Interview Assistance!

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Some really good interviewing tips fell into my in box today. Want to share them with you students who are soon to be graduating! Follow the link:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-most-common-interview-questions?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=roundup_20170323_partial_post_10899&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20170323_full_post_10874_2posts&bsft_eid=139a9443-341d-4e4f-865c-d5c36ea4e1f0&bsft_clkid=ed119202-1e77-47f3-9c46-2b478c9872d9&bsft_uid=52ecec6d-0000-4c8a-a21a-884289ebb517&bsft_mid=3bb6ed7e-1306-46b9-9b78-f740fa665881

Behavioral Interview-Ways to Prepare

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In order to be successful during a job interview, it is necessary to prepare ahead of time. You would prepare for an interview in the same way as you prepare for a camping trip. Pack what you need (extra resumes, a portfolio if you’ve created one, notes on strengths you definitely want to mention, etc).

When I have prepared for interviews in the past, I simply spent time researching the company, thinking seriously about my skills and how I can demonstrate a match to the requirements of the position. I spent some time preparing as soon as I knew I had landed the interview, another hour the night before and a quick brush up of my notes right before the interview. Do give some thought as to what works for you, and either increase your efforts or not, based on your individual need. You must feel as prepared as you can in order to exude confidence when the time comes.

Part of preparing is thinking of stories that you can tell for the behavioral or situational questions that are almost always asked these days. I always recommend that you choose at least three stories. A story that proves that you get along with others, a story that demonstrates your problem solving ability and a story that proves your excellent communication skills.

Remembering what it was like to interview as a young person

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I have been teaching people how to do an effective job search for over 20 years now. Some would say that makes me an expert. Today I admit that it definitely took me a long time to get to this point, and it wasn’t without some bumps in the road. We learn from our mistakes, right?  

Let’s look at my first real job interview. I was lucky enough to land an interview with Trane Company, which as most of you know, is a highly respected company locally. The gentleman who interviewed me and gave me a tour of the facilities was kind and respectful. I was scared to death! I was doing my very best to show respect by not saying much, and by hiding my enthusiasm.  Did you catch that?  I was “quiet” and “hid my enthusiasm.” Two things that one definitely does NOT do during a job interview! What was I thinking! 

The answer is that I was not thinking. I was not putting myself into the shoes of the interviewer. I did not prepare enough for the job interview.  I did not think to myself. Hmm, I wonder what they are looking for when they hire for this position? I had not read up on how to do an effective job search and I had not looked into whether there was someone that could help me out in my college’s career services department. Plainly, I DID NOT prepare for the interview.  

My third interview was not much better. By this time in my job search I was using self talk that is no doubt familiar to some of you. “I am not good enough or I would gave been hired by now.” or “I will never find a job!” And other negative statements (I am sure you can imagine).  

Little did I know that job seeking is all about the odds. You can look at job seeking almost as you would look at gambling. It is all in the odds. 

Eventually through my employment experience I learned to:  “Apply, apply, apply, It takes 10 applications to land one interview and 5 interviews to land the job. (Numbers vary depending on where you are doing the job search and what the economy is like at the time!). And never give up! Refuse to be one of those discouraged job seekers! Realize that you must apply for jobs where your skills match what they are looking for. Realize that you may have to start out in an entry level position at a company just to get your foot in the door.  

What an education does for you is give you the credentials to move up the ladder more quickly. Those without an education beyond high school (even one term can make a difference), struggle to advance in the work place. 

So are you wondering what happened? Whether I landed that job? As I mentioned, my interview performance wasn’t all that better. I was so discouraged already however that I went in thinking that I would not get the job, so I might as well relax and look at it as a practice. Well, for me that worked! I was so sincere and so honest while I answered questions that the hiring manager later shared with me that he hired me due to my integrity. He valued complete honesty and somehow during the interview discovered that I was a farm girl. We are known for being hard workers. Landing that job, with that particular employer was just the beginning for the many training opportunities that were to come. I worked hard, learned the importance of lifelong learning, grew within that position and transitioned into many other positions after that, learning and growing and adding to my education as I went. 

One final point before I end this post. Above I mention being “so discouraged already.” It was the third job I had applied for, my second interview and I was discouraged already?!? That is crazy! But like I said, I was not knowledgeable about what it took to do an effective job search. If I had understood the odds, I would not have set my expectations so very high. I now know that the best thing you can do for your brain, is program it to believe that a “no” is nothing personal…..that many no’s lead to an eventual “yes!” and that one must simply continue to plug along and apply for as many positions as what you are qualified for. The job offer WILL come. It is just a matter of time.

 

Interviewing: Preparation and Practice are the keys

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What two words describe what is necessary for a successful job interview? I would have to say, “Preparation” and “Practice.” I really can’t say enough about either of those two words when it comes to being ready for a job interview.

Let’s start with “Preparation.” When I interviewed for the Career Services Advisor position that I currently hold at Western, I had a portfolio ready to show that included extra copies of my resume, copies of college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and recent certificates of seminar completion that I thought would be of interest to those on the team that interviewed me. I also had notes to help me remember my strong points, written out on a 3X5 card and tucked into the portfolio’s inside pocket.

As soon as I found out I had landed an interview, I spent over an hour thinking through my strong points and comparing them to what Western Technical College was looking for in an employee. Then I had several days to think over what I had come up with and was able to add to my notes. I really feel going through that process with myself helped immensely.

On to “Practice.” You can practice talking about yourself, out loud. Either talk to your mirror at home, or talk to your dog or cat, but talk out loud about yourself and your strengths. Tell some of the stories that the author in the below article suggests you come up with. Tell the stories out loud.  Practice, Practice, Practice. I had key words jotted down on that 3X5 card to help me remember my stories. The below link will guide you to an excellent article that Barb, our Career Services Manager found on line. Just like us in Career Services here at Western, he/she does a lot of mock interviews with students. Not only will the author help you look at the big picture, he/she will tell you how to practice and he/she will give you tips on Skype or phone interviews.  More employers are using Skype and phone interviews in round one today than ever before. Enjoy!

http://peak-careers.com/today-is-not-the-day-to-be-humble/

PS:  The author talks about how the interview starts in the parking lot….he/she is not kidding!  They really do!  I have heard this from more than one professional.

PPS: I also noticed he/she suggests using a video program to video tape yourself answering questions!  Go to our website at: http://www.westerntc.edu/careerservices/ and try out “Perfect Interview,” our online interview practicing tool!

Wondering why you didn’t get called for an interview?

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Discovered a really great article this morning. Written by job searching expert, Alison Doyle. She does a fantastic job of helping you evaluate WHY you didn’t get an interview. You felt like you would be a perfect fit when you applied, so why haven’t you been called for an interview?

Believe me there can be many reasons; some that have not occurred to you. Click on the link below to learn more. For 18 of the 25 reasons that she shares she has written an article that teaches you how to over come that barrier, so I encourage you to click on the links where you need to learn more. Anyone can become a job seeking expert….as with anything, the more time we put into it, the better we get at it.

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interview-mistakes/fl/25-reasons-why-you-did-not-get-an-interview.htm

Does your resume get the message across?

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As a Career Services Advisor, I have critiqued a lot of resumes, so I have some sound advice.

If you want to get an interview, (which is the purpose of the resume), you need to be thinking about structuring your resume so that it is obvious why you applied for the job. That means many of the words that you use in the top half of your resume should reflect the job opening. In other words, you want to use some of the same words they used in the job posting when they wrote it. For example; suppose one of the sentences in the posting says, “Looking for someone with customer service, bookkeeping, records management, and computer software skills.” As an applicant, you are going to want to make sure that you have created “Prove It” statements to describe what you have accomplished either in a previous work setting, or in your college classes, that will describe your skill levels in those areas. Employers no longer want to see just a description of what you did. They want to see what you have accomplished.

Here is one example of an accomplishment statement, “Conducted a customer satisfaction survey and presented the results to administration.” Within that statement, the applicant has proven that he/she used certain skills in accomplishing what she did on the job. That one statement reflects that he/she is knowledgeable about customer service, that he/she is capable of taking all the steps needed to conduct a survey, and that he/she even presented the results to a group of people within the organization. That one statement proves more than one skill.

All of us have performed job duties that can be described impressively. First you read the position opening throughly. Then, you write down what you want to say about your skills and abilities that pertain to that opening. Don’t worry about how it sounds just yet. Just get it down on paper. Then, you look at the job opening again and you work on combining statements that could go together. Break out important skills statements. Word and re-word. That means write down various ways of saying what you want to say until it sounds good. Once you have written some great “prove it” statements, you can begine to put the resume together, choosing the headings that sell you best. Then you revise, revise and revise until you can’t revise anymore. I have found that if I get up and go away and take a break from this process when I begin to get frustrated, and then come back later to work on it, it goes much faster.

When I go into a classroom to teach resume preparation, I do my best to describe each of the five tips that the below article talks about. I want students to be able to put themselves into the HR manager or applicant screener’s shoes.

I ran across this great article this morning. The article describes what I am talking about and more. Check out the link.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-things-people-reading-your-resume-wish-you-knew-1?fix