Categories
Career

Smart Answers to Stupid Interview Questions

Getting a job interview can be tough! As a recent graduate, you likely don’t have vast work experience or networks to draw on. After submitting dozens of applications, you finally get a call: you have an interview! It’s time to practice for those interview questions.

Unfortunately, some interview questions are really dumb. We’ve all been there: interview questions we don’t expect, or questions so stupid you wonder why employers bother to ask them at all. Unfortunately, many companies still ask dumb interview questions, so it’s best to be prepared for them. Here are several stupid interview questions you may face and the smart way to answer them.

What Did You Not Like About Your Last Job/Boss?

This interview question is terrible for so many reasons: it tries to bait you into speaking badly about your previous employer, it may embarrass you, and it doesn’t help the company hiring you. Employers want to know about your personality and if they’ll like you, so being negative in this negative question sets you up for failure.

The smart way to answer negative interview questions like this is to be positive about what your previous jobs have taught you. If a micromanaging boss ruined a job for you, you may want to highlight how you’ve learned to communicate effectively with managers. This shows the interviewer(s) that you’ve thought about challenging aspects in the workplace but have learned how to handle them. It’s important to stay positive throughout an interview.

Tell Us Your Greatest Weakness

This stupid interview question is terrible because it’s old and won’t go away, and because almost no one tells the truth with this question. If your greatest weakness is difficulty waking up on time, you likely wouldn’t tell your future employer this.

The smart way to answer interview questions like this is to focus on the things that make you great. Use your knowledge of the company to highlight things they’re looking for in the job: writing skills, analytical skills, or technical knowledge. You can also talk about a weakness you’ve improved, which shows your tenacity and willingness to learn. Again, stay positive!

Why Should We Hire You?

This is one of those dumb interview questions that just makes you want to stare at your interviewer in disbelief. They will meet your competition. You will not. You don’t know what qualifications the others have. How could you possibly know who’s the best person to hire?

The smart way to answer this interview question is actually pretty easy. This question usually comes at the end of your interview. It’s your time to remind the interviewers why you think the position is right for you. This question is a chance for you to summarize your qualifications. A strong close will be remembered.

Tell Us Your Salary Range

This dumb interview question is sometimes asked during the interview or on your application. If you’re applying to a public sector job, you can look up salary ranges online, making this question irrelevant. If it’s a private sector job, you can try to use sites like Glassdoor.com to find salary ranges. Or there are many ways to determine what the job will pay.

This question is stupid, especially for recent graduates with limited work experience. Don’t say that $12/hour would be good enough to pay rent. You have to answer this question very carefully.

The smart way to answer this question is to say that you expect the salary to be commensurate with experience. If you can find salary ranges, state those ranges and add any experience you already have in the field to boost your salary estimate. Give them a reason to pay you more.

Where Do You See Yourself in 5/10/15 Years?

This interview question is not just stupid, but difficult. No one can predict with certainty where they will be in 5 years. You may not even expect to stay in that job for 5 years, as you could move or choose to start your own business.

The smart way to answer this question is to talk about skills you hope to acquire or improve over the next few years. If you do see yourself interested in becoming a manager, you could talk about your interest in mentorship opportunities and training. This will show your potential employers you’re interested in improving yourself, which is what they’re looking for in an employee.

It’s Time to Get out There

While many employers are moving away from stupid interview questions, you will occasionally run into them.

Above all, stay positive during negative interview questions. Employers want to hire people they can get along with. Life will always be a bit of a popularity contest.

[Tweet “”People won’t always remember what you’ve done but they will remember how you made them feel.” -Napoleon Hill”]

Originally posted 2015-10-05 10:00:48.

Categories
Career

How to Shake Hands Like a Professional

For entry-level young professionals, there are a myriad of office-related rules to follow. These are rarely talked about so it’s hard to master them as a young professional. But this is YoungFinances! We talk about taboo topics. The purpose of this post is to show you how to shake hands like a professional. Few people discuss it but it’s important to know. After all, not knowing how to make a good handshake could ruin an interview. It sounds silly but it’s true. Many people hold a lot of stake in a handshake.
You must master the art of the handshake. And I’m not using ‘art’ lightly. It takes skill to do it properly. If you don’t think so, shake the hand of a child. They don’t know how to do it well. Furthermore, go to a networking event. Many people there don’t give confident handshakes. Heck, even go to church and shake hands with the people around you. It’s not something everyone has been trained on.
[Tweet “Learning how to do a proper handshake is important. No one likes to feel like they’re shaking a dead fish.”]
But men and women can both master this skill by following the rules outlined below:

Knowing When to Shake Hands

According to Psychology Today, the old rule that communication is broken down into 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% actual words spoken, is true in most cases. Of course, some people may cross their arms because they’re cold, not because they dislike you. In these cases, it’s necessary to take into account their personal environment.
All things equal, body language is incredibly important. The statistic that most language is nonverbal (55%) is true. This means you have to approach every encounter with professionalism and confidence.
There are certain definitive times you will need to shake hands. They include:
  • Job interviews
  • Initial meetings of coworkers and your supervisor
  • Greeting and saying goodbye to business partners or clients
  • When acting as a host for an event
  • When introduced as a guest at an event

How to Properly Shake Hands

The best handshake does not try to dominate the other person but it does display strength along with respect. The best way to shake hands is to follow this basic outline:
  1. Go in straight for the handshake, with your palm vertical to the ground. Don’t put your palm over the other person’s palm, as this signifies dominance. Dominance is not something a young professional wants to convey in most circumstances. It may come off as arrogance and disrespect for the status quo. Save the palm-over-palm technique for when you’re the boss.
  2. Clasp the entire hand, curling your index finger and thumb slightly in to each other.
  3. Squeeze their hand and release after approximately 2-5 seconds. During this time, the other person may pump your hand up and down from the elbow.
  4. Make eye contact while introducing yourself. In most cases, your superior will start the introduction and offer their hand to you first. Respond with a proper handshake while making eye contact and say your name.

If you’re uncertain of the importance of proper hand shaking, realize that a poor hand shake generally reflects negatively on you.

For better or worse, many people base their assumptions about you on how you shake hands. Do you approach a hand shake professionally and decisively, or do you shy away and offer a limp handshake? Do you try to overpower your client? Or do you respectfully grasp their hand and release?

How you handle these interactions can shape how others think of you. Learning how to properly shake hands is not an insurmountable task. I recommend practicing this technique with people which you are comfortable. It takes a little practice but it can be mastered fairly quickly.
Good luck and inspire confidence!

Originally posted 2015-07-29 10:00:26.

Categories
Career

3 Ways to Find a Job By Networking Online

Just searching, applying, and attending interviews while looking for your first career position directly after college can be a full time job all by itself. I remember looking for my first job. I used to get frustrated when I saw former classmates getting hired by friends. It made me think that all of the work I did to earn good grades was for nothing.

But getting good grades is only half of the battle when it comes to finding a job. Who you know is the other half of the battle. And it can be the most important part of the battle. Networking in person can help you find jobs before they are listed online, but what if you see a job online and you don’t have the connections? You will need to begin networking online. Use these tips to make the process easier and leverage your networks.

Use Multiple Job Search Engines

Don’t be afraid to use more than one search engine to find a job. You may think that open positions will be listed on all of the large sites but that is just not how it works. Try Monster.com AND CareerBuilder.com. Test out Indeed.com and look for positions directly on company websites. After you’ve checked these sources, try an industry specific job search engine. For example, in finance, you can search OneWire.com for entry-level and more advanced financial positions. The site also has a networking option so candidates can meet potential employers.

LinkedIn is a great place to look for a job because it already includes the element of professional networking. The job search feature is limited to jobs that might interest you. But if you perform a search using the right keywords, you may find other jobs. A major advantage to job searching on LinkedIn is the ability to connect with the recruiter directly.

Get Noticed for Your Skills

Before you start reaching out, it’s important that you update your resume and write a cover letter for your job search. You may receive an immediate request and you should be ready. Take the time to clean up your social networks and remove any potentially embarrassing material. You want to be noticed for your skills, not your ability to do a keg stand. Update your LinkedIn profile and ask your close connections and previous employers for recommendations and endorsements. Highlight relevant work history, skills and professional memberships.

You can also stand out by creating a blog or one page online resume. Create a blog to talk about your experience, your industry, and explore topics that interest you. A one page resume is similar to a LinkedIn profile but you can customize it more to match your specific skills. If you are in the design or creative field, you can create an online portfolio and stand out as a candidate.

Connect Online Via Professional Networking

Recruiters are always on the hunt for solid candidates. Take the time to find and connect with recruiters in your industry. Then, add all of your professional connections on LinkedIn. Start to share updates on interesting articles that you have read and stay active on a weekly basis. Join a group dedicated to your industry and chat with those members.

Once you start making meaningful connections, take it a step further. Ask for an in person meeting or Skype chat. Once the meeting is set up, prepare some questions that you can ask. This is not an interview but a conversation. Your goal is to simply create a deeper connection with an online friend.

Networking online is very similar to networking in person. You meet a new connection, find out how you can help them and discuss how they may be able to help you. Then you continue the conversation and look for ways to add value going forward.

Originally posted 2015-07-06 10:00:56.

Categories
Career Earn Extra Income

#QUIZ: Should I Start a Business or Get a Job After College?

This is a question that many college students ask themselves. Most people like to set their own schedule. We want to be able to be in control of our time and be rewarded for our efforts. Starting a business will give you that freedom but it also comes with a price. Often you will have to put in hours and hours before you reap the benefits. Getting a job will allow you to get your reward immediately and every two weeks in the form of a paycheck, but you will be much more constrained. I’ve created a simple quiz that will help you begin to decide if you should start a business or get a job.

FYI, if you are reading this through your feed reader, hop on over to the site. The quiz is a jump page quiz. Small business facts sourced from the National Federation of Small Businesses small business polls.

Start the Quiz Here

But Don’t Scroll Down, Click Your Answer Choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any debt?

Yes, I have some debt.

No I am debt free.

Since the beginning of early September, 30 percent of small employers applied for credit or commercial loans in one form or another, at least half of which applied more than one time. Seventy (70) percent did not apply of which 12 percent, or 8 percent of the population, did not apply because they thought they could not get credit they wanted.

 

Do you have a business idea already?

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Yes, I have a business idea.

No, I don’t know what business I want to start.

Forty-two (42) percent of all small businesses introduced at least one new or significantly improved product, service, process or design into their sales inventory in the prior year. Most often the introduction was a product (55%), followed by a service (29%), a process (8%) and a design (7%). Thirty-four (34) percent have never introduced a new or significantly improved product, service, process or design. It has been three years or more since another 11 percent have.

 

Do you have any savings?

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Yes, I have some savings.

Savings, what’s that?

Small-business owners believe that the primary reason they experience cash flow problems is the difficulty they encounter collecting money due them (30%). The second most frequently cited reason is seasonality (23%). The third is unexpected variations in sales (15%) and the fourth, weak sales (13%).

 

How much business knowledge do you have?

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I have a business degree.

I’ve learned from experience.

I have no business experience.

The most frequent course of study completed by small employers was business administration and related subjects. Fifty-five (55) percent did so. The second most frequently completed course of study was one of the hard sciences including engineering. Except for the few who took advanced degrees in law and health/medicine, those who took business were most likely to find their studies directly relevant to their current enterprise.

 

Have you ever worked in a management position?

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Yes, retail or some other management position.

No, I have no management experience.

Seventy (70) percent of small employers supervised people prior to entering their current business. Most now manage fewer people than they once did. This is particularly characteristic of those owning ventures now employing fewer than 10 people.

 

Do you have a hard time getting along with others?

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Yes, I often find that others are wrong.

No, I’m pretty easy going.

 

Do you consider yourself an active person?

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Yes, I work out, get outdoors, etc.

No, I don’t have time for extra activity.

 

How many hours a week are you willing to work?

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40 hours

Less than 40

More than 40

 

Do you work best with a coach or motivator?

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Yes, I find it helps me.

No, I motivate myself.

 

Do you consider yourself to be persistent?

Photo via Wikipedia

Yes

No

 

Why do you want to go into business?

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If you’ve made it to this question then you might have what it takes to start a business.

About one in 10 adult (18-64 years) Americans are currently taking active steps to create a business. Virtually all are doing so because they want to (or see an opportunity to do so) rather than because they have no alternative economic opportunity. This puts the United States at the top of the industrialized world (second to Australia in 2006), a position Americans traditionally occupy. The reason that this number is important is the direct relationship between the number of people trying to start a business and national economic growth (Source: Neils Bosma and Rebecca Harding, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2006, Babson College, 2006.)
 
 

Are you willing to take advice?

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Yes

No

This is probably not the best time for you to go into business. Either you have too much debt or no savings, both will make starting a business very hard. If you expect to work only 40 hours a week and you give up easily then entrepreneurship may not be for you. However, may entrepreneurs are successful based on their networks and desire for more. If you can find the passion then there’s still a chance for success.

Originally posted 2015-05-30 10:00:11.

Categories
Career

What to Expect in an Entry-Level Job Interview

As you start the process of finding, interviewing for, and landing your first entry-level job, you might feel a bit apprehensive. I know I felt that way.
As a type-A personality, I like to be prepared. I want to know exactly what I should expect and when I should be expecting to expect this thing I’ve been expecting.

With this in mind, I set off to research as much as I could about landing my first job.

Click here to get my 5 interview tips for recent college graduates.

I found that I could expect a few of the same typical questions. These are the questions that I have laid out below along with suggested answers.
As a unique candidate, your suggested answer will be different than the answer of the next candidate simply because you have different life experiences.

Top 10 Entry-Level Interview Questions

1) Tell me about yourself.

This question presents an opportunity for you to give your elevator pitch. Don’t give your life story. I remember one time I started talking about my childhood and I got a weird look from the interviewer. Stick to personal and professional accomplishments that directly relate to the position for which you are applying.

2) What are your strengths?

This question is also an opportunity to emphasize your key selling points. But get ready for what is coming next…

3) What are your weaknesses?

Use this question as an opportunity to show personal growth. You can throw in an old weakness and how you’ve developed professionally. Or, you can use a strength disguised as a weakness. My favorite one goes something like this, “I have a hard time sharing responsibility. I always like to see a project to the end.” I have a few that I alternate but I always have at least one weakness prepared.

4) What motivates you?

This question helps the interviewer decide how well you will do in the company. If you are motivated by praise, for example, then they know how to squeeze that extra productivity out of you.

5) Tell me about a time you experienced ___. What did you do?

It may be a bit more difficult to prepare for this question. You’ll have to think on your feet. They may ask you for a time that you had to struggle, or a time that you had to deal with a lazy coworker. If you can’t think of something, use an experience from college. They will understand. Most importantly, you have to show that you have experience dealing with tough situations.

6) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

You should discuss that you see yourself growing with the company. Even if you think that you will likely leave in a few years for a higher salary, don’t say it. Make sure they know that you are willing to stay for the right opportunity.

7) Why did you leave your previous job?

You might think this is an opportunity to bash your previous employer but it’s not. That is in bad taste. Instead, discuss opportunity. You wanted to stretch yourself and reach for a better opportunity. Don’t discuss pay or conflict as a reason for leaving your previous job.

8 ) Why do you want to work for us?

“Um..because I want to get paid?” Sorry but the logical answer is not the proper answer. Demonstrate your desire to work for this company in particular. Maybe you appreciate how they do business. Talk about that. Keep it short but powerful.

9) Why should we hire you?

You are not the only candidate. You have to show that you are the best one for the job. Emphasize your skills and play down any concerns that the interviewer has brought up.

10) Do you have any questions for us?

Always. You should have at least 3 questions prepared. Ask about the interviewer, maybe why they like the company. Ask about the company and its goals. And finally ask about the position. When they expect to fill it, if they see you as a good fit. Leave on a high note and after the final questions, thank the interviewer for their time.

Starting with a phone interview? Watch this video with 3 tips for phone interviews.

Oddball Interview Questions That You Shouldn’t Expect

I found these questions very interesting and super odd. What would you do if you were asked one of these weird questions?

I wouldn’t expect that you would hear these questions but if you are interviewing for the employers below, you might want to go in prepared.

“How lucky are you and why?” – Asked at Airbnb.
“If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors?” – Asked at Apple.
“If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?” – Asked at Bed Bath & Beyond.
“How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year?” – Asked at Goldman Sachs.
“What’s the color of money???….” – Asked at American Heart Association.

View answers to these questions and the remainder of the top 25 oddball interview questions at GlassDoor.

Preparing with questions is the first step in having a successful interview. When you know what to expect, you can avoid any awkward silences. Obviously, there is no way to know exactly how the interview will go but preparing with these top interview questions will help you get that much further in the interview process.

Are there any questions that you would add?

What question do you remember as being the hardest?

Originally posted 2015-05-29 10:00:21.

Categories
Career

How to Leverage Linkedin to Jumpstart Your Career

Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first places that a potential employer can see your digital footprint.

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site where you can really show off your talents and experience. However, if used incorrectly, your LinkedIn profile can push away potential employers and recruiters.

We’ll start with 6 important features that you should take advantage of on LinkedIn and finish with how to leverage LinkedIn so recruiters come to you.

LinkedIn Picture

Use a clear picture of yourself in professional dress. A blue or white button down top is common. A suit jacket is appropriate but not necessary depending on your industry. Snap one yourself using a stable surface and a timer or have a friend take one for you.
Use a non-distracting background so that the focus stays on you.

LinkedIn Title

Your LinkedIn title describes your job title or if you are unemployed, the title you are looking for. Don’t make the mistake of writing unemployed as a title.

If you are looking for a job as an investment analyst for example, an appropriate title could be ‘Investment Analyst seeking the right opportunity’ or ‘Recent graduate seeking Investment Analyst position’.

Your title could also include your strengths and read something like this, “Motivated, driven, results oriented analyst seeking the right opportunity.” That may be a bit too many strengths, but you get the idea.

LinkedIn Description

The description section is where you can really flex some muscle. Feel free to write in the first person. This section is similar to a cover letter. It should reiterate your strengths and elaborate on the, as well.

If you describe yourself as detail oriented, then give an example of when this strength helped a previous employer.

Only write in third person when your accomplishments speak for themselves. If you are considered a public figure, recognized speaker, or expert then writing in the third person is acceptable. However, the entire point of a social network is to be social and approachable. Writing in the first person certainly makes you more approachable.

How to Leverage Linkedin to Jumpstart Your Career | Young Finances
Photo via https://www.linkedin-makeover.com/linkedin-profile-samples/

 

LinkedIn Keywords

The world wide web is a vast place and searching for exactly what you need requires a bit of skill, that is, unless you know exactly what you are looking for. The same way that Google is a search engine, LinkedIn is a search engine.

LinkedIn allows a recruiter to quickly and easily find candidates for open positions. In order to maximize your chances of being found on LinkedIn via search, you have to use the appropriate keywords. Start searching for others that are in your field or that hold your dream job.

Start pulling together a list of keywords and phrases then use these in your profile. Include them in your description and title if possible. Now it is that much easier for a recruiter to find you.

LinkedIn Recommendations

Getting solid recommendations is one of the best ways to power pack your LinkedIn profile. Ask for recommendations from classmates if you worked on large projects together. Seek recommendations from mentors and current employers.

The key is to get at least three solid recommendations from trusted professionals. Your profile will really shine.

LinkedIn Endorsements

Endorsements go hand in hand with recommendations and they make it easy to find candidates based on keywords as well. When you include marketing as a keyword in your profile for example, LinkedIn will automatically ask tour connections if you know about marketing.

This is a one-click yes or no option.

The more connections that endorse you for marketing, the higher you will rank in the LinkedIn search for that keyword. To get endorsements, ask or simply endorse others.

They will likely reciprocate.

Connecting on LinkedIn

Classmates

Now that your profile is complete, its time to connect. Start with your classmates. Add each classmate that you can find. As you both grow professionally, your connections will grow even stronger. For example, I added a classmate and friend from a student group and now he is a fund manager. We have both grown professionally and it makes our network stronger.

Professors

Add your professors as well, don’t forget department heads and connections from student group advisors. Your goal is to connect with as many professionals as possible.

Family friends

Once you’ve added your classmates and professors, add your family friends. While you’re at it, let them know you are looking for a job to start your career. I was able to secure a few interviews this way.

It never hurts to ask.

 

Bonus Tips from Millennial Talk:

LinkedIn can be your best friend if you use the social network properly. Start by cleaning up your profile and optimizing so you can jump start your career.

Originally posted 2015-05-11 08:00:00.