Job Search 2.0: Interview Questions

I recently had an interview and thought I would share a summary, just to give an idea of typical interview questions. Hope it helps with your interview preparations.

There were a couple of questions that I hesitated on, so I know to prepare better answers.

I met first with an HR person and her intern. The HR person had a Green Day poster on her wall, and since my daughter is a raving fan, we chatted about them for a bit. Nice common topic to "build chemistry" for the interview.

She went over broad questions -

  • tell me what you know about the company
  • tell me about your bookstell me about yourself,
  • what do you like best about working at your current company
  • what do you like least about working at your current company
  • How would you describe yourself - a step above, equal to your peers, or a step below?
  • Describe your ideal work environment
  • What do you think you offer that's different from other candidates?
  • (and maybe a few more questions I can't remember)

The question I stumbled on was: "How would you describe yourself in terms of working in a group?" I just didn't know how to answer it - I guess I just didn't understand the phrasing. I eventually came up with something about listening to everyone's input/feedback, and compiling everything into a cohesive whole that provides value, or something like that. [I found a better response here: #15]

After the round of questions, the intern went over the benefits, then they passed me off to the department manager (which means I passed step 1 of the 4-step hiring process!)

The Senior Manager asked more pointed questions, relating to the actual day-to-day type work.

  • Tell me about your experience w/ this industry.
  • Tell me about your experience with social media.
  • How do you stay up to date on industry issues?
  • What innovative campaigns have you created/participated in?
  • What's the most important thing for being effective in this industry?
  • How familiar are you with analytics? What have you used for analytics?
  • What makes you different from other candidates we might bring in?

The question that I stumbled on with him was "What motivates you?" I responded with something about getting things done, crossing things off my list, and making sure all the details are handled. Eh. I should have just said "money". ;) I'll probably research better answers.

He asked if I had any questions, and I had some prepared:

  • How many people are on the team?
  • How long has this department been a part of the company?
  • How long have you been here?
  • What makes the company unique in their niche?
  • Are they looking to acquire any more companies?
  • What's a typical day like for you?

He went over the steps to the hiring process and said I should hear something in the next week or two. Sounds like they are interviewing 4 people for "a couple" of spots.

I followed up the next day with snail mail Thank You notes to each of them.

I feel good about the interview overall, though I have no idea how I compare to others. Just have to wait and see.


Job Search 2.0: "Elevator Speech" for the Ideal Job

As a part of my ongoing job hunt for a marketing communications position, I attended a couple of job club meetings this week. Each provided me with the opportunity to present/practice my "Elevator Speech" for what kind of work I'm looking for.

At the first meeting, I said something like, "I'm looking for something in marketing communications, writing, ideally with some components of social media marketing, like updating blogs, websites, Facebook Pages, and Twitter, stuff like that."

All the key points are there, but not exactly hard-hitting or powerful.

At the meeting I attended tonight, I said something like, "I'm in marketing communications...I'm a writer. So I'm looking for some position with writing, updating things on the web, stuff like that."

Not exactly an improvement.

During the meeting, I reworked things in my head a bit (I wasn't impressed with the speaker). How does this sound?

"I'm looking for a marketing communications position where my compelling web content will help build and promote brand awareness for a company's products or services."

Too much? Not enough? I'm thinking it's a work in progress... I welcome your comments.

But while I am still working on the presentation of that, I did fine-tune an "ideal" job description. I have a couple of friends working with me on the same contract, and as such, theirs ends the same time mine does - at the end of June. So we discuss our respective job hunts, and try to pass along leads to each other. To make it easier for them to recognize what would be a good lead for me, I copied and pasted several job descriptions from job boards, and pared it down to the essentials of what I would ideally like to find, along with several possible job titles.

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Possible Job Titles:

  • Web Content Writer
  • Digital Content Specialist
  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Marketing Communications Specialist
  • Content Manager - Web
  • Content Specialist
  • Associate Editor – Web
  • Online Marketing Professional

General job description: Act as company ambassador/evangelist: Develop company’s strategy to reach and attain new clients/customers, stir discussion, and drive traffic to company website and social media platforms. Responsible for writing and publishing Web content; maintaining and updating Web pages/blogs; monitoring and responding to user-contributed website content; and participating in social media efforts for the company.

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If you're looking for a job, I encourage you to put together your ideal job description. Not only will it help others find the best potential matches for you, it will help you better refine/define what you want for yourself.

Another job hunt success for me this week was the completion of my online resume. While I have essentially the same information posted to my LinkedIn profile, I'm 'hedging my bets' with more content posted elsewhere, for whatever search engine juice it might provide for me.

What have you done to make progress toward your goals this week?


Job Search 2.0: LinkedIn

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently looking for a permanent full-time job in marketing communications, ideally generating web content and coordinating a social media presence. As such, I in the process of trying a variety of job search techniques in order to put myself in front of influential people and hiring authorities.

One tool I have been experimenting with is LinkedIn, a professional social networking site. I say "professional" because the site is all about keeping in touch with one's existing business contacts, and making new contacts, helping you "make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return." This differentiates LinkedIn from, say, Facebook, which originated as a means to keep in touch with college friends (though, of course, Facebook does have business/professional applications - pun intended).

I have had a LinkedIn profile since 2004, and have a fair number of contacts.  Several job search books and articles I have read recently have indicated that an increasing number of recruiters rely heavily on LinkedIn profiles in their searches for candidates, so I have been working on 'beefing up' my profile.

As a part of my revamping efforts, I started with the Summary section of my profile, updating it with what I had recently (re)written for my resume. I used bullet points to highlight the following...

Continue reading "Job Search 2.0: LinkedIn" »


Book Review: The Job Search Solution by Tony Beshara

The Job Search Solution: The Ultimate System for Finding a Great Job Now ! (Job Search Solution) The Job Search Solution: The Ultimate System for Finding a Great Job Now! by Tony Beshara

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I downloaded this as an mp3 from my library, and made it through 4 of 12 hours. It was just too "sales-y" for me. I understand that finding a job is a matter of selling yourself, but I didn't find the author's presentation appealing, or motivating for that matter.

The book appeared to be read by the author - definitely READ, not "performed". His presentation was rather stilted, and the sound quality was poor in several places, which was distracting.

There was one particular section where Beshara talked about all the reasons one might or might not be hired, which had nothing to do with the candidate, but rather the hiring manager - you're too tall or too short, you're too old or too young, you're too pretty or too average, office politics, or just a bad day. He spent quite a bit of time on this, but didn't offer anything to compensate for this issue - no tactics to get around these prejudices, nor even any motivational pep talk to just "stick with it".

Job hunting is hard enough - I'd rather feel like someone was on my side, instead of yelling at me for not trying hard enough (read: via HIS methods).

End result: deleted before finishing

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