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Dec 22, 2017

How to Interview for a Job - Tips You Need to Know

Very often, as a business owner, I am in the position if interviewing prospective candidates for office positions in our organization. Actually, I will again be looking for replacement staff in the next month or so. I was recently asked by an acquaintance across the country from me what I look for when in the process of hiring staff. This person has a wonderfully worded resume, but is having a difficult time finding any kind of work. The job market is extremely tight, and in some states, like Michigan, there may be hundreds of applicants vying for one position. In order to interview successfully, there are certain steps one must take. These are just a few of the things I look for when hiring new staff.

Be On Time

There's nothing more irritating to me if a prospective employee is late for his or her interview. I'm a busy woman with lots of things to do, and my time is limited. Be on time, have a pen handy, and a copy of your resume for me to keep. If for some reason, you are delayed or no longer want the position, a courtesy call before the interview appointment is always appreciated.

Dress Appropriately

The biggest mistake is made when interviewees dress inappropriately. Remember, managing a career and an interview is all about personal branding or marketing yourself.

Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and that you are well groomed. You don't have to have a huge and expensive designer wardrobe. Don't go into your interview looking like a hooker; wear a conservative dress or suit, with low, sensible shoes, and keep the makeup to the bare minimum. For men, a suit is not necessary, but a clean oxford shirt with tie and slacks, not jeans, is the best choice.

Filling out the Application- Neatly!

Usually, I have applicants fill out a standard application, as well as submit a current resume. Make sure you use your best handwriting, and that your handwriting is legible. Use proper English, and be sure all of the words in your application are spelled correctly. If spelling common business terms is a problem for you, practice spelling in your spare time.

Be Sincere and Enthusiastic

The biggest pitfall for job applicants is to convey insincerity. I can usually tell if a person is doing the interview as a condition of unemployment, and really does not want a job. Others may be sincere in the interview, but once they land the job, there's no follow through with a level of enthusiasm. Please don't waste my time or yours if you really don't want a job.

The Trick Questions

After explaining the position, I will ask my prospective candidate couple of questions to get a feel for the applicant. When I ask a question like "what are your weaknesses or faults," I'm looking for positive responses. Actually, I am looking for VERY POSITIVE responses. You might wonder, how I can positively respond to something negative like a 'weakness' or 'fault'? A good so-called 'weakness' would be to tell the interviewer that you tend to overdo in your quest to do a good job. (Employers LOVE to hear this, by the way!)

You are so fervent in desire to do a good job that you'll come into work early or stay late. Another positive weakness would be to tell the person you have great attention to detail. You want to make sure the job is done correctly the first time. Another "fault" is to say something like "I really want to learn, so I might ask a lot of questions, and some people might think this is annoying."

All of these things show the employer that you're a positive person, and that's exactly what we are looking for.

The other question I ask is "what do you know about our business?" You'd be surprised how many people walk in for an interview and don't know what the core business is. You can always look up your prospective employer online just to get a little knowledge. You don't have to know everything about us, but make sure you know something. That way, if the interviewer doesn't ask that question, you can always ask a question concerning their business which makes it sound like you're truly interested.

Questions not to Ask

Please don't start off the interview or the phone inquiry with "How much do you pay?" For one thing, you do not have the position yet. When I get around to considering you for employment, salary is negotiable. The same goes for benefits. Employers want to feel as though you really care about them and their business, and the best applicants appear to want the position so badly, that money is not the top priority.

The Hooks

Last year, I had a man apply for a position actually volunteer to work for me for free for a week. While I didn't take him up on his offer, it showed me that he was serious about wanting to work for us. I eventually hired him, and he's proven to be an invaluable employee.

Follow up telephone calls (or email) also let me know that you're serious about employment. Don't think that you will be bothering the prospective employer. Sometimes employers get busy and cannot place the promising applicant right away. A follow up phone call lets me know that you're still interested, as well as jogs the memory about you.

A thank you note for the interview opportunity is also a nice touch. It lets me know you have manners and respect for me and my company.

While this list of "Things to Do" will not guarantee a job offer, I believe it will increase your odds of finding a position in much less time.

Nov 20, 2017

Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Look Better for a Job Interview

No matter what position you're applying for, your physical appearance matters a great deal in a job interview. This is, after all the very first impression managers get of you. And that ultimately becomes sort of the thesis you put forth regarding your personality and accomplishments -- everything that follows is just supporting material for that initial assertion.
So make it good, unless you want to spend the next hour sweating away trying to convince the guy on the other side of the desk that you are, in fact not as you appear. Follow these easy job interview appearance tips to boost your looks so they're worthy of the top-notch pro you really are.

Don't Cheap Out on Your Hair

You may go to BoRics or Supercuts most of the time for your haircut, but this isn't the time for such scrimping. It doesn't matter how great your outfit, if your hair isn't doing anything for your face, your style will fall flat in a job interview. And your personality will probably end up similarly lifeless without the confidence boost. So be smart -- spend the money on a more experienced pro to do your hair. If you're used to $12.00 haircuts, the cost of the good stuff may shock you. But trust me, it's an investment in your professionalism that will pay back handsomely.

Replace the Ragged Stuff

Got any of those nasty dress shirts with yellow stains under the armpits? Yuck. Toss 'em right in the trash. Granted, you're probably not going to take your jacket off in a job interview. But you still know those nasty spots are there. And it stunts your opinion of yourself and sabotages your confidence. You're worth the good stuff. And that goes for socks, undies, and whatever else you're putting on. This is the big game. Spend a few bucks to do it right.

Contemporary Suit

Suits don't go out of style all that quickly, especially for men. But nonetheless, you shouldn't expect to hang on years and years with the same one. Yeah, suits can be pricey. But you don't have to buy the best for a job interview. Just get one that's all wool, decent construction, and in appropriately conservative colors like navy, black, or gray. Watch the sales. If you shop carefully and buy ahead of time when you can be patient, you can usually see $500 suits for around half that. (June is typically a great month for suit sales.) Again, it's an investment that will quickly pay back.

Update With a Tie

If you absolutely can't afford a new suit, a great way to update on a budget is by pairing your old suit with a more contemporary new tie. To that add a fresh new dress shirt, send your old suit to the cleaners and you'll be surprised at how much more polished that six-year-old suit can look.

See Your Tailor

Maybe your body has changed (for better or worse) since the last time you pulled out your job interview suit. Or maybe you recently bought a set of suit separates that fit sort of okay off the rack. Whatever the case, bring your clothes to a tailor to have them fitted into precise shape to flatter your body. It's not really all that expensive, and the extra snap it adds to your look can make the difference. And while you're at the tailors, have them fix any rips, loose buttons, or pulled stitches. Such details can really make or break a first impression.

Cleaned and Pressed

You'll be amazed at what just sending things to the cleaners can do for your appearance and confidence in a job interview. Clothes that are cleaned and pressed are sharper, crisper, and way more professional. Get your dress shirts professionally cleaned too, rather than trying to do them yourself. It only costs a couple bucks and it looks a lot better. It also saves you time and stress fussing with ironing.

Polished Shoes

Don't miss this key detail. Whip your shoes into shape so they pop. It doesn't take but a second and it costs practically nothing. And it can make an important difference as you meet and greet the interviewer; he's unconsciously taking in all the details about you, and this can be a big one for some managers.

Do Your Best, Smile, and Forget About How You Look

Follow these tips, do your best, and then don't give it another thought. You want to look your best. But whatever your appearance is like, smile and remember that a great personality can take much of the attention off your looks in any job interview.

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