Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cut to the Chase: 3 Questions Every Interviewer Should Ask



There are some people who simply have a talent for spotting talent – they can sit in on interviews and know within a few minutes whether a candidate would be a good hire or not. But for most of us, a little more inquisition is required. And knowing what questions to ask, or what responses to listen for, isn’t always as easy as you might think.
If you are compiling your own interview questions, these are three you should absolutely include.
  • What can you tell me about yourself? Opening with this question accomplishes a few different things. First, it sets the interviewee at ease by giving them a moment to talk about something they are experts on: themselves. And second, it gives you an opportunity to evaluate how confident that candidate is, and what he or she deems important enough to share. This can give you a lot of insight into the candidate’s professional values and their ability to communicate with others.   
  • What about this opportunity, and our company, do you find most appealing? The best hires are those who aren’t simply looking for a job – they are looking for this job. You want to hire people who specifically want to work for you, because that passion will most likely carry over into career longevity and a commitment to quality work. By asking this question, you can gauge how much the candidate knows about both the position and your company, and how passionate (or apathetic) they may be about this opportunity.  
  • How have you contributed to the success of the companies you were previously employed by? This is a question that gives your candidates an opportunity to shine, assuming they are confident and knowledgeable enough to take it. The best responses here will flow naturally and without hesitation, but they will also include quantifiables as opposed to platitudes. Meaning, you want to hire the candidate who can tell you what they’ve done and exactly how it helped (saved x amount of funds, increased productivity by x percent, resulted in accommodations, etc.) rather than one who vaguely tells you they were known for their ability to interface with customers.
From an HR standpoint – your interviews should consist of the same questions for every candidate, no matter how soon you know whether or not they would be a good fit. You should also be writing those responses down and maintaining accurate files for a period of time. But when you ask the right questions, the right candidate becomes obvious. Happy hiring!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Impatient Job Search: The Sun’ll Come Out… Tomorrow?

For those of you out there who are parents, you know that sometimes the best conversations can be had with your kiddos. Those conversations that make you smile and realize how many little nuances seem to go over our little one’s heads; sometimes making for hilarious, yet insightful, interactions.

I had one of those conversations with my 4 year old recently. We were watching a YouTube clip of the song “Hard Knock Life” from Annie, when he told me, “I want to watch the next song.”
Thinking he must be talking about “The Sun’ll Come Out tomorrow,” I nodded and said, “Tomorrow?” A question in my voice.
He looked at me very seriously and said, “No… not tomorrow. Now.”
Incidentally, “The Sun’ll Come Out” was the song he had been hoping for, he just hadn’t been able to put two and two together when I called it, simply, “Tomorrow.” And actually waiting until tomorrow to watch the song was not an option in his little head.
Often, I find that job seekers feel the same way. They are frustrated and overwhelmed, sometimes to the point of missing important nuances as they relate to the job search. They may overlook a requirement on a posting that they don’t meet, or become a little too aggressive in following up – not wanting to wait until tomorrow for an answer.
The problem becomes, this impatience can actually hinder a job search. Making it important to stave that impatience off and find ways to make the wait until tomorrow (or whenever that coveted offer should come along) a little easier.
  • Actively Filling Your Spare Time: Yes, job searches are stressful. Particularly when you are currently out of work. But that is all the more reason to keep yourself busy in the interim. When you aren’t in the middle of seeking, consider picking up some volunteer work or signing up for continued education classes. Use this time to make connections, boost your resume and turn yourself into an even more valuable candidate.
  • Enlisting the Help of a Recruiter: If you haven’t done so yet, it might be time to see a recruiter about improving your chances. The right recruiter can help you to refine your resume and focus your attention only on those jobs you stand a solid chance of getting an interview for.  
  • Networking: Now is the time to start reaching out to those you have networked with in the past, utilizing those connections to find out what opportunities may be coming up down the line. Let people know you are looking, and put feelers out for positions and organizations you may be interested in working with.

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