Feet on the Street

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Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Where Will You be in 5 Years?

Posted by Lori on February 22, 2010

One common job interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” The question is asked because the employer is trying to determine if you can paint yourself into the fabric of the company for the long haul. Will you make a committment to be trained for a job, then stick around awhile? Or, are you only wanting to make some quick money before hopping to the next company?

Lisa Seasholtz from wetfeet.com has some common answers to the question and gives the rationale on why you should give your answer very careful thought. Here are some answers from the list:

  • “In your job”
  • “At this company”
  • “Married, living in Connecticut, with one child”
  • “A partner”
  • “Back in school – full-time”
  • “I don’t know”

Think about how you would answer the question. Make sure you click on the link to find out how to improve your response.

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Posted in Interviews | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

10 Questions You Should Ask Every Job Candidate

Posted by Lori on February 4, 2010

We spend lots of time discussing how to portray ourselves in the best possible light when we are on the job hunt, but we do not give much attention to what is happening on the other side of the desk. I came across a great article by Russell Rindeau from East Wing Search Group that gives hiring managers a whole new list of questions to spring on unsuspecting job seekers. If you do not think that this article applies to you, please reconsider your stance. We must first understand the question, as well as the rationale behind it, to give a definitive answer. College students could be asked similar questions by professors, potential mentors, or companies in search of interns. It is always a good idea to be ready by formulating the answers before sitting in the hot seat at an interview. Here’s the article in its entirety:

10 Clever Questions You Should Ask Every Job Candidate

by Russell Riendeau Tuesday Jan 26, 2010

Traditional interview questions oriented around performance, duties and responsibility are important, but the answers often obscure a person’s commitment or emotional intelligence required for the job. By asking new questions, you’ll be amazed at what you can find out. The findings can help you make better hiring decisions, lower turnover and significantly reduce your hiring costs.

Here are behavioral-based, legal-friendly questions designed to flush out deeper and more complex behaviors and thinking patterns of a candidate for hire.

What would really surprise me about you? What else?

This question allows candidates to reveal a different side of themselves. Look for confidence, willingness and candor. The second question (“What else?”) gives the candidate another chance to reveal more if they gave a conservative first response.

What’s your real motivation to change jobs? No, the real reason?

Look for motives other than money — money is rarely the real reason. See if the candidate places blame, is “seeking asylum” elsewhere, or can’t handle the pressure, the boss or the pace. These are signs of immaturity, poor-decision making skills or lack of true selling ability. Ask the question to see if you’re hearing the whole story.

What’s your philosophy on goal setting?

The more detailed answer you get, the more you’ll see if the candidate values setting and achieving goals. Ask for examples of goals they have set and how they measured them. A blend of intrinsic and extrinsic goals will show emotional balance and another sign of maturity in prioritizing ability.

What reading material would I find on your coffee table, nightstand or kitchen table

The answer to this question will show intellect, curiosity, variety of interests, breath of life experience, dedication to learning, or lack of these traits. The candidate’s response will give insights as to how well he or she follows your industry and field of work.

Tell me a story about when you were placed in an ethical dilemma and what happened?

This question reveals morals, ethics, integrity and problem-solving skills. If the candidate places blame on others, it may indicate tendencies towards poor judgment, unrealistic attitudes, non-genuine or secretive personality.

How did you earn money while in college?

This question offers a good indicator of the candidate’s entrepreneurial skills. If they ran a formal or informal business in college, they are most likely resourceful, driven, have strong social skills and street smarts. These candidates tend to be good at sales, marketing, customer service or other roles that require proactive behaviors.

Draw me a pie chart showing how you spend an eight-hour day.

Watch for organization, clear communications and accurate calculations. Their response shows you their presentation and communication skills. Are those skills in line with what you need?

What’s your favorite success story and failure story?

A person willing to share failures tends to be self-confident, mature and has a sense of true self and place in the world. In success stories, look for credit given to team effort and personal drive in relation to goal setting. Bragging of solo efforts may suggest arrogance, inflated sense of self, lack of self-confidence or lack of interest in being a team player.

Do you want to be a millionaire? Why? What are you doing to prepare for it?

Look for an overall balanced approach to wealth and lifestyle choice and for consistency relative to other questions around goal setting. Does the candidate have a valid, compelling motive for a yes or no to wealth accumulation?

Have you ever created a 30, 60, 90-day strategic plan?

If the candidate has created strategic plans, how many months were they required to plan out into the future? Is this commensurate with the requirements of position you’re offering? Ask about a specific plan and watch for ability to articulate and define time frames and goals. Many people can speak about planning, so ask candidate to illustrate the plan using visual aids, graphs, charts, etc.

Dennis Kleper, an executive coach and chairman of TKO/BIG, contributed to this article. Russell Riendeau is senior partner of East Wing Search Group, an executive search firm.

Posted in College, Hiring, Interviews | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Flip Side of a Job Interview

Posted by Lori on January 27, 2010

Did you ever think that the person sitting across from you at a job interview could be a nervous wreck with sweaty palms? Honestly, that thought never crossed my mind! We all know the drill, the interviewer asks questions, and we merely sit there dreaming up the best answers in order to illuminate our qualifications and how well they amazingly coincide with the job description.

So what about the person asking the questions? Have they been in that position for long, or are you their first candidate? If you are new at interviewing people, then you will want to read this article that published in AgCareers.com. Lyndsay Swinton of MFTROU (Management for the Rest of Us), gives us 7 Interviewer Interview Questions for First-Timers. Everyone who is preparing to interview a job applicant for the first time should read the list to ensure he or she is asking the right questions. Then, click on the link to see what types of answers the candidate should be giving.

  • Tell me about your current role…
  • What interests you in the position you applied for?
  • Managing your own workload is critical in this job. Can you give me an example of when you had to manage your workload to meet conflicting deadlines?

The author suggests to aim to ask about two to four different competencies, as the role requires and time allows.

  • Take your time to think through your answer, and please ask me to repeat or explain more fully anything you don’t understand. (The author states that this is not a question, but states that it is a good phrase to get the best out of your candidate.)
  • That’s a great example – to help me understand more fully, could you clarify what your role was in this example?
  • What are your career plans, and how does this job fit in?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Job applicants will benefit from this information just as much as a the person who is interviewing his or her first candidate. What do you think? Have you ever been in a situation when the interviewer was nervous?


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The 15 Second Pitch, aka Elevator Speech

Posted by Lori on January 22, 2010

Most of us are familiar with the saying, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” Mastering the 15 second pitch, also known as the elevator speech, is critical in solidifying a positive first impression at a job interview. The thought is that when you tell someone about yourself, you may only have their attention for a few seconds, about the same time as getting from one floor to another on an elevator. You simply must be prepared to talk about items of relevance, not your old cat with the hair ball or your ex-sister in-law who used to work for a similar company 20 years ago.

The folks at 15secondpitch.com created a pitch wizard that helps us organize our thoughts in a succinct manor that is easy to remember. You simply fill in the blanks and the wizard puts your information in template. It’s as simple as that. Rehearse it a few times and the people you meet will know who you are and what you do without having to hear extraneous information that does not apply to the situation.

Even when you introduce yourself to new people in your neighborhood, church, or any other place, they want to know a little about you. With your handy, dandy elevator speech, you can tell them all about you in a short amount of time!

Posted in Interviews | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Survival of the Fittest: Mastering the Group Interview

Posted by Lori on January 18, 2010

Interviewing for a job is unnerving enough, but the thought of sitting among a group of other job seekers jockeying for the same position at the same time is a situation that I have not yet encountered. In an article from wetfeet.com, Liz Seasholtz describes why companies use group interviews and gives some suggestions on how to survive one. Here’s a list of 8 survival techniques that you should know just in case you find yourself thrust in a similar situation:

  1. Look lively
  2. Say hello
  3. Speak up
  4. Involve others
  5. Be a leader
  6. Keep your cool
  7. Form alliances
  8. Send thank you notes

Click on the link above to read the full text of the article because you never know when this could happen to you. Pay particular attention to the last item, as it is the most important one on the list – remember to send thank you notes to the interviewers!

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