You Need To Interview Differently, Starting Today

You Need To Interview Differently, Starting Today

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has changed the hiring landscape. The effects of this pandemic will be felt throughout organizations for years to come, and it will permanently change how we do business. One thing you can start changing now is how you interview. By making a few adjustments, you’ll be able to continue hiring talented candidates during uncertain times. Try incorporating these three things into your interview process while hiring for your next role to get ahead of your competition!

Be Open To Long-Distance Hiring

Gone are the days of flying candidates across the country to interview for a position. We do not know how long the effects of the Coronavirus will last. Even after the threat of COVID-19 has passed, it will be good practice to limit exposure as much as possible. In order to hire top talent before your competition, we are coaching our clients on how to hire virtually. Over the phone or via a video conference, you can still get a thorough understanding of whether someone will be a good fit for the position or not. It all comes down to asking the right questions.

Stop Grilling Candidates About Employment Gaps

With unemployment claims now reaching over 33 million, there will be just as many gaps on resumes. It’s time we stop judging candidates on resume gaps or presumed “job hopping.” Instead, focus on the value they can add to your team. To ensure that they are in it for the long haul, be sure to ask questions about why they want this position, and where they see themselves in the future. (It’s okay to press for more in-depth, realistic answers to these questions to make an accurate assessment!)

Be Upfront About PTO & Benefits

In the past, it was considered in poor taste for candidates to ask about PTO and benefits during an interview. However, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, these policies have become more than just “work perks.” Moving forward, candidates will want to ensure that they can take adequate time to heal and recover or care for family members. They will also be comparing company benefits such as healthcare, 401k matching, and wellness initiatives. It will work to your advantage to explain your benefits package during the interview. As a result, candidates can make an informed decision about the next step in their career.

For more articles on the Coronavirus and how it is affecting the job market, head here.

hiring process

This Is Where Your Hiring Process Fails

Are you having a hard time hiring in today’s competitive market? Do you find yourself mulling over your hiring process, wondering where it all went wrong? While every situation is different, and occasionally some factors are  entirely out of your control, we can often pinpoint exactly what went wrong. Here are three basic reasons why your hiring process is failing.

It Takes Too Long

The number one reason candidates stray from your hiring process is because it takes too long! There is a saying in the recruiting world, “time kills all deals,” and it is truer than ever in this candidate-driven market. With multiple job offers on the table, candidates don’t have time to wait for a long, drawn-out hiring process. The longer your process, the more likely your candidates will pull out of contention.

You Require Too Many Interviews

To add another layer, requiring too many interviews can significantly affect the length of your hiring process. When the “interviewing stage” consists of phone interviews, video interviews, panel interviews, in-person interviews, informal team meet-and-greets, etc., your candidates will undoubtedly be turned off. Keep your interview process simple and only involve those who are on a “need-to-know” basis. If you can eliminate steps throughout your process, you will save valuable time and resources without spooking your candidates.

You’re Afraid to Commit

If you’ve interviewed a fantastic candidate, but are still hesitant to pull the trigger, you could be missing out on a great opportunity. Once you’ve found a strong candidate, stop scheduling more interviews! If you go all-in on a job prospect, they’re likely to return the favor.

If you find your hiring process lacking, it’s time to partner with JSG. We have helped thousands of clients discover qualified candidates, improve their hiring process, and achieve their growth goals. Contact us today to learn more!

How To Make A Panel Interview Work For Your Hiring Process

How To Make a Panel Interview Work For Your Hiring Process

How To Make A Panel Interview Work For Your Hiring Process

There are many steps you can take to determine if a candidate is right for a position. Your goal is to decide whether or not they have the skills and experience needed to be successful in a role. Additionally, you want to understand if they will be a culture fit with your team. Arguably one of the best ways to do this is by holding a panel interview. In a recent study of performance and interview ratings, Google found that “averaging the ratings of a group of interviewers was by far a more accurate predictor of success than the rating of a single interviewer.”

By gathering company leaders or team members that a candidate would work closely with if hired, you add a variety of perspectives into your hiring process. Your employees get the opportunity to ask pointed questions during this time. Additionally, your candidate will get a glimpse at the team dynamics. But how do you add a panel interview to your hiring process successfully? Keep reading for our top tips on incorporating this crucial step!

Ensure that everyone is up to speed

If your panel involves employees who have not been involved in the hiring process thus far, it’s important to get them caught up. Before the interview, give everyone a copy of the candidate’s resume. This allows them to read about the experience and formulate specific questions. Let everyone know where this candidate is at with respect to the hiring process – is this their third interview? Have they already met with key leaders in the organization? Finally, lay out the goal of this panel interview. Is it to make a final hiring decision? Or is to determine which role on the team would be the best fit?

Give everyone a chance to engage

The main benefit of holding a panel interview is access to viewpoints. Ideally, your interviewers will ask different questions and focus on varied experiences and skill sets throughout the candidates’ past. That’s why each member of the panel must have the opportunity to engage with the interviewee! More than likely, the variety of questions will spark follow-up questions from other panel members, making for a much more dynamic interview all around.

Ask for individual feedback after the interview

To avoid groupthink, it’s important to let each member of the panel form their own opinion prior to discussing as a group. Before coming together to discuss the interview, have each team member submit their thoughts on the candidate separately. This allows you to get an unbiased view of the candidate from multiple perspectives.

Want more information on interviewing and hiring? Subscribe to the JSG newsletter for the latest and greatest tips from a recruiting team who has hired thousands of candidates.


5 Phrases to Never Say in an Interview


Interviews can make or break your chance of getting a job offer. And when you’re interviewing for a company, it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do in certain scenarios. So here are five things you should never say during a job interview.

“So what does your company do exactly?”

First off, this is one of the worst things to ask or say in an interview because it shows you didn’t do your homework. Before every interview, you need to be researching the company and know as many facts as possible. If you walk into an interview not knowing what the company does, how are you supposed to demonstrate that you’re a good fit?

If you don’t show initiative and you expect those interviewing you to be “pitching” their company to you, you’re going to be cut from the running of the position. They’re the ones interviewing you. And if you think that not doing your research before coming into an interview will help land you the job, you’re sadly mistaken.

“I hated working for my last company.”

Even if this is 100 percent true, you shouldn’t say this in an interview. It will just give the hiring manager a bad taste in their mouth. Everyone knows there are obvious reasons you’re looking for a new job. But bashing your old company makes you look pessimistic and that you think you’re too good for people. This is obviously not the impression you want to be giving off in an interview.

So, instead of focusing on the negative that has happened in your past work history, focus on all the skills you learned that have prepared you for this new position. Maybe explain how the difficult working conditions helped you advance your leadership skills. This way the interviewees know that even in adversity, you take the high road and do the best you can.

“I need to be paid X amount”

When it comes to discussing salary and benefits, it’s a huge part of negotiating a new job. But if you are in the first rounds of interviews, it can show that you’re a little too eager and expecting to be hired. Which can be seen in a very negative light.

Don’t bring up salary expectations until it is prompted by the interviewee. This way you don’t make the mistake of hiring yourself before the company does.

“I’ll do anything”

The last thing you want to do in an interview is set yourself up for failure. When saying this phrase, it makes you look desperate and that you might be easily taken advantage of. Every company wants employees that will go over and beyond. But they want each person to know they can’t do everything. And it’s impossible to expect someone to do that.

When you say this in an interview, it looks like you just get walked on in a working environment. The last thing you want a new company to think about is that you’ll get burned out quickly and leave.

“I don’t have any bad qualities.”

First, we all have bad qualities. But not being able to spot them is an even bigger red flag for a future company. Of course, no one wants to talk about these weaknesses, but there is a way to make them sound positive instead of negative. With this answer, you’re coming across as someone who doesn’t want to work on themselves. And someone who might not be much of a team player. In an interview, this isn’t the way you want to come across.

So, instead of saying you don’t have bad qualities, just be honest. Make sure you tell them how working on these characteristics has helped you become a better employee. And more willing to work on yourself to get better so that you can help the company become more successful.

Overall, avoiding these statements in an interview will help you tremendously. Interviews can be hard and stressful, but if you’re prepared on what not to do, you’ll be more successful and could even get that job offer you’ve been waiting for.

The Best Interview Advice On LinkedIn

The Best Interview Advice On LinkedIn

The Best Interview Advice On LinkedIn

Every Thursday, we do something fun on social media aptly named “Thursday Thoughts,” where we ask our followers to share their insights and advice on various career-related topics. Recently, we asked, “What is the best advice you like to give out before someone you know interviews?”

Here are some of our favorite answers:

“Start off with a firm handshake and eye contact when introducing yourself.”

First impressions are everything when it comes to interviews! You only get one chance to make a great first impression. A firm handshake and eye contact are a great way to start off on the right foot (and don’t forget a smile!).

“At Johnson Search Group, we like to coach our candidates on the due diligence prior to their interview. Doing this aids you in talking points throughout the interview process.”

Doing your research before an interview will boost your confidence and make a notable impact on your interviewer. Try to look for information beyond just the company website. Keep an eye out for social media updates on company culture, any recent news, and search for your interviewer on LinkedIn. Jot down a couple tidbits that you can sprinkle into your interview answers or that inspire a couple end-of-interview questions.

“If you are in the interview room before the interviewer, don’t be on your phone when they come in. I personally think it’s unprofessional and may not be the best first impression.”

Not only does phone scrolling tend to look unprofessional, it’s a waste of valuable time! If you’re waiting for your interviewer to arrive, it’s the perfect opportunity to review your pre-interview notes, get out copies of your resume, or even just to observe the environment around you (you never know what you might learn!).

“Ask questions. It’s not just you being right for the company, it’s if the company is also right for you.”

Asking great questions at the end of the interview will not only show how invested you are in this position, it will help you determine if this is the right company, culture fit, and job for you. (These are some of our favorites!)

And most importantly…

“Prepare, prepare, prepare…. Research the company, ask for the job description, look up your interviewers on LinkedIn. Think of examples to use that highlight your skills, write them down if you need to. Be confident and energetic when communicating the information you gained from this preparation.”

We think Christopher summed it up pretty nicely – never go into an interview unprepared! For more interview, resume, and job search tips, visit the JSG Blog.

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How To Survive A Panel Interview

How To Survive A Panel Interview

It’s almost a rarity these days to get through a hiring process without sitting a panel interview. They are both wonderful AND terrifying. On one hand, it’s a great opportunity to get to know the members of the team and get a feel for the company culture. On the other hand, it can be unpredictable – filled with rapid fire questions that seem to come out of left field. Follow these 6 tips to prepare, and you’ll not only survive a panel interview, you’ll pass with flying colors!

  1. Know who you’re meeting

This is no different than a one-on-one interview, but it is more intense. It is essential to find out who you’re meeting before your interview. Take a look at everyone’s social media profiles and try to remember a distinctive thing about each. This will help you with name recognition and could provide you with some relatable talking points that will make you stand out amongst the crowd.

  1. Find & speak to the leader

There’s always a leader during a panel interview. Sometimes it’s your potential new boss, sometimes it’s their boss, and sometimes it’s someone in a completely different department who plays an integral part at the company. Once you’ve identified who it is, pay particular attention to them – the questions they ask, their body language, and how they interact with everyone else on the panel. Be sure to address them frequently throughout the interview, as they will probably have a significant amount of weight on the final decision.

  1. Make eye contact

Always make eye contact with each interviewer as they ask you a question. But when you’re answering, shift your eye contact to the different people in the room. A panel interview is a group effort, and they are all interested in hearing your story and getting to know you.

  1. Actively listen

While you are being asked a question, or told a story, or given the company history from one person on the panel, you have a number of other people simply watching you. This is a great opportunity to show off your body language A-game! Uncross those arms, nod your head, and slightly lean towards whoever is talking. It’s true that actions speak louder than words, especially when everyone is watching!

  1. Be ready for follow up questions

The variety of people in a panel interview are what makes it fun, but also challenging. Oftentimes, questions from one person will spark questions from another, and eventually, they’ve totally lost track of that list of standard questions they came in with. This makes it harder to prepare, but also much more exciting and authentic. Just don’t be afraid to take a moment after someone asks a question to formulate an articulate answer!

  1. Prepare unique questions

Due to the great research you did earlier, you should have a little bit of information on each person you’re interviewing with. Panel Member A went to your alma matter, Panel Member B has been at the organization the longest, Panel Member C used to work at a company you’re familiar with… use these tidbits to your advantage when asking questions. Target each of your post interview questions to each individual panel member. Then, at the end, ask them each to describe their favorite thing about working for this company. Not only is it a fun opportunity for them to reflect and share stories with one another, it’s the perfect chance for you to really understand what it’s like to work there!

Job Search

If You Want To Get Hired, NEVER Say These Words In An Interview

If You Want To Get Hired, NEVER Say These Words In An Interview

You’ve probably polished your resume, brushed up on interview questions, and memorized the questions you want to ask at the end of your meeting to blow the hiring manager away. But have you thought about how to control the words that just “come out?” You know what I’m talking about… an um will slip in while you’re trying to phrase your answer in a way that perfectly highlights your strengths, or you’ll trail off into an in-depth personal story before realizing it’s too late and you’re way off track. We’ve all been there. These are the words that you must steer clear of if you want to make a great first impression and land that job:

Filler Words

just, um, so, like

We ALL have trouble with filler words. If you don’t, then you’ve either trained yourself to avoid them, or you’re lying. It is simple human nature to use these when we are nervous or in a new situation. Instead of scattering these words throughout your interview, S-L-O-W-D-O-W-N. It is completely okay for you to take pauses to think or to take a deep breath and consider what you want to say next.


I’m not going to go too in-depth on this one for obvious reasons. Just think of it this way, if you’re wondering whether you should mention it or not, the answer is probably not!

Negative Words

mistakes, weaknesses, hate

Although sometimes unavoidable, negative language generally leaves a negative impression. If you spend your entire interview spewing negativities (whether valid or not), your interviewer will probably be left with a bad taste in their mouth.

Vague Words

kind of, sure, whatever

These words are what I like to call “wishy-washy.” And they can make you seem like a wishy-washy candidate. You didn’t “kind of” lead a project, you either did or you didn’t. Be sure to use specific and direct language to come across as a strong, confident candidate.


on fleek, bae, cash me ousside

I do not care what type of company you are interviewing for, or what job you may be interviewing for, PLEASE do not try to insert slang at any point in time. At best, it will be mildly irritating and at worst, it will make you look completely incompetent. Please. I’m begging you. Do NOT do this.

Unnecessary Intensifiers

very, really, extremely, absolutely

This is definitely the hardest one for me by far (see what I did there?) It can be tempting to add intensifiers to get your point across. “I worked extremely hard, it was absolutely a great turnout, I’m very punctual…”

To make sure you avoid these interview-killers, practice and slow down. The more you know your answers and elevator pitch, the less you’ll have to think on the spot. And feel free to take a moment to think about and formulate your answer to a question before diving right in! The interviewers will appreciate your thoughtfulness and I promise the “awkward silence” isn’t nearly as long or awkward as you think!

Are there any interview words or phrases that belong on this list that I missed? Comment and share!

Ask These Questions At The End Of Your Interview To Land The Job

Ever feel at the end of an interview you’ve got NOTHING left to ask because the hiring manager just killed it and covered everything you had wanted to know? Well there are a couple questions that are super versatile and you should able to use them during any interview, not matter the industry or level.

1. How did you end up at this company?

This question lets the interviewer talk about themselves for a bit. Hearing about their history can help you get to common ground and help them remember you. People like talking about themselves and rarely get to, so let them talk your ear off and it might pay off.

2. What’s the culture like here?

Getting the answer to this question helps you learn if this company is your best fit. Maybe they really value working out and have a gym in the building. Or maybe they volunteer together as a team outside of work. These are factors that wouldn’t be included on the job description but could hinder your work life if you don’t love these types of activities.

3. What is your favorite thing about working here?

Maybe you’ll learn something you had no idea about before. The answer to this question should get you excited about the company. The answer could also tell you something about the other employees. If you don’t blend well with the team, it might not be the right fit.

4. How has your position changed over the time you’ve been here?

More than likely, you won’t be in the same position the entire time you’re at one company. Just like a career, a position can change as time goes on and evolve into something different. Learning what has happened with your future boss’s position can help you see what kind of alterations the company has made within a specific amount of time.

Whether you’re a planner and you figure out which questions to ask beforehand or you are more of an “on-the-spot” person, keep list handy for your next interview!

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How You Answer This One Question Could Make or Break Your Job Interview

How You Answer This One Question Could Make Or Break Your Job Interview

“So, tell us about yourself…” This age old simple question can be the most difficult to answer, but it’s also one of the most important during a job interview. This question is asked often during interviews, or even networking events or out of the blue, so it’s important to have a clear career-related elevator pitch.

Breaking your answer into 3 parts will help you craft an organized, comprehensive, and concise response every time.

  1. Who are you?

“Hi, my name is [insert name] and I’m from [hometown].”

Here is where you could throw in any other personal information that you think is important and relevant. Keep it brief and focused. The example names your hometown because it might be something you have in common and never would have known. Finding common ground is key and sharing these small details can really be essential to successfully introducing yourself.

  1. What do you do?

“Currently I am a [position title] at [company] where I [daily activity]. Before this, I worked at [company] where I [daily activity].”

This is the part of the interview where you talk about the past and present. Always start with the present. Briefly explain your position showing that you know what you’re talking about. This makes you credible and shows why you matter within this new position/company. After covering your current life, explain what you were doing previously. If possible, highlight other relevant skills in previous positions. Most importantly in this step, be confident and sell yourself!

  1. Where are you going?

“My hope is to gain more experience in [activity] which is why I’m so excited for this opportunity to talk with you all.”

Similar to how you answer “where do you see yourself in 5 years,” be sure to close your answer by connecting to the company/position you are applying to. Explain why this skill is important to you and how it is something you are passionate about. This can be a skill you had previously and want to get back into, or something new that you’ve never tried before. Either way, it needs to be unique and meaningful to you. Let your personality shine through this last step of the job interview. The organization will notice this passion and thrive on the fact you care.

6 Essential Steps for Job Interview Preparation

What is your first step after finding out you landed that interview for your dream job? Google.

So there you go, the top steps on how to prepare for an interview, right? While this list can be helpful, it doesn’t expand much on what to do. Let’s dive deeper into what to do when preparing for an interview.

1. Research the organization

This step is crucial because as a future employee (positive thinking!) you need to get as much background information you can. Yes, Google is a good place to start, but go a step further and find their website, check the mission statement and values. Make sure you know something about the culture and not just what the company does. If the company has social media check that out— typically social media holds more recent information.

Also during this step, prepare questions to ask the hiring manager or recruiter. There will ALWAYS be time for a question from the interviewee, if you don’t have one, this shows you didn’t prepare like you were going to receive the position. There is no way the recruiter covered all the information you need to know about the company or position to the fullest.

2. Compare your skills and qualifications to the job requirements

Look at the job description and figure out what qualities you possess that will help you during the interview. Additionally, figure out which skills you might not have in your tool box – prepare to be asked for both highs and lows. Figure out the strengths and weaknesses you have for the position before the interview, making sure you’re aware of what you might be questioned about.

3. Prepare Responses

So far you have *hopefully* planned questions to ask the recruiter and figured out what strengths and weakness you have for this position. Now think about what matters to the employer and try to figure out what types of questions you might be asked. There are the typical ones like “tell me about yourself” which is answered with an elevator pitch, a short one minute answer covering your career story. There also will be questions like “tell us about a time you had a difficult experience with a coworker” and “how did you hear about us?” These are all common questions that generally come up in interviews. Outside of the typical questions, each interview has job-specific questions which are really the nuts and bolts of the job. The recruiter is trying to figure out if you have what it takes for this job.

4. Plan what to wear

Of course, this is critical for interview preparation. No one wants to experience that last-minute panic when those black blazer pants are in the wash and you forgot! Everyone has one outfit they love interviewing in because it makes them feel good. ALWAYS have a backup! Here are the basic tips and tricks for an interview outfit

Dress to Impress - Job Interview Prep

5. Plan what to bring

Prepare a bag or briefcase to bring to the interview. Make sure to have everything in it. Pen, paper, the questions you’ve prepared, resume, cover letter (if needed), references, etc. Putting all documents in one folder looks very professional and shows the recruiter you’re organized. Just make sure everything fits in the bag nice and neat.

6. Follow Up

This seems so straight forward, yet very few individuals follow through with it. This could be a message on LinkedIn thanking the member of the organization you spoke to, or a quick email to your contact at the company. It’s the experience that counts, you learn something from every experience and individual you speak with. Where previously a handwritten note was the best way to thank someone, it’s not realistic in this day and age. If you’re going to do a handwritten note, make sure you also send an email to keep your name in the forefront of the recruiter’s mind. These notes show you really do care about the company and want to express your real passion for the position.