Tell me about yourself—Ways to answer this interview question

interview questions

This ice-breaking yet important interview question has a way of making candidates blurt out their life stories. But is that what potential employers want to hear?

Original article click here.

It’s one of the most frequently asked interview questions: Tell me about yourself. Your response to this request will set the tone for the rest of the interview. For some, this is the most challenging question to answer, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include.

When an interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” the interviewer wants information that is pertinent to the job you’re interviewing for.

Eleanor dreaded this question. When it was the first one asked at her interview, she fumbled her way through a vague answer, not focusing on what she could bring to the job.

“I’m happily married and originally from Denver,” she began. “My husband was transferred here three months ago, and I’ve been getting us settled in our new home. I’m now ready to go back to work. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, usually customer service-related. I’m looking for a company that offers growth opportunities.”

The interview went downhill after that. She had started with personal information and gave the interviewer reason to doubt whether she was an employee who would stay for very long.

  • She’s married, and when her husband gets transferred that means she has to leave; she did it once and can do it again.
  • She has some work experience with customers but didn’t emphasize what she did.
  • She is looking to grow. What about the job she is applying for? Will she stay content for long?

The secret to responding to this free-form request successfully is to focus, script and practice. You cannot afford to wing this answer, as it will affect the rest of the interview. Begin to think about what you want the interviewer to know about you.


List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills, etc.). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave?

Eleanor is strong in communications and connecting with people. She has a strong background and proven success with customer relationships. Her real strength is her follow-through. She prides herself on her reputation for meeting deadlines.

Follow your script

Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success:

“I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales in a matter of months.”

Next, mention your strengths and abilities:

“My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time.”

Conclude with a statement about your current situation:

“What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales.”


Practice with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn’t memorize it—you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational.

Even if you are not asked this type of question to begin the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product—you—the better chance you will have at selling it.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

7 Steps to Prepare for Your Job Interview

Job Interview Prep

There is a bevy of resources out there on how to prepare for your job interview.  Practice and preparation are a repeating theme among almost all articles, and it’s true.  Read these 7 pointers on how you can prepare for your interview.  Best of luck! 

Original article click here.

Now that you have an interview, there are certain things you will want to do in advance to prepare for it. This article will provide practical tips on how to prepare for a job interview. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so you’ll want to do you best on preparing for your interview in advance.

1. Pick out what you are going to wear on your job interview:

What you wear on your interview is an absolutely crucial part of how to prepare for a job interview. After you choose your outfit, make sure it is cleaned and pressed and you have the appropriate accessories and shoes to go with it. It doesn’t hurt to try the outfit on ahead of time, just to make sure everything fits and you look great. Then put your outfit aside for day of your interview and have it ready to go. Now that you have this crucial step out of the way, you can concentrate on the rest.

2. Practice greeting your interviewer:

You should always greet your interview with friendly smile and firm handshake. If you do this right, you will set off the right energy and the chances of the interview going well will increase. This is a small and simple step that you should always to do to prepare for your interview.

3. Study your resume and know everything on it:

Any work experience or skills you have listed on your resume are fair game to talk about during the interview. Your resume is all the interviewer has to go by in order to get to know you. They may pick things out from it and ask you to elaborate. Even though you may have a previous job listed that was many years ago, the interviewer may ask you to explain what you did at that job and your are responsible for providing an answer. This is one step you absolutely won’t want to skip on how to prepare for a job interview.

4. Practice your answers to the most common interview questions:

If you don’t know what these are, do your research and find out or see one of my other articles. You’ll want to have your answers ready and practice them. You should always be able to answer “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you think you would be great for this job?” The employer doesn’t know, so it’s up to you to sell it.

Don’t completely memorize your answers so they come out rehearsed, but have a clear idea of what you are going to say. When you are asked, you want your answer to come out intelligently and natural. Be open to other questions as well and really know what you can offer to the company.

5. Research the company and the job position you are applying for:

Write down any questions you may have about either so you can ask during the interview. If there any requirement of the job that you are unsure of, you should definitely ask during the interview. It always looks nice when you go into an interview with intelligent questions. It shows you put effort in preparing for the interview. However, never ask questions just to ask questions. The interviewer will see right through that. Your questions should be genuine and relevant.

6. Find out the type of interview you will be going on:

There are several common types of interviews such as one on one, group, and behavioral. You shouldn’t assume you will get a certain one. Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter what kind of interview will have if you don’t know – the interview will be more beneficial to both parties if you are prepared.


7. Print out the directions to the interview and be on time:

Allow enough time to get there and anticipate traffic. It’s ok to be up to 10 minutes early, but no more than that. Otherwise, the interviewer may not be ready for you. Bring the phone number of your interviewer just in case you get lost or are going to be late. If you are going to be late, call to let the interviewer know.

Follow these tips and you will successfully know how to prepare for a job interview. Interviewers can tell whether or not a candidate has prepared for it or not and they will appreciate it if you did.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

10 Awesome Interview Tips from Actual Hiring Managers

Resume and Interview

This is a great article that provides some insight on the interview process from the people who know it best, and that offer up some stellar interview tips that will increase your odds of landing your new job. 

Original article click here.

When you’re aggressively searching for a job, don’t you wish you had some insight into what the interviewer really wants from you – and doesn’t want?

We’ve found pure, unadulterated comments, complaints and advice from actual recruiters, hiring managers, and HR professionals that they wish job seekers knew.

Take a look at what they had to say, and pay attention. What you see may help you land that job!

Caveat: all hiring managers are different, and what works for one may not work for another. If you can learn from their LinkedIn profile about the person you’ll be meeting with, you may be able to judge which of these tips may work best for them.

1) Know when to be quiet!

  • “It’s OK to stop talking. I’ve interviewed far too many people who just don’t know when to shut up. Some people are nervous. Some people are unsure. Some people don’t think for a second before they start blabbing, and they’re STILL trying to talk over the interviewer as they try steer them towards the next question.” – Reddit
  • One recruiter concurred, saying an otherwise-qualified candidate may dash their chances by being too long-winded during an interview as it may indicate he or she may not be good at picking up on conversational cues and may raise doubts ability the candidate’s ability to organize their thoughts.  – US News
  • Another recruiter said that a candidate who kept silent after being asked a difficult question scored bonus points for not answering too quickly. The interviewer said that the silence indicated that the candidate was mature and confident enough to deal with the pressure appropriately. Silence may indeed be golden. – Pongo Resume

2) Write a unique, well-prepared cover letter!

  • “Cover letters really are important. Oh my god they are so important. Yes, you are repeating much of the same information as your resume, but it’s your chance to show me why it’s relevant to this opportunity. Selling yourself in this manner is a great skill. And so much easier to read than a list. And so much easier to dismiss you if you call the company or the job by the wrong name.” – Reddit 
  • A recruiter stated that a small fraction of applicants take the time to produce a unique cover letter, allowing that candidate to stand out and worthy of consideration even when the resume may not be the best.  – US News
  • Another was blunt in saying that most cover letter “stink,” and that candidates should endeavor to create a brilliant one. When a great cover letter crosses this recruiter’s desk, it influences his or her interest in the author. – The Muse

3) Yes, good manners count!

  • “Don’t interrupt the question being asked, by trying to finish it off yourself as if you and I are on the same wavelength. It’s rude, downright annoying, and honestly it’s pretty cheesy thinking that you are finishing my sentences.” – Reddit
  • “Always be nice to the receptionist/anyone you come in contact with when you show up for the interview. If you’re a jerk to the person at the front desk, there’s a good chance they’ll say something to the person you’re there to see. Plus, it’s never too early to start making friends with support staff.” – Reddit 

4) Be punctual – but don’t arrive too early!

  • One recruiter suggests that a candidate arrive no more than five or ten minutes early. Showing up too long before a scheduled appointment may make an interviewer feel rushed, creating an unfavorable impression even before they’ve set eyes on each other. – US News
  • “Don’t be late either. And if you are, ‘I couldn’t find the building’ or ‘I didn’t think it would take so long to get here’ are terrible excuses. Makes me think you have no research skills and can’t plan ahead.” – Reddit

5) Be prepared!

  • “For goodness sake, do a little research beforehand and have a few questions about the job and or employer lined up. At the end of an interview if I ask the candidate if they have any questions for me (which I always do) and they just sit there slack jawed, it really feels like they don’t really want the job. The interview process is your opportunity to figure out if the job is right for you, use it.” – Reddit 

6) Prove you’re unique!

  • “The most important thing to remember in an interview is that you are competing with other applicants and want to set yourself apart from them. Everyone is qualified for the position, the entire point of the interview is to find out if you can present yourself in real life as well as you do on paper. (And to see if your personality is a good fit for the office.) Your entire job is making them remember you.”  – Reddit

7) Be honest!

  • “Don’t lie…just don’t do it. You will be found out. It might not happen immediately but the truth will come out and what might seem like a small lie will snowball into something out of control.”– Reddit
  • Another recruiter recommended avoiding using “perfectionism” as the answer to the question, “what’s you greatest weakness?” You may come off as disingenuous and may even look like you’re avoiding the question. Not being realistic may make the interviewer think you can’t or won’t come up with a realistic assessment of areas for improvement. – US News

8) Speak up!

  • “It seems so basic, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people – even at senior level – don’t bother to do their homework properly about the companies and people they are being interviewed by. There really is no excuse for it in the age of the internet, and it makes us think ‘why should we employ you when you can’t even be bothered to find out how we work?’” – Career Structure
  • “For goodness sake, do a little research beforehand and have a few questions about the job and or employer lined up. At the end of an interview if I ask the candidate if they have any questions for me (which I always do) and they just sit there slack jawed, it really feels like they don’t really want the job. The interview process is your opportunity to figure out if the job is right for you, use it.” – Reddit 

9) Follow up!

  • An interviewer stated that a thank-you note sent as a follow-up to a meeting isn’t just good manners. More than one in five hiring managers surveyed by CareerBuilder say they are less likely to hire a candidate who didn’t send a thank-you note. – Career Builder
  • “Follow up is huge, in my experience. I don’t see this enough from candidates I interview. Getting an email or a letter from someone I interviewed would make them stand out from the other people applying for the job – both because it’s rare, and because it shows they are actually interested in the position. The follow up shows you’re actually interested in the employer, and that they’re not just one of a hundred employers you’re sending resumes to.”  – Reddit 
  • “Even if you think an offer is in the bag, you can always improve your chances of getting the job if you send a thank-you letter.” – Fast Company 

10) But be patient!

  • “Please don’t follow up every day. It doesn’t show that you’re more dedicated or enthusiastic. At best it will come off as annoying, at worst it will feel like you don’t respect the person’s time. You have to remember that the hiring managers/interview team are making these decisions on top of their regular responsibilities, so don’t get too discouraged if you don’t hear back right away.” – Reddit 
  • “My advice? Send thank you emails after each interview and then wait. If you get another offer in the interim and are going to accept, inform the recruiter. I think every recruiter on the planet wants to give their candidates a first-class experience, but we have limited resources. If you’re too aggressive or unpolished during the interview process, companies will think, ‘Wow, this person is going to be really high maintenance if we do hire them. Pass!’” – Brazen 

Again, every interviewer is different and not all will agree with every single one of the above tips. But we found many hiring professionals each of whom expressed the same opinion on the above topics. Paying attention to these tips may very well help distinguish you from your competitors and help you get the job. Author: Lewis Lustman


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

5 Expert Tips for Interview Success

Interview Success

Having a well prepared resume and getting callbacks for interviews can be a big enough challenge in and of itself.  When you do get the opportunity for a job interview you want to give yourself the best chance possible to land your new job, right?.  Interview success comes with a lot of preparation, practice, and positive thinking.  You can increase your chances of success with these 5 expert tips.  Best of luck!

Original article click here.  Image credit (Robert Daly/ Getty Images)

While it is important to be qualified, it is even more important to create the right impression.

Americans will have at least 10 jobs before retirement, based on current Bureau of Labor Statistics research that shows average job tenure in 2016 was a little over four years. Companies often conduct two or more interviews of a potential candidate before deciding to hire them. This means, at best, most of us must interview at least 20 (and likely 30 to 40) more times before we retire. Like it or not, acing the interview is a must for long-term career growth. Here are five tips for interview success:

1. Dress to gain trust and command respect. In her book “Presence,” Harvard professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy reports that humans are judged on two primary factors – trustworthiness and respectability. Creating an ideal image does not require expensive outfits. It means selecting clothing, accessories, makeup and a hairstyle that command respect in your targeted industry. To portray this image, you have to think about the fit of the clothes, make sure they are wrinkle- and stain-free, look modern and are both age- and profession-appropriate.

2. Show up in the office five minutes before your appointment time. Although that sentence looks simple enough, it has two powerful and often overlooked components: “in the office” and “five minutes.” This does not mean park five minutes before the interview or get in the building security line with five minutes to spare. It means walk through the office or suite door five minutes before your appointment.

While it is clear why running late or cutting it close are not good strategies, the same goes for walking into the office more than five minutes early. Not every company has a huge lobby or waiting area. Arriving too early may mean that you are staring at the person who will interview you and have now obligated him or her to start your meeting earlier than planned.

If you arrive earlier than intended, hang outside the building or even in the bathroom before your ideal time. The extra few minutes will give you time to prepare and ensure that you don’t impose on your interviewer.

3. Arrive prepared. Bring a pen, notebook or portfolio with paper, several resume copies and a list of questions you would like to ask the interviewer. Many interviews start first with a request for your resume. Removing a neat, unfolded version from your notebook is an excellent first step.

Next, all interviewers like to know that they have said something useful enough for you to write it down. Jot notes throughout the meeting, no matter how positive you are that you will remember everything. Writing not only tells the interviewer you value her input, but it also gives both of you a break from staring at one another. Furthermore, it can give you a chance to glance at the notes you prepared before the meeting regarding key strengths you want to reference or questions you want to ask.

Finally, remember to look up at least as much as you look at the paper. Writing notes is important, but active eye contact tells the hiring authority you are paying attention.

4. Select real-life examples that display key hiring traits. One of the biggest complaints made by hiring managers is when a candidate seems “all talk.” Candidates who prove they have the desired skills fair better in the interview process. Identify the top desired traits for a role and prepare examples that clearly demonstrate your experience and abilities.

 5. Have a conversation. The best interviews are a give and take. Come prepared to discuss the company, the role, your background, current trends in the industry, the reason for the opening and any recent business events that may impact the interviewer, role, company or industry. Companies want to hire engaged employees who have taken the time to learn about the company and role for which they are applying.

Without this critical preparation, most interviews are merely one-sided exchanges in which the interviewer asks questions and the candidate responds to the question but cannot expand beyond it. The ability to have fluid conversation conveys preparation, intelligence, people skills, active listening and a commitment to your career. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to display these traits in the meeting.

Interview success is more about how the interviewer feels about you than about how well you can do the job. That is not to say that you don’t need to be qualified – you do need to be in the ballpark. However, many highly qualified people get rejected because they do not clearly convey how they are an ideal (and likable) match for the role. While it is important to display your business qualifications, it is even more important to create the right impression.

Securing an interview is a significant accomplishment. Make the most of the opportunity by factoring in these tips for an instant boost in your next interview.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

7 Job Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired

job interview tips

Having a great resume that helps you get the call for an interview is an awesome start to landing your new job but you still need to invest time in yourself to prepare for your interview.  Here are some smart and simple tips to guide you in a winning direction!

Original article click here.

Whether you’re getting ready for a video interview or the old-fashioned (and still quite common) in-person kind, you’ll want to be prepared. It’s essential that you make a good impression during this crucial stage of the hiring process. There is more to getting ready than just deciding what to wear and entering an address into your GPS. There are a few pretty important steps you should take to prepare.

1. Research and reflect on the mission.

It’s not difficult to research a company’s mission ahead of time. In fact, these days, you risk coming off as unprepared if you don’t. So, spend some time online. Learn about the mission and philosophy of the company. Reflect on them. Demonstrating that you have an understanding and attachment to the heart and soul of the company could help you connect and make a good impression.

2. Explore any and all connections.

Sometimes we find ourselves interviewing for a position, or with a person, that we have some kind of connection to. For example, if you came across this opportunity through someone in your professional network, be sure to touch base with them before your interview. Reaching out to your contact could help you feel more prepared, but it’s also just courteous. Thank them for any way in which they facilitated the connection, and tell them you’re looking forward to the interview. Even if the conversation simply ends there, you’ll know you’ve done the right thing by following up with someone who helped you.

3. Prepare to answer questions that are easy to anticipate.

It’s tough to know exactly what you’ll be asked during your interview. But, you should be ready for a few likely questions. Know how you’ll respond to inquiries like “tell me about yourself” or “why do you think you’d be a good fit here?” It will help you feel prepared. You don’t want questions like these, ones you can anticipate, to throw you off.

4. Attend to practical matters.

Before the day of your interview, be sure that you have all your ducks in a row. Know where you’re heading and how long it takes to get there. Consider heading down to the location once beforehand, if you need to. This way you won’t have the added stress of trying to find your way for the first time the day of your interview. Also, polish up your resume and print some fresh copies. Gather business cards or whatever else you’d like to bring with you in advance so that you’re not hustling around at the last minute. The more you set things up for yourself in advance, the less you’ll have to worry about right before your interview.

5. Be positive.

It’s normal to feel nervous before your interview, but allowing your mind to linger on these fearful thoughts won’t help you. Instead, focus on the positive. List your accomplishments and all the steps you took that helped you meet those goals. Go over your strengths. Think about all the wonderful things you’d like to do next, and how much fun you’ll have doing them.

6. Relax.

Preparations are important, yes, but there also comes a time to let it all go and relax. Be sure to leave time the night before your interview for some down-time. Take a bath, or read a book. Do something calm and peaceful to help quiet your mind. Also, go to bed early so that you’ll be well-rested the next day. All the work you’ve done to get ready should help you settle down and rest easy. Allow those preparations to raise your confidence and lower your stress levels. Relax. Doing so will help you put your best foot forward the following day.

7. Know that it’s not over when it’s over.

Be sure to keep in mind that your work here isn’t done once the big day has come and gone. There are a few things you should do after your interview that could help you land the job. Be sure to record some notes as soon as you’re done, for example, so that you can send personalized thank-you notes to the people who met with you. Attending to all the details, at every step of the interview process, could help you stand out as a strong and capable candidate.



Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!


Job interview humor

As we know, humor can be a great way to create and maintain lasting relationships, so why not apply this to your job interview?  The article below we are sharing goes into more detail about how and why humor can help you land your next job.  

Original article click here.

5 Reasons to Use Humor in an Interview

When preparing for an interview, it’s likely you have been given the advice to be serious when you meet with people at your prospective job; it’s important to know that advice is absolutely wrong (unless you’re interviewing to be a funeral director, banker (of doom), or to play Buster Keaton in a biopic).

It’s true that interviews are an important part of the hiring process, and as an interviewee, you have a very personal stake in wanting it to go well, but the perception that avoiding humor during an interview is the safer option is fundamentally flawed.

Desire to control the outcome of the interview often leads people to not use humor because it feels unsafe, but the safest path is to be the greatest job candidate that any of the evaluators have ever seen. Unless you have abilities far beyond those of mortal men, you’re better off being the kind of person they want to work with.

So here, to dispel any misconceptions or misunderstandings, are 5 Reasons to Use Humor in an Interview.

1. To Show You’re More than Just a Good Worker

If you’ve been asked to come in for an interview, then either you’re already qualified for the job or the company likes wasting its time. Being a good fit for the company on paper makes you a shoo-in only if you and the other candidates are all robots.

No matter how great your resume is, people still have to work with you, so a significant portion of any interview will be spent evaluating your facility in working with others. By using humor during the interview, you demonstrate how well you’d fit in to their office environment, and showing you belong there puts you one step closer to being there.

2. To Model How You’ll Behave in the Job

Given the current trend of behavioral interviews, sometimes you may wonder how to answer interview questions diplomatically. Humor is a tool you can use to truthfully answer these interview questions while simultaneously avoiding negative behaviors like assigning blame or complaining.

When questions like “describe a time when you had to work in a challenging work environment” come up (and they will), humor is an especially good way of discussing the difficulties in a positive manner.

By showing you have a sense of humor about a situation that was likely stressful when you were in it, you clearly demonstrate that you have moved on from negative aspects of the situation and now see it as a learning experience. In other words, you’re showing your interviewer that you’re a model employee.

3. To Demonstrate Your Social Skills

It’s hard to be successful and a misanthrope unless you own your own business or happen to be a fictional character. Not many people interview themselves before starting their own business and I have it on good authority Gregory House doesn’t visit this site, so neither of those audiences will be addressed in this article.

Unavoidably (and luckily), workplaces are filled with people. Depending on your role at work, you may be called on to interact with these fellow humans occasionally, or even more frequently than that.

In fact, several times a year you may be called upon to interact with coworkers in a purely social setting, rather than a work-related setting. Using humor during an interview sends a strong signal that you can navigate the professional and social dynamics of the company.

4. To Show You Can Roll with the Punches

Just like when you’re on the job, things can go wrong during an interview. Rather than being bad, these moments are opportunities to show how calm and unflappable you are. Being able to bring levity to a situation that would cause stress in other people provides a very concrete example of you handling a potentially frustrating or stressful situation without becoming unpleasant to work with.

5. To Get To Know The Other Person Better

At a fundamental level, every interview is the same, because every interview is a conversation. When approached this way, an interview is an opportunity for you to engage with the interviewer and, all job considerations aside, forge a connection with another human being.

Humor is a powerful tool for creating an open and honest feeling. When someone smiles, you know if it’s genuine or forced (just ask Guillaume Duchenne).

The base honesty involved in sharing humor acts to build trust where everyone involved can be more open, which makes it more likely you and the interviewer will have a great and memorable talk.

Just look at it from the interviewer’s perspective. After interviewing a number of people over the course of several days, are you more likely to remember the person who answered every question perfectly by rote, or the person who you had a great conversation with and actually made the time you spent with them enjoyable?


We hope you find this article helpful and we would always like to hear your comments and questions.  Power Writers USA is here to help you with all your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and more.  Please feel to contact us.

The Most Common Finance Interview Questions and How to Prepare for Them


This week our spotlight is on the financial services sector.  While this article may be a bit more relevant for new grads entering the finance sector it never hurts for a seasoned professional to brush up on current hiring trends.

Original article click here

The Most Common Finance Interview Questions and How to Prepare for Them

If you’re in your final year of college, or you’ve recently graduated, chances are you’re dedicating a good portion of your life to searching for jobs, polishing and distributing your resume, and preparing for the ultimate nerve-test: the job interview. Interviews come with inherent pressure, stress, and mystery. Unfortunately, they’re a necessary part of the job hunting process. The good news is you don’t need to love job interviews to be successful in them. You just need to know how to prepare.

We talked with Clay Skurdal, COO of Advisors Ahead, about the most critical and commonly asked finance job interview questions. Advisors Ahead provides a bridge between finance students and the financial services industry, ensuring recent graduates come into the business with the training and background it takes to be productive on day one. Clay has sat across the desk from thousands of job seekers, and he knows what it takes for an applicant to stand out from the pack.

Here are Clay’s top four finance interview questions you should be prepared to be answer.

1. Why do you want to start a career in the financial services industry?

The worst thing you can do when you’re asked this question is to deliver a safe, meaningless answer. The interviewer is trying to figure out what makes you “you.” Telling the interviewer that you want to help people won’t make you stand out. If you say you want to help people, the interviewer might ask you why, and might continue to ask you why until they get to the core of your motivation.

The best way to prepare for this question is to write a “passion essay” on why you want to get into the business. Write your real story. Did your family go through a tough financial period that inspired you to learn about money management? That’s the kind of honesty the interviewer is looking for. There are as many answers to this question as there are applicants for the position you’re interviewing for, so the only wrong answer is a non-answer.

2. What are you most proud of in the last 12 months, and why?

This question is intended to get a better idea of who you are as a person, and find out what you’re passionate about. It could be an exam or paper that you worked hard for and did exceptionally well on. It could be a problem you solved in your internship or your night job. It could also be an example from your personal life. This question helps the interviewer understand who you are and what you value. It also shows them that you have the ability to set and accomplish goals.

3. Tell me about a time someone asked you to bend the rules or do something unethical. How did you handle that situation?

In a finance career, there are unlimited opportunities to go astray and abandon your moral compass. This question helps the interviewer better understand your capacity to do the right thing, even in the face of extreme pressure. They want to know if you have a strong ethical center, or if you can be led down a bad path by poor judgement or outside influence. Again, have an example ready before the interview. Be prepared to tell a story that demonstrates your strong moral character.

4. Tell me about your extracurricular activities, and why you’re passionate about them?

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but companies aren’t interested in hiring robots. Interviewers who ask this question are trying to see if you’re passionate about something other than work. What are your hobbies? When you’re not at work, how do you choose to spend your time? They want to get past the front that you’re putting up and learn more about you as a person. Situations that demonstrate your ability to lead or be an active member of your community are great examples to cite.

According to Clay, it’s more valuable to prepare your story than prepare for specific finance interview questions. Listen intently to the interviewer and find a way to tell your personal story within the questions that are asked. Finance is a “people” business. Who you are as a person is what tells the interviewer if you’re the kind of employee who can add value to the organization. When you walk into the interview, you are Jane Doe, a name on a resume. You’re not that different from the other resumes in the stack. To set yourself apart from the group, prepare for the interview and ensure your name, face, and story make a lasting impression.

Power Writers USA would love your feedback on this and other articles we post and share.

What You Need to Know About Video Interviews

Virtual interview

Not all interview are conducted in person.  Thanks to technological advances video interview are becoming more common.  It can be strange talking to someone via a computer screen.  So how do you prepare?  Check out this helpful information about video interviews to learn more.  

Original article click here.

Virtual interviews for job candidates are becoming part of modern recruitment. They’re certainly one of the most popular contemporary recruiting trends. In fact, more than half of employers report using video interviews to screen candidates before meeting them in person. Why the popularity of the video interview? These kind of screening interviews are more efficient and inexpensive for employers than in-person interviews. Additionally, it’s easier for hiring managers to reject a candidate they meet over online video than someone they meet in person. Sad, but true.

Video interviews can certainly be daunting. Hiring managers judge you from your first moments on-screen. Certainly, you want to nail your interview questions, but you also want to make sure you have all the other steps in place that make you look good before you even open your mouth. Here, we’ll offer our top tips for nailing any and all of your video recruiting interviews.

Familiarize yourself with Skype, Google Hangouts, or the program used for your video interview.
By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you already should have downloaded Skype onto your computer. About 60% of employers use Skype for interviews in the early stages of screening candidates. Regardless of whether you’re using Skype or another program, it’s important to be a whiz at whatever video interview program your company requests.

You’ll likely have time in between the company’s request for an interview and the actual interview day, so use that time wisely. On the day of the interview, check out your system: look at yourself in your software’s video and also check to see that the sound is working properly on your end. Further, if your interview software has any bugs — like a faulty microphone or a terrible connection — you’ll want to know how to fix it, demonstrating that you’re technologically savvy and stay cool under pressure. Remember, the point of these interviews is to save your potential employer time.

Set the scene.
If you’ve ever used video software before, you know that you can see more than just the person’s head on the other end of the line. So make your space look presentable. First, find a place in your house that isn’t visually distracting; you’ll likely want to position yourself in front of a blank wall. Next, find a place that’s quiet; choosing a public place for your interview is most likely out of the question. After you’ve scouted your ideal location, put a light behind your computer to light up your face. Check out your reflection in your software’s video first. If the light casts shadows on you, move, and if your face looks shiny from the light, powder it. (Yes, even men).

Dress to keep their eyes on your face.
In a lot of ways, dressing for a video interview isn’t any different than dressing for an in-person interview. That means conservative tops for women with minimal jewelry and hairstyles that don’t cover the face. For men, button-up shirts are the appropriate go-to choice. Guys, if you’re interviewing somewhere you don’t know if a tie is appropriate, wear one for your video interview anyway. A tie that doesn’t have wild prints on it never hurt anyone. And don’t just dress from the waist up! You never know when you might have to adjust a piece of technology or, God forbid, quiet your barking dog or some other surprising mishap.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

10 Tips to Improve Interview Performance

Interview Preparation

The difference between feeling nervous about your upcoming and confident about it can just be a matter or preparation and focus.  Here are 10 awesome tips for how you can effectively prepare for your upcoming interview.  Best of luck!

Original article click here.

10 Tips to Improve Interview Performance

This is certainly along the lines of what I would advise clients who have landed a great interview and need some tips and tricks on landing the job!

Even the smartest and most qualified job seekers need to prepare for job interviews. Why, you ask? Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. So study these 10 strategies to improve your interview skills.

Practice good nonverbal communication
It’s about demonstrating confidence: standing straight, making eye contact and connecting with a firm handshake. That first nonverbal impression can be a great beginning — or quick ending — to your interview.

Dress for the job or company
Today’s casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to know what to wear to an interview and to be well-groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call to find out about the company dress code before the interview.

From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not hearing it, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer, and match that style and pace.

Don’t talk too much
Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time, you may ramble when answering interview questions, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position’s requirements and relating only that information.

Don’t be too familiar
The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer’s demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.

Use appropriate language
It’s a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation — these topics could send you out the door very quickly.

Don’t be cocky
Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism and modesty. Even if you’re putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved.

Take care to answer the questions
When interviewers ask for an example of a time when you did something, they are asking behavioral interview questions, which are designed to elicit a sample of your past behavior. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only don’t answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills.

Ask questions
When asked if they have any questions, most candidates answer, “No.” Wrong answer. Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions that demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what you’re asked during the interview and asking for additional information.

Don’t appear desperate
When you interview with the “please, please hire me” approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Reflect the three Cs during the interview: cool, calm and confidence. You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can, too.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!