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unemployment

Unemployment: How to Address A Lapse in Your Work History

unemployment

Whether you’re currently unemployed and looking for a new opportunity or you have a gap in your work history on your resume, this can be a tough topic to navigate. If you have a lapse in your work history, you will likely be asked about it during your job interview. However, how you respond to this topic will make or break your chances of nailing the interview. Here’s how to discuss this issue if it comes up.

Come prepared with an answer

First of all, if you find yourself in this situation, prepare an answer ahead of time. The interviewers will likely notice if you have a lapse in your resume. Especially if it’s a significant gap. If it’s only a few weeks or a month, the question probably won’t even come up. However, if you were out of work for several months at a time, it will likely raise some red flags.

But don’t panic! If you find yourself in this boat, take a few minutes to prepare your answer beforehand so you can answer it briefly and move on to the next question.

Keep it positive

Regardless of why you were/are unemployed, keep your answer positive. If you were laid off or fired, don’t start badmouthing your previous employer. That never reflects well on you. Instead, try to keep it positive. If you talk poorly about a past employer, what will you say about the organization interviewing you for their open position?

And if it was a voluntary unemployment, the hiring manager will wonder why you left. Again, keep it positive. Did you take a break to focus on your health? Did you use your time off of work to hone a new skill or earn a certification? By focusing on the positive, you will reassure the interviewers that you’re a strong candidate and won’t bring any drama to the company.

Less is more

This is probably the most important point. The more information you offer, the bigger the hole you may be digging for yourself. Don’t sit there and blather on. Instead, keep your answer short and sweet. Answer the question concisely, positively, and spare any details that aren’t necessary. It can be easy to simply keep offering up unnecessary information to try and justify your absence from the workforce.

Nonetheless, if you come prepared and follow the advice outlined above, the interviewers will likely move on to the next question without putting you through the wringer.

body language

Avoid These 4 Body Language Blunders to Nail the Interview

body language

Congratulations! You’ve landed a job interview at a company you’ve been prospecting for a while now. You’ve done a great deal of due-diligence on how to convey your skill-sets and why you’d be a great fit for their organization. You’re a great communicator and extremely confident in your ability to land this job. But, what would your body language say? What if I told you that what you said didn’t matter as much as what your body language had to say? In fact, 93% of the way we communicate has nothing to do with words.

Let’s take a look at the different ways our body language can make or break the interview.

Handshake

Besides your resume, this is going to be the first impression the interviewer gets of you as a professional. Make sure to land the perfect handshake and set the tone for the interview. This can be done by being the first to reach out, make eye contact, have palm-to-palm contact and give a firm grip. But not too firm! Always shake hands at the end of the interview too!

Eye contact

Anyone who knows standard etiquette understands it’s polite to look people in the eyes when you’re spoken to or speaking to someone. However, you need to find a balance so you don’t seem like you’re staring or no making eye contact at all. This can come across as you being disinterested or inattentive. Eye contact is essential, especially when you’re meeting someone for the first time. If you’re interviewing with more than one person, you need to sort of “entertain” everyone with a little bit of eye contact. This can be achieved by slowly scanning the room as you answer the questions completely and concisely.

Posture

Sit up straight with shoulders back, facing straight ahead towards the interviewer(s). You will naturally exude confidence and it encourages direct eye contact. Slouching during an interview can be easy and not as noticeable as you think, especially if the chair has arms. Leaning from side to side can come across as a lack of confidence or that you’re nervous. It’s best to place both feet on the floor but if you must cross your legs, do so at the ankles. Crossing your legs with your ankle over the knee comes across as too casual.

According to Patti Wood, a body language expert, there’s actual science behind keeping your feet planted on the ground. “It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to answer highly complex questions unless both of your feet are on the ground,” Wood says. “It has to do with being able to go back and forth easily between the limbic reptilian brain to the neocortex brain.” So to help you nail those tough interview questions, keep those feet on the ground and sit up straight!

Hands

There are a few different points to talk about in relation to your hands. In general, it’s okay to use hand gestures if they’re not belligerent or distracting. Use hand gestures as a natural way to get your point across. Make sure you watch what you’re doing with your hands. For women, be careful not to play with your hair. This can be a sign of immaturity or unprofessional. Try not to be fidgety by moving in your seat or biting your nails. As much as you can, keep your hands folded in your lap.

There are so many more subtle but important body language queues we can give off without even knowing it. Let this short list be a guide as best practices for a few of the major mistakes interviewees use. Good luck!

interview mistakes

5 Things That Will Spook Your Interviewers

interview mistakes

The last thing you want to do this Halloween is to scare the people who could be giving you your next big career move! So, if you’re a little rusty on the interviewing techniques and want to avoid the “spook factor,” try not to do these five scary interview mistakes.

Being Late

If there is one thing that will scare off a future employer, it’s tardiness. An interview is your first opportunity to give an impression about who you are and how you can help their company. The last thing you want to do is spook them into thinking you’re not the right person all because you show up late.

The best rule of thumb is if you’re 15 minutes early you’re on time, but if you’re on time, you’re late. This will keep you planning and help you to not be late.

Not Being Prepared

If you show up not prepared to answer questions, don’t have extra resumes, or just don’t seem prepared or look like you’re not interested… You’re going to spook all of those interviewing you. Being prepared to answer questions and everything else shows you’re interested! And trust me, if you want this job, you need to show you’re excited about it!

Being Distracting

When you fidget, can’t keep eye contact, and are just overall distracting, you’re going to lose the interest of those interviewing you. They will think you’re not someone who can be kept on track. Or that you will always be in your own little world, not paying attention to your job.

To keep yourself from being too nervous, make sure to practice answering questions. You can also read some of our helpful tips and tricks to help you prepare for an interview. These may seem like little things, but truthfully, they will help keep you calm and feel more prepared. This way you will be confident and prepared, not nervous and distracting.

Not Dressing Appropriately

There’s a time and place to dress as you please. But for an interview, dressing modestly and professional will always be your safest and best bet! Dressing for an interview can be stressful… I always think about “what if I’m too dressed up?”

But that’s honestly the last thing I should be worried about. Because I don’t think anyone will doc me, or you, points for being dressed “too” professional compared to underdressing. And I think we all know that!

Not asking questions

When you don’t have questions prepared, it makes you look like you’re not that interested in the position. If you really want this job, take this opportunity to see if this company is a good fit for you! Sometimes we forget that an interview isn’t just for the company; it’s for us as well. If we don’t think they are a good fit culturally, no matter how much we like the job, we won’t be happy there. And since you’re currently on the job search, I would assume you’re looking for a company AND job you enjoy, right?

So, don’t cut yourself short. Have questions that you’re really interested in knowing about. Like how the company works. What the culture is like. How will you be able to make a difference in the organization? Things like this will give you a better understanding and will impress those who are interviewing you.

Interviews can be scary, and terribly nerve racking! But if you’re not wanting to spook those interviewing you because you really want the job… Following these tips will help you!

job interview

Interview: How to Stand Out from the Competition

job interview

With an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent for the month of September, the job market is blazing hot. as a candidate, you have options (and lots of them)! And even if you are happily employed, it’s hard not to be curious about what’s out there in today’s job market.

If you find yourself applying for a job and securing a job interview, here’s what you need to do to nail it and lock down that you’ve been working to achieve.

Do your research

Hopefully, you did some research before you submitted your application, so you can tailor your resume to the position. However, if you didn’t, now is the time to sit down and spend a few minutes doing some due diligence.

Get on Google and do some quick searches on the company and the hiring manager. Be sure to check out their website and social media. Both are a great resource for looking up awards, recent press releases or product launches, and community involvement. All of these are great talking points during an interview and will demonstrate to the hiring manager that you did your homework.

Dress to impress

This cheesy motto is true. If you are not dressed appropriately for your interview, it will definitely leave the wrong impression. Now, I am not saying you need to wear a suit and a tie, but you must dress appropriately for the organization and position you’re are applying for.

For example, if it’s an office job, business casual is probably the way to go. If you are underdressed for the occasion, you will quickly find yourself at the bottom of the list of candidates.

Good body language

Body language is key. If you are sitting in your chair slouching with your arms resting on the table, you’ll have a hard time impressing the hiring manager. If your body language doesn’t illustrate your excitement, it will give the wrong impression. So, sit up straight, throw on your best smile, and make great eye contact. By being more engaging throughout your interview, it will do wonders.

Ask thought-provoking questions

This is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. If you come prepared with a couple of thought-provoking questions, it will leave a lasting impression on the interviewers. This is where your research can come into play. If you fail to ask a serious question, it may appear that you’re not all that interested in the position.

By asking good questions, it illustrates to the interviewers that you are taking this opportunity seriously and that you truly want the job. This is where you’ll get the hiring manager excited about you as a candidate and make them want to extend an offer to you.

Write a killer thank you

This is key. If you don’t write a fantastic thank you note, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Even if you had an outstanding interview, if you don’t write a thoughtful thank you note, you may ruin your chances of getting a callback.

I always recommend jotting down some notes during your interview, so you can:

  1. Remember everyone you are interviewing with. This is pertinent in a panel interview when there is an entire group of people you’re meeting with.
  2. Write down some interesting things you talked about throughout the interview.

It’s always good to try and send a thank you to everyone you met within your interview. It’s essential to customize your thank you message for each person. If you wrote down some notes during your interview, this should be easy. And remember, the sooner the better! But don’t wait until the next day to send it. Chances are, they have more interviewers lined up after you. You want to stay at the top of their list, and a thoughtful thank you note will definitely help!

It’s a crazy job market and competition is heating up. Follow these five steps and you will definitely make a lasting impression and land that dream job! Good luck!

The Worst Career Advice You Can Take, banking, finance, candidate, career help, career advice, career, Johnson Search Group,

Ghosting an Interview May Haunt You in the Future

Ghosting an Interview

Congratulations! You’ve landed the interview with a prospective employer. You should be excited, right? Typically, after nabbing that interview, nerves can start to settle in, assumptions about the position or company can get in the way, and ultimately, you skip the interview. This is a BAD idea.

As a recruiter, I am lucky enough to have a pretty good relationship with most of the candidates that I work with. We’re able to have transparent conversations about red flags, hesitations, or cold feet. Ghosting a recruiter or a company for an interview can not only prevent you from getting hired but can also hurt your career in the future. Here are a few reasons why you should never ghost an employer for an interview.

You Never Know Who You Will Meet

You never know who might be interviewing you. What if down the road you apply to another company, but the person set to interview you for your dream job is that person that you ghosted months or even years before?

You’ll most likely not receive an offer for the job. And leaving the interview feeling defeated as well as wondering why no one warned you about ghosting before. Well, here’s your warning! Trust me, people will remember you.

No Second Chances

You will probably never be considered again for another opportunity with that employer. And yes, I have had this happen in the past with one of my candidates. I found a great candidate for an opportunity that I was working on. After I had submitted her to my client, I got a message back saying that they do not wish to move forward with her because a year prior, she didn’t show up for her interview.

She didn’t even email or call. Companies log notes in their applicant tracking systems with your name and /or resume. When applying for a job with that same company in the future, they will search for you in their system and will have documentation of how you bailed on them in the past.

It’s Wasting People’s Time

It’s rude and wastes people’s time. You’re leaving someone to wonder if something bad happened to you or if you’re just running late. They’re taking time out of their busy schedule to speak with you and you’re inconsiderate of their time.

When it comes to filling critical positions, they just want to fill it with a candidate that cares and is going to be a good fit. But once you start wasting people’s time, that’s when you leave yourself up for vulnerability because remember, the world is small. Especially, in certain career fields or industries.

These are just a few reasons why you should never ghost a prospective employer for an interview. Your reputation is on the line and being careless about communication can come back to bite you in the future.

interview question

Stumped On An Interview Question? Here’s How to Tackle It

interview question

You’re ready to advance your career and send out your resume. Great! You get a call from one of the companies wanting to talk to you. You are excited but whoa, you haven’t had a job interview in while. The panic starts to set in. You start thinking, “What do I do if they ask me a question I do not know how to answer?”

The thought of not being able to answer any interview question is scary. Sure, you don’t want to be embarrassed by sitting there stumped in the interview. Here are a couple of tips to help to prepare yourself for your next interview.

Don’t panic and stay calm

If you start freaking out, your heart will start to race and your blood pressure will rise.  Once you start a stress response, you may not be thinking clearly. Maintaining a calm and confident posture may help convince the recruiter that your inability to answer is an unusual occurrence for you. Take a deep breath and answer the question to the best of your ability.

Ask for clarification

It’s possible that you didn’t understand the question. Ask them to clarify the question in hopes of them providing more details to help you answer confidentially. By the time they clarified the question, you may have had enough time to develop a response.

Don’t make up the answer or say “I don’t know”

If you make up the answer, your interview may see right through it. Take your time and acknowledge the question that was asked. Say something as simple as “That’s a great question. Let me think about that.” Saying something like this will create a natural filler to avoid any empty airspace and awkward silence. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts and make sure you don’t blurt out something that may be incorrect.

If you do not know the answer, be honest

Sometimes questions are posed to catch you off guard, not to embarrass you. Interviewers want to see your thought process, even if you don’t know how to exactly answer the question. If you do have some knowledge of the question, redirect to an area or skill that is close and tell them what you do know. By restating the question out loud, the wheels may start turning and you’ll have a better chance at providing an answer that the interviewers are looking for.

Still Stumped?

Turn it into a positive spin and tell them “That’s a great question. I don’t have the answer for you right now, but I will be thinking about it after the interview and will do some research to learn more about this topic.” Also, tell them what other steps you would take to figure out the answer.  They may just want to see your thought process and if you have the initiative and resources to find the answer. This will also show them that you are eager to learn more, persistent, and you’re honest.

Send a follow-up email to the hiring manager after you’ve done your research by the end of the day and it may give you a second chance to impress the hiring manager. Talk about the answer that you were stumped on by starting with something like “After completing thinking about the question and doing a little research on the issue, this is how I would approach the solution.”

Do your due diligence on the company and the people you will be interviewing with. And remember, practice makes perfect! Good luck!

Failures

Failures: How to Address Your Failures in Your Interview

FailuresWhen you think of failures you probably assume they are a negative thing to discuss, right? Well, when it comes to interviews discussing your failures, it’s all how you frame them! And here’s how you can address them in a way that puts your best foot forward.

Questions focusing on failure

When in an interview you’re normally a little nervous about what kind of questions they’re going to ask. But, if you prepare, it will be a lot easier. You can almost always count on a question about a past failure to be asked during an interview. Whether that’s, “why did you get fired?” “Why did you leave your last job?” Or “tell us about a failure?” You will need to be prepared to answer them honestly.

These questions help the employer get to know who you are and how you react to hard times. A failure can be looked at as a negative, but potential employers want to see how you have let your failures help you grow and become a better employee. It’s not just about the failure; it’s about how it helped you in the long run.

How to spin failures into achievements

When you answer these questions about your failures, take your time. Make sure that you’re thinking about what you learned, not how you felt. Because no one likes failure… But it’s what you take away from it that can make you either successful or not.

And in a job interview, you want to show that you’ve grown and become more successful because of your failures. If you spin your failures into achievements, such as a better job, a better outlook, becoming more successful, or anything that shows you’ve accomplished something due to failure, demonstrates that you’re adaptable and very hirable. Which of course, is what you want hiring manager’s to see you as.

Why talking about failures can help you land the job

When you get asked failure questions in an interview, it can be a moment where you show the interviewers you’re the perfect fit for the position. Your outlook on different complications is a huge soft skill that can either kill your chances of getting the job or get your hired. If you have a positive and optimistic outlook, as well as take responsibility for your faults, it shows them you can work well in any environment.

If you’re able, to be honest, and open about your faults, it will 100 percent help you land your dream job.

Failure questions will always be an important part of the interview process, and if you follow these tips it will help you be more prepared to rock these questions! And in turn, will show the prospective company you’re ready to fill their new position.

Details: Why the Little Things Matter in the Job Process

Paying attention to details can make or break your chances of landing the position you’re applying for. So, making sure you’re detail-oriented during this process is super important. With these tips, we will help you learn how to show hiring managers you’re a great fit for their open position.

Tailor your resume and application

When applying for jobs, especially when you are desperately in need of one, you sometimes forget about the importance of making things unique. And this is a detail mistake everyone has made before. But now, it’s time to learn how paying attention to the small things will make a world of difference.

Tailoring your resume and application for every position you’re applying for will help managers see and want to look over your application. While these changes may seem like small unimportant details, they could be the difference between you landing the job or never being seen in the first place. We all sometimes forget how important the small things can be to achieving our goals.

And when it comes to applying for jobs, you need to ensure you’re paying attention and putting your best effort into everything you submit. Because your end goal is landing the job.

Do your Homework on the Company

This should just be common sense… But you can’t just skim over this part of the interview process. You will be asked questions about the company, and they won’t all be easy. If anything, they will be difficult because they want to ensure you’re a good company fit, but also that you care enough to ensure you did your research.

Taking the time to look over every detail of the company will help you tremendously. Like looking up recent awards they have won, who their CEO is, how their company culture is, all of these will prove you mean business and it will help you know if this is the right company for you, too.

Dress for Success

We always get a lot of questions about how you should dress for an interview. And the answer is, always dress for success. Being more dressed up is always better than being too dressed down. You look more professional and it shows your intentions. It proves that you’re wanting to give a good impression and that you really want the job.

Dressing up for interviews is simple: wear something you feel confident in that also makes you look professional. Short skirts or jeans probably aren’t the best route to go… But a nice dress with a blazer, or slacks, a button up shirt and tie, really show your initiative.

Send Thank You Notes

If there is one detail that many people always forget it’s this one. Sending thank you notes is an interview changer. And it can really set you apart from other candidates. Especially, if you all have a lot of the same great credentials. So, make sure that you help yourself stand out!

Do your due diligence after the interview and send each individual you met with a thank you note. Make sure you make them unique and thank them for something they specifically did in the interview or interview process. If you don’t have their emails you can always send a hand-written note to their office.

Paying attention to this detail will help you land that job because you went out of your way to thank those for their time, individually. It helps show what kind of person you are and again, reiterates how much you’d love the opportunity to work with them and their company.

Remembering that details are important during the job-hunting process will get you hired. And if you keep that in mind every time your prospecting for new positions you’ll have a lot more offers to choose from!

culture fit

How To Show You’re A Culture Fit During An Interview

culture fit

It’s no secret that employers are placing an emphasis on hiring for culture fit. Many companies emphasize the culture fit over hard skills, and they are looking for people to add value to their current teams. Because it’s so important, you must prepare to clearly demonstrate your culture fit during the interview. Focus on these 4 things and your personality will shine through.

Do Your Research

Before you can show you’re a culture fit for a company, you first need to understand what their culture is! Before your interview, explore their website. Find their mission statement, and try to get a feel for how they do business. Look at their social media to pick up hints about their dress code, and the general personality of the office. Still feeling unsure? Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter if there’s anything you should know about the company culture! The fact that you’re asking demonstrates your interest in truly understanding the company and team.

Be Yourself

For a long time, it was believed that you should be strictly professional during an interview (read: a robot). Luckily, Hiring Manager’s are moving beyond that and they want to know about who you are as a whole person, not just an employee. Show your enthusiasm, discuss aspects of the job that you’re most passionate about, and throw in a few relatable tidbits.

Show Off Your Soft Skills

Companies want to know that you will fit in with the existing team, so personality traits such as self-motivation, teamwork, and a positive attitude are high on their “must-have” list. To learn more about how to highlight your soft skills during an interview, hop over to our blog post here.

Relate To Your Interviewer

While you’re doing your pre-interview research, check out the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and look for commonalities. Did you go to the same school? Did you both work retail jobs early in your career? Maybe you even have a few connections in common. If you can relate to the employer on a personal level, it will leave an impression that lasts long after you’ve walked out the door.

interview process

Things Never to Do Within the Interview Process

interview process

You’re excited. They called you back for an interview. Finally, the opportunity you have gone to school for, the opportunity you were born for. The first step has been completed, and I’m here to provide several tips that I hope all candidates utilize throughout their interview process. The first moments after being notified by a hiring manager, a member of the HR team, or a recruiter like myself are the most critical when it comes to locking down your position with your dream company.

Here are things you need to avoid during the interview process if you want to land the job.

Pre-interview

  1. Don’t reschedule the interview. If you cannot show the company you are reliable enough to make the first step with them a priority, how can they trust you with day to day tasks? They can’t.
  2. Never assume the entirety of product and services that the company sell/offers/markets. Understanding what makes the company go is critical. Understanding what your role is in the process, even more so.
  3. Avoid connecting with all of the employees on LinkedIn. Coming off too strong and assumptive can raise red flags for employers.

During the interview

  1. Don’t assume that because your BFF works for the company that you’re as good as hired. Don’t rest on the fact that you know someone that works within the institution.
  2. Even if it is a casual interview (ie. Coffee, lunch, or any casual setting) make yourself accountable and professional. Always assume that you don’t have the job and you haven’t done enough to guarantee a position.
  3. Try not to rely too much on past work history. The company is interested in where you have come from and what accolades you have earned, but they are more interested in what accolades you are going to earn with/for them.

Post-interview

  1. Fail to follow up and thank all parties involved with your interview.
  2. Start sharing with your network that you believe you killed it (regardless of how well you actually did). Words can get back to anyone, and you don’t want the company hearing that you’ve gone and hired yourself.
  3. Please, never quit your current job (if applicable). even if they verbally offer you the job on the spot, never quit your current position until you’ve signed the offer letter.

If you manage to avoid all of these landmines, you’ll be setting yourself up for interview success. Good luck!