Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Best Interview Questions You Never Ask

Job interviews are not fun.

Candidates hate to do them, and hiring managers struggle to find the time to squeeze them in. For most executives, they’re viewed as a necessary evil to building a team — a box to be checked, a hurdle to get over, so they can get back to business.

Worse, interviews are notoriously bad at predicting a candidate’s success. Studies show that a quarter of new hires wash out within one year and nearly half by 18 months.

This makes sense given that no one presents their most authentic and honest selves in interviews — after all, the game is to be wanted so you have the best negotiating power. And hiring managers fall prey to self-deception as it’s continually shown that perception bias plays a huge role in interviews. We form decisions quickly about whether we like the candidate, then ask questions and seek information that supports our viewpoint. We take it easy on the candidates who give a great first impression, and drill the ones who don’t.

So how do you get more adept at hiring solid employees with initiative? What can you do to determine culture fit and aligned expectations?

Considering how heavily weighted the interview is in our hiring decisions, our best bet is to get better at them. If we want more credible information, we need to ask revealing questions even if it feels forced or uncomfortable to do so. The standard vanilla interview questions simply don’t cut it, nor does the tendency to scrap the questions mid-way through and devolve into friendly chit chat.

Interviews are your chance to save yourself a lot of time and money so it pays to get a script of illuminating questions and listen hard for the answers (even if you don’t always want to hear them.)

I’ve conducted more interviews than I could count as an entrepreneur, and put together my own favorite questions that get to the heart of how a person thinks, works, and is motivated. I owe this list to colleagues and fellow business owners who’ve shared what works, plus lots of personal trial and error over the years. I’m not claiming these are the holy grail of interview questions, but they elicit far more than the standard “tell me your strengths and weaknesses” fare. More importantly, they reveal thought patterns and prior behavior — the surest predictor of future behavior.

Interview Questions for the Candidate

1. Tell me about our company. Give your top-line analysis.

Look for: initiative, analytical ability, values, confidence.

2. Walk me through the first 5 things you would do if you got this job.

Look for: strategic thinking, prioritization skills, execution style.

3. What 3-5 things do you need to be successful in this job? What are the deal killers?

Look for: culture fit, expectations, work style.

4. Talk about a time that you took a risk and failed, and one where you took a risk and succeeded. What was the difference?

Look for: risk-taking ability and tolerance, self-awareness, honesty, conceptual thinking.

5. Tell me about one of your proudest moments at work.

Look for: drive, personal motivators, preferred work style (team builder, solo contributor, etc.)

6. What do you want for your career two jobs from now, and how does this position help you get there?

Look for: initiative, long-term thinking, self-awareness, personal motivators, professional development expectations.

…And Now Questions for References

Now that you have a bevy of information from the candidate, you need to check it against the person’s references. I am stunned at how often hiring managers skip reference checks or delegate them to HR to cover basic employment history questions. This is one of your best sources of information! Off-the-record references are generally the most revealing, but you can still get solid information from the ones the candidate provides. Yes, references are primed to say positive things about the candidate. Still, few people will risk their professional reputations by being overtly deceptive. If you want honest answers then try these pointed questions:

1. How would you rate the candidate on a scale of 1-10? What would they have to do to be rated a [+1 from the ranking given]?

2. What kind of situation would you not hesitate to put the candidate in? What kind of situation would give you pause?

3. Provide an example of how the candidate raises the bar for herself and for those around her.

4. If you could create the perfect work environment for the candidate, what would it look like?

5. What kind of development plan was communicated to the candidate, and how did he respond?

6. Would you rehire the candidate?

Hope these questions can add to your own list. Have any favorite interview questions to share?

If I get enough great questions, I’ll write a follow up and we’ll pay it forward.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Some Professional Etiquette Tips You've Probably Never Heard Before

It's no secret that personal branding is becoming essential to succeed in the corporate world, and one of the best ways to create a positive personal brand is to practice great professional etiquette.

I recently attended a talk given by one of the etiquette coaches for JP Morgan Chase and was inspired by some of the counter-intuitive social rules he shared, so I embarked on a search for other possible faux pas most people commit every day without realizing it.

Here are some of the most obscure American professional etiquette tips I could find that Millennials can use to impress their co-workers, or maybe even their bosses.

After You?

Men are accustomed to opening doors for women, so it's no wonder the most confusing etiquette rule has to do with revolving doors.

Rule #1 – If you can't open it, she doesn't go first. In a formal business setting, women are wearing heels and will have more difficulty pushing a heavy revolving door. With revolving doors, it's polite for the men to go first and allow the women to "glide" through the door behind them. Chivalrous too.

Drink Classy, Drive Classy

When it comes to client dinners, it's always best to identify all your dishes and utensils lest you drink out of someone else's glass. An easy way to remember how to dine with class is keeping BMW in mind.

Rule #2 – Not just a luxury car brand, BMW also stands for "Bread, Meal, Water/Wine." Looking down, Bread is on your left, Meal plate in the middle, and Water and Wine glasses on your right.

No Wining

Rule #3 – The wine ritual is silly at best, but still must be exercised when entertaining clients. In case you need a refresher…

The client always chooses the wine and you order it no matter what. The wine guy brings you a glass and pours you a few sips, which you happily drink. No matter how it tastes, you never send the wine back. You then drink one and only one glass over dinner, no matter how thirsty that plant next to your seat looks.

Business Cards Are Meant To Be Admired

When you want someone's business card, it is best to offer yours first, rather than ask them for theirs.

Rule #4 -Business cards are exchanged, not given. Upon receiving a business card, you should take a second to admire it and compliment the design. If that person has one of those dull corporate cards with no pictures on it, pick one thing to make a comment on instead. Example: "Oh, you work on Upper Wacker… I recently had dinner at a great restaurant in that area." But only say that if you actually did, or you'll be embarrassed when they ask a follow-up question.

Where's the Keg?

Ladies – though we are in the 21st century, it is still unfeminine to carry a beer around at a professional event with food and drinks.

Rule #5 – Just like accessorizing, a woman must drink appropriately for her age. If you insist on that cool, refreshing taste you learned to love in college, order a Light and ask the bartender to pour it in a wine glass for you. No one will be the wiser, as long as that once-charming belching habit you perfected at frat parties doesn't showcase during the event.

Last In, First Out

Rule #6 – When traveling with executives from your department, always let the person with the most seniority get in the taxi last. Because he or she is the busiest and most important, he should get out first when arriving at the destination.

The Elevator Shuffle

If you live or work in a building with a busy elevator, you have certainly taken part in the elevator shuffle, that awkward dance everyone performs at each level to let people on and off.

Rule #7 – The elevator shuffle has steps just like any other dance. Follow them or be accused of having two left feet:

  • Always let other passengers off before boarding. This requires you to stand about 3 feet away from the door as it opens, and preferably not directly in front of it.
  • The person closest to the door enters first. "Ladies first" does not apply and tends to delay the process. Men, if this makes you uncomfortable, stand further back than the ladies while waiting.
  • If you are one of the first in the elevator, choose your floor quickly and move to the back of the elevator to let more people board. Don't be a button hog. If you board and can't reach the buttons, politely ask the person closest to choose your floor for you.
  • Don't worry about order. Within three floor stops everyone will be where they need to be. If you are getting off at one of the lower floors and there are people in front of you, politely say "excuse me." It is always appropriate to get off the elevator to let someone out, then re-board.
  • No talking in the elevator. I guarantee your elevator partners would agree your conversation can wait until you reach your floor. Besides, the elevator music is meant to be enjoyed, not talked over.
  • A full elevator is a full elevator. Know when to wait for the next one to come around.
What do you think of these professional etiquette tips? Are there any other tips you have come across that are not as well-known? Please share in the comments section!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why should I hire you?

Points to remember before you attend this interview question:

  • Assume, now you are sitting in front of the HR manager.
  • Take the initiative to attend this question and tell your real answers.

Answer: Don't start your answer in 'Because',instead, try to relate first what you can do for the company. or if your a new graduate you should first say that you may not contribute a lot "but" one thing you can promise is to share your knowledge and skills that you've learned from your university and as long as the company provides training, you can continue to learned and make a significant contribution.

That's all... no messy answers to tell.

Answer 2:
I believe I have the capacity to contribute significantly to the growth of this company. This I believe can be achieved by working in accordance with the company's vision and objective. If I am employed here I would successfully apply newly acquired skills, readily become a team player and adhere to company's policies on work ethics and standard so that the company can be counted as one of the best in the industry; not forgetting that I would also love to be trained and developed into becoming a more successful.

Please share your answers....

18 Tips to Ace Your Job Interview

Finding a job in today’s economy is difficult. Simply searching for a job opportunity is tough enough. Throw in the dreaded job interview and difficult becomes downright stressful. However, it is possible to alleviate some of the stress. Here are 18 tips to help you ace your job interview.

Know Where You Are Going

A few days before your interview, make sure to get directions to your interview location online. If the directions are confusing or you aren’t familiar with the location, take time to do a drive by so that on the day of your interview you don’t get lost.

Call to Confirm

The day before your interview, call whoever scheduled your interview to confirm the day and time. By making a quick “I just wanted to confirm our 12pm interview time tomorrow” call, you will show that you are organized and respect the interviewer’s time.


Before your interview, make sure your hygiene is up to par. For men, this means making sure your hair is in control and that you are clean-shaven. For women, this means making sure to put on a little bit of makeup and doing your hair.

Review Your Resume

The night before your interview, go back over your resume to make sure you have everything on it that best highlights your skills and accomplishments as they relate to the position you are applying for. Make sure you know your major talking points for the interview so that you are adequately prepared.

Research the Company

Take the time to research the company you are interviewing with. Know what they do, their mission statement, any major events in the company’s history, and any other relevant information. By showing that you know about the company, you will convey an interest that the interviewer will appreciate.

Research Your Interviewers

When researching the company, also be sure to do a little research on anyone who will be interviewing you. By knowing their role in the company and any major professional accomplishments they have, you will demonstrate that you care not just about the company but about the employees and that you will be a great coworker.

Dress the Part

If you want the part, you have to look the part. Figure out the kind of culture the company has, then dress a level up. By doing this, you will demonstrate a level of professionalism that will be looked upon favorably.

Drive Safely

Your interview starts as soon as you enter the parking lot and doesn’t end until you leave the parking lot. Be sure to be a good driver when driving. Reckless driving will label you as an irresponsible liability the company doesn’t need.

Be Early

Whatever you do, do not be late. Show up early to demonstrate that you are responsible and appreciative of the interviewer’s time. Even showing up on time doesn’t cut it as that will simply show you will do the bare minimum to get by. Employers want employees who will go above and beyond.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off

One major interview faux pas is to have your phone ring during an interview. Make sure your cell phone is off or on silent during an interview. Or better yet, just leave it in the car.

Bring Multiple Copies of Your Resume

If you were giving a presentation during a company meeting that required a handout you would make sure you had made enough copies for everyone in the meeting, right? Well, chances are you will have multiple people interviewing you, so be prepared and respectful of each interviewer by bringing a copy of your resume for each of them.

Watch Your Nonverbals

Be sure to make good eye contact, give each interview a solid handshake, and not fiddle with a pen. Your nonverbal cues are very important in an interview, so do your best to not just talk confidently, but act confident too.

Have an Elevator Speech Prepared

Most of the time, the first question you will be asked is, “tell me about yourself.” Make sure you are ready for this question by having a brief, 30-second elevator speech ready to go that highlights your job history and accomplishments as well as what you are looking for in your career. Memorize the speech by heart and learn how to deliver your pitch with charm and confidence.

Be Prepared for Certain Questions

Inevitably you will be asked questions along the lines of “what is your greatest weakness,” “why do you want to work here,” and “how does your current skill set fit with this position.” Be sure you know how to answer these questions and any other relevant questions before your interview so you don’t get caught off guard.

Stay Positive

We have all had jobs we hated, worked on projects that were difficult, and had bosses we butted heads with. You will probably be asked about difficult situations in previous positions, so be sure to stay positive about those situations by highlighting your success in that situation as well as anything beneficial you learned from it.

Have Questions

At the end of your interview, you will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. Have questions prepared to ask each interviewer. For example, you could ask, “What is your favorite part of your job?” By coming prepared with questions for your interviewers, it shows that you are prepared and have interest in the company.

Take Notes

During your interview, be sure you have a notepad with you so you can take notes when the interviewers answer your questions or give you more information about the job and company. Just make sure you continue to make eye contact with the interviewer and not simply writing frantically on your notepad.

Follow Up

At the end of the interview, get business cards from everyone who interviewed you and send them a thank you note or email within 24 hours. Doing this demonstrates that you are appreciative of their time.

Difference Between Training and Development

Training vs Development

Training and development are closely interrelated terms that aim to help in achieving the objectives of the company while at the tame time increasing the efficiency and productivity of the employees. Though similar in a broader sense, there are many differences between training and development that will be highlighted in this article.

Training of a new employee is an integral part of his induction and orientation. Training is imparted so that he understands his roles and responsibilities and learns to perform the tasks entrusted to him with ease and with efficiency. It is only after a brief training period that a new employee is able to perform his job at a satisfactory level. Training makes an employee more productive for the organization and is thus concerned with his immediate improvement.

Development of an employee is an ongoing process which continues well beyond training. The focus of development process is the person himself where the focus of training is the organization. Development concerns with making the employee efficient enough to handle critical situations in future. So while training concentrates on short term needs of the organization, development looks after long term goals of the organization.

Training often takes place in groups, and is an event that is variously called as workshops and seminars. However, training can also be one on one when a supervisor instructs a new employee on a machine. Sometimes a manager deliberately pairs up a new employee with an experienced one. This is done to make the new employee learn to do things correctly. This can be termed as employee development. Sometimes, a manager may entrust an employee the job that may not be a part of his duty but plays a part in his development.

Sometimes, development refers to techniques such as stress management, breathing exercises through Yoga and meditation that are not directly related with the production process of a company but play an important part in the development of the employee.

It is clear then that it is easy to see the tangible effects of a training program but difficult to quantify the benefits accruing to the company through employee development though it really helps employees to grow on a personal level.

Why Employee Background Screening?

Today, Employee Background Screening has become the most important part of hiring.

No matter what the size of your business is, employee screening is very important. The company in this case will get to know the applicants more and see if they fit the job description they are applying for. This process usually begins with the company's HR personnel assigned going over the applicant's resume to see if the information contained within is correct. It will then move on to validating the applicant's information to see if there are any contradictions and the HR personnel will further determine if the applicant can be a valuable addition to their workforce.

The process of employment ranges from medical, background checks and psychometric testing. Some open positions in the company allow applicants to practice answering the required tests.Since it is the only trusted way for the human resource manager or personnel to determine and assess the applicant vying for the position, screening is a most important of any job hiring process.

Getting to know the probable people who will be part of your workforce is quite logically necessary. Allowing the company to select those candidates who perform well in the tests is only made possible by the screening process. Everytime companies hire new employees, they are expecting to land the most competent of them out there who would complement the revenues or increase the income of the company. The employment screening process, aside from selecting skillful workers, can detect if the candidate is both physically and mentally fit to be part of their workforce.

It has become a common practice of employers nowadays to acknowledge an employee's ability to function well in a job in the right place and time and with a healthy stae of mind, as well as the value of his diligence. Thus, employee screening allows the company to really get into the bare essence of what a prospective employee can offer them and help them determine the influence he may have on the company's goal.

There are other things to consider as well when the company's HRD personnel conduct employment screening and one of the important ones is legal procedures. You have to remember that the employee screening process involves digging up sometimes very personal information about the applicant.

A good and reliable source, like third party investigative bodies, of information is needed to verify the validity of the applicant's presented data and background checks or screening simply wouldn't be effective if this source was limited in any way. In order for the HRD of the company to gain access to certain restricted information like school records or previous job employment records, they sometimes have to ask the applicant to sign an authorization document. This only happens when there is a non-disclosure contract between the applicant and his previous employer exists and the prospective employer needs to know more about the applicant. As for school records, the institution may have more requirements aside from the authorization document that the prospective employer has to comply with before it is granted access.

You can ask us if you have any query related Employee Background Screening.
mail us at info@vfacts.in