Category Archives: Cracking Interviews


How to prepare for that upcoming job interview


So you have a job interview lined up. Good for you! Believe it or not, actually getting a job interview is probably one of the hardest parts of the employment process. If an employer is willing to interview, that means that they must have liked what they saw in your resume or your cover letter. They want to get a chance to know you face to face. All you have to do is act natural and professional, and everything should be fine.

Now what I just said is what you should feel before your job interview, but that’s rarely how any of us feel when we land one. Most people are filled with anxiety and doubt during the time before a job interview, worrying about all things that could go wrong. It can be a stressful time, but you can take control if you want to. I advise preparing yourself with a set of guidelines that will help you anticipate the direction of the interview.

Here are four guiding principles that might help you tackle that job interview.

Know your strengths

You only have so much time to explain yourself during an interview. This is a time to play to your strengths. Rather than make excuses to your interviewer for how you didn’t do something during a previous job or how you’ve stumbled at some point in your profession, you should plan to focus on the positives of your career. You want your potential employer to have a glowing mental picture of your value as an employee, so plan on making every second of the interview count towards building that ideal image. Be nice, be forward, be inquisitive, and be yourself.

Anticipate explaining your value as a potential employee

This point expands on the previous one. Plan to explain your strengths to your potential employer, but plan to explain in particular how those strengths will benefit their business if you’re hired. If you’re a recent college grad with a business degree, maybe you can explain how your academic experience can bring a new and bold perspective to the potential employer.

If you’re an industrious financial professional, maybe you can pitch your success as a number-cruncher as a huge benefit to an accounting firm or a financial management company. The point is that you take your core strengths and apply them specifically to the duties asked in the job posting so you can prove your worth to the interviewer.

Show that you understand the employer’s business

It’s also a good idea to study and review the background information about the employer before you go in for the interview. You want to show the interviewer that you have a firm grasp on the industry that they do business in, and you can’t do that unless you’ve taken the time to research what they do. The interviewer might appreciate your initiative if you show that you know at least a little bit about the employer’s business practices and company goals. If anything, the research will give you plenty to talk about with the interviewer should your interview run longer. The more you have to talk about, the better your interview should be.

Take a deep breath

This is the most important point I can offer to you. Like I said before, the hardest part is over: you have the interview set up, now you just need to show up on time and act natural. There’s only so much that you can prepare for before an interview just because you don’t know exactly what the interviewer will ask you. Some employers will ask you fairly conventional questions about your life goals and your career ambitions, while others might ask questions that you could never anticipate.

You can study the company for as long as you want, and you can act out interview scenarios with your friends, but there’s really only so much prep you can do. Take a deep breath and realize that you’re completely capable of knocking the interview out of the park, and you should be fine.

About the Author:

Stephanie Brooks is a freelance writer and blogger who mostly enjoys covering all things education, including online universities and traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. When she’ snot writing, she can be found at the gym working out to Zumba and cooking healthy recipes at home. She welcomes your feedback.



college admissions

How to Prepare for a College Admissions Interview

college admissionsCollege admissions interviews are set up by some undergraduate programs and most graduate programs as a way for you and the school to determine if the school is a good fit for you. Although most college curriculums are similar in content, all colleges are slightly different in how they present program content. For example, one college program may offer a fast track program for advanced students while another college may not. You should get to know the program from the inside-out before making any final decisions, and the admissions interview gives you that opportunity.

The interview also gives the school a chance to meet and learn more about you before making final admission decisions. This does not mean that they are looking for anything in particular when they interview you, but it does mean they want to make sure you are serious about attending and succeeding in their college program. To do this, the interviewer will ask you a series of questions aimed at discovering your interest in the particular subject and your goals during school and after graduation.

Some common questions asked by interviewers are:

-Why do you want to go to college?

-Why have you chosen this particular college and this particular program of study?

-What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

-Can you tell me about a challenge you overcame, independently or in a team?

-What are your post-graduation plans?

-What can I tell you about this college and this program?

There is no one right way to answer these questions, so don’t approach them with the idea that there is a “perfect” answer. You will want to prepare honest answers that are to-the-point and reflect your personality. The interviewer will invariably pick up on dishonest or embellished responses, so just be you. Having said that, you still need to practice what you want to say if asked these questions.

Another question that may be asked is, “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” This is one of the most common questions asked in all types of career-based interviews. For this question, there are some answers you will want to avoid.

When an interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, they are asking you to explain yourself in the present. They do not want to know where and when you were born, where you went to elementary school and how many school activities you were involved in from age five to 18. Think about whom you are today and what professional goals you have achieved and want to achieve in the near future. This is an answer that is most relevant to college admissions and will most impress your interviewer.

Once you feel comfortable with your responses to potential questions, you will need to decide on what to wear to the interview. This is actually a relatively easy task, as both men and women should stick to professional business attire. Men should wear a button-up shirt and tie, dress slacks and socks and dress shoes. Women should also wear a professional blouse or button-up shirt, dress slacks or skirt and demure dress shoes. Clothing should be neatly pressed and shoes should be clean.

In addition, there are a few other things women should consider when choosing their interview attire. Wear a blouse that covers the chest area and does not ride up when seated to expose the stomach or back, keep skirts at knee length when standing, keep high heels at no more than three inches and minimize perfume and makeup. These tips will keep the interviewer focused on you and not on what you are wearing.

In addition to dress, there are a few behavior pointers that you can use to impress and connect with your interviewer. First, make sure to keep good eye contact with your interviewer when he or she is speaking to you. Second, when you are first greeted, stand and give your interviewer a firm handshake, and smile and introduce yourself. A common, easy introduction is, “Hi, nice to meet you! I’m ________.”

Once in the interview room, take a seat and try to remain still while keeping good posture and a pleasant look on your face. If you find yourself feeling nervous, just inhale and exhale slowly through your nose and smile.

When the interview has ended, shake your interviewer’s hand again and thank them for their time. Even if you decide you are not interested in the program, write a thank-you note to the school expressing your continued interest or your decision not to attend.

Lastly, one important thought to keep in your head before the interview is that this is less about you and more about finding the best school for you. Relax and good luck!

About the Author:

This guest post comes courtesy of Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who offers online colleges advice throughout the interweb and welcomes responses at

job interview mistakes

Most Common Mistakes to Avoid During a Job Interview

job interview mistakes

This is a guest post by Damian on common mistakes at a job interview. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.

It is not uncommon to see candidates faltering at interviews, not because they were ineligible for the roles but because they did one of these common mistakes that interview candidates do.

Do not know about the company

You could start your research by visiting the website of the company and taking knowledge of press releases and general information about it. If you know in advance that you will pass the interview, do some research also on the experience of this person.

In addition, through social media like LinkedIn, it is easy to access information about the company, as the turnover rate, for example. There is therefore no excuse to attend an interview without previously obtaining a minimum of information about the company.

Having an inappropriate dress

A formal dress is more appropriate for an interview at a large company. For men, this means solid colors, a full in a hurry, tie and polished shoes. For women, a dress or a classic dark suit with jewelry are discrete implementations.

However, if you are applying for employment with a nonprofit organization or a company that focuses on creativity, a complete or a tailor might seem inappropriate and you would think that you do not understand the culture of company. In this case, adopt a rather neat casual dress, relying more on the side “neat” than “sport”. Whatever the situation, it is better to dress too dressed than not enough.

Criticizing your former boss

Do you remember when your mother said “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing”? The same principle applies when you inevitably ask about your last employer. Small world, and who knows, the person who passed the interview may be a good friend of the boss that you just criticize.

A bad attitude or sarcastic remarks will not make you enjoy your future employers.

The same principle applies to your conduct on social media. HR departments often consult Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get a feel for potential employees, it would be wise of you to avoid making disparaging remarks about the company you work for now, your boss or of your colleagues.

And while you’re at it, eliminate from your social media pages on any photograph unprofessional and potentially embarrassing. What happened in Vegas should stay in Las Vegas and do not end up on your Facebook wall.

Do not ask the right questions

Consider the interview as if it were a conversation in formal after which both sides hope to achieve the same result, namely that you are considered the best candidate for the station. That said, good communication is important and if you do not ask questions, you could spend your eyes vis-à-vis as someone who is not prepared or interested. What is important is to ask good questions and describe your achievements with flying colors.

Employers are looking for enthusiastic people who can not only respond intelligently to questions asked during an interview, but also ask themselves relevant questions. Find someone – a friend, family member, a career coach or counselor job search – you will spend fictional interviews to practice your communication skills. This will help you develop relevant questions about company and position you are applying.

Too early to learn about salary and benefits

The job interview is your opportunity to shine and not to negotiate. Ask questions early in the interview about the compensation can give potential employers the impression that you care about more money than your role in the organization. The appropriate time to inform you of the salary and benefits package is when you are confident that the employer considers you a good candidate for the position and is about to make you an offer.

When that time comes, however, make sure you understand what your benefits will be. Will there a probationary period during which you will not receive benefits, such as guaranteed medical and dental expenses? If this is the case, find out if there is a way to extend the coverage you get with your current employer until your new benefits take effect. The benefits program is it comprehensive enough to meet your needs and those of your family? Otherwise, do a search and make sure that your new salary will allow you to provide additional protection.

Author’s Bio:

The author of the post Damian is a consultant and considers one of the greatest challenges as consulting and contributing on marketing strategy for mining jobs Queensland project.

success in interview

Things to Do After The Interview to Raise Your Chances of Getting the Job

success in interviewThis is a guest post by Ashyia Hill on what to do after an interview to improve the chances of getting a job. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market is finally on the rise, with nonfarm payroll employment rising by 200,000 in December of 2011. Even though this spells good things for the economy and the employment outlook for our future, it still doesn’t mean that getting a job is easy – especially if you’re in a particularly competitive field.

How to Raise your Chances of Getting a Job:

It could often be very frustrating if you do not hear from the interviewers after the interview is done. Since you are anxiously waiting for a response, it becomes even more important that you get an update immediately.

If you’ve been sending out applications and getting interviews without follow-ups, here are some things that you need to start doing after every interview to raise your chances of getting hired:

Know What Comes Next

Before you even leave the interview, make sure to get a clear idea of what happens next in the hiring process. Most of the time, a potential employer will have an idea of when they will be contacting candidates for further interviews or job offers.

Asking questions about this timing lets the interviewer know you are definitely interested in the job and also helps you decide how to time your post-interview communications properly.

Ask If You Can Get In Touch

Another way to ensure that the interviewer knows you are interested in the position is to ask if and how you can get in touch after the interview. You don’t want to be annoying, but most potential employers won’t mind if you touch base through a short phone call or email a week or two after your interview. Asking about this at the end of your interview can lead an interviewer to expect such contact, as well.

Send a Thank You Note

This is one of the simplest ways to make a good impression. Send a hand written thank you note to each person who was part of your interview shortly after the interview.

Some job coaches recommend sending an email twenty-four hours after the interview and a hand written card or letter that will arrive one to three days after that. A thank you note makes you look polite, and it also keeps your name in the front of your interviewers’ minds.

Follow Up with a Letter

Sometimes, following up with a longer letter – rather than just a short thank you note – can be a great idea, as well. If you’ve learned more about the company after your interview or have had time to process some of the company’s problems or challenges after the interview, link your accomplishments and skills to those issues in your letter.

A letter can also be a good place to address achievements, skills, or experiences that you did not get around to discussing during the interview.

Keep Your Word

If you say that you’ll send a list of references or a documentation of a certain training or experience the day after your interview, then do it. Punctuality in carrying out such tasks will show that you’re serious about the job and will ensure that you look nothing but professional.

Be Careful of Your Credit

Many potential employers will check your credit history to gauge how responsible you are in your personal life – which is often a good indicator of how responsible you will be in your job. This means that you may not want to apply for a credit card online or run up a bunch of new debt the weekend after your interview.

Remember, credit card applications and other applications for credit will put dings in your credit history, so make only wise, necessary credit choices in the few weeks before and after an important job interview.

Be Patient

While it’s a good idea to have some contact with your potential employer and interviewers after an interview, it’s also important not to come across as desperate and avoid becoming a pest. Choose one or two forms of contact, and stick with that. Wait for the employer to call you, otherwise.

If you have not heard from the potential employer for two or three weeks after the interview, it’s acceptable to call to check on the status of the hiring process.

Don’t Burn Bridges

This is perhaps the most important piece of post-interview advice. Even if you aren’t chosen for the position at that particular time, remain professional. Unprofessional behavior can burn bridges with employers and interviewers who might otherwise hire you sometime in the future, so remain calm, professional, and courteous throughout all your post-interview interactions with anyone from the company.

Don’t forget to remain professional and courteous even on your favorite social networking sites, as well! Using them for a venting outlet about a potential employer could well cost you a job opportunity in the future.

These steps will help you stay in contact with potential employers after your interview so that you’ll more likely be hired for the job. It may take you a couple of interviews to learn to use these techniques perfectly, but once you do, you’ll raise your chances of getting a job any time you get an interview.

About the author:

Ashyia Hill contributed this article.  She is a social media advocate at the credit card comparison website,

finding an employer

Finding the Employer that can understand your abilities

finding an employerOne of my ex-subordinates had once applied for a job with a leading financial firm. This guy in question was extremely talented in analytics. He used to consult me for important things even after I had left the job. Over a period of time I realized that he had developed immensely in the field and hence I knew he could any day bag a good position anywhere.

So, when he informed me that he was appearing for an interview, I knew that he would crack it and so it was. After about 4 months into his new job, he called me. He was extremely frustrated, tired of the job he was doing, de-motivated and desperate to quit the job.

I wondered as to what the reason could be. What could have changed in 4 months?

I met him the next day and after a 3 hour long discussion, I realized that it is not only important to crack interviews, but it is also important to do it at an employer who understands your abilities.

This guy in question was good at data crunching, interpreting and presenting it. But his employer never understood his abilities. His initiatives were shot down saying he was knew to the organization and he needed to spend some more time. He was put into a data accumulating team, whose job was to run queries on servers and pull data and hand it over to people who would analyze it. He spent time learning it. Very often he would find that the analytics people had not interpreted the data correctly, yet his feedback was discarded.

His frustration grew and finally he quit the organization.

Finding an employer who can understand your abilities

If you are looking at a long term career, then it is very important that you find an employer who can understand your abilities and channelize your energy in the right direction.

Some tips that can help you are mentioned below -

Know what you are applying for -

Don’t just apply for a job. Know what you are applying for. You are the best judge of yourself. You know your strengths. You know your skills.

Before you apply for that job that you see in the newspaper, ask yourself if it fits your profile. Will it help you put your skills to use? Will it help you learn and enhance your skills?

If what you are applying for is not something your love to do, you are sure to get frustrated very soon.

Don’t be shy of asking questions -

I have often seen interviewees shying away from asking questions, in spite of the interviewer asking them. Ask questions about the details of the role. Ask whatever questions you have about the job profile.

One thing as a caution; Ensure that you have read whatever information is available about the profile before asking questions. Else it will appear as if you are under-prepared.

Be an Optimist -

People are hired equally for the attitude that they display as for the technical skills they possess. Exhibit optimism. Very often people are put into the wrong roles just because of their attitudes. Nobody will like keeping a pessimist in their team.

Be a continuous learner -

Career building is not about doing many jobs and possessing fancy titles. It is about building an inventory of skills and knowledge to execute the required job well. Hence it is important that you keep gathering whatever knowledge comes your way.

Take on challenging roles -

Seek roles that you always wanted to do. This will provide you the most needed visibility. Visibility is what will take you placed. It will not be easy to get these roles. You will have to toil hard to get them, but once you are into it, your career is sure to get the boost it needs.


Building your career is not just about cracking that interview. It includes a lot of things and starts from the very point you see that “Wanted”ad in the newspaper. If you wish to build a long term career, it is important that you work with employers who understand you abilities. At the same time it is also important that you understand the needs of your employer and fulfill it.