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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 April 26, 2016 by

[video] 5 tips for following up after job interviews

 

Just because your interview went well doesn’t mean you can rest. Following up after a job interview is absolutely important and affects your chances.

Imagine this scenario: You finish the interview. You stand up, straightening your new suit jacket. The recruiter smiles broadly and extends her hand.

“Thank you so much for your time today. You should definitely hear from us within the next two weeks about our hiring decision.”

It’s in the bag, you think to yourself while you shake hands with her, smiling and thanking her for the opportunity to interview with her company and colleagues. (more…)

Posted April 25, 2016 by

10 best websites for resume building

Resume with pen and a computer courtesy of Shutterstock.com

maga/Shutterstock.com

The resume writing process is perhaps the most important part of your job search. Regardless of experience level, current position, or amazing random talents, you won’t be considered for jobs unless you first create attention grabbing resumes. The following websites are fantastic places to build killer resumes that will get you noticed!

1. CV Maker

CV Maker lets job seekers create custom resumes online for free. The website features a wide variety of templates to choose from, as well as a super, simple interface for collecting information on experience and skills. The site is approved by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Mashable.

2. Kick Resume

Endorsed by Forbes, Business Insider, and Yahoo!, Kick Resume allows job seekers to create beautiful resumes and cover letters. All of the templates are created by designers, and the styles are colorful and attractive. The site is free with unlimited downloads.

3. Online CV Generator

Online CV Generator lets job seekers design their own custom resumes with an easy, step-by-step, fill in the blank questionnaire. The website claims they can create resumes in less than five minutes, but in reality it will likely take closer to 10-15 minutes, unless job seekers are recent grads with no experience to add into the algorithm.

4. Papers Gear

With Papers Gear, job seekers can either order custom resumes written by professional writers, or they can hire them to edit or proofread their resumes before submitting them to potential employers. The writers can also help job seekers format their resumes.

5. Visual CV

Visual CV is a resume creation website that lets job seekers sign in via LinkedIn. The site can import all of their data from LinkedIn, so they don’t have to go through the sometimes tedious process of adding all of their job histories. The site has a wide collection of templates to choose from. Unlike other sites, the templates are divided by profession. So, engineers will have different template recommendations than consultants.

6. Ask Petersen Resume Writing Service

When applying for jobs, job seekers might learn they need multiple versions of their resumes. Instead of spending valuable time rewriting resumes over and over, they could hire an essay writing service to do that for them. Ask Petersen offers up reviews of the top custom writing sites so job seekers can find the best option for their resumes.

7. Visualize.me

Visualize.me is very different from other resume creation websites because it allows job seekers to create infographic resumes. Instead of a boring list of accomplishments, they can create a mind map for their past.

8. Essays Capital

Essays Capital is a custom writing service for students and professionals. In addition to resumes, they also write essays and cover letters. Hire them to create a resume for you or to edit and format your existing resume.

9. Represent

Represent offers many of the same options as other resume creation websites, but it also automatically formats your resume for mobile devices as necessary. So, no matter where potential employers decide to open the file, they’ll be able to view it easily.

10. Resume Bucket

What makes Resume Bucket stand out from the other websites is once job seekers create their resumes, they can apply for jobs directly from the website.

The days of fending for yourself when creating a resume are over. Today, job seekers have a plethora of resources at their fingertips. These 10 websites are wonderful places to start when they write their resumes. Be sure to choose the one that is best for your particular skill set and career path. Good luck!

Do you need some resume help for your job search? Get a free resume critique at College Recruiter. Also, visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger is a freelance content manager from Washington, DC. For more tips on content marketing, writing, and social media, follow Anna on Twitter and Linkedin.

Posted August 12, 2015 by

Getting Started on That Research Paper

piles of books open with a computer. Working on a research paper.

Piles of books open with a computer. Working on a research paper. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

No one really loves writing research papers – well, maybe a few do when it’s on a topic they really love! For the most part, however, students dread them when they appear on course syllabi, try to carve out the time to do the research and the writing, and often find themselves pushing those deadlines as tightly as they can, because they really don’t like the work. During my work with Researchpaperz.org I learned a lot of crucial waypoints that makes research paper writing easier.

Sometimes the worst part about research paper writing is just the first step – identifying and refining that topic! Once you have that, you at least have a focus for your research! So, here you will find some tips for getting this project off the ground and getting through each step of the production process! (more…)

Posted May 13, 2015 by

6 Steps for a SUPER Successful Salary Negotiation

Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney, President of CareerJimmy

Brenda’s stomach twisted. She’d never negotiated anything in her entire life. But now at age 35 she would face the topic of pay when she returned for a second interview for a job she really wanted as Medical Center Operations Director of a local medical center. She had all the job requirements: a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, experience in the field, and a diplomatic and clear communication style.

Brenda found some useful tips online to help her over the hump of speaking up for herself and pointing out her credentials, which should put her in a favorable position for the salary she wanted.

You can apply the same, regardless of the job you’re looking for. (more…)

Posted February 09, 2015 by

Questions you can ask employers during a job interview

Man and woman - a job interview or business meeting. Male student came to the office to get a job. HR Manager conducts the first interview. Agree on. Discuss the possibilities of business cooperation.

Man and woman – a job interview or business meeting. Male student came to the office to get a job. HR Manager conducts the first interview. Agree on. Discuss the possibilities of business cooperation. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Job interviews tend to change for the better. They no longer resemble a sort of specific oral exam during which you just answer questions and solve quizzes. Instead, they look like a conversation of two equal partners. Career experts agree that interviewees who choose to ask thoughtful questions seem to stand out from the pack and, consequently, have better chances of landing a job. What questions should you ask to get the competitive edge? Take a look at our suggestions. (more…)

Posted November 04, 2014 by

5 Tips For Writing An Amazing Resume

Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney, President of CareerJimmy

There are resumes that do the job. They’re functional, neat, and clearly written––similar to those that cross a hiring manager’s desk every day of the year.

And there are resumes that get the job interview––the one that can lead you to the job you want in the location you want, doing the kind of work you want to do. That’s the resume to write the first time. Don’t waste your energy trying to figure out on your own the best thing to say and the way in which to say it. Study examples on the Internet and see which ones express your personality and style. Then use them as guides for writing your own. And be sure to include the information in the following five tips as you write a resume that gets the interview: (more…)

Posted October 01, 2014 by

How to write an effective cover letter

Cover letter corkboard word concept with great terms such as hr, resume, attention and more

Cover letter corkboard word concept with great terms such as hr, resume, attention and more. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Usually, the cover letter is the first opportunity you have to impress the prospective employer and secure an interview, but not getting the job. The letter explains why the company should consider your CV. It is a reflection of your ability to communicate in writing, because by this you “speak” to the person who is recruiting. (more…)

Posted September 15, 2014 by

Are You a Recent Graduate Searching for Jobs? Keep in Touch with Contacts on the Rise

As a recent graduate searching for jobs, you never know who might be able to help you now but also in the future.  The following post shares why you should keep in touch with those contacts who are working their way up in their careers.

By Andrew Sobel, Big 4 Guest Blogger A client of mine was promoted to a very senior position in a large, Fortune-100 company. She had been the deputy in her area, and was now at the top. She told me that the day her promotion was announced in the newspapers, she got dozens of calls from

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Posted August 20, 2014 by

Recent Graduate, Are You Applying for Jobs? It’s about Quality Not Speed

If you’re a recent graduate applying for jobs, be sure that you focus more on the quality of your applications rather than how fast you submit them.  Learn more in the following post.

A new job posting goes up. We feel the need to apply, right now! There’s often a balance of both excitement and panic when I talk to a client living this scenario. They’re eager to apply to what seems like a really great opportunity, while at the same time, they realize their resume is

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