Category Archives: Interviews

There Is a Fine Line Between Effective Interview Follow Up and Being A Pest

Job search experts tell you to follow up immediately after an interview with an email or hand-written thank you note to each of the interviewers. This very important step of the interview process is skipped by so many job seekers because they don’t think it is worth their time. Well, quite a few hiring managers and recruiters have told me that no follow up helps them weed out the less motivated candidates.

How to Do It

follow up after a job search using social mediaBecause email is the go-to method for business communication these days, actually taking the time to send a hand-written note just might nudge you above the other candidates. It does not need to be a long note, but make sure it doesn’t look like a canned, generic message that you send every interviewer. The most effective approach is to mention something relevant to your skills or experience that you discussed during the interview and express your eagerness to join their team. Continue the conversation and keep yourself in the running. Continue reading

Are Employers Being Unreasonable?

What? They want you to be on time, prepared and respectful? That seems like an awful lot to expect in a professional business meeting – which a job interview surely is. Interviewers have clear expectations of job applicants that impact their decision on whom to hire. By the time you’ve landed the interview, the employer is pretty sure you have the skills to do the job. Now, they want to find out if you are the type of person they’d like to have on their team.

To provide the best possible help to my career coaching clients, I speak regularly with recruiters and hiring managers to stay on top of what they are looking for in a candidate and what they like to see on a resume. We also discuss what bothers them and a few common themes stand out. I’m sharing them here to help you avoid these interview mistakes that can cost you that great job.

no phone in your interview

What Really Annoys Interviewers?

Here are the biggest pet peeves that I hear from hiring managers:

  • Poor manners
  • Lack of preparation
  • Not following up

Let’s take a look at each of these.
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Step into the Spotlight! It’s Time to Ace Your Recorded Job Interview.

Welcome to the third installment of my blog series on virtual job interviews. In my last blog, I shared tips on mastering Skype interviews. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

Employers are continually looking to make the hiring process more efficient. To this end, they have started using recorded job interviews as a quick way to screen candidates. prep to ace a recorded interviewIn a recorded interview, also known as a one-way video interview, the company sends you pre-scripted interview questions that you answer on video and submit by a specific date. When you record your answers to the questions, you cannot see the interviewer, but they will scrutinize you when viewing and listening to your answers.

Getting Ready for Your Close-Up

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Lights… Camera… Action! 5 Minutes to Mastering the Video Interview

Welcome to the second installment of my blog series on virtual job interviews, with some quick tips to help you prepare for a video conference interview. If you missed last month’s post on telephone interviews, you can catch up here. Next month, I’ll address the recorded video interview.

In the good old days, hiring managers relied on in-person interviews to screen and hire job candidates. As if that was not intimidating enough! Today, many companies are incorporating online video conferencing interviews using Skype, Zoom or Facetime into the hiring process. Virtual interviews are popular with employers because they quickly narrow the candidate pool, which saves the company time and money. But, they can add an entirely new layer of anxiety-provoking stress for job seekers.

video job interview

Whether you are new to live video interviews or didn’t do well enough in your last one to proceed to the next round of interviews, you need to learn how to present your best self on camera. Here’s how you can prepare for, and ace, your next video interaction with a potential employer.

Cameras hate me! Do I really have to do a video interview?

Yes. If you want to land that great new job, you must be prepared for live video job interviews. If you avoid them, you may be limiting your employment options. Because more and more employers are relying on video interviews to evaluate candidates’ soft skills, it is to your advantage to become comfortable with this type of interview.  Continue reading

Help! I Have a Phone Interview!

If your resume is winning you frequent interviews, then it is doing its job. If you are going to lots of first interviews but are not making it into the next round, then you may need to work on your interviewing skills. You are not alone. Selling yourself to a potential employer is not easy. However, as with anything, the more you know, the more successful you will be.There are several types of interviews, each with their own set of challenges: face-to-face meetings, in-box assessments and virtual interviews conducted via telephone, Skype and video. The interview is one of the most important parts of a job search, yet many people fail to prepare out of fear. To help reduce jobseeker anxiety, I have created a series of blog posts on the different types of virtual interviews. In this first installment, I share tips on how to master the telephone interview.  Continue reading

Interview Prep 101: Conquer the Fear!

Would you rather walk into a job interview with confidence or fear? Interviews can unnerve even the most experienced job seeker, and in today’s competitive job market proper preparation can be the difference between a job offer and a rejection.

You wouldn’t ever walk onto a stage for a big presentation without preparing your words and practicing your delivery, would you? how to ace a job interview  A job interview requires the same sort of preparation, but the process does not need to be overwhelming.  You can increase your odds for success by Continue reading

Just When You Thought the Job Interview Couldn’t Get Any Harder…

Hiring the wrong executive or senior level employee can be one of the most expensive mistakes a company can make. To prevent a bad hire, more and more employers are conducting InBox Assessments (also known as In-Tray Exercises) during the interview process to evaluate how an employee might actually perform on the job. In addition to the typical skill-related questions and the often-bizarre behavioral questions, you must also be prepared to demonstrate how well you would handle the daily responsibilities of the've got the job

An InBox Assessment is a simulation of a typical day on the job and shows the potential employer how you would handle the variety of tasks, questions and problems that may cross your desk. Among other things, they are looking to see how well you manage your time, organize your workload, communicate and make decisions. You may be presented with a variety of incoming requests, projects and problems to solve, be asked to demonstrate how you would prioritize and respond to each item, and then explain why you chose that course of action. It sounds intimidating, but like anything, practice will pay off. Interview preparation can be the difference between winning the job offer and losing out on the opportunity.

Tips to Prepare for an InBox Assessment:

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Defeated, Disillusioned and Desperate to Escape

Jared called me on a Monday morning as he sat in his car in the parking lot, not wanting to go into the office. Over the last few years, his workload had tripled, new ineffective procedures had been instituted and he was getting no support from his boss. He was miserable and the stress was effecting his health.Happy man with new job

Although he knew the unemployment rate was pretty high and the job market was tight, he could not take it any longer. He needed to escape and reached out to me for help with his resume. I knew his story well. I had been there and had felt the same spirit-crushing pressure to perform in corporate America. I assured Jared that I could help him, but explained that there was a lot of work we needed to do together before we got to the resume writing stage. I promised him that he was not in this alone. I would be there to guide him through the process to make it less overwhelming and more successful. I was confident that I could help him find a job that was fulfilling, where he was respected and compensated properly. Continue reading

“How Many Pencils Would it Take To Fill a Swimming Pool?”

Job interviews can be nerve wracking for even the most experienced job seeker. In today’s competitive job market, proper preparation for the interview can make the difference between a job offer and a rejection. You should behavioral interview questionspractice answering questions pertaining to your experience and be prepared to provide examples from your work history that sell you as the ideal candidate for the position. But, do not over practice and memorize a script! It is important to understand the gist of each question, so you recognize it when phrased differently.
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Is A Good Handshake A Lost Art?

We all know that first impressions are important, right? Well, don’t blow it with something as simple as a wimpy handshake. A good handshake is a key factor to how you are perceived as a jobseeker– it sets the tone for the rest of the interview. A bone-crushing grasp can make you look nice to meet youtoo aggressive or desperate, while a limp handshake can make you appear weak and ineffectual. This is especially important for women. Do not shake hands as though you have no bones in your hand. Forget about possibly chipping your nails (which is a HUGE turn off for a hiring manager). Offer the firm handshake of a confident person. And men, please do not be afraid to shake a woman’s hand. She will not break!

The key to the perfect handshake? Continue reading

Your Skills Alone Will Not Win You The Job

To win a job offer today, you must set yourself apart from your competition. What do you offer the employer that the other candidates do not? Odds are, you have similar educational backgrounds and work experience. Employers are looking for more. They want employees who have the determination to succeed, get along well with others and are well rounded. It is not a matter of GPA or test scores. Employers want to build teams of dedicated employees who they trust, and want to be around. Face it – we spend more time with our colleagues than we do our family and friends. Your likability is to ace the interview Continue reading

Not Asking Questions in a Job Interview Can Cost you the Job

It is important for jobseekers to ask thoughtful questions during the job interview to show that they are eager for the job. Not asking questions indicates to the interviewer that you are not a serious job candidate, and can derail any chance for consideration. multiple_interviewersWithout a list of questions prepared in advance, many jobseekers go blank when asked if they have any questions. Don’t let that happen to you.

I have heard from many jobseekers who are confused about what types of questions to ask. Here are a few pointers to help you develop a list of questions that will impress the interviewer.   Continue reading

Have You Ever Considered a Video Resume?

More companies today are relying on video resumes and video interviews during the hiring process to reduce their travel budgets. They are especially popular in high-visibility executive roles, sales and training positions where the employer is hiring you for your personality as well as your skill set. Jobseekers seem to be slowly adopting this new job search tool as a means to differentiate themselves from the competition. Video Resumes“18% of job seekers have reported participating in video interviews in the past year – more than double the rate of a year ago” according to a recent Right Management survey. Are you prepared to sell yourself on video? Here are a few tips.

  • Your video resume should be no more than 2-3 minutes in length.
  • Wear attire suitable for a face-to-face interview.
  • Make sure you have proper lighting, a non-distracting background, and have eliminated all sources of ambient noise. Continue reading

Role Playing Uncovers a Candidate’s Core Competencies

job interview mockWhen reviewing candidates for a job opening, hiring managers typically base their decision on experience and likeability. The candidate looks great on paper, and seems to fit in with the corporate culture, but… can they really do the job?  

Hiring the wrong candidate is the single most expensive mistake a company can make. Knowing that most candidates have prepared to answer the most common interview questions, many employers use behavioral questions, role playing or mock scenarios during the interview process to uncover a candidate’s true potential.  

This role-playing technique is gaining popularity among hiring managers, and can be useful for nearly all roles and industries. By revealing the candidate’s true abilities, role-playing during the interview provides the hiring manager with a more accurate picture of the candidate’s ability to do the job. This can be especially helpful for candidates with the raw talent needed to excel in the role, who do not have the desired work experience. These mock scenarios can speed up the hiring process and minimize the learning curve once an employee is hired. Additionally, hiring top performing candidates can raise the overall caliber of the organization’s staff. Continue reading

Anticipate, Prepare and Practice To Win Your First Interview

helpIn this economy, college grads are competing against candidates with years of experience for entry level positions. To stand out from the others, you must follow these 3 steps to win your interview: anticipate, prepare and practice.

Anticipate. As a jobseeker, you should be doing tedious research about the company. Make sure you read every corner of the company’s website, as it is the most authentic source of information. But, don’t stop there. Look into the company’s annual reports, learning business plans and setting up Google Alerts so you’re up to date on company news. Although it is important to know what the company does, it may be even more important to know who you’ll be talking to once you get there. Find out with whom you are interviewing and get acquainted with their staff bio and LinkedIn page.

Prepare. There are 7 interview questions you will most likely be asked in any interview.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  3. What is your greatest weakness?
  4. What motivates you to perform?
  5. Tell me about a time that you failed?
  6. Why do you want to work here?
  7. What do you consider one of your best successes?

Also, be prepared for situational interview questions. Imagine yourself in the role and what obstacles you may face.

Practice. Use mock interviews to ensure you are able to eloquently answer those sample interview questions. Be prepared to overcome objections and curtail your answers so the interviewer sees your passion for the field and position.

Getting chosen for an interview means that the hiring manager already believes you are a fit for the role on paper, so use the interview to reassure them of their decision.  Best of luck!

Lauren Piccini  is a writer, blogger and social media wiz who  helps small business owners  transform into credible experts  in their field by increasing their  brand awareness through the use of social media strategies and techniques. She is a recent grad with a degree in English from the University of Connecticut whose first work was published within six months of graduation.

Nervous before your job interview? Check out this infographic from to calm your nerves.