With Job Hunt Season on the Horizon, Take Some Tips From a Pro
> 11/28/2006 10:51:34 AM

Finding a job has always represented one of the most stressful and often times discouraging processes that you will have to go through. As the end of the year approaches we wanted to offer some practical advice from some experts working in the employment and recruitment field in hopes that we could help cut down on the stress for anyone that will be job hunting in the new year.

Ron Young has been working in recruitment and placement services for 25 years. As president of Technical Employment Services, Mr. Young works with employers throughout the world, and he offered his insights into the hiring process to us. Here he offers his personal tips to help job hunters succeed during one of the most crucial aspects of the job search: the interview.

Interview Tips
In order to perform well on an interview you must spend a significant amount of time in preparation. Use the following points to help prepare yourself.

Phase One: (Pre-meeting)

Proper pre-meeting preparation increases the chances of a positive interviewing experience. Help calm your nerves with these steps.
  • Be informed about the job you are interviewing for. Review the key responsibilities of the job. Know the short term problems facing the company.
  • Try to learn as much as possible about the backgrounds, interview styles and personalities of the people you will be meeting.
  • Be sure to review the company's website and familiarize yourself with their products and services.
  • Make a list of questions that you have. Some examples may include:
  1. How can I have an an immediate impact?
  2. I want to ride your coattails, where are you going?
  3. Where will the company be in five years?
  4. Why is the position open?
  5. What are some of the short-term problems?
  6. What are the long-term goals for the position?
  • Wear conservative clothing. It is far better to arrive over-dressed than under-dressed.
  • Carry a resume and light briefcase or portfolio.
Phase 2: (Some Common Interview Questions)

One of the easiest ways to build confidence before a job interview is to prepare answers to questions you might be asked. Whether you're applying for a position as a web programmer, accountant, or legal secretary, interviewers often use some general questions to assess candidates, so you'll increase your chances for success if you prepare for them in advance. Some common questions are listed below, as part of your interview preparation, take the time to formulate answers to each question, focusing on specific tasks and accomplishments.
  • "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
This is one of the most well-known interview questions, and interviewers often ask it indirectly, as in, "What did your most recent boss suggest as areas for improvement in your last performance review?" Tailor your "strengths" answer to skills that will benefit the prospective employer. Though you may have a knack for breaking every record known to man on various video games, it might be of little value for the job at hand. When it comes to weaknesses, or areas of growth, build on your answer to include how you have improved, and specifics on what you have done to improve yourself in those areas.
  • "Why did you leave your last position?"
Interviewers will always want to know your reasoning behind leaving former employers, particularly short stints. It is important that you be prepared to tell the truth, without speaking negatively about past employment.
  • "Can you describe a previous work situation in which you ... ?"
This question comes in many forms, but what the interviewer is looking for is your behavior on the job. Your answer could focus on resolving a crisis, overcoming a negotiation deadlock, handling a problem coworker, or juggling multiple tasks on a project. The theory behind this type of question is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. The key to responding well is preparing real job examples, describing your behavior in specific situations that demonstrate important skills that the job requires.
  • "What is your ideal work environment?"
This question is not about whether you prefer a cubicle or an office, so think broadly to include ideas about supervision, management styles, and your workday routine. Often this question is used in order to get a sense of your work habits, how flexible you might be with the company’s schedule, and how creative you are.
  • "How do you handle mistakes?"
The best strategy for this general question is to focus on one or two specific examples in the past and, if possible, highlight resolutions or actions that might have relevance to the job you're interviewing for. Employers want to know they're hiring someone with the maturity to accept responsibility and the wherewithal to remedy their own mistakes.
  • "What is your most notable accomplishment?"
Think of three or four accomplishments and quantify what their actions meant in terms of increasing revenues, saving resources, or improving resources. Being able to quantify your achievements in your career will launch you ahead of the rest and demonstrate your ability to do the same as a future employee.

Phase Three: (The Interview)

On the day of the interview, follows these helpful tips to ensure a pleasent, and hopefully successful, interviewing experience.
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early, but ask for your hiring manager 5 minutes early.
  • Call interviewer(s) by first name.
  • Make good, but not constant, eye contact.
  • Be "up" and enthusiastic.
  • Know your resume. Don't read from it.
  • Cite specific examples from your career that will benefit the company.
  • Ask the questions that you have prepared (see phase 1).
  • If you are interested in pursuing the job, let them know of your interest and ask that a second interview be scheduled.
  • Do not discuss money, benefits, or any matters of convenience.
  • Go home and write a short thank you note.

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