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‘Interviews’ Category

  1. 5 Interview questions that should be asked, but aren’t

    November 25, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I’ve recently found myself on ‘that’ side of the table.  You know the one.  The side where you sit alone and face a panel of inquisitors who hold crisp, white sheets of paper with questions that require you to summarize your career in two minute intervals.

    It’s been over 10 years since I’ve had to go through the interview process and I can confidently say the interview questions I’ve been asked are nearly the same ones I answered 10 years ago.

    Questions like:

    – ‘Tell me/us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation and how did you handle it?’

    -‘What has been your biggest success?’

    – ‘Have you worked with a difficult coworker? How did you you manage your relationship while working with them?’

    The last one makes me want to grin and shout out, ‘Nope.  In 16 years, I’ve never worked with a single person I didn’t like!  Next question, please.’

    These questions have become so standardized that if you Google, ‘interview questions’ you’ll find hundreds of sites offering you the latest, greatest way to answer THE interview question(s) that have been around for 15-20 years.  To put that into perspective, August marked the 10th year since Google’s initial public offering (IPO).  

    Driving home from a recent interview, I wondered why we continue to recycle the same, stale questions; why we are using questions that predate the Blackberry or even the wide use of cellular phones.  Perhaps it’s a human resources best practice thing; perhaps these questions are really informative for some people, or perhaps it’s simply because we have too many emails, too many phone calls, too many everything that precludes us from rethinking the whole interview process.  So it gets pushed off.

    Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … right?

    Well, it’s broke.

    Interviews are meant to act as the gatekeepers to your organization.  If the art, and importance, of the interview is going to remain a useful tool, then questions need to be updated for the 21st Century.  Here’s an example of what I mean: during the numerous interviews I’ve been on, not once have I been asked about my knowledge of social media and how I used it for a successful campaign (which is necessary for almost every field these days).  I was, however, asked about the jobs I held in the early aughts.

    With these experiences in mind, I thought I’d take a stab at five questions that I feel interviewers should be asking, but aren’t:

    1. Over the last few years social media has rapidly changed.  How have these changes impacted your work?
    2. Which would you rather have, XX work from home days or an extra week of vacation.  Why?
    3. Where do you see our industry going in 2-3 years?  How are you preparing for those changes?
    4. Where do see a need for improvement in our organization?
    5. What’s the next step in technology and how do you think we can get in front of it now?

    You’ll notice all of these questions focus on today’s technological world and how they are working with/in it.  The questions are also diverse enough to get a better understanding of the interviewee.  Take the work from home question.  The answer may indicate better productivity and less stress on an employee if they work from home, or someone may want an extra week of vacation to take a longer break from work to recharge.  See how easy and fun this is!

    Now, like all interviews, it’s time to wrap things up and ask you if you have any questions.  In this case, what questions do you think employers should be asking their recruits?  Is there a particularly painful question you’ve been asked that you’d like to share?

     


  2. Why can’t companies treat candidates with respect? [An Anonymous Interview Story]

    April 17, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I love hearing about the experiences people have with unemployment and job searching. I couldn’t wait to share this with you and I especially love what happens in the end. How often can I say that? The rest of this post was written by an anonymous submitter.

    I’ve been job hunting for a few months. (I stepped away from a job that just wasn’t a fit – not normally the best idea, I know, but my husband was supportive and it was the right thing in this case.)

    I’ve been selectively applying to senior administrative jobs & while I’ve had a few nibbles (phone screens, a couple of interviews) nothing has been a real fit. Then I got a call from a fairly large company. The recruiter said they’d had trouble finding the right fit as the candidates so far just didn’t seem to ‘get it’ in terms of the importance of the EA position. (I’m an EA who had other careers previously – teaching, recruiting – and I really enjoy supporting senior executives. I know the EA role is crucial.)

    He said on paper I was a fit and liked my phone input, so he set me up to phone screen with 3 of the EAs at their HQ in San Jose. He said only if these 3 wanted to move me forward would I meet my actual supervisor (VP, Federal Sales and head of the office in the town where I live).

    The phone screens went well. I learned a lot from each EA – they are all long term employees and all 3 seemed to have a similar outlook on the EA position…it’s a partnership. With that, I was asked to visit the local office and since the VP was traveling, I would first meet with 2 of his direct reports. (I would be supporting them, too, so it made sense and I was glad to do it.)

    Both men took the entire hour allotted and each made comments regarding how my esteem for the EA position fit with what they needed. They cited the challenges they had with the previous admin – specifically an issue with being unreliable. (I was able to assure them reliability is one of my strengths and my references will agree.)

    I felt thoroughly grilled after these meetings, but also excited since it seemed like a great fit – they wanted what I was bringing and offering me what I’m looking for.

    I was scheduled to meet with the VP on his first day back in town.
    He also took the entire hour and we talked in detail about what the job requires, as well as possible start dates and projects he would want me to manage. I felt good about the meeting and we wrapped with him saying he would circle back to those I’d already spoken with and they would make a decision shortly. (I followed up with an e-mail to the recruiter – with whom I’d been chatting all along – to give my input on the meeting and to say that I would wait to hear from him regarding next steps.)

    Then, nothing.

    Not a reply from the recruiter acknowledging my last note; not a phone call for closure after they took the time to put me through seven interviews (4 phone screens and 3 meetings); not even a computer generated e-mail to say ‘thanks, but no thanks…’

    Clearly the VP felt it wasn’t a fit. (The others wouldn’t have taken up his time if they didn’t think it was.) I’m reminding myself I wouldn’t want to work for a company that handles things this way, but I’m angry that they put me through the ringer with nothing to show for it. (Guess I can say they gave me lots of interview practice.)

    Since then I’ve had an interview with another local company. It would be a steady, productive job – just not the challenging, fast paced position the other would have been. I’ll take it if I get the offer since the pay is similar and I enjoy the work.

    Update, About One Month Later:

    There’s a twist to the end…

    When they finally called they said the VP had liked me, but insisted they find one more candidate to interview before making a decision. The recruiter said they had been unable to come up with another candidate that matched my skills on paper, so until they could, he still would not make an offer. They asked if I could wait. I happily said, “No, thanks.”
    I just received an offer from a great local company – this all worked out for the best. They strung me along, but really did me a favor.


  3. Company with Bullet Proof Windows: A Bad Interview

    March 13, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    dangerous, bad interview

    I won’t take any credit for this bad interview, actually. This was an interview described to me by my mom who was interviewing for a job at a law office.

    dangerous, bad interview,

    Well, when she finally found the building, she walked into the office and found bullet proof windows surrounding the reception desk. Needless to stay, she didn’t stick around to see what would go down in this interview.

    Shouldn’t there be a warning and bullet proof vests provided if there is potential for danger in an interview?

    I think if your company has gotten to the point that you need to worry about bullets flying through, you need to rethink your business plan.


  4. Interview Questions I Wished I Asked (And One I Wished They Answered Honestly)

    March 12, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    comics-dilbert-job-interview-865505

    I’ve been at my job for over a year now and while it may sound like I’m oversimplifying a bit, all I do during the day is data entry. I can’t imagine much changing either – at least not any time soon.

    The nice thing about having a job that I don’t like is that it sharpens the job qualities I am looking for. The thing is when I first interviewed for this job, there are certain interview questions I wished I had asked based on the values that I know mean more to me than they ever had before.

    Here’s a couple of questions –

    1) Is there any variety to my job duties?

    I would have learned that, no, there isn’t any variety to my job duties at present. I wished I had asked this because at this point, I am very aware of how much I need variety to my day. Montonous work makes me want to run screaming from the building.

    2) What is the management style of the department?

    This would have been a fantastic question because when I interviewed I was in front of three levels of management. Their answers would have brought out the true colors of the micromanaging quality of some and the “invisible” “non-management” style of others. This has made for a toxic, untrustworthy work environment.

    If I had asked those questions, I think I would have a unique perspective on the work environment that would have helped me figure out whether I really wanted to take the job or not.

    The question I wished had been answered honestly was why the job was available. They told me the reason was someone moved onto another job. The truth is the person I would have been helping was difficult and had gone through three people AFTER that person had left.

    What questions do you ask during interviews? Are there questions you wish you COULD ask but don’t?

     


  5. In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique. [The Nightmare Resume Question]

    January 12, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique. Try to be creative and say something that will catch our eye!

    Has anyone else gotten this question on online resumes?

    150 characters or less gets me in the Twitter frame of mind and that is never good. “Try to be creative” and “say something that will catch our eye” makes my brain start to bleed out my nose.

    I have no clue on what to say and neither does anyone else, because when I google this question, no one else knows what to say either.

    So, let’s use my last few tweets to see if that helps anyone –

    I don’t stand a chance, do I?

    What would you say in 150 characters or less?

    Edit:

    After realizing how many people are searching for this, I decided to do a little digging and ask a few HR professionals about this question. Excluding the one who told me, “I have no idea!” I found a couple of answers that may help:

    1) “Depends on what the company culture is, for us, something fun and random. For other companies, maybe something professional and goal orientated. Sorry, I know “it depends” is not a great answer!”

    2) “Elevator pitch!

    Do you have a concise mission statement?

    For example,
    ‘I help people in transition. They begin by understanding their true nature and creating a personal brand.'”

    I hope this helps people who have stumbled upon this blog post for an answer! If I find out more tips, I’ll post them!


  6. You Didn’t Get the Job (But I Won’t Tell, Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah)

    January 9, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Recently my mom interviewed at a job and you know what? They never told her whether or not they hired anyone. This has happened to me in the past and once I didn’t hear until two months later.  I remember I had to email the human resources woman a total of five times (this was well after the interview and I assumed that if a month has gone by without word that I didn’t get it; that doesn’t mean, I didn’t want to know for sure).

    Weirdest yet, the same exact thing happened to my brother recently.

    What is wrong with companies lately that they just won’t tell you the results?

    While none of us actually like getting that rejection email, why is the practice of letting applicants know either way going out of style? What are these potential employers trying to avoid?


  7. “Why Don’t I Call Back When You’re More Prepared?” – An Interview Rant

    August 5, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Right before I left for the job interview I have this afternoon, I heard from a former coworker who told me her company was hiring. She said to pass along my resume and she would forward it to the human resources person. I did and didn’t think anything of it. While I would love the job I am interviewing for today, nothing is a sure thing and it would soften the blow of not getting the job, if I had a back up plan.

    Well this morning, I get a call and I pick it up and its the human resources manager from the company my coworker is employed.

    He asks what type of job I’m looking for and asks details about the job I’m currently at. All of this is very spontaneous as I had no idea he wanted to speak with me at all.

    Well, we get to the questions, “What do you know about our company? What do you know about this job? Have you read the job description?”

    First of all, I had no idea there was a job posting at all. My coworker just said for me to send over my resume and that’s that. And I knew a little bit about the company, but when asked on the spot – I was unprepared as I was not forewarned for this spontaneous phone interview – I blanked and took a stab at what I thought they did (I did get close, but close only counts in horseshoes…or something).

    It didn’t take long for the interview to die on the vine. I got the comment, “Why don’t I call back when you’re more prepared?” As if I should have been more prepared for this spontaneous call. Wouldn’t it have been better to send an email to me this morning saying, “You’re coworker sent me your resume. Why don’t you take a look at the job description and see if this would be a good fit? I’d love to set up a time to speak with you.”

    I guess that wouldn’t have been a good idea. I mean, why try to make things easier on my part?

    I will try to spit out the cynical venom I can still taste on the tip of my tongue before my interview today, but it’s rough. Maybe I’ll win the lottery tonight.


  8. I Have a Job Interview Today!

    August 5, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    HOPE

    Ladies and gentleman…

    I have a job interview today! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but I am proud to announce that I have a job interview this afternoon for a social networking job. This job is perfect for me and I have supposedly already impressed the CEO with my writing samples. It’s out of state too, which is awesome because I don’t like where I live.

    It’s been a stressful weekend, though, I’ve messed up three pots of coffee this morning, broke one hotel coffee pot already and finally after an hour of attempting, I finally have one cup of decent coffee in me.

    I’m extremely nervous and I’m really hoping I get this job.

    Cross your fingers everyone!


  9. The Age Old Interview Question – Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

    March 12, 2013 by Lady Unemployed


    Sorry for the long title everyone.

    As you may or may not know, today was day one of two phone interviews I have scheduled this week. I snuck away for my half hour lunch break and sat in front of a fairly busy bakery near my job to conduct today’s interview.

    One question the woman on the phone asked stopped me in my tracks. It single handedly made me wonder if I really wanted the job.

    The question?

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Five years ago, I would have said that I wanted to have graduated from college (done!) and have a start on my career (ummm…). I also not-so-secretly would have thought I wanted to be published by now (not yet, sigh).

    Where do I see myself five years from now?

    By then, I’ll be 31. Career-wise, I would like to think I am pursuing or about to pursue my Masters in Creative Writing. I also wish to be published by then, of course.

    Yet, this is an interview and the answer I said above screams flight risk, so instead I tell her…

    …um….

    ….hang on a second I almost had it….

    I sputtered something to her that was vague enough to make her happy with my answer. Yet, after I got off the phone and walked back to my office building, I knew one thing –

    I didn’t see a future for myself at this job. Not with the type of position and company it is.

    The thing about this question is that I’ve always assumed employers ask it because they want to hear themselves in your future. In reality, I think this question is asked so you can see yourself in their future.

    While I’m struggling with my present job, I do see a future there. It isn’t an easy one and I can guarantee deeper scowl wrinkles will appear on my forehead if I stay there much longer. But it does give me a career path to follow.

    As for the job I interviewed with today, I am certain I won’t go on the in person interview. I am lucky in that I’m not blinded by the panic of joblessness, so I can be a little picky here.

    It does leave me to wonder though…

    Considering my own five year career ideal for myself…do I see myself in any employer’s future? I’m fairly certain none of them will be good enough for me. Not with considering what I really want to do.

    But where does that leave me?

    Now tell me – where do you see yourself in five years?


  10. I May Be Lady EMployed After All!

    July 31, 2012 by Lady Unemployed

    Happy 042I’m totally happy! Just like this![/caption]

    I have some pretty exciting news!

    In case you didn’t hear, I had an interview last Wednesday. The interview went great and actually went better than any interview I’ve had so far. It’s for a fantastic job that I can’t believe I might get (entry level marketing…EXACTLY what I’ve been hoping for).

    And guess what??

    I received an email from them yesterday asking for my references!! I’m so excited!!

    So we’ll see where this goes. I’m pretty sure it’s in the bag unless one of my references says something really awful. Here’s hoping THAT won’t happen.

    On another note I received another blog award! It’s from the blog Big A little a and it’s called the Sunshine Award! I am so excited! Happiness all around everyone!


    Here are the rules:

    1) Include this award logo in either your acceptance post or somewhere in your acceptance. CHECK

    2) Answer 10 questions about yourself. CHECK:

    1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

    Probably somewhere along the coast. If I could, by the beach. I don’t care if it’s a big or small town. If I am by the ocean, I’m a happy girl.

    2.) If you could vacation anywhere, where would you go?

    Ummm, see above.

    3.) What’s your favorite part of blogging?

    Being able to share my experiences and read about the experiences of others. It is BEYOND rewarding.

    4.) Coffee or hot chocolate?

    Coffee!!! Love it day or night.

    5.) What kind of coffee do you drink? What do you put in it?

    I love dark roast coffee and I always add cream and sugar.

    6.) What do you do to relax?

    Relax? Huh? What’s that? Hee Hee, kidding, sort of! Heh heh. Watching television helps me wind down.

    7.) How do you keep calm in a very stressful situation?

    Talking it through with people close to me! I’ve also been known to talk the ear off of the Baristas at Starbucks.

    8.) Beautiful skies or clear skies with stars?

    Clear skies with stars – it’s cooler at night! And I’m a night owl, so that works for me.

    9.) Dogs, cats or fish?

    I love dogs! I don’t own one but I would love to one day. I just don’t get the appeal of fish as pets.

    10.) Be honest, which last name do you like more, maiden or married?

    Since I’m single, I find this question a tad cruel. Ha ha…but I don’t like my (real life) last name, so unless my future husband has a last name that rhymes with anything in the genital area or a name that reminds me of a bodily function, I’m certain I’ll like his better.

    3) Pass the award onto 10-12 deserving bloggers.

    Okay I’m doing the cop out response to this and rewarding my sunshine award to everyone who stops by my blog! Because all my readers give me sunshine and all of you deserve some love today!

    4) Add a link on your post to all the talented winners and comment on their page to let them know they’ve deemed amazing.

    Ummm…check!

    5Thank the brilliant soul that recognized your talent and bestowed this wonderful award on you…and of course link back to them as well!

    Check and check!

    What a great week so far!!

    I will be sure to let you know how everything plays out with this hopeful new job!