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How to Gain Valuable Information in the Job Interview

January 19th, 2017

Gain InfoAs a job seeker, your most important task is to gain as much information as possible while selling yourself to the hiring manager. This can be a delicate balancing act between gaining and giving information. But there are a few things you should ask or look out for that can give you valuable insight into the company culture and what it would be like to work there. Here are four questions that will be critical to gaining the most important information from an interview.

1. Is this a new position or is it a replacement?

Knowing why a position is open is a key to finding out how you should sell yourself. If this is a new position, it means they are growing or adding important new roles to their company. This is your opportunity to make your mark in something they’ve never experienced before. On the other hand, if they are replacing an employee, it is helpful to know if this was a problem situation that resulted in a firing or another cause to create the open position.

2. How long do employees typically stay with the company?

You want to know how long a typical employee stays with the organization because if there is high turnover and constant rehiring, there may be a reason for that. It will be important for you to understand whether or not this is something that will work with your career.

3. Do people go out for lunch or happy hour?

Knowing how social a company is will help inform you about the overall corporate culture. Do people go out for lunch? Do they go on their own or as a group? Do people bring lunch in and eat at their desks? Some companies even encourage a weekly happy hour to help their staff socialize and build better bonds. Look at how they handle social interaction and whether or not they fit your values.

4. What are the company growth and client breakdown?

Lastly, you want to know the data that supports the company’s success. How has the company grown in the last year, the last 5 years, and since it was founded? What is their target client and how is that broken down. How many clients do they add each year? What clients have been lost in the past and why?

Are you ready to interview for your next new career move? Contact CornerStone Staffing today to work with the top staffing agency in Dallas!

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Are Your Job Interview Answers Boring?

August 25th, 2016

boringDo you think you’re ready for your next interview? Sometimes it is helpful to think about the person sitting on the other side of the desk from you rather than only focus on your own experience. They have probably already interviewed for this position before, so they may have heard many of the same answers over and over again. But you can break that mold and make yourself more memorable, in a good way. Here are some common answers to common interview questions that may be a little too boring.

“I’m too perfect, that’s my weakness.”

You will, inevitably, be asked about your biggest weakness. And the biggest mistake job seekers make is taking a strength and turning it into a weakness in an uncreative way. Statements like “I care too much,” don’t mean anything when an interviewer has heard them dozens of times. Instead, be honest but constructive. Rather than, “I’m too perfect,” tell them that sometimes you have trouble giving up control because you want all of your work to be perfect. Tell them how you work to be more team-oriented in light of this personality trait.

“I’m a quick learner.”

Everyone says they’re a quick learner. And, once you start the job, you will be put to the test right away. But using it as an answer in an interview is non-productive. Again, it doesn’t mean anything. Instead, tell them about a time when you didn’t know how to do something and you had to challenge yourself to learn it quickly and put it into practice. What were the results?

“I’m a team player.”

You may be sensing a pattern with these meaningless phrases. The last thing an interviewer wants is to hire someone who comes across as generic. They want to know your personality. They want to know what makes you stand out from the crowd. Tell them about a time when you needed to work with a team and how you worked together.

“I think outside the box.”

Lastly, this phrase has become so overused in the past decade. It is a good sentiment but lacks punch. Thinking outside of the box means you are able to come up with creative solutions to troublesome problems. But rather than simply stating it, demonstration is still the key. Use situational answers for all of these questions and you’ll prove your worth to the hiring manager.

Are you ready for your next chance to shine in an interview? Contact the team at CornerStone Staffing, now hiring for jobs in Dallas TX. We can help you find the next job in your career!

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Use the STAR Method in Your Next Job Interview

July 7th, 2016

STARInterviews can be demanding and challenging even for the most seasoned professional. In truth, you hope that you only experience a handful of them throughout your career. Rather than trying to memorize tons of answers in anticipating an interviewer’s questions, try this approach. It is called the STAR method and it will help you focus on just the right answers without having to keep too much information stored in your memory ahead of time. It allows you to create a better response to often difficult behavioral interview questions. Let’s take a closer look.

Situation

A behavioral interview question is going to start with a phrase like, “Tell me about a time when.” This gives you the scenario and situation in the question. Apply your answer to an actual example from your career that will inform the interviewer about the background of the particular situation. Providing a little background will help frame the story a narrative, which is engaging to the listener and will keep them interested.

Task

In some cases, the question may not prompt a specific situation. It may be more general about a task you performed in your last job and whether or not you’re proficient in it. The same general approach still applies. Rather than answering the question, reframe it to talk a little more about the task. This will give the interviewer a sense that you have a grasp on the skill and can benefit their company with your knowledge.

Action

The next step, whether discussing a situation or a task, is to describe the actions that you took to solve the problem or complete the process. What you want to focus on is your specific contribution. Even if you’re discussing a group project, the most important details are about your participation. And be sure to tell them about what you’ve actually done, not about what you might do in a similar situation.

Result

To tie up the answer, it needs to end with the result of your actions. Describe what happened when you took the action to complete the project or the process. Talk a little about what you learned from it and what you might do differently if you had a chance to do it again. Don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments in a positive way, it isn’t bragging. The company wants to hear why you will be a benefit to them, so tell them how you can bring your skills to their table. Whenever you can, tie in actual numbers because those are easy to understand across any industry.

Whether you’re an experienced professional looking to branch out, a recent graduate or simply curious about new career opportunities, let CornerStone Staffing help. Contact our great team of recruiters today to work with a top staffing agency in Dallas.

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Do You Know How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions?

May 5th, 2016

Tell me about a time when . . .Interviews are stressful enough, but when you add behavioral questions to the mix it is bound to make you more nervous. Behavioral questions are based on psychology and designed to determine how you might act in a specific situation. These types of questions often start with the phrase, “Tell me about a time when.” Before you enter your next interview, think about your plan for common behavioral questions. Let’s take a closer look at what concepts you might anticipate.

Working with others.

“Tell me about a time you had to lead a team in a project. How did you motivate everyone and what was the outcome of the project.” This is just one of many examples that will allow an employer to better understand how you work in a team-based environment. Don’t take all the credit for a project. Explain your role and how you were a great team member.

Client-facing roles.

If you’re applying for a sales or client services job, they potential employer is going to want to know how to approach these client-facing situations. They may ask, “Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a client?” Or, “How did you handle an upset customer?” Show how you are able to provide great customer service and really please tough clients.

Your ability to adapt.

Some environments require constant adaptability as priorities change frequently. People who prefer routine are often unable to cope with fast-paced companies. You may hear, “Tell me about a time when you realized that the project you were working on wasn’t succeeding and you had to switch gears.” Flexibility and adaptability are two great skills to have in today’s climate.

Managing your time.

“Tell me about a situation where you may have missed an important deadline. How did you handle that?” Time management skills will be profoundly important in any company. They want to know how you establish a schedule and keep it as well as how you handle things when it doesn’t go according to plan.

How you communicate.

A potential employer also needs to understand if your communications skills are similar to their current office culture. They may ask, “When you need to discuss an issue with your boss, how do you approach them?” They may want to know if you prefer email, phone, or in-person discussions. Explain how each situation is different and you adapt to the other party.

Your motivation.

Lastly, they want to see if your overall personality is a good fit for their environment. What motivates you to do a good job every day is an important part of their consideration process. “Tell me how you get satisfaction from your job,” or “what makes you happiest at work?” Cultural fit is just as important as a skills match for the open position.

When you are ready to take the next step in your career, contact the great team of recruiters at CornerStone Staffing. As leaders in staffing in Dallas, we help job candidates find the right fit for their skill set and situation.

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Don’t Dominate The Interview

May 8th, 2015

An interview is a delicate dance. The employer needs to share enough information with the candidate but not talk to hear themselves speak. The candidate needs to share their accomplishments accurately and in a way that generates continued interest but without letting their confidence turn into arrogance with the wrong statement. As a job seeker, how can you find the right balance and avoid dominating the interview in an excessive way? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Be humble in your descriptions. There is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance, so make sure you don’t cross it. It is critical that you share your accomplishments with the potential employer but try not to communicate them in a way that makes you sound like a know-it-all or someone who would be difficult to work with. You have to sell yourself but don’t want to give the impression that you will know everything on day one.
  2. Give credit to others who have helped. It isn’t happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy. When you show gratitude for the people who have assisted you in your career along the way, it will give the interviewer a great feeling about who you are and how you work with others. This praise also shows that you are continuing to learn in your career and willing to receive help from co-workers.
  3. Don’t cut the manager off mid-sentence. Never interrupt the interviewer even if you have something you really want to interject. Try to make a mental note to go back to it (or even write it down). Also, don’t listen just to respond and don’t have your answers in mind before you hear the entire question or statement. Be polite and respectful in the conversation. It’s okay to pause for a couple of seconds before starting your response.
  4. Know the best way to correct bad information. If the interviewer makes a mistake with facts, it is important that you don’t make them feel stupid when you correct them. Learn the best way to gently share the information you know and guide them back in the right direction.
  5. Ask questions. Lastly, you want the interviewer to fully participate in the conversation so ask questions to get them to provide insight about the company, job, and office environment. Add these questions in throughout the interview rather than waiting until the end. Formulating these questions during your research prior to the interview will help show you’re prepared and really want this job.

Are you preparing for your next interview? CornerStone Staffing is hiring for Jobs in Dallas TX so call us today!

Job Interviews Are Like First Dates…

February 9th, 2012

Ever notice how job interviews are a lot like first dates? The similarities are eerie: in both instances, the other person is sizing you up, determining whether or not there’s a match with their needs, and to an extent, each holds your fate in their hands.

And much like a first date, you can make an impact on how job interviews work out. Here are some dating tips that can make a positive impact on your interviewing skills:

  • Don’t badmouth your ex. While you will inevitably discuss former jobs during an interview, you should never discuss your exes on a first date. That is a cardinal rule! But one area you should be wary of is saying anything negative about previous employers. This makes you look unprofessional and bitter. And even worse, it can inspire a potential employer to wonder what you are saying about them! Resist the urge to badmouth your previous employers and you’ll come out ahead.
  • See what you have in common. On a first date, you spend a good deal of the time talking to find out what you might have in common. In a job interview, you also want to relate to the interviewer, and the company to which you’re applying. Show them how your skills and experience translate directly to the position and their needs. You’ll be sure to knock their socks off!
  • Ask about next time. At the end of the first date (as long as it went well!), it’s often polite or expected that you’ll ask about seeing the other person again. In a job interview, you should also ask about next steps. Ask the interviewer about the next steps in the process, when you should expect to hear from them, and any other information that can help you. Asking about next steps will show extra initiative as part of the hiring process, and will also help you be prepared to understand timelines and courses of action if you don’t hear back within a specified amount of time.

Looking to “go steady” with a new employer?
Come to CornerStone Staffing! We’ll help you find a great job to reach your career goals.