Posts tagged #interview

Using The STAR Method To Ace An Interview

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Open-ended interview questions such as, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Have you ever worked with a stubborn teammate” are stressful! It’s hard to prepare in advance for situational or behavioral questions that sometimes come out of left field.

If you struggle with these types of questions, the STAR method is a great way to lower your stress level and answer in a way that will satisfy the interviewer.

The STAR Method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method helps formulate your answers in a clear and specific way. Since past performance is a good indicator for your future performance, interviewers will be listening closely to the way you answer questions such as:

“Give me an example of…,”

“Describe a situation in which you were able to use…,”

“Describe a time…”

Situation - Start by describing the situation that required you to solve a problem, use a skill, or come up with a new idea. Be specific and give enough information for the interviewers to understand.

Task - What goal were you working toward? Explain what your job required in the situation. Make sure to include any specific challenges you faced.

Action - This is where you describe exactly what you did to overcome the challenge. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution?

Pro Tip: Focus on qualities and soft skills the hiring manager is looking for (i.e., initiative, leadership, attention to detail, teamwork). You will know this from the job description.

Results - Finally, describe the outcome of the situation. Don’t be shy in  emphasizing your contribution. Also, incorporate what you learned through the process.

Tips for Using The STAR Method

  1. Be prepared. You won’t know the questions your interviewer will ask, so think through several STAR situations from your experiences that highlight your best traits. Practicing the method will help when you are put on the spot in an interview.

  2. Be specific. Make sure your situations are targeted and specific. Identify qualities the hiring manager is looking for in the role before the interview and incorporate those words into your responses.

  3. Be quantitative. If you were responsible for growth in your department or project, know growth percentage and share those numbers in your interview. When you incorporate numbers, you're not just voicing your ability, you’re proving it. Numbers don’t lie!

  4. Be honest. Avoid inflating your story or success in hopes of impressing your interviewer. Not only is this lying, but when they find out you fibbed, workplace trust will be compromised.

Want to practice the STAR method and other interview tips to help land your dream career? Through our Interview Preparation service, our team of career consulting experts can equip you with the tools and guidance to succeed. Contact us today!

Posted on December 11, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

Tips For Handling A Lunch Interview

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Lunch interviews, while a routine part of the hiring process in many organizations, can be quite nerve-wracking. But remember, lunch interviews are a good thing – it means the interviewer wants to spend more time with you and get a better sense of your personality. However, it’s incredibly important to remain professional and avoid handling this interaction like it’s a casual lunch. It’s still an interview and your overall behavior will be considered when it comes to a hiring decision.

If you have a lunch interview coming up, don’t stress! Here’s a list of the top tips for handling a lunch interview like a pro.

Arrive Early & Prepared

Before the day of the interview, research the restaurant and its location. Is parking nearby? Will there be traffic? What type of food is on the menu? If it’s feasible, drive there beforehand so you know exactly where it is. Ease your interview jitters by knowing exactly what to expect. Aim to be at the restaurant about 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Come prepared with everything you would bring to an office interview including your resume, work samples, references, and recommendations. You may not have the chance to present them, but you can hand them to the interviewer after the lunch.

Mind Your Manners

Your interviewer will take note of the way you treat and interact with everyone at the restaurant. After all, they brought you on a lunch interview to get a better sense of your personality. Be kind, courteous, and respectful to all restaurant staff including the hostesses, servers, and bussers. If you’re interviewing for a customer service or client-facing role, this is especially crucial.

Order Your Meal Strategically

Yes, you are meeting over lunch, but we suggest eating beforehand and ordering a small dish during the interview. You’ll be talking a lot and don’t want to be distracted by an empty stomach. Avoid finger foods and anything that’s hard to eat. Even fish can sometimes have small bones in it – you don’t want to be picking food out of your teeth while you’re explaining why you’re great for the job!

Pro Tip: let the interviewer order first and choose something similar.

Offer to Pay

If your lunch interview is one-on-one, offer to pick up the check. This shows politeness and courtesy. If this isn’t feasible for you, do not worry, the interviewer will likely insist on paying since they invited you. But if you offer to pay, you must be ready and willing to pay. It would look even worse if you offered and then backed out.

Bottom line: While not required, offering to pay is a polite gesture and will go a long way to making a great impression.

Do you want more interview guidance? Our team at Wilbanks Consulting Group offers a variety of professional services to highlight your individual strengths and help you shine in interviews. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Posted on September 25, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

How To Follow Up When You Don’t Have Contact Information

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You just wrapped up an interview and hit it out of the park. Now what? Follow up with a thank you! But what if you don’t have the interviewer’s contact information? It’s a pretty common problem, but there are a few things that you can do to follow up:

1. Send a thank you note to the person who scheduled your interview. Although you may not have direct contact information for the interviewer, sending a follow up thank you email to the scheduler - Secretary, Assistant, or HR representative - with a note to pass along the message is acceptable. Here is a template email you can adapt for your own follow up:

(Add contact name),

I wanted to extend my thanks to you for scheduling my phone interview last week. I enjoyed speaking with (insert names of interviewers) and was thrilled to hear about the great work taking place at (insert company name). Would you please pass along my thanks to them as well?

If there is an update on the job process, I'd be honored if you would send me a brief note. I'm excited by the prospect of working with the team.

Thanks again for your time and assistance.

Sincerely,

(Add Your Name)

2. Do some research on LinkedIn or the company website. Check LinkedIn and the company websites to find the email address of the interviewer. Contact information on LinkedIn can be found on the right-hand side of an individual’s profile page.

3. Make an educated guess. Many times, if you have a company email from a secretary or assistant and your interviewer's full name, you can make an educated guess for their company email. For example, if the assistant’s name is Victor Gonzales and the email associated with him is vgonzales@company.com, it is likely that the email of the interviewer follows the same pattern.

Following up can be a difficult task especially when you don’t have the contact information you need. These tips and tricks can be helpful when trying to leave a good impression. For more tips and tricks, visit: Job Search and Interview Follow up Etiquette and I’ve Had an Interview. Now What?

Posted on May 2, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

Tips for Handling Interview Nervousness

Interview

If you are taking the correct steps to showcase your value while applying for jobs, you will land an interview. Interviews are standard practice in the hiring process to ensure a candidate is not only qualified, but also the right fit for the company. It’s normal to be nervous for an interview - all eyes are on you!

One particular nerve-wracking interview that I had out of college was 3 hours long and involved me being shuttled from one office to another. I met with almost everyone in the small, family-owned company for “mini” interviews (over 10 of them!) and also had to take a three part skills test on a computer. Going in to a three hour interview, I was incredibly nervous. I was afraid that I would forget someone’s name, that I wouldn’t pass the skills test, or that the fast-paced interviews would damper my ability to showcase my value.

In that interview, and any interview you may face, the challenge is to think about it for what it really is: a meeting where both you and the interviewer are trying to figure out the best fit for the position.

Bottom Line: It’s not just you being interviewed, it’s you interviewing the company and your potential future colleagues. If you don’t think the workplace culture is a fit for you, then you don’t have to take the job if it’s offered. Keeping this mindset takes a lot of the pressure off of you and puts some on the interviewer.

Keeping that perspective, here are a few tips to manage nervousness and start your interview with confidence:

  • Research. Know as much about the company as you can before your interview. Most employers will casually ask, “What do you know about our company?” Stammering through a half-right answer won’t help your confidence or leave a good impression. Be prepared and know who it is your interviewing with.

  • Prepare your own questions. Remember, you are interviewing the company too! Come with a list of questions that you want to know as a potential employee. Here are some great examples:  

    • Can you explain a bit more about the company’s {insert project here}?

    • How are the company teams structured?

    • What opportunities for advancement come with this position?

    • What is your favorite thing about working here?

    • Do you feel that you have friends at work?

  • Put your best foot forward. This is an obvious one, but it’s so important. Dress professionally. Bring copies of your resume, just in case. Be on time. Act courteously and graciously. If you do these things, you can be confident you will make a great first impression.

  • Do a mock interview. It may sound or feel awkward, but practicing for an interview with a career coach is one of the best things you can do to prepare. This practice will empower you to answer questions with confidence and equip you with a plan for presenting your value.

Still feeling unsure of yourself? We’d love to help you build confidence and increase your chance for success. Contact your personal career coach today!

How to Present Yourself as a Team Player

Team player

One of the most common interview questions is, “In what ways are you a team player?”

It’s a tough question to answer, especially if this is an area of weakness for you. In every interview, you should expect and prepare for a variation of this question.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

There isn’t a job on the planet that doesn’t include working with other people. Even if you work from home, you still have to check in with someone to receive your instructions, or at the very least, to get paid! If you own your own business, you have clients or customers. If you are an author, you have an editor or publisher. If you work with computers, you have a supervisor. You will always have to work with people!

Hiring managers need to ensure that workplace disputes are minimized by hiring folks that are open to constructive criticism, direct feedback, and can adjust their working style based on the needs of the entire team. Employees that have strong team players are more satisfied in their positions. Happy employees result in higher project success rates and lower turnover. Thus, teamwork is important to companies, because it is all around better for business!

How To Present Yourself As A Team Player

Step 1: Find the truth. The first step to answering this question is to examine yourself in order to answer it truthfully. Take a few minutes to brainstorm how you’ve been a team player in the past, while on the job, at school, or while completing a community project. One variation of the team player question is, “Tell me how you’ve been a team player in the past,” so having this information in your back pocket is helpful.

Step 2: Write out your attributes. Once you’ve brainstormed some past examples, pull out the attributes you exemplified that made you such a great team player in those situations. For example, you might write “strong communication skills” or “ability to implement colleagues’ ideas for a positive solution.” Try to list 3-5 attributes.

Step 3: Prepare an answer using the position as the backdrop. Look at a job posting and envision how you could be a good team player in that specific role. Answer “How are you a team player?” by putting yourself in the role you are interviewing for. This is a great strategy to show you understand the position and its responsibilities, highlighting you as qualified and valuable. Here’s an example of what this might look like:

“I love working with others. In this role as account manager, I would brainstorm with others solutions to the client’s problem at hand, allowing everyone to provide their ideas and work with the entire team to process the best option. Some people are great idea-generators while others are effective “devils advocates.” Using everyone’s skills together will improve the quality of the solutions we propose to our clients.”

Pro tip: You can use this three step method to prepare for any interview question!

Prepare For Your Interview With A Career Coach

Our team of professional career coaches would love to help you prepare for your interview by tackling difficult questions like this one and strengthening your many other interview skills. Contact us to get matched with your career coach today!

 

Posted on February 21, 2018 and filed under Interviewing, Search Strategy.

How to Prepare for a Video Interview

Video Interview

Do you remember the clip that went viral of a professor being interviewed by a BBC news reporter? If you haven’t seen it, watch it here. It’s hilarious! Thankfully, this family has a good sense of humor and were met with mostly understanding supporters after this happened. However, as a job interviewer, you don’t want something like this to happen. If you plan ahead of time, scenes like this are (mostly) preventable.

Why Did You Secure a Video Interview?

You’re likely to secure a video interview if you live out of town from the job to which you are applying. Many companies conduct phone interviewers, but video interviews are becoming more popular since they are free and easily accessible to most. Technology has transformed the hiring process - interviews included!

A video interview provides insight into a candidate that a phone interview cannot: Does the candidate dress professionally? Does the candidate’s body language communicate confidence? How well does the candidate hold eye contact? Stay focused? From your perspective as a candidate, video interviews provide a connection between you and your resume. In other words, it “puts a face to the name,” which will help you stand out in their memory. If you’ve landed a video interview, you have a great opportunity before you!

How to Prepare For A Video Interview

Preparing for a video interview is a bit different than preparing for a traditional interview or a phone interview.

Here are a few tips to put your best foot forward during a video interview:

  • Location, location, location!

    • Choose a quiet location to sit for the interview. You don’t want dogs barking or kids barging into your interview! You also don’t want the loud hum of a coffee shop that will make it hard for you to hear the interviewer. Brainstorm your options and take the needed steps to ensure you won’t be interrupted during your interview.

    • Choose a location with strong internet connection. The best case scenario is for you to hardwire your computer or phone so that you have the best, strongest signal. If that’s not an option, sit as close to the router as possible!

    • Choose a location that has a great background. Make sure your webcam doesn’t face an open closet door, a trash can, or your unmade bed. The best background is a wall (blank or with tasteful artwork), bookcase, or an arrangement of houseplants. You can always choose the best location and then temporarily decorate the background for the interview.

    • Choose a location with the best lighting. You want light that shines on your face, not the back of your head. Trust us, this will make you look your best and most professional! If the room doesn’t have the best light, sit a lamp in front of you, but still out of sight of the webcam.

  • Dress professionally from your head to your toe. While the chances that you need to stand up during an interview are slim, you never know what might happen. Wearing a dress shirt with pajama pants (or no pants) is a very BAD idea!

  • Wear headphones. This will prevent a distracting echo or other audio feedback that might happen during the interview. And while your giant, over the ear headphones might sound better for your music, they are distracting in an interview setting. Grab a pair of small, discreet earbuds instead.

  • Have a cup of water next to you. There is nothing worse than a tickle in your thought or uncontrollable coughing!

  • Test your audio and visual with a friend ahead of time. That will give you plenty of time to troubleshoot any problems on your end before the important interview!

  • Finally, remember to smile! Everyone wants to work with friendly, smiling people. It’s easy to forget to smile when you’re nervous, so practice answering interview questions while looking friendly prior to your call.

If you’re interested in even more great job search tips, contact one of our qualified career coaches for personalized service and successful results.

Posted on February 7, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

Best Career Search Strategies for 2018

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Happy New Year!

If you are going into 2018 with the need to find a job, or to find a new job, don’t let it discourage you from having an amazing year. Start out on the right foot with effective search strategies and you’ll not only have a job soon, you’ll find a position that will make for an amazing 2018!

Best career search strategies for 2018

1. Partner with a Career Coach. Yes, you can peruse job search engines on your own, but your chances of finding your dream job and showcasing your talent in a way that lands you the job increases drastically if you have the assistance of a professional career coach.

Our team of career consultants can help you craft the perfect strategy to achieve career success. We use proven assessments to examine your personality type, interests, and strengths. We align the results with your goals to create a strategy for future growth and development through your dream position, which we will help you find and secure. Our career coaching empowers you to flawlessly execute your strategy in any situation. Learn more about our career coach packages and connect with your career coach here.

2. Set goals first. Whether you hire a career coach or not, you shouldn’t start looking for positions until you have establish short and long term career goals. Without them, you’ll be aimlessly looking for positions that won’t be the right fit for you, nor will you be satisfied in your career. Learn how to create and implement short and long term career goals here. You can also create professional New Year’s resolutions that help you get a jump start this year. Learn more here.

3. Perfect your resume and cover letter. You won’t get anywhere with job applications if your resume and cover letter are lackluster. We offer resume and cover letter packages as a part of our career coaching services.

You can also check out these recent blog posts that offer tons of FREE resume and cover letter advice and best practices:

4. Create a standout LinkedIn profile. Right behind resume and cover letter in order of importance is your LinkedIn profile. Not only is it a visual, interactive representation of your professional experience, it’s an effective platform for applying for jobs. There are also thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find the perfect candidates for the job postings they need to fill. Be among the standout candidates that catches their eye. If you need help making your LinkedIn profile amazing, we offer three levels of coaching to choose from!

5. Network, network, network! Your chances of getting a job because of someone you know is much higher than landing a job through a blind application. Why? Because networking puts your face with your name and skyrockets you to the top of the list with the hiring manager. People trust the opinions of those they hold in high esteem. If you are recommended by someone who is trustworthy, you’ve already “proven” yourself to some degree. Learn more about what networking is and best practices in our blog articles Networking Etiquette and 5 Reasons Why Networking Isn’t Just Corporate Jargon.

6. Practice follow-up best practices. Following up is important. It shows you are serious about the position and provides an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism. But don’t be overbearing and pushy. Striking the right balance is a bit of an art, but an art that needs to be mastered to land a great job. Here’s a great guide for job search and interview follow up etiquette.

7. Be mindful of your social media activity. Don’t get caught looking unprofessional online. Even your personal profiles aren’t as private as you may think. Google yourself to see what’s out there and then take steps to clean up your online identity. Here’s a handy guide for Social Media Do’s and Don’ts When On The Job Hunt.

8. Keep a positive perspective. The process of finding a job can be frustrating to say the least.  Staying motivated while looking for your next position and don’t give up! Hard work and persistence will pay off with the perfect position for you.

Being Thankful When Looking for Work

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It’s almost Thanksgiving! Lots of family, friends, good food, and entertainment are in the forecast for many of us. If you’re looking for a job, however, you might have a difficult time shaking the dark cloud that’s casting a shadow on your holiday festivities. It’s hard to be thankful when you don’t have a secure income and job you love.

But there is much to be thankful for, even when you are looking for work!  Here’s a list to help keep things in perspective:

5 Reasons To Be Thankful While Looking For A Job:

  1. Looking for a job can be fun! The sky's the limit with the new opportunities you have to explore. Securing a job is one way to make a positive change in your life by finding a position that will bring fulfillment, satisfaction, and good work/life balance. What better time to be “picky” about what you are looking for and find the perfect fit.

  2. You aren’t alone! Everyone has been in your shoes at one time or another. It’s rare to meet someone who was handed their job without having to search, create a resume, cover letter, apply, and interview for it. Take advantage of the wisdom and insight your friends and family can provide by asking for their thoughts and advice over turkey and pumpkin pie.

  3. There are FREE resources available to you! You can google virtually anything you need help with and someone will have posted about it online. Just make sure you are finding quality, professional resources and advice! This blog is a great, free resource to glean tips and best practices. In fact, here’s a few you might want to bookmark:

  1. You don’t have to pound the pavement like you would have 20 years ago. Before the internet was prevalent, job seekers had to print a copy of their resume and either mail it to an employer, or physically drive to their office and drop it off with a secretary. Now, you can apply for dozens of jobs a day from the comfort of your own home. You also don’t have to scour newspapers and circle job openings with a highlighter. Job search engines make it incredibly easy to find opportunities!

  2. Caring professionals at The Wilbanks Consulting Group want to help you! Our team would love to partner with you to make your job search result in a fun, fulfilling career for you. We offer one-on-one in-person and virtual career coaching and many other job search services. Contact us today and let us help you find your dream job.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dissolving Mental Health Stigmas In The Workplace

mental health

Mental health is a tough topic when it comes to the workplace. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), over 43 million adult Americans (about 18% of the total population) suffer from mental health disorders each year. Even though it is extremely common, the stigma associated with mental illness is strong, especially when it comes to employment.

Examples of mental health struggles include, but are not limited to, social phobia, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and depression. Left untreated, these illnesses can cause serious problems in the personal and professional life of an individual. Unfortunately, asking for mental health help or support can come across as weakness for many, which leaves those suffering afraid to seek the assistance they need. And if the workplace environment of those who struggle isn’t one that supports mental health, it can be an incredibly difficult, isolated struggle. As you are conducting a job search or are considering a job change, it’s important to look into mental health policies before you commit.

For example, the ability to take time off, get appropriate health care, and achieve a good work-life balance, are key to promoting mental health. With a great mental health policy in place, the overall work environment of a company will drastically improve and produce happier, healthier, and more productive employees. That is the type of company you want to call home!

This great blog article from the Department of Labor narrates what it’s like to go through mental health issues in the workplace and what is needed to truly promote mental health:

  • Employment itself - giving individuals a chance despite known difficulties
  • The same flexibility to recover from mental health issues as physical health issues
  • Regularly promote mental health support and resources made available to employees

A recent, exciting mental health success story comes from Olark, a web development company. An employee sent a company wide email stating that she needed some time off to care for her mental health. The CEO responded with a ‘thank you’ for being a great example of promoting mental health to the company. What a great workplace environment that must be, where leadership cares for each individual who works there!

If you don’t suffer from a mental illness, chances are you know someone who does, and they may (or will) sit in the cubical, lab, or office next to you. Look for jobs at companies that make this a priority in the workplace culture. If mental health support is a top priority for you, ask questions during your offer negotiation about mental health policies and resources available to employees.

You can also be encouraging, understanding, and flexible when you notice someone dealing with mental health issues. You can make a difference in your workplace by making mental health important for your team and setting an example to dissolve the stigma.


If you are interested in learning more about mental health, MentalHealth.gov and NIHM are great, free resources available to you.

Posted on August 2, 2017 .

WCG Is Changing Your Job Search Prep

One of the best aspects of working as a consultant for The Wilbanks Consulting Group is hearing about how excited clients are to put their new resumes, LinkedIn profiles, interviewing, and networking skills to work. When Holly Wilbanks first mentioned online career development courses, I became excited about the prospect of opening up our expertise to clients around the world through an affordable, convenient platform.

The Wilbanks Consulting Group LLC is proud to introduce the WCG Online Academy, offering the same advice and strategies we provide our one-on-one career coaching clients in a convenient on-demand format for clients in any location.

The current online courses feature C. Holly Wilbanks, Founder and Principal of The Wilbanks Consulting Group LLC, presenting our proven “how to” strategies through engaging, professional HD video and slide content. The courses are targeted for experienced professionals, students, trainees, and alumni who seek an edge as they compete in the job market.

Courses available now through the WCG Online Academy include:

·       Your Resume Has 6 Seconds: What Does It Say?

A recruiter spends only a short amount of time initially reviewing your resume. This course covers everything you need to know to prepare your resume to stand out in your job search. It includes an overview of what happens when a resume is reviewed, the various structures of a resume, critical information to highlight, how to establish what is your critical information, and where and how to highlight critical information within the structure of the resume. The course also goes into detail regarding the format and overall content of your resume, covers a list of key “dos and don’ts”, and closes with final tips to help your resume truly stand out in a competitive field.

·       Utilizing LinkedIn to Network and Apply for Jobs In and Out of Science

LinkedIn plays an increasingly important role in networking and the process of applying for a new job. There are many powerful features available on LinkedIn that can be leveraged in your job search process. Learn to maximize your profile, network, and search for jobs in this easy to follow course! The course highlights elements of an effective LinkedIn profile; covers example messages for reaching out to recruiters, hiring managers, and department leaders; and teaches participants how to leverage LinkedIn groups and search features for effective networking.

·       Interview Illustrations: Highlight Your Value

This course teaches participants how to convince the interviewer that you should be their top candidate for hire. Learn to comb through your experience for the stories that not only illustrate your accomplishments and individual value, but also can be applied to various typical interview questions. Then, learn to integrate these stories into your responses to ensure that the breadth and depth of your experience is discussed. Numerous best practices for interview preparation, personal presentation, communication of transferable skills, and key interview dos and don’ts are covered.

Future WCG Online Academy courses will cover:

·       Agency Recruiters and Headhunters: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

·       The 5 Most Common Interview Styles and How to Prepare For Them

·       Job Search Etiquette – Putting Your Best Foot Forward

·       The Transferable Skills of New Graduates, and How to Use Them in Your Job Search

·       So You Received an Offer – Now What? Understanding and Negotiating Total Remuneration

The WCG Online Academy captures some of the most valuable resources and guidance that The Wilbanks Consulting Group offers clients, available to you anytime, anywhere.

To celebrate the launch of the WCG Online Academy, the courses are currently available at 50% off with the discount code HALFOFFONLINE through May 31, 2016. Take advantage of this great opportunity to sharpen your resume, your LinkedIn profile, and learn to interview like the pros!

Amanda Y. Hendrix
Expert Consultant, The Wilbanks Consulting Group LLC

Posted on May 6, 2016 and filed under WCG Online Academy.