Career Advice

Barbachano International is excited to provide you with the necessary career tools to give you a competitive advantage in your career search. Please explore the following career resources and advice which can provide you with valuable guidance in achieving your career objectives.

Resume Advice

Resume Tips

Sample Resume

Interviewing

How To Tackle 5 of the Toughest Interview Questions

Pre-Interview Preparation

Don’t Be Shy (Selling yourself in the interview)

Interviewing Tips

Acing the Phone Interview: Preparation Is Key

How to Answer One of the Most Important Interview Questions

Job Search Advice

The Job Search Revolution

Dueling Job Offers: How to Make a Decision

Relocation

Moving 101: A simple guide to answer all those not simple moving and relocation questions.

Leadership

6 Things You Must Do to Be a Great Mentor and Leader

How To Tackle 5 of the Toughest Interview Questions

Over a period of time interview processes have emerged like HELL! There are video interviews, panel interviews, group interviews, case interviews… and the list goes on. Few interviews conclude in less than 30 minutes. Others last all day.

However, one thing you can rely on is that you’ll likely get asked at least one of these disreputably hard questions. Let’s have a glance over what causes employers to ask these questions and the best way to approach them.

Tough Interview Question #1 – Why Are You Leaving Your Current Employer?

A very simple one yet a latent minefield for candidates. Employers ask it to gain some idea of what your current accusations are and why you might leave them down the road. If you look like a job hopper or hard to please, this could be a red flag.

Firstly, never, ever trash-talk your present company, supervisor or position. It might be enticing to “expel” your annoyance with your current circumstance as a way of illustrating your interest in this opportunity, but this approach will only boomerang.

In fact, be optimistic, and discuss about your desire to attain new skills, bear on new challenges, etc. It’s always good to frame it as moving a step ahead in your career VS liberating yourself from your current situation.

Tough Interview Question #2 – What Do You Consider Your Greatest Weakness?

Most terrifying interview question ever! Employers expect self-awareness. They’re very well aware that we all (they themselves) have weaknesses, so the most dreaded statement you can claim is “I don’t have any.” Other answers to avoid are “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist.”

So what’s another best way to answer it? A wise approach is to discuss about something that you’re working on — that you’re aware is not your sturdy ensemble and that you’ve been working to enhance it ASAP. Maybe it’s a certain technology, or contributing in meetings, or delegating.

One important aspect, if the skills set you consider a weakness is something that’s enormously significant to the job; you likely aren’t the perfect fit for the role and should move on in your search.

Tough Interview Question #3 – Tell Me About a Time When You Made a Mistake

Likewise to a weakness question, you need not claim that you never made mistakes. Employers are sharp enough to know that everyone commit mistakes from time to time. What they’re concern about is how you handle them — how you rectify them and move ahead.

While dealing with this question, you’re supposed to divide it into three parts. First, clearly illustrate the mistake you made. Don’t try and downplay it or refute blameworthiness. Tranquilly own it. Next, march them through the steps you took to correct it.

Finally, discuss as in how making that mistake taught you a lesson — maybe it resulted in changing a process or procedure, taking a colleague’s help in being a second set of eyes on something, or triple-checking an essential email prior hitting send. Whatever it is, you want to show that you’re now a better professional for it.

One note: when selecting the mistake to talk about it, it should probably be about a 5 on the scale of 1-10.

Tough Interview Question #4 – Tell Me About a Time When You Had a Conflict with a Colleague or Supervisor

This is very much similar to the 3 one. Employers are trying find out how you act in the face of divergence. Honestly, no work environment is 100% clash free. There are distinct personality kinds and communication styles at play, and sometimes things can get, well…tense.

While answering this question, take utmost care not to blame, bash or complain. You certainly don’t want to throw a colleague or boss under the train, or else the interviewer may think you’ll gradually do the same with them. In thinking through the situation, ask yourself — was it conceivably a misconception? Or possibly a difference in opinion or work style? Make certain to have some of the blame for the conflict. Employers know there are two sides to every coin!

Tough Interview Question #5 – We Have Several Qualified Candidates for This Position. Why Should We Hire You?

Here the interviewer is seeking for a sales pitch. They’re essentially asking you to make their job easier by having you influence them you’re the perfect choice. And, absolutely, you have no idea what other candidates bring to the desk. So you can only show what you bring.

This is where twos aspect come together to play-your understanding of the position and the department’s biggest pain points. They want a problem solver who will embark upon their most urgent problems as effectively and proficiently as possible. So avoid speaking in fuzzy overviews or only concentrate on how “fervent” you are about the industry. Rather, deliver solid illustrations of how you were prosperous in solving similar problems in the past.

The best way to deal with this slayer one is using the PAR model – Problem, Action, Result. Demonstrate a concrete problem similar to what they’re going through. Then, march them through the specific actions you took to solve that problem. Finally, show them the result with respect to metrics, if at all possible. Probably you might boost sales by 20% or reduced superfluous processes by 35%.

Resume Tips

The main purpose of the resume is to secure an interview. Today, many companies use applicant tracking software and web-based systems to process the high number of resumes received for available jobs. This means that resumes must be elaborated in an acceptable format for rapid computer processing. These electronic processing systems look for keywords to match open positions. So, please submit a resume that will pass electronic matching systems. The following are tips for an acceptable resume format:

  • Do put your first name and last name on the first line; address on second line; city, state, country, and zip code on third line; phone on fourth line; and email on fifth line.
  • Do use an Arial or Times New Roman font, and 11 or 12 point type for your text.
  • Do use spacing after commas, periods, words, and punctuation.
  • Do remember to use all relevant keywords which describe your work experience, skills, and qualifications.
  • Do limit resume to two pages maximum, and include your name on both.
  • Do have your resume proofread for correct grammar and spelling. Incorrect spelling will reduce your resume’s electronic processing efficiency and may keep it from being considered.
  • Do prepare to verify all claims made.
  • Do submit your resume in MS-Word format only.
  • Do submit your resume in English only.
  • Do submit resume on-line if available. Mailing or Faxing are not as efficient.
  • Don’t use script, underline, brackets, slashes, parenthesis, accents or any other special characters.
  • Don’t include personal information such as birth date, health, passport number, etc.
  • Don’t include your photo or other graphics.
  • Don’t exaggerate or sell yourself short.
  • Don’t include very old or irrelevant experience.

To submit your resume, please go to Submit Resume.

To view a sample resume, please click here.

Sample Resume

John Smith
1247 Lane Avenue
San Diego, CA 12345
(619) 123-1234
john.smith@home.com

SUMMARY

Bilingual human resource generalist with 15 years’ experience in U.S. and Mexico world class manufacturing environments dealing with people from diverse cultures and nationalities. Skilled liaison between headquarters and off-site manufacturing operations in the implementation of human resource policies and procedures that comply with corporate guidelines and domestic labor laws. Effective cultural change manager who strives to increase quality and productivity through people involvement. Highly motivated professional with strong background in labor relations, training and development, recruitment, compensation and benefits, and safety. Fluent in English and Spanish.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

King Enterprises, Monterrey, Mexico
Human Resource Director                                                                                              06/96-Date

Hired to implement and instill a company wide Total Quality Management philosophy and improve work environment and loyalty. Responsible for all aspects of the human resource department for the three manufacturing plants, two from the automotive sector and one from the aerospace sector, with a total headcount of over 1,200 people.

  • A key member of the Total Quality Steering Committee.
  • Completely restructured compensation system and implemented new hiring and interviewing techniques to revamp recruitment and selection.
  • Coordinated labor force ramp-up from 500 to 1200 employees in a seven month period.
  • Reduced direct personnel turnover from 14% per month to 4% by developing an in-depth candidate evaluation system, improving physical working conditions, improving management skills of supervisors and stimulating loyalty via a comprehensive communications program.

Diamond Automotive Inc., Torrance, Ca.
Human Resource Manager                                                                                             07/93 – 06/96

International assignment to develop strategic insight of the U.S. corporation as part of cross-cultural development. Involved in all aspects of human resources with particular emphasis in special project management focusing in re-evaluating training and development, policies and procedures and improving employee relations with a predominantly Hispanic labor force.

  • Created a supervisor/facilitator handbook detailing comprehensive policies and procedures for company, employees, health and safety, emergency, maintenance, quality, and human resources which reduced training time and improved efficiency and consistency.
  • Coordinated a massive plant downsizing project which included laying-off more than 1500 employees. This required thorough analysis of “who,” “when,” “what,” and “why.”
  • Re-structured salary and compensation system and introduced a core competencies system resulting in increased employee satisfaction and retention.

Componentes Electricos S.A. (Canton Inc.), Puebla, Mexico
Human Resource Manager Personnel Supervisor                                                            06/86 – 06/93

Assignments included overall supervision of a 550 employee electronic assembly plant and participation in start-up operations including dealing with government agencies for permits and licenses, developing policies and procedures, handling labor relations, and initial recruitment of start-up labor force.

  • Performed skills assessment for line supervisors and elaborated a development plan which included skills, goals, specific objectives, training and performance evaluations.
  • Managed a large recruitment project as a result of transference of new production lines from the U.S. to Mexico which required coordination of job fairs, newspapers and radio advertising, and the creation of an alliance with technical institutes and key universities.

EDUCATION

Thunderbird – American Graduate School of International Management
Masters in International Business Management with emphasis in Finance
Universidad de las Americas, Mexico City
B.S. in Business Administration with emphasis Human Resources

TRAINING

Human Resources University, King Enterprises, Buffalo, N.Y., 1996
Certified in Total Quality Leadership, Blanchard Training Institute, San Diego, Ca.,1996
Certified in Total Quality Management, Blanchard Training Institute, San Diego, Ca., 1995
Problem Solving and Decision Making-Kepner Tregoe, Diamond Automotive, L.A., Ca. 1995
Leadership Workshop, Dale Carnegie, San Francisco, Ca.,1992

OTHER

Guest speaker at industry trade shows and seminars on Human Resources
Awarded Most Outstanding Employee of 1995, Diamond Automotive
Proficient in PeopleSoft, Tress, Lotus, Excel, Word, Project Manager, and PowerPoint
Native Spanish speaker and fluent in English (95% verbal, 80% written).

Pre-Interview Preparation

Pre-Interview Preparation

The interview is one method used by employers to select people. It may be the only time in the selection process when employer and candidate are face to face. There is a technique to successful interviewing. A candidate who masters interviewing has an edge over others. This pamphlet will answer some questions you may have about interviewing. Our intention is to provide you with the tools to sharpen your interview skills and give you an advantage in today’s employment market.

Be Prepared

  • Be on time. Arrive 15 min. before the interview, dress professionally, and be well prepared.
  • Before the interview, research about the company, its products, services, performance, vision, management, interviewers, and recent events.
  • Prior to the interview, elaborate a list of additional information you need to know about the company, job, scope, future progression, management style, and strengths/weaknesses of those who held the position previously.
  • Bring pertinent information to the interview 

      (I.e. dates of employment, names of supervisors, telephone numbers, names and numbers for references). Incomplete applications are the most common disqualifiers.

  • Practice the interview with someone prior to the actual event. Remember to put your “show-time” game face on. Be as eloquent and honest as you can be.
  • Sell yourself loud and clear. To gain confidence, it is recommended you write “I am ….” at the top of a piece of paper and spend five minutes finishing the sentence with as many positive traits as you can think of.

Then, identify the ones you are most proud of and finish each statement with “I demonstrated my (positive attribute) when I …” Be well prepared and use these in the interview.

  • The first minute of the interview is the most important, because it gives a lasting impression. Establish rapport, assertiveness, enthusiasm, and motivation. Nonverbal communication is most important – like eye contact and movement, sitting correctly, and hand movement.
  • After rapport is established, ask if the interviewer can grant you 5 minutes of their time at the end of the interview to ask some questions you have prepared. Make sure you always ask what are the challenges of the position. That way you can always sell your accomplishments and skills as they pertain to the challenges.
  • Relax! When asked questions, focus before answering and give specific answers and examples about your past activities and how you’ve handled particular situations. Focus on communicating your strengths not your weaknesses.
  • Do not ramble or answer difficult questions unless you have clearly thought-out an appropriate focused answer. It is acceptable to ask for additional time (if needed) to answer a question. For example….”can I take a minute to think about this, I would like to give you a good specific example.” This shows assertiveness.
  • Use action words like created, achieved and directed to imply action and make a stronger statement.
  • Concentrate in the actual position you are interviewing for. Do not interview for any other positions or any future opportunities.
  • Do not ask excessive questions during the interview. Instead prepare 3 to 5 relevant questions to be asked at the end of the interview.
  • Call BIP immediately after the interview to provide feedback.

What Type of Questions to Expect

Q. Why are you searching for a job or why did you leave your last job?

A. Focus on motivation for professional development and attraction to a new company but not negatives of old company. Do not reveal money as a motivation to change jobs. Do not just mention career development as motivation, but explain what specifically career development means to you. Perhaps a culture fit wasn’t right for you or you were looking for the opportunity for promotion and felt it would be best to look elsewhere.

Q. How much do you want?

A. It is appropriate to comment that BIP (search firm) is representing you by handling all compensation issues and that they should have provided that information prior to the interview. If they insist, answer that you would like to concentrate on getting to know each other first, and then, if there is mutual interest, you’d consider a reasonable offer. It is not considered appropriate for employers to ask for desired compensation in an initial interview, as this creates an unlevel playing field.

Q. “Tell me about the worst boss you’ve ever had.”

A. Again, this is a question where you need to resist temptation to divulge dirt on your past experiences. Take the high road and don’t vent frustrations during the interview. Making a broad statement such as, “I’ve had all types of bosses, and some were much better than others at managing and communication,” should be enough of an answer.

Q. What can you tell me about yourself?

A. Focus on specific accomplishments on the job, no on irrelevant personal information. If you use descriptors of yourself, always use accomplishments and career progression to support and back-up your statements. This is where your prepared elevator speech (a 30 to 60 second pitch about yourself) can come in handy. A hiring manager wants to hear about your accomplishments and traits that make you a good fit for the position. Keep it concise but compelling – they won’t have time for your life story.

Q. “What are your weaknesses?”

A. Experts are mixed on the “correct” answer to this question—but most agree that the hiring manager doesn’t actually want you to share major weaknesses, especially those that are vital to the job at hand. Instead, take one weakness and put a positive spin on it, such as one you recognize that you have and discuss how you’re working to correct it. Oh, and don’t give a strength disguised as a weakness, such as “I am a perfectionist.”

Q. What are your strongest skills?

A. Focus on those skills you truly possess and give past specific job examples supporting this. You can answer by saying … “I consider myself a strong leader, possessing excellent communication, and problem solving skills. Let me give you an example… When I was working with x company …”

Q. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

A. Show that you’ve thought about sticking around the company and possibly moving up in the organization. Discuss how your skills and traits can help you excel at the current position and benefit the company in the future. Don’t share anything too personal, such as plans to start a family or travel the world, which could take you out of the running for the job.

Q. “Give me an example of a time when you had to [work in a team, think on your feet, work with a difficult client, etc.]…”

A. This is where the accomplishment stories in your cover letter and resume can come in handy. The worst thing you can do when asked to give an example of something is to panic and fail to come up with one. Come prepared with several stories that you can share about past experiences to show that you are capable in a variety of situations.

Q. Why do you want to work for our company?

A. Focus on how you can make a difference not on what the company can do for you.

Q. “Why should I hire you?”

A. To answer this question, you need to have a strong handle on your fit at the organization—which requires some research. Perhaps you see that the organization lacks a clear marketing strategy, something you have experience in creating and implementing. Depending on what you find and your unique selling points, answer confidently and show the hiring manager how you will benefit the organization if they hire you.

Questions to Ask Potential Employers

Corporate Relation

  1. When was company acquired or started under corporate structure?
  2. Is innovation a permanent strategy?
  3. Does your corporation require any individualized agreement prior or after hiring on confidentiality, patents ownership, non-compete, ethical, etc.?

Company or Subsidiary 

  1. What is the mission / vision?
  2. What is the management style?
  3. What are the leaders recognized for?
  4. What fuels growth?
  5. Does the corporation have unique or specific manufacturing systems and or quality systems?
  6. What production equipment will be used in this site?
  7. How will this organization chart look like?

Position

  1.  What are the main challenges of this position?
  2. What are the training methods used most often?
  3. If I were to be hired and surpass expectations, what career path can I expect?
  4. What are the key metrics that this position will be measured on?
  5. What are the key attributes that you consider most important and non-negotiable for this position?
  6. What level of autonomy does this position have?

How to End the Interview

  • Thank the interviewer for the opportunity.
  • Reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Communicate to the interviewer what you can do for them in the first 3 to 4 months. This is based on the information received earlier regarding the position’s challenges.
  • End the interview by focusing on how your experience and skills parallel their needs.
  • Show sincere interest and ask about the next step in the interviewing process.
  • After the interview, write a short thank-you note and mail it to the potential employer. 

Resume Tips

Put your first name and last name on the first line; address on second line; city, state, country, and zip code on third line; home phone on fourth line; and additional phone on fifth line.

  • Use a sans serif or Helvetica typeface, and 11 or 12 point type for your text.
  • Use spacing after commas, periods, words, and punctuation.
  • Remember to use all relevant keywords which describe your work experience, skills, and qualifications.
  • Limit resume to two pages maximum, and include your name on both.
  • Have your resume proofread for correct grammar and spelling. Incorrect spelling will reduce your resume’s electronic processing efficiency and may keep it from being considered.
  • Prepare to verify all claims made.
  • Submit resume on-line if available. Mailing or Faxing is not as efficient.
  • Don’t use script, underline, brackets, slashes, or parenthesis.
  • Don’t include personal information such as birth date, health, passport number, etc.
  • Don’t include your photo or other graphics.
  • Don’t exaggerate or sell yourself short.
  • Don’t include very old or irrelevant experience.

Don’t Be Shy

About tooting your horn during the interview

Tell me about yourself.

Responding to those four words during a job interview may send you into a panic, but it’s your best chance to make a lasting impression. A carefully crafted portrait of yourself will make it easy for employers to choose you for the job. “Interviewers aren’t interested in hearing you robotically recap your resume.” state Deb Gottesman and Buzz Mauro, authors of “The Interview Rehearsal Book: Seven Steps to Job Winning Interviews Using Acting Skills You Never Knew You Had.” Though you can’t know exactly what the interviewer wants to know, according to Gottesman and Mauro, you can assume they want to hear a range of information, from specific stories about your accomplishments, to the kind of impact you want to make in the future – even information about your personal life.

While you may be shy about tooting your own horn, it’s difficult to convince someone that you’re the person they want if you can’t promote your assets, say Gottesman and Mauro. “Talking about your strengths in a job interview isn’t bragging; it’s simply providing the potential employer with information she needs to assess your suitability for the position,” they write. While many job candidates try to sell themselves in a wishy-washy, apologetic manner, self-confidence is the best thing you can take with you to the interview.

To gain confidence and identify your achievements and assets, they recommend writing “ I am …” at the top of a piece of paper and spend five minutes finishing this sentence with as many positive traits as you can think of. Next, sort through the list you just made and identify five qualities that you are most proud of. Then take some time to complete this statement, “I demonstrated my (positive attribute) when I .  . .”  These completed statements are proof that you are what you say you are. These specific achievements are what will set you apart from other job candidates.

The next step during this crucial point in the interview is to let the interviewer know how you can put your experiences to work for them. Pick three traits from your original list that would be the most useful in the job you’re interviewing for.  Create specific statements utilizing these traits, like “I could put my attentiveness to detail to work for you by double checking the annual report each year.”

From your perspective, the purpose of the interview is to get a second interview and a job offer, but for many employers the purpose of the interview is to find a reason to eliminate you from the second interview – they want to know why they should not hire you, according to Ronald Krannich, Ph.D., and author of “Change Your Job, Change your Life.” “Since the interviewer wants to identify your weakness, you must encounter by communicating your strengths to lessen the interviewer’s fears of hiring you,” says Krannich.

Also, don’t underestimate the importance of nonverbal communication. “While we tend to concentrate on what we say, research shows approximately 65 percent of all communication is nonverbal,” “Honesty, intelligence and likability – three of the most important values you want to communicate to employers – are primarily communicated non-verbally,” Krannich states. To be sure you embody these traits, Krannich recommends practicing the interview with someone you know before the real deal. “You should prepare for the interview as if it were a $1,000,000 prize,” he states. “The more you practice, the better prepared you will be for the real job interview.” And don’t forget about the importance of playing a role in the interview, stress Gottesman and Mauro.

Decide what aspects of your personality you want to be in focus – this is your role. “Be in character from the moment you leave your house.”  Be ready to make a great impression on everyone you encounter, from people you pass on the way to the interview, to the company secretary. Finally, they suggest arriving a few minutes early to the interview. Use the time to review your resume and the statements you created earlier, to remind yourself of your traits and accomplishments not listed.

Interviewing Tips

OBJECTIVE

  • The main objective of the interview is to pass to the next stage.
  • Most candidates disqualify themselves before the company does.
  • Interview for the EXACT position you are being presented to.

DO’s

  • Be on time. Arrive 15 minutes before the interview, dress professionally, and be well prepared.
  • Before the interview, research information about the company, its products, services, performance, vision, management, interviewers, and recent events.
  • Before the interview, elaborate a list of additional information you need to know about the company, job, scope, future progression, management style, and strengths/weaknesses of those who held the position previously.
  • Bring pertinent information (i.e. dates of employment, names of supervisors, telephone numbers, names and numbers for references). Incomplete applications are the most common disqualifiers.
  • The first minute of the interview is the most important, because it gives a lasting impression. Establish rapport, assertiveness, enthusiasm, and motivation.
  • After rapport is established, ask if the interviewer can grant you 5 minutes of their time at the end of the interview to ask some questions you have prepared. Make sure you always ask what are the challenges of the position.
  • Relax!! When asked questions, focus before answering and give specific answers and examples about your past activities and how you’ve handled particular situations.
  • Answer questions in a direct and concise manner. Do not ramble or answer difficult questions unless you have clearly thought-out an appropriate focused answer. It is acceptable to ask for additional time (if needed) to answer a question. For example….”can I take a minute to think about this, I would like to give you a good specific example.” This shows assertiveness.
  • Concentrate in the actual position you are interviewing for. Do not interview for any other positions or any future opportunities.
  • Call us immediately after the interview to provide feedback.

DONT’S

  • Do not mention money. Try to avoid compensation questions during the interview. It is appropriate to comment that BIP (search firm) is handling all salary issues and that BIP should have provided that information prior to the interview. If they insist, you can comment on salary as little as possible. Don’t volunteer information you are not asked for.
  • Do not ask excessive questions during the interview. Instead prepare 3 to 5 relevant questions to be asked at the end of the interview.

THE FOLLOWING ARE GUIDELINES TO COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Why are you searching for a job?
A. Focus on motivation for professional development and attraction to a new company but not negatives of old company. Do not reveal money as a motivation to change jobs. Do not just mention career development as motivation, but explain what specifically career development means to you.

Q. How much do you want?
A. Focus on answering with a general open-ended response. Until you are seriously interested in the job and the company is considering making an offer, don’t identify a specific amount. Comment that BIP is handling all salary issues and that BIP should have provided or can provide that information to them.

Q. What can you tell me about yourself?
A. Focus on specific accomplishments on the job, not on irrelevant personal information. If you use descriptors of yourself always use accomplishments and career progression to support and back up your statements.

Q. What are your strongest skills?
A. Focus on those skills you truly possess and give past specific job examples supporting this.

Q. Why do you want to work for our company?
A. Focus on how you can make a difference not on what the company can do for you.

HOW TO END THE INTERVIEW

  • Thank the interviewer for the opportunity.
  • Reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Focus on how your experience and skills parallel their needs.
  • Communicate to the interviewer what you can do for them in the first 3 to 4 months. This is based on the information received earlier regarding the position’s challenges.
  • End the interview by focusing on how your experience and skills parallel their needs.
  • Show sincere interest and ask about the next step in the process. Ask them for their business card.
  • After the interview, write a short thank you note.

Acing the Phone Interview: Preparation Is Key

Before you face the hiring manager, you’ll probably spend some time on the phone with the company’s HR department. Here’s what it takes to win them over.

By Tanjia M. Coleman | The Ladders

If your resume passes muster for a job to which you’ve applied, a phone screen will probably be your next stop. Human-resources and hiring managers just don’t have time to grant every promising resume a face-to-face interview. Instead, top performers in a phone interview with HR will advance to in-person interviews with a hiring manager.

In my many years as a recruiting manager, human-resources business partner and director of human resources for Fortune 100 companies, I’ve conducted my fair share of phone interviews and screens with candidates. I know what HR representatives are looking for and what it takes for a candidate to win them over. With these experiences in mind, the following recipe can help take qualified candidates from the phone to an in-person interview:

1. Save your applications

a. Must be able to create advanced Excel spreadsheets
b. Must be able to analyze data
c. Must be able to create macros in Microsoft Office documents

When you pick up the phone and an HR representative asks to speak to you for five minutes, you don’t want to be scrambling for a description of the job or trying to remember which ones you’ve applied to.

Keep a copy of all the jobs that you have applied to in a separate folder in your e-mail In box. When the recruiter calls, be sure to get her name, company and the job she is referencing. You can cross-check this with the job description that you have in your “Job Posting” or “Applied for Jobs” folder in your In box. If you have applied for more than one job with a company you want to ask what job they are referencing so you can be prepared for the phone interview.

Having the job description in front of you during the phone interview is critical. Typically, job descriptions are written with the primary job responsibilities listed in descending order of importance. For instance, a simple job description may read like this:

The most important part of this job will be a candidate’s ability to create advanced Excel spreadsheets, followed by data analysis, then macro creation.

Having the description handy will let you speak to each of those requirements in order of importance, even if the recruiter doesn’t bring it up. If you absolutely can’t find the original job description, ask the recruiter to send you a copy before your phone interview. It’s best to ask rather than try to wing it and not get that in-person interview.

2. S.T.A.R.s

a. Situation: Analyze the activity you faced, in this case determining why sales have   steadily decreased by 5 percent from the previous fiscal year.
b. Task: Describe the tasks available to respond to the situation. In this case, identify why sales were decreasing and provide a solution.
c. Action: Describe the steps you took to resolve the issue.
d. Result: What was the result of your action? What did you take away from the resolution? What if anything would you have done differently?

Create an S.T.A.R. document. This is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Results, and it is the key to answering behavioral-based interview questions.

The HR representative will probably ask questions about how you handled specific types of situations in previous jobs. After all, it’s a common HR tool to test your professional experience and gauge your aptitude.

The HR representative is looking for you to respond to each in a clear and succinct manner. Here is an example of a behaviorally based question:

Tell me about a time when you most effectively used financial or quantitative data to identify and solve a critical problem.

You want to answer the question in way that demonstrates your ability to handle the situation and I recommend you break it down into Situation, Task, Action and Result.

Situation
Sales within my department had decreased 5 percent from the previous fiscal year

Task
To find the catalyst and provide a solution to stop sales from continuing to decrease in my department

Action

  • Sent out a survey to all customers to canvas if customer satisfaction and the decrease in sales were linked
  • Put together a brainstorming task force of internal employees to provide additional insight into the customer experience and products
  • Looked at previous year’s products to see if the decrease in sales were due to a difference in the quality of our products

Result
After a three-month study was able to find a direct link between customer satisfaction which had decreased by 15 percent from the previous year, and our decrease in sales. Customers were taking their business elsewhere due to the lack of service. Explained to management that perhaps decreasing resources in our customer service department was premature. We should look at other parts of the organization to build efficiency and hire qualified customer service representatives to assist our employees. This was done within two months, and six months later our sales increased by 3.5 percent over the previous fiscal year; yielding a total 8.5 percent increase and totaling 500k in additional sales.

Create at least two S.T.A.R. documents for each position on your resume. Then attempt to map each STAR to job responsibilities listed in the job description. You will thank me later when your answers come out polished and prepared as you clearly communicate your challenges, successes and results. Without it, you’re bound to stall and appear as if you can’t substantiate what is written in your resume.

3. Print it out

  • Resume
  • Bio
  • Cover letter
  • S.T.A.R. document

Keep the following documents printed out and with you at all times:

This way you aren’t constantly looking for these documents. You never know when that interviewer might call, and you want to be prepared. You should also review these documents every day so that you are keenly familiar with each. I’ve known executive candidates who were forced to admit they forget some of the content written in their own resumes or bios.

Tanjia M. Coleman is a recognized expert in human capital and executive hiring. For more than a decade she has advised corporate human resources departments on strategic staffing decisions and executive development. Now, through her firm Your Best Career Now, Coleman advises mid-career executives on their career decisions and professional development. She has a Master’s degree in Industrial/Employee Relations and Organizational Development from Loyola University Chicago.

How to Answer One of the Most Important Interview Questions

By Bob McIntosh | www.recruitingblogs.com

Forbes.com came out with an article on 10 of the toughest interview questions. Topping its list was, “Why should I hire you?” This is understandably one of the most unnerving questions to be thrown at you; but consider why it’s being asked at most interviews, and understand how to answer it. If you break it down to three phases, formulating your answer will be easier than you think.

First, the employer needs to know if you have a grasp on the skills required to do the job. This is usually the employer’s greatest concern. And do you blame her? She wants to know if you will still be able to perform your duties at an astonishingly high rate six months after hiring you.

How you answer: Do a rundown of the most crucial requirements for the position, explaining how you meet them and more. As the article suggests, doing your homework on the job is critical in answering this phase of the question.

“Let me start off by saying that I have a complete understanding of the major requirements of this position and can guarantee you that I meet them as well as offer additional skills and experience. You need someone who can implement and write your monthly newsletter. I wrote my former company’s newsletter and was successful in increasing readership, drawing in more customers, and making the company look very good for six prosperous years” Continue to list more of the requirements that you fulfill.

Second, the employer wants to know if you’re committed to doing the job. In other words, if hired for the position will you work hard, or will you slack off after your three-month trial period. Will you be motivated is the question. Are you dedicated, or do you simply want a job, any job?

How you answer: This is where you can answer another question you might be asked, “Why do you want to work here?” This second part of the three-part question is where you extol the company’s overall mission, praise it for the outstanding products it develops/services it provides, and show your admiration for its fine reputation in the industry.

“My desire to work at Miranda, Inc. and make it better is fueled by the fact that you and your staff believe in producing software that is designed by the best engineers. I want to contribute to the success of this company with my ability to take a concept and see it through delivery. I’m motivated (use this word) to live up to the outstanding reputation Miranda, Inc. has developed and sustains in the social media industry.

Third, The employer wants to know if you’ll be a good fit. Will you play well with others and be easy to manage? Surprisingly this turns out to be a large issue even if you’re a top performer. If you take one of the hardest-to-get-along-with athletes in Boston Red Sox history—none other than Manny Ramirez—and compare his performance to his attitude, you’ll probably agree that it just wasn’t worth keeping the bum around.

How you answer: You are a team player (ouch on that cliché) and even more important a person who has adapted to all situations and changes. Your record of getting along with colleagues and supervisors can’t be touched, not even by the best.

“If you ask my former supervisors and colleagues how I worked with them, they’d tell you I was one of the hardest workers in a very team-oriented environment. I always pulled my weight (another cliché), especially when times got rough. I don’t mean to sound like I was perfect, but I have always adapted to the demands of any company.

Knowing the three major areas of concern of the employer, makes it easy to answer one of the most daunting questions asked at an interview. Take your time before phrasing your answer, though. Don’t rush into it, because it’s really a three-part question that deserves at least two minutes to answer. If you can’t answer this question, you shouldn’t be applying for the job…plain and simple.

The Job Search Revolution

By Challenger, Gray & Christmas

The internet has revolutionized many facets of our lives over the last two decades, but perhaps the one aspect that has undergone the most dramatic change is the way we find jobs. Once dominated by newspaper classified sections and “help wanted” window signs, today’s job search is comprised of a sophisticated mix of online job boards, social media, portable technology and digital self-promotion.

However, while the job search has indeed entered the internet age, the successful job search remains stubbornly dependent on old-fashioned people skills. The way to land a position has always been and probably always will be through face-to-face interactions with decision makers, working your personal and professional networks, and performing well in the interview. Those who recognize and utilize the new digital tools at their disposal without abandoning the interpersonal aspects of the job search are the ones who will experience the most success in any job market.

Emerging technologies have made it easier than ever to uncover job opportunities, not only in one’s hometown, but anywhere around the country or even in other parts of the world. At the same time, these advances have made the job market more competitive than ever. Job search engines such as CareerBuilder, Monster, and LinkedIn, allow for fast and easy searching of job leads. SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com scour all other job boards and aggregate information for their members. While these are useful and necessary tools when looking for a new position, the ease with which these engines are accessed means a job seeker must compete with thousands of others looking at the same job leads.

In addition to searching job boards, job seekers must build an online presence in order to even be considered for most positions. Recruiters and employers constantly search LinkedIn, the professional networking site which allows users to post their resumes, projects, and former accomplishments, for potential candidates.

Other social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, or YouTube may also be perused in order for hiring authorities to create complete pictures of their candidates. If you have a presence on these sites, it is imperative that you present a professional image. This can be achieved through the use of privacy settings or through using these sites with the eye that your profile will be judged by potential employers. Much like when wooing someone, you want them to know only the positive aspects of your personality.

Unfortunately, simply ignoring these sites and not building an online presence will likely hurt a job seeker, as employers may decide the candidate is not tech savvy enough or willing to learn, both traits employers value. Additionally, employers want to know that you can present yourself, as a representative of the company, in a positive light.

Job seekers who have embraced this new technology are a major threat to those who shun these methods, either due to lack of understanding, fear, or stubbornness. When presented with two candidates, one who has a video resume with samples of her work, a Twitter account that links to relevant news items and academic studies, a LinkedIn profile packed with links to her relevant school work and presentations along with recommendations from previous employers and possibly shared connections with the hiring authority, and the other a candidate who emailed a resume but has no additional online information, the hiring authority will likely call the former in for an interview.

In addition to changes in searching for jobs, networking methods and interview procedures have turned digital as well. LinkedIn supports numerous industry- and position- specific networking discussions. Video conferences, using Google Hangout or Skype, allow executives to access each other from anywhere. Companies increasingly turn to phone and video interviews as first contacts. While employers and candidates eventually meet face-to-face, due to the massive numbers of applicants, hiring managers will weed out candidates over the phone or through video chat, underlining the importance of practiced interviews.

While the process has seen a decidedly digital turn over the last 10 to 15 years, some important aspects of the job search and interviewing have stayed the same. Job seekers must tap into their personal and professional networks when looking for jobs, and in fact, build bigger networks through meet-ups, luncheons, and courtesy interviews. Scheduling face-to-face discussions with executives at companies for which a candidate would like to work will help hone networking skills and practice interviewing. What are your major accomplishments? Where can you most help an organization? Give examples.

Meanwhile, this method expands a job seeker’s network by meeting new, influential people. Despite a stellar online presence, a candidate’s likeability is still tantamount to getting a job offer. If the hiring manager and other executives included in staffing decisions do not connect to a candidate on a personal level, it is unlikely they will give that person a job. This is why a recommendation from someone in one’s network is so important.

Below are points on what has changed in the job search and what will remain constant:

The Biggest Changes to Job Search in the Internet Age.

Meta Job Search Engines
These engines review every other job board for job opportunities and collect them into their site for their members.

Executive Search and Company Recruiters
Executive Search and company recruiters can more easily find qualified candidates for positions, because of heightened visibility on social and professional networking sites.

Video Interviews and Resumes
You-tube has exploded as a way of people video-branding themselves, allowing recruiters and hiring authorities the ability to assess candidates. Interviewing via Skype has become popular.

Digital Resumes and Social Media
A candidate’s activity in social media has become an indicator of performance based on postings and pictures. LinkedIn has become a #1 driver for on-line networking. Member’s connections can increase exponentially providing added exposure as a person, a business owner, or a job candidate. Facebook and Twitter are playing a more prominent role in job search process, because companies have developed a presence on these sites.

Managing One’s Own On-Line Image
Keeping up with managing one’s own image can be like another part-time/full-time job. Like companies, some people actually hire people to manage their on-line image due to its increasing importance. A person’s past also follows them more easily than ever before and could be harder to ditch – depending on what’s in their past. A person can develop an on-line persona as almost an alter ego.

What Aspects of the Job Search Will Never Change?

Employers Want to See a Product Before “Buying” It
This initial interaction could be via video interview or face-to-face. A candidate needs documentation in order for an employer to become interested, such as a resume and school transcripts, or increasingly social media. Behavioral interviewing will continue to be the predominant way of screening.

Job Seekers Need To Brand Themselves
Image will continue to be vital to how an individual is perceived by those he or she meets, be it a decision maker and/or a potential employer.

Networking is Key
Networking whether on-line of face-to-face will continue to serve as a strong tool to connect an individual to the world and expand connections. Recommendations, either digital or in person, will go a long way in securing employment.

An Educated Workforce is Necessary
Job seekers with college degrees or equivalent training will have the upper hand over less educated competition.

Employers Must Like and Trust You
It remains important for a candidate to establish rapport and chemistry with the hiring authority. Companies will continue to work with job, psychological, and social assessments tools to identify skills and good fit. It will remain important for the job candidate to listen to understand what a company is seeking so they can fit those parameters. Background and criminal record checks are here to stay.

Negotiation Comes After the Job Offer
The job market is still a “buyers” market, unless you have a very unique and desirable skill set. Do not attempt to negotiate salary or benefits before a job is offered.

Dueling Job Offers: How to Make a Decision

By Julie Rains for Women & Co.

When looking for a new job, you naturally focus on impressing potential employers. But what happens when you succeed and get more than one offer at the same time? How do you choose?

If you find yourself in such a happy predicament, don’t feel rushed to make a decision. Tell each employer that you are excited about the opportunity, but need time to consider. Give a reasonable timeframe in which you’ll either accept or reject the offer. In the meantime, weigh these aspects of each position to help you pick the right job:

Do you need ideal hours more than money?

Determine your value to the organization. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a major factor in job satisfaction is the opportunity to contribute skills and abilitiesExternal Site. To assess whether you’ll be able to demonstrate your strengths, think about how your potential supervisor and coworkers interacted with you during interviews, plus how your capabilities mesh with the employer’s needs. Ask yourself if you feel respected for your experiences and appreciated for what you offer the organization.

Evaluate professional development opportunities. Look at how the company invests in its employees, particularly if you are eager to build or reestablish a career. You may also want to pose questions that customer acquisition and retention specialist Karen Myers suggests in her advice to a member of ConnectExternal Site, Citi’s network of professional women on LinkedIn:

•Do both jobs offer great training?
•Does either environment make you more comfortable asking questions?
•Is there opportunity to grow your skills and position beyond the job you are applying for?

Consider each employer’s commitment to initial training and ongoing professional development.

Evaluate needs relating to work-life balance. Review factors relating to work-life balance unique to your individual circumstances. For example, consider daily commuting times and overnight travel requirements, and how they may impact achievement of both your personal and professional goals.

In addition, ask yourself if flexibility is important, especially if you have children at home or you periodically need time to care for the needs of elderly parents or family members.

Review the compensation package, including pay, benefits, and time off. As you evaluate intangibles, pay attention to the basics of compensation. Review hourly wages or annual salaries and bonus opportunities, along with employee benefits. Scrutinize retirement plans, noting employer contributions to 401(k) plans and/or profit-sharing plans, as well as health insurance plans, including provider networks, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums. Compare personal time off and paid vacation days, as these add value to your benefits package and help you maintain a desirable work-life balance.

Consider job security. After landing a job, you likely want to keep the position for a while. Be optimistic, but don’t forget the possibility that you could find yourself searching again soon for various reasons. To choose wisely, start by evaluating the financial soundness and long-term economic viability of each potential employer. Tap online sources and your network to gauge the suitability of the organization as a long-term place of employment.

Keep in mind that factors important to you may differ from elements prized by friends and professional colleagues. Motivational speaker and action coachExternal Site Jill Haseltine summarizes: “Make your decision based on your priorities. Do you need money more than flexibility, or ideal hours more than money? Decide based on what you need now and what will put you in a good position for the future.”

Have you ever had multiple job offers to consider? What were the major factors that guided your eventual decision—did it ultimately come down compensation or were there other concerns?

6 Things You Must Do to Be a Great Mentor and Leader

From theundercoverrecruiter.com

Mentoring is fundamental to being a successful leader. That, in my opinion, is unequivocal!

I have witnessed far too many leaders who do not invest time and energy – and you need both – in mentoring.

It is seen as the “soft stuff”, the “fluffy bits” and not critical. I beg to disagree.

If you do not mentor, then you will not light the fires in the people you are meant to be leading, and they – and you! – will be the lesser for it.

Oprah Winfrey said it brilliantly: “ A mentor is someone who allows you to see the light inside yourself”

You will not help anyone just by “managing them”. Yes, managing them will get things done because that is the job. But mentoring your people will lift performance to a different level.

Mentoring will facilitate the burning of that flame that drives us to excel beyond expectation. If you achieve that with your people – you are a leader, my friend!

So, what are the 6 musts of mentoring?

1) Take your own advice

Very simply – get one of your own! If you are engaged with someone as a mentor, but don’t have one yourself, then what does that say? A mentor does not have to be an aged sage, bent over with experience and knowledge! The experience and knowledge is great to have but your mentor can be a member of your peer group who will listen objectively.

2) Clarity about purpose

Be really clear what you are mentoring for and what you hope to achieve. Mentoring is about facilitating change and growth, so there will always be opportunities for future growth. But don’t have unfocused discussions – be clear and precise.

3) Listen

I referred to this earlier. This is not an exercise in demonstrating how much you know and how wise you are. You must listen really carefully – to what is being said and what is not being said. Ask continuously for clarification about the points being made. Draw everything out – not just the first things that are uttered. Listen to the tone and the inflection, and watch the body language.

4) Do it regularly

Sounds obvious but these discussions are frequently the ones that get dumped when the pressure on time arises. Ad hoc sessions will only come across as being contrived and “we should have a chat” type of approach. You have to demonstrate that you really care – and being committed to regular mentoring sessions demonstrates that commitment.

5) Give of yourself

Give your time, give your counsel, give of your emotions and be involved in the process. The more you give of yourself, the bigger the impact.  Remember what Maya Angelou, the civil rights leader, said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel” Mentoring gives you the opportunity to set alight that fire – and they will never forget you for it.

6) Be a role model

You cannot be a mentor and then disregard your own advice. You must walk the talk. Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Prize winner, said: “Example is not the main thing when influencing others, it is the only thing” This is a challenge for us all, but real mentors do live up to it.

Truthfully, I believe that mentoring is one of the most fulfilling roles you can play, and done properly, is also one of the most rewarding. Winston Churchill said it brilliantly: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”

Please share your experiences of mentoring and the challenges you encountered.