Interview Tips

Top 10 Interview Tips from Planet4IT

We’re trying something new here at P4Social. Instead of posting Job Tips everyday, we will post a weekly top 10 lists of our hottest tips for a given topic.

Check it out.

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WHAT IS AN INFORMATION INTERVIEW  

Boring, you can’t bear another day going into your job.  You thought you were a salesman but hate cold calls.  Graduation day is approaching and you don’t know what to do.  Now is the time to set up some Information Interviews.

An Information Interview is just what its name implies.  It is a way for you to find out information about different types of jobs and companies.

Your first step is to:

  1. Make a list of companies and jobs you think you might like.
  2. Research these companies and job types, both through their webpages and through job search engines like Workopolis and Monster.
  3. Make a list of questions about the companies and the different positions they have

 

Networking is your next step:

  1. Ask people you know who work for these companies if they could recommend someone you could go and talk to about the company and types of jobs
  2. Look around your community.  If you are thinking about banking then the bank manager is a great person to talk to or he/she may be able to recommend someone in head office that would be helpful
  3. Sports teams and gyms are great places to network.  Right away you have something in common so ask them who they work for and how they got started.
  4. Coffee shops, if there is a specific company you are interested in, yes go and hang around the closest coffee shop to their office.  Strike up a conversation
  5. LinkedIn is a great place to find people who work for specific companies. Ask to connect with them and then follow their updates.  LinkedIn Groups are also a great way to find out about different things that are going on in your field and to connect with people with the same interests.
It is important to remember that this is an Information Interview not a Job Interview.  So you are the one asking the questions, you are in control.  Break your interview into 4 parts:
  1. A brief introduction of yourself:  your education, your achievements and your interests.  This gives the person you are interviewing an idea of your skills and how they will relate to different positions in their company.  Explain to them you are trying to get into a new field or have just graduated.  Tell him “I really don’t like doing cold calls”, “I love working with numbers”, “I have a real interest in people”, etc.
  2. Next would come questions about the company:  trends, challenges, organization, etc.
  3. Specifics about particular jobs will be the most detailed part of the interview:
    1. what training is required
    2. what type of things would be done in a typical day
    3. what do you enjoy most/least about your job

4.  Finally a thank you for their time and ask if they can recommend/refer anyone that may be able to help you in your job search/analysis

 

This person is doing you a favour so remember:
  1. Be punctual
  2. Be prepared
  3. Be polite
  4. Bring a resume but DO NOT give it to them unless they ask you for one.
  5. Dress professionally
  6. Don’t waste their time

Finally as with anything in life, this person has done you a service and set aside some of their time to help you so remember to send a Thank You Note as soon as possible after the interview.  And don’t forget to add them to your network on your social media sites.

 

happyfacehanddrawn Good Luck job huntingguestpostintroductionLynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

Do you have a Professional Profile on your Resume?

You must admit resumes are pretty boring reading, especially when that is what you do all day.  Recruiters and HR employees read through 100’s of resumes a day.  OK, read!!!  maybe more like scan.  That is if you are lucky enough to get past their ATS (Applicant Tracking System).  Now you have to grab their attention while they are doing their 10 second scan of your resume.  Sometimes I think Recruiters and HR employees can scan faster than their computer systems. The Professional Profile is the easiest way to entice them to actually read your resume.

The Professional Profile appears right under your name and contact information.  What makes a good professional profile:

  • Keep it short:  one or two sentences giving a brief synopsis of your experience; followed by 3 or 4 small bullets of specific detail related to the actual job description if necessary
  • Use key words from the job description.  If they are looking for a Java Developer, don’t put in the profile that you started out as a Cobol Programmer
  • Years of experience in your field
  • If they are looking for a specific degree or certificate and you have it, put it in a bullet in your profile
Action words in your profile will give it a little more zing:
  • boosted sales by 23%
  • implemented an employee incentive program
  • set up a new data centre
  • maintained 200 desktops
  • converted a 1000 desk data centre from windows to
  • increased production
  • decreased customer service calls
Detail not to put in your profile include:
  • personal information, ie hobbies, number of children, marital status – you get the point.  Truthfully this information doesn’t even need to be on your resume
  • opinions about anything,
  • that you can work independently, multi task, hard worker, always on time, etc.  These are taken for granted.
  • the word “I”
Finally here is a sample professional profile for an IT position at a financial institution.

Java Developer offering a broad technical background working in the financial industry. This includes 7 years of WebSphere development, 3 years WebSphere portal development and 3 years of WebSphere/WebSphere portal administration experience.  

    • Bachelors of Computer Science from the University of Western Ontario (if degree needed from job description)
    • Certifications include:  (if specified from job description)
    • 4 years experience in building mobile web applications.  (keyword from job description)
    • In-depth experience in software full life cycle and design pattern

A professional profile is just that, a profile, keep it short, to the point and targeting the specific job description you are applying for.  For some more examples check out this webpage http://jobsearch.about.com/od/profiles/a/resume-profile-examples.htm

 

happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting

guestpostintroduction

Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

How to survive a Video Interview

To think that 20 years ago every interview was set up as a F2F (face to face). That’s right you went into the office,  dressed to the nines – suit, skirt/dress, shined shoes all freshly scrubbed.  There weren’t any telephone interviews.  Skype wasn’t even invented.  And now we have video interviews.

In 2012 63% of 500 HR Managers surveyed conducted video interviews.  That was up 14% from 2011.  13% expect their companies to increase their use of video interviewing over the next years.  Office Team Survey.

chart

 

Lights, Camera, Action.  How do you prepare for a video interview?

Check your Equipment

You don’t want your battery to run out before your interview is over so make sure everything is running smoothly.  Clean the lens on your camera, nothing worse than a fingerprint showing up in the middle of your face.  Practice with a friend so you can find the appropriate volume for a normal speaking voice.  You don’t want to have to yell and you don’t want to miss the question because you can’t hear the interviewer properly.

Where are you going to set up your Interview?

Find an area that is quiet from distractions.  You don’t want to hear the dog barking as people walk down your street.  Make sure the area is clean and clutter free.  If you are doing it in your bedroom you don’t want the Sports Illustrated Bathing Suit calendar showing up in the picture.  Empty or full beer bottles on your counter won’t set a very good example.

Dress like you were meeting in Person

Dressing professionally makes you feel more in control and self-confident.  So put your dress or suit and tie on, make-up, hair, shave.  All the things you would do if you were heading to the office to meet the interviewer. Try not to wear white as it can look very bright through a camera, also busy patterns can be distracting.

Camera

Have your camera set up at a level so you are looking up just a little bit.  This will emphasize your face more than your body and will make you look a little slimmer.  It also helps to stop the camera from looking up your nose if you do a bit of a stretch.  REMEMBER – don’t look down or the interviewers will be looking at the top of your head.  Look directly at the camera, maintain eye contact and smile.

Cheat Notes

Yes you can use cheat notes, perfect for writing down your interview questions, but remember that rustling paper can be picked up by the microphone and is very distracting.  You also don’t want your eyes roving around the room or looking down, leaving the interviewer looking at the top of your head.

Truthfully it isn’t that much different than a F2F.

  • Be prepared – practice those interview questions and research the company
  • Sit up tall and don’t wiggle around too much.
  • Relax and speak clearly
  • Remember to thank everyone for their time

takeone

Don’t treat a video interview lightly.  You have to have the qualifications and you have to be able to sell yourself.  All you are doing is using a different venue.  So Take 1 and wow them the first time.

happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting

guestpostintroduction

Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

 

 

10 Simple Tips to remember as you prepare for your Interview

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can make a difference.  You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause.  You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them.  And life throws you a curve ball.  As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open.  You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer’s foot.  All that great preparation flies out the door as your try to calm yourself down and relax.

These are my 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

Keep your dress professional – seems pretty basic but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the cleaners.   Look your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • clean and crisp
  • a suit for the guys and a skirt and blouse or basic business dress for the gals.  No sundresses or shorts
  • This is an interview not a date – don’t overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry.  Guys shirt buttons done up, no gold chains hanging out.
  • Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

No Perfume or Cologne – have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary, why?:

  • A lot of companies/businesses are “no scent” zones.
  • Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne.  Reschedule if  you are lucky.

How do you get to the Interview

  •  Google it, do a test run if you aren’t sure
  • If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby
  • 9 am and 5 pm interviews mean rush hour.  Be prepared for it taking 30 minutes longer to get there
  • Check the weather – rain and snow can add extra time to your trip.  Be prepared

Never be late for the Interview

  • It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.
  • And yes there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them.  “The dog ate the directions” won’t work in the business world.
  • And yes, you’d better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

Be Polite to everyone

  • That older lady in the elevator might be “mom” going to visit her son the interviewer.  You don’t want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator.
  • The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers.
  • Be polite to everyone all the time.  It is a good road to travel down.

Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer’s name

  • We live in a very multicultural country, let’s try our best to pronounce names properly.
  • Ask the recruiter or phone the company
  • Write it down phonetically and practice

Keep your right hand free

  • Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview
  • Move your portfolio, purse, extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office

Just before you get to the Interview

  •  Turn off your phone and tablet.

Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

  • It starts as soon as you enter the room.
  • Smile, firm handshake, speak clearly
  • Relax and take part in the conversation

Tell me about yourself

  •  This question is totally about relaxing you.  Take your elevator pitch and expand it “a bit”.  The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones.
  • Keep it professional.

 

Check out my slideshare for some more pointers on these tips.

 

Don’t let a little thing muck up your interview.  Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process.  Remember they liked your resume – you look good on paper – now is the time to shine in person.

happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting

guestpostintroduction

Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!