Tag Archives: Job Interviews

Saving Time in Interviews

When hiring, you want someone fast.  You need someone fast!  Here are a few tips to save time during interviews.  You’re not cutting corners, just weeding out the less qualified even quicker!

Within a week of posting a job opening, you could have dozens of applications sitting on your desks – maybe even hundreds. How do you find viable candidates without wasting too many hours and resources? Here are some things you can try:

1. Have a concrete list of ranked requirements.

First, you need to have a specific list of requirements. What job experiences do they need to be good at the role you’re hiring them for? How many years of experience are needed? What educational background are you looking for? Also, apart from listing these requirements, arrange them according to priority. This makes it easy for you to decide on the current applications on hand.

2. Conduct an online test for both aptitude and soft skills.

Once you have a list of applicants that meet your requirements, send them to an online test. This could be an aptitude test, or a soft skills test. By seeing who has the scores you need, you can know which applicants would be worth interviewing and which ones to put in your waiting list.

3. Interview applicants with a panel.

When you’re ready to hold interviews, make sure that more than one key person from your organization is present. Include the applicant’s intended supervisor or colleague, so that they can ask specific questions based on their own requirements.

4. Use remote video interviewing.

Rather than wasting hours on inefficient scheduling and walk-in applications, schedule video interviews. This can be more efficient, since you can schedule several interviews in a row without making applicants wait for hours in your lobby. For a preliminary interview, this is more resource-efficient than in-person and even phone interviews.

5. Make sure you have a specific purpose for each interview question.

Don’t just ask random questions – make sure that you also have a list of answers you would like to hear. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting time asking questions that don’t really add to your knowledge of the applicants skills and capabilities.

By following these 5 steps, your company can have a more efficient application process that’s less time consuming and more cost effective for all parties involved.

References:

  • http://www.adlerconcepts.com/resources/column/newsletter/using_the_panel_interview_to_s.php
  • http://biznik.com/articles/how-to-save-time-and-money-in-your-hiring-process
  • http://www.comparebusinessproducts.com/briefs/how-save-time-and-money-your-hiring-process
  • http://www.entrepreneurship.org/en/resource-center/saving-time-by-outsourcing-the-interview-process.aspx

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.

Getting Job Hunt Feedback

You’ve tried everything.

Buying a new power suit.  Re-doing your resume.  Networking.  Printing your resume on fancy paper.

But you still haven’t landed your dream job, or any job for that matter.

The part of searching for a job that can be the most difficult is being told, “Thank you for your interest and time” and receiving no feedback on why you didn’t get the job.

This can cause a lot of frustration and you may be tempted to rip your resume into shreds and start applying for welfare.

While this approach may help you vent your frustration, it’s not going to get you closer to getting a job.

What you need is some feedback.  Grab that relative or friend who you know will be brutally honest with you and get a little feedback.

First, dress in your best job interviewing outfit and have your “feedbacker” review how you look.  Maybe your shoes need shined.  Maybe your jewelry is too outrageous or your tie is too “busy.”

These are tips you need to hear in order to “look” the part.

Next, sit down with them and have a mock interview.  Have them look over your resume.  Is it too detailed or do you need to elaborate on responsibilities you had at a previous job?  Is the grammar correct?  Is there enough white space?

Finally, have your “feedbacker” ask you some tough questions.  Have them grill you, ask crazy questions and basically throw the book at you so you can improve your interview performance.

It’s never pleasant to be critiqued, but when you’re serious about getting a job, this exercise will benefit you and prepare you for landing your dream job in record time.

Dressing Up in a Dressed Down World

Office attire has relaxed over the past couple decades.  Where suits were once the norm, khakis and a button down now suffice.

A relaxed office attire is definitely the norm in many creative and technology business environments where comfort is king and individuality is encouraged.

So what happens if you’re interviewing at one of these companies?  Do you dress up or dress down for the interview?  Do you try to look professional or do you try to look like you fit in with their culture?

Many hiring experts agree that no matter what the job, you should always err on the side of caution and dress up.

This may go against the job culture you’re interviewing for, but it’s always best to portray a professional image if you’re not positive on what to wear.

Unless you’re certain that a conservative appearance won’t hurt your chances for a job, then stick to the following:

1.  Basic Accessories.  Men, leave your gold chains and stud earrings at home and stick to a nice watch instead.  Women, a basic set of earrings and a necklace will be sufficient.  You don’t need to impress the interviewer with your selection of hot pink costume jewelry or bracelets halfway up your arm.

2.  Keep it neat and tidy.  Wear you hair neatly groomed.  Lose the dreds and get a sharp haircut before you interview.  Regardless of what job you’re trying to get, a neat clean appearance will always be a bonus.  And women, keep your makeup conservative.  Lose the zebra striped nails and bright red lipstick and stick to a nice, clean look.

3.  Shoes and Bag.  People often will look at shoes to determine what kind of person they’re dealing with.  Shine up those shoes or purchase new ones before you interview.  You don’t have to go with expensive shoes, just make sure they look good.

Also, watch what you’re carrying around.  Get a nice portfolio or briefcase-type bag for your paperwork and necessities that you bring with you to your interview.  Lose the North Face backpack that has been with you since college – look the part and invest in a nice case.

It has been shown in many studies that how you dress affects how you act.  If you look sharp, clean and focused – that is the image your body language will portray and may just tip the balance in your favor.

Liar, Liar

EXAGGERATING

 STRETCHING THE TRUTH

PADDING THE RESUME 

TELLING LITTLE WHITE LIES

These all have something in common:  they in fact are just lies. 

In a study from the University of Massachusetts, people who never met were put into pairs and instructed to get to know each other over a ten minute period of time.  Each discussion was videotaped and reviewed later by the researcher and the participants themselves.

The results were a little surprising.  In a ten minute period of time, 60 percent of the participants admitted lying at least three times.  Some lied up to a whopping twelve times – more than one lie per minute!

The conclusion was that when we are presenting ourselves to others, we often lie to make the situation go smoother and to make ourselves seem more appealing. 

Job interviews often last around ten minutes and job applicants definitely have more to prove than if they were just having a normal conversation with someone.  So, how do you tell if someone is lying or making up stories to impress you?

There are many clues which can be used as a guide to spot liars.

Body language is one important factor. A person who is lying avoids eye contact, touches their face and nose and smiles using only the immediate muscles around the mouth while the eyes remain alert and watchful.

Watch for verbal clues such as; answering in an unnaturally loud or exuberant manner, denying something instead of just stating it simply, avoiding answering questions directly, giving instead hints or clues and adding unnecessary details in an attempt to make the lie seem authentic.

Understanding the psychology behind why people lie is not difficult, but individual motivations might be hard to pin point. When conducting interviews, perhaps stressing at the beginning that absolute truth is extremely important to you and that you will check details of their resume may cut down on some of the padding and exaggerations.

(Some material above came from www.addictions.net)

Keeping the Spooks Away from Your Office

When conducting job interviews, it’s hard to look through your crystal ball and make sure you’re hiring who you think you are.  When people submit online job applications, you can’t meet them and you don’t have the luxury of forming a first impression.  All you can do is hope that the words you’re reading on paper are an accurate portrayal of the job applicant.

To keep the spooks and freaks away…follow THREE simple guidelines:

1.  Don’t Just Call the References – call other places the job applicant has worked in the past.  Find out what kind of person they are by going the extra mile in your checking.  There is no “lemon law” with hiring employees – once you’ve hired them, you’re stuck with them!

2.  Check Social Media – every seriously considered job applicant should have a background check and/or drug test performed, but you should also check their social media sites.  Are there a plethora of drunk, partying pictures on their Facebook page?  If there is questionable material, run!  And run fast!

3.  Go With Your Gut – even if everything looks great on paper, you will be well served if you follow your gut instinct on a person.  If something feels “off”, then it probably is and you should follow that instinct and not be overridden by what looks good on paper.

The Benefits of Hiring Older Employees

There has been a lot of debate over whether mature (older) workers are being overshadowed by their younger, flashier counterparts.

In a recent survey by Adecco, the results were a little surprising.  Over 500 hiring managers were surveyed by phone and one the key findings was that these managers prefer older, more mature employees.

Actually, these managers were 3X more likely to hire a mature employee than a younger one.

Here are some surprising details that came out of the survey:

  • Female hiring managers, are more likely to hire a mature worker (66 percent) than male hiring managers (52 percent).
  • Hiring managers think mature workers and younger workers possess different personality traits.  For example, hiring managers are most likely to associate mature workers with being reliable (91 percent) and professional (88 percent) while they say younger workers are creative (74 percent) and strong networkers (73 percent).
  • When it comes to skills that need strengthening, hiring managers feel mature workers need more technological know-how (72 percent), while that is the skill that younger workers need to develop least (5 percent).
    • Younger workers, on the other hand, need to improve their writing skills (46 percent), while far fewer mature workers need to do so (9 percent), according to hiring managers.

Fewer Barriers to Hiring Mature Workers

  • Hiring managers think that the greatest challenge in hiring a mature worker is their difficulty learning/adapting to new technologies (39 percent), while the greatest challenge in hiring a younger worker is their unknown long term commitment to a company (46 percent).
  • Hiring managers are also concerned that both mature and younger workers may resist taking direction from someone of a different age.
    • Hiring managers think that a challenge in hiring a mature worker is their resistance to taking direction from younger management (33 percent).
    • Similarly, 27 percent of hiring managers also believe that a challenge in hiring a younger worker is their resistance to taking direction from older management.
  • However, almost two in five (39 percent) hiring managers say they don’t find any challenges related to hiring mature workers, while more than a quarter (27 percent) say the same about the younger workers.

Hiring Managers Say Both Young and Mature Workers Need Interview Improvement

  • Hiring managers say mature workers’ biggest interview mistake is having high salary / compensation demands (51 percent), followed by overconfidence in their abilities and experience (48 percent). Younger workers biggest interview mistake is wearing inappropriate interview attire (75 percent), followed by posting potentially compromising content on social media channels (70 percent).
    • Interestingly, these younger worker mistakes are the two that hiring managers say mature workers are least likely to make—wearing inappropriate interview attire (24 percent); posting potentially compromising content on social media channels (19 percent).
  • While more than a third (35 percent) of hiring managers say that one of the biggest mistakes mature workers make during an interview is being unable to sell themselves, women feel this way more than men. Forty-two percent of female hiring managers felt this way compared to 27 percent of male hiring managers.
  • Three in five hiring managers (60 percent) say that one of the biggest mistakes a younger person makes during the interview process is showing a lack of interest in a job by not asking questions about the company or position.

These findings have a lot of valuable information for mature workers, and younger workers as well.

Mature workers need to sharpen their technology skills and maybe not be as demanding as far as salary goes in order to obtain employment. Salary negotiations can always come later and is not something that should drive a job interview.

For more details on this study, visit http://www.adeccousa.com/articles/Adecco-Staffing-Mature-Worker-Survey.html?id=204&url=/pressroom/pressreleases/pages/forms/allitems.aspx&templateurl=/AboutUs/pressroom/Pages/Press-release.aspx

Creative Job Interview Questions

What phrase or word best describes you?  What color best represents you and why? 

We’ve all heard weird job interview questions that make you think, “What does this have to do with anything?”

Well, sometimes the questions are posed just to see how fast people can think on their feet.  Other times, the questions are very telling.

For example, when asked the question, “what phrase best describes you,” one employee answered quickly and said, “the phrase the best describes me is ‘Rise and Shine’ because I rise quickly to any challenge and my performance shines.

This employee got the job.

Answers to weird and seemingly nonsensical questions may be the key to getting hired for a job over another applicant.

Here are a few questions that might be fun to ask during job interviews just to see what will come out the applicant’s mouth.  Or, if you are an applicant yourself, then formulate creative answers to these questions so you are prepared for whatever may come.

1. What drink are you most likely to order at a restaurant?

This answer could show some personality traits, but may also tell the company whether you drink alcohol or not. In order to keep health insurance costs low, the company may try to hire non-drinkers.

2.  What is the last book you read?

A book choice shows personality traits, interests and intelligence in one quick answer.  Employers like employees who are intelligent and also read industry-specific books or motivational reads that relate to their business.

3.  What was the last movie you went to see or what is your favorite song?

Again, these questions highlight interests and personality traits.

4.  If you won millions of dollars in the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?

This answer highlights the interviewee’s goals, planning, generosity, responsibility and creativity.

5.  If hired, what are the top three things you’d do on your first day at work here?

This answer will be very telling to see if the interviewee has a firm grasp on how to initiate themselves into a new environment and also how much they understand about what the job entails. 

6.  How would you describe yourself in three words?

This question may elicit more canned responses, but you can tell a lot by a job candidate by the words they choose.  Once they say the words, ask details about each word.  For example, if they use the word “resourceful,” turn it around and ask them to describe a situation where they were resourceful. 

Interviewing for a job can be a fun and fulfilling experience for both parties involved, and asking weird and off the wall questions if nothing else, will give you lots of humorous fodder for the water cooler discussions around the office.

Job interview questions were found at:  http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hub/Off-The-Wall