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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 17, 2016 by

2 ways to build a professional network in college

College students hanging around campus photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Going to college not only gives you the opportunity to further your education but also to meet new people. As you are pursuing your college degree, focus on making quality contacts. For example, developing relationships with other college students is smart in case you forget a homework assignment or need a study buddy. Those relationships can become friendships, and when it’s time to find an internship or an entry-level job, your new friends may know someone in their networks who can help you.

College is also a great opportunity to build a professional network. Getting to know other college students, and faculty and staff helps you establish relationships that can be beneficial for your job search. Bruce Harpham, Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com, offers two tips for building a professional network in college.

1-Read the alumni newsletter or magazine, and contact graduates you read about. Many colleges have a magazine or newsletter that shares alumni news. Practice reading the publication and contact graduates you read about to ask about their businesses and careers. For example, the Ohio State Alumni magazine is published six times per year. Take two hours on a quiet afternoon to read previous issues.

2-Make the most of campus events. Many colleges and universities invite authors, business leaders, and others to visit and give presentations. Make the most of these events by sitting in the front row (or as close as you can get), taking notes, and then asking a question during the Q&A session. This is a great way to make connections.”

Want more advice about how to build your professional network? Visit the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Bruce Harpham, Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com

Bruce Harpham, Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com

Bruce Harpham is the Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com, a career development resource, and freelance writer. Bruce’s writing has appeared in CIO, InfoWorld, CSO, ProjectManagement.com, and other publications. Bruce lives in Toronto, Canada.

Posted June 09, 2015 by

Looking for Your Creativity? Here is How to Find It

In a world where people value someone or something unique, creativity is a plus.  However, everyone may not exactly thrive in this area.  Believe it or not, though, your creativity does exist.  It is just a matter of understanding how to find it.  So, whether you want to do better at work or improve your personal life, the following infographic has tips to get your creative juices going. (more…)

Posted December 16, 2014 by

What Gift Do You Have?

We all have a job to do, a self to become. The purpose of life is to discover your calling. The meaning of life is to answer that call. Pick up and pay it forward. You can only give what you got, but you must know what you have first.

This holiday, the greatest gift you can give is yourself. In the context of your career, the only work worth doing comes from a place of enjoyment and expertise. You can only be great at that one thing you’ll sacrifice everything to achieve. (more…)

Posted September 10, 2014 by

Interviewing for an Entry Level Job? Ask Your Interviewer These 5 Questions

When interviewing for an entry level job, a candidate should consider asking these five questions in the following post.

Some of the best advice ever shared among job seekers: when in a job interview, interview the employer right back. After all, you’re the one who is potentially going to fill this position. You need to know if this job at this company is a good fit for you, right?

Continued:

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Posted July 17, 2014 by

One Question Recruiters Wouldn’t Mind You Asking After a Job Interview

Job seekers, once you have finished an interview, be sure to ask one question that recruiters would appreciate.  Find out what it is in the following post.

One of the most common pieces of advice I’ve heard from recruiters and advisers: at the end of an interview, candidates should ask about any concerns or reservations the interviewers might have about hiring them, like this: “After our conversation today, what concerns do you have about my ability to this

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Posted July 08, 2014 by

Interviewing for Jobs, College Graduates? 3 Situations You Might Face and How to Respond

There is a chance that college graduates interviewing for jobs might face three situations.  Learn what they are and how to respond to them in the following post.

Once the interview is over and you’ve landed the job, it’s smooth sailing from here on out, right? Not exactly. If your job includes communicating with clients and closing deals, you’ll have to go through the job interview process over and over again. Luckily, you can translate the skills that got you in the door to help your sales

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Posted June 10, 2014 by

You Should Be Using This Job Interview Technique

Anna Crowe

Anna Crowe

Every recent college grad is looking to bring home the bacon, but first you need a strategy for a winning job interview. If you’re looking to land your first big gig, you need to approach each interview with a game plan and fearlessness.

You need to come armed and ready with a powerful first impression, but how? It’s simple: tell your story.

Here are my tips for narrating the perfect story: (more…)

Posted May 23, 2014 by

Employers, Interviewing Candidates for Recent Graduate Jobs? 3 Strategies to Find the Best Ones

When interviewing candidates for recent graduate jobs, how can employers find the best ones?  Try these three strategies in the following post.

Shiny resumes are scary. That carefully curated one-pager freaks me out. Credentials really mean nothing. For better or worse, the resume is still the main currency for getting a job. It’s a quick way to get a baseline overview of past experiences and relevant skills. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you can extract anything past that

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Posted May 12, 2014 by

Interviewing for Recent College Graduate Jobs? Keep These Tips in Mind

When preparing to interview for recent college graduate jobs, keep these tips in mind found in the following post.

Your interview is a few hours away, and you’re as nervous and jumpy as a human espresso bean (which makes sense, considering how much coffee you’ve gulped down this morning). Most of your thoughts are fears: What if you’re late? What if you say the wrong thing? What if your handshake isn’t strong

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