Posts

Questions to Ask During an Initial Interview

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

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.

Interview Questions For Every Stage Of The Interview Process

Interview Questions For Every Stage Of The Interview Process

If you’ve spent any time on our blog at all, you know you need to ask questions during your interviews. However, it can be challenging to determine which questions to ask at which stage. Modern interviews feature anywhere from one to eight different interviews for one job. And the questions you ask during the initial phone screen should be different from the questions you ask at a final interview. Today, we’re breaking down the differences and laying out interview questions for every stage of the process.

Initial Phone Screen Interview Questions

The initial phone screen might not even be with the actual hiring manager, so it’s not the time to get into the nitty-gritty details. However, it is an excellent opportunity to get any further clarification on the position, company, or work environment. Here are a few examples of great interview questions to ask during your initial phone screen.

  • Can you provide some more information about this aspect of the job?
  • Is this position in office, remote, or hybrid?
  • Would you like a list of references?
  • What is the next step in the interview process?
  • When can I expect to hear about the next step?
  • Is there anything else I can share about my experience or qualifications?

Face-to-Face Interview Questions

When you have a face-to-face interview, things are getting a bit more serious. You’re most likely meeting with the hiring manager or maybe even additional team members at this stage. Whether it’s in-person or over video chat, it’s the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into the job’s duties and the team’s culture. Here are a couple of great questions to ask during a face-to-face interview.

  • How can I make an immediate impact in this position?
  • Who will I be working with most closely?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development?
  • What is the company or team’s management style?
  • What is most challenging about this job?
  • What is your favorite part about working here?

Final Interview Questions

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You are in strong consideration for the role, so this is the perfect time to really wow the interviewer with some great questions. At this point, you can really get into the details of what it would look like for you to be in this role and how you personally would fit in with the team. Here are a few bold questions you can ask during a final interview to leave a lasting impression.

  • What are the performance metrics for this role?
  • How will expectations and feedback be communicated for this position?
  • How do I compare to other candidates interviewing for this job?
  • What would you say are the most important skills for a successful person in this position to have?
  • How does this position contribute to the larger goals of the organization?
  • How would you describe your department’s culture?
  • If I were to be hired for this position, when would you like me to start?

These are just a handful of questions you can ask at each stage of the interview process. Keep in mind that it’s best to also incorporate questions that arise during your interviews, and don’t be afraid to circle back to something you need more information on. And if you’re interested in more interview advice, check out our interview prep and advice resources to increase your interview knowledge and boost your confidence.

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

It’s been nearly a year since the beginning of the pandemic where thousands of companies were forced to transition to a remote working environment. This transition is temporary for some employers, but many are permanently shifting operations to allow their staff to work from home. Regardless of which boat your company is in, you will eventually have to hire a new staff member on a remote basis. Hiring someone for a remote position takes a unique skill set and requires you to ask different interview questions to ensure candidates will be the right fit. You need to understand if they are reliable, flexible, and excellent communicators. Here are three interview questions you should ask remote work candidates.

Have you worked remotely in the past?

First of all, you want to understand in what capacity they have worked remotely in the past. Are they currently working remotely? Or are they considered an essential worker and able to work on-site? Shifting from working on-site to your home “office” is challenging, and you need to see if your prospective candidates are up for the task. You are looking for qualified candidates that fit the work style or environment. Understanding what capacity a candidate has worked from home is an excellent first step.

If a candidate has not worked remotely, that is not a dealbreaker. You will just want to look for qualities in their answers to understand if they fit that working style.

What types of communication tools have you used, and how did you use them?

Asking a candidate what type of communication tools they use will help you understand how they will virtually work with others. You want to see what tools they have used in the past and how they have used them to communicate. Clear communication while working from home is essential. They don’t necessarily have to have experience with the same tools your team uses. For example, skills with Microsoft Team will undoubtedly translate into using Zoom or Slack. Most importantly, is learning how they use these tools to work with others successfully and complete assignments.

How do you control your time management and remain organized?

Time management and organizational skills are crucial for remote workers. It is much easier to check in on workers when you physically share office space. However, when people work remotely, they have much more independence; candidates will be more responsible for managing their time and organization. Asking this question will allow you to understand how a prospective candidate keeps track of their time, prioritize their work, and stay organized throughout the day. Answers will differ from person to person. So, what you are looking for is that they have a thoughtful method for managing their time and staying focused.

Need more hiring input?

So, these are three basic interview questions you should ask remote work candidates to see if they are a strong fit for your team. If you need more help vetting candidates for remote assignments, reach out to our team at JSG. We can help you identify the candidates that will make an immediate impact on your team from the safety of their homes. Let’s work together!

5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

It’s important that you show up to any interview with a few great questions at the ready. However, in today’s day and age, those questions may look a little bit different. There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is on everybody’s mind. And that doesn’t change just because you’re looking for a new job! If COVID-19 policies and procedures are a priority for you (and they should be), it is perfectly acceptable to ask COVID-related questions during your interview. As always, read the room to gauge which questions would be most appropriate. Here are five possible COVID questions you can ask at your next interview.

How has COVID-19 impacted your company?

No matter what industry they are in, their company’s size, or the role you’re interviewing for, the company has most certainly been impacted by COVID-19. Work may have slowed or stopped altogether, they may have shifted to remote work, or the company may have even implemented layoffs and furloughs. What you’re looking for in the interviewer’s answer here is transparency. You should not expect them to have handled it perfectly; that is unrealistic. However, if they are transparent about the struggles they experienced, that’s a good sign that they’ll be transparent with employees!

Will I be expected to come into the office, or are you offering remote work?

Hopefully, this was covered earlier in the interview. However, if it wasn’t, it’s essential to address it! Additionally, you can gain further clarification into their remote work policies. Is it temporary? How much flexibility do they offer? Are employees expected to secure additional childcare when working from home?

What are your COVID-19 procedures?

This is a great lead-in question to discuss COVID-19 safety measures. If the company requires employees to work in-office, are they following social distancing guidelines, providing hand sanitizer, and adhering to mask requirements? Additionally, you’ll want to understand their procedures if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. Do they require all employees to quarantine? Is it possible to complete your work while quarantined? The interviewer’s answers to this challenging question will give you a glimpse into how much they prioritize their staff’s health.

How has COVID-19 affected your vacation and sick leave policies?

Prior to the pandemic, it was utterly taboo to ask about paid time off during the interview. However, things have changed in the past year! COVID-19 has forced many companies to rethink their traditional vacation and sick leave policies. With a minimum self-isolation period of 10 days after exposure, you could burn through traditional PTO very quickly if they haven’t made accommodations. Just be sure to frame the question as above rather than the greedy “how many vacation days would I get?”

What have you done to support employees working from home?

Lastly, if the company is allowing employees to work from home, please ask more about it! Starting a new job isn’t easy, and it’s intimidating if you’re in a traditional office setting, not to mention working from home during a global pandemic without having met anyone in person! You will want to hear that they have established a remote onboarding program, prioritize employee development, and make significant efforts to decrease isolation through various communication software.

As we mentioned above, it’s impossible to expect picture-perfect answers to these challenging COVID questions. Instead, look for transparency, organization, and active actions. And remember, it’s okay for you to prioritize your health and safety during an interview! If you want to feel extra prepared for your Coronavirus-era interview, explore our candidate resources for more tips and tricks!

Four Essential Job Search Tips Everyone Should Follow

Four Essential Job Search Tips Everyone Should Follow

If one of your goals for 2021 is to find a new job, you are probably looking for some tips or tricks to help your search end successfully. Searching for a new job can be stressful, especially if you are currently out of work. Lucky for you, you came to the right place! If you want this career transition to be smooth, here are four essential job search tips you should follow.

Set up job alerts

One of the biggest mistakes job searchers make is aimlessly scouring job boards for new postings. Many of us have been in this position before. You insistently check your go-to job boards or social media platforms for brand new job postings. This process can be time consuming and exhausting. Instead of checking your phone every other minute, sign up for job alerts. You can set up job alerts on almost any major job board, such as our Talent Network. You can set up specific job search parameters to receive notifications or emails when new jobs that match your criteria are available. Gone are the days of mindlessly refreshing job boards. Work smarter, not harder, and you will have more energy to pour into your search.

Tailor your resume and cover letter

After you set up your job search alerts, you can spend some of that extra time tailoring your resume and cover letter. Yes, we still recommend cover letters in this stiff job market. You can create templates for these two documents, but you should always take some time to tweak them for each application. For your resume, you want to mirror the job description and pinpoint things in your resume that fit well with the description. Essentially, you want to highlight your skills that match what the employer is looking for in a prospective candidate. In your cover letter, you get the opportunity to be a little more creative. This is your platform to elaborate on your background or skillsets that fit the company’s culture, industry, and mission or vision. Again, you can have a generic template for your cover letter, but you want to tweak it to help you stand out to a hiring manager or recruiter.

Network throughout your job search

Additionally, you want to continue to network throughout your job search. Join groups on social media, become affiliated with professional organizations, and engage with your network. If you are out of work, let your network know! There is no shame in being in-between jobs – it happens to more people than you may think. Share your resume with one of these groups, let old colleagues know you are searching, and introduce yourself to new professionals in your target companies or industries. You never know how a simple conversation can transpire into an interview. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Be engaging during your interview

Our final job search tip is to be engaging during your interview. Once you secure an interview, you have to do your homework. Research the hiring manager you are interviewing with, do a deep dive search on the company and practice commonly asked interview questions. However, the best way to be engaging is to have questions prepared ahead of time. Your interview will be much more interactive if you have questions ready to ask. This is how your interview can transition into a more casual conversation, allowing you to build rapport with your interviewer(s). Interviews can be awkward for both parties, but acting engaged throughout the entire interview will help you stand out and illustrate your interest in the position.

Are you looking for more job search tips?

So, there you have it. These four essential job search tips will help you excel in your search and improve your odds of securing an exciting opportunity. If you are looking for more job search tips, review our candidate resources! We have hundreds of helpful tips and tricks to share with you.

Four Tips for Landing A Job in 2021

Four Tips for Landing A Job in 2021

A new year often signifies a new beginning, an opportunity for a fresh start. For many people, that new chapter means finding a new job opportunity. Over the past few years, this didn’t seem like such a daunting task as it may feel in today’s market. 2020 was a challenging year for many employers and job seekers, but this year will hopefully bring some much-needed change. Here are four tips for landing a job in 2021.

Broaden your job search

During the course of 2020, some industries absolutely thrived while others were devasted during the pandemic. As a result, it may be time to search beyond your current industry to one that is primed for success. Technology, E-Commerce, and healthcare are three industries that come to mind. These fields flourished during the pandemic and will continue to grow well beyond 2021. If you last worked in an industry that was hit pretty hard by the virus, it may be time to seek new opportunities in a different sector. This is where you want to illustrate your transferrable skills. You may not have the direct experience for a particular job, but do you have skills that can easily transfer into a new role and help you be successful?

Brush up on common interview questions

If you are preparing to land a job in 2021, you will need to brush up on your interview prep. One of the best ways to do that is to practice answering common interview questions. There are always a select group of interview questions you can count on the hiring manager to ask you. From “What motivates you?” to “Can you explain this gap in your employment?” there are dozens of common questions you will likely be asked, and the best way to successfully approach them is to practice your answers.

Here is a group of the most common interview questions with tips on answering them and examples to help you land a job in 2021.

Don’t be afraid to find something new

If you are one of the many job seekers still employed but looking for something different, don’t be afraid to take the plunge. This market can seem intimidating, but don’t let that keep you from finding something new. Take a chance on yourself, stick your neck out, and start looking. Yes, the market isn’t as strong as it was a year ago, but that doesn’t mean there are not great opportunities out there for you. You don’t know until you take that step forward towards a new career. This might mean venturing off into one of the booming industries we spoke of above, or it might mean making a complete shift in your career. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Let recruiters know your open to work

An easy way to land a new job in 2021 is to let recruiters know you are open to work. That can be as simple as letting recruiters on LinkedIn know that you are open to work. Or, if you are serious about finding a new opportunity, partner with a recruiting firm. Recruiters, like ones from JSG, are here to help you find a new role that matches your career goals and skill sets. We can help bridge the gap between your transferrable skills and the requirements of another position. Partner with us today and let JSG work alongside you to accomplish your career goals this year.

questions you should as in your next interview

4 Questions You Should Ask in Your Next Interview

If you have an upcoming interview, you are probably sitting there thinking about what questions you should ask your interviewers. I mean, you really want to impress them and advance through the hiring process. But what questions will leave a lasting impression? What can you say to gain more clarity about the role, the team dynamics, and the company’s core values? Here are four questions you should ask in your next interview.

How can I make an immediate impact in this position?

Asking how you can impact the company demonstrates your willingness to come in and hit the ground running. It also gives you critical insight into what you will be working on from your first days on the job. The hiring manager might mention a project they are in the middle of or even a problem that needs to be addressed. This question is an excellent opportunity to ask further questions or to provide a background on how you completed a similar project or solved a related issue in the past. This allows you to show how you can make a difference from day one.

What does success look like in this position?

Another great question to ask in an interview is what success will look like in this position. Every company has different goals and measures success differently. Asking this question will help you identify how this prospective employer will measure success in this position and what their goals are for you. You need to understand what the KPIs are, how they are measured, and how often they are tracked before accepting any position! It’s always nice to understand what is expected of you.

Who will I be working with most closely?

Asking about the team and who you will be working the most closely with is an easy way to understand the dynamics of the company. Will you be working with just other people on your team? Or will you be working alongside others from different departments? Thus, it is essential for you to understand how cross-functional the role is to see if it fits what you are looking for in a new position.

Are there opportunities for professional development?

With this question, you are looking for how the company invests in their staff. Are you put into a role with the expectation to just to do your job? Or are there opportunities for growth, training, and career advancement? Learning and development programs are growing in popularity, so if an employer doesn’t offer growth opportunities, it is a huge red flag!

Are you ready to answer common interview questions?

So, these are four insightful questions you should ask in your next interview. Now that you know what to ask the hiring manager, it’s time to brush up on common interview questions. Here are interview questions that you should prepare to answer in your next interview.

remote job interview

How to Prepare for A Remote Job Interview

Do you have an upcoming interview for a remote job opportunity? If so, you are not alone. Since March, remote job listings have increased by 2.8x as more companies continue to support a remote workforce. As companies work hard to pivot to remote working environments, job seekers are doing the same. Preparing to interview for a remote opportunity is like prepping for any other interview – you must do your homework. However, there are some questions that will likely arise as you interview for a remote position. Here are some questions you must be ready to answer as you prepare for a remote job interview.

Have you worked remotely in the past?

This question will likely be the first one the hiring manager asks you. The hiring manager is trying to gauge your interest in a remote opportunity and understand if this is a new feat for you. If you have worked remotely in the past, you can give a brief overview of your remote experience; share your role, the company you worked for, how long you did it, and how you succeeded in this position.

If you have not worked remotely before, that is not a deal-breaker. Did you work a few days from home when you were out sick or worked remotely when out of town for business? These are all experiences you can share to illustrate that you are ready to take on this new remote opportunity.

What type of collaboration tools and software have you used?

When your team is working remotely, you may never communicate with them in person. Therefore, this question is another popular one hiring managers ask candidates for remote positions. The hiring manager wants to understand what collaboration tools you have experience with and how you used them; they want to understand if this will be a smooth transition for you.

There is a slew of collaboration and project management tools out there, such as Microsoft Teams, Trello, Zoom, Slack, Google Docs, and so on. Whether you have used these for work, school, or personal use, give a brief overview of what tools you have experience with and how you used them to be productive. You probably won’t have experience with every platform, but your experience with one software will be transferable with another.

How do you keep yourself motivated while working from home?

When you are working remotely, you have a lot of independence. You will not have your boss regularly checking in on you or nudging you to get back to work if you lose focus. Thus, it’s essential to motivate yourself while working from home and get your work done proficiently. The best way to answer this question is with honesty. Share what you do to keep motivated throughout the day and on track, whether that’s a specific routine, checklists, calendar reminders, or alarms on your phone.

Keep in mind, your work style may not be an excellent fit for a remote position, and that is what the hiring manager is trying to assess. Be honest and let them know how you need to be held accountable and what you do to stay productive throughout the day.

Need more help preparing for your remote job interview?

If you are looking for more help answering common interview questions, here is how to answer the most common questions.

Interview Question: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

Interview Question: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

What They Want To Know

This question can feel like a trap. And we’re not going to sugar-coat it… it kind of is! A hiring manager asks about your pet peeves for a couple of reasons. First of all, they want to know that you’re human! We all have things that bother us. Second, they want to make sure that you will fit in with the team. Do you take things too seriously? Will you hold minor annoyances against your coworkers?

When answering, be honest but don’t totally unload all of the things that irritate you. To avoid a minefield with this question, keep the focus on yourself. Choose a pet peeve that is something you can control and redirect. Then, explain why it bothers you and how you overcome it.

Example Answer For “What Are Your Pet Peeves?”

“One of my biggest pet peeves is getting behind on a project. If something unexpected comes up, or there’s a delay I can’t control, it can really bother me. Over the years, I’ve learned that this is a trigger for me. So, to avoid this, I always try to stay ahead on my projects. By creating a structured schedule, I can account for any unknowns and not get caught up in frustrating delays.”

Final Comments

This answer is perfect because it is truthful, tame, and offers a solution. Avoid going on and on about pet peeves that bother you as it will signal to the hiring manager that you are high maintenance. It’s best to answer it quickly and move on!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!