Phone Conversation – Interview Phone Screen Tips (the basics)

Interview Phone Conversation – Phone Screen Tips (the basics) – This is a conglomeration of the great tips.

  • The phone screen or phone conversation is often time the first step in the interview process.
  • Be on a landline vs. cell phone (if possible) – phone clarity always helps.
  • Don’t be in a room where the radio or TV is on, dogs barking, kids clamoring etc.
  • Don’t smoke during the interview or open cans or bottles.
  • Have your resume in front of you as well as the job description and maybe the client webpage/info.
  • Try and find out who your audience is (who you’re talking to and what to focus on).
  • Research and understand what the company does and why you would want to work there. Be able to state some reasons what’s important to you about them.
  • Know your employment history. Business or personal answers should be no more than 30 to 45 seconds or less for each role you made a move. Be able to clearly, concisely  and succinctly communicate why you left each company.
  • Be prepared to talk about each of your positions 1) what were your specific responsibilities 2) what tools/technology you utilized 3) the scope of the project 4) the size of the environment.
  • Smile and have energy – it makes you more likable and also makes you appear more confident.
  • Volunteer verbally that you have done some research on the company & compliment when appropriate.
  • Take some notes during the interview.  You may want to refer back to them at the end of the phone call.
  • Have intelligent questions prepared and written down on paper.  Don’t try to go by memory.
  • After you ask your question stop talking and listen well.
  •  Do not ask about hours, salary, benefits, flex time or work at home options.
  • Don’t take any calls or put the employer on hold – any interruptions will hurt the conversation.
  • If you don’t reach the employer at the designated time slot leave a message with your phone number.
  • Then be there to answer the phone and call them back in 15 minutes if you don’t hear from them.
  • Remember interruptions or delays on both sides are inevitable not personal. Things just happen.
  • Find out as early as possible “what are the 3 most important things” they’re looking for.
  • Avoid giving your opinion on anything (technology, politics, religion) unrelated to your interview.
  • Do not communicate anything negative (past bosses, co-workers, family) ever during the conversation.
  • At the end of your conversation let them know that you’re interested and qualified and why.
  • Mirror & model the person you’re speaking with.  You may need to speed up if they are talking fast and/or slow down if they are talking slower.  People like to interview people who speak just like them.
  • Be short, sweet and specific with your answers.
  • If you don’t understand a question please ask them to clarify the question. Don’t guess or assume.
  • Finish the phone conversation with as much energy as you started with.
  • Do not send a follow-up thank you letter until you have forwarded it to me first.
  • Master-phone-interview-tips
  • Top Ten Interview Questions – You tube

Good Luck and let me know if you have any questions?

Feel free to pass on.

Paul

President
312.925.1294
paul@paulmayassociates.com 

 

Interview Tips from Paul May Associates

Interview Tips from Paul May Associates – A conglomeration of excellent tips I’ve found over the years.

There are thousands of pieces of information regarding interviewing. So many in fact, it will make your head spin. Just remember, the overall key is to be yourself and see if the role you’re interviewing for is a good match for the direction you’re looking to move with your career and personal life.

The most skillful play is to position yourself in the best possible light in case you want to advance.   It is better to get the nod to move forward  and turn them down, than for you to want to move forward and not get the chance.

Asking questions in order to build a bridge between their needs and your skills is the best approach.  What do they want this role to accomplish?  What do they need to have happen? What are their day to day challenges?——> Then position yourself closely in relation to their needs.

We’ve tried to pull some of the best information together for you, as a reminder,  and some of these points may bring a new spark to your repertoire. Don’t forget to view some videos and do some practice interview questions with your phone.

Success with interviews are a mixture of knowing yourself and what you bring to the table and your ability to articulate that information to the interviewer. Be well informed and Good luck.

Articles included:

  • PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEW TIPS
  • PHONE INTERVIEW TIPS
  • THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
  • INTERVIEW QUESTIONS GEARED TOWARDS MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
  • STAR INTERVIEW TYPE SCENARIOS Situation, Task, Action, Result
  • “SUCCESS AT FIRST GLANCE: “HOW TO STAND OUT TO THE DECISION MAKER”
  • REASONS WHY SKILLED PROFESSIONALS BOMB OUT ON INTERVIEWS
  • THE QUESTION OF MONEY
  • 11 BEST JOB INTERVIEW PREPERATION TIPS

 PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEW TIPS

ON SITE INTERVIEWS

  • Always be most professional in dressing -remember it is better to be a little over dressed than underdressed! Wear a business suit.
  • PLEASE BRING enough copies of your resume for as many interviewers as you will meet. Have a copy of your resume for yourself and use it as your navigational tool. throughout your interview.  Keep it on your lap and look at when necessary.
  • Study your resume the night before. Remember you are the package and the salesman.  No one knows your experience like you and no one can explain it like you!
  • PLEASE BRING a note pad to take down important information- sometimes this is an immediate deal breaker that shows a candidate did not prepare.
  • A firm handshake and good eye contact is essential. Stand up every time someone new enters the room and don’t SLOUCH!!
  • Demonstrate sincere interest in your interviewer. Ask them questions!
  • Actively listen and focus on questions asked. Follow-up with a question when applicable.
  • Describe your experience that is relevant-know your experience/resume.
  • Ask questions about the position not the benefits or vacation. There will be time for that later.
  • Do not discuss salary. Money is an awkward subject and we will handle that for you.
  • Elaborate when answering questions, don’t say yes/no!!!!
  • Focus on questions. Golden rule: if you start to repeat yourself, you’re rambling.
  • Let other’s praise you (my last review said that my strengths are…)
  • If asked to qualify your skills on a number scale, qualify your answer (I would rate myself an 8 because….).
  • Practice polite manners.
  • At the end of the interview ask “do you see anything in my background that would prevent me from doing this job?”
  • Always close your interview by asking, “what is the next step?”
  • Always ask for business cards so you can write your Thank you notes. Write them the next day!!
  • Please call us immediately after the interview so we can be informed and assist you in your decision.

Check out the company website to learn more about their business.

These are general tips to get you thinking about the interview process.

  • Here’s some more tips:
  • Some interviewing essentials are simple:
  • Dress appropriately. Your consultant will tell you what to wear to make the best impression in a particular company’s environment.  In general, interview attire should be professional and conservative.  Men and women should wear business suits or sharp business casual outfits and. Jeans are worn only if ok’d beforehand. Be tasteful with your jewelry. Leave most of the hardware at home.  Be clean and neatly groomed. Turn your cell phone off.
  • Arrive for the interview 15 minutes early. Relaxes you and shows interest in the client and gives you time to complete the necessary paperwork.  It also gives you time to get a feel for the company’s environment and relax. . Bring a resume.
  • Complete the application in detail and be truthful. Fill in the form neatly and completely; don’t write “see resume”.  Never misrepresent your education or work experience.  Present only the facts.  Think of the application as the first assignment the company is giving you.  Be sure to do it right!  Companies refer to the application for background checks and if something is misrepresented this could stop the hiring process on the spot.  If you are unsure about exact dates of employment or compensation put “approximately” next to the information.
  • First impressions are important! The outcome of many interviews is decided during the first ten seconds of the introduction.  Create a good impression with the following:
    • * Firm handshake                            *  Good eye contact
    • * Smile                               *  Enthusiasm
  • Say: “Hello!  Nice to meet you.  Thanks for taking the time to see me.”
  • This is important: Try to begin the interview by having the client explain the position.  People will usually lead off with the duties and responsibilities that are the most important.  Then, you should respond with the details from your background and experience that fit this particular position.  So, begin by saying something like this:
  • “I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today. Could you tell me more about what you’re looking for in this position?”
  • During an interview, your body language is as important as your verbal language.
  • Sit up straight. Lean forward slightly.  Maintain eye contact and smile!  This shows alertness, confidence and interest.  Never cross your arms over your chest or lean back and slouch in your chair.
  • Politely refuse offers of coffee or sodas. This is a business interview, not a social occasion, and you don’t want to be distracted.
  • Be aware of the client’s body language and what it tells you. If you see the client shuffling papers, fidgeting, or looking out the window, etc., stop talking and ask:  “What else would you like to know about my qualifications for this position?”
  • Always talk in terms of the available opportunity. Show as many similarities as you can between your background and what the client is looking for.  Educate the client on what it is you do and how it matches up.  The client is asking:  “Does this person have what it takes to be successful in this position”.  Keep it concise and to the point.  USE EXAMPLES.  Your objective is to help the client form a mental picture of you successfully performing the job.
  • Throughout the interview, speak clearly, listen closely and show interest. When the client says something that requires an answer, comment, smile or nod…REACT!
  • Emphasize what you can do for the company. Some clients ask broad questions like “Tell me about yourself.”  Don’t answer questions like this by talking about your childhood, family, or personal ambitions.  Instead, mention specific accomplishments that show your abilities and determination to succeed in THIS job.  Your answers should tell the client why you would be an asset to the company, not why you need a job.
  • If you are interested in the position, say so. For example:  “From everything we’ve talked about, I’m excited about this opportunity and believe I can get the job done.  Can you picture me being a successful member of your team?”
  • If the answer is yes, say: “Great!  What is the next step in the process?”  However; if the client expresses reservations, address those specific issues and talk about your experience as it relates to those issues, or (if you don’t have the specific experience or education), your eagerness and ability to learn quickly.
  • At the end of the interview, stand up, smile, and offer a firm handshake and say: “Thank you for seeing me today.”
  • Because human relations skills are more important than technical skills in the interviewing process, it is most important that you project an enthusiastic, professional image right from the start. From the moment you walk in, the client will be evaluating you on a variety of levels…including your appearance, your personality and the way you express yourself.  Remember, people want to work with people they like.  As a candidate represented by us, we will prepare you in advance to make the interview a success.  You’ll need to put our advice into action, smile, be friendly, and get the job offer!
  • PHONE INTERVIEW TIPS
  • The phone screen or phone conversation is often time the first step in the interview process.
  • Be on a landline vs. cell phone (if possible) – phone clarity always helps.
  • Don’t be in a room where the radio or TV is on, dogs barking, kids clamoring etc.
  • Don’t smoke during the interview or open cans or bottles.
  • Have your resume in front of you as well as the job description and maybe the client webpage/info.
  • Know your employment history clearly.
  • Be able to clearly and succinctly communicate why you left each company.
  • Be prepared to talk about each of your positions 1) what were your specific responsibilities 2) what tools/technology you utilized 3) the scope of the project 4) the size of the environment.
  • Smile and have energy – it makes you more likable and also makes you appear more confident.
  • Volunteer verbally that you have done some research on the company & compliment when appropriate.
  • Take some notes during the interview.  You may want to refer back to them at the end of the phone call.
  • Have intelligent questions prepared and written down on paper.  Don’t try to go by memory.
  • After you ask your question stop talking and listen well.
  •  Do not ask about hours, salary, benefits, flex time or work at home options.
  • Don’t take any calls or put the employer on hold – any interruptions will hurt the conversation.
  • If you don’t reach the employer at the designated time slot leave a message with your phone number.
  • Then be there to answer the phone and call them back in 15 minutes if you don’t hear from them.
  • Remember interruptions or delays on both sides are inevitable not personal. Things just happen.
  • Find out as early as possible “what are the 3 most important things” they’re looking for.
  • Avoid giving your opinion on anything (technology, politics, religion) unrelated to your interview.
  • Do not communicate anything negative (past bosses, co-workers, family) ever during the conversation.
  • At the end of your conversation let them know that you’re interested and qualified and why.
  • Mirror & model the person you’re speaking with.  You may need to speed up if they are talking fast and/or slow down if they are talking slower.  People like to interview people who speak just like them.
  • Be short, sweet and specific with your answers.
  • If you don’t understand a question please ask them to clarify the question. Don’t guess or assume.
  • Finish the phone conversation with as much energy as you started with.
  • Do not send a follow-up thank you letter until you have forwarded it to me first.

THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Below is a list of questions an employer might ask you during an interview.  Most employers look at interviews not only as a way to measure your abilities against other candidates, but also as a means of assessing your attitude, personality and mental agility.

REMEMBER:  A successful interview is one that is well planned and well prepared.  The employer’s impression of you will depend on the brief time you are in his or her office.

Don’t be modest!  SELL yourself.  Tell the employer why you are qualified to do the job.  Your self-confidence really makes the difference.

How will you answer these questions in an interview?  PRACTICE your answers.

************************************************************************************

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  1. Why are you changing jobs?
  1. What are your long-range goals? How are you preparing to achieve them?
  1. What specific goals, other than those related to your occupation, have you established for yourself in the next 10 years?
  1. What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?
  1. What do you really want to do in life?
  1. What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
  1. What do you expect to be earning 5 years from now?
  1. Why did you choose the field you are in?
  1. Which is more important to you – the money or the career opportunity?
  1. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  1. How would you describe yourself?
  1. How do you think a friend (or co-worker) would describe you?
  1. What motivates you to put forth your greatest efforts?
  1. How has your experience prepared you for your career?
  1. Why should I hire you?
  1. What does success mean to you?
  1. What do you think it takes to be successful in a company such as ours?
  1. In what ways can you contribute to our company?
  1. What qualities should a successful employee have?
  1. Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and an employee?
  1. What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
  1. If you were hiring a candidate for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  1. In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
  1. How do you work under pressure?
  1. How would you describe the ideal job for you?
  1. Why did you decide to seek a job with this company?
  1. What do you know about our company?
  1. What 2 main things are important to you in your job?
  1. Will you relocate?
  1. Are you willing to travel?
  1. What hours are you willing to work?
  1. What major problems have you encountered in your career (or life) and how did you handle them?
  1. What have you learned from your mistakes?

Interview questions geared towards Management and Leadership

  • What type of company culture do you prefer to work in?  In your past positions, describe the company culture in which you have been most successful.
  • Do you have any Distribution or Operations or ?? experience & at what level (details)
  • How, if at all, have you involved direct reports in determining their developmental needs?  Give us a specific example.
  • Tell me about one of the toughest teams/groups you’ve had to work with.  What made it difficult?  What did you do?
  • Have you ever had to manage a previous peers; what was the outcome?
  • Describe the most difficult conflict you’ve ever handled.  What actions did you take to resolve the conflict?  Looking back, what would you have different?
  • Have you ever managed a person that was turned down for a same position you apply for?
  • Walk us through your Safety philosophy & beliefs?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years / 10 years?
  • What was your most difficult professional situation & Why?
  • What would your employees say about?
  • What is your management or Leadership style? How do you get things done?
  • Name one person you admire & why?
  • What are areas of development that you can improve on?
  • Describe your leadership style and how you holds employees accountable.
  • Describe your team building skills and how you develop the skills of your employees.
  • Describe how you developed and promoted the culture of the company.
  • Describe your communication / interpersonal skills (how did you communicate with your corporate office.)
  • Describe your strategic thinking skills and tell me about a strategic business initiative your implemented.
  • Describe your project management skills and describe a process improvement he implemented.
  • What would you describe as your biggest accomplishment while working at your company?  Biggest failure?

STAR INTERVIEW TYPE SCENARIOS Situation, Task, Action, Result

 Targeted Interview Process

The targeted selection interviews normally consist of two or three, one hour interviews with hiring managers in our company.   One interview will be with the hiring manager and two interviews with peer hiring managers.  The targeted selection interviews have more of a cultural/behavioral focus.

What is Targeted Selection?

The big part of the  interview process is this interview – the targeted selection interview and this is where they ultimately assess the cultural fit.  Interaction with team members is a large part of the culture.  This interview is meant to give the hiring leaders insight into how you work as a team member, what motivates you and what your definition of success is as well as a few other insights.  These interviews will not be technical interviews but there may be technical elements as you may be discussing technical scenarios in your answers.

The targeted selection interview is part of the hiring process for permanent roles. Targeted Selection is a series of three 60 minute interviews with current hiring leaders.  The questions you will receive will be more behavioral/situational based questions.  In your responses, please stick to the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) format in your responses.  Please review the .pdf document attached regarding the Competencies of the Dynamic Organization to give you an idea of what U.S. Cellular as a whole is looking for in regard to cultural fit.

What is STAR format?

Situation/Task:                  What was the context?  Why?

Action:                                  What was done (or not done)?  How was it done?

Result:                                  What was the effect of the Action (or inaction)?

Example question:          Was there ever a time when you had an issue with a customer?  What was the situation?  How did you resolve it?

A good STAR answer would have the following format…

Situation/Task:                 There was a time when we had a client that was expecting delivery of X type of service and they called in wondering why they had not received.

Action:                                 What did you do to solve the problem?

Result:                                 What was the result of your action?  Was the problem solved?

There may be follow up questions to your answer so for those, feel free to stick to the STAR format for those if applicable

Evaluating Topics?

The areas that the evaluation questions will cover will be as follows:

  • Creating Customer Value
  • Pursuing and Demonstrating Technical/Professional Expertise
  • Applying Innovation and Continuous Improvement
  • Delivering Results
  • Embracing and Navigating Change
  • Collaborating Across Organizational Boundaries
  • Making Quality Decisions
  • Communicating with Impact
  • Motivational Fit

As you can see, the areas are varied but the goal is really to assess a candidate in terms of how they fit into our culture.  While there might be some technical questions, this is primarily a situational/behavior interview.  You can answer these questions with either business or non-business examples but business examples are preferred.  It is important to provide full answers or “STARs” and as many “STARs” as you can provide to have a full evaluation.

Tell about a situation / process put in place to improve / monitor quality of service / delivery of products.

Tell about a recent issued escalated to you and how you handled it?

“Success at First Glance: How to Stand Out to the Decision Maker”

Presenter Luis F. Campedelli, Global Head of HR MasterCard Technologies

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/luis-campedelli/7/176/ab4

Companies use hunting jargons e.g., Headhunters

A picture of a deer was shown and asked, “What do you see?”

Than a picture of a hunter was shown.

The question is: The best prey is a victim.

Never, ever, ever behave like a prey…As a candidate be the hunter and not the prey.

Best Hunters  are Attentive, Knowledgeable, Assertive, Proactive, Brave, Focused, Perseverance, Stamina.

Making a lasting first impression:

  1. Presence
  2. Substance
  3. Composure

Making a lasting first impression

Unskilled __ Overused

PRESENCE – The ability to stand out through the expressive qualities of passion, confidence, candor and sincerity.

Unskilled – Shyness and Anxiety

Overused – Arrogance and Bluntness

SUBSTANCE – The ability to convey, at the right amount, the proper balance of information through clarity, poise and thoughtfulness.

Unskilled – Not Knowledgeable, Unprepared

Overused – Perfectionism, Overselling

COMPOSURE – That’s the happiest conversation where their’s no competition, no vanity, but a calm, quiet exchange of sentiments. Samuel Johnson – 18th Century English Writer

Unskilled – Defensiveness, Cynical

Overused – Uncaring, Unemotional

Introverts are better with composure.

Extroverts look anxious.

REASONS WHY SKILLED PROFESSIONALS BOMB OUT ON INTERVIEWS

  1. Poor personal appearance
  2. Lack of interest and enthusiasm; passive and indifferent
  3. Overemphasis on money; interested only in the best dollar offer; lying about current salary
  4. Condemnation of past employer
  5. Making derogatory comments about women, particular ethnic groups, people’s ages, physical appearance or handicap. Such comments are discriminatory and will immediately rule you out.
  6. Limp, fishy handshake
  7. Poor eye contact
  8. Late to interview
  9. Failure to express appreciation for interviewer’s time
  10. Not asking questions about the job
  11. Vague or rambling responses to questions
  12. Overbearing, overaggressive, conceited “know it all”
  13. Unable to express self clearly
  14. Lack of confidence and poise; nervous; ill at ease
  15. Lack of planning for career; no purpose or goals
  16. Unwillingness to start at bottom
  17. Lack of tact and manners.
  18. Lack of vitality
  19. Lack of maturity
  20. Indecision
  21. Makes excuses, hedges on unfavorable factors in record, evasive
  22. Merely shopping around
  23. Wants job only for short time
  24. No interest in company or industry; has not looked at company website
  25. Cynical
  26. Low moral standards
  27. Lazy
  28. Intolerant; strong prejudices
  29. Inability to take criticism
  30. High pressure type
  31. Narrow interests
  32. Asks about hours and time off.
  33. Doesn’t want to work overtime.
  34. Answers cell phone during interview-or cell phone/pager rings during interview.
  35. Argues with interviewer about technology.
  36. Admits that he cannot get along with co-workers.
  37. Clips nails, chews gum or eats candy, even if offered.

THE QUESTION OF MONEY

Salary negotiation is an issue that many people don’t know how to handle correctly.  Consequently, they end up making less than they might have, or being ruled out for job opportunities they really wanted.

Everyone wants to earn as much money as they possibly can.  As one of the select candidates, you should realize that an important part of our service is to provide assistance as a third party to negotiate the best possible employment offer.

Many people believe salary negotiation comes at the end of the interview process but it actually starts at the beginning, when you fill out the company’s application.  Always write “open” in the space for salary desired.  Never write a figure.  This could rule you out before the interview begins!

The attitude to convey during the interview is that you are excited about the position, eager to do the job, and willing to work hard.  Express your interest and enthusiasm about the opportunity to contribute to the company.  Don’t create the impression that you are only interested in personal gain by saying or implying that the highest dollar offer is your only consideration.  That will also rule you out.

Be prepared to respond to questions about money.  Practice your answers in advance so you will feel comfortable during the interview.  For example, an employer may ask how much money you’re looking for.  Respond by saying:  “At this point I am focused on the opportunity and I feel it is a great match to my technical and professional needs.  I am very interested in joining your team. I would be interested in a competitive offer based on my qualifications and professional experience.”

If, however, the employer presses you for an actual salary figure, tell the employer what you are currently making.  Example:  “Currently; I am at a base salary of $90,000 with a $10,000 bonus for the year.  I would be interested in a competitive offer based on my qualifications and professional experience.”  It is a good idea to give your potential employer a starting point.  This will enable them to recognize what your compensation is at this point so they know how to create a competitive offer.

If you say:  I would like to be at a base salary of $95,000; the top of the range may have been $100,000.  You might be cheating yourself out of more income.  At the same time if you say too much ($110,000) the employer could think you are too expensive and you could not be eligible for the position all together.  This is why it is important to be honest about your previous compensation.  Let them know your salary with bonus and say you are open to considering an offer that is competitive to your previous income.  Try not to volunteer the figure that you would accept THIS position for.  We will negotiate the best offer for you.

The best scenario is when the employer offers you the position on the spot!  WOW!  That is ideal.  If you are in this situation feel free to accept on the spot.  If you are not really sure and would like to take time to evaluate the entire package the company can offer; thank the employer.  Example:  “This is great, thank you for offering me this position.  I would like to take some time to review all of the offer information and get back to you on my final decision.”  Never refuse an offer of employment until you’ve had time to think about it and discuss it with your technical recruitment consultant.  Remember we are here for you and will be able to help you in this process.

Most importantly, we’re here to help.  Your best interests are our best interests.  We have a “partnership” to get you the best possible offer your skills can command.

Interview Question Guide (Potential Questions)

Typical questions asked by Interviewers:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why are you looking to change positions?
  • Why did you change jobs when you did (for every job change)?
  • Tell me what you consider to be your strengths and what you consider to be your weaknesses?
  • What salary are you looking for?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What do you like most about your current job (or manager)? What do you like least?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What is the best thing that your manager will say about you? What is the worst?
  • Name five adjectives that would best describe you.
  • What has been your most important professional accomplishment?

Typical questions every Candidate should ask:

  • Could you tell me about the growth plans for the company (the department)?
  • What is the greatest challenge I will face in this position? What will be my responsibilities?
  • What skills do you feel are important to be successful in this position.
  • To reconfirm strength: “That is very interesting.  Let me tell you about my background and what I have done as a professional that has prepared me so well for this position.”
  • Overcoming a weakness: “How important is that skill to this job?”
  • Mr. Interviewer, I don’t have that specific background, but I am bringing the following skills to the job…” (give examples) “Let’s talk about how you can help me in the one area that I’ve had less exposure to.” (Alternative:  “How long would it take to learn that skill?”)
  • Why did you join this company?
  • Is there anything in my background or experience to prevent you from considering me as a viable candidate?
  • What is the next step from here?

Other Interviewing Tips:

  • Plan to arrive early for your appointment. Try to drive to the location a day or two before so that you know exactly where you are going the day of the interview.
  • Dress conservatively and professionally.
  • Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake.
  • Establish good eye contact early in the interview.

11 Best Job Interview Preparation Tips

By:  Brie Weiler  Director of Online Content

Do some serious company research.

Job interview preparation begins with research. “Research the company and for larger companies the division you would be working in. LinkedIn, Jigsaw, the company website and social media all provide information that will be useful.  Also, job evaluation websites where former and current employees talk about their jobs is helpful to get an idea of what to expect.  When I apply for the job, I start a Google Alert for the company and I review everything I find there.”

Research your interviewer online.

“I search LinkedIn for the interviewer’s profile. It helps to know what the person looks like, but I also like having some background information on them as well. In some instances the person I have interviewed with has been connected to the same people I am and I can get the scoop on the company or person in advance.”  Understanding who will be interviewing you is a great job interview preparation tip.

Make connections between your experience and what this company needs.

“Most importantly, I review the job description carefully and takes notes on how my experience relates to each of the requirements.”

Practice answering typical interview questions out loud.

“Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse answering questions you think a potential employers will ask (why do you want to work for us, what are your plans in five years, what makes you the applicant they should hire, as well as explaining oddities on your resume e.g. work gaps, etc).” Job interview preparation is extremely important if you want to sound professional and prepared.

Bring nice copies of your resume and cover letter.

“I always go over and update my resume, print off several copies of my resume on off-white special paper I pick out at my copy center, and take these printed copies with me along with a company specific cover letter. Resumes tell a lot about you along with your personal appearance and can forge a nice first impression.”

Create a small portfolio of work samples.

“The other thing I do that makes me feel as though I’ve prepared as completely as possible is to gather any samples of my work that prove my skills – Powerpoints, spreadsheets, correspondence – whatever I can use to showcase myself.”

For video job interviews, practice ahead of time.

“I am also sure to practice with my webcam, prior to interviewing remotely, to be sure I am sitting far enough away that I appear to be making eye-contact with my interviewer. If you sit too close to your webcam, you tend to look as if you are looking down at your keyboard rather than paying attention to the person who is asking you questions.”

Ready your outfit ahead of time.

“I have my personal ritual where I check out my suit the night before, iron my shirt, and polish up my shoes.”

Psych yourself up to get confident.

“My ritual is emotional: on the way to the interview, I think about my really wonderful friends and why they believe in me. I am not one to go around thinking how wonderful I am, but before a job interview, this allows me to take a deep breath and enter the interview confident and happy.”

Put on a happy face.

“My other trick is to sing “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands” before I enter the building.  There is nothing like a simple song in the key of C to brighten your voice and make you sound merry and chipper!”

Make sure you know where you’re going.

“If you have prior notice, do a trial run [trip to the company] to make sure you know the traffic pattern and parking availability!”

If you follow these job interview preparation tips before your next interview, you’re sure to be confident, prepared, and ready to land the job!

Good Luck with the interview and remember to just be yourself and do your best,

Paul May
paul@paulmayassociates.com
312.925.1294

29 brilliant questions to ask at the end of every job interview

Interview questions article that will help you review and be prepared.

You’re  competition is always preparing.

http://www.businessinsider.com/questions-to-ask-in-every-job-interview-2016-10?utm_content=bufferf0654&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

It’s important to remember that every interview is a two-way street.

You should be assessing the employer just as much as they’re assessing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.

So when the tables are turned and the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” take advantage of this opportunity. It’s the best way to determine if you’d be happy working for this employer, and whether your goals are aligned with theirs.

“The very process of asking questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and the hiring manager’s perception of you,” says Teri Hockett, a former CEO and career strategist. “Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to discover details that you might not have otherwise unveiled.”

Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says there’s another reason you should always prepare questions. “It’s expected — and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.” You should have at least four questions prepared, though, in case your original two are answered through the course of the interview.

But, Hoover says, don’t just ask questions for the sake of it. To actually benefit from them, you’ll need to think carefully about what you want to ask.

“Your questions can, in fact, make or break an interview,” she explains. “If they’re not thoughtful, or if you ask something that has already been addressed, this can hurt you way more than it can help. Asking smart, engaging questions is imperative.”

Luckily, there are plenty of smart ones to pick from.

Here are 29 questions you should always ask in a job interview — if they weren’t already answered — to help you get a better sense of the role and the company, and to leave the interview with a positive, lasting impression:

1. Have I answered all of your questions?

Before you begin asking your questions, find out if there’s anything they’d like you to elaborate on. You can do this by saying something like, “Yes, I do have a few questions for you — but before I get into those, I am wondering if I’ve sufficiently answered all of your questions. Would you like me to explain anything further or give any examples?”

Not only will they appreciate the offer, but it may be a good chance for you to gauge how well you’re doing, says Bill York, an executive recruiter with over 30 years experience and founder of executive search firm Tudor Lewis.

If they say, “No, actually you answered all of my questions very well!” then this may tell you you’re in good shape. If they respond with, “Actually, could you tell me more about X?” or “Would you be able to clarify what you meant when you said Y?” then this is your chance for a re-do.

2. Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?

Hoover recommends this question because it’s a quick way to figure out whether your skills align with what the company is currently looking for. If they don’t match up, then you know to walk away instead of wasting time pursuing the wrong position for yourself, she says.

3. Who would I be reporting to? Are those three people on the same team or on different teams? What’s the pecking order?

It’s important to ask about the pecking order of a company in case you have several bosses, Vicky Oliver writes in her book, “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.”

If you’re going to be working for several people, you need to know “the lay of the internal land,” she says, or if you’re going to be over several people, then you probably want to get to know them before accepting the position.

4. How has this position evolved?

Basically, this question just lets you know whether this job is a dead end or a stepping-stone.

5. How would you describe the company’s culture?

Hoover says this question gives you a broad view on the corporate philosophy of a company and on whether it prioritizes employee happiness.

6. Who do you consider your major competitors? How are you better?

This question is not for the faint of heart, but it shows that you are already thinking about how you can help the company rise to meet some of its bigger goals, says Peter Harrison, CEO of Snagajob.

7. Beyond the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the company and position best?

Knowing what skills the company thinks are important will give you more insight into its culture and its management values, Hoover says, so you can evaluate whether you would fit in.

8. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?

While this question puts you in a vulnerable position, it shows that you are confident enough to openly bring up and discuss your weaknesses with your potential employer.

9. What do you like most about working for this company?

Hoover says this question is important because it lets you “create a sense of camaraderie” with the interviewer because “interviewers — like anyone — usually like to talk about themselves and especially things they know well.” Plus, this question gives you a chance to get an insider’s view on the best parts about working for this particular company, she says.

10. Can you give me example of how I would collaborate with my manager?

Knowing how managers use their employees is important so you can decide whether they are the type of boss that will let you use your strengths to help the company succeed.

11. Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?

“Any opportunity to learn the timeline for a hire is crucial information for you,” Hoover advises.

Asking about an “offer” rather than a “decision” will give you a better sense of the timeline because “decision” is a broad term, while an “offer” refers to the point when they’re ready to hand over the contract.

12. How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What’s the one thing you’re working to improve on?

Harrison says this is a respectful way to ask about shortcomings within the company — which you should definitely be aware of before joining a company. As a bonus, he says it shows that you are being proactive in wanting to understand more about the internal workings of the company before joining it.

13. What are the challenges of this position?

If the interviewer says, “There aren’t any,” you should proceed with caution.

14. What have past employees done to succeed in this position?

The main point of this question is to get your interviewer to reveal how the company measures success.

15. If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?

Obviously this shows your eagerness about the position, Harrison says, but it also gives you a better idea about what the job will be like on a daily basis so you can decide whether you really want to pursue it. “A frank conversation about position expectations and responsibilities will ensure not only that this is a job you want, but also one that you have the skills to be successful in,” he advises.

16. What type of employee tends to succeed here? What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?

This question shows the interviewer that you care about your future at the company, and it will also help you decide if you’re a good fit for the position, Oliver writes. “Once the interviewer tells you what she’s looking for in a candidate, picture that person in your mind’s eye,” she says. “She or he should look a lot like you.”

17. Is there anyone else I need to meet with?/Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?

Hoover says knowing if they want you to meet with potential coworkers or not will give you insight into how much the company values building team synergy. In addition, if the interviewer says you have four more interviews to go, then you’ve gained a better sense of the hiring timeline as well, she says.

18. How do you help your team grow professionally?

Harrison says this question shows that you’re willing to work hard to ensure that you grow along with your company. This is particularly important for hourly workers, he says, because they typically have a higher turnover rate, and are thus always looking for people who are thinking long-term.

19. When your staff comes to you with conflicts, how do you respond?

Knowing how a company deals with conflicts gives you a clearer picture about the company’s culture, Harrison says. But more importantly, asking about conflict resolution shows that you know dealing with disagreements in a professional manner is essential to the company’s growth and success.

20. Will I have an opportunity to meet those who would be part of my staff/my manager during the interview process?

Getting the chance to meet with potential teammates or managers is essential to any professional interview process, Hoover says. If they don’t give that chance, “proceed with caution,” she advises.

21. How do you evaluate success here?

Knowing how a company measures its employees’ success is important. It will help you understand what it would take to advance in your career there — and can help you decide if the employer’s values align with your own.

22. What are some of the problems your company faces right now? And what is your department doing to solve them?

Asking about problems within a company gets the “conversation ball” rolling, and your interviewer will surely have an opinion, Oliver writes. Further, she says their answers will give you insights into their personality and ambitions and will likely lead to other questions.

23. What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?

This one tells them you’re interested in the role and eager to hear their decision.

“Knowing a company’s timeline should be your ultimate goal during an interview process after determining your fit for the position and whether you like the company’s culture,” Hoover says. It will help you determine how and when to follow up, and how long to wait before “moving on.”

24. Is this a new position? If not, why did the person before me leave this role?

This might be uncomfortable to ask, but Harrison says it’s not uncommon to ask and that it shows you are being smart and analytical by wanting to know why someone may have been unhappy in this role previously.

If you found out they left the role because they were promoted, that’s also useful information.

25. Where do you see the company in three years and how would the person in this role contribute to this vision?

Asking this question will show your interviewer that you can think big picture, that you’re wanting to stay with the company long-term, and that you want to make a lasting impression in whatever company you end up in, says Harrison.

26. I read X about your CEO in Y magazine. Can you tell me more about this?

Oliver says questions like this simply show you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company and its leaders.

27. What’s your staff turnover rate and what are you doing to reduce it?

While this question may seem forward, Harrison says it’s a smart question to ask because it shows that you understand the importance of landing a secure position. “It is a black and white way to get to the heart of what kind of company this is and if people like to work here,” he says.

28. Is there anything else I can provide to help you make your decision?

This simple question is polite to ask and it can give you peace of mind to know that you’ve covered all your bases, Hoover says. “It shows enthusiasm and eagerness but with polish.”

29. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you think is important to know about working here?

Hoover says this is a good wrap-up question that gives you a break from doing all the talking. In addition, she says you may get “answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask but are important.”

Vivian Giang and Natalie Walters contributed to previous versions of this article.

Most Common Interview Questions from Glassdoor Blog

I thought I’d pass this one. Very good Interview Tips.

Nice starting lists of questions to prepare yourself for the next round of interviews.

This is from Glassdoor Blog.

50 Most Common Interview Questions
Glassdoor Team | March 16, 2015

When it comes to the interview process, research and preparation for the interview can often times determine your chances of making it to the next step. One of the best ways to get ready for a job interview is to practice your responses to any and all interview questions – even the downright weird.

To help you get started, Glassdoor sifted through tens of thousands of interview reviews to find out some of the most common interview questions candidates get asked during recent interviews. So, if you have a job interview lined up, practice in front of a mirror or ask a friend or family member to listen to your answers to the following questions so you’ll be ready to put your best foot forward.

Most Common Interview Questions
1.What are your strengths?
2.What are your weaknesses?
3.Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
4.Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
5.Why do you want to leave your current company?
6.Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
7.What can you offer us that someone else can not?
8.What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
9.Are you willing to relocate?
10.Are you willing to travel?
11.Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
12.Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
13.What is your dream job?
14.How did you hear about this position?
15.What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
16.Discuss your resume.
17.Discuss your educational background.
18.Describe yourself.
19.Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
20.Why should we hire you?
21.Why are you looking for a new job?
22.Would you work holidays/weekends?
23.How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
24.What are your salary requirements? (Hint: if you’re not sure what’s a fair salary range and compensation package, research the job title and/or company on Glassdoor.)
25.Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
26.Who are our competitors?
27.What was your biggest failure?
28.What motivates you?
29.What’s your availability?
30.Who’s your mentor?
31.Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
32.How do you handle pressure?
33.What is the name of our CEO?
34.What are your career goals?
35.What gets you up in the morning?
36.What would your direct reports say about you?
37.What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
38.If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
39.Are you a leader or a follower?
40.What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
41.What are your co-worker pet peeves?
42.What are your hobbies?
43.What is your favorite website?
44.What makes you uncomfortable?
45.What are some of your leadership experiences?
46.How would you fire someone?
47.What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
48.Would you work 40+ hours a week?
49.What questions haven’t I asked you?
50.What questions do you have for me?

Glassdoor Interview questions

COUNTEROFFER ACCEPTANCE: ROAD TO CAREER RUIN

By Paul Hawkinson

Mathew Henry, the 17th-century writer said, “Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colours that are but skin deep.” The same can be said for counteroffers, those magnetic enticements designed to lure you back into the nest after you’ve decided it’s time to fly away.

The litany of horror stories I have come across in my years as an executive recruiter, consultant and publisher provides a litmus test that clearly indicates counteroffers should never be accepted. EVER!

I define a counteroffer simply as an inducement from your current employer to get you to stay after you’ve announced your intention to take another job. We’re not talking about those instances when you receive and offer but don’t tell your boss. Nor are we discussing offers that you never intended to take, yet tell your employer about anyway as a “they-want-me-but-I’m-staying-with you” ploy.

These are merely astute positioning tactics you may choose to use to reinforce your worth by letting your boss know you have other options. Mention of a true counteroffer, however, carries an actual threat to quit.

Interviews with employers who make counteroffers, and employees, who accept them, have shown that as tempting as they may be, acceptance may cause career suicide. During the past 20 years, I have seen only isolated incidents in which an accepted counteroffer has benefited the employee. Consider the problem in its proper perspective.

What really goes through a boss’s mind when someone quits?

  1. “This couldn’t be happening at a worse time.”
  2. “This is one of my best people. If I let him quit now, it’ll wreak havoc on the morale of the department.”
  3. “I’ve already got one opening in my department. I don’t need another right now.”
  4. “This will probably screw up the entire vacation schedule.”
  5. “I’m working as hard as I can, and I don’t need to do his work, too.”
  6. “If I lose another good employee, the company might decide to “lose” me too.”
  7. “My review is coming up and this will make me look bad.”
  8. “Maybe I can keep on until I find a suitable replacement.”

What will the boss say to keep you in the nest? Some of these comments are common.

  1. “I’m really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we were with you. Let’s discuss it before you make your final decision.”
  2. “Aw gee, I’ve been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you, but it’s been confidential until now”.
  3. “The V.P. has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities.”
  4. “Your raise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter, but we’ll make it effective immediately.”
  5. “You’re going to work for whom?”

Let’s face it. When someone quits, it’s a direct reflection on the boss. Unless you’re really incompetent or a destructive thorn in his side, the boss might look bad by “allowing” you to go. His gut reaction is to do what has to be done to keep you from leaving until he’s ready. That’s human nature.

Unfortunately, it’s also human nature to want to stay unless your work life is abject misery. Career change like all ventures into the unknown, is tough. That’s why bosses know they can usually keep you around by pressing the right buttons.

Before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these universal truths:

  1. Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or better working conditions, is suspect.
  2. No matter what the company says when making its counteroffer, you will always be considered a fidelity risk. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you will lose your status as a “team player” and your place in the inner circle.
  3. Counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.
  4. Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Conditions are just made a bit more tolerable short term because of the raise, promotion or promises made to keep you.
  5. Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions?
  6. Decent and well-managed companies don’t make counteroffers…EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable. They will not be subjected to “counteroffer coercion” or what they perceive as blackmail.

If the urge to accept a counteroffer hits you, keep on cleaning out your desk as you count your blessings.

TEN REASONS FOR NOT ACCEPTING A COUNTER OFFER

  1. Where is the money for the Counter Offer coming from? Is it your next raise, early? All companies have strict wage and salary guidelines which must be followed.
  2. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.
  3. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who was loyal and who wasn’t.
  4. Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your coworkers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer-group acceptance.
  5. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?
  6. Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a lower starting salary.
  7. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutback with you.
  8. Accepting a Counter Offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride; knowing that you were bought.
  9. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future; even if you accept a Counter Offer.
  10. Statistics show that if you accept a Counter Offer, the probability of your voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go within one year is extremely high.

Special Note: When you do resign from your present employer, be sure to do so in writing, retaining a copy for yourself. This procedure is to protect you in the future because future reference checks could record the separation as mutually beneficial. Include any constructive criticism, if any, in order to solidify your position for leaving.

Also, because our company specializes in recruiting within this industry, please keep our name confidential. We would appreciate not being in a position which would cause us to have a conflict with your current employer.

BEWARE OF THE COUNTER OFFER (YOUR WHOLE CAREER IS AT STAKE)

If you have accepted an offer from a new employer and on giving your notice to your present company a Counter Offer is made, you should consider the following:

Ask yourself if you were worth “X” dollars yesterday. Why are they suddenly willing to now pay you “Y” dollars today when you were not anticipating a raise for some time? (Consider the fact that your present employer could be merely “buying time” with this raise until he can locate a suitable replacement).

Suppose you were given an annual raise of $3,000.00 as a counter offer. When they find a replacement for you in say 60 days, then the actual cost to them is only $500.00.

Is just more money going to change everything in your present job? Consider the new opportunity you will be giving up that looked so favorable when you accepted it.

The company will probably feel as though they have been “blackmailed into giving you a raise when you announced your decision to leave.

Realize that you are now a marked man. The possibility of promotion is extremely limited for someone who has “given notice”. The company is vulnerable; they know it and will not risk giving more responsibility to someone who was previously committed to leave.

When economic slow-downs occur, you could be one of the first to go. You indicated your intention to go once before, so it is only natural that your position would be eliminated in a slack period.

You should know that statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm the fact that over 80% of those people who elected to accept a Counter Offer and stayed are no longer with their company six months later.

Carefully review in your mind all the reasons you wanted to make a change in the first place. Does the Counter Offer really offset these reasons?

If you intent to seriously consider a Counter Offer be sure you ask you present employer to confirm all the details of said offer in writing.

WE STRONGLY URGE YOU TO CAREFULLY THINK ABOUT ALL OF THESE FACTS BEFORE MAKING A FINAL DECISION. IT IS YOUR CAREER, YOUR LIVELIHOOD. ONE IMPRUDENT MISTAKE AT ANY TIME COULD BE VERY COSTLY IN TERMS OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL GROWTH.