10 COMMONLY ASKED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Your resume impressed the managers and now you’re scheduled to return for an interview. Reviewing commonly asked questions promotes confidence and assurance when interviewing. Be prepared to give proficient and well thought-out answers, highlighting skills that match the job position. Allow room for creativity, knowing you may be asked more questions than expected. After reading the questions below, I invite you to rehearse with family and friends until you are confident for your big day.

10 COMMONLY ASKED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

1.  What are your career goals in the upcoming years?

The idea is to share a career goal(s), and the steps your taking in achieving them. Having long-term and short-term goals, paints a picture of your aspirations and professional ambitions. Companies like individuals who are motivated and goal oriented, who are an asset to their team.

2. Did your previous employer have any areas that needed improvement? 

The focus is the ability to identify potential problems, offer innovative strategies, and implement new solutions accordingly. This is a great opportunity to highlight your leadership skills, as well as ideas that were successful for you in the past.

3.  Can you describe a situation that was challenging, and explain how did you handle it?

Discrepancies are bound to occur, yet how we handle the issue makes all the difference. Think outside the box and get creative when pondering different resolutions. Perhaps you can share of a scenario when you went beyond your job duties to assist a client who was upset with the information he received. You gathered additional resources, made phone calls, printed reference articles for the client. The client was pleased with your service and decided to purchase another product. This scenario shows flexibility, dedication, and leadership skills in part of the employee.

4.  What are looking to gain from our company?

This is a tricky question. Don’t want to focus on pay, but rather mention other positive attributes of the company such longevity and opportunities for growth. Be open and express some qualities you see would be beneficial for working in such an organization. 

5.  What are your strengths related to this position?

The employer wants to know what you have to offer. Why they should choose you over the other candidates? Review the job description, and mention keywords that match your skills and abilities.  Highlight on attributes you possess which pertain to the position at hand. For example, if you are applying for a customer service role, mention you have great people and team player skills. Sharing previous work history, internships, and credentials is also a plus.

6.  What are some areas you are looking to improve?

My recommendation is to share an attribute that can be tolerated by colleagues. These should be traits which can be overlooked. For example, you may need to become more proficient in another language (e.g. French or Spanish), would like to master a software program (e.g. Excel; that is if you are not applying for a computer position), or would like to make time for hobbies, etc.

7.  Why are you leaving your current employer?

The company is curious as to why you chose to resign from your previous employer. If it’s related to pay the manager may question commitment, and longevity from your behalf. Other alternatives to mention include lack of benefits from your previous employer, and the financial security of having a full-time employment opportunity.

8.  What interests you in applying for this position?

In other words, why did you choose this company from other employment opportunities? This is a great time to express your passions in the job role, and qualities that make you the perfect fit for the job role. Be specific by stating features that made this company stand out from the rest. For example, the length of time the company has been in business, or the professional assistance you’ve received from day one when you submitted an application.

9.  Are you willing to relocate if needed?

It’s important to show flexibility and openness to change. This may never be required by the employer, but it provides a clue on how the individual responds to change. Be honest and share your limitations. Perhaps you are flexible and willing to relocate, yet only within the same state or county. Most companies will value your desire for a fair compromise, and put into account your honest response.

10. Do you have any questions for me? Be prepared to ask questions. This shows eagerness and interest in part of the potential candidate, to learn more about the company. Also, it speaks your standards in selecting a stable occupation, and our professional confidence when considering a position. This is a good time to inquire on company benefits, scheduling, and job expectations.

These are the top ten commonly asked interview questions. There may be lots more, so be prepared! I encourage you practice answering these questions over and over agin, until you feel confident for your interview. Wishing all the best on your big day!

HOW TO CREATE AN ACTION PLAN FOR YOUR DREAM JOB.

You’re ready for the job market with a professional resume on hand and a list of potential employers. Having an internal drive launches employment opportunities, yet for optimal possibilities preparation and planning is paramount. Why settle for the first job offer, when you can attain the position of your dreams? Landing the ideal occupation is reachable with determination and adequate career planning. 

Here is a 7-Step Action Plan to Landing Your Dream Job:

1. Join meet-ups, professional groups, and related organizations with topics and activities surrounding your occupational field. For example, if you’re seeking an educator position connect with other teachers, tutors, coaches, leaders, and speakers in groups and community meetings. 

2. Create a blueprint outlining your occupational goals for the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Mapping out short and long-term goals allows for adequate planning with a step-by-step approach in accomplishing each milestone. Don’t limit your creativity. Build a picture board, design a career graph, develop a career scrapbook, or start a professional portfolio. The idea is to inspire creativity, define goals, and develop attainable milestones to land your dream job.

3. Attend job fairs and career workshops in your area. Step into the work field examining opportunities, career demands, and job offers. Job fairs offer vast resources in addition to employment opportunities such as business networking, research, volunteer positions, invites to upcoming events, and more.

4. Take time to learn companies of interest. Learn the organization’s mission, history, purpose, and accomplishments. This offers valuable company data that can be shared during the interview process. Researching the company shows interest and seriousness in part of the job seeker, and also allows the individual to determine if this company is truly a good fit for his/her personal career goals.

5. Be open to the possibility of other related jobs. Certain milestones, work experience, and credentials may be required before the opportunity opens to land the job of your dreams. In such instances individuals can seek employment in related fields, serving as a springboard to other career goals. For instance, if you lack credentials for a management position search for employment opportunities that embrace like skills such as leadership, guidance, coordinating, directing, and other administrative roles.

6. Read journals, news articles, periodicals, magazines and other educational materials in your occupational niche.  Staying current with the latest technology and advances in your job field is crucial for employment and for optimal work performance. This is particularly important for individuals who have been out of the workforce for some time. The employee’s ability to stay relevant and well informed in the latest career and technological advances gains confidence with employers and other professional’s leaders.   

7. Connect with individuals who share common job interests and goals. Meeting others in work-related fields welcomes opportunities, potential jobs, promotions, career tips, and professional guidance.

TIPS WHEN SEEKING WORK OPPORTUNITIES THAT OFFER JOB GROWTH

If you are seeking stable employment in a company that offers career growth, then this is a must read for you! When looking for a job it’s important to interview and evaluate potential employers. Yes, the company is making an investment in hiring you, but you are also contributing time and energy into the company. In the like manner jobseekers should inquire about opportunities that enhance professional growth.

When seeking employment it’s key to determine your career goals and aspirations. If you are looking expand in your profession, then it’s crucial to communicate such aspirations with potential employers. Inquire about available job promotions as you gain seniority with the company. Doing so provides insight into professional ambitions and seriousness in growing with the company. Below are sample questions to consider when selecting jobs that offer growth potentials.

QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS:

1. Are promotions available as I expand my skills on the job?

2. Is there growth potential in different departments of the company?

3. How often does the company evaluate employee performance?

4. If given the opportunity can employees expand in his or her job roles?

5. Can employees request transfers if a promotion is available at another location?

6. What are the requirements to be considered for a leadership position?

7. Is there a website were I can research your employee benefits and growth opportunities?

TIPS FOR JOBSEEKERS WITH DISABILITIES SEEKING EMPLOYMENT

Pursuing employment can be quite intense as jobseekers prepare to highlight occupational skills and potentials that supersede those of other applicants. The job search requires thorough preparation such as proper attire, anticipating interview questions, and doing researching on the company and/or leadership team. People with disabilities may face other challenges along with the normal stressors involved in seeking work. Unfortunately there are instances were employers stereotype people with disabilities, making it difficult for some individuals to find fulfilling jobs. As a result some people prefer not to share their disabilities for fear of humiliation or disqualifications of potential job openings. Sadly such individuals are deprived from the deserved opportunity to share his or her given potential in the workplace.

The United States Department of Labor defines The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) as follows; “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. The ADA also establishes requirements for telecommunications relay services.” Employers cannot discriminate when providing employee trainings, promotions, or benefits. Also, upon hire employers must provide suitable accommodations for people with disabilities to meet job requirements. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advises jobseekers to determine if job duties can be performed with adequate employer accommodations when seeking employment. Doing so decreases the burden of applying to numerous jobs and ensures protection under the ADA.

The EEOC comments further on how the ADA defines disability noting:

To be protected under the ADA, you must have, have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial, as opposed to a minor, impairment. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working.

TIPS FOR JOBSEEKERS WITH DISABILITIES SEEKING EMPLOYMENT:

1. Research your employment rights. The EEOC and The United States Department of Labor offer resourceful information on ADA and related topics.

2. Partner with organizations in your area for employment opportunities and other available services for people with disabilities.

3. Focus on your strengths. We each have unique skills and abilities to share with others. Highlight individual skills and qualities that will be of positive contribution to the related job position. For instance: “I am excited to apply for the administrative assistance position. I feel confident in my potential to not only meet but also exceed company expectations. I am great with people skills and love to help others.” If the opportunity allows you can share your vision and potentials with the interviewer.

4. Work with a human resource or staffing personnel who can provide sound guidance and assistance throughout the hiring process. Staffing professionals are experienced in the field and can assist with resume tips and interview preparation. Human resource personnel can also suggest how, when, and to whom to address personal accommodations and disability questions.

5. Never feel inferior to other applicants. Career success is highly influenced by our mental attitude to follow through goals and aspirations with confidence. You know your individual strengths better than anyone else. Tap into your personal gifts and talents, seeking employment opportunities that align with your skills, abilities, and career goals.

HOW TO STAY CALM & COLLECTED ON YOUR FIRST DAY OF WORK

The first day on your new job has arrived! You’re anxious, scared, and intimidated by more experienced employees. Everyone knows you’re a new graduate and the look of fear on your face clearly spells out “rookie”. There are ways to create an atmosphere that promotes business relationships and a positive first impression. Yes, even if you are fresh out of graduate school!

STRATEGIES TO STAY CALM & COLLECTED ON YOUR FIRST DAY OF WORK:

1. Keep your cool. Literally. No one likes to share an office with a sweaty and stinky co-worker. Although it may be nerve wrecking to start the “job of your dreams”, anticipate all possible scenarios by selecting comfortable and airy attire that fits your job position. This will keep you looking and feeling fresh.

2. Maintain your confidence. There are many employees, which can attest that longevity doesn’t always amount to a qualified employee or to better work performance.  There are new hires including graduates, which are just as skilled and perform better on the job than employees with seniority. Be confident in yourskills and area of expertise, knowing you have much to contribute to the company.

3. Don’t be intimidated to ask questions. Many times new employees want to be self-sufficient from day one, with the idea of not burdening others or delaying the work flow. In all truth, everyone expects new hires to have lots of questions and to go through a period of training. During this time mistakes may occur, but they can serve as a springboard for future success.  I’m not referring to negligence or lack of professional conduct, but rather to a general expectation that new hires are in a process of learning and becoming acquainted with the workplace.

4. Familiarize yourself with the work environment. Arrive a few minutes early and get acquainted with the work setting. For example, locate emergency exits, restrooms, employee lounge, meeting rooms, storage rooms, and employee login area. Becoming acquainted with your job setting is one less stressor that can be addressed early on in your work day. Some employees are privileged to attend orientation prior to the first day of work, yet regardless all employees can arrive a few minutes early and explore the environment.

5.  Greet everyone with a friendly attitude. For the most part people like the company of other positive individuals. There’s a lot to learn and mentally digest on the first day of work, and there may be little time left to interact with co-workers. Break time is a great opportunity to become acquainted with other employees in your workplace. 

Wishing you much success on your first day of work!

MOTIVATING FACTORS FOR MILLENNIALS IN THE WORKFORCE 

A large influx of millennials are continuously entering the workforce. Many of which are ambitious for success and eager to venture into new career opportunities. What inspires millennials in the job market? Does Generation Y have different career expectations than baby boomers or previous generations?

These young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s are finding creative ways of increasing profit, productivity, and yielding optimal results with limited resources and time. Many employers are cognitive of these positive contributions shifting to a more flexible and accommodating work cultures. With the growing population of millennials in the job market it’s crucial for leaders to understand what inspires potential employees.

WHAT ARE MILLENNIALS SEEKING IN THE JOB MARKET?

An incentive for many young professionals is flexibility and job culture.  According to a study conducted by PWC, 59% of millennials search for employers whose social responsibilities values align with his or her own, and over 30% anticipate flexible work hours. When asked what makes an organization attractive, 52% millennials responded opportunities for career growth.

DOES GENERATION Y DIFFER IN JOB VALUES FROM PREVIOUS GENERATIONS? 

With advances in technology and high demands for quick turnaround, it’s no surprise young professionals often seek career flexibility over predictability and longevity. Many employers are cognitive of the benefits in moving away from traditional work modalities to more flexible options that attract new hires. Surprisingly, only 8% of millennials valued diversity and equal work opportunities. Also, employer reputation is not as prized as once was in previous generations.

DOES SALARY MOTIVATE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS? 

Millennials value career fulfillment over higher pay. PWC documents 32% of millennials were willing to accept lower salaries, while only 14% were take positions outside their job roles. Although pay is an incentive in attracting millennials, job fulfilment and flexibility are taking lead. 

For more stats on millennials and the workforce visit PWC.

HOW TO EXPLAIN EMPLOYMENT GAPS DURING AN INTERVIEW

At times life circumstances cause longer than expected periods of unemployment. Extended time off from work raises questions for hiring mangers and human resource personnel considering potential jobseekers. Most employers understand career detours occur, yet how time is managed during such situations can greatly influence new job opportunities. Instead of contemplating long periods of unemployment, elaborate on knowledge and skills acquired during time off from work leading to greater career achievements. 

HOW TO EXPLAIN EMPLOYMENT GAPS DURING AN INTERVIEW:

Employment gaps may result from family or personal emergencies, changes in careers, continuing education requirements, a residential move, and others. What is done during extended periods without a job is what most employers seek to explore. You may be asked what resulted in long periods of unemployment, or to explain large gaps in your employment history. The key is to highlight steps taken that enhanced your career and professional goals. You may want to mention educational and technical courses, internships, and other accomplishments done during this period. Other things to mention are projects and career groups with other professionals in your field. Share efforts and steps taken for occupational achievements even while unemployed. Doing so shows career dedication, motivation, character, and creative thinking. 

What might seem like a weakness can turnout to be a strength when presented in a professional manner. Situations arise causing changes in career plans. Be descriptive when asked to explain employment gaps, elaborating on conscious efforts that resulted in optimal career enhancements. Share career goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them. Having long-term and short-term goals paints a picture of your professional dreams and aspirations. Most companies are inspired by motivated and goal oriented jobseekers. Rather than delving on the negatives and what lead to periods of unemployment, draw attention to the multiple accomplishments that resulted in career achievements and new professional opportunities.

WORK OPTIONS FOR JOBSEEKERS WHO ENJOY TRAVELING

If working long hours behind a desk brings boredom and dread, then this article is a must-read! There are vast occupations to consider for the more adventurous jobseekers! Travel jobs for one are gaining much popularity as workers shift from traditional to more adaptable employment options. If you’re seeking flexibility and professional growth, get ready to explore the world with these exciting career opportunities!

WORK OPTIONS FOR JOBSEEKERS WHO ENJOY TRAVELING:

Photographers: Weddings, graduations, family reunions, and other significant events call for professional photographers to capture special moments. Skilled photographers are hired from across the globe and often are compensated for travel expenses as well.

Business Consulting: Organizations hire business consultants for professional guidance and strategic planning. Consultants often travel when meeting with current or prospective clients, and when mapping out business goals and other important projects.

Sales Representatives: Depending on the employer, sales representatives may commute locally or travel to other states and countries. This is a great occupation for individuals who enjoy sales, social interactions, and exploring new places. sentatives, hospitality, and others.

Cruise Line Jobs: Cruise jobs provide the luxury of free travel, complimentary meals, and other accommodations while being compensated for your work. Jobs include chefs, servers, clerks, customer service representatives, hospitality, and others. 

Travel Nursing: For individual’s who crave new surroundings and have a passion for medicine, travel nursing is an expanding career to consider. Travel nurses have the opportunity of experiencing different places in the world, and are often provide competitive pay with all-inclusive travel accommodations.

Flight Attendants: For true explorers flying and getting paid are the best of both worlds! Flight attendants are also given employee incentives like free personal flights, employee travel accommodations, and adaptable work schedules.

Freelance Writers: Content writers have the flexibility of working remotely from anywhere in the world. With electronic devices and internet access, there is no stopping these creative writers! Jobs include blogging, editorial positions, print and online content writing, and others.

Web Developers and Graphic Designers: Website developers and graphic designers often work from home or other preferred work settings. Creating a unique workspace that sparks concentration and creativity is key for these artists when designing or web coding.

HOW TO STAY CALM & COLLECTED ON YOUR FIRST DAY OF WORK

The first day on your new job has arrived! You’re anxious, scared, and intimidated by more experienced employees. Everyone knows you’re a new graduate and the look of fear on your face clearly spells out “rookie”. There are ways to create an atmosphere that promotes business relationships and a positive first impression. Yes, even if you are fresh out of graduate school!

STRATEGIES TO STAY CALM & COLLECTED ON YOUR FIRST DAY OF WORK:

1. Keep your cool. Literally. No one likes to share an office with a sweaty and stinky co-worker. Although it may be nerve wrecking to start the “job of your dreams”, anticipate all possible scenarios by selecting comfortable and airy attire that fits your job position. This will keep you looking and feeling fresh.

2. Maintain your confidence. There are many employees, which can attest that longevity doesn’t always amount to a qualified employee or to better work performance.  There are new hires including graduates, which are just as skilled and perform better on the job than employees with seniority. Be confident in yourskills and area of expertise, knowing you have much to contribute to the company.

3. Don’t be intimidated to ask questions. Many times new employees want to be self-sufficient from day one, with the idea of not burdening others or delaying the work flow. In all truth, everyone expects new hires to have lots of questions and to go through a period of training. During this time mistakes may occur, but they can serve as a springboard for future success.  I’m not referring to negligence or lack of professional conduct, but rather to a general expectation that new hires are in a process of learning and becoming acquainted with the workplace.

4. Familiarize yourself with the work environment. Arrive a few minutes early and get acquainted with the work setting. For example, locate emergency exits, restrooms, employee lounge, meeting rooms, storage rooms, and employee login area. Becoming acquainted with your job setting is one less stressor that can be addressed early on in your work day. Some employees are privileged to attend orientation prior to the first day of work, yet regardless all employees can arrive a few minutes early and explore the environment.

5.  Greet everyone with a friendly attitude. For the most part people like the company of other positive individuals. There’s a lot to learn and mentally digest on the first day of work, and there may be little time left to interact with co-workers. Break time is a great opportunity to become acquainted with other employees in your workplace. 

Wishing you much success on your first day of work! 

CONSIDERING RETIREMENT? HERE ARE THE TOP FIVE PLACES TO RETIRE!

You worked diligently for years investing in an occupation or career of choice. Perhaps you’re years away from retirement, or a few months before the clock ticks and it’s time to retire. For most of us, it’s time to start planning for life after our working years! Ideally, retirement planning should begin early in your career. Financial advisors and career coaches can assist with various aspects of retirement.

TOP FIVE PLACES TO RETIRE:

A good starting point is researching different cities that capture your interest. Bankrate outlines the top five best states to retire: Wyoming first place, Colorado second place, Utah third place, Virginia fourth place, and Iowa fifth place. You may wonder, what are the worst places to retire? According to Bankrate, New York and Arkansas would be the worst places to retire, with Arkansas coming in last place.

CBS News outlines the top best places to retire sharing, describing how Wyoming offers many benefits to residents like low cost of living, low crime rate, and light tax burden. Colorado is also top in the list with many positive attributes. CBS News states, “Colorado has several things going for it lately. It’s unemployment rate is lower and its population is more educated than the national average.” Third but not last is Utah, which is known for it’s beautiful mountains and rivers. Many young families are growing found of this state, with 29.7 as the median age. In addition to delicious potatoes, Idaho has much to offer residents. Idaho has the incentive of low cost of living with beautiful nature sights. CBS News notes $176,010 as the median home sale price in Idaho. Lastly, Virginia – the state that offers the best of all worldswith the experience of four-seasons and tolerable climate changes. CBS News shares how cities in Virginia, like Williamsburg, provide a beautiful blend of history and modern culture.

Retirement planning takes time and preparation. It involves goal setting, research, and financial investments. A good place of inspiration is researching different states or countries that interest you. Consider your budget, retirement timeframe, deadlines, support systems, and personal preferences.  Planning for your retirement can be exciting! Outline the top five places that best suit your personal goals and retirement setting.