Job Interview

Dressing for Success

Business dress code - photo courtesy of Penny MathewsWhether you’re at a job interview, attending a networking event or giving a speech, it’s important that you dress appropriately. I’ve seen fashion faux pas in business situations that have actually shocked me: from the person that I interviewed who was dressed more casually than me to person at a networking event who was dressed like he was meeting Cinderella at the grand ball.

Appropriate dress is always in the eyes of the beholder and inappropriate dress can often cause negative perceptions about you before you even open your mouth. Three’s no hard and fast rule such as all job interviews require formal dress or all networking events require business dress as I’ve seen several situations where events that traditionally require formal dress requested casual dress and vice versa.

Job Interview Questions: Where Do You Expect to Be in Five Years?

growthAlong with “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” another common question asked by prospective employers is “where do you expect to be in three to five years?” Skilled interviewers ask it to get a feel for what your goals are, but many novice interviewers ask it without any real forethought about what type of answer they hope to get – thus making it a potentially tricky question.

Job Interview Success: Multiple Interviewers: What to do when more than one person is interviewing you at the same time

Interviewing for a job is hectic, especially if you really want (or really need) that particular job. As interviewing candidates for a position requires a substantial amount of time and effort, employers are always trying to optimize the process but coming up with new ways to interview. One of the toughest interview situations out there is when you are meeting with more than one person, sometimes referred to as the Team Interview.

Interview Question: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Job interviewThis is a textbook interview question and is mainly asked because people who interview infrequently research questions to ask and this one always pops up with “where do you want to be in 5 years.” Some human resource professionals ask it because they believe the answer provides special insight to as to what the candidate thinks of him/herself.

The question has some variations such as asking for the top three or five strengths and/or weaknesses or the questions asked separately during different parts of the interview.

How to answer it:

Self-expression during an interview

We’re all unique and many of us take great pride in the way we express ourselves through our clothing, accessories and language. One challenge that many people, especially younger folks just entering the workforce, face is whether or not to limit one’s self-expression during a job interview. I’m often asked philosophical questions about conforming for the sake of landing a job and some people are more adamant and/or sensitive about the issue than others. Some are the typical rebels without a clue while others have passionate beliefs that they like to express through their appearance.

Illegal Question #3: Are you a US citizen?

Why they ask it:

Normally, I try not to editorialize too much on these questions but this is one that I believe can warrant some serious debate. Before I get to my own opinion on the subject, I want to clarify that it is currently legal to ask a person if they are authorized to work in the United States – you just can’t ask them if they are a citizen (as opposed to having a green card or work visa). You are allowed to ask someone flat out if they are legally authorized to work in the United States.

Illegal Question #2: Do you have Children?

Why they ask it:
Like Question #1, this sometimes comes up in casual conversation during an interview with the interviewer not realizing that it’s an illegal question.

In other cases, the interviewer is trying to figure out the candidate’s commitments outside of work. People with school aged children occasionally take time off when their kids are sick or the school is closed. They may have restricted schedules due to child care arrangements.

How to answer it:

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