Tag Archives: skills

Sample Interview Questions and Answer Strategies, Part 3

Why are you thinking of leaving your current position?

Your answer should be positive. Avoid any negative comments about your position, industry, company, boss, coworkers, or customers.

Let the interviewer know what you are looking for in a new position and how the open position meets your interests. Does the open position offer more money, responsibility or the potential for advancement or growth? If you are not 100% certain that you want to leave as your present position for the open position, let the interviewer know this too.

If you are presently unemployed, be prepared to give a brief reason for leaving your prior position. Let the interviewer know if you left your position voluntarily or if you were let go. If you were let go, was it the result of a company-wide or department layoff, merger or takeover?

If you were fired, give as fair and unbiased a response as you can; answering from both your point of view and the point of view of your former employer. This means describing the situation candidly, succinctly and without any bitterness. Be prepared to answer follow up questions such as “What did you learn from this experience?” or “What would you have done differently?”

What could you have done better in your last job?

Again, it is best to avoid being negative. Likewise, do not confess to any problems, major or minor. A better answer is to say “With the benefit of hindsight you can always find things to do better, but off the top of my head I cannot think of anything of major consequence.”

If the interviewer pressures you for more information, describe a situation that failed as a result of external conditions beyond your control.

Why have you been out of work so long?

You’re answer should be the same regardless of whether you are doing a telephone screen or an in-person interview with a recruiter or hiring manager. Here are some possible responses:

  • I decided to start a business (like a consulting business)
  • I am the officer of XYZ organization
  • I took some college courses to stay current in my career (or on-line classes)
  • I am currently teaching XYZ subject (ensure that it has business relevance)
  • I volunteer at a local soup kitchen, my child’s school or an organization in my current industry or business
  • I started a networking organization to help those out of work
  • I decided to coach a season of my child’s baseball league

Source: www.info.theladders.com.

It is suggested that you emphasize factors that have prolonged your job search by your own choice. You do not want to seem like damaged goods.

Why should I hire you?

If you have done your homework and prepared for the interview you should be able to answer this question easily. Help the interviewer to see you in the position. Walk him or her through each of the position’s requirements as you understand them, and follow each with a reason why you meet that requirement. Specifically, if you understand the employer’s needs and company culture, you will be able to match each position requirement with your personal qualifications.

Why aren’t you making more money at this stage in your career?

Your answer should not sound defensive or give the impression that money is not important to you. You will need to explain why your present salary or salary history might be below industry standards.

Your best answer is that money is important to you but other factors are even more important. For example, “Making money is important to me. That is one of the things that interests me in this position because I am looking to make more money at this point in my career. But even more important to me is doing work I really enjoy and am proud to do at the kind of company I like and respect.”

Be prepared for follow up questions about your ideal position and company. Be sure to match your answers as closely as possible to the requirements of the open position and the culture of the company/department.

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Now, get to it . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Celebrate 2015 Accomplishments

2016 Just believe that good things are on their way.

Just believe that good things

are on their way. 

 

We rarely take time out of our busy lives to celebrate our successes. Before stepping into 2016, take a moment to think about all that you accomplished in 2015. Make a written list of everything you achieved, big and small.

  • Accomplishments:
    • What did you achieve, personally and professionally, in 2015? Did you make it to the gym at least three times a week? Did you spend more time with family and friends? Did you get the promotion you wanted? Did you find a new job that challenges and excites you?
    • Did you help anyone else to achieve their goals in 2015? Did you support a co-worker through the process of successfully completing an important project? Did you practice with your daughter so that she made the varsity team? Did you help your parents/grandparents to better understand and use their new smartphone or tablet?

 

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Once you’ve listed your accomplishments, create a detailed plan for your future development. Think about your future and set goals for turning your vision for the future into reality.

  • Individual development plan:
    • Create an overall vision for your life. This is a long-term view of what you want to achieve, personally and professionally. Ask yourself, where do I want to be in 10 to 15 years? Do you have the goal of learning patience, raising healthy and strong children, or being recognized as a leader in a particular professional industry?
    • Develop goals for each area of your life. These are the steps that will move you closer to turning your overall vision into a reality. Goals should be realistic and SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and timely).
      • Take an inventory of strengths, skills and passions and create an action plan to achieve your goals.
      • Ask yourself, What am I great at? What do I love doing? What energizes me? What is important for me to learn so that I am better at _____?
      • Identify an educational platform, internship, or a career path that will lead you to the top of your profession. A goal of solving global warming in the next decade is vague and probably not within your realm of control.
    • Start working to achieve your goals. Implement your plan. Create a schedule and allocate an adequate amount of time for working on your goals. Find someone or some resource to help guide you to success. Measure your progress, track your performance on a regular basis (monthly or bi-monthly), and be prepared to make adjustments as necessary to stay on plan.

Now, get to it . . .

The Top Most Valuable Career Skills of 2015

240_F_59188705_IQBjR2l30W9ij3u50dNzcJTQ4UNqtqM2 (1)According to Coursera* (www.coursera.org), the 10 most valuable careers and the associated skills of 2015 were:

  1. Digital Marketing — strategic planning and analytics for digital marketing channels
  2. Data Science — GitHub, RStudio and data visualization techniques
  3. Interaction Design — Prototyping, user testing, and visual design
  4. Business Strategy — strategy formulation, execution, and assessment
  5. Strategic Business Analytics — marketing, supply chain, and human resource analytics
  6. Data Science at Scale — SQL, NoSQL, data mining, and machine learning
  7. Genomic Data Science — Python, R, Bioconductor, and Galaxy
  8. Organizational Leadership — motivation, self-assessment, and conflict management
  9. Social Media Marketing — campaign management, brand positioning, and content development
  10. Strategic Management and Innovation — goal setting, value creation, and diversification

240_F_68248134_XEOcSk5SehSx8Z9JUklyzYxJ3WRVOYKlLooking forward to the new year, job seekers will need a mix of technical and traditional “soft skills” to be competitive in the job market. The tech industry will continue to accelerate and tech skills will remain in high demand. The emphasis in the job market will be on technical job skills necessary for the accomplishment of mathematical, engineering, scientific, and computer-related tasks.

Also in demand in 2016 will be traditional people skills, often referred to as soft skills. To be successful in job search in 2016, job seekers will need leadership, entrepreneurial and interpersonal skills such as a strong business strategy, communication, time management, and teamwork / collaboration skills. It is not enough to say that you possess a cache of these skills, whether on your resume or in the interview, you must be prepared to quantify and describe your experience and success in each of these areas.

Now, get to it . . .

* Coursera (www.coursera.org) is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer online courses and programs that anyone can take.

 

This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Don’t Be Afraid To “Tell Me About Yourself”

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The most dreaded interview question may be: “Tell me about yourself.”  Similar questions are: What are your greatest strengths? and What are your greatest weaknesses?

Do not shy away from this question. Look at it as an opportunity to selectively choose and decide which personal strengths you want to share with the interviewer. Describe strengths that characterize you as (1) the right person for the position and (2) a good fit with the company’s culture. 

So, what is the difference between a strength and a skill? A strength is an ability that comes to you naturally. Examples of personal strengths are qualities such as being analytic, considerate, creative, independent, observant, organized and persuasive. Strengths are also the aptitude for learning languages and public speaking.

Skills are the things you have learned to do. Skills are the ability to audit financial data, conduct interviews, counsel people, fix equipment, invent products, read blueprints and music, resolve/mediate conflicts, translate foreign languages, or teach/instruct.

When telling an interviewer about yourself, describe three to five unique strengths that are relevant to the position. Then back up each strength with an example of a marketable skill. For example, if you are analytic and have an aptitude for numbers, you may possess excellent financial auditing or data calculation skills. If you are action oriented, you may be skilled at multitasking and able to perform well in a fast paced, dynamic environment.

For help identifying the relevant marketable skills for a particular position, refer to the O*Net Code Connector (www.onetoneline.com). O*Net refers to marketable skills as “detailed work activities”.

Now, get to it . . .

This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.