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recruit@forgerecruitment.com
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Have you ever been in an interview and asked by the interviewer, “How do you handle stress?”.  If you have, how did you answer it?  Did you stumble? Were you happy with your answer?  If not, not to worry!  Today we’ll be talking about the best way to answer the “How do you handle stress?” interview question!

First, understand why you are being asked the question.  When asking this question, the interviewer wants to know a few things.  One, they want to see what you consider to be stressful. Two, they want to see how you react in stressful situations.  Three, if the role you are interviewing for has a higher than normal level of stress, they want to know if you will be able to succeed in the role. 

So, let’s look at the best way to answer the question.  When answering the question, you will want to provide an example that shows you handling and succeeding in a stressful situation. Keep this example work related. Focus on how you managed the stressful situation.   Don’t focus on the emotions you were feeling in the situation.  Rather, address what the situation was and what steps you took to overcome it.  Be sure to highlight the successful result.   For example, you can talk about juggling competing priorities within a specific deadline.  How did you decide what you did first, second, third?  What was the result?

A few additional tips.  When talking about how you handle stressful situations, be sure not to provide an example where you were the one that created the stressful situation.  For example, if you forgot to mail something out or follow up with a client on an important matter. Don’t say you never experience stress – it sounds fake. And, don’t emphasize the level of stress you felt – acknowledge that you felt stressed and then focus on how you addressed it.

So, these are our tips on how to best answer the stress question during an interview.  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other interview or job searching topics, be sure to contact us. 

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Talking about your strengths during a job interview seems like an easy thing to do.  Of course, you know all of the things you are good at! Obviously. 

But, are you answering the question properly? 

With this, today we will go over our tips on the best way to approach the Strength question in an interview. 

Often, we hear things like “I’m a hard-worker” or “I’m dedicated”.  These are buzz words that are often overused and only saying that about yourself will be too vague.   

Rather, when you are in an interview and asked to talk about your greatest strength or to talk about one thing you do really well, you need to be addressing a strength of yours that matches up with what is required for in the job you are interviewing for.  For example, if you are interviewing for a busy, high-volume, fast-paced litigation legal assistant role, answering this question with, “I get along with everybody” is not the best answer.  Rather, you would want to focus on multi-tasking skills, working with a sense of urgency and being highly efficient. 

Once you have a strength that aligns with the job, you need to get specific.  You will want to focus your strength and anchor it to a specific example.  If you have not yet seen our video on using examples, you can watch it to get a better understanding of how to best frame your example.  But essentially, your example is unique to you and will help illustrate your strength in action.  The example will provide as evidence to your claim.

Now, do you think of these strengths on the spot?  You can, but I suggest you prepare before your interview.  The best way to approach this is to sit down before your interview and write a list of your skills that match the job description or are needed in the job.  Then narrow down the list to your top 3-5 skills.  For each skill, write a brief example of you putting that skill into action. 

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to discuss further how to best answer the strengths question in an interview, feel free to contact us!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Question: Do you send a thank-you email after you have attended an interview?

Sending a thank-you email after an interview can have quite a few benefits – especially if you are very interested in the position you just interviewed for!

When we conduct interviews for our own internal staff, we enjoy receiving thank-you emails.  Not because we like to be thanked, but rather because: a) it re-affirms to us the person's interest in our role and b) it gives us some insight into the person’s writing style. 

So, if you are interviewing for a role you really want to get, sending a thank-you note should be something you consider doing.  HOWEVER, if not done properly, a poorly written or misguided thank-you note can sabotage your chances of getting the job. 

Therefore, if you are going to send a thank-you email after your next interview, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Use a professional subject line.  For example, you can list your name and the title of the position you are applying for.
  2. Include all your interviewers in the email or send separate emails to each person who you interviewed with.  If you do decide to send separate emails, be sure to vary each email. 
  3. Keep it brief. You don’t need to write a novel.  Rather a few short (2-3 line paragraphs) will work.
  4. With regards to the content of the email, you want to reiterate your interest in the role as well as the skills and qualifications you have that make you a strong match for the position.  You will also want to address anything that you think is important about yourself or your experience that may have not been covered during the interview.  You can also clarify any of your responses that you feel like you may have messed up. 
  5. Make sure you proofread your email.  I cannot stress this enough.  When we work with our candidates, I am always a little tentative of them sending a thank-you note without me first reviewing it.  I find a 2nd pair of eyes can really help.  You need to make sure you have no spelling or grammatical errors in your letter.  We have seen a poorly written thank-you note be the reason why someone was once removed from the hiring process with a company.

By sending a “thank-you” email either immediately after your interview or within 24 hours of your interview, you will do a few things – Again, not only will you confirm your interest in the position, but you will also affirm the positive impressions you made during your interview, keep your candidacy fresh and top-of-mind for the interviewer, and demonstrate your professionalism and drive.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you found this helpful.  As always, if you have any questions around this or any other interview or job searching questions, contact us!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Time-management interview questions may seem simple to answer. However, it’s important when giving your answer, you give the interviewer enough of a response that hits on the things they want to hear! With this, today let’s look at the best way to approach this question.

First, why are you being asked the question?

Some of the reasons an interviewer would ask you a time-management question would be because they want to see how well you can meet deadlines, manage your workload and adapt to stressful situations with multiple demanding tasks.
If they are asking the question, it would indicate that the skill will be required for the role you are interviewing for.

Second, how will the question be asked?

When asked this question, you may simply be asked to “tell me about your time-management skills” or “how do you handle competing priorities and tasks?”. Or the question may be disguised like this: “Have you ever missed a deadline? If so, what happened? If not, how do you make sure you’re not falling behind?” or “Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work? What did you do?” In the end, all of these questions want to gauge your time management skills.

Finally, how do we best answer the question?

Your answer will need to be specific and detailed when discussing how you manage your workload. Talk about your normal process for completing tasks and moving from one priority to the next. You will then want to address what you do when an unexpected change occurs – i.e. something urgent and last minute was dropped on your desk – what do you do? How do you adapt?

You will also want to discuss what process you have for working ahead. Or how you break down larger tasks into smaller tasks and how you impose personal deadlines for these smaller tasks.

It will also be important to address work-life balance. Focus your answer on how you give your full effort at work and are completely present while you are on the clock, and that your efficiency allows you to disconnect when you are at home.

Finally, you will also want to use an example that highlights you doing this in practice.

Overall, points you will want to touch upon will include making a to-do list, taking action or separating the important from the urgent and estimating the time and resources needed to complete each task. You will want to avoid anything which suggests that you procrastinate, inability to complete the tasks by their deadline, suggesting you had a meltdown or a poor attitude while completing the tasks.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions around this or any other interview questions, be sure to contact us.

Happy job hunting and good luck!

This week I wanted to address an interview question that most people struggle to answer – talking about your weakness.   

There is a common misconception that the best way to answer this question is by stating one of your strengths as a weakness.  For example, I cannot tell you how many times we hear “being a perfectionist” or “working too hard” as being the best answer to this question.  Let me tell you – it’s not. 

First off, let’s examine why the interviewer may be asking you this question.  Typically, when asked this question, the interviewer is looking to see how you handle and respond to questions that require you to self-critique.  Further, the interviewer will also ask this question to look for indicators that show that you have been able to learn and handle new challenges.

Therefore, instead of dreading this question, you should see this question as an opportunity to show that you have what it takes to succeed in the job.  How do you do this?  Here is how we suggest you answer the question.

You answer the question by talking about a skill or trait you have improved. You will want to talk about something that you have identified in yourself as a weakness and then proceed to outline the steps you have taken to improve on it. 

For example, I struggled with group presentations and public speaking when I first started in my career.  However, I registered for a public speaking workshop and was able to improve my communication and leadership skills.

You can address a skill that is relevant to the job you are interviewing for, or you can discuss a weakness that is not important to the job you are interviewing for.  Either way, the important part to remember is that you outline the steps you have taken or are taking to improve and upgrade the skill.  In doing this, you are showing that you are self-aware, you take initiative and you are committed to self-improvement.   Finally, you need to remember that when answering this question, it is important to frame your answer as a positive.  In doing so, you will turn your weakness into an accomplishment and ultimately a success. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other interview questions, contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Phone interviews can be tricky. You are selling yourself over the phone without the ability to gauge how the interview is going based off the interviewer’s body language or cues.

Phone interviews are a relatively common first stage of an interview process. But you may be thinking to yourself, what is the purpose of a phone interview? 

Typically, phone interviews are used to screen candidates to narrow the pool of candidates who will be invited for the in-person interviews.  These calls are done to either quickly assess the person’s experience and skillset.  Or, to see if what they are looking for, matches with what the firm can offer.  Or, to see if your personality matches with the personalities of the other members in the group or department.

When it comes to preparing for a phone interview, we suggest that you should prepare as you would for an in-person interview.  Know as much as you can about the role, the firm, who you will be speaking with.  Have your examples prepared, match your strengths to what the role requires and match your motivations for moving to what the company can offer. 

Before the call, confirm all the details, including the date, time, and who you will be talking to. Be sure you know whether the interviewer is calling you or if you need to make the call.

Have your resume out, so that you can follow along while on the call. Be ready 10 minutes early, so you don't sound rushed. Give yourself a quiet space, away from all distractions. 

When it comes to the call, make sure that you listen first - don't start speaking until the interviewer finishes the question. Do not interrupt them!   Ask for clarification if you're not sure what the interviewer is asking, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly when you respond. It's fine to take a few seconds to compose your thoughts before you answer.

Keep a glass of water on hand just in case your mouth gets dry.  Be sure to smile as you speak so as to project a positive tone in your voice.  Standing while on the call can also help you have more confidence and enthusiasm. 

Finally, remember that your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. At the end of your conversation, thank the interviewer and ask if it would be possible to meet in person and learn more about the firm and role.

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other job-related topics, be sure to call or email us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

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Toronto +1 647.799.0580
Vancouver  +1 778.200.4990 
recruit@forgerecruitment.com
recruit@forgerecruitment.com
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