Tag Archives: preparation

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 www.topthehotseat.com, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.


Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.

What You Need to Know to “Go Solar” (Guest Post)

What You Need To Know To Go SolarI just had more panels added to my 15-panel solar system; the photo above is the installers wiring the additional 10 on the roof of my garage. Solar energy is a near and dear subject to my heart. People ask me regularly about solar energy…new solar technology/hardware, how it works with my home, and the cost of a system. Matt Reilly contacted me recently about guest-posting, and I thought this topic would fit in nicely with the “and positive life tips” part of my blog. Read on.   –Kurt

All the energy that the world uses every day could be replaced with solar. It’s no wonder then that more and more people want to take advantage of this valuable natural resource. By going solar, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint on this planet and will be surprised how much money you could save on utilities.

But before you jump on the solar bandwagon, there are some important things to consider and aspects you need to understand first.

Are there any codes or regulations on installing solar panels in your area?

Before you start planning anything, calculating costs, and researching where to buy, you need to do some homework. There can be some rules and codes in your local area that regulate or restrict the usage and installation of solar panels. For example, fire codes could be in place restricting the number panels on roofs due to potential fire hazards.

There can also be certain permits you will need to have. They can be permits for the installation itself, for the kind of solar panels you want, a permit that regulates the areas in which you can install them, and how many you’re allowed to install.

Does your house receive enough sunlight, and is your roof suitable for solar panels?

Consider how much sunlight your part of the country receives. The number of sunny days per year will play a big role in how much power the panels will be able to generate, whether that is enough for your household needs and, in the end, how much money you will be able to save on utility bills.

It’s also important to consider the position of your house in relation to the sun. There should be no major obstacles too near your house that create shade and block direct sunlight, such as tall trees or branches over your roof.

If your roof is older than about 10 years and will need some repair or replacement soon, think carefully about installing the panels. The best option would probably be to wait until the roof is upgraded or replaced before the system is installed. Along with the condition of the roof, its slope and orientation are also important. The ideal would be if you have a decent sized portion of the roof facing south at a 7/12th’s pitch on which to mount the panels.

Hiring a contractor

If you’re a skilled handy person with some experience, tools, and have done similar work, you can install the panels yourself. There are many guides and DIY instructions, and if you study them well and are careful, it’s possible. However, as far as local regulations and codes, there are some areas that require an expert or an electrician to install some of the system or to do certain parts of the job—and it’s a wise idea to consult a professional for guidance when purchasing supplies. If you decide to hire a roofing contractor to take care of the whole process, make sure you hire properly licensed and authorized professionals.

Are there any financial incentives?

Even though in the end a solar system pays off in more ways than one, it can be a costly process. The panels themselves and the installation can be expensive, and you may need to take out a loan. But first, check if there are any federal, state, or local incentives in place. There are some government tax breaks, financial incentives, and rebates, and you might just be in luck.

About the Author: Matt Reilly is a writer and editor on home improvement, smart technology, and sustainable solutions for Reilly Roofing and Gutters.

Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow (kurtkirton.com/hthtbook), and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free  advice on your job search – www.bit.ly/kwknewsltr

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.

Don’t miss a thing. Subscribe to receive updates by email.
Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.