Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Do's and Do Not's of a Job Interview - based on personal experience!

After 3 1/2 years in the staffing industry, as well as 2 years of interviewing teachers in a child care setting, I have been able to compile a list of my favorite and comical errors in my interviews.

Do : Be on time. 10 minutes early is on time, on time is late.
Do Not : Arrive more than 15 minutes early. Chances are we are in another interview, on a conference call, or just plain busy. Be proactive, but if you are too early, stop and get some coffee, make a phone call, or hang out in your car for a few minutes.

Do : Dress for the position you want. Professional attire is always best.
Do Not : Wear open toed shoes in December, wear read pumps, or over accessorize. When it comes to professional attire, less is more! Here's some more information -

Do : Answer the questions we ask thoroughly, if the question warrants it.
Do Not : Give us too much information. Sometimes we only want a "yes" or "no" answer. "Can you work the hours required for this position?" - yes or no. Simple, and to the point!

Do : Bring a folder or a notebook to take notes.
Do Not : Bring a folder or notebook with unicorns, sports teams, or any graphics on it, to take notes.

Do : Research our company and ask questions about it, as well as questions about me and my position, successes, and qualifications.
Do Not : Ask about pay rate right off the bat, ask about my personal life, or ask me if there is a job with my company. If there was, I probably would have mentioned it.

Do : turn your cell phone off. If you forget and it rings, politely excuse yourself and turn it off.
Do Not : Check to see who is calling, answer the call and tell them you are in an interview, or go over the top apologizing. We all make mistakes. Leaving the phone in the car can help eliminate this one all together.

I'm sure you can think of a million other do's and do not's, so please, leave a comment!

Interviewing Tips - How to Answer Behavior Based Questions

Behavior based interviewing is very popular right now. It is utilized by HR professionals and recruiters alike. Basically, the concept is that past behavior is a strong indicator of future performance.

Always, always, always be sure to give solid examples when asked to in an interview. One of my favorite questions is "Tell me about a time where there was a conflict between you and a co-worker. What was the situation, and how did you try to resolve the issue?" I often hear "I never have conflict with my co-workers." Be honest - we all get into disagreements, no matter how perfect we are (and we are all perfect, right?). Tell them about the time one of your team members didn't meet their deadline on a project. How about the employee who sat next to you and was so loud on the phone that you had to put an ear plug in your non-phone ear? I'm sure we can all think of a time where we had to confront someone on their behavior and it's effect on the group.

Another great questions is "Describe a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty in order to get the job done." My favorite, and most generic, answer is "I do that all the time." Be specific. If you do it all the time, then you should easily be able to come up with a solid and specific example.

With that said, be prepared for these questions in your interviews. Here is a great website that focuses on all kinds of BBI Questions and what they are really looking for by asking them.

Good luck and happy interviewing!