5 Ways To Master Your Next Job Interview

Job interviews have to be as pleasurable as buying a car. Everyone has to do it at some point, but no one wants to deal with the hassles. They take a long time, they can be nerve-wracking, and you may not know why you didn’t get offered the job. Of course, there is no perfect formula for getting a job, but there are ways to ensure you of at the top of the pile. By utilizing the tips in this article, it should be much easier for you to master your next job interview.

1. Prepare For The Typical Questions

•  Tell me a little about yourself.

•  Why do you want this job?

•  Why should we hire you?

•  What are your weaknesses?

•  Why are you leaving your current job?

•  Where do you see yourself in five years?

Those are just six questions that you are almost guaranteed to hear in your next interview. In fact, your last interview probably included most, if not all, of them. These are standard interview questions, but you should prepare for them.

An interviewer is primarily looking to see who you are, what your experience is, whether you are a good fit, and how you adapt to odd-ball questions. This is where the interviewer is able to see if they connect with you, how they think you’ll connect with their employees, and decide if you are a good candidate or not. If you stumble and stutter through the questions, you may lose your connecting factor, and they may move on entirely.

So, take the time to know how you’ll answer the questions that you know the interviewer is going to ask. You can look up the most common questions in an interview through any major search engine. Once you have the list, take the time to write down your answers. After you’ve finished writing them out, read them aloud over and over until you have them memorized. If you have them memorized, then you are ready to master this portion of your next job interview.

Side Note: If you are at the interviewer table, you meet their minimum qualifications. You are no longer proving you are qualified; you are showing that you are a good match.

2. Bring Data That Backs Up Your Claims

Most every interviewer is going to bring up your “claims to fame” or “measurement metrics.” These are the claims you made stating that you increased productivity by 33% over a two-year timeframe. Unless your interviewer knows your previous company intimately, they are not going to be able to validate this claim and will have to take your word for it.

How do you prove it?

You should bring some data presentation that proves your measurement metrics. If you bring up a measurement metric that is not verifiable in the interview, then provide something to show that you are honest and that you can back up what you are saying. Your proof could include charts and graphs, spreadsheets, awards and even written evidence from your previous employer.

Having your backup data proves that you are organized, well-prepared, ready for anything and honest. That can impress your interviewer and be the icing on the cake.

Side Note: If you can’t prove your measurement metric, then don’t include in on your resume. It will get brought up, and you don’t want to look like an untrustworthy employee.

3. Read Your Interviewer

If your interviewer isn’t part of the Human Resources department, then there is an excellent chance that they are just as uncomfortable doing this as you are. In fact, they probably haven’t had the time to prepare for this interview like you have, which is why they perhaps are asking you the same typical questions that every other job interviewer has asked too.

In most cases, you will be interviewed by someone who supervises the department to which you will be applying. In this case, you should take the time to create a connection with them. However, do not let the interview stray over into personal territory as this has a significant chance of blowing up in your face, and ruining your chances of mastering your job interview.

Side Note: Even if your interviewer is uncomfortable, they do not want to be taken advantage of. Treat them with respect or risk the chance of losing the job before you ever had it.

4. Ask Questions That Cause Pause

Do you have any questions?

That is where you will get put on the hot seat. Almost every interviewee will get flustered here or bumble off something about where is the company going in five years. Getting flustered will show a lack of preparation and bumbling off a common question shows no creativity.

Instead, include tough questions that put the interviewer on the hot seat, such as:

•  How do you measure success for the person in this position?

•  What goals do you expect me to meet within the next sixty days?

•  Why are you truly better than your competition?

When you ask questions like this, you show that you are prepared, ready to interact, and expect the same level of professionalism from them as you were required to prove.

Side Note: There are times when these questions can backfire on you. Be prepared to explain your reasoning behind the questioning or do not bring them up.

5. Be Ready To Negotiate

Almost every interviewee gets a little nervous when salary comes up. Except, there is no reason to be. You already know what you are worth (or you should), so when they bring up salary expectations, you should be ready to go.

For example, you should be able to say: “I have a solid understanding of what this position requires. Based on my previous salaries and experience, matched with my continued education, and using current market data in this region, I believe that $95,000 annually is fair compensation for what I will be doing in your company.

That shows that you understand your worth and it dramatically reduces their ability to negotiate you down too far. Of course, be prepared for someone to try and lowball you. If that happens, show why you are worth more than the others who have come before you. If you are not happy with the numbers, then state that you will be more than happy to continue discussions concerning your salary at a later time, after the interviews are over. The best negotiators know when to walk away.

Side Note: Make sure you know these numbers. Do not come up with some magic number that you want. Know what you are worth and why you are worth it. That will make negotiations easier.

Master Your Next Job Interview

Being prepared for your next interview will give you the upper hand. It will make you feel more confident and help you relax when you are in the hot seat. These five tips should quickly help you master your next job interview and seal the deal.


How To Leverage Your Alumni Network After College

When I was in college, I was very involved in community organizations, tutoring, mentoring, and leading study groups. I was part of the larger community and enjoyed knowing people on campus, what causes friends where supporting, and what special events were coming up.

When I first moved to Washington D.C I knew 4 people while moving into the historic Woodward Building, a skip around the corner from the White House.

I really missed that community feeling when you move to a new location. I realized that there were other University of California, Los Angeles Alumni and decided to take advantage of connecting, networking, and seeking out opportunities to stay involved even though I was no longer on campus.

Most universities have alumni groups in major cities across the United States as well as internationally. It’s certainly worth your time to get involved. Not only is it a great place to network, you will meet a diverse group of every age and every industry but you will all share one key link- You all went to the same college.

A great start to connect with other Alumni is social media. Search in Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Twitter, and your schools Alumni Association and discover your local group. This is a great way to find out of upcoming events, social gatherings, and career opportunities.

I learned that these Alumni Networks provide an incredible amount of opportunity. However the first step, starts with you! Going to your first event is the step in the right direction. Seasoned Alumni will share the in’s and out’s of the city, great opportunities, restaurants, and other details of the city that have been really helpful.

Some of you are contemplating moving to a new city for a great opportunity that just opened up!

Start Making Contacts Now

Everyone you know and everyone you meet is a potential source of career advice and referrals to other individuals. Before you know it, your list of connections will have grown by leaps and bounds. Certainly, mine did.

Enjoy The Journey

Try to have fun with your Alumni networking activities and don’t discuss work all of the time. Get to know what your professional acquaintances like to do in their spare time. Do they have a special interest? Do they volunteer for a cause? Ask questions, listen carefully and become well versed in their areas of interest and expertise.

Networking Alumni groups are a two way street. So whether you want to help others, or need some help, your alumni network is a great community to get involved in.– Go out there and share your stories and connect with your Alumni Family it will make a world of a difference moving into a new city.

Now, I can gladly say that friends exist in Washington D.C, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Madrid, Peru, Russia, Qatar, Germany and all over the world- but it started with one small step.

Go out there and leverage your alumni network. Most importantly, go out for coffee be yourself, be genuine, and enjoy the process of meeting new people. It does not matter if you just graduated this year, or you graduated 30 years ago- ALL are welcome from different graduating classes to different academic departments. Go out there and network with your Alumni family after college and great things will follow.


Five Ways to Deal With Toxic Coworkers

Toxic people have a way of taking a good situation and making it bad. You can find people like this everywhere, from your family members, to members of your friend group, or people you work with. It’s important, when dealing with toxic people that you do it correctly, otherwise things can go from bad to worse. If you have a problematic co-worker that keeps displaying toxic behavior, use these five tips to help you deal with them.

1. Have a Conversation

Communication is key in any relationship you find yourself in, and it’s the same with your co-worker. If you don’t have a conversation with them about their behavior, there will be no chance for change. They might not realize their behavior is toxic or destructive, and even if they do, they’re not going to wake up one day and magically change their behavior. A conversation is necessary. During this conversation, you should be kind and calm. Yelling at them is the fastest way to ensure they don’t listen to you. You should be careful casting blame. Use ‘I’ statements to show how their behavior makes you feel vs ‘you’ statements that make them feel attacked and disliked. It’s also important that you point out specific behaviors. Don’t generalize too much or they might not understand what it is about their behavior that bothers you so much. Trying to resolve the issue between the two of you should always be your first step. 

2. Focus on What You Can Control

If you have a conversation with your co-worker and they’re still behaving poorly, try focusing on what you can control instead of the things you can’t, like their behavior. Focus on your own behavior and productivity. Spend more time with coworkers that you enjoy being around, and try to ignore your toxic co-worker’s behavior. Come in to work every day determined to do your best and stay positive. No one can control what happens in life, but you can control how you respond to it. 

3. Don’t Gossip

It can be tempting to talk badly about your co-worker behind their back if they continue to behave poorly after your conversation, but you should avoid the temptation. Talking about someone behind their back will only make the situation worse. You don’t want to create a divide in your team, and you also don’t want your co-worker learning that you’re talking badly about them. And they will definitely hear about it at some point from someone. Bad-mouthing others, especially people you have to see on a daily basis, is a recipe for trouble and can take an already hostile situation and make it unbreakable. 

4. Discuss the Issue With Your Boss

If the situation escalates, and you simply can’t ignore it anymore, it’s time to talk to your boss. Remember to be mature and professional when you have this discussion. You shouldn’t sound like you’re whining or complaining about someone else. You need to present it to your boss as a work issue that is affecting productivity and team morale, not as a petty fight. You might suggest having a team meeting. A team meeting will provide your boss with the opportunity to discuss the issue at hand without pointing fingers directly. 

5. Prioritize Your Mental Health

It’s vitally important that you don’t let your job destroy your mental health. Your career is important, but it’s not worth sacrificing your well-being over. If, after you’ve exhausted all other options, things are still unbearable between you and your co-worker, you have two options. You can go to HR and file a formal complaint, or you can leave your job in search of another. Both of these are drastic decisions and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you love your job and don’t want to leave, going to HR is within your rights. What happens after your complaint is made is out of your hands, but at least you’ll know that you’ve done everything you could. If you feel that your work environment is too toxic and you think you could find happiness and fulfillment elsewhere, it might be time to update your resume. Regardless of what you decide, know that doing what’s best for your mental health is the right choice.

You shouldn’t dread going to work everyday. And you definitely shouldn’t spend your time being mistreated. If you have a toxic co-worker, take these steps to find a solution that will make going to work an enjoyable experience.