Archive for the ‘Interview Technique’ Category

How to get the salary you want

In the current period of recession, getting a satisfactory dream job seems closer to impossible. Since there is a crunch in job openings, quite often, one has to make compromise on one aspect or another; be it salary package, working environment or HR. One can not expect everything to go at desired pace.

Furthermore, even if you get a job that caters to your necessities, then there is no guarantee that you will be getting a favourable salary. At times, circumstances arise when candidates usually settle down for a low salary in view of the fact that they may not get a better opportunity next time.

But, folks! Give it a thought once! Don’t you think that when you have successfully cleared an interview and have been selected for a particular profile, then at that very moment, your credibility for that job is justified, whether you are looking for a job in IT as career or healthcare jobs

So, always leave some room for salary negotiations and rest assured that conversations really work. Another question may arise here, on the right way to approach seniors for a good starting package or income hike, if you are an existing employee.  To put an end to all these queries, below compiled is a list of few meaningful tips to get the salary you want. Have a glance!

  1. Realise your Value: Thoroughly evaluate your real worth, by analysing your capabilities, job responsibilities and the designation, you are asked to work from. At no point of time, should you feel that you are being exploited by the employer.For this, you can surf the Web or take opinion from peers about the expected money, usually paid for that job profile.
  1. Leave a Room for Bargaining: Quote a comparatively higher amount, because negotiations are always involved, during interviews. If you ask for a low salary in the very beginning itself, then your chances of getting the desired amount are greatly reduced. For instance, ask around 20% more than the amount you will be ready to settle at.
  1. Lay Emphasis on your Achievements: You must understand that recession period is going on.  If, on one hand, businesses are facing manpower crunch, then, on the other end, they are witnessing an acute shortage of resources to feed their workforce, as well. In such hard times, if you expect to be paid well, you need to validate your worth before the interviewer.Present your skills, qualifications and achievements before them, so that they are bound to hire you and pay well.
  1. Mind your Language: Your tone matters a lot! Choose right words, be gentle and address the employer, as if you are already part of their organization. It gives an impression of involvement, on your part. Keep a check that your language is not insulting, at any point during the course of conversation.
  1. Be Assertive to a limit: Just like in normal routine, nobody is willing to agree, until you give them enough reasons to do so. Therefore, be assertive and convincing at the same time, to substantiate your credibility for the post.

Remember, whether we talk about IT jobs or some other sector, a good job and well paying salary are two sides of a coin and may or may not go hand-in-hand. So, make your choices wisely.

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Guest blog: Mistakes to avoid at interview

 

Guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers

Mistakes to avoid at interview:

 Never, speak negatively about yourself, a previous job or a previous boss! Never say ‘unfortunately’. Keep everything positive!

 Talk too fast or too soon! It is absolutely fine for you to pause and gather your thoughts before you answer

 Overloading the perfume or aftershave

 Being late!

 Don’t forget to smile!!

 Don’t forget to acknowledge the receptionist and any other potential colleagues on arrival and when you leave!

Finish the interview in a positive manner. If you really want the job don’t be afraid to say so before you leave the room. Thank the interviewers and ask what the next stage might be and when you are likely to hear if you have been successful.

Other questions often asked at interview:

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What has been your biggest challenge to date?
  • What do you know about what we do here?
  • How would your former colleagues describe you?
  • What has been your biggest failure?
  • What do you look for in a job?
  • Describe what you believe is an ideal working environment
  • How could you improve yourself?
  • What are some of things you want to avoid in your next job and why?
  • How did you feel about your last job?
  • What motivates you?
  • What contribution do you make to a team?

It is baffling but very occasionally, interviewers will insist on asking a silly question. For example: “If you were an animal, what would you be? There is no right or wrong answer… it is just the interviewer’s way of seeing you think on your feet or deal with the unexpected.

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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Guest blog: How to shine at an interview

Guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers

The keys to a successful interview are: a positive attitude and preparation

First impressions:

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so stand tall and believe in the person you are:

 Every applicant will experience some form of nervous tension – this is normal. Breathe deeply and tell yourself (audibly) that you will be an asset to the organisation – they will be lucky to get you!

 Look the interviewer/s in the eye as you greet them and smile! Shake hands firmly – not limply and not bone crushingly.

 Always keep in your mind that, you’ve been invited to an interview because, on paper, the employer believes that you might be the person they are looking for.

 The Employer wants to like you – wants to fill their vacancy

 Interviews are a two way process and you are approaching it as an equal.

Preparation:

Employers will formulate a list of open ended questions in order to find out what they want to know. This type of questioning does not allow you to answer yes or no so you have to be prepared to talk about yourself. The best way you can answer their questions is to be thoroughly prepared. Solid preparation will increase your confidence on the day, so do your homework:

 Research the company – look at their website, competitors, trade magazines, annual report etc.

o What appeals to you about the organisation?

o Be prepared to provide a brief overview of the company and what they do

o Why would you like to work for the company?

 Study the job description/personal specification

o What skills or experience are they asking for?

o How do you meet the criteria?

o Prepare evidence and examples to back up your skills and experience

 Anticipate the questions you might be asked and prepare answers

o Rehearse your responses OUT LOUD – it really helps!!!

 Consider any weak areas in your application

o Prepare positive responses – how you plan to develop specific skills etc.

 Prepare some interesting questions that you could ask at the end of the interview

o How many people work in the department/organisation?

o What training or induction is given?

o Why did the vacancy occur?

o Who do you see as your main competitors?

 

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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Guest blog: The 5 most typical interview questions

Guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers

The 5 most “typical” interview questions:

1) Tell me about yourself….

This is usually a warm up question to give you the opportunity to shine! Resist giving your life or work history, the interviewer is looking for a brief overview. Keep it relevant to the post – give a very brief career history and state why you are applying for the position

2) Why should we employ you?

What the interviewer is really asking you is what can you do for my business? – your response needs to answer that question…

An example… As I understand your needs, you are looking for someone who can increase your advertising sales and manage a small team. I have a proven track record in successfully managing a sales team of 3 and have increased Jasper Co.’s sales from £150,000 to 210,000 during the last 2 years.

3) What are your strengths?

Pick out your key strengths and where possible match these to the job description/person specification

4) What are your weaknesses?

Always and only state something knowledge based and include how you intend to improve the weakness. For example, I did feel that my knowledge of Excel was not what it should be, so I recently signed up for an advanced level evening course at the regional college.

5) Why do you want to work for our company?

In order to provide a good answer to this question, you will have researched the organisation and the job well.

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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Top Questions to Ask at an Interview

 

Your job interview has gone well. You’ve fielded the questions asked of you; the usual what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses and now comes the killer question that so many candidates struggle to answer…

‘Do you have any questions you’d like to ask us?’

More often than not candidates go blank at this point and ask the same old questions time and time again; what are the chances for career progression, what’s a typical day like and so on and so forth. Really though, this is your chance to grill the people you could potentially be working for – so why not ask some killer interview questions that will make you stand out and show you are thinking on your feet.

For example, why not ask a your prospective employer “how you, as an employee, could exceed their expectations in the job role”? The question shows confidence without being overly brash, while also demonstrating that you have an interest in delivering positive results.

Related to this would be asking “how, as an employee, you could help the company meet its goals and targets”? By asking how your role would directly influence the company shows that you are interested in where you would fit into the equation and by bringing up long-term goals, you are telling the hiring manager that you’re there for the long-run and not looking for a fly by night position.

Another great interview question to ask is, “What challenges have other new candidates faced when starting within the company in similar roles,and what could I do to put myself in a better position to succeed”? This question would demonstrate to your particular line manager maturity and awareness and that you are prepared to deal with challenges and overcome them in the best way for you and the company as a whole.

It is key to remember that as a candidate although it is important to provide a great first impression to a potential employer through a strong CV and a composed job interview, the closing interview can be a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your strengths and find out whether the business you could be working for fits with your ethos, and is therefore just as important.

Prove to your interviewer that you want this position and you are in this for the right reasons, not simply to fill your day with something to do.

Ask these questions before you leave, and leave your potential new employer with a great impression.

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Ten questions you can expect when attending an interview.

 

It is really important to be organised your interview and we have popped together a list of 10 questions we think are quite common to be asked in you interview.

 

1)  Could you tell me why you applied for this job and what relevant experience you have in this field?

2)  Where would you like to see yourself in the next five years? How do you set out your goals and how do you expect to achieve them.

3)  What is your previous experience and why it is relevant to this role?

4)  What training have you had in previous employment? Have you asked for further training and if so why?

5)  What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this job and how would you prioritise your time?

6)  How would you describe your personality and what benefit has that had with your choice of career?

7)  Have you got an achievement you are really proud of? What is it and why?

8)   What experiences have you had in your career that have been difficult to deal with? How did you overcome that situation?

9)   If you could introduce one extra element into this role what would it be and why?

10)   In your personal life what have you done to further your learning? Have you got a hobby that shows initiative?

 

So there you are 10 questions you can be prepared to answer!

 

Don’t forget to leave some time to go through your answers on the evening before the interview.

 

Have you come across any unusual interview questions? We’d love to hear!

 

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What are employers looking for in an interview?

 

Preparing for a new job, new school or even an acting role requires attending an interview, which can be nerve wracking at the best of times. It is especially difficult in today’s economical climate. Not only are jobs few and far between nowadays, the competition will be tougher than ever with everyone fighting for the same limited position. Do not let this deter you. Instead make it you spur you on to go further and do better than everyone else.

By checking your travel route to the interview, making sure you have notes ready and plenty of time to arrive, learning the name/s of your interviewers and arriving early, this preparation will hold you in good stead. But, these alone won’t get you the job.

So, what is it that employers are looking for?  Employers are looking for several things from these interviews and it is your chance as a candidate to stand out from the crowd. The only way to do this is to know your potential employer and the company like the back of your hand. There are generally a list of interview requirements sent out to you or even mentioned on the corporate website. Study these, follow their guidelines and then go that extra mile to add a special little something else.

Whats the extra mile? It could be anything from quoting an achievement by the employer and linking back to a similar achievement you have made. Perhaps its offering an insight to a business idea. Anything that is directly in keeping with the nature of the interview (e.g. don’t tell your potential new boss how many points you have on your xbox games) and that shed a little light on your experienced, enthusiastic and committed nature will be favoured.

Why bother? Well that all depends on how much you want the job in the first place, but employers like to see someone with drive and ambition. Obviously it isn’t advisable to tell he/she that one day will you be sitting in their office doing their job (they may see you as a threat). A little enthusiasm though definitely goes a  long way.

Keep it relevant and to the point, but also make it real and explain how you can contribute to the company. Why should they pick you over Mr Blogs next door? What is it that you have that he doesn’t? They aren’t interested in how well you have memorised their history, but throwing in a few facts may help.

Imagine you were going for an acting role, for example. Not only would you have to know the lines of the monologue you were due to deliver, expected to have rehearsed them and therefore get into character, you would have to know the story inside out. If a director stopped you mid sentence and asked you why you were feeling a certain way when speaking those lines, and what relevance it has to the rest of the play – you could quickly answer him.  Confidence is key, but without arrogance about it. It wouldn’t seem right to see Romeo smiling to his adoring fans in the audience just as he is about to drink the poison thinking his beloved had done the same. Instead, he is convincing us with using the right tone, tears and most importantly he is committed to the role.

So are you committed to your role? Are you ready to look the part? If the job you have applied for is in a formal setting then dress the part. Unless you are having an on-the-job-interview say as a fitness coach I wouldn’t turn up in jogging bottoms and trainers as it would send out the wrong impression. Save the personality of your wardrobe for dress down Fridays. The one thing I would suggest you wear straight away is a smile.

Finally, listen to your interviewer take notes if needs be. Pause to collect your thoughts and then blow them away with your answers. This is your chance so grab it while you can. Good luck!

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How to prepare for interview

 

So you got that interview! Congratulations!

Now you are wondering what next and how to prepare. There is no need to worry we have put together this guide for you.

Before the interview make sure you know where it is, how long it will take, if you will have to participate in any tests and if you are required to take anything additional along such as proof of identification. Usually the interview letter will list out all the requirements of interview. If it doesn’t then don’t be afraid to call the department to find out what you will need.

In the week leading up to the interview make sure you have the correct date and time of the interview, plan your travel arrangements in advance such as public transport or car parking. Do a quick check to see if there are going to be any disruptions to your journey.

Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier than your interview time. this will give you chance to take a moment to collect your thoughts and breathe before your interview. In turn being prompt will reflect well on your application.

On the day of your interview make sure that you have a list set up of what you will need. Take you invitation to interview letter as well as a copy of any documentation that has been requested. Try and make notes of any questions that you would like to ask during the interview. It is better to be totally and a little over prepared that left feeling nervous on the day because you are not.

Use the job specification as a means to research and go over possible questions. Rehearsing answers may help nerves but will make you feel confident and help you to be concise.

Research the company to ensure you are aware of what they do and how they do it. Look at their website as well as any documents they may have produced online. Look for relevant news items or reports that give you an overview of where the company are now.

Choosing your interview outfit can be really difficult for some people. Our advice is to keep it simple and smart. Try your outfit on a few days before, iron and hang. Now is also the time to get a hair cut if needed.

The night before the interview remember to check of the list of items and information you need to take.

Finally get a good night’s sleep and good luck!

 

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Guest Bloggers Required!

Well, we are certainly attracting a bit of web traffic now, which is great to see, and throwing open the chance for you to add your guest blogs to this site.

Maybe you are a recruiter, an image consultant, a careers advisor, life coach, HR consultant or job hunter? If so then let us know if you would like to write us a guest blog article, sharing your news, hints, tips and advice with links through to your site!

Simply email jo@personal-marketing.co.uk with your article (around 400-700 words) and  share your expertise. Don’t forget to include a short bio on yourself and your web address if you have one.

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The value of soft skills

A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft asked business leaders what they considered to be the most important skills an interview candidate should possess. Interestingly, “soft skills” were considered more important than the “hard skills” of qualifications and work experience.

Soft skills, otherwise known as “people skills”, can be split into two types: personal skills and interpersonal skills. In other words, how you deal with problems, and how you interact with others.

The “Behavioural Interview” is becoming increasingly popular as it provides an unbiased standard interview for all candidates. This format is designed to assess how you cope in certain situations using your “soft skills”. So, if you are short of work experience on your CV, you can draw on your life experiences. This is definitely good news if you are a school leaver, graduate or returning to work after a break.

Most interviews will consist of at least some behavioural questioning, so it’s a good idea to prepare your examples in advance to prevent any head scratching in the interview room! Often you can tell if the interview will be behaviourally based by looking at the job spec. If there is a list of soft skills, or “key competencies” (the terminology can masquerade under many names!), then be prepared to be asked to demonstrate these.

Write down examples of situations, the outcomes, and what you would have done differently with hindsight for each of the following. Find a work related situation preferably, but draw from other areas of your life if your work experience is minimal:

Personal soft skills

Time management. How do you prioritise tasks? In most jobs you will have to do numerous tasks at the same time. Can you demonstrate how you have handled this in the past? You may be required to drop everything and refocus your attentions on another task. Do you have any examples of this?

Coping under pressure. How do you cope with stress? Can you think of an example that demonstrates a high pressure situation you have had to deal with?

Dealing with change. Companies sometimes restructure and require the work force to be flexible and positive about progress. New policies and procedures are always being introduced. Can you give an example of where you have positively embraced or initiated changes?

Problem solving. Think of an example of a time you solved a problem effectively. Did you save a sale/a customer/a life/the company money?

What motivates you? It could be money, job satisfaction, helping others. Have a look at the job description. For example, if you are going for a job in sales, then “money” is the obvious answer!

Decision making. When have you had to make a difficult decision? Was it the right one? What did you do if you realised it wasn’t the best course of action?

Interpersonal soft skills
Teamwork. Where have you worked well in a team? What was your role in that team? With many workplaces being open plan, employers often look for people that will “fit in” and work easily with others. This doesn’t mean you have to think of a sports team you have been involved with, just a situation where you have worked well amongst a group of people.

Motivating others. Do people like being around you? Can you think of a time when you have encouraged or helped others to complete a task?

Leadership. This could be an example of leading a team at work or in your personal life.

Influencing. Can you think of a time when you have persuaded someone round to your way of thinking; where you have convinced others of a good idea?

Communication. Have you had to write reports in the past or give presentations? Do you speak clearly and listen effectively?

Dealing with conflict. Have you resolved/mediated in any disputes? Are you aggressive, assertive or passive?

These are the main soft skills that employers look for, and to be able to confidently rattle off examples of scenarios will greatly improve your chances of landing the job!

Good luck!

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