Recruiters pride themselves on being able to find the best candidates. But what if they haven’t called ? Here’s how to get their attention.
The job interview is an ordeal that most people face at some stage in our career. But as video starts to take the place of the face-to-face interview, is it easier or harder now to land your dream job?
The job interview as we know it may never have existed if it wasn’t for Thomas Edison.
Frustrated with hiring college graduates who lacked the right knowledge, Edison devised the first employment questionnaire to narrow down his applicant pool.
The survey was thought to be so difficult that in 1921 the New York Times nicknamed it a “Tom Foolery test” and claimed only a “walking encyclopaedia” could succeed.
Questions included: “What is the weight of air in a room 20ft x 30ft x 10ft?” and “Where are condors to be found?”*
But today the trick to making a good impression at interview may be less about what you know and more about how you come across on camera.
Jean Luc, a 30-year-old marketing professional from Greenwich, recently had his first video interview for a role at a web start-up company based in Berlin.
“I had the usual nerves before my interview. But I Skype all the time as my parents live in South Africa so it felt like a much more familiar process. What I found quite disconcerting was when I first turned on the video, my interviewer had his camera turned off.
“It would have been awkward if I turned my camera off and on again so I just went through the interview with a black screen. It was a bit like talking to myself.”
Looking in the wrong place is just one of the common pitfalls of video interviews, says New York-based career coach and blogger Megan Broussard.
“It’s tempting to watch yourself in that little box to make sure your hair isn’t in your face or that you’re not making weird facial expressions. But the truth is that it is very distracting to the other party and can come across as shy and even insincere – two qualities both employers and new hires want to avoid.
“It’s OK to watch the speaker on the screen, but respond by looking into the camera to create the illusion of direct eye-contact, always.”
In the US more than six out of 10 HR managers now use video to interview job applicants, according to a survey.
How to cruise a video interview
- Set the stage: Make the room you’re in a reflection of your work -polished
- A plain backdrop can be less distracting
- Test the lighting: Even if your camera isn’t the highest quality, make sure it flatters your features and the interviewer can see you clearly
- Dress the part: Be as conservative as the organisation – wear smart bottoms in case you have to get up during the interview
- Work the camera: Minimise the video image of you so you’re not tempted to watch yourself
- The employer expects eye contact and anything else will distract him or her
- Do a test run: Call a friend or family member to make sure speakers and microphone are working and they can hear you clearly
Tips from Megan Broussard – aka Professional – a career coach and blogger from New York
Click here to read the original BBC article.
Credit to the original author, Hannah Briggs, over at BBC News.
… and you thought your job was tough!
Info-Graphic Source : toprntobsn.com
Have you heard the one about the penguin in the sombrero? Here are 25 of the most outrageous interview questions!
“If you could get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why ?”
Florida ? C’mon, you’ve always had a thing against Florida since that whole hanging chad business. California ? Alaska ? One of the Dakotas ? Do we really need two Dakotas ?
This is just one of the 25 weird questions that job site Glassdoor.com found in its annual survey of oddball interview questions. The question was asked by a Forrester Research interviewer for a position as a research associate.
Most people walk into a job interview expecting, “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” but the truth is, these crazy questions get asked at all types of companies, from Bank of America to Amazon.com.
“What do you think about when you are alone in your car ? “
That question was asked during an interview for an associate analyst position at Gallup.
How would you answer it ? I suppose “a string of profanity and karaoke” would be an unacceptable answer.
“I would say, ‘On the way to work I’m thinking about the 20 things on my to-do list when I get into the office,'” said Amanda Lachapelle, director of HR and talent acquisition for Glassdoor. “That demonstrates that you’re on and ready to go when you get there.”
“What song best describes your work ethic ?”
That question was asked at Dell for a consumer sales job.
“‘Under Pressure’ by Queen!” Lachapelle said.
“‘I’m a Rolling Stone,’ because I take it as it comes!” one man said.
“‘She Works Hard for the Money!'” a woman responded.
Watch a video of employees randomly asked some of these oddball questions by Glassdoor.
Have you ever stolen a pen from work ?”
That question was asked during an interview for a software architect position at Jiffy Software.
“Yes, but not on purpose!” the candidate answered.
We’re not connecting any dots here, but just sayin’ … that candidate did not get the job.
Lachapelle’s answer ?
“Glassdoor gives us free pens!”
Most difficult questions, such as, “How many balls would it take to fill this room ?” are designed to test your creativity, critical thinking, and how you handle pressure.
But some are designed just to see if you’re a good cultural fit for the organization.
Here’s by far the best one on the list this year:
“A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here ?”
That question was asked by a recruiter for a position as office engineer at Clark Construction Group.
If you’re really thrown off by an oddball question, stop for a moment. Take a breath … and think of something! A clever response is to use something like that to sell yourself.
“My penguin is going to come in the door and say, ‘You should hire Amanda – she’s organized and she has her stuff together. You want her to lead your team,'” Lachapelle said.
Uh, yeah, but what about the sombrero ?
“He had a margarita before he came in!” she said.
“It’s how you think. Your social fit,” Lachapelle explained. “Are you fun ?”
Incidentally, the candidate for that job answered, “Where’s the sun screen ?” … and got the job.
If you’re stumped, whatever you do, don’t say, “I don’t know.”
Employers are trying to test your creativity, critical thinking, and your ability to handle pressure and all you’ve got is, “I don’t know ?”
“Part of it is kind of creating good conversation,” Lachapelle said. “Saying ‘I don’t know’ stalls the conversation a bit,” she said.
I’d say. That’s a conversational dead end!
Seriously, do you really want an interviewer to conclude that, after knowing each other just five minutes, you have nothing else to say to one another ? God forbid you run into one another in the kitchen while heating up a Lean Cuisine – those will be the longest five minutes of your life!
On the “don’t” list, Lachapelle suggests, never speak negatively about a past employer or former co-worker.
And never, under any circumstances, miss an opportunity to sell yourself. Even if a penguin walks into the room!
Here’s the full list of Glassdoor’s 25 outrageous interview questions for 2013:
1. “If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why ?” – Asked at Forrester Research, research associate candidate.
2. “How many cows are in Canada ?” – Asked at Google, for a local data quality evaluator position.
3. “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building ?” – Asked at JetBlue, for a job as a pricing/revenue management analyst.
4. “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here ?” – Asked at Clark Construction Group, office engineer candidate.
5. “What songs best describes your work ethic ?” – Asked at Dell, consumer sales candidate.
6. “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it ?” – Asked at Amazon, product development candidate.
7. “What do you think about when you are alone in your car ?” – Asked at Gallup, for an associate analyst position.
8. “How would you rate your memory ?” – Asked at Marriott, front desk associate candidate.
9. “Name three previous Nobel Prize winners.” – Asked at Benefits CONNECT, office manager candidate.
10. “Can you say: ‘Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time ?” – Asked at MasterCard, call center candidate.
11. “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us ?” – Asked at Trader Joe’s, crew candidate.
12. “How would people communicate in a perfect world ?” – Asked at Novell, software engineer candidate.
13. “How do you make a tuna sandwich ?” – Asked at Astron Consulting, office manager candidate.
14. “My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend ?” – Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, advisory associate candidate.
15. “You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on ‘Iron Chef.’ How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restauran t?” – Asked at Accenture, business analyst candidate.
16. “Estimate how many windows are in New York.” – Asked at Bain & Co., associate consultant candidate.
17. “What’s your favorite song ? Perform it for us now.” – Asked at LivingSocial, Adventures City manager candidate.
18. “Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50.” – Asked at Bank of America, software developer candidate.
19. “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?” – Asked at Jiffy Software, software architect candidate.
20. “Pick two celebrities to be your parents.” – Asked at Urban Outfitters, sales associate candidate.
21. “What kitchen utensil would you be ?” – Asked at Bandwidth.com, marketer candidate.
22. “If you had turned your cellphone to silent mode, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me ?” – Asked at Kimberly-Clark, biomedical engineer candidate.
23. “On a scale from one to 10, rate me as an interviewer.” – Asked at Kraft Foods, general laborer candidate.
24. “If you could be anyone else, who would it be ?” – Asked at Salesforce.com, sales representative candidate.
25. “How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet ?” – Asked at Petco, analyst candidate.
Credit to the ponyblog over at CNBC for the original content.
There was a time in my life when I used to schedule my dates on a Friday night at 6.30pm in order to be home for the latest episode of Friends at 8pm. The staff at my neighborhood haunt, Notting Grill, would smile knowingly at my routine, presenting the check the moment my dining partner placed down his fork. The befuddled lad would inevitably wonder out aloud, as I skillfully ushered him out onto the street, why he wasn’t so much as offered the pudding menu.
Yes, such was my addiction to the show and the restaurant staff were only too happy to oblige as my enablers.
Friends has been off the air for some time – which makes me about ten years late in writing this – but sometimes a seriously random occurrence can get you full-swing reminiscing again. In my case, it was a monosyllabic, peroxide blonde Swiss DJ over New Year’s Eve in Davos, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the show’s Gunther, that did it.
Much like Mash and Seinfeld before it, Friends became firmly embedded in both the American and British psyche influencing popular culture and interpersonal dynamics. Interestingly, the show also presented plotlines with career lessons we could all take away.
Here’s my top five, leading up to number one:
5. The One Where Chandler Follows His Career Bliss (making a career switch when you’re more ‘mature’)
Chandler: I’ll just get my old job back.
Monica: No, I want you to have a job that you love. Not statistical analysis and data reconfiguration.
Chandler: I quit, and you learn what I do?
After years of plodding through a fairly mundane job, Chandler decides to make a risky mid-career industry move into something he may be more passionate about, but that means he’d need to start at the bottom again. He battles it out with a group of young interns all vying for the one prized paid position at an advertising agency. Initially struggling with the task of coming up with a slogan for a new pair of sneakers aimed at a youth market, he uses his age and experience to come up with an ingenious slogan that leaves the competition in dust.
Intern: … and then, at the end of the commercial, the girls get out of the hot tub and start making out with each other!
Boss: (ironic) That’s interesting! Just one thought: You didn’t mention the shoes. Who’s next? (Chandler raises his hand) Chandler…
Chandler: Okay… (He stands up) You start on the image of a guy putting on the shoes. He’s about my age…
Intern: (snorting) Your age?
Chandler: A-huh. So he’s rolling down the street and he starts to lose control, you know… maybe he falls… maybe hurts himself. Just then, a kid comes flying by wearing the shoes. He jumps over the old guy and laughs, and the line reads: “Not suitable for adults!”
Boss: Chandler, that’s great!
Chandler: Oh, thank you, sir… or man-who’s-two-years-younger-than-me (He sits down again)
Granted he came up with the slogan after injuring himself while wearing the sneakers during the assignment, the result? He lands the job of junior copywriter when he only expected to receive an assistant position.
Sometimes maturity (life experience) can still trump youth.
4. The One Where Ross Dates His Student (inappropriate workplace relationships)
Monica: Well, Ross, you be careful now. You don’t want to get a reputation as, you know, ‘Professor McNails-his-students.’
According to research, more than seven out of 10 professionals say they’re open to dating at work under the right circumstances.
Dating someone you work with certainly has its advantages and I know several happy couples who’ve met while working together, but chances are it may pose a greater risk to your professional reputation – especially if there is a hierarchical relationship in place (whether it’s professor-student in Ross’s case or between a supervisor-supervisee).
You may need to report the romance to the human resources department, according to Helaine Olen, co-author Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding and Managing Romance on the Job, quoted in this Forbes article.“In so doing, the supervisor should volunteer to take the hit if the company decides the pair should no longer work together.”
Uh oh – that budding, illicit office romance doesn’t sound quite as thrilling anymore, does it? Also consider the fact that it would be almost impossible to plan vacations at the same time, especially if you’re working in the same department or for a small company.
There’s a rather crude British expression advising against amorous workplace relations – but I’m much too coy to type it.
3. The One Where Rachel Returns After Maternity Leave (returning to work after an extended absence)
Rachel: What do you mean, you’re taking over my job.
Gavin: Well, while you were on your baby vacation, I was *doing* your job.
Mr. Zelner: When you left us, we weren’t sure what we were going to do. But then, Gavin to the rescue! Super Gavin!
Rachel: Well, that’s great, that’s great. So, now, uh, Super Gavin, when I come back, where do you plan on flying off to?
Gavin: Well, that’s up to Mr. Zelner. I’m sure he’ll make the right decision.
Rachel [under her breath]: Oh, wow, Super Ass Kissing Power.
Legally, under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), a woman who returns from maternity leave must be placed in the same job or an “equivalent” position. An equivalent position is a job having the same or similar pay, hours, work performed, work conditions, job responsibilities and job security.
But what if you’re competing against an aspiring co-worker who has used your absence (whether it’s maternity leave, a sabbatical etc.) to muscle his way into your role and the boss’s good books? This can be avoided – and I know that I stand the risk of drawing the wrath of new moms with this one – by simply staying in the game. Here’s two ways in which you can do this: Meet a colleague for coffee or lunch at the tail end of your leave to catch up on latest developments. This gives you the kind of workplace intel that wouldn’t show up in group e-mails and may give you the edge when you’re back at your desk.
Contact your line manager several weeks before your scheduled return date to discuss your transition back into the role. You may even consider dialing in for important project meeting-calls around a week or two prior to your return date, even if you don’t actively participate in the discussion itself.
2. The One Where Monica Fires Joey (how to gain the respect of colleagues)
Monica: Okay, could the waiters gather around to hear tonight’s specials? Okay, first, there’s, uh, Chilean Sea Bass, prepared with a mango relish, on a bed … why is nobody writing these down?
Waiter: Because we can remember them.
Monica: And because you’re all going to make up fake specials, and make me cook them like you did the other night?
Waiter: Well, sure, that too.
Monica is being treated shoddily by her new co-workers so she hires Joey just so she can fire him and show them that she could be a tough boss.
While co-opting a colleague to be part of your ruse to gain one-upmanship does offer comedic value (and a story to share with mates), it may be a bit drastic. Besides, the effect of one dramatic action to instantly gain respect would be ephemeral. It is far better to work over a period of time on gaining credibility through your actions and attitude, being an active listener, being someone who is true to their word (“Nothing worse than a hypocrite,” a friend recently reminded me) to truly earn the respect of colleagues.
And how to deal with undermining comments from colleagues in a day and age when the majority of our workplace communication (read: drama) takes place via e-mail or IMs?
According to Frances Cole Jones, author of The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World, “If you feel the offending colleague is using e-mail or other technology to wage his war, send a note saying, ‘I’d prefer to discuss this in person. What time works for you?’” she suggests. “You will be surprised how few people respond.”
And in number one place, the ‘top’ Friends lesson as it relates to career (sort of):
1. The One Where Rachel Chooses Ross (it’s just a job, not your life)
Ross: Oh my God! Did she get off the plane? Did she get off the plane?
Rachel: I got off the plane.
In this final Friends moment, between choosing a prestigious job of a lifetime in Paris which will take her away from the love of her life, Rachel ultimately chooses Ross.
I’m going to get a bit schmaltzy on you now, but as much as your career gives you satisfaction and validation, at the end of the day, it is only one component of your life. In the New York Times article, The Island Where People Forget To Die, the writer concludes that social connectivity is one of the pivotal links to contentment and life longevity. “For people to adopt a healthful lifestyle, I have become convinced, they need to live in an ecosystem, so to speak, that makes it possible. As soon as you take culture, belonging, purpose or religion out of the picture, the foundation for long healthy lives collapses. The power of such an environment lies in the mutually reinforcing relationships among lots of small nudges and default choices.”
Cultivate meaningful relationships with family and friends because – and you know what’s coming next… they’ll be there for you, even when the rain starts to pour.
Check out the original article, by Maseena Ziegler, over at Forbes.
The new trend in hiring in 2013? Challenge-based and video interviews. Read how you can master these new challenges.
“Businesses and recruiters are using video interviews and work samples as a way to effectively vet job candidates before bringing them in for an actual interview so employers can “try before they buy” and ensure they’re finding the right candidate for the job.”
For example, if a business is hiring an engineer, they may present a coding challenge to candidates; if they’re hiring a social media manager they may ask candidates to create compelling tweets.
Here are some tips from HireArt to ensure that candidates are prepared for both the challenge-based and video interviews that are becoming more common in today’s competitive job market.
1. Act like you want to be there.
Being energetic over a video interview can go a long way in making you stand out against other candidates that seem bored or uncomfortable. Even though it might be more difficult to seem enthusiastic about a job when you are just talking to the camera, you should try to come across as excited and passionate about why you want to be there.
2. Watch your presentation.
You don’t look as good on camera as you look in person (it’s true!). So, don’t let basic components of your interview, such as attire and lighting, negatively affect how you come across. Dress as you would dress were the interview taking place in the office. Record the view in a bright place that allows the interviewer to clearly see you. And make sure the quality of your audio allows the interviewer to really understand what you are saying. Although these things are not related to your skills, they could count against you when other candidates have them and you don’t.
3. Don’t be sloppy.
Typos and lack of attention to detail in your online applications often immediately disqualify you. Take the time to be careful!
4. Know your own pitch.
Most video interviews require you to record a two minute pitch about yourself. Really think about what you want to get across, what experiences you would like to highlight, what sets you apart from other candidates, and how you want to say this in a succinct way.
5. Make sure you know the company, its competitors and the industry inside and out.
If you are invited to an interview, even if it is an online interview, companies expect you to understand the position and know the company well. Use this information to craft your pitch and at every other chance you get. Articulate specifically why you want to work at the company – what specifically drew you to this position.
Find the full, original article written by Toni Bowers, over at TechRepublic.