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Job Interview:

Are you looking for a job? Her are some very useful articles / tips that that will help you before and during a job interview!

 

 

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 showing respect."

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 explains.

Business Card:
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.

Directions:
"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.

Cell Phone:
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."

The Intangibles:

A Smile:
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."

Company Research:
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 Monster.


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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 all-important interview.

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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 job.
     
  4. 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 Interview Planner.
     
  5. Show Enthusiasm
    A firm handshake and plenty of eye contact demonstrate confidence. Speak distinctly in a confident voice, even though you may feel shaky.
     
  6. Listen
    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.
     
  7. 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.
     
  8. 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.
     
  9. 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.
  10. 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.



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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 someone.

Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
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 their needs.
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 interviewer.
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 story.
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 box.
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 weaknesses.
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 hire you?"
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.



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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 sales position.
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 the interview.
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 new person?"
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.
Be Prepared
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 industry knowledge.

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 actual offer.
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"."



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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 us?"
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 it.
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 unique.
Product Inventory Exercise
The bottom line of this question is, "What can you do for this company?"
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.
Example
"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 systems.
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 team.
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.



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Six Steps to Handling Money Questions

  1. 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.


     
  2. 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 negotiable.
     
  3. What Are You Currently Making?
    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."

     
  4. Get the Employer to Say a Number First
    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 requirements.
    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.

     
  5. What If You're Really Pushed to State a Figure?
    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 so.
     
  6. Prepare Yourself by Doing Some Research
    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.
     
  7. 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.



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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.

  1. Confusing an Interview with an Interrogation.
    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.
     
  2. Making a So-Called Weakness Seem Positive.
    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.
     
  3. 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."
     
  4. Researching the Company But Not Yourself.
    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.
     
  5. Leaving Your Cell Phone On.
    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.
     
  6. 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.



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