Things Affecting Interview Answers

Employment Counselling with Kelly Mitchell

Sometimes I’m asked by people for a specific answer they could give to a particular question that they anticipate having in an upcoming interview. While I can quite well give an answer to many of those questions, I know it is impossible to give all people an answer that is infallible in all interview situations.

The reason has to do with a number of factors that the interviewee needs to size up preceding the question. It might be useful to look at some of these factors which should influence a person in shaping their replies to questions.

The first factor is a person’s verbal skills. While some people are talkative and effectively communicate their thoughts with words easily, others are less able to do so. Their answers are generally straight forward and short. Vocabulary is closely related to this factor; some have a large vocabulary, know industry buzz words and technical terminology while…

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Explaining unemployment in the job interview

THIS IS A MORE COMMON CONVERSATION THAN YOU THINK.

In April 2015, the unemployment rate hovered around 5.4 percent — or 8.5 million people who want to work and who can, but aren’t. Taking care of family, changing career paths, going back to school, getting laid off — these are only a handful of reasons why some people are currently unemployed.

You’re not the first person to explain why you’re currently unemployed when you get to the job interview. But how you explain your unemployment will have a big impact on your chances of getting the job. Here’s what you need to know.

Assess the length of explanation needed
Some reasons you’re currently unemployed — like taking care of a loved one or recently being afull-time student — are perfectly sufficient reasons on their own. In the interview, focus your answer on how you’ve been preparing yourself for this job opportunity. Have you recently been certified in an industry skill or working temporarily for a family friend? Keep the conversation on the responsibilities you’ve had during your unemployment. Hiring managers are primarily interested in being assured that you’re ready to work and that there aren’t any red flags, such as bad employer reviews.

If your unemployment status is more complicated than a personal leave from the workforce, though, the length and tone of your answer will need to accommodate that. You can still assure the hiring manager you’re a reliable employee, even if there have been some past bumps in the road. As Jessica Steinberg, talent community manager for ADP says, “Any gap is acceptable. It’s all in how you position it. Take one to two sentences to concisely explain why you were out, and any achievements you had while you were out of the workforce during the gap on the resume.”

Stay positive
Never bash your previous employer, even if there was cause to be angry. When the question “Why did you leave your past job?” comes up, whether you were fired or laid off, you can be frank about it and explain yourself — with tact. In “Explaining previous employment issues during your job interview” (watch the video here!), a key point to explaining more complicated situations is underlining the lesson you learned and how you benefitted from the experience. If you were fired for repeatedly being late, speak to how you mastered time management. For personnel issues, explain that your values and work ethic are important to you, and that they align with the company’s.

Highlighting your passion for this type of work and the enthusiasm you have for this opportunity will also help to reassure the hiring manager. From their perspective, they have a vacant role and need to fill it with someone dependable. Appearing bored or disinterested won’t help your case, but asking plenty of questions, showing your positive personality and creating a relationship with the hiring manager will help hiring managers see you as a potential fit.

Emphasize readiness
Before the interview, conduct lots of research. Know what the company does, what your role there would be (and make sure the employer’s answer matches your understanding of the role), and investigate the organization’s values and recent news and achievements. That way, you’ll be able to connect the dots when you’re talking about your own growth in your career, and the growth of the company you’re interviewing for. “The best thing you can do is to talk about what you learned from the experience, how you’ve grown as a professional and how you’d apply any of those learnings to a new position,” says Shawn Tubman, vice president of employment for Liberty Mutual.

Addressing your unemployment in a job interview is not as uncomfortable as it might seem to you. In reality, hiring managers are familiar with every aspect of hiring and firing, and your story probably isn’t the strangest they’ve ever heard. And the important fact is that you’re here now. “Talk about the future,” says Becky Havlicek, senior human resource manager at Merrill Corp. “Sometimes we do have bad experiences, but I would focus on why that next role is important to you, why that next company interests you and stay positive.”

What to research before a job interview

BIG PART OF PREPARING FOR A JOB INTERVIEW IS RESEARCHING THE COMPANY. HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU STEP INTO THE INTERVIEW.

It can be easy to forget that a job interview should be a two-way street – not only is the employer trying to determine whether you fit their needs, but you should also be evaluating whether they fit yours.

Many job seekers don’t view the interview this way, and as a result, put themselves at a disadvantage. After all, most companies research candidates online before hiring them – and even if they don’t, you sent them an overview of relevant information about yourself – your resume.

Not only does researching an employer help even the playing field in the interview, but it also shows that you’re committed to getting hired. Here are some key things you should know about a company before sitting down for an interview.

What do they do?

First and foremost, you should understand what the company does. It may sound obvious, but not being able to supply a clear answer to this question in an interview will severely hurt your chances of being hired.

The best way to find this information is often a combination of the company’s website – where you can learn how they view what they do – and Wikipedia – where you can usually get a much more clearly worded, bare-bones definition.

What will you do?

Again, this may sound obvious, but not knowing what the job they’re interviewing for entails is one of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make. Your goal in the interview is to demonstrate and explain what makes you the best candidate to carry out the duties of the position – how can you expect to successfully do that if you don’t know what those duties entail?

What are their values?

Most interviewees will be able to explain what the company does, but you can really impress your interviewer by demonstrating an understanding of why they do it. This can usually be gleaned from the company’s mission and values – both of which can typically be found on their website. This type of information is also usually found on their social media accounts and in interviews with company leadership.

Not only is this a great way to show your commitment to getting this job, but assessing a business’s mission and values and how they align with your own personal values can be a great indicator of whether this company is a good fit for you.

What’s new and noteworthy?

A company’s function and mission are typically somewhat broad in scope and relatively unchanging. But what have they been up to recently to better achieve their goals? Are they offering any new products or services? Opening offices in new markets? Have they recently taken up a new cause or started any new initiatives?

This is all great information with which to arm yourself before entering an interview. It shows that you did more than a quick look at their homepage, and that you’re genuinely interested in what they do as a company. Start by looking at the company’s press room, where you can find information they’ve prepared for reporters and the media. A Google news search for the company or the names of company leaders can also provide useful information.

Who are the leaders?

As mentioned above, knowing a bit about the company’s leadership team can be helpful in researching and preparing for an interview. Many corporate websites include brief bios on a number of their key leaders, and in some cases you can even find them on social media.

Depending on the size of the company and the position you’re applying for, it’s not unheard of for managers or executives to get involved in the hiring process.

Who is your interviewer?

As we mentioned, going into the interview, they already know a lot about you, so it can’t hurt to find out what you can about them. Often, your interviewer will be the person to contact you to schedule the interview. However, if this isn’t the case, ask your contact for the name of the person you should ask for when you arrive for the interview.

While knowing the interviewer’s title and work history can potentially help you prepare for what kind of questions to expect, it’s often more useful to simply get a feel for their personality. After all, employers often use interviews to gauge how well you’d fit with the team culture. Look for shared interests and other potential conversation topics that you can use to build a rapport.

The Passive Candidate Spectrum — Getting Inside their Psyche for More Successful Recruiting

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We’ve all met superstar recruiters at some point in our careers. The ones who work with essentially the same tools and resources as everyone else but still manage to consistently outperform their peers. Those elite few who regularly source “unreachable” candidates and close top-tier talent at impressive rates.

One of the hallmarks of the superstar recruiters is that they possess a more sophisticated understanding of passive candidates. The average recruiter thinks of candidates as either active or passive. The active candidates are those who are cruising job boards, lining up around the building trying to get jobs, and filling recruiters’ inboxes with resumes. They are generally dismissed and perceived as undesirable. Passive candidates are successful professionals who are succeeding at their jobs and not looking for new opportunities. They are highly sought-after and are considered the best quality candidates.

But, the more sophisticated recruiters understand that the market is far more nuanced than that. They recognize that pigeonholing candidates into these two distinct categories is not only simplistic and inaccurate but unproductive.

The Passive Candidate Map

Based on years of candidate research and analysis of candidate behavior, the Passive Candidate Map (above) identifies the eight distinct segments within the spectrum of candidate motivation and aligns them based on their receptivity to new opportunities.

Understanding these segments and being able to identify where a candidate falls is key to tailoring a recruiting message and identifying hot buttons that will resonate with desirable individuals and result in consistent success.

Locked

Although there are many factors that affect why candidates become Locked, many fall into this category due to family obligations and restrictions or perhaps because of the allure of hefty retention bonuses. Regardless of their reasons, Locked candidates are highly unlikely to be open to discussions.

Arrived

Recruiters also will want to avoid most Arrived candidates, as they are likely to feel they have achieved a level of career fulfillment that cannot be found anywhere else. While they may occasionally demonstrate curiosity about job opportunities, the Arrived are almost untouchable.

Ambitious

These candidates are performing well in their current roles but they may be looking for a bigger and better job with more responsibilities or more staff to manage. Although they are often appreciated within their company, they may want to be promoted more quickly than their company can promise.

Accomplished

Accomplished candidates are solid performers who are comfortable in their role and have no real incentive to move on, but they may be tempted to pick up their heads and look around from time to time. The trick for recruiters is to determine which Accomplished candidates have somehow found themselves in a backlog at their company and which are just average, ho-hum performers.

Frustrated

Whether it is due to a conflict with their boss or changing priorities from new owners, these candidates are incredibly frustrated with their current situation, but are often still loyal and working hard in their role. Although they may be unhappy where they are, they are still not actively looking for new opportunities. 

Fated

These candidates can see the writing on the wall — they are anticipating a layoff, loss of an account, or the sale of the company. Yet, they appear fully employed and many are still passive candidates. The Fated with dated skills and low performance ratings are to be avoided.

Unemployed

Superstar recruiters recognize that even the Unemployed are not a homogenous group. There may be any number of reasons why candidates drop out of the workforce — for instance, to care for an ailing parent, or because of an outsourcing of their division’s functions. Although the most motivated to be hired, they also may be low performers with skills in low demand.

Unstable

At the opposite end of the spectrum from locked candidates are the Unstable — the individuals who have jumped from job to job once a year (or even more often). With this many red flags, most of the Unstable should be avoided, though there may always be a needle in the haystack.

Achieving Results by Refining the Passive Candidate Definition

Working professionals comprise a spectrum of active and passive dispositions. Each candidate has specific reasons why they are not currently applying for a new position.

Recognizing where candidates fall on the spectrum of talent — and why — can give recruiters greater insight into the candidate’s behavior as well as their likelihood of being interested in new opportunities. Recruiters who have a deeper understanding of who these passive candidates are and what may prompt them to investigate a position further can fine-tune their approach and improve their overall hiring success rate.

Read the original posting on ERE HERE