Career Strategies: The 5 Deadly Phrases To Avoid In The Job Interview Process

When it comes to the job interview process, whoever tells the best story wins. But certain phrases and ideas can short-circuit your career plans. Are you really able to have the kind of leadership conversation your job search deserves? When it comes to creating the career conversation that leads to consideration, avoid these five show-stoppers in the interview.

If you argue for your limitations, they are yours.

Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  1. When Is Honesty NOT the Best Policy? – do you ever find yourself saying a version of this phrase: “If I’m being honest…”? TBH, that phrase is honestly hurting your chances in the interview process. Here’s why: if I need to call out the fact that I’m being honest right now, doesn’t it make you wonder if I’ve been honest with you up until this point? Why did I wait until now to get real and spill the T? Actually, in the interview, honesty is the only policy that works. Highlighting the fact that you are getting to the truth, but only just right now, can arouse suspicion and make people wonder why you aren’t full-on honest all the time. If you are a person of integrity, honesty is your default setting. Don’t create unnecessary suspicion. “To be honest…” is a filler phrase – like “umm” “Uh…” and “like”. None of those fillers are very satisfying in the job interview. So be really honest with yourself, and leave out the words that don’t serve you.
  2. The Fault Line – don’t cross it. “It was her fault” is the kind of blamestorming that can take you out of the running. Why? Because companies hire people who can overcome limiting circumstances. People are imperfect, nobody has a team of 100% superstars and circumstances often create difficulties in the office (that’s why it’s called work). How did you get past the obstacles and limitations – even if one of those obstacles was Jessica in Accounting? Phrases that blame people and situations point out your own limitations – what you couldn’t tolerate, tackle or transform. Focus on the story of how you overcame challenges, how you helped others to be better, or how you picked up the ball when somebody else dropped it. Remember, other people don’t need to be bad in order for you to be good. Concentrate on how you solve real problems – including personnel problems – by taking responsibility instead of laying blame.
  3. What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You – do you know how to answer an interview question where the answer is, “I don’t know” or “No, I don’t have that skill”? The fact is, no one can know everything. And not everything can be googled. Saying “I don’t know” isn’t a phrase that can NEVER hurt you – because it’s an honest and real response! The phrase that’s really dangerous? Trying to fake it until you make it! Don’t create a fiction around your skill set, ever. Any phrase that feels like fiction is one you’ve got to avoid.
  4. Disconnection is Deadly – Considering questions about skills or experiences you don’t have: are you able to connect your interviewer to a relatable topic – something that you do know, that might be supportive or helpful? For example, if the CIO says, “Do you have Salesforce Administrator Certification?” and you don’t, what do you do? Do you just say, “Nope!” blink twice and wait for your next mistake? Find a phrase that pays by connecting to what you do have: skills, talents and desire for the role! Point out the other experience or to action you can take to get what’s needed. “I don’t have the Admin certification but I went to Dreamforce [the company’s major annual conference] the last two years in a row. I’m very familiar with the software – let me share with you the experience I have and my training so far. If that certification is important, I can put together a plan to gain that credential in short order. Do you think that plan would be a requirement if I were to get this role?” Always connect your answers back to your interviewer, the company’s goals and your ability to work hard in the job – those things are always part of your story.
  5. Ultimatums – an ultimatum is a statement of what you won’t tolerate, usually phrased as a demand. Ultimatums reflect terms that you will or won’t accept, period. By definition, ultimatums point to your lack of flexibility and adaptability (two characteristics that might be useful for a new hire, wouldn’t you agree? Why would you demonstrate that you lack these two key qualities?) Now some ultimatums are important: “I won’t tolerate racism on my team”, for example, points to your beliefs and values. But “I won’t work on weekends” or “I need every Thursday afternoon off, or I can’t work here” is really pointing out your limitations. Look for phrases like “I can’t accept _______”, “I won’t allow that” or “That just won’t work for me.” Because if it won’t work for you, maybe you won’t work for this company. Every job interview is a negotiation. Once you get to “yes” you can decide if you want to take the job or not. You’re in the interview to explore your options – why start cutting yourself off from possibilities? Does it help your career to present demands and requirements, or are there other ways of looking at the situation? Is your ultimatum a personal preference that you’re clinging to, like a security blanket, or a statement of your integrity, values and work ethic? It’s better to keep your options open if you really want the job. Know the difference between uncompromising values and limiting statements that knock you out of the running. Keep your options open. Find out what’s really on offer and make a business decision to see if it fits for you. Ultimately, what you will and won’t accept is your decision, but arriving at that place without ultimatums is a smart way to frame the conversation.

The best interview is the most authentic, where you speak from your heart about the solution you can provide. By creating a dialogue with your interviewer, you build the conversation that matters most in your career. Don’t short-circuit your skills with ultimatums, filler phrases or fear of the unknown. The interview process is a journey of discovery. Your story – and the way you tell it – will guide you towards your next destination.

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I write about the changing nature of the leadership conversation, and how communication creates the connections that matter. Recognized as the U.S. National Elevator Pit…

Source: Career Strategies: The 5 Deadly Phrases To Avoid In The Job Interview Process

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“Tell me about a difficult situation or challenge you faced in a workplace” By asking this question, employers are trying to see how you (A) take charge in handling a challenging situation, or (B) collaborate with your coworkers as a team to solve a conflict. They want to know if you have critical thinking and problem solving skill, how you approach the problem and the level of responsibility you take in challenging situations. It is very important to make sure that you use an example that demonstrates your ability to handle difficult situation. So do not mention about when you elevated the responsibility. Rather, talk about times when you stepped up and took a leadership position by collaborating with your coworkers. In order to construct effective story, use PAR model and follow the 3 steps. 1 Problem: Identify the problem. What was the issue? 2 Action: How did you and your coworkers analyzed the problem and took actions to solve the issue? 3 Result: What was the positive outcome in result of the action? By following PAR model, you can frame your story well. Watch the video to see example answer and start constructing your answer. Jobspeaker is a FREE service to help job seekers find better jobs. Login today!

The Real Reasons Why Job Seekers Are Not Given Feedback

A common complaint and cause of frustration and irritation for interviewees is the absence of feedback after their interviews. It wasn’t always like this. In the past, it was standard protocol to provide feedback and constructive criticism to candidates. The hiring manager or human resources professional would diplomatically let the applicants know what they did well and the areas in which they need to improve upon.

The feedback was freely given with the best of intentions. The advice would consist of some positive aspects and, when justified, helpful critiques of the candidate—with respect to their skills, relevancy of their background and performance within the interview sessions. This would prove extremely helpful and productive if the person was invited back to partake in additional interviews. Even if the job seeker was turned down, they’d be provided with guidance so that they could perform better when they interview again somewhere else. The candidates could advantageously implement this vital information and constructive criticism.

This information relayed to candidates is important for them to conduct a self-assessment to ensure that they are presenting themselves in the best possible light. It’s similar to a batting coach in baseball who helps you improve upon your swing. His advice may not always be positive, but the goal is to make you a better baseball player.

Unfortunately, time’s have changed and this no longer applies to the present. In the current job market, feedback is offered sparingly—if at all. There is little-to-no feedback or constructive criticism offered. If you’re not accepted to proceed in the interview process, it’s rare to get a rejection letter or receive any input and advice from the company as to why you were unceremoniously passed over.

All the niceties and politeness are gone. You will now only hear from human resources if they want to move forward with you; otherwise, you get the silent treatment.

Here is why this happens.

Too Much Data

There has been a rapid proliferation of job boards, job aggregation sites (like Indeed and Glassdoor), Google for Jobs and corporate career pages. In addition to the ubiquity of jobs posted everywhere, everyone has a smartphone with them at all times. This combination makes it easy to search for jobs and easily apply. Many job seekers take the not-recommended approach of submitting their résumés for dozens of jobs—a large portion of which they’re not suited for, but want to give it a shot nonetheless.

Corporate talent acquisition and human resources professionals are deluged with résumés. Even with the applicant tracking systems that corporations have, it’s too much to handle. It becomes virtually impossible for the company to get back to everyone who submits their résumé. You may get a canned email response to your résumé or applications, but that’s about it. Don’t expect any meaningful color on whether or not you’re deemed a good fit for the job or company.

Fear Of Lawsuits

In today’s litigious society, companies are concerned about saying anything at all to candidates that could possibly be misconstrued. They are especially scared to give negative feedback to candidates out of fear that it might be misinterpreted as discrimination.

Something relatively innocuous said by an interviewer could be interpreted as sexist, ageist, racist or any other form of prejudice. Corporate executives are deathly afraid of costly, time-consuming lawsuits ensuing.

There is also the concern over a social media backlash because of something an employee said to a candidate. All you need is one disgruntled, denied job seeker to post his or her outrage on Twitter and it could go viral—irreparably damaging the company’s reputation. Not offering any feedback is a safer legal and public relations strategy for the company.

Stalling For Time

There is a belief by corporate executives that there is an abundance of qualified candidates. They erroneously believe that if the HR department waits longer, they will eventually find the perfect person suited for the role for a cheaper price.

They’ll keep you hanging on in suspense. The company doesn’t furnish you with an answer about your candidacy or offer a critique because you’re technically still in the running while they’re secretly holding out for a better candidate. They don’t want to say anything to make you bail out of the running—since they want to string you along and may ultimately want you if nobody better comes along. This is also a big reason why some interview processes tend to take so long.

Downsized HR Departments

The financial crisis wreaked havoc on all corporate departments, especially non-revenue-producing ones like human resources. Senior-level—higher salaried—HR people were downsized and replaced by more junior personnel.

Technology has also displaced many HR professionals. So, now there are fewer HR employees dealing with considerably more work. They simply don’t have enough time to respond to you and provide an evaluation and assessment of your talents.

New Expectations

The current generation of HR people only know the new, no-feedback milieu and perpetuates the status quo. This is a generalization, but many younger professionals are not comfortable picking up the phone and holding conversations with candidates, especially if it is not good news. They are equally uncomfortable holding a one-on-one conversation with a job seeker telling them that they’re not getting the job.

Third-Party Outsourcing

It has become a trend for companies to outsource their recruiting functions to third-party vendors. In this HR model, recruiters employed by another organization—who are kind of like mercenaries—are placed on the premises of many different clients. These are usually short-term stints. These types of recruiters, as you can imagine, have no vested interested in providing feedback to candidates, since they’ll be somewhere else in a couple of months.

Rudeness

You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but we are living in a time period in which people are not that nice to one another. It’s become the norm to be rude and ghost candidates.

We’re in a tight job market and companies complain that they can’t find people to fill their job openings. Their laments are ironic and tone-deaf as their very own actions of denying feedback alienates, discourages and blows off potentially perfect candidates.

Follow me on LinkedIn.

I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

Source: The Real Reasons Why Job Seekers Are Not Given Feedback

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Job Search Strategies and Techniques – How To MASTER Your Job Search • FREE Sample Resume Template – The 6 Second Resume: https://heatheraustin.online/free-res… Ready to take it to the next level? Get the Career Advancement Toolkit TODAY: http://careertoolkit.win/ Have you submitted your resume and cover letter countless times and you still don’t have the job offer you’ve been waiting for? Are you looking for strategies that will accelerate your job search and help you land your dream job. If so, tune in, because in this video, you’ll learn 5 job search strategies that will help you tap into your professional network and fast track your job search. Watch this video to learn how to master your job search. The 5 job search strategies you’ll learn include: 1 – Use LinkedIn to network with others in your industry. 2 – Get your career documents ready. 3 – Develop your 30-second elevator pitch. 4 – Conduct Informational interviews. 5 – Follow-up. Videos I promised to share: LinkedIn Job Search Tutorial 2018 – How To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job https://youtu.be/Ox_ohqsIMAM Elevator Pitch Example – How To Create A Personal Elevator Pitch https://youtu.be/wVYyCUwDFhE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE VIDEOS LIKE THIS: https://goo.gl/WB86Ta Share this video with a friend: https://youtu.be/h_04pmxmHQc Join other professionals just like you striving to land higher-quality career opportunities: #TheCareerClub on Facebook – a private community: http://bit.ly/TheCareerClub CONNECT WITH ME: • https://www.professoraustin.com/https://www.instagram.com/professor_a…https://www.facebook.com/ProfessorAus…https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-a… For more videos on how to improve your #jobsearch: Job Hunting Tips – Fastest Way To Get A Job | Job Hunting Secrets | https://youtu.be/UD1ps4HU9Do Executive Job Search – 7 Steps to Land a Senior Management Job | Linda Raynier | https://youtu.be/EkP8Oc0Fl38

Struggling to Find the Perfect Job Candidate? How to Overcome the Vicious Circle of ‘Experience Inflation’

Even though STEM programs have grown increasingly popular, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are than 700,000 unfilled IT jobs in the U.S.

Partly that’s because over 60 percent of entry-level jobs require more than 3 years of experience. The resulting “experience inflation” creates a vicious circle: New college graduates need experience in order to get hired… but without getting hired, they can’t get the experience necessary to qualify.

That’s a problem Talent Path is working to solve.

Talent Path hires STEM grads who are struggling to land their first gig, identifies the gaps on their resumes, and connects them with technology and IT organizations so they can gain work experience.

But they don’t work for free; during the “consulting” phase grads are paid a salary by Talent Path — and naturally, since the consulting phase is in effect a really long interview, are often hired by the tech company they are working for.

The Talent Path approach is a clever solution to a widespread problem. So I spoke with Jeff Frey, the Managing Director at Talent Path, to find out more — and to learn how you might apply a similar approach to your business.

I’ve worked with staffing companies before, but they always sent resumes for people they felt were “ready.” The idea of helping develop a potential candidate wasn’t on the table.

For higher level positions, that makes sense. But while there is a huge client demand for entry-level talent, there is also a real shortage in terms of what employers look for.

Education only goes so far: Many bright students get bounced out of the hiring process simply because they don’t have experience.

So we’re in the middle: We find those individuals, hire them directly, and pay their full salary and benefits. Then their job is to learn: First we take them through our training program, then place them with a client… and then we stay in their lives for at least six months while we continue to mentor them.

Just throwing them into the pool after some lessons, and hoping they will swim, wouldn’t be such a great idea.

Mentoring is crucial. We can help them navigate workplace dynamics, develop any other skills they need…

Companies love it, if only because it’s extremely low risk: If for some reason they don’t fall in love with one of our folks, they can swap them out. And if they do fall in love with the person they can hire them directly.

It’s very low risk with a potentially high reward.

Explain the business model.

Sometimes the people we train are coming out of school, sometimes they’re career-changers or military veterans. We pay their full salary and benefits at a competitive rate, give them a laptop, provide training… basically, we go into debt. (Laughs.)

Then, when we place them with a firm, we charge the company a bill rate that is slightly more than what we pay the individual. If the client keeps that person long enough to reach the break-even point they can hire them directly. If they hire them earlier, we calculate the difference.

In short, we’re a for-profit company, but we feel a lot like a non-profit. We get to help people launch their careers, and help companies find the talent they need.

But I suppose I could bring in a consultant; then I wouldn’t — at least in theory — have to worry about the learning curve.

Keep in mind the average consultant often makes twice as much as an employee. And if you like that person, their agreement with their consulting firm precludes you from hiring them.

In effect, a company can bring in two of our people for the same cost, invest in their development… and then hire them if they choose.

Clearly it works: Over 90 percent of the companies who take in an individual later ask for at least one more. Nearly every company we work with is a “repeat buyer.”

Also keep in mind many companies aren’t well equipped to deal with entry-level talent, and to help them embrace the company’s culture. Our job is to find the right cultural fit, the right skills, provide the right training to bridge any gaps… that’s something tech and IT organizations, especially smaller ones, may not have the skills — or the time — to effectively do.

Which means your training has to be both core and bespoke.

True. Fortunately we have enough client feedback, we know enough about the marketplace and trends and skills required… we know the foundational skills and attributes.

But then you have to look at what a company considers its ideal candidate: Tech skills, business acumen, soft skills, and emotional intelligence.

All of that creates a clear line of sight from who we get, to what we do, to how we place.

Is emotional intelligence a major gap?

Emotional intelligence is huge. Sometimes that means helping people adapt to the interpersonal dynamics of a particular workplace.  And sometiems that means helping people understand their own wants and needs and how to adapt to a workplace.

I literally just had someone in my office today say, “This is my first real job, and this is what it’s like…” we often provide a shoulder to cry on or a little tough love. (Laughs.)

Plenty of longitudinal studies show emotional intelligence creates better outcomes for a business. So that is definitely part of our curriculum, both for the benefit of the company and the employee.

Unfortunately, none of that gets taught in school. So we place people in different situations so they don’t just learn about it… but can experience it, too.

So if I’m a company that struggles to find entry-level employees?

Find ways to bridge the gap between what candidates can currently offer and what you need.

That’s not a new problem; it’s one staffing and placement agencies constantly struggle with. Sourcing may find an amazing individual… but that person may not align on the client side.

How do you bridge the gap between your needs and employee suitability? In most cases, those gaps won’t be skills-based. Determine what is missing: presentation skills, basic leadership skills, basic business acumen… and create a training plan to provide those skills.

That way you can hire great people who possess the talent you must have — and develop the ancillary skills they also need.

In effect, that’s what you already do — so make it a part of how you run your business.

By Jeff Haden Contributing editor, Inc.@jeff_haden

Source: Struggling to Find the Perfect Job Candidate? How to Overcome the Vicious Circle of ‘Experience Inflation’

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Emma Rosen made the bold decision to give up her job and take a radical sabbatical in pursuit of her perfect career. She spent a year trying 25 careers before turning 25 through short term work experience, shadowing and just giving things a go. She completed the challenge, and finished all 25 placements before her 25th birthday in August 2017. Emma spent a year trying 25 careers before turning 25 through short term work experience, shadowing and just giving things a go. She completed the challenge, and finished all 25 placements before her 25th birthday in August 2017. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

A Good Resume Is Not Enough– Five More Things Job Seekers Need To Land A Job Interview

After hiring for thousands of jobs over 20+ years of recruiting, I have seen many different styles of hiring. Sometimes, a company looks at resumes (submitted in response to a job posting or via a recruiting agency), picks a few candidates to interview and hires one person from that process. This is the traditional job search to which too many job seekers tailor all their job search efforts. However, that traditional hiring process is less and less common.

Companies are strapped for time and hiring power, and looking at stacks of resumes takes a lot of resources. I received over 1,000 resumes for a recent HR Director search. Companies know that some of the best talent is gainfully employed and not responding to job postings or even recruiters, so companies need to change their hiring to attract this desired candidate pool. For the most competitive jobs, I am actively building a candidate pipeline even before an opening is finalized.

The net result is that more companies are not selecting candidates from a stack of resumes, but rather identifying them by other means. Relying only on job postings or recruiting relationships to find job openings will not account for all available jobs. Companies are also vetting candidates earlier in the process, well before the first interview. Assuming you only have to drop a resume to get seriously considered will take you out of the running prematurely.

Having a good resume is not enough for today’s job search. Here are five things job seekers also need to land a job interview:

1 – Back door references

Most companies conduct a reference check before they hire someone. Even if you get a job offer, your offer letter might state that is conditional upon receipt of satisfactory professional references. Many job seekers are familiar with this reference check process and prepared to share a list of past supervisors and other professional references (though job seekers are not as prepared with their references as they could be!).

Back door references are different from this reference check process, in that these references are checked before an offer is decided (sometimes even before a first interview is decided). These references are also not supplied by the candidate, but rather dug up by the employer. For example, you list Company X as a former employer on your resume, and I contact a recruiting friend over at Company X to say, “John Smith was referred to me as someone who’s great at branding, and apparently he worked at your place.

Did he do well there?” This is clearly not an in-depth reference, but it’s a pulse check on whether to go any further. I have been involved with searches where my hiring clients would not move forward with any candidate where we couldn’t get at least one positive back door reference.

How would you fare in a back door reference check? Will former colleagues say positive things about you? Will former colleagues even remember you?

2 – Online profile

Even when I worked with Fortune 500, brand-name employers who had a large candidate database in-house, I still relied on LinkedIn research to identify candidates. Remember that employers love passive candidates who are not necessarily looking. These candidates surface because someone recommends them, they are well-known in their industry or they are found online.

Your online profile is not just your LinkedIn profile. It also is your activity, and everything the comes up when you do an Internet search on your name – media mentions, publications, social media activity. I once saw an executive search almost derailed because an internet search brought up a controversial comment by the candidate on a common online community (think Quora or Reddit). Some employers dig deep into your online activity. In addition, if your job or industry entails online activity – e.g., marketing, technology, media – your own online profile and activity is a reflection of your work.

Have you run an Internet search on yourself? Do you have a Google alert on your name? Is your online profile optimized?

3 – Work sample

Your online profile may already include work samples, such as a website you worked on, a report you wrote or a presentation you delivered. If you don’t want to broadcast these so publicly, you should at least have them readily available upon request. More and more employers are asking for a sample of work related to the job opening at hand.

This is partly to shave off time in the hiring process – by looking at samples in advance, employers can make even more cuts before the interview process. Asking for work samples also differentiates candidates who are willing and able to go the extra step to land the job. Candidates unwilling to provide a work sample might not be that interested in the job. Candidates unable to provide a work sample might not have the experience they claim. Better to find out now before investing any more hiring resources into that candidate.

Do you have tangible samples of your work? If you don’t yet have a portfolio of projects you have worked on, start curating now.

4 – Skills test

For a digital marketing job, candidates were sent two sample emails from a direct response campaign and asked to evaluate which was stronger and why. This gave a window into how they might design a direct response email. For a fundraising role, candidates were asked to write an introduction letter to a large donor asking for a meeting. For an executive role to lead a regional office, candidates were asked for a letter of intent to outline their particular interest in the organization.

Unlike the work sample which is something you have already done, the skills test is something completed during the hiring process and directly related to the job opening. Over the years, I have found more and more companies including a test of some kind. Many companies give a test after an initial phone screen, but some companies start with the test before any interviews. Most of these tests don’t take a lot of time, but similar to the work sample, they are effective in weeding out candidates unwilling or unable to go the extra mile.

How would you fare in a skills test for a job or company you want? Do you have the skills to do the job right now? Career changers, you cannot present like you need to learn on the job (a common mistake that career changers make!). Do you know enough about the company to write a letter of intent or outreach to its key customers?

5 – Recorded interview

Even if a company doesn’t ask for any of the above and jumps right to the interview, it still might not be the person-to-person interview you are expecting, but a recorded interview using an online service, such as Big Interview or InterviewStream. With these online services, companies pre-record screening questions and candidates conduct the interview remotely. While this simulates a first-round interview, it still requires extra work on behalf of the candidate.

Video interviews are not the same as live or phone interviews and require different preparation. You will have to learn how to use the specific technology for whatever interview recording platform the employer decides to use. Like a skills test or work sample, you have an extra step to complete before any chance of meeting someone at the company.

Are you prepared for a recorded video interview? For which jobs and companies are you willing to go the extra step?


Companies are asking for more upfront, and you decline at your peril

I once interviewed a marketing candidate who refused to take an Excel-based marketing test that would have taken less than 15 minutes. She said she was insulted to have to take it given her years of marketing experience, but since she initially asked me to send her the test, I wonder if she didn’t think she would do well. Regardless, she didn’t move forward in the process because my client only wanted to look at candidate resumes, along with their marketing test score.

I once recommended a friend to a consulting job, and the hiring company was using a video interview platform and also asked for a letter of interest and work sample. That’s three extra steps, but none of these were particularly hard or time-consuming. Video interviews typically have fewer than 10 questions, if not five.

A letter of interest is a cover letter but focused on interest for that job and company – you should have a template that can be tweaked in short order. Job seekers should always have work samples. Yet my friend refused to comply, stating that if the company were serious about her they would be willing to consider her on her resume alone.

That’s a dare that could cost her an interview. Yes, extra steps take time, but not that much time if you really know the job and want the company – which is precisely why these extra steps are becoming more common. If you are unwilling to go the extra mile, you may not move forward to the interview process.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

As a longtime recruiter and now career coach, I share career tips from the employer’s perspective. My specialty is career change — how to make a great living doing work that you love. My latest career adventures include running SixFigureStart, Costa Rica FIRE and FBC Films. I am the author of Jump Ship: 10 Steps To Starting A New Career and have coached professionals from Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, Tesla, and other leading firms. I teach at Columbia University and created the online courses, “Behind The Scenes In The Hiring Process” and “Making FIRE Possible“. I have appeared as a guest career expert on CNN, CNBC, CBS, FOX Business and other media outlets. In addition to Forbes, I formerly wrote for Money, CNBC and Portfolio.

Source: A Good Resume Is Not Enough– Five More Things Job Seekers Need To Land A Job Interview

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These 9 Creative Interview Questions Evoke Crucial Insights About Any Job Applicant. (Ask Them Before You Make an Offer You’ll Regret)

Recently, I wrote about some of the best interview questions that Inc.com has featured over the years. And, I asked readers who had other suggestions to let me know about them.

Wow, did you ever deliver. Today, we’ll begin sharing some of the replies, starting with nine of the more unusual interview questions — creative ideas that elicit insights, while being offbeat enough that applicants probably won’t show up for job interviews with stock answers.

Feel free to use these questions as they are. But, perhaps even better, use them as jumping off point to come up with your own creative questions.

1.    “If you could kick one state out of the United States, which one would you pick and why?”

For pure curiosity’s sake, you might be interested to know if an applicant really thinks we’d be better off without North Dakota or Alabama. But the point of course is to how the applicant thinks, and sometimes even what he or she believes.

“I’ve heard applicants respond with fiscal perspectives, instinctual perspectives, experiential perspectives, and sometimes even downright nasty perspectives,” said Taylor Kerby, founder of Something Great Marketing, who suggested this question. “In the end it can let you know if the candidate would be a good fit for the role, and sometimes more importantly, a good fit for your company’s culture.”

2.    “A screwdriver and a screw together cost $2.20. The screwdriver costs $2 more than the screw. How much does the screw cost?”

Oddball question, sure. It seems like it should be easy. But most people will come to a quick and incorrect answer: 20 cents.

The correct answer is actually 10 cents, and Mark Anderson, CEO of Complete Express Foods, LLC said he’ll explain the math behind it. (If you’re having trouble with that math, here’s an explanation.)

“This question has … everything to do with listening, reading, and whether the new hire will challenge basic facts and directions,” Anderson explained. “Those that still argue [after it’s been explained], you immediately end the interview and wish them success at another company.”

3.    “What do you do if the Internet goes out at the office?”

I’m betting the preferred answer here is not something like, “Just call it quits for the day.”

Of course, you’re trying to figure out if the applicant can solve problems, go past a job description, and even bring lessons learned elsewhere to the office.

And, says Corri Smith, owner of a consulting and events firm in Charlotte, N.C. called Black Wednesday, the question “has truly tripped people up. One time a girl sat for a whole minute and then said, ‘I don’t know. I just don’t know. I don’t have an answer.’ It really shows the capacity to … create a solution and can also demonstrate how interested they are in getting their work done.”

4.    “If you were a box of cereal, what cereal would you be and why?” (Alternative: “What’s your favorite board game?”)

These are two bizarre questions, and you’re probably not all that interested in the ultimate answers. What you care about instead is the thought process and attitude.

“While this is an extremely weird question to ask, it’s a great way to get a more personal view of the potential candidate,” said Lewis Thomas, owner of Host Sorter, who suggested the cereal box question. “It also doubles as an icebreaker.”

“It’s a rather whimsical and unexpected question, and shows me how quickly they can think on their feet,” said Michael Pearce, a recruiter at Addison Group, who suggested the board game idea.

5.    “Do you like to win or hate to lose?”

Okay, I guess I’m about to ruin this question, at least if you’re interviewing at HR tech company Paycor, because Todd Rimer, senior manager in talent acquisition there, tells me there actually is a right answer in his mind.

“Those that like to win, you can’t fault them. Who doesn’t like to win? When you win, you are on top,” Rimer suggested. “But, when you hate to lose, you are more inclined to learn from mistakes, learn from past experiences and use these experiences in the future, whether it’s your next project or your next sale.”

6.    “What do you suck at?”

This question isn’t all that different from the time-worn, “What’s your greatest weakness?” However, I think it’s more direct — and less expected.

“It allows me to understand where they see their shortcomings, but also gives me insights into where they want to avoid [spending] their time,” said Peter Sullivan, founder and CEO of Jackpocket. “If that’s in conflict with where we need attention, I learn a lot.”

7.     “What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months?”

I think this is the opposite of the question above: It’s a way to get an unguarded insight into a classic question.

“Instead of hitting your candidates with the same old, ‘What are your strengths?’ question,” says Darren Bounds, CEO of Breezy HR, “this is a more organic way to uncover their strengths.”

8.    “Tell me about a a project you worked on that failed? What did you learn?”

Failure is probably the last thing that most job applicants want to dwell on seriously, and with good reason.

But pushing in this direction, with a broad, open-ended question like this, tells you a lot more than the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, says Matt Erickson, managing director at National Positions.

You’re trying to find out things like, “Is this candidate driven? How do they communicate with teams?” Erickson explained. “Do they take responsibility? Can they learn and adapt, etc.?”

9.    Tell us about a time when you’ve had to deal with rejection.

I’m including this question here because it’s similar, but not quite the same, as the question about failure. It’s especially interesting when you’re interviewing people for a sales related role.

“Recruitment is a predominantly sales-based environment,” said Ian Clark, head of Americas at recruiting firm Mason Frank International, “so being able to handle rejection is essential to a candidate’s success in the role. … What I’m looking for is a candidate to demonstrate their resilience in this situation, and provide evidence of their drive and tenacity to bounce back.”

By: Bill Murphy Jr.

 

Source: These 9 Creative Interview Questions Evoke Crucial Insights About Any Job Applicant. (Ask Them Before You Make an Offer You’ll Regret)

 

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