Telephone Interviews: A Guide to Success

Posted in Career Advice

Telephone interviews are an inexpensive and quick way for employers to screen prospective job candidates. Generally speaking, employers use phone interviews to verify that a candidate’s personal information, qualifications and skill sets in his/her curriculum vitae is correct, accurate and consistent with what employers may have learned about an applicant online. Another use of phone interviews is to determine whether or not a job candidate has the requisite oral communications skills required to perform the job that he/she applied for. Finally, and perhaps more nefariously, telephone interviews can allow employers to garner insight into a job candidate’s race, ethnicity or national origin (this can easily be discerned by accents speech patterns and colloquial use of English) and immigration status.

In today’s tight job market, an outstanding command of the English language and permanent residency or US citizenship are what many American employers prefer in permanent full time employees. However, this does not mean that well qualified, non-native English speakers will not be invited to participate in a face-to-face job interview To increase the possibility of a face-to-face, job candidates can do a variety of things to  prepare for and optimize his/her performance during phone interviews.

These include:

1. Use a landline. You don’t want to risk having problems with cell phone service. It is irritating for employers to conduct interviews if the call breaks up frequently or is dropped. If you don’t have a land line or access to one, make sure that the telephone interview is conducted in a location with as much cell phone service as possible.

2. Keep your resume and job qualifications readily available.  In fact, lay out all of your materials in front of you before the call. This includes your resume, notes about your career objective and skill sets/qualifications for the job and anything else you that think may be helpful during the interview.

3. Steer clear of distractions. Find a quiet place to interview and stay there! There shouldn’t be any noise in the background to distract you or the hiring manager. However, it is understandable that this can be tricky if you have young children at home who need your attention. When you set up your interview appointment, try to schedule it for as precise a time or window as possible. That way, you are able to avoid possible distractions.

4. Speak slowly and clearly. When you speak to people in face-to-face situations, you are better able to understand what they are saying or asking because you can see their mouth move and observe their body language. Of course, neither you nor the interviewer will be able to do this over the phone. Therefore, it is important to speak clearly and more slowly than you would if you were talking face-to-face to him/her. If you cannot hear the interviewer, politely ask him/her to repeat a question. If this doesn’t work, blame the poor sound quality on your phone and say “I’m really sorry, it’s hard to hear you, and the volume on my phone just won’t go up!”

5. Beware of jokes or sarcastic remarks. Jokes or sarcastic remarks that may be deemed harmless in face-to-face conversations can be misinterpreted during a phone interview because an interviewer cannot see your body language or facial expressions when a comment is made. Also, an employee who is sarcastic or prone to joke telling is may not be considered professional to some hiring manager. Therefore it is a good idea during a phone interview to maintain your professionalism; stay on target with the interview topics and focus on the key information about you that will get you hired.

6. No eating, drinking or chewing gum! While eating, drinking and chewing gum are typical things that people do, none of these activities should be performed during a phone interview. They can interfere with your ability to communicate and are considered to be unprofessional behaviors (unless of course you are working through a lunchtime meeting after you are hired).

7. Turn off all electronic devices.  The goal of a telephone interview is to let a prospective employer that you are serious, focused and keenly interested in the job that you are interviewing for. There is nothing more annoying, disruptive or rude then hearing an email alert or vibrating phone during a conversation.  If you want to get invited to face-to-face interview, then turn off all electronic devices (tablets, laptops, televisions etc) before the telephone interview begins. 

8. Prepare questions ahead of time. At the end of many telephone interviews, hiring managers typically ask whether or not there are any questions. Therefore, it is a good idea to have some. Asking questions signals to the interviewer that you did your “homework” about the company/organization and are seriously interested in the job opportunity.  Some examples of questions are: “What is the start date for the job?” “What software/equipment will I be using?”

Remember; do not ask about salary or benefits. These questions are best left for face-to-face interviews. However, if the interviewer asks about salary requirements then you should be prepared provide an answer. Typically, it is a good idea to provide a salary range and if you are reluctant to offer that information it is acceptable to say “a salary commensurate with persons with my qualifications and years of experience.

While these recommendations cannot eliminate employer bias or job discrimination, using them to prepare for an upcoming telephone interview will signal to prospective employers you are professional, serious and extremely interested in the job opportunity. And, hopefully, your performance will be sufficient to garner an invitation to participate in a face-to-face, onsite job interview.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!

The Job Search: Managing Interview Questions

Posted in Career Advice

There are countless interview question anecdotes and horror stories on the Internet. Moreover, urban legend suggests that jobseekers should expect to be asked “off-the-wall” or ridiculous questions during face-to-face job interviews.  While

this may occur during some interviews, generally speaking, interviewer questions are usually carefully crafted and intentionally designed to offer insights into a prospective employee’s capabilities and future on-the-job performance. To that point, it is important to point out that invitation to participate in face-to-face interview typically means that a job candidate possesses the requisite knowledge and technical skills to perform a particular job function. That said, the real intent of a face-to-face interview is to determine whether a prospective job candidate has the personality/ temperament to fit in and excel in an organization’s existing work environment or culture.  And, because of today’s highly competitive and selective job market, it is imperative that job candidates anticipate and prepare for possible interview questions before taking part in face-to-face job interviews.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which questions will be asked during face-to-face interviews, jobseekers are likely to be asked some variations of the following questions.

  1. Describe how you overcame a particularly disappointing time in your life
  2. What are your greatest achievements?
  3. Why are you looking for a new job?
  4. Why are you interested in this company and not our competitors?
  5. What are your strengths?
  6. What are your weaknesses?
  7. What can you offer this company/organization
  8. Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?

It is apparent that none of these questions has anything to do with a prospective employee’s technical or job-related competencies or capabilities. They are intentionally designed and asked to help to gauge a jobseeker’s self awareness, interpersonal communication skills and the ability to think quickly on his/her feet.  While some jobseekers may not take these questions seriously—usually those who don’t get job offers—appropriate responses to them could mean the difference between a job offer and unemployment.  Therefore, it is vitally important for jobseekers to carefully think about possible responses to these questions before upcoming face-to-face interviews. To that end, it is not unreasonable to write or “script” appropriate responses to these questions in advance of scheduled interviews.  While this may seem unreasonable or overly excessive to some job seekers, experienced hiring managers can easily determine a job candidate’s level of interest in a particular job based on his/her answers to these questions.

It is important to point out that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to any of these questions. However, it is important to be selective with the responses that are offered. For example, a would-be customer service representative may recognize that he/she—like many other customer service representatives—has trouble dealing with unhappy or angry customers.  Because dealing with unhappy or angry customers is part of a customer services representative’s job, it is probably not a good idea to mention it when asked about possible weaknesses. Instead, choose a weakness that can possibly be viewed as strength related to a particular job. While being a “pushy” person may be off-putting or viewed as a weakness, it may be a highly desirable trait for salespersons. In other words, be selective and strategic when identifying possible weaknesses to hiring managers. More important, be certain to identify possible weaknesses that are work related rather than personal in nature.

Finally, when answering interviewer questions, be careful not to divulge more information than is necessary or required.  Answer questions as openly and honestly as possible but keep responses short, to the point and do not overly embellish or improvise responses. Job candidates who improvise responses generally do not know the answer to a question and tend to drone on to cover up their lack of knowledge. If you don’t know an answer or cannot think of a good response to a question, sometimes it is better to say “I don’t know” or ask for the interviewer for help with the question.  Asking for help, signals to the interviewer that a job candidate, if hired, would not hesitate to ask his/her superior for help to solve a potentially deleterious or pressing problem for the organization.

Although most of the questions asked during a face-to-face interview are asked by an interviewer, job candidates are expected to have questions too! This shows a prospective employer that a candidate has prepared for the interview and is seriously interested in the company or organization that he/she may join.  For example, it is not unreasonable to ask “how the organization is performing?” or “what is the future direction of the company?” or “how does this job fit into the grand scheme of things?” By asking questions, job candidates let interviewers know that they have done their “homework” and would likely entertain a job offer if proffered by the company or organization.

Although an inevitable part of any job search, face-to-face job interviews are always fraught with anxiety, tension and uncertainty.  One of the best ways to reduce the intensity of these feelings and improve outcomes is to take ample time to prepare for them. And, as discussed above crafting responses to potentially difficult interview questions is an essential part of this preparation.  There is universal agreement among career development professionals that being prepared for face-to-face interviews helps to reduce stress, improves interview performance and increases the likelihood of job offers!

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!

 

Informational Interviews: Do They Really Work?

Posted in Career Advice

I first heard about informational interviews several years ago at the Annual Biomedical Research for Minority Students (ABRCMS) at which I was reviewing resumes and offering career advice. I asked the student who mentioned the interviews exactly what they are. And, much to my surprise, I learned that the process involved approaching a “professional” to set up a meeting to discuss possible career paths at a company that a jobseeker was interested in.

At first blush, it sounded like a terrific idea to me. Unfortunately, the concept presupposes that jobseekers have done their homework and identified prospective companies that seem “like a fit” for them.

Second, it also presupposes that job candidates have a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities of career options available at prospective companies. For example, several years ago many scientists who wanted to get out of the laboratory frequently mentioned business development as a possible alternate career options. In response to the question, I always ask “Do you know what business development professionals do on a daily basis and what skill sets are required to be successful at that job? Not surprisingly, the most frequent response to the questions was no!

Further, while corralling a so-called profession at a meeting or conference to chat about possible career options at his/her company or institution is a possibility, asking the same person to take time out from their busy daily schedules to have the same discussion with you becomes increasingly difficult.

Finally, the notion that most professionals want to help others achieve career success is unrealistic and pretty much not the way things work.

As you may have guessed, I am not a big fan of informational interviews. And, I suspect that most professionals who are asked to participate are not either. Nevertheless, these types of interviews are growing in popularity and apparently are de rigueur. That said, the purpose of this post is help folks who participate in informational interviews to manage expectations. To that end; will an informational interview result in the possibility of getting hired at a particular company—probably not. Will it provide jobseekers with valuable new insights and information about possible career choices? Maybe; if you ask the right questions. Will the interview be worth the time that you took out of your day to participate? Possibly, but you don’t know until you try it.

For those of you who may still be interested in informational interviews, I found an article that provides readers with a step-by-step approach to informational interviews (see below)

Open a Door With an Informational Interview

What is an informational interview? An informational interview is a meeting between you and a professional. The purpose is to help define your career options or research a company where you want to work. It is NOT a job interview. Do not expect anyone to make you an offer.
What is my role? You are the interviewer. Prepare plenty of questions to keep the conversation moving.  Include questions about the occupation or business, but ask about other things too: Do they enjoy their work? How do they spend their day? Open-ended questions are best to avoid yes or no answers. See a list of sample informational interview questions.

How do I set one up?

  1. Find people ask everyone you know for potential contacts in a field, company or job that piques your interest.
  2. Make contact Pick up the phone and make contact. Possible phone script:

“Mrs. Smith, Brad Johnson suggested I speak with you. My name is Steven Olson and I am interested in the ________ field. I could use advice from someone who is in this field. Do you have any time this week when I could meet with you? I know you’re busy, so I only need about 15 minutes of your time. I would really like to learn more about your company and the ________ field from someone like you.”

What else should I remember?

  • If meeting in person, dress and act professionally.
  • Make a good impression. This person may provide additional leads or referrals that could lead to a job.
  • Keep it short. Limit your initial interview to 15 to 30 minutes based on how the conversation is going.
  • Feel free to schedule the interview with someone without hiring power. They often know more about day-to-day activities and have more specific information for you.
  • End the interview with an action plan. Ask the interviewee if you can contact him or her again.
  • Remember to send a thank-you note after your interview!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

QuestionsThat Interviewers Should Never (But Do) Ask

Posted in Career Advice

From time to time, I get asked by jobseekers about questions that interviewers are permitted to ask during a job interview. While almost everything is fair game, there are certain questions that interviewers are not legally permitted to ask.  And, while interviewers are not supposed to ask most of these questions, many do. That said, you need to be on the “look-out” for them and be prepared to judiciously answer them whether or not you think they may be legally acceptable or not. After all, challenging the legality of an interviewer’s question during a face-to-face is not likely to lead to a job offer!

In any event, the post list 13 questions on the forbidden list and how interviewers may be able to garner the information that they are seeking without necessarily violating any laws in doing so.

1. Age                 

Inappropriate:

  • How old are you?
  • What year were you born?
  • When did you graduate from high school?

Appropriate:

  • Before hiring, asking if you are over the minimum age for the hours or working conditions.
  • After hiring, verifying same with a birth certificate or other ID, and asking age on insurance forms.

2. Citizenship

Inappropriate: Are you aUS citizen?

Appropriate:

  • If you are not aUScitizen, do you have the legal right to remain permanently in theUS?
  • What is your visa status (if no to the previous question).
  • Are you able to provide proof of employment eligibility upon hire?

3. Criminal Record

Inappropriate:

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Have you ever spent a night in jail?

Appropriate:

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

4. Disability

Inappropriate:

  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • What’s your medical history?
  • How does your condition affect your abilities?

Appropriate:

  • Can you perform the specific duties of the job.
  • After hiring, ask about medical history on insurance forms.

5. Family

Inappropriate:

  • Questions concerning spouse, or spouse’s employment, salary, arrangements, or dependents.
  • What kind of child care arrangements have you made?
  • How will your spouse feel about the amount of time you will be traveling if you get this job?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work overtime?
  • Is there any reason you can’t start at7:30am?
  • Whether an applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities or commitments that may prevent him or her from meeting attendance requirements.

6. Marital Status

Inappropriate:

  • Are you married, divorced, separated, engaged, widowed, etc?
  • Is this your maiden or married name?
  • What is the name of your relative/spouse/children?
  • Do you live with your parents?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, marital status on tax and insurance forms.

7. Military

Inappropriate:

  • What type or condition is your military discharge?
  • Can you supply your discharge papers?
  • What is your experience in other than US armed forces?

Appropriate:

  • Describe the relevant work experience as it relates to this position that you acquired from aUSarmed forces.

8. National Origin

Inappropriate:

  • What is your nationality?
  • Where were you born?
  • Where are your parents from?
  • What’s your heritage?
  • What is your mother tongue?
  • How did you acquire the ability to speak, read or write a foreign language?
  • How did you acquire familiarity with a foreign country?
  • What language is spoken in your home?

Appropriate:

  • Verifying legalU.S.residence or work visa status.
  • What languages do you speak, read or write fluently?

9. Parental Status

Inappropriate:

  • How many kids do you have?
  • Do you plan to have children?
  • How old are your children?
  • Are you pregnant?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, asking for dependent information on tax and insurance forms.

10. Race or Skin Color

Inappropriate:

  • What race are you?
  • Are you a member of a minority group?

Appropriate:

  • None

11. Religion or Creed

Inappropriate:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Which religious holidays will you be taking off from work?
  • Do you attend church regularly?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work on Saturdays and Sundays?

12. Residence

Inappropriate:

  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • Do you live in town?
  • With whom do you live?

Appropriate:

  • Inquiries about the address to facilitate contact with the applicant.
  • Will you be able to start work at8:00am?

13. Sex or Sexual Orientation

Inappropriate:

  • Do you wish to be addressed as Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms.?
  • What are your plans to have children in the future?
  • Are you gay?
  • What is your sexual preference?

Appropriate:

  • None

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!

Things to Consider Before Leaving Your Current Job

Posted in Career Advice

I know it may appear a little odd that I am writing a post about leaving your current job given the state of the US economy and the dismal job market. However, believe it or not, there are folks out there whose skills are in demand who may have grown weary of their current job situations. With this in mind, those of you who may be considering a job change ought to ask a few questions before taking leap. 

Are there opportunities for growth at your current company?

If the answer to this question is yes, then it may be prudent to explore these options before deciding to look for new opportunities at other companies. While you may think you have the skills and qualifications to land a new job at another company, word on the street is that it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year for qualified and in-demand employees to secure new positions.

Is the work that you that perform on a daily basis excruciatingly boring?

If the answer to this is yes, then it may be time to consider your options. However, if you are qualified to do the job that you do at your current company then it is likely that doing the same job at a competitor will also be as boring as your current job. To that end, maybe it is time to consider additional training or education to learn new skills a new trade or occupation. There is a saying in the recruiting business about persons who change jobs “Better pay but the same old crap”

How available are jobs for someone with your skills?

The job market is extremely tight right now and pundits believe that it will not improve for several years. Therefore, it is vital to seriously evaluate the number of job openings out there for someone with your skill sets. For example, there are still shortages of nursing and healthcare personnel. If you are a nurse or physician’s assistant, then it may not be a bad idea to look around and see if you can get a better deal at a new company or hospital. If on the other hand, you are a pharmaceutical employee, I would not recommend any job change at the moment. The market is extremely volatile and leaving your current job for a better opportunity at a competitor company may actually put you at risk for layoff. This is because the last hired are usually the first employees that are eliminated during reorganizations and layoffs.

Does your current job impact the quality of your life?

If you are miserable at your current job, it is likely affecting or hindering your performance at work. And despite your best efforts to hide those feelings, it is likely that others are picking them up. Further, if your job is stressful and interfering with your emotional well being it is also likely that you will not be able to perform at your best (especially if you are not sleeping well or the anxiety is interfering with personal relationships).  This is an extremely difficult situation especially if you or your family is counting on your paycheck to make ends meet. However, if your mental or emotional health is in jeopardy, it is time to start looking around for other opportunities. Obviously, do not quit your job until you land a new one. Alternatively, if you are in a good financial place, it may not be a bad idea to go to HR to ask for a “package” or simply give notice (if a package is not an option). Again, do not do this until you have devised a plan to look for a new job. Also, it is imperative that you take a hard look at your finances to insure that you budget is consistent with your job search strategy.

Is your current job what you want to do for the rest of your life?

It is not uncommon for people to work for years in the same profession and then decide that it is no longer for them. Also, many people have lifelong passions that they want to pursue but were either too afraid or not in a financial position to attempt them. If you know that your current job is not consistent with your long term career goals, then it is time to consider your options. Again, this requires a substantial amount of research, thinking and weighing the pros and cons of a career change. One of the best ways to confirm or rule out the possibility of a career change is to chat with people who are already pursuing the careers that you are considering. It is amazing how much you can learn from these people to better inform your decision about a career change. Once you have talked with these folks, researched the degree requirements and skill sets necessary to land jobs in your new career and chatted with your partner, family etc about the impact of the career move on your life then go for it! There is nothing more rewarding then waking up every day and looking forward to going to work because you love what you do!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!! 

QuestionsThat Interviewers Should Never (But Do) Ask

Posted in Career Advice

From time to time, I get asked by jobseekers about questions that interviewers are permitted to ask during a job interview. While almost everything is fair game, there are certain questions that interviewers are not legally permitted to ask. A post that recently appeared on the “Interns Over 40 blog” pretty much covers them all. 

And, while interviewers are not supposed to ask most of these questions, many do. That said, you need to be on the “look-out” for them and be prepared to judiciously answer them whether or not you think they may be legally acceptable or not. After all, challenging the legality of an interviewer’s question during a face-to-face is not likely to lead to a job offer!

In any event, the post list 13 questions on the forbidden list and how interviewers may be able to garner the information that they are seeking without necessarily violating any laws in doing so.

1. Age

Inappropriate:

  • How old are you?
  • What year were you born?
  • When did you graduate from high school?

Appropriate:

  • Before hiring, asking if you are over the minimum age for the hours or working conditions.
  • After hiring, verifying same with a birth certificate or other ID, and asking age on insurance forms.

2. Citizenship

Inappropriate: Are you a US citizen?

Appropriate:

  • If you are not a US citizen, do you have the legal right to remain permanently in the US?
  • What is your visa status (if no to the previous question).
  • Are you able to provide proof of employment eligibility upon hire?

3. Criminal Record

Inappropriate:

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Have you ever spent a night in jail?

Appropriate:

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

4. Disability

Inappropriate:

  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • What’s your medical history?
  • How does your condition affect your abilities?

Appropriate:

  • Can you perform the specific duties of the job.
  • After hiring, ask about medical history on insurance forms.

5. Family

Inappropriate:

  • Questions concerning spouse, or spouse’s employment, salary, arrangements, or dependents.
  • What kind of child care arrangements have you made?
  • How will your spouse feel about the amount of time you will be traveling if you get this job?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work overtime?
  • Is there any reason you can’t start at 7:30am?
  • Whether an applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities or commitments that may prevent him or her from meeting attendance requirements.

6. Marital Status

Inappropriate:

  • Are you married, divorced, separated, engaged, widowed, etc?
  • Is this your maiden or married name?
  • What is the name of your relative/spouse/children?
  • Do you live with your parents?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, marital status on tax and insurance forms.

7. Military

Inappropriate:

  • What type or condition is your military discharge?
  • Can you supply your discharge papers?
  • What is your experience in other than US armed forces?

Appropriate:

  • Describe the relevant work experience as it relates to this position that you acquired from a US armed forces.

8. National Origin

Inappropriate:

  • What is your nationality?
  • Where were you born?
  • Where are your parents from?
  • What’s your heritage?
  • What is your mother tongue?
  • How did you acquire the ability to speak, read or write a foreign language?
  • How did you acquire familiarity with a foreign country?
  • What language is spoken in your home?

Appropriate:

  • Verifying legal U.S. residence or work visa status.
  • What languages do you speak, read or write fluently?

9. Parental Status

Inappropriate:

  • How many kids do you have?
  • Do you plan to have children?
  • How old are your children?
  • Are you pregnant?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, asking for dependent information on tax and insurance forms.

10. Race or Skin Color

Inappropriate:

  • What race are you?
  • Are you a member of a minority group?

Appropriate:

  • None

11. Religion or Creed

Inappropriate:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Which religious holidays will you be taking off from work?
  • Do you attend church regularly?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work on Saturdays and Sundays?

12. Residence

Inappropriate:

  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • Do you live in town?
  • With whom do you live?

Appropriate:

  • Inquiries about the address to facilitate contact with the applicant.
  • Will you be able to start work at 8:00am?

13. Sex or Sexual Orientation

Inappropriate:

  • Do you wish to be addressed as Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms.?
  • What are your plans to have children in the future?
  • Are you gay?
  • What is your sexual preference?

Appropriate:

  • None

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!

 

How NOT To Answer Tough Interview Questions

Posted in Career Advice

One of the more popular seminars that I present at national meetings is “Interviewing Tips and Insights.” The material that I present has been gleaned from over 25 years of interviewing for jobs. And, not surprisingly, many interview mistakes and guffaws that I point out to participant were made by me during actual job interviews. 

As part of the presentation, I put together a list entitled “The Top 10 Interview Questions That You Hate To Answer.” The list is composed entirely of questions that I have been asked during job interviews. I review the list and offer suggestions about crafting answers to those seemingly mindless and irrelevant questions. However, it is important to note, that while they may seem mindless and meaningless to you, they do offer insights into a person’s personality, ability to think on their feet and problem solving abilities. Consequently, it is vital to consider some the questions that you may be asked and to craft potential answers to them before your next face-to-face.  

To that end, I found a YouTube video produced by Careerbuilder.com that offers examples of frequently-asked interview questions and how NOT to answer them. While the video is hilarious (and a bit over-the-top at times) it offers some good insights and ideas on how to better prepare yourself for those difficult-to-answer interview questions.

 

 Until next time..

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

 

Preparing for a Job Interview? Yeah,There's An App (s) For That!

Posted in BioJobBuzz

It had to happen sooner or later and it did. There are now apps that jobseekers can download to their Apple and Android smartphones to prepare for job interviews. Gadget-savvy, Bob Tedeschi wrote a review of three of these apps in today’s NY Times.

The most popular jobseeker iPhone/iPad app was released last month by none other than Monster.com and is called “The Monster.com Interviews” app (go figure). The app is free and most useful for those jobseekers lucky enough to have been invited to participate in a face-to-face job interview. There are features in the app entitled Pre-Interview, Tips and Tricks and Post Interview. While I have not evaluated the app myself its reception by reviewers has been decidedly lukewarm. Monster.com says it is working on a similar app for Android phones but the company did not offer a timeline for the product.

Another app, which according to Tedeschi may be a better choice, is Interview Questions and Answers by SwipeQ ($2, Apple and Android). Unlike the Monster.com app, this one offers 150 common interview questions with sample answers and strategies to divine responses to difficult queries. Tedeschi suggested that the sample answers may be a bit esoteric at times and sometimes inexplicably crafted for those in the financial services industry (gee I wonder why). In any event, this one may be useful for inexperienced interviewees who need some help coming with answers to questions like “Tell me about your weaknesses” or “Describe how you overcame a particularly adverse situation.”

Finally, there is another interview-focused, free app for Android phones called Job Interview Q&A developed by Stanislav Bardyuk. This is an ad-driven app—that Tedeschi found overly intrusive—and offers questions and answers to common interview questions. Unfortunately, the quality and grammar of the answers to the interview questions that it offers were deemed lacking.

Of the three apps, the Monster.com app gets the highest marks. This is not surprising since Monster.com is the largest and most visited job board on the Internet. One of the more interesting features of the Monster.com iPhone app is the ability to make a video of a practice interview and watch yourself answer the questions offered by the app. While this may sound silly and a waste of time to some, it is important to remember that it is generally the face-to-face interview that determines whether or not a job offer will be forthcoming. And, there is a reason for the old adage:  “Practice makes perfect.”

For those of you who may be interested in other jobseeker and resume apps, check out a post on the Job Omelette blog entitled “10 Must-Have iPhone Apps”

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!

 

The Job Interview Is As Old As Time

Posted in Career Advice

I was at the Experimental Biology meeting this year in DC and a career development colleague shared this job interview video with me. As you can see, things have not changed much over the years.  Same questions and answers so be prepared!

Until next time..

Good Luck and Good Interviewing!!!!

Career Advice–Week of December 13, 2010

Posted in Career Advice

"I want to know if you’re somebody who feels comfortable enough to talk about dumb things that you have done or dumb advice that you have taken.  It tells you something about the character of the person."

—Founder and CEO of TheLadders.com, a job search Web site, when asked "What’s the most effective question that you use in most interview?"