By Danielle Tucker, 2017 AgCareers.com Marketing Intern
Informational interviews are meetings that job seekers can utilize with employers to find out more information, ask advice, and seek answers. They also allow employers to get to know a potential candidate for a position in the company. Although, it is important to know that this is not a job interview and your goal is to gather information and network rather than finding job openings.
As a job seeker, it can be difficult to get an interview if the employers have several resumes to sort through. Utilizing informational interviews can work to your advantage, however, they can also help a company eliminate you from their pile of papers. To decide whether or not you should pursue an informational interview, examine the pros, cons, and guidelines.
We’re all familiar with IQ, or Intelligence Quotient. For years people assumed that IQ was the source of a person’s success. However, studies indicated that people with the highest IQs outperform those with average IQs just 20% of the time, while people with average IQs outperform those with high IQs 70% of the time. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves provides an in-depth look at this topic. They explain that the physical source of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is communication between your rational and emotional areas of the brain.
EQ is a person’s ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. EQ allows you to handle yourself and relationships in challenging circumstances at work and home. It generally includes:
I’ve always thought that one of the hardest (but also one of the most common) interview questions to answer is, “What are you most proud of?” Not everyone thinks of their accomplishments as anything major, but it’s important to share them with your interviewer for them to understand what you are capable of and what fulfills your pride (as they certainly want you to be proud of your work if you end up as their employee). Your interviewer will also be looking for an answer detailing the process of how you accomplished whatever it is that you are most proud of.
First of all, here’s how to NOT answer the question (as I did for my first real job interview): don’t give a short answer. There should be a story involved here with a beginning and an ending. You should lead the interview from how this accomplishment materialized through the end result and then why you are proud of it.
Congratulations on getting an interview! Now it is time to prepare yourself to be sure you are on you are on your “A” game before the interview. Here is a checklist to help prepare yourself for the big day.
Research the company
It is important to know the company and know your audience before the interview. If you are serious about this interview, you need to show your interviewers that you have done the work ahead of time. What is their culture? What do they actually do? You will really impress your audience if you are able to pull information about the company in your prepared answers. Show them you are ready to be a part of their team!
Know your resume
This may be a no-brainer, but actually study your resume before the interview! Know your skills, abilities and experience. Reference your resume. This will allow you to make connections between who you are, what you have done and how it will assist you in this new role.
“What is your dream job?” can be a tricky interview question if you are not prepared to answer it. Your dream job may have nothing to do with the position you are interviewing for, so it is a good idea not to mention it in that case. Instead, connecting your answer to aspects of the position that appeal to you enables the interviewer to determine if you are a good fit for the job.
In addition to accessing if you have the right skills to be successful in the job, the interviewer is also interested in finding out how motivated you are, and if you will be satisfied with the role. Your response should reflect your skills, interests, and values as an employee.
We’ve all heard advice about being prepared for an interview. We know to do our homework on the company; know the individuals we’ll be interviewing with and their roles. We think through situational questions and our responses. We’re prepared to tie our experience to the responsibilities of the role we’re interviewing for. And above all else, we come prepared with questions! But do we go past that in our preparation? How often do we think about doing our own analysis of the company; our own interview of them, and how to spot a great boss? I can tell you from personal experience, and some record of job hopping, that it comes with practice. Not to suggest you have to job hop to figure it out – that’s me learning from my mistakes. Hopefully, you can take this advice as you look towards your next, and perhaps last, interview!
How do you spot a great boss and the right fit for you? I’ve tried to simplify what I’ve learned and heard from many mentors over the years it four simple categories.
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.