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How to Recover from An Interview Disaster

How to Recover from An Interview Disaster

A job interview is a stressful experience, and it can be easy to get rattled. Most of us have unfortunately had an interviewing blunder – after all, it’s part of the process. Whether it was a missed opportunity to share one of your skill sets, a question you weren’t prepared to answer, or something completely slipped your mind; it happens to the best of us. So, can you redeem yourself post-interview to save your chances of landing a new opportunity? Here is how you recover from an interview disaster to approach this predicament with grace.

Stay calm

If you catch yourself in the middle of an interview disaster, the first step is to stay calm. Panicking or overreacting will only make the situation worse. Everybody makes mistakes and what matters is how you recover from them. If you make a mistake in an interview, take a moment to compose yourself before you act. If you get worked up or rush to try to redeem yourself, you may dig yourself a deeper hole.

Buy yourself a few moments

If you get yourself in a pickle during your interview, you can do some damage control during your meeting. For example, if an interview question stumps you, you can buy yourself some time instead of panicking, trying to formulate a lackluster answer. To do this, ask your interviewer to repeat the question, ask a clarification question, or even request a moment to think. So, if an interviewer asks you a tricky question, you can stall a bit by saying something like, “That’s a really great question. I have actually never been asked that before.” Even a quick couple of sentences like that can buy you enough time to formulate a response without providing a filibuster answer.

If you make a mistake, redeem yourself immediately

If you do make a mistake, redeem yourself immediately. Whether it’s a question you can’t answer, or you forget to tie in a skill set or project while answering a question, remedy the interview disaster ASAP. For example, we recently interviewed an intern here at JSG. We asked about a certificate listed on their resume, and they couldn’t tell us anything they learned from the course. They sent a follow-up email three days later apologizing again and providing some details on the certification, but it was too little, too late.

They did the right thing by emailing the team and providing some insight on this certification, but they should have done it the same day. In that three-day span, we interviewed several excellent candidates, and unfortunately, this interviewee didn’t make the cut. Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, the right move is to send an email and clarify a response or provide more information. However, you must do so as soon as humanly possible to recover from an interview disaster.

Learn from your interview disaster

The best way to recover from an interview disaster is to learn from it. It is unfortunate, and depending on the mistake, it can cost you your chances of landing the job. However, as long as you learn from your mishap, it isn’t a complete failure. You will be ready mentally and physically if this situation arrives again and be able to recover from it in the future. The great John Wooden summed this up perfectly when he said, “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”

If you are looking for more interviewing advice, review our candidate resources! We have dozens of helpful tips and advice to help you nail the interview and receive that much-deserved job offer.

3 Ways To Assess A Company’s Culture During Your Job Search

3 Ways To Assess A Company’s Culture During Your Job Search

Now more than ever, it’s essential to understand a company’s culture before joining their team. According to a report by SHRM, in the last year, one in five Americans left a job due to poor company culture. Additionally, consumers are holding brands accountable. In a recent COVID-19 brand trust report, 90% of people believe brands must do everything they can to protect their employees’ and suppliers’ well-being and financial security. So, it won’t cut it anymore to simply provide a competitive salary. But how can you determine the company’s culture during your job search? Start with these three ways.

Do Your Research

Now, with the presence of social media, it’s easier than ever to get a picture of a company’s culture. Check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t forget to explore employee profiles too! Additionally, browse company reviews on Glassdoor or Google to get an idea of what past and current employees think. (Just remember to take reviews with a grain of salt!) And, if any red flags come up, be sure to address them during your interview.

Observe

If you go in person for an interview, be sure to observe everything around you. Do the other employees seem friendly and happy to be at work? What does the office look like? You want to keep an eye out for how people are dressed, office cleanliness, and updated equipment. As you observe, try to picture yourself as an employee. Does it seem like a place you could see yourself working?

Ask The Right Questions

When the interviewer turns it back around to you, have a couple of great questions at the ready. You want to go beyond the obvious, “what’s the company culture here?” in order to paint a complete picture of the team and company culture. Here are a few of our favorites (and what to listen for in an answer):

Tell Me About A Recent Team Win.

When the interviewer answers this question, you want to hear them celebrate wins, both big and small. Additionally, a hiring manager should give recognition to the team members involved.

How Does The Department Handle Conflict?

Conflict is bound to come up in team environments. However, it’s all about how the leadership handles it. Ideally, they will have a process in place to address inner-team conflict. The answer you don’t want to hear is, “we don’t have conflict.” Chances are, they are avoiding it, or team members don’t feel comfortable sharing any conflicts with their manager!

Are There Opportunities For Development?

Development opportunities are a great indicator of a supportive and encouraging work culture. If companies give their employees the chance to grow their skills and move up in the company, they will invest in your success.

In the end, there’s actually quite a bit you can learn from about a company’s culture from the outside. You just have to know what to look for! Another great way to understand company culture is to partner with a recruiting firm like Johnson Service Group. We have exclusive relationships with hiring managers and get all of the insider information that you need. Ready to get started? Explore our jobs or contact a recruiter today!

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 Assess An Employer During A Remote Hiring Process

How To Assess An Employer During A Remote Hiring Process

During a traditional hiring process, one where you interview with a prospective employer in person, it is pretty easy to get a feel for the company. You get to see how co-workers interact with each other, what the office environment is like, and get a general feeling for the company. However, with most interviewing processes becoming remote, it can be challenging to understand these things and evaluate if this company is a good fit. If you are trying to determine if a company you are interviewing with is a good match, here is how to assess an employer during a remote hiring process.

Do your due diligence

Before you even apply for a job, take some time to do your due diligence for the company. Check out their website and read their mission, vision, and any information you can find about their culture. You can typically find this information on “about us” or “career” pages. See if they have a blog or social media to find some behind-the-scenes posts about their team. You may even get some great examples of how their team interacts or bonds with one another while working remotely. 

If you want some examples of the company’s culture from the horse’s mouth, take a look at company reviews. You can find reviews from current and past employees on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Google. Take a few minutes to read some reviews and see what employees are commenting about their culture.

Ask specific questions during your interview

One of the best ways to get a feel for a company during a remote hiring process is to ask specific questions. You will likely have some questions you want to ask the hiring manager or recruiter after doing your research. Write these down and prepare yourself to ask them during your interview (if they don’t already come up naturally). These questions must be specific to be effective. If you ask cookie-cutter questions like “what is your company culture like?”, you will get generic answers. Ask questions about the things that matter to you – the aspects of an employer that will impact your decision to work there or not.

Here are a few good example questions you can ask:

  • What was the most significant obstacle your company had to overcome after the pandemic hit?
  • How does your team remain close, even when working remotely?
  • How has your company culture changed with parts of the team working remotely?
  • What does the team do for fun with the lack of in-person activities?

Pay attention to what you can

With a remote hiring process, it is more challenging to pick up on red flags or cues. However, as you navigate through the process, you have to pay close attention to what you can. Observe body language during virtual interviews to gauge the excitement of the team and hiring manager. Are they excited to meet with you and have positive energy? Or does everyone seem disengaged and act as they’d rather be anywhere else? Interviews are serious interactions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t determine if the team gets along well with each other and has fun.

Looking for more job search tips?

These are three ways you can assess an employer during a remote hiring process. If you are looking for more job-search advice, take a moment to review our candidate resources! We have hundreds of useful tips to help you excel through your job search. Or, if you are ready to find a new opportunity that’s right for you, take a look at our job board.

Five Video Interview Mistakes to Avoid this Year

Five Video Interview Mistakes to Avoid this Year

As employers begin their return to the office or working onsite, virtual interviewing is here to stay. Even when the virus is in the rearview mirror, most employers will rely on video interviews to streamline the hiring process, cut hiring costs, and expand their talent pools. With this newly adopted interviewing format, here are five video interview mistakes to avoid this year.

Joining the video interview late

Like a traditional face-to-face interview, the last thing you want to do is arrive late. Being tardy for your meeting is one of the biggest video interview mistakes you can make. If you are interviewing at home, you have no excuses to be punctual. You don’t have to drive or take public transportation to the meeting, find the right office, and arrive on time. Launch the video interview application a few minutes before your meeting to ensure you are on time. Starting your interview a few minutes late will create some unnecessary stress and derail your entire interview.

Not familiarizing yourself with the technology

Familiarizing yourself with the technology is as important as logging into the video application early. Logging on early does you no good if you have no idea how to navigate the technology. You don’t want to be fumbling around on your computer trying to fix your audio, turn on your camera, or remove a silly video filter. Many mainstream video technologies like Zoom or Microsoft Teams are similar; however, if you never used the application before, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with it before your interview.

Surrounding yourself with distractions

Another video interview mistake to avoid is not eliminating distractions. You must eliminate things that will distract you from performing your best and remove anything that may distract your interviewers. That means interviewing in a quiet, well-lit room with a clean background. Keep your kids and pets distracted for the meeting with their favorite show or a new treat, and clean the space around you. Practicing with the technology beforehand will help you identify anything you need to remove from your interviewing area that might cause an unwanted distraction.

Showcasing poor communication skills

If you want your interview to result in a job offer, you must showcase excellent communication skills (especially if this is for a remote opportunity). Sometimes, it can be challenging to facilitate a conversation over a video call. The key to ensuring strong communication skills is listening. Instead of jumping at every chance to speak, listen to your interviewer. Listen intently to understand their questions, wait a few seconds after they finish talking to avoid any interruptions, and ask follow-up questions. It is essential to be engaging, ask thoughtful questions, and answer their questions in detail.

Not sending a thank-you email

Finally, one of the most common video interview mistakes is failing to send a thank you email afterward. Just like a traditional interview, you must always send a thank you note. Bonus points if you can send one to everyone on the video call. Since you are at home, you have the luxury of quickly jotting down the names of each interviewer to send them a personalized thank you message.

Here is a guide on how to craft the perfect virtual interview thank-you note.

Why Remote Interviewing is Here to Stay

Why Remote Interviewing is Here to Stay

Almost every company that was hiring throughout the pandemic was forced to shift to a remote hiring process. Employers were making difficult hiring decisions without even meeting a candidate face-to-face. As we continue to recover from the virus and return to our old ways, many companies will maintain remote interviewing practices that they adopted last year. Of course, some employers will return to the office, and it will be “business as usual;” however, remote interviewing is here to stay, at least in some facets, for most companies. Here’s why.

Less geographic barriers

In a traditional face-to-face interview, there are limitations on talent pools. You will receive the majority of your candidates from your local market or others that are nearby. But with remote hiring processes, an employer’s candidate pool is vastly different. You can essentially interview candidates from across the country. Employers can hire anyone from anywhere! With larger talent pools, employers can fill their vacant jobs faster and tap into groups of talent that would otherwise be unavailable. Less geographic barriers result in better hires and fewer turnovers.

Increased flexibility

Also, with remote interviewing, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility for both parties. For candidates, this means you don’t have to squeeze in an interview during a lunch break, call in sick, or rush after work to throw on your interview outfit. For employers, you don’t have to block out a massive chunk of your day or even week to host a group of candidates. With more flexibility, employers have more time to focus on their other responsibilities or even schedule additional interviews to expand their talent pool.

Easier on the budget

Remote interviewing is also easier on the budget. You no longer have to fly out candidates to spend an entire day or afternoon interviewing, going out to lunch or dinner, and parading them around the office or job site. With virtual interviewing becoming a staple, you no longer have to pay for a candidate’s airfare, hotel, meals, and other expenses. Of course, there will be circumstances where you will need to fly a candidate in, maybe for a leadership role. However, most candidates don’t need an all-day interviewing event before an employer can make a decision.

Supports diversity and Inclusion efforts

A big push for many companies is an emphasis on diversity and inclusion programs. Employers are diligently working towards fostering a more inclusive hiring process and working environment. Remote hiring can aid these efforts by eliminating hiring biases. Hiring professionals tend to gravitate towards candidates that mirror their own backgrounds. As a result, recruiters and hiring managers may overvalue hard skills instead of considering a candidate’s interpersonal or soft skills. With remote interviews, a candidate’s skills have the opportunity to speak for themselves instead of allowing unconscious biases from affecting a hiring decision.

Need to prepare for an upcoming remote interview?

So, these are just a few reasons why remote interviewing is here to stay long after the pandemic. If you are looking for resources to help you prepare for your upcoming virtual interview, you’ve come to the right place! Please take a look at our interviewing tips, tricks, and insights here. Good luck!

Soft Skills with the Most Demand in 2021

Soft Skills with the Most Demand in 2021

Over the last few years, soft skills have been at the forefront of hiring professionals’ minds. Throughout the pandemic, these skills are becoming even more essential. With millions of people working from home and many others transitioning into a new career journey, soft skills are highly sought after. But what are the skills that employers are in the most need of during these challenging, unpredictable times? Here are the soft skills with the most demand in 2021.

Communication and collaboration

Employers are always looking for prospective employees with solid communication skills, but with remote work becoming normalized, communication skills will be in high demand in 2021. Communication skills come in different shapes and sizes – meeting with clients, working with colleagues, and speaking to various stakeholders. With so many different avenues to convey your thoughts (email, phone, video, chat tools, etc.), strong communications skills will be crucial. You must convey your communication skills in your resume and you can expect to be asked questions regarding your communication capabilities.

Adaptability

Adaptability is another soft skill in high demand this year (and beyond). When the pandemic first hit, companies scrambled to stay afloat and keep work operations running. Many people began working from home while others returned to the office with new rules and safety protocols. The workers who stood out from the rest were flexible and adaptable to what was going on around us. Employers are looking for candidates that can roll with the punches and improvise as needed. Whether that’s a sudden adoption of new tools or a unique working environment, adaptability will be key moving forward.

Self-motivation

It’s easier for employers to motivate their teams when everyone is working onsite. However, with millions of people working from home for the foreseeable future, hiring managers are looking for candidates with drive and self-motivation. Employers will be looking for candidates that can illustrate their enthusiasm, know their purpose, and work hard. These hiring professionals are looking for go-getters that have the determination to get work done and step in to help others when needed. Instead of waiting around being asked to work on something, employers want to see you move on to another task or project.

Time Management

Finally, employers are looking for candidates was excellent time management skills. You won’t have your manager breathing down your neck or walking into your office to check in with you. You will be expected to manage your day and efficiently use your time to complete your work assignments. Hiring managers will be looking for job seekers that can manage their working schedules and complete tasks on time. If you are working from home, there are distractions around every corner. It’s up to you to establish a schedule that works for both you and your team.

Are you looking for tips to demonstrate these soft skills?

Now that you know the soft skill with the most demand, it’s time to illustrate them to the hiring manager. You can do this in both your resume and during your interview. If you are looking for some advice on how to show a prospective employer that you possess these four skills, review our job search resources today!

How to Prepare for A Phone Interview in 2021

How to Prepare for A Phone Interview in 2021

Congratulations! Your hard work is paying off, and you are finally getting some traction with your job search. You have a phone interview scheduled, and you are starting to get a little anxious. Don’t fret – with a bit of preparation and practice, you can enter your conversation feeling confident. If you are looking for a refresher course on how to prepare for a phone interview, here are five simple tips to make an excellent impression on the hiring manager.

Set up a professional voicemail

When was the last time you reviewed your voicemail? We typically don’t call ourselves, so your voicemail might be out of date or a little too casual. Take a few minutes to listen to your voicemail and update it if necessary. Make sure it’s professional yet friendly and that there is no background noise. You never know when you for some reason might miss an interview call or play phone tag with each other. 

Check your battery and cell reception

Since you will probably be using your cell phone during your phone interview, make sure the battery is fully charged. The last thing you want to happen is your phone to die halfway through your conversation. Have the battery charged up and silent your phone to not receive any distracting notifications buzzing in your ear. Also, ensure your phone reception is strong, so the call quality is impeccable. Your voice must come out crystal clear, and for you, you must have strong enough service to be able to hear your interviewer without any hiccups.

Have important documents at the ready

Since you can have this phone interview in your home, you can access important application documents. You can pull up your resume, cover letter, job description, the company website, and other essential documents. If you do this on your computer, close all your other windows and mute your computer so you can silently switch between them. If you want to print them out, have them organized so you aren’t struggling to shuffle through them on the phone. Having these documents at the ready can help you brilliantly answer any questions that might otherwise catch you off guard.

Take notes

During your phone interview, you should be taking notes. Jot down important things the hiring manager says or something you want to discuss further in your interview. In an interview, time flies by, and you can easily forget an excellent question as quickly as you can formulate it. Have a notepad and pen within arm’s reach to write down notes, questions, or anything else you might find valuable throughout the interviewing process.

Show enthusiasm in your voice

A crucial part of a traditional face-to-face interview is body language – nodding your head, smiling, and other non-verbal cues that illustrate your excitement and personality. In a phone interview, you don’t have this opportunity, so you must demonstrate your enthusiasm in your voice. To make sure there is excitement in your voice, don’t forget to smile! It’s true what they say; you can hear someone smiling in their voice. Also, remember it is okay to laugh if there is a funny moment in your interview.

Are you looking for more interview advice?

With social distancing and more people working from home, you can almost bet one of your interviews will be conducted through the phone. These are just a few easy ways you can prepare for a phone interview in 2021. If you are looking for more interview advice, check out our interview insight page for dozens of helpful tips, tricks, and suggestions to nail your interview!

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!

Three Surprising Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job

Three Surprising Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job

You recently finished a lengthy interviewing process and are patiently waiting for that offer letter in your inbox. You tailored your resume, you thought your interview went well, and a new job is almost in your grasp. But instead of an offer letter, you receive an email with the subject line: “thank you for your time.” What went wrong? How did you not receive the job you thought you had in the bag? Here are three surprising reasons why you didn’t get the job.

There is a more qualified candidate

One surprising reason why you didn’t get the job is that the market is too competitive. Not too long ago, it was a candidate-driven market. Almost every employer was hiring, and job seekers had plenty of power (and opportunities!). Fast forward to 2021 and we are still recovering from the pandemic. Employers are beginning to hire again, but with unemployment numbers soaring, your competition will be fierce. So, you could be a great candidate who is perfectly qualified for the position; however, there is sadly just someone with more experience or a stronger skill set in today’s competitive market.

Your transferrable skills didn’t translate well

Many job seekers are transitioning into new careers or a different industry, with better hiring prospects in the post-pandemic world. As a result, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for transferrable skills, which you acquire from previous positions or education, and transfer them to a new position. They are current skills that you can shift to another position. These skills will allow you to transition into a new career, even if you don’t have direct experience in the industry. For example, you can transfer management or leadership skills from one job to another. So, since your current occupation may not be hiring due to the pandemic, you might be in the process of entering another. Thus, if you fail to express how your skills set can be transferred to the position you are interviewing for, it may be a reason why you didn’t receive the job.

You didn’t ask good questions in your interview

Job interviews are typically not one-sided. At some point, you will have the opportunity to ask your interview some questions about the role, the company, or something else you discussed in your meeting. If you leave your interview without asking engaging questions that reiterate your knowledge and interest in the position, you likely won’t receive a job offer. You must ask some insightful questions if you want to make a lasting impression. These are questions that can give you more insight into the job’s day-to-day duties, the team dynamic, department goals, and other valuable information. These questions will likely come naturally as your conversation progresses but if you need some excellent questions to have in your back pocket, here are four questions you should ask in your next interview.

Need more job search tips?

These are just three common reasons why you didn’t receive the job. There are obviously many different reasons you didn’t get an offer; however, these three reasons are things to be conscious of before your next interview. If you are looking for more career advice or job searching tips, review our candidate resources for tons of helpful advice. Good luck!