Answering 4 Common Interview Questions

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Interview preparation is an important part of any job search. Researching the company, practicing your responses to typical interview questions and preparing questions of your own can help to boost your hiring chances. However, it is usually the simplest interview questions that we usually get hung up on. In order to prove that you are the most ideal candidate, follow the tips for how to answer some common interview questions:

1. “Can you tell me a little about yourself?”
While on the surface this question seems easy to answer, in reality it can be tough to come up with an appropriate response. The human resources manager asks this question in an effort to gauge your confidence level, your enthusiasm and passion for the job, and your ability to communicate clearly. To answer this question successfully, speak about your career path rather than your personal life. Focusing on your professional experience, education and skills as they relate to the job posting will help to demonstrate to the hiring manager why the position interests you.

2. “Why do you want to work for this company?”
This question is designed to allow you to make the case to the hiring manager why they should give you the job. Although the question appears to be about what you want, what the interviewer really wants to know is the assets that you can bring to the company. Avoid focusing too much on what you will get out of the job, and instead demonstrate to the hiring manager that you can meet the needs of the team and company. Talk about your admiration for the company and its products or services, as well as touching on how the post matches your expertise and experience. Answer the question after researching the company and its values, philosophy and challenges.

3. “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses”
When answering this question, it is important that you refrain from bragging or exaggerating your strengths. On the opposite end, only mention weaknesses that you have conquered and explain how you have turned the weaknesses into strengths. Also keep in mind that this question isn’t about your personal struggles. Be sure that you keep things focused on your professional life and not your personal one.

4. “Why are you leaving your current job?”
When you answer this question, it is important that you remain positive. Avoid bashing your current boss, company or co-workers. Additionally, if you were laid off or fired, be honest about it, but try to emphasize a silver lining in the situation. Emphasize that the time and focus that you gained during your job search was beneifical and that you were looking forward to finding a career more in line with your passions.

Answering interview questions effectively during the job search process is important. It is important to relax, be yourself and to let the interviewer see your personality. Avoid answering with scripted responses and instead provide the hiring manager with solid reasoning for hiring you.

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5 Derailing Career Mistakes

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While it can take years to build a successful career, a few minor mistakes can quickly derail one. Julie Bauke, career strategist, president of The Bauke Group, and author of Stop Peeing on our Shoes: Avoiding the 7 Mistakes that Screw Up your Job Search, states “People make a lot of mistakes in their careers, some are small and can be recovered from with an apology or the passage of time.” She goes on to state, “others can fully derail your career and your reputation.” Avoid making the five damaging career mistakes that can get you off track:

1. Not taking advantage of the tools at hand
A key to advancing in a career, reaching goals and doing a great job is taking advantage of the tools and resources that are available. A lot of people pass on the opportunity to take free training classes or advance their education despite being provided the benefits by their employers. Utilize the tools that are available to you in order to stretch your role further and advance within a company.

2. Being focused solely on your job
It is important to take pride and your work and to focus on your career. However, too much focus solely on your role can be a bad thing. Bauke says, “It is imperative that all professionals always understand what is going on in their industry, company, and profession so that they can continue to stay aligned with what is needed.”

3. Not keeping your emotions and behavior in check
We usually spend more hours at work than we do at home. As a result we form relationships with many of our co-workers and bosses. However, it is important to remember that the relationships are professional in nature. One of the biggest career killers is failing to keep emotions and behaviors in check while at work. Avoid having inappropriate relationships in the office, being insensitive to others, or overreacting emotionally to a work scenario.

4. Blowing off opportunities to network
Networking doesn’t end once you land the job. Instead, it is way of life designed to help you move up in your company and advance your career. As a professional, you should continue to network at events, meetings and other work functions. Failing to network will leave you in a rut.

5. Choosing the wrong team
Aligning with the wrong person at work could ultimately end up being what makes you lose a job. It is important to be loyal to your boss and to be a team player, however always keep it professional. Avoid teaming up with the wrong person in the office and maintain relationships with the individuals who can help benefit your career, instead of hurt it.

Advancing your career takes a lot of hard work, and just one simple mistake can undo it all. Be sure to avoid the common errors listed above in order to continue to advance your career and grow professionally.

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Labor Market is Still Strengthening Despite Rise in Jobless Claims

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The Labor Department announced on Thursday that the initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 311,00 for the week ended Aug 9. Despite the increase being more than expected, analysts are not changing their views that the labor market is continuing to strengthen.

Economists that were polled by Reuters had initially forecasted that claims would rise to only 295,000 last week, a decent sized underestimate of the actual numbers. Due to annual automobile plant shutdown, volatility in July caused a spike but claims are now settling down. Additionally, a Labor Department analyst reported that there were no special factors influencing the state level data.

Considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, the four-week average of claims rose 2,000 to 295,750, still pointing to firmer job market conditions. One of the major drivers for an improving job market has been a significant decline in layoffs, which as pushed claims down to theier pre-recession levels. Hiring has also gained traction, adding to the improving market. On Tuesday, a report showed that hiring rose in June to its highest level since February 2008. Also, the number of job openings that month was the highest since February 2001.

The jobless claims report also showed that the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 25,000 to 2.54 million in the week ended Aug. 2. For the fifth successive week, the unemployment rate for people receiving jobless benefits was 1.9 percent.

 

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5 Interview Mistakes That Could Cost You The Job

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After completing your online job search, and learning the tips and tricks for answering tough interview questions, it is finally time for you to begin the tricky interview process. Even after your preparation, you can sometimes turn up empty-handed. Avoid making the five mistakes that could cost you during the job interview:

1. Having too much or too little confidence
Regardless of your devoted preparation, you never know when a curve ball might be thrown during the interview process. Be sure to stay alert for surprises and to stay sharp in your approach and presentation to your interviewers. Linda Citroen, a personal branding expert suggests finding your “balance of power.” Identify a happy medium in between feeling like a sure-fire shoo-in and feeling as though you are interviewing for a job you’ll never get. Overconfidence and a lack of confidence are equally as detrimental, so find the middle ground that helps you during the interview process.

2. Differing too much from your interviewer
Studies show that demonstrating similarity to those interviewing you can actually improve your standing more than sharing unique viewpoints. While it is certainly important to be yourself, you want to avoid lying or being disingenuous in how you present yourself. Instead, project an attitude that is in alignment with your interviewer

3. Thinking it’s about you
Employers aren’t that interested in helping you out, at least not at first. Instead, they care most about how you are able to help them solve their business problems. During the interview process, your goal should be to convince your interviewer that you are the right fit for the position and for the company. During this process, avoid asking questions about what the company can provide you (benefits, relocation expenses, etc.) and instead focus on answering the questions in the best way that demonstrates what a great addition you would be to their team.

4. Not knowing about them
Because the focus on the interview is going to be on the company and not on you, you should be sure to do plenty of research prior to attending the interview. Utilize various social media tools in order to learn about the company and the people who are interviewing you.

5. Failing to ask questions of the interviewer
Almost every interview typically ends with the interviewer saying, “What questions do you have for me?” Don’t just wing this opportunity; instead know some general points to cover in order to prevent yourself from panicking during the moment. Make sure that your questions aren’t one that can be answered on their website, instead come up with questions that can only be answered by the interviewer’s unique viewpoint on the company, culture, success factors or opportunities to contribute.

Don’t let the interview process overwhelm you. Manage the complicated parts of an interview by knowing what to avoid and what you should ask. Avoiding the five mistakes will greatly improve your hiring chances and ease the interview process

 

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Why You Shouldn’t Quit Until You Have a New Job Offer

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The excitement of a potential, new job offer could lead any of us to immediately walk into our current office with two-weeks notice. In reality, doing so before you have an actual job offer in hand can be detrimental and cause greater frustration in the long run. Before you race to your managers office to say goodbye, be sure to consider the four scenarios below before you resign your job without a new offer in hand:

1. It may take longer to get a job that you think
While it is certainly optimistic to assume that you will find a job within the next couple months, the reality is that the process can take a much longer time than you may expect. In today’s job market, it isn’t uncommon for a job search to take a year or more. If you opt to quit your job before securing another one, you could end up without a paycheck for quite some time and create a large unemployment gap on your resume. Placing yourself into a more difficult financial situation and making it more difficult to locate work will only create more pressure to find another job and will not ease the process.

2. It is much easier to get another job when you are still employed
Most employers prefer hiring people who are already employed. Often, people will assume that individuals who quit their jobs without another lined up did so because they were either fired or about to be fired. Managers will also worry that you walked away from the job when the goings got tough, opting to remove the challenges instead of tackling them. Although these misconceptions may not be instant deal-breakers, they can certainly raise questions and reduce your hiring chances.

3. The job offer that you are counting on may fall through
A common scenario for many job seekers is having heightened confidence that a job offer will come through and providing their notice to their current employers, only to later determine that the job falls through. If you have already provided notice to your current employer, than chances are they have begun the process to replace you and are unwilling to let you rescind your notice, leaving you unemployed. Due to the commonality of this scenario, you should never resign until you have an official offer in hand from your new employer. Not the promise of a job, or a second interview, but an actual, formal job-offer in hand.

4. You might not pass the background check
Often a hiring manager will tell you that the job is essentially a done deal, when in reality there is some fine print in the offer letter that could hinder your chances of starting. Most offer letters state that hiring is contingent upon you passing a background or reference check. Even if you are fully confident that you should pass these without any complications, you should realize that it is never fully guaranteed. Mistakes can be made or a reference call might not go the way you assumed it would. If this is the case, then your job offer may hit a snag, which should deter you from resigning from your current job.

For the most part, you should avoid quitting your current job until you have an offer in hand. However, there are some limited circumstances in which it might make sense to quit your job before you have secured a new one. For example, if you are subject to harassing treatment, or being pressured to do anything illegal, unethical or unsafe, then it is safe to say that you should move on. Aside from those circumstances opt to conduct your job search while you are still employed in order to avoid the four circumstances listed above.

 

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Gigats Employer Review of Publix Super Market

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Gigats equips you with a job hunting tool box designed to help you make educated decisions about where to work. Read below to see our employer review of Publix Super Market and visit our website to find which opportunities may be the best match for you.

Publix Super Markets is 100% employee owned and headquartered in Lakeland, FL. The supermarket strives to build positive relationships with customers and neighbors in the community. Publix provides a variety of excellent work opportunities in various industries, including administrative, manufacturing, distribution, information technology, customer service and plenty of corporate positions. Publix also provides excellent benefits including health, dental and vision plans, service awards, vacation pay, tuition reimbursement and more. Due to its variety of opportunities and excellent perks, Publix ranks as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014. According to Glassdoor.com, Publix earns an employee rating of 3.7, and 77% of employees recommend the company to a friend.

Publix Super Market offers various employment opportunities ranging from customer service positions to food preparation team members. By offering numerous opportunities to join the Publix team and providing a unique, company environment complete with various perks, Publix continues to rank as one of the best companies to work for.

 

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Hiring Managers Seek Prioritization as Top Candidate Skill

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Often times, it is important for a job seeker to put themselves in the shoes of the hiring manager in order to pinpoint the most important skill for a new hire to have. For most hiring managers, technical capabilities tend to top the list, however many recruiters are realizing that there is another skill that should top the list. In fact, Lonne Jaffe, CEO of Syncsort, now values the ability to prioritize over hard skills when hiring.

Jaffe explains that early in his career, he “tended to focus a little bit too much on technical aptitude and not enough on the ability to prioritize decisions about how to spend their time.” Prioritization certainly outranks technical capabilities when you consider the inefficiency of an employee constantly chasing the next interesting problem instead of focusing on and addressing the greater goals of the company and team. Jaffe, and other hiring managers like him, will deliberately ask questions about decision-making in order to gain information on a candidate’s prioritization skills.

Keeping this in mind, it is important as a job seeker that you demonstrate to the hiring manager that prioritization is one of your top strengths. You can do so by using real anecdotes to provide examples of times that you were able to tackle problems. Explain your reasoning along the way and provide particular emphasis on how and why you prioritized certain actions.

Just as soft skills can never take the place of hard skills, the opposite is true as well. Soft skills such as the ability to prioritize cannot be replaced with hard skills and still provide equal value in the work place. When you are interviewing, present a balance of your tangible abilities that you can bring to the job, in addition to the qualities that are more difficult to quantify on your resume.

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Fixing Job-Seeking Errors

Executive running, checking watch (Digital Composite)

Even the most prepared job seeker can make a mistake during the job search process. The stress and pressure that accompanies trying to make a perfect first impression, combined with the “Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong” rule of life, results in simple mistakes. Amend your job-seeking errors in these four ways:

1. Catching an error in your resume after it has been submitted
Nothing is worse than realizing that the resume in the hiring manager’s hands has an error. Although it should be standard practice to thoroughly proofread a printed resume at least three separate times before sending it, sometimes errors slip through the cracks. After sending a botched resume, send a quick email asking the reader “Please use the attached updated resume.” No need to fret over drafting an explanation for your error or why you sent a new resume. Instead, include a quick apology for any inconvenience and thank the person for their time. Some managers may pass on your resume because of the mistake, but most will acknowledge that everyone is human and may actually appreciate that you caught your mistake, owned up to it and remedied it.

2. Bad reception during a phone interview
Phone connection issues can occur on either side of the phone call, for both job seekers and hiring managers. Instead of suffering through an unintelligible call that will likely result in a poor interview, acknowledge that the reception isn’t clear and ask the interviewer if one of you can call the other one right back. If you have access to a landline in a private setting, then use that number instead. Interviewers don’t want to suffer through the unnecessary awkward silence or the wasted time caused by an interviewee who is unable to hear a question or misunderstood what was said. Salvage your phone interview by fixing the phone reception problem right away and getting back on track.

3. Running late to an interview
Traffic happens, people get busy and sometimes we are late. The first thing you should do when you realize that you are running late is to get a message to the interviewer that you are running behind. Ask if the delayed timing will still work for the interview, and be prepared that you may have to reschedule or wait a long time once arriving. Regardless of what the solution is, it is critical that you display your consideration of the interviewer’s time by alerting him or her of the delay immediately. Resist the urge to explain why you are running late, and just resort to a speedy and short update as your best defense.

4. Forgetting to send a thank-you note
It is expected that a job seeker sends a note to the interviewer thanking him or her for their time after a phone, Skype or in-person interview. If you realize a week or two after your interview that you should have sent a note, then send one as soon as you recognize the error. It is never too late to thank someone for their time and to remind them of your continued interest in the job. Simply keep in mind that your failure to do so sooner, may have resulted in someone else landing the job. Some hiring managers may hold the tardiness against you, but ultimately it is better than not sending one at all.

Mistakes happen, especially while job seeking. Be swift, short and honest when fixing a job search error and demonstrate that you are considerate of the interviewer’s time. How you handle a job search problem will have a stronger reflection on your character than the actual mistake itself.

 

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Jobless Claims Rise But Labor Market Continues to Strengthen

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Last week, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose. Despite the increase, the underlying trend continues to point toward strengthening labor market conditions. The claims report also showed that the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 31,000 to 2.54 million in the week ended July 19.

According to the Labor Department, for the week ended July 26, initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000. Additionally, the prior week’s claims were revised to show 5,000 fewer applications received than previously reported.

Although the weekly claims rose, the four-week average of claims, which is considered a better gauge of labor market trends, fell 2,500 to 297,250, the lowest level since April 2006. An analyst with the Labor Department stated that there were no special factors influencing the state level data. Claims continue to remain at levels that are consistent with strong job growth. Additionally, the data will have no bearing on July’s nonfarm payrolls as it falls outside of the survey window.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, the government is expected to report on Friday that payrolls increased by 233,000 in July. Although the anticipated number is lower than June’s large gain of 288,000 jobs, it would still mark the sixth straight month that employment has expanded by more than 200,000, a stretch last seen in 1997.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve officials acknowledged the improvement in labor market conditions, but still pointed out that there is a “significant underutilization of labor resources.”

 

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Using Professional Recommendations

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In today’s online world, most customers will read reviews prior to purchasing something. A testimonial is a great way to get a sense of what you are purchasing before you actually use the product yourself. While product reviews are there to help boost the likelihood that you’ll buy a product, a testimonial or professional recommendation can work in the same way for employers. Having a third party endorsement is an effective way to market your skills during your job search and to help sell yourself to a potential employer. Take a look at the ways you can receive endorsements and boost your hiring chances:

1. On LinkedIn
LinkedIn serves as the most obvious choice to highlight your testimonials, due to its built-in recommendations system. Once you have completed your LinkedIn profile, it will fall towards the top of the search results if someone Googles you. As recruiters, hiring managers and other professionals check candidates online, they will see recommendations at the front and center. Be sure to ask former managers, co-workers or professional connections to provide you with well, though-out recommendations on your page.

2. On a Personal Website
A personal website is another great location for testimonials. If you don’t already have a personal website, then you should consider making one. According to Erin Greenawald, a personal website helps you stand out, control your branding, showcase your skills, network and to be found more easily by others. In addition to all of those benefits, it is an excellent place to show off the amazing things that others have said about you.

3. In your Cover Letter
Though it is slightly less conventional, your cover letter can still serve as a good place for a testimonial, but only if you have a great one. One way to integrate a positive testimonial into your cover letter is to include a quote from a previous manager or client as evidence of your passion for your area of expertise. Be sure that the testimonial is incredibly strong and only use this tactic sparingly, using no more than one quote or recommendation per cover letter.

After receiving positive feedback from a former manager or professional connections, compile them all into one place such as an email folder. When it is time to add a new testimonial to your website or to find someone who is able to recommend you, you will have an idea of where to look and how to get started.

 

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