will not only give you a chance to support your answers with examples, but it will give the interviewer a sense of how your personality has helped you achieve success in the past. For example, describing a specific time when you successfully led a team project will demonstrate your confidence and leadership more than a hypothetical situation.

6. Avoid negativity.

When answering questions, don’t dwell on your negative experiences. For example, if the interviewer asked why you left your most recent position, don’t dwell on what you disliked about your previous job or blurt out how much you hated your boss. Instead, talk about the positive experiences you had, and discuss how you can help this company. Stay focused on what excites you about the job at hand.

7. Keep in mind that interviewers want to see the real you and how you react under pressure.

By remaining honest but polite, and by appearing composed during the meeting, you’ll highlight your strengths and ability to work well as part of a team, even in trying situations.

 

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