Posts

interview

4 Things You Must Look at Before Every Interview

You’ve heard the news and seen all of the stats. The job market is holding firm as we prepare to round out the 4th Quarter of 2019. Many of you might be trying to take advantage of the 3.6 percent unemployment rate and start the new year with a fresh job opportunity. However, if it’s been a while since you were last a job seeker, it can be overwhelming when you do your due diligence before an interview. If you’re thinking of making a change, here are four things you must do before every interview.

Check out their website

Before an interview, the first thing you want to do is take a look at the company’s website. Check out their “about” page; see if they have a mission or vision statement. Many companies do a fantastic job providing insight into their passion and what it’s like to work for them. Check out their blog or news resources to see if they have anything on there that can give you some insight into what they do and why they do it.

During an interview, one of the first questions they’ll likely ask you is, “What do you know about our company?” A quick search on their site will help you start the interview off on the right foot!

Social Media

Another place you need to head to before an interview is the company’s social media. You should be able to easily find links to all their social media platforms on their website. Take a quick look at each of them as the content may differ from site to site. A prospective company’s social media is a great way to get insight into their company culture to see if the opportunity is the right fit for you. It’s also an easy way to find any recent updates, events, or product launches, all of which might be good talking points in your interview!

Reviews

If you want to get an unbiased opinion of a prospective employer, check out their reviews online. You can find reviews on Facebook, Google, and best of all, Glassdoor. These sites provide insight into both the interviewing process and what it’s like to work there. Current and former employees write these reviews, so they will give you a decent understanding of what you can expect before you even step foot into the building.

Prepare accordingly

Last but not least, you must review all the necessary material to prepare yourself! This includes the job description, your resume, and any instructions given to you by HR or the hiring manager. You don’t want to have any surprises during your interview by forgetting what the job is or what you told them on your resume. Believe it or not, it can be easy to forget every single detail on the job description or your resume. The best thing to do is review them before the night before, so they’re fresh on your mind.

If you want to take a look at more of our helpful interviewing advice and tips, check out our blog!

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.

things your should bring to your interview

5 Things You Should Bring To Your Interview

When you have a job interview, you want to show up prepared. However, you don’t need to bring so much stuff that you’re overwhelmed! Here are the five essential things you should bring to your next interview.

A Great Attitude

We know it’s cheesy, but if you bring only one thing to an interview – let it be a great attitude! Go into it with an open mind, and it can make all the difference. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you, because it can majorly affect how you perform during the interview. Take this opportunity to present your best self!

Copies Of Your Resume

No matter how many people you are meeting with, it’s always a good idea to bring extra copies of your resume. You never know if someone else might spontaneously join you, or if you’ll end up meeting other members of the team. If you submitted a cover letter or portfolio, bring those as well. The more information you can leave your interviewers with, the better!

Pen & Notebook

Whether or not you want to take notes throughout the interview, it’s still a great idea to have a pen and notebook with you. The interviewer may provide you with essential details you want to jot down, like their email address, a timeline for the next steps, or additional information they would like you to send. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard and have to ask to borrow a pen and paper, or even worse, try to remember off the top of your head later!

A List Of Questions

You should come to the interview armed with a few great questions you can ask. (These are some of our favorites!) Be sure to come up with a couple questions that are specific to the company, team, or position. We also encourage you to come up with some during the interview that reference conversations you’ve had throughout. Take the opportunity to show off your excellent listening skills while simultaneously learning more about the position!

References

No, you shouldn’t have your references listed on your resume. You should, however, have them ready and available at your interview. That way, if the hiring manager asks for them on the spot, you’ll have all of their information on hand. (And of course, you will have already informed them that they may be receiving a call, right?)

Looking for more interview prep tips? Check out our interviewing blog section, or partner with one of our recruiters to find your next position!

The Best Way to Take Time Off For Interviews

The Best Way To Take Time Off For Interviews

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you know that now is a wonderful time to put yourself on the job market. There are tons of great opportunities out there, and companies are looking to hire quickly! The market is so great, in fact, that you may find yourself juggling multiple interviews at a time for a few different positions. This can be a bit of a burden to your schedule if you are currently employed. Even though you are on the hunt for your next step, you don’t necessarily want to destroy your relationship with your current employer. There are a couple of different ways you can respectfully take time to interview while maintaining a reliable reputation.

Schedule your interview for off-hours

This method is undoubtedly preferred as you don’t have to make excuses for taking time off. However, it is not always possible to coordinate with a potential employer’s schedule. If you have a flexible working schedule, try to incorporate a time that will work for both of you. This may be before or after your typical working hours, or even during a lunch hour. Some less traditional employers (healthcare facilities, for example) can even accommodate weekend or evening interviews depending on when the hiring manager is in the office.

Use your paid time off (PTO)

This is the most common way to schedule time for interviews. We can all agree that it never feels good to flat out lie to your current employers about where you’re going. That’s why it is our recommendation to be as vague as possible. If you can request time off for “an appointment,” you give a valid excuse without being deceitful.

If you go this route, we do recommend trying to schedule your interview at the end of your workday, or better yet, take the whole day off. The more time you have to prepare ahead of your interview, the better. It’s also preferred not to have to go back to your current job after interviewing. That way, you can take the time to write a thoughtful thank you note, and you can typically dodge any questions about where you were.

Partner with a recruiter

One of the significant advantages of partnering with a recruiting firm to find your next position? Having someone on your side to help with scheduling! Recruiting firms are often working directly with the hiring manager and have the ability to schedule interviews based on what works best for both candidates and the companies they work with. Ready to start your search for the next big step? Contact us today!

How To Follow-Up During Your Job Search

How To Follow-Up During Your Job Search

When you’re on the hunt for your next opportunity, it can be trying waiting to hear back throughout the hiring process. You want to know what’s going on, but you don’t want to seem overly eager. There are ways you can follow-up that will be appropriate no matter how far along in the process you are, just follow our lead!

After Meeting Someone At A Networking Event

One of the best ways to follow up with someone after meeting them at an event is by sending a personalized LinkedIn invitation. Be sure to give context to the invite by including where you met them and any details you may have discussed.

Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name],

It was so nice meeting you at the [Event Name] yesterday. I really enjoyed getting to know you and learning more about your team. After speaking with you, I believe my experience and passion would make me an excellent fit for [Company Name]. I would love to talk further about joining the team at [Company Name], and I look forward to connecting with you!

Thank you!

[Your Name]

After You’ve Submitted An Application

Already applied to a job and have yet to hear anything? First things first, be patient. Recheck the job description to see if there is a time frame for applications listed. Sometimes, hiring managers won’t even review resumes until the application deadline has passed. If there isn’t a time frame included, and you feel it’s been a reasonable amount of time (we’d recommend about a week), send a quick follow-up email to the HR team. We love this template featured over on The Muse:

Subject: Following Up on [Position Title] Application

Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name],

 I know how busy you probably are, but I recently applied to the [position title] position and wanted to check in on your decision timeline. I am excited about the opportunity to join [company name] and help [bring in new clients/develop world-class content/anything else awesome you would be doing] with your team.

Please let me know if it would be helpful for me to provide any additional information as you move on to the next stage in the hiring process.

I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your Name]

After An Interview

Once you’ve had an interview, you have established a relationship with this company. Hopefully, during the interview, you asked about the next steps and were given a general timeline for their decision. If that timeline has officially gone out the window, it is perfectly acceptable to send a quick follow-up email.

Subject: Following Up On [Position Title] With [Company Name]

Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name],

We met last month regarding the [Position Title] role at [Company Name]. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and am really excited about the opportunity to join the team. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information as you make your hiring decision.

I look forward to hearing from you!

[Your Name]

The key to following up during your job search is to keep it polite and concise. Make sure you read and remember all of the details of the position (especially timelines) so that you abide by their directions. And unless you have been invited to contact the Hiring Manager by phone, we recommend you stick with email!

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!