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If you’re a job seeker (and who isn’t?), the fact that most of us don’t know how to interview well is a huge opportunity. Because that weakness lets you control the encounter. It lets you win. Here’s how:

  1. Predict the future. You can anticipate 90% of the interview questions you’re going to get. Three of them are listed above, but it’s an easy list to generate. “Why do you want this job?” “What’s a tough problem you’ve solved?” If you can’t think of any, Google “most common interview questions.” Write down the top 20 questions you think you’ll get.
  2. Plan your attack. For EVERY question, write down your answer. Yes, it’s a pain to actually write something. It’s hard and frustrating. But it makes it stick in your brain. That’s important. You want your answers to be automatic. You don’t want to have to think about your answers during an interview. Why not? Keep reading.
  3. Have a backup plan. Actually, for every question, write down THREE answers. Why three? You need to have a different, equally good answer for every question because the first interviewer might not like your story. You want the next interviewer to hear a different story. That way they can become your advocate.
  4. Prove yourself. Every question should be answered with a story that proves you can do what you’re being asked about. “How do you lead?” should be answered with “I’m a collaborative/decisive/whatever leader. Let me tell you about the time I ….” Always tell a story or have facts to prove you are what you say you are. More on how to construct and tell these stories in a future article.
  5. Read the room. All that brainpower you’re not using to desperately come up with answers to questions? Look around. Focus on the interviewer. In the first 10 seconds, is there anything in their office, or about them, you can notice and use to forge a connection? A book on a shelf? A family photo? A painting? Read the interviewer: is their body language open or closed? Are they tired and should you try to pep them up? Do they like your answer or should you veer in another direction?

 

 6. Make it Carnegie Hall. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Same goes for getting a job. When I was in my second year of business school, I practiced my interview answers -- out loud -- until I could tell each story smoothly, without thinking about it (but not so smoothly that I was bored with the re-telling). My roommate walked in one day to find me sitting on the futon reciting why I thought I was a great leader again and again. He figured I was stuck in some kind of Stuart Smalley-like self-help loop. But I got 7 job offers from 5 companies (that’s another story) and was on track to get another 6 before I stopped interviewing. How is that possible? Practice.



Advanced Staffing Associates and its employees are firm believers in setting goals. Setting goals has helped the staff here to exceed expectations. We want the same for you! Here are some tips for goal setting.

The following are some basic guidelines for Goal Setting:

GOALS SHOULD ALWAYS BE FORMALLY WRITTEN
You need to write your goals because it moves them from a passive wish into an active target. Put your goals where they are visible to you at all times. You could put your goals on a bathroom mirror, closet door, car visor, telephone, computer screen, etc. You need to place them where you can see and read them every single day. This will be a constant reminder of where you are going and where you want to be.

GOALS SHOULD BE SPECIFIC
When you have a specific goal, you need a clear picture and be focused on a specific idea. This way the idea takes on more significance. Goals should be so specific that there can be no room for error. The more specific your goal is, the more likely you will achieve it.

GOALS SHOULD BE MEASURABLE
You need to keep track of your progress. Make sure you can measure exactly where you are in the process. This typically means that there are specific numbers involved. Always know your numbers and where those numbers fit into attaining your set goals.

GOALS SHOULD BE ATTAINABLE
It can be counter-productive to set goals that you are unable to attain. You will only feel frustrated in the attempt to reach unrealistic goals. Your goals should be challenging and attainable. To ensure your success, it’s important that your goals are within your reach.

GOALS SHOULD HAVE A DEADLINE
Set the actual date that your goal is to be reached. By doing this, you are forcing yourself to take action. Keep in mind that there may be times when you might need to re-evaluate the progress you are making and adjust a date. This is acceptable IF you are making progress and not just procrastinating.

GOALS SHOULD BE STATED POSITIVELY
You can form a clear picture of yourself doing something, but you can’t visualize not doing something. You must be able to see yourself taking action on the goal. Your goal will work better when stated positively and concretely.

These are some helpful hints to assist you with your goals. Make sure you have both personal and professional goals. As you attain one, cross it off and set another one. This process will keep you moving forward and keep you challenged.
 

Now that you have your goals in place, here are some step to achieving them!

1. First, project an image of yourself one year from today, picture where you will be, how you will feel and what you will be doing.

2. Next, create the four to five accomplishments you will have achieved at that time. Limit yourself to a maximum of six goals. If you have too many goals, you might become overwhelmed with all there is to do for those goals. You literally can paralyze the process in a state of inaction. On the other hand, fewer than four goals will not be comprehensive enough to make a real difference.

3. These past four to five accomplishments are your goals. It is important to state them in the past tense, as if you have already achieved them. Below is an example.

YOUR GOAL: 
In one year I am employed with one of my top three choices. I am currently making more money than I have in my life and I am extremely happy with my success.

4. Your goals should always be objectively measurable and easily identifiable. This step enables you to know when you have actually accomplished your goals.

5. Finally, your goals should directly support your personal and professional vision.

Someone once said, “How will you get there if you don’t know where you’re going?” Goal setting is mandatory if you want personal and professional growth. Think out your goals and then commit to them. Your future is determined by YOU - MAKE IT COUNT!

 

The New Secrets to Rocking Your Skype Interview

By Scott Dockweiler
 

By now, you’re probably familiar with the basics of video interviewing: Find a quiet, clean place to have it, make sure your mic’s turned on, and—seriously—put on some pants.

But with more and more employers using Skype or Google Hangout for their first round interviews—and more and more job seekers knowing the basics—it’s a good idea to take your digital interviewing skills to the next level. From enhancing your sound quality to making sure your body language sends the right message on that small screen, there’s a lot you can do to make sure your digital presence is as professional and polished as your IRL persona.

To learn more, we sat down with experts who specialize in looking and sounding great on screen. Here are their (seriously) pro tips.

Dress to Impress (Not Distract)

While you want to dress professionally (again, from head to toe, not head to waist), don’t just pull out any old interview outfit—take care to make sure what you’re wearing works for video. “Certain colors, like many shades of blue—royal, navy, sky blue—look great on video, while others like reds and hot colors like magenta can be too bright,” says job search expert Alison Doyle.

For the ladies: Pay particular attention to anything that might be a distraction, like jewelry (anything too bright will come off “sparkly like a disco ball” on screen, says Paul Bailo, a digital marketing technology executive and author of The Essential Digital Interview Handbook). Same with showing too much skin—a lower-cut top may look fine in person, but when you’re only visible from the chest up, it can seem like way too much.

Also, as any makeup artist will tell you, what looks great in person can be quite different than what looks great on screen. “It’s OK to use a little more than usual, as makeup tends to not show up as well on camera,” says Hasti Kashfia of DotComplicated. “For those with oily skin, go for a matte primer—for dry skin, try a radiant primer or tinted moisturizer,” recommends celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff. Then, “brighten under the eyes and spot conceal where needed.” She also recommends a good dose of (professional) eye makeup: “Use a deep colored eye pencil [black or brown] and smudge at lashline, then curl lashes and apply multiple coats of mascara.”

Master the Digital Handshake

Just like your in-person interviews, first impressions really matter. “The first five seconds will make or break your digital interview,” says Bailo. “It is those few seconds, when the hiring manager sees you and you see the hiring manager that the digital chemistry is created. That is when this person hopefully thinks, ‘I like what I see, I want to engage in this digital conversation.’”

The first step to creating that digital chemistry? What Bailo calls a “digital handshake.” Think a “slow, confident, professional, firm nod” with “a slight shoulder bend and eyes forward—the other person should not see the top of your head.” When you can’t physically greet the hiring manager, this simple gesture shows that you’re excited to be there and ready to get down to business.

From then on, focus on keeping your eyes on the camera—not on the view from your screen. “Your eyes need to look straight into the camera, so it appears on the other end you are looking right at the other person,” says Bailo. His tip? “Try downloading a photo of the hiring manager, printing it, and making a hole in the photo to allow the camera lens to see through. Now you can look at the photo, which makes it more human to conduct your digital interviews.” (Just keep it small—you still want to be able to see your screen!)

Don’t Forget Body Language

“Someone I was Skype-interviewing with was so motionless, I thought for a while the screen was frozen,” a colleague recently shared with me. Lesson learned: Make sure your body language expresses that you’re engaged and, well, alive. “As you’re communicating, lean forward,” suggests Bailo. “This will show interest and concern and will engage your audience. It will also convey eagerness and willingness to listen.”

Just be careful not to overdo it. “Even more so than in an in-person interview, avoid excessive physical movements,” says Dubroff (think making large hand gestures and wildly nodding or shaking your head). “You'll appear blurry to your interviewer, and none of your facial expressions will be visible.”

Create a “Skype Studio”

If you’re going to be doing a lot of interviewing—or really want to make an impression at a high-stakes meeting—consider creating a mini-studio at your place. Find a quiet corner, buy a roll of seamless paper (Bailo suggests “professional background paper in a nice neutral color that does not compete with your wardrobe”), and hang it from the ceiling. Having a clean, simple backdrop not only looks professional, it makes sure that the interviewer focuses on you and only you.

To perfect the look, add lighting. “Soft, natural lighting is the way to go,” says Bailo. Try having “three lights, one to your right, one to your left… and the third shining up at your background. This creates a wonderful, inviting, caring environment.”

Finally, consider investing in high-quality sound equipment. “The essential part of the digital job interview is the camera—get a name brand HD web camera,” says Bailo. He also recommends upgrading your mic, which will make sure that every word you say is heard loud and clear. “Blue makes an outstanding product specifically for interviewing called the Snowball—you are going to love it and sound fantastic!”

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