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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 05, 2016 by

4 interview preparation tips

Did you know that employers site lack of preparation as the most common interview mistake made by candidates?

Don’t allow yourself to make this common and costly mistake. Check out this five-minute video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, for four quick tips to help you prepare for upcoming interviews.


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

Before recruiters even select which candidates to interview, they conduct what are referred to as initial screening sessions. These are often conducted over the phone or online. Many recruiters weed out 50% of candidates during the initial screening process. This means you need to prepare not only for your actual interview; you need to also prepare for the screening process! Once you begin applying for jobs, be prepared and expect to receive emails and phone calls which may require you to respond quickly and in a thoughtful, meaningful manner.

1. Be prepared with interview skills.

This sounds like common sense, but many candidates overlook the need to brush up on interview basics: common interview questions, your own selling points, reflecting on your work history and educational background, and thinking about how you’ll respond if asked why you want the particular job (this question will most likely be asked).

If you feel inadequately prepared for your interview and are lacking basic interview skills, don’t panic. Search our blog for articles on the topic you’re curious about and be sure to visit your local career services office for advice, assistance, and to sign up for upcoming mock interviews or interview workshops.

2. Be prepared with questions for the employer about the position and company. Research; do your homework!

This step is vital. If you’re going to skip one of these four steps in the preparation process, do not skip this step. With access to company websites, you really have no excuse to arrive ill-informed about the company you’re interviewing with and to know nothing about the position you’re interviewing for. Nothing irritates a recruiter more than to interview someone who asks the exact same questions the candidate can easily find answers to on the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page of the company website. Don’t be that guy.

3. Be prepared with interview gear.

Print out your resume, reference page, and cover letter on quality resume paper. Bring at least two copies in case you’re interviewed by multiple recruiters/hiring managers. You should carry your documents in a leather-bound binder or neat-looking folder if possible, along with a pen and notepad with your prepared questions. It’s completely acceptable to take a few notes during the interview about main points made by the employer; avoid scribbling or writing so many notes that you avoid eye contact, though.

Be sure to prepare your interview outfit at least one day in advance as well. Dry clean your outfit or wash/iron your clothing to ensure you look your best. Shine/polish your shoes if necessary.

Make transportation arrangements if you do not own your own vehicle.

4. Prepare yourself.

Remember the tips your elementary teacher provided you with during standardized testing? Recall those tips when preparing for job interviews. Get plenty of rest. Don’t stay up all night partying or playing video games the night before interviews. Eat well, but don’t stuff yourself. Drink a little coffee if you like, but not too much. Drink plenty of water. Try to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke or any strong scents or odors before arriving on site for your interview.

Just remember when preparing for interviews that you’re investing precious minutes in your own future; you’re never wasting time.

For more tips to help you land a fabulous entry-level job, follow our blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Posted March 26, 2015 by

Helpful Tips for Recent Grads With Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt concept

Student loan debt concept. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Recent graduates have reasons to be excited about their prospects in life. You are hopefully now on track to start your professional life and career. To get off on the right foot financially, it is definitely in your best interest to keep on top of your student loans because you don’t want to get in default or delinquency of your account. If you default on your student loan, it can have dire consequences for your financial future. Taking the appropriate steps now can make a huge difference down the road for you financially. There are a number of things you can do to make sure your student loans don’t become a problem. (more…)

Posted March 24, 2015 by

Four Ways To Successfully Implement New Technology

Computer technician

Computer technician. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

For most part of the decade earlier, you will see companies who were operating since old times have been successful and pretty strong in their market position with all their clichéd and traditional methods of operating and processes that have been inherited from the leaders of earlier times. These companies, even today will not offer you something new or fascinating as they admit to accept any kind of change in the way they operate. They believe this is their success and they want to keep building on it. For most companies, this might just still work, but the question is for how long? There are many huge organizations who failed to implement the much needed change and faltered down like dominoes in the matter of few months not even years. All that hard work of generations gone down in one wrong decision. (more…)

Posted March 17, 2015 by

Women Salary Negotiation Tips – Never Falter

Man gives girl money

Man gives girl money. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Someone tells you that women don’t earn as much as men do and you get all fumed up ready to place your wrath onto all employers and the paternalistic ways of the society. Agreed, being a woman is difficult and there are many reasons why they may fail to climb up the ladder in their respective careers. It may be because of domestic responsibilities, it may be because of discrimination, or it may be a result of another reason that isn’t in the hands of the working women. However, have you considered why the outcome could be a result of women’s own mistake? (more…)

Posted March 13, 2015 by

12 Tips for Studying Abroad

Sarah Landrum photo

Sarah Landrum

It hits you the moment the plane touches down – you’re in a new country, and an exciting journey is about to begin.

Studying abroad is filled with new places, people and experiences that will teach you things you cannot learn in your homeland. It can also be a bit overwhelming at times, but no worries. Here are 12 tips to help you make the most of your time abroad: (more…)

Posted October 01, 2014 by

11 Tips for Rejoining the Workforce After a Career Break

Heather Dugan

Heather Dugan, Salary.com contributing writer

First of all, congratulations on the new job! Whether you were unemployed and searching for something new, or you took time off to raise kids or take care of loved ones, welcome back to the workforce.

But at the same time, it’s understandable that you’re a little leery about transitioning back to the working world after a prolonged absence. Will people like me? What have I missed? Is the technology different? Can I really meet these new challenges in unfamiliar territory?

Before you start your new chapter, take a minute to read about a few tips for getting back in the flow without breaking stride. (more…)

Posted September 11, 2014 by

Cisco Certification: Smart Strategies for Getting Your CCNA

Information technology concept

Information technology concept. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Cisco Certified Network Associate certification (CCNA) is considered to be one of the most well-regarded associate-level certification credentials in the information technology arena. Obtaining the CCNA adds to the appeal of candidates, especially for small and mid-sized companies that may be unable to meet the salary demands of candidates holding Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) accreditation. The CCNA also provides a solid foundation for the more advanced Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certificate. (more…)

Posted August 20, 2014 by

Looking for Entry Level Jobs? Steps to Securing Them

For people trying to find entry level jobs, it’s important to understand that it takes time, as well as the proper steps.  Learn what you can do to find a new job from an infographic in the following post.

Finding a job has never been more difficult. The days of going to a big job board and clicking the ‘Apply Now’ button until something good happens… are gone. Done right, however, finding a job is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, many successful job seekers today are learning that using a combination of various

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Posted August 20, 2014 by

Grads, Want to be “A” Candidates for Entry Level Jobs? 5 Qualities You Need

College graduates who desire to be “A” candidates for entry level jobs should possess these qualities, according to the following post.

For many companies, hiring the best and the brightest is not an option — it’s an absolute necessity. They are all working from the same playbook: “Only hire ‘A’ players.” Of course! Who doesn’t want people who have the talent, skills and drive to make a company successful? So… how can you

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