While it can be nerve-wracking to find the right answer to an interview question, there are a few tips and tricks you can use during interviews to impress recruiters.
At least that's what Juan Manuel Ramos says — as Apple Ireland's former HR specialist for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, the expert claims to have a secret formula up his sleeve that will work with any question an interviewer throws at you.
"You can 'perfectly' answer any question during a job interview through using the STAR technique," explained the specialist, now working as HR director at DEKRA. "It stands for 'Situation, Task, Action and Result'."
"Basically, you describe a situation you were in, outline what you had to do about the situation, detail how you executed what was necessary, and explain how the final result was successful," said Ramos.
For example, imagine you've applied for a position related to marketing or sales. If you're asked to talk about an achievement in your previous job, you could lay out your response accordingly:
In addition, the manager recommends to prepare — both orally as well as in writing — possible questions and answers that could crop up during the interview.
Read more: Five things you should never do during a phone interview, according to career advisors
"With a simple Google search, candidates can find 80% of the questions they're likely to be asked during a job interview. Even Glassdoor can act as a good point of reference, especially if you're looking for jobs overseas," advised the expert.
Top 6 Job Search Myths Busted
There isn't a shortage of online and offline advice surrounding the job search. Events and online guides abound to help you craft the perfect resume and cover letter, network effectively, prepare for interviews and stand out among other candidates. But when it comes down to it, the myths about the process make it particularly challenging.
To separate fact from hearsay, I consulted with Melanie Tinto, the Chief Human Resources Officer at WEX—a leading financial technology service provider across a wide spectrum of sectors, including, fleet, travel and healthcare. Prior to joining WEX, Melanie served on the executive team of leading companies as Vice President of talent acquisition, talent management and Chief Learning Officer.
Learn about these job search myths to avoid making the same mistakes as everyone else:
MYTH: Limit your resume to one page.
Reality: You can go over the limit if you have extensive, relevant experience that cannot be contained to one page. But you should keep it concise—no need to list all the jobs you've had. Put the emphasis on the most relevant ones, those from which you developed the expertise and set of skills that directly apply to your desired role.
MYTH: Include your objectives
Reality: You can state and elaborate on this in your cover letter because your objectives will already be implied by you applying to the job. Instead, replace that section with something that will catch a recruiter's eyes (i.e. a section for accomplishments, hobbies, side hustles etc.)
MYTH: Optimize your resume for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) by using as many key words as possible
Reality: Using keywords for the sake of getting through the ATS can sometimes dilute your message and play down your strengths. In describing your different jobs, you will naturally have keywords that will be optimized for this AI-powered system.
While it's important to have a few of them, focus less on that and more on crafting a visually appealing resume that captures a bit of your personality. "You will have a better chance to land your dream job by submitting a resume that targets a person, rather than a computer algorithm," says Melanie.
MYTH: Personal projects are not relevant to employers, so keep them out of your resume
Reality: Employers actually want to hire multi-talented candidates. Your side hustles or hobbies say a lot about you as a potential asset to the team. They're proof that you can handle a growing workload, have a self-directed attitude that can greatly benefit companies. If your side hustle has helped you develop a specialized set of skills, include it in your resume. It will not only get their attention, but it is also a great talking point during interviews. "Experience is experience, no matter where it comes from," says Melanie.
MYTH: Use your cover letter to recap your resume
Reality: You should tell a compelling story about who you are, show your personality and why you are a fit for the job in your cover letter. "We already have the resume to see your experience," says Melanie. "Use the cover letter to explain things like gaps in your employment history, changes in your career path and/or positions that have lasted a short time." If you don’t have anything to add in the cover letter, in some cases, you’d be better off skipping it rather than restating what’s already on your resume.
MYTH: Your LinkedIn profile can replace your resume
Reality: You should always include your resume as an attachment to your LinkedIn profile, so recruiters can easily download and send it to hiring managers. As Melanie reveals, "Recruiters don’t always want to send your LinkedIn profile to the hiring manager because it would reveal that they've viewed your profile."
Dating Strategies to Apply to Your Job Search
7 Dating Skills That Could Land You Your Dream Job
If you haven’t looked for a job in a while, you might feel like you're out of practice and don’t know the best approach. There are job sites, social media platforms, working with recruiters, new resume styles, video interviews, and a lot of competition from fellow job seekers. So how can you be sure you stand out (in a good way!), and find your best career match?
RELATED: Job Hunting Tips for New Graduates
One idea is to think of your job search the same way you that you approach online dating. From creating the perfect profile to saying the right thing to selecting an ideal mate, online dating and job searching are not all that different. Take a look:
Use the Right Profile Pic
Job recruiters and hiring managers, much like prospective dates, are going to go straight to your online profile pages to try to get a sense of who you are as a person. But first things first, they’re going to check out your profile photo.
“For job seekers, selfies need not apply,” says Ruben Moreno, who heads up the HR executive search practice of Blue Rock Search Group, a member of the Sanford Rose Associates network of offices. So if your current LinkedIn profile photo involves you sitting in your car or a reflection in a bathroom mirror, don’t be surprised if recruiters are “swiping left,” he says.
Instead, invest the time to have a professional headshot taken, something with a non-distracting background. “Remember, this is a first impression pic, not a “let me wow you with my creativity and get the job pic,’” says Moreno.
Customize Your Pickup Lines
You can‘t use the same tired old lines on every prospect. You have to show a potential mate (or prospective employer) that you’re actually interested in them.
“Take the time to tailor your application materials to each role and you’ll be more likely to hear back,” says Luke Stratmann, metro market manager at global staffing firm Robert Half. In other words, don’t just say you want to “hook up.” Describe the value that you will bring to the employer based on the unique role that employer is trying to fill.
RELATED: Ways to Know It’s Time to Find a New Job
Craft a Strong Bio
Just as dating profile summaries can make or break you, it’s also important to come up with a succinct elevator pitch (a version of which can also be used in your resume professional summary or on your LinkedIn page), says Moreno.
“Tell me why I should I call you and/or spend more time talking to you,” he advises. Be sure to include a key accomplishment with tangible results if possible. “It’s the difference between ‘I was a strategic member of the global strategy team’ and ‘As a project team leader of the new business growth team, I helped deliver 25 percent year over year growth in non-organic sales,’” says Moreno.
Don’t Bad-Mouth ‘Exes’
Talking negatively about past employers or bosses can be a big red flag to a hiring manager or recruiter, says Luke, just as dissing your exes would be a turnoff to a potential new flame. “Employers may be left wondering what’s on the other side of your story, and worse, how you’ll talk about them in the future,” says Stratmann.
If past relationships come up in conversation (or during your job interview), try to reframe the more challenging ones in a positive light. Worst case, you can just chalk up a past work breakup to having different values.
Get Matchmaking Help
You want to cast a wide net when you’re hoping to meet your match, which is why there are so many different dating sites. But you might also meet someone by attending an in-person speed dating event, or better yet, be set up by a mutual friend.
The same goes for finding a job. Take advantage of the many tools and platforms available to you, but if you’re not having any luck, seek professional help. Advises Stratmann: “Connect with a specialized staffing professional who can leverage their expansive network to identify positions that complement your skills, experience, and work style.”
Avoid Getting Ghosted
It can be so frustrating to have what you think is a great first date only to never hear from the person again. Job seekers can definitely relate. So what can you do to try to ensure that you get some closure? “If you felt the interview went well but haven’t heard back, be proactive about following up to reiterate your interest,” says Stratmann. You should also ask about the anticipated timeline for the hiring process right from the start so you aren’t left in the dark.
Unfortunately, some unions aren’t meant to be, so don’t get hung up on what could have been if weeks go by with no next steps or offer. Just get right back to your search.
Handle Rejection With Grace
Sometimes the feelings just aren’t mutual, so a prospective partner will let you know that it’s not going to work out. The same is true sometimes after going deep into the interview process. “Getting turned down for a position can feel like a sucker punch, but it’s important to keep your cool,” says Stratmann. Thank the hiring manager for considering you, and let them know you enjoyed learning about the company and team.
You never know; another opportunity may arise or you may cross paths in the future. If so, you’ll be glad that you left the relationship on a positive note.
Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t showcase a photo of yourself wearing stuck-in-the-’90s parachute pants, you want to make sure your career profile is fresh and features your most “dateable” skills, accomplishments, and accolades. By putting as much effort into your job search as you do for online dating, you’ll be on your way to finding your perfect career match.
Want to Get Hired in 2019? Focus on These Key Skills
Many companies were hiring in 2018, and 2019 still offers plenty of opportunity for job seekers. A good 40% of employers are aiming to hire full-time, permanent employees this year, while 47% want to hire part-time help, according to new findings from CareerBuilder.
But what can a job searcher like you do to increase your chances of landing an offer this year? You might assume that to get hired, you'll need to hone the skills that pertain specifically to the jobs you're applying to. In reality, your best bet might be to focus on your soft skills instead.
IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are those that apply to any job, and they're generally interpersonal in nature. For example, while you might need an in-depth knowledge of certain software programs to get hired as an IT professional, being organized and good at time management are skills you might need to succeed in any environment.
Soft skills are so important, in fact, that 92% of employers say they'll be a critical factor in deciding whether candidates who apply to open roles this year will, in fact, get hired. Furthermore, 80% of employers say that soft skills are equally or more important than hard skills (those that are job-specific) in the hiring process.
Which soft skills should you focus on?
It pays to work on improving any soft skills that might apply to a job you're interested in, like critical thinking and strong communication. But according to CareerBuilder, the top soft skills that hiring managers are looking for at present are:
- The ability to be team-oriented
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
The tricky thing about soft skills is that developing them is often something that comes with time. You can take a course to learn different computer programming languages or read up on different employment laws and regulations to get hired in a human resources capacity. But it's hard to study teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service.
Your best bet, therefore, might be to observe those around you who seem to excel in those areas and aim to emulate their behavior on the job. For example, if you have a colleague who's great at diffusing tense situations, you might aim to identify what it is they do to get the parties involved to calm down. Is your coworker using specific language? Altering their tone? Pinpointing their secrets will help you get better at customer service.
Similarly, if you have a colleague who's well-regarded as a strong team player, observe how they interact with others. Do they proactively offer up help rather than wait to be asked? Are they open to new ideas? Easily approachable? These are characteristics you're apt to pick up on rather quickly if you make an effort to do so.
Finally, there's attention to detail -- something you probably won't pick up from other people, but rather, will need to work on yourself. To improve there, it might help to build more time into your schedule for key tasks that require added concentration. You might also try an exercise where you walk away from a project or report for a day or two, if you have that luxury, and then revisit it. Doing so might help you identify some of the finer points you might've missed.
Boosting your soft skills will make you a more valuable employee and desirable job candidate both now and in the future. And that's reason enough to put in the effort.
Beyond the Resume: 14 Strategies to Get Hired in 2019
March 7, 2019
A good resume shows hiring managers why you’re qualified for the job, whether you’re applying to be the janitor or the CEO. The best resume sets you apart from the competition and makes the case that you’re the right person to solve the company’s problems.
Your resume has one opportunity to impress. Ideally, your content must evoke awe and wonder, but mostly interest. But in 2019, even an excellent resume isn’t enough.
To get hired, you must have a keen sense of what specific employers want, rather than broad knowledge of what they generally want. Beyond that, you must be persistent, resilient and willing to adapt. Use these strategies to land the job:
1. Follow up the Right Way
You won’t find the right job if you’re playing the role of a passive candidate. Be persistent, as well as patient, but make sure you’re following up with the right person. During the interview, ask who the best person is to follow up with (and when).
2. Solicit Feedback
Good feedback can come from anywhere — your peers, parents or kids. However, the highest ROI feedback will come from knowledgeable professionals in your industry or industry of interest.
If you want to make a lasting impression on someone who can influence a hiring situation, ask for feedback and then show that you implemented their suggestion. It’s up to you to make it comfortable for that person to offer you truth.
3. Apply CPR (Courage, Persistence and Resilience)
These personal attributes are staples in every phase of your job search. They are the intangibles employers recognized in the best candidate not found on any checklist. CPR helps you remain steadfast interviewing with fickle hiring managers.
4. Don’t Be Scared of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Machines won’t be taking over completely, but they will play a part in the workforce. Always emphasize the qualities that computers don’t have. There are two things machines can’t show hiring managers or their companies: Personality and plain ol’ humanity.
5. Get Insight From Employees
When researching a potential employer, go beyond the About page on their corporate site. What are former employees saying about the employer? Check LinkedIn and other social networks to find out. What does the competition say about a potential employer? Scan recent news items to get insight.
4. Interview the Interviewer
The spirit of this strategy is not to assume power during a job interview but to expect real answers from the employer. Mark Babbitt, President of Work IQ and CEO of YouTern, suggests that you ask questions like, “What is it like here? What is keeping you here?” Then, he says, “Look for radical candor from the interviewer. If you don’t get real answers, perhaps it’s not the right fit for you.”
7. Turn Your Multiple Interests Into Real Career Choices
You’ve heard how important it is for you to control your career and that you need to create opportunities to gain experience and skill. Professionals are weaving their interests into their career profiles, giving their hobbies the spotlight along with their job titles. An example would be Engineer/Photographer/Videographer.
8. Take Control of the Narrative
Changing careers while working is tough. I recommended providing updates consistently through your social networks. For most people, it will be their only way to control the narrative of their career and draw the interest of hiring managers.
9. Create Your User’s Manual
You are the author of your professional user’s manual. By demonstrating and explaining your methods, strategies and plans, you are showing how you’ve invested in work product outcomes. Before a job interview, customize examples to the employer’s needs so that you can demonstrate your effectiveness.
10. Network Your Way to a Referral
You might assume that the best referrals come from people who know you very well, but your strongest leads could come from people who don’t know you very well. Use your network to connect with potential referrers who can link you to the job of your dreams. Creating and demonstrating key skills employers desire through audio or video, or in writing, offers others to point to proof their reasons to hire, refer, or connect with you.
11. Be Patient
Too many people give up early without doing everything possible to change careers or advance in their current industry. It’s a process and there’s no magic pill. Networking will take time, as will demonstrating competency and skill. But it’s well worth the wait.
12. Create Opportunities to Get Noticed in Two Years
For most of us, our articles, podcasts, videos, etc. may not reach their potential in their first year of existence. I search my name weekly, and I often find content I published years ago appear under my name for the first time. Recently, someone connected with me on Linkedin expressing her excitement about an interview I did two years prior.
13. Say No and Walk Away
Michael Rosner Hyman/Unsplash
Gone are the days when you would hang around waiting for one employer to say, “Yes.” You have choices, too. Job seekers approach the job search and interview process differently these days.
Babbitt told me that it’s essential for job candidates to expect radical candor from hiring managers about the company. When you ask questions such as, “What is it like here? What is keeping you here?,” anything less than a frank and honest answer may indicate that the opportunity is not the right fit.
14. Be Persistent to Impress Hiring Managers
“…a reasonable level of persistence and determination are also good attributes,” says Sarah Morgan, a Human Resources Executive and founder of the blog, The Buzz on HR. “The best hire that I ever made was someone who called and emailed after applying to request an interview. She told me all the reasons she thought she’d be a fit for the role and what she hoped to learn. I offered her the position before she left the building and never looked back.”
Most professionals wait for someone to offer an opportunity. In 2019, you make those opportunities yourself. Every chance you get to demonstrate value increases your chances to get hired. You do the PR, marketing and presenting so others will know your value before you walk in the room. Then what you demonstrated becomes the topic of discussion, not your potential to do a job.
Most professionals wait for someone to offer an opportunity. In 2019, you make those opportunities yourself. Click To Tweet Tell Us What You Think
What other tips would you add to this list? We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.
The best time of the year to look for a job in Australia
- Job postings hit a peak in Spring in Australia.
- There are more job searches in January than any other time of the year.
- Indeed data shows December as being the slowest for both job postings and job searches.
The number of job vacancies in Australia is fairly steady for most of the year but there are greater opportunities in certain months.
Analysis by global jobs site Indeed of Australian searches shows there are certain times of the year where you’re more likely to be successful in finding a job.
Indeed, examining the frequency of job postings and job search activity over the last three years, found that Spring is the best time to look for new work as there is a large gap in activity between employers and job hunters.
This chart tells the story:
Job postings are at their highest — meaning there are plenty of opportunities for work – and competition for work is at one of its lowest points for the year.
This is in part driven by the retail and hospitality sectors, which begin hiring for Christmas casuals during this time. The number of job posts for holiday casual roles typically peaks in September.
This peak can also be attributed to timing within the financial year. In the first quarter of the new financial year, hiring managers have more clarity and flexibility around budgets and are more likely to make new hires.
And from a job hunter point of view, many are waiting to see out the end of the year and then look for a new job in January.
Unfortunately everyone else has the same idea while employers are least likely to post their jobs early in the new year in the mistaken belief that everyone is on holidays.
As a result, January is when employers have access to the biggest talent pool.
Job hunting activity is at its highest in January as people are determined to turn a new leaf and finding a new job is among the common pledges made for New Year’s Resolutions.
However, January is also one of the lowest periods for job postings, meaning competition among job seekers is high.
For employers who wait to hire when everyone is back from summer holidays, there is a high chance that they’ve already missed out on great talent by the time job search activity starts dropping off in February.
For both employers and job hunters, taking advantage of these critical times in the year can give you the best possible chance in finding your best match.
How to Actually Get an Interview After Applying For a Job
This article originally appeared on Free in Canada.
Job hunting is a frustrating process.
On your days off from your gruelling, low-paying survival job, you summon the energy to log onto LinkedIn and scroll through dozens postings—hoping that the doors to a career just may be opened by that piece of paper you went into crippling debt for.
Then you spend hours tailoring and spell-checking your resume and cover letter to a posting… or 10, because having to decide between groceries and your phone bill this month is getting exhausting, and your parents won’t get off your ass about getting a “real job.”
This process goes on for weeks, maybe months—applying to dozens of jobs through portals and getting nowhere.
So why doesn’t anybody call you for an interview? You might actually be hindering your already terrible chances of getting to the next step. Here are some things you can do to stop sabotaging your job search.
A lot of applications. And you may not be qualified.
“Many resumes for a role get overlooked,” says Rebecca Laramée, a Toronto-based HR consultant who aides organizations like TEDxToronto. “Recruiters spend as little as 6 to 8 seconds scanning your resume, so job seekers have little time to make a positive impression on a recruiter. Research shows that 98 percent of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening. Only the 2percent of candidates make it to the interview.”
“The competition is fierce, so applying for a job through online portals like LinkedIn, Indeed, Workopolis etc. alone is not sufficient,” Laramée told VICE.
Laramée also cautioned against additional ways applicants sabotage their odds of getting an interview. “People will tell you to apply for jobs that you are not qualified for,” she says. “This is a debatable tactic—but applying for jobs you’re unqualified for can actually hurt your chances at future positions with the company.”
According to Laramée, the biggest problem with applying for irrelevant jobs is that it tends to irritate recruiters. Her research leads her to believe irrelevant applications are the biggest turnoff for 30 percent of recruiters. And of that group, 43 percentsuggest they would ‘blacklist’ those candidates by suppressing their names from even coming up in future resume searches.
According to data provided to VICE by the Vancouver branch of the global human resource firm, Robert Half, an average recruiter only reviews about 34 resumes for a position, in-depth. Of those 34, about 13 are selected for an interview. 57 percent of recruiters said that relevant experience is the top reason employers interview job candidates, followed by assessing soft skills and corporate culture fit (23 percent) and technical skills (21 percent).
Inversely, Robert Half sites that a lack of technical and soft skills are the top reasons new hires don’t work out. Twenty-nine percent of senior managers cited that it’s common for interviewees to not live up to expectations. This may be why recruiters get so irritated by applicants who are not qualified. Not to mention having to sift through the general volume of applications generated by online portals.
Can you game the system?
Possibly. Applying at a certain time of day could help you break through the cavalcade of applications.
“Considering the art and science to the job search alone can increase your odds of getting a job by nearly 40 times,” said Laramée, citing research from Talent Works, “Applying to a job before 10 AM can [significantly] increase your odds of getting an interview.”
According to this research, the best time to apply for a job is between 6 AM and 10 AM. During this time, you have a 13 percent chance of getting an interview—that means your odds are nearly five times better than if you applied to the exact same job during or after work.
“Whatever you do, don’t apply after 4 PM,” Laramée said. “Also, apply to jobs in the first three to four days of a job posting. In combination, just these two optimizations can increase your odds of getting a job by nearly 40 times.”
However, Laramée stressed that, at the end of the day, recruiters don’t hire resumes, as much as they hire human beings.
Employee referrals are the most powerful technique.
According to research by LinkedIn, more than 70 percent of professionals get hired at a company where they have a professional connection. Additionally, “nearly 70 percent of professionals want to use their communities to find jobs for others, but that number falls to 10 percent for people in their community they do not know personally.
Which means forming real human connections is practically a prerequisite to landing a job.
“Candidates who throw themselves into job board arena—especially in this warped economy—are going up against desperate motherfuckers who are packing heavy artillery,” says Hamza Khan, a keynote speaker and author who has dedicated his career to helping students and young job hunters.
” I’m talking about young, hungry recent grads armed to the teeth with technical skills, 10,000 Instagram followers and a failed startup, right through to laid off and/or transitioning industry veterans (sometimes toting PhD’s) with a beginner’s mindset. In that arena, your odds of passing the automated screening gauntlet are slim,” Khan told VICE. “That’s why it’s imperative to bypass the archaic hiring process altogether.”
Khan has some simple tips to get started, for even the most timid and anti-social. “Find the person who has the job you want. Follow them online, get on their radar, and then message them requesting 15 to 30 minutes of their time,” Khan said. “Offer to buy them coffee in exchange for their time, and be sure to bend your calendar to accommodate their schedule.”
He stressed that the goal of meetings like these is to not ask for a job, but instead to ask for advice, so that you may be considered for a job.
“If all goes well (and it usually will), do two things. First, ask to remain in touch. Second, ask for recommendations of other people to connect with,” said Khan. “Compared to sending out hundreds of resumes a week, this approach will leave you with more insight, more connections, and ultimately more of a fighting chance in a hiring landscape.”