To perform exceptionally well in a job interview, the job candidate has to be prepared. In the series on Answers to Common Interview Questions, here is a possible response to “Tell me about yourself.” This question is usually the ice-breaker that sets the tone for the interview. For today’s question, although the interviewer is asking you about yourself, she is expecting you to tie in your response to the job that you are interviewing for. She is not interested in where you grew up or any of your hobbies. It’s not really about you, it’s about the company’s needs. Provide a complete understanding of your background and your aspirations as they relate to the prospective position. So throughout your response to this common interview question, focus on your knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences that will be likely the most relevant. The hiring manager has your resume, so in your response, incorporate some vignettes, and try to relax. Here is a possible answer to, “Tell me about yourself.” “I am currently the social media manager where I manage over 100 accounts for the organization. My main goal was to attract a large segment of Millennials who would likely buy our products. As a Millennial myself, I understand what’s needed and my team and I were able to successfully develop and implement a social selling campaign. At the end of the campaign, we had 1 million Facebook likes and 2 million Twitter followers. Likes and followers are important, but we sold $10,000,000 worth of products to our target group. And while I enjoy what I do tremendously, your organization will allow me to dig deeper into social selling and expand into lead generation. This will allow me to grow my expertise.”The answer works because it is giving a glimpse into the candidate’s background and her aspiration. Her response demonstrates how she is the answer to the organization’s problems in a very non-arrogant way. She is simply presenting the facts. Remember that the response offered to the common interview question, “Tell me about yourself” is only a guide, and therefore it is the job candidate’s responsibility to tweak the advice offered.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Answers to 7 Common Interview Questions - "Tell me about yourself"
How to Make a Successful Transition from University to Career
There’s a rhythm to starting each semester in school. However, making the move from college to the workplace requires a lot of adjustments, including learning acquiring new job skills, managing interactions with colleagues, and learning to balance independent projects with working on a team.Whether you’re adjusting yourself or working with someone new to the workplace, here is a checklist of ways to navigate the transition and make it more manageable.Long term project managementIn college, a big project rarely lasted longer than a semester, and usually were much shorter. But in the workplace, you’re often expected to juggle multiple projects that can last six months, a year or longer. When you’re working on projects of these lengths, set several milestone goals, check in on progress regularly, get feedback, and use the resources of others around you. Set expectationsAt the beginning of the semester, your professor issues a syllabus and devotes the first class to expectations. This not only provides a framework, it helps determine the professor’s teaching style and fit and feel. The same format is just as crucial when starting your role at work. Sit down and communicate face to face – not just over email – so both of you can get a sense of your style, your motivations and expectations.Secure a mentorWhen you’re in university, you can stop by your professor’s office hour or book an appointment with your academic advisor. The same principles of mentorship are just as important in the workplace. But after you graduate, you have to be more proactive about it securing your own mentor. Having a mentor will enable you to learn what employers expect from new grads and you can use the information to make yourself job ready. After years of being in the school system, it will take new grads time to transition to a different environment. But just as freshmen become seniors, this next generation will mature, learn and grow into their roles. Good luck, graduates!
Leverage Your Internship for Future Success
Some internships might only last a few weeks or months, but their impact can last for years. Follow these steps to make the most of this period to launch success for years to come.Build your brand with the right internshipAlong with your major and your GPA, internships are one of the most important line items on your resume. Because it’s tied to your personal brand, applying for internships should be more thoughtful than simply working in a relative’s office filing papers for the summer. Put thought into what internships aligns with your future career goals, then make a list of businesses that can advance this brand. If a business where you want to intern isn’t hiring, reach out to them regardless. Your proactivity may be rewarded.Designate a mentor or mentorsMany internships will have a mentor built into the role. If not, have a conversation with your manager at the beginning so you know who you can go to answer the mundane to the important questions. Having a designating mentor will benefit you for more than just locating the bathroom. Building a relationship with a mentor can help down the line when you need references, career insights and job leads.Ask questions. Then ask more questions.“I don’t know” are the three hardest words to say. It can be hard to admit when you need help. But an internship is a time when you’re not expected to know it all. Use this to your advantage by asking questions on any topic you may be unsure. Remember, this is a learning opportunity.Do thankless tasksIt’s a cliche of internships that you sometimes do thankless tasks, because it’s true. The temptation may be to rush through these mundane assignments or feel that they are beneath you. But you’re building a reputation during this time not just for your talents, but with your presence and your character. You have a short time to make a lasting impressions, so do even the minor assignments to the best of your ability. You may find what seems like a series of thankless tasks are the ones that pay off in the long run.Final thought: Even though internships are often entry-level learning experience, they can also offer responsibility, like learning how to project manage. An internship is more than a line on a resume – it also means growth and education. Use it to your advantage.
5 Tips to Negotiate a Job Offer Like an Expert
There is a crucial time between getting hired and starting work where you have leverage to enhance your work life. When negotiating, ask for what you want or they won’t necessarily know what is important to you. Know the market range for your salary Most medium to large organizations have a pay range – not just one rate – for each position. To find this range, seek out a credible compensation survey from consultancies that collect data from organizations, rather than individuals who may submit unverified data. If you can’t get access to these surveys, do research online and talking to your network and recruiters to build the picture of the range. Then negotiate within the range based on your experience and skills. Think beyond the salary Frederick Herzberg, a pioneer in the field of business psychology, asserted that people aren’t just motivated by salary. But they do need a stable base of income and benefits that he called “hygiene factors.” Take the time to think what conditions will make you feel more secure in your role, including retirement benefits, vacation and weekly hours. Look at the full picture to see how benefits can contribute to a solid foundation at work. Gather intelligence Is salary firm but vacation time flexible? If you want to learn more about what to negotiate for, talk to some of your contacts to identify what people are negotiating for in compensation packages these days. Although you are negotiating for what you want in a compensation package, it helps to know the territory and what the company considers flexible. Get creative Salary and benefits package are the most popular items to negotiate, but other options may be on the table depending on the culture of the organizations. For instance, some businesses may offer sabbaticals, training and tuition reimbursement, concierge and gym benefits, or a flexible work schedule that includes working longer days for a day off. Consider what’s truly important to you – not what would just be a nice perk – and make the ask. Have a conversation Negotiations don’t need to be about a take-it-or-leave-it mentality. Rather, you can simply ask if the organization has the capacity to increase their offer if, for example, it came through lower than expected. If the employer is unwilling to move, you can still consider the offer as it stands. Remember, you’ll never get it if you don’t ask. Remember, you can acknowledge and express genuine appreciation for the job offer without accepting. During the conversation, set a positive tone, request some time to review the offer, and consider your options. The ball is in your court.
5 Tips to Kickstart Your Job Search
Make your job search work for you by leveraging technology to promote yourself. Maximize your marketability through means of your resume, social channels such as LinkedIn, networking and applying for new roles. If you are seeking to make a move, here are 5 tips to help kickstart your job search. Expand your network Research has shown that while we rely on our strong ties in our everyday lives, but it’s our weak ties (also called an “open network”) that help make leaps when it comes to finding new careers and positions. That may sound counterintuitive since we’re so close to our strong ties. But because weak ties are further removed, they know about opportunities we aren’t likely to know about. By getting slightly outside your comfort zone, you can extend your open network dramatically. Leverage social media LinkedIn may be the first social network most people think of when it comes to a job search. However, branding through social media can take place on any platform, from Instagram to Twitter. You may want to make certain profiles private, create secondary accounts or start purposefully sharing content that matches the job you are seeking. Update your resume for digital There are many tools to take your standard paper resume and turn it into a digital version, such as VisualCV. This online tool allows users to add photos or graphics to their resume, select sample templates based on industry type, or outsource their design to a team that will format a CV or resume. Once the resume is finished, VisualCV will generate a URL for the design that can be shared in social media and indexed by search engines. Know your strengths and weaknesses Bring what you are truly qualified to do to a new role by considering your training, soft skills and personality. To get an objective view of your strengths and weaknesses, consider both getting feedback from peers and managers, as well as taking an online assessment. ManpowerGroup, for example, provides online assessments so candidates can work with informed data when putting themselves into the job market. Spread your search ManpowerGroup identified a group of candidates known as Early HR Technology Adopters who use at least three technologies in their job search. This includes a smartphone app, social media advertisement, virtual job fair, text message, video interview, website chat, game or skills challenge test, or voice search via a virtual assistant. This new group of candidates represents the next wave of applicants who leave no digital rock unturned. The task of finding a new job takes many paths, from crafting the cover letter to casting a wide net when searching. It’s less overwhelming when you start to break down the end goal into smaller, individual parts of a routine. Tackle the above categories one by one, and you’ll be able to build on the momentum of each to accelerate your job search.
Accessing Mental Health Support During COVID-19
Since the coronavirus outbreak, many people are finding their mental health and wellbeing affected in previously unforeseen ways. For many, the pandemic has brought about feelings of anxiety, stress and loneliness, while others are dealing with additional worries around finances and employment, or coping with bereavement.But there is help available. We have put together a number of resources you can use to support your mental health through the pandemic, and to access additional help where needed. Open the full PDF version for clickable links.
How to Build Your Personal Brand in Uncertain Times
Right now, it can feel for everyone like we’re preparing for a future of work that may look very different than today, with working from home on the rise and jobs rapidly transitioning between industries. This can make it feel like it’s difficult to prepare for the next phases of your career, but there are foundational steps you can take to bolster your brand. Here are steps to take to build your personal brand that lasts through uncertainty and into the future. Build or update your LinkedIn profile Your LinkedIn profile is essential as a foundation of your personal brand. After you have identified your career mission statement, you can build your digital brand online. Then use it to promote your skills, accomplishments and goals. If you have already taken these steps, use this time to review your content to update any outdated content, photos or text and make your profile relevant for today. Harness audio and videoEvery platform from Facebook to LinkedIn supports streaming video directly on their sites. This allows for greater expression of your soft skills like public speaking, leadership and presence. If video isn’t your favorite medium, there are other digital options to spread your message, including the rising podcast industry. Tools like Anchor.fm now make it possible to start a podcast with little equipment or training, using tools as basic as your phone. Focus on learnability None of us know exactly what the future of work will bring, but we do know that it will require constant learning on the job. In order to meet these new challenges, learnability is necessary. Learnability is the desire and ability to continually learn and grow throughout careers. Ask yourself, when was the last time you read something from an unusual perspective? When have you taken the time to wrap your head around a new industry? To keep your learnability skill sharp while uncertainty swirls, take the time to find unfamiliar topics, dig beneath the surface and keep growing. Find out your Learnability Quotient. In this time of uncertainty, roles in the future will require adaptability and resiliency. Increasingly, they are about what you are willing to learn, adapt and apply for tomorrow’s needs. By building your personal brand now, you will be able to project these values to the marketplace that needs them.
Starting A New Job Remotely
When you’re starting a new role, your typical first day might consist of meeting with your new manager, picking up your equipment, trying to learn the names of your co-workers, and working out where the post room, toilets and printers are. But what if your new job is remote? How will you get to know your colleagues, get up to speed on your role, or know who to contact when you have questions?Here are a few ways to make your first remote day on the job a great success.Understand the onboarding processReach out ahead of time to your line manager or HR contact to find out what onboarding will look like. The organisation might mail a laptop to you, or they may ask you to use your own device. They might take you through an induction on your first day via Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams, or perhaps they will email you an employee handbook. The company itself may still be trying to formalise its remote working procedures, so the process may not be as smooth as usual. Make sure you discuss the logistics of the onboarding process beforehand and fully understand what to expect.Practice the “route”It’s common to travel to the location of your new job before your first day to make sure you don’t run into any issues or get lost. The same is true of a virtual first day. Start to log on early to allow yourself plenty of time in case of technical difficulties. Make sure all the appropriate software is downloaded ahead of time and you know how to use the technology.Pay attention to your presenceIt’s likely that your first day will consist of at least one virtual meeting with your manager or your team. While you may be used to working from home in casualwear, remember to dress professionally in order to make a good first impression. Pay attention to your virtual environment, including the lighting in your room, items in the background, and try to minimise external noise.Find out how your team communicatesIt’s important to learn how your manager and your wider team prefer to engage with each other. Do they rely heavily on email, or do they tend to utilise video or voice calls? Do they use any internal networks such as Teams, Slack or Yammer to keep in touch? With regards to your manager, do they like to receive queries as they come up via email, or would they rather tackle everything in a weekly one-to-one call? Are there particular times of the day or week that they prefer not to be disturbed? Keep in mind that your colleagues might still be trying to work out their preferences as they adjust to their new routine. But knowing your colleagues’ communication styles will help you integrate with the team more quickly and foster positive interactions.Make yourself knownUsually when you start a new job, you’d immediately be introduced to lots of people in the office and learn what they do. You’d also find yourself bumping into new people in the elevator or the kitchen and forging new relationships that way. This process is likely going to take a bit longer and require more effort when you’re starting remotely. Let people know you’re the new person in any online networks like Slack or Yammer, or by sending some short emails to other people in your division. If there’s a team meeting, try to find a moment to introduce yourself and your role. You might even need to remind people who you are when contacting them by email or on a conference call, since they won’t be seeing you on a day-to-day basis. Before making a comment on a group call, simply state who you are and mention that you’re new to the company.Find work buddiesSince you’re not going to be chatting to colleagues in the kitchen over a cup of tea or having a welcome lunch, it’s a good idea to proactively reach out to individuals to get to know them better. Set up a virtual coffee chat to find out about their roles, the projects they’re working on, and anything they think you should know about the organisation. Share any questions you might have and ask for recommendations on other individuals you should get to know within the business. What insights can they share with you about the culture of the organisation?Seek out opportunitiesThe pandemic is causing workplace disruption like we’ve never seen and circumstances are evolving rapidly. Due to the fast-changing situation, you might find yourself not as busy as you expected, or even that certain projects you anticipated working on have been shelved and other tasks prioritised. Don’t complain, but rather try to identify opportunities where you can add value. Reach out to others to offer your help, and speak up in meetings to suggest ideas. Think about the additional value you can bring to the business.There’s no doubt that this is a difficult time to transition into a new role. But by being proactive, patient and flexible, you can smoothly integrate with your new team and prove your worth to the organisation.Credit: ManpowerGroup UK
How Can I Make My Workplace More Inclusive?
How can I make my workplace more inclusive? While culture starts at the top, you can help take steps to make your organization fair, equitable and committed to conscious inclusion. A diverse workplace is a healthy workplace. It’s everyone’s responsibility – and to everyone’s benefit – to help develop a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive. Here are ways everyone can help move your company forward. Understand conscious inclusion Conscious inclusion is the desire, insight and capacity of people to make decisions, do business and to think and act with the conscious intent of practicing inclusion. To that end, ManpowerGroup has a comprehensive survey exploring gender, generational and geographical differences in attitudes towards women in leadership. The report presents seven practical steps to reach the tipping point where women will accelerate into leadership roles. While leaders are responsible for implementing ways to support inclusive leadership, everyone in the organization can educate themselves with the principles, discussions and benefits of conscious inclusion. Be a coach and a mentor If you’re making your way up the ladder, it’s important to look around to see who else you can assist. One way of supporting others is to provide coaching and mentoring. Where can you give back? It is important to identify which topics require mentoring support and which require coaching. Mentors typically have specific expertise in the area in which the mentee requires support. If you have an area where you can help others, you can help the organization thrive and become more inclusive. Plan for the future Over time, all organizations will become more diverse. By 2050, there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States—diversity will be the norm. Talent—in all its diversity—is the most potent competitive differentiator. If you want your organization to be competitive 20 years from now, start thinking about how you can contribute to its inclusive culture through mentorship programs, hiring beyond traditional talent pools and widening your network. If you are thinking about how you can contribute to an inclusive workplace, you have already taken an important first step. From there, taking action and working with others can make the goal a reality. And when an organization can innovate with multiple perspective, everyone wins.
What Millennials Really Want
Welcome to the era of the millennial workforce. While this generation has been rising up the ranks, a new report from LinkedIn shows that millennials are projected to fare the best in the job market over the coming years. Three-quarters of 2,406 U.S. hiring managers surveyed said they plan to focus recruiting efforts on millennials over the next five years, according to the report. Millennials include those born approximately between the years of 1980s to 1997, which puts them prime into some of their most productive working years. The millennial workforce contributions also make sense in the context of their place in the global market. Millennials and Gen Zers make up roughly half the world’s population as 10,000 baby boomers retire each day, reports USA Today. So what do millennials want? According to ManpowerGroup research, both women and men want flexible, meaningful and challenging work. They understand they have a career ultramarathon ahead of them and want to achieve balance for the long run. For women, to pursue challenging work, it must come with flexibility. They continue to do most of the emotional labor and unpaid work at home – balancing work around commitments. As employers face a continued global skills shortage, millennials share in the following advantages as well as their preferences when seeking to develop their careers. Flexibility in work arrangements Today’s way of working may not be how tomorrow’s generation operates. According to a ManpowerGroup survey, a growing number of people are opting for alternative models over full-time permanent roles. Part-time, contingent, contract, temporary, freelance, independent contractor, on-demand online are all on the rise. This affords businesses the choice, flexibility and alternative ways of working that build resilience for less predictable futures. Younger millennials, in particular, are seeking out gig work. Positivity and optimism According to ManpowerGroup’s Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision report, millennials are remarkably upbeat about their careers. Two-thirds are optimistic about their immediate job prospects. Sixty-two percent are confident that if they lost their main source of income tomorrow they could find equally good or better work within three months. The majority of millennials globally see a promising future and successful careers ahead. They are the can-do, will-do generation. Growing into new roles Research shows that rather than having one job for life, millennials are focused on continuous skills development. Millennial talent provides organizations with employee traits like learnability and curiosity rather than a narrow set of defined “job skills.” According to Lory Antonucci, M.Ed., GPHR, Executive Talent Management Consultant for ManpowerGroup, while roles may also be actual positions (and someone’s job), they are first and foremost a combination of needed and valued skills, knowledge and outputs. Roles are about adapting to change now and in the future. As we enter a new decade, both employers and job seekers will have to adopt new ways of thinking about careers. With both experience and youth on their side, millennials are in a great position to capitalize and make the most of the 2020s –– on their own terms.