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Via NBC News : Joanna Coles’ expert tips on acing your next job interview

As chief content officer at Hearst, Joanna Coles has pretty much seen it all when it comes to interview faux pas. Candidates dumping purses on her desk — seen it. Candidates talking in baby voice – seen it. Candidates taking time out to respond to a call or text — amazingly, seen it.

Her biggest piece of advice, especially for millennials, is to “Put down the phone, put down the phone, put down the phone.”

“I think the single most important thing for a job interview is leave the phone in your bag and do not look at it for 20 minutes,” said Coles in a recent conversation with Know Your Value founder and Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. “If you can do that, you’ll be hired.”

Of course, Coles knows that women still face enormous challenges in the hiring process even without committing the obvious mistakes. For one thing, women tend to have a harder time than men when talking about their strengths and accomplishments. A key trick she’s learned over the years, said Coles, is to come prepared with specific success stories.

“It’s good to have examples of things that you’ve done where you’ve succeeded,” she said. “If you have specific examples of things you’ve done, it’s more persuasive than saying, ‘I’m good at technology, I’m good at talking to people.’”

“It’s about taking it seriously,” she added, and “doing the prep for the interview.”

Still, Coles admits, acting as your own champion is often easier said than done. For all her success, even she’s had trouble articulating her professional value.

“Every time I’ve been offered a new job, I’ve automatically said, ‘Oh, I don’t think you want me for that job,’” said Coles. “It’s sort of a weird female, or at least it is in me, a weird female defense, when in fact what you want to do is scream, ‘Hooray, I want to do this!’”

Sometimes, Coles noted, you can do everything right and still be shot down. The important thing to remember in those situations, she said, is not to take it personally.

“You can spend five minutes in the fetal position, then unfurl, and go back and ask [again] in three months’ time,” said Coles.

At the end of the day, she stressed, “Take it professionally, take it seriously, but don’t take it personally.”

Via Madison.com : 4 Tips for Conducting Your First Interview

It’s natural for job candidates to be nervous going into the interview process. But if it’s your first time conducting an interview, you might experience your fair share of jitters as well. The truth is that while leading an interview isn’t rocket science, there are things you can do to make it run smoothly for everyone involved. If you feel like you’re going in blind, here are a few steps you can take to prepare.

1. Know the job inside and out

As an interviewer, it’s not just your job to vet candidates, but also make sure you’re providing the information they need to make informed decisions about the role that’s up for grabs. Before you kick off the interview process, make sure you really understand what the job in question entails. How will the person who gets hired end up spending his or her days? What expectations will there be for the role? And what sort of growth opportunities will the position allow for? These are the sort of details you’ll want to hammer out before you sit down and meet with candidates.

2. Study each candidate’s resume beforehand

You probably went through your share of resumes before landing on the right people to interview. But how much do you really remember about each individual candidate’s specific experience? Before you meet with each person you’ve called in, review his or her resume thoroughly, and pay attention to the parts you want to discuss face to face. You might even take the old school approach by printing each resume and highlighting the sections you want to bring up.

Along these lines, figure out what precise information you want clarity on before kicking off your interviews, and jot down notes so that you remember to follow up accordingly. For example, if you’re iffy about someone’s project management ability based on how that candidate’s resume reads, ask about a specific task he or she led and its outcome.

3. Have a list of key questions ready

Just as you should expect your prospective hires to come in for their interviews prepared, so too should you, as the interviewer, be ready with a list of essential questions you want to cover. Those might run the gamut from general job skill inquiries to specifics about a particular software or task. If you’re not quite sure where to begin, you can consult this list of essential interview questions, and tweak it to meet your needs.

4. Do a trial run

Whether you’re nervous about running an upcoming interview or want to polish your technique, it often pays to conduct a trial run before you find yourself sitting down with actual candidates. Enlist the help of a colleague or friend, and go through the motions to get a sense of which areas, if any, need improvement on your part.

For example, if you find that you’re being way too formal, you can work on relaxing and adjusting your tone and line of questioning. Or, if you find that you’re struggling to answer key questions about the role you’re looking to fill, you’ll have an opportunity to perfect your responses. Doing a trial run might also help you go into the live process with more confidence, so that’s reason enough to carve out some time to practice.

If you’re new to the world of conducting interviews, rest assured that as with any skill or task, you’re apt to get better at it over time. Until then, make a point of going in prepared so that you and your candidates have the best possible experience.

Via Inside Higher Ed : Strategies for a Successful Interview

Melissa Dennihy offers eight tips for job candidates.

n a previous “Careers” essay, I offered advice to job candidates on acing a first-round interview. In this essay, I expand on that list of suggestions with some additional tips and strategies for interviewees.

Hide your nervousness. It’s natural to be nervous during an interview, particularly when you find yourself facing not one interviewer but rather a search committee of five, six or seven people. But there are simple ways to hide how nervous you feel. If your palms are sweaty, take a second to wipe them off before you walk into the room and shake your interviewers’ hands. If you know that your hands shake when you are nervous, keep them tucked in your lap rather than on the table. Many candidates tend to “settle in” to an interview, becoming less nervous as they get warmed up, so try to get past the first few minutes without giving away how nervous you are.

Answer the questions you are asked. That may sound obvious, but it is easy to get off topic when answering interview questions — only to realize too late that you have failed to fully address the specific question asked. It may be helpful to start off your answer by repeating or rephrasing the question, both as a way to let it sink in and to buy yourself a moment to think. (For example, “What challenges do I see facing the field in the future? That’s an interesting question.”) As you give your answer, make sure you respond with enough depth and substance but also stay on target: check in with yourself as you’re speaking, asking yourself if you are getting to the question asked or are getting off topic.

Also be sure to answer all of the question: two-part questions that are really two questions in one are not uncommon, but they can be more difficult to answer completely. If a committee member asks you a follow-up question that sounds like a rephrasing of the original question, they may be trying to get more information from you or prompting you to answer the question more directly or in more detail.

Pay attention to your interviewers. As you respond to questions, be aware of both the verbal and nonverbal feedback you are getting from committee members. That can help cue you in to when interviewers may be confused by your answer or want more detail or clarity about something you’ve said. It can also help you determine when to wrap up your answer or alert you to the fact that you are rambling — nonverbal cues such as yawning, looking at one’s watch or looking off into the distance may all indicate that you are losing your interviewers’ interest or attention.

Know when — and how — to end your answers. After taking several minutes to respond to the question asked, clearly and authoritatively wrap up your point. Conclude firmly and don’t add on an unnecessary final sentence such as, “So, um, that’s my answer.” Also avoid seeking affirmation by ending with a question or comment such as, “Does that answer your question?” or “I hope that answered your question.” You should know that you have answered the question and should exude confidence in your answer by wrapping up firmly and effectively. Make your final point, give a brief nod or smile if you wish to further emphasize that you’ve concluded, and wait attentively for follow-up questions or comments.

Don’t apologize for your answers, either. Resist the temptation to say things like, “Sorry I went on a bit of a tangent,” or “I apologize if that was a little unfocused.” Even if your answer felt unfocused, you needn’t call further attention to that by announcing it.

Keep in mind that rambling or appearing unfocused when answering questions also reflects upon your skills as a teacher. If you are losing your interviewers’ attention by giving unfocused or confusing responses, they may also wonder how well you will be able to engage your students and hold their attention during class lectures and lessons.

Frame yourself as a potential colleague, not a graduate student. Interviewees who are still in or recently out of graduate school tend to use language that makes them sound more like students than potential colleagues. Instead of using the phrase “my dissertation,” you should stick with “my research” or “my current project.” Rather than saying “I majored in” or “I concentrated in,” say “I study” or “my work focuses on.” Be sure that your language conveys that you see yourself as ready to move on to the next stage of your career: you are no longer a graduate student, but a colleague, a peer.

These can be hard habits to break if, like most Ph.D.s, you’ve been in graduate school for at least five to 10 years, so start practicing in advance. Instead of dreading conversations with friends and relatives about how that Ph.D. is going, use them as a chance to practice talking about your work — provide updates on “your research” rather than “your dissertation.”

Don’t be self-deprecating. Impostor syndrome plagues many academics, whether they are graduate students or not, and candidates often show signs of that syndrome by being oddly self-deprecating as they talk about their research and teaching. Do not be afraid to talk confidently and with pride about your accomplishments as a scholar and an educator. Exude confidence and a sense of composure, not self-doubt.

Don’t use materials as a stand-in for your answer. Bringing printed materials to an interview can be a good idea. In fact, I encourage bringing a teaching portfolio for teaching-oriented positions. But I don’t recommend passing out materials midinterview in response to a question. You may want to distribute a sample assignment to speak to a question you’ve been asked about teaching, but looking at that assignment may mean the committee members aren’t really listening to your answer. It can be distracting and may also be viewed as a way of evading the question. Give your answer verbally and, if you have related materials, say, “You can refer to X document in my portfolio for more detail on that.”

Have questions for the committee. The interview will end with committee members asking if you have any questions. At the very least, ask a question about requirements for tenure (if it’s a tenure-track job) or something distinctive about this particular department or institution — whether that is the student population, the course offerings or a particular initiative or program that is of interest to you. Especially if you are interviewing for a tenure-track position, it may be viewed as a red flag to come to an interview without any questions about what could potentially be a lifelong position.

Finally, I encourage candidates to always respond to emails or phone calls inviting you to interview, even if it’s to let the committee know that you’ve accepted another position and have to decline the interview offer. Ignoring emails or voice mails is unprofessional, and academe is a small world. Keep your reputation spotless by being polite and professional throughout the entirety of your job search.

Via Tech Republic : How to find and interview nontraditional tech job candidates: Tips for managers

The tech talent shortage may require your company to find job candidates who lack a traditional computer science degree. Here’s how to overcome that barrier and find your next top performer.

The tech talent shortage is requiring many companies to think outside the box when it comes to finding employees to fill tech roles. This means looking beyond standard computer science graduates and expanding your search pool to include some nontraditional candidates, including those for whom tech is a second career, those with disabilities, and those from a variety of unrelated backgrounds.

“There are more positions open seeking computer science degrees than there are computer science degree graduates right now,” said Blake Angove, director of technology services at LaSalle Network. “So if you want to get your position filled in a timely manner and get the work done, you have to look at more nontraditional degrees.”

Often, other degrees include skills that can relate to IT roles, Angove said. For example, LaSalle Network recently placed an IT project manager with a history degree at a company. “They had strong writing skills, they had analytical skills, so those relate well to a project management position,” he said. “So even though it’s a technical role, the person is doing well on the job.”

Here are some tips for finding and interviewing candidates who could make a difference at your company.

Revamping job postings

Finding a candidate who can do the job often means rewriting job descriptions, said Mel Hennigan, talent expertise panelist for the Society for Human Resource Management.

“When you start to reverse engineer the position and you can base the requirements on what outcomes you need to achieve, you start to realize you can broaden your pool,” Hennigan said. “You no longer have to say, ‘You must have this degree to qualify for this position.’ Instead, it’s ‘You must meet these objectives,’ and that opens the spectrum up a lot.”

Many companies require a bachelor’s degree for every position, even administrative ones, Hennigan said. “You should really break it down into what tasks have to be performed in order to achieve success, and then let the best candidate win based on their skills and abilities rather than on their credentials,” she added.

For positions such as programmers, it’s easy to set up an online test that allows you to objectively judge whether or not they have the abilities to complete the job. “A recruiter no longer has to pick up the phone for the initial screen, when a recruiting tool can provide the candidate with a set of questions that will help qualify them or disqualify them, and it can do so based on their actual abilities rather than their credentials,” Hennigan said.

Budgeting for training to catch nontraditional employees up to speed will also allow you to make faster hires, and eventually make your company more competitive, Angove said. “We’re finding companies that are fortunate enough to have that budget to provide training or certification are loosening up some of the specific technical requirements and ramping the people up,” he added. Building a mentor program is also a successful and cost-effective way to help new employees learn more tech skills, Angove said.

Identifying skills, not degrees

Candidates build skills in many ways, all of which should be taken into consideration, said Kelli Jordan, IBM’s talent leader for New Collar Initiatives. “They can build it in a four-year degree program. They can build it in a computer science program at a community college, or in a boot camp,” she said. “What we like to focus on is that application of the skill, and a lot of that does come out in the interview process.”

IBM performs skills assessments for job candidates, regardless of their background. For example, when interviewing for a software development role, interviewers give candidates a coding exercise, examine their GitHub repository, and talk to them about the code they wrote.

The interview process for all job candidates includes behavioral questions about what a candidate has done previously, such as “Tell me about a situation where you had to evaluate competing priorities.” It also includes situational questions, which tend to work well for candidates with minimal experience, Jordan said. These are questions such as, “Walk me through how you might handle an upset client.”

“That’s going to help you to understand that candidate’s thought process and their potential future behaviors, and together, they help you build a really good picture,” Jordan said.

It’s key to listen for a nontraditional candidate’s intent, Jordan said. This person may have some great examples of how they have handled a situation in the past, but they may have applied that knowledge in a different way or setting. “Focus on the skill and the application of what they’ve done versus where they did it,” she added.

Making interview accommodations

To attract more diverse candidates, Microsoft undertook a number of inclusivity measures in recent years, including reworking job descriptions and training managers on interviewing nontraditional candidates, according to Neil Barnett, the company’s director of inclusive hiring.

About two and a half years ago, Microsoft created an autism hiring program. Of those hired, about half had applied to jobs at Microsoft previously.

But now, “we train managers and teams ahead of time on neurodiversity and disability etiquette,” Barnett said. “We believe that by demystifying and breaking down the stereotypes of disabilities, we can help eliminate any unconscious biases that recruiters, hiring managers and teams might have before they interview a candidate.”

Microsoft also trains hiring managers to offer job candidates the opportunity to ask and receive customizations for the interview. This might include performing a technical interview on their own familiar device, spacing more time between multiple interviews, or lengthening the time of each interview—which might allow someone with ADHD or a cognitive disability adequate time to think and respond to questions.

“Managers found that offering customizations have made all interviews more successful,” Barnett said. “Asking candidates what they need to have the most inclusive interview experience will pay off in finding untapped talent.”

Via Forbes : Ten Tips For People Who Get Nervous At Job Interviews

Virtually everyone gets nervous at a job interview sometimes.

A job interview is an artificial situation. Everything in it is artificial. In real life, we don’t laugh heartily at other people’s lame jokes. We don’t act deferential to strangers in real life, either.

In a job interview, you walk into a strange building to meet strange people and try to make sense of their situation.

That’s a lot to ask of a job-seeker! You have to answer questions and make a good impression while at the same time, trying to collect enough information to decide whether you want the job or not.

A job interview requires you to wear a costume, play a character who’s kind of like you but also different, and to wear a costume. It’s a theatrical experience. You have to be “on,” and that’s stressful. Of course you get nervous!

Even seasoned performers experience stage fright.

Here are ten ways to calm your nerves before and during a job interview — but first, here’s a word of caution.

Be sure you don’t react to interview jitters by criticizing yourself for being nervous.

Sometimes we get nervous and start beating up on ourselves, saying “What’s wrong with you? Why do you get so nervous! Chill out! It’s only a job interview!”

Ease up on the self-criticism. It can’t help you. It will only make the situation worse.

Imagine that your job-interview jitters are a physical object — specifically, a beach ball.

When you take a beach ball out into the surf and try to squash it under the water, it bounces back twice as hard as you push it down. The more you try to squash down the beach ball, the harder it bounces back and hits you in the face.

Your best bet is to stop trying to squash down your nerves, and get used to them instead. Just let the beach ball bob on the water near you. Let your jitters be. They can’t hurt you unless you fight them.

Tell yourself “You might be a little nervous walking into this job interview, and that’s fine. The interviewers expect that. It would be bad if you were so casual and unconcerned that you didn’t feel any jitters at all.”

Here are ten tips to ease your job interview discomfort:

1. Over-prepare for the interview

Read, read, read and read some more in the days before your interview. Read the company’s website and read what bloggers have to say about the organization and its plans and challenges. Don’t be freaked out if you encounter unfamiliar terms and jargon — business people love their jargon! Look up the unfamiliar terms and soon you will feel more comfortable.

Prepare a list of questions you plan to ask the interviewer — questions about the role, the company, the work schedule and anything else you want to learn more about.

2. Lay out your supplies and clothes the night before

You’re going to bring a leather or vegan leather portfolio with a full notepad in it, a good pen and a few of your paper resumes to the interview. On the pad, you will have pre-written the questions you plan to ask. Tucked inside the portfolio will also be a map to the location (what if your phone gives out?), your contact person’s name and phone number and a few of your personal business cards.

Lay out these materials plus your interview outfit (sharp-looking formal business or business-casual attire depending on the company) the night before.

Do everything you can the night before. If you’re planning to trim your beard, shave your legs or deep-condition your hair before the interview, do it the night before.

Take away as much stress as you can!

3. Get your plan in order

Sit down and plan out the interview logistics as carefully as you would plan an expedition to the South Pole. As every traveler knows, your careful planning will massively reduce your stress level on the day of the trip!

Make a timeline from the minute you wake up in the morning through your post-interview celebration back at home. Overestimate travel time. Make a to-do list for the interview day including minute items like “Turn off my phone when I get to the interview facility.” Plan every detail in advance — you’ll be grateful you did!

4. Take a test drive

Drive to the interview location a day or two before or take the bus or train there to make sure you know where it is and how long it takes to get there. If you’re driving, know where you will park. Don’t leave anything to chance — it’s last-minute hassles that can make job interviewing so stressful!

5. Get there early to settle in

Get to the interview facility fifteen to twenty minutes early to look around and make sure you are in the right place. There’s nothing as discouraging for a job-seeker as to walk into a building on time for their interview only to hear the reception person say “You’re supposed to be at our other building, five miles away.”

Don’t take that chance!

If you arrive really early you can tell the receptionist “I’m here for a two p.m. interview but I’m very early. I don’t want to bother Alyssa Smith so far ahead of the hour. If you like, I’ll remind you when it’s closer to two p.m. so you can contact Alyssa then.”

Arriving early will give you time and space to notice the employees, vendors and/or customers in the lobby. Notice how they interact with one another. Is this company a happy, sunny place or a fearful, dark place? It matters!

6. Focus on observation

A great way to ease your interview jitters is to notice as many details as you can during the interview. Notice the landscaping, the construction of the building and the ornamental details in the elevator. Make a mental note of everything you see, hear and experience.

Notice how the reception person greets you and how the interviewer starts your conversation.

Focusing on observation will help you tune out and muffle the self-destructive voice that may be telling you to stand up straight, give smarter answers to the interviewer’s questions and stop crossing and uncrossing your legs.

The more closely you pay attention to the things going on around you, the less time and energy you’ll have left over to get down on yourself.

7. Get winded

If you feel adrenaline shooting through your veins as you step into a building for a job interview — and if you have still have a few moments of time to spare — step outside again and get physical.

Walk quickly around the block two times, or quickly descend the staircase to the subway and quickly come back up.

Your goal is to wind yourself, to take your focus out of your mind and into your body. This does wonders for your nerves, but you really have to get active — right on the edge of getting sweaty.

8. Take notes

Your notepad is great for taking notes, and lots of people find that note-taking is great for their interview nerves, too. You can jot down questions that occur to you as the interviewer is speaking (or even as you are speaking) and take note of other thoughts and observations you make while the interview is going on.

Some of the notes won’t make any sense to you when you re-read them tonight at home, but that’s okay.

Note-taking has a purpose apart from jogging your memory later on. It helps you stay focused on the conversation rather than getting outside yourself and judging your “performance.”

9. Stay in your body

Every performer knows how it kills their authenticity to float around the room evaluating their own performance when they should be firmly in their bodies, living in the moment.

It is tempting to leave the interview room in your mind and carry on a silent conversation with yourself, like this:

You, speaking aloud: So, that’s how I got to Angry Chocolates. It’s been a great job, but it’s time for me to move on.

Critical Voice in Your Brain, silently: Did you just say “It’s time for me to move on.”? You sound like a character from a bad western! Look at Sally, the interviewer. She’s totally thinking “What a dork this candidate is!” You sound like an idiot. You’re not getting this job.

You, silently: I knew you were going to say that. Sally and I are having a great conversation. She doesn’t care what you think, and neither do I.

You, speaking aloud: What’s that, Sally? I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes you can just tell that you need a bigger challenge. That’s what happened to you, too? I’d love to hear the story!

End of Script

10. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself

Athletes go the Olympics to compete and they say “It’s a huge thing, it’s incredible to compete at the Olympics. I’m so excited to be here, but it’s also just one day in my life. I was having a great life before I got to the Olympics.”

No job interview is the Olympics. The truth is that only the people who can see past your jitters deserve to be your future colleagues. Your trusty gut knows it’s true. Whatever happens at the interview was supposed to happen just the way it did.

You can laugh if something amusing happens. You can laugh at yourself. You can let down your guard, and I hope you will. A job interview is an artificial situation, but your power comes through most strongly when the amazing, brilliant, real you shines forth.

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