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How to Answer Tough Interview Questions

Have an interview for an exciting new job lined up? Worried you’ll mess up? Let’s go over the basics.

Most-Asked-Job-Interview-Questions-and-How-to-Answer-Them

Credit to the guys at Sample Questionnaire for the original article.


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Skype interviews: Is it more tricky to be grilled by video?

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
  • 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.


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Master the changing face of job interviewing

The new trend in hiring in 2013? Challenge-based and video interviews. Read how you can master these new challenges.

Just when you got the hang of the in-person or phone interview, things are changing. According to HireArt, a company that helps employers make hires, the new trend in hiring in 2013 is utilizing challenge-based and video interviews.

“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.


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The Most Difficult Interview Questions You’re Likely To Be Asked On Wall Street

Wall Street is rude, it’s crude and it will eat you alive. Interviewing for a job on Wall Street is no different.

By: Cindy Perman. CNBC.com Staff Writer

It’s not a meet-and-greet tell-me-about this job or that experience. It’s more like a punch in the face. They’ll ask you hard questions, maybe inappropriate questions — all to see if you’re going to be able to run with the big dogs — or if you need to get your behind back on the porch.

‘They’re looking for how you handle pressure. How you think on your feet. Are you the brightest of the bright ? Are you a natural leader ?’ said Jeanne Branthover, head of global financial services at Boyden Global Executive Search.

Wall Street Oasis, a job-search site for financial careers, recently pinged readers for the hardest questions they were ever asked on an interview for Wall Street. The answers included such zingers as:

‘You’re going to be working 110 hours a week here. Can you even handle that ?’

‘Why don’t you have any offers yet ? What’s wrong with you ?’

‘What single word would you use to describe yourself so I don’t walk out of here and forget you ?’ (Good answer: Unforgettable!)

‘What line on your resume is the most bull**** ?’

‘Do you view this as your dream career ?’ If you answer yes, ‘If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career ?’

In an interview for a Goldman Sachs analyst position, the interviewer asked: ‘If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out ?’

‘What’s your outlook for cucumber prices over the course of 2012 ?’

In an interview where there were two interviewers, the one who was supposed to be the silent No. 2 asked just one question: ‘Are you trying to f*** us over ?’ The kid froze, the interviewer wrote in a comment on WallStreetOasis.com. The No. 1 interviewer jumped in: ‘Why didn’t you just say no ?!’

‘If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept ?’

When it comes to analytical questions like ‘What’s your outlook for cucumber prices ?’ or ‘How many tennis balls could you fit in this room ?’, it’s not about the answer.

‘It doesn’t mean you have the right answer — they’re trying to see how your thought process works’, Branthover said.

The kiss-of-death answer to any of these questions is ‘I don’t know’.

‘You answer ‘I don’t know’ and that will get you out the door!’, Branthover said.

Some of the other questions she said her clients have been asked include:

If you could choose, what brand would you like to be and why ?

How many balls would it take to fill Central Park ?

Have you ever cheated on your partner ?

Did you ever tell a secret you promised to keep ?

What is the biggest lie you’ve told — to whom and why ?

Tell me, how would you go about killing a crocodile ?

Questions for Wall Street jobs have always been tougher than those for most jobs, Branthover said, but they’ve gotten even tougher since the financial crisis.

‘They want to know if you can really be a leader in tough times’, Branthover said. A lot of these leaders hadn’t been tested on that before the financial crisis. They survived and now they want to know — can you ?

So, they may ask you questions like ‘What was one of the toughest decisions you had to make ?’ or ‘What was the hardest environment you’ve ever worked in ?’. Then, they’ll want to know what you did to solve the problem, get through the tough situation — and what you might do differently today.

Plus, with all the layoffs on Wall Street, there are fewer people to do all the work, meaning they really want the best of the best, the brightest of the bright.

When it comes to the inappropriate questions like sleeping with your girlfriend and cheating on your partner — the kind that would get the red light flashing in human resources at most companies — it’s about seeing if you can handle how brutal Wall Street can be.

‘They’re trying to divide the men from the boys and the girls from the women’, Branthover said. ‘If you have soft skin, you’re not cut out for investment banking’.

They’re going to poke you with a stick and see how you react.

‘They want to see that you’re not rattled by rudeness; that you stay on your feet and don’t look shocked’, Branthover said.

You don’t have to answer ‘Yes, you can sleep with my girlfriend’ — you just have to not look shocked and have a quick comeback.

A good answer one person posted on Wall Street Oasis was: I’ve been with my girlfriend a long time and plan to marry her. If you so much as kiss her neck, I’d (bleeping]) knock you out. That being said, I have a beautiful sister I’d be happy to hook you up with …

And that, my friend, is a lesson in how deals get done on Wall Street!

 

You can find the original article at CNBC, or it was also re-produced over at Here is the City.