A cheat sheet containing what really works.
- 800 hiring managers reveal their preferences in a survey by NetQuote.
- Infographics help unearth the worst words to use in an interview, most important questions, and ideal resume length.
- Figuring out how to present yourself just got easier.
About your resume<p>If you've got an interview already, you may be past the resume phase, at least for this job. But what got you there? (And maybe you're still hoping to get an interview.)</p><h2>Getting your resume's image right</h2><p>According to <em></em>NetQuotes' respondents, when racing through a bunch of resumes, your story's visual presentation can prove to be an instant turn-on, or -off.</p><p>42% of hiring managers aren't fond of headshots, for example. Ditto for unconventional, flashy resumes—they're not necessarily a good way to stand out, at least not to the 65% of hiring managers who aren't impressed with them.</p><p>Still, the reactions vary by industry; head shots are poison for government, legal, and health care jobs, but popular when you're after a tech-oriented position. And not shockingly, non-standard, artistic resume layouts are more likely to be appreciated in industries peopled by non-standard artistic types.</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Perceptions%20of%20Resumes.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODEwNy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMDYzMzEzM30.8NKndqaHsrjubC0GI2DrO0oQmmrWALkkGcjOEduyIb8/img.png?width=980" id="16e7e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="62e3d2122db1ed1ae432a97077cdcfd7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Landmine language<p>So, you're in the room—or on Skype or the phone. Someone once said, "I never sound as stupid as when I'm trying to sound smart," and this is definitely an interview hazard. You may think business-speak buzzwords like "synergy," "low-hanging fruit," and "ideation" make you sound cool. Not so much.</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Worst%20Words%20to%20Use%20in%20an%20Interview.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODExOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDUxNzA4MX0.XLT37BdlxAnkm8jdmwQdTKV2QPUz982Nm-l23_-NljY/img.png?width=980" id="7f3e3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="75e57a6c2a9a5494f187998b25ee0112" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Before the show starts...<p>In an interview, yours isn't the only performance going on, and some hiring managers are sketchy about playing their own roles. They may try to impress you by tweaking the job description or the company's outlook. And only about 60% actually read your resume before talking—which is to say 40% know basically nothing about you as the interview starts. 29% are wasting your time anyway, since they already know they're not hiring you.</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Hiring%20Manager%20Confessions.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODEyNC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTY4NzcwMn0.VZmU8rM19DXKXak0Yvwr3Rjr0nanR__cY7eLcqQU8SI/img.png?width=980" id="88018" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dc376d4aaca01b825a3ab24ac991881b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Typical questions and how much they actually mean<p>Of all the questions commonly asked, four stand out as most important. Two reflect on your character in the workplace: How you deal with conflict and how you learn from mistakes. The third inquiry reveals you as either an ambitious forward-looker or a disagreeable malcontent: Why did you leave your last job? Then there's that moment where you're asked to list your strengths—more about this below. </p><p>Interestingly, one classic query doesn't seem to matter much at all: What you're into outside of work.</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Most%20Valued%20Interview%20Questions.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODEzMi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzk0OTQyN30.uctUohwAYF-lTcOQ3Np0NDb8jjI2PxwFIuXqfNeGuFk/img.png?width=980" id="67578" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5a3696a100dc36f2467584d55a895d3e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
The best personal strengths to mention<p>Okay, this one's kind of the master cheat sheet. Don't lie in your interview, but here's what you're supposed to say.</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Top%20Answers%20to%20What%20Are%20Your%20Strengths.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODEzNi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTMyOTAzNn0.hDPSMQJcKuilMAIvO4qu798r2pCqpHmRtw6FiRW1WSk/img.png?width=980" id="240a8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b206e4a54df38b2d2ee8151475b32794" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Are you being interviewed by a woman or man?<p>The list above notwithstanding, women and men have slightly different priorities in what qualifies as applicant's most important personal strengths. It seems close to a cliche, but female hiring managers are more concerned with quieter, inner-focused skills while males are interested in outward-going traits. Discuss.</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Top%20Answers%20to%20What%20Are%20Your%20Strengths%20By%20Gender.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODE0MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzkxMDA2OH0._eOxnijaYKgf8bK4H1nO26vjvuRvOIDdLgVipcArR5M/img.png?width=980" id="e39db" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f8c2d1770b29bcec847b3af75654b7bb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Meeting specific industry needs<p>Here's a helpful infographic. Different strengths matter to different industries, and this shows the three most important strengths in each type of operation. For government work, discipline's hot; in construction, it's important to manage time well and to be patient. Who'd guess that the industry that most values creativity is the legal industry?</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Top%20Answers%20to%20What%20Are%20Your%20Strengths%20By%20Industry.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODE0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTA5Mzk1Nn0.fS8h1oLPAHF3Xf0V1IaQIeou6c_TdIsKElJaGFcA_y8/img.png?width=980" id="571cb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dc72d0a2e20efea586e4cb13da154815" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
The importance, or not, of follow-up<p>Hiring managers also have feeling about your actions after the interview. 67% expect to be asked questions, and they consider doing that to be important. Slightly less than half expect any worthwhile applicant to follow up by email or by phone. As far as handwritten followup notes go, while they're important to 17% of hiring managers, more than double that percentage said don't bother.</p><a href="https://d16ee5lo1src82.cloudfront.net/media/default/Import-Auto-BlogPosts/Top%20Things%20To%20Do%20After%20Interview.png" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODcyODE1Mi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDk2NTgwNn0.5YW5-tN2sIjubzj_NCG5W_OQ4UqMaWWJkmUYcfKv2tQ/img.png?width=980" id="e3862" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="af063f068a730d691bf37dbde9c52c44" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Forewarned is forearmed<p>Whether you're heading into the hot seat in the near future, or just hoping to be asked to interviews, you now have some insight as to what the interview process looks like to hiring managers. Now go and get that job!</p> <div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="IEJNRy1D" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="cbd9915798eaf6f74a163f33ddf4726e"> <div id="botr_IEJNRy1D_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/IEJNRy1D-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/IEJNRy1D-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/IEJNRy1D-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
The best advice to getting hired it also something you were told in middle school: be yourself. Can you guess the other two great tips?
The best advice to getting hired is also something you were told in middle school: be yourself. "Likability leadership expert" Michelle Tillis Lederman believes that if you're not yourself during your interview, you probably won't be a great fit for the job. Interviewers are far more likely to want to see someone real rather than someone projecting an image of a perfect person. Michelle makes a stellar observation that the interview often starts long before the actual sit-down interview itself. Michelle Tillis Lederman's new books are Nail the Interview, Land the Job and The 11 Laws of Likability.
Knowing how to tell a good story is like having mind control. Alan Alda shares some incredible tips for captivating a crowd—or nailing your next job interview.
People who are natural storytellers make it look easy, but cut to the moment you're in the hot seat—at an interview, a conference, or even in a social setting—and suddenly the suave-ness is not so forthcoming. So what is the key to telling a story that grips a crowd, and takes them emotionally from point A to point B? This has been a point of focus for actor and author Alan Alda throughout his career, and here he draws on two examples from his life: the first about a brilliant nano-scientist who couldn't get anyone to care about his breakthrough invention until he let slip that it was a total accident; and the second is a simple but astounding demonstration that involves a person carrying a glass of water across a stage. Not exactly riveting? Watch and learn, young grasshopper. Alan Alda's most recent book is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?.
It’s illegal, yet usually a subconscious act. So how can we scrub bias from the hiring process?
Say you go to a job interview and sometime after, the interviewer sends you a friend request on Facebook. Would you accept it? The question gives us pause. It’s a paradox, really. On the one hand, not accepting might mean you have something to hide. On the other, if you accept, you could be evaluated on far more than your CV. Though the unemployment rate just took another dip, it’s still hard to find a good job nowadays, one that can sustain us and lead to a solid future.