Avoiding These Mistakes Could Help You Land the Job!

While it is quite common knowledge that first impressions are the most important (especially during a job hunt) many applicants fail to understand that the most obvious trip-ups in this regard are the small mistakes made in an application or interview. And while many of the following small steps can be considered “obvious,” more applicants make at least one of these mistakes than not.

  • While a minor typo may seem acceptable (or even expected) by job seekers creating their resume, a single typo can potentially be enough to remove you from the job race. In a competition between two similarly qualified individuals, the one with the flawless resume will win. A typo-free resume also shows an attention to detail that any employer wants in an employee. Don’t just write your resume and send out the first draft in the name of expediency. Use a spell checker, proofread the document multiple times, and allow others to examine it for errors.
  • As with typos, many job hunters feel that adding a little resume padding is a perfectly acceptable tactic. After all, it’s not as if you are actually lying, right? The truth of the matter is even a small deception, if discovered, can immediately disqualify your application from further consideration. And with about 97 percent of employers running background and reference checks as part of the hiring process, exaggeration and embellishment can lead to a serious mark on your perceived integrity.
  • While interviews are perhaps the most nerve-wracking part of the application process and it is normal to practice your performance beforehand, it can actually be damaging to your cause to appear as though you are reading from a script. Employers are looking for a glimpse of the person they will see each day at work, not to be presented with an over-rehearsed collection of canned responses. While you do want to emphasize your abilities and value to a company’s bottom line, it is equally important to demonstrate the traits of our personality that make you a great person to work with.
  • In an interview situation, what you say is important, but so is how you say it. Demonstrating your adeptness at speaking rote and robotic responses, or showing off all of your nervous ticks is not the best way to engage a hiring manager. Instead, prepare to exude confidence, smile, stand up straight, and look everyone you meet in the eye. Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing the role of peers and subordinates in the decision making process – be friendly and engaging to everyone!
  • Finding the perfect professional references can play a prominent role in landing you a job offer, but simply identifying your references on a resume is only part of the job. Your references need to be periodically updated about the jobs for which you are applying so that they can prepare to portray you in the best light within the context of specific responsibilities. Keep them informed of resume changes and make sure they understand how your skills will help you in your new job. The more your references know about you the more helpful they can be to you as contacts.

Originally posted by Joshua Bjerke on http://www.recruiter.com

10 Great Questions to Ask at Interview

Do you know that most good employers are expecting you to ask questions at interview– and that if you fail to ask questions, you may appear as if you are not truly interested in the job, and the employer may think less of you as a result?

Its not just about asking any old question, you must avoid foolish questions, and by foolish, I don’t mean questions like “Why is the Sky Blue?”, I mean questions where you could have easily have found the answer by researching on their website. Asking these kind of foolish questions will make it look like you could not be bothered to research the business in advance and will not reflect well on your candidacy.

So to do a complete interview, it’s vital that you research the website in detail beforehand, and then, based on the remaining gaps in your knowledge of their business, prepare a set of pertinent questions and then ask them at interview. To help you with this process, I have presented 10 pertinent interview questions that you might like to ask at interview. These questions are intended to be asked of the actual hiring manager.

1.) What exactly would my day to day responsibilities be?

I realize that you may have received a job description, but job descriptions can be out of date and they are static documents that may not reflect the dynamic nature of the role, or the balance of emphasis of each duty.

The role is the fundamental reason that you are joining the business so it is fine to seek clarification to ensure it meets your expectations. Also, if your interviewer cannot give a good answer, then this could be a worrying sign and you may need to politely follow up with additional questions.

2.) Can you describe a typical week or month in the job?

While the job description can tell you what your duties  may be, it does not really give you a live impression of the role. Asking this question will give you a more realistic impression of the role, so you can really understand how you feel about the position.

3.) What are the key challenges/objectives for the job holder over the next three months?

This is in part a trick question. You are trying to get the interviewer to reveal if there are any genuine crises lurking within the role, e.g. are you joining a sinking ship? At the same time, by using positive terminology like challenges (as opposed to issues), you are showing the interviewer that you are motivated, you are someone who likes to achieve and that you want to support the manager/business in achieving their objectives. Its a star question.

4.) When did you join the business?

This is another trick question. If the manager has joined recently e.g. within the past six months, then it is likely that the department may be a little unsettled and going through some change. Not a problem, but something to be aware of. As a positive, it’s a gentle relaxer question as most of us like to talk about ourselves. During this process they may open up more and you can learn useful things about the company.

5.) Is this a new role? If yes, ask them to explain why it was created? If no, ask them how  the role became available?

You are trying to understand if there is anything bad, wrong or problematic with the role which caused the employee to resign or to be fired. If the employee was promoted or simply moved on to better things then all is good. However, if the employee was fired or resigned (in an aggravated way), it could indicate that there is something wrong with the role itself, which could mean you could end up in a similar position to the previous role incumbent.

6.) What are the training and development opportunities?

The employer’s website may make some reference to this, but many do not. Training and Development is crucial to you doing your job well and to helping you meet your career objectives, so its good to know your employer’s position on this. Also, this will show that you are ambitious and thinking ahead.

7.) Are there any shortcoming in my application that may prevent you from offering me the job? Would you like me to clarify anything else?

In sales terms, you are effectively trying to close the deal. You are now showing the interviewer that you are positive about the role and that you are open to feedback about any deficiencies you may have. If you do get a useful answer from the interviewer, it gives you the chance to address these issues immediately, and if you are able to address those concerns, you move one step closer to getting the job.

8.) Do you want to know what I can do to help your business unit?

Assuming the interviewer says yes, you can then set about explaining how you can apply your skills and strengths to addressing specific challenges and goals about their business. Take into account what you have learned from their website and during the interview and ensure this is reflected in your proposal. This will show you as positive, forward thinking and able to think on your feet.

9.) What is the next step in the process?

This is a simple but important question as by inquiring and showing curiosity about the future process, you let the employer know that you are genuinely interested in the role.

10.) May I have your business card?

Ask each interviewer for a business card and then you will be able to send them a thank you note.

 

Originally posted on www.recruiter.com by Kazim Ladimeji.

How to Interview Effectively

Job interviews are a common source of anxiety, and can at times be as pleasant as a trip to the dentist.  With some extra preparation and planning, however, interviews can also become an easier and more successful experience.   Some 44 years after my first interview (to be a stock boy), here are 10 practical ideas to help job seekers be interviewed effectively and reduce anxiety in the job search process.

Research the company.   Spend time beforehand  learning about the organization you’re hoping to join.   It’s generally easy to find data on web sites, annual reports, marketing literature, etc.   The more you know about a company and its business, the more intelligently you can converse, and consider how you might fit in.  (At the other end of the preparation spectrum, CareerBuilder did a fine survey this past February examining common interview mistakes… and one question noted from a job seeker was: “What company is this again?”)

Research the interviewer.  Hey, nothing creepy.  But knowledge is power.  Try to get some sense of whom you’ll be speaking with – often easy to find online – and their professional background and responsibilities.  It can only help your conversation to have a clearer sense of whom you’ll be meeting.

 Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  That’s way too hard and is just a waste of energy… and if you get the job you can’t be that other person anyway!  So relax and be yourself.   It’s more honest and credible – and a whole lot simpler.

No distractions.  First and foremost, an interview is a business meeting, so act in a businesslike fashion.   While some small talk and appropriate touches of humor  are OK, stay on track.  In the aforementioned CareerBuilder study, interviewers cited a variety of distractions – in particular talking on cell phones and texting during interviews – as clear turn offs to an interviewer.   (Personal aside: yes, bad judgment, couldn’t agree more.)

Don’t let one mistake throw you off your game.   I’ve heard this same concern voiced many times from interviewees over the years: I botched one question and then became so flustered that I got nervous and it ruined the entire interview.  My response to this is: Hey, go easy on yourself.  Everyone makes mistakes; there’s no perfection in life.   It’s completely fair to say, “You know, I don’t think I gave the best answer I could to that last question… do you mind if I try that one again?”  It’s a reasonable bet the interviewer will be impressed by your composure and honesty.

Know your vulnerabilities.  Give hard thought beforehand to potential weaknesses and how you’ll handle them in the conversation.  Everyone has them.  It could be gaps on a resume, it could be a prior job that didn’t end well – or any number of things.  Again, no one’s perfect – every job candidate on planet Earth has areas to improve.  Of most importance here is how openly and constructively you can address such questions… and make them non-issues.

 Know your value proposition.  This is the enjoyable part – the reverse of my last point – the strengths you offer.  What are the particular skills you bring to the table that can make a difference for this organization?  Why are you the ideal candidate?  Think about how you’ll package that information concisely and convincingly.  The more comfortable you are with these specific points, the more effectively you’ll make your case to an interviewer.

Ask questions yourself.  It’s a chance for you to do some interviewing too, to learn more about the company, the culture, the expectations for the position.  Thoughtful questions are appropriate and reflect well on the person asking them.

Always be businesslike.   I mentioned this earlier, but it can’t be overemphasized: Stay on task, stay businesslike.  An interview isn’t an opportunity to flirt, tell jokes, or make a new friend.  (The HBO series “Girls” had a great episode recently dealing with this.)  It’s an opportunity to advance your career. Professionalism matters.   You’ll never go wrong with a thoughtful professional approach.

Go for it.  Try to enjoy the experience as best you can.  At its essence every interview is a chance to move to a new job, a new level, a new career opportunity.  So say goodbye to nerves and embrace the moment.

Originally posted on http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2012/06/28/how-to-interview-effectively/