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Posted July 16, 2016 by

10 most tricky HR questions for students

Interview photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You know what the problem is when you graduate and start the interviewing process? You have perhaps half a dozen, perhaps twice that number of interviews under your belt. The people sitting there behind those big desks staring at you steely-eyed? They have done hundreds. That means they know the tricks, they know the strategies, and they know how to make you stumble. If you want to stand a chance at beating them at their own game, you have to be prepared.

Why should I hire you?

This one catches people a lot. They are afraid they will either come across as too arrogant or that they will not push themselves enough. The thing is that is not really what the question is about, and both those traps can be easily avoided if you realize that.

This is not about you telling them how amazing you are. This is about you showing how much you know about them (which is everybody’s favorite topic). So show them that you know what the position entails and what skills will be required. After you have done that you can modestly admit that you have those skills (preferably with a few examples of where you’ve used those skills as showing is always better than telling).

Why is there a gap in your work history?

You have been unemployed for six months because you needed some time to chill out and get your priorities sorted. Or you spent some time living on a beach seeing if it is really true your skin turns green when you drink too many mojitos. Or you lived in your parents’ basements and played video games. Fantastic! You do not necessarily want to tell them that though.

Instead, talk about how you used that time to make yourself a better person. Talk about freelancing work you did, social outreach, or how you spent your time searching for the perfect job (which is obviously the one you are interviewing for right now). Put a positive spin on things by showing how much you grew as a person.

You have been fired from your last job. How did it make you feel?

You have to demonstrate that you can take a blow without becoming either angry or resentful. So even if you are, burry that deep and instead tell them about how you used this as an opportunity to improve yourself so that nothing like this can ever happen to you again.

What is your biggest weakness?

A nasty question! There is no doubt about it. You better prepare to meet this one every so often, because a lot of HR managers have this one in their repertoire and like to throw it out there to see how you react.

The right way to go is to remember that strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin. So if you have a weakness, admit it and then explain to them how in some situations it can be a strength. Alternatively, take your greatest strength and admit when it might actually be a weakness. That way you show you understand yourself.

Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?

This one is as much to see how you handle being put on the spot as to see if you will be honest. Remember, everybody is bound to have bad experiences occasionally. We are all human. So they are not going to believe you when you say ‘no, never.’ Instead think of something that did go wrong then admit that it was at least partially your fault and explain how you learned from it and how you will be better next time. That shows both humility and wisdom.

Do not bag on your previous employer! That will raise all sorts of red flags. Yes, it they might be bad people, but this person sitting opposite you will not have a better impression of you if you decide to tell them that.

Frustrated businesswoman screaming photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Tell about a day when you messed up at work

Another one of those situations where you have to be honest and admit you have done something wrong. After all, nobody is perfect, and if you are not willing to admit you have screwed up you can wave the job you are interviewing for good-bye. Just like with the last question the trick here is to show what you have learned.

How would you deliver bad news to a colleague?

Here is your opportunity to demonstrate empathy and your ability to deal with a stressful situation in a grownup manner. So do not suggest you would send them a text or first let everybody in the office know so that you can all have a laugh. Instead, show them how diplomatic you are.

Will you be out to take my job?

Okay, here you can lie. ‘No’ is the correct answer. ‘I doubt I could do it as well as you’ is a good follow up.

How did you prepare for this interview?

Here is where you demonstrate that you care enough about the job to actually have researched the position (you did research the position didn’t you?). So tell them how you went to the website and read this that and the other. Here you get to show off some of the things you learned, including talking a little bit about the industry as well as what their company specifically does.

Where would you really like to work?

‘Here’ is the right answer. Now you can be a bit honest and suggest that you want to ultimately move into another area in the company, but whatever you do, do not say another company name! That is a fantastic way to close the door on any opportunity to work there.

Last words

The most important thing to remember is that there will be other interviews and however many ‘no’s you get you only want one ‘yes’, so don’t get too stressed out. You will get there in the end. After that, you will have to go through the hard work of keeping the job. That is not exactly easy either, but at this moment, that probably feels more like a ‘wish I had that problem’ problem.

Need more interview tips? Visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Dante Munnis, guest writer

Dante Munnis, guest writer

Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics, and success issues. He shares ideas for students living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance, you can get in touch with Dante via Twitter.

 

Posted June 13, 2016 by

Top 9 excuses for not attending a job interview

 

Oh no! Something has gone horribly wrong and now you can’t attend the job interview! What can you possibly say to the company to make them give you another chance? Well, whatever you are going to say, may I suggest that you say it as early as possible? Call in a timely fashion. This will show them you respect them and their time. This is vital if you want to make certain that you’ll get another chance. (more…)

Posted April 18, 2016 by

3 tips for a successful situational interview

Business cartoon showing psychologist asking interviewee dog a question courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Cartoonresource/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever had a situational interview? In situational interviews, interviewers ask candidates questions on how they might handle specific situations in the workplace; these interviews differ from behavioral interviews. When recruiters ask you behavioral questions, they ask you how you have handled situations in the past. When recruiters ask you situational questions, they want to know how you would hypothetically handle situations should they occur in the future. For students and recent grads who may lack work experience, situational questions give you a chance to shine and showcase your problem solving and critical thinking skills. These interviews also tell potential employers whether or not you’re the right cultural fit for their companies based on what you will do in the future, not what you’ve done in the past. Whether you’re a college student, recent graduate, or other job seeker, here are three tips to prepare you for a successful situational interview.

1. See yourself in the job.

When answering questions, answer them to explain the way you might behave in real settings in the workplace. Describe the action you would take as an employee and explain why you would take that action.

2. Research potential employers.

You don’t want to go into any interview without researching a potential employer. Understanding a company’s policies and company culture will give you a better idea of what it expects of employees. This can help you answer situational interview questions because you can, at least partly, base your responses on research.

3. Avoid profanity and stay positive.

Be careful not to use profanity during your situational interview. You may not only offend the interviewer, but you also leave a negative impression of how you might talk to co-workers. Stay positive, and keep focused on how you will help a potential employer. Never bash former employers or focus on what has gone wrong in the past. Situational interviews give you the chance to discuss what you might do differently if given the chance, so focus on being positive, hopeful, and optimistic.

Situational interviews foreshadow what job seekers could be like in the workplace. Prepare to answer questions relevant to the job and company you’re interested in, so employers will see you as the best fit for them.

Do you need more information on interviewing for your job search? Click on over to the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Posted March 16, 2016 by

LinkedIn tip #8: Advanced search feature

If you have a LinkedIn profile, chances are you’ve searched for a friend or employer before, but have you used the advanced search feature?

Whether you just created your LinkedIn profile or have had one since your first year of college, expert Chaim Shapiro, Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro College and award-winning social media consultant, will help you improve your LinkedIn profile while networking online and conducting a job search by helping you understand how to use the advanced search feature to optimize your job search.

This brief video and article is part 8 in a 10-part series, Top 10 LinkedIn tips with Chaim Shapiro, for college students, recent grads, and other job seekers hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

The advanced search feature allows LinkedIn users to search for people using advanced search criteria, including company, school, location, job title, keywords, and first and last name. When searching for jobs, this is extremely helpful. In addition to these fields, you can also search outside of your own connections, search by industry, by school, by non-profit interests, etc.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to advanced search features, and college students and recent grads who are searching for jobs on LinkedIn should definitely take advantage of the advanced search feature.

For more of Chaim Shapiro’s top 10 LinkedIn tips, subscribe to College Recruiter’s YouTube channel, follow College Recruiter’s blog, and follow College Recruiter on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed. is the Assistant Director of Career Services at Touro College, a freelance writer, public speaker and social media consultant specializing in LinkedIn. He has presented his popular LinkedIn Workshop at National Conferences, Universities, Public Libraries and for communal organizations across the country. Chaim earned a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel from Loyola University, Chicago, and also studied in the Institutional Leadership and Policy Studies Ph.D. program at the University of California, Riverside Graduate School of Education. He has more than 12 years of experience working in college administration.

Posted December 28, 2015 by

4 ways to scare away the best job applicants

Melissa Burns photo

Melissa Burns

The people who work for a company are its best asset, without exception, and finding truly, high-quality employees is a rare and precious thing. Yet it is all too easy to scare excellent applicants away without even realizing it – and the best applicants are the first to turn around and look for a place where they will be treated better. So let’s take a look at the main reasons why you may not be attracting the talent you need. (more…)

Posted December 22, 2015 by

10 toxic phrases to avoid in job interviews

human resources team during job interview with woman

Human resources team during job interview with woman. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Now that you have graduated, or are on the way to graduating, your behavior in job interviews is more important than ever. Saying or doing the wrong thing is a risk in losing out on great opportunities. That’s no way to begin a career. One thing job seekers can do to help themselves is avoid saying things that are unprofessional or inadvertently offensive when they are being interviewed. Take a few minutes to read this list of 10 toxic phrases to avoid; make it a goal to avoid using them. (more…)

Posted October 08, 2015 by

3 action steps for achieving a more diverse workplace

Achieving a diverse workforce demands employers are open to it. They must not only be active in diversity but think of it in terms of the job candidate and building a business.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter recently hosted a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29, at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco.

College Recruiter has been publishing the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. Consider taking these three action steps to achieving a more diverse workplace, suggested by CEO/Founder of UsersThink, John Turner. (more…)

Posted August 26, 2015 by

Is Your Resume “Hire Worthy”?

young smiling woman holding her resume and applying for a job

Young smiling woman holding her resume and applying for a job. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When creating your resume, you are probably thinking about including enough information that will get you an interview.  While that is the goal, a job seeker should also focus on whether or not his or her resume is “hire worthy”.  In other words, if you were the employer, would you be impressed with your resume to hire you?  Does it meet all of the expectations an employer is looking for?  Here are some tips to write a resume that reflects the best you, which can turn you from a job seeker into a job candidate. (more…)

Posted August 05, 2015 by

Job Interview Questions YOU Should Ask…

Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney, President of CareerJimmy

The phone call Jason waited for finally came! He’d been invited for an interview for the job he’d wanted—sales manager for an educational publishing company. Suddenly his nerves were on edge. He knew how to dress for the occasion but he was concerned about the questions he had on his list—the ones to ask and the ones to avoid.

His buddy Wes had reviewed the questions he might hear from the hiring manager so he felt pretty confident about those. But he also realized this would be a two-way interview. Jason wanted to be sure that he got his questions answered too. After all, he might decide against this company if it didn’t seem right for him once he actually talked with the hiring manager and learned more about the company. He was not desperate for the job—just eager! (more…)

Posted July 17, 2015 by

Things Graduates Aren’t Always Told Before They Start Their New Job

Pensive worried businesswoman biting her nails and looking off to the side with a serious thoughtful expression as she anticipates trouble

Pensive worried businesswoman biting her nails and looking off to the side with a serious thoughtful expression as she anticipates trouble. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

There are many wonderful prospects for students who have recently graduated from university, and they can now enter the world of their chosen profession and make it their own. Given a lot of knowledge will be fresh in their minds you could be forgiven for thinking they can dive straight in. However, there are many different aspects to the working world that some newbie graduates just won’t have a grasp of. After all, learning from a book and learning from experience are two very different affairs. Here we take a closer look at some of the things to keep in mind when starting a new role straight after you graduate. (more…)