Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Interviewing can be the most stressful aspect of the job search process, but it doesn’t have to be! Here’s a quick checklist of the most important Do’s and Don’ts to be aware of before going in for your next interview.

Do:

Research the company
Come to the interview with a prepared list of questions tailored specifically to the company and position. This will communicate your interest and make you stand apart from applicants asking more general questions.

Re-read job description
Adapt the verbs and strengths used in the job description to fit answers that may apply to your previous experience and qualifications.

Use the STAR method
The easiest way to remember how to respond to situational interview questions is to use the STAR method, which stands for: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. You can begin to use this method for your answers by first explaining the context of the overall Situation. Then you’d move on to describe the issues of the Task at hand, and what specific Actions you took to solve it. And lastly, detail what you learned from the end Result.

Don’t:

Be negative
It’s okay to explain the certain challenges of a past position and what you’ve learned from those experiences, but speaking poorly about a company or an old boss will only reflect badly on yourself. Keep all your answers in a positive light.

Fumble on responses
Rather than using filler words such as “um” or “uh” before responding to a question, it’s perfectly acceptable to say “let me think about that,” and collect your thoughts before beginning to speak. This will convey your confidence and ability think strategically in the moment.

Forget about body language
First impressions matter. So it’s paramount that you remember to make eye-contact and smile when first shaking hands with your interviewer. Furthermore, avoid crossing your arms, slouching, or nervously touching your hands or face throughout the interview as these movements can show lack of seriousness or relay nervousness.

For more tips and tricks feel free to check out our blog and to search for job opportunities, visit our website!

The Perfect Time To Change Your Strategy!

 

Fall is a time for change, and maybe the change that you’re ready to make is a career change! Changing your career can be rewarding and an opportunity for you to grow both personally and professionally. If you’re entering into the job search, The Wilson Group has plenty to offer that can benefit you and help you land the job of your dreams.

Resume Refresher: Resume styles and writing techniques are constantly evolving – that’s where we come in! We take your existing resume and “refresh” it. We update it utilizing the latest formats and key phrases/words that will impress employers. More importantly, we have unlocked the secret to successfully applying online. We will train you on applying online and getting your resume into the hiring authorities hands. If your current resume isn’t working for you, let us make it a winner!

One-on-One Interview Coaching: Interviewing is an art – make sure you’re fully prepared! Let the experts help you perfect your interviewing skills. Each session is 1 hour in length and covers common questions and job-winning answers that will help you be your best. Also, the session include the top 10 reasons people fail in interviews and how to avoid the pitfalls!

Career Coaching: Meeting with a career coach can help you develop a plan of action before you change careers. We can help identify your strengths and outline a career path for you. We want you to have confidence in the road ahead – let us guide you!

Between our resume refresher, interview coaching, and career coaching, we set you up to succeed. It’s our goal to help you land an amazing job where you can flourish. Check out our website or call us at (361) 883-3535 to begin your road to success!

Staying Strong During the Job Search

 

Finding a job can be a difficult process and often involve a lot of time revising your resume, updating social media platforms, reaching out to people and waiting to hear back from employers. It may not be easy but the hard work will be worth it when you find a job! In the meantime, take a look at these tips to stay strong during the job search.

Stay Positive
Positivity is one of the most important things to have during your job search. Although you will probably have some good and bad days, do your best to stay confident in yourself and your abilities. Write notes on your mirror, reflect on successful experiences in the past and look for various opportunities for the future. Creating a schedule can also help you stay focused and positive about your job search efforts. Don’t lose sight of all you have achieved and the hard work you have put in to get you where you are today, you can do this!

Use your Connections
While it is always good to constantly build connections it is also important to use them. Connect with your previous employers and professionals in your industry and see if there are any positions available at their company or another company they know. LinkedIn is also a good way to look at your connections, research companies and job opportunities.

Refresh and Refuel
Don’t forget to take breaks too, it is important to refuel and give your mind and body a chance to be refreshed. So, go for a walk, join a yoga class, and eat healthy, all of these things can help stimulate your mind and make you feel your best. Also, make plans with friends because even if they have jobs it will be a good opportunity for you to feel connected and maybe they know about a job opportunity!

Stay Plugged In
Industries are constantly evolving and it is beneficial to stay updated on new advancements. Follow industry profiles and influential users on social media platforms and research news in your industry. Also, try to incorporate your knowledge into your next interview to show employers your passion for the industry and dedication for the future.

Take these tips and put them to them into practice to help better your job search. You can do this and TWG is also here to assist you. Contact us at (361) 883-3535 and look at our website for more information on job opportunities and how TWG can help you find a job!

The Top 10 Worst Interview Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making

Let’s cut to the chase: Interviews are hard. Trying to explain all of your life’s achievements in an hour while still trying to make yourself seem like an enjoyable person is difficult.There are probably many tips you have been given about interviews. How to prepare, how to dress, what to say and how to answer the “describe yourself” question are probably obvious at this point. But what about the less obvious flaws in your interview? What about the mistakes you don’t even know you’re making? Well we’re here to help. Here are the top 10 mistakes that you don’t even realize you might be making.

1. Checking your phone
Now this might seem obvious. Nobody wants to hire someone that cannot be bothered to stop texting during an interview. But most graduates of today use their smartphones for more than just texting or calling. You might be sitting in an interview and wonder what time it is. Many go straight for their phones, look at the time on the screen and put their phones back before they’ve even realized they’ve done it. The employer could find this unprofessional or uncaring.
2. Being too “professional”
If you are trying to be on your very best behavior, there’s a chance you could come off too cold and clinical. You need to make sure that you are being positive and acting like your normal self. Acting mostly professional might help you look good in an interview but your potential employer is also looking for someone that would work well with their company culture. They are looking for someone that coworkers would get along with and someone who fits in with their environment.
3. Vocal disfluencies
Vocal disfluencies include using like, um, huh, urm, uh and well, regularly in their speech. These disfluencies might make you look unprepared or nervous. Also watch your speech patterns if you often make every sentence end as if it were a question, speaking too fast or are speaking in other unprofessional manners, you could lose your chance at the position.
4. Too generic
After going to too many interviews, the positions might start sounding the same. You start going in expecting the same questions about the same topics and feel fully prepared to go into each similar interview. This is a problem because businesses expect you to know about their company. If you aren’t able to ask specific questions to their company or pick up on their company culture, they might see it as disinterest. Nobody wants to hire someone who just wants a job. They want to hire someone that likes their industry, their company and gets excited about this opportunity.
5. Negativity
Nobody wants to hear about other people’s drama. If you had a problem with a previous coworker, boss, or professor, keep it to yourself. Talking badly about others make you look unprofessional. Try to speak as positively as you can and move forward in the conversation. Plus an employer would think if you speak badly about a previous boss, there’s nothing to keep you from speaking poorly about them.
6. Using scholastic achievement in place of experience
Now this is what nobody in your high school or college wanted you to know. Businesses take your scholastic achievement seriously. If you did well in school, it shows you have many great skills to put forward. The issue is when you try to make school or extracurricular activities look like experience. It might be great if you were part of an organization that taught you leadership skills, volunteering for a cause and teamwork, but those are skills and do not necessarily take the place of time spent in any corporate environment. If you have never spent time in the industry, it is usually better to be straightforward about your lack of experience. Trying to place your skills that you learned in another environment makes you look even less prepared for the job at hand.
7. Saying you have other offers
The company that hires you wants to be your first choice. Telling them you have other offers might create a feeling of unease. If they interview someone after you who really wants to work with them, they might assume that the next interviewer cares more or has a more likelihood of taking their offer. You should also keep salary concerns to yourself in the first interview. If the company asks you about what you want for your salary, you can politely say that you’d rather not answer the question. Your salary is your business.
8. Not asking questions
If you are asked at the end of your interview if you have any other questions, you should. It makes you look unprepared or uninterested if you don’t have any questions to ask the interviewer. Ask about what a normal day looks like in the position or what some major goals are for the position at hand. You could even say that you can’t think of questions right now, but might have some later and ask whom you should contact.
9. The dreaded question
As the interview is ending and your interviewer asks if you have any other questions. The worst answer you can give is: “Is there any reason you wouldn’t hire me?” This is problematic because it puts the interviewer on the spot asking if you have the position, where it might not be their place to tell you. It makes them uncomfortable and will likely not get you a critical answer.
10. Not saying thank you.
If you don’t make a conscious effort to thank your interviewer after the interviewer, you might miss your chance. Make sure that you shake your interviewer’s hand after the interview and say “Thank you for your consideration” or “Thank you for your time”. You should also write a follow up thank you note. Depending on the company’s culture, this could either be a handwritten note put into the mail or a personalized email that you send shortly after the interview.

For other interview questions and tips, visit our blog!

Interviews and In-Laws

In life there are many instances that you want to present yourself as a competent, intelligent, and well-rounded person. Let’s face it we are not always perfect, however, there are two important times in your life that you must strive to be the best you can be: job interviewing, and meeting the in-laws for the first time. These seemingly opposite experiences actually have a lot in common.

Dress to Impress:
When meeting your in laws for the first time you want to make a good impression, so this means looking respectful. A job interview in similar in this way because the first thing an interviewer will notice about you is if you are dressed appropriately. In both circumstances you want to look nice, but you also want to be comfortable and still be yourself. When interviewing make sure your clothes fit the culture of where you’re applying. For example, if you are applying for a fun creative firm, dress the part, don’t wear a stuffy black suite with a white button up blouse. While on the other hand, if you are applying to a more conservative corporate business firm, then maybe that black suit is the best choice.

Posture & Poise:
In both circumstances it is important to focus on your non-verbal behavior. This means being mindful of facial expressions, hand gestures, and posture. Smile, sit up straight, and maintain eye contact. In both instances the person you are wanting to impress is making sure you are a good fit, whether that means a good fit for their son/daughter, or the job position you are seeking. Non-verbals often reveal the truth about how you feel more than verbal behavior because non-verbals are more difficult to control. Even though you may not like something about what the interviewer says, makes sure that negative expression does not accidentally slip across your face.

Be Grateful:
Even though this may not be your dream job, or those in-laws are not your favorite people in the world, you still need to be grateful of their time. Being grateful in an interview is crucial! Show that you want to be there, and thank them when you shake their hand and walk out the door. It is also important that you follow up after the interview and send them a thank you note, or email, saying how grateful you are for their time, and for getting to know them and the company better.

For more interviewing tips, visit our website.

Interviewing: A Three Step Process

You finally landed an interview for your dream job, now what? The proper interviewing technique can be broken up into a three step process: preparation, presentation, and pursue. Each step is a key ingredient in the recipe for success.

Step One: Preparation:
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is going into an interview unprepared. Know as much as you can about the company, your interviewer, and the position you are applying for. During the interview you will be tested on your knowledge of these subjects, so expect questions such as, “What do you know about our company?” “Tell me why you would be a good fit for this position specifically,” and “How do you see yourself fitting into the company?” If you don’t prepare for your interview, these questions will be almost impossible to answer, and not only does it show you did not prepare, it also seems as though you don’t really care, or you don’t really want the job. During this step, you should research as much as you can about the company, practice interview questions, have two or three intelligent questions to ask your interviewer, and have a professional outfit selected.

Step Two: Presentation:
The time has come, and it’s time for you to present your best self. The key to succeeding in this step is to stay relaxed and be confident! All of that built up anxiety and anticipation will only hold you back if you allow it to. The first component of being successful in this step is the handshake. Make sure it’s a firm handshake, you make eye contact, and don’t forget to smile! When the interviewer is asking questions make sure to sit up straight, maintain eye contact, and speak clearly. If you get stuck on a question, don’t be afraid to pause for a second and collect your thoughts. It is much more impressive to an interviewer that you carefully choose your words, than ramble off the first thing that pops into your head. Finally, don’t forget to ask questions at the end of the interview when you are prompted to. You can even write down a few beforehand, so you don’t forget in the heat of the moment.

Step Three: Pursue
This final step is often taken for granted, or even forgotten. You have made a great impression on the interviewer, but forgetting to follow up, could be your largest mistake. Taking the time to thank your interviewer, or multiple interviewers, shows that you truly care about their time and that you really want the job. Sending a simple thank you email will suffice, however, if you really want to stand out, send a handwritten thank you note on nice stationary to go the extra mile. These responses should be sent out within 24 hours of when you interview, especially if it has to go through snail mail. In your note, or email, make sure you include how much you appreciated them taking the time to speak with you, why you like the company, and reiterate why you would be the right fit for this position.

For more interview tips visit our website!

On Company Culture

One of the most overlooked elements in regards to finding success and happiness within a workplace is understanding the company’s culture. The company’s culture can range anywhere from strictly formal and professional to creative and casual. A company’s culture is much more than the image reflected to the public. The culture is also about how the members of the company interact with one another, how they dress, how the office space is presented, and how the company relates with their customers and clients. Some companies may have a very strong culture with deeply ingrained roots and values, and others may not have such an obvious one. Understanding a company’s culture is key to knowing if you will fit in with the company and if the company is a good fit for you.

Do Your Homework:
Before applying for a job, make sure you understand a company’s culture. This is not only key to acing a job interview, but also ensuring this job will be a positive fit. A company’s website is a great way to start understanding their culture. Videos, blogs, and pictures give great insight into what a company believes in and how they interact with one another. Second, checking other online reviews is another way to capture what the company’s clients and employees think and feel about that company. However, one caveat to online reviews is they are often on either ends of the spectrum, being either extremely negative or extremely positive. Most people with average or normal feelings about a company will not take the time to write a review for the world to see. Finally, a great way to capture a company’s culture is to look into the company’s social media sites. These will give the most genuine representation of a company’s culture through posts, events, and photos.

Understand Their Mission Statement:
The mission statement is inherently their culture in a few sentences. Most companies have a mission statement that allows one to understand their core values as a company. Be critical with their mission statement to fully understand if it aligns with your own mission and values. If it does not, than the company may not be the best fit for you, and it much better knowing this from the get go.

Observe Their Environment:
The interview is not only the best way for the company to get to know you, but also the best way for you to get to know who they are and what they stand for. Don’t let nerves get the best of you, and solely focus on what you are going to say to the interviewer. Instead, look around, and take some time to observe their culture. What does their office look like? What do people wear when they come to work? Are co-workers mingling or getting along? One of the most important parts of an interview is that you ask questions yourself. Be sure to include at least one question geared toward the company culture to the interviewer, it not only helps you understand their culture, but also shows the interviewer that you care about their mission and values.

For more tips and tricks on your job search, visit our website.

Nailing Your Skype Interview

Job interviews in the past look much different than they do in our society today. With the rise in technology, Skype interviews have become more of the norm. Nailing an in-person interview is often what people practice and prepare when applying for a job. However, how do you prepare and ace a Skype interview? It may seem awkward at first, however, Skype interviews have their perks along with their downfalls. The key is taking these kinds of interviews as seriously as in-person interviews.

Tips for Nailing Skype Interviews:

Smile for the Camera
Throughout the duration of your Skype interview you may be tempted to look at your screen, or watch yourself as you talk. However, to the person on the other end of the call, this may seem like you are not making eye contact with them. Looking at the camera gives the illusion that you are maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, which is key in any interview setting. It is also important to smile! Since you are not in the physical presence of another person, it is easy to forget to show off those pearly whites. Smiling not only makes the interviewer think you are a positive person interested in the position, but it also psychologically relaxes you as well.

Set a Backdrop
Although you are the major focal point of the interview, an employer can still see what is behind you. Having a messy bedroom as the background of your interview does not look professional and may affect how the interviewer perceives you. Setting up the interview in front of a blank neutral colored wall works perfectly. Along with having a proper background, it is also important to have the interview in a quiet room with no distractions. These distractions may make you feel nervous or anxious and calls the interviewer’s attention away from you.

Handle Technological Glitches Appropriately
The most dreaded part of a Skype interview is surely the fear of disconnection, or technological glitches. If you experience a glitch during the interview make sure you handle it appropriately. Stay calm and explain the situation to the interviewer. Interviewers have had their fair share of technological glitches, therefore, they are bound to understand. If there are too many issues with the connection ask to restart the call in order to give them a quality interview. The glitches will not ruin your chances, but how you handle them could have a larger effect on how the interviewer judges you against other candidates.

Relax, smile, and be the best professional self you can be! For more tips visit our website!

Self Improvement Month

This month is national Self Improvement Month, which means it is the perfect time to reevaluate your interview habits. Interviews can be an especially daunting part of the job hunting process. Here are some tips that will make your interview less nerve wracking!

Do Your Research

Research will help you look more prepared and interested in the opportunity. Start by researching general interview questions  that you are likely to be asked. Then research the company that has asked you to interview. Knowing information about the company shows you care about this job and the success of this company. This can also help you to gauge the company culture to decide what is best to wear to the interview. Knowing what is appropriate to wear can show that you are a good fit with the other employees. If you are still unsure as to what to wear to the interview, it might be worthwhile to call the office where your interview will take place. Go to sleep a little early so that you are well rested for the interview.

At The Interview

Go to your interview alone, do not take your children or any friends. Bring a copy of your resume to the interview and possibly a notepad in case you want to write down any follow up instruction. Get to the interview on time or 10 minutes early if possible. First thing to remember is to relax. You are prepared so make sure that you look confident, keep eye contact and remember to smile. Make positive and upbeat comments. Talk about what previous work experience you have that would relate to this position. Make sure that your phone is on silent and that you don’t check it during your interview. Never badmouth a previous boss or job, it looks unprofessional.

After the Interview

Make sure that you follow the follow up instructions. Check your email and phone for further information so that you can get back in a timely manner. Make sure to send a thank you note either written by hand or via email (handwritten is preferred most of the time). Thank them for their time and the opportunity they gave you to interview. If you had an obviously unsuccessful interview send a thank you note and ask for feedback on what you could have done better. For more tips like these or information about The Wilson Group, please visit our website or our Facebook.

New Year Resolutions

The new year is the perfect time to reevaluate your job search to see what is working and what you could improve on. The holidays also give you some time to prepare and get organized. Look at some of these resolutions and see what you can do to improve your job search and ring in the new year with a new job!

1. Your Resume. Make sure your resume is ready for the new year. Make sure the information is up to date. The resume should be clear and concise, one-page and spell checked. Make sure that the font is clean and looks professional.

2. Interviews. Make sure you are prepared for all of your interviews this New Year. Practice a 30 second pitch about yourself. Prepare your interview outfit look at our previous blog to see some ideas. Take some time to look up information about the companies you will be interviewing with and think of some questions you would like the interviewer to answer during the interview.

3. Your Skills. Do you need to brush up on your professional skills? This may include finishing a degree or taking a few technical courses to prepare for the workforce. Look into some job descriptions that you are interested in and see what skills you might need.

4. Networking. Look into some local networking events. Use google or your local newspaper to find networking event opportunities and try to go to at least one each week. Make sure you practice starting up a conversation before you go.

5. Get Organized. Clean up your desktop . Bookmark your favorite job sites (such as The Wilson Group [LINK]). Get some professional job searching business cards that you can leave at networking events or with potential employers.

6. Volunteer More. Not only will it look great on your resume but it will also grow your network. Volunteering can also help you hone your skills and gain new ones. So make good use of your time without a job and do something that will impact others’ lives as well.

7. Your Attitude. Do everything you can to maintain a positive attitude. These are trying times but keeping a great attitude is half the battle!

We hope these resolutions will help with your job search in the New Year. For more tips and job opportunities check out our website.

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