• 10 most tricky HR questions for students

    July 16, 2016 by
    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.

     

  • Taking onboarding to the next level

    June 09, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Congratulations! You’ve landed your dream job – or at least the job that now represents a stepping stone on the path to that dream job. Either way, a new experience is on the horizon.

    All companies, regardless of size, have an onboarding process. The onboarding process welcomes new employees to the organization. Some companies formalize the process and run it through a distinct human resources department. Others may have a more informal process that connects new employees with a more seasoned professional to help you learn the ropes.

    Regardless of which process you encounter, making the most of your onboarding experience is a great way to begin your new career.

    Since you never have a second chance to make the first impression, take the bull by the horn and rock your onboarding experience.

    Be Punctual

    This should go without saying, but show up on time – early even – when starting a new job. Showing up on time shows that you respect your colleagues’ time. They are busy professionals, and the onboarding process may be tightly scheduled in among a number of competing priorities.

    If you’re unfamiliar with the area, take a dry run at locating the office in normal traffic to ensure you know the route. Above all, leave extra time for unexpected events.

    Be Personable

    A smile goes a long way when meeting new people for the first time. Dust off your most social persona and make it available during the onboarding process. Find out what you can about the company culture, important dates to consider, and what it takes to be a successful employee with your new employer.

    Be Proactive

    Many companies will assign workplace mentors to new hires. Mentors generally serve as someone who can help you get established, answer routine questions as you get settled, or direct you to the appropriate resources to find the correct assistance. If the mentoring program is not defined, ask your contact if they can recommend a senior employee and make the connection. Mentors are likely extremely busy, so reach out to a workplace mentor and set up a lunch meeting. Use that downtime to establish a relationship, seek advice, or learn more about the company’s culture or advancement prospects.

    Be Pensive

    Ask questions. Use the onboarding process to find out as much as you can about the new company, your new positions, and your new coworkers. If applicable, find out as much as you can about expectations for someone in your position. Learn as much as you can about training options available. Connect with any social or philanthropic organizations sponsored by your new company to connect with other employees and begin building your network.

    Be Productive

    While you were hired for a specific position, the onboarding process may expose you to a wide range of functions and opportunities available in the company. Gather as much information as you can. Look for opportunities to make your mark – even on your first day. If there are processes that can be improved or angles which can be exploited for cost savings or revenue generation, find out who would be the best person to submit those suggestions moving forward. Innovative ideas and process improvement strategies are valuable skills to help you stand out.

    For more onboarding tips, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    Guest writer Vera Marie Reed is a freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.

  • 6 apps for college students

    April 16, 2016 by

    Long gone are the days of card catalogs, Trapper Keepers, and other broken systems our parents had to wrestle with in order to do A-grade productive work. We are a generation of cyborgs forever enhanced by technology such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and the apps these machines enable.

    LD prod/Shutterstock.com

    LD prod/Shutterstock.com

    Okay, so maybe calling us a generation of cyborgs is a bit of a stretch, but to be successful a system is necessary. Thankfully many of us are lucky enough to take advantage of a plethora of great applications that make having a system a little simpler which makes being a student a little more manageable and a little less stressful.

    Task Management is basically what life boils down to once you’re on your own and you don’t have mom and dad forcing study habits on you and trying to instill within you the virtues of priority. This is why it is imperative that you replace your parents with a task management app. My personal choice is Todoist. Todoist is a minimalist to-do-list app with all the features needed to keep tabs on what needs to get done and when. The app features natural language dictation, which basically means that instead of having to click through various tabs and settings to create a task, just type, “Algebra homework Thursday at five pm” and Todoist will create a task titled, “Algebra Homework” and remind you to do it at five-o’clock Thursday night. Todoist is available on almost any platform for free and is easily the most intuitively designed to-do application there is. There are, however, many other options like Wunderlist or Anydo if Todoist isn’t right for you.

    A Calendar App like a to-do app is there to help you prioritize what you need to be doing and when and where you need to be doing it. However, instead of making lists of each individual task, a good calendar app allows you to quickly block out sections of time to plan out your day and easily view that day so it can be kept up with. The app I use is called Fantastical which also has natural language dictation like Todoist. Fantastical also syncs seamlessly with your Google Calendar, your iCloud Calendar, and any other calendar you might be tied into.

    However, in spite of Fantastical’s inclusion in my productivity system, it is not the calendar I would recommend. Instead consider Sunrise Calendar. Sunrise Calendar has basically all of the same functionality as Fantastical, but it’s free and available cross-platform whereas Fantastical has a hefty price tag of $4.99 and is available on both IOS and in the Mac App Store.

    Note Taking apps are a no-brainer. Try as you might, you are not going to do well in any lecture based class if you can’t take notes. App developers know this, and that is why there are too many note taking apps to count. Fortunately one sticks out above the rest, and that is Evernote. Evernote is the note taking app for any project really. The app finds use well out of college to collect recipes, shopping receipts, bank statements and some even use it as a word processor. Evernote takes any kind of note from text notes to audio recordings. Once a note is taken you can organize them all by notebooks or by tags or by ways I haven’t even tried yet. Evernote is free to use, very powerful, and accessible on just about any device. If you don’t like Evernote, you can try Microsoft’s OneNote which ties in nicely with the Microsoft ecosystem if that’s your thing. You could also just use Microsoft Word or Google Docs, but Evernote is a cut above the rest in my opinion.

    File Storage apps for the most part go unnoticed and just sit there on your computer screen or tucked away into a folder on your phone, but they are far more useful than we give them credit for. Day one at college you are going to receive about a thousand syllabi. Do yourself a favor;  tuck all the hard copies away into a folder where you can find them later for back up. Then ask your professors to send you the syllabi digitally and save them all to an app like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Onedrive. This way you will always be able to access them and tweak them to accommodate snow days or when your professor moves a test around. It doesn’t really matter which of these apps you decide to use; just pick whichever one offers the most free storage possible.

    Finally, in a category all their own are Miscellaneous apps. These are the apps that don’t really fit in any of the other categories but are still hugely helpful. First is Flux. Flux is actually a piece of software you can download onto your computer that will change the type of light your computer emits throughout different times of the day. At night Flux adjusts your computer screen to stop using blue light which can mess with your sleep patterns and switches to a less disruptive red light. The change on the screen is subtle, but when you have to pull an all-nighter and need to get a few hours of sleep, you’ll be happy to start the day feeling a little more refreshed than you otherwise would have.

    Next is an app I use almost every day called Pocket. Pocket is a digital “pocket” where you can tuck things into to be viewed later. Reading an interesting article but have class in ten minutes? Save it to Pocket. Your roommate sent you a funny fail compilation, but you have a paper to write? Save it to Pocket. Pocket also has an article view function that takes the articles you save and converts them to plain text while removing advertisements and page-fluff. Finally an app that automates your life! If This Then That or IFTTT for short lets you create little recipes that help eliminate pesky tasks. One example is If I tag an article in Pocket “#research” Then save it to my research paper notebook in Evernote. I could go on and on, but for the sake of article length just download these apps, give them a whirl, and thank me later.

    Billy Stidham, guest writer

    Billy Stidham, guest writer

    I coasted through high school and was never a productive student. I put all my homework off until the last minute if I even did it at all. However, during my senior year, I started to take my grades and the idea of college seriously. Once I got to college I lacked basic study habits. I had no system, but now these apps have turned me – a super procrastinator – into a cyborg of proficiency.

    Billy Stidham is a writer and blogger. Hoping to earn a living by writing, Billy is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. You can follow Billy on Twitter @I_R_Beast  and on Linkedin.

  • 5 Common Myths about College Life

    August 18, 2015 by
    myths word concept

    MYTHS word concept. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    If you are going to start college then congratulations because you are going to start a new chapter of your life and you have to make sure that you will make the most out of it. The moment that you get accepted into the college of your choice, you cannot help but feel euphoria because it seems surreal.

    There is a chance that you have already heard a lot of things about college life and you cannot help but feel a bit scared because you feel that you already know what you want to expect. Are you sure that everything that you have heard is true? What if some of the things that you have learned are just myths? Continue Reading

  • Leadership Techniques for the Technology-driven Business World

    August 10, 2015 by
    Business, technology, internet and networking concept - businessman pressing button on virtual screens

    Business, technology, internet and networking concept – businessman pressing button on virtual screens. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Whether you’re supervising a project team from the comfort of home or working closely with an overseas office, new virtual collaboration tools have rendered the traditional management environment obsolete, allowing teams to coordinate from anywhere in the world. However, as the limitations previously imposed by geography quickly dwindle, a new host of challenges has arisen for today’s business leaders.

    Even the iconic image of team members gathered for a meeting around a conference room table has become a thing of the past. Instead, digital meeting services like join.me enable users to work together on a single project from wherever they happen to be, bringing the office to them. Establishing clear priorities and expectations can be difficult, for some organizations, without the benefit of face-to-face, in-person interaction, not to mention brainstorming and other creative tasks. Continue Reading

  • Work Smart: Tips for Students to Get More out of Their Day

    June 17, 2015 by
    Female student reading a book for finding information. Young woman sitting at table doing assignments in university library.

    Female student reading a book for finding information. Young woman sitting at table doing assignments in university library. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Are you working hard in class, racing to your job after school and trying to make it to an extracurricular activity during the week? Working while going to school full time means you have to work smart. Organize your time to squeeze in extra schoolwork between classes, work and fun. Here are few tips to maximize your time: Continue Reading

  • How important is time management for students?

    April 29, 2015 by
    Boris Dzhingarov 2

    Boris Dzhingarov

    We all know the college carefree life when every adult problem seems so distant and far way that we don’t even care about it. A student’s life is all about discovering and experimenting and finally realizing what makes you happy (if you are lucky). So, is it important to think about life, serious issues, job skills and other “serious” stuff during the college years or should you try to have the best time of your life and leave all these things after your graduate? Continue Reading

  • 10 Ways to Be More Productive as an Entrepreneur

    April 02, 2015 by
    Boris Dzhingarov 2

    Boris Dzhingarov

    If you’ve ever been inspired by Ehsan Bayat’s presentations, you may be wondering how you can make a difference, too. When it comes to running a small business or launching a new idea, productivity is key. Here are a few must-know productivity tips that successful entrepreneurs follow. Continue Reading

  • Top 10 Internship Tips

    February 03, 2015 by
    Happy medical intern doctor writing on clipboard

    Happy medical intern doctor writing on clipboard. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Most companies seek interns who are motivated and determined. About 55% of interns who successfully performed their duties are offered a full-time position. In this article we will go through top 10 internship tips. Continue Reading

  • The Nature of Man and Finding the Key to Success

    December 08, 2014 by
    Ken Sundheim

    Ken Sundheim, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at KAS Placement Recruiting

    Man has two natures. The first is to advance, while the second is to pull back in fear. Whichever we choose to cultivate determines who we are and ultimately, who we become.

    Luckily, with the right kind of training, every individual could be a success. Be mindful that it is not in your best interest to wait and expect others to assist you on the road there.

    Rather, achievement and career advancement is the culmination of gaining self­-will, setting firm resolutions and making a commitment to conquer your weakness and bad habits. Continue Reading