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Do You Know How To Prepare For an Interview?

Do You Know How To Prepare For an Interview?

A common oversight a lot of job seekers make when preparing for an interview is to get wrapped up in the finer details of the company and role.

In reality, remembering to see the big picture may be more effective in helping you get ahead. Knowing the CEO’s name, when the company was established and your top three strengths and weaknesses may show you did some homework, but a lot of the time these points won’t even be brought up during a 30 minute conversation.

In the end, the goal of the interview is to see whether you’d be a fit at the company and can not only perform the duties of the job, but perform them successfully.

That being said, it may be more important to prepare in a manner that allows you to shine and also proves to the interviewer that you’re not only interested, but will be fully invested in the company’s overall goals and success.

These three tips should allow you to go into an interview with a clear head that isn’t full of useless facts, but relevant topics of discussion that will lead to a mutually beneficial conversation.

Preparation Recommendations

1.) Write Out The Points You Want To Highlight (Yes, Physically)

You’ve worked hard to have a better career and a job interview is a more than an appropriate time to show off your accomplishments. While you may have typed up your resume (or had a professional lend a hand), there’s much more to you than what’s on a sheet of paper.

Sometimes, actually writing down your proudest achievements on paper will allow you to recall them naturally during an interview.

By reviewing these beforehand, you shouldn’t be stumbling for the right words to say.

2.) Familiarize Yourself With The Company (Beyond The “About Us”)

Sure, an interviewer may be impressed that you know the company’s tagline, but that’s something you could have Googled in the waiting room before being meeting face-to-face.

What’s more impressive is taking the time to read company press releases, or browsing through their social media to get a feel for the culture.

These are the things that actually take effort and will show your existing commitment to the team without having even received an offer (yet).

While it may only take 20 minutes to understand the company’s growth within the last year, there’s no doubt the interviewer will appreciate the effort.

3.) Prepare Questions You Actually Want To Know The Answer To

Canned questions realistically don’t serve a real purpose besides checking off the textbook requirement that you have questions prepared. In the end, they’re really just filler.

The question segment of an interview is your chance to get the information you really want to know and creates a sense that you’re actually taking the interview seriously.

Having an interviewer clarify a point he or she made earlier, or asking about the growth trajectory of the role are great jumping off points that will serve both parties.

At the end of the day, an interview is meant to help both you and the company achieve your goals. In 30 minutes, you can potentially create a better quality of life, so why not prepare for it?

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3 Ways to Piss Your Boss Off

In their career, nearly everyone answers to someone.   Many things are changeable in the working world, but having a boss isn’t one of them.  If you must have a boss, it is recommended that you don’t piss them off.

Though, it’s easier said than done. From the first time you clock in to your last day of work, someone, somewhere has oversight of you.

Looking at a traditional employee-manager relationship, what are some common mistakes that prevent you from getting along with your boss?

Below are three common habits to avoid.

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1. Do Someone Else’s Job.  We hear and see a lot of words about going the extra mile, being part of a team, capitalizing on our strengths, etc.

But in practice, if you frequently come to your boss with “here’s how I would do this better,” you risk appearing puffed up or back-stabbing.

You also risk your boss wondering how much time and thought you’re putting into your own actual job.

  • If you are the social media manager, read the room before taking it upon yourself to write a better draft of an internal communication you think your MarComm colleague could’ve done better.
  • If your management peer is hiring for a role that will not report to you, it may be best to refrain from pushing your own candidate into the mix if signals from HR say “back off.”

If your boss asks you to assist on a project, contribute an idea or piece of expertise, or support a struggling co-worker, great. If you volunteer such things unasked and your boss takes you up on it, even better.

But don’t fall into the trap of appearing to constantly step on others’ toes or into their territory. It may leave your boss wondering about your career motivations.

Also, it will have them question your time management skills.

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2. Be Defensive Towards Feedback Instead of Receptive.  If you’ve ever had a restaurant kitchen mess up your order, you may know the itching irritation of an excuse rather than a straightforward, “I’ll get that taken care of.” Just as for an overdone steak, so for your relationship with your boss.

Whether your boss is bringing an oversight to your attention, or asking you to work on a difficult skill, one of the best habits you can learn is to hear them out.

Take in the information in an open-minded manner.  Regardless of whether you’re offended, don’t fight fire with fire.

In most cases, pushing back to justifying yourself is ineffective for your long-term career success.

Why?  Doing so challenges authority and pisses off any boss.

This is not to say be a doormat or yes your boss to death. On the contrary: deciding when and how to justify yourself is one of the main hallmarks of assertive communication at work.

Try to assume positive intent.  When your boss mentions an area of work improvement, you put yourself in a stronger place when you appear receptive to the feedback rather than defensive.

pissed off worker

3. Resist Change at Work.  Reliability is good. Complacency is bad. If you’re hired because you were the job candidate with the strongest consultative sales track record, you don’t suddenly change your entire sales style on day one of the job. If it ain’t broke…

But staying stuck in one way of doing something, or being resistant to a new way your team is taught to handle something (client communications, perhaps) wins you no friends.

When your boss implements a change, the surest way to piss them off is to resist change.  That includes giving it a half-hearted stab, then throwing your hands in the air in frustration.

Learn to change or your career will suffer from a pissed off boss.  The ability to learn and change has been an asset since the first time an ancient human ancestor decided to try coming down out of the trees.

You don’t want to be the one on your team who’s stuck in the high branches because it seems to daunting to find a way down.  You’ll just get left behind.

This is not an apology or an excuse of an ineffective, unprofessional boss. If your boss aggressively attacks you as a person, no amount of receptiveness on your end is going to make that right.

If your boss constantly saddles you with others’ work to the point that you can’t do your job, the problem isn’t you.

But in a context of professional behavior and positive intentions, you will always do yourself a favor by cutting down on the above-three tendencies, if you have them. Your boss, and your work quality, will thank you.

5 Mistakes Job Seekers Can Make When Speaking With Recruiters

When speaking with a recruiter for the first time, a lot of candidates go into it having no idea what to expect. This, of course, is completely understandable. It may be beneficial to think of it as the first step of the interview process with a new, and exciting opportunity (often the initial screen leads to interviewing with their client).

Just as when interviewing directly with the hiring company, the first impression the candidate gives to the recruiter is of utmost importance.

Below are a some of the common mistakes candidates make during their conversations with recruiters. While not “end of the world” level, avoiding these can only lead to more productive candidate-recruiter relationships.

Talking About Leaving a Job on Bad Terms

Honesty is important, but so is perspective. While you may have left a position due to mismanagement, hostile work environment, or any number of reasons beyond your control, just as you wouldn’t badmouth a former employer in an interview with your prospective manager, don’t do it with your recruiter, either.

Instead, explain the circumstances for leaving, but frame it with positives you took away from the position, and specifically how those things may benefit your work for the recruiter’s client.

Immediately Asking About Compensation

When a candidate immediately asks about the salary range before any other information comes up, it can come off as pushy or presumptuous.

Compensation will almost certainly come up in your conversation, so there is no need to push the issue immediately. If for some reason it doesn’t, then it’s important to bring it up before you hop off the phone so you know what to expect going forward.

Consistently Rescheduling an Initial Phone Call with Your Recruiter

It’s not usually a good sign when a candidate reschedules their phone call more than 2 or 3 times in a row. This makes it hard to be sure they will show up / be available if they get to the interview stage with the client.

Recruiters want to know they’re doing right by you, as well as by their client. While schedules understandably get crazy sometimes, being able to keep appointments with the recruiter suggests you’ll do so with their client as well.

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Delivering a Non-negotiable Set of Conditions Right Before Accepting 

Occasionally, candidates reach the end of the interviews knowing all the specifics of the position (salary, benefits, responsibilities etc.).  However, upon receiving an offer, they throw in their own list of surprise conditions to accept the position; this is considered very unprofessional.

It is apt to discuss something like this with your recruiter, before saying anything to your possible future employer.

Being Rude, Condescending, Short, or Simply Unpleasant

This one may be obvious, but it absolutely hurts anyone’s chances of being submitted to a client if they treat the recruiter like an inferior. First impressions are important, and when meeting someone, being respectful, polite and easy to talk to will go a long, long way, in job search as in life.

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3 Things I Suggest You Do While Interviewing

3 Things I Suggest You Do While Interviewing

1.) Slow Down Your Interviewing 

When you’re interviewing, you may feel as though every statement out of your mouth is being judged and criticized to the highest extent, leaving you to talk a mile a minute, hoping that if your last sentence wouldn’t win an Emmy nomination, the next one will make up for it.

The truth is, when interviewing and in life, it’s about what you say, not how much you can fit into a 30 minute conversation.

While filling the discussion with small talk about your dog or the weather won’t convince the interviewer you’re right for the job, a few solid, relevant points will show you’re a capable, confident candidate.

Also, from a behavioral interviewing standpoint, it will show you are a job seeker who isn’t intimidated by a simple conversation.

2.) Tell The Truth

Words that are written on your resume can act as a metaphorical “gatekeeper.” While those words can allow you to get to the first round of interviews, it’s really only about 25% of what makes an interview process successful.

Culture fit plays a huge role in not only interviewing, but whether you’d be happy at the company once you get the job.

You may think an interview should consist of feeding the interviewer what they want to hear.   In reality, being your natural self and having a mutual discussion will allow the company to understand your true strengths and weaknesses.

Then, if you do meet enough criteria and they do want to bring you on, it will allow them to assess how they can provide career training in an effective, mutually beneficial way.

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3.) Listen (It’s Harder Than You Think)

It’s very common to have been raised by the notion that you should always think about what you’re going to say before you say it.

Obviously, in a lot of cases this is true and can keep us all out of trouble, but it often leads people to forfeit active listening in order to plan their next move.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a few seconds after a question to think of a natural, thoughtful response.

In fact, I bet the interviewer with be thankful to receive a relevant response, as opposed to another cookie cutter answer that sounds good out of context, but in the end leaves both parties a little bit lost.