We have all heard those words, usually spoken by a hugely energetic (manic?) infomercial presenter. And almost all of us immediately realise what those words are- advertising jargon. They are specifically designed to evoke an emotional response and make you believe that THIS product, and only THIS product, can solve your problem.
That’s the purpose of adverts – to attract your attention and compel you to take action. Let’s say you purchased this product. It’s just about a certainty that it’s not going to live up to the hype generated by the TV spot. In fact, it’s probably going to disappoint. But the advert still did its job – it got you to buy. (more…)
In today’s global village society, more and more companies are opting hiring cross nationally, incorporating international skills, expanding operations and reporting to international counterparts. Telephonic and Skype interviews are increasing more popular. Besides the time saving costs, Skype also cuts down on travel times and saves on fuel (making it better for the environment)
For the interviewee, though, being interviewed in front of a camera and microphone can be daunting. But, fear not! The video interview can be used to your advantage. Here are some tips on how to prepare and ultimately excel in a Skype interview.
An interview is an interview
Whether you are holding a face to face, telephone or Skype interview, proper consideration to the discussion must be given. You still need to do the necessary preparation, research the company, understand the job description clearly, and prepare the questions you have, dress up and show up (more…)
In my last blog I focused quite a bit on isolating questions that should just never be asked in an interview. I would now like to focus more on the questions that you should be asking within the interview in order to give you the necessary insight that will allow for you to decide whether this is the right opportunity for you or not. In turn these questions should also indicate to the potential employer that you’re interested, have put time into preparing your questions and you are taking the opportunity seriously.
1. Can you explain the culture to me with examples of how the company upholds it?
Not your average yes or no question but rather one that insightful and has depth. It is also gives you the opportunity to assess whether the company culture fits into your vision. The question itself will ensure that the interviewer gives you in-depth understanding and backs up what he/she has to say about the company culture. This will give you additional leverage in deciding whether this is the job for you or not!
2. How have you recognized your employees in the past?
Smart question! If I have to take a look at the candidates that I have recently interviewed, the majority of them have listed their reasons for looking at alternative opportunities was due to their current employers undervaluing them and not providing them with the recognition that they desire.
This question asks once again for specific examples that will indicate to you whether your future employer appreciates its employees and whether the company places any value on the company morale.
3. What do you like most about this company?
By nature, most people like to talk about themselves so this question helps warm up your interviewer. It also provides critical insight into whether you’d be happy working with this individual or company. If the interviewer’s answer excites you, that can further reinforce your decision to continue the interview process. If the response is lukewarm, it may give you something to think about before deciding to invest in a future at the company.
4. Can you give me examples of collaboration within the company?
No man is an island and this question will give you insight into whether the company places any emphasis on teamwork. It also gives the interviewer the perception that this is important to you, as it is critical in most companies that you are able and willing to collaborate with your team in achieving company goals and objectives.
I have come across a number of candidates that have often eluded to the fact that they felt as if the company objectives were solely their responsibility. Teamwork then becomes a must for future career endeavours.
5. What are the most important thing you’d like to see me accomplish in the first 30, 60 and 90 days of employment?
I like this one! A prime question that will give you immediate insight as to what this company expects from you and more importantly do these expectations correlate with your own. This question also shows them that you are invested in what you can bring the company and not just what the company can do for you. The answer to this question will also allow for you to go deeper than just what the spec dictates. It will give you insight in a deeper skill set.
The elements that the interviewer highlights are truly golden nuggets of information. This information can then be later reinforced with your own skill set and ability providing you a perfect opportunity to emphasise this in your follow-up thank-you letter.
Make the most of your interview experience and allow questions to enhance the impression that you leave the interviewer. You want to come across as knowledgeable, insightful and a business thinker. Take time to prepare your questions so as to ensure that when you step out of the interview you know whether the opportunity has your name written all over it or whether this is one opportunity you’d prefer to skip.
A few weeks ago DAV posted a hilarious clip on their Facebook page of how the company Heineken conducts their interviews. Needless to say it was a creative process but none-the-less managed to get the right candidate for the job. However, it was an interview that no matter what you just couldn’t prepare for. Thank goodness not all interviews are like this and are more the exception than the norm.
The standard interview is definitely one you can prepare for and as the old adage goes “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. The competition is fierce in the job market and preparing for those elusive interview questions could just be the thing that separates you from the rest. However, as I have told my candidates on a number of occasions, the interview is also not just a play for them to be “cross-questioned” but it is also an opportunity for them to “interview” the company. So it is imperative that for you to gain full insight into the company requires you to prepare some great questions. However, don’t fall into the trap of asking questions that could negatively impact your chances.
In order to assist you in asking questions that will be in your favour we have compiled, with the assistance of LearnVest, a list of questions that you should and shouldn’t ask.
WARNING: The following questions should only be attempted by a professional; failure to do so could lead to dire consequences. In other words – do not go there. These are questions you want to AVOID at all costs!
1. Anything related to Salary or Benefits
Yes I know that salary is important especially when faced with constant petrol hikes and living costs that just keep on going up but don’t bring it up. It comes across as if this is the sole reason you are moving and not because of the opportunity that the client has to offer. Rather stay away from this one as well as anything related – sick time or vacation days ect. Stay interested in the role. Let them fall in love with you and when it is almost in the bag, then start talking figures. If you are working through a reputable recruitment consultancy, allow them to do the negotiations, as this will ensure that they negotiate the best possible salary for you.
2. Any question that starts with a “Why?”
Questions that begin with a “why” automatically evoke a defensive reaction. I know that it is a question of semantics but rather position the question in a less accusatory manner. Eg. Why did the company retrench people last year? Is best rephrased in a less confrontational manner – “I read about the retrenchments. What’s your opinion on how the company is positioned for the future”
3. Who is your competition?
This question is a bit of a double edged sword, as it can make you sound really thoughtful or it could in fact completely backfire and leave the interviewer thinking – why didn’t you do your research. With the technology available to us today there is no excuse to not know who the main competitors are. You need to do your homework!
4. How often do reviews occur?
I know this may come from a good place as you may just be concerned about the company’s view of your performance or maybe you just curious but rather don’t go there. It has been found to make employers think that you are concerned with how often negative feedback might be delivered. Rather avoid this topic until you are officially on board.
5. May I arrive early or leave later as long as I get my hours in?
This is a question that is coming up more and more particularly due to the fast growing notion on maintaining a work-life balance as well as making it possible to attend to family responsibilities. But by bringing up this question might insinuate to the employer that you more concerned about balancing your life as opposed to a concern around the needs of your potential company.
6. Can I work from Home?
Unless this is implied in the initial job description, don’t bring it up. Some companies will allow you to work from home once you have proven yourself and they have seen that you are a reliable, productive employee. The interview is unfortunately neither the place nor the time to be asking for special favours. Right now your top priority is selling them on you first.
7. Would you like to see my references?
Interviewing is a lot like dating. It is important to entice with your value and attract them to call you for the next “date”. Offering up your references too soon may hint at desperation and you don’t want to run the risk of overusing your references. Wait until you at the final stages of the interview process and let them ask you for these details.
8. How soon do you promote employees?
Whoa!!! Easy tiger! You need to get this job first and you need to prove yourself first before you get handed the corner office.
9. Do I get my own office?
A bit of an odd question? Especially since you need to ask yourself whether this is really a deal breaker? If not then why are you asking it. Of course this is one of those things that linger in the back of your mind and would be a bonus (depending on whether you that way inclined or not) but really, this type of question should stay where it belongs – at the back of your mind.
10. Will you monitor my social networking profiles?
While this is a very valid concern in today’s culture but it is something best left unsaid. It immediately gives you the impression that you have something to hide. Rather play it safe and don’t post anything negative about the company, colleagues or your boss, this will unfortunately come back to haunt you.
So that covers the 10 questions you shouldn’t be asking in an interview. Check back tomorrow as I will continue and focus on the 5 questions you should be asking in your next interview.
Finding a job is a daunting process but I firmly believe that the most daunting of all is the actual interview. I don’t think there is anything that you can do that really takes away that angry flutter of butterflies in your tummy, not even a million drops of Rescue Remedy! You know the kind I am talking about.
However, if there is one thing that I have learnt is that you can make sure that you show up and give it your all. In this line of thought, I came across an article via the Harvard Business Review written by Amy Gallo. It was entitled “Stand out in your Interview”. There were a number of valid points that she mentioned within this article that I thought was pertinent for any one who wants to make sure they stand out from the competition.
1. Back in the day when I belonged to the Girl Guides (yes I did but you are not allowed to laugh, I was having a geek moment) but one thing that was drilled into us was Be Prepared! That’s right – prepare…prepare…prepare!
This doesn’t mean have a quick squizz at the company website, it involves more than that. If you are being interviewed for a Senior Financial role make sure you have studied the available financials and any other economic detail that you would normally be exposed to. If you are joining a company that has retail stores, go and visit them. I can guarantee the client will be impressed when you say – “yes I noticed that customer service is important because I visited your store yesterday to get a feel”. It is about researching the whole shebang! From the relevant industry trends to even doing a bit of detective work around the person that you are meeting with. Preparation is key to your success! (more…)
In recruitment, this question is inevitable.
It is not a bad idea to run your answer by someone that will listen objectively. You might be under the illusion that you are merely stating the facts, but have you thought about how it will be perceived if YOU were the client and on the receiving end of the story?
Some people are naturally good with articulating why they are considering a career change. They know where they come from and they know where they are going. They can communicate both. (more…)
You are almost there, what with November exams looming and your degree so close to being achieved. Now it’s time to put your inexperienced feelers out into the job market. Exiting student life into the world of work. Graduates up against more graduates for the same jobs. You are probably thinking, is the job market doing ok, are there enough jobs out there, have I studied the right degree, are my marks good enough, will I get selected for interviews and how am I going to perform in these interviews?
Listen up! I want to share with you some common graduate blunders that seem to be reoccurring and costing graduates’ jobs.
Appearing arrogant vs. using the right opportunities to sell yourself appropriately
We have recently received feedback from our clients that graduates are trying to lead the interviews. They are diving in head first with reasons why they are the best and the only person for the job without being prompted. They are listing their achievements and strengths, using technical jargon that isn’t always understood by everyone in the interview and are bombarding clients with reasons why they should be hired. Whether this is due to nerves or something someone has told you, I can assure you that this is not the best approach to take in a job interview. (more…)
Despite what you may have heard, your CV is still one of the most important tools to get you the initial interview. CV writing is something most people do not pay attention to – I remember getting detention in matric because I did not see the value in doing something that Microsoft Word has a wizard for! I mean, if we all just plug in our information in a similar looking CV then we will all be assessed the same way right?
Every single person reads a CV in a different way, I have clients who gloss over them: Where you worked, how long you were there for, your title and why you left. He doesn’t care about what you did in those roles or even any achievements you have. On the flip side, I have a client who goes through every line with a fine-tooth comb, pointing out any slight errors up to and including apostrophes being used in the wrong way.
So how do you write a CV that caters to both extremes? (more…)
A CV is a bit like a psychometric assessment. There isn’t really a right or a completely wrong way of going about it. It is more a case of some profiles being a better fit to a specific role than others.
Here are some tips to consider:
Don’t even try the ignorance card, it won’t bring you closer to discovering things that isn’t hidden that far beneath the surface.
The only time you might be in a bit of a predicament is when your new boss has joined the company after you. If this is the case, we can talk about it another day.
Think about one of your very first dates with someone you wanted to impress! If you are a romantic at heart, you zone in on the positive things you see and hear. You don’t necessarily share dark secrets about yourself or how rude you have been in rush hour traffic. If you have been single for a long time (or looking for a job) you want to think he or she might be the one. This might be it. You focus on putting your best foot forward, politely answer questions and don’t probe enough to find out if the person sitting next to you is someone you can work closely with for about 9 hours a day. Five days a week. (more…)