Three Big Interview Questions and What They Mean

If you ask for interview advice, you will always hear: “ask questions” as an answer. It shows you are interested. But what are you interested in? Why are you asking questions? Often, you are so nervous and eager to start working that you just ask things for the sake of completing the task. The whole interview is a routine: enter, smile, shake hands, sit straight, hair out of face, answer, ask, follow up and finally (hopefully get the job). What we are quick to forget, is that there is (or should be) a purpose to everything we do during an interview. The interviewer does his job to make sure you are a good fit for his company. You should be looking out for yourself, making sure that you are a good fit. You might counter me, stating that a job is a job. That’s understandable in this economy, but if you are looking for a career, you cannot just settle for “a job.” Asking meaningful questions will help you find out if you’re interviewing for a job or a career. Here are the best questions to ask and a breakdown of why you should.

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Question 1.

Is this a new position? If so, why was it created? If not, what kind of expectations do you have for the next employee?

This will accomplish a few things. First, you will find out if the company is expanding and if so that could mean a few things. It shows economic stability. It’s a large commitment for a company to decide to take on new hires. Before you go in, research if the new position is part of larger contract the company signed for a year or more, which will dictate if the position will be around for a while or just a test. The second half of the question should give you a good idea about what your work will be like, day-to-day and lead to more questions about your role. With that idea, you should be able to determine if it’s something you would enjoy doing during 40+ hour weeks for at least a few years.

Question 2.

What do you expect the new hire to accomplish within the first month, 60 and 90 days? Do you expect there to be a learning curb, how long?

This question should solidify your expectations. You will find out if there will be a lot of pressure and multitasking expected. If you’re not a person who can handle that, it’s better to focus your energy in pursuing something else. Basically, can you handle this position or will you be running out cursing after a month of work? Perhaps the company wants to spend a month time training you at first and that’s something you know you need when you start a new role, then congrats, continue in this direction.

Question 3.

What do you enjoy most about working for Company X?

Your Interviewer should be able to name at least one thing. If they are interviewing you, they are likely in a senior position and should have a good reason they have stayed with their company. On the same note, if the person interviewing is rude and short with you and you did not warrant this type of reaction, it might be sign they are not happy with their situation. Interviewing you is just another nuisance they have to do to fulfill their job requirements. Someone who is smiling and welcomes your warm attitude (which you undoubtedly brought with you) will certainly have a thing or two to say about why they love their job. Hopefully their enthusiasm will be contagious and get you excited to work with them.

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Keep Your Friendship and Get a Job

There are really only two options in employment (employed or unemployed). With the unemployment rate around a steady 8.3% chances are most of your friends if not yourself are unemployed, especially if you’re millennials. A group of friends gets rapidly more boring as everyone’s money dwindles and people move back into their childhood bedrooms and basements.

It’s natural to want everyone to get some kind of work before you all become potato chips (about one stage and a half after a couch potato). If you’re working, you will want to push your unemployed friends further to get jobs so you that everyone can return to enjoying happy hour at your local watering hole. If you’re not employed and looking with your friends, your frustrations might eventually be taken out on your friends. Additionally, your friends might be as motivated, more motivated or completely careless—all of which can be real deal breakers when you’re on the other side of the spectrum. Here’s some advice about how to handle it.

  1. A Man with a Full Belly Doesn’t Understand the Plight of the Starving

If you’re employed, it is likely your mentality will be “I got a job, so why can’t you?” After which you will begin to go on Criaglist in your free time and spam your friend’s email with all kinds of postings where he may/may not be remotely employable. This does not help your friend. If he/she is not right for the job, they will just receive another distressing rejection letter. It might be better to suggest opportunities. “Hey there’s a position at this company where I have connections, it’s not what you want, but it might be a good idea while you keep looking around,” sounds a lot better than mass emails that will make them feel like you do not trust that they’re making an effort. In addition, there’s a good chance other people are already wailing on them so you can easily sit back and take the supportive role.

  1. You Can Lead a Horse To Water…

So let’s say your friend is unemployed and he tells you “sure, I will look into that” about a position that’s open in your company. You promptly do not receive a resume from him, no phone call, zero effort. You send him a Criaglist listing for a position where you know the hiring manager and he thinks your friend would be perfect. Still, no response. You point out a new job board he can use that is specific to his experience (mediabistro.com for creatives for example) and he says tone of the classics:”I don’t know if that’s something I want,” or “I’m considering just waiting this economy out, no one is hiring in my field right now,” and finally, “I just don’t want to deal with that.” Finally, they can lie and tell you they applied when you know they didn’t. This is the perfect situation where it’s ok to tell yourself you’ve done enough and it’s time to step back. What it all comes down to is that your friend does not want to be employed and doesn’t want your help either. Take the hint, fire one last suggestion of staffing companies he can ask for help and let him do whatever he needs to do. Eventually, when you go to the bar without him or he sees the nice apartment you can now afford, he will come around.

  1. Eyes on The Prize

Here you are, going crazy, applying every day to at least 3 different positions. Taking the saying “searching for work is a full time job,” to a whole new level with your obsessiveness and determination. And your friend has the audacity to send you another position?! ….wait, this actually looks good, I am going to put a resume together for them.

Anyway, there’s your friend doing absolutely nothing and keeps complaining about it. Jobs are not just jumping into his arms by themselves. Well, here the same advice applies as above. Let them run their course and natural competitive instincts take their course. Once you put on a suit and get out there and they see it, they will catch up. Maybe he or she  will even let you proof read his resume.

Of course, the economy is horrid and finding a job includes so many various factors that might not even be within our control. Whether the whole group of your friends is unemployed or just you, there’s always something to do that’s cheaper than going to a bar. For one, utilize your parent’s basement and buy a six pack instead of going out. Better yet, take a hike or go the beach. Even better, go to a local bookstore and look through their job reference books to help you along the search. Attend networking events together, even if you’re employed. After all, friends should still be there for support so just have fun with the fact that unemployed or not, you have company. Stay in your own business but let a good opportunity pass you or your friend while you’re looking in the wrong direction either. Try not to make mom have to clean the basement too often, it wouldn’t kill you to do your own laundry during your stay either.

Which Company is Right for You?

If your potential employer sees that you do not fit in with an office’s culture, you are likely not going to be the most desirable candidate. Everyone wants to avoid rejection, but in some cases it might be good for you. After you come home from an interview and and before yo udespair, consider the kind of company you interviewed with and weigh their strengths against your needs. Of course, it’s never good to turn something down before trying it, but if you were turned away from a position, it might have been good for you. If a company is not listed below, chances are, it’s already part of the other categories.

  1. Small, Growing and Willing to train 

Think a start up IT company

This company will value one thing over anything else–loyalty. They are small and want to build up their business brick by brick, employing people they think will be the perfect fit so they can train them with specific skills. They are willing to put in the time to train you because they know the payoff is a great worker who knows exactly what’s expected of them while the company continues to expand. Here the right person should have enough job experience to know what they want from a company. Since they are putting in the time to train you, they expect you to appreciate and seek opportunities to grow internally to reciprocate. If you decide to jump ship from this company without getting at least five years of work in or reaching your career ceiling, you will not get positive references to help you move on. Once it becomes pretty obvious that you are not interested in the long haul, you will likely fall out of the office culture here.

2. Large, Growing but Does not Train

Think Google when they launched Google Instant

This company has bigger fish to fry than worry about helping you grow your skill set. They certainly will give you some basic idea of what they want and how it needs to be done. But they will not put in the time to explain the business or a new strategy to you. They want you to complement their current efforts so they could just focus on getting their expansion working. This company is great to have on your resume if you are a seasoned professional because it will illustrate your strengths with a new, unique experience. In addition, if it’s large enough you can probably recommend your friends and help more people get in. This is the perfect company to have as you step up from your first two year job. Your loyalty is important and will certainly be rewarded here if the growth is successful, but it’s just as good to get a fancy name on your resume.

3. Large Company, Downsizing

Think publishing companies

It sounds bizarre but when large companies downsize, they like to hire interns, temps, and part time people to do the work that the person they just fired used to do. A downsizing first gets rid of certain roles that do no require full time presence.  They need people to come in for a little bit to do the work that would otherwise be thrown at the already overworked current employees. The issue here is not that you would be doing a lot of work, it’s that you may or not be hired once your assignment or internship is over. However, like any other large company, it will more than likely be a great addition to your resume. Make sure you stay for long enough for the next person who sees your resume to know that you actually gained experience ( the duration of the assignment), otherwise, it will be pretty obvious that you just wanted to take advantage of a company name, and no one wants their business viewed that way.

4. Medium Company, Not Expanding

Think your local business with no more than three offices

Again, more likely to be a good fit for seasoned employees, but in medium sized, seasoned company, a newbie can find his or her place as well. This company values loyalty but also understand what a career is about. You are most likely replacing someone who moved on or retired. Since this company chose to keep a certain size instead of maxing out for profit, they know what they want from each employee and only need to hire new people when an old position becomes open. In some situations they will train, but more than likely, they want someone to pick up what the previous person put down. This is a good company to keep yourself steady and working, with potential for a raise and mobility because they will definitely hire from within first. The downside is that you might be in the same position for quite a while, waiting for something to open up or profits to rise in the company.

Medium Sized Companies Want a Team Player

 

The most important lesson here is: You won’t get a feel for any of this until you physically come in. A recruiter, or a friend, no one short of a future co-worker can give you an accurate expectation for the company when you apply. All you can do is come in with an open mind and a positive outlook.

Google Fiber For Your Business?

Google is nowhere done growing. Neither was Skynet in 2029 when it sent back the Terminator. Much like the number of zeros the number googol has, Google’s abilities run into hundreds. At this point, it’s passed pandemic proportions and moved into worldwide contagion. Much like with Apple products, you can completely Google yourself out. Chromium powered laptops, Andriod phones and tablets are a techie’s open source dream. Recently, tech companies have begun to press the power of wireless internet. Apple discontinued Ethernet ports in their new MacBook Pros and Chrome Books’ OS Chromium relies heavily on the internet to power and store your information.

The next step for Google is only natural: make internet better. Google’s next great, multi-million, multi-year venture is called Google Fiber. Fiber is going to be doing what so far only Verizon Quantum has attempted to do, for quite a bit of cash. Verizon services can offer you up to 300 Mbps speeds (2.2 min to download an HD movie) for 89.99 per month, and so far no major cable companies can compete. That is until Google came in with its Wal-Mart sized competition. Google is trying to do to basic home internet what Wal-Mart did to retail store prices.

Fiber offers a wide range of pricing from 0$ per month (that’s no typo) to 120$ for TV and high speed internet. For every business owner and tech nerd with at least three devices, this is a dream come true. And the three people whom I have pointed in the direction of Fiber have gotten excited all over for the mere prospect.

Cons: Getting closer to the possibility of having Skynet cyborg overlords. But seriously, let’s clarify some information. In order to use the free internet, a person needs to be part of the set up installation process that costs a 10$ when Fiber makes it to your city and a 300$ installation fee or 25$ a month, after which your internet is maintained at no cost. On all the other plans the installation fee is waived.  Will there be another catch? Possibly, in this case the large corporation will not be seeking to suck money from us, but something far more valuable—our consumer habits.

 

For your business, Google Fiber is an excellent prospect. Just consider the value of the product you could be receiving! For the time being, Fiber is not available for businesses even in Kansas City, as Google is keeping it residential during development.

It’s also important to note that several important addendums may need to take place before Fiber comes to your town, not to mention, your business. First, Fiber just launched in Kansas City in July. And the first tests have not brought the best results. Just as well, after initial testing, Google could realize the true cost of maintaining a 1Gbps speed and charge a lot more. Still, Google’s idea is truly noble: make internet a must have easy access tool for everyone and raise the bar in speed while they are doing it. Perhaps just seeing the competition heat up with make cable companies reconsider their current rates.

Dress Your Mind and Yourself For the Part

Don’t dress for the part you are given, dress for the part you want. Working at a dead end? There’s something you need to remember. A suit, is a suit, is a suit, is a suit. You don’t have to buy an Armani Suit if you can’t afford it because any suit is a…you get it.

Wouldn’t you hire snazzy Bradley Cooper?

Presentation for both yourself and your resume is extremely important. Competition is stiff now more than ever, and it might be that you have to do some psychological conditioning to get a paycheck. To get the job, you need to follow some natural human interaction rules.

1. Are you looking for a promotion? Start dressing for your new role.

Herein lay your number one key to success. Are you working at the front desk but wish you could get a raise up to HR or perhaps over to the sales team? Scoop out how the majority of the coveted department are dressing and start to mimic their clothing. It might sound ridicules. You don’t want to seem like one of those boys who gets Justin Beiber’s haircut to attract girls, but consider this. Do you remember what your high school cafeteria looked like? The Goths sat together, drama nerds sat in their little group? An office is not much different. There might not be a Mean Girl like Regina Gorge in your office but there are certainly divisions that happen naturally. Accountants just have more to talk about with other accountants. Now put all of that together and you’ll understand exactly how important it is to be the part you want. If you don’t fit in right away, edge yourself in, make yourself acquainted with the right people and express the reasons for your interest, explain why you know you are a fit. You have certainly envisioned yourself there, so don’t be afraid to explain your ideas. You have to really see yourself in that role so that others can see you in it. Of course once you get comfortable you can relax and show your uniqueness, but if you are not willing to initially put forward the effort fit into a group, perhaps it’s not the best idea to try to move up there.

2. Don’t come under-dressed for your first impression….ever.

With the short exception of retail jobs, it’s really easy to come underdressed to an interview. I am not trying to undermine retail; I am just referring to the easy to spot uniform most retail stores expect their employees to wear. If you’re looking for a waterslide in Target you look for someone in a red polo and khakis, and if you’re looking to get a deal on a printer at Best Buy you look for a blue shirt and khakis.

If you are going to discuss your finances with an investment banker, you will expect to see suit or at least a button up shirt, tie and slacks when you get to his office. Consider yourself the same way. It’s the association game. Picture the position you want, then consider the most relevant clothing—dress like that, but better.

 

Creative role? Same applies here, picture a graphic designer, now remove the tee and messy hair, add hair gel and a button up at least until you’ve made the perfect impression and viola! You got yourself the graphic designer the employer is expecting. Archetypes might be frustrating for some to deal with, but tell me the first image that pops into your head when I say Wicked Witch to prove me otherwise.

 

 

 

Guess which one gets the Green Light?

3. Make Sure Your Resume does the same thing for you.

Now that you’ve made sure you have a great image off paper, make sure your paper (or digital resume) looks fitting as well. Make sure its language and appearance, much like you in person, corresponds to the company you are applying to. Funny pictures applied to your resume and sarcastic remarks will only be appreciated by other companies that are known for liking funny pictures and sarcastic remarks. There is still a thin line here, don’t make inappropriate jokes: just because the company seems to make a lot of them, doesn’t mean their HR department will appreciate it.  For example, sending over a picture of Nick Cage titled Resume to work as a teller in a major bank will sent you right into the recycling bin.

Same goes when sending a boring resume with just your qualifications and no bacon over to a place like CollegeHumor.com. When countless advisors say, make your resume stand out, they don’t mean just put pretty borders on it. They mean, know what your boring competition is likely to put on their resume (Word, Quark experience) and change it up to make it more interesting (in addition to knowing Word and Quark, I can write at lighting fast speeds in a language that is quickly dying—proper English). Again, consider where you are sending it and make sure that it’s not a prim corporation where they will certainly not appreciate your splendorous skills).

Bottom Line:

Do we want to admit that appearance means a lot? That everyone is a tad shallow and based on a majority of Youtube comments, extremely judgmental? No. But is it the truth? Please comment and let me know when it’s worked otherwise.

The Worst Bullies: Yourself and Internet Strangers.

It’s an overused saying but there is seldom a thing that’s more important than staying positive in today’s world. With the internet growing every day, our altercations with people also become more common. Really, the only way a person nowadays can avoid communicating constantly is actually moving in under a rock. Naturally, when encountering more people daily, it’s more likely that more than a few of them will be duds—mean spirited people who communicate for the sake of saying something and don’t always consider the feelings of the person on the receiving end. Here is a list of places where you are very likely to encounter someone with an attitude, why they do so and what you can do to avoid stressing out over it.

Location: Any Type of Social Media.

Anyone who has posted something on any public site has encountered belligerent anonymous strangers. Your friends on Facebook might not always be the kindest, but having their name out certainly makes a person double check whether their comment might be offensive. LinkedIn is also fairly safe because business etiquette teaches us to say nothing if there is nothing nice to be said. Meanwhile, the likes of YouTube, Twitter, and, sadly sometimes Reddit, can be rather aggressive in their comments. Some people have learned how to handle these really well. However, most of us do not know what to do and take comments of such nature personally.

Saturday Night Live Displays Internet Bullies at their Finest

Solution to Social Media. Thankfully, because the internet is so vast, it’s really easy to avoid something and refocus your energy on something else. However. we all know that no matter how many times someone says “just ignore it,” the problem really is that you cannot. You should deal with it, just not the same way the bully would. On facebook you can defriend someone or block them. On the other sites, do not be afraid to report someone as spam. Use that button, and freely. Just like pesky fake accounts that ask you to buy something in return for a ‘follow,’ people who are rude and pugnacious deserve to know that they are spamming you with their negative, unconstructive criticism. Try to focus on positive things that people are saying. In your next video or tweet thank someone for how pleasant they were. Not only will this model the idea that being nice gets you recognized, it will also make an indirect jab by ignoring negative comments. There are few things people will want to continue to do without recognition. If the comments get out of hand and you have used all of your resources, don’t be afraid to just retreat. Either discontinue your discourse about the topic, delete your post, or just hide people’s ability to comment on your posts. It might seem drastic, but if you’re truly not learning anything from everyone’s input (how to better your post next time, spelling error you might need to fix) then it’s not worth your time. Finally, refocus your attention to more positive social networks and blogs that more closely relate to your interests- hellogiggles.com might be one for example, Pinterest.com might be another. Getty Images has an entire website dedicated to inspiring people.

Location: Job Seeking When You Feel Like You’ve Drained All Of Your Resources.

We have all been there at one point. There are a thousand aunts that suddenly show up to edit your resume because they know best. There are two thousand companies where you are “just not a good fit.” Three thousand books that will make it seem you’ve been doing the wrong thing this whole time.

Solution to Job Seeking Woes. Keep persevering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of a job search was 21 weeks as of January, 2012. That means that you could be lucky and fall below that number or need some help as you exceed the time frame. Another statistic claims that people give up looking after five months–and that’s the one which needs to be addressed foremost. This is no normal Bully situation you’re dealing with. In this case, often the bully is you and/or someone close by. It’s very rare that parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents understand of your situation. They want you to succeed but preferably without you having to borrow money from them or ‘crash’ at their place. Hence, their patience will be rather short and their advice rather one-sided. It might be a good idea to distance yourself from those relatives that are forcing their advice upon you, especially if they are not coming with professional knowledge. That being said, it will be more upsetting if you are left wondering what would have happened if you did take that chance and follow someone’s advice.  As long as you can honestly tell yourself that you tried, and/or their advice did not work, you gave it your best shot.

Keep positive by re-reading your resume. After all, that resume is supposed to be your best foot forward before the employer has seen your face. Re-read it and edit it until it makes you smile because that’s the reaction an employer should have when they see your perfect qualifications. When it comes to work, your earning potential and your feelings, it’s tough to keep telling yourself you are doing a great job. You become your own bully.The recommendation here is to seek professional advice. You might not want temporary work, but a good staffing agency will tweak your resume and give you some pointers before you go on an interview. Going on a temporary assignment is not always the worst idea if you have been out of work for a while, especially considering some companies will keep you on after their contract with the staffing agency is through.

Most importantly, don’t forget to always keep your chin above the water, because if you’re nice, the world needs more people like you.

Two Ways to Know You Got the Job

When interviewing for a company, you might be running up against some stiff competition. Other than making sure you follow the tips posted earlier, there is a fairly reliable way to deduct whether or not the employer would like to see you again.

1. Did you Stack up to the Competition?

If you are applying to a corporate job through Monster or Indeed, the website will usually give you a basic statistic of who else applied for the job, average level of education, years of experience, etc. If you found out about the job through a connection, the task gets easier. If you got the interview with the help of a staffing company, ask your recruiter what he knows about others applying and how many other recruiters were put to the task to his knowledge. If your interview was set up by a friend, make sure you ask them who else is coming in and how they received their opportunity. Moreover, it’s always easy to spot someone who came to interview before you. He will be dressed to the 9s (such as you should be) and look just as nervous. Don’t be afraid to size them up to yourself.

2. Did you Do Your Research?

Have you figured out that the other guy looks the part more than you do? Trouble doesn’t end there. If you find yourself stumbling over the question: “why do you think you would make a great addition to XYZ?” –you didn’t do your research and it’s about to become obvious. You can be positive someone is going to come in right after you and know the exact answer to that question. Another thing: no matter how terrible your name memory is, and most of us admit having a pretty bad one, one thing should be engraved into your memory. If the receptionist asks you and you don’t know the name of the person you are interviewing with, stumbling or saying the wrong name is going to make you seem careless. If you know names are not your specialty, write this one on your hand and prepare jokes in case you forget somehow anyway. Finally, do not forget the simple task of Googling. I cannot begin to describe how many people have came back from an interview with positive feedback just because they knew about a merger the company had five years ago. Google will also answer the question: “do you know what XYZ company does?”

Knowing that you can answer both of those criteria successfully will be the difference between success and continuing to search for work. It will boost your confidence enough to a) believe in yourself enough to avoid jitters and b)actually get the job because you’ve done your best to deserve it.