Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tell Me About Yourself

We all know that this is typically the first question in most interviews. You may think this is the easiest or one of the most challenging questions in an interview.

I cannot tell you how many times I see a great resume, (and yes, I get excited to interview them) ask candidates this question and they completely go off topic!

Don’t get me wrong, I love that you just got back from your honeymoon, just had your third baby, just sent your kids off to college or just bought a new home. However; it’s another story when you begin to inform me about your battling divorce, how you can’t stand your parents or kids, your recent break-up or how your dog just ran away from you.

Here are a few tips on a great way to actually answer this question:
• Begin with any educational experience…you earned that degree, be proud of it!
• If you are a recent college graduate, talk about extra-curricular activities you were involved with during school—employers love to see that you put yourself in leadership positions.
• When discussing employment history, start with your first position and end with most recent.
• Make sure you touch base on what your responsibilities entailed with each position.
• Never talk negatively about former companies!
• Always end on a positive note; for example…that brings us to today and I’m looking forward to learning more about this organization!
• Lastly, keep it professional and leave the personal topics at home!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The First Interview...Ring Ring!

If you are out there in the job market you have probably realized that formal/face-to-face interviews are few and far between, why is that you may ask? Well, how well did you do on your phone interview? You may be sitting here thinking that a phone interview is nothing … it’s not even with the hiring manager … just some person that asked me a few basic questions, but my resume speaks more about me than that measly 10 minute conversation. WRONG!

That person is a recruiter and they are hired to see if you match up to your resume and if you are somebody they want to invest more time into. So, now you are asking yourself what can I do to ace my phone interview. Well, lucky for you I’m here to help!

It will start off with a recruiter reaching out to you so your first rule is – make sure your voice mail is professional; include your full name along with a nice message that you are unavailable, but to please leave a message. DO NOT have a song waiting to greet me or you telling me to just “leave a message. “ This is a huge turn off; if you are seriously in the job market and your voice mail is not professional recruiters will feel that you are not that serious about your next career move.

Second rule of thumb; if you do happen to pick up the phone and it is a recruiter requesting to conduct a quick 15 minute phone interview with you and they ask you if this is a good time to talk … think about it. Are you in the car? Are you out shopping with your friends? Are you at your current job? If you are distracted in any way – just let us know that you would prefer to schedule an appointment for a different time. THIS IS NOT A TURNOFF! I would prefer you be prepared and able to concentrate on the questions I am about to ask you. So schedule a time that is good for both of us!

Rule number 3 – have the necessary items ready to go 1) your resume, you will spend the first few minutes telling me about yourself so make sure you are accurate 2) pen and paper, you are going to want to take some notes about what I’m going to tell you 3) information regarding my company, if you applied to my company you should know something about it and have questions for me, even if it is only a couple. But make them smart questions, do not ask me about pay / compensation – these are questions you ask if you are going further in the interview process.

Now the next rule is going to seem a little crazy, but I promise it works when you are talking to the recruiter and answering questions … STAND UP … that’s right, I said get out of that chair and stand up. Standing up gets your energy flowing and allows your true personality to come out. Lastly, get a mirror, yep, and look at it when you talk all the while remembering to SMILE, smiling also helps increase your energy and it allows you to come across friendly over the phone.

There are a lot of sample interview questions on line and if you want to really prepare yourself you should take a look at those, even print them out and have some already answered. You may be thinking, this sound like cheating, well if studying for a test is not cheating then why would studying for an interview be considered cheating. So prepare yourself and you will soon find yourself with the dream job you have been waiting for!

Good Luck!