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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!

culture fit

How to Demonstrate You’re A Culture Fit

culture fit

What is this so-called “culture-fit” and how do prospective employers identify culture fit based on an interview or two? This is a tough concept to understand, considering every employer is unique in their own culture and atmosphere. However, there are questions that employers will ask you to see if you align with their culture, values, and mission.

Here are some common questions hiring managers may ask to identify which candidates are strong fits for their team and which are not.

“Why did you leave your last position?” or “Why are you looking for a new opportunity?”

This question can uncover a lot about the candidate who’s interviewing, both good and bad. Are they a team player? Do they work well with others? Are they able to resolve conflicts within the workplace? I always tell candidates to avoid any negative talk, no matter how miserable you may be in your previous role. Even if you hate your current boss, it may come across that you were the problem, not your employer. Stick to what attracts you to the company you’re interviewing with, how your skill-set would benefit and bring value to them, or more positive reasons for leaving your employer.

“Why do you want to work here?”

It answers the question of if you’re just looking for any job or if you’re truly interested in working for that company specifically. This will also demonstrate, as a candidate, how much due diligence you’ve done on the company.  This can be a huge deal for those companies who pride themselves on their values and mission. Let’s say, for example, you’re interviewing for a non-profit organization whose mission is to benefit children in the community. If you’re an advocate for children and volunteer heavily in your community, it would benefit you to talk about your passion and the work you’ve done in the community, along with any research you’ve done on this prospective company.

“Describe a conflict you’ve had with a previous colleague. How did you resolve it?”

These situational questions work very well for managers to identify how a candidate will fit well within the team. If their current team takes a collaborative approach to their work, they’ll most likely want someone on their team to communicate clearly with team members and work to resolve conflicts. The most important aspect of this answer is going to be the result: How was this resolved and what steps did you take to move forward?

Identifying a culture fit in the interview process is a crucial piece in the hiring decision. Making an addition to any team in the workplace can alter the culture if a bad hiring decision is made. A bad culture fit can result in lower associate morale, a toxic work environment, and employee turnover. Keep this in mind during your next interview to prove you’re a fit for their organization.

interview prep

How to Prepare for Your Next Interview

interview prep

Do you have an upcoming job interview? If so, proper interview prep is one of the most critical contributions to successfully landing a new job opportunity. Today, I want to share what I believe is the most valuable part of the interview process: the prep. Prepping for your job interview helps you as a candidate land your dream job. Getting an interview is sometimes the hardest part. Although this may be true, it’s not uncommon for qualified candidates not to be selected for the job. This is all due to them not being prepared for their big day.

No matter what industry or stage of the interviewing process, it’s always wise to prep for your upcoming interview. Here are three tips to help you nail your next interview.

Know your audience

Doing your due diligence on the prospective employer and interviewers is one of the most important things you can do in preparing for your interview. Researching the employer is easy. Do some research through their company website, look at the company history, their mission statement, and any recent news or events. Employers like to see that you know about their company; they also want to know that you’ve taken the time to educate yourself on their operation.

The personnel part can be tricky. You can use sources like LinkedIn or Glassdoor to get a better insight into who you are interviewing with and how the interview will go. Look at their background,  previous companies, and education to see if you can draw any connections or commonalities. Knowing about your interviewers will help relieve some of the pressure and help you interview more confidently.

Questions

Although many of your questions will likely be covered in the interview, it’s important to still ask the interviewers questions regarding the position. This is where knowing your audience comes into play. After you ask all your job-specific and technical questions that are important to you, I recommended asking questions about company culture, obstacles new hires often face, among others. If you need some ideas on what questions you should ask, check out some of these.

We do also recommend not bringing up compensation or benefits during the interview. These questions can often be answered by HR at another time, or if you are working with a recruiter, like one from Johnson Search Group, they can provide that information.

Closing (the fun part!)

Assuming the interview goes well, and you’ve made the determination that you want to work for the employer, it’s time to seal the deal. Now, this can be done in many ways and can be difficult for the interviewee (you) at times. We recommend being very direct, readdressing your interest in the position, and letting them know that you’re ready to move forward.

Illustrate your interest in the position and the company. Let them know you’re excited about the opportunity and ready to jump onboard. Make sure you follow up each interview with a thank you note. Whether it’s a video interview or a face-to-face, be sure to express your gratitude and interest in the position.

I hope some of these interview prep tips will help improve your chances of securing your dream job! Good luck!

why are you leaving your current job

“Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?” Interview Question

why are you leaving your current job

A job interview is a necessary step in your path to a new career. With some insight and study, it’s the perfect place to demonstrate why you’re the right candidate for a job. The questions asked may differ interview to interview and industry to industry, but there are a number of mainstays that are worth brushing up on.

Chances are good that the job you will be interviewing for is not your first job. It’s even more likely that you are currently employed elsewhere, and this interview itself is another step closer to your exit from your current employer. So, don’t be surprised when they ask, “Why are you leaving your current job?” or, “Why did you leave your last role?”

Employers ask this question for several reasons. The entire purpose of the interview is to gauge your skills, but it’s also to get to know you better and gauge your fit at the company. Why you decide to leave can paint a clearer picture of things like what drives you and how you deal with confrontation. They also hope to detect and avoid serial job hoppers, who are becoming increasingly common in this economy and the hot job market.

How Should I Answer?

There are a few answers that are red-flags to a hiring manager. Even if the interview has been great up to this point, a poorly worded answer to this question could be a deal-breaker. The main thing you want to avoid is bad-mouthing your current or past employers. Without knowing you or your situation outside of this interview, it could very well leave a bad taste in the hiring manager’s mouth.

Instead, focus on positives. Does this new position offer better professional growth or opportunities otherwise not available to you in your current role? Does this new company’s mission align more closely with your core beliefs and values? Maybe it’s closer to home? Whatever your answer, make it clear that you’re looking for more in your future, whether that’s growth, challenges, or a supportive team.

For bonus points on this question, think beyond yourself. Employers want team players who will mesh and build their existing company culture. Thinking ahead to how you could make an impact on the team and the company as a whole shows forethought. It will also have the hiring manager picturing you as an employee, which is always a good thing!

Hopefully, you’re a little more prepared to answer why are you leaving your current job in your upcoming interview. And if you need more help prepping for your interview, check out some of our job interview pointers.

soft skills

In Today’s Job Market, Soft Skills Are Just as Valuable as Hard Skills

soft skills

Before you apply to a new job, you’re most likely thinking about the hard skills you have that make you qualified. In other words, the exact experience you’ve had that pertains to this certain position. But do you also think about your soft skills that make you even more valuable?

A job isn’t just about the schooling, experience, and the things you know how to do. It encompasses a lot more than that. Having good personal skills are what makes you a great employee. So, instead of just focusing on your hard skills while looking for a job, here’s how to also quantify your soft skills as being just as valuable.

Stress your soft skills

When it comes to interviews it’s important to remember both your hard skills and soft ones. They make you the employee you are, and companies want to know about them. If you only focus on one or the other, you’ll lose a tremendous opportunity to show your full value and what you can offer to their team.

Stressing your soft skills in today’s job market will help you get the job. Great talent is hard to find. If you have a solid foundation of the hard skills they need, and great soft skills that they want, they’ll want to grab you in a hurry before someone else does. It all comes down to selling yourself and your skills. All of your skills.

You may not have the experience, but you have the foundation

You may have applied for a position where you don’t have all the experience or the background in every part of the job description they’re looking for. But that doesn’t mean you’re not qualified!

Your soft skills can get you over that hurdle, to where the team you’re interviewing with doesn’t focus on your lack of hard skills but realizes your valuable soft skills. Anyone can learn a new skill, especially if they have skills in that field already. Teaching someone soft skills is almost impossible, and if you leverage that, you never know what might happen in your career!

Today’s job Market allows your soft skills to stand out

Companies are struggling to find great candidates to fill their critical roles because there is a talent shortage. The best candidates are the ones with jobs nowadays. Which means companies are having to reach out to those who already have good jobs to see if they’re willing to transition.

So, when they find a candidate who may not have all the experience they’re wanting but has great soft skills, they will jump! No one is wanting to miss out on a great candidate who will help their company grow for something that can be taught. And if you are an employer that does miss out on great candidates, you could suffer by leaving your critical roles vacant.

In the end, use your soft skills to your advantage. Focus on them and try to improve them just like you do with your hard skills. You’ll be surprised to see the impact not only on your current position but your future roles as well.

And remember, if you’re looking to partner with great recruiters, reach out to Johnson Search Group today!

resume mistakes

Resume Mistakes Keeping You from an Interview

resume mistakes

Are you among the thousands of Americans actively searching for a new career, but find yourself on the receiving end of countless automated rejections? You spend hours searching for jobs you would love and are qualified for, but can’t seem to get as much as a conversation, let alone an interview, to make your case. If this is you, chances are your resume is to blame.

A recent study shows that hiring managers review resumes for just 7.4 seconds. This small window of time is all you have to capture a hiring manager’s attention. If your resume isn’t landing you interviews, chances are you’re making one or more of these resume mistakes.

It’s Unclear

Your resume should be short and relevant to the position you are applying for. Finding as many online job openings as possible and mass-sending your resume with hopes of finding a job is time-consuming and often disappointing. Resume mistakes like including unrelated work experiences, inability to connect experiences to the opportunity or large gaps convey uncertainty. Managers want to hire someone with a clear direction and an indication of longevity.

If your resume doesn’t accomplish this, it will instead raise questions. Questions you will often be unable to address because your resume didn’t warrant an interview. As mentioned, with just 7.4 seconds to create interest and showcase value, you don’t want the hiring managers to waste time trying to understand you and your career path.

The Layout

If your resume is unprofessional or distracting, you face an uphill battle to move on to an interview. Cramming too much information is one of many common resume mistakes, as candidates feel that more information is better. But loads of information is hard to process quickly, and managers will often skim resumes, looking for keywords or skills that indicate value. If the manager is unable to accomplish this because your resume resembles more of an essay than a list of skills and experiences, you distract from the value you provide. This will, unfortunately, make it difficult for a manager to recognize your full potential.

Make sure to only include relevant experiences and skills, with spacing between lines and lots of white space. This allows whoever is reading your resume to pull out key pieces of information immediately. Don’t be afraid of the one-page resume myth. Don’t try to cram everything onto one page. If you have years of relevant experience, skills, and certifications, don’t be afraid to expand your resume on two or even three.

The Distribution

The internet and sites like LinkedIn have made applying for jobs easy. Simply find a job posting online you are interested in and submit a cover letter and resume, right? While online resources have made the application process easier, they’ve done so for everyone. That resume you sent in is now one of the hundreds of virtual documents that may as well be in a virtual pile, with no guarantee of actual human eyes gracing your qualifications.

To fight this, focus on real human connection. This can still be done by partnering with a recruiter to find your next position. If you focus on building genuine connections with those around you, you drastically increase your chance of receiving new opportunities; opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. By building these connections, you’ll stand a better chance of getting your resume in front of the right people.

interview

You Got That Interview You Wanted – Now What?

interview

You’ve been applying, and in today’s market, there is no shortage of jobs that could grab your attention. In fact, the latest JOLTS Report announced that 7.6 million job openings were created in January 2019. The company or the recruiter that brought you there has set up an interview with you. What should you do to prepare for the big day?

Here’s how to prep for your interview

I like to look at things in a goals/desired outcome scenario.

What is the goal of applying for a job? To receive an offer, right? To do this, it’s often best to break things down into steps. In most cases, the first interview will be one step and very rarely will you receive an offer after the first interview.

With that said, look at the goal of the first interview as having the purpose of getting to the next one. Do your research on the company, the people you’re meeting with, and be prepared to speak intelligently to the things you know that could make you a fit for the company in the interview.

Make the most of your time

A first interview is often only thirty minutes or an hour at most. Maximize that time by learning what your prospective employer is struggling with, or why they’re looking to fill the role and highlight what you have done in your career that relates to that. With introductions and pleasantries, a portion of your time will be used up.

Make the most of what you have by asking solid questions about what they’re looking for to see if you truly relate. It will make you a stronger candidate in the long-run. Or, may even help you realize that this isn’t the role for you after all.

Good luck! And if you need some help with that first interview, check out some of our guides to a successful interview.

Basketball Isn’t the Only Thing Mad This March

March Madness

Whether you’re a candidate or client, you can relate the job search to the exciting 18-day roller coaster ride of March Madness. It’s inevitable that when you’re applying for a job, you’re trying to win each step or “game” of getting that offer letter.

The more games/steps in the job process you win, the closer you get to the championship round bracket! Companies and candidates are hoping they both can win in the end. And lucky for you, the only difference between March Madness and the craziness of this candidate-driven market is both parties can win at the end of the day! A candidate finds a job and a company finds a great employee. The main thing is though, you want to effectively navigate the madness of this job market so you can reach the championship round! And whether you’re a candidate or an employer, here’s how you can do it.

Make Job Descriptions Concise and Clear

As a company looking to hire a great new employee, one of the most important things you need to do is find them. The way you can do this is by making your job descriptions concise and clear. It will help you find those winning candidates through the madness of this job market. Make sure to focus on what they will do, the fun things about your company, and of course, the experience and skills they need to have.

Only apply for a job you really want

Being a candidate in this market can be overwhelming. Even though it’s good to see what other opportunities are out there, it’s stressful. There are so many jobs to choose from and it can be hard to narrow down what you’re truly looking for when you’re ready to move. But the first step is knowing what you’re looking for in a new job.

Are you wanting more freedom or maybe a company that has an amazing culture? Are you looking for more money or a different location? These all are questions you need to answer before applying. It will help you weed out the jobs you may like but wouldn’t be a great fit for you. Because let’s be honest, you’re moving because you want bigger and better. Don’t bog yourself down by applying for jobs you wouldn’t absolutely love!

And if you’re having a difficult time finding a job that’s a good fit, that’s where a recruiter, like one from JSG, comes into play. We’ll help you match your skills to a position that you will be successful in!

Make your hiring process quick

When it comes to this tight job market, you have to have a quick process! There are tons of different ways you can do that and sometimes relying on a recruiting firm, like Johnson Search Group, can be the biggest money saver and helping hand you could ask for. An efficient process will prevent your bracket of good candidates from busting and not leave them vulnerable to receiving other offers.

Prepare for interviews

As a candidate, you have to be prepared. Just because you may have a lot of job options, it doesn’t mean you want to slack on being ready for an interview. A company doesn’t have to hire you, even if they may need to. They still have a choice but so do you! So take this time to find out information about the company.

What are their reviews like? Do they have cool accolades? Are they involved in community service? All of these things will help you understand a little bit more about what this company does and how they treat their employees. And remember, in an interview, they aren’t just interviewing you, you’re interviewing them as well.

Find the Best Candidate

After you’ve gone through the madness of resume reviews, interviews, and on-site tours, you’ve probably had the opportunity to find a great candidate; the one you want to extend an offer to because you know they will truly be a great fit and add a great amount of value to your organization. This is the fun part; you’ve made it to the championship!

Find the Best Company

After going through the wringer, you’ve made it! You’re now onto the championship with a company you’ve found passion in. The ball is now in your court and if you say yes, you’re ending this game with a slam dunk!

Today’s job market is overwhelming not only for companies but also for candidates. If you’re struggling to find the right people or the right job opportunity, Johnson Search Group would love to give you an assist in hopes of finding you your perfect matchup!

Get an assist from JSG to help you navigate this crazy job market.

The Reasons Why You Probably Didn't Get Hired

The Reasons Why You Probably Didn’t Get Hired

The Reasons Why You Probably Didn't Get Hired

So, you just got off the phone with the business or organization you’d been applying to. The hiring manager explains that the company is going to go in a different direction. You feel your stomach drop and realize that it’s back to the job boards, and your search for a new job continues. It’s easy to become discouraged following this event, especially if it isn’t the first rejection you’ve faced so far.

While it may feel far from it, you did several things right to get this far. Someone reviewed your resume and deemed it impressive enough to follow up with you. You may have passed an initial phone screening to get to the interview itself. But somewhere between the inception of the interview and the phone call you received, the employer decided to go elsewhere. Here are a few possible reasons why.

The Basics

You could have simply messed up in a very basic (and easily fixable) way. Things, like being late to an interview or forgetting to bring required items, will almost always disqualify a candidate. An interview is meant to showcase your strengths, not highlight unpreparedness by leaving your resume at home. You could have missed the mark on the dress code or been unable to answer questions pertinent to working in the industry.

Failing to do your research on a company beforehand is a clear red flag to the hiring manager. They will almost always hire the candidate that is best prepared for the job and is able to prove it in the interview. Your body language could have betrayed you, and your mindless fidgeting you didn’t even notice in the interview told the hiring manager you’d be easily distracted. You could have been perfect throughout, except for a key area that ultimately is the reason you stay job hunting. Talking poorly about a past employer, or even asking about the salary can also prevent you from getting that callback.

Diving Deeper

If you didn’t get hired for one of the reasons listed above, don’t worry because these are easy fixes. We have written tons of articles from what to wear to an interview, to all the things you need to do before it. But, you could have done all the basics right and still not gotten hired. Sometimes, hiring managers can dive deep into our resumes, applications, and interviews and find something that prevents them from hiring you.

Ensure that all public social media profiles are professional, whether that be reviewing tagged photos or reading through old posts. Depending on your background, experience, and resume, a hiring manager may make inferences about your desired career and future. If you have gaps in your resume or have been employed multiple places in a short amount of time, be prepared to provide a further explanation during the interview.

At the end of the day, keep your head up, review the basics, and do your homework. If you steer clear from the mistakes outlined above, you’ll nail that next interview and get hired in no time!

Value during an Interview

Value – How to Demonstrate Your Value During an Interview

Value during an Interview

The interview is your chance to shine. And to make sure you hit it out of the park, there are a few things you need to focus on. You need confidence, experience, and you must bring value during an interview. However, you can demonstrate your value in different ways. And it can be the one thing you do that leaves the interviewers with a good lasting impression on why they should hire you.

Share Your Experience

Why will you be valuable? If you answer this question without having to be asked, you hit a point that is pertinent to why you’re there in the first place. They are not just looking for someone to fill an empty role. They’re looking for someone to bring value to their team and help them accomplish the things they need to accomplish. If you can show how your experience will get that done for them, your value will shine.

Ask questions

Ask questions about what they’re wanting you to accomplish if you receive this role. Make it about them and their needs and explain how you can accomplish that. Remembering that an interview is a two-way street to see if the job is also a fit for you and your abilities is important. In this job market, you have plenty of opportunities, so make sure you get down to what they are looking for and if you really can accomplish that for them, is important.

The best part about asking questions is you take the interview from a nervous/serious time to a more comfortable, friendly environment. And everyone will enjoy that.

Culture Fit

You can show a tremendous amount of value if you prove that you would fit great with their culture. Nowadays, there are a lot of different working environments. Some that are great and some that are terrible. But depending on your working style you can be just fine in either. It just matters to you if you mesh well. And this is also a very valuable thing to companies. No matter their reputation, they are always trying to bring in good people that will help improve the culture. And if you can show that you’re that person, it will only help you.

Independent

Being an independent worker is something that a lot of companies are looking for. They want to know that you don’t need to be micromanaged to get your work done. They want to know that you have enough self-discipline to meet deadlines without needing constant help or oversight. Explain how you like to work and point out your independent tendencies.

If you can demonstrate your value during a job interview, you will definitely make a lasting impression on the interviewers. If you need more help preparing for your upcoming interview, we have tons of resources to help you nail that interview and land the job. Good luck!