Recently in Interviewing Category

Friday April 19, 2013

Emotional Preparation for Interviews

Bookmark and Share

Hiring is an emotional process for both the candidate and the interviewer. The hiring process is shrouded with a veneer of logic "to hire the best qualified person", but in reality it is grounded with emotion. Your enthusiasm, confidence and energy will determine whether or not you get hired.

Read more: CrossRoads - Emotional Preparation for Interviews
Wednesday May 30, 2012

Advice For An Ambitious, Young Grad

Bookmark and Share
Dear Joan:

I am a 21 year-old senior at Penn State, looking to make a dent in the world through entrepreneurship, inspiration, and the dissemination of knowledge and wisdom. I'm actively seeking to learn from the experts about how to be successful in my future endeavors (i.e. consulting, entrepreneurship, public speaking, writing, etc.) and stumbled upon your website in the process. You clearly have a wealth of knowledge and experiences and I would greatly appreciate anything you would be willing to share with me.

grad.jpg Specifically, what is your greatest piece of wisdom or advice (career or personal) for an ambitious, young professional approaching graduation?


What an exciting-and challenging-question!

The first piece of advice you are already demonstrating:

Seek advice from those you respect and can learn from.

This curiosity will cause people to open up to you and shorten your learning curve about the companies, the people and the politics of work. Unfortunately, many young grads charge into the work world thinking they already know it all-after all, they have those shining new diplomas! What the smart ones soon learn is that the real education starts after they leave school.

Continue Reading

Tuesday May 22, 2012

Losing the Job Before Your Interview Begins

Bookmark and Share
Dana's job search week started at 8:00 a.m. on Monday just like it had during the previous 12 weeks. Alone and fearful of the future, she questioned when the next interview would come. She'd invested weeks refining her résumé, spent 20 hours per week networking, and consistently spent another 10 hours a week searching job postings. She had no idea that she'd have a phone interview in 20 minutes.

Telephone.jpgAt 8:20 a.m. her phone rang. It was Cheryl, a hiring manager from SCM Partners, the company Dana has been trying to get into for months. Cheryl was impressed with Dana's résumé and wanted to do a phone interview immediately. "Hi, Dana. My name is Cheryl Jones-Smith from SCM Partners. I'd like to spea k with you about the XYZ position that reports to me. I hope I called you at a good time," stated Cheryl as she began the phone interview.

[read the full story]
Tuesday April 3, 2012

Conversational Interviews and Interrogations

Bookmark and Share
Most people have the wrong concept of job interviews. They falsely believe that a job interview is an event where the interviewers ask all the questions and the applicant only provides answers. This type of event is not an interview. It is an interrogation. During an interrogation, one person asks the questions while the other person provides responses. Do you really think people get hired by going on interrogations? I don't think so.

Think back to your best interview experience, and you'll discover that your meeting was a two-way conversation. The interviewer asked you questions; you thoughtfully responded and then asked your own questions. The interview flowed effortlessly as two professional peers exchanged information and work perspectives. It felt like you were in a groove, spontaneous, and in the zone where everything came easily and comfortably. You were confident and felt like the job was yours for the taking.

This Podcast describes how to facilitate that kind of interview every time. Well, maybe not every time, but most of the time. If your interviewer is a real jerk, you can only do so much. How to deal with jerks in the interview process is covered in a separate Podcast. Most interviewers are wonderful, nice people, but there are a few assholes who are real jerks trying to hide their own insecurity.

The Typical Job Interview

Let's imagine we are observing a typical job interview where the candidate does not ask questions. The interviewer begins by saying, "Tell me about yourself." The applicant provides an excellent response with a 60-second overview of his/her skills that relates directly to the position. After the response, the applicant sits quietly waiting for the next question. The interviewer asks the next question which is followed by a nice response from the applicant and then more silence. This one-way interrogation ritual continues for 40 minutes. The last 5 minutes of the interview are reserved for applicant questions. The interviewer begins this phase by asking, "Do you have any questions?" The candidate says, "No, I have no questions at this time. You have done an excellent job of telling me about the position and the company." Read the full article

Thursday March 29, 2012

More Employers Are Asking Hard Questions

Bookmark and Share
John was a well seasoned engineer looking for a new job. He entered the interview feeling confident that his resume was strong enough to land him the job. Then the interview began, and the panel's first question was: "Tell us about your most impressive contribution that you've made at your current company." John simply froze. He couldn't think of a good example in those few seconds and realized he'd lost the job by not being better prepared.

Expect Situational Questions

Questions.gifMore employers today, especially Fortune 500 companies, are using a difficult interview style of questions to weed out job candidates. My career counseling clients say these "behavioral" or "situational" questions are the hardest type to answer. If you are not ready for them, it's easy to make a fatal error.

The interviewer uses a probing style to ask questions seeking very specific examples of your actions in a work situation. These questions begin with these phrases: "Tell me about a time ...", or "Describe ...", or "Give me an example ..." The interviewer is looking for details of your past abilities and how you acted in a specific work situation. The correct answers offers specific details, a clear specific illustration of what the problem or situation was, where it took place and the RESULTS you personally achieved. The interviewer often then rates each response to determine how well you reacted to these situations in the past, as a way to predict your future performance with their company.

Here are several questions that my career counseling clients were recently asked in their job interviews:

Read the full article

Tuesday October 18, 2011

How to Describe Yourself in an Interview

Bookmark and Share
There you are dressed your best and being interviewed for the job of your dreams and the dreaded question gets asked, "Describe yourself for me." This question is almost always asked by prospective employers and almost always answered with a resounding uuuuuh... Knowing how to describe yourself in an interview can mean the difference of landing your dream job or going back to the want ads.

It helps if you come to grips with the fact that this question will be asked and you prepare for it ahead of time, but be careful that you don't some off sounding like you memorized a script the night before. When getting ready to describe yourself in an interview you should consider the following:


Wednesday August 31, 2011

Does Your Cover Letter ASK for the Job Interview?

Bookmark and Share
© Written By Jimmy Sweeney President of CareerJimmy and Author of the brand new, Amazing Cover Letter Creator

Cover letter.jpg Job seekers all over the country miss their golden opportunity to land an interview for the job they want--often for one simple reason. They neglect to ASK for one. They write a great cover letter, listing their accomplishments, their abilities, and the accolades they received for the work they've done. But they leave out an essential sentence:

May I come in for an interview?


I would love to interview for this position, can we schedule a time next week?

There is no question that you can and will be called for more job interviews if you take that one step--asking for the opportunity to meet in person. Without the question, your cover letter fails to fully work in your favor. So be sure that every cover letter you write includes a request for a job interview.

Twice is Nice!

Ask for an interview in the beginning of your cover letter and again towards the end. It's fine to use a friendly tone, but don't be afraid to be direct too. You're asking the hiring manager to give you a call and invite you in to talk about the job you both want to fill. This is as basic as it gets. Asking is one of simplest and more effective job-search tips you will read anywhere at any time. I hope you'll take it to heart, use it, and then watch the results pour in.

- Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the brand new, Amazing Cover Letter Creator." Jimmy is also the author of several career related books and writes a monthly article titled, "Job Search Secrets."

Visit our friends at Amazing Cover Letters for your "instant" cover letter today. "In just 3½ minutes you will have an amazing cover letter guaranteed to cut through YOUR competition like a hot knife through butter!"

Tuesday August 16, 2011

You Had the Job Interview - But Now What?

Bookmark and Share
I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who is an HR Director at a large company. I like to keep in touch with her to get the other side of the story about how candidates are coming across in their job searches and some of the latest tactics that work for her, and those that don't.

Interview Preparation.jpg She was telling me about an out of work friend who, after submitting her resume, was calling the hiring manager daily to inquire about the status. "After about three days of seeing the same number come up on caller ID I'm sure that hiring manager won't be calling her back, regardless of how qualified she is. Who wants to hire a stalker?" my friend commented. And sadly, it's true. Just like that guy or gal who calls you incessantly after having a great date, or a salesperson you briefly talked to in a store. You might have been interested in them, or working with them at the time, but too much, is still, too much.

So what should you do? Send your resume, and if you have the contact info (and the ad does not specifically say "Do not call."), you can place a brief, friendly follow-up call the following week to touch base and let them know you're a real person who didn't just hit the Submit key on You can even say one or two unique aspects about your experience that specifically relate to the position leave your name and contact info, and then that's it. If you're a fit-they'll call you back. If you're not-then they won't.

However, if you have made it to the interview stage, you have earned a little more leeway. First, you should NEVER, EVER leave an interview without asking-"What are the next steps?" or "What is your timeline for filling this position?" You can even ask "I'd love to follow-up with you, what works better for you, a call or an email, say, next week? I don't want to turn into a stalker. " (insert casual laugh here) There you have it-you just got their timing, showed you were interested, and saved yourself a stress-ridden week of worrying about the position.

After you've made that initial post-interview follow-up call, don't revert to your former stalker ways and leave a voicemail every day, but it is OK to check in with them, either by phone or email every week and a half to two weeks. You can simply remind them of your interest in the position, or better yet, include a link to a relevant article about something happening in the industry is completely appropriate.

- Melanie Szlucha

Melanie Szlucha has been a hiring manager for over 15 years and a career coach for over 4 through her company Red Inc. She writes resumes, coaches clients for job interviews, and works with them to strategize networking opportunities and job search tactics.She offers a packet of FREE job search articles--worth over $100, through her website:

Thursday June 30, 2011

Are You a Job Hopper?

Bookmark and Share
Interviewer: "I'm concerned that you've changed jobs frequently."

Changing jobs frequently is a reality of working today. Companies conduct layoffs with higher frequency than ever before. Most employees are not laid off for poor performance. Department consolidation, company relocation, merger and improved profit are just a few reasons for layoffs.

Interview Preparation.jpg Why this is a surprise to interviewers is a mystery to me.

Changing jobs frequently is a common condition in the 21st century, but interviewers still question candidates about why they left jobs. The core issue is that interviewers are afraid you'll leave quickly or be a low performer.

Your response to this interviewer issue mu st provide information about why you left a previous position and assurances that you're seeking a long-term opportunity.

Have a good reason

Whether you changed by choice or layoff, you'll need to provide a reason for leaving each previous job. Candidates often include the reason for leaving a position in their resume so they do not get screened out prior to the interview. Your reason for leaving must be concise and reasonable.

Keep it short

Describe the reasons for your departure directly and succinctly. Do not go into great detail unless they ask you for the details. The longer you speak on the subject the more suspicious the interviewer will become. For example: "My company merged with another firm and consolidated our department. Prior to the merger I was a strong performer with positive performance reviews."

Seeking long-term

It is important to express that you have always sought and are still seeking a company where you can make a long term commitment. Tell the interviewer that this opportunity appears to be a place where you can contribute in the short-term and long-term.

Offer References

State you'll happy to provide references from a former colleague or boss to verify his performance. Demonstrating a confidence and willingness to provide references to support your reasons for leaving is a powerful way to respond to questions about why you left a previous company.

Turn that question around

After your response to why you left a position, ask the interviewer(s) a question.

  • What is the average length of service with your company?
  • What qualities distinguish people you are long term contributors at this company?


Write out your response and practice saying it. First, practice responding out loud to yourself and then practice saying it to another person. Ask a friend to practice interview you. Ask them to ask you this question ("Why did you leave your last company?") and a couple other questions you fear most. Practice until you are comfortable with the words you say and how you deliver them.

What Did You Learn

Embrace the opportunity to describe what you learned from a recent job and how you will handle a similar situation in the future. Describing what y ou learned demonstrates that you are a life-long learner and you look on the positive side of most scenarios.

Good luck and the best of health on your job search,

Michael R. Neece, CEO and Author


Tuesday February 22, 2011

Rusty Interview Help

Bookmark and Share
If you haven't looked for a job in a while, skydiving might be preferable to interviewing. But there are a few simple steps that will remove the fear and give you the confidence you'd otherwise wish you had.

Common sense says you need to research the company via their website, brochures or the library, although you'd be surprised at how many skip the obvious. Basics also include bringing a few extra copies of your resume to hand out if necessary, arriving early, dressing professionally, and knowing what you have to offer the company.

Interview Preparation.jpg But those are no-brainers, or they should be. What even experienced interviewers often fail to do is ask, in detail, about the position. So get away from the job description and dig into the actuality of that job in that company, as it stands right now. Find out why the position is open and how long it's been vacant. Ask also how long the previous person was there. If that person was there less than two years, find out how long the previous person was there. If both are short, chances are you won't be there long either.

You want to know what the first priority to be addressed is, if there's a time frame for accomplishing it, and if so, what it is. Is it a realistic one? And overall, in what condition is the job you'll be picking up? Is it maintenance? Troubleshooting and clean up? Smooth, accelerated growth? And how do the answers sit with you?

[read the full article]