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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guest Post from Ask a Manager on Preparing For Job Interviews

This is a first for Evil HR Lady. I'm letting someone else write today's post. (I know, you are all muttering about "what posts? All she posts now are links to posts. Well, a thousand pardons. Stick around long enough and you get something cool, like this.)

Anyway, Alison Green runs The Ask a Manager Blog where she gives fabulous advice. She asked if she could do a guest post and I said yes, because she's brilliant. So, here it goes:

I'm ridiculously excited to be guest posting at Evil HR Lady, who was my inspiration for starting my own blog a few years ago. So getting to take over her pulpit for the day feels pretty awesome.

One of the reasons that blogs like this one are so helpful is that so much relating to careers feels mysterious. The rules often don't seem clear, and yet you're expected to play by them anyway, which is a recipe for stress and frustration. And when it comes to job searching in particular, the experience can be outright awful -- especially in this economy. You've got endless application forms, companies that don't get back to you, and the overwhelming anxiety of the whole experience. What are hiring managers looking for? How can you come across well in the interview? What if you give a silly answer to an interview question? Why aren't they calling you back?

As a hiring manager, I've spent most of my time on the other side of this, and that's given me a pretty good sense of the spots where most interviewers can improve their game. I also happen to have an oddly compulsive love of sharing that information with job-seekers, in the hope that I can help take some of the anxiety and uncertainty out of the whole process.

Normally I just answer random questions on this topic on my blog as they come in -- but now I've created a more comprehensive guide to preparing for a job interview, which I'm here to offer to you for free. (Yes, free. Full disclosure: In exchange for giving you the whole thing for free, I'll put you on my email list so that you're occasionally notified about other resources I create in the future. But you can unsubscribe at any time if you hate that idea.)

To give you an idea of the sort of advice you'll find in this free guide, here are a few examples:

* The job description that was included in the initial posting is the key to knowing how to frame your answers and what to emphasize. You can use each line of the job description to figure out how to create the strongest answers. (And make sure to save that job description somewhere at the time that you apply for a job – because the employer may have removed it by the time your interview rolls around.)

* If there's an interview question that you're particularly nervous about, a lot of people will just go on being anxious about it and never really come up with a plan for how they'll handle it if it comes up. That's not helpful. Instead, you need to face it head-on, decide exactly how you’re going to answer it, and practice the heck out of that answer. Make yourself rehearse your answer out loud over and over and over.

* If you get nervous and worry that you're not going to come across completely perfectly, think about all the weird/annoying/awkward people you’ve ever worked with. They somehow got hired, and they were probably at least a little weird/annoying/awkward in the interview, right? They're living, breathing proof that you can be weird/annoying/awkward and still get hired. So when you start panicking that won't come across as a super-polished all-star, remember these people.

If this kind of thing is helpful to you, you can sign up for the full guide here, and I'll email a free copy directly to you:

Free Copy of How to Prepare for an Interview: Boost Your Confidence, Impress Your Interviewer, and Get a Job

It's free, it's hopefully helpful, and it even comes with a video version in case you don't feel like reading. Go download it!

Much thanks to Suzanne for letting me hijack this space, and good luck to all of you who are out there job-searching!

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