Monday, August 13, 2018

An Expert's Guide to Interview Questions


One of the most stressful parts of an interview can be the question segment. No, not when your potential employer is grilling you on your past, but when you must ask the questions. One bad question can ruin an otherwise perfect interview, while asking the right questions can help you stand out long after the interview ends. Here’s a list from Business Insider of the best and worst questions to ask during an interview:



Best:
·        “How would you describe the company’s culture?”
·        “Who do you consider your major competitors? How are your better?”
·         “Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?”
·        “How would you describe the company’s values around work-life balance?”
·        “If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?”
·        “How has this position evolved?”
·        “Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?”
·        “If hired, what are the three most important things you’d like me to accomplish in the first six to twelve months at the company?”
·        “What type of employee tends to succeed here? What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?”
·        “How do you evaluate success here?”
·        “What have past employees done to succeed in this position?”
·        “Who would I be reporting to?”
·        “Can you give me an example of how I would collaborate with my manager?”
·        “When your staff comes to you with conflicts, how do you respond?”
·        “What was your career plan before you got into this role, and how has that changed since you’ve been here?”
·        “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
·        “What’s one of the most interesting projects or opportunities that you’ve worked on?”
·        “Is there anything else I can provide to help you make your decision?”
·        “Beyond the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the company and position best?”
·        “How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What’s the one thing you’re working to improve on?”
·        “I read this story about your company. Can you tell me more about this?”
·        “What is your staff turnover rate and what are you doing to reduce it?”
·        “Can you tell me where the company is going?”
·        “What makes people stay at this company?”
·        “Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?”
·        “Will I have an opportunity to meet those who would be part of my staff/ my manager during the interview process?”
·        “Have I answered all your questions?”
·        “What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?”

Worst:
·        “What does your company do?”
·        “What will me salary be?”
·        “What are the hours?” or “Will I have to work long hours?”
·        “Will I have my own office?”
·        “Can I make personal calls during the day?”
·        “Do you monitor emails or internet usage?”
·        “How soon can I take a vacation?”
·        “Will I have an expense account?”
·        “When will I be eligible for a raise?”
·        “Can I arrive early or leave late as long as I get my work done?”
·        “What are grounds for termination?”
·        “How quickly could I be considered for a promotion?”
·        “Who should I avoid in the office?”
·        “What happens if I don’t get along with my boss or coworkers?”
·        “Are you married?” or “Do you have kids?”
·        “Do you check social media accounts?” or “Do you do background checks?”
·        “I heard this wild rumor about the CEO. Is it true?”
·        “How did I do?” or “Did I get the job?”
·        “How long are you going to take to get back to me?”

Monday, August 6, 2018

How To Recover From Interview Mistakes


                Unfortunately, interview mistakes are bound to happen to anyone. All the preparation and confidence in the world cannot protect you from an occasional blunder. Recovering from these mistakes is what will set you apart from other candidates and ultimately help get you your dream job.

Mistake #1: Missing the phone screening or interview
“A huge pain point for recruiters is putting all this work into finding a stellar candidate and scheduling a phone screening to feel them out for the role, only for the candidate to miss it,” says Shukran. “Missing the phone screen and not following up to reschedule shows a lack of professionalism, time management, and follow up, and these are key skills a recruiter looks for when assessing someone for any role.”

How to recover:
If you’ve already made this mistake, it’s not a complete loss: follow up with your contact as quickly as possible, take full responsibility for the slip, and explain the mitigating circumstances. Anything less – like dismissing it as no big deal or assuming they’ll reschedule quickly – won’t win you any favors (or second chances).

Mistake #2: Sending a generic follow-up or not following up enough
Shukran notes that another common interview mistake is sending a bland follow-up note or not following up at all. This causes you to miss out on an enormous opportunity to stand out among other prospective hires and – more importantly – to continue the conversation and build a relationship with your interviewer.

How to recover:
If you made this common interview mistake and haven’t followed up to an interview yet, do so! Just make sure it’s unique to the person with whom you interviewed and shows you’re paying attention to the conversation: “Whenever possible, think back to something an interviewer said about the company and comment on it, or follow up for more information or to share an interesting article tied to the role. A follow-up that showcases whether or not you’re a fit shows more interest post-interview than a generic one,” remarks Shukran.
I know of a candidate that was interviewing with a company, and while they were waiting in the wings to hear back from the recruiter, the company received some good reviews in the press,” remarks Shukran. “The next morning, the candidate reached out just to say congratulations on the big win. That thoughtful gesture showcased that person’s passion for the company and helped that candidate stay top of mind.”

Mistake #3: Following up too much
“When a candidate follows up too frequently, I start to wonder about what’s going on,” says Shukran. “Did they get turned down by another company, so they’re latching onto this job? Did they not hear when we said we’re going through first round of interviews and will get back to them next week? Either they’re not listening or they’re too aggressive, and either way that’s a turnoff.”  

How to recover:
Aside from chilling out and stepping back, you can’t recover from too much follow up. Your best bet is to learn your lesson and apply a more moderate approach to following your next interview (or better yet, ask your interviewer what the follow-up schedule looks like and act accordingly).  
If you think that’s harsh, consider this: interviewers know that how you follow up to interview is how you’ll follow up with customers and co-workers on the job: “An aggressive level of follow up concerns me because it’s a preview of what that person will be like as part of a team,” explains Shukran. “I’m thinking, ‘If this person is working with another stakeholder on a project or deadline, they might not be cognizant or respectful of what the other person’s time line is.’”  

Mistake #4: Not asking any questions
If it seems like asking questions at the end of an interview is optional, Shukran wants to be clear that it’s not: “An interview is more of a conversation than anything else,” she says. “When you’re really listening in an interview and having an insightful conversation, you have an opportunity to dig deeper. If you’re not asking questions, it shows a lack of interest and passion.”

How to recover:
If you find yourself in the middle of an interview and you really can’t think of any questions, it’s OK to ask to circle back with questions later.
“Not everyone can think on their feet,” Shukran says. “When you’re still in the moment and you can’t think of any questions, it’s OK to say, ‘This is a lot of info to digest, I’d like to think through the questions and follow up by email.’ That would show me a strong sense of self-awareness that you know you’re not the person to think on your feet but you know what you need to do to get the job done.”
If you didn’t ask questions in the interview, all is not lost. The next time you’re in touch with your interviewer – whether that’s a scheduled follow-up call or a check-in a week or two after your interview – ask if it’s possible to take them up on their offer to ask questions and include a few thoughtful ones in your email.

Mistake #5: Not showing industry know-how
The best way to impress a recruiter or hiring manager is to do your research in advance of the interview – that means doing your due diligence and reading the company’s website, performing a web search for articles mentioning the company or recent press releases, and reviewing all interview-related email correspondence.
“I work in ad tech, so what’s always very impressive to me is when candidates come in from outside our industry with a strong understanding of the business,” says Shukran. “There may be gaps or mistakes in how they’re addressing what we do, but whether they have the details right or not, it shows me that they have a strong passion for the potential opportunity and a strategic, business-oriented way of thinking.”

How to recover:
This is yet another common interview mistake where the best approach is a preventative one. Research the company and the position as thoroughly as possible in advance of your interview so you’re prepared to have an intelligent discussion about the position and the role it plays in the company’s big picture.
If you made the mistake of taking the interview cold, make sure you show that you’ve done your research when you follow up. Mention a recent press release or acquisition, or ask a question that shows that you’ve put some thought into how the position will play into the company’s long-term goals. As Shukran explains, “When you can connect your day to day to the bigger picture on an ongoing basis, it’s much more valuable compared to someone who is focused on the tasks associated with the job.”   

Monday, July 30, 2018

How Long Should You Stay At Your Job?


Years ago, it was common for people to stay at their jobs for decades, with many staying at the same company for their entire career. Today however, bouncing from job to job has become the norm. In a culture when people are constantly on the lookout for a better opportunity, how long should you be staying at each company? Thanks to this article from Wanda Thibodeaux, we can narrow it down to six different categories of consideration.

1. Cost to your employer
Finding a new worker can be extremely costly. With expenses like sign-on bonuses, relocation costs and advertising fees, it's not unusual for a company to spend up between $1,000 and $5,000 to hire someone. Then you have to consider costs like training, too. One guideline is to leave only when you've provided a value to the company that is equal to those fees for your replacement. Otherwise, you're costing the company money, which can reflect badly on you.
Remember here that the cost of staying when things stink is much higher than hiring-related expenses. A Harris poll indicated that the cost of a bad hire was more than $25,000 for 41 percent of respondents and greater than $50,000 for 25 percent.

2. Smoothness of transition
Employee turnover can disrupt processes and decrease productivity. If you can help even out wrinkles your exit might create, such as by assisting with the candidate search or sticking around a few extra weeks to make sure your replacement is properly trained, your employer might not think as badly of it if you leave before a year or two.

3. The gig economy and what you achieved
Traditionally, job hopping on resumes has suggested that you couldn't find a good fit and weren't able to contribute well. It's also been seen as rude--companies don't want to be seen as secondary or only as a stepping stone to something better.
But the gig economy is changing all this. Temporary and flex workers, who often stay at a company for just a few months, have become essential to operations, with 2 out of 3 employers say they wouldn't survive without them. They are able to get jobs by proving over and over again that they stepped up and met unique needs.
If you can do the same thing and demonstrate your time was truly productive, hiring managers who understand this workforce shift might cut you some slack if they see shorter job durations. This is especially true if the industry you are applying in prizes or requires adaptability and flexibility. Lack of movement in those is more likely to be perceived as stagnation.

4. Your overall career vision
In many cases, there's simply no substitute for having a specific mentor, project experience or training. If you're getting those things at your current job, it might be worth it to hang in there a little longer to make sure you have the footing necessary to take the path you really want. But conversely, some jobs, like that extra weekend gig you use only to fill a financial hole, don't even need to be on your resume in the first place. Don't burn important bridges, and at the same time, if you do your homework/research and see your dream job right in front of you, most leaders will understand if you reach out and grab it.

5. How the company is using you
If you were hired to do certain tasks or projects and your duties have gone completely off the rails, or if you're sitting around waiting for jobs to do, you're probably worth more and would be happier at another business. It's fine to leave early if you've already discussed how you're utilized with management and they're not addressing the problem.

6. The number of candles on your birthday cake
If you're younger, leaving a job before six months to a year has passed can reinforce the negative stereotype that youthful employees don't have the drive or focus to be serious or considerate. You might do yourself a favor by staying for a while and showing that you're grounded. If you've been around the block, many hiring managers are more lenient. They often assume that, at that point, you've got the life experience and common sense enough to know what's best for you.
About 68 percent of millennials say the longest they'd stay in a job they enjoy is three years, and 58 percent say they plan to stay less than that. 41 percent of millennials expect to be in their current job for two years or less (compared to 17 percent of Gen X and 10 percent of Boomers).


Monday, July 23, 2018

Is it Time For a New Job?


How do you know when it’s time to look for a new job? Maybe you started a new job recently and don’t like it as much as you expected to, or maybe you’ve been with the same company for years and have slowly stopped enjoying your work. Most people spend decades of their lives working full time, making it important to be sure that whatever job you’ve chosen is making you happy. According to Business Insider, these are the four signs that you should look for a new job:


1. Your work is stunting your growth

Have you been doing the same work since day one? My friend Jim Kwik, celebrity brain and memory coach, once said to me, "If you're not feeding your mind, you're falling behind." Is your job stretching you, pushing you forward, making you better? Are you expanding year over year?

"You can be at a job for seven years, but without new learnings and growth, what you really could have is one year of experience repeated seven times," Kwik says. Yikes. Now that's depressing. And it's no way to spend your precious years on planet earth.

2. You're irritable (and have been complaining to anyone who'll listen)

Have your conversations with friends and family lately been dominated by how much you hate your job? Are they sick of hearing about it? 
Alarm bells are probably ringing loud and clear to almost everyone who's listening to you. If so, it's your job to take responsibility for your situation and commit to a new direction.

3. You've been thinking about a change for a while

My LinkedIn profile says I used to be a sales director at a Fortune 500 company. But in my head — and to the people who really knew me — I was a coach and teacher.

As year after year went by, it was harder and harder to maintain what felt like a betrayal of who I knew I really was. When I turned 30, I made the commitment to work for myself as a life coach and committed side hustler. Less than 18 months later, I left cubicle life for good. It was scary as heck at the time, but the best decision I've ever made.
When I looked back, I realized I always wanted to work for myself. I'd been thinking about it for years. I'd daydream about having freedom over my schedule and secretly always envied entrepreneurs that I read about and who I met in real life. I knew that I definitely didn't want my boss's position. And over time I simply cared less and less about getting results in the job that I was doing. My focus on my side hustle naturally grew because I knew that it was ultimately my way out.

If you've spent a long time thinking about doing something else, consider it a sign.

4. You feel out of alignment

Are the books you read, the subjects you love to talk about, and the topics you research aligned with your work? These things are all big signs about what interests and motivates you.

What I know from experience is that when we do meaningful work, we access energy resources we didn't know we had. That's why side hustles are so rapidly on the rise: They are passion-fueled. When we are not activating the special gifts within us that want to surface, our soul knows it. It's like a quiet, unsettling voice that won't be silenced. So listen to it.

A new job, career or side hustle beckons if even one if these apply to you. Because your talent (and your life!) is too important to squander.

Monday, July 16, 2018

How to Become a Master Negotiator


For some people, being able to negotiate is second nature; however, for many others negotiation can seem far too intimidating. For example, studies show that women are especially hesitant to advocate for themselves when it comes to salary. Being able to negotiate helps you receive a higher salary, better benefits, and more job satisfaction. According to Forbes, these are the five habits every negotiator should practice:

 1. Ask for a discount.
Great negotiators are comfortable asking for more. Some people feel uncomfortable asking for a discount. They do not want to be seen as either frugal or greedy. Remember, you are the customer. It is your money. If you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get what you want.
Ask your Internet provider for a discount if your Internet connection has been slow that month. Ask the airline agent if he will waive the phone transaction fee because their website was down. Ask your restaurant server what she can do for you after having brought you the wrong meal twice. And something doesn’t always have to go wrong to ask for a discount. Inquire about the membership discounts they might accept.
Get comfortable making “the ask.” The more comfortable you are asking for what you want and deserve in your everyday life, the easier it will be at work.
2. Speak with the manager.
Master negotiators are comfortable speaking with someone in authority. Whether you have criticism or praise, ask to speak with the manager. It could be the manager of the grocery store, your healthcare provider or the salon. Tell them what your issue is or share your positive experience. The more comfortable you feel speaking with someone in power, the easier it will feel speaking with someone in a position of power at work.
3. Say “No.”
Successful negotiators know their priorities. Sometimes you have to say “no” to surveys when you don’t have the time, to the retail stores trying to sell you a credit card when you don’t need one or even to a friend having a party at the same time that you have family in town. The more practice you have saying “no” outside of work, the easier it will be for you to say “no” at work. The ability to say “no” is critical to effectively negotiate your salary. Actress Jessica Chastain reminds us that when negotiating your salary, “The power of ‘no’ means you’re educating people in how to treat you.
4. Play sports.
Master negotiations know their option B. When you play sports and are active with others, to win you must have in mind different ways of achieving your goal. Let’s say you are playing basketball, and you want to run a particular play. And then a defender steps into your path that renders your play ineffective. To get to the basket and score, you have to know and quickly execute your second best option.
When you are negotiating in the workplace, how you go about achieving your goal may not go as planned. You need to train yourself to think about alternatives and be able to transition to your backup plan quickly.
5. Travel.
Successful negotiators feel comfortable in unfamiliar situations. When you travel, particularly internationally, you find yourself in unfamiliar territory. Travel on your own instead of going on tours that are customized for your native culture. Gain experience interacting with the locals at the neighborhood market and on public transportation. People who put themselves in situations where they must adapt to their surroundings, compromise and problem-solve are better negotiators.
The ability to negotiate successfully at work is critical. It could mean the difference between career advancement and career paralysis. Use situations in your everyday life to hone your negotiation skills to be in top shape for when you need them in your career.