Job Interviews and how to WIN them Why do people go to school? We all know that the primary reason is basic education for personal growth and development. This reason is still the top most even these days. In these practical days, going to school is more of a preparation for the future. A future that is envisioned to be something of progress is what parents want for their children. Getting a college degree and land a stable job is what they dream of. After years in college or university, one will then face the challenging real world. To find a job or to quit the next level is a question for future-seekers. Finding a job especially the one you want is not that easy these days. Competition is so stiff and qualifications are demanding. Both unemployment and underemployment are social problems greatly affecting a country. Every year, the employment world welcomes many hopeful young people to have jobs. In response to this, localities launch job fairs almost annually with the aim of helping job seekers find the job for them. Thousands try, many get hired and others go home- still jobless. Job fairs are good venues for fresh graduates to find their first job. For those who wish to change their current job, job fairs offer many options to choose from and try out. There are a huge number of applicants from everywhere. How could one win the heart of his or her target company? Some say that a job fair is just a drop-your-resume and try-your-luck thing. No it is not. Be proactive and come to think of it: you could introduce your self to 20-more companies in just a couple of hours. Did you know that there is a huge chance to win a job? Yes, that is by making it big in a job interview. The ability to make it bigger than hundreds of those other job seekers is the responsibility of every aspirant. Considering some really a couple of useful tips like as follows would help them out a lot. In a job interview when you try your luck at jobs fair, remember these few of reminders. Applicants prepare the most detailed resume since employers would base their judgment over those pages of paper. An impressive resume is not actually the first means to make an employer be interested to your application. He or she will only be looking forward to read your resume if you look impressive from the very start, it will make good impressions will come your way. Dress up and act as a professional you must not come in the thickest make-up or the flashiest clothes. Come on time, wear your skin and flaunt what you have. Answer questions sincerely and remember to relax while answering. Pay attention to the interviewer and flaunt your assets. Job Fairs may lead you to your first or last job. Job interviews are your keys to the doors of opportunities. Before and after your job interview With so many people seeking employment, how could one make it to an available slot? Well, the resume matters, it is the best reflection of how qualified is you for a certain position. In order for you to make it for that job position, you need to equip your self with the weapons to excel over the other applicants. That is, to impress the employer in your job interview. What must you do? Before the interview: Know the company you are applying for. How could you do this? Research about the facts and figures of that company you are eyeing. With the information you have about it, you would be ready to whatever questions the interviewer would throw you. You could even associate your answers to facts you have known about the company. Expect the questions to be asked and be prepared to answer the. On the other hand, be prepared to ask questions. Make sure that you are prepared with how you would look. The way you dress up would leave impressions to the interviewer. Do not wear too much accessories, you just have to wear something decent, ironed, and the shoes must be clean as well. Take note of your teeth as well, they could really be distract the interview if you left a piece of meat between your teeth. On the interview: * Punctuality matters most. There is a need for you to arrive early for the interview. This would be the best first acts you could do. When you arrive late, this already a move to give your employer a negative impression of you. * Act as a professional to everyone you get along with or meet. With this approach, you would be able to introduce your self as someone professional, ready to take the challenges in the arena of professions. * Answer questions with the eye contact to your interviewer. Be attentive when he/she asks question. After the interview: * Say thank you to the interview. This is a really great act you could do. This would indeed show that you take the interview as a rich part of your experience. * Relax and wait for the results. With these reminders you would definitely make it to the hired list! Breathers before the interview You could not cut off the wings of those butterflies in your stomach. You could not tame that mouse running in your chest. Being nervous before an interview is of course very normal. Though you are a well-experienced person when it comes to conversing with people, you would not avoid the fact that you still feel the shivers of your nerves. What must be done? You have to be very determined in doing things that would make you feel relaxed before being interviewed. These matters a lot for the way you answer in the interview would be affected if you are too much nervous. The following are the things you could do in order for you to ease those monsters in your chest: * Images for your ease * Imagine a picture of peace or serenity. This would really give you the peace of mind and the atmosphere to think and be relaxed. You have to try this method out. A couple of minutes for this would give a huge benefit. * Breath and smile * Breathe deeply like you exhale the pessimism within you. Do it for several times until you feel relieved from your nervousness. * Carry a sweet memory * Choose a picture you like that would remind you of an inspiration. You could paste it in a notebook. Stare at it and recall beautiful memories. This would definitely help you get inspired for the interview. * Oath of esteem Remind yourself by being in silence, telling your self that you are the best for the job, you could answer the questions and you could be hired. Being positive move mountains and it could build muscles of hope. These three activities before the interview would definitely ease your emotional burden. You are but human and it is natural to feel those rushing shivers within but hey! This is a once in a lifetime chance and you could not afford to miss, could you? The Interview Questions You Need to Beat Of course, how would you forget that day? That was the day when you understood what a sweaty palm is. Being in the hot seat in front of someone who would ask you questions that would determine an important factor of your future is a big pressure. There are easy-go-lucky questions that you could definitely answer with a seal of a kiss but there are those heart-pounding queries that would definitely make you dive the great ocean of nothingness in search for answers. Bitterness check questions When you are applying for a job, your job experience would definitely be a factor and the interviewee would definitely ask you about your past job/s or the current ones. Questions like, "why did you leave your job?" should be answered with brains. Never let your emotions rule and you may just say something that would sound like you are bitter. For example, the interviewer asks you about your past job, you do not have to say something against your ex-boss. When you do so, the interviewer would sense that you are being bitter, pushing the blame to others. Makes you weak questions There are questions like: "Why do you think we must hire you?" is something common but what if someone asks you "What is your biggest weakness?" you would surely be at pause. How to answer that? You have to stress that you are not considering your self that weak but you accept the fact that there are portions of you that are not that strong compared to the re st but you have to post an assurance that these weaknesses will not be a hump. Strictly facts questions Interviewers would ask you if you have tried some jobs or you have an experience on something about this activity. They would even let you demonstrate. For these questions, you just need to be honest as possible. Carry these reminders and beat those kinds of questions! More than asking questions We would usually think that tips for the job interview would only be intended for interviewees but there are also important reminders for those who are the ones asking questions, we call them interviewers. For applicants, they are the tickets to an employed you. As an interviewer should you roast interviewees to sweat because of nervousness? Should you be very intimidating to put the applicant to the biggest test of his or her life? Should you ask fiery questions that would fry him or her in his own oil? These and more would be answered. Before you conduct the interview, be sure to take note of the questions you are going to ask your applicant. This would help you remember questions you need to raise. Take note of the objectives you have, associate them with the questions you will be asking the applicant. Have in mind a place that would have an atmosphere for a conversation. See to it that the place has no elements that could interrupt the interview. Never intimidate the interviewee. You want to know the person, do not put him on the hot seat where he would become so unnaturally intimidated. Let the interviewee speak, you have to be attentive so that you would be able to get important messages. Use questions that would hit the motives of the applicant. Give the interviewees the chance to ask questions. With these, you would be able to get what you really want to know from the interviewee. The most important thing is that you would not have regrets by hiring the wrong person. Good job! Good job interview When in search for a job, you would definitely need to make it good in a job interview. This would be a big factor that would determine your future and the security of your future. A job interview would definitely be putting much pressure on you. The most difficult part for all is the time when you have to answer questions thrown by the interviewee. This part would definitely let you gather your thoughts and the best answers you could ever give. But, if you take it in a pro-active manner, you would definitely feel confident. The following are additional things to take note of when you are there on the waiting room about to be interviewed: * Tell yourself that you have prepared well and you must not feel nervous or unready for the interview. * Review the contents of your resume. You would be asked questions from that so it would really help if you know what to say. * Think of questions that may be asked to you. Think about brief answers that you may give to your interviewee. * Feel that you look good. Check if there is something you could improve with how you look. When you feel good from within, it would exude. * Focus your mind on something or someone that would make you feel inspired. This is a way of keeping your self relaxed. * Drink water if needed before getting inside the interview room. You would not be impressive if you sound choked. * Whisper an encouraging line for yourself and take that breathe of confidence before entering the room for interview. These simple reminders would definitely boost your esteem as you conquer that new challenge of your life. You just have to remember that it is just a new phase of your life that would just pass and be passed by you. You would make it through and this job interview is just a petty test of your confidence. Why Should I not Wear This? Dressing up could make or break you. Clothes are needs of people, but more than the necessity, it could not be denied that those who know how to dress well for an ordinary day to a special occasion would really create impressions that are positive. For us to come up with the things you have to remind your self before facing your interviewer, let us identify those clothes, and even accessories that would not be flattering at all. Wild colors are not hot. You could be the hottest person with those red top-to-toe get up. As much as possible wear something that is subtle in color but would make you looks flattering but not too loud. Remember that you are there for an interview and not for a night out. It is you, not your bag. When you are out for a job interview, do not bring with you a heavily printed bag, purses are better options and please choose a conservative color that could go along with your dress. Short skirt, short chance. Never wear an above the knee skirt. Your legs may be the silkiest in town but being an interviewee does not require you to wear this type of skirt. You would look unprofessional. You are not a Christmas tree. Jewelry and accessories could really be good add-ons for your looks. For interviews, job interviews, make sure that you do not wear too much. For example earrings, do not show off that you have more than one piercing per ear by wearing more than one earring. Tie for him. For men, the safest to wear is a collared shirt but it would be also more professional to wear a long-sleeved top with tie. Never wear turtle-neck for an interview. You may just end up sweaty and out of fashion. You do not have to be a power dresser or a head turner when you wear clothes for a job interview. You just have to remember the basic reminders of looking professional and presentable. This article would definitely be a benefit for those who do not have the idea of how it is to be in a job interview. Keep in mind for campus interviewing There are jobs fair even in campuses. Though you are in the university or college, companies do visit at times to invite you to apply before graduation. This on-campus interviewing is indeed a great help for students and those who are aspiring to be employed. This campus job interviews must be an opportunity that has to be grabbed by students who are interested and those who think they are capable of doing so. What should you take as pointers in an interview within the school campus? * Research about the companies that are going to visit your school. This would enable you to choose if what jobs you want to apply for and definitely prepare for it. * Remind yourself of the step you need to take in order for you to pass a job interview. * Be aware of your competitors. Through it, you would be able to boost what you need to in order to have an edge. * Make sure that you know what the requirements you have to bring are. * Remind yourself of the things you have to do before the interview like being in the waiting room. You have to be punctual. * Associate your answers to the mission and vision of the company. This would be a sure impressive move to make. * Most of all, wear the coat of confidence. Whatever job interview is available, you would have your self-esteem as your best asset. Young as you are, it would be an advantage to grab every employment opportunity that comes your way. Be sure to be at your best so that you would be able to have the chance to land a job right after graduation. Keep your faith in your potentials and be prepared for the interview. Who knows? What to do on job fairs and job interviews? Having a stable job is an ultimate dream for every individual. It is because there is this unique dignity it brings for man. In a world of needs and competitions, it is an advantage to have a job- especially the job you enjoy. However, pastures are not that green everywhere. Unemployment and underemployment are two of the leading social and economic problems in the modern times. To date, governments are struggling on how to give sufficient number of jobs for all. Every year the number of job-seekers increases but the number of jobs available is not that increasing as what it was expected to. Most localities hold job fairs to give opportunity for those are still looking for one. A job fair you once neglected and did not believe to might have been the gre at twist for a lifetime. Are there good things on job fairs? Yes there are, and for you to win them, you have to take note of the following especially on how to make it on a job interview: Have a picture of the job you want. Go to a job fair with a clear target. Think of what job, position and what are the skills you have in order to get the position you planned. You must also consider if these skills are valuable for an employer or employers. Attitude is another important element. Employers look for people who are zestful and willful towards work. Prior to the job fair as well as the interview, be sure to plan ahead if who are the employers you want to work for. Dressing up for the fair or the interview is a helpful tip. Dress professionally and do not wear too much make up. Dress up in a conservative but decent way. Do not be too conscious and just carry your self with the confidence needed. Do not forget to bring correct and credible resume. They serve as the mirror of what you are as an applicant- qualified or not. There are sites which could guide one in preparing a resume. You could visit these sites and seek help. Also, prepare an interesting yet sincere introduction. Besides your basic information, include your reason for applying, and the skills that are relevant to what the company looks for. Show how much you are interested with the job but never manifest your aim for salary above anything else. This dictum is not true in all cases but try your best in order to build a good picture in the employer's mind. "First impression lasts"- as many say. Pauses and Silences are Okay There are going to be a lot of periods during an interview when there are going to be pauses in conversation or flat out silence. This can be initiated by you or the interviewer and in most cases either is not an indicator that something is amiss. You can ask for a moment to think of an answer and during this time there is most likely going to be complete silence. This is fine and perfectly normal, don't get distracted because no one is talking, use the time you have asked for wisely and think of the best answer or example you can give. If the interviewer is taking notes (and most likely they are), be comfortable with the fact that there is going to be pauses in between questions and they try and write everything down. This is actually a good thing because it means they have liked what you have to say and want to remember it when they are later making a decision on who to hire. Don't feel the need to fill this space, let them continue writing and wait for the next question. If you have answered a question and it is met by silence and the interviewer is not writing anything done, you may be at a loss as to what you should do. It could signal that the interview is expecting more information or they are not satisfied with the answer. You won't know unless you ask, "Do you want me to elaborate on that?" If the answer is no, just patiently wait for the next question to be asked. Don't worry that the interviewer is not praising you on your answer to each question and continue onto the next one. They do not want to give you an indication of how you are doing during the interview and are trained to be neutral when responding to answers, if the respond at all. Make a Connection Depending on how popular or sought after the job you are interviewing for is you will have a lot of competition for a few positions. A stellar interview is crucial to make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. To give yourself an added edge and cement yourself in your interviewer's mind, try to make a personal connection with them at some point in the interview. A personal connection can take numerous forms. If you are in the interviewer's office and they have a picture of a sailboat on their wall (and you happen to love sailing), make an appropriate comment that identifies you as a sailor too. This may not put you above others more qualified than you but it will help you to stand out amongst those you are in direct competition with. Take your cues from the interviewer, if they seem uncomfortable with relaying any personal information or are not comfortable veering off topic then follow their lead. If a personal conversation does develop, let the interviewer guide it. When they bring it to a close and either get back to the questions or say good bye, leave it at that. At the end of the day, interviewers want to hire people that are qualified and who will fit in with the rest of the team at the company. If you can make a connection and have the right skill sets you will be giving yourself a better chance than someone else. You will also help the interviewer recall who you are and stick out in their mind as that candidate who knew a lot about sailing. If you are not comfortable with discussing personal topics during an interview, don't feel that you must go out of your way to do so. At the end of the day, your qualifications are what you should be highlighting. Be Specific when Answering Questions Sometimes -- or more like every time -- you go for an interview, your nerves make it hard to concentrate and answer questions to the best of your ability. The important thing to remember is to really listen to the questions being asked. If the interviewer tells you they want a specific example, don't answer with a general how you would do something -- it is a surefire way to ruin your chances for the job. These types of questions are known as situational questions. If an interviewer were to say to you, "Tell us about your favorite vacation." You wouldn't respond by telling them about all the places you would like to go or make a generalization: "My favorite vacation is to go someplace hot with my family and sit on the beach." Instead, you should answer as specifically as possible including all the pertinent details: "My favorite vacation was two years ago when I went to California with my family. We spent a lot of time on the beach. It was very relaxing." The second answer adds credibility. It is obvious that you are providing information from something that actually happened as opposed to making something up just to answer the question. Potential employers are trying to gauge how you react or perform in specific situations. Common questions that are asked include: "Tell me about a time you led a team project." Include what the project was, how many people, and any challenges including how you overcame them. "Tell me about a conflict you had with a co-worker." Only pick situations that had a positive outcome. Employers today want to know how you are going to perform on the job before they even hire you. By answering situational questions specifically you can assure the interviewer you have the skills and thought processes that they are looking for. Be Honest in Job Interviews There is a difference between telling a story highlighting the positive to make you sound better and lying to the interviewer. It is rare for a company to not conduct reference check these days so don't say anything that can not be verified by your boss or other references that you provide. There are many ways to get into trouble during an interview and lying is the most severe. Common fibs that are told include educational degrees that you do not hold, saying that you are a manager when really you are a team lead and taking credit for a project that was completed by a coworker. All of these things can make you sound good at the time of the interview, but what if the interviewer talks to your boss about the stellar project you ran for the company when it really wasn't you. Your boss is not going to lie for you and if you were in the running for the job, you won't be anymore. The best way to handle these scenarios is to tell the truth but put you in the best light. Maybe you were a part of the project, instead tell the interviewer the part you played and share the success of the project as a whole. An employee that can recognize and share in the success in others is preferable to one who doesn't tell the truth or wants all of the credit for themselves. This does not mean that you have to share all anything that doesn't put you in a positive position though. The key is to be honest and only bring up examples that are going to highlight your talents and work history in the best possible way. Don't claim or state anything that cannot be backed up by your references. Be Confident in a Job Interview Who isn't nervous during a job interview? Even the most self-assured candidate is going to have a moment or two of self-doubt. But the trick is to keep this to yourself and portray an image of confidence. This is what a potential employer wants to see if you are not confident in your own abilities why should they be. Here are a few ways to exude confidence. Make eye contact, nothing is more of a dead give away of poor self-confidence than a person that will not look someone in the eye. Walk up to your interviewer, extend your hand and look in them in the eye when you greet them and express your pleasure of meeting them. And don't beat around the bush when you are talking. Saying thinks like, "Well, I kind of helped with a project but I didn't run it myself," screams I do not think I am worthy of this position. Instead, say this, "I assisted in a very successful project and played a key role in bringing it to completion." Your role in the project may not have changed the perception the interviewer has of you has. If you haven't been on very many interviews or it has been some time since you last attended one, it is understandable to be nervous. The more interviews you complete, the more confidence you will gain in your abilities to sell yourself. And you have to remember that if you were not qualified you would not have gotten the interview in the first place. Use that knowledge to your advantage and instill confidence in yourself. As a back-up measure, get some friends or family members to remind you of all of your great traits and what makes you special -- an ego boost before an interview can certainly boost your confidence level. Ask Your Own Questions Okay, you have made it to the end of your interview and the interviewer says it is now your turn. They want to know if you have any questions for them. And most likely you do: "How did I do" and "Are you going to hire me" -- unfortunately you can't ask either one. But there are questions that you can ask to glean some information on how you performed and to determine if the company is a right fit for you. Although it is not acceptable to ask how you did in an interview, it is okay and encouraged to ask what the next steps are and the timeline for them. Depending on how this is answered, you may be able to figure out their reaction to you. But this is not full- proof and is not a guarantee. If they take the time to explain all the checks they need to go through, how many people they have left to interview and so on, they are probably interested and want you to understand that there is still steps left in the process. If they only tell you that you will hear from them within a certain period of time via letter, well it isn't as promising. Look at the opportunity to ask your own questions as your chance to interview the company. Of course you have done your research prior to attending and have made up a list that you wrote down before attending. Show your preparedness and pull out the list to ask your questions. Things like company direction and expansion show an interest in the business. Feel free to take notes; it can earn you brownie points. Ask questions that are important to you as well, if vacation time and benefits are a deal breaker for you, find out now what the company has to offer. Know what Your References are Going to Say about You Before attending an interview, you should have your references lined-up and ready to provide to the interviewer when asked. More than just writing down names and phone numbers of previous employers and bosses, you need to do additional preparation. Finding out how a former employer views you and your work history with them is vital before providing that information to a potential employer. Even if your memory of your time spent there is positive, you don't know how you were remembered or what will be said unless you ask. Your first step should be to contact everyone that you are considering using as a reference. You will want to confirm they are working for the same company and if their phone number is the same. If a boss has moved to another company, you can still utilize them as a reference provided you can track them down. When you reach a potential reference, don't assume they will remember you and everything about you -- remind them. Things you say during your conversation can have a positive outcome on what they have to say about you later on. Ask them if they are comfortable providing you with a favorable reference and if there is any feedback they have for you. If you are very comfortable you can flat out ask how they felt about your time working with them and what they would say about you if someone called to ask. If you are not comfortable with providing a direct supervisor or boss you can use other employees in the company that old a supervisory position. Think of people you have worked closely with on projects or such -- they are valid and reputable people to provide as references too. But if you have made it through the interview process, a reference would have to go quite badly for it to affect a possible job offer.
Be Thorough but to the Point If you love to talk and when you are nervous can go on and on, or if you are the opposite and clam up when you are in a stressful situation -- you need to be conscious of this and not do either in an interview. When asked a question, an interview wants enough information that will help them understand what you are talking about, but not extraneous irrelevant information. If you are answering a question using an example from your previous or current job and there is a lot of jargon or acronyms -- try to use more common place term that more people are familiar with or explain what you mean in the beginning. If you are asked to describe a time when you lead a project -- explain what the project was about, how many people you managed and any key points that demonstrate what a great job you did. What you don't want to do is get side-tracked and give details that aren't relevant to the question. The interviewer is not going to be interested in a play by play of the entire project -- they want to know your role in it. Keep on topic; take a moment before answering a question to organize the details in your mind. You don't want to start answering, get sidetracked and forget the point you were trying to make. If you stay on topic and know what you are going to say, you are going to be able to keep the interviewer's attention. If you are a person of few words, practice with a friend or family member before your interview. Learn how to expand your answers so you give thorough information without living the interviewer wanting more. But if you are in doubt, less is better -- an interviewer will ask follow-up questions if necessary. What to Wear to a Job Interview Possibly even more stressful than the questions you are going to have to answer, you are going to have to find the perfect outfit to wear to a job interview. You want to look professional and like you are going to fit in with the company. A good rule of thumb for men is that you can't overdress for the interview -- shirt and tie or a suit is always a safe choice. For women, picking the clothes is more challenging. For both men and women, pick an outfit that you feel comfortable in and that fits you properly. You don't want pants that are too tight or a shirt that is too snug across the chest. It will be a distraction for both you and your interviewer. Along the same vein, pick colors that suit you but aren't too bright or patterns that are overly bold. You want the focus to be on your answers, not what you are w earing. Remember too that your overall appearance is going to be judged, and this includes more than the clothes you are wearing. Hygiene and grooming: be clean, neat and tidy. It is probably best not to wear a strong scent -- chances are you will be in a small room and it could make others uncomfortable. Your finger nails should be short and clean, your hair clean and tidy, and have mints with you or brush your teeth immediately before leaving for the interview. You may wonder what all of these details has to do with your qualifications and getting the job. It has to do a lot with it, especially if you are going to be dealing with the company's customers face-to-face. The company will want to hire employees who are going to represent the company in the best possible light. The Panel Interview An interview is stressful; you are on display and have to sell yourself as the best candidate for a position in a company. The only thing worse than an interview is the panel interview -- when two or more people are asking you questions and watching your every move. This situation may not intimidate everyone, but it is certainly not a comfortable position to be in. The reason for a panel interview is to get the opinion of multiple people at the same time on the viability of a work candidate. Typically the people that attend are from various departments within the company -- a representative from human resources and the department that is hiring at a minimum. This saves time and money for the company and lets them see how the candidates react under pressure. When you are listening to questions during a panel interview, maintain eye contact with the person who is speaking. Once the question has been asked, make sure to address your answer to all who are present. Make eye contact with everyone and include them in your attention. Be prepared for follow-up questions from any or all of the attendees. Each one is going to want to know information from an angle that will directly affect their department. You may find that in some panel interviews, only one person does the talking and everyone else is there simply to observe. Still address all of your comments to the group and don't let this unnerve you. It is definitely stressful, but not unusual. Be flattered that they consider you a strong enough candidate to gather more than one person to evaluate your interview and choose you to work for the company. An interview is an investment for a company, an expenditure of money in the form of salaries; you are there because you have a chance at the position so take advantage of the opportunity. Responding to Taboo Questions Not all interview questions are acceptable. There are certain topics that should not be brought up and information that a potential employer has no right asking for. Some of these questions are not legal and others while legal may leave you feeling uncomfortable. You do not have to answer certain questions, but how you let the interviewer know this can determine if your application will continue forward. For more information on questions that should not be asked or that you do not have to answer, contact your local government office that handles labor relations. They can provide these guidelines to you at no charge. If questions are being asked about your private life (and you are uncomfortable answering them), you do not have to. You can mildly tell the interviewer that you plan on devoting the time you spend at work to work and your personal life stays in your personal life. And try to leave it at that. If the interviewer keeps pressing, you will have to decide if the job is worth it to you. It is your decision to provide the information you do -- know your rights beforehand -- but you can still decide to answer a question that should not be asked. Keep in mind that if a potential employer wants details about how you spend time outside of work it may be because they expect their employees to put in a lot of extra hours and they are trying to gauge if you have commitments that would prevent you from doing this. Other questions, such as sexual orientation, past relationships, and other lifestyle choices have no business in an interview setting. If there is a physical aspect to the job and a medical evaluation is necessary, this is typically done by a doctor or other medical professional who will give you clearance. You do not have to provide details to the interviewer. Put a Positive Spin on Everything A potential employer wants to hire people with a positive attitude. You should project this image in your demeanor, facial expressions, and most importantly in the content of your answers. You may be the strongest candidate that the interviewer has seen but you still will not get the job if you are negative and insult former bosses or co-workers. The best way to do this is to put a positive spin on all of your answers. Many interviews will include a question along one of these lines: * Have you had a challenging relationship with a co-worker or boss? Tell us about it. * What conditions in a workplace make it hard to do your job? * How can people tell when you are in a bad mood at work? Really, all of these are trick questions. Yes, the interviewer really does want to know how you have handled conflict in the workplace and how you deal with a bad day at work. But, they want to see if you can explain this without talking negatively and show that you can problem solve your way out of certain situations. Even if you have a great story to tell about you and a co-worker, unless you handled yourself as professionally as possible and the story portrays you in a positive light do not tell it. If an interviewer asks how co-workers or customers can tell if you are in a bad mood, there is only one right answer, "They can't." You can (and should) elaborate on this, but by answering the question in this vein you are showing that you can leave personal problems and stresses outside the workplace without them affecting your job or others. Be the kind of person that people want to hire, realistic with an attitude of getting along with others and the ability to get a job done. Procedural Questions Procedures are a part of life, especially in the working world. Each company has their own set of policies and rules that they expect their employees to follow. An interviewer is going to ask questions to determine if you would do things they way they want (for instance making a sale or handling a customer complaint). Without training, you will not know with any degree of certainty how the company would want you to handle different situations but there are ways to answer that can increase your chances of getting the job. What an interviewer is looking for in an answer is your philosophy towards circumstances that occur in the company. Your natural instincts and personality is going to come through at some point no matter what you have been trained to do. Questions like, "How would you satisfy a customer if they wanted to return something after the return policy has expired?" can be tricky to answer. The best way to answer them is to begin with saying, "Of course, if hired I would abide by the company's guidelines -- but in this circumstance I would: " By starting your answer with this phrase you are showing that you recognize a company is going to have its own policies and ways of doing things and that you are flexible enough to modify your way of doing things to align with those processes. Even role playing scenarios for are a test to see if your way of thinking is in line with the company's. This genre of question can backfire on you though if your answer is completely opposite what the company is looking for. If you have done your research on the company prior to the interview you should have a good idea of how they handle customers and sales in general. Preparing for a Job Interview It is completely natural to feel nervous before a job interview but you can minimize pre- interview jitters with some preparation. Hopefully you have completed initial research on the company you applied for before being called in for an interview but you are going to need to do more. You will never know exactly what is going to be asked of you (unless you have an inside source), but you can be ready for the questions by knowing your stuff. Look up the company website and study the history, about us page, and the products and services that are offered. Even if you are pretty sure you are not going to be quizzed on how the company came to be, it will give you insight into how the company operates and their philosophy. By of these factors should influence how you answer your questions. If it is obvious they place high value on team players, you should brainstorm situations when you have displayed this trait. If you are applying for a sales position, you can be prepared for any role playing questions because you have taken the time to learn the company's products and services. It will be impressive to your interviewer that you have taken the time to research the information. It shows a commitment to details and a true interest in the company. Another way to prepare for an interview is to complete a practice run with a friend or family member. Have them ask you questions and answer them as if you were already in the interview, don't break character during the role play either. There are many questions that are asked in a typical interview (what are your strengths and weaknesses) don't let them come as a surprise to you -- practice so you can answer with confidence. Poor Working Relationship with your Boss It may be the reason you are looking for another job in the first place -- you and your current boss do not work well together. And good for you for taking charge of the situation to find something that is a better fit for you. But how do you approach this situation so it will not hinder your chances at a new company? There are a few steps you should take first and you need to mind what you say during the interview. A lot of interviews will contain at least one question about your working relationship with your current boss. They can take many forms and you should prepare for a lot of different types of questions that may be asked. No matter what the question, even if it is one asking you to describe conflict with your boss, be positive and do not bash anyone in your answers. Remove any emotions from the equation and explain the situation using the facts and highlight all of the professional steps you have taken to rectify the situation. Don't try and make your boss sound like the bad guy, and try to de-emphasize the entire event. It may seem like an opportunity to vent about the situation but if you do, your are cutting off an avenue to escape the working relationship you want to get away from. Present the facts, be neutral and highlight your problem-solving skills. If you are concerned that your current boss will sabotage your efforts to find another job during the reference check stage you can solve this in a couple of ways. If your boss is reasonable and the two of you just don't work well together, chances are you don't have to worry too much. Be sure to give him or her a heads up though. If you aren't comfortable with this, try and find another manager that you have worked for in the company previously that you can pass on as a reference. If you Get Stumped by a Question You can prepare for an interview until you are blue in the face and still get stumped on a question during the process. It is okay, it happens to a lot of people. Some questions come out of left field, sometimes you draw a blank, and others -- you really don't know what to say. Here is a brief run down of what you can do in these three situations. A (Seemingly) Off Topic Question -- These may be thrown in to the interview out of curiosity by the interviewer or to gauge your knowledge on a certain subject. It is not a reason to dismiss the question though and not pay it the care and attention you would to any other one. Do your best, and if you really can't figure out the correlation between the question and the job you are applying to, you can ask at the end of the interview -- along the lines, "out of curiosity: ." You Draw a Blank -- Ask for a minute to compose your answer, and do some fast brainstorming. If you feel that the silence is becoming uncomfortable, you can ask to come back to the question at the end of the interview. As long as you do go back to it, this is an acceptable solution. Silence is okay during an interview when you are trying to think of an answer, do not feel obligated to fill the silence, concentrate on the answer you want to give. You Don't Know What to Say -- If it is a matter that you are sure what the interviewer is looking for in an answer, ask for clarification. Sometimes asking for an example of what they mean can guide you in what you should say. If you take a shot in the dark, you might provide what they want -- but why take the chance? How to Thank an Interviewer You may think that it is best to follow-up with an interviewer to thank them for their time and keep your name in the forefront of their mind. While this may have that affect on them, it may not be in the positive way you are looking for. An interviewer takes time out of their regular job to fill vacancies in a department. It is an extremely busy and stressful time for them and they do not want (nor have time to) take calls from everyone that they have completed interviews with. But this is not to say that sending along a thank you is a bad idea, it's not. The method that you thank your interviewer is going to make a difference. If you received a business card, send a quick e-mail to thank them for their time and that you are looking forward to hearing from them. Quick and to the point and leave it at that. Do not expect a reply because you probably won't get one and do not follow-up on your e-mail to make sure they received it -- you will become an annoyance. Second to sending a quick e-mail, you can send a short and professional thank you note (this means no scented stationary or something too cutesy). The message should be similar, thanking the interviewer for taking the time to sit down with you, express how much you enjoyed speaking with them and learning more about the company. It is a nicety that while not necessary, can be an added touch to a strong interview. It may not guarantee you the job, but thank you notes, if done the right way, may open doors for you in the future. If there are openings in the company at a later time, the interviewer may remember you and think of you before others. How to Answer the Tough Interview Questions Each interview has at least one, a question that you really don't know the best way to answer. It is the one that you agonize over for days and keep going over it and over it in your head and you ask others how they would have answered. There is not way to avoid these types of questions but you can answer them with confidence to give yourself peace of mind until you get a call back. Do not feel that you have to answer immediately after you have been asked a question. You are not on a game show where the fastest contestant to answer wins. Your interviewers will appreciate that you have taken time to formulate your answer. If you are concerned by a prolonged silence -- don't be, it is normal. If you have been asked a question that you do not know exactly what to say, ask for a moment to think of an appropriate answer. This is preferable to taking a long time to answer without explaining what you are doing. If you really can't think of an answer off of the top of your head, ask if you can come back to the question in a moment -- keep trying to think of an answer. Don't think that if you get to the end of the interview and you haven't answered the question that you are off of the hook. Even if your interviewer doesn't ask again, it has not gone unnoticed that you didn't respond to a question. The best case scenario is for you to bring t he topic back to the question and answer it accordingly. Thank your interviewer for giving you the extra time to come up with the right answer. If it is a lengthy question that is broken into parts, break it down into, don't try and answer it all at once -- you can always ask for parts of the question to be repeated. How Not to Obsess after a Job Interview The interview is over and you can't help but sigh with relief. You made it through and it wasn't as bad as you thought it would (or maybe it was, but hey it was a good experience). Now, you might think you are in the clear and all you have to do is wait. While it is true that waiting is the next step, it is not that easy. Some even find it more difficult between the time the interview has been completed to the time they hear back from the company on whether or not they received the position. Unless you discover that you have given the interviewer misinformation, don't continue to go over your answers again and again. If you look for flaws you will find them. It is unnecessary torture. Keep yourself busy and if you are on a serious job hunt, continue with your search and put the interview on the back burner until you hear back. If you did provide wrong information that would be crucial to a decision you may want to consider following up to correct the wrong depending on what it was. If it was for a driving job and they asked if you have had any speeding tickets in the past three years and you said yes but later discovered it happened four years ago -- definitely call. If on the other hand, you were quoting sales results and underestimated the number of sales you made; it would probably be best left as it was. Keep yourself busy as you wait for an answer from your interview. And if it happens that you didn't get the job use it as a learning experience. If there were questions you wished you would have answered differently at least you know that now for the next interview you attend. Explaining Gaps in Employment When you get to the interview, be prepared to discuss your resume. In addition to explaining why you left previous companies and chit chat about the position, if you have any gaps in employment be prepared to explain them. Many people are scared that an interviewer is going to discover that they were without a job for a period of time. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but you do have to be able to tell the interviewer why in the best possible light. You should always be honest when explaining any absence from working, but you do have license to spin what you did do in the best possible light. For instance, if you were laid of your job and had a hard time finding a replacement but spent a lot of time with your children you could say, "I took an opportunity to spend a few months with my children in between jobs." If you took any courses or classes that adds value to your skills as an employee be sure to mention that as well. You may find it beneficial to add a brief explanation on the resume itself or in a cover letter. Most times it is hard to get to an interview if there is a lengthy and unexplained employment gap. If you are unsure what possible questions could be generated from your resume, have another person look at it. It is best to be prepared for certain questions and scenarios that will likely come up in an interview. You do not want to be caught unaware or floundering for an answer. Give yourself time to figure out the best explanation for times of unemployment so an interviewer sees it as reasonable or even beneficial to them in the case of additional education and classes. Etiquette Rules during Job Interviews During an interview you need to mind your manners and follow an unspoken code of etiquette. This is more than your mom's "keep your elbows off the table." Business manners are going to be key, an interview is so much more than what you have to say -- it is how you present (or sell) yourself. If part of the job you are applying for is dealing with clients or executives from other companies, you can be guaranteed how you act is part of the decision making process. Eye contact, you have to be able to maintain eye contact without being uncomfortable. There are some acceptable ways to do this. If you are answering a question, it is okay to glance away when gathering your thoughts but if you are listening to someone keep your attention focused on them (even if their eyes are wandering). This shows good manners and that you care about what they have to say. Do not under any circumstances have gum or a mint in your mouth during the interview. If you want to be sure that you have fresh breath, chew gum or suck on the mint before arriving at your destination but discard or finish them before you enter the building. It is distracting and rude to have them in your mouth when answering questions. Use your interviewer's name, ideally you found out who you would be interviewed by when the meeting was arranged. If it isn't provided to you, be sure to ask who you will be meeting with and their position. When you arrive, shake hands and greet the person by name. If you are just learning their name, repeat it and remember it. You want to be sure to get it right and thank them for their time when you are leaving. Enthusiasm in a Job Interview Are you excited at the prospect of getting a new job and are thrilled that you were called in for an interview? Well, then show it when you are being interviewed! Bring an energy and attitude to the interview that will make the company take notice. The process of interviewing is usual a long and boring one for those on the other side of the table. Do your part to make it easier for them to choose you as the best candidate. Just think of all the people before and after you that are also going to be interviewed for the same position. If all other things were equal -- qualifications and the answers to the interview questions -- what is going to set you apart from the rest? You can be enthusiastic and smile when answering (when appropriate) and still maintain an aura of professionalism. You want to exude charisma and keep the interviewer's attention. They have heard a lot of the answers already, but you can get the message across with more than words. Someone who is excited to get a job and lets that excitement be known is going to have a better chance than someone who talks in a monotone and with little to no emotion. Don't be afraid to smile and use phrases as "that's great" or "wonderful" when you are told about the company. Be the type of person that the company wants to represent them and you will increase the chances of a job offer. A few words of caution: don't go overboard. Be genuine in your enthusiasm and be yourself. Sincerity is key or your enthusiasm could work against you instead of for you. If you are naturally bubbly by nature, tone it down a bit for the interview so you do not overwhelm your hosts. Don't Make Assumptions This is a good piece of advice to follow in life, but it also has a special place in an interview setting. You want to be viewed as someone who understands what is necessary and can deliver the expected results -- more than just in the interview room -- and making assumptions will not guarantee you will be viewed like this. The easiest and best way to avoid assumptions is to ask for clarification. If a question is asked that is ambiguous or you really aren't sure what they mean, ask them to explain it to you. Sometimes, without meaning to, an interviewer will use company jargon or acronyms in a question or in conversation. You can respond by saying, "I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with that term, could you explain it to me please?" Not only will this show that you are paying attention but it will also demonstrate that you have an interest in the company and what they are about. When you are answering a question and you need to include company specific terminology, be sure to explain what you mean. In addition, you cannot assume that your interviewer will know wha t you are talking about either. Take a moment to either set up your answer with the required information to understand what you are talking about or pause and explain certain phrases or words. Better yet, if you can use common terms in the place of company specific ones, it is the preferable way to go. Lastly, don't assume that the job is in the bag. No matter how confident you are that you are the most qualified person for the position -- it isn't yours until you have received a job offer. Make the best impression you have and keep the mindset that you are still competing for the job and sell yourself accordingly. Don't be Late for an Interview This may seem obvious, but it happens way too often. No matter the reason, there is no excuse for it (besides an injury or family emergency and then kudos for you for showing up). Getting lost, bad traffic, or losing track of time doesn't matter to an interviewer. They are taking time away from their primary duties to sit down with you to try and give you a job. It is rude and disrespectful to not show up on time. Here are a few tips to ensure this doesn't happen: * Do a dry run. If you are going to a city or a part of the city you are not familiar with drive there a few days before. Ideally you will do it during a week day at a similar time to your interview time to gauge the amount of time it takes to get there. * Leave early. Not just 15 minutes early, you can plan to arrive 30-60 minutes before your interview time. Don't go into the building though. Get into the area, find a coffee shop and relax while reading the paper or reviewing your resume. Not only will this ensure that you are on time it also gives you time to relax and calm yourself before walking into the building. * Pay for parking. Don't circle the block 12 times looking for cheap parking on the street. Pay the money to park in a parking garage. You do not want to waste valuable time looking for parking and start to stress yourself at the same time. If you are running late (but really, you shouldn't be), make sure you call. The interviewer may not have time to complete the interview if you are running late and you will save both of you the time if you let them know. You can try and salvage the faux pas by trying to book another appointment right away. And if you are lucky enough to get a second chance, follow the tips above to arrive not only on time, but early. Bring Doubles of Everything to an Interview In addition to a list of questions you want to ask and a pen and notepad you should also bring duplicate copies of anything else that you may need to provide to the interviewer. When booking the interview, ask if there is anything specific you should bring with you (normally references is the only requirement). But if you are applying for a driving job, a driver's abstract may be required or if you are applying as a writer you may be asked to bring in a sample of your work. Make sure to write down the requested items to bring and make duplicates. If more than one person is going to interview you, bring one for each of them and then one more. This show forethought and preparedness. You also don't want to make your interviewer look bad by not being prepared if they forgot or lost your resume. Let them know that you brought an extra copy for them and hand it over. Chances are this won't happen, but won't you be happy if it does and you are prepared? By brining more copies than are required, you can provide your extra copy to the other interviewers so they are not all huddled around the one copy of your writing portfolio or resume. Even if you are not asked to bring references to the interview, take the time to type out and print copies anyway. If the interview went well you are sure to be asked for them and this again, shows that you think ahead and make the necessary preparations. Do not show up without any special documents that were specifically requested of you, if you do not think you can obtain them in the timeframe given be sure to let the person know before you arrive for the interview.
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