Saturday, March 10, 2012

How do you handle conflict?

This is something that you'd better have a good answer for as this one will sink you very quickly if you aren't careful. In my case, being in customer service, it is expected that I don't have any issues with fellow employees. It also wouldn't be a good thing to call attention to the fact I yelled at a customer at some time in the past at a previous job. You're expected in customer service positions to get along with everyone that you meet wherever you are. This would include retail, call center and any other position that you interact directly with the public. For most other positions you should probably answer this in such a way that you attempt to discuss it with the individual quietly.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Why do you want to work here?

This is an important question and it's one that in some form is asked at just about every interview. You need to have an appropriate answer ready, preferably you'll have a story that will demonstrate what you are stating. Answering it (like I had many years ago) with “well, I need a paycheck will probably not be successful and so you've wasted your time. Personally, I don't like wasting my time. Also, answers like “I need a job” won't work very well either. They know both of these so you're just stating the obvious, that's the same reasons your interviewer originally applied there. Even if it is rather hokey state something along the lines of “so I can't improve my skill-set further”. If you use this answer be prepared to have a story ready where you did just that at some point in the past.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The interviewer is not your friend

Always keep in mind that an interviewer is looking for a reason not to hire you. They will ask you questions that they are hoping you'll fail at. Because of that you need to be prepared ahead of time, the better prepared you are the better you will do. There is no way around this, always be prepared. Interview yourself in front of mirrors, perform mock interviews, study interview questions. In the coming weeks I'll be sharing possible interview questions in this blog.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Age bias

I've been reading some things recently and the last few years where age bias in hiring is a concern. This is something that is understandable for me as I am over 45 now and headed towards 50. Personally, I haven't found it to be much of an issue, I have a lot of experience to offer to an employer. Having a large variety of experience is an excellent asset to have in any job hunt. You just have to make sure you are offering what the new employer is looking for. Obviously I wouldn't be offering my carpentry or roofing experience to a call center per se. As the job market improves during this year age will become less and less of an issue.
The other side of the age issue is the very young, the ones wishing to become new employees. This is something that is much more difficult to do something about. A lot of managers look at someone that is very young as someone that will have to be trained. Training costs money which is bad for the bottom line. Since an older worker doesn't require as much training in a managers mind it isn't as much of an issue. I wish I had a bit more hope to impart for young prospective candidates. My advice? Try to show everything that you can as experience. Think about the times you communicated well with others on errands. Let's say you helped paint the house, be prepared to talk about it and offer what an employer is looking for.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Highlighting skills

Take your time while writing your resume, take a lot of time in fact. It is your advertisement, it's what gets you in the door for an interview. You want to make sure pertinent information is immediately available to your reader. Depending on the skill quite often I use bullet points to highlight something like Microsoft Word or Excel. Usually, I will include that specific skill in the first section of my resume. This is something I want them to notice right away especially at call centers. This was successful as it helped me to get a lot of interviews with numerous companies. It also directed some of the interview questions that was asked. This is definitely something you want to happen. When you direct the questions being asked it's so much easier to prepare for the interview. You're now down to coming up with a single answer to rehearse for that question you already know will be asked.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Keeping your job

If you have a job now you should probably keep it. I do understand that you might want to change jobs because you don't like your job. It's also understandable that you might want to make more money. There's a couple of reasons to stay. One, this year many will get raises in their present job of which I did get a raise a few weeks ago. Two, there is a decrease in the amount of companies that will hire you if you're unemployed. Three, you're still getting a paycheck which in my opinion is better than not getting a paycheck. Four, it's easier to find a new position if you are employed. Five, your could possibly cost yourself all unemployment if you present employer shows you were fired for cause.
What I recommend doing is that you keep your job and begin searching selectively for a new position. Don't just apply to every position, make sure you fit 80-90% of the job requirements before you apply. By doing that you've eliminated most of the reasons to not select you. DON'T let anyone at your present employer know that you are looking if you can help it. Looking for another job is one of the reasons for people being fired the last three and a half years. You don't want that to happen to you also. Make sure your resume, cover letters and profiles are up to date and posted online.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Man in the mirror

What is your mental image of yourself? Are you confident in your abilities? Are you confident you can succeed. On the last two the answer needs to be yes for the best results. For the first one, take a look in the mirror at the image that looks back. Does it project that confidence? If not you need to learn how to at least act like you are confident for the best chances. If you can look truly convincing to yourself you've probably got a great shot at what you're trying to do. After a while once you start acting confident you will feel the confidence you need to show.

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