Are you looking for a job? Her are some very useful articles /
tips that that will help you before and during a job
Checklist - What to Put in Your Briefcase for your job Interview?
Your Resume and References:
But don't just throw these crucial documents in your bag.
According to Stein, linguists and psychologists have found that
93 percent of all communication is nonverbal. How you present
this information says a lot about you. To that end, Stein
recommends you buy an inexpensive two-pocket folder in blue,
since this color appeals to both men and women and conveys a
business feel. On the left side, place your resume, and on the
right, your letters of recommendation and reference list. When
you get to the interview, say, "I wanted to bring an extra copy
of my resume -- here it is," and open the folder, turning it
around for the interviewer to read.
"This is a sign you are open and honest as well as organized,"
Stein says. "The more you show you are prepared, the more you are
Pad and Paper:
Taking a few notes during your interview (while being careful not
to stare at your notepad the whole time) is another sign of
respect. "It makes them feel you are listening," Stein
People either take in information visually, audibly or through
touch. "The more you give them to touch, the more real it seems
to them," she says.
"These lower your anxiety," Stein says, adding that it's
preferable to drive to your interview location in advance and
park so you can see how long it all takes.
You can always leave this bit of modern life in your car, but if
you must take it with you, make sure it stays turned off and in
your briefcase; it's a huge sign of disrespect to be interrupted
during an interview or give the appearance you'll be interrupted.
"If you're a man, don't even wear it on your belt," Stein
recommends. "Keep it hidden."
It may sound sappy, but this nonverbal clue is an immediate
rapport-builder. Interviewers are often nervous, too. "In
one-sixteenth of a second, we assess whether someone will harm,
help or hurt us," Stein says. "(A smile) immediately tells
someone that you're not going to hurt them."
In almost every interview, you'll be asked what you know about
the company, Stein says. To prepare for this question, she
recommends Hoovers.com. You can also check out companies on
Ten Interviewing Rules:
In the current job market, you'd better have your act
together, or you won't stand a chance against the competition.
Check yourself on these 10 basic points before you go on that
- Look Sharp
Before the interview, select your outfit. Depending on the
industry and position, get out your best duds and check them
over for spots and wrinkles. Even if the company has a casual
environment, you don't want to look like you slept in your
clothes. Above all, dress for confidence. If you feel good,
others will respond to you accordingly.
- Be on Time
Never arrive late to an interview. Allow extra time to arrive
early in the vicinity, allowing for factors like getting lost.
Enter the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview.
- Do Your Research
Researching the company before the interview and learning as
much as possible about its services, products, customers and
competition will give you an edge in understanding and
addressing the company's needs. The more you know about the
company and what it stands for, the better chance you have of
selling yourself. You also should find out about the company's
culture to gain insight into your potential happiness on the
- Be Prepared
Bring along a folder containing extra copies of your resume, a
copy of your references and paper to take notes. You should
also have questions prepared to ask at the end of the
interview. For extra assurance, print a copy of Monster's handy
- Show Enthusiasm
A firm handshake and plenty of eye contact demonstrate
confidence. Speak distinctly in a confident voice, even though
you may feel shaky.
One of the most neglected interviewing skills is listening.
Make sure you are not only listening, but also reading between
the lines. Sometimes what is not said is just as important as
what is said.
- Answer the Question Asked
Candidates often don't think about whether or not they actually
are answering the questions asked by their interviewers. Make
sure you understand what is being asked, and get further
clarification if you are unsure.
- Give Specific Examples
One specific example of your background is worth 50 vague
stories. Prepare your stories before the interview. Give
examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness. Your
past behavior can indicate your future performance.
- Ask Questions
Many interviewees don't ask questions and miss the opportunity
to find out valuable information. Your questions indicate your
interest in the company or job.
- Follow Up
Whether it's through email or regular mail, the follow-up is
one more chance to remind the interviewer of all the valuable
traits you bring to the job and company. You don't want to miss
this last chance to market yourself. It is important to appear
confident and cool for the interview. One way to do that is to
be prepared to the best of your ability. There is no way to
predict what an interview holds, but by following these
important rules you will feel less anxious and will be ready to
positively present yourself.
How to Handle Common Interview Questions:
Every interview has a unique focus, but some questions are
asked so often, it makes sense to do all you can to prepare for
them. In order to be successful, you need a strategy -- not
scripted answers. Your goal should be to emphasize the
experiences in your background that best fit what each
interviewer is looking for.
In this series, we'll look at some common questions and what you
should consider when formulating your responses. Work through
each potential question, creating your own responses, and you
will be in great shape for your next interview. It helps to write
out potential answers. Even better: Practice aloud with
Where would you like to be in your career five years from
Intent: Early in your career, interviewers want to get a sense of
your personal goals, ambition, drive and direction. At
mid-career, they will be listening for responses relevant to
Context: You'll need to decide how much to share. If you want to
run your own business five years from now and need a certain kind
of experience in a competitive company, don't reveal that goal.
But if you want to become a VP by age 35 and are interviewing in
a merit-based environment, go ahead and tell the
Response: "My goal is to be a corporate VP by the time I am 35."
Or you might give a more subjective answer: "In five years, I
want to have gained solid experience in marketing communications
and be developing skills in another marketing function."
Tell me about your proudest achievement.
Intent: This question, often worded as "significant
accomplishment," ranks among the most predictable and important
things you'll be asked. Interviewers want to hear how you tackled
something big. It is vital you give them an organized, articulate
Context: This is a behavioral question -- meaning you're being
asked to talk about a specific example from your professional
history. Pick an example or story about how you handled a major
project that is both significant to you and rich in detail.
Response: Set up the story by providing context. Recount the
situation and your role in it. Next, discuss what you did,
including any analysis or problem solving, any process you set up
and obstacles you had to overcome. Finally, reveal the outcome
and what made you proud.
Give me an example of a time when you had to think out of the
Intent: This is code for asking about your innovativeness,
creativity and initiative. Interviewers want to learn about not
only a specific creative idea but also how you came up with it
and, more importantly, what you did with that insight. Context:
This is another behavioral question, and the example you select
is critical. It should be relevant to the job you're interviewing
for, and your impact in the story should be significant.
Response: Tell interviewers how you came up with a creative
solution to a customer problem, improved an internal process or
made a sale via an innovative strategy.
What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
Intent: This is another way of asking about your
Context: A good approach is to discuss weaknesses you can develop
into strengths. However, do not say you work too hard or are a
perfectionist. These answers are tired and transparent. Come up
with something visible to a past boss that was perhaps mentioned
in your performance reviews as a developmental area.
Response: "I don't think she would have called it negative, but
she identified that I needed to work on being more dynamic in my
presentation skills. I have sought out practice opportunities and
joined Toastmasters. I have seen some real improvement."
What can you do for us that other candidates can't?
Intent: Some interview questions are more important than others.
This is one of them. It's another way of asking, "Why should we
Context: There are two nuances to this question. The first is
asking you to compare yourself to other candidates -- usually a
difficult if not impossible task. More importantly, the
interviewer is asking you to articulate why you are special. Your
response should sum up your main selling points, related
specifically to the job requirements. Response: Consider what you
have to offer: past experience directly related to the job;
specialized knowledge; relevant situational expertise and
experience (growth, change, turnaround, startup); skills;
networks; demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm for the business
or your profession; future potential.
Create a list of four to six categories of reasons that best
support and summarize your candidacy, and put them in logical
order, along with supporting evidence for each reason. Most
points should be backed up with follow-up information.
Do You Have any Questions?
Surprisingly, the most common answer to this question is "no." Not only is this the
wrong answer, but it's also a missed opportunity to find out
information about the company. It is important for you to ask
questions -- not just any questions, but those relating to the
job, the company and the industry.
Consider this: Two candidates are interviewing for an inside
Henry asks, "I was wondering about benefits, and when they would
become effective? Also, what is the yearly vacation allowance?
And, does the company match on the 401k plan?"
Assuming this is the first interview, it is premature to ask
about benefits. "What's in it for me?" questions can be
interpreted as self-centered and a sign of your lack of interest
in the job.
The next candidate, Chris, says, "No, I think you just about
covered everything I wanted to know. I'm sure I'll have more
questions if I get the job."
This is a very passive response that doesn't demonstrate interest
or imagination. Once you get the job -- if you get it -- may be
too late to ask questions.
It is important to ask questions to learn about the company and
the job's challenges. In some cases, the interviewer will be
listening for the types of questions you ask. The best questions
will come as a result of your listening to what is asked during
A good response to the interviewer asking, "Do you have any
questions?" would be: "Yes, I do. From what you've been asking
during the interview, it sounds like you have a problem with
customer retention. Can you tell me a little more about the
current situation and what the first challenges would be for the
This answer shows interest in what the problem is and how you
could be the possible solution. It is also an opportunity to get
a sense of what will be expected.
What information do you need to decide whether to work at this
company? Make a list of at least 10 questions to take with you to
the interview. Depending on who is interviewing you, your
questions should vary.
- If you are interviewing with the hiring manager, ask questions
about the job, the desired qualities and the challenges.
- If you are interviewing with the human resources manager, ask
about the company and the department.
- If you are interviewing with management, ask about the industry
and future projections. This is your chance to demonstrate your
Timing Is Important
You will have to use your judgment about the number of questions
you ask and when to ask them. Think of this as a conversation.
There will be an appropriate time to ask certain types of
questions, like those about benefits and vacation. To be on the
safe side, it is best to concentrate on questions about the job's
responsibilities and how you fit the position until you get the
When you begin to think of the interview as a two-way process,
you will see it is important for you to find out as much as
possible about the company. Questions will give you the
opportunity to find out if this is a good place for you to work
before you say Yes"."
Why Should We Hire You?
This is another broad question that can take you down the
wrong road unless you've done some thinking ahead of time. This
question is purely about selling yourself. Think of yourself as
the product. Why should the customer buy?
The Wrong Track
Spencer answers by saying, "Because I need and want a job."
That's nice, but the bottom line here is, "What can you do for
Mariana says, "I'm a hard worker and really want to work for this
company." The majority of people think of themselves as hard
workers -- and why this company?
The Right Track
Tom's answer to this question is, "Because I'm a good fit for the
position." Getting warmer, but more details, please. Sharon
answers, "I have what it takes to solve problems and do the job."
This is the best answer so far. Expand on this, and you've got
Develop a Sales Statement
The more detail you give, the better your answer will be. This is
not a time to talk about what you want. Rather, it is a time to
summarize your accomplishments and relate what makes you
Product Inventory Exercise
The bottom line of this question is, "What can you do for this
Start by looking at the job description or posting. What is the
employer stressing as requirements of the job? What will it take
to get the job done? Make a list of those requirements.
Next, do an inventory to determine what you have to offer as a
fit for those requirements. Think of two or three key qualities
you have to offer that match those the employer is seeking. Don't
underestimate personal traits that make you unique; your energy,
personality type, working style and people skills are all very
relevant to any job. The Sales Pitch: You Are the Solution
From the list of requirements, match what you have to offer and
merge the two into a summary statement. This is your sales pitch.
It should be no more than two minutes long and should stress the
traits that make you unique and a good match for the job.
"From our conversations, it sounds as if you're looking for
someone to come in and take charge immediately. It also sounds
like you are experiencing problems with some of your database
With my seven years of experience working with financial
databases, I have saved companies thousands of dollars by
streamlining systems. My high energy and quick learning style
enable me to hit the ground and size up problems rapidly. My
colleagues would tell you I'm a team player who maintains a
positive attitude and outlook. I have the ability to stay focused
in stressful situations and can be counted on when the going gets
tough. I'm confident I would be a great addition to your
What Makes You Unique?
Completing an exercise around this question will allow you to
concentrate on your unique qualities. Like snowflakes, no two
people are alike. Take some time to think about what sets you
apart from others. "Never miss deadlines."
"Bring order to chaos."
"Good sense of humor."
"Great attention to detail."
Let the interviewer know that you have been listening to the
problem and have what it takes to do the job -- that you are the
solution to the problem.
Six Steps to Handling Money Questions
Everyone wants as much money as an employer is willing to
shell out. Yet when it comes to job interviewing, salary
questions make most people squirm. One reason is that such
questions pressure you to tip your hand during the
negotiating game. Winning the salary you want requires some
evasive action on your part. Choose your words carefully, and
don't be afraid to redirect a pointed question. These tips
will help you stay in control of your compensation.
- How to Handle Applications or Ads
Requesting a Salary History
Diane Barowsky, who works in executive recruiting, advises job
seekers not to include salary requirements. "True, when you
leave out the information, you run the risk that the employer
won't look at you because you've not put a salary in there,"
she says. "But you run a greater risk of selling yourself
short, because you don't know what the range is." Instead,
write that you expect a salary commensurate with your
experience and the job's demands. You could also write,
"negotiable," because, frankly, salary is always
- What Are You Currently
Answer carefully. State that the new job, while in line with
your skills, can't compare to your current job. As such, your
current salary isn't a good judge of what you should earn in
this position. "Answer: What I'm making is not important," says
Barowsky. "What is important is whether or not my skills are
what you need, and I'm confident the range will be fair." This
allows you to reveal your self-confidence.
In addition, this levels the playing field if there are two
candidates, Barowsky says. If you're currently underpaid,
answering such a question directly will work against you. "What
if you work for a nonprofit, and your pay is lower than that of
another candidate who has the same skills and experience but
has a higher pay because he is with a corporation that offers
competitive salaries?" Barowsky asks. "You could be hired at a
much lower figure than the other person would have received.
It's not the past salary that's important. It's the skills and
experience and what you can do for the organization."
- Get the Employer to Say a Number
Every employer has a salary range in mind that it can most
often play with, says Barowsky. "They have information you are
not privy to," she says. "When you don't know what the employer
has in mind, you can underbid yourself. Employers will jump on
that. Later, you'll find out that someone two cubicles over
from you is making more money for the same work you're doing."
So find out what the range is before you state any salary
If the range is below what you want, state that you expect a
range closer to XYZ. And make XYZ at least 10 percent to 20
percent higher than what you currently make. If you're grossly
underpaid in your position, hike it even higher.
- What If You're Really Pushed to State
State a range that reflects the amount you want to make. And
remember: Employers will always look at the low end of your
range, so make the low end as high as you are comfortable with.
If you make $35,000, state a range of $42,000 to $55,000 or
- Prepare Yourself by Doing Some
Research what others in the field make. Contact professional
organizations and get their annual salary surveys. Read
professional publications. Network and look on the Web to find
out what others in your field are making.
- Show Us Your Pay Stub
If an employer wants to contact your old employers to verify
your salary, think twice about the job. Frankly, do you really
want to work with someone who will intimidate you? "If they
badger you during the interview, a point where they're supposed
to be wooing and impressing you, think of what it'll be like
when you go to work there," Barowsky says. The bottom line is
that not only do you want good pay, but you also want respect.
And a job that provides mutual employer-employee respect is
bound to reap rewards.
Six Interview Mistakes
It's tough to avoid typical interview traps if you're unsure
what they are. Here are a half dozen to watch out for.
- Confusing an Interview with an
Most candidates expect to be interrogated. An interrogation
occurs when one person asks all the questions and the other
gives the answers. An interview is a business conversation in
which both people ask and respond to questions. Candidates who
expect to be interrogated avoid asking questions, leaving the
interviewer in the role of reluctant interrogator.
- Making a So-Called Weakness Seem
Interviewers frequently ask candidates, What are your
weaknesses?" Conventional interview wisdom dictates that you
highlight a weakness like "I'm a perfectionist," and turn it
into a positive. Interviewers are not impressed, because
they've probably heard the same answer a hundred times. If you
are asked this question, highlight a skill that you wish to
improve upon and describe what you are doing to enhance your
skill in this area. Interviewers don't care what your
weaknesses are. They want to see how you handle the question
and what your answer indicates about you.
- Failing to Ask Questions.
Every interview concludes with the interviewer asking if you
have any questions. The worst thing to say is that you have no
questions. Having no questions prepared indicates you are not
interested and not prepared. Interviewers are more impressed by
the questions you ask than the selling points you try to make.
Before each interview, make a list of five questions you will
ask. "I think a good question is, 'Can you tell me about your
career?'" says Kent Kirch, director of global recruiting at
Deloitte. "Everybody likes to talk about themselves, so you're
probably pretty safe asking that question."
- Researching the Company But Not
Candidates intellectually prepare by researching the company.
Most job seekers do not research themselves by taking inventory
of their experience, knowledge and skills. Formulating a talent
inventory prepares you to immediately respond to any question
about your experience. You must be prepared to discuss any part
of your background. Creating your talent inventory refreshes
your memory and helps you immediately remember experiences you
would otherwise have forgotten during the interview.
- Leaving Your Cell Phone
We may live in a wired, always-available society, but a ringing
cell phone is not appropriate for an interview. Turn it off
before you enter the company.
- Waiting for a Call.
Time is your enemy after the interview. After you send a
thank-you email and note to every interviewer, follow up a
couple of days later with either a question or additional
information. Try to contact the person who can hire you, and
assume that everyone you met with has some say in the process.
Additional information can be details about your talents, a
recent competitor's press release or industry trends. Your
intention is to keep everyone's memory of you fresh.