First Interview: Here’s How to Prepare

November 18th, 2016

If you’re like most first time job seekers and recent graduates, you’re probably dealing with some stress and anxiety during the days leading up to your first interview. But as you’ve probably learned during your days in the classroom, the best treatment for this kind of stress is simple: preparation. Here are a few moves that can help you gain a sense of control over the process and consequently help you sleep better at night. As you probably know, a good night of sleep will help you look, feel and perform better when you’re sitting in the interview seat!

Have polished answers to predictable questions.

While some of the questions you face may come out of nowhere, there are a few tried and true interview queries that make an appearance in almost every session, across every industry. These include: “Why do you want this job?”, “What can you bring to this position that no other candidate can?” and “What are your greatest strengths?” If you have flawless answers in mind for each of these, you’re halfway home.

Get ready for curveballs.

When you hear a question that you didn’t plan for and can’t possible expect, don’t lose your cool. Just take a deep breath (in and out for two full seconds). Then speak slowly as you provide your response. Don’t trip over yourself. You’re in no rush, and your interviewer has nothing else scheduled during this particular hour. Take your time and explain yourself clearly.

Practice, practice, practice.

The more time you spend practicing for your session with a mirror, a pet, or a friend, the more focused you’ll be when your moment arrives. Everything is easier when it feels familiar.

Think of your interviewer as a friend and a human being.

Ease your nervous jitters by keeping this moment in perspective. Your interviewer is not an authority figure, and he or she doesn’t have the ability to judge your core character or hold power over your destiny. You’re just two adults trying to assess your potential as a match. It’s kind of like dating; you’re just here to get to know each other, and you both have an equal amount to gain or lose.

Write things down.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget some of the details and information your employer may share during your session. And though it’s perfectly common, it’s still embarrassing to ask a question about something your interviewer already explained. So take notes. Writing things down can keep you on track, and it shows that you’re listening and interested.

For more guidelines that can help you ace your interview and land the job you need, reach out to the Cleveland County staffing and career management team at PSU.

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Is it OK to Quit Today?

November 4th, 2016

Most modern employment agreements are called “at-will” agreements, meaning that both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate the relationship at any time, for any reason. Unlike clearly defined contracts which stipulate employment terms based on the calendar date or the nature of the work produced by the employee, at-will contracts allow you (the worker) to walk away from your job whenever you chose and for any reason or no reason. But as a professional courtesy, most employers ask that you provide them with two weeks’ notice before you move on.

This period gives your employers enough time to hire your replacement, and it keeps you from wasting time or spinning your wheels when you’re ready to move on. It’s not too much to ask in most situations, and providing notice can help you leave your company on good terms, which can boost your reputation and support your career. Here are a few things to consider as you get ready to say goodbye.

When should you provide two week’s notice?

Almost always. There are very few circumstances in which giving notice isn’t necessary. If your future employer demands your presence right away and can’t wait for two weeks, that may be a red flag; consider working for a company with a little more experience and business savvy. One exception to the two-week rule exists: If your workplace has become unsafe. Use your judgement.

How to give your notice

If you can, provide your notice in writing. If you relay your message verbally, gain clear acknowledgement, and then deliver your notice in writing using the day of your conversation as the first day of the two-week period.

What will happen if I don’t give notice?

Legally, nothing. If the terms of your contract or work agreement allow you to leave today, you can leave today. But if you walk out without notice, don’t expect your current employer to be happy about it. You may not be able to work here again in the future, and if you ask your boss for a recommendation, you may get a chilly response.

What to include in your written notice

As you type up your notice and provide it to your employer, you don’t have to include a reason for leaving, and you don’t have to offer any feedback or recommendations for the company if you don’t want to. But make an effort to stay polite, respectful and helpful as you walk out the door. Keep your relationships and your reputation strong and positive.

For more on how to say goodbye when it’s time to leave your current job and to find your next employment opportunity, turn to the Cleveland County career management experts at PSU.

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