Archive for April, 2010

7 Questions you MUST ASK in your job interview

April 28, 2010 1 comment

    One of the top reasons given for not hiring a job candidate is that they didn’t ask enough (or any) questions in the job interview. This is absolutely crucial for so many reasons:

  • It demonstrates an interest in the position and company,
  • It engages the interviewer, and
  • Basic psychology says that if you can get the other person to talk about themselves they will end up liking you more.

    What is the biggest difficulty that others have had in this position?
    This will give you an idea of the company’s pain point at this position – use this to your advantage during follow-up interviews (or a thank-you letter if this will be the only interview).

    What are the top three priorities that you would like to see accomplished by someone in this position?
    If you don’t know what the main objectives of the position are then you don’t really know if the position is a fit for you. Asking this question will demonstrate that you really want to find out if the position is a good fit…which will separate you from those that are just looking for any short-term job to pay the bills.

    What are the advancement opportunities for a person who is successful in this position?
    This demonstrates that you are ambitious and focused on long-term growth within the company. It’s also good information for you to know to make sure that the company is a fit for your short and long-term objectives for your career.

    What are this company’s short-term goals?
    What are this company’s long-term goals?

    These questions not only demonstrate an interest in the company, but also will help you decide if the company is a good fit for you.

    What do you see as the biggest challenges in meeting these goals?
    This demonstrates that you are a problem solver. The first step in problem solving is to identify the main challenge. Unless you’re interviewing with Google, the company will definitely have problems and challenges.

    I noticed on your website that your mission statement is (summarize company’s mission); how is this mission statement significant in today’s economy?
    No hiring manager got to where they’re at without being passionate about the company’s mission statement. Get the interviewer to open up and talk about something that they are passionate about, and you will have them instantly engaged for the rest of the interview. In addition, there’s a story behind every mission statement, so it’s always good to hear this from the managers that truly believe in it.

    Obviously feel free to alter these accordingly. Also, this may sound obvious, but add questions that come to mind based on their answers. This shows active listening and will turn the experience into more of a conversation than an interview. If you have a bigger problem answering questions than asking them, then make sure to check out 3 words that will help you answer any job interview question.

    Do you have a story about a question that you asked in a job interview that you wish you hadn’t? Please leave a comment below with your story.



How to steal your boss’ job

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too

    There’s a trait that is becoming more and more of a buzzword when evaluating talent within today’s companies. This term is used to define a summation of traits that are sought after at every level in a successful company: hiring managers look for it in the initial job interviews while their supervisors look for it in them to determine their promotability (yes, it’s really a word…I double-checked).

    This term is Executive Presence. Know these characteristics and follow these steps to develop them and in no time you’ll be expensing thousand-dollar lunches and using the good toilet paper in the executive washroom.


    How to accomplish it: Position yourself as an expert and someone with integrity. Positioning yourself as an expert is all about personal branding. Pick a topic that is relevant to your field. Set up several daily Google Alerts using keywords for this topic (ie. If you want to position yourself as an expert on social media marketing, you will want to use keywords like “Twitter Marketing Techniques”). Set aside 15-20 minutes per day to skim these articles that are delivered to your email so that you are knowledgeable on the best practices and also so that you constantly have your finger on the pulse of up-to-the-minute happenings in your field.

    To establish integrity you must know the company’s mission statement. This mission statement should be the first thing you consider before every major decision. If you’re interviewing for a job, weaving the company’s mission statement into one of your answers is brown-nosing at its finest…although I don’t suggest this unless you have built a little rapport first, otherwise you may end up coming off as a total kiss-ass.


    How to accomplish it: Effective communication is about engaging people. First and foremost, smile and make eye contact. Whether you’re interviewing for a job or just interacting with supervisors or colleagues, ask people what they think about something and why. Be genuine and listen to their answer though…I’ve found that just about everyone has a unique and interesting opinion if you just ask. Asking someone’s opinion is absolutely the easiest way to engage someone. If you’d like more great tips on how to engage someone in an interview, read 3 words that will help you answer any job interview question.


    How to accomplish it: My best advice is that you truly must believe that the only power that someone has over you is the power that you are giving them. If you are in a job interview, you must realize that it is just as much about you determining if a company is right for you, as it is for the interviewer determining if you are the proper fit for them. If you aren’t asking thought-provoking questions in your interview than you are not only doing a disservice to yourself but also not engaging the interviewer properly (not to mention that stumping the interviewer with a question is the easiest way to regain power if you feel that it is falling out of balance).

    Comfortable getting out of your comfort zone

    How to accomplish it: Easy – do things that take you out of your comfort zone. You’re faced with opportunities to do this on a daily basis, but unless you start taking these chances you will always have anxiety about it. The more you do this, the more you will desensitize yourself for this situation for when it really counts.

    Companies are looking for these traits more and more everyday…so start working on these things now or else you may find yourself working at Initech on Sundays.


Lighter Side: Job search tips from an unemployed Stormtrooper [video]

April 15, 2010 1 comment

    Sometimes you have to look outside-the-box in order to find useful job search advice. Get some tips from this Stormtrooper’s job search, or at the very least a few laughs.

    After a 3-year absence, the unemployed Stormtrooper revises his résumé and resumes his search for a new job:


4 free computer programs that you should already be using

April 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Examples of the one-click editing features of

    In the wake of a recession we’re all looking save a buck whenever we get the chance. Whether it’s eating ramen noodles instead of filet or drinking wine-out-of-a-box instead of your normal Pinot – saving money on simple things can give really give you a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. That’s why it’s great to know that if there’s something that you want, there’s almost always a way to find it for free on the internet…it’s just a matter of putting in some quality surfing time.

    To save you the hassle, I’ve searched around and picked out four of the best, free software programs that are available for download on the internet. ( is an image and photo editing software for computers that run on Microsoft Windows. Originally developed as a replacement for Microsoft Paint, has developed into an extremely powerful and easy-to-use editing tool that is often compared to Adobe Photoshop ($699). This program has several “one-click” design features that will have you looking like an internet Picasso in no time. Check out this video to see how you can use to create your own custom YouTube page.

    OpenOffice ( is an open-source office program for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It’s compatible with most office software suites such as Microsoft Office, and also works on all common computers. It’s actually easier to use than Microsoft Office since any document can be created from the same program, instead of using one for spreadsheets, one for word processing, one for graphics, etc. In addition, OpenOffice will also convert any of these documents into a pdf.

    Google Reader ( is like a fully customizable newspaper, which delivers stories to you as soon as they are posted. You pick the news sites and blogs that you want to subscribe to, and the stories are delivered to you as soon as the site is updated. There are many different useful applications for this. For example, instead of constantly searching Craigslist, you can set Google Reader to deliver specific posts to you immediately once they are published…making it easy for you to be the first one to make contact. You can use this in your job search or “for sale” items.

    RoboForm ( saves your username and password info so that you need only click one button on your browser to immediately log-in to the site that you are on (up to 10 passwords for the free version). In addition, enter all of your profile information once and the program can be used to fill out forms online with one click (including name, address, telephone, fax, email etc..even credit card info if you want). All passwords are encrypted for your security. RoboForm has won several awards including CNET’s “Software of the Year” and one of PC World’s “25 Products We Can’t Live Without”.

    Do you think you can use to make a better picture of Mr.T? Upload your best attempt to iGrad’s Facebook Page.