3 Signs Your Interview Is Going Well

You hear all sorts of interview horror stories. Interview fail stories often go viral and can leave you feeling embarrassed and isolated. More often than not, however, your interview probably went great! But how can you tell? Check out these three signs your interview is going well, and try to keep an eye out for them during your next opportunity!

The interviewer seems to go off-script

Every interviewer goes into a meeting with a set list of questions, many of which you’ve heard before. If your interviewer asks you a lot of follow up questions or seems to go a little rogue from the typical questions, that’s a good thing! Don’t be afraid to go a bit more in-depth on your answers when this happens. The hiring manager just wants to understand your skills and experiences and how they relate to the position you’re interviewing for.

Your interview goes longer than the allotted time

This is not to say that if your meeting does not extend past the original schedule that it did not go well! Many interviewers can determine you’re a great fit in a short amount of time. However, if it goes long, trust that they are interested in what you have to say! They would not waste their time on someone who hadn’t made a good impression.

They coordinate next steps

This one may seem obvious, but there’s an important distinction to note. If your interviewer tells you what the next steps are, that’s great. However, you undoubtedly made a great impression if they coordinate the next step while you’re still there! Setting up another interview, organizing a meeting with other team members, or even discussing an offer, let’s you know you nailed it.

So, how do you prepare to nail an interview? Check out our blog for more resume and interview tips.

interview tips

Interview Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

As a mining and heavy industrial recruiter, I get a unique perspective of companies’ interviewing processes and procedures. While working with dozens of clients, I have seen a wide array of interview types. The most common interview process my candidates go through is the initial phone interview. After every interview, I get the opportunity to get feedback from both the candidate and the hiring manager. Even in today’s tight market, there are some things many candidates, unfortunately, do that can hurt their chances of securing a new job opportunity.

Even the most experienced job seekers are prone to interview mistakes. Here are several interview tips to be cognizant of during the initial screening.

Make a strong first impression

Making a good impression over the phone can be difficult. An excellent way to combat this is to prepare yourself for the phone interview properly. First of all, know your audience! Take some time to learn about whom you’ll be interviewing with and do your due diligence on the company. If you are working with one of my fellow recruiters at Johnson Search Group, we will prep you for your phone interview. We tell you who you’ll be speaking with and give you some guidelines to have a successful conversation.

We always recommend getting yourself in a quiet space if possible, with good reception and a fully charged phone. Have the job description and your resume in front of you. Also, when you answer the phone, be upbeat and start with a simple, “Hello, this is <state your name>.” This may seem like common knowledge, but it sure beats an awkward exchange at the beginning of the phone call.

Always be prepared

After you exchange some pleasantries, the actual interview will begin. You can generally expect this common question out the gate: “Why are you on the job market?” It can be helpful to have an answer already formulated, explaining why you are interested in the position. And if your working with one of our recruiters, we will help you devise an appropriate response. TIP: Never bad-mouth your employer!

After a few more follow up questions, the interviewer will ask about your experience and likely walk through your resume. This is why having your resume in front of you is helpful, as you discuss different jobs, qualifications, or accomplishments listed on there.

As the interview wraps up, they will ask if you have any questions. Here’s another tip: ALWAYS have questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Whether it’s a technical skill question, leadership question, or a question about the hiring process, try to have questions ready for your interviewer.

Questions to avoid

Avoid asking questions regarding time off, the benefits package, and the compensation. While these are essential questions, asking these questions during your initial phone interview is not the right time, unless they bring it up. If you are working with us, we will help you navigate these difficult conversations. If you have questions about compensation or the process, we can ask the hiring manager or human resources, so you don’t have to tiptoe around them.

At the end of the interview, be sure to tell them that you’re interested in the position, as well as ask for the next steps. This will let the interviewer know that you’re serious about the position and excited about the opportunity.

Partner with a recruiter

If you’re thinking about looking for a new opportunity, have you thought about partnering with a recruiter? My team and I will help you through the entire interviewing process, from start to finish. We will help prep you for each interview and ensure you’re ready for every single step of the way. Reach out to one of my talented colleagues or me if you’re ready to make your next career move.

Interview, Interview Tips, Interview Advice

3 Things To Avoid During An Interview

Interview, Interview Tips, Interview Advice

When you go into an interview, it’s important to put your best foot forward. That being said, there are a few things you should try to avoid during this prime opportunity to make a first impression. And no, we don’t mean the more obvious stuff like no cursing or dressing unprofessionally. These mistakes are more subtle, but will still leave a strong impact on Hiring Managers.

Filler Words

We are all familiar with the typical “filler words” you are advised to avoid: um, uh, like, hm, etc. However, there are a few more phrases that candidates habitually use that are a turn-off for Hiring Managers. One filler phrase that we have noticed popping up more frequently is “you know what I mean?”

It’s often hard to self-evaluate and determine whether you use a filler word or phrase. The best way to discover whether you do or not is to record a mock interview and listen to your answers! Once you’re aware of what your go-to words are, it will be much easier to avoid them in a formal setting.

Negative Tone

You want to make a positive first impression, right? Well, using a negative tone throughout your interview will have the exact opposite effect. Avoid speaking about your former employers or jobs unfavorably, even if that’s the reason you’re hunting for a new position. Instead, focus on the positive aspects that you are looking for in your next role!

Casual Language

No matter what stage of the interview process you are in, you should never let your guard down. If you are in the office for an “informal meet-and-greet,” out to lunch with the team, or even negotiating the final details of your offer, it’s essential to remain professional. This extends from how you dress to your language choices, and even to topics of conversation. It’s best to avoid casual language such as “awesome,” “totally,” and “you guys.”

If you have an upcoming interview and need a little refresher, check out some of our top job interview prep advice. We have dozens of tips and tricks to set you up for success!

These Interview Questions Will Reveal The Most About Candidates

When interviewing candidates, not every question is created equal. If you’re referencing an outdated list of interview questions that you found on the internet, you’re doing yourself (and your candidates) a disservice. A focused list of purposeful questions can reveal a lot about a candidate and how they’ll fit into your open position.

Behavioral questions

These questions typically begin with, “tell me about a time…” Your aim is to have the candidate explain past situations and how they handled them. Try to customize the question to accurately represent situations they would encounter if they were to join your team. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Tell us about a time when you did not meet a customer’s expectations. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  • When you’re working with a large number of customers, it can be difficult to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?
  • Explain a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
  • Tell us about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.
  • Describe your proudest professional accomplishment.

Personalized questions

Questions that directly relate to a candidate’s resume and experience will always reveal a lot about them and how they’ll function at your company. Try asking them to expand on statistics listed on their resume. Additionally, choose projects they’ve worked on that are especially pertinent to the role they’re interviewing for and ask them to elaborate.

We encourage you to continue asking personalized interview questions throughout your entire meeting. If something a candidate says sparks your interest, don’t be afraid to follow up and ask for more information.

Application questions

Every company and every team has unique situations that your employees run into. Be sure to ask your candidates real-world application questions that could be a part of their everyday life if they secure this job. Maybe there’s a project that your team is currently brainstorming. Ask the candidate about their ideas or how they would approach that particular situation.

Video Interview? Here Are 5 Ways You Need To Prepare

Video Interview? Here Are 5 Ways You Need To Prepare

Video Interview? Here Are 5 Ways You Need To Prepare

In this day and age, video interviews are becoming more and more standard practice. As the competition for hiring increases, managers are looking to streamline the hiring process however they can. If you get scheduled for a video interview, don’t fret! Follow these 5 preparation tips and you’ll be well on your way to landing that next step in your career.  

Practice, practice, practice 

One of the most difficult things about a video interview is the propensity for technological issues. From slow internet to software slipups, there are so many tech obstacles that can arise. The best way to head these off is by practicing ahead of time. Make sure you download any necessary software and try to run through a trial connection. Hardwire your computer, if possible. The stronger your connection, the better! 

Prepare like it’s an in-person interview 

A video interview is between a phone interview and an in-person interview. Thus, you should be prepared for anything. Your interviewer may ask some more in-depth questions. One advantage of a video interview is that you can have some quick notes up on your screen.  Just be sure to keep them concise, so you’re not spending the entire interview reading! 

Dress for success 

Just because you’re able to do a video interview from the comfort of your own home, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You still need to dress in full professional attire, from head to toe. Stick with neutral colors and plain patterns. Not only will this help you look sharp on screen, but it will also give your confidence a boost! 

Clear the background 

It’s absolutely essential that you have a minimalist background for your video interview. Make sure there’s no clutter and that you are in a professional setting. Interviewers don’t want to see bed pillows behind you! If you can, try to set up in an office or at a kitchen table with tasteful décor. 

Send a thank you note immediately 

This one stands true for all interviews, but is definitely worth repeating! After your video interview, you’ll already be settled at your computer. Take the opportunity to type of a quick thank you note to your interviewer. Don’t forget to include details from your interview that will help set you apart and leave a memorable impression. 

JSG Spills Our Favorite Interview Questions

Our team talks to thousands of candidates day in and day out. It’s our job to have conversations with and evaluate hundreds of people for each position to get to the one or two candidates that will make an immediate impact into an organization. From this process, each one of our Account Executives has narrowed down a favorite interview question that really helps them get to know who they’re talking to. We’ve asked them to spill the beans and share those favorite interview questions (and some even gave the answers they look for!)


Jeremy Johnson: Can you do the job? Would you do the job? Will you relocate?

Ken Heller: Tell me about your background.

Alex Price: Why did you join the mining industry?

Dana Belstler: Where do you see yourself going?

Jeremy Johnson: Explain your job in layman’s terms.


Krista Portolesi: Why are you looking for a new opportunity?

Mike Muglia: What does your next opportunity look like?

Tracy Isakson: Doesn’t really have a specific question – asks a series of questions to really understand each candidate on a deeper level.


Michelle Smith: What do you like to do for hobbies?

Dallas Williams: What does relocation look like for you?

How To Come Off As Confident, Not Cocky, During Your Interview

How to Come Off As Confident, Not Cocky, During Your Interview

How To Come Off As Confident, Not Cocky, During Your Interview

We spend a lot of time talking to candidates. Recently, we were prepping a candidate for an interview and they shared something that caught us off guard: “I never assume that I know more than the people on-site.” It got us thinking – there IS a very fine line between being cocky and confident. Here are 5 ways you can ensure that you portray confidence during an interview without letting your ego take over.

Don’t interrupt or disregard what the interviewer is saying

When you’re interrupting, you come across as arrogant. Listen actively and wait to speak until the interviewer has finished. It may be hard to not be overly confident in a role that you feel like you’re perfect for. Maybe you’re a subject matter expert and are perfect for this job. This does NOT mean that you know more than the interviewer. Be humble, show respect, and your confidence will show.

Give facts and results

You don’t need to tell the interviewer how great you are by using fluffy adjectives to describe your work ethic. Use facts to support why you’re great for the role. For example; rather than saying “I am a great manager,” try using results: “I boosted my teams’ morale from 80% to 95% over the course of my career.” Stating facts will display WHY you’re a good fit and you’ll exude confidence at the same time by backing your experience up with factual evidence!

Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes

A lot of times, employers ask the tough question “what’s your biggest weakness?” or “Tell me about a time when you have failed.” Rather than answering the question with a cliche answer about how you can do no wrong, employers are looking for someone that is confident enough to admit when they have a weakness or have made a mistake in the past and learned from it. This gives you the perfect opportunity to show what you’ve done to overcome your weakness and how it’s made you even better.

Due diligence will go a long way

The more you research a company and the role you’re interviewing for, the more confident you’ll be. Knowing your skills and what the position entails will give you the tools you’ll need to explain why you’re a good fit.

Share credit

Be sure to give credit where credit is due for your past successes. For example, if you led a sales team that was #1 in sales for two consecutive years, make sure to acknowledge those team members for playing their part in that achievement. Showing recognition for those that contributed to your successes shows that you’re a team-player and that you respect your colleagues.

You can have all the right skills and experience, but if you come across as arrogant or cocky during the interview, it can completely ruin your chances of getting the job. If you go into an interview assuming you have a lot to learn but exude confidence on why you’re a great fit, your chances of being hired increase exponentially.

How to show enthusiasm during your interview

You’re Not Buying a Car, Show Some Excitement in Your Interview!

How to show enthusiasm during your interview

We’ve all been there. You’ve done your research, you know your budget, and you’ve just taken the car of your dreams for a test drive around the block. You want this car so much, you’ve already envisioned yourself hitting the road and going on an adventure. And now, you’re sitting with the salesman at the car dealership and it’s time to get down to business.

You have your best poker face on, and although you REALLY want that 4-wheeled beauty, you know you can’t show the slightest amount of the excitement you feel inside; not a hint of how close you are to the gem. You swear you can still smell the tantalizing new car smell.

Great strategy… if you’re buying a car. However, this should be the complete opposite strategy when you walk into an employer’s doors for an interview.

Showing enthusiasm in your job interview

If you’ve done your research on the company, the company culture is right up your alley, and you can really see yourself contributing and growing within the company, raise your hand and demonstrate to them that you are excited. And be clear about it!

Don’t let this amazing opportunity slip by because you’re trying to play it cool. Here are four tips on how to show excitement in your next job interview.

Do your due diligence before your interview

Make sure you do your research before you walk through the door. Spend some time and research the company online. Do a quick Google search and see if the company has any recent press releases. Are there any new product launches? Did the company just win an award or sponsor an event?

Study up before you walk in the door. This will give you some ammunition during your interview and allow you to ask questions towards the end of the interview. By having some background knowledge of the company, you demonstrate that you are excited about both the position and the company during your interview.

Body language

You can easily show your enthusiasm during a job interview without saying a word. Your body language illustrates your true feelings. When you are excited about something, your whole body is involved. You have a big smile on your face, you make eye contact with the person speaking to you, and you are using your hands to talk.

Your body language allows you to become animated and your non-verbal cues will shine. Good body language is an excellent way to show that you are genuinely interested and excited during an interview.

Ask for a timeline of the next steps

At the end of your interview, ask the interviewers “what are the next steps?” It’s completely understandable that you want to know how quickly the company is looking to make a decision and what the rest of the process looks like. If it hasn’t been addressed yet, it is a great question to ask when concluding the interview.

Follow up after the interview

If you really want the job, this is non-negotiable. Before the end of the day, you need to email a simple “Thank You” email to all the interviewers. If you don’t know all the interviewers’ email addresses, chances are you can find them with a quick Google or LinkedIn search.

Keep it short and sweet. Thank them for taking the time out of their schedule to interview you. Let them know that you really enjoyed learning more about the company and the position. Try to personalize the email to each of the interviewers. This will show that you are really excited about the opportunity!

Try these the next time and you won’t drive off the lot in your old car. Best of luck to you in your search!

How To Answer "Why Are You Looking For A New Opportunity" In A Job Interview

How To Answer “Why Are You Looking For A New Opportunity?” In A Job Interview

How To Answer "Why Are You Looking For A New Opportunity" In A Job Interview

Congratulations… You’ve landed an interview! You’ve prepared yourself to talk about your skills, why you’re a great fit for the company and you’ve done your due diligence on your potential boss and their team.

The interview is going great until… curve ball… the interviewer asks ‘Why are you looking for a new opportunity?’

You think.. ‘Is this a trick question? Should I really tell them about my horrible boss or how I dread going into work every day?’

The short answer is no, definitely NOT!

This question can be awkward and uncomfortable. This is not the time to speak badly about your current job or your boss even though it seems like the easy way out. The best way to answer this question is to talk about what you’re looking for in an opportunity, rather than what you’re looking to avoid. You can easily speak to this if you’ve done enough due diligence on the company and speak to what draws you to that specific position. *Pro tip- you can also talk about what you will bring to their team and how you plan to bring value.

For example: “I am looking for a new opportunity because I can’t stand working for my boss. He micromanages me and it’s hard for me to work in an environment like that. There isn’t any room for growth and I don’t see a future for me there.”

vs.: “I am looking for a company that I can bring value to and I feel as though my skills would be an asset to your team. The opportunity to grow and advance in a company is very important to me”

Tell them what you’re looking for, not why you’re leaving.

If the career or job change is specifically about money- avoid using this as an answer. It will automatically make the interviewer assume that you’ll leave their company for the next best thing. It will also show that you don’t necessarily want to work for the company specifically, but your motive is strictly about money. Again, this is where your due diligence really comes into play.

The main tip here is to never throw your current employer under the bus and never speak negatively about your current situation. Think of it as an opportunity to show what you know about the company, why you want to work for them and what you can bring to the table!

5 Things You Should Never Say In An Interview

5 Things You Should Never Say In An Interview

5 Things You Should Never Say In An Interview

It’s no secret that interviews are nerve-wracking and there will always be an occasional slip-up that makes you writhe in agony when you think about it later that night. In an attempt to avoid those regrettable moments, we’ve come up with 5 of the most common things you should never say in an interview.

  1. What are the benefits?

It is understandable that you’re curious about the benefits of a potential job, but the interview is not the time or place to broach the subject. Instead, do your own research on their website or Glassdoor.

  1. My salary is ______ … but negotiable

By throwing in the “negotiable” part, you’re selling yourself short. Make sure to do your research before the interview about the cost of living, along with average salaries for your title and experience. That way, when the salary question comes up, you can give a firm and consistent answer.

  1. Dissing your current or previous employer

It can be difficult to dodge this, especially when asked why you’re looking for a new position. Keep the focus on the future that you want to create for your career, and how this company you’re interviewing with can help contribute to those goals.

  1. Politics or religion

Steer clear of politics and religion or any other polarizing topics, even if they relate to your work history. You don’t want to be judged based on things that won’t affect your job performance. You don’t have control over your interviewer’s political or religious affiliations.

  1. “That commute really sucked!”

One of the first things that the interviewer will probably ask is “did you find us okay?” You would be surprised at how many candidates launch into complaints about the commute or the office.

In the end, if you even think it might be inappropriate, steer clear! During interviews, it pays to be the best version of yourself and tread lightly.