How To Be Assertive During Your Interview

Interviews are stressful events. Unless you’re in the enviable position of job shopping, you’ve got a lot riding on the outcome of any interview at a company you want to work. The pitfall of all that stress is that it can make you question things you usually take for granted, like your competence and likability. This, in turn, can undermine your confidence and assertiveness during the interview itself. If you’ve been down this road before, keep reading for tips on how to remain assertive during your interview.  

Body Language 

It’s very hard to oversell the role of body language in selling yourself to a hiring manager. The problem is that body language generally happens without a lot of input from your conscious mind. That means you need to pay attention to what your body is doing during the interview. Make sure you maintain good posture with your back straight. Stand up and initiate the handshake with your interviewer. Keep your posture open when sitting. No matter how nervous you feel, don’t fidget. Of course, maintain solid eye contact.  

Ask Questions 

Don’t let the interview end without asking several meaningful questions; a willingness to quiz the interviewer signals that you believe in yourself. Make sure that the questions are relevant to you and your position. For example, you can ask what goals the company is looking to achieve by hiring you. You can also ask more generally what goals the company has for the department or unit you’d be joining. Consider culture-based questions, such as what management style the company prefers or what makes someone a good personality fit. If all else fails, you can ask what you could expect to work on during a normal day.  

Ask for the Position 

It might seem counter-intuitive since you’re there interviewing for the job, but you should still ask for the position. A lot of people walk out of an interview knowing they don’t want the job and won’t take it if offered. Asking for the position at the end of the interview does two things for you. It tells the interviewer that you’re very likely to take the job if it’s offered. It reaffirms your confidence in yourself and your ability to do the job.  

Assertiveness Is a Learned Trait 

Assertiveness comes naturally to some people, but most people must learn to do it. It might feel like you’re faking it during the interview, but think of it as practice for the workplace and the future. The good news is that, like most learned behaviors, assertiveness becomes more comfortable with practice.  

How To Plan For A Successful Group Interview

Many companies select group interviews over individual interviews. Some companies want to gauge how you respond under added stress that can mimic actual job conditions. Other companies use them as a time and cost-saving approach. Whatever the reason behind the group interview, you need a plan to navigate a group interview successfully.

If you’ve never faced a group interview before, read on for some key tips for making the right impression.

Study the Company

Few things impress an interviewer less than candidates who don’t know anything about the company. This is as true for waiters and sales staff as it is for management trainee candidates. Minimally, you should know something about the following:

  • Company history
  • Company products/services
  • Where your potential job fits into the company

If you can answer questions on these topics, you’ll match or outshine your competitors in the room.

Create and Memorize an Introduction

It’s common for the interviewer to ask everyone in the room to introduce themselves. This is a golden opportunity to shine. Highlight your experience, but also mention any soft skills or hard skills that might make you more capable in the role. Angling for a supervisory position down the road? Briefly mention some prior leadership experience.

Practice

Unless you’ve done a lot of group interviews, you should set up at least one or two practice interviews with friends. This lets you work out some of your nervousness about the process. It also gives you a chance to refine your answers to difficult questions. Quiz your friends afterward for honest answers about where you did well and what left them cold.

Listening

The last thing interviewers want to see is you tuning out whenever someone else speaks. It’s a bad sign that you don’t value the opinions or thoughts of others. The practice interview gives you an excellent chance to practice your listening skills, but it’s not the only opportunity. Leading up to the interview, make it a point to listen whenever you find yourself in a conversation. It will make it easier to remain attentive when the interview rolls around.

Body Language and Tone

Body language and tone can derail you in either an individual or group interview. You should look and sound confident. Looking confident means that you sit calmly, without fidgeting, and don’t slouch. Make sure you make good eye contact with both the interviewer and other candidates. Avoid waffling terms like “maybe” and “could be.” Use good projection so everyone in the room can hear you.

It’s About Awareness

Succeeding in group interviews is mostly about knowledge and awareness. You must know about the company and position. You should know your introduction by heart. You must remain aware of your body language and tone. You must also stay mindful of how well you listen.

Think you’re ready to tackle a group interview for a new job. Let Gallman Consulting help you get in the room.

Should You Follow Up After a Job Interview?

It’s one of the most common questions among job seekers: Should I follow up after a job interview? Most of the time, the simple answer is yes. You should follow up. Very few potential employers will look negatively on you for showing some initiative. The less simple answer is still yes, usually, but you need to apply some finesse.

Let’s jump in and look at some of those finer details.

When Should You Follow Up?

A good rule of thumb is that you should wait at least a week before you follow up. A week is enough time for most companies to wrap up most of their interviews and start weeding people out. Even if they aren’t done picking people for second interviews or the position, they probably can tell you how long it will be.

How Should You Follow Up?

Take your cue from the interviewer. If you only spoke to the interviewer on the interview day and all other communication was by email, send them an email to follow up. It’s how they prefer to communicate. If you talked with your interview on the phone repeatedly in the ramp-up to the interview, give them a call.

When Shouldn’t You Follow Up?

One question you should always ask at the end of the interview is when you’ll likely hear from them. Some companies have very specific procedures and timelines for filling positions. If you interview with one of these companies, the hiring manager will probably give you a firm timeline, such as 10 days or 2 weeks. They’ll often follow that with something like:

“If you don’t hear from in two weeks, feel free to follow up about the position.”

That’s a not so subtle way of telling you that following up before then will not win you any brownie points or friends.

Following Up Helps

Following up about a position is generally a good way of telling a company you do want to work there. Still, you should act reasonably. Give it a week or so before you follow up. Communicate with the interviewer in the way they communicated with you most often. Don’t follow up if the interviewer strongly hints that it won’t be welcome before a certain point.

5 Products To Help People Nervous For Interviews

Even the calmest and more experienced person can get a case of the nerves before an interview. It’s often worse for people early in their careers or who want to change careers. It feels like the person or people on the other side of those desks hold your future in their hands. This nervousness can undercut your interview performance. So, we’re going to take a look at 5 products that can help you overcome your nervousness ahead of time.

Portfolio

In this day and age, you can get a stylish portfolio or padfolio at a very reasonable price. Of course, the real advantage of the padfolio is that it helps you get organized by getting all of your papers into one spot. Takeaway: Knowing you’ve got copies of your resume, licenses, or other paperwork can relieve stress going into an interview.

Meditation Apps

There are numerous meditation apps out there designed solely to help you calm your mind. You can load one onto your phone and take it with you to the interview. Take five minutes before you go in for the interview and use the app to help reduce your nervousness.

Noise Machine

Many people struggle to sleep the night before a big interview. That lack of sleep can make you irritable or anxious. A noise machine can help you tune out distractions in your home or environment and get better sleep. Takeaway: Better sleep isn’t just good for keeping nerves under control before an interview; it’s crucial for your overall health.

Fidget Toy

Keep a small fidget toy in your car or pocket. It gives you something to focus on other than being nervous right before your interview. Just make sure you put it away before you get called in for the interview.

Navigational System Device or Map System

 If you’ve never used your phone’s map system before or a navigational device, now is the time to start. Most phones use navigation, and many even offer alternative routes based on real-time traffic data. It helps ensure you get there on time.
Takeaway: You should test the map function the day before to make sure it works right and gets you where you need to go.

Feeling nervous before an interview is normal and happens to almost everyone. The key is to find products or routines that help you keep that nervousness at a reasonable level. A little nervousness can make you look high energy. Too much nervousness makes you look anxious. Aim for the former.

5 Red Flags That You Might Actually Not Want That Job

Getting into the interview phase is often such a struggle that you may feel like you need to take any job offer that comes your way. In practice, though, a bad job can prove even more disastrous than waiting a little longer for another option.

Keep reading to learn some red flags to watch for when interviewing.

Your Duties Are Vague

You need clear information about a job and the expectations attached to it before you can make a good decision. If the interviewer can’t give you a clear set of duties, it means they haven’t thought the job through. It may also mean they haven’t thought through how you’ll be evaluated in the job. That’s a recipe for an unhappy work life.

Terrible Reviews

No employer will get stellar reviews from every former employee. That being said, most ex-employees won’t take the time and effort involved to craft a negative employer review unless their experience was truly awful. Multiple negative employer reviews are a clear sign of a toxic workplace. Steer clear.

They Dodge Your Questions

Every candidate should have at least two or three questions to ask during the interview. If nothing else, ask about where you’ll be working specifically or who you report to day to day. These kinds of basic questions should get answered immediately. If not, it could be a sign of trouble.

Expect You to Take the Job on the Spot

Unless you’re interviewing with a dream company for a dream position and a dream salary, no employer should expect you to take a job on the spot. This is especially true if the job includes relocating. An employer should be willing to give you a little time to think it over and discuss things with your spouse or partner.

They Actively Lie

It’s one thing for a hiring manager to overlook telling you something. It happens. It’s almost always an innocent mistake. It’s something else entirely if they tell you something that proves false.

You Might Not Want That Job

Getting an interview is a big step, but it’s not the only thing you should consider. You can run into situations where getting a job offer isn’t a good thing. Keep your eyes open for the red flags listed above. You could save yourself some serious frustration and a bad work situation.

How to Make Potential Employees Feel Welcome

How to Make Potential Employees Feel Welcome

One of the biggest mistakes that employers and recruiters make is by simply putting off potential candidates by making them feel like an intruder. An uncomfortable interviewing or hiring process is a sure way to lose the best talent to competitors. If you’re part of the recruitment process for a company, you are likely to make the first impression they will have of what it will be like to work there. Here are some tips for putting candidates at ease during the interviewing process.

Don’t waste anyone’s time

The initial screening process for candidates should include not only questions about what they can bring to the company, but what the company has to offer them as well. While final salary negotiations are usually done towards the end of the whole process, asking an experienced professional to go through an interview process and candidacy, only to learn at the end that it’s an entry-level salary, is insulting. Make sure that the candidate knows whether it is a contract or full-time position, a general idea of what the position pays, and any benefits that they may be eligible for before scheduling any serious interviews.

Communicate clearly

Once you’ve screened a potential applicant and they’ve accepted an interview, be sure to explain the process in detail. Give clear directions and instructions for locating your office and who to ask for when they arrive. Just saying “be here Thursday at 2:00” is simply not enough info. They need to know the location of the building, if there are other suites they will need to navigate past, and what to expect when they arrive.

Help them prepare

If an applicant thinks they’re coming in to meet with you to go over their resume, and you march them to a conference room where they’re met by the department head and three other team members for a technical interview, you’ve just set them up for failure. Not only will this intimidate your candidate, but they won’t be able to adequately demonstrate their skills if they aren’t prepared. Let them know who they will be meeting with, the purpose of the interview, and what kinds of things they will need to be ready to discuss.

Greet them and treat them as guests

Leaving candidates waiting in the lobby for an extended period of time is never a good idea. Interviews are stressful situations, even when they go well. Being blatantly rude and leaving applicants alone or unattended will build anxiety, which can lead to a negative performance during the interview. Invite them in, thank them for coming, and if you are running behind schedule, find someone who can take a few moments and give them a tour of the facility. If you’ve gone through the trouble of setting up an interview, there must be something in them that you desire. Don’t throw it away by being inattentive and distant.

Try to show them the real face of the business

Remember that an interview is a meeting between two parties, to see how well the arrangement will work. If your office is normally a chaotic and high-energy collaborative environment, don’t stifle your other employees for an hour because you’re trying to make a good impression. On the other hand, if your office is quiet and compartmentalized, don’t try to make it appear to be a fast-paced and fun atmosphere. Trying to be something you’re not will create a tension in the workspace that candidates will be able to feel when walking around.

Let them also interview you

Whether a candidate will fit into a position well has implications for both sides. While they are selling themselves to you, you’re also selling a company to them. Leave space at the end of the interview for the candidate to ask any potential questions, or discuss possible deal-breakers. Both sides need to be comfortable with the relationship if you’re going to avoid turnover.

Interviewing candidates for a position shouldn’t be a question of seeing who will jump through the most hoops. Welcoming potential employees and putting them at ease will help to ensure the best fit, not just for them, but also for your company.

Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

Do You Have Any Questions for Me?


“Do you have any questions for me?”  Don’t get stumped by this common interview question! Answer “no”, and you might as well start looking for another job. So why do interviewers ask if you have any questions? They want to find out three important things:

  1. Did you do your homework about the position and the company?
  2. Are you really interested in the job?
  3. How are your conversational skills and thought processes?

And, since you could possibly be working at this company, it’s in your best interest to ask as many questions as possible so that you know exactly what to expect. Here are some examples of what you might want to ask…

To find out more about the company:

  • Where do you see the company headed?
  • What will the company be like five years from now?
  • Can you describe the company culture?
  • How do you stay ahead of the competition?
  • Where do you see this industry headed?
  • What is turnover like?

Interviewer questions:

  • What do you like about working here?
  • How long have you been working here?
  • If you could change or improve anything, what would it be?

To find out more about your position:

  • Is this a new position? If so, why was this position created?
  • Describe a typical work week/day in this position.
  • How many people work in this department?
  • Can you show me an organizational structure chart or give me an idea about the chain of command?
  • How will my performance be measured? By whom?
  • Will I be given periodic reviews?
  • How would you describe the responsibilities of this position?
  • What is the management style like?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement?
  • What is the company’s policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training so employees can keep up their skills or acquire new ones?

Work-life balance and other expectations:

  • How much travel is expected?
  • What are the typical hours like?
  • Is overtime expected?
  • Is relocation a possibility?

Follow-up questions:

  • If I am offered a position, when would I be expected to start?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?
  • When should I expect that you’d be making your decision?
  • Is there anything else that you’d like to know?

And NEVER ask these questions:

  • Questions that can easily be answered by checking the employer’s website or any other literature that has been provided to you before the interview.
  • Salary and benefit information, unless the employer brings up the topic.

References:

Doyle, Alison. “Your Guide to Job Searching: Interview Questions and Answers.” http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/a/interviewquest2.htm