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Interviews

Via The Ladders : 15 things you should never do in a job interview

Making sure that you don’t do these 15 things will give you a very good chance of impressing your interviewer and getting the job.

With so many resources online today (thank you, Internet!), you could probably find a million interview tips out there if you look around long enough.

But who needs – or has time for- a million tips?

Probably not you. That’s why we aimed to make it easy for you to prep for your next interview by sharing the ultimate list of DON’TS (a.k.a. things NOT to do) in any job interview, which entails 15 specific things that pretty much any hiring manager would agree would make them think negatively about a job candidate.

While we’re not saying that doing any one of these things will automatically disqualify you for a job that you’re interviewing for, what we are saying is simply…don’t.

Making sure that you don’t do these 15 things below will give you a very good chance of impressing your interviewer (the other thing to help you impress is to come prepared with solid answers to common interview questions).

15 things you should never do in a job interview:

1. Show up late

This is kind of a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how often job candidates still show up late and think it’ll go unnoticed. Believe us, your interviewer notices. Even 1 minute passed the agreed-upon time is considered late and the more minutes late, the worse it reflects on you. Showing up late gives the impression that not only do you lack the discipline and professionalism to show up when you say you will, but it also makes your interview(s) wonder if you don’t respect their time and your ability to follow through (as an employee and person).

2. Show up too early

Interview lateness is one obvious no-no, but did you know there’s also such a thing as showing up too early? Yes, this concept exists. Unless the company specifically tells you beforehand that it’s okay to show up early, a good rule of thumb is to come in and introduce yourself no earlier than 10 minutes before your interview time. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) you don’t become an unexpected nuisance if no one is available to greet you or show you where to wait, and 2) it prevents any potential awkwardness, such as running into other interviewees.

3. Use your cellphone

Nowadays, everyone seems glued to their cellphone…to the point where it’s almost natural for us to check our cellphones at any given time. But in the interview setting using your cellphone can reflect poorly on you, whether you do it in the waiting room or, even worse, in the interview itself. It shows that you lack boundaries and the ability to focus, and might even give the impression that you lack respect for the interview that you’re in and the person interviewing you – none of these things are good!

4. Look at your watch

Similar to using your phone, looking at your watch during an interview gives negative signals about your ability to focus, your respect for the person interviewing you, and your desire to even be there, especially if you do it multiple times. The only exception for doing this might be if you had a limited window of time for the interview (due to a prior engagement or otherwise) and communicated that to your interviewer beforehand.

5. Lie

While the majority of job seekers bend the truth to their benefit to some extent while job hunting, you should never go so far as to straight up lie in the interview. Because even though your interviewer might not catch you in it in the moment, you might overestimate how good a liar you are and one of two things could happen: 1. the interviewer could ask you to elaborate on something you lied about, which could end up putting you in a very bad situation that you can’t dig yourself out of, or 2) the interview might simply get an odd feeling about you overall and sense that you’re not being totally genuine, which will impact their general impression of you as a candidate (regardless of any honest answers you’ve given).

6. Dress inappropriately

There are a lot of schools of thought about what proper interview attire is and it gets even further complicated when different companies today in various industries have their own standards and levels of casualness. Because unlike 10 or so years ago when wearing a suit was considered the ultimate interview uniform, nowadays, some interviewers will actually prefer that candidates NOT wear a suit to their interview. Your best bet is to ask the hiring manager or contact at the company about interview attire as specifically as possible, and avoid the universal no-go’s like wrinkled, hole-y, too-revealing or faded clothing.

7. Have a negative or defensive attitude

It’s true that the job interview is the time where you should show-off and “prove” your skills and aptitude for the role to the person interviewing you. However, it’s also a very crucial time when the interviewer is also assessing your personality and whether they want to even work with you. This means that it’s in your best interest to not get defensive or negative about anything you’re asked about, even if it’s something from your past that gets you riled up or that you feel needs defending. Instead, practice turning negatives into positives in your interview and demonstrate that you’re a person who thinks and acts positively, even in the face of conflict and difficult topics.

8. Exhibit distracting or off-putting body language

This includes things like not making good eye contact, not smiling, fidgeting throughout the interview, crossing your arms, or playing with items – like something on the table, your hair, your clothing, etc.

9. Act desperate

This one might be hard if you actually are desperate, but the point is you shouldn’t. When the interviewers can sense or see that you’re desperate, there’s a chance that they would take advantage of your situation and call the shots where you can’t even counter.

10. Show up unprepared

You should spend as much or more time preparing for an interview as you did preparing for any test you’ve ever taken (more if you never prepped for tests!). Interview preparation includes:

  • learning about the company; if it’s online, you should have already read it when you show up for your interview
  • anticipating potential interview questions (you can just search online for common interview questions for the role you’re pursuing), preparing responses in advance, and then practicing those responses
  • drafting thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the organization and selectiveness when choosing an opportunity (i.e. “I noticed that your review on kununu often mention your mentoring program. What makes it so special?”)
  • finding the interview site ahead of time to build confidence and prevent delays

11. Give canned answers to tough questions

It’s very common for an interviewer to ask you challenging questions, such as to describe a time in which you failed, something you aren’t proud of, or a personal weakness. Don’t dodge the question by sharing a strength or calling a weakness a strength (most cliche answer ever: “my greatest weakness is my perfectionism”). Instead, share an honest failure or weakness and what it’s taught you or how it’s changed the way you think and work.

12. Throw your current or former employer under the bus

Never, never, never throw your current or former employer under the bus during a job interview. Interviewers hear it all the time:

  • “Their upper management was the worst. I simply couldn’t work for somebody who I disrespected that much.”
  • “The company I was working for was condoning unethical behavior, so I had to seek other employment.”
  • “I just didn’t agree with the way they were conducting business there.”

Alarm bells go off the moment you drag an employer’s name through the dirt; the interview team is thinking, “Is this how she’ll talk about us too?”

If asked why you left a certain company or why you’re exploring other opportunities, share honest reasons that don’t bring harm to any person or entity. Great reasons include, “I’m really looking forward to exploring a new industry,” or, “My heart is leading me back to the non-profit industry,” or, “I really miss patient care,” are great responses.

13. Disclose your family status (or other protected information)

Interviewers shouldn’t ask you about your race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, disability status, citizenship, or genetic information. Furthermore, they shouldn’t ask you if you’re married, have children, or plan to start a family soon.

Likewise, you should never willingly offer up information that might result in unintentional discrimination. Keep your discussion points professional: talk about your professional achievements, your education, your strong qualities, and your work experience. Even when asked, “What do you like to do in your spare time?” be careful if what you reveal in your answer. To avoid over-disclosing, you might say, “I’m really into local sports,” instead of, “I love traveling to my children’s games,” or, “I really enjoy self-reflection and spirituality,” instead of, “I spend most of my hours at the synagogue.”

14. Blame others for things in your past

As you work through the behavioral questions that you’re likely to be asked in an interview setting, avoid placing blame on others for things that happened in your work history. Even when working with a difficult person, you played a role in any conflict that arose. How did you fail to understand and communicate effectively with that person?

15. Ask about salary and benefits too early

You have plenty of time to inquire about salary and benefits…after you receive the job offer. If the interview team is torn between two qualified candidates and you’re the only one who inquired about pay, they might get the impression that the other candidate is more driven by passion and meaningful work while you’re simply seeking a paycheck. Those questions are important, but the right time to ask them is when you receive the offer (the answers don’t matter if you never get an offer, after all).

Via Forbes : 3 Ways To Land More Job Interviews

As a coach to job seekers and budding entrepreneurs, there’s one thing I find true across all career paths: networking is king. Why is networking so important, you ask? One survey, for example, found that 85% of critical jobs are filled through networking. Another touts that 70% to 80% of new jobs are not even listed, meaning that networking is the only way to find these positions.

For some, however, the skill of networking is easier said than done, especially if you are introverted or would describe yourself as shy. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new position, or looking to land your first clients, if you’re not networking, you’re missing opportunities. Here are three networking tips that will get you out of your chair and into the mix!

1. Reach out to those similar to your level.

While it’s tempting to look upward for a bigger and better opportunity, sometimes it is most beneficial to talk to those near your same level. That way, when it’s time for a job recommendation or a performance evaluation, you can be on the forefront of your potential boss or co-worker’s mind and have a realistic shot at getting that promotion.

2. Talk about your “transition” versus your “job hunt.”

It’s always important to walk to the fine line between being aggressive and being mindful. Remember to emphasize your desire to grow rather than your dissatisfaction about your current position. This also gives you the opportunity to really know the other person you are talking with, as you can both discuss your goals, desires, and progress in your personal growth, rather than dwelling on the past and griping about your current situation.

3. Get inspired.

Whenever I reach a lull, I can typically depend on a solid Ted Talk to stay motivated. If you’re new to Ted Talks, here are some of my favorite talks geared toward communication skills.

  • “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation” by Celeste Headlee: Celeste Headlee dissects conversation and includes her key ingredients to a great conversation, including honesty, brevity, and listening. She also includes excellent examples of what NOT to do, which includes multi-tasking (especially on a phone), using open-ended quotes, and more.
  • “The Secret Structure of Great Talks” by Nancy Duarte: Nancy Duarte explains the importance of the all-important arc when delivering a speech or giving a presentation. These days, it can seem harder than ever to hold people’s attention, but Nancy’s insights provide some clarity on how to have your audience hanging on every word!
  • “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown: Brene Brown talks uses her experience after spending six years speaking to people to dissect what unites us across all cultures. The answer is in our vulnerability, and this fascinating Ted Talk will keep your attention from the very beginning.

While seeing all these tips and recommendations at once may seem overwhelming, don’t let the influx of information get to you. As a career coach, I often remind people that it’s all about taking one small step at a time… and in doing that, just think of it as talking to one more person at the next social event. Soon, you’ll realize that the doors weren’t necessarily closed for you as much as you may have been mentally blocking yourself from opening them.

Via Forbes : How To Ace The Interview When You Have Confidence But Lack The Required Skills

This piece is perfectly suited for people who possess considerably more confidence than relevant skills for the job they desire.

The current corporate mentality is that a job applicant must have the exact background, experience, skill sets and education to be considered for a position. It is a plug-and-play mindset. A hiring manager wants someone who they can pluck out from another company and seamlessly drop the person into their organization, so they can immediately and meaningfully start contributing on their first day.

There are several problems with this approach to hiring. People with the exact-matching skills and experience may not be interested in taking a job doing the same exact thing somewhere else— unless they are offered a boat load (yes, that’s a technical recruiting term) of money, they’re in danger of losing their job or really hate their boss. Candidates are at a disadvantage because they are not given a chance to prove themselves nor are they offered on-the-job training to get up to speed.

Have no fear though; I have a radical solution for you! The answer is similar to a style and technique that I use as a recruiter (please don’t share this with my clients; otherwise, it’ll be a little awkward). In the course of business, we will be approached by companies inquiring about our recruiting services. Someone from a corporation will introduce themselves and say that they are calling a number of executive search firms in an effort to select a recruiter to assist them in a search. Usually, they will ask all sorts of questions to figure out if we have right stuff (another technical term) to help them. It’s similar to when a candidate is interviewing for a job. They’ll ask about our experience, what areas we focus on, our past success in placing people with the type of background they require, the process we use to find candidates and so on (which feels like an eternity).

I use the mindset and approach that they only chose me and I have the job order to work on, despite the fact that they clearly said they’re interviewing other firms. Here is what I do: I proceed with the conversation in a matter-of-fact manner, as if the decision has already been made in my favor. The tone I take and the questions I ask all come from a place as if they have already selected us. My questions are phrased with the intention that I need more information to fine tune our recruiting efforts. I don’t ask for the job order, but assume we have it and this call is to gather intelligence so we can start finding candidates for them.

“Should we start searching for someone with an accounting degree, MBA and 10 years of experience at a hedge fund?”

I’ll then say something like, “This sounds like a terrific opportunity for the right candidate. I have a few people in mind that we’ll contact soon as I’m off the call! I really appreciate you thinking of us and will start right away!” It doesn’t always work, but many times it does.

Via CNBC : Elon Musk and Peter Thiel ask curveball interview questions—here’s how to answer when you’re stumped

Many top execs use curveball interview questions to test if applicants can think on their feet. At SpaceX, Elon Musk has been known to toss out a riddle to engineers while Peter Thiel prompts candidates to reveal something they believe to be true but no one else agrees with them on.

If you’re asked a tricky question and aren’t sure how to answer, TopResume career advice expert Amanda Augustine offers up these survival tips.

1. Stay calm and breathe

Hopefully, you’ve come to the interview prepared and have already scanned lists of oddball questions companies ask on sites such as Glassdoor or CareerBuilder.

Practicing your answers to these questions prior to your interview can keep you comfortable, confident and poised, Augustine tells CNBC Make It.

But if you’re still stumped, just remember: your interviewer is testing how you handle pressure. Don’t clam up. Remember to smile, make eye contact and sit up straight as you answer questions.

We asked people in NYC Elon Musk’s favorite interview question from CNBC.

2. Consider what’s being asked

Most curveball questions don’t have one exact answer. They’re designed to suss out if you’re a fit for the culture, to get a window into your personality or to get a sense for your creativity.

In these cases, consider what sort of qualities or traits your interviewer is trying to reveal with an oddball question and answer accordingly. Interviewers use your responses “to get a sense of [your] personality and to gauge if [you’ll] be a good fit with the company,” says Augustine.

Some curveball questions will have a correct answer, like Elon Musk’s riddle, one based on scientific principles. Try searching for the most popular oddball interview questions to get a sense of possible responses. While it’s impossible to fully prepare for every potential question, you can at least practice answering some of the more common ones to help you practice logically thinking through an answer you might give on the spot.

We asked people PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s go-to interview question – their answers are brutally honest from CNBC.

3. Talk through your answer

Take your interviewer through your thought process out loud. This strategy ensures your interviewer remains engaged in your conversation and knows you’re comfortable. It will also demonstrate to your interviewers how you problem solve.

In those cases, “It really has to do with how do you attack problems and try and solve them,” says Augustine. “What’s your thought process? How methodical are you? How do you get from A to B to C?”

Interviewers “care about how you arrive at an answer,” she says. “Get comfortable with being able to communicate your thought process.” That way, you don’t freeze up when a curveball question is tossed your way.

Via Forbes : 4 Tips To Nail That Job Interview

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘job interview?’

… Probably not rainbows or sunshine.

The prospect of selling yourself to an employer can be terrifying, and the moments right before interviews can often leave you shaking in your boots rather than bursting with confidence. Unfortunately, job interviews are a critical part of the job hunt, and if you’re looking for a new job you’re more likely than not going to have to deal with numerous interviews.

Don’t worry — you’ve got this… And I’m not just saying this because I’m an excited career coach… I believe that you have the power to nail every single job interview, despite your nerves or insecurities.

After all, they called you in, so they already know you have something to offer!

Here are four great ways to be an incredible interviewee:

1. Prepare an elevator pitch.

The perfect elevator pitch may seem elusive, but it can make or break your job search. Have you ever heard the question ‘tell me about yourself?’ With a great elevator pitch, you’ll have a succinct, personal, and convincing answer that will blow your interviewer out of the water. A couple of key steps to create a solid elevator pitch?

  • Share your story. They’ve already seen your resume. Now it’s key to show them what your resume can’t— your personality. Try coming up with a short story about your big WHY—what inspired you to get into your line of work? Where in your childhood did you show evidence of this passion? Show them the deep roots your career holds in your heart.
  • Share your (relevant) skills. If you can come in with a list of skills that match the company’s needs, you’re not only showing you’ve done your research, but also that you’re the best fit possible for the position.

2. Do your research.

It’s a tale as old as time… Research the company before you head into your interview. Needless to say, there’s a reason this advice is given so often: studies show 47% of hiring managers will pass on job candidates who don’t have enough knowledge of the company. Why? A lack of research indicates a lack of interest. In this way, job hunting is a lot like dating… Why would a company want to hire someone who would be happy anywhere? They want to feel special. So before you head into your interview, do your homework. This goes beyond checking out the company’s website. Bonus if you want to check out sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to get a feel for the employee environment and job description. These websites both tell stories that company websites won’t show.

3. Pay attention to your non-verbal cues.

When in an interview, it can be tempting to focus only on your words. But don’t underestimate the power of body language. Think about when you have conversations with people: those who make eye contact and keep their body language open and friendly come off more trustworthy than those who slouch, cross their arms, and won’t look you in the eyes. Leaning in shows interest, and even smiling can set you apart from the others. Studies show 38% of hiring managers let go candidates because they didn’t smile or seem engaged.

4. Follow up.

If you want to be memorable, follow up with your interviewer. Sending an email thanking them for their time and expressing your interest keeps you in their mind and also gives you an opportunity to state once more why you’re the best person for the job. Make sure you send your note within 24 hours of the interview, if not sooner. And if you’re feeling classy and wanting to send a note in the snail mail, I recommend you reconsider. After all, it’s called snail mail for a reason! By the time that thing would arrive, they’d probably have assumed you forgot to thank them and made a judgment on it.

As the CEO of a job hunting platform and a ghostwriting house, I must admit: if I don’t get a thank you email within 24 hours, I am not willing to extend a job offer… After all, that’s just a lack of attention to detail.

I know the struggle that job interviews present, and I know how tough it can be to know whether or not you really got it right. Rather than letting your thoughts swim aimlessly before and after your interview, going in with a few basics will help boost your confidence and ease your nerves.

Job interviews are nerve-wracking, especially if you really want the job! But you have the tools to be the best interviewee possible, and really knock your interview out of the park. Do you feel ready for your next job interview?

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