References are a common job search dilemma, especially for those that are already employed. You can’t ask your current boss to be a reference unless you’re moving, or facing a lay-off, downsizing, or a merger, or other obvious situations. So who to ask for a reference if you can’t ask your boss?
This is one of the many reasons why it is important to stay connected with former bosses and supervisors; keep the line of communication open so they can serve as references in the future.
You’ve applied for a job and were just called for an interview. You’re excited, but you can already feel the butterflies in your stomach. Do you believe in yourself and your abilities to succeed in this potential new job? Even if you are lacking in self-confidence, you can take action before an interview to give yourself a much-needed mental boost. Do a little research before you sit down for the interview. Prepping will help you go into the interview with increased confidence and poise.
1. Inform yourself about the potential employer. Google the organization to see if they’ve been in the news lately. Is the organization non-profit, privately owned or publicly traded? Check out their company website, examine their mission statement and goals. Look at their career section for information about benefits and company policies that might guide your answer to “Why do you want to work for our organization?” Make sure you understand what the business really does before you make your way to the interview.
2. Find out everything you can about the position, and this starts when you first apply. Keep track of positions you’ve applied for – you can do this simply thru AgCareers.com. Log into your free job seeker account and apply to positions; your applications will then be saved and viewable at any time under your “application history.”
You should always go to an interview well prepared for that final interview question: “Do you have any questions for me/us?” If you’ve given serious thought to how to answer that question, it is quite possible you are already ahead of the majority of job seekers. When that question is posed, It is important not to be too forward, but assertive enough to display confidence and poise. Most people have heard the advice not to ask any questions about salary, as it can appear a bit desperate and tacky. I am going to stay away from those types of questions for another reason though…..asking questions like the examples below can not only serve to further your understanding of whether the position is a fit for you personally, but can also help the interviewer identify more desirable qualities in you. Let’s explore a few examples:
1. Why did you choose to work for this company?
I always love this one, as the interviewer doesn’t usually have a canned answer given the more personal nature of the question. You will likely receive a more candid answer that will provide you with valuable insight. It may also help you gain more common ground with the interviewer that could work in your favor.
It’s your one chance to make a great first impression on a potential employer, so interview prep is crucial. Being prepared will help you feel more confident during the interview. Follow these five steps to put your best foot forward in an interview:
1. Research the organization: Find out all you can about the company and the people that will be interviewing you. Visit the company’s website and social media pages; check out the interviewers’ LinkedIn profiles. Consider following the company on Twitter or ‘liking’ them on Facebook to stay up-to-date on news. Do you know anyone that works for or has interned at the company? Talk to them about the culture.
2. Know your answers: Many companies still use the same basic questions, such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Talk through your answers to these questions, but make sure your responses do not sound like a canned one you’ve read online. Thoroughly read the description or job posting for which you are interviewing. What are the job requirements and how can you demonstrate you will meet these requirements? Be prepared to share specific examples that address requirements and qualifications that are needed for the job. Be ready to discuss how you contributed and the outcomes.
Your resume impressed the employer and you are now on to the next step, a face to face interview. Time to prepare yourself: you’ve gone through the processes of researching the company, analyzing the job description, practicing questions and have even picked out the perfect outfit to wear, but have you really put much thought into what you are going to bring with you to the interview? This may seem like a silly question, but many people forget to take into consideration the appropriate and inappropriate items to bring with you to the interview. Don’t stress! Below is a list of items that that should help you through the process.
Extra copy of your resume
It is easy to assume that your interviewer already has a copy of your resume and you may be thinking this is not necessary. Never assume that there will not be additional people in the interview than expected. Not every person may need a copy, but it never hurts to have them on hand.
You’re running out the door for an interview, starting your first day at work, or getting ready for a big presentation on the job and notice a major wardrobe malfunction- ARGHHHH, what now?!? You aren’t a skilled seamstress and don’t have much time. NO FEAR! You can overcome many wardrobe emergencies with simple fixes, using things you have around home or the office.
Grab a twist tie from your bread bag to temporarily reattach a button. If the button is loose but still hanging on, dab on some clear nail polish.
The stitching has come loose on your pant and your hem is hanging down- fix it with some double-stick tape…voila!
Not the best timing for a stuck zipper! Rub some Vaseline, lip balm or even pencil on the zipper to work it loose.
At the end of the interview, when it’s time to ask questions, anything’s okay, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Asking certain questions could cause your potential employer to second guess you, even if you’ve just given a shining interview.
Julie Le Suer, Senior Director at Quality Placement Authority, shares her personal input for candidates and what they should leave off the table following an interview.
1) What would my starting salary be? How about benefits?
From Le Sueur: “This one is the most obvious—a candidate should never bring up compensation or benefits at any point until the interviewer/employer does. The only exception would be if the company is getting ready to make an offer (the candidate should make clear at this point what their compensation expectations are in a diplomatic way). If a candidate brings up comp/benefits prematurely, it will often kill an interview in the interviewer’s mind right then and there.
As young professionals enter the workforce they may not have much experience with any interview that is different from the classic behavioral interview. The lunch interview is quickly becoming more popular in the corporate world as it has a more relaxed atmosphere, and both parties are in a more comfortable setting. Although many may not yet be familiar with this interview, here are a few quick tips to prepare anyone for this type of interview.
AgCareers.com presented a free webinar for job seekers about Acing Today’s Interview. Sponsored by Ag 1 Source, presenter Mike Koenecke discussed how interviewing has changed over the years, the different types of interviews, key preparation, making a good first impression and following up.
Mike discussed first impressions making the difference in the actual interview. The interviewer will develop their impression of you within the first ten seconds of meeting. Before heading out for your interview, ask yourself the following question about your interview look, “What would my mother say?”
AHH the horror! Interviews can be terrifying for potential candidates, and at times, embarrassing moments occur. We featured an article in our Canadian Employer Guide last year entitled “Interview Nightmares” in which we heard from our social media followers about mortifying interviews they had had in the past. This time around, I connected with a few of our clients who regularly interview candidates about some of the more interesting interviews they’ve conducted. Read through these tell-tale stories and don’t make the same mistakes!
“A few serious deal breakers happen even before an interview because I consider the 90 seconds I have with a student at a career fair to be their first interview. I will absolutely not pass a student through to the actual interview round that approaches my booth and asks me who CPS is and what I can do for them. I’m not sure what kind of reverse psychology they are trying to run on me but I stop listening immediately after that point. If you cannot take the 2 minutes to google who we are and what we do, you do not have the drive that we are looking for in intern candidates.” – Deanna Flynn – Regional Recruiter for Crop Production Services