My Interview is Online!?!?

Interviews via a video conference are becoming more and more common. They are intimidating! However, most of the rules of interviewing are the same. This video gives tips about how to complete a web interview.

What should I ask?

Typically at the end of an interview you have an opportunity to ask questions. In general, I think this is a great time to show that you care about the job and you want to see how it fits into your life. This video gives great tips about what to ask.

Social Media and Interviews

In a great article from CareerCast.com author J.T. Ripton outlines 7 common mistakes made on social media that can hurt your chances of getting hired. Click Here to read the whole article. I’ve added my thoughts about each of the mistakes J.T. Ripton outlines.

Complaining About Your Job or Boss

Just don’t do it! Don’t put your personal business online. If you complain about your current boss then you are going to complain about me. Why would I hire you?

Sharing Your Latest Job Offer

We don’t often think of it this way, but getting hired is a business negotiation. Don’t put the details of your offer online. This is something that we should all consider to be confidential. It also likely violates company policy.

Plagiarizing

Never use someone else’s ideas. It is stealing and dishonest. Why would I want to hire someone who starts out being dishonest?

Using Texting Language

I think this is situational. I would never say don’t. But, consider your audience.

Posting Tasteless Comments

Sometimes tasteless is the way that we joke with friends. But, it should be in private. Social media is not private.

Posting Photos With Alcohol

People drink. People talk about drinking. I wouldn’t say that you can’t every have a photo of alcohol, but there is a big difference between a picture of you with a glass of wine and one taken during a bender. Somethings we should keep to ourselves.

Mocking Your Customers

Customers pay the bills. This is similar to complaining about the boss. If you can’t show respect online, how can I expect you to show respect in person?

What if I got fired?

How do you talk about being fired?

Well, you don’t. Never bring it up.

If they do, say that you were part of a reduction in force. It’s true and it takes away the sting of getting fired.

Dressing For An Interview

What To Wear To A Job Interview - Interview Outfit Ideas * FREE DOWNLOAD - The Simple Guide to Dressing for your Next Job Interview - https://www.professoraustin.com/job-interview-dress/ When it comes to preparing for your job interview, deciding what to wear should be at the top of your list.

Confidence

I read a great article in Forbes about interviewing. Louis Efron provided nine tips to interview with confidence. I agree with most of what Louis says, but I have provided a few thoughts of my own. Click here to read Louis’ full article.

Tip 1: Power Posing

Louis: There are positions that we can sit and stand in that help us feel confident. Adjusting how you sit may be all you need to increase your confidence

Me: This is a great tip. It makes me think of Superman; hands on his hips, chest out, chin up, and a strong stare out on the world. Some times when I need confidence I will stand like this. Your pose may be different. You will need to find out what makes you feel confident and apply it.

Tip 2: The Confidence Mirror

Louis: “Multiple studies also conclude that “attractive” job candidates get more offers and make more money. Making yourself attractive during an interview with a comfortably firm handshake, direct eye contact, good posture, relaxed but passionate communication style, and a genuine smile will give you an edge over other candidates.”

Me: Ok, there may be research that suggests attractive people get hired first. But, the reality is that we can’t chose what we look like and we all need to work. Rather than focusing on “making yourself attractive” focus on feeling comfortable in your skin. If you like who you are and how you look people will be able to tell. Rock your look and be strong in the interview.

Tip 3: Body Positioning

Louis: You need to ensure that you position always suggests confidence. You may need to adjust throughout the interview.

Me: This seems obvious. If you are like me, sometimes I will be in a meeting and then realize I am like halfway down in my chair. I have to readjust to be more engaged in the conversation. Interviews are no different. Sit up, lean in, and don’t slouch. (I sound like my mother.) If you start to slide down or lean back then you need to adjust.

Tip 4: Affective Memory

Louis: Using a memory of a time that you were confident, visualizing it, and trying to recreate it when you are in the interview will help you be more confident.

Me: I like this suggestion, but I won’t ever do it. That is because I would feel silly. Rather, I like to practice interviewing with a friend. You know there are certain questions that they are going to ask. Practice answering those questions. Practice makes perfect.

Tip 5: Mastery

Louis: The more experience you have the better you will be and the more confident you will be. If you don’t have experience then you may need to get help.

Me: I think you have this down. If you are reading this blog it is because you wanted to find out how to interview better.

Tip 6: Exercise and Dress

Louis: “Staying fit and dressing appropriately for interviews are helpful practices. Both will give you more confidence and regular exercise always provides you more energy and makes you feel better about yourself.”

Me: Story of my life. You don’t exercise enough and you have no style. Look, we are who we are. When you go to an interview, wear something that matches the environment that you are applying for. If you look clean and nice then people won’t think twice about it. As far as exercise and confidence goes. I like to exercise and it is part of my daily routine. But, I would never let it impact how I feel about myself. Love yourself and people will love you too.

Tip 7: Focus on Positives

Louis: Try to make the negatives in your career into positives.

Me: This is the oldest trick in the book and really it is one that everyone interviewing knows. We are tired of it. Rather than focusing on the positives, focus on self-growth. Acknowledge that you aren’t perfect and then give an example of what you did to become better. Nobody wants to hire a spin doctor, they want to hire someone who knows themselves and is attempting to be the best them they can be.

Tip 8: Rewrite Your Self Talk

Louis: Essentially, figure out the negative things about yourself, write them down, and re-frame them. He suggests “way that makes you feel confident and good about yourself when you read and say them. Turn, “I will never get this job” into “I am the best person for this job. This company needs me.”

Me: This is a great tip. Before you interview always remember that they asked you to be there. They need you.

Tip 9: Be Present

Louis: “The key to confidence when interviewing is coming prepared and staying present, connected and fully engaged in the process and what you need to convey about yourself.”

Me: Confidence shows. I like to go into an interview like I already have the job. Make them convince you that you should take the job.

Here is the link and reference to the article I am quoting:

Efron, L. (2013, Dec 23). Get That Job! Nine Ways To Interview With Confidence. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2013/12/23/get-that-job-nine-ways-to-interview-with-confidence/#3141965493c6 .

Getting Noticed

This template provides a great visual about how to construct your resume. It was developed by the business insider. You can see the article it came from and further instructions here.

resume template.png

Resume

The first step to interviewing is getting noticed by those doing the hiring. That means you have to fill out an application or do provide a resume.

Most everyone will require some sort of application. The Business Insider gives great insight into how to get noticed on your job application. Click Here to check it out.

In the past Resumes were a must. To be honest, when I am interviewing people I rarely read their resume. Having said that, if a brief glance at what they submit looks unprofessional I won’t give them an interview. It is mostly about making an effort. Click Here to read a great article from Glass Door about how to write a perfect resume.

The 10 Questions You Will See

The 10 Questions You Will Likely Experience

As I have said several times, interviews are stressful. They are stressful for you to get through and they are stressful for the interviewer. Keep in mind that they are looking for someone who will help them look good in their role. To do this they have to prepare for the interview by picking out what they want to know. The complex legality of employment law, which includes interviews, leads most employers to user questions that are approved by a body that makes sure they are legal. The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). Below are 10 questions that SHRM suggests every employer asks. So, it is a safe bet that you will hear them in some form. In this post I will attempt to help you know why this question is asked and how you can answer without being trapped.

General Rules:

·        No answer should be longer than 1 min

·        No answer should be less than 30 seconds

·        Never answer yes or no to anything

·        Never start an answer with “I don’t” (i.e. I don’t know, I don’t have experience with that, I don’t have an answer)

·        Always shine a positive light on something even if it is a negative

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

YOU WILL BE ASKED THIS QUESTION!! This question is an icebreaker, meant to make you feel more comfort and to show the interview panel how the rest of the interview will go. This question is still part of your first impression. Your answer will set the tone for the rest of the interview, so decide at this question who you want to be.

TRAPS:

·        Don’t be too casual

·        Don’t talk about anything that is illegal for an interviewer to ask you about (i.e. family, disability, age)

·        Don’t forget that you are in a job interview. Even though this is a personal question, it is still a professional interview

How to answer:

Like I’ve said, this is your chance to make a positive first impression. More than anything this answer should be a summary of your resume. Below are bullet points for you to fill in the info:

·        First, thank the panel for the opportunity to interview.

·        Second, say your full name even if someone has already introduced you.

o   “As the interviewers name said, my name is Namie Namerson.

·        Third, give a brief rundown of your career praising each of the experiences you’ve had in the past. Don’t go any further back than what is on your resume. NEVER, list anything that isn’t on your resume. Inconsistency makes it look like you are lying.

o   “Most recently I worked at company XYZ where I was the XYZ Analyst, at this position I really developed skills for XYZing. Prior to that I worked for ABC industries. ABC industries gave me first real opportunity.”

·        Fourth, talk about any education that you might have. If you are in school, talk about what you are studying and when you graduated. Don’t share your GPA, test scores, or any other personal information. Again, make sure what you say is what is on your resume.

o   “I went to Southern State University where I studies Basket Weaving.”

·        Fifth, share any certifications that you may have if they are on your resume.

o   “I’m a Certified Red Basket Weaver and have been since 2015.”

·        Finally, if you haven’t passed your 1 minute limit tell them something you like to do for fun. But, read the room to see if it would be appropriate.

o   “In my spare time I like to run laps.”

2. Why did you leave your previous employer (or why do you want to leave your present job)?

Interviewers are asking this question to ensure that they are not inheriting a problem child. They want to avoid hiring someone they are just going to fire in the near future. They are not asking this question to hear about how bad your previous employers, managers, or positions were. Remember one of the rules of interviewing, “always shine a positive light”.

TRAPS:

·        Never talk about your previous employers in a negative light. How you talk about your previous employer is how you will talk about this one.

·        Never imply that you had poor performance, even if you did.

·        Never say that you were fired or let go. They imply that you are a bad employee. Instead say that “you left the position”.

·        Never lie to hide something less than desirable.

How to answer:

This can be an easy question if you are leaving for a better opportunity or difficult if you left on bad terms. However, the approach is still the same. Shine a positive light, focus on how awesome you are, and be brief.

·        Left on good terms:

o   Focus on outgrowing your current opportunity. Let them know that you are a hard worker and you are ready to take on what they can throw at you.

o   “While I have had nothing but positive experiences and love my co-workers I feel like it is time for a new challenge. I want to go somewhere where I can really dig my teeth in and make a difference.”

·        Left on bad terms:

o   Ensure that it is clear you left because you wanted to, even if you were terminated. They will likely find this out during a reference check, so you need to gain control of the narrative up front.

o   “I left XYZ Company because I felt like my needs were no longer being met there. While I would have loved to continue mingeet the demands of the role, I feel like there are better opportunities out there for me, like this one. I want to work somewhere where I can really dig my teeth in and make a difference.”

3. What are your greatest strengths?

This question is being asked to see what it is that you think you are strong at. There isn’t really a hidden agenda behind it. However, this is a must succeed question! You know this question is going to be asked, you need to be prepared, if you aren’t the interview is over.

TRAP:

·        Be confident without being cocky

·        Never say that you don’t know, it seems as though you aren’t self-aware or confident

·        Never appear to struggle, it shows that you didn’t prepare even though you knew you were being interviewed

How to answer:

In interviewing you need to use the rule of three to sound credible. This question is no different. Have three traits ready with at least two in reserve if they ask probing questions. Give the trait and a brief example of how you demonstrate the trait.

Repeat at least three times

·        “One of my strengths is my drive. When either I, my team, or organization have a goal I will give 100% until we achieve it. Here is an example of a project that I did…..”

·        “Another strength are my people skills. I like to make connections, learn about others, and show genuine value for my coworkers. An example of this is……”

·        “Another strength is my creativity. I can really take a problem, break it down, think outside of the box and create a solution. An example is…..”

4. What are your weaknesses?

This question is being asked to determine how self-aware you are. This question, like the last, is one that you need to be prepared for. If you aren’t it tells the interviewer that you don’t care about the positions.

TRAP:

·        Being too negative or too superficial

·        Not demonstrating any self-awareness or self-growth

·        Never say that you don’t have any weaknesses

·        Never say that you don’t know

How to answer:

In this section I am tempted to tell you to turn a negative around to a positive. But, that isn’t exactly what you should do. In the past someone might have answered with, “My weakness is my tendency to be a workaholic. Since I am so committed to my job I always find myself being the one who is there to pitch in”. Look, interviewers are wise to this technique. The “I don’t want to say anything bad about myself” approach. Don’t use this approach. Remember that you are talking to a person and should show that you are a genuine person too. Instead, identify a weakness, but not one that is really bad. Talk about a struggle you had and how you overcame it. Be prepared for probing questions.

·        “In the past I used to be very shy. This meant I often found that I struggled to make my voice heard in meetings and with other team members while working on a project. One such example was a development project where my vision was overpowered by a colleague. This was probably the worst that it ever got. It was at this point that I decided I needed to develop my confidence. I spoke with my supervisor and was able to arrange a public speaking skills course. While I still sometimes struggle with being shy, I am improving with every interaction and will continue to work on this skill.”

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

This question is being asked to see if you did any prep work for the interview. They also want to make sure you know what you are getting into.

TRAP

·        Never say that you don’t know much

·        Never make something up. They know the company well and will know that you are wrong.

How to answer this question:

This question is based on prework. At a minimum, you should have read about the company on their website and the job posting. A best practice should have been to read about them on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Yelp, and any other review site.

You will give a brief, high-level overview of what they did and what you think the job is.

·        “I read on your website that you……”

·        “My experience with your company is…….”

·        “In the job posting I saw that…….”

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

In this question the interviewer wants to see if what you like and dislike lines up with the job that you are applying for. You need to have familiarized yourself with job posting essential functions prior to the interview.

TRAPS

·        You must give something that you like and you dislike

·        Never just say that you like everything about your position

·        Never say that you dislike everything about your position

·        Never say that it is the people or your co-workers that you like. It would seem like this would be a good habit, but you are avoiding giving an answer with any substance.

How to answer:

While this question seems like a mine field, it is easy to maneuver if you have a map of the mines. In this case, the map is the job posting. You will use the essential functions to craft your answer. All of the things that you like must be essential functions and all of the things you don’t like won’t be essential functions. You will use the rule of three, but slightly altered. You should give two likes and one dislike.

Example: Position Essential Functions: Buying Stuff, Working with Customers

·        “During my time at ABC Industries, I enjoyed my role as a purchasing assistant. I liked finding a deal and buying the right product. As part of my role I routinely worked with customers. I would help to buy the things they needed. Each customer was a new challenge, but also a new chance to meet an interesting person. I don’t really enjoy working somewhere I am not busy. I hate to be bored.”

7. What isn’t on your resume?

This is a question that can throw a lot of people. It is also meant to ensure that you aren’t being too rehearsed. You should rehearse and be prepared for all questions, but never sound like it.

TRAP

·        Never talk about anything that is on your resume

·        Never get too personal

How to answer:

This is another question that you should be able to hit out of the park. You don’t really have to have a professional example ready. You can use something personal. Use this example to demonstrate a soft skill or personal interest.

·        Soft skill

o   “Lately I have been working to improve my global perspective. I’ve found that understanding foreign client’s cultures helps me better connect with them. So, I have started to travel and research other places.”

·        Personal Item

o   “I am an avid dog trainer. I have been working with my pet dog to do agility courses. It doesn’t seem as easy as it looks. However, through hard work, dedication, and a lot of treats we have made it to an advanced level.”

8. Aren’t you underqualified/overqualified for this position (depending on their past experience)?

This question isn’t about what is being asked. The interviewer or panel know what your qualifications are. They are the ones who selected to interview you. If you were overqualified or under they wouldn’t be interviewing you. This is a question to see how you react when challenged. I know, it is sneaky.

TRAPS

·        Never be defensive

·        Never admit that you are over or under qualified

How to answer:

Using your set of experiences and your knowledge of the job posting demonstrate why you are a perfect fit for the job. While the question isn’t straight forward the answer is.

·        If overqualified:

o   “I have a lot of experience, but I am looking for something a bit different. I think I can use the skills I have to make a difference in this organization. Here’s how….”

·        If underqualified:

o   “It may seem like I have limited experience, but these examples………. Demonstrate how much experience that I have. I think I would be a great fit for the position”.

9. Has your perception of this opportunity changed based on our interview?

This question is being asked to see if you are still interested. Not only are interviews hard, but they are expensive for companies. They want to make sure that if they continue you in the hiring process that you won’t walk away at the end. This isn’t a trick question.

TRAP

·        Not being honest. Over the interview you probably learned about the position. If it isn’t for you say so. Otherwise, you’re a jerk.

How to answer:

There are three types of answers and they all depend on how you feel about the position. If you are interested, demonstrate that you learned something from the interview. You can use this opportunity to highlight something good that you said earlier. If you aren’t interested, it is ok to say so. This isn’t Tinder, so you don’t need to ghost them. Just tell them why, thank them for their consideration, and ask them to keep you in mind for other positions that are a better fit. They will respect you. If you need clarification about something, this is a good time. Don’t be afraid to ask a question. If you get this job you will be doing it for at least 40 hours a week. Make sure it is a good fit.

·        Yes, I’m interested:

o   “I have learned that I am a good fit. Earlier you mentioned……., I find this very fascinating. As I said, I have extensive experience through…….. in this area.”

·        No, I’m not interested:

o   “To be honest, I don’t know that this position would be a good fit for me. I am really looking for something a bit more inline with my skillset. However, I think that your company does amazing work. I would love to be considered for a position that is more in line with my goals.”

·        Maybe, but I need some clarification:

o   “I have learned that this is a complex position. Earlier you mentioned…….. do you mind expanding on that.”

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

This question will always be asked. Yes, this is asked to ensure that you understand the job and the process, but that isn’t all. Interviewers ask this question to see your commitment to the position. They want to see if you want to fit the job into your life. They also want to make sure you are assessing if it is the right job for you.

TRAP

·        NEVER, NEVER, NEVER say no

·        Don’t ask about money at this point. It will come later, or you can send a follow-up email. It makes the interviewer question your motives.

·        Don’t ask when they are making a decision.

·        Don’t ask how quickly you advance in the company or position.

·        NEVER ask how they think you did or if you got the job. You might have done well or got the job up until this question.

How to answer:

This is another example of the rule of three, you will never do more or less than three questions. You should limit your questions to a few topics: Tasks, environment, and learning.

·        Tasks:

o   “When offered the position, what would an average day look like?”

o   “In your opinion, what would be the most challenging task or project I would work on?”

·        Environment:

o   “How would you describe the team culture?”

o   “What makes you want to work for the company?”

·        Learning:

o   “What is something you have learned in your position?”

o   “What type of development opportunities are available?”

Getting Started

Getting started on the hunt for a new job is something that most of us feel overwhelmed by. Nobody particularly likes looking for a job, it is usually associated with a turning point or significant event in our lives, and it forces us to allow other people to evaluate our worth. It puts us in a position that forces vulnerability. This vulnerability is uncomfortable and almost washes away all of the confidence that we will need during the process. Fortunately, there are simple steps that you can do to regain that confidence. Finding this website, reading this blog, and following my simple tips is a good start.

This is where I want to tell a story from my boyhood about how I learned a lifelong lesson from a personal trial that I overcame through hard work, discipline, and by never giving up. The reality, however, is that I don’t have any of those stories. I am a Millennial, I grew up in a middle-class family, and if I am honest never really had to overcome anything major. This personal description isn’t to take away from my credibility, rather to support it. I think my background is pretty average and it makes me who I am today. It also shapes how I am approaching this blog. Interviewing better isn’t a long journey that you have to work at. It is something that you can be good at by following quick tips and saying key phrases. That’s what this blog is, practical takeaways that you can immediately apply. Because today’s job market is full of average people like me and you need something that you can use now to give yourself an edge.