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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!

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.

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.

3 Common Traits of Candidates Who Get Hired

get hired

A little background. I recruit exclusively in Mining and Heavy Industrial; however, we have two other divisions at JSG: Healthcare and Finance & Banking. Although we work in different industries, we spend a lot of time collaborating. Each of us makes hundreds of phone calls a week and share both pain points and success stories. One thing that seems to be a commonality, regardless of the industry, are certain traits we often see in candidates who get hired. Here are three of the most common traits of those candidates who get hired.

Clear communication

The first and most important trait of candidates who receive an offer is clear communication. Communication is especially essential at the beginning of the process. Keeping recruiters and the client in the loop on your current working situation and other interviews is important. This insight helps let me know what to tell the client; things like knowing your availability helps me communicate with the clients and schedule interviews at a time convenient for both of you.

Unfortunately, the main reason we see deals fall apart is not based on skill set or experience. It’s the lack of communication and ability to connect with hiring managers. If you cannot exercise clear communication throughout the entire hiring process, it will hurt your chances of receiving an offer.

Due diligence and preparation

If a recruiter is doing their job properly, the candidates they submit will have the clients’ desired skill sets. What separates equally qualified candidates is the candidates who take the time to research the company and location prior to the interview. I have seen numerous candidates qualified on paper try to just “wing” the interview. This usually yields poor results.

Employers want to know you have taken the time to look into the organization, programs they offer, their company culture, and the community.

Being humble

Across the board, at all levels of positions, the candidates we see receiving job offers are the candidates that have a sense of humility. I have worked with arrogant candidates from laborers to CEOs. Having the mindset that you’re the best in the business (even if you are) rarely works out for the candidate. Companies want a talented individual that wants to come work for their organization and are willing to take the necessary steps to learn from the people currently doing it.

I have had candidates blow interviews because their interviewer was younger than them and they didn’t deem that appropriate.  At the end of the day, no matter how qualified you are, if the interviewers can’t develop some rapport with you, chances are the client will move on.

If you’re on the job market and need help finding your next position, let’s have a conversation. I will help you throughout the hiring process and ensure you are prepared to impress your interviewers.

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 cues 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!