How to Ace Your Face-to-Face Interview (Show Notes)

The face-to-face interview can be daunting, even frightening for some. Often we have tried and true rituals that help us prepare and get rid of those awful jitters so we can ace the interview.  This past weekend, I covered How to Ace the Face-to-Face Interview on my show, Career Talk with Holly Bunn.  Here are a few highlights from the show.

3 Tips on How to Prepare for the Face-to-Face Interview

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I discussed the basics of preparing for a phone interview in my last blog post, How to Rock Your Phone Interview.  Below are a few additional steps to take for the Face-to-Face interview:

  1. Create at least 3 CAR statements (different than those you used in the Phone interview)  Challenge, Action, Result stories.   These stories describe accomplishments that were problems or situations that you have solved.  Create stories that demonstrate your ability to do the job.  After you’ve written these stories, practice speaking them out loud so that you are comfortable with the story.
  2. Research the company for current events (in the last 24-48 hours) and be prepared to talk about or incorporate them into your interview.
  3. Travel the interview route/directions the day/week before the interview (if you have a local interview).  Google isn’t always right when it comes to directions.  Map the route before the interview by traveling the route.  Try this during your rush hour to help determine your commute.

TOUGH QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

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Tell me About Yourself?

How to Answer:  Talk about your career from the most current position through the last five years.  Include education, certifications, and training relevant to the position. The answer to this question is not an autobiography.  Reiterate the high points on your resume.

How NOT to answer: Do not talk about anything from your personal life, such as how you spend time with your children, volunteer organizations, hobbies, favorite color, food, etc.

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What are your strengths? Why should I hire you?

How to Answer:  Both of these questions will have the same answer. Talk about your top 3 strengths related to the job. You should have identified your strengths prior to the job interview through your preparation. I cover this in my last episode on Rocking Your Phone Interview.  If you’ve been asked any of these questions during the interview, answer the same every time with your top 3 strengths.  The repetition will work in your favor.

How NOT to Answer: Stay away from cliche answers to this question: “I am a great communicator, I am a people person, I am a leader…”   These answers and those alike are vague answers and could be relevant to anyone for any job. You must present strengths related to the job.

17etwzyirhv2djpgWhat are your weaknesses?

How to Answer: Consider that your weakness is the experience that you do not have related to the job.  This is actually an opportunity to learn. Pick a skill/weakness that is possible to overcome and discuss the steps you are taking to tackle it. Example: “I’m not great at Microsoft Project and I am taking a class on Lynda.com to increase my knowledge of this software”

How NOT to Answer: Do not to talk about personality traits and never try to fake out the weakness question by turning a strength into a weakness.  Employers see this from a mile away and are quite turned off by this type of trickery.

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Tell me about a problem you’ve had and how you solved it. 

How to answer: Use one or more of your C-A-R stories to describe the Challenge, Action, and Result (in that order).  You should already have these stories prepared prior to the interview. Remember to be excited when discussing these stories, they are accomplishments. Attitude is everything.

How NOT to answer:  Do not pick stories from your previous or current job that are painful or that paint a negative picture of you. Often a natural reaction to this question is choosing a story that is painful.  Fight this natural urge by preparing CAR stories that are accomplishment based, prior to the interview.

Career-Ladder-Looking-Ahead-MSWhere do you see yourself in five years?

How to Answer:  Talk about career growth as it relates to the job.  Also, be sure your answer is attainable.  Example: I am applying for a management position now and in five years I hope to be a Senior Manager or Director.

How NOT to answer: Do not talk about career growth unrelated to the position which you are applying.  Example: I am applying for this management position now, but in five years I hope to have my own nail salon.  This will signal the employer that you do not plan to stay with the company long term.

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10 Face-to-Face Interview Rules to Follow 

  1. Check bad attitudes at the door – prepare to walk in knowing you have the job, it’s a matter of verifying this.  Positive attitude is everything.  Leave all negativity at the door.  
  2. No cell phones – turn them on silent, not vibrate when you enter the interview.  And please don’t stop an interview to take a call.
  3. Use the bathroom before – don’t disturb the momentum by going to the bathroom.
  4. No bad breath – do not eat garlic, onions, or other smelly foods; do not drink alcohol or coffee; do not smoke before the interview.  Your breath will reek and they will smell you before they hear you.  People will remember how you smelled more than what you said. So, pop a breath mint before you walk in the door for your appointment.
  5. No perfume, cologne, or body spray: you never know who will be allergic to your fragrance or who will find it offensive in smell.  Leave the smell goods at home.
  6. Smile – the energy is transferable.  No scary Stepford wife smile.
  7. Sit up straight in your chair almost in the middle of the chair.  Don’t lean back or slouch – this is often associated with laziness.
  8. Do not bad mouth your former/current employer or manager.
  9. Tell the truth – no lies (not even little white lies), no fudging the facts.  All lies will catch up with you. If you don’t know the answer, say so and get back with them.
  10. Dress the part – colors are psychological. Black – associated with authority, Gray – associated with confidence, Blue – associated with loyalty and corporate environments.  Visit my Pinterest Page on Interview and Office attire to get some ideas on what to wear.

your hiredEnding thought:  The key to acing the face-to face interview is preparation and attitude – be calm and be yourself.  Preparation helps instill confidence so you don’t have to search for answers. Remember, people buy from whom they like – so present your best self during the interview and be optimistic. 

In case you missed the show, click here now to listen to the entire episode: How to Ace Your Face-to-Face Interview 

Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show,Saturdays at 12:30pm ET. Click here: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)

Join the conversion!  Join the LinkedIn Group, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to post your questions and get answers, updates, and information about the show.

Want more job search and career tips? Join my mailing list:http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips

Holly Bunn is a resume writer, career coach, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology.  Her clients have secured interviews with Fortune 100 companies.  She is sought after as a subject matter expert on LinkedIn and has delivered workshops and speeches to hundreds of job seekers.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

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Career Talk with Holly Bunn: You’ve been laid off, now what? (Show Notes)

Thank you for listening to my Blogtalk radio show on what to do once you’ve been laid off.  If you missed the show, listen to the recording here: Career Talk with Holly Bunn: You’ve been laid off, now what? (EP07)

During the show I revealed my best tips for survival once you’ve been laid off or find yourself unemployed.  Below are show notes for your reference.

What To Do As Soon As You Are Laid Off 

DAY 1

  • Don’t panic.  Pray – be grateful for what you have and be thankful for what’s coming.
  • Prepare the family – be honest and tell them what’s going on because life will change a bit, even if temporarily.  This will be a hard transition, if you panic.  The family will panic if you panic.  If you are calm, they are calm.finances
  • Evaluate your finances: your lifestyle may change a little as a result of being laid off or unemployed. Decide what you will temporarily give up, adjust, or change until you land a new job.  Reminder,  the job search can take 2-3 months.

DAY 2

  • File for unemployment – Google unemployment for your state and follow instructions on how to file.  File for SNAP Food stamp benefits – please do not be too proud to ask for these benefits.  In some cases, you are eligible for emergency cash and food benefits for a couple of weeks until your unemployment starts.
  • Formulatkeep-calm-and-i-have-a-plane a job search plan – target the job you want. A focused job search plan creates optimism, hope, and direction – a purpose.  Decide if you want the same job you had or is this an opportunity for a promotion, new career, or time to start your own business.   Listen to Episode 5 of my show archives on creating a job search plan.

DAYS 3 – 5

  • Prepare your tools: Resume, Social Media profiles starting with LinkedIn. Invest this time.  It will pay off in the end.  For more information on preparing your resume, listen to Episode 6 of my show.
  • Prepare your workspace: (listen to Episode 5 for more detail)

WEEKS 2 – 3

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  • Apply for jobs only after you are prepared (Days 1 – 5)
  • Register with temporary agencies and/or headhunters.
  • Become a consultant  or start your own business. 

What NOT To Do As Soon As You Are Laid Off 

  • Do not look for a job on Day 1.  The key to a successful job search is preparation. You will be frustrated and your job search prolonged if you don’t have a plan or the tools in place.
  • Do not go on vacation, make large purchases, or go on a shopping spree with your severance.
  • Do not post, tweet, email, or otherwise broadcast that you are unemployed and looking for opportunities.  You will appear desperate.  Instead, post interesting information that shows you are an expert in your field; keyword optimize your social profile for the job you are targeting.

Social Media Tips

  • Remove or hide anything that would be a challenge for you being a credible candidate.
  • Remove/hide pictures and videos of alcohol, violence, nudity, or other risque photos and videos.
  • Do not use profanity in status updates or references to drugs.
  • Omit spelling and grammar errors on status updates. (Grammarly is free and checks grammar/punctuation of all posts automatically)

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Top Job Search and Employment Resources 

Job boards: www.Monster.com, www.Dice.com

Job search aggregators:
www.Indeed.com   
www.SimplyHired.com
   
www.usajobs.gov

Social Media:
LinkedIn.com (Episode 2)
Twitter, (Episode 3)
Meetup.com for networking

 Unemployment Resources:  
www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp
www.careeronestop.org
www.211.org 

ENDING THOUGHT:

Losing a job is not the end of the world. It’s a change, a new chapter.  Preparation is key.  Remain calm and rest in the fact that you have a plan and it will work if you stick to it.  It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!  Be encouraged.  Your next job is in sight.

Want more job search and career tips? Join my mailing list: http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips

Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show, Saturdays at 12:30pm ET. Click here to learn about the radio show: http://bit.ly/msresumehelpradio

Holly Bunn is a resume writer, career coach, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology.  Her clients have secured interviews with Fortune 100 companies.  She is sought after as a subject matter expert on LinkedIn and has delivered workshops and speeches to hundreds of job seekers.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

You Are What You Achieve! Why You Should Use an Accomplishment Based Resume.

You’ve posted your resume to the big box job boards, applied to corporate websites, blasted your resume to hundreds of sites, and hoped and prayed while waiting for a response.  And nothing happens.  No phone calls, no emails, no text messages from recruiters saying they loved your resume and would like to meet you.  What could be amiss?

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If you used the SAME resume to every job, that could be your problem. Resumes are not one size fits all.  Your resume is more than just a laundry list of previous jobs and responsibilities.  It should be an advertisement of how great you are for specifically for the job you are applying!  Let’s take a look at the specifics of an accomplishment-based resume.

What is Accomplishment-Based Resume?

An accomplishment-based resume focuses on your achievements as they related to the specific job you are applying.  The resume lists the achievements, awards, innovations, inventions, and the ingenious of who you are and the skill set up have to offer.  For example, an Administrative Assistant who makes travel arrangements as part of their job: 

Responsibility-based statement:

“Duties include arranging travel arrangements, scheduling meetings, and answering the switchboard.”

Accomplishment-based statement:

“Saved $175 – $250 per round-trip airline ticket while arranging domestic and international travel for senior executives.”

In this example, the responsibility-based statement says this person performed a job. Boring…..chances are there will not be a phone call.  The Accomplishment-based statement says this person not only performed their job, but saved the company money while doing it.  This speaks of initiative, creativity, essentially creating value.  A recruiter would be more likely call this person to find out more ways this person created value.

How to create an Accomplishment-Based Resume

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As you think about how to create your accomplishment statements for your resume, pull the achievements out of your job responsibilities.  Think about how to change them into accomplishments by asking yourself a few questions:

1. When were you most proud in your previous/current position?

2. What steps did you take to complete the task or fulfill the responsibility?

3. What was the final outcome and who was positively affected by the task or your efforts?

As you answer these questions, you will find yourself with a list of accomplishments, value statements, and skills to add to their resume. Instead of stating job responsibilities, you are illustrating how effective you are in performing job duties.  In essence, painting a complete picture of a professional and not just a worker.

Businesswoman shouting her victory to the worldEnding Thought: Successful professionals do three things for any company they work for and that is: make money, save money/time, and create something new for a company.  Successful job seekers create accomplishment-based resumes and include these three values.  Thus, they get the phone call for an interview.

Good hunting!

Want more job search and career tips? Join my mailing list: http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips


Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show
,Saturdays at 12:30pm ET. Click here to learn more about the show: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)


Join the conversion!
  Join the LinkedIn Group, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to post your career questions, get answers, updates, and information about your job search and the show.

Holly Bunn is a resume writer, career coach, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.