What You Should Know Before Your Job Interview

Tips for job interviews

The above infographic via Classes and Career is one all job seekers should memorize. Don’t forget that this information is good for every person you meet from the time you walk in the door. From the secretary to the interviewer. Be sure to at least say hello and introduce yourself to the secretary and goodbye on your way out. Each person you meet will have an opinion on you, make sure it’s a good one!

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Facebook Timeline as a virtual resume

If you haven’t upgraded to the Facebook Timeline, you should. Especially if you are looking at applying for jobs. Not only does Timeline give you the chance to clean up your past sins (read: party pics, drunken replies and posts out of context), but it also now gives you the chance to post life events.

First, let’s address the past sins. Be critical of your Facebook history. Spend a few hours looking over the past posts, particularly from very early Facebook. Do they even make sense? Does the picture imply something you didn’t mean for it to? Did you not even know your ex-best friend tagged you in that post? Now instead of deleting these items click the pen (or pencil depending on your interpretation), which takes you to edit or remove.

Which will then bring up an option for you to hide from Timeline, taking it of your wall.
Or if you would rather it just be gone forever, click delete post. Do this for all of your pictures, posts, comments and likes (particularly pages you liked and past groups you belonged to). Yes, it is time-consuming, but it is worth it.

Once you’d taken care of your past sins, it’s now time to brag about your past accomplishments. Think of this second part like your expanded work history. If it goes on your resume, add a life event for it. So add a life event for the prestigious scholarship you received, the outstanding award you won and anything else you would talk about in a job interview. If you have photos to go with these events, upload them.

To do this, click on life events, which will bring up an expanded drop down menu. You’ll see that Facebook has kindly put the categories together for you.
You can and should make your Facebook page into something you aren’t embarrassed about.

How to close a Job Interview

Image from: http://www.businessinsider.com

It’s best to close an interview with questions about the next steps and where the interviewer is in the process. This Monster.com article suggest closing with, “When can I start?” This Career Confidential video state it another way, “based on what we’ve talked about I think this is a fantastic fit, do you agree?”

You might be thinking that’s too strong, or presumptuous. You have to find the right phrasing for you. One that fits your personality and the position.  It isn’t too strong, forthright or assuming to ask, “what’s the next step.” Or, “where are you in the interview process?” If you’re lucky you are either the last interview or the interviewer will tell you we are looking at another (number) of candidates.

The next question you should ask is, “when do you hope to make a decision?”

You should be able to tell by how the interviewer answers the question if they are willing to give you more information. If the answers are short, quip and generally seemed more focused in getting you out the door than providing you with information, be wary of asking the final question, “is there any reason you wouldn’t move forward with me?” or any of the above suggestions.

You can phrase it however you wish, but this is where you’ll get the most information. Either the interviewer will say a one word answer (Yes or No) or give you something constructive. If the answer is simply, no, you can ask, “why not?” Which should start a conversation and give you an opportunity to discuss those points further. Or you might just be ushered out the door. You can be assertive and respectful and enthusiastic without being aggressive.

Bottom line: find a way to ask about the process, next steps and whether or not you’re still in consideration in your own words. This information is as crucial as the details in the actual interview because you’ll know where you stand and what to expect.

My Single Piece of Advice to 2010 Graduates (PR or not)

Photo from: Ricomoss
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve made this mistake more than once. A few times, it has worked out well for me. Others have been total disasters.

Don’t accept the first job offer that comes your way, just because it is the first.

Think about that for a minute. Job hunting is scary. It is intimidating and isn’t easy. But trying to fit yourself into a company that doesn’t work for you or a boss with a personality that doesn’t mesh with yours is worse. Unless the position is a perfect fit and will offer you everything you want in a company, culture and in personal relationships with co-workers, it is ok to turn it down.

Yes, your parents might be disappointed and your friends might not understand, but they are not the ones who will have to work there for nine hours (or more!) a day, five (or more!) days per week.

It is perfectly fine to turn down a job you wouldn’t find the work interesting. Of if after the interview you have a gut feeling that it wouldn’t be a good fit. Don’t ignore that. Don’t just say, well it might not be so bad. You have instincts for a reason.

I was on one interview where my possible future boss, stepped on every sentence I had. She was a bit abrasive even in the interview setting. If I had listened to my gut, I would have realized that if she acts this way now, she’ll be even worse if I actually worked for her. And she was.

If I hadn’t just accepted that job off the bat and had waited just a week more, I could have accepted a job in a better environment, with a more collegial staff. I didn’t accept because I had just started a new job. I still kick myself for that.

There are many resources available to you to help decide if an offer is right for you. Just start with Google or your Help a PR Pro Out comrades. In the end, it is your choice. If it doesn’t feel like a choice, consider that a sign that it might be worth waiting for the next opportunity.