Monthly Archives: March 2017

Six interview blunders you want to avoid

Posted: March 20, 2017 at 9:00 am

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It’s hard for job candidates to get honest feedback about how well they do on job interviews. Here are six frequently mentioned complaints recruiters and hiring managers have voiced over the years about the ways job seekers behave in their interviews.

1. Arriving late. Recruiters and hiring managers are tightly booked with appointments. When you arrive late for an interview, you upset their schedule and put them in a bad mood. No matter how valid your excuse is, it hard for them not to resent your tardiness. Give yourself extra time to get to your interview. No one ever lost out on a job by being early.

2. Not being prepared. It’s almost impossible for an interviewer to understand a candidate’s experience without a resume in hand to use as a guide. You may have sent in a resume in advance of your interview, but if the interviewer does not have it handy, you are the one who will suffer for it. Always bring extra resumes to your interviews, along with samples of your work, if relevant. Also bring pen and paper to take notes to show you are prepared.

3. Not knowing anything about the company. Hiring managers and recruiters expect you to thoroughly research the internet for information about their company. If the company produces a product pr a service, try it out if possible. If you want the company to show interest in you, you need to show interest in the company. Otherwise you will project indifference when you really want to do is to project enthusiasm.

4. Not asking questions. Interviewers are not happy when you make them do all the work to keep the conversation going. Use your research about the company to ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the job.

5. Lying. Unless you are a professional con artist, don’t think you can get away with lying. Experienced interviewers can easily recognize when you try to make up facts or give vague response because you don’t know the answer to a question. Lying is the most unforgivable sin you can commit in an interview. On the other hand, you won’t get extra points for sharing negative information about your work history unless it’s in answer to a direct question.

6. Being rude. It’s easy to be rude unintentionally. No matter how casual the interviewer may be, they expect you to be on your best behavior and demonstrate your good manners, and that includes dressing appropriately. Don’t try to be witty or tell jokes: what you think is funny your interviewer may find offensive.

Avoid these six interview blunders and you will increase your chances of getting the job.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?

Posted: March 6, 2017 at 9:00 am

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Although most job seekers don’t think about the difference between hard and soft skills,  hiring managers think about it all the time.

Hard skills include computer skills like Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint; bookkeeping and accounting; software development; foreign languages; mathematics and statistics; project management; and data analysis, just to name a few.

As you can see, hard skills are about knowing how to do something and having had experience in doing it. It’s not difficult to determine if an applicant has hard skills. Employers can verify your hard skills by giving you a test or by asking for credentials like an advanced degree, a certificate or a license.

Hard skills tend to be easily transferable from one company to another. The rules of Microsoft Excel or Google Analytics are the same no matter where you work. You can learn them in school, from online courses or from books. Hard skills look great on a resume because they match up well with many job descriptions.

The problem is that when new technologies are introduced, hard skills based on older technologies become obsolete. Anyone who has been in the workforce for more than ten years has witnessed this first hand.

That’s why soft skills are so important.

Examples of soft skills are problem solving; communication and teamwork skills; patience; resilience, persistence, perseverance; mentoring; and leadership.

Soft skills are about handling situations rather than specific tasks. They are often called career skills because they involve the ability to adapt to change, for example the ability to work well with people from very different corporate cultures. Working in an international company requires the soft skill of working with people from many different cultures.

Employers look for both hard and soft skills. And once the minimum job requirements have been met by a candidate, soft skills are more likely to determine who gets hired.

Job seekers tend to overemphasize hard skills, so make sure you you don’t overlook your soft skills. Include them in your resume; mention them in your interviews; and you’ll improve your chances of getting hired.

For a comprehensive list of soft skills, go to Lei Han’s website here.