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Interview Question: What Do You Like To Do Outside Of Work?

Interview Question: What Do You Like To Do Outside Of Work?

What They Want To Know

While you may have touched on this when asked, “tell us a little about yourself,” there’s a good chance your interviewer will want to know more. When a hiring manager asks, “what do you like to do outside of work?” they want to get a glimpse of your personality. They are curious about who you are and if you’ll be a good fit for the rest of the team.

This is an opportunity to let your personality shine. Our advice is to be honest – with a caveat – keep it professional. There is no need to go above and beyond in vulnerability here. Avoid delving into politics, illegal activities, or anything else that could potentially be a red flag. A good rule of thumb here is if you find yourself wondering if it’s appropriate, it’s not. Instead, share your life-enriching passions. If you have a hobby that parallels your career, that’s great! If not, simply share something you enjoy. Here are just a few hobbies that are appropriate to mention during an interview:

  • Hiking
  • Spending time with family & friends
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Reading
  • Sports
  • Cooking
  • Volunteering

No matter what you choose – be sure it’s something you are actually passionate about! Chances are, your interviewer will ask you follow up questions. So, you don’t want to look like a deer caught in the headlights, unable to discuss your hobbies in-depth.

Example Answer for “What do you like to do outside of work?”

“I love listening to Podcasts. Every day I like to get outside and go for a walk with my dog, Thor, and tune into a great Podcast. I have always loved This American Life because I feel like I learn something new with each episode. Lately, I’ve also been putting my detective hat on and listening to a couple of true crime podcasts. It’s a great way to check out for a bit.”

Final Comments

This is a strong answer because it is honest, professional, and personal. Remember, this question is an opportunity to share your personality, after all! If you don’t have any hobbies that you’d want to mention during an interview – now is an excellent opportunity to pick one up.

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!

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.

didn't receive a job offer

Three Simple Reasons You Didn’t Receive A Job Offer

Have you ever walked into an interview, thought you nailed it, only to be stunned a few days later when you didn’t receive a job offer? That is one of the most gut-wrenching feelings, especially in this economic climate. Not receiving that job offer can fill you with self-doubt and throw your entire job search off. It can leave you asking questions like, “what’s wrong with me?”

The good news is that you are receiving job interviews, which is one of the most challenging steps in any job search! In other words, there is nothing wrong with you or your qualifications. However, it means there is something during the interviewing process that can be improved upon to secure that elusive job offer! Here are three simple reasons you didn’t receive a job offer after a solid interview.

You didn’t do your homework before your interview

No matter how qualified you are for a job, you have to do your homework before your interview. You must do some research on the employer’s website, social media, or a quick Google search. Hiring managers will ask you a variety of interview questions to test your knowledge of the company or to assess your fit with the team. These questions are challenging to answer if you don’t do your due diligence. You could be the most qualified applicant for the role but fail to receive an offer because you didn’t connect the dots between you and the company.

You didn’t portray confidence throughout the process

It is crucial to portray confidence throughout the hiring process. From your first interaction to your last, you have to prove that you can succeed in the role. If you are uncertain about your fit with the position, hiring managers will notice. Illustrating confidence in your background and abilities is even more crucial if you switch industries or career paths altogether. If you can’t trust yourself, how is your new employer supposed to trust that you are the right applicant for the job?

Doing your research will help you confidently answer interview questions. Body language and appearance also play a significant role in how your confidence is illustrated. If you are slouching in your chair, not making eye contact, or underdressed, these will all show a lack of focus and confidence. It is even more challenging to show off your confidence over a video interview, so be sure that you are prepared if you haven’t had one in a while.

Here are a few tips to help you ace your next video interview.

You didn’t follow up with a thank-you note

Many candidates believe a thank you note is an outdated or unnecessary step in the interviewing process. Unfortunately, these job seekers could not be more mistaken. A thoughtful, personal thank note is like a big red ribbon on a present. It will help you stand out in a sea of applicants in today’s competitive job market. A thank-you note is your final elevator pitch; it gives you the ability to concisely thank your interviews while reminding them of your skills, background, and culture fit. Too many candidates fail to send a genuine thank you note. By spending a few minutes after your interview to thank each of your interviewers, you could separate yourself from the competition.

Here are some of our favorite templates for post-interview thank-you notes that will leave a lasting impression.

Need more job search tips?

These are just a few simple reasons why you may not have received a job offer, even if you are a strong candidate. If you are looking for more helpful job search resources, we have you covered. Johnson Service Group has hundreds of useful tips and tricks to help your job search excel. Check out our candidate resources today and rise above the competition!

What Are Your Salary Expectations

Interview Question: What Are Your Salary Expectations?

What they want to know

It is highly likely that a hiring manager or HR professional will ask you for your salary expectations during an interview. This question may seem like a trap, but most of the time, employers are looking for two things:

  • Do you fit in their salary range?
  • Are you willing to budge on your salary?

One of the biggest mistakes interviewees make is stating their salary expectations but ending their answer with something like “but I am flexible” or “however, I am willing to negotiate.” If you announce that you are willing to budge, the employer will most likely try to negotiate with you, resulting in a smaller salary for you. On the other hand, you cannot provide a salary range that is way out of this world in hopes that if they negotiate with you, you will still come out on top.

The best way to tackle this is by understanding your worth. Do a little research before your interview to form a range that matches the position and your background. There are tons of resources for reviewing salary ranges such as Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Payscale. These sites allow you to input your job title, years of experience, education, and location and they will provide a pay range that you should be making. You can use this information as well as your current salary to form your salary range expectations.

Example answer for “what are your salary expectations.”

“My salary expectations for this role are $75,000 and $80,000. That is the average salary engineering professionals with over five years’ experience with AutoCAD and designing commercial plumbing layouts are earning. Plus, I have my Six Sigma Greenbelt certification, which has helped me become more efficient and reduce waste.”

Final comments

This answer is an excellent example of answering what are your salary expectations. The answer is short, straightforward, and exudes confidence. The answer also illustrates that you know your worth and reiterates the value and experience you bring to the table. Moreover, it doesn’t open the interviewee up for a negotiation battle by stating you are flexible.

Overall, this is how you navigate this tricky interview question. However, you wouldn’t even have to deal with this question if you are working with a recruiter with JSG. When we represent you, we make your salary expectations clear to the hiring manager and help you through any possible negotiations.

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!

How To Handle Being Ghosted During Your Job Search

How To Handle Being Ghosted During Your Job Search

Almost every single professional has dealt with being ghosted during a job search. It is absolutely agonizing waiting to hear back about a job in which you have invested both time and emotions. Even worse is the pit in your stomach when you realize you will never hear back. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to understand why it happens and what you can do about it.

Understand Why It Happens

While we wish no one ever had to deal with being ghosted by a prospective employer, it is unavoidable. Especially in today’s market, hiring managers are receiving thousands of applications for a single position. Unfortunately, it means they aren’t able to follow up with each and every applicant.  

If you’re being ghosted farther along in the hiring process, that certainly leaves a stronger impression. However, you have to understand that a company’s only objective is to fill their open position, so that is where they are focusing all of their energy. On the plus side, it does mean you have a bit more leverage.

What You Can Do About It

Once you’ve been in contact with a company during a hiring process (meaning you’ve had an interview or two), there are a few things you can do after being ghosted. Career Strategist Bob McIntosh recently recommended following up with your primary contact up to three times. Keep your follow-ups short, professional, and positive. If you haven’t heard back after the third attempt, it’s time to move on.

Further ghost-proof your job search by keeping an open mind. Don’t limit yourself to the one position you’re interviewing for. Continue applying for jobs and accepting interviews as they come your way. Most importantly, don’t take ghosting personally. Being ghosted during your job search is lamentably an inevitable part of the modern hiring process. Finally, when you eventually climb the corporate ladder, you’ll have the opportunity to break the cycle

How To Overcome Negative Interview Obstacles

How To Overcome Negative Interview Obstacles

We all have them, a spot in your work history that isn’t so shiny. Maybe it’s a job you were fired from, or a boss you didn’t get along with, or a gap in employment. These less than ideal situations do not have to break your chances of landing the position! It’s all in how you address them. We’re breaking down common negative interview obstacles that may arise and how you can overcome them.

You Were Fired

“So, why did you leave your last position?” Instead of freezing at this question, arm yourself with confidence beforehand. Keep your answer short, simple, and honest. Explain what happened in the simplest terms, without placing blame on others or providing too many details. And in the end, be sure to finish on a positive note.

Example: When I was initially hired as {job title}, I thought I had a clear understanding of the job requirements. As time went on, I discovered there were some miscommunications and misunderstandings. My supervisor and I agreed that it wasn’t a great fit for either of us. Since then, I’ve focused on defining my professional expectations and improving my communication skills.

You Hopped Around To A Few Different Jobs

This negative interview obstacle can happen for several reasons. Contact positions, improper fit, and better opportunities coming along are all very valid reasons for “job hopping.” Multiple jobs in a short amount of time is something that Hiring Managers notice, and the chances that you’ll be asked about it are high! What they are looking for you to address is their fear that you won’t stick around for this position. So, be sure to cover those short stints quickly and then move on to why you’re looking for a more permanent job (this one!)

Example: While quickly moving from job to job was not ideal, it proved that I was able to adapt to new environments while educating myself along the way. Now I’m looking for a company that I can really call home. I’m interested in a career that provides new challenges every day and a supportive team. That’s why the {job title} position initially caught my eye!

You Didn’t Get Along With Your Boss

Behavioral interview questions are swiftly gaining popularity in the hiring community. There’s a chance that you will be asked a question similar to “Tell us about a time you didn’t get along with a team member or supervisor.” Do not fall into this classic negative interview obstacle trap! Briefly touch on your differences, but concentrate your answer on what you did to overcome them.

Example: My last supervisor and I didn’t always see eye to eye. On {XYZ Project}, we had different opinions on how it should be executed. In the end, we looked at both sides and took the elements that worked from each to form a most effective compromise.

You Have A Gap In Employment

If you took time off for one reason or another, it can feel like a glaring hole in your resume. Don’t fret. Most employers understand that a little time away is not only acceptable but can also be restorative. Mention the reason for the gap, but also include how you grew during that time. You can include professional skills you honed via online classes, volunteer experiences, or even just life lessons that shaped how you view the world. The point that you want to communicate is that you are even better after briefly stepping away.

Example: For the past couple of years, I stepped away from my professional duties to travel. It was always a goal of mine to see the world, and I wanted to dive in while I’m still young. During my time away, I documented my experiences in blog format to share with family and friends. It really allowed me the opportunity to hone my writing and creative skills while also broadening my horizon. I’m now ready to jump back into my career with a whole new perspective on life.

These are just a few of the possible negative interview obstacles you may encounter. A few good general rules to follow are; be honest, keep it simple, and end on a positive note. While, of course, you want to answer questions about the past, your focus should be on the future. (And landing this job specifically!)

Interested in more interview advice? Explore a wealth of interview resources here.

What’s One Thing You Think We Can Improve

Interview Question: What’s One Thing You Think We Can Improve?

What they want to know

“What’s one thing you think we can improve?” is a tricky interview question to navigate. You want to provide a thoughtful answer without insulting the company (or even one of the interviewers in the room with you). Sometimes, your interviewer will ask you to offer constructive feedback about a particular product or service. Others will make the question more vague, which gives you a bit of flexibility with your answer.

Regardless of your answer, you don’t want to head right into your criticism. Instead, start with something positive; it helps set the stage and make your judgment seem not so harsh. Then, introduce your constructive feedback and provide a background for your thoughts. In other words, you can’t just criticize something and call it good. You must offer an area of improvement, explain why you think it needs improvement, and provide a solution to overcome this situation. Try to offer some stats, facts, or pull something from your professional experience to add credibility to your answer.

This situation is where doing your homework on the company will come in handy. If you don’t do your due diligence on the company, you will struggle to come up with an excellent answer to this interview question.

Example answering what’s one thing you think we can improve?

“I really enjoy the content you share on your company’s Instagram account. The graphics are eye-catching, and your captions are engaging. However, have you thought about sharing more content about your team? You post tons of great information about your services, but sharing stories about your staff and other internal messaging is very on-trend right now. We periodically post internal stories or employee spotlights on my current employer’s social media, and they get great engagement. I think if you added that content to your social media tool belt, you would increase your engagement and gain new followers”

Final comments

This response works for this question because it starts positive and then offers a suggestion for improvement. It’s not overly critical, and the interviewer uses their personal, professional experience to justify their recommendation. Plus, they ask a question in their response about if they considered this suggestion before, which could open the door for a nice dialogue. Overall, this is an excellent response to the question, “what’s one thing you think we can improve or do better?”

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!

Why Should We Hire You

Interview Question: Why Should We Hire You?

What they want to know

A lot of interviewers trip themselves up over the question, “Why should we hire you?” Your interviewers are essentially asking you, “Why should we hire you over the other candidates? What makes you the best candidate?” Interviewers typically ask this question at the end of a job interview. This question is your final sales pitch. It’s your time to shine and summarize for your audience why you would be a great fit for this position and the company. Use this as an opportunity to address your experience, background, and skills and why they make you an excellent fit.

Bonus points: if you can quantify your answer in any way, that is the icing on the cake. Using numbers to illustrate your success or accomplishments is an excellent way to show your value and stand out above the competition. Also, be sure to tie your answer back into the job description to ensure your interviewers that you are a great fit for this role.

Example answering why should we hire you

“I have a passion for helping others and pride myself on using my customer service and recruiting background to match talented candidates with excellent employers. My interview-to-offer ratio of 86% over the last three years illustrates my consistency and track record for success. Additionally, last year I earned our annual ‘Recruiter of the Year’ award, which demonstrates my expertise in the recruiting world. I think my personal career goals align with your company’s mission of simply putting people to work, and I believe I am a great fit for this Recruiting Manager position.”

Final comments

Answering the question, “Why should we hire you” can be challenging. However. this example works well because it touches on the candidate’s background, their skills, and quantifies their accomplishments. The answer addressed the company’s mission statement and expressed their passion for helping others, which can help show why they are a culture fit. Overall, this example answers the questions well (and with confidence!).

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!

How Do You Deal with Stress?

Interview Question: How Do You Deal with Stress?

What they want to know

Every job creates stressful situations. Interviewers often ask, “How do you deal with stress?” to understand if you can keep your cool when things get a little intense. Everybody gets stressed out – it’s a natural feeling that we all feel from time to time, and there are different levels of stress. However, interviewers want to know how you navigate these challenging or intense situations in the workplace.

So, to answer this interview question, briefly describe how you handle stress at work. Everyone handles stress differently, but the key here is to show your interviewers that you have a professional and appropriate way to blow off some steam. If you can provide a brief example in your answer, that’s even better.

Pro tip: do not answer with something like “I don’t really get stressed” or “stress doesn’t bother me.” That’s not true. Every job can be stressful, including the one you are interviewing to get.

Example answering how do you deal with stress

“When I get stressed out at work, I like to get up from my desk and take a brief five- or ten-minute walk. Walking helps me burn off a little steam and allows me to separate myself from the situation for a few minutes. I usually come back from my walk feeling refreshed and ready to continue working! For example, I was building a report to present to our leadership team. I had a tight turnaround time and had a few other projects I had to complete that week. I felt overwhelmed, so I decided to take a brief walk around the building and get some fresh air. After my walk, I came back to my desk recharged, and able to complete the report for my boss.”

Final comments

This answer is an excellent example of expressing how to deal with stress. It’s short and sweet but does an excellent job of illustrating what the interviewee does to overcome stressful situations. This is just one of many different ways you can demonstrate how you handle stressful situations in the workplace. As long as you can show a healthy way to cope with stress and provide an example, you’ll pass the question with flying colors.

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!

What Is An On-Demand Interivew

What Is An On-Demand Video Interview And How Can You Nail It?

There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has changed many things about how we do business forever. One process that has been completely turned upside down is that of hiring. As companies open themselves up to hiring, not only will they be flooded with resumes from those who were laid off or furloughed, they are also facing the challenge of how to interview safely. And with many departments juggling more obstacles than ever, time is precious. Enter on-demand interviewing.

What is an on-demand interview?

According to Interview Stream, a popular video interviewing software, “in an on-demand video interview, the candidate is usually asked to respond to preset questions that are recorded by the recruiter or hiring manager, and the answers are reviewed later.” So that means it will just be you on camera; no one there to respond to your answers, ask you follow up questions, or give hints to how well you’re doing.

What kinds of questions will you be answering?

Because this is a truncated interview, hiring managers will want to get as much information as possible. This means they’ll focus on behavioral questions. Your answers should be detailed accounts of situations you’ve experienced at work or in school. Below are some examples of popular behavioral interview questions:

  • Discuss a time when you faced a conflict while working on a team.
  • Tell us about a time when you faced a lot of pressure at work. What happened, and how did you handle it?
  • Describe a time when you managed a project. Walk us through your project management strategy from start to finish.
  • Tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment.

How should you answer on-demand interview questions?

Because there’s no interaction with an interviewer, it can be particularly challenging to get your personality through during an on-demand interview. Your answers must be enthusiastic, professional, and thorough. It’s essential that your answers give a glimpse into who you are as an employee. Hiring managers will be looking for a positive attitude, self-motivation, and flexibility.

While recording answers, it will feel awkward. But the lack of response doesn’t mean you need to fill dead space with rambling! While your answers should be thorough, keep them concise. Describe your past experiences in detail but come to a clean and confident end. Try your best to avoid filler words and endings such as, “so… yeah!” or “and stuff.”

How can you prepare ahead of time?

Your appearance will be more critical than ever during an on-demand interview. Make sure you have a plain, uncluttered backdrop with no noise in the background. Pick out a simple but professional outfit. Make sure your hair is combed and tidy, and your face bright and refreshed!

If you’re lucky enough to have access to the interview questions prior to your on-demand interview, this is an incredible opportunity! Write your answers down multiple times and practice reading them aloud to friends or family. As you’re recording your answers, you don’t want to come off stiff, so avoid reading right off a page. Repeated practice will build up your “muscle memory” and help the answers roll right off your tongue! You can even practice recording on your laptop and watching your answers back. While uncomfortable, it can be a great way to expose your body language and any answers that may be slightly off.

For more video or general interview tips, be sure to explore our candidate resources.