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Interviewing: General Advice

Identifying Companies That Value "Work-Life Balance"

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote might be true if my career was as a professional athlete or a famous musician, but since I am neither, work is still work. I may love my job, but at the end of the day, I want to turn off the emails, shut down the computer, and enjoy the evening without the stress of work following me home. The phrase “work-life balance” has become such a buzz word that employers may say their company values it, but in reality, the demands of the job prevent you from having a life. How can you tell if a company encourages work-life balance or are all talk? Below are four tips to help you figure out if the company truly values work-life balance.

  1. Do online research prior to the interview.
    As with all … 

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How to recover from a bad interview

We’ve all been there. We go into an interview feeling confident, and we leave thinking “what just happened?” Maybe you didn’t do enough prep work or questions were asked that you never anticipated. Maybe you forgot to turn your phone off--and had an awkward moment. Whatever happened, it is important to successfully recover so you can walk into your next interview with resilience and optimism.

First things first. Even after a bad interview, you’ll want to send a thank you email to your interviewer. If what happened during the interview warrants acknowledgement/an apology (i.e. you were late, you said something inappropriate, etc.) then now is a good time to address it. You may be able to salvage the interaction with an honest, professional message. Even if you don’t get a call back, you can at least feel confident that you did what you could to rectify the situation … 

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How to answer the “strengths” question

  • Tell us about your strengths.
  • What would you say are your three greatest strengths?
  • What is your greatest strength?

More than likely, you are going to be asked a question like the examples above during an interview. Surprisingly, this can be a difficult question for many students to answer. “Should I only talk about technical strengths that relate to the position?” “Are certain strengths better to mention than others?” Although strengths-based questions can seem tricky, with a little reflection and preparation these questions can be a great opportunity to make a positive impression on employers. As a mnemonic, there are three basic components to developing a good strengths answer: Reflect, Select, and Support. 

Reflect

What are you good at? Think back to previous jobs, projects, or organizations where you feel you really thrived in your role. What was it about those situations that you enjoyed doing? Maybe you found … 

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Is it OK to lie in an interview to say the "right" thing?

Let me just say it, no matter how you cut it, lying in an interview is not a good idea and could destroy your chances of landing the job.  You are there to sell yourself, not the perfect version of yourself (and nobody’s perfect!)  A little embellishment might be good in terms of expressing interest for a particular job or industry–vs- the ‘I’ll take anything I can get’ approach, which won’t go over well either (never act desperate to get a job, even though you may be feeling that way!).  Maybe you are interviewing with your top 5 companies, but obviously one is probably your ultimate favorite. It’s OK to express a lot of interest in the others as well and be as enthusiastic with the 1st as you are with the 5th. In time, you will learn which one is a better fit for you.

Here are the … 

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Put the "I" in Your Interviews

So many of us are conditioned to understand and appreciate the importance of teamwork. Teamwork, of course, is unavoidable in most work environments, and we all want to talk about how good we work collectively. Nobody wants to sounds arrogant by bragging about their accomplishments. But, there is one situation in particular where talking about yourself is socially acceptable – and that is a job interview.

Of course an employer wants to hear that you have made successful contributions to teams. But they also want to know the “I” and not just the “we”. Unless you’ll be bringing your entire team to your new job, an interviewer wants to know what your specific successes and capabilities are.

Think about the STAR method for behavioral-based questions. As a refresher, STAR is an acronym for situation, task, action, and result. You use this method to respond to questions that start something like … 

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