Thursday, March 31, 2016

Good Questions to Ask at the Interview

You've probably heard it a million times: A job interview should be a two-way conversation. You may assume that means someone asks questions and you offer answers. But that's only half of the conversation. Interviewers expect you to ask questions, too—and asking thoughtful questions can polish your image as a job seeker.

Asking questions is one way to show that you are interested in the job. It shows you've researched the organization and you've heard what the interviewer has told you about the job. Your questions also will help you see how the job and the organization fit into your career goals.

When preparing questions before the interview, your first stop should be the organization's website—don't want to ask questions that are already covered online. Next, pay close attention to details that come to light during the interview—you'll want to include questions on information you hear.

Here are examples of questions you can ask (and why you should ask them):

  • What does a typical work day look like? What is a typical week like in this job? (You're showing interest in life on the job in the organization.)
  • With whom would I be working? Who would be my supervisor? (You're looking seriously at your potential place in the organization.) 
  • What are the challenges facing the person in this position? What are your expectations for this role? (You're asking about your fit within the company and your future with the organization.)
  • Why did you choose to work for this company? (Ask this question of anyone you meet during your interview. It gives the interviewer a chance to "sell" the company and gives you insight into what others think about working for the organization.)
  • How would you describe your company culture? (Are you and the company are well matched? Is this the environment you want to join?)
  • What is the natural career progression for employees with my skill set? (You're demonstrating that you're thinking about a long-term future with the company.)
  • Does this organization have a formal mentor or coaching program? How is it structured? (This illustrates that you are interested in being a good employee and improving on the job.)
  • What kind of internal and external training do you provide? (This question illustrates your desire to excel in the job.) 

After you've asked your questions, restate your interest in the organization.

Then, ask for the job—this reiterates your interest in joining the organization.

Finally, ask these few last questions:

  • What is the next step in the hiring process? 
  • When will you make your decision? 
  • May I call you? 
  • When is a good time? 

For additional assistance with interview preparation or any additional career questions, please contact WGU Career & Professional Development.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Emerging Trends in the Job Market – Are You Ready?

The world is changing rapidly and as a result, the way employers hire and the expectations of professionals are also changing. Members of NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) recently discussed emerging trends in the workplace and how these trends are impacting both new and seasoned professionals.

Overall the job outlook has improved since 2008. However, competition is still a major factor in the job market so taking steps to make sure that you are enhancing both your job skills and soft skills is a must. One key observation is that professionalism is still a critical career indicator. Research shows that while many graduates are well-educated, there is the perception that they are inadequately trained because of a lack of social skills. A study done by NACE revealed that 70% of employers felt that new graduates were inadequately trained. However, this question was asked to senior leadership – executives who did not actually have consistent direct contact with graduates, which means that this perception may have been formed in part by social interactions with new graduates. Professionalism cannot be neglected as part of the job search and so taking time to understand proper business etiquette can serve you well.

Additional insight was provided regarding employer trends including:

  • 53% of employers are concerned about competition for talent
  • 64% of employers prefer to hire people with relevant experience
  • 71% of employers are actively promoting diversity
  • 75% of professionals, typically in mid to high level jobs, identify as passive (not actively seeking a new position) and employers are looking for ways to tap into these candidates
  • Employers are focusing on engaging with talent via social media and technology
  • Employers are proactively managing their brand and want to be identified and recognized as employers of choice
  • One third of employers are now hiring international professionals
  • Employers are increasing salaries and offering signing bonuses for premium candidates
  • Employers are recruiting via branding and social media, and an increase in video interviewing is starting to emerge 

You have already made a step in the right direction by deciding to pursue your degree. Being aware of the latest career trends can be another helpful resource. We invite you to contact WGU Career & Professional Development to discuss your goals and to begin working on a plan that will help you to stay on top of your career.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How Long Before You Get the Job? And What To Do While You Wait?


The National Associate of Colleges and Employers recently published information from employers on the average recruiting cycle from their 2015 Recruitment Benchmark Survey. As the infographic above reveals, the average length of time from the job posting to offer acceptance is 68.8 days. That is 1651.2 hours! If you are currently looking for a job it probably comes as no surprise that your job search is more of a marathon than a sprint.

Given that a job seeker has little control over the employer’s timeline, the real question is: Are you using your 68.8 days wisely? Here are 4 simple things you can do to make the most out of your job search hours:

  1. Do not stop applying for jobs. Just because you have interviewed for your dream job, it does not mean it is time to take a break. There are many variables involved in every job search so it is critical to keep applying. This is not the time to put all of your eggs in one basket. If the job you interviewed for does not work out then you will already have additional interviews lined up. If you get offered your dream job you can politely remove yourself from consideration for other positions. So pat yourself on the back for doing well at that interview and then continue your search for additional opportunities.
  2. Continue to network. The key to success lies in your network and therefore your network deserves your attention – all the time; not just when you need something.  What better time to reach out to your supporters and connect than while you are feeling confident about your prospects? If you need some help getting started, check out our networking tips.
  3. Follow up. Professionally following up with employers you have interviewed with is appropriate. Start by sending a thank you email to each person you interviewed with. Another good idea is to ask about the hiring timeline during the interview. But once you have followed up you need to know when to say when. Instead of risking becoming a nuisance or seeming desperate, see Steps 1 and 2.
  4. Focus on building relevant skills and competencies. Time spent building relevant skills will impress prospective employers and give you a boost of confidence.  To be at the top of your profession you need to be a life-long learner. If you are waiting to hear back from an employer spend some time making yourself even more valuable by seeking out professional development opportunities.

For more job search tips, please visit WGU Career & Professional Development. To talk with a Career Specialist about your job search or career, please fill out the career appointment form.