We treat our candidates with the highest level of respect, professionalism and most importantly, confidentiality. We want to know what motivates you both professionally and personally so that we can present you with opportunities that match up to the long-term goals and aspirations that you have shared with us. When working with Red Kite Recruiting, we offer each of our candidate’s personalized services at no cost including resume advice, interview coaching and debriefing and when necessary, relocation advice. Under no circumstance will we ever disclose your information to an employer without your consent.
Tips to Landing Your Dream Job
You know that weird feeling between excitement and dread that accompanies an invitation to interview? It’s especially strong when you know next to nothing about your potential workplace.
But, even if the first time you’ve ever heard of the company you’re interviewing with was the day you sent in your application, you can still walk in like you’ve known about the place for years. Here are several ways to tackle researching the company pre-interview.
1. Know the Company’s Strong Suits
The best way to convince your interviewer that you know the company well is to be able to articulate what makes it special compared to competitors. The good news? Companies will often tell you the answer to this question right on their websites.
One way companies share how they stand out is through their mission or values, which are typically prominently displayed in the “About Us” section. Read closely to learn what might be different about this organization than others. For instance, if you’re interviewing with a marketing agency, “commitment to client service” is probably something that its competitors boast, too, but if one of its other core values is sustainability , that’s good to know.
Review this along with any other “basics” you should be familiar with prior to the interview—like company size, location, and history. You don’t want to be that person who asks a question that can easily be answered by checking out the website.
2. Sniff Out the Financial Health
While you’re on the website, click on the “Investor Relations” tab. For most large companies, you should be able to access and listen to a publicly available quarterly earnings conference call and read an annual report. These calls and reports cover a range of topics (that are often otherwise hard to find), including new products, company risks, and whether revenues are growing or stable. If you’re interviewing with a startup, check out its profile on Crunchbase . Here, you can get caught up on rounds of funding, acquisitions, recent hires, and relevant press coverage.
Once you have this information, it’s up to you to draw your own conclusions. While you don’t necessarily want to spout off stock prices or funding history, being able to speak insightfully about where you think the company will go in the future, backed up with facts, is hugely impressive in an interview.
3. Watch Community Interaction
Somewhere along the application process, someone you’re interviewing with has likely Googled you and scoured your social media accounts . You should return the favor by finding out what the company has been up to lately.
Aside from the news that comes up when you Google the company (which you should also read), corporate blogs are gold mines, especially for younger companies that are growing. Whether it’s a post welcoming new staffers to the sales team or detailing new features of a recent software update, this is the kind of stuff you should know about.
LinkedIn is also a good tool for learning about what kind of news the company communicates—and therefore wants you to know. Check the company page on LinkedIn and see what kind of updates are featured. Is there a promotion for Mother’s Day, or a statement on how the sales team exceeded earning expectations? Either way, this will show you what types of things to bring up in conversation. (Oh, and while you’re on LinkedIn, check out the profiles of the people you’ll be interviewing with. Make sure you have your profile set so that they can see that you’ve viewed their profiles. This might seem counterintuitive, but it actually shows that you care and are doing your due diligence before the interview.)
Lastly, check out the company’s Twitter and Facebook profiles. Is the tone professional or casual? Is it nonstop promotion with zero interaction? Is the team responsive to complaints? Tuck away positive news and examples you encounter during your research to use in the interview.
4. Go Undercover to Learn Company Culture
You may be able to glean a bit about corporate culture through a company’s blog and social media accounts, but to really build on that information, try looking for information from external sources.
For example, head over to the company profiles on The Muse , where you can watch interviews with current employees and hear what makes each workplace so different. Or, see what positive and negative things people have to say about the company you’re interviewing with on Glassdoor. (You can also sniff out sample interview questions—here’s how .) You won’t bring up all this information during the interview, but it will at least help you come up with reasons why the company is special and help you to know what topics to avoid during the interview. (For example, maybe work-life balance is a touchy subject and should be brought up after you get the offer.)
Better yet, try to find a past or current employee you can speak with, and try to build on what you already know. You can ask something like, “I understand the company is working on growing its presence in Asia—can you tell me more about how this initiative is impacting the team?” This will both impress and grow what you know about your potential employer. (For more on acing your informational interview, try these tips .)
5. Read Up on the Field and Competitors
Aside from knowing as much as possible about the place you’re interviewing with, it’s a good idea to be able to talk about the industry as a whole and even more impressive to be able to talk about competitors and how the company fits into the bigger picture.
Look up competitors by going to the LinkedIn company page and scrolling down to the “Other Companies People Viewed” section. There should be a few competitors there. Do the same thing with the competitors you find until you have a pretty good sense of who the big players in the field are. (Or, if the company has a Crunchbase page, you should be able to find a list of competitors on its profile.)
Follow the same research steps you did for the company you’re interviewing for, but focus only on those things that are relevant to your interview. Think big picture, not minute details on specific projects. Is a competitor actively acquiring startups that target a different market? Or maybe new collaborations indicate a possible shift in audience for a big competitor.
After all this research, you’ll probably be wondering, “So, what do I do with all this information?” Remember that your objective is to be convincing when you say, “I want to work at your company.” Back this up by being able to talk about what makes the company unique, and express your enthusiasm by showing off your knowledge. Work in examples of what you know in your interview answers, and watch your interviewers nod in approval. After all, few things are as effective in an interview as knowing exactly what you’re talking about.
Here are the interviewing techniques we recommend for the best success on a job interview.
1. Prepping for the Interview
Before you walk into any interview, you should know everything about both the company and the position for which you’re interviewing. In today’s world of mass communication, there’s no excuse for lack of research. Your recruiter will be able to brief you on the company, but you may want to search the web or the library for additional information. After you’ve studied the company, write down a list of questions to ask the employer. For example:
- Why is this position available?
- What training programs will be offered to the person in this position?
- What are your goals for this position?
- What obstacles must be overcome for the person in this position to succeed?
- How will my performance be evaluated?
- What opportunities are there for growth over the next 12 months? In the next five years?
- What growth do you anticipate for your firm over the next 12 months?
2. Questions to Expect
(Please also visit our complete list of 150 Job Interview Questions)
No one can predict the exact questions that an interviewer will ask, but your recruiter should be able to give you a good idea of the hiring authority’s personality, his or her typical interview demeanor, and a few important questions that the employer is likely to ask. To prepare, think about how you would answer the following questions:
- “Tell me about yourself.” Keep your answer in the professional realm only. Review your past positions, your education and any other strengths that pertain to the job.
- “What do you know about our organization?” If you’ve done your research correctly, you should have no problem answering this one. Be positive.
- “Why are you interested in this position?” Relate how you feel your qualifications really match the requirements of the job. Also, express your desire to work for that company.
- “What have been your most significant career accomplishments to date?” Select some recent accomplishments that relate to this position and its requirements.
- “Describe a situation in which your work was criticized.” Focus on how you solved the situation, and let the interviewer know how you became a better person because of it.
- “How would you describe your personality?”
- “How do you perform under pressure?”
- “What have you done to improve yourself over the past year?”
- “What did you like least about your last position?”
- “Why are you leaving your present company?”
- “What is your ideal working environment?”
- “How would your co-workers describe you?”
- “What do you think of your boss?”
- “Have you ever fired anyone? What was the situation, and how did you handle it?”
- “Are you creative?”
- “What are your goals in your career?”
- “Where do you see yourself in two years?”
- “Why should we hire you?”
- “What kind of salary are you looking for?”
- “What other types of jobs/companies are you considering?”
3. Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing
- Arrive 15 minutes early. Late attendance is never excusable.
- Clarify questions. Be sure you answered the questions the employer really asked.
- Get the interviewer to describe the position and responsibilities early in the conversation so you can relate your skills and your background to the position throughout the interview.
- Discuss your qualifications. Stress the accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
- Conduct yourself professionally. Be aware of what your body language is saying. Smile, make eye contact, don’t slouch, and maintain your composure.
- Anticipate difficult questions, and prepare in advance so you can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths.
- Dress appropriately. Make your first impression a professional one.
- Ask questions throughout the interview. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.
- Listen. This is probably the most important skill of all. By concentrating not only on the employer’s words, but also on the tone of his or her voice and body language, you will be able to pick up on the employer’s style. Once you understand how a hiring authority thinks, pattern your answers accordingly. You will be able to relate better to him or to her.
- Answer vague questions. Rather than answering questions you think you hear, get the employer to be more specific and then respond.
- Interrupt the employer. If you don’t have time to listen, then neither does the employer.
- Smoke, chew gum, or place anything on the employer’s desk.
- Be overly familiar, even if the employer is.
- Wear heavy perfume or cologne.
- Ramble. Long answers can make you sound apologetic or indecisive. On the other hand, don’t answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no.” Explain yourself in detail whenever possible.
- Lie. Answer questions as truthfully as possible.
- Make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
4. Closing the Interview
Too many people second-guess themselves after an interview. By closing strongly and asking the right questions, you can eliminate the post-interview doubts that tend to plague most interviewees. If you feel that the interview went well and you would like to take the next step, express your interest to the hiring authority and turn the tables a bit. Try something like the following: “After hearing more about your company, the position and the responsibilities at hand, I am certain that I possess the qualities that you are looking for in the (title) position. Based on our conversation and my qualifications, are there any issues or concerns that you have that would lead you to believe otherwise?” You have a right to be assertive. This is a great closing question because it opens the door for the hiring authority to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If concerns do exist, this is a great opportunity to overcome them. You have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on positive note. A few things to remember during the closing process:
- Don’t be discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with the office first, or interview other applicants, before making a decision.
- Make sure you answer the following two questions: “Why are you interested in the company?” and “What can you offer?”
- Express thanks for the interviewer’s time and consideration.
- Ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can write a thank-you letter as soon as possible.
5. Following Up
When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered in the interview. Think of the qualifications the employer is seeking, and match your strengths to them. Then, call your recruiter! Follow-up at this stage is critical. Finally, write a thank-you letter no later than 24 hours after the interview has ended.
10 of the Biggest Interview Killers
When you’re on a romantic dinner date, you try to avoid “mood killers” — talking with a mouth full of food, cursing an ex, or complaining about a health ailment. During a job interview, you have to avoid similar spoilers if you want to make a good impression.
Here are 10 of the most common interview killers and how you can steer clear of them during your next job interview:
1. Not knowing your aim.
Too often candidates think their purpose in an interview is simply to ask for a job. Your goals are to demonstrate how you are a good fit for the organization, and to assess whether the job is really right for you.
2. Being too needy.
Neediness is probably the No. 1 advantage-killer in an interview. Remind yourself before walking in the door: you do not need this job. You do need food, you do need air, and you do need water. Keep things in perspective.
3. Lousy nonverbal communication.
This is about demonstrating confidence. Your first impression makes the difference. When you enter the interview room, stand up straight, make eye contact, and offer a strong handshake with your interviewer. If necessary, jot their name on your notepad as soon as you seat yourself. Do the same for any other individual you are meeting with.
4. Compromising your position.
You should always participate in the interview as an equal, not a subordinate, of the person conducting the interview. Often this is a subtle matter of self-perception, so remind yourself before the interview.
5. Falling into the answers-only rut.
An interview is a conversation. Don’t just answer their questions. That’s why you’ve prepared stories to highlight your accomplishments, which will be your moments to shine. When you do answer any questions, make sure that you answer immediately and follow up with a question of your own, if at all possible.
Telling your interviewer more than they need to know could be fatal. Your stories should be 60 to 90 seconds long and they should have a relevant point. Focus, focus, focus. Stick with your rehearsed stories, your research, and the questions you need to ask. Don’t fill up the silence with unnecessary talk.
7. Being overly familiar.
A good interviewer will be skilled enough to put you at ease within the first 10 minutes of the interview. That doesn’t mean that they have become your best friend. Don’t let your guard down. You’re there to interview them and get answers to your questions. Treat this from start to finish as the professional business meeting that it is.
8. Making incorrect assumptions.
Points are not deducted at the interview for asking questions when you don’t understand something. Don’t guess at what your interviewer means. Effective interviewing is all about collecting information in real time, taking good notes, and responding only to the actual facts you’ve collected. If you find yourself making assumptions or guessing about something that was said, stop and ask for clarification before you answer.
9. Getting emotional.
At times the interviewer may hit a nerve or consciously try to provoke you into an “outburst.” Don’t fall for it. Clear your mind of any fears or expectations, so you can maintain a calm, open-minded perspective at all times. When emotions enter into an interview, failure follows.
10. Not asking specific questions.
You want to find out more about what this job is really about and whether you want it. Arrive with a list of several prepared questions about the company, the position, and the people who work there. Ask questions that begin with “what,” “how,” and “why.” Avoid simple yes/no questions. Get your interviewer talking as much as possible, then take notes. Most interviewers are unimpressed by someone who has no questions.
These 150 questions include both traditional and behavioral interview questions.
- How would you describe yourself?
- What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established for your life?
- How has your college experience prepared you for a business career?
- Please describe the ideal job for you following graduation.
- What influenced you to choose this career?
- At what point did you choose this career?
- What specific goals have you established for your career?
- What will it take to attain your goals, and what steps have you taken toward attaining them?
- What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?
- How do you determine or evaluate success? Give me an example of one of your successful accomplishments.
- Do you have the qualifications and personal characteristics necessary for success in your chosen career?
- What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
- If you could do so, how would you plan your college career differently?
- Are you more energized by working with data or by collaborating with other individuals?
- How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as a member of a team?
- What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
- Given the investment our company will make in hiring and training you, can you give us a reason to hire you?
- Would you describe yourself as goal-driven?
- Describe what you’ve accomplished toward reaching a recent goal for yourself.
- What short-term goals and objectives have you established for yourself?
- Can you describe your long-range goals and objectives?
- What do you expect to be doing in five years?
- What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
- How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?
- Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor or instructor? How did you resolve the conflict?
- Tell me about a major problem you recently handled. Were you successful in resolving it?
- Would you say that you can easily deal with high-pressure situations?
- What quality or attribute do you feel will most contribute to your career success?
- What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty in school or on the job?
- What were your reasons for selecting your college or university?
- If you could change or improve anything about your college, what would it be?
- How will the academic program and coursework you’ve taken benefit your career?
- Which college classes or subjects did you like best? Why?
- Are you the type of student for whom conducting independent research has been a positive experience?
- Describe the type of professor that has created the most beneficial learning experience for you.
- Do you think that your grades are a indication of your academic achievement?
- What plans do you have for continued study? An advanced degree?
- Before you can make a productive contribution to the company, what degree of training do you feel you will require?
- Describe the characteristics of a successful manager.
- Why did you decide to seek a position in this field?
- Tell me what you know about our company.
- Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?
- Do you have a geographic preference?
- Why do you think you might like to live in the community in which our company is located?
- Would it be a problem for you to relocate?
- To what extent would you be willing to travel for the job?
- Which is more important to you, the job itself or your salary?
- What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?
- Tell me about the salary range you’re seeking.
- What are the most important rewards you expect to gain from your career?
- How would you define “success” for someone in your chosen career?
- What qualifications do you have that will make you successful in this company?
- What skills have you acquired from your work experience?
- What have you learned from your experiences outside the classroom or workplace?
- What criteria are you using to choose companies to interview with?
- If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for?
- How would you describe your leadership skills?
- Which is more important: creativity or efficiency? Why?
- How has college changed you as a person?
- What have you accomplished that shows your initiative and willingness to work?
- What was the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced?
- What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
- Some people work best as part of a group — others prefer the role of individual contributor. How would you describe yourself?
- When given an important assignment, how do you approach it?
- If there were one area you’ve always wanted to improve upon, what would that be?
- When you have been made aware of, or have discovered for yourself, a problem in your school or work performance, what was your course of action?
- What kinds of things have you done at school or on the job that were beyond expectations?
- What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients in guiding and maintaining successful business relationships?
- What sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your career?
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way?
- Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
- By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
- Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
- Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
- Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across.
- Give me a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
- Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
- Describe the most significant or creative presentation that you have had to complete.
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
- Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
- Sometimes it’s easy to get in “over your head.” Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance on a project or assignment.
- Give an example of how you applied knowledge from previous coursework to a project in another class.
- Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?
- Describe a situation in which you found that your results were not up to your professor’s or supervisor’s expectations. What happened? What action did you take?
- Tell of a time when you worked with a colleague who was not completing his or her share of the work. Who, if anyone, did you tell or talk to about it? Did the manager take any steps to correct your colleague? Did you agree or disagree with the manager’s actions?
- Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.
- What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision?
- We can sometimes identify a small problem and fix it before it becomes a major problem. Give an example(s) of how you have done this.
- In a supervisory or group leader role, have you ever had to discipline or counsel an employee or group member? What was the nature of the discipline? What steps did you take? How did that make you feel? How did you prepare yourself?
- Recall a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose. What was the nature of the problem? How did you handle that situation? How did that make you feel?
- Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be a complex project. Specifically, what steps did you take to prepare for and finish the project? Were you happy with the outcome? What one step would you have done differently if given the chance?
- What was the most complex assignment you have had? What was your role?
- How was your transition from high school to college? Did you face any particular problems?
- Tell of some situations in which you have had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you?
- Compare and contrast the times when you did work which was above the standard with times your work was below the standard.
- Describe some times when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it?
- What are your standards of success in school? What have you done to meet these standards?
- How have you differed from your professors in evaluating your performance? How did you handle the situation?
- Give examples of your experiences at school or in a job that were satisfying. Give examples of your experiences that were dissatisfying.
- What kind of supervisor do you work best for? Provide examples.
- Describe some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were implemented, or carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts.
- Describe a situation that required a number of things to be done at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result?
- Have you found any ways to make school or a job easier or more rewarding or to make yourself more effective?
- How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give examples.
- Tell of a time when your active listening skills really paid off for you — maybe a time when other people missed the key idea being expressed.
- What has been your experience in giving presentations? What has been your most successful experience in speech making?
- Tell of the most difficult customer service experience that you have ever had to handle — perhaps an angry or irate customer. Be specific and tell what you did and what the outcome was.
- Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why was this person difficult? How did you handle that person?
- Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who didn’t like you. How did you handle it?
- Give me a specific example of something you did that helped build enthusiasm in others.
- Tell me about a difficult situation when it was desirable for you to keep a positive attitude. What did you do?
- Give me an example of a time you had to make an important decision. How did you make the decision? How does it affect you today?
- Give me an example of a time you had to persuade other people to take action. Were you successful?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person. How did you handle the situation?
- Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple responsibilities. How did you organize the work you needed to do?
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision, but didn’t have all the information you needed.
- What suggestions do you have for our organization?
- What is the most significant contribution you made to the company during a past job or internship?
- What is the biggest mistake you’ve made?
- Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper. What was the topic? What journals did you read?
- Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?
- Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result?
- Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay focused?
- Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company/class/organization was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play?
- Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor. How did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome?
- Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome?
- Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn?
- Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task. How did you assist him or her? What was the result?
- Give two examples of things you’ve done in previous jobs or school that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.
- Describe the last time that you undertook a project that demanded a lot of initiative.
- What is the most competitive work or school situation you have experienced? How did you handle it? What was the result?
- Describe a project or situation that best demonstrates your analytical abilities.
- Give an example of when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome?
- Tell about a time when you built rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.
- Some people consider themselves to be “big picture people” and others are detail oriented. Which are you? Give an example that illustrates your preference.
- Describe a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?
- Describe a time when you took personal accountability for a conflict and initiated contact with the individual(s) involved to explain your actions.
- Give me an example of when you were able to meet the personal and professional (or academic) demands in your life yet still maintained a healthy balance.
- Everyone has made some poor decisions or has done something that just did not turn out right. Give an example of when this has happened to you.
- What do you do when you are faced with an obstacle to an important project? Give an example.
- Tell about the most difficult or frustrating individual that you’ve ever had to work with, and how you managed to work with that person.
- Tell about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did you react/respond?
- Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the actions of others.
- Tell about a recent job or campus experience that you would describe as a real learning experience? What did you learn from the job or experience?
- Describe a team experience you found disappointing. What could you have done to prevent it?
- Recall a situation in which communications were poor. How did you handle it?
- Describe a time when you had to make a difficult choice between your personal and professional (or academic) life.
- On occasion we are confronted by dishonesty in the workplace or in school. Tell about such an occurrence and how you handled it.
- What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?
STAR Interviewing Response Technique for Success in Behavioral Job Interviews
One strategy for preparing for behavioral interviews is to use the STAR Technique, as outlined below. (This technique is often referred to as the SAR and PAR techniques as well.)Read up on the technique, and then try it out with our list of sample behavioral based interview questions.
|Situation or Task||Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.|
|Action you took||Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.|
|Results you achieved||What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?|
We’ve compiled a list of common behavioral-interview questions.
One of the keys to success in interviewing is practice, so we encourage you to take the time to work out answers to these questions using one of the suggested methods, such as theSTAR approach. Be sure not to memorize answers; the key to interviewing success is simply being prepared for the questions and having a mental outline to follow in responding to each question.
Looking for some sample excellent answers to behavioral interview questions? Then go to our Job Interviewing Tips page , where we have traditional and mixed interview questions for experienced job-seekers.
Here is one list of sample behavioral-based interview questions:
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
- Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
- Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
- Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
- Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete.
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
- Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
- What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
- Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
- Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made in the last year.
- Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed.
- Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
- Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
- Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
- Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
- Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
- Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.
- Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
- Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- Please tell me about a time you had to fire a friend.
- Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).
Body Language Can Make or Break a Job Interview
Savvy job seekers know how important choosing the right words is when communicating with prospective employers. But what about nonverbal communication?
“You could be saying how great you are, but your body could be giving your true feelings away,” says Alison Craig, image consultant and author of Hello Job! How to Psych Up, Suit Up, & Show Up. Mark Bowden, author of Winning Body Language, agrees with Craig — and with the highly regarded Mehrabian communication study, which found that if what’s coming out of your mouth doesn’t match what your body is saying, your audience is more likely to believe your body.
Here’s some expert advice on how to effectively let your body do the talking in a job interview:
Making a Great Entrance
Craig and Bowden agree that the interview starts even before you get to the interview room.”You don’t know who could be in the parking lot with you, looking at you from a window or standing next to you in the elevator,” says Craig. “Your body should tell anyone who might be watching that you’re confident and calm. It’s not the time to be frantically searching through your portfolio for printouts of your resume.”
Show Your Good Side
Hiring managers often ask receptionists for their take on people who come to the office for interviews, so Bowden suggests letting them observe you without letting on that you know they’re watching. “Sit with your profile to them,” he says. “It makes them feel comfortable, and if they’re comfortable, they’re more likely to form a good impression.”
Craig suggests trying to predict the direction your interviewer will come from, so you can sit facing that direction. It’ll make the greeting more graceful.
While waiting, don’t hunch your shoulders or tuck your chin into your chest, which will make you seem closed off. Sit with your back straight and your chest open — signs that you’re confident and assertive. “But don’t take this to the extreme,” cautions Bowen. “Elongating your legs or throwing your arm across the back of the chair can make you appear too comfortable, even arrogant.”
Also, says Craig, don’t have so much stuff on your lap that you’re clumsily moving everything aside when you’re called. You want to rise gracefully, without dropping things, so you can smoothly greet the person coming to get you.
Shake It — Don’t Break It
Job interviews mean handshakes — so what are the secrets to the perfect handshake? The overly aggressive shake, or “death grip,” as Craig calls it, can be as off-putting as the limp handshake, so practice with a friend before the interview to find the right balance.
You’re going to be shaking with your right hand, so prepare by arranging your belongings on your left side. Offer your hand with the palm slightly up so that your interviewer’s hand covers yours. “It’s a sign that you’re giving them status,” says Bowden. And never cover the other person’s hand with the hand you’re not shaking with — it can be interpreted as a sign of domination.
The walk to the interview is the perfect time to use body language. Always follow that person, whether the person is the hiring manager or an assistant, to show you understand the protocol. You’re saying, ‘I’m the job candidate, and you’re the company representative — I follow your lead.’ Bowen adds that you should try to “mirror” that person’s tempo and demeanor. “It shows you can easily fit into the environment,” he says.
At the Interview Desk
In the interview room, it’s OK to place a slim portfolio on the table, especially if you’ll be presenting its contents, but put your other belongings on the floor beside you. Holding a briefcase or handbag on your lap will make you seem as though you’re trying to create a barrier around yourself, cautions Craig.
Avoid leaning forward, which makes you appear closed off, Bowden says. Instead, he advises sitting up straight and displaying your neck, chest and stomach area — to signal that you’re open.
When gesturing with your hands, Craig says, you should always keep them above the desk and below the collarbone. “Any higher and you’re going to appear frantic,” she says.
Bowden advises that you keep your hands even lower, in what he calls the “truth plane” — an area that fans out 180 degrees from your navel. “Gesturing from here communicates that you’re centered, controlled and calm — and that you want to help,” he says.
It’s fine to sit about a foot away from the table so that your gestures are visible, he says.
The Art of Departing
At the end of the interview, gather your belongings calmly, rise smoothly, smile and nod your head. If shaking hands with everyone in the room isn’t convenient, at least shake hands with the hiring manager and the person who brought you to the interview space.
You may be tempted to try to read your interviewers’ body language for signals about how the interview went, but don’t, cautions Bowden — because they’re likely trained not to give away too much. “Don’t allow any thoughts into your mind that may cause you to leave the interview in a negative way,” he says.
When you’re looking for a job, your LinkedIn profile is a 24/7 information resource for the recruiters who are looking for talent. In fact, in the Jobvite 2016 Recruiter Nation Report, 87% of recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process.
But what really catches a recruiter’s eye when they’re scrolling through your profile? Here, several weighed in about profiles that make them reach out—or recoil.
INCOMPLETE PROFILES ARE A TURN-OFF
When Cassandre Joseph, senior talent acquisition visionary and strategist at recruitment firm Korn Ferry, looks at a profile, she wants to see your work experience, education, and accomplishments. Incomplete profiles make it more difficult to determine whether you’re the best match for the job, because she can’t get the whole picture. It’s a bad first impression, she says.
“I find somebody’s profile and it says they’ve worked at, according to the profile, four different places simultaneously. They’re adding the new places, but not putting end dates. That says they haven’t updated their LinkedIn profile in X amount of years,” she says.
DON’T USE SELFIES
Your profile photo makes the first impression, so put a little effort into it, says resume expert and retained search consultant Donna Svei. It should look professional and representative of the job you are seeking. Selfies and vacation photos tell recruiters you couldn’t be bothered to make yourself look more professional.
WHO YOU “KNOW” MATTERS
Profiles with just a few contacts are also unappealing, says Molly O’Malley, a tenured recruiter at Adams Keegan, a national HR management and employer services provider. The most effective people have robust networks, and your LinkedIn profile should represent that. You don’t need thousands, but 300 or more is ideal, she says So, beef up your contacts before you look for a new job.
DISCREPANCIES ARE RED FLAGS
Joseph says recruiters often look at profiles to confirm information about a candidate. So when your dates of employment, job titles, or other facts are different on your profile than they are on your resume, a recruiter might worry about how detail-oriented you are—or if there’s reason to believe that you’re not being truthful on one or the other.
NO ONE HAS TIME FOR A LONG, DENSE SUMMARY
Think of your summary like a copywriter would, Svei says. Highlight what’s in it for recruiters to contact you, such as your achievements, honors, and success stories. Use short copy blocks and bullet points so they can read your summary easily. As more recruiters use mobile devices, your copy should be easy to read on small screens. Svei says it’s also critical to include keywords about your industry for easy searchability.
YOUR HEADLINE MATTERS MORE THAN YOU KNOW
Recruiters may also find your LinkedIn profile via Google instead of the platform itself, Svei says. Google search results will typically include your location and the professional headline that appears under your name on your profile. Make the most of that headline by clarifying your industry and job function.
STOP THE JARGON
If your title is something along the lines of “supreme conveyer of IT knowledge” or “social media ninja,” don’t expect a recruiter to try to figure out what you do, O’Malley says. Make your job title and what your company does clear. Jargon or vague language wastes everyone’s time.
RECRUITERS READ YOUR THOUGHTS
During your job search, maintain an active profile, says Melanie Lundberg, assistant vice president of talent management and corporate communications for Combined Insurance. “Read news feeds, share content, comment—it shows a level of professional engagement,” she says. Similarly, link to articles you’ve written or other examples of your work. Many will also be looking for professionalism in what you post.
THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE NICE, BUT . . .
Recruiters are mostly unimpressed with recommendations unless they’re short and really highlight something about your capabilities or strengths, O’Malley says. Don’t ditch them, but don’t put too much stock in them, either.
SAYING YOU’RE JOB HUNTING HELPS
By using the Open Candidates option, you can privately let recruiters know that you’re looking for a job. Svei says it’s a good idea to use this option, which indicates that you want to hear about potential opportunities.
Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. That is beyond discussion. How does one make sure that his resume is top notch and bullet proof, however? There are several websites with tips around the web, but most bring just a handful of them. We wanted to put them all together in a single place, and that is what you will find below: 44 resume writing tips.
1. Know the purpose of your resume
Some people write a resume as if the purpose of the document was to land a job. As a result they end up with a really long and boring piece that makes them look like desperate job hunters. The objective of your resume is to land an interview, and the interview will land you the job (hopefully!).
2. Back up your qualities and strengths
Instead of creating a long (and boring) list with all your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) try to connect them with real life and work experiences. In other words, you need to back these qualities and strengths up, else it will appear that you are just trying to inflate things.
3. Make sure to use the right keywords
Most companies (even smaller ones) are already using digital databases to search for candidates. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. Guess what, if your resume doesn’t have the keywords related to the job you are applying for, you will be out even before the game starts.
These keywords will usually be nouns. Check the job description and related job ads for a clue on what the employer might be looking for. You can read more about resume keywords on the article Tapping the Power of Keywords to Enhance Your Resume’s Effectiveness.
4. Use effective titles
Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to be as descriptive as possible, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:
Bad title: Accounting
Good title: Management of A/R and A/P and Recordkeeping
5. Proofread it twice
It would be difficult to emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could slip. Proofreading it once is not enough, so do it twice, three times or as many as necessary. If you don’t know how to proofread effectively, here are 8 tips that you can use.
6. Use bullet points
No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives.
7. Where are you going?
Including professional goals can help you by giving employers an idea of where you are going, and how you want to arrive there. You don’t need to have a special section devoted to your professional objectives, but overall the resume must communicate it. The question of whether or not to highlight your career objectives on the resume is a polemic one among HR managers, so go with your feeling. If you decide to list them, make sure they are not generic.
8. Put the most important information first
This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first.
9. Attention to the typography
First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smaller you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices.
10. Do not include “no kidding” information
There are many people that like to include statements like “Available for interview” or “References available upon request.” If you are sending a resume to a company, it should be a given that you are available for an interview and that you will provide references if requested. Just avoid items that will make the employer think “no kidding!”
11. Explain the benefits of your skills
Merely stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to explain how it will benefit his company, and to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances.
12. Avoid negativity
Do not include information that might sound negative in the eyes of the employer. This is valid both to your resume and to interviews. You don’t need to include, for instance, things that you hated about your last company.
13. Achievements instead of responsibilities
Resumes that include a long list of “responsibilities included…” are plain boring, and not efficient in selling yourself. Instead of listing responsibilities, therefore, describe your professional achievements.
14. No pictures
Sure, we know that you are good looking, but unless you are applying for a job where the physical traits are very important (e.g., modeling, acting and so on), and unless the employer specifically requested it, you should avoid attaching your picture to the resume.
15. Use numbers
This tip is a complement to the 13th one. If you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it would be a good idea to make them as solid as possible. Numbers are your friends here. Don’t merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your division, say that you increased them by $100,000, by 78%, and so on.
16. One resume for each employer
One of the most common mistakes that people make is to create a standard resume and send it to all the job openings that they can find. Sure it will save you time, but it will also greatly decrease the chances of landing an interview (so in reality it could even represent a waste of time). Tailor your resume for each employer. The same point applies to your cover letters.
17. Identify the problems of the employer
A good starting point to tailor your resume for a specific employer is to identify what possible problems he might have at hand. Try to understand the market of the company you are applying for a job, and identify what kind of difficulties they might be going through. After that illustrate on your resume how you and your skills would help to solve those problems.
18. Avoid age discrimination
It is illegal to discriminate people because of their age, but some employers do these considerations nonetheless. Why risk the trouble? Unless specifically requested, do not include your age on your resume.
19. You don’t need to list all your work experiences
If you have job experiences that you are not proud of, or that are not relevant to the current opportunity, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you land that executive position.
20. Go with what you got
If you never had any real working experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don’t have a degree yet, mention the title and the estimated date for completion. As long as those points are relevant to the job in question, it does not matter if they are official or not.
21. Sell your fish
Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. As long as you don’t go over the edge, all the marketing efforts that you can put in your resume (in its content, design, delivery method and so on) will give you an advantage over the other candidates.
22. Don’t include irrelevant information
Irrelevant information such as political affiliation, religion and sexual preference will not help you. In fact it might even hurt your chances of landing an interview. Just skip it.
23. Use Mr. and Ms. if appropriate
If you have a gender neutral name like Alex or Ryan make sure to include the Mr. or Ms. prefix, so that employers will not get confused about your gender.
24. No lies, please
Seems like a no brainer, but you would be amused to discover the amount of people that lie in their resumes. Even small lies should be avoided. Apart from being wrong, most HR departments do background checks these days, and if you are buster it might ruin your credibility for good.
25. Keep the salary in mind
The image you will create with your resume must match the salary and responsibility level that you are aiming for.
26. Analyze job ads
You will find plenty of useful information on job ads. Analyze no only the ad that you will be applying for, but also those from companies on the same segment or offering related positions. You should be able to identify what profile they are looking for and how the information should be presented.
27. Get someone else to review your resume
Even if you think you resume is looking kinky, it would be a good idea to get a second and third opinion about it. We usually become blind to our own mistakes or way of reasoning, so another people will be in a good position to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and make appropriate suggestions.
28. One or two pages
The ideal length for a resume is a polemic subject. Most employers and recruiting specialists, however, say that it should contain one or two pages at maximum. Just keep in mind that, provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter your resume, the better.
29. Use action verbs
A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned. Here you can find a complete list of action verbs divided by skill category.
30. Use a good printer
If you are going to use a paper version of your resume, make sure to use a decent printer. Laser printers usually get the job done. Plain white paper is the preferred one as well.
31. No hobbies
Unless you are 100% sure that some of your hobbies will support you candidacy, avoid mentioning them. I know you are proud of your swimming team, but share it with your friends and not with potential employers.
32. Update your resume regularly
It is a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis. Add all the new information that you think is relevant, as well as courses, training programs and other academic qualifications that you might receive along the way. This is the best way to keep track of everything and to make sure that you will not end up sending an obsolete document to the employer.
33. Mention who you worked with
If you have reported or worked with someone that is well known in your industry, it could be a good idea to mention it on the resume. The same thing applies to presidents and CEOs. If you reported to or worked directly with highly ranked executives, add it to the resume.
34. No scattered information
Your resume must have a clear focus. If would cause a negative impression if you mentioned that one year you were studying drama, and the next you were working as an accountant. Make sure that all the information you will include will work towards a unified image. Employers like decided people.
35. Make the design flow with white space
Do not jam your resume with text. Sure we said that you should make your resume as short and concise as possible, but that refers to the overall amount of information and not to how much text you can pack in a single sheet of paper. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.
36. Lists all your positions
If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it.
37. No jargon or slang
It should be common sense, but believe me, it is not. Slang should never be present in a resume. As for technical jargon, do not assume that the employer will know what you are talking about. Even if you are sending your resume to a company in the same segment, the person who will read it for the first time might not have any technical expertise.
38. Careful with sample resume templates
There are many websites that offer free resume templates. While they can help you to get an idea of what you are looking for, do not just copy and paste one of the most used ones. You certainly don’t want to look just like any other candidate, do you?
39. Create an email proof formatting
It is very likely that you will end up sending your resume via email to most companies. Apart from having a Word document ready to go as an attachment, you should also have a text version of your resume that does not look disfigured in the body of the email or in online forms. Attachments might get blocked by spam filters, and many people just prefer having the resume on the body of the email itself.
40. Remove your older work experiences
If you have been working for 20 years or more, there is no need to have 2 pages of your resume listing all your work experiences, starting with the job at the local coffee shop at the age of 17! Most experts agree that the last 15 years of your career are enough.
41. No fancy design details
Do not use a colored background, fancy fonts or images on your resume. Sure, you might think that the little flowers will cheer up the document, but other people might just throw it away at the sight.
42. No pronouns
You resume should not contain the pronouns “I” or “me.” That is how we normally structure sentences, but since your resume is a document about your person, using these pronouns is actually redundant.
43. Don’t forget the basics
The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed. Secondly, both the name and contact details should be included on all the pages of the resume (if you have more than one).
44. Consider getting professional help
If you are having a hard time to create your resume, or if you are receiving no response whatsoever from companies, you could consider hiring a professional resume writing service. There are both local and online options are available, and usually the investment will be worth the money.