What To Expect during a Job Interview? 

If it is your first time to come to a job interview, it is normal if you think that interview is nerve-wracking. In such a case, knowing a few best practices can calm your nerves and keep you sharp. The first step is getting familiar with types of questions you’ll be asked, which include:

  • Background questions – These questions help hiring managers get an overview of your experience, goals and why you’re interested in the company. 
  • Behavioural questions – These are designed to uncover your past “behaviours” in different work situations. These questions also help employers decide whether you will fit company culture. 
  • Situational questions – Your answers to these questions should demonstrate your ability to overcome challenging workplace scenarios. 

See also: The Power of Informational Interviews

It will be all about you.

Besides the interview questions above, you can expect that a job interview will be all about you – as a job seeker. Therefore, set aside shyness or reticence and prepare to explain yourself thoroughly. First impressions always count, especially on particular occasions like job interviews. Practice and school yourself on what to do when employers ask illegal questions, such as queries about your marital status, children, or health issues. Understanding what you should disclose and what should be kept as secret will leave a good impression to recruiters. 

If you have an employment gap, explain it.

It is always a good policy to be honest about employment gaps, especially if it is lengthy. Having an employment gap will not decrease your employment chance if you know how to communicate it. Thus, be honest on why you take the gap, is it because you are working to find a new job, volunteering, becoming a parent or caregiver, or travelling? These reasons might be viewed in your favour. When explaining this, remember to emphasise the skills you’ve gained during employment gaps that will put value to the company if they hire you.

Be ready to discuss salary. 

When it comes to salary discussion, don’t disclose exactly what you expected. What you need to do is to prepare yourself by knowing what you are worth based on your qualifications and your salary history. You can also consult authoritative sources, such as Payscale. Once again, don’t feel it is your role to bring up specific numbers, but if you are asked, be prepared with salary ranges, based on your research. 

You are also required to ask questions. 

As the interview is winding up, the hiring manager might turn the table and ask if you have questions for them. When the time comes, make sure you take the chance to dig the company deeper, such as understanding the work hours, company culture, etc. Check here to know what questions you should ask. Nonetheless, it can be totally okay to finish with a non-question grace note, such as expressing that you’ve enjoyed the discussion and look forward to the next step in the hiring process. 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

5 Things Recruiters Know that Job Seekers Don’t 

Do you often find that recruiters and hiring managers are intimidating? Don’t worry, they are not. They simply want to give you the best hiring experience in their own way. What you should pay more attention to is the secret behind their actions, because there are certain things that hiring managers do not want to reveal in front of their candidates. According to Dandan Zhu, Founder and CEO at DG Recruit, here are a few things recruiters and hiring managers know that job seekers don’t. 

#1 – All basic qualifications having been met 

“The smartest people do not actually end up succeeding the most in real life, while the dumbest people also have just as good as a chance to survive, if not thrive.” 

It means that B or C level students might be as good as A+ students in real life.  In other words, when it comes to the workplace, this means that the most talented and technically savvy engineer doesn’t always become the CTO. Most of the time, it is usually the politically admired and personally connected talent who wins and progresses into the C-suite. Basic qualifications are important to be considered as a feasible candidate, but success is dedicated more by one’s ability to influence, actively listen and respond appropriately, level of social etiquette, and general accentedness by their peers and superiors than one’s technical scores. 

See also: Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation

#2 – HR people are not that important in the hiring hierarchy 

“As you become a serious professional, you can utilise LinkedIn to directly approach hiring managers.” 

Most graduates might think that HR people deserve the utmost respect as they were the gateway to their future career prospects. Yet, Zhu emphasised that it is the hiring manager that makes the utmost decision, while HR is the service and administrative function in the process. Hiring manager dictates everything, including who to interview, what price to pay them, who to hire, and which headhunters to utilise. 

#3 – Job applicants can negotiate and leverage other offers to great effect 

“In today’s world, it is all about the etiquette and manner in which you communicate.” 

As a job applicant, you might be scared of upsetting prospective employers about disclosing where else you are going for job interviews and how much money you actually want. Yet, if a high-demand labour market where the supply of jobs outstrips candidates available, you actually hold a lot more power than employers do. 

Therefore, it is vital for you to research your niche and whether the position you are applying for is currently in the high demand labour market or not. Only then, you know your worth to negotiate and be transparent about offers. If handled appropriately, this will increase employers’ desire for you, not penalise you for looking greedy or not interested. Communication is the mother of all success when it comes to negotiation, thus master it. 

#4 – Interview your interviewers harder 

“Don’t be scared to say what’s on your mind. If something important to you does not align with your future employer, things won’t work out anyways, so it is better to know before you take the job to begin with.” 

Commonly, candidates are so scared of losing job offers or being looked at as needy or demanding so they don’t actually say what’s on their mind. This, however, could hurt your success on the job even if you manage to get a great salary and offer. Chances are, you probably agreed to something that you did not fully understand or align with.

That’s why it’s your prerogative to be a strong communicator. Get the answers you truly need during interviews by asking tough questions that are detailed and specific. This is where you’ll be spending your next few years; you better be aggressive in how you get it out!

#5 – Interview even if you don’t need to 

“Go out and interview even if you don’t need to.” 

Due to loyalty, fear, laziness, and/or arrogance, most candidates refuse to proactively learn about what opportunities are available. Don’t be like these most candidates. No matter if you need to look or not, once you hit a certain amount of experience in your role, it is time to take your head out of the sand and start interviewing, even if just for your own education. 

Read also: What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application?

The Power of Informational Interviews

Typical job interviews are started by recruiters asking a series of questions to see job seeker’s qualification. But in an informational interview, it will be the other way round. In an informational interview, job seekers will be the one who asks questions to obtain information of their preferred employers and/or job positions.

An informational interview is an opportunity to start a conversation with someone who works at a department that you’re interested in, or someone on your desired career path. Experts often refer it to ‘relationship building’ because this implies making authentic connections with people who could become friends, mentors, or maybe future colleagues. 

See also: Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation

Benefits of informational interviews 

Informational interviewing is effective for a college student looking to start their career. But it can be just as effective for mature adults who are in some form of career transition. Considering its major benefits (career exploration and networking), informational interviewing is designed for professionals at any career stage. Here are some other benefits: 

  • Obtain a great deal of information about your career field and the skills needed to do that job effectively. 
  • Gain a perspective of work that goes beyond the limitations of job titles, allowing you to see not only what skills are required for the job but also how you might fit into that work setting. Thus, you have greater flexibility in planning options.  
  • Get the opportunity to make personal contacts among management-level personnel.  
  • Gain insight into the hidden job market (employment opportunities that are not advertised).  
  • Become aware of the needs of the department and the realities of employment. First-hand and current information allows you to learn what happens on the job beyond the understanding provided through research. 
  • This exposure not only provides personal understanding but it could also result in your becoming a more impressive job candidate in the future.  
  • Informational meetings are comparatively low-stress because you are the interviewer. This is a great opportunity for you to gain confidence in talking with people while learning what you need to know.  
  • Because you are only asking for information, you are in control of the meeting; you decide which questions to ask. Later, evaluate the acquired information for personal use.  
  • It is an opportunity to learn whether you might fit into a particular organisation.
  • You can explore careers with someone who is actually performing the work you might want to do, thus allowing you to clarify your career goals.
  • You can obtain valuable feedback on your resume (and qualification in general), and help you determine what you need to do to make yourself more marketable for the career in question. 

Who to interview? 

Some tips for locating with whom to conduct informational interviews are as follows: 

  • Start with your current network, people you know personally. 
  • Search for professionals on LinkedIn. It is one of the largest databases of professionals in the world. 
  • Tap into professional and industry associations in your field of interest. They are great sources of career information – and contacts. 
  • Contact the alumni development office at your previous university, and colleges you have graduated from. They might be able to connect with alumni working in your field of interest. 
  • Identify the target companies you’d like to work for. Call them and ask for the names of individuals who occupy the careers of interest to you. Then, contact that person to request an informational interview. You can even connect to them on LinkedIn and use these connections to leverage an introduction. 

Read also: What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application?

Subscribe to Jobiness newsletter for the next series of informational interviews tips. 

How to Answer Behavioural Questions

Employers want to know that the candidates they hire will fit in both company culture and the position applied. In the job interview, hiring managers need to ensure that candidates have the qualities they are seeking for, therefore they often ask behavioural questions to uncover it.

Behavioural interview questions are questions that focus on how a job candidate has handled different work situations in the past to reveal their personality, abilities, and skills. Interviewees could use their work experience, volunteer positions, or sports experiences to answer behavioural questions. 

See also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview

Simplify with the S.T.A.R Approach

STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. This interview technique offers a straightforward format which job seekers can use to answer behavioural interview questions. This technique requires interviewees to provide a real-life example of how they handle a certain kind of situation at work in the past. 

Behavioural questions usually are easy to recognise as they often have telltale openings like: 

  • Have you ever encountered a situation that makes you grumpy? How do you handle the situation? 
  • Describe your most daunting challenge and how you handle the situation?
  • Talk about a mistake you made. What happened and how did you handle it? 
  • Please describe a scenario in which you were under pressure. What was going on and how did you respond? 
  • Tell me about your proudest accomplishment. 

In some cases, recruiters can provide a situation in which interviewees have to answer with a real-life example based on their past experiences. 

Preparation checklist 

When answering a behavioural question, interviewees should be able to identify the most interesting event, hence could grab the attention of the interviewer. However, if interviewees do not have any work event related to the question, they can pick the most relevant ones from personal experiences. When doing so, make sure to tell a recruiter that the event happened not in the workplace but instead it is based on the personal experience. 

Here are tips to pick the best event and how you can relate it to the question: 

  • Categorise your experiences into successes, challenges, leadership moments, teamwork skills, and problem-solving situations. 
  • Practice your answer out loud before the interview session and plot the answer neatly. 
  • Get comfortable with your strengths and weaknesses because interviewers might ask more questions regarding your strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Always be honest. 

“It is all about lessons learned. Your answer to behavioural questions should demonstrate how you tackled and solved a problem. And of course, what you learned from this situation.” - Jodi Glickman 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application? 

Have you ever sent resumes to some companies but none call you back? Or, did you hear radio silence after an interview? If yes, you are not alone. CareerBuilder survey found that a staggering 75 percent of job seekers said they did not hear back from a position they have applied for. The reasons for not getting a follow-up generally comes from employers or recruiters themselves and not the job seekers. Some of the reasons are as follows: 

  • Employer has lost job seeker’s job application
  • Human resources policy that does not allow company employees to respond to any inquiries from interview candidates. 
  • Lack of consideration to not notifying candidates, except for those employer’s interested most. 
  • Change in hiring plans, such as teams getting cut.

See also: Dos & Don’ts when Asking Questions to Recruiter

Hearing bad news is a bummer but not getting a response at all, especially from an industry you expected, is worse. The good news is that there is something you can do about it: be proactive. All it takes to get the ball rolling again is a little push in the right direction. Here are some of the ways you should try: 

  • If possible, contact the recruiter or hiring managers and ask if they can give you a quick update regarding your application status. It will remind them that it has been a while since they’ve worked on their hiring responsibilities. 
  • If you apply through an applicant tracking system, check the system to see if your status has changed, for example from ‘submitted’ to ‘under review’. If it hasn’t changed, the problem lies in your resume, thus it is better to rewrite the resume and apply again when appropriate. 
  • If you have a contact inside the company, ask them to track down the hiring manager. See if they can get a status update for you. 
  • If the job was posted online, check the web site if the job is still listed. If it is not, the job opening might have been closed or they have already filled the position with somebody else. At this point, you should move on and start anew. 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

Being a suitable job candidate for a specific position in a company requires more than a well-written CV. While having confidence could be one of the biggest advantages to being a candidate of choice, it might not be enough to secure a job offer. Job seekers must go beyond just well-written resumes by showcasing their personality.

See also: 4 Tips to Find a Job that Fits and Suits You

According to Heckman et al., personality has been a scientifically-proven predictor of job performance and assessing a candidate’s behavioural tendencies in a work environment. This allows recruiters to determine whether a candidate will be a top performer and if he/she will fit the culture of the company. Recruiter Experts cited there are three more advantages for job seekers when showcasing their personality during an interview: 

1- Your personality is a success indicator 

Personality is the driving force behind how one thinks, feels, acts, adapts and works. The stories you share in a job interview regarding past experiences can be an indicator of how you will deal with adversity and opportunity. Potential employers want a glimpse into your future successes and failures. Often, the simplest indicator is your personality. 

2- Skills can be taught, personality cannot 

More and more companies are realising that skills and knowledge can be gained on the job. However, personality is hardwired. If you come to the table with a personality that matches with a company’s culture, other technical skills can be learned over time. 

3- Culture is king 

Your personality can indicate that you will build good culture in a company which will create a healthy place to work, not only for yourself but also for others. 

Using insights from personality assessments and your past experiences to really understand what an ideal environment looks like will lead you to the right career path. Remember, it needs to be a fit on both sides. There is no use in denying your personality. 

Read also: 10 Suitable Jobs for YOU Who are Bad Communicators

Dos & Don'ts when Asking Questions to Recruiter

If you, as a candidate, are enthusiastic during an interview, the chance of getting hired is higher. An interview session is a place where you can figure out whether the job and workplace culture is a fit for you. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask the questions you prepare beforehand to the interviewer.

See also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview

Here are the dos and don’ts that will help you get the most out of every question you ask: 

DO

  • Ask your most pressing questions first. These could be about the culture, goals of your future team or how performance will be evaluated.
  • Ask probing questions. Consider asking which personality traits are most common among the most successful employees, or what employees enjoy most about working there. 
  • Ask interviewers about their own career paths. For example, ask them how they decided to go into their field, or what steps they took within the company to attain their current position.
  • Ask about challenges. What will make this job difficult? What will you need to overcome?
  • Ask for their contact information and whether you can connect with them for further information.

DON’T

  • Don’t ask questions to sound smart. For example, interrupting the recruiter before he/she finishes their questions, just because you know the better option or better solution to the question asked. 
  • Don’t ask about something you could find online. This might make the recruiter think that you haven’t done your homework well. Remember that searching and researching information about the company before an interview is vital to your interview success. 
  • Don’t be unprofessional. You should limit yourself when asking questions even when the recruiter says that you can ask anything, NEVER ask about personal life, such as marital status, his/her personal salary, etc. 
  • Don’t push. If the hiring manager won’t answer your question, it’s best to leave it alone.

Read also: How to Discuss a Gap Year in an Interview

5 Types of People to Include in Your LIFE Circle

Networking has always been the top ingredient of success. In many cases, having a network will help in your job search, expand your knowledge, and improve your expertise. Yet, networking is not all about growing your list of contacts. You cannot just pick random individuals, ask their email or phone number and add them to your contact list, then contact them when you need help. More than that, networking is all about knowing someone at a deeper level that could help improve yourself as an individual.

With that in mind, it is essential to be selective when making new connections. Why? Because getting in a wrong networking circle could hamper your life. Meanwhile, getting yourself surrounded by the right individuals can give you a boost as you will get advice and feedback from a hand-picked group of strategic advisors who truly tip the scales in your favour. 

See also: 4 Tips to Find a Job that Fits and Suits You

So, who should be in your circle? Here are five types of people to include. 

The advocate 

The advocate individuals know you on a personal level, acts as a trusted sounding board, and likely a close friend or family member. When you ask a question such as “how can my first few jobs line up with my personal values?” to your advocate circle, they can help you by giving true answers because they know your ins and outs. 

The strategic “In” 

The strategic “In” is more like a connection of the outside. They are well-connected individuals, demonstrate a willingness to make connections on your behalf, and likely alumni, past internship advisors, or your professors. When you ask your strategic “In” circle about a new job in X company, they will happily connect you with the current employees of C-suites. 

The subject matter expert 

As the name suggests, subject matter expert networks are those who can offer you superior insight on a specific industry, give you an unbiased opinion, likely an alumni contact, professors, or family members. This circle can widen your skills and knowledge about the outside worlds, especially the professional ones. In addition, they can give you advice on how to develop yourself and always push you to grow. Usually, these people are those who will make you uncomfortable in your comfort zone. 

The financial guru 

We know that money is one of the most powerful weapons in today’s industry and being financially illiterate can usher you to more difficulties, such as debt, loan, credit, etc. That is one of the reasons why many employees demand financial programs within their organisations. In this case, you should find one network who can be a financial guru. This network is usually those who live to observe stocks and might work around numbers daily. They can be anyone, like your family member, advocates, friends, or project buddy. 

The social butterfly 

Last but not least, the social butterfly individual is someone who can encourage you to connect with others. They are very person-centred and love being the centre of attention. Having one or two social butterflies around will help you get out of your comfort zone and can teach you how to network better. This is especially good for a very introverted or shy individual. 

Read also: 10 Suitable Jobs for YOU Who are Bad Communicators 

Tips to Find a Job that Fits and Suits You 

Chester Elton, an executive coach and author, said that too many people (job seekers) get caught up in the company’s reputation and brand. The truth is, working in a high-value company is not always a good fit for everyone. Elton suggested that if job seekers want to find a job that fits their personality, they should question more about whether their own brand and personality align with the company values, not their reputation or brand. 

Here are 4 tips from Elton for job seekers who yearn to work in a job that suits and fits them. 

1- Create a mentor network 

Having a mentor network is not only a good place to get advice, but also where you can turn to when it’s time to find a new job. You can include a mix of friends, family, classmates, professors and other advisors in your network. As your professional and personal networks expand, make sure to connect with people both in-person and online to develop a mentor network that is right for you. You should also expand your circle and select a diverse network. Be proactive about who you choose as a mentor because different people can be helpful at various stages of your career. 

See also: 10 Suitable Jobs for YOU Who are Bad Communicators 

2- Take a personality assessment 

Your personality is your biggest asset. It can certainly tip the scale in your favour during an interview process. You can use the assessment result of the personality test to target companies and roles that match your values and personality, thus you can work in a field that you enjoy the most. Here is one of the best and free personality tests you can try. 

3- Research company culture 

Matching your value to a company is key to success. When the company culture aligns with your needs and values as an employee, you will likely have better performance, engagement, and better teamwork organisation. Company culture is also the key to your own wellbeing, thus keep in mind to conduct research on the culture of the firm you want to work at. 

4- Get out fast if it does not fit 

While your first job is important, do not be afraid to make a change if it does not work as you expected. You should be your biggest advocate and adviser because a job that irritates you will only result negatively to your own personal and professional life. For instance, if you stay longer in a job that you do not enjoy, your stress level might increase significantly. Consequently, not only will you have lower productivity, but it will also affect the relationship with the people around you. Another alternative, you can speak to your manager about reshaping the position and if it does not work, you might need to seek a new opportunity elsewhere. 

Read also: Pros and Cons of Working in the Journalism Industry 

Pros and Cons of Working in the Journalism Industry 

Every profession has its own pros and cons, including those working in the journalism industry. As one of the oldest professions in the world, journalism has changed monumentally owing to a staggering growth of technology. This means that the skeletal structure of this career remains the same, yet the responsibility and the view might differ. Compelling storytelling and fact-based are still its strongest pillar, however.

See also: Job Search Tips in Time of Crisis 

So, if you are interested in joining this industry, you better aid yourself with this information of working as a journalist. 

Pros of being a journalist 

  • In journalism, you are working with ever-changing expectations. For example, you can work in a very confidential matter but the next day, you might be asked to cover funny nerve-wracking news. 
  • You will always have a new challenge and demand, thus this job is great for you who can work under pressure. 
  • You get to meet and talk to a variety of people from all walks of life. You might also have a chance to cover and interview highly influential people like a minister. 
  • Your name will be published in print and on websites. This is a great way for you who seek professional identity. 
  • Lastly, you have a better chance to be invited to cover various events, such as theatre performance or restaurant meal reviews for FREE. 

Cons of being a journalist 

  • Whilst the job is challenging, this role is among the lowest salary rate. Unless you reach the highest and most popular level of a journalist, do not expect a fat paycheck. Reported by payscale, an average annual salary of a journalist is $40,839 with an hourly rate of $14.81. However, if you have editing skills, you can expect a slightly higher salary. Yet, even with years of experience (5-9 years) in journalism, the average annual salary is $44,384. 
  • Being a journalist is also a long and often unsociable journey which might demand you to work on weekends and public holidays. 
  • As a journalist, you have a greater risk of death or injury for covering a riot, war zone or other violent disturbance. 
  • Lastly, the peril of being a journalist is you might be blamed for bad news or being seen as the enemy by members of the public when covering sensitive news or events.

Read also: 10 Suitable Jobs for YOU Who are Bad Communicators