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Providing you with information on the IT and Digital marketplace.


How to answer the Interview Question,

During the interview not only does the company find out about you, this is also your opportunity to find out if this is a job, position, and company that you really want to work for. Engaging with your interviewer is the first step in forming a relationship with him/her. Starting with a smile and a firm handshake and keeping upbeat during the interview process are all the basics needed for a successful interview.

THE COMPANY NEEDS YOU

You are being interviewed because the company has a need for someone with your qualifications. Answering the interviewer's questions precisely and confidently will help put you in the driver's seat. You have the qualifications. It's important to remember that an interview shouldn't be an interrogation, if it feels like that, you need to quickly try and turn it back into a conversation between 2 people who have the same goal - filling a position in the company.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE POSITION?

The next step in the process is to show them that you are interested in the position and the company. Researching the company is always the first step before your interview. (Truthfully it should be the first step before you send in your resume.) Making a list of questions to ask during the interview process is all part of the preparation. The answers to some of these questions will come up as a natural part of the interview process. Now it is your turn to ask specific questions. Don't stall the interview by asking questions just for the sake of asking a question. Make sure your questions are going to help further your relationship with the interviewer. They need to be engaging and smart. Do not ask a question that is answered on the company webpage, this shows you didn't do your research. Try not to repeat questions that have already been answered. Break your list into 2 parts, questions likely to be answered during the interview and questions more likely to wait until the end.

QUESTIONS LIKELY TO BE ANSWERED DURING THE INTERVIEW

  • What would a typical day be like for the person in this role? Do different time frames affect the position? ie does the job vary at month/quarter end?
  • What is the most challenging part of this position?
  • What are your future plans for this position?
  • Is this a replacement for someone or a new position? If a replacement, was the employee promoted, transferred or left the company?
  • Is there travel involved?
  • Will I be on call? How often?
  • Who is my direct report? How many members are on the team?

QUESTIONS TO END THE INTERVIEW ON

  • What is the chance of advancement for this position? Does the company like to promote from within?
  • Is there training/education possibilities?
  • Are there team and company events?  
  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • Are there performance reviews? How frequently?
  • What is the start date for this position?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process and when should I hope to hear from you?
  • Is there anything else I can provide you with?

QUESTIONS NOT TO ASK

Yes, surprisingly, there are questions you shouldn't ask during the interview - especially the first one below. These questions should be saved for the negotiation stage or discussed with your recruiter before hand.  

  • What is the salary?
  • How do yearly bonuses and performance raises work?
  • How much vacation would I get and when can I start taking it?
  • What are the benefits?


Interviews are stressful. Being prepared is the first step towards relieving some of your stress and anxiety levels. When you smile your whole body relaxes and smiling is contagious, so start the interview with your smile and a handshake and end it the same way with an added Thank You to all the interviewers.


5 Tips to Help Keep the Jitters out of the Interview

Interviews are stressful. Whether this is your dream job you are interviewing for, a promotion, or your first job, there are little things you can do to help ease the stress. There are very few people in the world who don't get pre-interview jitters. These jitters will be worse if you are not prepared for your interview. Here are our 5 tips for helping to get you to the interview with a few less jitters.  

DON'T BE LATE

There is no valid excuse for being late to an interview. You should plan on being there at least 10 to 15 minutes early. You don't need to check in until 5 minutes before but at least be in the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. This allows you to go to the washroom and check your hair, teeth, wash your hands and relax before you are called in.

DO A PRACTICE RUN

If you aren't sure where you are going or where parking is or how long it will take, then do a practice run. Schedule your practice run around the same time as the interview if you can to get a feel for traffic flow and/or public transportation glitches. Nothing worse than being on the subway and having an emergency stoppage. Find that nearest taxi stands and get going.

PREPARE YOUR OUTFIT THE NIGHT BEFORE

Yes, lay out your whole outfit. Hopefully you have picked up your suit from the cleaners ahead of time! This is also a good way to know if you must leave earlier to pick up a new pair of nylons. Are your shoes shined? Yes, people do still shine their shoes or at least get the dust and grime off of them! Remember don't overdo the cologne or perfume, if possible just don't use any. Cleanliness and hygiene is more important than your cologne.

PREPARE YOUR KIT

Take a couple of extra hard copies of your resume with you. They will ask you questions relating to your resume, so this gives you the chance to reread it before your interview. Kleenex, a couple of safety pins, a charged phone, and breath mints, can come in handy in case of an emergency. Don't forget to put in a hard copy of your references (that you have prepped ahead of time) just in case the interview goes really well, and they want to move to the next stage.

FIND OUT HOW TO PRONOUNCE THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME

In our multi-cultural Canada, it's important to verify how to pronounce the person's name. The last thing you want to do is walk in and say "Hi Mr/Mrs ........" and have them say "well my name is .........". Ask your recruiter, phone the actual company and ask for their extension - hopefully if you pronounce it wrong they will correct it for you. Write it down phonetically so you will remember the pronunciation.


Being prepared for your interview will help to set the tone for the whole interview. Let us know what little practices/rituals you do before an interview to help you start your interview off on the right foot.


Job Hunting Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

For every person who wakes up one day to a recruiting call for a perfect job, there are 100 people who must pound the sidewalk/internet for openings. Job Hunting has changed dramatically since the introduction of the internet, 30 years ago you did pound the pavement. You had 1 to 200 copies of your resumes in envelopes and you basically went and knocked on doors. "Do you have any openings?", "Here's my resume just in case something comes up". Networking was still important only it was done by word of mouth. "Jimmy's daughter is looking for a job" was a refrain through the workplace, clubs and soccer pitches. And yes my first job came from my dad's friend's girlfriend who worked for Ontario Hydro. Lucky Me!

Job Hunting might be the hardest job you ever do. You want to find the perfect job. You want to be fussy. There are 2 categories of Job Hunters and depending on which category you are can make the hunt more or less stressful.

You already have a job:

Needless to say, if you are the job hunter who already has a job but is looking for a change or upgrade, the stress you have you are putting on yourself. Maybe you don't like your boss or your job. Yes, it is time to move on, looking for a job while you have a job is still the best scenario. Because you aren't behind the 8 ball, you can wait for the perfect position. Hiring Managers will have to make you a competing offer.

YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB:

Other than maternity leaves or going back to school, being out of a job for any length of time can make that climb back into the workforce extremely difficult. Employers start to wonder why no one else has hired you.

FOR BOTH SCENARIOS DON'T FALL INTO THESE PITFALLS:

Getting discouraged is inevitable but try to focus on the positive. Negativity will come across in your interviews. Treat each interview as a learning experience.

Don't take rejection as a negative, it's not that they don't like you, it might just be that the other candidate had something extra to offer. Ask for feedback. What do you need to do to move forward with this company? If this position isn't for you ask about other openings in the company. Keep in touch with the Interviewer and Hiring Manager.

Try not to apply to every job on every job board. Chances are if you are interviewed for a job you don't want, you won't present well in the interview. Interviewing for jobs you want will make you more positive and exuberant about the position.

Don't try and trick the systems by applying to the same job with different emails and changing your name around. Yes, people do that. It clutters up databases and can make you appear desperate.

Networking still works. It can be embarrassing to be out of work, your first reaction can be to hide your unemployment. Some companies give their employees bonuses for referrals. People like helping people, let them. Even just a referral to their recruiter will help you get the door open and pass the 1000's of resumes that recruiters receive in their inboxes. Don't hide. Put it up on LinkedIn, mention it to the parents at your child's hockey game, everyone knows someone who knows someone. You never know where your break will come.

Forget that times change. Systems are updated, there are new languages. You may just have to bite the bullet and go back to school or upgrade those certifications. If you have been out of work for a while, be prepared to lower your expectations both re salary and management positions.

Highlight your achievements when job hunting. Looking back on your career, pick out the key times when you really made a difference. Duties are boring, make your career a story that people want to read and add a chapter too.

Keep in mind there are some great resources out there for job hunters, from government programs to internships to using a professional recruiter. Take advantage of their expertise and remain positive your door will open.


Every interview is different. Each Interviewer uses different tactics. Most interviews start with trying to put you at ease by asking a little about yourself. There are the technical questions - you better be able to answer these questions – “you stated on your resume that you had the technical skills to be able to do the job.” Then come the off the wall questions - "what superhero would you be?"

 

"What strength would you bring to the position?" This is a standard question that you will be asked in most interviews. The best way to be prepared for this question is to sit down and write down your strengths from a previous position, or if you are a new graduate then experiences from school. Below are a few examples of strengths that can be expanded upon with your experience as they fit the job description:

  • Team Player
  • Time Management
  • Good at managing people
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Always finish my tasks
  • Good listener
  • Deal well with difficult customers/situations
  • Able to see the big picture
  • Good with detail
  • Pick out a skill from the job description, ie “With my strong web design, creative writing, phone skills, etc”, then expand on this strength.
  • Problem Solver
  • Able to juggle more than one task at a time
  • I am very good at listening and putting people at ease, this allows me to deal effectively with difficult situations. In my previous position there was a customer/employee…
  • Although I am a detail orientated person, I am also able to see the big picture, in my previous position (or while at school) I was assigned the task of…
  • My creativity has been tremendously helpful in designing web pages over the last 5 years. One particular webpage was just not… and I…

If you are having a hard time coming up with a strength, then ask your family, friends and co-workers. You will be surprised at what they come up with. Just don’t get too bloated from all the accolades, it is important to be a little humble with this question. You don’t want to come across as having an “I’m GREAT, I’m a STAR” attitude.


Don’t stress about this question, you have applied for the job because you know you can do it. Now tell them why and how. Be a "star".


10 Simple Tips Prepare for Your Interview

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as your try to calm yourself down and relax.

Here are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

1. Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the cleaners.   Look your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • Clean and crisp
  • A suit for the guys and a skirt and blouse or basic business dress for the gals - no sundresses or shorts. This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry.
  • Guys shirt buttons done up, no gold chains hanging out.
  • Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

2. No Perfume or Cologne

  • Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary, why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. 
  • Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne? 

3. How do you get to the Interview?

  • Google it, do a test run if you aren't sure.
  • If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby.
  • 9 am and 5 pm interviews mean rush hour.  Be prepared for it taking 30 minutes longer to get there
  • Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. 

4. Never be late for the Interview

  • It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.
  • Yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them.  "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world.
  • Yes, you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

5. Be Polite to everyone

  • That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer.  You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator.
  • The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers.
  • Be polite to everyone all the time.  It is a good road to travel down.

6. Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

  • We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly.
    Ask the recruiter or phone the company
    Write it down phonetically and practice

7. Keep your right hand free

  • Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview
  • Move your portfolio, purse, extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office

8. Just before you get to the Interview

  • Turn off your phone and tablet.

9. Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

  • It starts as soon as you enter the room.
  • Smile, firm handshake, speak clearly
  • Relax and take part in the conversation

10. Tell me about yourself

  • This question is totally about relaxing you. 
  • Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit".  The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones.
  • Keep it professional.

Don't let a little thing mess up your interview.  Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process.  Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!


How to answer

Companies are always interested in why you are looking for a new job. Depending on the answer they can get a good feel for you as a person and whether they want you working for their company.

  • Do you like to change jobs? bad attitude
  • Are you looking for advancement? good attitude
  • Are you trying to increase your knowledge? good attitude
  • Did you have an issue with your boss/co-workers? bad attitude

Positive, positive, positive - yes always try and keep your answers positive. Below are some guidelines that you can expand on by bringing the job opening and your skill set/goals into the answer.

  • I had reached the top of my level in my previous position and am looking to expand my knowledge. This position and your company will offer me the opportunity to do that.
  • The last company I worked for was very small and I felt it was time to move into a large corporate office to increase my challenges.
  • My last position was a wonderful place to work for right out of school, and now I would like to move my career into a new path.
  • My family life has changed and I am looking to work closer to home. Your company is closer to my home and still offers me the challenges and opportunities I need in my position. I am very excited about being able to utilize some new skills and polish up some old ones.
  • A friend sent me your job posting and the position sounded right up my alley. After researching your company I feel like I would be an ideal match for this position.
  • It is very important for me to be challenged in my position and it was time for a change. Your company is using a system I am looking to increase my knowledge of.
  • My last company went through a down turn and I realized that my position was being downsized. This has given me the opportunity to look for new challenges and after researching a number of companies, I feel that my entrepreneurial nature will fit in very nicely with your company...

It never pays to be negative. The last thing you want to do is sound whinny. You also don't know if there is a relationship between the position you are leaving and the one you are interviewing for.

  • I couldn't work for my boss anymore
  • My co-workers were impossible to get along with
  • They were always advancing their children

So remember:

  • Be positive
  • Answer the question
  • Follow it up with promoting your skill set
  • And finally why the new company is so much better suited to you