Resume Edge

Job Interview Center [Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

A strong resume and cover letter will get you an interview, but only a strong interview will land you a job. Please browse our informative interview section to learn how to prepare for an interview, answer common interview questions, establish rapport with the interviewer, and ultimately get the job.

Learn more about the Screening, Informational, Directive, Meandering, Stress, Behavioral, Audition, Group, Tag-Team, Mealtime, and Follow-up Interviews.

While standard questions might seem easy, it can be difficult to differentiate your responses from that of other applicants. Read good and bad responses to the most common questions.

What are your weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in ten years? What do you look for in a boss? Prepare by reading these helpful tips.

From body language to mimicry, learn about a few psychological principles that could help make your interviewer like you.

Laid off? Out of work for more than three months? Lack experience? Discover how to maintain a clear and positive sense of direction and potential.
The exercises in this article will provide you with the self-knowledge you need to answer interview questions.

Learn how to present your experience in the most positive way possible. Market yourself using these simple exercises as guides.

Just as you must know yourself, so too must you know your prospective employer. The information you gather will help you anticipate company goals and culture and tailor your responses appropriately.

When did you graduate high school? Are you planning to have children? Learn how to respond to illegal questions without embarrassing your interviewer and losing the job.

For candidates whose primary language is not English, interviewing can be intimidating and requires special preparation.

Brush up on negotiation strategy by knowing what your worth, setting clear goals, knowing your walk-away price, and being fair to your employer.

While companies differ in their expectation of a thank you note, some interviewers take offense at the absence of a note.

Have your interviewers burst into laughter at your most formidable challenge? Take comfort from these stories gleaned from the collective experience that is interviewing.

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Resume Companion

[Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

All job interviews have the same objective, but employers reach that objective in a variety of ways. You might enter the room expecting to tell stories about your professional successes and instead find yourself selling the interviewer a bridge or editing code at a computer.

One strategy for performing your best during an interview is to know the rules of the particular game you are playing when you walk through the door.

Screening | Informational | Directive | Meandering Stress | Behavioral | Audition | Group Tag-Team | Mealtime | Follow-up

The Screening Interview

Companies use screening tools to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification requirements. Computer programs are among the tools used to weed out unqualified candidates. (This is why you need a digital resume that is screening-friendly. See our resume center for help.)

Sometimes human professionals are the gatekeepers. Screening interviewers often have honed skills to determine whether there is anything that might disqualify you for the position.

Remember-they do not need to know whether you are the best fit for the position, only whether you are not a match. For this reason, screeners tend to dig for dirt. Screeners will hone in on gaps in your employment history or pieces of information that look inconsistent. They also will want to know from the outset whether you will be too expensive for the company.

Some tips for maintaining confidence during screening interviews:

Highlight your accomplishments and qualifications. Get into the straightforward groove. Personality is not as important to the screener as verifying your qualifications. Answer questions directly and succinctly.

Save your winning personality for the person making hiring decisions!

Be tactful about addressing income requirements. Give a range, and try to avoid giving specifics by replying, "I would be willing to consider your best offer."

If the interview is conducted by phone, it is helpful to have note cards with your vital information sitting next to the phone. That way, whether the interviewer catches you sleeping or vacuuming the floor, you will be able to switch gears quickly.

The Informational Interview:

On the opposite end of the stress spectrum from screening interviews is the informational interview. A meeting that you initiate, the informational interview is underutilized by job-seekers who might otherwise consider themselves savvy to the merits of networking.

Job seekers ostensibly secure informational meetings in order to seek the advice of someone in their current or desired field as well as to gain further references to people who can lend insight.

Employers that like to stay apprised of available talent even when they do not have current job openings, are often open to informational interviews, especially if they like to share their knowledge, feel flattered by your interest, or esteem the mutual friend that connected you to them.

During an informational interview, the jobseeker and employer exchange information and get to know one another better without reference to a specific job opening.

This takes off some of the performance pressure, but be intentional nonetheless:

Come prepared with thoughtful questions about the field and the company.

Gain references to other people and make sure that the interviewer would be comfortable if you contact other people and use his or her name. Give the interviewer your card, contact information and resume. Write a thank you note to the interviewer. The Directive Style: In this style of interview, the interviewer has a clear agenda that he or she follows unflinchingly. Sometimes companies use this rigid format to ensure parity between interviews; when interviewers ask each candidate the same series of questions, they can more readily compare the results. Directive interviewers rely upon their own questions and methods to tease from you what they wish to know. You might feel like you are being steam-rolled, or you might find the conversation develops naturally. Their style does not necessarily mean that they have dominance issues, although you should keep an eye open for these if the interviewer would be your supervisor. Either way, remember to: Flex with the interviewer, following his or her lead. Do not relinquish complete control of the interview. If the interviewer does not ask you for information that you think is important to proving your superiority as a candidate, politely interject it.
Job Search Handbook

Difficult Questions: [Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

1. What are your weaknesses?

2. Why did you leave your last job?

3. How do you deal with criticism?

4. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

5. How do you deal with authority?

6. What do you think of your previous manager?

7. What is the riskiest thing you have ever done? You think the interview is going well. You knew the meeting location ahead of time, and you arrived ten minutes early.

  • You are dressed sharp and your teeth are clean. You came prepared in every way-you have three copies of your resume, a few business cards, two pens and a note pad. You turned off your cell-phone.

  • You managed to find out before the interview that your interviewer held the position for which you are now applying and that you were in choir at the same college. You know the company's mission statement and have a sense of their structure.

  • Your interviewer nodded and smiled when you spoke about your previous accomplishments and your management style. You seem to have connected with the company culture.

  • Your reflection, research, and practice have served you so well that you wonder whether you should become a professional interviewee rather than a Financial Planner. Then the interviewer lifts her head from her notes and, pen in hand, asks: what are your weaknesses?


  • In addition, most of the interviewer's questions could be answered honestly in a variety of ways. You want to choose the version of the truth that is most appealing and sensitive--the version that helps support your main message.
    Examples:
  • What are your weaknesses?
    Overemphasized: I am not a good manager.
    Avoidant: I always get my work done on time.
    When other people drop the ball, sometimes I get frustrated with them.
    Effective: I prioritize continual growth and improvement. An area on which I would like to focus is managing others who have different expectations from me.

  • What needs to be done in order to complete responsibilities is intuitive for me, so I am learning how to give better direction to others who are not self-motivated.
    Why did you leave your last job?
    Vague and negative: Law always interested me, and I was looking for a new challenge. I thought it would be a good time to go to law school. Besides, I had gotten frustrated with the lack of support I felt at work.
  • Dangerous: In the end, my manager and I could not get along. He was driving me crazy and I needed to leave.
    Effective: As I succeeded in financial analysis, I became increasingly interested in broader issues of managing money.

  • I wanted to understand how legal regulations and individuals' goals affect decisions about how to manage money.

  • When I gained entrance to my top choice in law school, I seized the opportunity to infuse my financial training with legal knowledge.

  • Thank You Notes [Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

    Companies differ in their expectation of a thank you note after an interview. In some offices, interviewers take offense at the absence of a note and malign negligent interviewees.

    In other offices, politeness is a superfluous rather than central part of the culture. Rather than spending your time deciphering the expectations of your interviewers, invest in making the thank you note clinch your candidacy.

    You should consider the content of your thank you letter as carefully as you considered the content of your cover letter.

    In addition to showing appreciation for the time of the interviewer and establishing another point of contact, your thank you letter should include a reaffirmation of your particular value to the company now that you have more information about the job. Use the note to market yourself.

    By referencing specific concerns and needs of the company as expressed by the interviewer, you show the interviewer again that you paid close attention to what she said.

    By citing particular ways in which you can address those needs and concerns, you do the work of connecting the job requirements with your job skills.

    Making connections between yourself and the job not only fortifies your aptness for the position, but it also tangibly demonstrates your interest in the position.

    The greater care you take to customize the note, the more personally it will affect the interviewer. For this reason, it is also helpful to comment on something specific that you appreciated about the interviewer or what she said. (Note: be sure that your comments are appropriate and professional.)


    Language Barriers [Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

    For candidates whose primary language is not English, interviewing can be intimidating. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow employers to require that English is the only language used in the workplace without compelling reasons, language difficulties can cause problems during interviews.

    The importance of your English fluency as a candidate depends in part on the job and company. If you are working with numbers or computer programming, refined English skills are less important.

    If other colleagues speak your primary language, you need not rely as heavily on English. If you are applying for a job as a manager or you will be interacting with English-speaking clients regularly, language fluency could be significant.

    In addition to the job itself, language skills can pose barriers during interviews. Employers need to feel like they can connect with you.

    Even if you are friendly and accomplished, interviewers will begin to feel uncomfortable if they cannot communicate with you effectively. People feel weird about themselves when they cannot understand you or are not confident that you understand them. If interviewers feel uncomfortable around you, they will feel uncomfortable with you.

    The last thing you want to do is leave an interviewer with the impression that you are nice and talented, but that he could not tell if you understood what he was saying. Feeling like you cannot express yourself well can also cause you to lose well-deserved and much needed confidence.

    There are ways for you to overcome these negative outcomes. Language difficulties are best resolved by learning English very well.

    The more fluent you are, the better and more confidently you can connect with the employer. If you are still struggling with English, consider these other tips:

    Before the interview:


  • Memorize answers to common and difficult questions after having someone edit your responses for grammar.
    Write down a few notes to yourself that you can refer to during the interview if you get intimidated.
    Prepare and memorize questions that you wish to ask the interviewer.

    During the interview:

    Remember that you are a qualified person who speaks more than one language-an accomplishment that many interviewers cannot claim for themselves.

    If you do not understand a question during the interview, ask the interviewer to clarify the question. You might begin by saying, "I want to make sure that I understand what you mean. Are you saying. . .?"

    Address your language proficiency in the interview, mentioning to the interviewer how you make certain that you understand instructions and giving examples of working situations in which you excelled despite limitations in English. Do this casually if possible.

    Tell the employer about your plans to take advanced English classes or tutoring in the evenings.

    Take notes and summarize what the interviewer says at the end of the interview, touching on the important responsibilities of the job and needs of the company. Briefly repeat how you could meet these needs. Inquire into when you can expect to hear from the company.

    After the interview:

    Be sure to write a thank you note that highlights your fit with the position. Repeat what you have to offer the company and what enthuses you about the company.

    Be sure to have someone edit the note for grammar before you send it. This way, the lasting impression of you should focus on your abilities and not your English.


    Illegal Questions [Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

    Employment laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace apply to interviews as well. As a result, questions that probe race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, marital status, family situation, or disabilities are illegitimate in an interview.

    However, many interviewers are not familiar enough with the law to know when they have passed into potentially discriminatory territory.

    A few interviewers ask illegal questions reasoning that they are protected by your desire to obtain the job. In either case, dealing with illicit questions is delicate. Know what can be asked, what cannot, and what to do if the interviewer asks anyway.

    Forbidden Questions about Race:

    Examples: What is your skin color? What is your race? Is your spouse Caucasian/Hispanic/African American/Asian, etc?

    Exceptions: There are no fair questions about race in an interview or application, but an employer can allow you to voluntarily indicate your race on your application.

    Forbidden Questions about National Origin

    Examples: You sound like you have an accent; where are you from? Where were you born? Are you an American citizen?

    Exceptions: Employers are required to hire only those employees who can legally work in the United States. For that reason, employers can ask whether you are eligible to work in the United States.

    Suspect Questions about Age

    The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects workers over 40 in private companies of twenty employees or more and government organizations.

    Examples: When were you born? When did you graduate from high school? How old are you?

    Exceptions: The act does not prohibit interviewers from posing questions about age, but does prohibit discrimination on these grounds unless age directly affects the job. An employer can rightfully inquire whether the candidate meets the minimum federal age requirements for employment (usually 14-17 years old).

    Forbidden Questions about Religion:

    Examples: Do you go to church? Are you religious? What religion are you? Do you take time off work for religious purposes?

    Exceptions: Organizations that have a specific religious orientation might ask questions relevant to religious practices and beliefs.

    Forbidden Questions about Disabilities and Health:

    Examples include:

  • Do you have any disabilities or medical conditions?
    How serious is your disability?
    Do you take any prescription drugs?
    Have you ever been in rehab?
    Have you ever been an alcoholic?
    How many sick days did you take last year?
    Do you have AIDS?
    Have you been diagnosed with any mental illnesses?
    Have you ever received worker's compensation or been on disability leave?<

    Exceptions: Employers may ask whether you have any conditions that would keep you from performing the specific tasks of the job for which you are applying.

    They may also require that all candidates for a certain position pass through a medical examination that is relevant to the responsibilities of that job. Employers can subject candidates to illegal drug tests or ask you whether you take illegal drugs.


    Spin Yourself [Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

    We spin ourselves all the time-to find a date or a mate, to make a good impression on our elders, to join a club or society. Spinning merely involves presenting those aspects of ourselves that are likely to be appealing to others.

    It is not enough to come off this way or that way. You take control of the message you convey to the interviewer. The clearer the spin, the sharper is the appeal.

    All you must do, then, is figure out how to use your self-knowledge and company knowledge to market yourself. Skip the tag line, but do formulate a coherent message about yourself.

    This is the message that you want to reemphasize throughout the interview as you answer a variety of questions. Using the information that you gathered from the exercises in Know Yourself, make a list of your transferable skills, your inherent qualities, and your personality traits that would be relevant to this job.

    Brainstorm what you offer the position. Suzanne's list follows.

    Experience-based Skills Transferable Skills Personal Qualities HTML Coding Project Management Dependable Vendor Relations Clear Communication Accessible Client Relations Writing Focused Product Development Organization Flexible Quality Assurance Practices Team Leadership Initiative Web Writing Negotiation Creative Problem-solving Fast Learner,

    Take a careful look at your list to determine which of the skills and qualities seem most relevant to the position you are seeking.

    For the consultant position that Suzanne is seeking, client relations and quality assurance practices seem most relevant from the experience-based skills category.

    Each of the skill from the transferable skills category is relevant, so she chooses to emphasize negotiation, problem-solving, project management, and writing. She anticipates that the personal qualities required for this position include creativity, dependability, initiative, and flexibility.

    Generate concise anecdotes. Once you have created a short-list of skills and qualities that you offer the company, compile a set of stories and facts that illustrate your unique abilities. When doing so, remember a few guidelines:

    Your goal is to convince the interviewer that you are right for the job.

  • Be specific.
    Highlight information readily understood as transferable.
    Accentuate accomplishments.
    Connect your past experience to the position you seek.
    Reveal your values.
    Remember your audience and their values.
    Keep your presentation under two minutes.

    Identify your basic message. With her skill profile, knowledge of the employer and job, and these guidelines in mind, Suzanne might develop an overall interview message like the following.

    "I will bring to this consultancy position a combination of skills and qualities that I am confident would make me a valuable contributor to the company.

    In my previous position as a Project Manager, I spearheaded the development of multi-media projects that exceeded the expectations of our clients. I could not succeed without my teams.

    Although my teams and I faced multiple obstacles, I used my problem-solving skills and judgment to overcome barriers in a way that satisfied the interests of our clients, my company, and my teams.

    I was able to gain the trust and confidence of the team members. My communication and negotiation skills enabled me to lead frazzled and sometimes antagonistic teams of people to work together in a focused and productive way.

    Since this pressure-cooker experience, I have gained licensure as a court mediator, and I have a master's degree in conflict resolution.

    "In addition to my ability to mobilize teams by overcoming conflict and confusion, my company made use of my organizational skills and my self-initiative.

    I was able to work with a minimum of supervision, but consulted the company directors when I needed their input, guidance, or support.

    Since I was responsible for creating the concepts and content of the projects that I managed, my self-direction enabled me to balance multiple responsibilities while still carving out time to generate winning ideas and write content."

    Identify the bottom line. Knowing that she wants to communicate her basic message throughout the interview, Suzanne then clarifies the core of what she has to offer:

    "I offer your company and this position effective negotiation and communication abilities, creative problem solving and project management skills, inner drive and initiative, and strong writing skills. My colleagues here would find me dependable and flexible."
    [Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

    With the painstaking preparation that goes into preparing for an interview and the tension often felt when the hour has come, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of levity in the process.

    Still, you are not the only person to suffer a faux pas or awkward moment during an interview. Perhaps you said or did something wrong.

    Perhaps your interviewer was bizarre. Perhaps something just felt weird. Maybe it is Murphy's Law or perhaps it is just par for the interviewing course. Take comfort from these stories gleaned from the collective experience that is interviewing.

    "I was part of a team of eight colleagues who interviewed 50 people in the space of two weeks. Four to seven people conducted each interview, which occurred in a small room. We were stuck in that room for hours.

    One of the questions designated for me to ask was what the most formidable challenge the person had ever gone through. During one particular interview in which four of us met with the applicant, she began to share her most significant challenge when the Director intervened with a follow-up question, interrupting my chain of questions.

    Apparently I made an odd face. My colleague saw me and began to giggle. Then two of us began to laugh, and we could not stop. At one point, the first colleague tried to disguise his laughter by blowing his nose, but this just made everyone else laugh more.

    All the while, the interviewee elaborated on the most difficult challenge she had been through, maintaining solid eye contact with the Director. It was both equally funny and horrifying that we were laughing. Soon the Director said to her: I think we need to ask you to leave until we compose ourselves."

    "The summer internship organization to which I applied had about ten of us come at once, but they interviewed us individually. My meeting was towards the end, so I waited there for an hour before the two interviewers called my turn.

    They said: we have three questions that we are going to ask you at once, and you can answer the three questions in order at which time we will be done. They told me the three questions, and I answered the first.

    Then they looked at each other and said, 'Okay, that will be it.' Surprised, I asked, 'Well, do you want me to answer the second question?' They kind of looked at each other and said, 'Well, okay.' I answered as briefly as possible, skipped the third question altogether, and left. I got the position."

    "I sent a digital resume and cover letter via email to apply for a position as a technical writer. Within a few hours, a message from the director in charge of hiring came via email. Full of anticipation, I opened the email to find a terse message: 'your resume is infected with a virus and has been quarantined.' A person cannot recover from an infected resume. I did not pursue the position further."

    "At one rather intense interview with a high powered man, the phone kept ringing and interviewer took the calls long enough to say that he would call the people later. He seemed to be telling me that I was a nominally important use of his time or at least demonstrating how busy he was.

    There was some kind of odd power dynamic going on. Then he got another call, which was clearly from his wife. After saying, 'Hi, Honey,' my interviewer only said three cryptic things: 'is he lucid?,' 'do you need me to come home tonight?', and 'call me when you know more and can tell me what to do.' Then he hung up the phone and looked at me."

    "I once interviewed a woman who came in ringing her hands. I asked her the standard interview questions: what are you looking for in a job, what don't you like in a job, what do you need from a boss? To the third question, she replied: 'I need my boss to be my best friend. I'm so lonely. We just moved here a few months ago and I haven't made any friends. I need a friend.'"

    "A man walked in and deemed himself the right man for the job I had advertised, even though he did not fit in any sense of the word. After the interview, which highlighted how badly he and the position matched, he started an email campaign. Another man wrote to me on his behalf.

    Between the two of them, I received at least twenty phone calls and electronic messages: he wanted the job so badly, would I please reconsider? The barrage of follow-up finally waned when I hired someone else, but even then his advocate kept scolding me for hiring someone else."

    "I had to undergo a ludicrous 500 question psychological examination when I applied to be a security guard during college. Among the 500 questions were about 17 questions asking me in slightly varied ways whether or not I have ever thought of killing myself. If the exam had not been a scan-tron, I would have answered, 'No, but the idea is growing on me every time you ask.'"

    "During a particular interview, the interviewer had a dog present. The dog became especially interested in my leg. I kept shuffling and moving to protect myself from the dog, but the person giving the interview took no notice of the dog at all. Uncomfortable as this was, I was actually wondering if it was some kind of test to see if I could maintain my concentration."


    Six Steps to a Blockbuster Resume {Content by ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service]

    A resume has one purpose to market your skills, achievements, professional background, academic history, and future potential to a prospective employer.

    Much like a 30-second commercial, today's resume must provide maximum data as quickly as possible, differentiate you from all other candidates, and be attractively packaged.

    Impossible, you think? Not at all. Writing a winning resume simply takes thought and planning.After all, you wouldn't drive from Los Angeles to Manhattan without mapping the surest route.

    The same goes for your resume. By using the ResumeEdge© six-step process, you'll gain perspective on your career target and the audience you need to reach, learn how to showcase your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and produce a document with maximum punch.

    Of course, if you do need professional assistance, our certified resume writers are on hand 24/7 to provide expert, personalized guidance.

    The ResumeEdge© Process:

  • Step One: Targeting Your Career and Audience
    Step Two: Formatting for Maximum Impact
    Step Three: Skill Set and Qualifications Summary
    Step Four: Accomplishments and Special Skills
    Step Five: Professional Experience
    Step Six: Education and Training

    STEP ONE: Targeting Your Career and Audience

    You must have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish in your professional life in order to maximize the impact of your resume for your targeted audience -- the hiring manager or graduate school admissions director.

    Before you begin, ask yourself these questions. Are you:

  • Making a lateral move?
    Seeking a promotion?
    Career transitioning?
    Pursuing admission into a graduate program?

    Job Interview Center Content By ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service

    A strong resume and cover letter will get you an interview, but only a strong interview will land you a job. Please browse our informative interview section to learn how to prepare for an interview, answer common interview questions, establish rapport with the interviewer, and ultimately get the job.

    Learn more about the Screening, Informational, Directive, Meandering, Stress, Behavioral, Audition, Group, Tag-Team, Mealtime, and Follow-up Interviews.

    While standard questions might seem easy, it can be difficult to differentiate your responses from that of other applicants. Read good and bad responses to the most common questions.

    What are your weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in ten years? What do you look for in a boss? Prepare by reading these helpful tips. From body language to mimicry, learn about a few psychological principles that could help make your interviewer like you.

    Laid off? Out of work for more than three months? Lack experience? Discover how to maintain a clear and positive sense of direction and potential.
    The exercises in this article will provide you with the self-knowledge you need to answer interview questions.

    Learn how to present your experience in the most positive way possible. Market yourself using these simple exercises as guides.

    Just as you must know yourself, so too must you know your prospective employer. The information you gather will help you anticipate company goals and culture and tailor your responses appropriately.

    When did you graduate high school? Are you planning to have children? Learn how to respond to illegal questions without embarrassing your interviewer and losing the job.

    For candidates whose primary language is not English, interviewing can be intimidating and requires special preparation.

    Brush up on negotiation strategy by knowing what your worth, setting clear goals, knowing your walk-away price, and being fair to your employer. While companies differ in their expectation of a thank you note, some interviewers take offense at the absence of a note.

    Have your interviewers burst into laughter at your most formidable challenge? Take comfort from these stories gleaned from the collective experience that is interviewing.

    Resume Edge to Home Page