Typical Questions Asked During an Interview

Typical Questions Asked During an Interview

The thought of accepting a HR call for interview on any recent job application can be a little daunting for the vast majority of people. Whether starting out on a new career, changing employer or returning to work after a lengthy time away can leave one with a feeling of apprehension.

The first step to making a good impression in the interview is good preparation. Researching a list of potential questions that the interviewee may ask can be beneficial to helping with responding confidently during the interview. Providing solid answers to potential questions, with relevant examples in previous experiences, can provide real insight into the required personality type for the role. The answers can also demonstrate the abilities and experiences that have been acquired to date.

There is a vast amount of information online. Search Google for standard interview questions and also how to frame answers.  Some companies use competency based interview questions, which ask questions about specific competencies being sought in the advertised job. 

Potential questions that can be asked in an interview may include:

  • –  Why did you apply for this job?
  • –  What do you know about this company?
  • –  Where do you see yourself in two to three years?
  • –  Describe yourself?
  • –  What has been your biggest achievement to date?
  • –  What are some of your key strengths and weaknesses? When listing a weakness, always turn it around by offering it as a recent experience. For example, if confidence levels are not their best when giving presentations. This answer could be backed up by saying that increasing self-development is part of a one year personal plan to improve confidence levels, by taking a course in presentation skills.
  • –  Do you work best on your own or in a team environment?
  • –  If there are any gaps in the curriculum vitae, interviewees may ask why. Provide them with an honest answer, whether it was raising family, undertaking a course, etc.
  • –  How would your colleagues describe you?
  • –  How do you deal with criticism?
  • –  Why should we give you this job?

Prior to the interview it can be helpful to do some deep breathing. This can be refreshing and grounding before entering the meeting. Also, browse over the curriculum vitae to memorise specific details, including dates. Remember to hydrate and eat a light snack, even if the nerves are playing havoc.

During the interview it is important to answer all questions with honesty and clarity. If unsure about the question being asked, it is appropriate to ask for a little clarity. Maintain a friendly manner, good posture and good eye-contact with each interviewee throughout the interview.

Finally, when the interview concludes, thank each interviewee for the opportunity of the interview with a firm handshake. Leave the building following the meeting, don’t hang around. Check personal correspondence daily to ensure that replies to potential notifications are prompt, and hopefully allow enough time to prepare for the interview.

How to Prepare for an Interview

How to Prepare for an Interview

Preparation for a job interview can unnerve almost anyone. The thought of it is worse than actually doing it. It can cause a sleepless night before the meeting. Preparation is important to help overcome any feelings of anxiousness. Many people find that once the meeting begins, the nerves calm and the brain refocuses again to give a good performance.

These simple tips can help to achieve a greater level of ease and confidence to undertake any interview:

  • –  Research the organisation, including their products/services, staff, history, etc.
  • –  Know the job specification in detail. Fully understand what each requirement entails.
  • –  Interview questions will ask about experience relevant to the role details in the job advertisement – so prepare some examples of how skills were put into practice.
  • –  Use a framework such as ‘STAR’, which can help to answer questions the following questions. What was the Situation? What was the Task being presented? What Actions were undertaken? What Results were achieved?
  • –  Practice a trial interview with a close colleague. Ask them for their constructive and honest feedback, particularly on communication skills, posture and appearance.
  • –  Plan an appropriate outfit for the meeting. Visualise being dressed for the role.
  • –  Prepare examples of past experiences, relevant to the role, including answers that highlight key strengths and weaknesses.
  • –  Keep answers brief and relevant to the questions, don’t ramble.
  • –  Delete any social media content that may damage the application. HR professional can browse online to find out more personal details.
  • –  Research frequently asked questions in an interview, relevant for the job.
  • –  Plan the route at least the day before the interview. Know where the car-park is and where the location of the interview is within the building. This will ease further stress, and ensure that there is time to relax and breathe before for the meeting.

Show the panel of interviewees plenty of interest and motivation toward the potential new role, and personal commitment to continuous learning on the job by being prepared. First impressions count, so make a strong start and even stronger finish. 

The Importance of Creating a Good Cover Letter

The Importance of Creating a Good Cover Letter

Get their attention on the first glance! The cover letter is the chance to create a good first impression and provide extra insight on a more personal level, albeit briefly, to a CV. It can be compared to the window of a house; it offers HR personnel a glimpse of what is to come. It is an opportunity to hook any potential recruiter or recruitment agency, by providing points of interest that inspires them to continue reading the curriculum vitae.

There are many methods to improve the document, including sourcing sample cover letters online. Drafts developed by other people can provide useful keywords that may be suitable to the new job application. It is important to adapt the template to relevant skills and experience, displaying a unique application to the reader. 

Additionally, researching recent job advertisements in the same area can reveal additional useful material that can be used. These job descriptions can reveal additional skills and areas of experience required for similar posts, which are possessed and may not have been previously included in the cover letter or curriculum vitae.  It is important to ensure that it contains the right key words that uniquely describe the applicant, and are relevant to the job that being applying for.

Gain support from colleagues, by asking them to read the draft of the cover letter and CV. They may be able to offer positive feedback, by suggesting improvements or highlight any grammatical errors in the document.

Ideally, the cover letter will contain a snapshot of all skills and experiences to date. These experiences can highlight that this career step is the right choice. Writing an effective cover letter helps the application to shine out loud and clear, particularly if it is relevant for the role that is being applied for. It will certainly increase any chance of being called for an interview, and potentially create a positive change in a new career.

The Importance of Updating Your CV

The Importance of Updating Your CV

Did you know that updating your CV can significantly improve your chances of succeed in getting that interview? An out-dated CV can weaken a job application, possibly resulting in the CV being dismissed at screening stage by the HR software or the HR Administrator, as they are looking for key roles and experience.  This can leave us with a sense of failure or at worst rejection. It makes sense, that as we are going to the effort of applying for the job in the first place, putting time and effort into creating a smart updated CV can significantly elevate the rate of success of the CV being screened fully for the job.

The task of fine-combing a CV, with the help of colleagues and professionals, is a necessity in today’s competitive job market. Matching current skills and experiences to each job application is necessary to be in with a chance of succeeding on respective endeavours. Providing relevant examples validates, to the HR department, that skills were previously applied to other jobs effectively and provides a much better picture.

When a business goes into liquidation, it is a stressful time for employees as they are facing unemployment. They may be out of work for months or years. A mother may decide to return to work as a nurse, once her children have left home. Employers know this and so by taking the time to update gaps in our career history provides a much clearer picture for the reader.  Offering details on gaps in work experience is the same as putting a jigsaw together; it starts to make more sense when the recruiters are getting a more complete picture.

It can be daunting to know where to start. Up-skilling may be necessary in order to re-enter the workplace. Newly acquired skills, temp employment and gaps in work experience will need to be added to the old CV. The experienced eye of a professional HR recruiter can glean over a resume, and quickly pick out the relevant information to match the job specification. From this knowledge, they have greater certainty if the candidate is suitable for the role. There are also a lot of resources online to review and get a CV looking its best.

Stand out from the crowd, of the many job applications, and give each application the very best effort. Reduce the possibility of not gaining a seat on the panel for an interview. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. At the very least, the HR department may hold the CV on file. This can result in a future call for interview, for a similar or superior job with the organisation. Additionally, requesting feedback from the company is positive, once the CV reflected the skills and experience outlined in their job advertisement, and can be invaluable to improve performance on future interviews.

Click here to find out tips to update your CV.

The Art of Combining Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness

The Art of Combining Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness

Can emotional intelligence and mindfulness help us to appreciate life and create valued relationships? Our careers place so many demands on our time and attention. This can leave us to sometimes feel that we are not truly connecting with ourselves, our emotions or allow us to be mindful in different work situations. This can also be true in our personal lives.

Has life got so busy that we can’t stop to press the pause button and allow us to touch into our positive emotions and be mindful? To allow ourselves to take a deep breath, smell the roses or express appreciation for the great work that employees achieved on bringing a job in before its deadline? Connecting with self and others is an on-going responsibility in both our work and personal life. Without this connection tasks can become mundane and less rewarding, for all concerned. It can also lead to decreased production and higher turnover of staff in an organisation.

Taking a step back from the busyness of a day, to truly acknowledge and appreciate the work or ourselves and others, is the first step in being mindful. Displaying acts of praise can combine our emotional intelligence to mindfulness and can lift the heart of any soul. Showing gratitude can also have a positive effect that can inspire colleagues to improve their performance on the next task.

Until we become more mindful and combine it with an act of emotional intelligence, we may miss out on truly appreciating our work life. It can make for a happier and healthier work environment, creating positive collaboration, improved communication and integration of work between all departments. We are all responsible for connecting these two vital elements that can pave the way for success in relationships and businesses. Its effects can have the added benefit of filtering into our personal lives and creating a positive change there also.

Click here to find out more about emotional intelligence – Daniel Goleman.

Get Back to Enjoying the Basic Things in Life

Get Back to Enjoying the Basic Things in Life

Do you ever feel that the harder the work, the more stressed and less happier life can be sometimes? Trying to figure out what a good lifestyle is and how to achieve it can leave most of us searching for it, without actually achieving it. Have we become so consumed by the modern life, that we have forgotten that the simple things really do give us the most pleasure and a sense of real satisfaction. Have we replaced one bad habit for another, only to realise it too late, when we are burnt-out. Are we missing out on enjoying the basic common sense activities, which can fulfil our need to connect more, or striving to accomplish too much into our daily routines?

When was the last time that free-time offered an opportunity to walk carefree in a tree lined woods, balmy air beach or provided a chance to invite a friend over for a long lunch, that flowed with good honest conversation and a belly of laughter that left tears running down your cheeks?

Modern living has rapidly moved into a state of frenzy, leaving us to question where our time went and what are we really achieving. One example that comes to mind, the trendy fashion accessory smart phones, the must have gadget, which are now viewed as an extension of our hand. While they have many benefits, including connecting us to family and friends, especially those living away from home, they also seem to have replaced the personal connection of meeting with people. Couple this with the ever increasing use of online technology, namely social media, and a whirlwind of personal disconnection has emanated into our lives. The act of sending a hand-written letter to loved ones has almost become obsolete.

Think about it and compare corresponding by phone and in person. The connection of actually meeting with family and friends really leaves us with a sense of personal touch and truer connection. What if we left our phones at home when we go out for a walk, for a breath of fresh air in the country side or beach? What if we turned our phones on silent when family and friends called over to visit, while resisting the urge to look at it during their visit? Isn’t it time to cherish these and many more simple joys in life, which can reward us with deeper pleasure than technology or money could ever do?

Being aware of unhealthy distractions is the first step in reclaiming our life and valuable time. It can also reduce any feelings of anxiety and stress levels. Creating healthy boundaries is the next step, and it is a powerful choice to changing to a new way of being for the better, and restoring the soul. It doesn’t mean that we have to stop using phones or technology, as they do have many benefits. It simply means striking a balance and creating an opportunity to really connect with life and nature, which can contribute to more positive mental health.

Sometimes, we just need to realise that we need to slow down. We can’t keep demanding of ourselves to move at a fast pace all the time. Just as mother-earth requires farmers to rest their land one out of every seven years, we too need to rest at different paces during our lives.

Give it a try sometime. Enjoy the simple things in life. Get back to slowing down and living a good life. Share any success stories with family and friends, over a good cuppa or long lunch. This might be their inspiration to enjoy the simple things and breathe in life once again.

Click here for some more tips to enjoy life.

How to Improve Self Confidence to Approach the Task of Applying for Jobs

How to Improve Self Confidence to Approach the Task of Applying for Jobs

Even confident people can face low levels of self confidence at different stages of their lives. This is particularly true when making a career change or applying for jobs. College graduates, returners and individuals looking for change can all suffer the same fate, when transitioning in their life. This can leave us with a feeling of not being able to move forward to live out our fullest potential.

Regardless of who we are, facing this challenge can reap many rewards to anyone who is willing to risk and venture into the unknown. Listed below are some tips to increase self-confidence levels, explore which one(s) boost your morale:

  • –  Understanding what we truly want in life, in the areas of our work and personal life, is a journey of discovery – take time to ask: “What do I want?”
  • –  Invest in self-development and undertake the right activities to improve self. This can significantly boost confidence levels.
  • –  Check out some online platforms, like TEDX and YouTube, to seek out speakers on the area specific areas of improving confidence levels.
  • –  Set timely goals that can help to overcome procrastination, which can result in not accomplishing a task due to low morale or disbelief that the task can be achieved.
  • –  Start with self-belief and understand personal abilities. Others are more likely to believe in us, if we first believe in ourselves. Start by placing positive notes around our home. For example, “I am capable and excited to try new things”. Read them aloud first thing in the morning and at night, while breathing in our own truth.
  • –  Build new support networks and develop trusting relationships with positive people. Their feedback can be invaluable to boost self-belief.
  • –  List strengths and weaknesses. Flip both lists into positive solutions. For example, if confidence is low when delivering presentations, list options to improve presentation skills.
  • –  Take a risk and step outside the comfort zone, by starting with small steps first. It is important to celebrate each small achievement before progressing to the bigger ones.
  • –  Learn and practice to be assertive in different situations. Take a course or do some online research to improve assertiveness levels.
  • –  Reduce stress levels to boost confidence, by eliminating the stressors, with the on-going support of family or friends.
  • –  Try not to take knock-backs personally. Share any emotional ties to the recent situation with a trusted individual. This can increase self-awareness and help with overcoming similar future set-backs, by developing new coping mechanisms.
  • –  Strengthen body posture with regular exercise. Exercise can also release endorphins and a feel-good factor, and contribute to increased confidence.
  • –  Eat healthy to ensure that the metabolism is functioning correctly. A healthy body can boost brain power and work wonders on confidence levels.
  • –  Visualise outcomes to new starts in life.
  • –  Change old attitudes, to a ‘can-do’ attitude. This can help with progressing on the new journey, and reduce the risk of negative internal messages.

There is an old saying: “Fake it ‘til you make it”. To apply this concept, all that is needed is to call on our courage and motivation, believe in ourselves, and step out of our comfort zone. Finally, believe that all is possible if life, only when we are willing to make the change. We’d love to hear from you. Post a comment and share with us your tip for increasing self confidence

Click here for more tips to improve your self confidence levels.

Invest in Successful Networking – The People You Know

Invest in Successful Networking – The People You Know

Successful networking is an on-going long-term process to build up mutually supportive relationships. Supportive networks can include; family, friends, work colleagues, supervisors/managers and professionals. The key to fostering connections is to be respectful, genuine, trusting, considerate and consistent on all interactions, while appreciating the value of investing in a balanced and healthy give-and-take relationship.

Author a famous quote, Maya Angelou, states: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. On reflection, this statement reveals that emotions have a huge part to play in developing solid and potentially life-long connections with people that possess similar and diverse interests to us.

Understanding that the right support networks can take us out of our comfort zone, and help propel us to the next level of our career, which is important for constructive change. People can motivate us further than we could ever achieve when operating solo.

Effective listening can produce positive insights on the feedback that is freely given, only when the receiver is open to hearing the reflective conversation. Honest assessments in relationships can provide us with a mirror that potentially reflects our positive and negative attributes. Sincerity through constructive and mutual non-judgemental analysis is vital for beneficial insights to flow both ways in the friendship.

At times some feedback may hit a raw nerve and push us back to reach for our comfort-blanket. One way to overcome this is to look at the comments without the attachment of old emotions, by recognising that we can accept or store the comment for additional insights at a later date, to confirm if it is true or false. The answer will come when we are ready for it, and will resonate with us.

Evaluation of supportive networking connections is important to help realise if there is value for both people in the on-going relationship. Asking the right questions can provide clarity on future endeavours, such as: is this right job for me. For example, asking: if a job in nursing would suit my personality and do I have the required skills, can provide such clarity before investing time and effort in making the application. 

Healthy and constructive feedback is a sure sign that the connection between both parties is built on openness, mutual trust and good-will for prosperity in the other halves life. Whether in our work and personal lives, we all need people who have our best interests at heart. While they can be rare to find, it is worth exploring different avenues to acquire varied opinions in collaborative relationships that can help us find our true north.

Click here to find out more why networking is important for your career.

Procrastination: Our Biggest Nemesis!

Procrastination: Our Biggest Nemesis!

Is procrastination your biggest nemesis? Have you ever made a plan for the week ahead, only to realise at the end of the week that only 70% of tasks have been achieved? The project that was due on Monday is now delayed, due to other tasks taking valuable time. The dentist appointment was cancelled again, postponing it for another month. These examples can leave us with longer ‘to-do’ lists, than we started out with, for our next week’s schedule. We can start to feel overwhelmed with the thought of the impending tasks, which can leave us feeling a demotivated, deflated and frustrated.

Thesaurus defines the word procrastination as ‘defer, delay, postpone, stall, adjourn and putting off’. When we decide on any of these nouns for any activity, are we fooling ourselves? Is it that we initially planned too much into our week or have distractions sabotaged our best plans? Do we play super-hero in our lives, thinking that we are proficient at multi-tasking and need to be busy all the time?

We need to ask ourselves what is the pay-off for procrastination?  Putting jobs on the long finger, in both our careers and personal life, only serves to increase the pressure of an already busy life. Allowing distractions to consume and interrupt our flow of a prescheduled plan for the week and months ahead can be the biggest reason of why we procrastination. We may find ourselves being incapable of pulling up our reserves to finish those jobs because our stores of energy are at an all-time low and we don’t have the mental capacity to think clearly.

The solution can be simple. Go back to the drawing board and check:

  • –  Do we need to stop being a ‘people-pleaser’ person, and start saying ‘no’ more often?
  • –  Recognise that we have limits on our time and capability, and ask can we delegate jobs to colleagues or partners?
  • –  Can we switch off and restore the body and mind to help us increase our performance, and succeed at attaining a well-balanced ‘to-do’ list?
  • –  Do we need to ask: are some of our plans or jobs ready to be started yet? Have we been overenthusiastic to accomplish tasks ahead of time?
  • –  Are we being a ‘martyr’ in our career and work lives?
  • –  Do we need to take a relaxing holiday really soon, to recharge the batteries of our soul?
  • –  Can we change for the better?

Self-understanding and investing in our personal development is our first step to change in dealing with procrastination. Realising that it’s ok to fail in accomplishing what we initially set out to achieve is important. After all, we are only human. Reinvesting in our health and mental well-being, and family needs to be a priority in our lives. Allowing ourselves to be human and not a super-hero is ok too.

Starting with the important stuff first and taking it bit-by-bit, one day at a time, can make the whole process of work and life a lot easier. Eliminating non-essential activities can lessen the pressure, and even allow time to inhale the luxurious quiet moments of life again. Is it possible to seek an extended deadline on that project to allow for rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit to complete the job? Sometimes that we need to realise that in life we need to ask for a little compassion and seek the support of family, friends and professionals to help us when we are struggling to maintain balance.

Click here for more tips to help stop procrastination.

Feeling Stuck In Your Career?

Feeling Stuck In Your Career?

Do you feel happy in your current job or are you feeling stuck in your career? This is a positive question to ask; especially when we feel that our career has reached its full maturity. It can open the door to help identify if it is time for a change. The right change can come in many forms, including promotion within existing employment or change to a new employer.

This leads to the next step in asking another set of questions, including:

  • –  Do current skills need to be updated for an opportunity to seek a promotion?
  • –  Is there an opportunity to progress with the current organisation?
  • –  Does the job interfere with personal life activities, leaving little quality time in personal life?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then reassessing our life and current skills can be essential to identifying our next option. Assessing where we are at right now and where we would like to be in five years can provide the first insights on this process. Planning for both short-term and long-term career changes can help with the process, by breaking the changes into manageable bite-sizes. 

Many people go about their lives without fulfilling their fullest potential. Some may feel that they are at a crossroads in their life. There are many support networks available to help with any transition. This can include consulting with a Career Coach. The insights gained from this option can unlock hidden potential within, which can propel us on a new course for any future career. For example, their insights may identify that a natural leader is our top ability and that the job we are currently in is not fulfilling our true potential.

Other support networks can include family and friends. People that we have regular contact with in our lives can sometimes provide fresh insights and new opportunities, if we are brave enough to ask. Their feedback to the right questions can provide insight into unique talents that have yet to be explored. For instance asking how other people see us in both our work and personal life, can provide clarity on our next step. Asking for honest evaluation of our personal strengths and weaknesses can also provide insight to deepen our self-understanding.

It is important to ask the right people, the right questions. Truly supportive relationships will reciprocate positive feedback to help with becoming motivated on our journey. We need to remember, that in life, there are many options and it is never too late to alter the direction of our career. Sometimes all it takes is a little courage to change, resilience and clarity of focus to make the first step. Be the campaigner of your own destiny!

For some more tips, click here.