6 Quality Interview Questions

6 quality interview questions

The key to getting a great job offer is portraying an authentic, positive and lasting impression. Whether you’re a seasoned employee or just getting started, these 6 quality interview questions can help the process.

With a professional resume, this is achieved in the first point of contact.  In addition to this, you’ve got to nail the job interview. Asking insightful questions during a job interview demonstrates professionalism, thoughtfulness, and commitment.

That being said, candidates can get lost when it comes to asking the right sort of questions. This blunder shows either a lack of preparation or the stress of the interview. Neither of which leaves a positive impression. 

Like much of life, the failsafe is to be present during the entire interview. Presence shows confidence. Additionally, the best interview questions are oftentimes the ones asked naturally from engagement in the conversation. 

6 Quality Interview Questions

1. What is the history of this position?

It’s valuable to ask about the history of the role. In this case, the answer is useful to know what environment you’re entering.   Furthermore, it shows forethought and attentive care for the position. 

Perhaps this opening was recently created to support company growth. In which case, ask a follow-up question about who owned the responsibilities up to this point, and how the duties will be transitioned.

If you are interviewing for a position left vacant by someone’s departure, get a sense of what happened.

  • Why did the predecessor leave the job?
  • Where they promoted or internally transferred?

If the predecessor was internally repositioned, ask about direct training potential.

2. How does this position support management and serve direct reports?

Certainly, the answers to this question will help you gain insight into the position and how it fits the framework of the company as a whole.

  • Who is your support?
  • Who will you supervise and guide?

Consequently, understanding this will offer a glimpse of what skills are critical for your success.

3. In the first 6 months, what accomplishments would you like from me?

This targetted question shows your commitment to adding value and delivering on expectations. It’s one thing to understand routine tasks and responsibilities, it’s yet another to fully understand expectations.

Altogether, an interview has a singular goal. To demonstrate your fit for the position.  Inquiring about expectations directly speaks to this goal.

4. Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order to get up to speed quickly?

For some jobs, learning the technology or the internal company procedures is the most challenging aspect of coming on board. For others, it is about understanding the human network. Therefore, guidance on how to speed up the learning process can give you a significant advantage.

5. How is the feedback process structured?

Feedback is how humans improve. To excel in a new role, you’re going to need analysis as a way of marking the perimeter of success. 

Does this company limit its feedback cycle to the annual reviews? Does the hiring manager make it a priority to deliver just-in-time acknowledgment and suggestions for improvement?

As a result, asking these questions represents your intent to learn and grow with the role.

6. What opportunities will I have to learn and grow?

Does the company offer formal or informal mentoring and coaching? Does it invest in continued education or professional training?

Great companies want to hire people who are dedicated to personal and professional growth. Show your hiring manager that continued development is important to you.

Close the interview on a high note.

As a bonus, there are several questions one must never ask during an interview. 

Asking about money, raises and promotions are taboo and can show yourself as arrogant and self-serving. 

Stay away from company gossip. It matters not what your friends, friend says about the company politics or a piece of news read in a local paper, keep your head in the game of professionalism and acknowledge the interview as an opportunity. 

The goal is to end the interview in a powerful and impactful way. For this reason, maintaining professionalism, acting authentically and these 6 quality interview questions are all part of the equation of your success.

Where Do You See Yourself?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

For many people, answering the interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” can be overwhelming. If this is you in a nutshell, worry not. Hiring managers aren’t really that concerned with the specifics of your answer anyway. 

What they want to know is a glimpse into your ambition, goals, focus, and drive.

They want to know you’ve at least considered your future and what you’d like to accomplish. 

Even if you don’t know exactly where you see yourself in five years, there’s still a right way to answer this question during an interview.

Why ask this?

Asking “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is more about getting insight into your hopes and aspirations. Interviewers are seeking objectives to give an inside look into how you operate and structure your thoughts.

Naturally, a potential employer wants to understand your career goals to assess how their position fits into your grand plan. Companies want trustworthy, detail-oriented, and dedicated team members who are willing to take a leap — not a noncommittal employee who is only sticking around until a better opportunity arises elsewhere.

The question itself can be phrased in a multitude of ways. All of the below examples aim to uncover similar information for hiring managers to review: 

  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • Do you have an ideal job at this stage in your career?
  • What are you looking for?
  • How do you define success?
  • What is most important to you in your career?
  • Do you have goals planned for the next five years?
  • Where will you be in five years?

Tips: Before the Interview

Life gets tricky and, ultimately, no one person knows completely where they will be in five years.  Hiring managers are aware of this. Focus on what your dreams are, where you would like to take your career, and how you plan to do this.

Also, be sure to focus on how you plan to help the company. Show yourself as someone who will add value to the team and help advance the company. 

While developing your answer, keep in mind what the interviewer wants to know when they ask you this question: your work-related goals, ambitions, desired training, and so on. What type of positions do you see yourself occupying? What type of training? Are you interested in leadership positions, or would you like to keep your focus on the technical aspects of your work? Provide direct and relatable answers.

If the answer doesn’t come to you at first, think about how you have grown over the last five years.

Consider the natural flow of progression in your career thus far and what aspects sparked joy and curiosity in your daily efforts.  These aspects are a great benchmark for navigating the direction forward. 

During the interview

Answering “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When answering this question, be honest and be yourself. Sharing what you think the interviewer ‘wants to hear’ may seem like a good idea, but if it’s out of alignment with your truth, you can get in trouble down the road if you do get hired. Plus, it’s much easier to be yourself than to try to be someone you’re not.

Be specific and keep it work-related.

The interviewer doesn’t need to know that you plan on having two kids and a white picket fence in five years. Keep your answers to-the-point and about your work goals and visions.

An example response:

Let’s say you’re interviewing for an HR position at an organization and are asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” You might answer as follows:

“I’d like to expand my horizons by jumping in feet first and learning as much as I can, as quickly as I can, with the organization. From there, I’d seek out opportunities — at least one to two a year — to expand my knowledge through training and educational opportunities to support my job. I’d love to participate in at least one project geared toward leadership training if the opportunity arises. I also understand that the organization has a strong volunteer team, and I’d like to be an active participant in that team, as well. At some point, I’d also like to be considered for a supervisory or management level role.”

Keep it primarily work-related, show ambition, show that you’ve done your homework, and provide quantifiable goals. The key is to be confident, honest, clear, and succinct, and, of course, to answer the question.

What Not to Say.

Whatever you do, do not respond with, “I don’t know.”

To answer “I don’t know” shows that you haven’t given any thought to your future with the company or life in general. Again, one of the main reasons this question is asked is to find out if you have goals, ambition and a good work ethic and that you’ve considered how you might handle the position should you be hired.

So there you go. While the chances are good that you’ll be asked this question at some point during your career, the ball is in your hands to answer like a touchdown pass from inside the red zone. 

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Current Resume Trends

Resume Trends

The topic of resumes and resume trends is an ever evolving, and often contentious discussion.  There are many experienced, knowledgeable professionals with differing opinions on what a resume should look like.  And while there certainly are appropriate formats for particular job positions, there can be a tremendous amount of variation within each realm.  Let’s take a look at what resume trends Power Writers USA has observed to be successful.

 

Going beyond black and white

You want your resume to stand out among others, right?  While the industry hasn’t quite advanced to the point where we send video, or even hologram resumes, you can make an impact with some color!  Liven things up by a tasteful use of color to highlight key sections that you really want your reader to notice.  Use subtle color or shading to break up larger sections of bulleted information.  Just keep in mind to use color sparingly and tastefully.  Using too bold of colors or using too much color can be distracting to the reader and take away from the message.

 

Show your accomplishments

It’s one thing to write about your accomplishments, in fact, it’s to be expected.  But let’s take it a step further and try to incorporate some eye-catching graphics that are easy to understand and add visual support to your accomplishment. This will break up the monotony of text and can help the reader remember key messages you want to convey.

 

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

It’s not just about colors and graphics.  A great resume will incorporate keywords or phrases blended from the job postings you’re are looking at.  Take the time to read through each posting to identify what is most important to the hiring organization.  Incorporate those keywords into your own experiences if you really want to make an impact.  Having a core competencies section with focus keywords is also a good way to showcase your job-related skills.

 

Use Plain English

Make sure your message is simple and clear.  You don’t need to write your resume like you would write a dissertation.  Deliver your message and relevant experiences and accomplishments in a way that almost anyone could get the idea about what you’ve done and what value you bring to the table.  If you have to provide a context for an accomplishment or job component that is more than one short sentence, you may be at risk of losing the reader’s attention.

 

Remember the Purpose

A resume is a marketing tool, not your life story.  Take the time to deliver a clear message about what you’ve done and what value you can add to an organization.  For each line or statement you write, try to answer the question, “so what?” in order to make a big impact.  A hiring manager wants to see that you can deliver results.

 

There Are No Rules

This is mostly true.  You can be bold and unorthodox with your resume presentation in an attempt to stand out.   Just make sure your message is clear and your resume flows nicely from top to bottom.  We are creatures of habit and react well when we can quickly understand a pattern.  This being said, use a traditional outline (unless you happen to be in a creative field), then spice things up to stand out from the pack.

And remember, you can always reach out to us if you have any questions or want an opinion.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU 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!

Phone Interview Tips for Job Seekers

Phone Interview Tips

For many applicants the phone interview is what stands between you and the in-person interview you need to seal the deal for the new job you are after.  There are some great phone interview tips to help you get a step closer to you where you want to be in your career.

REMEMBER THESE TIPS AND YOU’LL DO BETTER THAN 95% OF YOUR JOB SEEKING COMPETITORS WHO RECEIVE CALLS…

 

  1. Be informed about the company and its products. This means do homework (research) on target companies BEFORE they call for an interview.
  2. Be enthusiastic and positive. “I’m glad you called. XYZ is the best medical facility in the County, and I’m excited about the chance to be a part of your team!”
  3. Ask questions in a proactive manner without waiting until the end of the interview to be asked if you have any questions. “What do you see as the major challenge facing your department?” or “What are the most important attributes the person you plan to hire should possess?”
  4. Do not ramble. Stay within a few clear and descriptive sentences that address the topic.
  5. Provide answers that tell a vivid story, not just vague descriptors of your value. Always try to give a concrete example or proof with items like who, what, where, when, how, and with what result.

HANDLING THE FIRST 5 MINUTES OF THE CALL

  1. Answer the phone with a happy, upbeat voice. Don’t answer sleepy-sounding or grumpy and perk up upon learning it’s someone calling about a job. Too late, you already turned the caller off.
  2. Be in a quiet place with time to talk. Sound composed, confident, and enthusiastic with knowledge of the company.
  3. Take the lead in the conversation. Open with a sincere appreciation – “so glad you called,” etc. Show enthusiasm for the company, what you’ve heard, seen, used, etc.
  4. Continue to take the initiative after being told who/why is calling. Don’t sit and wait for the assault. Ask questions first to avoid rambling on about details of yourself or sounding desperate. “Before I start telling you about myself, could you describe to me your ideal candidate for the position?”…“What are you looking for this person to achieve?”…“What is the long-term focus of the company?”…”What are your biggest challenges?”…“Is this a growth position?”
  5. Be sure to have a notepad, the resume/letter you sent, and the job description at hand from the start.

 ENDING THE CALL

  1. Ask if there is anything else they would like to know that you did not provide with your answers.
  2. Ask what happens next and what you might expect.
  3. Thank the interviewer for his/her time and reiterate your interest in the opportunity.

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    Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU 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!

Resume Tips for Executives and Professionals

Executive Resume Tips

In case you haven’t heard, your resume is your personal brand marketing tool that is intended to get hiring managers excited to call you in for an interview.  A lot goes into a good resume, particularly an executive level resume.  But do you know what that good stuff is?  Here are some tips geared towards executives and professionals.

 

Defining Your Value

This area is often overlooked.  To give yourself an edge over your competitors you need to make very clear what your value is to the hiring organization.  What is the bottom line of what you will bring to the company.  Think about what your role is as an executive of an organization and think about what you do and why you do it.  Couple that with key skills that offer additional value to your statement.  For example: “I am an experienced billion-dollar business builder with the knowhow to roadmap strategic vision and turn ideas into actions, leading organizations to new heights through motivation and effective communication.”  Let it be known what you do well and what you bring to the table.  The last thing someone want to read is a list of responsibilities.

 

Backing it Up with the Facts

So, once you’ve made a claim about your value and what you can bring to the company you need to provide the proof.  Dig into your past and think about the big picture numbers and success stories that have helped your career.  Increases in numbers, KPI’s, percentages, dollar figures, revenue growth, acquisitions, etc. are all a few great examples we use regularly.  You can list these key points in a bullet format, in a sentence or paragraph that provides a bit more context, or you can use visual graphics or charts.

 

Formatting for Visual Appeal

Long gone are the days of a resume being boring black and white text.  In order to stand out among your competitors (many of whom are likely using professional resume writing services), you need to liven up your presentation.  Incorporating graphs, growth charts, and graphics, in combination with splashes of color, will help make your resume pop.  Some of the executives we write resumes for choose to have a graphic created with their initials that is integrated into the header.  Do something memorable with your resume.  Just keep in mind that you need to balance visual creativity with relevant content.  Your executive resume is still telling a personal story as to why you are the best fit for the job.

 

ATS Compatible

Applicant Tracking Systems (or software) is an important consideration.  Sometimes the use of tables or special characters can confuse the software which will limit your ability to get your resume through ATS and in the hands of a hiring manager.  If you are going to write your resume yourself be sure to spend time to understand what will help your resume pass.  Also, study the job postings and integrate some of the commonly used key words as these will likely be used in the ATS.  Another way to circumnavigate ATS is to network with key members of the organizations you are targeting, trying to get personal invitations to continue the vetting or interview process.

 

Keep it Short

Some people think they need to tell their life story in their resume.  This is far from the case.  Keep the content relevant and targeted.  Showcase your talents and be sure to provide a bottom line message about your value and what you can do for the organization.  Back it up with relevant facts and figures, as we discussed earlier.  Avoid a list of responsibilities and focus on results and how you can solve big picture problems, citing key experiences from your past.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU 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!

4 Ways to Defeat Job Search Desperation

Job Search

Sometimes landing your new job is a cake walk, other times it can be incredibly frustrating.  Keep these 4 pointers in mind during your job search to ease some of the headaches you may encounter.  And yes, a professionally written resume can make a positive difference in your efforts.

Original article click here.

When I finished grad school and first started my job search, it actually felt exciting. I envisioned myself landing a high-powered job that I loved, strolling down city streets to my office in fabulously fashionable suits, and making my mark in the corporate world.

Cut to four months later, and I was sitting on the couch, in my not-so-fashionable pajamas, desperate for a job, searching for anything available. And unfortunately, I’m not alone. Many people—even people with advanced degrees, plenty of experience, and stellar qualifications—are feeling the blues of searching for jobs to no avail.

Sound familiar? If you’ve found yourself in job search desperation, here are a few good ways to ease your anxiety, take back your sanity, and maybe even score a new gig.

1. Be Realistic—But Don’t Settle

You’re probably hearing a lot of “any job is better than no job!” right now. Well, trust me, that’s not the case. It might be tempting to apply for any job posting you see, but it’s important not to take a position you know you’ll be miserable in. I’ve been desperate for a job. Beyond desperate. But, I’ve walked into places where I immediately knew that my soul would be crushed if I worked there. And in the long run, it’s just not worth it.

Before you apply to any more jobs, make two lists. Your first list should detail your “dream” offers—position title, salary, responsibilities—and the second should contain what you would be OK with taking. While this may sound silly, listing what you want in a position really helps to not only evaluate what kinds of jobs you want, but also how “low” you’ll go. And anything below that? Don’t even bother applying, it’ll only drain you. 

2. Expand Your Horizons

Most of us love the comfort of familiarity, especially in a time of crisis, but the best way to get out of a rut is to mix things up. Start small: Those job search engines you use every day? Take a break for a few days and find some new ones. You’ll give your tired eyes a break and renew your drive, too.

Also, you’re a lot more likely to find a job when you have help—so think about new ways to expand your search using other people. Consider working with a recruiter, who can help you find a job based on your skills and career choices. Or, meet with your college’s career office—even if you graduated a few years ago, most schools offer career support for their alumni. Finally, network. Are there new groups or organizations you could join? Different events you could attend? There’s no substitute for just getting yourself out there.

3. Surround Yourself with Positive People

I’ll admit it—I’ve had a lot of job rejections. And that’s mainly because you need five years experience to even land a job as a hostess. But all that rejection threw my ego for quite a spin, and it was tough at times to be optimistic.

I know staying positive is a lot easier said than done, but as negative thoughts take over, that attitude will come across to people, including potential employers. So, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are positive, supportive, and who care about you. Try to focus on the good feedback you receive. Whether it’s from past interviews, that professor who loved you, or that organization you volunteered for, having someone tell you that it’s not you, it’s the economy, really does wonders to revamp your confidence level. 

4. Use Your Time Wisely

Being jobless can be a blessing in disguise. If you’re not working, you have the invaluable time to work on something else: you. For weeks, I sat on my couch and just applied for jobs without breaks—and that’s when I really became desperate and depressed. Then, I cut back to four hours a day, max. That not only made my job-searching time more productive, but it left the rest of the time for other things in my life.

Use this time to try something new, such as learning a second language or joining a new exercise class. Volunteering is a great way to be productive, and it can provide great resume-boosting experience, too. Making time for myself completely reshaped my confidence. Yes, I still needed a job, but I calmed down and had a much more positive outlook.

After really evaluating what I wanted, and what my bank account needed, I eventually landed a temporary position, which has led to other opportunities! Yes, it’s tough, but try to remember that your job search desperation isn’t forever. Keep up the work (and the optimism)—and you, too will be on your way to something new.

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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!