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zeroh13

Zeroh camps with the Rangers, part 1

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You live and you learn. But I'm definitely the type to ignore red flags, so I find it helps if someone points stuff like that out to me. 

 

Sorry to hear about what happened at the juice bar. Sometimes people are just like that. :/ It sucks, but at least you have the slightly vindictive knowledge that it's not doing their business any favors either. 

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2 hours ago, tyrannosaurus rose said:

It sucks, but at least you have the slightly vindictive knowledge that it's not doing their business any favors either. 

Yeah. When I returned my shirt, he had a "now hiring" sign on the door. That location had been open for less than two months and opened with a full crew. It's unfortunate because the food is really good. And I'm sure many of the customers aren't going to pay attention to how often someone different is making their order.

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It turns out I didn't need a cover letter for either company?

 

I sent in one application yesterday, which was a several day process to complete because they asked for quite a few interview type questions... And I wrote some nice responses in a word document, but when I copy-pasted it said I had too many words... So I pretty much had to cut my answers in half, which too almost as long as writing the answers in the first place. And I may have been putting too much thought into it? At least I already had my resume ready. But no place really for a cover letter, plus those questions covered a lot of what would have been in one.

 

Well, today I got an email (just from the HR department, no name or anything, not sure what to think about that) saying they wanted a 5-10 minute phone interview...

 

The first company I had looked at, that I emailed cause I didn't know if the position was actually open, I got a response basically saying send me your resume, and when can I call you. (At least this email included a name and job title.)

 

I HATE TALKING ON THE PHONE! *sigh...*

 

I've only ever had one real interview, and that was from someone who didn't seem to have much experience with interviews... I barely know what to expect from an in-person interview, let alone a phone one. (And how much can you really learn about someone in 5-10mins?)

 

I basically have no idea what I'm doing...

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(1) save the answers to those questions and any coverletter drafts you have, and you can pick and choose what to put on your next cover letter if you need one

 

I hatehatehate talking on the phone, especially with people I've never met, but-

(2) One phone 'interview' I've had was mostly just to give me more information about what exactly the job was (Because it wasn't a very normal job) and to make sure I was still interested in it before moving on to a real interview. Another phone interview I had was basically just a few really typical interview questions, and was mostly just a screening process before having a face-to-face interview- they were mostly just checking for red flags. 

 

(3) They might not be able to get a good feel for who you are in 5-10 minutes, but you can get a bit of an idea about the company in that time.

 

(4) The nice thing about phone interviews is that you can do them in your pajamas instead of office attire. I also had pen and paper in front of me to jot down names and follow-up info, which I would not be as comfortable doing in a face-to-face. 

 

Super awesome that you're getting responses though! *ra ra ra*

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7 hours ago, zeroh13 said:

I sent in one application yesterday, which was a several day process to complete because they asked for quite a few interview type questions... And I wrote some nice responses in a word document, but when I copy-pasted it said I had too many words... So I pretty much had to cut my answers in half, which too almost as long as writing the answers in the first place. And I may have been putting too much thought into it? At least I already had my resume ready. But no place really for a cover letter, plus those questions covered a lot of what would have been in one.

 

I told you to keep it short :) It's easy to want to put down all of the information and really try and express yourself but it isn't the right time for that . 

 

7 hours ago, zeroh13 said:

Well, today I got an email (just from the HR department, no name or anything, not sure what to think about that) saying they wanted a 5-10 minute phone interview...

 

It's an email don't worry about it too much. You don't have to worry about making any decisions until after you get to the face to face. If they offer you the position you can look back over the whole experience and ask 'Is this company one I want to put my time into?'  

 

A HR person does this a lot and you can tell when someone is nervous. Nobody writes you off for being nervous so long as you are able to keep it together :) Phone interviews suck but relax. They essentially come in two flavours. One will be where they fire off a bunch of questions from a sheet and the other is when they call you for a bit of a chat. As a techie and someone who struggles with social anxiety I find the former easier to deal with but each to their own. The basic premise is to answer a very simple question: Is this person worth our time to see?  

 

If they want to talk to you it means they are interested enough to take time out of their day. That is positive. Be yourself and try to relax. It's probably more applicable to technical roles but never be afraid to answer a question with 'I don't know' because that is preferable to making something up that is wrong. The worst case scenario here is that you get some new experience with the interview and hiring process that you can carry to your next opportunity. 

 

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One suggestion...have a list of questions ready that you would like to ask the interviewer. Often people will finish an interview by asking if you have questions, and it makes you look prepared an interested if you have some.

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Congrats on the phone interviews! I think I must be weird because everyone seems to hate them, but I LOVE phone interviews. Because instead of having to worry about what I look like and managing my body language, I can just relax and focus on the actual conversation.

 

I say take advantage of the format. A phone interview lets you do certain things you couldn't do in person:

  • Have reference sheets in front of you to help with questions they might ask. Have your resume handy, and make a list of what you think are your strongest qualifications or the best reasons to hire you, and work those into your answers when appropriate. And have a list of a few questions about the job, both to get information you need and also because it helps you seem interested.
  • Make notes! As the person talks, write stuff down - writing down their questions will help make sure you answer them properly, and writing down info about the job is a great idea for later reference.
  • Dress comfortably and have the phone call in a place you find relaxing with no distractions.

Good luck :)

 

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Thanks for the tips everyone!

 

The first one is going to be Wednesday, at noon. That's the short one. I haven't heard back from the other person.

 

SO, that means I'll be at work, but that's okay because I work by myself and it's just a prep day, so I'm in complete control of what I do when.

 

But it also means that I only really have Tuesday night to prepare... Tonight is studying for the certification exam!!

 

With the notes and jotting things down, I'll probably be better off not doing it unless it's a super important thing I have to remember. I cannot write and listen at the same time, it never turns out well. >_<

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20 minutes ago, zeroh13 said:

With the notes and jotting things down, I'll probably be better off not doing it unless it's a super important thing I have to remember. I cannot write and listen at the same time, it never turns out well. >_<

 

That makes sense. Have a pen and paper ready just in case there really is something you have to write down (like "Call me Tuesday for a second interview at 555-xxxx). And if you are writing down something specific like that, it's completely fine to ask the interviewer to slow down, or repeat something or to listen to you repeat it back. That just shows that you are being careful

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If you can, stand up during the phone interview. Standing helps people feel more confident and in control. 

 

Take it easy. Just like when doing presentations in class at school, don't talk too fast, don't mumble, don't repeat yourself too much. Unlike a presentation in school, feel free to fidget, wear whatever is comfortable (if you're at work prolly work attire anyway), and don't worry about eye contact or body language. 

 

Since they've already told you they want only 5-10 minutes, you know they won't be going in-depth on anything, so don't talk their ear off. Be respectful of their time and make sure to thank them and inquire about next steps at the end of the phone interview. 

 

I'm not sure why no one's mentioned it, but phone interviews can often be just to get a feel for the candidate's interests, availability, and compatibility for the job. They will of course be testing to make sure you're a real person and not crazy or anything, but they'll also want to make sure it's worth their time and yours to pursue an in-person interview. They want to confirm your interest, so now is a great time for you to make sure you know what you're signing up for. Go ahead and ask any questions you have about the company and the interview process. 

 

1 hour ago, Xena said:

That makes sense. Have a pen and paper ready just in case there really is something you have to write down (like "Call me Tuesday for a second interview at 555-xxxx). And if you are writing down something specific like that, it's completely fine to ask the interviewer to slow down, or repeat something or to listen to you repeat it back. That just shows that you are being careful

 

In addition to this, if you are like the average Joe and forget names under pressure, go ahead and write down the interviewer's name (and maybe job title/relevance to the hiring process) when they introduce themselves to you. (If they don't introduce themselves, interrupt them to ask: "Excuse me, I'm sorry -- before we proceed, I just want to make sure I have your name...") And potentially names of other people they mention who might be important in your hiring process. 

 

It is 100% ok to say, "sorry, I'm taking notes, could you repeat that/slow down?" Do not feel awkward about it. It just shows them you're taking this seriously, and even if they don't hire you, they'll appreciate your interest. They might indicate they're trying to speed things up, and that's fine, you can accommodate that. But by telling them you're taking notes, you put the ball in their court as well to make sure the conversation gets through what they need it to get through in the time allotted. 

 

Everyone should know this already but it always bears repeating: if they ask you for money, HANG UP, IT'S A SCAM. 

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I was so horrible at school presentations!

 

When it comes to appointments and phone numbers, I usually read it back to them to make sure I got it right.

 

I think she said the phone interview was to discuss my work history and to get to know me. But yeah, I'm guessing because of time I should stick to 30 second answers. Which means I really need to figure out some answers ahead of time.

 

I took the certification exam today, so hopefully I still have enough brain power to prepare myself.

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When I was in college I took a class from the career services center on job hunting skills. During that class, one of the assignments was to consider the following list of common interview prompts and prep answers for them. I still have all my answers written out and I review them every time I'm about to go into a job interview. Although like you I also was terrible at presentations, I am magically super duper good at interviews. (My resumes suck so it's always somewhat magical for me to get an interview at all, of course.)

 

This list is more for longer, in-person interviews, as a phone interview likely won't cover much of this, but it never hurts to have a framework when you're trying to come up with stuff to say. 

 

THE PROMPTS:

  • Introduce yourself
    • Your highest level of relevant experience (HS Diploma, Master's, apprenticeship/skilled labor program, whatever) 
    • The most important skills this experience brought you ("A liberal arts education provided me with excellent communication and critical thinking skills which I am able to apply in all customer service interactions.")
    • Your workplace experience (x years in [field])
    • When asked to "tell us a little bit about yourself," this is all your interviewer wants. DO NOT share your life story. 
  • Strengths
    • Prep three that are relevant to the job you are applying for, but for the purposes of brainstorming, it might be better to list extra
    • Also include one or two examples of how you utilized each one either professionally or academically. The farther out of school you get, the less appropriate it is to use academic examples. Unless you are currently in high school, NEVER use an example from middle school. 
      • You may not be asked directly to list your strengths but having stories about times you did things well on the job that you can review in advance of an interview is super helpful. Keeps them fresh in your mind so that when asked, you don't feel like you're on the spot. 
  • Weaknesses
    • List only weaknesses that you can reframe as strengths. THIS IS HARD BUT DON'T SKIP IT.
    • DO NOT list traditionally valued traits as weaknesses. Ex: "Being too organized is my biggest weakness." NO. 
    • Include a few examples of times when you figured out how to work around/with your weakness. 
    • NEVER BLAME SOMEONE ELSE. 
  • Best/Worst Parts of Your Personality
    • List workplace-relevant things only; you don't want to be talking about how your adventurous spirit and lack of regard for social structures is going to make you the best bureaucrat ever
    • Come up with two or three items; no need for examples
  • Areas You Excel/Need to Grow
    • Again, two or three things
  • How do you handle stress in the workplace?
    • This is a good thing to know just in general, but I often am asked this question (or sometimes am given a prompt with a stressful situation and asked how I would respond)
    • For my response, I included my preference (take a step back, get some distance, and come back to it later) and the more common reality (compartmentalize and deal with ASAP after work) 
    • I also responded with how I try to avoid getting stressed at work in the first place
  • What motivates you?
    • Everyone sounds corny for this response, so don't worry about it. Write whatever's true, then write the closest thing to that you're comfortable telling an interviewer. (They don't have to be different but they might be.)
  • Hobbies
    • So far no one has asked me directly but it never hurts to have a few listed out. These are great for fleshing out the fact that you exist as a person and not just as a job applicant, and you can kind of fit them in elsewhere. 
  • Give an example of a crisis you faced and how you handled it. 
    • They want to know you can function under pressure, so pick an example where you didn't shut down and hope for the best. 
    • When planning your response to this question, try to keep it short and sweet while still including the essentials: context (when I was an RA), situation (my resident went through a bad break up and her roommate was concerned she might self-harm), your response (I talked it out with her following crisis response training and reported the incident my boss), and the resolution (my resident was ok). 
  • Your Greatest Achievements in the Last Year
    • Try to come up with three professional things
    • Graduation, promotion, certification, taking on new job responsibilities, etc
    • You can also reference "soft" skills that you learned/developed if they're important (I wrote "learning to say no" as one of mine when I did this a few years ago... although tbh it's still something I struggle with)
  • Give an example of a time you failed in your job and how you overcame it.
    • The most important thing to showcase for this question is responsibility. 
    • Like with the crisis example, pick one instance. 
    • It's great if you can also include what you would do differently if it happened again. 
  • What does "Doing It Well" mean in [Your Field]? 
    • Two or three benchmarks against which you measure yourself
    • I sometimes write down a quote from someone in the field for this
    • If you have a motto related to your job (that is appropriate to share with your potential boss), this is the time to share it. 
      • Ex: Claus Moller wrote "Customers who take the time and energy to complain are doing companies a favor. They help companies stay in business." This is how I approach all customer complaints. 
  • Give an example of a difficult situation where you got flustered. 
    • I have never been asked this question exactly but I have used my pre-written response for this question in EVERY interview I've sat
    • This question seems to be mostly about learning from those times when you reach your limits, but since my story is funny, I use it as a way to laugh with my interviewer and develop a bit of a bond

 

I have never had an interview that covered all of these questions, but I do like to go into it more prepared than I need to be. Once you know what you're going to say, all that's left is to relax, make eye contact, and try to be as friendly and personable as possible when you're talking. Remember that in addition to making sure you can handle the work, they are interviewing you to make sure they want to work with you, so let your personality shine! 

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In addition to prepping answers, it's great to prep questions, so here's a list of a few I always have on hand (for @zeroh13 or anyone else who would like to use them). Remember that you're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you! 

  • What would a successful candidate look like to you?
  • I noticed the job description said x/You mentioned x. Can you tell me a little more about that?
  • Why is this position open? (Is the company growing and hiring a lot of people? Did you identify a need and create a new job? Did someone leave?) 
    • If someone left, you can't really ask why because it's personal, but you can ask what the turnover rate is like at the company. 
  • What kinds of benefits do you offer your employees? (This might not be an appropriate question depending on your location and the type of job.)
  • What is the salary range for this position?
    • ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check online in advance so you know what the ballpark for this position in your area is. That way you will know if they quote you significantly under or above market value. 
  • I'm really excited about [job I'm interviewing for] but in this economy I can no longer expect to stay in one place for my whole life. What kinds of opportunities for advancement does your company offer? How open are you to hiring internally?
    • You can expect them to ask how long you think you should stay at a job before it's appropriate to move on if you ask this question. Try not to be the first person to give a solid number (answer back with a question like "How long do your employees usually stay?" or "How long would be ideal for you given the reality of people moving on?"), but if you have to, anywhere in the 2-5 years range is usually appropriate. 
  • What are your favorite and least favorite things about working this job/working for this company?
    • This question always gets really great answers. It's a wonderful litmus test for company culture. 
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?
    • Make sure you get a ballpark of when you should expect to hear from them again. Different industries have different rules, so it's always good to know how long you should wait before you assume they've moved on with someone else (unfortunately, it's pretty uncommon for people to call and let you know you didn't get the job these days). 
    • Also get your interviewer's name and contact info and remember to send them a thank you note within 24 hours! (Ideally by the end of the business day, but 24 hours is fine.) 
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Cheering you on! Really hope you did well on the certification exam! Along with doing well on the interview!

 

 

 

And thanks everyone for sharing their tips, copy and pasteed for myself as a resource when I get to the looking for a job point once more. 

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On 5/16/2017 at 7:05 PM, Wobbegong said:

When I was in college I took a class from the career services center on job hunting skills.

Those are great. I had a couple required courses that went over it. But that was awhile ago, plus I don't have the actual, real life experience. It's one thing to talk and read about it, and a completely different thing to actually put it into practical use.

 

I also just get worked up over it because social anxiety... Which was the one thing that really hindered my presentations in school. The material/slides/info was usually pretty good, I was just so obviously uncomfortable, and then I'd get more nervous, and then I'd start stuttering...

 

On 5/16/2017 at 7:05 PM, Wobbegong said:

List only weaknesses that you can reframe as strengths. THIS IS HARD BUT DON'T SKIP IT.

Based on the questions I had on the application, I have the impression that this company wants to hear that you are comfortable admitting when you feel vulnerable/overwhelmed/etc. So I might have to approach this one a little differently.

 

On 5/16/2017 at 7:05 PM, Wobbegong said:

Hobbies

  • So far no one has asked me directly but it never hurts to have a few listed out. These are great for fleshing out the fact that you exist as a person and not just as a job applicant, and you can kind of fit them in elsewhere. 

For this company, they already asked for my interests in the application. From what I've read, they are really big on hiring people who really believe in the mission and fit in with the company's values. So a lot more of a focus on personality and values.

 

When I was interviewed for the juice bar, he asked what my interests are outside of work. And I think it was for a similar reason.

 

On 5/16/2017 at 7:27 PM, Wobbegong said:

In addition to prepping answers, it's great to prep questions, so here's a list of a few I always have on hand (for @zeroh13 or anyone else who would like to use them). Remember that you're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you! 

I did make a list, but then she covered most of my questions in the interview before I had the chance to ask questions... Though she did seem to like my question about turnover.

On 5/16/2017 at 7:27 PM, Wobbegong said:
  • What kinds of benefits do you offer your employees? (This might not be an appropriate question depending on your location and the type of job.)
  • What is the salary range for this position?
    • ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check online in advance so you know what the ballpark for this position in your area is. That way you will know if they quote you significantly under or above market value. 

From what I read, it's better to not ask about benefits until after you are given a job offer. But I've noticed that many companies will talk about benefits on their website, and you don't want to risk looking like you didn't do the research.

 

And for salary, a lot of sites say to not even mention it before the interviewer does.

 

It think the rational is that while you are being interviewed, focus on what you can do for them. Once you get the job offer, you can flip it and focus on what the company can do for you.

 

On 5/17/2017 at 10:26 AM, Bouncer the Resilient said:

Cheering you on! Really hope you did well on the certification exam! Along with doing well on the interview!

 

On 5/17/2017 at 10:28 AM, Wobbegong said:

Good luck on your interview today @zeroh13! You said it was today at noon; not sure where you are so it may have already happened, but I'm sure you'll do great! 

 

17 hours ago, Xena said:

Hope it went well!

Thanks everyone! ^_^

 

I think I got almost all of the questions right for the exam. *fingers crossed* But I won't get the results for a week, maybe a week and a half. Honestly, I only needed 75% to pass, and I'm pretty certain I got 90% or higher. I would be very surprised if it was less than 80%. (90 questions, 10 are pilot questions that aren't graded, so you could get up to 20 questions wrong and still be fine.)

 

The interview... I think I did well? It's hard to tell. It ended up being about 15 minutes long. I didn't completely mess up any questions, but there were some I could have answered a lot better. But there were a couple where she really liked my answers. I should hear back in a week or two.

 

Though one thing I'm worried about, is that I don't actually have a reference list... It hasn't come up yet, but I'd be really surprised if it doesn't come up eventually.

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Glad things went well! Maybe write down the things you wish you had said, or said in a different way, so that the next time you have an interview you'll improve.

 

On 5/18/2017 at 0:33 PM, zeroh13 said:

And for salary, a lot of sites say to not even mention it before the interviewer does.

 

It think the rational is that while you are being interviewed, focus on what you can do for them. Once you get the job offer, you can flip it and focus on what the company can do for you.

 

This totally depends on your bargaining power and the situation, IMHO. Asking about salary can be a way of showing that you have the confidence to know your own worth. In the practical sense it's also a way to figure out if it's worth your time to go through the interview process - if you need a certain minimum salary to pay your expenses, no sense interviewing for something that pays less.

 

So maybe at the outset when you're looking at entry level jobs, it's best to be more deferential. But as you gain experience don't hesitate to change your tactics. 

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6 hours ago, Severine said:

Glad things went well! Maybe write down the things you wish you had said, or said in a different way, so that the next time you have an interview you'll improve.

I actually forgot most of the details shortly after the call ended (anxiety?). I feel like there were several things, but I only remember one...

 

6 hours ago, Severine said:

So maybe at the outset when you're looking at entry level jobs, it's best to be more deferential. But as you gain experience don't hesitate to change your tactics. 

My goal is confident, but not cocky. I really need to work on my self-esteem to get there though. (And of course practice.)

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This challenge really flew by...

 

Recap?

Schedules are helpful, no surprise there. Good progress on the job stuff, just need to keep up momentum. Though I definitely needed some time to recharge after the 16 hour class + test, and then the phone interview. Last week just exhausted me....

 

I kind of fell off on the exercise. Combination of the weather and fatigue and my work schedule.

 

I liked the adventure goal. I got out to a couple of places that I had been meaning to check out.

 

Self-care still needs some work. 

 

The positive thinking stuff was helpful, a lot of the negative thinking died down over the course of the challenge.

 

Not quite sure what I want to do for the next challenge. The rest of this month, and most of June, is going to be super hectic. I'll spend this week thinking about it.

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