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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 20, 2016 by

How to get a dream job even without experience

Dream, job, way photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

It’s intensely frustrating. You spend years getting further education, you work your butt off, you rack up extra debt, and afterwards no doors will open because ‘you lack experience’ or because university ‘didn’t teach you the skills you need.’ But how can you get experience if nobody will give you a job?

Well fear not; there are actually ways to get that dream job after all, and that’s without first working 10 years at some entry-level position trying to make your mark. It just means working hard right now and showing everybody that you’ve got the mojo to pull it off.
So are you ready to get noticed? Here’s what you’ve got to do.

Do the time

Despite what many young people think, the world doesn’t owe them anything. That means your dream job is not going to get thrown into your lap. If you want it, you’ve got to look for it, hunt for it, and when you found it, battle to get it. So make sure you don’t sit back and wait for something to happen.

Instead, pursue every channel to get the job you want, be it social media, friends of the family, career counseling at university or the classifieds in the local newspaper (some people actually still use those). And apply to everything that sounds close to what you want. Even if you don’t end up wanting it, the experience from going to the interview can be just what you need to wow your future employers when you do land the right interview.

Develop your soft skills

One of the biggest problems employers have with fresh graduates is that they don’t have the soft skills necessary to actually get anywhere in the workplace. By soft skills I mean teamwork, communication, writing and problem-solving skills. An even bigger problem? Graduates think they’re actually very good at those things and therefore don’t take the time to become better at them. Don’t be like everybody else; accept that you’ve still got a lot to learn, then go out of your way to learn soft skills!

Be confident but not arrogant

There is another good reason besides soft skills that many people don’t like hiring recent graduates – and that’s because recent graduates often have a much higher estimation of what they’re capable of than what they’re actually capable of. They come swaggering into the workplace believing that they’ll show these business people a thing or two about how it’s done.

The thing is, often they don’t know how it’s done. They’ve got too little work experience and often too much idealism. They’ve got a lot to learn but think too highly of themselves to realize this is so.

Don’t be that person. Be respectful, accept that you’re still at the beginning of your life and that experience is valuable, but make it clear to your future employer that you’re smart enough to know what you know and driven enough to learn what you don’t. That will impress them.

Prepare for the interview

There are some tricky questions interviewers can’t ask you, and if you haven’t prepared then they may stump you. So take time to prepare. Not only that, but make sure you know the names of the people you’re going to interview with, as well as whatever basic facts you can find online. People will be impressed if you are well-informed. It shows that you care, that you’re a good researcher, that you’re proactive and that you’re willing to invest effort to get what you want.

Show off your expertise

If you want the dream job, you’ve got to show that your skill set is much greater than your limited CV gives you credit for. So you’ve got to show off your expertise. This can be done in multiple ways–by getting an endorsement from somebody who matters in the industry or one of your professors, for instance, but probably the best way is to actually start working in the field. So either start freelancing while you’re still in college, or otherwise start blogging and build up a reputation as somebody who knows what they’re talking about.

Be passionate

Read books and articles in your field, understand theory as best you can, know who the players are, and when you get around to writing your cover letter, show them how much you care. Now don’t be a gushing ninny. You’ve got to be professional, but you still have to demonstrate to them that even though you don’t have as much experience as everybody else in the field, you’ve got more than enough passion to make up for it.

Be a protagonist

You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions or your lack thereof. It won’t be easy to jump the cue. It will, in fact, take a lot of hard work, so you’ve got to prepare for that. That said, it is possible so long as you take the time to be do what you’ve got to do and show that you’re a cut above the rest.

And if it goes wrong, own it, learn what you can from it and get back up again. Then push on. That’s the only way it’s going to work. You’ve got to be the hero of your own story, because otherwise you’re the victim. And who hires the victim?

Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

Jonathan Emmen is a student and an inspired blogger from Copenhagen. His passion is writing, and he finds inspiration in traveling, books, and movies. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen or you can also follow him on Kinja.

Posted April 30, 2016 by

3 employment options for recent grads

Graduation male student with different careers to choose courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Tom Wang/Shutterstock.com

Considering the economy and technology are on the upswing, many recent grads start their careers while studying at college. And we are not talking about part-time at the campus café; college students often have jobs that bring them valuable professional experience, and ensure a tangible level of income. So when graduation day comes, college students are not a bunch of scared rookies but professionals with decent backgrounds in their fields. Nevertheless, there is still a question: what form of employment is worth the effort? Startups and freelancing look more attractive, yet they conceal many tricky pitfalls. As for good old full-time employment, it needs serious reshaping and improvement to attract young professionals. There are at least three employment options for recent grads, but which option is best?

It is all in the mindset

According to recent surveys, three out of five students expect they will be able to work remotely, and less than a half of 18-29 year olds employed are working full-time. It is not a crisis or an unexpected epidemic given that youth follow the elder generations; Gen Z (this is how sociologists and HR experts categorize people born in the mid to late 1990s through the 2010s) had a Millennials rise as a model to follow. The same surveys indicate about 30% of Gen Y started businesses while in college, and about 91% are considering changing their current jobs within three years. With this in mind, we can tell the younger generation has been raised in the spirit of freedom and solopreneurship, now demanding a different approach from HR departments and recruiters. Yet, the last say goes to employees, and here are things they should consider before accepting job offers and jump into their careers or solo businesses. Let’s take a look at each of the following three employment options for recent grads to consider.

Start a company

Starting your own company is rather challenging, though many examples have proven it to be successful. The idea is to push your passion into profit and convince others that your business is worth all the efforts.

Startup advantages:

– Working for yourself
– Creating great financial opportunities
– Implementing your own ideas
– Great life experience

Startup disadvantages:

– Tough competition
– Investments needed
– Lack of “job security”
– Startup is riskier and more costly

Understand that starting your own business calls for an award-winning concept necessary to enter the entrepreneurial world. Those who choose to make such a living should be patient, as niche startups are likely to bear fruit no sooner than 12 months after launch.

Freelancing

Freelancing is actually quite similar to starting your own business. On the one hand, it comes rather risky though you do not have to invest. On the other hand, you are free to follow your commitments with passion and drive.

Freelancing advantages:

– Benefit from flexible hours (Sleep until noon, if you like. No one will ever bother you unless the project deadline is approaching)
– Take control of your customers and tasks (Choose whom you are going to work with and opt for the most appealing tasks)
– Keep all the profits (You are the boss. You don’t have to split the profit or pay salaries, yet be aware of taxation and other expenses)
– Stay wherever you want (Freelancing is perfect for a travelling enthusiast)

Freelancing disadvantages:

– Lack of steady workloads (At some point, you can suffer from the lack of orders unless you’ve managed to create a solid customer base)
– Insecurity (There are numerous occasions when freelancers are not paid or become victims of fraud)
– You pay for yourself (No social package or any other benefits provided by the employer. You’re the boss, remember?)

Full-time job

The most influential thing about a full-time job is a contract and guaranteed salary in addition to employer’s benefits, a workplace provided, and more. However, the current economic situation will hardly provide you with total job and financial security, while being hopeless in enabling your professional development.

Full-time advantages:

– Steady salary (Your monthly payment is guaranteed)
– Governmental and social securities (Your contact is protected by social and economic policies)
– Constant workload (You will never witness a lack of tasks and duties)

Full-time disadvantages:

– Heavy workload (Too much work is not good for you. It results in stress and health problems in addition to a lack of personal time)
– Lack of professional development (You can stick to a routine without the slightest chance to develop your skills)
– Not enough salary (You will hardly find employees who are satisfied with their monthly salaries. Always keep in mind that every employer is eager to cut down on expenses. Salary is a key point in the list of expenses)

Each working arrangement comes with pros and cons. The best way to make up your mind is to consider every point we have discussed. No matter what you choose, get pleasure from what you are doing and never hesitate to make a crucial step and change your life for the better.

Need more advice regarding employment options? Search for jobs with College Recruiter and check out our blog. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Justine Thomas, guest writer

Justine Thomas, guest writer

Justine Thomas is a blogger and freelance writer. Her main interests are foreign languages, psychology, and fitness. Currently, she is working at educational company, Edubirdie.com, as a consulting editor.

Posted October 30, 2015 by

Embarking on your career after college: Two paths

deborah anderson photo

Deborah Anderson

After graduating from college, many things come to mind. One of the questions that may come to mind is where you will go with your career or even a basic job to pay off college loans.

Hopefully this is something you are thinking about before graduation, but it is easy to put that aside while finishing up your final papers, exams, and graduation parties.

If you are fortunate enough to have a company that has agreed to hire you after graduation, you are ahead of the game. That was common practice years (decades) ago, but statistics and research do not support the idea that this is still common practice. (more…)

Posted June 18, 2015 by

Hunting for Your First Job in IT? Here Is How to Land It!

Young engineer business man with thin modern aluminium laptop in network server room

Young engineer business man with thin modern aluminium laptop in network server room. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Although there are tons of open job positions for IT specialists all over the world, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get your first job in this sector. There are many professionals with better skills, greater experience, and more recommendations that will attract an employer’s attention. How do you get the right people to notice you?

It is hard to get a job of this type with no previous working experience, but you cannot gain the needed experience if no one is willing to give you a job. That’s a paradox we’ll never solve. Don’t despair; there is always hope for everyone with the right set of skills needed for success in this industry. After all, you can attract attention with your own projects, right? Read on; the following tips will teach you how to get that first job in the IT sector. (more…)

Posted January 28, 2015 by

Career Perspectives for College Graduates: Explore the Writing Field!

Female working at home. She is writing a blog

Female working at home. She is writing a blog. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

It was hard to be a college student, but it’s even more challenging to be a recent graduate, isn’t it? We all had great goals for the careers we would aim for, but the reality is harsh. Most of us are still far from our dream jobs, but have student debts to pay off, so we need to look for temporary solutions.

For me, one of those solutions was blogging and freelance writing. As soon as I started exploring the opportunities in the writing field, I looked at this job from a whole other aspect: it appeared as an exciting, challenging and perspective career with a huge potential for growth.

After long years of studying sessions, taking exams and writing academic papers, this career may not seem worthy of your skills. Trust me: if you have a thing for writing, then you should definitely explore what this market has to offer. In the continuation, I will tell you how you can use your talent to start making safe and steady income after graduation. (more…)

Posted January 16, 2015 by

Being a Freelancer as a Start of Career

Victoria Klochkova

Victoria Klochkova

Freelancing is perhaps the easiest way to get working experience and money right away after graduation. It’s funny, though: if you sit for 8 hours at a computer in the office, designing a website, no one will deny that you are simply doing your job. However, if you spend the same amount of time at home, accomplishing the same task, most of your friends and relatives will think of you as of a slacker.

Despite of all of the above, if you are a student or a graduate, who tries to find a decent job, I would recommend you to find out first, if your profession allows you to work as a freelancer. During your first freelance working experience you will most likely be faced with displeasure of your relatives and requests like “Go find yourself a normal job”, but there are several significant advantages only a short-sighted person would neglect. (more…)

Posted November 25, 2014 by

Are You Changing Jobs Constantly? How to Improve Your Chances of Finding a New Position

If you are someone who has changed jobs multiple times, then you have probably heard that doing so makes potential employers skeptical about hiring you for employment.  While that is a fair point from an employer’s prospective, it does not mean that a job seeker can’t get another position.  In fairness, you may have had personal and/or professional reasons for leaving one job and searching for another one.  Now, though, because you have been a job hopper, you must prove to a potential employer that you are the best candidate for a job opening.  Here are some things to keep in mind for your job search. (more…)

Posted September 16, 2014 by

About to Graduate from College and Want an Entry Level Job In Freelance? 7 Steps to Follow

If you are about to graduate from college and have an interest in getting an entry level job freelancing, the following post has seven steps to move forward in your search.

You have many good reasons to start your freelance career as soon as (or even before) you graduate college. Even if you’d prefer to work an office job or want to explore another type of traditional employment setting, think of how “running your own business” will look on your resume. Plus, as you trudge

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Posted July 01, 2014 by

5 Best Job Hunting Tips For Millennials

Jacob Shriar

Jacob Shriar, Growth Manager of Officevibe

Searching for a job is incredibly hard, especially for a millennial.

Millennials don’t really have a lot of experience, so they need to get creative in the way that they hunt for jobs. Fortunately, Millennials were raised on technology, so they can learn a lot of these lessons very quickly, and chances are, are doing similar activities anyways.

I am a millennial, and I can say that these tips have worked for me. To be honest, I wish I would have thought of these sooner. I only really applied these tips later on in life, and I potentially could have had an even greater job now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but we never know what could have been. (more…)