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The Monkey – Swinging Through The Interview Questions

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 27, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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Interviewing Questions Series: 5-6 of 29 Monkey2

Answers to popular (and sometimes tricky) questions you might hear in your next interview. Suggestions and requests are welcome in the comments. If you are currently a job seeker, a great way to help you prepare for the interview is to prepare a brief answer to all of the questions here. Download all of the questions here: Interview Prep Guide.

What led you to leave your current job?

If you are currently employed and a recruiter calls you, you don’t necessarily have to find something glaringly wrong with your current employer or work scenario to consider the position(s) they describe. You can actually focus on the positives of why this new company/role is of great interest to you. Perhaps it offers you something new to learn or an innovative way to apply your talents to the benefit of the new organization. Surrounding yourself with new people you can learn from is also considered a positive reason for seeking a job change.

If you are discontent or unhappy at your current employer, do your best to avoid speaking poorly about your boss, the company, the business strategy, the work environment, or politics that may be at play causing your to seek a new position. You never know who knows whom, so keep it light. You could be walking into the office of the spouse of someone you work with. People gravitate toward positive energy, so focus on the good rather than looking for negative reasons to leave your current job.

If you are no longer employed, you will need to be comfortable discussing why you left; especially if it wasn’t by choice. Being let go or transitioned out of a job is a very difficult emotional experience, particularly when you didn’t see it coming. Take some time to reflect on what you could have done differently and what will be important to you going forward so that you can find a positive reason for the separation. Even if it is only in your mind, this will make it easier to discuss in an interview. If you really did make a grievous error and were let go for cause, it’s ok. As long as you can admit to your mistake, know what you need to do to avoid that mistake in the future and be comfortable discussing it factually rather than emotionally, you can get past it.

“When would you be able to start?”

“Within 2 week of acceptance of an offer” is a good place to start when you are still at the interview stage. If you know you need to give 3 weeks at your current employer, then tell the recruiter. What you don’t want to do is get into particulars about your summer vacation plans, your prepaid cruise trip, holiday trips with your family that you always go on and couldn’t possibly miss, or that you will need 2 weeks off for you wedding or your kids’ wedding at a certain point. These are all topics that can be broached AFTER you start. It’s normal for people to have life plans; everyone does. Be aware that you may have to take some of that time off without pay if you haven’t accrued enough personal paid time off.

Plans like this are not something you bring up until you have a written offer in hand and a better understanding of the job cycles and how they correlate with your vacation plans. Many cruises can be rebooked for another date if they coincide with a major deliverable or a beach house deposit can often be moved to another week should need be.

 

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The Smart Animals – Un- Or Underemployed? Building Skills Through Self-Education

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 19, 2011 in Job Search, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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As pointed out many times on this blog, the employment market is a jungle where only the strongest survive. Just like living in a jungle, there will be times of plenty and subsequent times of material want. Smart animals anticipate these not-so-good times by saving and storing. Conversely, when the going gets tough, they anticipate better times by preparing adequately. If you find yourself currently un- or underemployed, consider the advantages of using your time wisely, so that when success finally comes, you’ll be prepared. Aside from spending your time looking for a new job, spend considerable time building a diversity of skills. Here are a few tips for doing just that.

1. Work for free.
I know this tip sounds a bit counter-intuitive. How would working for free enable you to acquire a new job? For one, it gives you something productive to do with your time, such that when you finally do land some interviews, you can explain to your potential employer what you’ve been doing during employment holes in your resume. Whether it’s designing a website for a non-profit organization or tutoring at-risk students after school, virtually any volunteer work will be personally fulfilling and will have the added bonus of adding weight to a thin resume.

2. Read more.
Even if you do have a job currently, anyone can benefit from learning by reading. If you find that you are lacking certain skills necessary for a job that you want in the future, read up on the industry as much as you can. Figure out what computer software you need to be familiar with or what industry news you need to be aware of, and set up a routine in which you educate yourself. Whether it’s reading a “For Dummies” book, or finding all the necessary information on the Internet, self-study will keep your skills and knowledge current.

3. Surround yourself with those who currently work your desired job.
If you know precisely the kind of job you’re looking for, be sure to connect with others in the industry, even if they won’t be able to help you get a job in the future. Just being among people with your desired career will give you lots of insight into what you’ll be doing on a daily basis, and they will, at the very least, be able to give you tips on how they got to where they are. Network through friends and family, or involve yourself with communities on the Internet to find a social group that can give you the inspiration and motivation you need to keep learning and keep hunting.

4. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Maybe you’re applying for a certain type of job without even knowing why. You tell yourself that this is the career you envision, but if you haven’t tried several options, you really won’t know what it is that you actually like. Step out of your comfort zone and try applying for jobs that you wouldn’t have initially considered. Volunteer in a capacity that you previously thought you were unsuited for. You’d be surprised by how multidimensional your skill set actually is if you lay aside the mindset that you’re only good for a certain industry or job type.

The most important thing to remember while looking for a new job is that you can improve yourself and career prospects without actually earning money. Many are eager to jump into the job search and make that their 24/7 pursuit. Of course, finding a job requires lots of time, but make sure to utilize your remaining time to educate yourself, to grow, and to seek new experiences.

This guest post is contributed by Alisa Gilbert, who writes on the topics of bachelors degree. She welcomes your comments at alisagilbert599 @gmail.com.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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