10 Toughest Job Interview Questions — And How to Answer Successfully

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Interview questions

We’ve all been there—pleased that an interview was going really well until the interviewer threw out a real doozy of a question that you just don’t know how to answer. But you don’t have to panic.

We asked career coach Hallie Crawford to give us advice on how to answer the most difficult questions you’ve ever been asked. (Yes, we pulled them from real interviews.) Here’s how to answer each really well.

1. If your current employer had an anniversary party for you, what five words would be written on the cake to describe you?

While it may seem silly, “this question is designed to reveal how you think your manager perceives you,” Crawford says. “Before answering, ask yourself: how do your coworkers describe you? What did your manager commend you on recently?” With the answers to these questions in mind, “don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your reply,” Crawford says. But don’t be too verbose either. “You don’t want to give the impression that your anniversary cake would be too big,” she says, “so try and keep the words short and sweet.”

2. Who in history would you want to go to dinner with and why?

Before you answer this one, ask yourself whom you admire, past and present. “Perhaps a writer, an actor, a scientist, or even someone from your industry,” suggests Crawford. Then, consider, “what do you appreciate about their accomplishments? Why do they inspire you? Why do you feel that you would be friends? What would you want to discuss with them at dinner?” Crawford prompts you to ask yourself. “Use these elements when answering.”

3. Name a brand that represents you as a person.

Yep, not a brand you love—but one that embodies who you are. Now that’s a doozy. But it doesn’t have to be tough, Crawford says. “Think about your top personal values,” Crawford advises. “Now think about brands that also have those values. For example, if you value family and ethical practice, think about companies who are family-based, or create products for families who you know don’t do testing on animals, for example. Explain the values that you feel you share with the brand and why those values are important to you.”

4. Please describe an instance where you had to make a decision without all of the necessary information.

You came to the interview prepared, which means you have a list of accomplishments you can work from. Using an accomplishment for this question, “describe the situation and what information was missing and any measurable results achieved,” Crawford instructs. By using an accomplishment, you will show a hiring manager how you can persevere.

5. Sell me on one idea, and then sell me on the opposite of that idea.

“First of all, you want to think of an idea before you can start answering the question,” says Crawford. You may not have to come up with your own idea. “Ask the hiring manager if they have a specific idea in mind,” says Crawford. “If not, consider a recent idea that you discussed with your team or with coworkers. What was your position and why? What was the opposite position and why? Use those arguments. In this question, it is important that you sound convincing when presenting both ideas. This will provide insight into whether you are able to present ideas to your team—even if you don’t agree with the idea.”

6. If a coworker had an annoying habit, and it hindered your quality of work, how would you resolve it?

This may seem like a perplexing question, but it’s “designed to get to you how you deal with others,” explains Crawford. “Draw from a real-life experience if possible. What annoyed you? How did you resolve it? Is there a more effective way to handle the situation if it would happen again? Identify the annoying habit and then outline the steps you would take to try and resolve the situation while maintaining a good relationship with your coworker.”

7. What part of the newspaper do you read first? What does this say about you?

“This kind of question is asked to get to know you better as a person,” says Crawford. And while “at first glance, this seems a fairly easy question,” she says, it’s not. So, “before you answer, think about what genre of articles appeals to you: technology, fashion, current events,” Crawford advises. “Now determine if there is a way to link the genre that appeals to you as a professional. For example, if you are drawn to articles about technology, you could explain that your love of technology means that you enjoy learning new ways of doing things, you are open to change, and look to stay on top of current trends.”

8. Throw your resume aside and tell me what makes you you.

This is another question designed not to trip you up, Crawford says, but to get to know you better. “Keep in mind that they may have looked you up online and have your cover letter, so do your best not to just repeat something they have already read about you,” she says. “Instead, is there a background story about how you got into your industry? Can you explain your unique selling proposition—why you are unique in your industry? Or, you could explain your top three values and why they are important to you.”

9. What’s wrong with your past or current employer?

At all costs, “remember that you want to avoid bashing your current or past employer and the company,” warns Crawford. “This question is designed to find out why you are looking for a new job. Instead of focusing on them, focus on you. Are you looking for more career growth that what is offered where you currently work? Or a more challenging position?”

10. Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.

Before you bash your last boss, “remember that your hiring manager has your resume and knows where you have worked, so your managers won’t be completely anonymous,” warns Crawford. “However, you might explain a type of management style that wasn’t ideal for you. And if you haven’t had a bad manager, don’t make one up. Let the hiring manager know that you honestly have gotten along with your previous managers, and focus on how you are able to work with different personality and management styles.”

The article was originally posted on Glassdoor.com

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter From Scratch in 30 Minutes

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You know enough to regularly update you resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process.The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)

Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points

Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)

So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.

Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?

Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.

Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples

OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.

Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.

If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.

Continue onto Muse to read the complete article.

Recruiting Veterans Can Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line—Here’s how to do it

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Veteran employee talikn with hiring manager

What are your company’s biggest goals right now—building out a core product, improving customer service, growing your client base? When looking at employers’ top priorities, it’s rare to find hiring more veterans among them.

But when you hear what National Director of Military Affairs at Power Home Remodeling Mike Hansen has to say, you just might change your mind.

After a decorated military career, Hansen at first struggled to find a civilian position in the midst of the Great Recession. But after coming across a sales opportunity at Power Home Remodeling, he quickly found his footing. Within 12 months, he had closed a million dollars in deals. And Hansen wasn’t alone—he found that other employees who had served in the military were, on average, significantly outperforming the general population.

This discovery prompted Hansen to reach out to leadership all the way up to the co-CEO, Asher Raphael, to lobby for a veteran hiring program. Fast-forward five years later, and running the program became his full-time job when it launched in the spring of 2016. But make no mistake—Hansen doesn’t see his job as an act of corporate charity.

“When you go back to aligning the program with business objectives, you create a department that not only pays for itself, but pays for itself times ten,” Hansen said.

Glassdoor’s Emily Moore caught up with Hansen to learn more about his unique military affairs program, advice for companies hoping to hire veterans and vision for the future of the company—here’s what he had to say.

Glassdoor: How did the opportunity with Power Home Remodeling come about?

Mike Hansen: It actually kind of fell in my lap. One of the Marines I served with a few years before I joined Power started working in our Philadelphia branch, so he referred me to the local one outside of DC. I figured I’d go in for the interview and see where it went. I had no intention of working in this industry—I never thought I would be with a company like this given what I wanted to do. I was completely clueless, but ended up finding success rather quickly within the organization.

Glassdoor: What made you start thinking about recruiting more veterans to Power Home Remodeling?

Hansen: I met a couple other vets across the business that were doing pretty well, and we found that most of us were doing not just well, but disproportionately well. I wrote a couple of white papers to the chain of command saying, “Hey, we should have a more defined military initiative.” Then in 2015, our organization won Fortune Magazine’s number one place to work for Millennials and camaraderie—that was a real jump-off point. At that point, I got to meet with our co-CEO Asher Raphael and found that he wanted to do a military program and just didn’t know how. We felt that on the heels of that award, it was a really good time to launch this initiative. We set up a military affairs council, and we put together some ideas and thoughts of what we could do and what our objectives would be, and we just started iterating from there. Very quickly after that, we realized that someone would have to manage this full-time, and that’s when our co-CEO Asher asked me to move up to the headquarters and build the program.

Glassdoor: You mentioned that you noticed veterans were not only successful at Power Home Remodeling, but disproportionately successful. Can you talk a little bit more about why that might be?

Hansen: A lot of companies are afraid to hire vets because of PTSD or other perceived issues that come from being in the military. But everybody who is hired, whether they’re right out of college or a 40-year executive, comes with baggage. The difference is the military population has a natural leadership background, a strong work ethic and an understanding of how to operate in chaos that most non-veterans can’t really relate to. The culture is very mission-driven in the military, and that can be applied to any work environment. The second that an organization is able to vocalize their mission, that military drive kicks in and veterans just naturally work towards the objective.

Glassdoor: How did Power’s veteran hiring program start, and how has it changed and grown along the way?

Hansen: We started out thinking we were just going to offer a bonus and do some military-focused hiring. The more we dove in, we saw how our program aligned with the business objectives, and we started iterating and kept evolving our processes. One of the things that’s so unique is we’re able to tie the metrics of our initiative to the actual business growth, which then creates a positive feedback loop. Now, we want to double-down on some of our investments. A big goal for me is leadership development, because it’s one thing to build this program and to successfully identify, attract and onboard new talent, but when we have more veterans in Director, VP or Senior Vice President roles, military talent and leadership becomes part of the genetic makeup of the organization. That creates that positive feedback loop that just runs itself.

We actually have this joke in the business, even our co-CEO got me a T-shirt at our company party in Mexico last year that said, “Get Hansen Fired.” The idea is that my job is complete when I’m no longer needed. We’re trying to continue to build this cycle of leadership development so that more of that group will continue to take the business into the future without needing a dedicated department.

Glassdoor: A lot of companies want to hire veterans, but have no idea where to start. What advice would you offer to them?

Hansen: Number one, I think every company that’s bigger than a hundred people has probably got a veteran or two working there, and a lot of times they just don’t know. I think the first step is looking internally at your own veteran population, and getting together to understand their stories. What you’ll find is usually that some of those military veterans and spouses will already be performing above average. Then you can tie that back to where the business is going and which objectives you’re trying to solve for.

I think that’s what is intrinsically unique about our philosophy—it was never just about hiring. It was about solving business objectives. One of those objectives was investing in human capital and making sure we had the right people and the leadership development we needed to grow and scale the organization. We were able to very quickly identify that some of the gaps in our organization could be filled by a military affairs program. We come at it from a different angle, whereas most organizations view it just in terms of hiring or as a philanthropic endeavor.

Glassdoor: Are there any benefits or perks that companies should offer to help entice candidates to work there?

Hansen: We offer a $3,000 sign-up bonus for vets and spouses, but I’m not necessarily advocating that everybody do that—it just aligns with our business model because that’s the way we’ve built the program. I think the best things you can offer veterans are a sense of purpose, tying what they do back to how it’s making an impact in the lives of the people or the customers that they serve, and a sense of community. In the military, your sense of identity, purpose and community are all so defined by your environment. When you leave the military, you lose those things almost immediately. Companies that can create that sense of purpose and community naturally for their employees help them shape and evolve their new identity.

Glassdoor: Beyond creating a veteran hiring program, what can employers do to sustain it long-term?

Hansen: There are so many different versions of military hiring programs at different companies. What I like to know is, what was the foundation or the philosophy that spurred them to start that program? When you look five years down the road, the programs that were founded on philanthropy alone tend to fizzle out, or their impact wasn’t very measurable on the company. When you go back to aligning the program with business objectives, you create a department that not only pays for itself, but pays for itself times ten and helps create new opportunities across the business.

Source: Glassdoor.com

2019 Hot Jobs

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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers are revolutionizing the STEM field. If your New Years goals include a career in this field, or educational studies to advance your career, check out these hot jobs for 2019!

Software Developer

Annual Wage: $101,790

Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Computer Systems Administrator

Annual Wage: $81,100

Employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks, wide area networks, network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Petroleum Engineer

Annual Wage: $132,280

Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.

Architect

Annual Wage: $78,470

Employment of architects is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Cartographer

Annual Wage: $63,990

Employment of cartographers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Cartographers collect, measure, and interpret geographic information to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, emergency response, and other purposes.

Source: bls.gov

Easterseals serves 20,000 vets and their families in 2018

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Angela Williams-Easterseals

In 2018, nearly 20,000 veterans and military family members received support through Easterseals through an extensive list of programs, including; advocacy and education and employment programs and job training.

Other programs include; military and veterans’ caregiver services, veteran community services and support and health and wellness programs. The organization is led by President and CEO Angela Williams, a retired United States Air Force officer, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The iconic nonprofit kicks off its 100th anniversary celebration, furthering its mission of supporting the disabled and their families. Over the past century, Easterseals has provided a multitude of disability services to more than 1.5 million people, helping to meet individual and family needs.

Easterseals Military & Veterans Services
Our mission is to ensure that it’s possible for veterans and military families to live their lives to the fullest in every community. We work to break down barriers, engage organizations and communities, and connect veterans and military families with what they need for meaningful employment, education and overall wellness. Our grassroots outreach – through 71 local affiliates in communities nationwide– provide unmatched, accessible, and indispensable resources and support for veterans and military families.

Grassroots Solutions through Easterseals
The needs of veterans and military families are evolving, not disappearing. That’s why Easterseals specializes in identifying the needs of veterans and military families, particularly with employment, job training and support like family respite opportunities. We work to make solutions easily accessible in communities.

Learn More about Easterseals Military and Veterans Services

Discover how we’ve been successful so far in our mission.

Our work in action

  • Advocacy & Education
    Veterans and military families deserve services delivered in an appropriate, timely, and accessible manner. Our Washington, DC-based government relations team works to influence federal and state legislation affecting veterans and military families and actively engages with Congressional staff in pursuit of these goals.
  • Employment Programs and Job Training
    Our employment programs provide the necessary tools to achieve and maintain meaningful employment and a steady income. We offer skills training, job search assistance, employment preparation and guidance. For example, we partner with the Direct Employers Association, which has a membership of about 800 employers who want to hire veterans and people with disabilities. Through this partnership, Easterseals is offering a job search portal at easterseals.jobs, which features job postings from these employers.
  • Military and Veterans Caregiver Services 
    We strive to ensure military caregivers can access what they need to take on the enormous responsibility of caregiving—often, while still needing to work, navigate family life and take care of themselves. We embrace and support military caregivers, particularly as they transition into this new experience, life-long trajectory and unfamiliar — yet vital role — within their families and communities.
  • Veteran Community Services & Support 
    Veterans come home to their families and communities, so serving them must be a community undertaking. That’s why, across the country, we are delivering services that veterans and military families need to live productive, successful lives.
  • Health and Wellness Programs
    We aim to reach as many veterans and military families as possible to provide health resources and programs, including adult dayand medical rehabilitation services.

Additional resources

What are many veterans asking themselves these days? “What to wear?!”  As military members return to civilian life and face the job search, figuring out the right suit to wear to an interview can be the biggest challenge, while the job responsibilities are a breeze. Watch the video below to see why, and help spread the message that veterans are highly skilled and valuable employees. See all three of our military themed public service videos. 

In November 2015, Easterseals hosted Heroes Work Here, an event to educate corporate leaders on hiring and retaining veterans. With friends and partners, we gathered important advice about how to hire America’s best and brightest. Find tips on why and how to hire veterans here!
Watch Travis Mills explain how you can hire veterans with Easterseals’ help right now.

Veteran and Dancing with the Stars winner JR Martinez and veteran and author Travis Mills play word association with Easterseals, our veteran edition!

10 Reasons Veterans Make Great Employees

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By Julie Rains

Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of working with military veterans and active duty personnel who anticipate, are in the process, or have already transitioned to the civilian world.

Some job descriptions line up with their military credentials: a helicopter pilot making evacuations in Baghdad might find similar work with a law enforcement agency stateside; ditto for a technician who is searching for a mechanic’s position. But others may have incredibly valuable skills that aren’t recognized in the private sector. And, like many job seekers, the language of their current or most recent employers may be misinterpreted by those who screen candidates and make hiring decisions. Based on my experiences with military personnel, here are attributes that veterans often have and that make them great employees.

1. Understanding that actions and behaviors reflect on the organization

Military personnel, like other public servants, are always under scrutiny whether on a mission, back at the base, or on leave. They seem to understand that everything they do and say reflects on the integrity and reputation of the organization.

2. Cross-cultural skills

Our military personnel have the opportunity to interact with people of many countries. They might supervise local contract employees on base, conduct medical evacuations, or provide resources in humanitarian missions. Our veterans also have had the opportunity to work alongside others from all over the United States, providing them with knowledge of diverse cultures within our own country.

3. Innovation

I get the impression that many hiring managers may not always grasp that veterans may actually be more, rather than less, innovative in their thinking than non-veterans. Just as in the private sector, there are many opportunities for improving processes and results. In some cases, being in the field requires adapting to uncertain or changing circumstances, not being able to receive assistance from back-up teams, which further develops innovative thinking.

4. Ability to create something where nothing existed before

It took a while for one of my clients to explain to me what implementing “life support” systems in a previously undeveloped area meant. I finally realized that he directed the development of an infrastructure to house, feed, and take care of the basic needs of thousands of people. And, at some point, I understood that his logistical skills consisted not only of accessing supply chain resources but, more significantly, creating the supply chain.

5. Presentation skills

Many veterans, especially those who became officers, have excellent presentation skills. Some have fielded inquiries from Congressional representatives; others have spoken before senior executives (such as a Four-Star General). Delivering accurate information and being clear in meaning are both critical.

6. Quick Thinking

Missions and field exercises require leaders to quickly analyze situations, continuously process new and changing information, and make sound decisions. They have often received training on certain techniques, such as maneuvering a helicopter in a dust storm with no visibility, but real-world scenarios with life-or-death consequences can help hone focused thinking aligned with quick action under pressure.

7. Desire to reuse and recycle

More than one of my clients has mentioned that he or she was able to conserve resources by sharing inventory (equipment and supplies) with other facilities. In one case, he redistributed parts to sites worldwide; in another, she claimed serviceable but unneeded equipment from a nearby site.

8. Preparedness and flexibility

Readiness for deployments or impromptu operations plays a central role in many military job descriptions. Making sure that equipment is operating correctly and that supplies are ready allows responsiveness to organizational needs. And, understanding that uncertainty is the norm yields flexible employees.

9. Insight into how their actions impact other people

Doing a good job doesn’t mean just getting a good performance review, it means that fellow soldiers are as safe as possible and that critical missions are successful: the cargo plane with military troops is loaded properly; the helicopter that is transporting the critically wounded will respond to pilot controls, etc.

10. Demonstrated commitment to the greater good

Our veterans have shown that they have put themselves in danger to protect our freedom. Being able to sacrifice personal reward for greater, collective good is often a valuable asset.

There are even more skills, such as project management, purchasing, and team leadership skills, that our veterans possess. I have listed 10 that made the deepest impression on me.

Article was first published by Wise Bread.

This is the most important career skill to master in 2019

LinkedIn
interview tips

Chances are, no matter what your job title is, in the coming year you’ll have a series of conversations that are important for your career. Whether you’re being interviewed for a new position, discussing a promotion, or pitching an important project, high-stakes discussions await you in the months to come.

To ace these exchanges, you must master one crucial skill: the ability to handle Q&A, the impromptu questions and answers that are at the heart of every interview. Studies show that those who think on their feet and respond without hesitation come across as leaders who project a certain charisma. In fact, the same research indicates that this quickness of mind is rated as being even more important as a barometer of your mental smarts than IQ is.

Here are the four fundamentals that will help you answer any question with grace.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

To begin, prepare for these impromptu exchanges. While we think of answering questions as a totally spontaneous act, you can and must get ready for these conversations. Sure, you can’t anticipate ALL the questions you might be asked, but you can take a stab at preparing a list of questions and answers. This holds for job interviews, performance reviews, client meetings, and presentations that have a Q&A component.

I have coached everyone from individuals who were applying to med and law schools, to executives going for their next big job. In each case, we spent hours writing down questions, preparing answers, and role playing Q&A. The result has been a series of success stories. Candidates got what they wanted: law school, medical school, acceptance into grad school, or a CEO position.

So if you’re heading for a job interview this year–or any other critical conversation–begin by prepping.

Don’t rush to answer

Next, take your time answering. You’ll come across as more confident if you do. Listen to the entire question. If you rush to formulate your answer while the speaker is still talking, you may ignore part of what they’re saying. The result: You’ll answer the question you think they’ve asked, instead of answering the actual question.

Rushing can also cause you to interrupt the speaker—who may be contemplating the second part of her question. That will make you seem rude and panicky.

You’ll present yourself as a confident, thoughtful leader if you wait for the full question to be asked and then pause to reflect on your answer. Even if you have the answer in your mind, that pause will suggest that you are taking the question seriously and judging that it deserves a thoughtful answer.

But just because you are pausing doesn’t mean you have to fill in the silence with words like, “That’s a good question.” You’re not there to evaluate questions, you’re there to answer them. (And, hey, what about the other questions: Are they bad questions in comparison?)

Structure your response

Third, carefully structure your response. If you want to sound smart and quick on your feet, organize your answer and include the following components.

  • Begin with a segue from the question. For example, you might open with “That’s something I think a lot about,” or “Yes, I’d be glad to tell you about my qualifications for the job.”
  • Then state your point. Every answer should have a one-sentence message that’s presented clearly and with conviction. For example you might say, “I believe I have the credentials to be successful in this role.”
  • Give two to four proof points. These reasons support your message.
  • End with a call to action. This might be telling the interviewer you are excited about the opportunity being discussed and look forward to hearing from them. You also might ask what the next steps are. When preparing your answers in advance, use this structure so you will come across as clear and confident.

Ask questions

Finally, take a proactive approach and ask questions. For example, in a job interview, ask your future employer about the position or the culture of the company. These questions will show you’re engaged and have been an active listener. There are tons of great questions to ask. Giving the other person a chance to share her experience and expectations conveys your emotional intelligence–and keenness for the position.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

6 Ways Employers Recruit With Artificial Intelligence

LinkedIn

Companies hope chatbots and video interviews will improve the recruiting process for everyone.

Most job seekers and human resources managers would agree that the hiring process is flawed.

It’s as if the two groups speak different languages. For example, there’s a disconnect in how HR and job seekers prefer to communicate, and there’s also a gap between how employers present job requirements and the skills job seekers include on their resumes. Applicant tracking systems seem to arbitrarily weed out candidates or, worse, lose them in a black hole. Employers say they can’t find candidates with the right skills and are eager to fill open jobs.

There isn’t an easy fix for recruiting process problems. But employers want to talk to qualified candidates and workers want to talk to recruiters. This human-to-human connection is still the most important aspect of hiring. As strange as it sounds, technology may actually help more of these conversations happen. Here’s how:

Improved Job Postings

In order to attract the best candidates, HR needs to write a compelling yet accurate job description. The technology exists to assess and analyze job postings based on how well they do. Manually analyzing this data consumes a lot of time, but algorithms can quickly analyze successful job postings and descriptions and make suggestions to improve the wording to address the unique needs of specific candidates. This saves hours and improves the applicant pool. It also better informs potential candidates.

Chatbots

Companies already use artificial intelligence to provide customers with answers at any time. Now HR can use it to provide more information to job seekers when they need it. Chatbots allow applicants to ask questions and get quick automated answers while perusing the company’s website. Do you want to know what the company’s culture is like? Just ask.

Chatbots are also used to pre-screen interested candidates by asking qualifying questions. Be aware that information given to and provided by chatbots is reviewed by HR.

Video Interviews

Once you apply to a job, you may receive a link to a video interview platform before you talk with a recruiter. Recorded video interviews save recruiters time by replacing screening calls. They also provide candidates with an opportunity to prepare answers to questions.

Algorithms review recorded video interviews to evaluate the answers by analyzing facial expressions, word choice, speech rate and vocal tones. If all goes well, candidates move forward for in-person interviews.

Proponents of this kind of evaluation claim it removes human bias while providing recruiters with better-quality candidates in less time. For job seekers, a video interview provides the opportunity to thoughtfully construct your answers and explain your qualifications. During a phone interview, you may not have as much time to plan your responses as thoroughly.

The best advice for a video interview is to make sure you are prepared. Research the company, know about the job and make sure you record in a neutral, professional setting.

Assessments

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to take an assessment during the application process. By asking candidates to answer work-related questions, companies can compare candidate answers against current employee answers. While this assessment is another step in the process and takes more time for job seekers, it enables the employer to build predictive models and personality profiles that help identify candidates who may fit the job requirements and company culture more accurately.

Improved Communication

Staying in touch with candidates takes a significant amount of time. That’s especially so for those who may be qualified but are currently employed.

From scheduling interviews to sending texts after job fairs, artificial intelligence can automate communication to help engage potential candidates. These small time-saving steps can go a long way to improve how the potential candidate views the employer. And most job seekers agree that some communication is better than not hearing anything at all.

Continue on to U.S. News & World Report to read the complete article.

How to Answer the 31 Most Common Interview Questions

LinkedIn
interview sign on door

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your next job interview?

While we unfortunately can’t read minds, we’ll give you the next best thing: a list of the 31 most commonly asked interview questions and answers.

While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t), we do recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for in your responses, and what it takes to show that you’re the right man or woman for the job.

Consider this list your interview question study guide.

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about, then wrap up talking about how that prior experience has positioned you for this specific role.

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2. How did you hear about the position?

Another seemingly innocuous interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for and connection to the company. For example, if you found out about the gig through a friend or professional contact, name drop that person, then share why you were so excited about it. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role.

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3. What do you know about the company?

Any candidate can read and regurgitate the company’s “About” page. So, when interviewers ask this, they aren’t necessarily trying to gauge whether you understand the mission—they want to know whether you care about it. Start with one line that shows you understand the company’s goals, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.

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4. Why do you want this job?

Again, companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. (And if you don’t? You probably should apply elsewhere.) First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I love the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from helping someone solve a problem”), then share why you love the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about education, and I think you guys are doing great things, so I want to be a part of it”).

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5. Why should we hire you?

This interview question seems forward (not to mention intimidating!), but if you’re asked it, you’re in luck: There’s no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. Your job here is to craft an answer that covers three things: that you can not only do the work, you can deliver great results; that you’ll really fit in with the team and culture; and that you’d be a better hire than any of the other candidates.

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6. What are your greatest professional strengths?

When answering this question, interview coach Pamela Skillings recommends being accurate (share your true strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear); relevant (choose your strengths that are most targeted to this particular position); and specific (for example, instead of “people skills,” choose “persuasive communication” or “relationship building”). Then, follow up with an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.

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7. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can’t meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I’m perfect!” Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, but you’ve recently volunteered to run meetings to help you be more comfortable when addressing a crowd.

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8. What is your greatest professional achievement?

Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don’t be shy when answering this interview question! A great way to do so is by using the S-T-A-R method: Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result). For example, “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”

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9. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.

In asking this behavioral interview question, “your interviewer wants to get a sense of how you will respond to conflict. Anyone can seem nice and pleasant in a job interview, but what will happen if you’re hired and Gladys in Compliance starts getting in your face?” says Skillings. Again, you’ll want to use the S-T-A-R method, being sure to focus on how you handled the situation professionally and productively, and ideally closing with a happy ending, like how you came to a resolution or compromise.

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10. Where do you see yourself in five years?

If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you’ve set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn’t the first time you’re considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations? It’s OK to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.

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11. What’s your dream job?

Along similar lines, the interviewer wants to uncover whether this position is really in line with your ultimate career goals. While “an NBA star” might get you a few laughs, a better bet is to talk about your goals and ambitions—and why this job will get you closer to them.

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12. What other companies are you interviewing with?

Companies ask this for a number of reasons, from wanting to see what the competition is for you to sniffing out whether you’re serious about the industry. “Often the best approach is to mention that you are exploring a number of other similar options in the company’s industry,” says job search expert Alison Doyle. “It can be helpful to mention that a common characteristic of all the jobs you are applying to is the opportunity to apply some critical abilities and skills that you possess. For example, you might say ‘I am applying for several positions with IT consulting firms where I can analyze client needs and translate them to development teams in order to find solutions to technology problems.’”

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13. Why are you leaving your current job?

This is a toughie, but one you can be sure you’ll be asked. Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you’re eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current or last position. For example, “I’d really love to be part of product development from beginning to end, and I know I’d have that opportunity here.” And if you were let go? Keep it simple: “Unfortunately, I was let go,” is a totally OK answer.

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14. Why were you fired?

OK, if you get the admittedly much tougher follow-up question as to why you were let go (and the truth isn’t exactly pretty), your best bet is to be honest (the job-seeking world is small, after all). But it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. Share how you’ve grown and how you approach your job and life now as a result. If you can position the learning experience as an advantage for this next job, even better.

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15. What are you looking for in a new position?

Hint: Ideally the same things that this position has to offer. Be specific.

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16. What type of work environment do you prefer?

Hint: Ideally one that’s similar to the environment of the company you’re applying to. Be specific.

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17. What’s your management style?

The best managers are strong but flexible, and that’s exactly what you want to show off in your answer. (Think something like, “While every situation and every team member requires a bit of a different strategy, I tend to approach my employee relationships as a coach…”) Then, share a couple of your best managerial moments, like when you grew your team from five to 15 or coached an underperforming employee to become the company’s top salesperson.

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18. What’s a time you exercised leadership?

Depending on what’s more important for the the role, you’ll want to choose an example that showcases your project management skills (spearheading a project from end to end, juggling multiple moving parts) or one that shows your ability to confidently and effectively rally a team. And remember: “The best stories include enough detail to be believable and memorable,” says Skillings. “Show how you were a leader in this situation and how it represents your overall leadership experience and potential.”

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19. What’s a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?

Everyone disagrees with the boss from time to time, but in asking this interview question, hiring managers want to know that you can do so in a productive, professional way. “You don’t want to tell the story about the time when you disagreed but your boss was being a jerk and you just gave in to keep the peace. And you don’t want to tell the one where you realized you were wrong,” says Peggy McKee of Career Confidential. “Tell the one where your actions made a positive difference on the outcome of the situation, whether it was a work-related outcome or a more effective and productive working relationship.”

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20. How would your boss and co-workers describe you?

First of all, be honest (remember, if you get this job, the hiring manager will be calling your former bosses and co-workers!). Then, try to pull out strengths and traits you haven’t discussed in other aspects of the interview, such as your strong work ethic or your willingness to pitch in on other projects when needed.

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Continue on to Mashable.com to read the complete article.

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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Soldier using a laptop to code at desk

It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Sailor Spotlight! Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Alton Laussade

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Two Sailors aboard USS Chung-Hoon

Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Alton Laussade, (left), from Raceland, Louisiana, and Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Remely Culas, (right), from Garden Grove, California, clean the main rotor pylon of an MH-60R Sea Hawk, with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93).

Chung-Hoon is underway conducting routine operations as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 in the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. The men and women in the U.S. Navy are deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Logan C. Kellums)