Friday, November 2, 2007

Body language during job interviews.

Gestures and body movements are unconscious forms of expressions, and therefore they have a language of their own. We are unaware of our gestures and body movements 99% of the time, but other people can notice our gestures and movements if they pay attention to and know what they mean.

For this reason, it is necessary to be relaxed, and pay attention to some things, like:

An equal handshake
This is a tough one to call when greeting someone for the first time, but if you can mirror their grip it avoids any dominant/submissive vibes.

Relax into your chair
The way you sit conveys a lot of subtle information to the people on the other side of the desk. So don't take the seat like it's Old Sparky, instead use a moment to get comfortable. If you look relaxed, it'll encourage your interviewer/s to feel at ease in your company. Just be careful not to take it to extremes, and kick back like you're at home on the sofa. Flipping the chair round and straddling it is also perhaps just a little too cocksure.

Maintain eye contact
Keep it true and steady, but remember to blink. To avoid that staring-like-a-serial-killer mistake, form a mental triangle on your interviewer's forehead and make sure that your gaze doesn't drop below eye level. Any further south and things start to get a bit intimate, an interest in their mouth may persuade them to think you're hitting on them.

Steer your body
Crossing your legs loosely is fine if it makes you feel happier, especially if you're wearing a skirt, but if you can 'point' at the interviewer with your knees or your feet it shows you're focused right in on them.

Use your hands
If you can be physically expressive as you speak it shows a certain confidence in the stuff you're saying. Use your hands to roll out your answers or give shape to your ideas, and at the very least your interviewer will think you know what you're talking about.

But remember, try to stay relaxed. The purpose is not to have the appearance of a robot, but avoid some gestures that may show negative qualities.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Closing the Job Interview - part II

Key points to keep in mind when closing an interview:

  1. State your interest in the position. (Sound interested and tell what added value you can bring to the job.)

Example: "From what you have been telling me about this position, and from what I know about your company, I know that I have the right mix of experience and education to bring value to this position. Based on past experiences I can "ramp up" quickly and be on board with projects within the first few weeks."

  1. Ask about the next step in the process. (Important for you to know for follow up. Ask for the decision date, if possible.)

Example: "I'm interested in knowing what the next step in the process is and when you will be making a decision in order to follow up."

  1. Find out how to contact them. (If you don't hear back, you will need to know who to contact and whether they will accept calls to check the status.)

Example: "I'd like to stay in touch and follow up with you in a week or two to see how the process is going and where I stand. How do you prefer that I communicate with you – email or phone?"

Closing the sale is important, but your closing should be tailored to the position; your personality and interviewing style, and the interviewer. Keeping these things in mind will help you determine which closing is appropriate for you and the situation.

Copyright (c) 2007 Carole Martin, The Interview Coach

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Closing the Job Interview - part I

by: Carole Martin

"When do I start?"

That's about as aggressive as you can get at the close of the interview. It may knock the interviewer for a loop, and might appear to be overly aggressive, but some people think of it as "closing the sale." And for some people it has worked. For others this approach may not be comfortable, or have a negative same effect.

Whether you are aggressive, passive and polite, or somewhere in between, will depend on your personality, the interview situation, and the job for which you are applying.

Closing Points

Regardless of your style or how you choose to close the interview, there are some key points to keep in mind.

  1. Leave your interviewer with the right picture of you. (Think of at least five skills or traits you want remembered after the interview.) Choose something "concrete". When you answer with, "I have great communication skills and I am a hard worker," you will not stand out.

Example: "I have two skills that are distinctly different but that define my personality. I am a very good pianist and an excellent 'computer guy.' I'm known for my love of keyboards."

  1. Ask if there is anything else you can provide. (References, background information, or samples?)

Example: "Is there any other information that I can provide that would convince you that I am the right person for this job?"

Stay tuned for part two.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Behavioral job interview

A behavioral interview is intended to evaluate your future performance based on past performance in a similar situation, then, it is not based in the traditional what would you do, but in what you did. The candidates who prepare for behavioral interviews are better prepared, even for traditional interviews.

When asked simple yes or no questions, a job candidate can easily tell an interviewer what he or she wants to hear, then in a behavioral interview you can expect questions like “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of when…”. This will help to match the predetermined skills the organization require for a particular position.

To be prepared for this kind of interview, you must think about the necessary skills to do the job you are applying to, then for each, think about a real life example, detailing how you handled a situation involving that skill. If you are interviewing for your first job, you can select an experience that occurred during a time you worked on a group project, or participated in a team sport. Be aware that the interviewer may want to confirm that what you are saying actually happened, asking you, for example, time spent and results.

Examples of behavioral questions:

• Describe the most creative work related project you have completed.
• Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.
• Tell me about a recent situation when you showed initiative and took the lead.
• Please tell me about a time you had to fire someone.
• Tell me about a situation in which you had to deal with a very upset co-worker.

Try to be specific, and don’t describe how you would behave. Remember, you must give real life examples.

behavioral interview questions, behavioral interviewing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Job interview: Thank you letter

John Smith
1324 Primrose Street
Doral, FL 12345

July 20, 2007

Ms Cynthia Ward
Quality Assurance Director
X Enterprises
345 N.W. 37th Street
Miami, FL 12345

Dear Ms. Ward,

Thank you for taking the time to speak about the quality manager position at X Enterprises with me. The job, as you presented it, has convinced me that it will be a wonderful opportunity.

In addition to my enthusiasm, I will bring strong problem solving skills and excellent work habits. With the countless demand of your time, my organizational skills will help you free to deal with larger issues. I am sure I will enjoy working with you.

I look forward, Ms. Ward, to hearing from you about this position, Again thanks for such a quality time.


John Smith

Job interview thank you note, job interview thank you letter

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In search of what employers want

When preparing for a job interview, most of us wish to cause a good impact in our interviewer. The employers look for specific strengths and skills, necessary to perform the job you are applying to.

You can improve greatly those skills if you are aware of them, and adapt all your actions to convince your employer that your background suits the skills necessary to perform the job. Here are some of those skills:

  • Communication: This is the universal skill. It is related to your ability to communicate with others; listen, write and talk both concisely and effectively.
  • Flexibility: Some organizations have changing environments, and then you should be able to cope under changing conditions, work assignments, and new situations, as well as be able to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Analytic: Are you able to research from multiple sources, to improve your existing work environment and processes?
  • Leadership: You should be able to manage your co-workers, if your position requires it, have the ability to get the things done, by others.
  • Problem solving: You should be able to analyze problems, get root causes and find solutions using your research, experience and creativity.
  • Confidence: Do you believe in yourself? If you don’t, how do your expect someone to believe in you? You have to recognize your strengths, skills, and abilities and offer it to your employer.
Identify your weaknesses, and learn, cultivate and develop the necessary skills. Doing so will get you into your dream job.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How to evaluate a Job Offer

Once you receive a job offer, you are faced with a difficult decision and must evaluate the offer carefully. Fortunately, most organizations will not expect you to accept or reject an offer immediately.

There are many issues to consider when assessing a job offer. Will the organization be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits?

The organization. Background information on an organization can help you to decide whether it is a good place for you to work. Factors to consider include the organization’s business or activity, financial condition, age, size, and location.

You generally can get background information on an organization, particularly a large organization, on its Internet site or by telephoning its public relations office. A public company’s annual report to the stockholders tells about its corporate philosophy, history, products or services, goals, and financial status. If possible, speak to current or former employees of the organization.

Does the organization’s business or activity match your own interests and beliefs?
It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic about what the organization does.

How will the size of the organization affect you?
Large firms generally offer a greater variety of training programs and career paths, more managerial levels for advancement, and better employee benefits than do small firms. Jobs in small firms may offer broader authority and responsibility, a closer working relationship with top management, and a chance to clearly see your contribution to the success of the organization.

Is the organization in an industry with favorable long-term prospects?
The most successful firms tend to be in industries that are growing rapidly.

Nature of the job. Even if everything else about the job is attractive, you will be unhappy if you dislike the day-to-day work. Determining in advance whether you will like the work may be difficult. However, the more you find out about the job before accepting or rejecting the offer, the more likely you are to make the right choice.

Where is the job located?
If the job is in another section of the country, you need to consider the cost of living, the availability of housing and transportation, and the quality of educational and recreational facilities in that section of the country. Even if the job location is in your area, you should consider the time and expense of commuting.

Does the work match your interests and make good use of your skills?
The duties and responsibilities of the job should be explained in enough detail to answer this question.

How important is the job in this company?
An explanation of where you fit in the organization and how you are supposed to contribute to its overall objectives should give you an idea of the job’s importance.

Are you comfortable with the hours?
Most jobs involve regular hours—for example, 40 hours a week, during the day, Monday through Friday. Other jobs require night, weekend, or holiday work. In addition, some jobs routinely require overtime to meet deadlines or sales or production goals, or to better serve customers. Consider the effect that the work hours will have on your personal life.

How long do most people who enter this job stay with the company?
High turnover can mean dissatisfaction with the nature of the work or something else about the job.

Opportunities offered by employers.

The employer should give you some idea of promotion possibilities within the organization. What is the next step on the career ladder? If you have to wait for a job to become vacant before you can be promoted, how long does this usually take? When opportunities for advancement do arise, will you compete with applicants from outside the company? Can you apply for jobs for which you qualify elsewhere within the organization, or is mobility within the firm limited?

Salaries and benefits. Some companies will not talk about pay until they have decided to hire you. In order to know if their offer is reasonable, you need a rough estimate of what the job should pay. You may have to go to several sources for this information.

If you are considering the salary and benefits for a job in another geographic area, make allowances for differences in the cost of living, which may be significantly higher in a large metropolitan area than in a smaller city, town, or rural area.

Also take into account that the starting salary is just that—the start. Your salary should be reviewed on a regular basis; many organizations do it every year. How much can you expect to earn after 1, 2, or 3 or more years? An employer cannot be specific about the amount of pay if it includes commissions and bonuses.

Benefits also can add a lot to your base pay, but they vary widely. Find out exactly what the benefit package includes and how much of the cost you must bear.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Interview tips for the big day

The day of the interview has arrived; this is the moment when you prove yourself in front of the interviewer and you want to make the most of it. There are some tips you should take into account:

The things you should do:

  • Be on time!
  • Learn the name of you interviewer, and do not forget it.
  • Greet you interviewer with a firm handshake
  • Show interest in the conversation: listen carefully and do not interrupt.
  • Relax (it sounds easy!) and answer the questions concisely, do not talk too much.
  • Be honest; do not lie about your qualifications.
  • Be positive, cooperative and enthusiastic
  • Ask questions about the organization
  • When you leave, thank the interviewer. (Do you remember his/her name?)

The things you should never do in the interview.

  • Arrive late
  • Chew gum
  • Give a poor handshake
  • Leave your cell phone on
  • Eat
  • Treat the receptionist impolitely.
  • Say something negative about your past employer Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Friday, July 6, 2007

I have no experience, what if my interviewer thinks that I will not be able to handle the job?

Well, even if we do not have any job experience, this does not mean that we do not have experience. Just think for a moment, you are applying for a job where research and organizational skills are a must; you may think I will not be able to handle it, because of my lack of experience. Now, do you remember those extensive reports you have had to complete? For sure you had to research extensively, and organize all this information into a excellent report. Yes, you’ve got it.

The fact is that many of the skills we build during our education and our lives can be converted into qualities needed for our job. Think about all your activities: sports, social clubs, religious activities, personal projects, and try to extract examples to convince your interviewer about your abilities.

Look on the job specifications and prepare yourself. Go for it!Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Job interviews: what should I ask?

This concept may be new for you, right? The idea that we have about job interviews is someone asking us a lot of questions, but the fact is that we should be prepared to ask some questions. Try to ask about things have no information available through the internet or any other media.

Making well prepared questions will both give you valuable knowledge about the organization, and also makes a good impression to the interviewer. Some questions you could ask are:

-How and how often will my performance be measured?
-Will there be opportunities of growth in this organization?
-What would be the goals of the organization in the near future?
-Have the organization meet its goals for the last year?
-How is this organization structured?
-What would be the greatest challenge in the job?
-Why should I accept, in case I am offered the position?
Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Thursday, July 5, 2007

How to dress for job interviews

Think about something really cool you have bought recently... now think about why you bought it.

The fact is that, in many cases we buy stuff just for its appearance. Now think about your services as a product, and your potential employer as a client, do you catch my point? You have to take care of the impression you make, that is why it is always important to dress appropriately for a job interview, even if you think the work environment is casual. Be aware that improper dress costs some candidates the job, then if you have tattoos, or a lot of piercing or something like this, try to cover them.

Everyday you can see that mostly, another person's perception of you is based on how you look. Then, what should you be wearing?

If you area a Man:

  • Suit
  • Tie
  • Long sleeve shirt (preferably white)
  • Shoes (of course, no sport shoes)
  • Belt (The same color of the shoes)
  • Socks (Remember to coordinate them with the shoes or pant)
  • Neat hair.

If you are a Woman:

  • Suit
  • Dress shoes
  • Avoid very showy makeup
  • Avoid the excess of jewelry
  • Use a professional hairstyle
  • Pay attention to your nails

Yes, you look great! I would hire you.
Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Job interviews: Tactics

Check this cool video that I have found! Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Monday, July 2, 2007

Things you'll have to answer - Part I

Here you will find the common questions you will have to answer in job interviews. Your success will depend upon your preparation; you will find unexpected questions about almost everything related to you. Use the following as a guideline:

1.Tell us about yourself

Classic, no doubt. You shouldn't try to look like Einstein, but try to use a good statement for it. Be yourself; think about your experience in other jobs and the way this may contribute in the position you are interviewing for. Try to keep you answer within the boundaries of job issues, your interviewer will not be interested in how your vacations were affected by the weather, or your favorite TV series.

2. Why should we hire you?

You already know what the company is looking for, from the job ad. Make a comparison on how your qualifications will fill their expectations.

3. Why do you want to work for us?

Everything you may say here has to be based on your investigation about the organization. Something that always causes a good impact is relating the company to your future.

4. What experience do you have?

If you have experience, start with the specifics that relate to the organization, and the job you are applying to. I you have not had a job, you may talk about activities you have performed that have helped you to develop abilities related to the job in question.

5. Do you know this organization?

In posts before, we were talking about the importance of researching the organization's profile as part of you preparation. Now is the time to use that info: the activity they are dedicated to, vision of the company, and so on. Be as specific as you can.

6. Do you know someone who works for us?

Some companies have specific policies for relatives that may work for the organization. Try to investigate it before you are interviewed.

7. Why did you leave your last job?

Don't start speaking about problems in the organization you belonged to. Try to relate it to a positive reason, like a studying opportunity or something like this.

8. Do you consider you have been successful in your career?

The answer to this question always has to be yes. Think about you goals, the way you have been accomplishing them, and how are you working to achieve the others.

9. Do you prefer working alone?

Beware! many job positions require teamwork abilities as a must, you don't want to give the impression that you cannot deal with teammates. Always show a positive attitude.

10. Which is your best asset to contribute to this organization?

This is your opportunity to talk about your strengths. You have to show how will the organization be benefited with your work.

Further questions in the next posts!

Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The preparation for a job interview - Part II

Ok, you have verified your qualifications for the job, now you have to pay attention to you resume. Is there some skill missing in your resume? Now is the time to add it.

Something very important is to know your own resume; I have seen some cases where the recruiter ask the applicant something that is written in the resume, and the applicant doesn't know even what does it mean. The reason? Because someone else wrote it for him/her. If this is your case, try to figure out which questions may a recruiter do about the things written in your resume. For every statement (what) try to answer yourself the how, when, where did it happen. For example, if your resume says you are proactive, you should be able to answer how you have shown you are proactive, when (specific situation), and may be where (Of course, I assume that if the word proactive is in your resume, you know what does it mean :-)

In job interviews, you have to answer questions about yourself, for example, the classic one: Why do you want to work for us? Or Do you consider yourself organized? Those ones are just examples, we will review a complete list later. By now what you have to be aware of is that you will have to talk about yourself (This has been a problem for me, but I have learned to manage it). You may use the following as a checklist when preparing for your job interviews:

  • I know the organization I am applying to.
  • I have the "must have" qualities for the job
  • I have written all the pertinent skills and experience in my resume
  • I understand everything that written in my resume, and I am able to answer questions about it.
  • I am prepared to answer personal questions about myself.

If you do, then you are prepared for your interviews. Go for it!

Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Monday, June 25, 2007

The preparation for job interviews- Part I

This is one of the most important aspects in job interviews, and that people fail to do. Imagine something: you are reading the news in the morning and you see an ad that gets your attention. The ad says: "X enterprises is looking for a candidate for the position (insert position here)", and after reading it, you feel you can apply to it. The first thing to do in your preparation is wonder, do I know this company? if the answer is no, then you should investigate what is "X enterprises" about; the reasons are simple, most of the job interviews start with the question: Do you know what is our business about? The fact is that if you do know, this will have a good impact in the interviewer, this is the very first impression you will cause. I have done so, and even if I am not able to know everything about the company, I feel a noticeable impact in the expression of my interviewer.

Another reason to investigate is to know if you will be willing to work in the activity that this company is dedicated to. What if you consider that eating meat is wrong, and when you arrive to the interview you figure out that "x foods" is a meat processing plant? If you are not willing to work for it, you'll have wasted your time.

Next, you should verify your qualifications for the job. Most of the job ads display the requirements of the recruiter for the applicants to the job; try to identify which of them are specified as a must and compare with your experience. If there are some of the "not a must" requirements that you don't fulfill, don't be worried. Job ads are often made with an ideal profile, and the truth is that recruiters cannot always find prospects with all the qualifications.

After you know what the job is about, and you have verified your qualification, the first part of the preparation is done!

Job interview tip, preparing for a job interview

Comments welcome.