Category Archives: Interviewing

4 Hot Interview Trends Job Seekers Should Be Aware Of (Guest Post)

4 Hot Interview Trends Job Seekers Should Be Aware Of
Photo by Liz Bukowski

Some job interview trends stay, and some trends go. I have the unique inside knowledge of private sector job interview trends to know which will play a bigger role in the future of job interviewing. Let’s explore four hot interview trends and some ways for today’s professionals to prepare for them.

1) Skype Interviews: Skype interviews are becoming more prevalent especially with advances in technology. As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace and companies are constantly searching for cost savings, it’s safe to say that Skype interviews are not going away for a long time.

I’ve seen many “How to Skype Interview” videos on YouTube. Matt Gnaizd’s video is one of the best. It covers Skype interview basics such as proper sound, lighting, professional dress, potential distractions, posture, eye contact, computer set up, and appropriate speech. Professional screen names are a must, and make sure to have a strong Internet connection.

2) Quirky Questions: I was doing a career presentation at a small college last year. At the end of the presentation I asked if any of the students had any questions. One asked, “How do I answer the tree question?” The scenario went something like the following, “If you were a tree, what would it be, and why?” Questions like this have a particular purpose in interviews, and it’s important to know why they are being asked.

Quirky questions don’t necessary have a right or wrong answer. The candidate mainly needs to make sure to at least come forward with an answer. The worst thing an interviewee can say is “I don’t know,” or, “That’s a weird question.” The interviewer wants to see the interviewee’s analytical skills, sense of humor, professionalism, creativity, and how well he or she thinks on his or her feet.

3) Group Interviews: Most of us hate group interviews. They are not necessarily a new trend, but they are becoming even more popular. Companies are consistently looking for ways to reduce expenses and increase revenues, and group interviews are cost effective measures for companies.

Most people are naturally nervous during a job interview, but if you’ve researched the company, participated in mock interviews, and practiced the most commonly asked interview questions, you can be more confident and less nervous. Wondering how to address a panel? If one panel member is asking the questions, the student should focus on that member but should also speak to the other members on the panel with good eye contact. Afterwards, you’ll need to send individual thank you letters to each member in the group.

4) Video Profiles: Video profiles may be required by a company, or some job seekers may choose to create one in order to set them apart from the competition. When produced well, they can be a phenomenal tool or additional advantage.

Professional dress, proper lighting & sound, eye contact, and an appropriate background are all necessary elements. Hiring committees that require a video profile generally have specific instructions on what they want the candidate to address on camera. For the most part, video profiles are typically a short 2-minute introduction of yourself. In other words, answer the popular question, “Tell me about yourself.”

Who would have ever thought that job interviews would be conducted in noisy venues like Starbucks? Who would have imaged 15 years ago a program called Skype would change the way we conduct job interviews? It’s important for job seekers to keep up on these trends so they can be prepared and best present themselves.

About the Author:
Zachariah Ballinger is Amazon’s best selling author of the book, The Hot Seat: How to Meet the Challenge of a New Era in Job Interviewing. He is a motivational speaker, an educator, and a career consultant. Zachariah Ballinger was featured as the keynote speaker on career topics at TACE, LACE, & AACE (Tennessee, Louisiana, & Alabama Associations of Colleges and Employers.) Contact him at, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.


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3 Ways to Land Your Next Job by Being Personal

Being Personal as You Network
Don’t be just another candidate lost in a pile of other applicants for your dream job. Instead, be the person that stands out when applying for jobs, completing interviews, and networking with employers. There are so many ways to be top of mind as they decide who to hire.

It doesn’t have to be hard—just be yourself and add a personal touch! Try something new and unique, such as hand-written letters or cards, engaging through social media, or being prepared to communicate your message in person. Some of these ideas may take a little bit more time and effort, but can net you a job opportunity you’re excited about.

1) Handwritten Letters – Employers are receiving tons of mail, emails and even business letters during the year, so it’s important to focus on personalizing your message. Surprise them with something handwritten because the smallest things can make the biggest impact. Handwritten cards are the ones that also last longer. So, now that you’ve grabbed their attention, they will remember you as they narrow down candidates to interview.

2) Social Media Engagement – Companies have been using social media as their way to communicate sales, new products and company news, so it’s important to make sure that you’re utilizing these sites to engage with them. Try interacting by “Sharing” or “Liking” to show your interest and support of their brand. Don’t forget to check out their website before your interview to learn more about your future employer. Remember, it’s crucial to be proactive on social media as an applicant, especially when there’s competition.

3) Meeting In Person/Networking – If communicating through technology and cards isn’t your forte, there is always a way to make an impact in person by networking. Once you know the company at which you want to apply, and/or the person who will be managing the hiring process, get to work! LinkedIn provides a wealth of opportunity to research common connections, industry groups/organizations, and events hiring managers may be attending or even hosting. Connecting through mutual friends or talking casually at an event will give you the opportunity to show you’re a go-getter and jump your resume to the top of the consideration pile!

Although these efforts take more time than just hitting the Apply” button, they can be the best way to make a first and lasting impression.

Need help upgrading your LinkedIn profile before your job hunt? Get some quick tips from my colleague John Boyens. Ready to connect with more job hunters and networkers to share resources, tips, and advice? Here’s your personal invite to join my free online community, Your Networking Toolbox!

–Anna-Vija McClain

Anna-Vija McClain is a blogger and a sales and marketing expert with experience helping clients from small business owners to multimillion dollar organizations reach unprecedented sales results through development of marketing strategy, management of budgets, and efficient execution of projects. With 10 years of marketing experience, she draws upon an established network of subject matter experts that are able to complete projects on an as-needed basis. Currently, she is developing a neighborhood-based networking organization, Nashville Locals, and a communication company for private clubs.

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Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.

What You Should Know to Avoid Being Dismissed as “Overqualified”

Overcoming the Overqualified Label
Photo by Cat Klein

Have you ever heard, “We feel you’re overqualified for this position”? Talk about feeling like a deflating balloon! How can you salvage an opportunity in this situation?

If you have an interview coming up where you suspect a discussion about being overqualified will arise, prepare ahead of time. In this situation, remember a hiring manager is most likely concerned about:
• Why you’re considering the position
• Your leaving if you come across a better job somewhere else
• If they can meet your expectations and how long you’ll be happy in this position

So you will need to address these concerns as they surface. In my interview for the job at the security guard and custodial company, the GM straight out asked me, “So how do I know you won’t leave and go back to the music industry?” I was honest and explained my situation and career plans and answered his question sincerely, trying to build his confidence that I was not wanting this job as a short-term holdover. (I got the job.) Most interviewers can gauge your sincerity.

Career and interviewing coach Alex Freund advises this strategy: When you get a sense that a hiring manager is labeling you as overqualified, quickly try to discern the root of what he’s getting at…concern that the salary for the job is too low, that you’ll quit for another job in the near future, etc. Employers don’t like turnover.

Then, say something like, “I’m sensing you’re concerned that money is my main motivator and that I’ll take a higher paying position elsewhere as soon as I find one. Is that it?” After the inevitable affirmative response, follow up with, “I do have some rich work experience, but ___ (the company at which you are interviewing) is of particular interest to me because of ___ (your reasons). If I can illustrate that salary is not my primary motivator, would that influence your consideration of me as a candidate?”

Then, round out the discussion with some examples of how things like teamwork, recognition, work environment, the type of work, and/or career advancement are also valuable to you, and mention that money isn’t all that’s important in the job you’re seeking. Being able to talk honestly about a legitimate concern (and potential disadvantage) without getting your feathers ruffled can show your true interest in the position and also build rapport with the interviewer. He may even respect you more, and at the very least, you’ve cast a positive light on yourself as a viable candidate.15

Alternately, your response could be as simple as, “Frequently I seem to be pigeonholed as overqualified. I feel that being satisfied in a job and having a good fit and a fair salary with room for growth (monetarily and positionally) are more important than whether a position initially seems to completely mirror my education and work history.” Feel out the situation, and use your judgment.

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Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.