interviewing and Job hunting advice

HatorianHatorian Dagobah
edited March 23 in General
Im always keen to help people out. And I know a few Baldmovers in the past have asked for advice and tips. i do a lot of interviews and just would like to share some successful points on how to set yourself apart. 

So here are my 10 tips to those looking. 

1. Resume: first edit and peer edit as much as possible. Make sure there are no mistakes. depending on your experience you should try to keep it to 1-3 pages. The 1 page resume is no longer required and if you have a good level of experience then show that.  What I have found to work really well is to focus on tangible benefits and numbers in your resume. Whether that is driving marketing campaign success, achieving key metrics, winning awards, sales growth numbers and other successful protect outcomes that have tangible metrics and other key achievements you can display. Try to limit your day to day responsibilities and roles to a few lines per employer. Try to summaries your key day to day responsibilities and use the other points to highlight what made you successful in that role. Most companies will know what marketing managers, Engineers, IT or sales people do. Don’t simply fill your resume out with your day to day job requirements. 

Example:

your first 1 or 2 points should lay out our key job requirements. The last 3-6 points should only focus on tangible benefits you brought to the role. Such as...

1. as s a marketing manager my role was to drive awareness across the health insurance industry and create new leads for the sales team to follow up on. 
2. developed multiple channels of communication from paper to digital. 
3. I increased lead generation by 20%
4. improved key marketing metrics by 15%
5. marketing campaigns drew an increase of sales of 500k in 6 months.

2. Have an “all-star” LinkedIn Profile: there’s a lot of help on this but make sure you have a professional photo, use the summary section to set you apart and highlight what makes you a Top candidate. Discuss your character strengths, instrinsic motivators and anything else that separates you from others. Also do not be afraid to ask for recommendations and try to get as much support you can from previous colleagues that speak highly of you on this page. 

3. Use your network, if you find a job ad and have an ex colleague or Friend that is working their then this is your best chance of landed an interview and getting pushed to the top of the resume pile against the hundreds of other applications they most certainly received. Companies love to support their current employees and many of them have an objective of filling X amount of roles through referral. 

4. Once you get to the interview stage. Prepare, prepare prepare and practice practice practice. Understand and know the job you’re applying for and leverage that knowledge in the interview process. Depending on the seniority of the role you may have 3-4 interviews and it’s critical you know the role and can speak to it to them. It shows you have prepared and it shows how you can successfully develop relationships. Know the company numbers, read blogs, find the LinkedIn of the person you are interviewing with and try to gather data you can use to align yourself with them. Then make sure you use that knowledge. Especially in sales interviews where they expect you to know the clients you meet before you even met them.  

5. Focus focus focus on your personal traits. Large corporations are very focused on hiring people based on traits that cannot he taught. All companies have training programs. They will train you on the role and products/services. But they can’t teach you high character, confidence, strong communication skills, drive, resilency, competitiveness, ability to adapt and overcome struggles. Inherient traits are crucial. Other skills can be taught. 

6. Be ready to discuss and be prepared for previous experience on very hard topics like where you failed, how did you overcome, what did you learn, what are your weaknesses, etc. Have examples already laid out on these so you can easily provide them. And most importantly tell them what you learned. They key to failure is do not make the same mistake twice and understand that it’s a learning opportunity to become better. Show them how you learned from it and what you did to become better. Definitely do not say you have no weaknesses. Self reflection and constructive criticism is key. No one is perfect but also be mindful that you obviously don’t want to say something like I struggle with XX when you know the role obviously requires someone to be strong in that trait/skill. 

7. have solid questions that have both meaning to you as well as depth to them. Everyone interviewing from the first to the last will ask this. Have at least 3-5 questions to ask that really make them identify you have thought deeply about this. These can be as easy as why do you like working for this company? Why would you recommend it to me? Or more complex questions like I read through your financial statement and the CEO mentioned challenges around XXX, how do you think the company can overcome these challenges? What separates the top 5% performers to the rest? Etc. Good questions are critical and make you stand out as someone who has really thought about trying to identify if this is really a good place to work for. Interviews are 2 way streets and they want you to interview the company just as much as they are interviewing you. 

8. Be prepared and develop a presentation on yourself. large companies are now asking for a presentation of yourself as the last step. Maybe even a role play. Have some basics to intermediate PPT knowledge and be able to create a 5-10 presentation on yourself that summarizes the above. And also he prepared for a role play. 

9. Go into the meetings with as much confidence as possible. Act like the role is yours to lose. Obviously people get nervous and worried but you would be surprised that while you may feel nervous, it doesn’t really show easily and if you keep composure in the meeting and communicate effectively interviewers will not even notice your nervousness. Plus it’s also expected to be a little nervous but having the ability to overcome a slip up or two can be a huge difference between getting to the next stage or crashing and burning. 

10. Lastly, understand this is not the end of the world. It’s simply a job interview. Have reasonable expectations and this will help you stay more calm. Don’t let the moment overcome you and every time you proceed to the next stage they are showing trust in your ability and you should be proud of your abilities. 

Good luck to all of you!

ghm3gguenotDeeFlukestpelzy
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Comments

  • JoshuaHeterJoshuaHeter Omaha, NE
    Great stuff!

    I've had a dozen or so interviews over the last few years (as a candidate). I like to give job seekers this advice, just so they don't get blind sided. In my experience, there are (broadly speaking, of course) two types of interviews: what I like to call "the obstacle course" and "the 5th date". It's nice to get a "5th date" interview, but sometimes you get an "obstacle course" interview.

    An "obstacle course" interview is almost confrontational. The interviewer asks questions which are designed to challenge / test the candidate. The interviewer is looking especially hard to see if the candidate will accidentally raise any red flags in their answers.

    In contrast, some interviews are a bit more like a "5th date". Both parties already know a good bit about one another, there's an obvious interest between them, but now the time has come to see if it would be a good idea on both sides to make some sort of a commitment, to see if it would be a good fit. It's not a perfect analogy, since there's a power imbalance in an interview, where (hopefully) there isn't one in a personal relationship, but these interviews really are a matter of two parties "getting to know one another".

    I don't think there's a *huge* difference in how to act in the different interviews - you generally want to be polite and professional. But, I think it can help to know walking in that you might get one or the other.
    gguenotHatorianAll the Chickens
  • All good information, I think a much needed clarification on the "5th date" interview is not to expect oral or anything other than heavy touching. 

    But seriously, @Hatorian gave me the same advice when I was in between jobs and even looked over my resume. I was given great feedback that I can say contributed to me landing a new job. 

    @JoshuaHeter makes great points about the different types of interviews as well!
    HatorianFlukes
  • I'm not sure how common it is to write a cover letter, but I'd highly recommend it. The only catch is each job you apply for should have its own cover letter written for it.

    This is your sales pitch about why you make a great fit for the position, and why they should bring you in for an interview. You should highlight the things from the job description that you excel at. I think you can tell a lot from a cover letter, so if you're terrible at writing and can't articulate yourself well you might be better off skipping one altogether.

    My own experience is a thought out cover letter is usually what gets me in the door. It's also the hardest part about submitting your application, because each cover letter should take a decent chunk of time to write. It's my least favorite part, but every job I've applied for resulted in an interview. 
    HatorianAjas
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited March 23
    See I’ve only worked licensed occupations where there’s a shortage. “Do you have x license?, welcome aboard!” 

    these types of things are foreign to me, the last job interviews I’ve been to have basically been salary negotiation and fairly laid back. 

    Tip: never be honest about your previous salary, what you make plus 25% so you actually get a raise when switching jobs. 
    JoshuaHeter
  • JoshuaHeterJoshuaHeter Omaha, NE
    See I’ve only worked licensed occupations where there’s a shortage. “Do you have x license?, welcome aboard!” 

    these types of things are foreign to me, the last job interviews I’ve been to have basically been salary negotiation and fairly laid back. 

    Tip: never be honest about your previous salary, what you make plus 25% so you actually get a raise when switching jobs. 
    That's true. I've had a few "interviews" for adjunct teaching jobs where *literally* one of the first things out of the interviewer's mouth was something like... "Okay, so this is the book you'll be using."

    That's higher education in the 21st century for ya!
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    gguenot said:
    All good information, I think a much needed clarification on the "5th date" interview is not to expect oral or anything other than heavy touching. 

    But seriously, @Hatorian gave me the same advice when I was in between jobs and even looked over my resume. I was given great feedback that I can say contributed to me landing a new job. 

    @JoshuaHeter makes great points about the different types of interviews as well!

    Glad to hear you found a new job man. Happy for you. 
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    edited March 23
    For people who like reading stuff, I read about 7 interview books when I was interviewing, and this was by far the best one. Some very practical advice that I used, which I think put me above my competition. 

    When @Hatorian rightly mentions the many times you need to sell yourself, this book gave me concrete ways to do that by helping me identify and verbalize my unique strengths. Sometimes we nail every part of the interview except when it comes to ourselves because we're way too close to the situation. ;) 
    Hatorian
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  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    I've been on a hiring committee several times and here are some more prosaic observations to add to @hatorian's well written thingy above.

    If you are using LinkedIn, please make sure your LinkedIn profile and your resume match up- And both should be honest, of course. :)

    If you are interviewing for a position in an office environment, you should always wear a blazer or sport coat type of jacket, even if you are a woman. This is not my thing; in fact I consider it somewhat ridiculous, especially for women, but some people truly believe there is a dress code for interviews and jackets are required. I have been on committees where we got bogged down for 10 minutes talking about who was wearing a jacket or not, even when one of the non-jacketed women in question was wearing a dress! 

    Do not be late and/or try to reschedule the interview because you cannot find parking at the office where you are interviewing in a dense urban neighborhood. Please research the neighborhood and arrange your transportation or commute to get you there well ahead of time; even if you have to waste time sitting on a park bench or something, it's better than running in late or calling in saying you can't find parking. 

    Bring a copy of the job description, your resume, cover letter, any other pertinent documents, and a pen and notepad. Sometimes people bring them in those kind of leather portfolio things or just a plain folder. When the interviewers ask you complex questions, make notes and refer back to them. This helps you with your nerves and it also shows that you can listen and pay attention. 

    Generally speaking, you should be respectful and let the interviewer drive the conversation, but you don't have to be so passive that it doesn't seem like you care; you can certainly speak up and ask if you need clarification on something, and you are definitely there to sell yourself. If you are the type of person who tends to get nervous in the moment and feel shy about selling yourself, you can write some talking points about your strengths and keep them in your folder, and then as the questions are asked you can work in your talking points. Try to read the room for the tone of how aggressive you should be, but there's definitely not a problem with tossing in info about yourself that describes good qualities that would be useful on the job. I had one manager tell me later that part of why she hired me (for an analyst type job) was because she asked me about organization skills and I described how I spent a weekend organizing my kitchen cabinets. :P

    When they get to the part where they ask if you have any questions, ask questions! It makes you look like you are listening, you care and are interested and not just sleepwalking through the process. If you don't have specific questions about the job, you can ask some general questions like what the typical day is like on the job, what the management style is like etc. There are websites full of these questions and you can note some down and put them in your folder. I would ask 2-3 of these questions if you don't have any others.

    If you are being interviewed by a committee, remember that all the people on the committee are there for a reason and make sure to make eye contact and talk to each one and not just the manager. You can also include each person in your end of interview "questions for us?" questions.

    That having been said, Don't ask the people around the table questions that might be awkward, like one time the candidate (who would also be working for my boss) asked me what my boss's strengths were. It wasn't too terrible because I had been working for her for a long time, and we have a good working relationship. But I felt kind of out on a limb at that moment and I sort of obsessed on what I said later. I've had other questions asked that were much more comfortable, like what do you like about working here? Or what is the team like to work with? That way you can be more general or focus in on your boss if you want to.
    Just to get an idea of how job interviews for truckers go these days, I negotiated a higher starting rate and got my weekend for the Roanoke conference (a Republican Party event each January) my weekend for the Canadian gun show I visit each March, and the time for my upcoming trip to Chile guaranteed off at the interview. That was 8 months ago and I just said I want these days off every year and they were desperate enough they guaranteed them 
  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    edited March 24
    man, gotta love this community and all the great advice and feedback. 

    i can offer this much:

    Hatorian
  • edited March 24
    Tip: never be honest about your previous salary, what you make plus 25% so you actually get a raise when switching jobs. 
    I'd be really careful with this. It's a terrible practice for employers for ask your current salary, and several states have even written laws against it (https://www.bna.com/ask-salary-history-n73014470106/)

    However, if you fabricate what you make the employer might ask for a pay stub or some proof before you start. Finding out that you lied is definitely grounds for rescinding an offer. If you're underpaid in your current job this is a really tough thing to get around, but there are definitely some strategies. Either way I wouldn't advise straight up lying. 

    JaimieTFlukes
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    Tip: never be honest about your previous salary, what you make plus 25% so you actually get a raise when switching jobs. 
    I'd be really careful with this. It's a terrible practice for employers for ask your current salary, and several states have even written laws against it (https://www.bna.com/ask-salary-history-n73014470106/)

    However, if you fabricate what you make the employer might ask for a pay stub or some proof before you start. Finding out that you lied is definitely grounds for rescinding an offer. If you're underpaid in your current job this is a really tough thing to get around, but there are definitely some strategies. Either way I wouldn't advise straight up lying. 


    Yes, don't lie. I don't think I need to say why not. 
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    edited March 24
    Tip: never be honest about your previous salary, what you make plus 25% so you actually get a raise when switching jobs. 
    I'd be really careful with this. It's a terrible practice for employers for ask your current salary, and several states have even written laws against it (https://www.bna.com/ask-salary-history-n73014470106/)

    However, if you fabricate what you make the employer might ask for a pay stub or some proof before you start. Finding out that you lied is definitely grounds for rescinding an offer. If you're underpaid in your current job this is a really tough thing to get around, but there are definitely some strategies. Either way I wouldn't advise straight up lying. 

    100% agree. Asking for payslips to prove your compensation happens. Do not lie. Be honest with your salary but say I expect a 10-30% increase to leave. 

    Its better to say say I make 100k but my expectation for offer is 120k. That’s a much better way of handling it than lying. 

    EDIT: if you get to the offer stage then they want you. Use that to your advantage. As both an interviewer and candidate I can tell you you can easily increase your compensation without lying

  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    Chinaski said:
    man, gotta love this community and all the great advice and feedback. 

    i can offer this much:

    Love it! Exactly. Topsy turvy that motherfucker. I don’t know how many times I’ve saw people extremely impressed with questions asked by the candidate. 
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    Tip: never be honest about your previous salary, what you make plus 25% so you actually get a raise when switching jobs. 
    I'd be really careful with this. It's a terrible practice for employers for ask your current salary, and several states have even written laws against it (https://www.bna.com/ask-salary-history-n73014470106/)

    However, if you fabricate what you make the employer might ask for a pay stub or some proof before you start. Finding out that you lied is definitely grounds for rescinding an offer. If you're underpaid in your current job this is a really tough thing to get around, but there are definitely some strategies. Either way I wouldn't advise straight up lying. 

    I wouldn’t provide it. And if they rescind their job offer you were just saved from a career of misery. See the only reason new employers want you to be honest about previous salary is so they can be dishonest in what they’re really willing to pay, and in reality rescinding job offers is largely an empty threat anyway, because rescinding means the position continues unfilled and they have to go through the process and risk the next guy might do the same thing. 

    I calculate my benefits as part of wages when providing previous salary, which is perfectly acceptable in my opinion.

    And if if someone asks for my W-2s I wouldn’t provide them, of course the market for my skills is so tight I hold some power in negotiations 

  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    I don’t disagree with you. But there’s a better way of handling it than lying.

    you can simply say I am expecting XX salary. That is my price. My previous salary is not important because it’s a different company, different role, different expectations, different requirements, etc. 

    I remember one time I was interviewing I said something like my expected compensation is XXX. And the recruiter said well that’s a bit high. And I responded and said look, I’m selling myself to you. By the time we finish this process you will either offer me the role at my cost or you will not. You will either agree I’m worth this price or I am not. But that’s what I feel like I’m worth and what I am expecting. 4 interviews later I got the job. 


    JaimieTFlukesrhcoopcdrive
  • Just got a new job and had the easiest interview ever.  It helps that I was with the company previously for > 10 years and was referred to the opening by a couple of well-respected people there (and also know a ton of people who are still there).  The negotiations were trickier than the interview was, really, and probably took longer.  I was up front about my salary requirement, they knew what I made before I left and for what I'd been doing I was near the top of the local salary range anyway, inflating it much would have been ridiculous.  That said, if you're not near the top of the range, inflating it is probably a pretty good strategy--they don't know, and it will take you a long time  to get there at 4% (or whatever) a year.  I did negotiate for about 30% more than the "cap" for the req, though, and to get my seniority back (and accompanying vacation accrual rate, a big deal--I'll wind up with literally about twice as much total PTO as I have now).  Between salary and bonus it will be a slight cut (low single digits %) but the vacation differential is huge.  The only real downside is that my commute is going to get worse again (right now I'm about 5 minutes from the office so I can pop home for lunch every day, the other office is 25-45 minutes away depending on traffic).  I'm excited, was starting to approach that bad phase where you dread going to work.
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  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited March 25
    Tip: never be honest about your previous salary, what you make plus 25% so you actually get a raise when switching jobs. 
    I'd be really careful with this. It's a terrible practice for employers for ask your current salary, and several states have even written laws against it (https://www.bna.com/ask-salary-history-n73014470106/)

    However, if you fabricate what you make the employer might ask for a pay stub or some proof before you start. Finding out that you lied is definitely grounds for rescinding an offer. If you're underpaid in your current job this is a really tough thing to get around, but there are definitely some strategies. Either way I wouldn't advise straight up lying. 

    I wouldn’t provide it. And if they rescind their job offer you were just saved from a career of misery. See the only reason new employers want you to be honest about previous salary is so they can be dishonest in what they’re really willing to pay, and in reality rescinding job offers is largely an empty threat anyway, because rescinding means the position continues unfilled and they have to go through the process and risk the next guy might do the same thing. 

    I calculate my benefits as part of wages when providing previous salary, which is perfectly acceptable in my opinion.

    And if if someone asks for my W-2s I wouldn’t provide them, of course the market for my skills is so tight I hold some power in negotiations 

    You just sound like such an awesome employee and co-worker lol

    You definitely shouldn't lie in your job interview no matter which industry you are in. It's not unusual at all for people to be job hunting because they want to make more money, and there is zero reason to lie about it. If you are asked why you are asking for X+Y when you make X at your current job, you can just say something like "I can make X at the job I already have. I think I am worth more so I am asking for X+Y." If they ask "why should I pay you X+Y?" you can say because you have this list of qualities that make you a great candidate. If you know that they are in dire need and you have the skill set, so much the better, but there's no reason to be arrogant about it and use it as a reason to lie and argue with people.
    I don’t, I say “I make 22” (factoring my bonuses in) when I make 20 (actual hourly) and get offered 23.50. 
    Its far easier to negotiate this way. 

    besides I am a top performer (and I’m not just saying that, we have objective metrics for performance factored into an employer score and I am number four out of 25 people) in my work place, you would love to have me as an employee, I complete my tasks on time and to standard, don’t milk the clock and will travel as needed. No one else at my workplace flies to California at the drop of a hat to do work 


  • voodooratvoodoorat Atlanta
    edited March 25
    that is a reasonable fudge i think, that's 10%.  a 25% exaggeration would be $25 though, not $22.  even that might not be that big a deal at ~$25, but at $50 or $60 or more a 25% fudge would be more and stick out more (and if you give them a reason to think you're lying for most companies that would be a hard pass).  in the end, though, what you made at your last company *shouldn't* matter--what should matter is what you're willing to take and what they're willing to offer.  and if you do go in too low, it's very hard to make that up with annual merit increases--especially in big companies where that stuff is hard capped.  it's silly that all this stuff is cloak-and-dagger, but it is and honestly if i'd lost a week of vacation when i moved over that would have been a huge deal, it might have taken a decade to get that back and in a decade i'll be 55 years old, i don't have that kind of time to fuck around waiting.  i'm really grateful to the hr guy who got my requests approved but if he'd been lazier or the exec who had to approve it had been constipated that day it might have cost me big.  it's a weird thing.

    *edit* for what it's worth, i started my first job low and got lucky and got a significant adjustment a year or two into my career that brought me more on track--if that hadn't happened early the whole trajectory of my earning potential could have been off even with exactly the same skill set, and that was basically just due to good luck in having a cool boss who knew better than i did.
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    edited March 25
    I didn't read any of this, but Leon:


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  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas

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  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    edited March 25
    I didn't want to bring the Louis CK person into it. He just happened to be the vehicle that delivered a great "lying" joke. And it seemed relevant. But while we're discussing it, in the end I'd put my money on things working out for him. Hell, I've never committed a sex offense (that I know of), and I damn sure haven't ever had the pleasure of walking the streets with the likes of a Parker Posey. Feb 2018:

    Being a celebrity is the Cadillac of careers. Breaks down in weird ways, but rolls so smooth when it's in working order.
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    Only on Bald Move does the forum about job interview advice devolve into pitches about why lying is unacceptable. Trolls be trolls.
  • BourbonQueenBourbonQueen Dallas, TX
    Question I have - I was the SME at my company for this national account we called on.  I was given so many projects, tasks, assignments, etc. that they had to "make up" a title because they didn't have one in the HR system to encompass this.

    We merged and new management didn't know/understand my experience and function and demoted me in title only - but I had the pleasure of keeping my existing roles and added on several high level projects to where I was functioning at a level 2x where I was - but in HR I still had the lower role coded.  I was promised that after the dust settled after the merger, it would be corrected.  It never was.

    I was recently let go b/c my position was moved to another state (I chose to not move) and am in the process of job hunting (first time in 15 years).  I don't want to put my "demoted" role on my resume because I function at a way higher level than that, but I worry about potential employers calling my old company and thinking I lied to them.

    What's the best way to handle it?
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