• How do I find a great, paid internship?

    November 07, 2018 by

    College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. And a great stepping stone to a great career is often a great internship. But students are often frustrated by how to find an internship and, when they do find one of interest, how to apply, get interviewed, and get hired.

    If you try to do everything all at once, it can be overwhelming. I like to break the process down into manageable, bite-sized pieces.

    1. Don’t procrastinate. To use another cliche, early bird gets the worm. While I trust that you’d rather land a great internship than a great worm, the cliche is too well known and understood for me to pass up. Some internships, particularly those with non-profits and governmental agencies, have strict and sometimes very early deadlines. Looking for next summer? You might need to apply in November. As of the writing of this blog article on November 5, 2018, College Recruiter already had 1,795 internships advertised on its site and it is still a couple of months from January when employers start to get aggressive with advertising their internship opportunities.
    2. Complete your CIV analysis. What’s a CIV, you ask? Competencies, interests, and values. Grab a piece of paper and draw two lines down it to divide the paper into three columns. Write competencies at the top of the first column, interests at the top of the second, and values at the top of the third. Now, under competencies, write down everything that other people would say you’re good at. In the second column, write down everything that you find to be interesting, In the third column, write down everything that you care about. Now look for themes. What are you good at that also interests you and which you care about? Those themes are where you should focus your career search.
    3. Network. Many and probably most people think that networking is all about asking other for help. Wrong. It is about asking them how you can help them. That will build good karma and inevitably you’ll find that some — not all — will reciprocate by asking how they can help you. Take them up on the offer. Tell them about your CIV, where you want your career to start, and ask them for the names of two people you should talk with. Keep repeating that. After a few rounds of people referring you to people who refer you to people, you’ll likely run across someone who will decline to give you the two names, not because they’re a jerk but because they want to hire you. Bingo.
    4. Job search sites. Almost every college career service office has a career website, but the vast majority of jobs which are of interest to students and recent graduates are never posted to those sites. Why? Most employers don’t know about them and they can be hard and time consuming to use. So, use those sites but don’t stop there. Also use job search sites like College Recruiter, which typically has about a million part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs advertised on its site. Did I tell you that College Recruiter already has 1,795 internships advertised on its site? Oh, yeah, I did. Did you search them yet?
    5. Attend career fairs. Quite frankly, I’m not a huge fan because the expectations of the employers are often poorly aligned with those of the students. Employer representatives typically attend career fairs because they’re coerced by their bosses, their career service office partners, or both. Their disinterest shows, and they make it worse by refusing to accept paper resumes and telling you to go to their career sites if you want to apply. You could have done that from home, right? But they’re great places to network (see #3) and learn what it is really like to work for a company if you happen to run across a representative who likes to talk and maybe isn’t as discrete as they should be.
    6. Search and apply to jobs. Seems kind of obvious, right? But you’d be amazed at how many candidates don’t apply to enough jobs, apply to the wrong ones, or do a terrible job of applying the ones they are qualified for. If you’re an elite student at an elite school or otherwise have some exceptional qualities, aim high by applying to the most sought-after internships, such as 20 top internships listed below. For everyone else, and that’s almost everyone, the hard truth is that you’re just going to have to try harder. But, if it helps, remember the joke about what you call a doctor who graduates at the bottom of their class from a third-rate medical school. The answer is doctor. Most employers for most jobs feel the same way about interns and new grads. They care far more that you went to college than your major. They care far more about your major than your school. And they care far more about your school than your grades or whether you had a sexy internship or just successfully completed an internship, preferably for them.
    7. Create a job. Whether it’s a gig employment opportunity driving folks around or doing their grocery shopping for them or starting a small business in college like I did, don’t discount this option. But if you find yourself uttering, “I just need a good idea”, move on. The good idea is the least of your problems. Executing that good idea is FAR harder and FAR less exciting.
    8. Get experience. The entire point of an internship program for the employer is to convert those interns into permanent hires upon graduation. If they don’t, their internship program is a failure. Similarly, the entire point of interning is to get an offer to become a permanent employee upon graduation and then to accept that offer. If you don’t, your internship was a failure. Well, maybe not a complete failure, but not as much of a success as it should have been.

    So, back to the top internship programs. What are they? I thought you’d never ask:

    1. Google
    2. Apple
    3. Microsoft
    4. Tesla
    5. Facebook
    6. Goldman Sachs
    7. Amazon
    8. J.P. Morgan
    9. SpaceX
    10. The Walt Disney Company
    11. Nike
    12. Morgan Stanley
    13. IBM
    14. Deloitte
    15. Berkshire Hathaway
    16. Intel
    17. ESPN
    18. Mercedes-Benz
    19. The Boston Consulting Group
    20. Spotify

    — Source: Vault

     

     

  • Nonprofit employer branding solutions to attract entry-level talent

    May 18, 2018 by

     

    Nonprofit organizations have an enormous opportunity to polish their employer brands and really show them off to entry-level job candidates. To hear insight into employer branding mistakes and solutions at nonprofits, we interviewed Matt Kaiser, Director of Recruitment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Kaiser has a passion for improving the recruitment processes, uncovering a unique employer brand identity, and implementing ideas to improve the candidate experience and attract top talent. He will be a speaker at SHRM 2018, presenting “Pursuing Purpose in Building Your Brand.”

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  • Job seekers, here is how to defend yourself against a bad reference

    April 20, 2018 by

     

    If you are going to interview for a job, or if you already have, you are one step closer to when that employer will call your references. They will likely call all the references you provided, but don’t assume they will only look into those people. If you’re worried that the employer will contact someone who has a biased or negative perception of you, we have some advice. You can prepare for it and defend yourself appropriately.

    First, if you’re worried about the potential new employer spilling the beans at your current employer, recruiters get this. They understand the negative impact of spoiling your secret to your boss. Some job applications build in a box to check that says “please do not contact current employer until the offer stage.” If you are afraid of your boss finding out that you’re considering leaving, check this box. If you don’t see this box, you can write this exact phrase into your references document. Continue Reading

  • How to respond when your employer asks you for a candidate referral

    March 29, 2018 by

     

    Don’t be surprised if your employer asks you to refer your friends or other contacts as candidates for open positions. Employers depend on a variety of sources to recruit new people, and a favorite, time-tested method is to get employee referrals. Many organizations find that employee referrals are more likely to fit in and perform well in their jobs. We checked in with two experts to advise entry-level employees with this question. Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005), and Toni Newborn, Diversity and Consulting Services Manager at the City of St. Paul  give their advice about how to respond to the request for a candidate referral.  Continue Reading

  • Reference checking: Secrets employers won’t tell recent college graduates revealed

    December 06, 2016 by
    Business woman unhappy with resumes of applicants and throwing them on the table courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

    References – job seekers submitting them – and employers checking them – seems like a simple process. Unfortunately for the recent college grad embarking on that first or second job, the reference checking process is anything but simple, and clear.

    Why? Because just because a job seeker submits a list of references, it doesn’t mean those are the references employers will contact. In fact, the days of providing three references to employers and expecting those to be the only sources employers check with are long gone, says Chris Dardis, VP of HR Search and Consulting for Versique, a Minneapolis-based search firm. Many employers may not even check the references job seekers submit, and it’s perfectly legal, because a prospective employer does not require permission to check any references. Employers are also relying on new tools and tactics to research potential candidates’ backgrounds.

    “Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the first place hiring managers tend to explore candidate information,” says Dardis. “Whether you think it’s right or wrong, potential candidates need to be aware of the brand they are displaying on the Internet.”

    Jeff Shane, spokesperson for Allison & Taylor Inc., an employment verification and reference checking firm, agrees.

    “Don’t assume that employers will only check with human resources or your former supervisor for reference purposes,” says Shane. “Employers are increasingly scrutinizing less-traditional references such as peers and co-workers.”

    Employers also use tools like Checkster, to conduct the legwork on reference check gathering, says Dardis. Checkster is a tool that provides hiring managers with quantifiable data on the hire-ability of the potential candidate. Employers also use their own network and conduct what is known as “backdoor reference checks.” Hiring managers learn about the candidate’s previous employers, identify where they have connections and call around within their network to simply inquire about their reputation – all of this being done without the candidates knowledge.

    “These days, it doesn’t necessarily matter what your official references are saying,” says Dardis. “What matters is the kind of reputation you are leaving in the marketplace.”

    So how can recent college grads be sure they are providing references the right way, and that backdoor reference checks won’t hurt them? Follow these tips from Lynne Martin, Executive Director of San Francisco-based Students Rising Above, an award-winning nonprofit that helps low-income, first-generation students get into – and more importantly graduate – college The organization also offers their free, online College2Careers Hub which offers personalized assistance via online advisors that provide real-time answers and support on such themes as reference advice.

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  • 3 tips for getting the most out of part-time jobs

    July 18, 2016 by
    Retail, portrait, clipboard photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As a college student, it can often feel like your part time job is purely for bringing in the cash you need to splash on your expenses and social activities. This, however, is not necessarily the case. The experience gained from working a part time job can be invaluable towards assisting with your selection of a future career, as well as contributing to landing your first full-time entry-level job later down the track.

    1. On-the-job experience

    As far as choosing a career goes, you may have already decided. Obviously you’ve enrolled in a college degree, and now it’s just a matter of time before you land your dream job and get started, right? Well, actually, using your choice of part time work to gain particular experience that will assist with your career selection is a good start. Sometimes when you gain on-the-job work experience in a particular field, you may actually change your mind about thinking it’s the perfect career for you.

    Part time jobs can be tricky to land, but if you are presented with choice, why not select one that’s closest to the type of job you’ll work once you’ve completed your degree? For example, work as a veterinary assistant while studying to become a vet. Use this opportunity to test the waters and see if you feel comfortable working in a similar environment in which you’ll soon be qualified.

    2. Future benefits

    As well as using your part time job as an opportunity to test if you enjoy a particular type of work, you can also leverage it to land yourself your first ‘real’ job sooner. The work experience you gain during college will be included on the resume you submit for prospective full-time jobs once qualified. An empty resume won’t impress a prospective employer, nor will having one that fails to contain any outstanding information.

    Separate yourself from future competition by using time worked in your part-time job to earn credit for future job applications. Accomplishments such as taking on higher duties, greater responsibility, winning awards, and being promoted will all look fantastic on your resume. Ask your manager if you can take on new work so you have the opportunity to learn different job skills and gain broader exposure to the work environment. You could also assist with designing a strategy to save the business money or increasing the level of customer satisfaction, for example.

    3. Expand your network

    Holding down a part-time job will also help you to expand your professional network. You’ll create connections and relationships with people that may be able to assist you with finding work at a later date. Your manager may be willing to provide a reference for you, or your colleague may recommend you to their employer at such time as they gain full-time work.

    Working hard now will pay off in the future, as you present a resume and work experience that demonstrates your commitment to work and your enthusiasm to achieve beyond minimum expectations.

    Searching for a part-time job? Visit College Recruiter and follow our blog. Also, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Joe Flanagan, Senior Resume Consultant at Velvet Jobs

    Joe Flanagan, Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs

    Joe Flanagan is the Senior Outplacement Consultant at Velvet Jobs, offering outplacement services and a search facility for job seekers of all ages and industries. His expertise include resume writing, job search tips and hiring issues. When he’s not trying to improve the unemployment rate you can find him traveling the world and learning new languages.
  • The #1 student job search mistake

    June 25, 2016 by

    As an Associate Career Services Director for the University of Michigan and the CEO of Break into Tech, I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of students during the job search while trying to launch their careers. And it’s an area I’m particularly proud to support, having leveraged my own student experience to land roles at Apple, LinkedIn, and startups.

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    But the one thing that shocks me time and again is that 95% of students make the same mistake when it comes to landing a job. And no, it’s not a bad resume, or a poorly written cover letter or even weak interview skills. Instead, it’s that most basic trait:

    Humility.

    Yes, humility.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? How hard could it be to act humble?”

    But here’s the real deal. That same confidence is a handicap. Because it blinds students to just how hard it is to stay humble in a world where everyone always has to be on, to constantly present their best self.

    As evidence, allow me to submit my experience as a Michigan alum working at LinkedIn:

    • Every single day during application season, I’d received at least one email from a current student who wanted to work in Silicon Valley
    • Usually, those emails started out: “Dear Jeremy, I’m XXX and I’d really like to work at LinkedIn…”
    • Eventually I’d get on the phone with these students, and they’d spend the first 15 minutes of the call telling me about themselves, and the last 15 minutes asking me if I could help them get a job.
    • Then, I’d never hear from them again.

    On the other hand, about 2-3 times a year, the sequence would go very differently:

    • I’d get an email from a student well before application season that said: “Dear Jeremy, As a a Michigan student, I was so excited to come across your profile today. I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to find someone who’s walked your path. I know you must be really busy, but would you ever have a few minutes to share your story with me?”
    • When I got on the phone with them, we’d spend 15 minutes talking about my experience, followed by 15 minutes of them asking me for my advice about really tricky career questions.
    • Then they’d follow-up the next month to wish me a happy holiday or update me on campus. And they’d continue to do that each month with cool articles they found or little tidbits of school news.
    • Then, only when application season finally rolled around, would they ever ask for support during the application process.

    And sure enough, about 2-3 times a year, I’d write an internal recommendation for a student, basically guaranteeing them an interview.

    Now, any guesses which students I went to bat for?

    Hopefully that illuminates two things about the job search:

    BUT

    • You’ve got to network in the right way – the humble way.

    Which means no:

    • Waiting until application season to reach out – you need to build relationships in advance; not at the last second.
    • Focusing all the attention on yourself – you need to build a real relationship; not just a transaction.
    • One shot networking – you need to build a relationship over time, not in a single phone call. This aids your job search.

    So consider yourself warned. Yes, humility is critical to your job search success. But don’t assume it’s going to be easy. Instead, make it a priority and work hard at it. And then you can avoid the biggest mistake that’s trapped so many others!

    Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

    Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break Into Tech

    Need more help networking and figuring out how to build great relationships on your way to finding a great entry-level job? College Recruiter can help. Keep reading our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Jeremy Schifeling is the Founder + Chief Nerd at Break into Tech, a site for anyone who wants to land an awesome tech job, no matter their background. Get a free guide to the seven ultimate secrets that took Jeremy from school to Silicon Valley!

  • 6 things to do before starting a new job

    May 02, 2016 by
    Welcome on board - businesswoman holding white sign with text in the office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    docstockmedia/Shutterstock.com

    It’s the time of year when many college seniors begin thinking about what they will do after graduation. Most students focus on the interview process but may not have thought about what to do when they are offered full-time jobs. It can be both exciting and scary but starting a first professional job is now part of the imminent future. Although many students have worked part-time and participated in internships, starting a full-time job is a different venture. Student life is unique in many ways, so it’s important for soon-to-be graduates to make a few changes before they begin new entry-level jobs.

    1) Look the part

    College doesn’t have a dress code, but most jobs do. To be taken seriously, it’s a good idea for students to know what most of their colleagues will be wearing. Some offices will require a suit and tie, but most are now business casual. One of the most common mistakes new employees make is showing up to the office in attire that’s too informal.

    2) Practice the importance of being prompt

    Probably the most undervalued asset new employees can possess is promptness in communication. In addition to being to work on time or early, new employees should learn how important it is to stay in communication with the team. It’s fairly common for college students to forget about emailing professors or their peers because they’re mostly relying on social media to be in touch. However, new employees who don’t respond to a colleague’s or supervisor’s email or phone call will be viewed as unreliable. If something is going to take 24 hours to complete, be sure to send a quick note that communicates this information.

    3) Get into a daily routine

    College classes can be held at 7:30 in the morning or 10:30 at night, and most students will have significant breaks to work on self-study throughout the day. Most office jobs, however, are from eight to five (although flexible work schedules are becoming more common). It’s important to get into a routine of getting up early and dealing with the morning commute and also having enough down time later in the day to be prepared to do it all again tomorrow.

    4) Gather paperwork

    Once students graduate and start new jobs, they’ll be very busy adjusting to their new responsibilities. Gather any academic paperwork needed prior to the first day on the job. This can include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, references, networking contacts, or anything else that might be needed in a particular field. Many employers will ask for this paperwork, so it’s better to have it on hand and readily available.

    5) Chat with your mentor

    It’s a great idea to sit down with a mentor before starting a new job. A mentor will have specific and valuable insight into a particular field and perhaps even a specific company or manager. Take any advice available in order to be successful the first few months of a new career. Mentors can also help ease anxiety and build confidence that can make those first few weeks run smoothly.

    6) Get organized

    Graduating from college is a huge transition and can leave students feeling their lives are in disarray. Each person’s situation will be different, but it’s important to begin a new job feeling organized. Whether this means settling into a new home, moving across the country, or just getting paperwork in order, an organized lifestyle will help a person be more professional and help them focus on making a great impression in the workplace.

    Want more advice for recent graduates going into the workforce? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, guest writer

    Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

  • 20 ways to rock your resume

    April 29, 2016 by
    Resume with pen on table closeup courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.com

    Another week without attention paid to your resume. You are applying for jobs that match your education and skills; you have a nicely formatted document; and you have outlined your work experience very well with bolded headings and bullet points like you were told to do. You’re qualified but just can’t manage to get that call for an interview. Could there be that many people more qualified than you? Maybe not. There may be some flaws in your resume you have not realized.

    Here are 20 tips that can improve your resume.

    Make sure you are emphasizing results, not responsibilities

    It’s a common error; job seekers are trying very hard to list all of their responsibilities for each position. Their thinking, of course, is the more responsibilities, the more qualified they will be. What is more important to employers is the results, what job seekers have actually accomplished.

    Take a look at the responsibilities you have listed for each position. Can you list any quantifiable results? Did your re-organization save the department $50,000 a year? Sometimes, you may think results will be hard to provide. For example, perhaps you took over a department that had no baseline data to work with to show improvement. And maybe the improvement was qualitative rather than quantitative. Take employee morale, for instance. You know you improved it when you took over that department. But how was the improvement measured? Maybe there was much lower turnover or maybe the rate of absenteeism dropped significantly. These are important figures to have. Never leave a position without gathering figures that support your results.

    A lot of space was spent on this item. Why? Because it is the one thing employers say is usually missing from a resume.

    Target skills/background for each position

    This is the primary reason why you need to tweak each resume for every job opening. If you have background in training, administration, HR, and sales/sales management, and are applying for jobs that focus on one of those, then focus your resume in that direction. Spend far more space on that focus area than on others. Generic resumes don’t really work anymore.

    Re-visit keywords for each position

    Change out your keywords based upon two things: the job description and the company’s website. Sometimes, reading through the company’s home page and the “about us” page will give you more keywords to include. And keywords that relate to the position should be placed as close to the top of the resume as possible and included in your cover letter.

    Include a summary section

    A statement of your career goals at the beginning of your resume is not advisable. Companies don’t care about your goals; they care about what you “bring to the table.” Switch that out for a short summary of your skills and experience that relate to the position, with four to five sentences only.

    Use standard software

    Microsoft Word or a PDF version of your resume should be the only programs used to submit resumes. Scanning will probably not recognize any other programs, and you will never know your resume was unreadable.

    Business woman unhappy with resumes of applicants and throwing them on the table courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

    Aim for one page

    Edit, edit, edit. Take out anything superfluous, reduce sentences to phrases, and remove some of your contact information. Employers don’t need your address and don’t include references unless specifically asked to do so. If you are able to edit the resume to one page, that is ideal. But NEVER go beyond two pages unless you are preparing a CV.

    Do not lie

    Not about anything. Of course, you want to try to avoid resume mistakes, and of course you want to present yourself in the best light. Exaggerating or giving yourself a job title you did not actually have are big risks. These things can be discovered when references and/or social media are reviewed. Focus on your skills and qualifications completely but honestly.

    Use action verbs

    They are so much stronger. If you don’t know the difference, here is an example:

    1. Responsible for implementing budget reduction by 10% without loss of productivity

    2. Reduced budget by 10% without loss of productivity

    The second phrase is strong and active. (P.S.: Never use “I”)

    Visual appeal is a must

    You’ve seen enough resume templates to understand what visual appeal is. The best font now is probably Arial, 12-14 point. The reason for this is there’s good, natural spacing between lines that are not complete and enough white space between bulleted points. Your final resume should have sub-headings in bold (e.g., each position), and a larger font to separate sections of the document. The goal is to make it scannable, not just by a computer program (applicant tracking systems), but by humans, too. No one wants to search for your information.

    Be clear about job titles

    So long as you are not exaggerating, use a job title that will make clear what you did at a previous organization. Sometimes, organizations have internal titles that mean nothing on the outside. So, if you were a “Level II Tech Support,” change that out to “Systems Analyst,” if that was what your position really entailed.

    Be really brief

    Do not use full sentences unless you are crafting a CV (These are prose documents). Brief phrases only, please. Remember – scannable.

    Perfect grammar and spelling

    Don’t rely only on grammar and spell-check programs. They will not recognize incorrect numbers or words that are wrong but are still words. And, in some instances misspellings will not be caught either. If you are really good in this area, read your resume backwards, and you will catch misspellings; read it forward line-by-line. If you are not highly skilled, get someone who is.

    Avoid gimmicks

    Having your resume hand-delivered by FedEx or courier is not appreciated, and, in fact, is a bit of a turnoff. Just don’t do it. Submit your resume according to the instructions on the job posting.

    Graphics should fit the company culture

    It is more acceptable today to use some color and graphics than in the past, but these resumes are best suited for younger, more progressive organizations. Tailor color and graphics based upon the culture of the company. If you are not sure, check the website. As a general rule, banks, financial, and educational/scientific institutions are conservative; tech and marketing companies are more progressive. For creative positions, graphics are certainly suitable.

    Never state salary

    Never include past salaries in your work experience. And absolutely never include your salary or benefit requirements for a new position. Epic fail if you do.

    Don’t address negatives

    If you were fired or laid off, never state this in your resume. That is the stuff for discussion during an interview. And don’t lie about it either; be as honest as possible, and never “trash” a former boss or company.

    Add links

    Long before submitting resumes, it will be important to have a professional online presence. Include the link to your LinkedIn profile and, if warranted, a website with a portfolio of your work and/or accomplishments. If you have been a guest blogger on relevant sites, provide links to those posts too.

    Update consistently

    It is often advised when you start a new position, you begin updating your resume. This is because you want to be sure to remember all of your accomplishments if and when you decide to make another career move, or if, for any reason, your employment is terminated (companies do close). Keep your resume updated all the time.

    No tag lines

    Lines such as “References available upon request,” are not necessary and just take up space. Leave them out. If you are asked for references or links to things during an interview, you can provide them at that time.

    Do not abbreviate

    The only abbreviation you can use is “U.S.” Otherwise, spell everything out. Even abbreviations for schools attended may not be known by employers. The rule for acronyms is the same; spell them out.

    This article provides a good checklist for job seekers, whether they are crafting their first resumes ever or if they are veterans with several previous resumes under their belts. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a difference.

    Need assistance with your resume for your job search? Get a free resume critique on College Recruiter. Also, come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

    Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

    Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, Georgia. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry, check her Twitter.

  • 10 job interview questions you shouldn’t ask

    April 11, 2016 by
    Bad job interview - concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Eviled/Shutterstock.com

    Congratulations! You’ve landed an entry-level job interview. Now, it is time to prepare for the big day, which includes creating some interview questions to ask if you get the chance. Keep in mind, though, there are questions college students and recent graduates should not ask their potential employers during interviews.

    1. How much does the job pay?

    Asking about salary in an interview tells the interviewer you’re more concerned with money than the actual job. I’m not saying money isn’t important, but save this discussion for after you have received a job offer.

    2. How many days of vacation do I get?

    It’s not wise for job seekers to ask about vacation time before landing entry-level jobs. Focusing on time off without a job offer leaves an impression that you lack commitment to work.

    3. Can I take time off during exams?

    This question might indicate to employers that college students have trouble handling multiple responsibilities, or that school is more important than work. Even though school work is a priority for students, employers are considering what is important to them.

    4. Can I use social media at work?

    It’s probably obvious to most (if not all) of you why job seekers shouldn’t ask this question. Interviewers would feel you’re more concerned with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers than succeeding at the position you’ve applied for.

    Businessman working from home on laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

    5. Can I work from home?

    Asking this question can leave an interviewer wondering if you have an issue with coming to work regularly. Wait until proving yourself for a while on a new job before requesting to work from home.

    6. What kind of job is this?

    Please don’t ask this question. If you do, you might as well walk out of the interview. The interviewer expects you to know what kind of job you’ve applied for. You can find this information in the job posting and on the company website.

    7. When will I get promoted?

    Asking this question makes the assumption that a job seeker has won the position, which won’t impress the interviewer. Remember, you need to get the job first so concentrate on that. With a good attitude and hard work, you may eventually earn a promotion.

    8. Do you want my references?

    The interviewer is concerned about you, not anyone else. It’s great you have references but save them for later, and focus on nailing the interview.

    9. Are there any background checks?

    Asking potential employers about background checks raises a red flag in their minds that you have something to hide. If you’re sure of yourself as a job candidate, a background check or drug screen won’t bother you.

    10. Did I get the job?

    While I’m sure you can’t wait to find out if you got the job, avoid asking if you did in the interview. Unless you’re told otherwise, follow up to learn the employer’s decision. Don’t follow up too soon. It’s okay to ask the employer at the end of the interview about the timeline for filling the position—this lets you know how long to wait before calling to check on your status as an applicant.

    In a nutshell, job seekers should wait until after they receive employment offers before asking questions related to issues primarily benefiting themselves.

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