Posts

Following Up After an Interview

Getting a couple of extra words in after your interview can help you stand out during the interview process. It can be challenging to know how to follow up and to what extent so as not to overwhelm the interviewer/company.

How to contact

Luckily, current technology allows us to connect easily with those we have met. Usually, you will have a phone number or email contact at which you can reach them. If, for some reason, you do not have their direct contact info before the interview, ask for a business card so that you can reach them after the interview. Avoid snooping for their contact information online; it may appear aggressive. For example: if they responded to your follow-up message with “How on earth did you find me here?” you probably dug a little too deep.

What to say

The primary purpose of following up is to express your interest in the position you interviewed for and keep your name at the forefront of their minds. You could start the message by stating who you are and thanking them for the time they took to interview you. After this, you should express your excitement about the possibility of working with them. Make sure not to say anything that would sound assumptive of receiving an offer but emphasize that you would be excited about the prospect. To finish off, let them know that you are looking forward to hearing from them.

When to send it

There is no need to play games when sending a follow-up. Sending the message within 24-48 hours of the interview is a good general rule of thumb. Delaying further could be interpreted as you not caring too much about the position. If you do not hear back from the company a week from your interview, you may follow up again and ask if there are any updates.

Saying the right thing after an interview can be intimidating. Keep it simple. Give a nice thank you, state your excitement about the opportunity, and sign off.

The Questions You Should Ask At The End Of An Interview

Asking good questions at the end of an interview not only shows that you were engaged and interested throughout your meeting but can also help you gather information to make your final decision when it comes to accepting an offer. In addition to the questions below, make sure to jot down questions that come to mind during the interview. That way, you can circle back to them at the end. Keep reading for three types of questions to ask your interviewer at the end of the interview:

Questions about the role

Ask more detailed questions about the position:

  • What would my day-to-day look like?
  • What would you expect from me during the first few days of work?
  • Who would I be working alongside?

Ask questions of benefits and compensation:

  • What is the average pay for this position?
  • What are the benefits like for the role?

Questions about company culture

Ask about positives:

  • What do people like most about working here?
  • What are coworker relationships like?

Don’t shy away from carefully worded questions about negatives:

  • What are some of the challenging parts of this role?
  • What do people struggle with most at this company?

Questions about their company experience

  • What do you like about working for this company?
  • How have you been challenged at this company?
  • How did you achieve the role you hold today?

. . .just to name a few! Good questions can provide you with resourceful information about your potential employer while helping you stand out amongst other candidates. Employers like to see candidates that read as real people with human questions, not just fluffy reputation-bolstering questions. Make sure you get answers to all the important questions floating around your head before the interview is over.

Wondering what comes next? Brush up on writing a post-interview thank-you note here!

Post-Interview Question: What Does Success Look Like In This Position?

Why you should ask it

If you’re looking to impress your interviewers and generate insight on how your success will be measured, ask the following question in your next interview: “What does success look like in this position?” This question will let you learn what is expected of you before you even receive an offer. This could either excite you or draw some red flags. Either way, it will give you valuable information on how your success will be measured if you accept it.

When to ask it

This is a question you should typically save for the end of the interview. However, if the interviewer is beginning to discuss expectations or how your performance will be evaluated, you can then bring it up. Some interviewers, especially if they are the hiring manager, may bring up expectations at some point during the interview. If they do, that’s great! But don’t be afraid to ask for more details if it was only touched on slightly.

For example, you can ask, “You briefly touched on expectations for this position a few minutes ago. Can you please go into a little more detail on what success looks like in this position, and explain how it will be measured?” This follow-up question allows you to receive further clarification and also shows off your listening skills.

Possible outcomes

Are the expectations of you in this position clear? Are they realistic and achievable? Or, are they too easy, and you may not be challenged enough? These are all things you can answer when you ask, “what does success look like in this position?” You want to ensure the expectations and measures of success bode well with you. You may find that the expectations are challenging, yet doable and clear enough that you can personally track your success. However, you may also find that this position isn’t the right fit for you because it won’t push you to give your best effort.

Looking for more interview questions you can ask?

If you are looking for more interview questions that you can ask at the end of your interview, head to our candidate resources to explore!

3 Work from Home Interview Questions You Must be Ready to Answer

Before any job interview, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the basic interview questions. You can almost guarantee an interviewer to ask you questions like, “Can you walk me through your resume?” or “What achievement are you most proud of?” But with remote work opportunities on the rise, there are a few more questions you should be prepared to answer. Here are three work-from-home interview questions you can expect to answer in your next interview.

What does your work from home setup look like?

If you are interviewing for a remote opportunity, your interviewer will likely ask what your work-from-home setup looks like. Most of us worked from home at some point, thanks to the pandemic. However, if you will be working from home permanently, your prospective employer will likely inquire about your remote setup to ensure you have a good workstation. Now, you don’t necessarily have to have a home office, but the interviewer will want to hear that you have a designated area to work from home. Whether that’s a desk in your guest room or your dining room table, your interviewers will want to hear that you have an area that is devoted to your workday. Basically, they want to ensure that you are not working on the floor in your living room while the tv is blaring in the background to distract you.

How do you collaborate with your team in a remote work environment?

Good communication and collaboration are essential in any work environment. However, when you’re not working in person with your colleagues or manager, it can be more challenging to work together. Thus, an interviewer will likely ask how you collaborate with your team while working from home. When answering this question, you want to share how you take the initiative to work with your team on projects and other tasks successfully. You can share what tools you use to communicate with your team and the types of meetings you have.

For example, you can share that you frequently chat with your teammates using Microsoft Teams and you meet once a week for a video chat to strategize about tackling your ongoing projects. As long as you can express to your interviewers that you can successfully collaborate with your team virtually, you will be in good shape.

What were some of the challenges you’ve faced while working from home?

This question is similar to an interviewer asking about overcoming conflict or difficult situations in the workplace. Working from home brings unique challenges, and interviewers will want to know how you have overcome them in the past. When answering this question, provide an example and details on how you overcame the situation. Focus your response on the solution rather than the problem itself. Whether that be work-life balance, isolation, or obtaining information vital to your role; the hiring manager will want to understand the steps you took to conquer this issue. The problem itself is not essential, but the resolution is because you will face obstacles in any remote work environment, and it’s vital to prove that you are capable of triumphing through those hurdles.

So, those are the three work-from-home interview questions you must be able to answer. If you are looking for more interview advice, take a look at our blog! We have tons of helpful interview tips and tricks to help you secure your next remote job!

How to Respond to “Walk Me Through Your Resume”

At the beginning of a job interview, the hiring manager will typically start the meeting off with an introductory or ice breaker question. This question usually is some iteration of, “Tell me a little more about yourself.” However, some interviewers may also begin an interview by saying, “Can you walk me through your resume?” So, what’s the difference in this interview question, and what are hiring managers looking for in your response?

What the interviewer is looking for

When an interviewer asks you to walk them through your resume, they are looking for a brief overview of your work history. Essentially, this is your elevator pitch of who you are and highlights what you bring to the table. This question is your chance to connect the dots between your experience, skill sets, and qualifications to paint a picture of your candidacy to the hiring team. In other words, it’s kind of like audibly going through the same details you would share in a cover letter but with a human element since you have the platform to present it face-to-face in your meeting.

Tailor your answer

So, now you know why interviews ask you to walk them through your resume, how do you formulate your answer? Well, just like your resume, you must tailor your response here to fit the role you are interviewing for. The things you touch on must be relevant for the position you are meeting about. If you don’t have certain qualifications that are imperative for this position, this is your opportunity to elaborate on your transferrable skills. If you are well into your career, there is no need to go over every position you’ve had. Don’t go beyond 10 – 15 years. This overview is supposed to be short and sweet, like an elevator pitch.

Current, past, future

So, before you launch into your answer, you have to ensure you have the proper framework. It’s best to kick off our answer with your current position and skillsets. This position is where you should focus your energy because it will likely relate to the job you are interviewing for. Next, touch on your past roles. Briefly give a high-level overview of your duties, responsibilities, and projects as they relate to this new position. Finally, wrap your answer up by discussing the future. This is where you explain your career goals and why this position is an excellent fit for you. Using this format will help you deliver a concise yet effective response to “walk me through your resume.”

Practice makes perfect

The hiring manager asking you to walk through your resume is a common interview opener, and thus, you must practice your response. Yes, you should tailor your answer for each position, but your first impression will be lackluster if you don’t have your response pinned down. Practice rehearsing your response out loud to help you sound confident during your interview. If you are not ready to answer this question, you will likely start to ramble, and your response will be more incoherent. This response sets the tone for the rest of your interview, so you must have it ironed out to receive that job offer!

Want more interview advice?

The next time an interviewer asks you to, “Walk me through your resume,” you will be ready to answer this question confidently and effectively. If you are interested in more interview advice, take a look at our blog! We have hundreds of helpful articles with tips, tricks, and examples to help you nail your interview. Good luck!

3 Phrases to Never Say During a Job Interview

When you finally land an opportunity to interview for a role that you are excited about, you probably have many emotions going through your mind. You are excited, relieved, anxious, and all of the above. However, how you present yourself primarily comes from your word choice or the phrases you use. Even small changes in your responses can have massive implications and leave your credibility in doubt with the hiring team. Here are three phrases to never say during a job interview to help you seal the deal.

“I don’t have much experience with this, but”

If there is a particular skill set that the hiring manager inquires about during your interview, never follow up with an answer like this, even if it’s true. Never lie about your qualifications during an interview (or any time during the hiring process). But, in your response, highlight the capabilities and experiences that you do have instead of focusing on the ones you don’t. If your answer emphasizes your limitations, you are making the hiring manager’s decision pretty easy. Basically, you must show how your experience makes you an asset or that you are ready for a new challenge. You can cross off everything on the hiring team’s list, but if you make them think you are unqualified for the position, you are doing yourself a disservice.

“My salary expectations are $X, but I am flexible.”

Never say this phrase during a job interview. If you are in a pre-screen meeting or a final interview, this question may arise. If a hiring professional asks you about your salary expectations, you must be prepared to answer this question. Do your due diligence beforehand to understand what you are worth. This range will be based on your field, location, years of experience, and qualifications. Once you have a number in mind, stick to it. Unless you really don’t care about your salary requirements, never say that you are flexible. Even if you are flexible with your pay, stating that you are flexible indicates to the hiring manager that you are willing to take less money. Instead of saying you are flexible with your salary, use your research to your advantage.

Here is an example: “for my next career move, I am looking for a salary between $65,000 and $70,000. This is based on comparisons from other professionals in this market with over five years of experience in this field and the unique skills I bring to the table.”

If you are looking for more advice on discussing salary expectations during an interview, check out this blog!

“I don’t have any questions.”

When you get to the end of almost any interview, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions. If your response is, “I don’t have any questions,” you are writing your own rejection letter. Having a few meaningful questions prepared is your opportunity to illustrate your interest in the position and make a lasting impression on the hiring team. Before your meeting, have a couple of questions at the ready. These questions can be about the role, the company, the team, or even about something one of the interviews mentioned earlier in the discussion.

If you want some help generating some questions to ask during your interview, here is some insight on what kind of questions you should be asking (and with some examples!).

So, these are three phrases to never say during a job interview. If you are looking for more interview advice, we have a plethora of tips and tricks on the JSG Blog!

Try Asking Candidates These 3 Personal Interview Questions

 Trying to get the complete picture of someone in a quick hour-long interview can be extremely difficult. Many hiring managers spend most of this time assessing a candidate’s qualifications and work history. So much so that after you’ve left the interview, you might find yourself feeling like you actually know nothing about the candidate at all. This can be especially true with virtual interviews. When interviewing over video chat, you can miss out on some of the natural rapport and back-and-forth conversation that comes so freely in person. If you want to get to know candidates a little better, try asking these three personal interview questions during your next hiring session. Not necessarily to get a specific answer, but to lighten the mood, break down barriers, and get a glimpse into your candidate’s personality.

What Have You Binged Watched Lately? 

During COVID-19 lockdowns, many of us invested copious amounts of time bonding with Netflix. Most candidates will have an answer at the ready. It’s important to note that there is NO right or wrong answer to this question (and let your candidate know that!). At best, it’s an opportunity for you to bond over something you’ve both watched; and at worst, it will help your candidate feel more comfortable in the interview to talk about something they enjoy.

Do You Listen to Podcasts? Which Ones Are Your Favorite? 

Podcasts have been growing in popularity during recent years. In 2021, 57% of Americans have listened to a podcast. As a result, there is a podcast on just about every single topic on the planet. Again, there is no right or wrong answer here! If a candidate doesn’t listen to podcasts, take the opportunity to share one of your favorites. If they do, take note of which ones they like and why they enjoy them. Is it a silly topic used as a way to unwind after work? Maybe something personal development-related that gets them inspired? Or is it relevant to their passions like sports? No matter what, this personal interview question is a great way to open doors to further conversation.

What’s An Accomplishment You’re Especially Proud Of? (Work-Related Or Not) 

When you ask this question, many people’s first instinct is to jump to a professional accomplishment. However, we encourage you to push beyond that. Work-life balance is of the utmost importance to modern candidates, and they undoubtedly have personal achievements they are proud of. Maybe they learned a new hobby, take on home renovations in their free time, or just worked really hard to get where they are. Hearing these personal accomplishments will give you great insights into who this candidate is and what is most important to them!

Need more personal interview question inspiration?

Are you looking for more personal interview questions to ask your applicants? Explore our hiring resources here!

Why Hiring Managers Ask About Your Hobbies in Interviews

Sometimes the most innocent interview questions can catch us off guard. Hiring managers often ask, “what are your hobbies?” or “what do you like to do for fun outside of work?” You might be curious about the intention of these questions. Are they just trying to get to know you better? Or are they trying to read into your hobbies to see how you will fit with the company’s culture? Here are a few reasons why hiring managers ask about your hobbies in interviews.

It’s often an icebreaker question

Most of the time, asking about your hobbies is just an icebreaker question. In most situations, hiring managers will start with a few simple questions to get the interviewee talking and help them feel more relaxed during an otherwise tense setting. Asking about your hobbies is an easy way to help candidates open up and get them to speak more authentically throughout the interview. When the interviewee feels a little more relaxed, they are more likely to be themselves rather than put up a facade of what they think the hiring manager is looking for. So, if this question is brought up early on in your meeting, don’t read too much into it.

Shows what candidates are passionate about

Also, when hiring managers ask you about your hobbies in interviews, they may be trying to discover your passions. Sure, you can say your passions align with the company’s core values and mission statement. But do your hobbies back up these principles? Asking about your hobbies outside of work is an excellent way for hiring managers to get a better picture of the real you. It’s easy to put up a wall during an interview and show them what you think they want to hear. But a candidate divulging what they enjoy doing outside of work can provide better insight into what drives them and what they care about.

Hobbies can identify transferrable skills

When a hiring manager asks about your hobbies, they are sometimes trying to identify transferrable skills. Sure, you may have three years of experience in your field, but does your love of rock climbing or crocheting blankets have skills, such as leadership or attention to detail, that can translate to the job you are applying for? Basically, sharing your hobbies with hiring managers can help them understand how well-rounded you are as a person.

Additionally, these transferrable skills are even more significant for entry-level candidates with little to no real experience. If you are fresh out of school or made a career change during the pandemic, you may have little to no experience in this field or industry. However, understanding your hobbies and how you spend your free time can help the interviewers grasp what you can bring to the table, even if you don’t have direct experience.

When discussing your hobbies, be honest and provide examples

So, when you are asked this question in your interview, how do you tackle this question? First of all, have some appropriate hobbies at the top of your mind. Yes, we all like watching Netflix and hanging out with our friends. However, you must share hobbies that add value to your candidacy and reflect some of your skill sets. Think of hobbies that demonstrate drive, personal development, leadership qualities, and/or creativity. So whatever hobby you decide to share during your interview, be ready to provide examples and express why you enjoy that hobby. Explaining why you enjoy volunteering at your local food bank or cross-country skiing allows you to inject your personality during the hiring process and show off some of your soft skills that can be useful in this role.

Regardless of what hobby or activity you choose, do not lie about it. If you say you love playing chess and actually have no idea how to play, and you just want to look clever, you are in a world of trouble. Never lie about a hobby. The hiring manager may ask detailed questions about it, or coincidentally, share the same hobby. If you cannot intelligently discuss it, it won’t add value to your candidacy (and can hurt your chances if they suspect you are lying).

Are you looking for more job-search advice?

So, these are three reasons why hiring managers ask about hobbies during an interview. If you are looking for more job-search advice, take a look at our candidate resources! We have hundreds of helpful guides, articles, and tips to help you successfully land your next job.

Questions to Ask During an Initial Interview

The initial interview, often over the phone, is one of the most critical stages in the hiring process. It is typically your first interaction with the hiring team, and a solid first impression is crucial! Thus, you must prepare for this interview like any other – research the company, know the job description like it’s the back of your hand, practice answering common interview questions, and prepare a list of questions to ask your interviewer. Here are some of the best questions to ask during an initial interview to leave a firm first impression and gain insight into the position.

When are you looking to make a hiring decision?

Asking this question will give you a better understanding of when the company is looking to make a hiring decision. This question can help if you are entertaining multiple job offers and looking for a timetable when you can expect them to decide on a candidate. Understanding the hiring decision timetable also provides insight on when to follow up if you have not heard back yet. If you a decision is expected to be made by a specific date, this will help you determine when it is appropriate to follow up with the hiring team on their decision.

What changes has the company made during the pandemic?

This question is vital to ask during an initial interview. It will reveal how the company acted during an uncertain time and what changes they made to keep their employees safe. Understanding how the company reacted to this challenging time will help you determine if this is the right match for your needs in a future employer. This question can also give some insight into how this position or company has changed during the pandemic. Will you be working onsite 100% of the time? Or are there work-from-home days to offer added flexibility?

What will mark success in the first 90 days?

Another excellent question to ask during an initial interview is how they will measure success in the first three months of your employment. The hiring team’s answer will help you determine if their expectations are realistic and understand what they anticipate from you. If the company has unrealistic expectations for the role in question, it may be a red flag. On the other hand, the answers to this question can allow you to speak on some of your past accomplishments; you can explain how these achievements can help tackle these benchmarks at the beginning of this new position. Basically, this gives you an opportunity to run for the hills or sell yourself on why you are the right person for this job.

Who will I work with most closely within this position?

If the interviewer doesn’t provide any details on the team makeup or who you will be working with, this is a great question to ask. Asking who you will be working with will help you know how collaborative this role is. Will you have a ton of independence and autonomy in this role? Will you be working with teams across different departments on projects? Learning about the team dynamic will help you determine if this role is a good fit for your working style.

Ready to take on a new job opportunity?

These are a few of the questions you can ask in an initial interview to clarify any unknowns about the position. Are you ready to put your interviewing skills to the test? Browse our latest job opportunities and partner with us today! We have hundreds of exciting positions across North America. If you are not ready yet, here are some more resources to help you excel through the hiring process.

How To Answer Interview Questions About Remote Work

If you’re interviewing in 2021 and beyond, chances are, interviewers will ask you questions about remote work. The modern workforce is rapidly changing, and many managers are rethinking their previous aversions to working from home. So, how do you address it during your interview? First, there are two different situations we must examine: if you have experience working remotely and if you do not.

If You Have Remote Work Experience

Having experience makes fielding questions about working remotely a little less intimidating. However, it’s still important to prepare yourself! Prior to your interview, take some time to think about your previous work from home position(s). Here are some common questions that you can expect in your interview:

  • Who was your supervisor, and how did you communicate?
  • What was your accountability structure?
  • How did you fight distractions?
  • How did you prioritize your tasks?
  • What are your strategies for maintaining a work-life balance?
  • How did you overcome any obstacles that came up?
  • How did you stay in touch with fellow team members?
  • What was the most challenging thing about working remotely?

If You Do Not Have Experience Working Remotely

If you don’t have experience working remotely, make that known upfront. The last thing you want to do is get caught in a lie or be put in a position to handle something you’re not equipped for. Instead of answering questions related to past experiences, you’ll need to be able to speak on common remote work skills such as your adaptability and accountability. Here is an excellent example script that you can customize to fit your personality, skills, and experience.

“While I don’t have any previous experience working remotely, it’s something I believe I would excel at. In previous positions, I’ve been largely independent – charged with setting my own schedule, meeting deadlines with little assistance, and jumping in to help on projects in other offices. I pride myself on being adaptable, focused, and innovative. For example, when I finish one project, I don’t just sit there twiddling my thumbs until I am assigned something else. I always keep a collection of back-burner projects and tasks that I can jump into at any time. This helps me stay productive and motivated!”

Either way, it’s essential, to be honest. While working from home can be rewarding, it also comes with its fair set of challenges. Be sure to assess if this remote position is indeed the right opportunity for you! And if you need more interview advice or tips on working remotely, be sure to explore our candidate resources.