Picture this… you have revised and proofed your resume and cover letter 20 different times and finally submitted the application to your dream job. You feel a sense of relief because the hard part is over, right? Wrong! Next thing you know, you get an email to schedule an interview and the relief and excitement you felt after submitting your application materials slowly goes away and you have a new sense of worry in your head. Prepping for an interview can be nerve-wracking and the interview itself can sometimes be challenging. There are several different things you can do to prepare but what do you do about the dreaded awkward silence that can creep up in an interview?
There is no doubt that awkward silence is killer in any situation but during a job interview, the silence can feel like torture and really make us sweat. During the silence, a million thoughts might come across your mind such as, should I say something else or sit here quietly? Here are a couple of things you can do to dodge awkward silence in interviews.
Don’t break the silence
Silence may be uncomfortable, but it isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes we panic and think that breaking the silence during an awkward gap is the right thing to do, but that can make things even more awkward for both parties. Silence can be a natural part of the conversation and is bound to happen. Show them that you are still engaged in the conversation by keeping eye contact and smiling.
The phone interview has become a basic and expected precursor to the in-person or virtual interview. It is the interview in which employers get the chance to know you a little bit better before determining if they’d like to spend even more time and resources getting to know you, thereby determining whether or not they’d like you on their team. In other words, it’s pretty critical! I remember prior to my first phone interview for a real job, talking to my current mentor about it and saying that I didn’t feel like it would be that big of a deal. That I was headed back to my dorm at that moment to sit in my desk chair and make time for it before starting in on my homework for the night. The way he looked at me with concern and the way I felt after the interview cemented the reality that, yeah, it actually is a pretty big deal.
So why don’t we adequately prepare for it like we should? Why don’t we treat it like the important step in the interview process that it is; the step that if you make or break it, determines whether you get a seat at their table or whether your application is swiftly withdrawn from the running? Here are some crucial forgotten rules of the phone interview to take seriously in order to help yourself take the phone interview seriously. And win an in-person interview.
1. Find a place of privacy and quiet. It’s not always convenient when you are a student or current employee trying to find the least distracting place during the 8 to 5 day that you can to focus on and successfully complete a phone interview. Your dorm room or apartment can even be a struggle if you have roommate(s) or a cluttered space. If you can, ask your roommates to leave for a little while so you can prepare for and do the phone interview in complete quiet. Turn off any noise, put away the pets, and get to a room or part of the room that is as secluded, silent, and focused as possible. If you are on campus, check with your career services to see if they have a secluded room that you could reserve to complete your phone interview.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is right up there with “Tell me about yourself.” in the realm of interview questions you’re likely to be asked in a job interview. Taking the time to really craft your answer for questions like this will really pay off when you’re in the hot seat during an interview. So how do we prepare to deliver a great response? I recommend reverse engineering the question. The end goal of the interviewer is to determine if the candidate is a solid fit for the position. So, let’s begin our reverse engineering exercise by asking ourselves what the interviewer is trying to learn by asking the question:
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” These three things come to mind right away:
1. Does this candidate set personal and professional goals?
2. Does this candidate have confidence in their abilities, and do they demonstrate continued self-improvement?
3. Would it make sense to hire this candidate, considering the company’s needs? Is the position a match for this candidate’s aspirations?
arrival of fall means football season is in full swing! Whether you’re spending Friday nights rooting for the hometown pride, Saturday’s on a college campus or playing armchair quarterback from your recliner for the NFL teams on Sunday, football season is a big deal to a lot of people! Some of our own AgCareers.com staff members are devout college football fans and during the fall you’ll most likely find them spending Saturdays at their alma mater hosting great tailgates and cheering loud!
Since 2006 my friends and I have hosted a tailgate at the same location of Oklahoma State Universities campus. Hosting a tailgate is no simple task; it takes a lot of planning to be executed successfully. While setting up the tailgate this past weekend I started thinking about how much great tailgates and great job interviews have in common.
Coordinating the menu, décor and entertainment for a tailgate takes some planning well before gameday. The same goes for job interview prep. Spend time prior to the interview researching the organization, practicing answers to commonly asked questions and learning more about the organizations industry.
Growing up on the farm has its perks and its challenges. Growing up on a farm often leads to finding yourself so involved in the business that you may not leave or experience other roles. Writing a resume or talking about your experiences may have you drawing a blank. But farm experience is some of the best experience! Here’s how to draw from your experiences working on the farm while interviewing and secure a new role for yourself.
Farming involves being able to think and react in a short amount of time. When something goes wrong, you have to be able to improvise on the spot while remaining calm and executing the new plan safely. Equipment breaks down at the most inopportune times. So explain the time that a piece of equipment broke down and you had five minutes to make a decision on what the plan to fix it, whether that be driving to town or calling the local equipment dealer for spare parts. Talk about how you took initiative and developed a plan of action quickly in a moment of stress. This can also apply to a livestock emergency.
You have done a great job in preparing your resume, cover letter and applying for the right positions, and now you have landed the interview! The interview is where you and the employer ask questions to determine if the job and employer will be a fit for you. Most questions in an interview pertain to your past job performance, skills, values and competencies. However, you quite likely will also be asked about your previous job (or jobs) and employers, and why you left past positions. This can be an easy question for those who left positions after longer service for advancement opportunities. However, this can be a trickier question for those who left previous employers due to lay-off, termination, bad feelings, etc. So, what is the best way to address these questions of past employers?
What you say about previous employment speaks volumes about you, not the boss, which is why interviewers pose the questions. Interviewers are looking for a few things when they ask about your previous job, such as:
Ohhhhh, the nervousness, unpredictability, and awkwardness of blind dates…. or job interviews! It doesn’t take much effort to illustrate the similarities between the two, even in dictionary definitions:
• Blind Date: a social engagement or date with a person one has not previously met.
• Interview: a formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications.
Fact #1: In job interviews, you’re typically socializing with someone who you haven’t met before.
Fact #2: In blind dates, you’re evaluating your date’s qualifications and “fit.”
Having a great resume is key, but showing up to an interview with a positive attitude ready to sell yourself as a great fit for the position and company is even more important. When looking for the perfect candidate, every employer is different but there are certain expectations when going in to any interview. Check out these 10 Interview Mistakes to Avoid.
Employers are taking time out of their day to show an interest in you and to learn more about you and how you fit into their culture and organization – don’t waste their time by arriving late! Not only is it rude, but it could also give employers the impression that you are not serious or reliable.
Dressing inappropriately is one of those interview mistakes that can go both ways. Dressing too casual for an interview can be awkward and uncomfortable. Align your interview outfit with the industry and company style. Wearing a suit and tie is always recommended and professional, but some companies may give you a tour of a facility or visiting a work site during the interview. As always, make sure that whatever you choose to wear is appropriate, clean, and neat. If you aren’t sure, research the company or ask if there will be a tour or field visit during the interview to plan your outfit accordingly. If nothing else, err on the side of formal dress.
Honesty is the best policy and obviously it’s imperative in a job interview. However, as in your personal life, there can be a risk of “interview oversharing.” This concept can also be expressed in the notorious acronym, “TMI” – too much information.
The rise of reality TV and social networks has encouraged us to update everyone on our status, even if it’s just a photo of what’s for dinner. For example, it’s the person you just met that shares their entire life story, including much more personal information than necessary. This type of oversharing is especially imperative to consider in an interview when you’re asked that common question, “Tell me a little about yourself.” The keyword here is LITTLE!
Generally, respond to interview questions with relative, succinct answers that do not ramble on and on. As a guide, here are ten things you shouldn’t share during an interview:
Interviewing for a job and networking scenarios can test even the most polished professional. Such situations can stir up nervousness and anxiety that can be difficult to ward off, sometimes sending the wrong sign. It’s important to note that communications experts agree that the vast majority of face-to-face communication is presented by our tone of voice and body language, with only 7% being attributed to the spoken word. While the person you are speaking to pays close attention to your verbal answers, is the delivery of your message lacking due to non-verbal cues you are sending? Being aware of the messages you are conveying through unspoken communication can be critical to your career success!
Here are 6 common body language mistakes to avoid:
1. Eye Contact – Looking someone directly in the eye conveys confidence and trustworthiness. But too much eye contact can be unpleasant to the other party. Strike a good balance in making a personal connection by looking the other person in the eye when they are speaking to you and when you are responding. Avoid staring at them by taking slight breaks to look away.