Best Practices: Interview Questions

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For those of us who have been on the candidate side of an interview, it can be difficult to answer the question about, well, questions.

 

So what are interview question dos and don’ts? Read on for some suggestions on what to ask and not to ask in your next job interview.

 

The Dos:

 

The Basics

You probably came into your interview with some questions about hours, expectations of the job, reporting supervisor, etc. Asking questions they didn’t answer is the best place to start. It shows you have genuine interest in the job and what you’ll be doing at the company. Just make sure to focus on aspects that show you care about the right things, rather than how you can cut corners.

 

Business Structure

As you prepared for your interview, you probably spent some time online gathering information about the company. That’s a great start, but what didn’t you find out? Did their website tell you how many locations they have, but not when the company was founded? Ask how long they’ve been in business.

Did you find a detailed history of the company, but nothing about their current staff? Ask how many employees they have locally/regionally/nationally. Show an interest in the company you’re auditioning for and you’ll make a good impression.

 

Company Culture

No one likes to start a job and find out on the first day that everyone there works in shared office space as a team, when you prefer to work independently, away from distractions. It is important to know what culture you’re coming into. Teams who like each other tend to work better together, making everyone’s job a little easier.

Ask what kinds of team building activities they do as a company, but also ask about the business’ mission statement and if they have a set of Core Values. You’ll sound impressive to your interviewer and also get some inside info that other applicants probably didn’t think to ask.

The Don’ts

job interview

Monetary Gain

If this is your first interview at the company, don’t bring up salary or benefits unless the interviewer brings it up first. If they ask, it has opened up a door. But if they don’t, it probably isn’t their biggest concern and shouldn’t be yours either.

Don’t make it seem like you’re only in it for the money, vacation time, insurance or 401K match. Business owners want to see that their employees are engaged in the work and their goals more than their compensation.

 

People

Don’t ask about race, gender, marital status, age, religion, etc. of your interviewer or anyone else who works at that company. Just like you don’t want them to ask you about those things, it is inappropriate to ask that of them.

 

Lifestyle

Do I have to take a drug test? This question is a sure way to get rejected for a position. Even if the company doesn’t require drug testing, you have caused concern for your reliability and responsibility. Always be prepared to take a drug test for work, but never worry your interviewer about whether you’ll pass or not.

 

Overall, be prepared to ask two to three good questions and shy away from asking anything too personal or too specific. If you need help preparing, Priority Staffing Group provides interview coaching and resume writing help to our applicants. We want to see our applicants succeed. Call any of our offices to find out how we can help connect you to your next opportunity.

 

Marion, IL: (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL: (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN: (615) 295-2127

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers

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LinkedIn

If you are looking for a new career opportunity, your social media presence, especially your LinkedIn profile, can play a very important role in your success.

In Illinois it is actually illegal for employers to use social media in determining whether or not to hire someone. Employers can, however, use sites like LinkedIn to find qualified applicants and notify them of career opportunities. For this reason, you want to make sure your profile depicts you in an accurate and professional manner.

If you’ve created your profile, but are not getting any attention, think about making a few changes. It could be that your profile does not portray a professional look. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is almost all business. Your profile, posts and comments should keep with that fact. For those of you struggling to gain traction on LinkedIn, here are some simple tips that you can implement today.

1. Add a Professional Headshot

With LinkedIn, it’s all about being professional. Therefore, your photo should depict a professional image, not an inappropriate, blank or casual one. Most phones now have a camera with high enough resolution to capture a good photo – so no excuses! Remember, your photo could be the first impression an employer has of you, so dress accordingly.

2. Use Keywords in your Headline

Your headline should contain keywords that relate to the position you are seeking. Think about some of the most likely terms or phrases a potential employer looking to hire candidates might search for and add them to your profile. It will make you more visible to searchers.

3. Create a Results-Driven Summary

Given that it’s the first section people read after your header and headline, be sure to include any key achievements, career milestones, awards, endorsements and success stories. Instead of focusing on tasks you completed, focus on the results your actions yielded.

4. Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations can help readers understand the types of problems you solve, how you make decisions and how you handle tough situations. Ask supervisors from past jobs and others you have done business with to leave you a recommendation outlining your skills and achievements.

5. Make Regular Updates

Being “top of mind” with potential employers can be very beneficial. Aside from staying in front of them, sharing insights about your career field will show that you are serious about your profession and work to stay current in your field.

6. Become Active in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups are a great place to connect with potential employers while demonstrating your knowledge on a particular topic. You should search out groups specific to your profession and actively engage in those groups. You may be unknowingly demonstrating your expertise to a future employer.

7. Turn off LinkedIn Activity Broadcasts

Turn off your account’s activity broadcasts if you don’t want potential employers to know that you are updating your profile. If you are reading this and have just realized your entire profile needs an overhaul, you may want to turn off updates to stay off the radar of potential employers until your profile is ready for action.

While the tips above are pretty simple, making sure your profile is professional, up to date and demonstrates your expertise is more than worthwhile when you are looking to change careers. Take a few moments today to make sure your profile is making the first impression you want it to.

 

If you are looking for professional career opportunities, be sure to apply for positions you are interested in and call any of our offices to schedule an interview.

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

resume writing

Resume Writing: The Beginner’s Guide

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Resume writing can be difficult, but, trust us, it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a little time and attention to detail. Follow these tips and soon you’ll be on your way to the job of your dreams!

 

Make a List

Oftentimes, recruiters receive resumes that are pages long. While you should have a list of all your past jobs, you should never send that list to a prospective employer. Start by writing down every job you’ve had and the major responsibilities from each one. This doesn’t need any special formatting since it’s simply a guide to use while creating your tailored resume. While you’re making the list, it helps to name your supervisors and anyone you worked with who you could use as a reference later.

 

 

Choose a Format

Once you have the information you’re going to include on your resume, you should choose a format. If you don’t already know how to format a resume, you can find templates in Microsoft Word or by searching the internet for resume templates. Find something that looks clean and professional.

Your name and contact information should always be at the top of the page. Experience should be next, followed by education and special skills.

 

Include Relevant Details

One you start to write your resume, you’ll want to think about the job you’re applying for, the description of that job and what experience you have that lines up with it. If you worked as an assistant on a construction site, that should be included if you’re applying for a construction job; however, that experience probably isn’t relevant when applying to an administrative or customer service position. The included experience should be tailored to fit each job you apply for. Some exceptions include management positions of any kind or if you don’t have very much job history.

Unless you have 20 years of relevant experience, your resume should be one page only. Cut down on irrelevant job duties. For example, if you worked as the manager of a retail store, you don’t need to include that you know how to operate a cash register. Recruiters will be more interested on whether you know how to make schedules, train employees, and control inventory. Give the big picture with the most important details only.

 

Sell Yourself

 

So, what details should you include? You should tell the things that make you stand out. Remember, the reviewer is receiving several other resumes. Tell them why they should call you before anyone else. Did you increase sales by 20% at your last store? Did you cut down on packing time in the warehouse? Do you know how to use a special computer program? Let the recruiter know what is unique about you!

Make sure to sell yourself and the skills you know, but don’t ever lie. If you only used Adobe Photoshop once in your high school yearbook class, don’t put Expert at Adobe Photoshop on your resume. When you’re asked to prove your skills, you don’t want to embarrass yourself (not to mention, waste your time and the recruiter’s time). Just be honest about what you know and sell those attributes. It will likely land you a job you’re happy with and well-suited for.

 

Proofread

Most importantly, don’t forget to use proper grammar and spelling throughout your resume. Then, read it over again to make sure it’s all correct. If spelling and grammar aren’t your strongest skills, ask someone else to look at it for you.

Finally, Priority Staffing Group is here to help you. Our website has a resume builder that helps you get started. And when you apply with us, we’ll look at your resume and make suggestions for you too. All you have to do is ask! Make an appointment today so that we can get you on your way to a new job!

 

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

Interview Tip: What to Wear

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Inappropriate interview attire can cost you the job. But how do you know what’s appropriate to wear? The answer to that question depends on your line of work and the company you’re interviewing at. Answer the following questions to decide how to dress for your next job interview.

 

What job are you applying for?

If you’re applying for a job in a clerical or customer service field, the standard attire is business casual. For men, this means dress slacks, dress shoes, collared shirt and, in some cases, a tie. For women, this means dress pants or a knee length skirt, a modest blouse, heels or flats and professional accessories.

Business Casual Attire

Manufacturing or labor positions, while casual in nature, might still require nicer choices for the interview. If applying for a management role, I recommend the above business casual. For everyone else, jeans or khaki pants with a button up or polo shirt with casual (but clean!) shoes is acceptable.

 

What company are you applying for?

Do your research! The above guidelines should be used as just that – guidelines. For example, I have a client who needs construction workers and general laborers for his company. What I would normally suggest for a similar company doesn’t work best for his applicants. He would like to know that his applicants can get their hands dirty, and a collared shirt won’t tell him that. For this company, I recommend jeans, a t-shirt and work boots. Some research about the company and their current employees can tell you a lot about what you should wear.

Casual Attire

What job do you want?

Rule of thumb: dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve applied for. Are you applying for an entry-level receptionist position, but truly aspire to be in a management role? Dress business professional. Interviewers sometimes connect your appearance to your aspirations. If you wear jeans to an interview, even if it may be appropriate for the job you’re applying for, it might not send the right message to the hiring team. When in doubt, dress a stress up!

Business Professional Attire

How do you get clothes?

Did you answer the above questions and still don’t know what to wear to your interview? The picture guides above can help you make informed decisions about your interview attire, and many appropriate items can be found in thrift and consignment stores at a reasonable cost.

Amelia's Closet logoFor women interviewing in our Tennessee office who don’t think they can afford appropriate interview clothes, we want to help. Our partnership with Amelia’s Closet in Murfreesboro allows us to help unemployed and low-income women prepare for sustainable employment. This non-profit organization prepares women recovering from hardship by providing an interview outfit and interview tips upon referral from a partner agency like Priority Staffing Group. Upon being hired, they provide returning clients with a week’s wardrobe for work.

Ask us for more information by stopping by Priority Group’s Murfreesboro office or calling (615) 295-2127.