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Home > Blog: Interviews

Perfecting Your Interview Skills

Would You Hire Yourself?

While many of us think highly of our backgrounds and what we can bring to a potential employer, at the end of the day, would you really hire yourself if the decision was in your hands?  More »

Should You Take an Interview for Practice?

There are times during your job search that you may want to take an interview simply to brush up on your interview skills, but don't take an interview with the intentions of purposefully blowing it. If you haven't been on an interview in some time, it may be a good idea to take a few interviews for jobs that you may not be interested in simply to practice your interview skills. If you decide to take this course of action, you should treat the interview as if it were for your dream job. You should take all of the same steps that you normally would for a job that you are interested in. The one thing you do not want to do is purposefully blow the interview.  More »

How to Dress Interview Appropriate on a Tight Budget

What do you think of when you think of interviewing? I think of answering a lot of tough questions and wanting to make a good first impression. The best way to make a good first impression is to dress appropriately for the company setting. For a lot of women, this can be a daunting task because they simply don't have the means to get a business appropriate outfit.  More »

Tips to Boost Your Interviewing Skills

Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances when you finally land that interview. Below you will find some helpful hints that will better prepare you to land your dream job.  More »

Ask Your Would-Be Boss These 3 Questions

If you want to land a great job with a likable boss, you need to know something about that person before your first day. To do that, start with the interview and ask these three questions to determine whether this is someone you'd want to work for. Not only will you get a good idea of the boss' personality, but interviewers will be impressed with your questions.  More »

What is an Informational Interview & How Do I Get One?

Your job search is a project: Research the industries that you would want to work in, then research specific companies in that industry. Next, start expanding your network by finding people who work at these companies. Once you identify some potential contacts, you can make the move to set up an informational interview.  More »

Top 5 Interview Questions

When an interviewer says "tell me about yourself," do you know what to say? Find out how to answer this common interview question, along with: What is your greatest weakness? What did you like least about your last job? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Tell me about a time you failed.  More »

How to Eff Up Your Followup after the Interview

Of all the frustrations in the job search process, perhaps the worst is the post-interview waiting game. When you have a seemingly great interview and then hear nothing for weeks, it can become downright unbearable. Here's how Dave the perpetual job seeker handled it.  More »

Skype Interview Tips

Usually, if an employer likes your resume and cover letter and wants to interview you, they simply call you, maybe do a phone screen, then schedule an in-person interview. But nowadays, some companies might ask you to do an online Skype interview first (and by Skype I mean any online video conferencing application). Check out Pongo's Skype Interview Tips video for helpful advice on looking your best.  More »

Sound Bites Can Help You in the Phone Interview

Sound bites--those memorable lines or slogans that jump out at you during a speech or presentation--can leave lasting impressions. In a phone interview, a sound bite can have the same effect since you must rely on your voice to make a memorable impression. Here's how you can create one--or more.  More »

20 Job Interview No-No's

Employers don't interview unqualified job candidates. So if they've scheduled an interview with you, they already think you're qualified. Avoid these 20 interview mistakes to help confirm their judgment that you're a great candidate.  More »

Inside the Hiring Manager's Head at the Job Interview

Do you tend to be nervous when you're about to be interviewed for a job? Do you wonder if you'll emerge as the candidate of choice or if you'll blow your chances because your nervousness might get the better of you? Here are three questions that typical hiring managers have in their minds that they want answers to by the time the interview is over.  More »

3 Ways to Stand Tall in a Job Interview

If you're still looking for a job, I'm guessing that you've had few successful interviews. And the ones you've had led only to frustration. If that has you feeling small about yourself, here are three ways to make yourself taller.  More »

More Amazing Interview Mistakes from (Don't Be) Dave

The latest installment of Pongo's Don't Be Dave video series, Dave's Amazing First Impression, is an object lesson in how to say and do all wrong things when you're meeting someone for the first time. Watch what Dave does and do the opposite!  More »

Watch Out for Interviewers Who Suck

This video illustrates an important interview tip. Always research the employer and learn all you can about their culture before you go to the interview.  More »

4 Body Blunders to Avoid in Your Job Interviews

Despite what you may have assumed about the term body blunders, I'm not talking about passing gas. I'm talking about your body language and the signals your expressions, posture, and movements send when you're meeting with someone. Here's a short list of the biggest blunders that can ruin your interviews, no matter how skilled or qualified you are.  More »

Never Tell the Interviewer You Were Fired

I've been working on a project that involves asking real-world hiring managers for their thoughts on a variety of interview topics. One of the most enlightening comments (so far) came from a hiring manager with 25 years of interviewing and hiring experience. I asked whether a job seeker who's been fired should admit that during an interview. His adamant reply might surprise you.  More »

7 Reasons You Won't Get Called Back after Interviews

The most common work complaint I hear is from frustrated job candidates who don't hear back from an employer after an interview. People tend to take this silence personally, but they shouldn't. Here are seven reasons interviewers don't call candidates back.  More »

A Job Interview Gone Wrong: 5 Videos You Must See

Sometimes our mistakes provide us with important life lessons, but let's be honest: It's a lot more fun to learn the same lessons from someone else's mistakes. That's the idea behind the new video series on Pongo's YouTube channel.  More »

Do You Really Want the Job? Tell Them in the Interview!

Your resume was strong enough to earn an interview. The interview is going well and coming to an end. You like the job, your would-be boss, and the company. Now, you need to be clear to your interviewer that you really want the job! Here are three things you can say without going overboard or appearing desperate.  More »

3 Questions to Ask Your Would-Be Boss at the Interview

If you've never had a boss who made you miserable, consider yourself lucky. And if you want to wind up lucky in a new job, you need to know something about your would-be boss. That's why you should ask these three questions in your first or second interview to determine whether this is someone you'd want to work with.  More »

The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

Stories can be effective ways of telling a joke or describing an event. They can also make a difference in the job interview as you try to convince a hiring manager that you're the right person for the job. They are, in essence, the best way to answer behavioral interview questions.  More »

Job Interview Don'ts Straight from a Hiring Manager

Ever wonder if you messed up in a job interview and if it cost you the job? Maybe you committed one of the errors that a hiring manager lists in this blog post based on his experience.  More »

8 Dumbass Interview Mistakes New Grads Make

More than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals were asked to identify the biggest mistakes new college graduates make during the application and interview process. These are the top 8 interview mistakes among new grads.  More »

Weird Interview Questions and the Reason Behind Them

The job interview is going just great. You came prepared. You and the interviewer have talked about the position, the company, and your would-be coworkers. In short, you're feeling really good and very confident. Then, the interviewer asks one of the weirdest questions you've ever been asked in a job interview. This post offers the reason they ask these questions.  More »

5 Things You Should Say in Every Job Interview

Interviews are complicated, but sometimes the simplest interview advice makes the most sense (the kind you'll get from GL Hoffman, author of the blog What Would Dad Say.) GL provides a list of five simple things you should always say in an interview. No matter who you are or what the job is, these five magical statements will impress your interviewer and set you apart.  More »

5 Things You Should Never Reveal in a Job Interview

Have you ever said something in an interview and walked out completely regretting it? In most situations, it's best to be honest and up front, but there's a time and place for everything. In a job interview, there are certain topics that can quickly take you out of consideration for the job if you voluntarily reveal them. Find out what they are here.  More »

Phone Interview Survival Tips

The phone interview (more aptly called a phone screen) is becoming more and more popular as the first step in the hiring process. If you haven't had one yet, you will, so it's essential to get yourself primed and ready before the phone rings.  More »

How To Recover Quickly from an Interview Mistake

Job interviews can be a recipe for trouble. Any time you combine a nerve-wracking situation with high stakes, the possibility of rejection, and the need to look and act your very best, there will be blood. Hopefully not real blood, but I'm sure that's happened, too. Want to ease your nerves before a job interview? Make sure you're well prepared. And when you do mess up, follow this 4-step recovery process.  More »

Top 5 Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

When an interviewer says "tell me about yourself," do you know the best way to respond? Find out how to answer this common interview question, along with: What is your greatest weakness? What did you like least about your last job? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Tell me about a time you failed.  More »

Be a Good Storyteller at the Job Interview

When someone suggests that you tell stories in your job interviews, they're not talking about a tale from a book or a this guy walks into a bar story that makes you the life of the party. The stories you must be ready to tell are about things that took place in previous jobs, things that back up the skills and qualifications you wrote about in your resume.  More »

3 Ways to Get the Hiring Manager to Like You

In a survey of more than 1,400 chief financial officers by Accountemps, nearly a third said personality or people skills would be the most valuable factor in deciding between two equally qualified candidates for an accounting or finance position, even more important than job knowledge, industry experience, or software skills. Findings such as this highlight the importance of likability as a key in landing the job offer.  More »

Unforgivable Job Search Mistakes

Certain behaviors drive HR people and hiring managers nuts. For example, job candidates regularly show up late, dress inappropriately, and use unprofessional email addresses. Yet mistakes like those can be forgiven if the candidate is otherwise great. But there are some big, bad behaviors that stop the show. Find out which mistakes hiring managers cannot overlook.  More »

Job Interview Etiquette from the 'Experts'

Stating the more than obvious, a business professor says that despite the threat of the H1N1 virus, job seekers and hiring managers should not avoid shaking hands at a job interview. Here's a tongue-in-cheek look at other obvious interview advice.  More »

Think Twice Before You Reschedule a Job Interview

One time in college, I scored an interview for an awesome entry-level job to kick off my post-college career. But I had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict with a summer class, and I never heard from them again. Moral of the story: Never cancel or reschedule!  More »

Is it OK to Walk Out of a Bad Interview?

Every job seeker has a ridiculous job interview experience to share. But if you're sitting through an interview and realize you don't want the job after all, can you excuse yourself and leave early? This post says you can, and explains why.  More »

What Was Your Weirdest Interview Experience?

Most of us have experienced something weird in a job interview, either a question that came out of the interviewer's backside or some personality quirk that was just odd. Or maybe the whole interview was bizarre. Here are four weird interview scenarios I've either read about, heard about, or experienced.  More »

How to Explain Work History Gaps in the Interview

Nobody follows a seamless, unbroken career path. Just doesn't happen. Logically, it follows that everyone will eventually have an employment gap to explain at a job interview. And there's a simple, three-step method to explain this to your potential employer: acknowledge, reassure, and redirect.  More »

If You Say it in the Resume, Prove it in the Interview

You've probably heard the term false advertising in reference to a product or service that failed to live up to a claim stated in an advertisement, sometimes placing its owner in a bit of legal trouble. Like a product or service advertisement, your resume acts as an advertisement of your skills and experience.  More »

What NOT to Say at the First Job Interview

Your first job interview with a potential employer is a true test of watching what you say and how you say it. Nothing will derail your chances of moving on to a second interview faster than saying something with a hidden meaning. What do I mean? Check out the following examples of what NOT to say in your first interview.  More »

Interview Question: Tell Me about a Time You Failed

There are times in our lives when certain events offer a heaping dose of humility. Maybe that humble moment was being laid off or fired from a job you thought seemed so secure. But humility can teach you valuable lessons, and it can help you in the job interview.  More »

Like It or Not, Likability is the Key to Getting Hired

HR professionals may not admit it, but I believe being well liked carries as much weight as being well qualified when it comes to job offers. We pay more attention to people we like. We respond positively to enthusiasm, warmth, and supportive comments. Even the way we dress helps others relate to us. It's human nature to seek out similarities to ourselves and to perceive a reflection of ourselves in someone we like.  More »

Why Won't They Tell Me Why I Didn't Get the Job?

You have a stellar resume that highlights your skills and major career accomplishments, and grabbed the attention of employer. That led you to an interview, which went very well, but the hiring manager delivers the bad news a week later: You didn't get the job. Yet you'd like some feedback from the employer. Well, you might get it.  More »

7 Ways to Spend Less on Job Interviews

When you're out of work, getting a job interview is just about the best thing that can happen to you (second only to receiving an actual job offer). An interview means you're a contender. You've made it into the finals. But when your cash flow is dwindling, an interview can also pose a budgetary dilemma. Fear not, my frugal friends. Once you start thinking like a cheap bastid (as we say in New England), there are lots of ways to prevent your limited funds from being depleted. Here, for example, are seven ways to keep job interview costs from busting your budget.  More »

Want the Job? Make a Connection with the Interviewer

You researched the company, sent your resume, and got called for the interview. As your interview with the hiring manager progresses, you become convinced that this is the right move. How can you become the first choice? It will likely come down to how well you connect with the hiring manager and other interviewers.  More »

Poll: Do Hiring Managers Care About a Firm Handshake?

In the summer of 1983, I graduated from college with no clue what kind of job I wanted. I had a B.A. in Psychology, several years of part-time cashiering experience, and no resume. Yet I managed to impress an employer enough to hire me. In part, it was because I paid attention to the most basic rules: showing up on time and wearing a suit. And apparently my handshake was just right, too.  More »

Dumb Question: 'Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?'

Where do you see yourself in five years? Many hiring managers will ask this in a job interview, but the question is annoying and insipid because many of us can't envision our lives that far into the future. After all, life changes, our priorities change, and what makes you tick today could make you sick in a few years.  More »

Yes, You Still Need Paper Resumes for Your Interviews

Because most of your job searching can be done online, you might wonder why you'd ever need to print hardcopies of your resumes and cover letters. But there are several instances when the interviewer won't have your documents readily accessible. If you think you can get away with going to an interview with nothing more than a nice suit and a pen in hand, think about how you would handle these situations.  More »

Why the Post-Interview Waiting Game Takes So Damn Long

So, you've done everything right. You took your old resume, followed all the advice on this blog and elsewhere, and made it sizzle with both visual appeal and the essence of all you offer an employer. You also created a perfectly targeted cover letter that only a socially maladjusted cheese-eatin' rat could reject. And then, after being called in for an interview, you aced it! So why is it taking so long for the company to get back to you?  More »

What Interview Questions Do You Hate Most?

While every career advice site tells you to prepare your answers ahead of time for all those "this is why I'm a rock star" questions, sometimes even the most standard question throws us off. Tell us what interview questions you hate most!  More »

What's Your Favorite Question to Ask in An Interview?

If you browse through the archived posts in this blog, you'll find plenty of advice about questions you must ask during a job interview. Asking the interviewer questions is a good way to find out more about the company or the job you're interested in.  More »

Two Minutes of Research Might Have Saved My Interview

There are plenty of ways to blow a job interview, but being unprepared is probably the most common. Despite knowing that, I once lost out on a great job in marketing communications at a hospital because I didn't bother to do my research before the interview. Don't make the same mistake I did...  More »

How to Get Time Off for a Job Interview

When you're employed and secretly job hunting, scheduling interviews is tricky. The best strategy (making the appointment outside of work hours) is not always an option, which means you'll need to ask for time off. And you can't be totally truthful about the reason (yet) without the risk of pissing off your boss. So how exactly do you ask for time off, without unduly compromising your integrity or your job security? There's no perfect answer, but here's the least imperfect way.  More »

Top 4 Body Blunders in the Job Interview

Despite what you may have assumed about the term body blunders, I'm not talking about passing gas - though you should try REALLY hard not to let that happen in an interview. I'm talking about your body language and the signals your movements send. Here's a short list of the biggest body blunders that could ruin your interview - no matter how skilled or qualified you are.  More »

Never Go to a Job Interview Without These 10 Things

In a perfect world, you could act like Goldilocks in your job interviews, trying different options until everything was just right. If your chair was too hard, or your interviewer was a twit, you could switch to a better one. Unfortunately, that's a fairy tale. You're pretty much stuck with the chair or the interviewers you're given. You can't control everything, but you can control how prepared you are and what you take with you. Here are 10 must-have and 7 nice-to-have items that the well-prepared job seeker should carry to the interview...  More »

Stand Out in the Job Market: Part II - Interviewing

There are two things every job seeker must do to secure a great job: Create an interview-winning resume, and nail the interview. The first blog post in this series, Stand Out in a Rough Job Market: Part I - Your Resume, covered the first part. This post tackles how you can nail the interview by standing out from the competition.  More »

Dumbass Mistakes New Grads Make in Interviews

In a recent CareerBuilder poll, more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals were asked to identify the biggest mistakes new college graduates make during the application and interview process. Based on the percentage of respondents who gave each answer, these are the top 8 dumbass moves among new grads  More »

Is Caller ID Sabotaging Your Job Search?

Here's a real-world, this-really-happened lesson for job seekers: If your cell phone or land line is set up to reject calls that don't show up in caller ID, you might be screening yourself right out of an interview. This is exactly what happened when one of PongoResume's hiring directors (we'll call her Mary) tried to call some job candidates earlier this week.  More »

TMI: How to Talk Yourself Out of a Job

When you interview for a job, nothing will hurt you more than revealing too much information in response to a question. Giving away personal details that interviewers have no business knowing, and that will not impact how well you can do your job, can earn you a speed pass to the bottom of the candidate pile. Refer to this short list of topics you should avoid talking about in your next interview.  More »

How to Choose the Best Job Offer, Part I

Wahoo! You got an offer! Your job search and interviewing strategies paid off. But wait ... what's that? You have two offers? Three? Holy cow! If this is the boat you're in, consider yourself lucky. But which one do you take? Here's a handy chart that compares two hypothetical offers that you can use as a guide to help you make your decision.  More »

Interview 'Signs' Can Be Misleading

Alison Green's recent U.S. News & World Report blog post, 7 Signs Your Interview Went Well, got me thinking about how you can tell if your interview went well or badly. Too often, we sit waiting patiently at home for weeks after an interview, only to learn the company is not interested and actually never was. While I applaud Alison's 7 Signs, I also know that interviewers can be masters of deception. Here are other ways of interpreting those signs.  More »

One Against Many: The Job Interview Gauntlet

It's rare for someone to go through his or her professional life without facing what I call the job interview gauntlet - a situation in which not one person, but a panel or group, conducts the interview. In my career, I've faced several forms of the interview gauntlet. You may have experienced some of them too. Here's how I would describe various group interview processes, and what you might expect out of them.  More »

How to Handle 6 Dumb Things Interviewers Do

Many interviewers, including hiring managers, recruiters, and HR generalists, seem to forget what it was like when they were job seekers and dealt with the bad behaviors some interviewers put them through. Good interviewers are prepared, on time, and treat every applicant with respect. Bad interviewers don't. So, here's a list of six really dumb things bad interviewers do and how you can deal with them.  More »

'What Do You Think is Your Greatest Weakness?'

The recent blog post, 5 Really Stupid Questions from Interviewers, elicited several comments about an oft-asked and much-hated interview question: What do you think is your greatest weakness? Here's some advice on how to answer.  More »

5 Really Stupid Questions from Interviewers

Interviewers often struggle with what questions to ask job candidates as they try to rapidly understand the skill sets and work styles of applicants they have just met. It's not easy to predict someone's future job performance in a 45-minute interview. Some interviewers are very skilled and well trained, but the vast majority are not. This results in some fairly creative, yet rather stupid, interview questions.  More »

How to Tell an Interviewer You Were Fired? Spin to Win

The interview is going splendidly. You seem to have exactly the background they're looking for. You've built a good rapport with your interviewers, and you have a good feeling about the corporate culture. Then comes the question you've been dreading: Why did you leave your last job? Your challenge lies in how to spin the answer to avoid coming off as a whiner.  More »

Talk is Cheap, Except in the Phone Interview

In the business world, when someone questions whether a colleague can walk the walk or just talk the talk, it's usually the walking that's considered more important. But when it comes to the job search, sometimes talking the talk is the critical element. Think of the phone interview.  More »

4 F-Words to Help You Prepare for a Second Interview

Congratulations, you've landed the second interview! All that hard work and research really paid off. Do a little dance and Twitter your excitement, but don't get too comfortable just yet. You've still got some work cut out to land the offer. Keep your eye on the prize and prepare a solid strategy with the help of these four F-words!  More »

Stay Cool on the Hot Seat: 2 Tough Interview Questions

Certain interview questions are enough to unnerve the most prepared job candidate. Two that come to mind are: What do you think is your greatest weakness? and What do you like least about your current (or most recent) job? They may seem like ridiculous questions, but you have to answer them because being evasive could cost you a chance at landing a great career opportunity.  More »

You're Leaving and They Want to Know Why

After What salary are you looking for? the interview question job seekers most often agonize over is Why did you leave your job? For most of us, it's tough to try to explain to an outsider why we left (or are looking to leave) our most recent positions. Here are some ideas to help you answer the question.  More »

The 5 'Must Knows' of Job Interview Preparation

You've impressed an employer with your resume and they called you to schedule an interview. You're ecstatic. Now, it's time to get over the ecstasy and start preparing for the interview. How do you prepare properly? Follow our five must knows of interview preparation.  More »

You're Qualified, But Do They Like You?

The job seeker's emotional journey is well known - anticipation, disappointment, trepidation, uncertainty, elation - but have you ever considered the highs and lows that interviewers undergo during the hiring dance? Those swings in emotion play into the hiring process. The most qualified candidate is never the one hired. Rather, the candidate who gets the offer is the one who makes the strongest emotional connection with the interviewers.  More »

How to Blow the Interview Before You Say a Word

Interviewing is a multi-sensory experience. And if you inadvertently assault any one of the interviewer's five senses - sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell - you could blow the interview before it ever starts.  More »

Career Advice, Brought to You by American Idol

When it comes to landing a dream job, American Idol contestants are just like the rest of us. In fact, they can teach us a thing or two about interviewing. I know it sounds a little crazy, but hear me out. In the career world, it's widely known that just because you're qualified for the job, doesn't mean you'll get it. If another candidate brings the same skills to the table, the interviewers simply determine who they like better. The same goes for American Idol hopefuls.  More »

How Do You Handle the Salary Question?

Penelope Trunk has a nice post this week on her Brazen Careerist blog on a difficult issue all job interviewees face: Discussing your potential salary, should you take the job. Here are some techniques you can use to handle this question from potential employers.  More »
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