Tag Archives: hiring tips

The Top Ten Toughest, Classic Job Interview Questions

When going to a job interview, you know you’ll probably get some tough, crazy and even some off-the-wall questions.  In order not to totally bomb the interview, you need to prepare!  Here are ten, tough questions that you may want to ask (or prepare for) in a job interview:

1.  Could you tell me a little about yourself?

Most interviewers use this question not only to gather information, but also to assess your poise, style of delivery and communication ability. Don’t launch into a mini-speech about your childhood, schooling, hobbies, early career and personal likes and dislikes. Instead, briefly cite recent personal and professional work experiences that relate to the position you’re seeking and that support your credentials. Better yet, prepare a personal branding statement that quickly describes who you are and what you can bring to the company.

2.  Why did you leave your previous employer, or why are you leaving your present job?

The economy has pushed many talented professionals into the workforce, so don’t be ashamed to simply explain that you were a part of a downsizing. If you were fired for performance issues, it’s best to merely say you “parted ways” and refocus the discussion on how your skill set matches the current position. If you currently have a job, focus on why you’re seeking greater opportunity, challenges or responsibility. If you’re transitioning to a new industry, discuss why you’re making the transition and tie it into the new job responsibilities (make sure that you have very strong references regardless of why you left, or are leaving, a position).

3.  What are your greatest strengths?

Briefly summarize your work experience and your strongest qualities and achievements that are directly related to the responsibilities of the job you are applying for. One proven approach is to include four specific skills that employers value highly: self-motivation, initiative, the ability to work in a team and a willingness to work long hours.

4.  What are your weaknesses?

Realize that most interviewers don’t expect you to be perfect or reveal your true weaknesses. Turn this question around and present a personal weakness as a professional strength. Let’s assume that you’re detail-oriented, a workaholic and that you neglect friends and family when working on important projects. You can turn these weaknesses around by saying that you’re very meticulous and remain involved in projects until you’ve ironed out all the problems, even if it means working after hours or on the weekend.

Another tactic is to discuss an area where you’re seeking improvement, and then highlight the steps you’re taking to meet that goal. Perhaps you’re an accountant, and are working to improve your knowledge of payroll procedures by taking courses at a local college, or maybe you’re an IT professional earning additional certifications.

5.  What can you tell me about our company and/or industry?

Do your homework. Check out the company website and their “About Us” section. Most public companies post Investor Information which typically lists their Management Team, Board of Directors and past financial performance. Write down a few key points that you can cite when asked. Interviewers want to know that you’re interested in more than just a job.

6.  What do/did you like most and least about your present/most recent job?

Concentrate your answer on areas that are relevant to the position and be specific. Don’t say, “I liked the atmosphere.” Instead, try saying “I enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a team.” When discussing least-liked aspects of your present or previous job, try to mention an area of responsibility that’s far removed from the functions of the job you’re seeking. But be sure your answer indicates that you either performed the assignment well or that you learned something useful. This shows that you stick with tasks, even ones that don’t particularly interest you.

7.  Aren’t you overqualified for this position?

Hardly anyone expects you to say “yes” to this question in today’s job market. If you do, the interviewer may think you’ll grow dissatisfied and leave the company quickly. Instead focus on the experience and skill set you’ll bring to the position and the value they’ll receive by hiring you.

8.  What sets you apart from other applicants?

The interviewer who asks you this is really probing your readiness for the job, your ability to handle it, your willingness to work hard and your fitness for the job. Show your readiness by describing how your experience, career progression, qualities and achievements make you an asset. Keep it professional, and focus on the value you’ll bring to the position. Highlight your ability by discussing your specific skills and accomplishments, but don’t forget to show your interest in the job itself.

9.  Where do you hope to be in three years?

This question is often asked of recent college graduates, and the worst answer is to say that you want to be president of the company or have the interviewer’s position. Instead, talk about what motivates you especially what will motivate you on this job and what you hope to have accomplished.

10.  Do you have any questions? Can you think of anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t say “no,” or that everything has been thoroughly discussed. If you think the interviewer has any doubts, now’s the time to restate why you’re the most logical candidate for the opening. Show your interest in the company by preparing some key questions in advance. Asking about corporate culture or what the interviewer likes the best about the company will give you insight and let the interviewers know that you’re interviewing them as well.

For more information on these, visit:  http://www.careercast.com/career-news/10-toughest-interview-questions-%E2%80%93-and-how-answer-them.

Why Hiring is Like Buying Eggs

When you’re faced with having to hire employees, it’s a lot like buying eggs.

First, you have to decide what kind of eggs you want to buy.  Are you going to go with high quality, organic brown eggs?  Or, are you on a tight budget and going to go with the regular white eggs that are on sale?  The organic might cost more, but you’re going to have the good feeling inside that you bought the very best.

Second, you need to open up the carton to see if there are any damaged eggs inside.  You check for cracks, breaks and other imperfections that would ruin your purchase.

Third, you carefully take your eggs home and soon enough, crack them open and throw them into the frying pan.

When hiring, you need to take a similar approach.

Is your budget cushy enough to afford the more quality job applicants that will cost you more?  Or, will you go with the kid right out of college that is a bargain, but may not have as much experience?

You need to open the carton on each applicant and check for cracks.  Check their online social media sites, do a background check, maybe even a drug test to ensure you getting a quality “product.” This is important, especially is you offer online job applications.

Third, once you’ve done all that checking and selecting, you are ready to throw them into your virtual frying pan, and hopefully they’ll fry up just right.

The Top 10 Website for Your Career

When looking for a job, time is often of the essence. You don’t want to waste precious job search time dealing with online job boards that don’t offer you a wide variety of companies and positions to browse through.

You also want job and networking information that will have up to date information…not jobs that have been closed for months.

Here is a list of some job boards and websites that are good for networking, job searches and pertinent information related to employment.

1.  LinkedIn.com – The largest professional social networking site, LinkedIn has more than 175 million members in 200-some countries worldwide. People are signing up at approximately two new members a second. It is free to become a member and post a summary of your career and work history. Recruiters and hiring managers use nine-year-old LinkedIn more than any other website to connect with job candidates,

2.  Indeed.com is a Google-like search engine for jobs and one of the most efficient sites for surveying job listings, since it aggregates information from job boards, news sites and company listings. An advanced search function enables users to drill down on a location, keywords and salary range. Indeed says it has 70 million unique visitors and 1.5 billion job searches a month. It’s available in 50 countries and 26 languages.

3.  SimplyHired.com – Like Indeed.com, SimplyHired is a Google-like search engine for jobs and a quick way to survey a massive number of job listings. The site, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., aggregates information from job boards, news sites and company listings. At last count, it had 30 million unique visitors a month. One advantage of SimplyHired over Indeed: Job listings display a user’s LinkedIn connections to each job.

4.  Monster.com – One of the oldest online job boards, Monster.com created in 1996, includes listings in 50 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia and sells services to recruiters and companies looking to hire. Job seekers can post their résumés and comb listings for free. The site includes loads of free content on everything from résumé and cover letter writing to interviewing tips to sample resignation letters.

5.  Glassdoor.com – This four-year-old site, based in Sausalito, Calif., bills itself as the Trip Advisor of career sources. Glassdoor does no independent checking of the data its users provide. The site says it has salary information for 160,000 companies based on 2.5 million user reports. It also offers user-written reviews of what it’s like to work at companies and information about what to expect at a job interview. A new feature allows users to see if they have connections to specific employers through friends or friends of friends on Facebook.

6.  Idealist.com –  The nation’s largest employment board for nonprofit jobs, idealist.org has more than 1 million registered users. The site launched in 1996. It also includes volunteer opportunities, a blog with stories like tips on managing student loans and a listing of events related to the non-profit world. Funding for Idealist comes from foundation support, donations and from fees it charges U.S.-based organizations to list on the site. It also collects fees from graduate degree programs that exhibit at its career fairs.

7.  USAJobs.com – The government’s official site for federal jobs and employment information, USAJobs lists thousands of jobs, from the Defense Department to the Department of Transportation. It’s possible to apply for jobs directly through the site. It also has information about eligibility, compensation and benefits for federal workers, including vacation time, commuter subsidies, insurance, and child care.

8.  The Wall Street Journal Careers site – This site is packed with free content aimed at job seekers and those looking to advance their careers. It also includes a link to the Wall Street Journal’s financial jobs website, FINS, and a link to the “At Work” blog that includes yet more careers content including articles on subjects like job security and college co-op work programs, and links to articles in other publications about work and careers.

9.  Specialty Job Site in your Area of Expertise – For technology and engineering jobs, Dice.com, founded 21 years ago, is a comprehensive site with a database of 86,000 jobs and free career advice and news. For financial careers, try eFinancialCareers.com, a network of financial career sites. For media jobs, mediabistro.com has a job board, industry news and paid course offerings. There are other job specific sites that are easily found with a search engine.

10.  NinjaGig.com – Ninja Gig offers themselves as every business’ solution to on-line recruiting. Realizing that the application and recruiting process can be a big pain. NinjaGig.com focuses on building the software tools to help make your life a little easier.

NinjaGig.com’s software allows you to accept online job applications and post employment openings. Setting up your Ninja Gig portal is a snap, and then you can direct applicants to your portal where they can review job openings and fill out a digital employment application, including the ability to attach their resume and cover letter. The sign-up process is easy; you can literally start accepting employment applications within minutes using our application form on your own Ninja Gig portal.

A Weighty Topic

When hit film director Kevin Smith was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in 2010 after the carrier declared him too fat to fly, it dramatically illustrated the routine humiliations overweight Americans face.
Research from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity reported that weight discrimination increased 66 percent from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. What’s more, at a time when more than two-thirds of Americans are now overweight or obese, the Rudd Center says obesity discrimination is now more prevalent than bias based on ethnicity, sexual orientation and physical disability.
No federal law protects workers from obesity-related workplace discrimination. Courts have ruled in favor of individuals who have successfully proved that their weight directly affected their job performance, but such instances are rare. At the state level, Michigan is the only state whose workplace anti-discrimination laws include body size bias — leaving most overweight workers with little recourse when it comes to protecting their rights.
With workplace protections still far from guaranteed — how can the overweight maximize their career potential while minimizing the possibility of discrimination? Overweight people, at the time of applying for a job, should take a hard look at any potential employment situation for clear signs of size diversity. Are there overweight people in senior-level positions? Does the workplace feel like a safe environment where such issues might be discussed?

Although Kevin Smith ultimately caught a later Southwest flight, his very public poor treatment by the airline is emblematic of the daily battles facing the overweight.

Members of the Utah Legislature last month discussed House Bill 132, which would prevent employers from discriminating based on height and weight, if signed into law.

The bill sparked a lot of discussion, and some laughs, in a committee meeting. The bill’s sponsor, Larry B. Wiley, (D-West Valley City), said employers sometimes judge people by their height and weight when making decisions about employment and pay scale.

Current Utah law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age and disability. Utah law also prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or pregnancy-related conditions.

Committee members raised doubts about how height and weight discrimination could be defined and proven, calling the proposed legislation “poor public policy” and unfair to employers.

The bill failed in a 10-4 vote, but Rep. Wiley said he is not giving up.

“We start it with race, color, religion, age discrimination, those types of things. It’s a starting point. Weight and height is just a starting point that, eventually, we’ll get to that point when we have legislation that’ll address those issues,” Wiley said.

Wiley plans to continue to research the issue of height and weight discrimination. He said he’ll propose another version of the bill next year.

Overweight or not, when applying for a job, whether in an online job application or through email, put your best foot forward by having a clean design, no punctuation errors and lots of white space.

Once you land an interview, always look polished and well dressed no matter what your size.  If you look the part, you will have more of a chance of landing that next big gig, even if you have a few pounds to lose.

Top Job Interview and Resume Tips

If you search websites about applying for jobs, applying for jobs online, or resume tips, things start to look the same.

There are many tips out there about performing well in job interviews and having the best resume, but sometimes you can get information overload and do too much.

Here are two basic lists that will cover your bases, but not have you do too much when going to a job interview or creating a resume:

Job Interview Tips

Dress Conservatively.  Wear nice dress pants, dressier shirt, no big jewelry or accessories.

Be Prepared.  Find out about the company beforehand.  Do some background research so you can make conversation.

Be Polite.  Shake the interviewer’s hand.  Don’t sit until you are invited to.  Don’t slouch in your chair.  Don’t use slang words.  Be polite, positive and professional throughout the interview.

Know Your Schedule.  Know what days and times you are available to work.  The employer will ask.  Flexibility is an asset, because the more you are available, the easier it is for them to set a work schedule.  Also, have a plan of how you are going to get to and from work, if you don’t have your own car.

Be on Time.  Arrive at the interview site a few minutes early.  If you’re not sure where to go, get directions ahead of time.

Send a Thank You Note.  Take a few minutes to thank the person who interviewed you. Sending a paper note is always best – tell them thank you for their time and for meeting with you.

Resume Tips

  1.  Make sure you have a lot of                            “white space”                            on your resume.  You don’t want it to be too crowded.
  2. Use bullet points over paragraph-style descriptions.
  3. Never use personal pronouns on a resume (I, me, my).
  4. Use action verbs to describe your duties at past jobs.
  5. Use specific examples of accomplishments and job duties.
  6. Never include personal information such as age and race.
  7. Never list your references on a resume – if people want them, they will ask for them.
  8. Spell chck, spll check, spell check!
  9. A clean design with ONE or TWO fonts is always best.

10. Make sure your social networking doesn’t include anything you don’t want a future boss to see – especially pictures, swearing, and even some of your friends – people do judge you by the company you keep so you may want to “hide” some of your friends on Facebook.

11. Last, but not least, unless you’re a model, never include your picture on, or with your resume.

The Latest and Greatest about Jobs

Let’s face it, the economy isn’t turned around yet.  Things are still pretty sluggish and a lot of people are still applying for jobs by the hundreds with nothing to show for it.

When in a job search and applying for jobs, people always say things like “stay positive” and “keep your chin up.”  Easier said than done.

Actually, it is easier when there is good news about jobs and the economy and recently there has been some good news that will help any job applicant “stay positive” and “keep their chin up.”

The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in January, according to a Labor Department report.

The unemployment rate was 7.9% in January, and 12.3 million people were counted as unemployed. Overall, hiring is keeping pace with population growth, but the Labor Department noted that the unemployment rate has barely changed since September.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney are expecting job growth to continue in 2013 at roughly the same pace as last year, when the economy added 2.2 million jobs. They predict the unemployment rate will end the year slightly down, at 7.5%.

Construction hiring could be one of the highlights this year. It was the single hardest hit sector in the recession but has recently shown some signs of life. In January, construction firms added 28,000 jobs, reflecting a stronger housing market and rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy.

Construction alone could account for roughly a quarter of all the jobs added in 2013.

Check the unemployment rate in your state

In January, health care continued to be a strong sector for job growth, adding 23,000 jobs. Most of those jobs were in ambulatory health care services, a category that includes doctors’ offices and outpatient care centers.

Retail added 33,000 jobs, with about a third of those gains at clothing stores.

Manufacturers added about 4,000 jobs, but the Labor Department noted that employment in this sector has changed little since July.

The Labor Department also released revisions to its 2012 data, showing the economy added 335,000 more jobs during the year than originally reported.

Overall, the U.S. economy lost 8.8 million jobs in the financial crisis, and is still down about 3.2 million jobs from the labor market’s height in January 2008.

Despite jobs not being added at rapid rates, things are slowly headed in the right direction.  So, not to sound cliche, but here’s a little advice: stay positive and keep your chin up.

Things your Resume Should Contain

Though most job candidates would consider the interview as getting your foot through the door, the resume is just as important because it’s literally what opens that proverbial door. As a result, job seekers must think like an employer when crafting their next resume.

You’ve heard it hundreds of times before: each resume must be tailored for each position.

It’s TRUE!  In reading the job description and requirements, you can align your relevant skills and accomplishments. This strategy will achieve addressing technical skills for a job, like content writing or programming – but what about addressing the other skills desired by employers?

In a recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 244 employers took part in the Job Outlook Survey 2012, and the findings concluded that employers look for evidence of these FIVE skills on a resume:

Working on a Team. Consider including relevant projects or contributions created by you and your fellow coworkers or classmates.

Leadership. List a leadership position (maybe within a club or professional organization) and accomplishments made from the position’s responsibilities.

Written Communication. Incorporate relevant writing experience you have had in a position, whether writing blog entries or journalistic articles. If your experiences have not allowed for much writing, consider starting your own blog.

Problem-Solving. This is where you want to include quantitative data. Some examples to list include if you saved time or money by making a process more efficient, handling a crisis, or gaining more clients than last year.

Strong Work Ethic. This can be exude from your resume if crafted to list accomplishments rather than responsibilities. It’s about the quality, not quantity, of work you have done.

These things should definitely be included in a resume and we are confident that if you look hard enough, you will find examples that will satisfy each category.  Happy Hiring!

Information above was summarized from: http://comerecommended.com/blog/2011/11/21/5-skills-employers-expect-on-your-resume/

Some Resume Funnies

All you have to do is search “funny resumes” or “resume bloopers” and you will be inundated with funny anecdotes from various companies who have collected some hilarious resumes.

These resumes definitely make for some fun water-cooler humor, but it won’t land you a job.  In fact, mistakes will repel would-be employers.

Be careful when you’re typing your resume or submitting an online job application.  Check, double check and then recheck your spelling and word choices, and then have someone else check it too!

Here are some funnies from resumes around the world:

Education:  “I have a bachelorette degree in computers.”

Background:  “28 dog years of experience in sales (four human).

Hobbies:  “enjoy cooking Chinese and Italians.”

“2001 summer Voluntary work for taking care of the elderly and vegetable people.”

Hobbies:  “drugs and girls”.

Achievements:  “Nominated for prom queen.”

One resume said that the individual had won a contest for building toothpick bridges in middle school.

One applicant used colored paper and drew glitter designs around the border.

“Finished eighth in my class of ten.”

“It’s best for employers that I not work with people.”

“Marital status:  often. Children:  various.”

Interests:  “gossiping.”

Languages:  “Speak English and Spinach.”

Objective:  “So one of the main things for me is, as the movie ‘Jerry McGuire’ puts it, ‘Show me the money!'”

Qualifications:  “Twin sister has accounting degree.”

Application:  Why should an employer hire you?  “I bring doughnuts on Friday.”

Experience:  “Child care provider:  Organized activities; prepared lunches and snakes.”

Personal:  “I am loyal and know when to keep my big mouth shut.”

Clean Up Your Social Media & Get a Job!

In a recent poll, 18 percent of employers reported finding content on social networking sites that caused them to hire or not hire a candidate.

Let’s face it: if you don’t want a future employer to see it – don’t post it!

Or, if you’ve already posted it, here are a few tips to clean up your social media accounts:

Consider your Privacy

Review your privacy settings for connecting on Facebook. Consider whether you’d want a potential employer to have access to your friend list, or see your likes, dislikes, and other connections. If the answer is no, make sure your setting for those options reads friends only. If you want to display your education degrees, on the other hand, make sure “Everyone” can see your credentials.

Choose what you share

It may be wise to limit access to information like status updates, photos, and other posts; photos and videos you’re tagged in; places you check in to; and religious and political views. You can also remove or edit any potentially controversial information from those areas. If you’re concerned about age discrimination, don’t include the year you were born.

Review Facebook photos

  • Even if you’ve restricted most elements of your Facebook profile to friends only, play it safe by reviewing all photos of yourself and removing or untagging any pictures you wouldn’t want a human resources department to see. Make sure your profile photo is attractive and projects maturity.
  • More than half of human resource workers surveyed cited provocative or inappropriate photos and information as the biggest reason they didn’t hire someone.

Hide Some Friends

Review your Facebook profile’s Wall. Potential employers will judge you by the company you keep, so hide any posts or friends who might reflect badly on you. Move your cursor to the right side of a post you want to remove, click the “X” that appears, then click on “Hide this post” to remove just that item, or “Hide all by” to remove all posts by that friend.

Proceed cautiously

Now that you’ve cleaned up your Facebook profile for potential employers, proceed cautiously with future postings. And, whatever your status update, don’t use emoticons to express yourself: 12 percent of employers who use Facebook as a screening method say they would not hire someone who uses them.  :(

For more information on cleaning up your Facebook account, visit http://www.howcast.com/videos/496774-How-to-Clean-Up-Your-Facebook-Profile-for-Potential-Employers

Stand Out with Your Online Job Application

When it comes to applying for jobs online, it is important to stand out from the other applicants. Online job postings can attract thousands of applicants, making the odds of getting an interview very small.

In fact, only about 14 percent of all job seekers find employment through ads and the Internet. On the other hand, about 65 percent of all jobs come from networking within the company and by word of mouth.

If you can interact with the employer, it will help you stand out from the other applicants.

By incorporating several strategies into how you apply for jobs online, you can increase your chances of getting a job by more than 100 percent.

  • Verify that the company received and can access your application and any attachments.
  • Make contact with the people who make the hiring decision, ensuring they receive a copy of your resume.
  • Network within the company.

Shortly after sending your online application, give the company a call.  Ask to speak with the Human Resources department.  Ask them if they received your online application, and more importantly, ask them if they would please open your resume attachment to make sure it opens correctly.

With differences in software, sometimes resumes won’t open, and you would never know about it because typically they won’t email you back looking for it…they will just delete your file because they don’t have time to deal with little hiccups like this.

Calling to check will reassure you AND make a favorable impression upon the company.  Also, if you have specific questions about the position, you could take it a step further and ask to speak to the hiring manager to ask your questions.  This will make you stand out from the rest of the pile of resumes and let them know of your interest and excitement about the position.