Saturday, March 14, 2015

Are You Interviewing Potential Employers?... Well, You Should Be!

When you are a job seeker, it is very important to understand the company and the actual position the company is currently looking to fill. Throughout the process you, the candidate, should be researching. This research should be a combination of online research and first-hand research through asking direct questions when you have the opportunity. 
Here are a few things to keep in mind. 

1. Research the Company Online Before Applying. 
  • Job Description - Read this more than once to get an idea of the company, the duties of the role and the needed and preferred qualifications. (Please keep in mind that you do not need to have ALL of the qualifications to apply in most cases, however the more qualifications you do hold, the better.)
  • Know the Business - Understand what the company actually does to make profits. At the end of the day, employers want employees that will be able to see the big picture. This means understanding and helping the company reach business goals. 
  • Get the Scoop on What Current Employees Think - Research sites like or to find reviews on the company. When looking at these reviews, search for trends and please keep in mind that not all reviews can be taken seriously. If see trends mentioned about the company good/bad there is a greater chance the information being provided should be noted. Also, you will want to find reviews from those working in the department you'd potentially work in. Doing this research will give you a better idea of the company culture. You will see things like the environment, dress, training opportunities, management, etc. 
  • Network - Search a site like or even research the background/bio of your pass professors/colleagues. The idea is to find out if you know someone that has worked or currently works at the company  you're interested in. This can help in two ways: 
    • It will give you a better idea of what the company is like and what they look for in candidates and possibly the types of people that excel there. 
    • Second, this may give you another way of getting your resume in front of a hiring manager. At this point you should know whether you will want to pursue the job so if you know someone who can refer you, your chances of an snagging interview are going to increase. I cannot emphasize enough how great referrals are to getting a candidate in the door at a company. 
2. Ask Questions During the Interview
Okay, now that you know this is a good opportunity to pursue and you have applied, you should get a response if you are a good fit for the role. Once you get the interview, do not stop researching!
  • Show You've Done Research - Ask questions about the company/job that you weren't able to find in your research. And when you ask these questions, be sure to show you have done research. Example: "During my research I learned that your company prides itself on maintaining a very open environment, can you tell me more about the company culture?"
  • Ask Follow Up Questions - There is no way that an employer has completely answered ALL of your questions and you have absolutely no follow up questions. Do not hold in those lingering questions. It is your job to leave an interview with a good understanding of the role/company so you can decide whether the move will be a good fit for you. 
3. Recognize the Interviewers Time
  • Say Thank You - Remember to thanks the person(s) answering your questions. It shows that you really appreciate gaining the insights the interviewer is providing. 
Well there you have it! I hope this helps someone who is job searching. Remember, if this is a job that you are wanting to hold for a while, you want to be sure that it will be the right step for you and your future career. It is easy to think that an interview is just time for us to get the third-degree from an employer, but please know that you should also be interviewing the company!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Interviewing tips.

Here are my Do’s and Don’ts  that I hope will help those looking for a job.
Here are my Do’s:
·        Ask what the dress code is and dress adequately.
As I will state in the don’ts section – you need to know what the dress code is before interviewing as different companies want casual, business casual or a suit! You need to know and prepare ahead of time.
·        Dress comfortably.
When you are comfortable, you interview better.   
·        Do your homework on the company.
Please research the company. A simple Google search will show you when the company started, CEO and other key leaders and what the company is about. How do you know if you want to work at a place if you don’t know the basics of it? Seems simple, but so many have gotten to the in person interview stage and ask interviewers to tell them about what the company does… not a good look.
·        Arrive to the Interview 10-15 minutes early.
Sometimes being on time is being late. During an interview it looks good to most interviewers to be a few minutes early. Candidates should give themselves about 15 minutes extra time to get to the interview location, park and find the interview room, etc.
·        Shake every interviewer’s hand.
Do not ignore any of the interviewers. Make sure to shake everyone’s hand no matter the level or if you work with them directly or not. Give each interview the same amount of attention, each will be weighing in on the decision to hire.
·        Look at each interviewer ad maintain eye contact.
Eye contact is important. Most people do not trust people that do not look them in the eye. Looking someone in the eye (note: not starring) show them that you are alert and really paying attention.
·        Relax and smile.
Being relaxed and smiling makes you appear likable.
·        Give clear and concise answers to questions.
Giving full answers is simple enough, take a few moments to think through the question and your answer so that you answer questions fully and clearly. It will make you come across a good communicator – important in any job.
·        If you do not understand a question, ask for it to be repeated.
Attempting to answer a question that you do not understand is setting yourself up for disaster.
·        Ask relevant questions.
Do not ask questions that can be easily found on the employer’s website… think about it.
·        Bring copies of your resume and any other important items.
Always have extra copies for interviewers – I don’t really need to explain this one, right?
·        Be energetic and attentive.
Again, I shouldn’t have to explain here.
·        Ask about the next steps in the process.
Know the next steps so that you are prepared for them.
·        Send a thank you note.
Please don’t forget to spellcheck and check for grammar. A hand written note versus an email – I don’t think it matters.  
And Don’ts:
·        Do not arrive over 30 minutes early to an interview.
Yes, we like when a candidate is a few minutes early, however to be 30 + early to an interview can possibly make the interviews uncomfortable as they will be finishing up meetings and other projects. Plus, it normally leaves you there to wait for a long period of time in the lobby.
·        Do not attempt to answer a question that you do not completely understand.
I get it. You want to answer questions right away. However, if you do not understand the question given to you, you will not be able to answer correctly and may even stumble on your words. Simply ask the interviewer to repeat the question, or restate the question yourself to be sure you have it correctly. Restating the question also buys you a bit more time to answer. J
·        Do not show how nervous you are.
Yes, everyone will be nervous during an interview, however the interviewer should not see this. Shaking, crying, sweating profusely – I have seen it all and it never looks good!
·        Do not ask questions that the interviewers have already answered.
This happens so often! Pay attention during the interview. Asking questions that have already been answered will catch the interviewers attention and not in a good way.
·        Do not exaggerate your skills or lie.
Never ever lie during an interview. Normally your interviewers will know if you are exaggerating your skills and often there will be some kind of skills test during recruiting process (think writing test, computer/excel test, etc.) Even if you do get the job… If you don’t have the skills you won’t have the job long. Trust me this has happened before…
·        Do not slouch, frown or make any other negative or uninterested body language.  
Posture, posture, posture – is very important. When you show signs of disinterest, your interviewers will see you as a negative person and will not want to hire you. Most interviewers are looking for someone that they will like to work with – negative employees are not likable!
·        Do not overdress.
Don’t overdo it. Look back at my Do’s list and see that you should know what the dress code is before an interview. Most employers want to see interviewers dress business casual others you need to wear a suit and there are even some places where you should dress more casually. In any case – wear something that you are comfortable in. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed and the better you will do in any meeting.