Career Fitness

Interview Prep How to Ace Your Interview

Interview Prep 1

Interview Prep 2

End of Interview Questions

The end of the interview is getting nearer, and you are relieved after the energy draining session of questions you just went through. The recruiter seems more at ease, as well. However, they don't stand up immediately, but instead ask you "Do you have any questions for me?" And this is where most candidates seek the easy way out and answer "No." However, you should continue the interview a little longer. That is because the interviewer is actually looking for signs of enthusiasm and involvement from your part. So without any further ado, here are the six smart questions that will impress your recruiter.

1. What Is the Biggest Challenge Your Team Has Overcome This Year?

It is common sense to understand why the recruiter might be tiptoeing around candidates during an interview. People want in if they receive a positive image of their future workplace. So, the recruiters usually focus on the good aspects of their company. People should understand that life is not just about benefits, money, advantages, and free medical care. They know that only through challenges a person is able to grow professionally.

2. What Is the Customer Service Culture of the Company?

Whichever kind of business we might be talking about, customers are the most crucial aspect of the company. They provide sales, write reviews about products, tell other people about the brand, and have the power to bring a business down. Any serious and successful company is aware of this reality.

So, this smart question for your interviewer will prove that you know how the system works. Moreover, the recruiter will understand that you are focused on things that really matter for the entire organization.

3. How Do You Deliver Positive as well as Negative Feedback?

This question captures an issue that most companies confront in a very cunning way. Managers are the link between employees and leadership. The best managers value the importance of positive feedback above all. Studies show that employees appreciate recognition even above financial rewards.

What this means is that you will force the interviewer to describe their feedback system, if they have one. This question can impress good managers, yet make bad ones fidget in their chair. If you get a complex answer, you will leave a good impression behind. However, a short chaotic reply would mean that it's severely lacking.

4. What Are the Priorities for this Position?

Another way to show your honest interest in the position is to ask for more details about it. The interviewer will be more than happy to answer your question with examples of their employees' success projects and what the company looks for in a new member.

The answer will also be useful to you. If you get hired, you will no longer be confused on your first day and the following three months. You will be aware of the company's expectations that concern you and you will know what direction you can take.

5. How Can I Impress Your Company in The First 60 Days of Work?

If you are considering asking only one question, this one is your winner. It shows commitment and your eagerness to start working for the company as soon as possible. These are some of the top traits that employers want. The interviewer will be pleased to see your interest in the available position and will pinpoint the key areas you should focus on.

When the interviewer finishes the answer, you can set the stakes even higher and comment on the reply. You can reinforce the skills that will make you the perfect candidate. Even though the chances are you have already illustrated your capabilities many times during the interview, there's no harm in being persuasive. On the contrary, your efforts will definitely not be overlooked.

6. Do You Have Any Concerns Regarding My Qualifications?

This level of honesty can damage your image. However, on the other hand, it can leave an unforgettable memory for the recruiter. The outcome of this question will actually be decided by how you can take negative feedback.

It is normal to feel exposed when someone in front of you discusses your flaws or lacks of knowledge. However, this actually can be good for you. If you choose to see this as constructive feedback, you will have a lot to gain. Valuable candidates turn into excellent employees who prefer to learn from their mistakes and flaws rather than let them consume them.

So, if the interviewer answers your question, you should listen to every word of it. In the end, you can process the information and design a plan to take measures and improve. Even though the recruiter won't consider you a great fit for the present opening, they will remember you. If there is an opening that they consider might suit you better, it is safe to assume that the company can contact you again in the future.

So, these are the ultimate questions that can surprise your interviewer in a good way. The end of an interview is your time to gain information about the company that you can't Google at home. These six questions will only reveal your eagerness to start working for them right away.

Interview questions that are difficult to answer

1. What are your weaknesses?
On one hand, you don't want to give a weakness that will make you lose out on the job. On the other hand, you're still expected to deliver an answer.

Best way to attack this question is to give a natural weakness that everyone deals with and to not dwell on it. Then immediately follow up with whatever actions you've taken to counter your weakness. And finally, explain the results that you've achieved by fixing it. Example:

Weakness: When I make a mistake, I get hung up over it and will dwell on it for a few hours.

Action: I realized that this was an issue that was interfering with my work so now I give myself 15 minutes to dwell on it before moving on.

Result: Now instead of sulking for most of the day, I remain productive even when upset.

2. What's your greatest achievement?
Your greatest achievement can be anything that portrays you in a positive light or a task that you're proud of accomplishing.

Recent example.

3. Why did you leave your last job?
This question is easy to answer if you've had a layoff. But if you were fired or had an issue with your boss, you may struggle with this one.

"Explaining gaps of employment is tough for people,"

Approach this question honestly, he says. For example, maybe you left your company to find a higher paying job and were unable to find one or perhaps you left to take care of a sick family member.

Whatever you do, refrain from feeling guilt or shame that you were out of work.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

It's difficult to predict where you'll be in five years. However, your potential employer wants to see that you plan on staying with the company for the long haul.

For example, if you're interviewing for a startup don't say, "I want to own my own company in five years." Don't choose a role in the future that's completely different from the role that you're being interviewed for.

If you plan on going back to school, make sure there's some correlation between your course major and the role you're interested in.

5. Why did you choose your profession?
"Believe it or not, people get stuck on this one.

A good response to this one just boils down to preparation beforehand.

6. Why do you want to join our company?
"This is where it costs people,"

A good response is one that explains why the company resonates with you.

7. What type of role are you looking for?
They'll say something that isn't even in the job description."

 Additional Career Fitness Tips

The most critical 10 Seconds in your Job Search

 Profiles and Resumes

You’re Resume – You have 10 Seconds to convince me.

Resume Tips and Job Search Tips from Craig Kennedy, Kennedy Unlimited Inc. Professional Staffing,

Although reviewing resumes is not the only thing that Recruiters do, it does consume a large proportion of our time. I estimate that in my 20 year career I have seen over 800,000 resumes. And that may be a conservative number. Here are some resume tips to help your resume catch a Recruiter’s attention.

Recruiters and Sourcers develop the ability to very quickly scan a document to find the pertinent info.  Typically this is done on computer looking at online documents. Depending upon the domain/industry that the Recruiter is working in, and the level of positions  he/she is assigned to fill, the Recruiter may have anywhere from 10 to nearly 100 open search requirements to fill at any given time. For each search assignment or position we need to fill, we may look at well over 600 resumes. The reason we see so many resumes is not because there are so many qualified candidates. Quite the opposite! Because the internet has made it so easy to apply for an open position, people take liberties in applying for any position, even those for which they are not qualified. Very frustrating for the Recruiters and this person did not win any friends in the talent acquisition department.

With so many resumes being submitted, and the vast majority by unqualified people, your resume may only get a 10 second glance before I move on to the next one. I do not have time to read the entire document. If I don’t see on your resume (or can’t find) evidence of the required experience and skills for the job I am trying to fill, I will move on to the next one.

So here are some simple things you can do to help your resume open the door for you.

Job Titles:  use industry standard titles. Your company may use “creative” titles, but that may cause a Recruiter to not make the connection to you and the job. If your company calls you Director of Corporate Culture, but my company calls that job a Director of Human Resources, use our title on your resume.

Dates: If you held more than one position at a company, list the company once and show the entire dates on the same section.  If you break the dates out to multiple listings, I may not see that it was at the same company, and might incorrectly think you are job hopping.  You can use subheadings to show specific dates of specific position. For an example, see my resume on this website and notice the entry for Source Services.

Document name: it will help me manage documents and find you more quickly when I need to if your name is included in the name of the document.

Contact info: top of the resume, but not in the header/footer. Those may get stripped off when the applicant tracking system “harvests” your resume. Then the Recruiter will need to dig to find your contact info.

Keywords: use generally accepted industry standards for keywords. Yes, we are scanning for those. If I am looking for “SQL” and you use “Sequel”, I may miss you, and you may miss the opportunity.  Hint: what does the job posting state as required? Do you have those required skills listed on your resume?

Most relative experience on the first half of page one: I need to see that you are current in the skills and experience listed as required on the job posting. Help me help you by placing that relevant info prominently on page one. I may not get to page two before I think I need to move on to the next resume. I will write an entire post about how the government (OFCCP) prevents many companies from hiring anyone who does not absolutely match the posted job description.

Location of your company:  I worked in Houston Healthcare Leaders. The company is based in Dallas Texas. If I were to indicate Dallas on my resume rather than Houston, I risk getting passed over for a call if a company does not want to deal with relo. If you work in the same metro area as the job, indicate that on the resume.

Cover Letters: are they always required? Not every Recruiter or Hiring Manager will read a cover letter. If the job posting asks for one, then include one. There are many models out there so I will not get into every aspect of cover letters here. But take the opportunity in your cover letter to tell me why you want to work at my company. If you are from out of area but are planning to relocate, tell me so that you can be competitive with the local candidates.  And for goodness sakes, at least get the name of my company correct. If you copy and paste your letter from one application to the next- be sure you update the name of the company to which you are applying. Attention to detail is demonstrated here!

Additional Career Fitness Tips

Career Fitness Coach   The length of time you stay at a job still matters to hiring managers.


Gone are the days of retiring after 40 years of service to the company that hired you right out of college.

Industry changes, volatile startups and impatient millennials have created a professional culture in which frequent job changes are now the norm. 

Moving from job to job, can signal that you run at the first sign of a challenge, and hiring managers are looking for people who can "stay and build something" at their company.

You do have a little more flexibility with the one-year rule if you've stuck around longer in previous jobs.

For example, if you have a five-year stint at one company, then you have the ability to have one or two six-month or eight-month job entries on your resume.

Don't let the impulse to get out fast undermine your career in the long run, "Stick with it for longer than you'd like — you'll thank yourself later."


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Career Fitness Coach  Job Interview Advice Hiring Managers Wish They Could Tell

Prepare for Job Interviews
These days, job interviews are like gold, so you should treat them seriously. This means you have to prepare for all interviews. Preparation means researching the company, the position, and how your accomplishments and characteristics are a good fit for both. If a recruiter calls you and says that he or she “just wants to chat,” recognize that this “chatting” is really a screening interview. If you don’t feel prepared, schedule a different time to talk. You never get a second chance to make a good impression, so do your best to do well the first time.

All Contact Counts
All contact with the organization counts as a job interview. This includes all conversations with human resource employees or administrative professionals who are helping to schedule your appointment, it includes the time you are sitting in a waiting room making small talk with a receptionist, and it includes any social “getting to know you” events with current employees of the organization. In one situation I heard about recently, it also included the taxi driver who was hired by a company to pick up a candidate from the airport. The candidates didn’t realize that the taxi driver was contracted by the company for these recruiting trips.

You Can Tell Me Anything (But the Same Is Not True of Hiring Managers!)
Hiring managers or recruiters are not your career counselor. With your career counselor, you can be completely honest about your personality and preferences and you can work with your career counselor to identify the best work environments and jobs for you. But with a hiring manager or recruiter, if you admit that noise bothers you or you have trouble meeting deadlines or getting along with bosses, you probably won’t land the job. This is because an organizational decision maker needs to find the best candidate for the opening and it is too risky to hire someone with known challenges in getting the job done. While I don’t condone lying in a job interview, I don’t recommend compulsive self-disclosure, either.

Don’t Admit You Want Career Advancement Next Month
Hiring someone can be a time consuming, energy draining process. Most hiring managers are hoping that if they select a great candidate, they won’t have to turn around and replace that person within a year. When you are asked about your career goals, it isn’t a strategic response to say that you would like to do this job for a year and then move up. Just so you know, most hiring managers are hoping you will be happy with a job for two years or probably longer before you are thinking about the next move.

Prove You’re a Team Player
Job candidates underestimate how much hiring manager’s care about interpersonal and communication skills. Most of all, hiring managers want to find employees who can get along with other people. This means that when you are preparing responses to potential questions, you should include a lot of material demonstrating previous success in working as part of a team. Achieving results congruent with an organization’s or manager’s business objectives is terrific, and being able to do so while preserving relationships is even better.

Attitude Counts
If a hiring manager has to choose between a functionally brilliant candidate with mediocre motivation and enthusiasm or a candidate with average functional skill but exceptional motivation and enthusiasm, the highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate is much more likely to be the candidate of choice. This is because skills can be taught but attitude is very difficult to change. Don’t be afraid to let your genuine passion for the job shine through. If you are just interviewing for something because it is a survivor job until the economy improves, try to find something about the job that does excite you and focus on that.

Timing Matters
You should ask challenging questions about the job opportunity and the company to decide if the position is right for you, but be careful not to do this too soon before the hiring manager have decided to choose you. If you are still one of 12 candidates and you launch into interrogation mode like an MBA student conducting a case study and looking for weaknesses in the organization’s business model, it will seem a bit premature. First round interviews are not the time to ask about weeks of vacation or employee share of health care costs when the hiring manager is still trying to figure out whether to advance you to the next round of interviewing. Due diligence is essential but be smart about when you do it.

Positivity Is Persuasive
My most important piece of job interview advice is, “Be positive” when you are talking about your career history. Even if the interviewer asks for your biggest failure or your worst boss or anything else that is negative, find a way to spin it so that you come across as a person who is agreeable, who learns from mistakes, and who recovers from setbacks in a positive way. Discipline yourself not to go on and on about how horrible your last boss was or what a bunch of losers were on your last team. It doesn’t take much negativity before the hiring manager will be too afraid to hire you.

“So what’s Your Greatest Weakness?”
Please think of something reflective to say when you are asked about your greatest weakness. Two responses that have been used to death are the, “I’m a perfectionist,” and, “I work too hard,” responses. Even if these things are true about you, hiring managers don’t want to hear these answers for the thousandth time. Dig deeper to find something unique to say, and make sure you can explain how you are overcoming this weakness so that it doesn’t raise a red flag for the interviewer.

This job interview advice might seem like common sense to many readers, but the anxiety of interviewing can cause candidates to temporarily forget common sense if they haven’t recently reviewed interview basics. I hope this job interview advice helps you to land the next job you pursue!

Additional Career Fitness Tips

Speak Expressively

No Fake Smile: Body language such as smiling, eye contact, leaning forward and body orientation positively affect interview ratings. However, fake smiles are likely to work against you and increase the likelihood that you will be perceived as insincere and untrustworthy.

Find Similarities with your Interviewer(s): its human nature to want to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. If you know who you're going to be interviewed by, look them up on LinkedIn and Google them to learn about their background, their hobbies, values and beliefs.

Leverage Social Proof: Potential employers are influenced by social proof. Throughout the interview, quote past employers or clients who have praised you for your successes and recommend your work. If you're being interviewed by other organizations and you're asked whether you're interviewing for anyone else, tell the interviewer that you do have other offers but that you're more interested in working for them because you see their role and company as the most exciting one.

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Top skills that hiring managers at the 50 Top Companies want

Skills include Web programming, followed by software engineering management and Java development. Cloud computing along with statistical analysis and data mining also ranked highly. Among the most sought-after technical skills within the engineering function were Web programming, followed by Java development and C/C++ coding languages. Cloud computing and machine learning also showed up near the top. Outside of technical skills, social media marketing has been growing significantly among the top 50 companies across all industries and functions, with a 61 percent year-over-year growth rate. Statistical analysis and data mining in the technology and financial services industries had a 25 percent growth rate across all functions. 

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Do I change my career 

Regardless of which phase of life you're in, I strongly believe that a job switch is always a good idea if you believe you do not have an ideal work/life balance. We all want to find the right job. The one that supports the lifestyle we want. One that fulfills and satisfies us. You can find that dream career in your 20s, but you can also find it in your 50s."

Workers in their 50s now are more likely to switch jobs voluntarily than previous generations. Research suggests job changes lengthen careers — with those who switch jobs being much more likely to still be in the labor force at age 65 than those who stay put. When it comes to the job search, some people care about their title, while others care about salary. Everyone has a unique set of preferences that make up how well we do or do not fit a certain role. Determining and going after what you actually value and want, not just what you've been told you should value and think you want, will undoubtedly result in that work/life satisfaction we're all after."

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Timing Is Everything

Yes, timing has a lot to do with success, but you must avoid the temptation to give up because one moment passed you by. What is life but a series of moments? If you are open, odds are another moment will arise. Even if you take that chance, and it doesn’t go your way, you won’t have to live with the regret of not giving it a go. 

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Do Not Shame Yourself

Pay attention to the next time you hear yourself shoulding yourself. I should have worked out today. I should have got more done before I left the office today. I shouldn’t have let that opportunity pass me by. When you should yourself, you are shaming yourself. When you replace could with should, and rephrase the sentences above, they take on a whole new meaning. Switching to could acknowledges an active decision between your options, and helps to affirm your choice. 

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You might be wondering which way you should go next. If you always do what you’ve always Done, You’ll always be where you’ve Always Been. As nerve-wracking as the unknown may be, if you don’t try something new, you can’t expect your current situation to change. What Do You Really Want? Determining which way to go next is likely to be a mix of nerves and excitement, but change is the only way to live a fulfilling life. 

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Stuck in a rut

It’s time to shake things up. Below are a few ideas to get you out of your comfort zone and into a more productive and inspiring frame of mind.

Seriously Consider a Career Change
If your rut is more professional than personal, then it may be time to consider a career change. If not a career change, maybe a new job. Get active on LinkedIn, browse through job openings, apply to a few new jobs, or attend a networking event. Even Google some of the top companies to work for. This is an excellent way to remind yourself that you are empowered and you have options.

Stuck In A Rut? Take a Vacation
Taking a vacation is an excellent way to get out of your rut. Even if you don’t go far, having a change of scenery is an excellent way to gain new perspective. Make sure this is not a working vacation, so you can really unplug and disconnect from your daily routine and open your mind to new possibilities.

Try Something New
Do something new, anything at all! It need not be major, just something to break the monotony. Take a class, attend a lecture, watch a live show, or say yes to the next spontaneous opportunity.

Not to worry, you won’t be stuck in your rut forever!

Additional Career Fitness Tips

Trust You’re Gut

Is Your Gut Your Sixth Sense?
Science confirms that our gut instincts. We’ve all been there, logic saying one thing, but a nagging feeling that something just isn’t right. This is your sixth sense, so you should trust it.

You Don’t Have To Explain Why
Sometimes, your gut is activating your body’s natural fight or flight response, designed to keep you out of harm’s way.

Do What Is Right For You
Once you begin to trust your gut, like practicing any other skills, your instincts will become stronger. Whether making a career change, personal decision, or acknowledging a sense that someone you just met is going to play a larger role in your life


Additional Career Fitness Tips

 Learning How to Do Nothing

I didn’t know how to do nothing

If you are accustomed to being on-the-go every second of every day, learning how to do nothing may feel uncomfortable. Many of us experience this on vacation. Either you pack it so full of excursions that you are exhausted, or you schedule in ample time to relax—but it takes almost the full week until you really relax.

The fact of the matter is, your schedule may remain filled to the brim. However, your goal should be to fill it with more of the things you truly enjoy. Call this you’re “me time”. This could be a hobby, reading a book, indulging in movie marathon, spending time in nature—or anything that feeds your soul. Practice makes perfect, and there may be some weeks that it just doesn’t happen—but you can learn how to do nothing.

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Interview tricks to get that job

Visualize interview success. Studies have shown that athletes do better when they visualize themselves doing well. And it works with interviews too.  Stop saying you're nervous beforehand and start saying you're excited.
 Get ready to brag. Studies have found women tend to be more reluctant to do it than men. One trick is to pretend you're bragging about a friend instead of yourself

 Additional Career Fitness Tips

Top 5 simple tricks that can help you get ahead in your career.

Ask questions

Ask questions during a conversation, and specifically smart follow-up questions, you're more likely to be perceived as likable, both online and in person.

Follow-up questions, the research team notes, show that a person is not only listening, but is also interested and engaged.

Set unreasonably high expectations

The most successful people set their expectations exceptionally high and are up for any challenge. "No one would ever strike it rich and live their dreams without huge expectations," he writes. "Ancient wisdom says you get what you expect, yet many people decide to limit their lives to middle-class mediocrity in an effort to protect themselves from failure."

Embrace moments of silence when negotiating

"When you ask someone a question and they're slow to respond, don't feel pressure to move the conversation forward. Remaining silent can play to your advantage, Moments of silence make people feel as though they should speak, especially when the ball is in their court. This is a great tool to use in negotiations and other difficult conversations. Just make certain you resist the urge to move the conversation forward until you get your answer."

Create a visual association to remember people's names

Using a person's name in conversation shows respect, acceptance and friendliness.  But recalling names is easier said than done.To get better at remembering names, create a visual association right after meeting someone. Say you're introduced to someone named Brian who's wearing big glasses. If you make a mental note of him as "Brian with the big glasses," you're more likely to remember his name, experts say.

Nod your head to get someone to agree with what you're saying

"The next time you need to win someone over to your way of thinking, try nodding your head as you speak  "People unconsciously mirror the body language of those around them in order to better understand what other people are feeling. When you nod your head as you speak, you convey that what you're saying is true and desirable, and people are more inclined to agree with you."

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