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.
Chances are if you’re in the market for a new job, you’re looking to bring home a decent paycheck, with a few extra perks, right? While compensation isn’t the only reason folks job hunt, it certainly plays a part in the position someone might accept. Most folks don’t work just to kill time, and no one ever said, you guys are paying me too much. With that in mind, it is important to know the etiquette and the ever-increasing legal landscape of talking dollars during the process.
Before going into any interview situation, you should know your worth and have an idea of what the market will pay for the position you’re applying for. Also, have a few reasons in mind of why you are worth the number you’re requesting. If you don’t start out with a solid reasonings of what you’re worth and why, you may accept any number offered to you, leaving you dissatisfied in the end. In recent years, several states have made it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant’s salary history. If an applicant has experienced pay discrimination in the past, or was simply underpaid, they don’t want their previous salary to undercut a current job offer. Knowing the laws in your state may help you navigate this dilemma.
Interviewing is one of the most stressful parts of the job search process. A candidate is put under scrutiny to answer questions about their past job experiences and performance in addition to questions about their skills and abilities. There can be a lot riding on this one conversation and so how to calm the nerves and come across as the confident, capable candidate that you are? Music can motivate and inspire during the job search process, so here are some classic rock suggestions for some pre-interview listening and zeroing in on rocking your interview!
“I won’t back down, hey baby there ain’t no easy way out, I won’t back down” (Tom Petty, “I Won’t Back Down”). The job search process is not easy and takes a lot of work. This is a reminder that persistence is key to success.
Sometimes the simplest of gestures can have huge impact. That certainly can be said for a thank you and follow-up after an interview. While most would think saying thank you is standard, in today’s world it often gets overlooked. However, employers are watching and in a tight candidate search, the time writing a quick interview thank you can put you above the competition.
Obviously, start with a nice thank you. You can thank them for their time, their insight about the opportunity, and for considering you for the role. Be genuine and sincere in whatever you choose to thank them for.