Green Key Blog

News for the way you work

So a Programming Candidate Walks Into an Interview

February 12th, 2014

computer typingToday, a bit of tech humor.

Some years ago, a Quora member posted the following question to the engineering recruiting section of the well-trafficked Q&A site:

What are the funniest answers you have gotten to serious questions in programming interviews? Read the rest of this entry »

Tips For the First Time Hiring Manager

November 18th, 2013

At some point after ascending into management, y0u’ll find yourself with a job to fill. Hiring is one of the most critical tasks for a manager. A good hire, and by that we mean someone who can do the job and works well with you and the others on your team, may not make you a star, but a had hire can surely your star from rising. Read the rest of this entry »

You Have to Sell the Job If You Want to Hire the Best

September 3rd, 2013

Job interviewBy the time you shake hands at the end of an interview, your candidate has already begun forming an opinion of you and the company. Will it be favorable?

Hiring managers and, sadly, even some recruiters often overlook the basic truth that an interview is a two-way street. Just as you seek to learn about the candidate’s abilities, their experience, and especially how well they will fit the culture and the contribution they’ll make, the person across the desk is doing the same.

If all you want to do is fill a seat, that’s easy enough. There are plenty of active job seekers out there willing to take a job for the paycheck or to get out from a bad situation. Read the rest of this entry »

What One Interview Question Would You Ask?

July 1st, 2013

Popular intervierws Q surveyIf you could ask a job candidate only one interview question what would it be?

Hiring managers were asked to choose from six possible answers, including “Other”  in a fun survey more  posted a few weeks ago on Refresh Leadership.  How many participated in the poll isn’t known, but 27% of those who did, chose to ask the old standard, “Why do you want this job.”

The next popular was another common interview question, “Can you describe a difficult work situation and how you handled it?” (Answering “Yes” or “No” to this question during an interview, while grammatically correct, will not endear you to the questioner.) Also popular, with almost 15% of the respondents, was another traditional question, “What is your greatest strength and weakness?”

Granted that Refresh Leadership didn’t offer much in the way of responses to choose from, but these three are just exactly the kind of questions to avoid. The reason is simple. So common is it to be asked these questions that thousands of career sites provide sample answers for each. About the only value they offer to a hiring manager is if the candidate stumbles or says “I don’t know.” Read the rest of this entry »

Even When An Interview Goes Wrong, You Can Still Win

May 20th, 2013

Job interviewHope you never have a job interview like Rachel Dotson’s. A  graduating senior hoping to land a job with Teach For America, she had made it to the final screening round when disaster struck.

Enroute, she got lost, pulled over by a (fortunately  sympathetic) cop, had no change for the meter, turned up 15 minutes late, and, after getting a flat tire at lunch, had to walk back through slushy Michigan streets, getting drenched when a car plowed through a puddle.

Her first question during the interview after lunch was: “Tell me about a time when you had trouble achieving a goal.” Read the rest of this entry »

10 Mistakes Hiring Managers Make

April 5th, 2013

It’s easy to laugh at the interview mistakes candidates make. But what about the faux pas made by hiring managers? A hiring manager isn’t likely to be dressed inappropriately, since how they dress is how the company as a whole does. And taking a call during an interview, though rude, isn’t in the same league as when a candidate answers their cell phone. But there are plenty of less obvious mistakes hiring managers make that can lose them a great prospect. Here are 10 of the most common ones. FordyceLetter.com

Interviewers Asking ‘If You Were a Tree’ Questions to Judge Fit

January 8th, 2013

In the December issue of the American Sociological Review, Northwestern professor Lauren Rivera concludes that companies are making hiring decisions “in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners.” Rivera found that apparently off-topic questions have become central to the hiring process. “Whether someone rock climbs, plays the cello, or enjoys film noir may seem trivial,” she wrote, “but these leisure pursuits were crucial for assessing someone as a cultural fit.” As a result, Rivera argues, “employers don’t necessarily hire the most skilled candidates.” Bloomberg Businessweek

Practice Your Body Language Before The Interview

December 18th, 2012

Preparing for a job interview involves all sorts of things: research about the company, some background about the hiring manager and a good understanding of the job, what you’ll wear, what time to get there, and so on. But don’t overlook your body language practice. If you’re a percher, someone who sits at the edge of a chair, practice changing position. If you lean back, slouching in your seat, practice leaning forward, your hands on the armrest or gesturing (just don’t overdo it). The Definitive Book Of Body Language will tell you all there is to know about our nonverbal communication. For quick tips, read Miriam Salpeter’s article. The job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, and speaker, explains that much of what we communicate comes from our actions and attitude, not just what we say. USNews

Interview Secrets Even Hiring Managers Don’t Know

October 9th, 2012

Dress a cut better than what’s standard at the company where you’ll be interviewing. Bring extra copies of your resume. Arrive a few minutes early. Be prepared to ask relevant questions. Research the company.

These are all such basic interview tips that by now, every candidate heading into an interview shouldn’t have to be told. (Remarkably, there are still plenty of examples of candidates who ignore them or just don’t care enough.)

Beyond these basics, there’s a whole other set of what you might call subjective influencers that can make or break an interview. Unlike the instructions you can find on any job board or career site these other interview ingredients aren’t so quantifiable or so easily explained. They are, what many, if not most hiring managers like to call chemistry. And they aren’t using it in the scientific sense. Instead, more like the chemistry of love: A feeling, not a formula. Read the rest of this entry »

A Little Self-Promotion Is Good, But Narcissists Ace Job Interviews

April 23rd, 2012

Here’s an unexpected finding about job interviews that makes sense once it’s explained. Narcissists do better in interviews than the rest of us.

How can it be that a trait most of us consider obnoxious can actually improve the chances of someone acing an interview?

Simple, says Peter Harms, assistant professor of management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a co-author of a study being published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Read the rest of this entry »