May #cbjobchat: Job seekers and recruiters answer your interview FAQs

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On the first Monday of each month, we conduct a Twitter job chat for job seekers and recruiters. From 7-8 p.m. Central, we tackle topics that can help job seekers, such as resumes or cover letters. This week we spent the hour discussing interviews. What you should do, what you shouldn’t do, and what you never thought to do.

We know not everyone can join in the fun. It’s Monday night — you have dinner to make, work to do, a family to spend time with, reruns of “Seinfeld” to watch. But if you find yourself looking for some job-search tips on the first Monday of the month, look at the hashtag #cbjobchat and join in the conversation. Or just watch — you can learn a lot without saying a thing, too.

In that hour, more great questions were asked and answered than we can possibly post here. Still, we discussed some of the most frequently asked questions job seekers ask us and employers about the interviewing process. For your convenience, here are the questions we asked and some of the great answers we received:

Q1: How do you prepare in the days and hours leading up to an interview? What are the absolute must-dos? For recruiters, what preparation do you expect job seekers to have when they walk in the door?

Definitely research as much as you can about the company, is there someone in the position currently? Reach out to them. – @eoppie

Check company, org’s website. Know who you’re interviewing with. Prepare a few questions to ask there. Don’t over prepare.  – @AshShute

Study the company’s website, try + learn as much about the company as you can. Look at the bio of the person [you’re] interviewing [with]. – @Give2GetJobs

Research, research, research! Always know the latest company news, employee info, etc. – @ComeRecommended

Leave early, plan for traffic + delays just in case RT @AshShute: Q1: Map a route to the interview if its f2f. Dont arrive late. – @Give2GetJobs

Q2: Job seekers, how do you answer the most common questions, like “What’s your biggest weakness?” and “Tell me about yourself.” Recruiters, what do you NOT want to hear from job seekers when answering biggest weakness/tell me about yourself questions?

Weaknesses should not conflict with the job description. – @rockthehunt

“Tell me about yourself”: Your answer should highlight how your skills are good fit for the job. – @MWilliamsRHMR

Tell me about yourself: Give brief work history + tie it into why you applied for and would be a good fit for the position – @Give2GetJobs

Weakness: Try + find something that could be viewed as a positive. Ex. I’m a perfectionist, I get really into my work, etc. -  @Give2GetJobs

Q3: Job seekers, at the end of the interview, when the employer asks if you have any questions, do you always ask something? Recruiters, is it OK for job seekers not to ask any questions when given the chance? Are there bad Qs that shouldn’t be asked?

Always ask a few questions at the end. Best advice they were given, most challenging rewarding assignment – @TamrynHennessy

Always ask questions. It emphasizes your interest in the position (and you should have some anyway) – @ComeRecommended

If I get the job, what are the 3 top deliverables you’d like to see in 30/60/90 days? – @rockthehunt

A direct “What are you looking for from this position” can get you valuable insights. See where they take it – @THO_R

Absolutely…’s an interview killer if no questions. Should be asking Q’s along the way too….be engaging. – @careercurator

It’s imperative that you ask intelligent questions. This is a final opportunity for you to shine. – @MWilliamsRHMR

Q4: Job seekers, what are the biggest mistakes you’ve made during interviews? And what did you learn from them? Recruiters, what common but avoidable faux pas do you see job seekers make? (Let’s end them here tonight!)

Major faux pas: Acting sullen and bored, or cocky and arrogant. You need to be likable. – @webaphile

One of the biggest avoidable mistakes is being too nervous. Prepare well, be confident and calm in the interview. – @MWilliamsRHMR

Limp handshake, no eye contact, talking to fast and repeating the same things over and over again – @Azn_CyberSleuth

Answered the phone during the interview. – @St8Wkr

Over-preparing is a mistake I’ve made too. Made me nervous and less articulate. – @AshShute


Job seekers, how do you typically follow up with an employer after the interview? Which methods have worked best for you? Recruiters, how should job seekers follow up after the interview? How important are thank-you notes/emails?

Thank you notes are important. I’m still a fan of the handwritten note if there is enough time before decision is being made. – @Give2GetJobs

A thank you note is another way to reiterate your interest & to outline key points of what occurred in the interview process -  @Azn_CyberSleuth

Always follow email that day with followup link of interest to something you talked about -  @TamrynHennessy

For more information on previous #cbjobchats, check out recaps on résumés and cover letters and following up. Also, let us know what you’d like to see discussed in these monthly chats.

As always,  feel free to weigh in with your own opinions below.

  1. How do you answer the dreaded question, “What was your reason for leaving?” I was terminated from two jobs and I feel I must me honest, but I believe it is hindering me from moving forward.

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  3. Pingback: Job search strategies: the do’s and don’ts : The Work Buzz

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