How to Turn Around Bad Job Interviews

Maybe your alarm didn’t go off that morning and you were running behind. Or maybe you just never quite felt comfortable. There are any number of reasons why your job interview didn’t start off on the right foot, but don’t give up hope just yet. You can absolutely salvage an interview that appears to have gone off its rails.HM Blog Image

Every job interview can be a successful one.

Although not every job interview will result in a job offer, every interview can be successful in one way or another. Here are some common job interview mistakes, along with tips for turning a bad interview into a successful one:

  1. Problem: You blew your answer to an important question. Solution: Ask for a do-over. Sometimes you can’t help it – despite practicing your responses and feeling like a rockstar before your interview, you ended up going off on a tangent and mumbling through a response. It happens – but the best thing you can do is to admit that your response didn’t quite come out right and ask if you can answer again. At best, you’ll get another opportunity to share a strong answer. At worst, you’ve demonstrated your poise and confidence to the interviewer.
  2. Problem: You’re so nervous you can’t think straight. Solution: Talk about your nerves. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we’re just plain nervous during a job interview. If practicing your responses and taking deep breaths hasn’t prevented shaky nerves before your interview, the best way to avoid those nerves taking over your interview is to acknowledge them. Sometimes nerves present themselves physically – shaky hands are a common symptom – and it can be more effective to simply tell your interviewer that you’re a bit nervous, but only because you’re so enthusiastic about the position. But then once you’ve acknowledged your nerves, don’t dwell on them – move on and talk about the great traits and experience you bring to the table!
  3. Problem: The interviewer doesn’t seem interested. Solution: Make a stronger connection. Sometimes we can forget about the human element of job interviews, treating them like a business transaction instead of a new personal connection. If you feel like your interviewer is bored with the interview or that he or she just isn’t interested in your skills, it’s up to you to make a stronger effort to connect. Think about your body language – are you making strong eye contact, leaning in and demonstrating your own engagement? Asking questions can also help bring interviewers “back.” Turn the conversation around to engage the interviewer with questions about his or her role with the company, what it’s like to work with the employer, and other questions about both the interviewer and the company (remember, of course, to keep the questions professional, but on a personal level).
  4. Problem: You just know that the interview didn’t go well. Solution: Talk to your recruiter. Sometimes no matter what steps you take, an interview feels like it just didn’t go well. In these situations, a recruiter can be your most valuable tool. Call your recruiter and talk to him or her about what happened. Be honest about where you could have done better or where you felt you didn’t make the right impression. Bad interviews happen, and when you are working with a recruiter who has a strong relationship with the employer, you have the added benefit of someone “going to bat” for you.

Preparing ahead of time can help minimize bad job interview experiences, but now you have the necessary steps to turn around a less than stellar interview. Are you looking for jobs in Southern California? Helpmates matches professionals like you with leading employers across the region. Visit our job board to view and apply for jobs today.

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Confidence is Key – How to Impress in Job Interviews

A few months ago, we talked about the importance of confidence in making a positive first impression with employers. But finding and exuding confidence can be a challenge in and of itself.

Showcase your skills and impress hiring managers by being confident.HM

If nerves are getting in the way of properly conveying confidence during your interviews, check out these tips. Doing your homework ahead of time can help quell nerves and help you put your best foot forward!

  • Show that you’ve done your research. Today’s employers want engaged employees who demonstrate they are invested in the company and its success. We always recommend candidates prepare for interviews by researching the position and company – it’s up to you to show that you’ve prepared! Prepare thoughtful questions that lead with something similar to “While researching your company, I noticed that [blank]” and you’ll not only demonstrate that you’ve done your research, you’ll impress interviewers by showing a genuine interest in their companies.
  • Pay attention to your body language. The old standards really come into play here – if you’re constantly looking down or mumbling, you are far from exuding confidence in an interview. Here’s a great list of body language mistakes to avoid from Forbes. One of the best ways to avoid body language mistakes and really exude confidence during your job interviews is to practice. Ask a friend or family member to act as the interviewer, and run through practice interview questions, working to avoid body language mistakes while providing thoughtful, positive responses.
  • Repeat back names as you meet new people. People like to hear their names – it makes them feel more positively toward you, and it can also make it feel like you “fit right in” despite meeting the employer for the first time. Plus, repeating back names can send a subliminal message that you intend to meet and speak with that person again. Listen carefully when introduced to any person at a prospective employer, then repeat that name back during introductions. Body language also plays a factor here – look someone in the eye, extend a firm handshake, and add a genuine, “Nice to meet you, [NAME].”
  • Practice what you want to say. There’s no way to know exactly what an interviewer will ask you during a job interview, but you can certainly have an idea of key points you’d like to make during job interviews. Prepare those responses and practice them ahead of time to sound cool and confident. The more you’ve said certain responses out loud, the more natural they’ll feel once you’re in an actual interview.
  • Be positive. Whether you’re talking about your skill set or your previous employers, always focus on positives in job interviews. No one likes to be surrounded by negative people – and although you may not mean to, talking about past challenges or mistakes can make you seem like you’re dwelling on the negative. That’s where practicing your responses comes into play – you can always take a positive spin! Work through any potentially negative areas and spin them to focus on the positive.

Doing your homework and being prepared for an interview is the easiest way to be relaxed and confident. Here at Helpmates, we help all our candidates prepare for interviews with Southern California’s top employers. We’ll help you find the right job to reach your goals, then we’ll help ensure you put your best foot forward with hiring managers. Search our available SoCal jobs to take the first step.

4 Ways to Show Enthusiasm in Job Interviews

When you land a job interview after carefully preparing your resume and cover letter, it can feel like you’re so close to the finish line. Yet it can be extremely disappointing and frustrating when you learned you didn’t get the job.

Why didn’t you get the job?Untitled

Of course, there can be any number of reasons why another candidate was chosen. Maybe that candidate is a better cultural fit, or they had a stronger professional background. Or maybe they were just more enthusiastic.

Being enthusiastic about a company and career opportunity can help land you the job.

Genuine enthusiasm about employers and their career opportunities can inspire employers to choose you over another candidate. Over the past few years, publications like Forbes and CNN have cited enthusiasm as a key for employers choosing candidates.

Enthusiasm is a critical component of reaching your career goals. Here’s how you can properly convey enthusiasm in your next interview to land a job:

  • Ask for the job. It sounds ridiculously simple, but one of the easiest ways to demonstrate your enthusiasm is to come right out and ask for the job. Or at the very least, tell the interviewer that you are excited and interested in the company and job.
  • Say everyone’s names. This is a small touch that makes a big difference. When you take the time to repeat and say people’s names – everyone from the receptionist to your interviewer, it demonstrates your interest in more than simply a 30-minute interview. To the employer, it can actually send the message that you’re already a part of the team! In addition, it’s simply a nice way to show that you’re interested in people and respect them.
  • Project the right body language. Body language can send many unspoken messages to employers during your interview – some good and some bad. It’s important to be aware of your nonverbal language throughout the interview to ensure it accurately conveys your enthusiasm for the job. Simple things like making eye contact, smiling, and nodding are key. Turning your shoulders so you’re facing the interviewer can also help project the right message.
  • Send a thank you note. This may technically be after job interviews, but thank you notes are still a critical part of the process. After you’ve perfected your interview questions and demonstrated your enthusiasm during the actual job interview, solidify the message by sending a thank you note to your interviewer(s). Choose one key discussion point from the interview and hammer it home here – this is your last chance to “sell” them on you for the job!

Genuine enthusiasm can help you stand out from the competition and land your next job. If you’re searching for jobs in Southern California, be sure to check out the Helpmates job board. We work with top employers across the area, and we’ll help you stand out from the pack!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Ambro

Conduct More Effective Job Interviews

Interviewing can be hard. For HR professionals and recruiters, it can be a challenge, but for managers and other professionals who don’t ordinarily conduct job interviews, it can be terrifying. Yet, effective job interviews are critical for making good hires and retaining top talent.

You can conduct more effective job interviews.

job interviews

Understanding interviewing basics provides you with a solid start, but to conduct truly effective job interviews you need skills beyond the basics. Here are three types of questions to ask that will get you better candidate insights:

  • Behavioral questions. Behavioral questions are gaining in popularity because they offer insights into how employees would act in real-world situations. Working several behavioral questions into your job interviews can help you determine which candidates are more likely to succeed in your real-world working environment.
  • Purpose-based questions. In a world where 80% of employees are unhappy in their jobs, employee retention is a critical problem facing HR departments. One of the most important keys to retention is hiring the right people. Purpose-based questions revolve around “Why” – Why you get up in the morning, what keeps you motivated and drives you throughout the day. Purpose-based questions can help you identify candidates who are aligned with your mission and purpose. Employees who are more likely to be happy working for you – and more likely to stay with you long term.
  • Open-ended questions. Have you ever been in a conversation punctuated by one-word responses? They never really go anywhere, and they certainly aren’t very interesting! In job interviews, yes or no questions offer little to no insight into the candidate. Don’t fall into the trap of asking easy questions.  Instead, focus on open-ended questions that require a candidate to formulate well thought-out responses. These six examples offer a good start.

The talented recruiting professionals at Helpmates have extensive experience conducting job

interviews with a range of professionals. Using these questions and other skills gained during years of experience, our team finds only the most talented and qualified professionals to meet your staffing needs. To learn more, check out our client resources or contact us today.

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