We’ve all done it — listed “proficient” next to a language or software on our resume and prayed to all the gods the hiring manager didn’t really mean it when he listed it in the job description.
Because, as you know deep down, “proficient” doesn’t mean you can say “Hello” in Spanish, or you know how to plug numbers into a spreadsheet. By including this, you’re stating that you can use your knowledge in your day-to-day job to improve and streamline a process.
You should know that while some hiring managers will skim over this section, others might test you. Former recruiter Richard Moy says, “Whenever ‘language proficiency’ was included in a job I was recruiting for, it wasn’t enough for candidates to just add it to their resumes. I knew whoever we hired would actually have to speak that language. Therefore, we’d have to test their abilities during the interview process.”
But have no fear, every skill can be learned, and I’ve got just the thing to learn them and boost your resume in the process—online classes! Plus, these are all free, so there’s no reason not to try them.
MICROSOFT OFFICE AND GOOGLE DOCS
1. Excel 2016
Yes, Excel can be huge for analyzing data efficiently. Learn how to take advantage of this popular tool in one five-hour crash course.
Length: 82 lectures/ 5 hours
Before you shake your head and tell me you already know how to use Google Docs, maybe get a quick review on spreadsheets, docs, forms, and presentations—it can’t hurt.
Length: about 1 hour
Take your proficiency in PowerPoint to the next level in one day with this class, and you’ll have the best interview presentation out of all the candidates.
Length: 71 lectures/ 3-6 hours
Whatever language you learned in high school and swear you still remember, you can brush up on it on Duolingo, a fun and colorful language site that’ll help you set achievable goals.
Length: 5-20 minutes a day
No matter what level you’re at, there’s a class for you, whether it’s to (finally) master grammar, understand literature, or be able to casually converse.
This simple, interactive website will walk you through just about any major language—just choose if you’re a beginner or more advanced and you’ll be on your way!
We live in a visual world, and Photoshop is a key ingredient to becoming a master of web design. In less than five hours, you’ll be a bit more confident to check this box off your application.
Length: 2-3 hours
Even you can become a professional-level designer with this tutorial—taught by a creative director and 3D expert.
Length: 30 lectures/ 2 hours
Prove to employers you can design a pristine page layout or document by taking a course on this other key Adobe program.
Length: 105 lectures/ 11 hours
Data and Analytics
Whether you will work alongside a data scientist, manage one, or might want to explore the field, this basic course will give you all you need to know and “be as convenient [for you] as possible without sacrificing any of the essentials.”
Length: 9 lectures
This class is a two in one package—you’ll be taught how to use Python, a coding language, andlearn how to analyze data from it, and write about it. Perfect for those starting from zero when it comes to programming.
Length: 4 weeks/ 5 hours per week
Google Analytics is a free tool, so why not use it to gain some important insights (and impress a hiring manager)? This course will teach you how to set it up, how to monitor traffic, and how to analyze data and set goals for growth.
Length: 10 lectures/ 1 hour
Grow your LinkedIn presence—and your potential employers’—in less than an hour with this basic online course.
Length: 9 lectures/ 43 minutes
14. Using Twitter
As one of the top platforms in social media, you’ll want to not just know how to write a clever tweet, but how to use Twitter to spot trends, network, and market a brand.
Length: 1-2 hours
15. SEO Training
Don’t just come up with great ideas for driving traffic, prove you know how to do it effectively with this search engine optimization crash-course.
Length: 42 lectures/ 2-7 hours
These two languages are the “building blocks” of the web, so this intro course is a great place to start if you want to become a front-end developer, or just show your versatility in your application.
Length: 3 weeks/ 6 hours a week
Length: 8 projects/ 6 quizzes
And finally, if Python is the language you need to know, this comprehensive course will have everything you need, from building to solving problems to automating your tasks.
Length: 43 lectures/ 5 hours
Are you smarter than an interviewer? If you prepare properly, you will be.
During a job interview, employers sometimes ask tricky questions to trip you up – not out of maliciousness, but to get an accurate sense of your candidacy. Interviewers know that you’ve probably practiced all of the traditional questions, so they try to stump you with trickier ones to get a better idea of your background, your communication skills, and how you’ll perform should they offer you the job.
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Are you the type who checks email during your vacation?
The Trap: This is a tricky one. On one hand, you want to frame yourself as someone who is dedicated to their work. At the same time, employers know that employee health and wellness is a key factor to continuous success and want to make sure you’re smart about taking care of yourself even outside of the office. Burn-out is a real thing, and no matter how durable you think you are, everyone is human and everyone needs a little rest sometimes.
How to Answer: Confirm your dedication to getting your job done, but also convey your understanding that personal well-being is key to professional success.
Sample answer: “I’m 100% dedicated to going above and beyond when it comes to fulfilling my responsibilities. That being said, I also know that it’s important to take care of myself to ensure my long-term success. I try not to work when I’m on official vacation. But, before I leave for a vacation, I always make sure all my duties are covered before signing off, and I do make sure my supervisor has my personal cell phone number should an emergency arise.”
Next: Is this position a similar role to any other jobs you are considering?
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Is this position a similar role to any other jobs you are considering?
The Trap: Your interviewer may have two goals in mind here. He or she may be angling to uncover where else you’re applying, or may be trying to get a better idea of your past experience, and your future professional goals. This can be a good way for interviewers to get a sense of your strongest skills and determine if you’ll actually be a good fit for the job.
How to Answer: If you’re applying for a variety of different positions, certainly don’t name them all – and don’t name-drop different companies.
For one, you don’t want your employer to think that your skills and interests are totally all over the place. Of course, it’s good to have a wide-range of different abilities, but it’s most important to present yourself as the best fit for the specific job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re a writer who is also a project manager and you’re interviewing for project management jobs, you wouldn’t want to mention that you’re also applying to writing jobs. Fortunately, this is the type of question where it’s acceptable to give a general answer and then move on.
Sample Answer: “Yes, I am looking for jobs that fit this description. This is my preferred field, which I’m personally and professionally passionate about. Fortunately, the job description, requirement and responsibilities of this specific position seem best aligned with my experience and interests.”
Next: What’s your biggest weakness?
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What’s your biggest weakness?
The Trap: The first step to fixing a problem is admitting it. When employers ask this question, it’s not just about figuring out your weaknesses, but about finding out whether or not you’re aware of them, and if you’re intending to make changes.
How to Answer: Be modest. We all have weaknesses, and it’s okay to mention some parts of your skill set that need work. But, give your weakness a silver lining, and use your answer as an opportunity to highlight other strengths and underscore your determination to keep getting better.
Sample Answer: “I’m a perfectionist – sometimes to a fault. While this means my work is always high-quality, I’ve realized that sometimes I spend more time obsessing over little details that don’t matter in the long-run, rather than moving on to my next task. I’m learning working on prioritizing between perfectionism and efficiency, and learning about time management and productivity strategies.”
Next: If you could work for any company, where would you work?
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If you could work for any company, where would you work?
The Trap: Your interviewer may be trying to figure out how invested you are in their company, in addition to determining where else you might be looking to apply. People sometimes have trouble answering this type of question because they can’t decide if they should keep mum, or mention some other, big-name companies that they’ve interviewed with.
The Best Way to Answer: Don’t mention any specific companies.
Think about if you were on a date, and your date asks, “If you could date anyone else in this restaurant, who would it be?” If you asked your date that question, what would you want to hear? Emphasize how the company you’re interviewing with is your top priority.
Sample Answer: “Actually, I’ve spent a lot of time during my job search researching different companies I might want to work out, and this company stood out the most. I share your mission, values and objectives and feel that I would really thrive in this type of work environment.”
Next: Why do you want to work here?
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Why do you want to work here?
The Trap: Employers want to figure out if you’ve done your research about the company, and whether you want this job, rather than any old job.
The Best Way to Answer: Don’t just say that you want to work there because there’s free gym access, complimentary coffee and a casual dress code. Make sure your answer has real meaning. Be enthusiastic in your answer and talk about how you connect with the company’s core values, their mission, and the work they do.
Then, you can go into a little more detail about the specific position for which you’re applying.
Sample Answer: “I truly feel aligned with the company’s values, mission and goals. I connect with your belief in integrity in your work, in fostering an open, honest and supportive workplace, and your desire to better the lives of both your employees and your customers. I believe that this position, specifically, will provide a huge – and enjoyable – opportunity for me to contribute to your objectives and add value to the company as a whole.”
Next: Where do you see yourself in five years?
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Where do you see yourself in five years?
The Trap: Employers don’t want to invest in hiring, training and paying an employee who’s not going to stick around, or who’s going to change career paths. Though it’s becoming more and more common for people to spend less and less time at each job they hold, you certainly don’t want to give your employer any doubts about your commitment to the role.
The Best Way to Answer: You don’t have to profess that you absolutely see yourself with the same company.
Instead, answer in a way that demonstrates your commitment to growing within your field. Employers want to hire employees who are self-motivated and who have an inner drive to better themselves, and keep learning. But, keep in mind that an employer may follow up with a question asking about specifics, so if possible have a few key tangible goals you’d like to accomplish.
Sample Answer: “I see myself working within this field, but I hope to have progressed to a higher level of responsibility, possess a greater degree of knowledge and advance and expand my skill set. I always want to keep learning, keep getting better, and I hope after five years my efforts will carry me closer and closer to becoming an expert at what I do. That being said, I’m also committed to staying happy and fulfilled with my career so that, too, factors into my five-year plans.”
Next: What do you think your references will say about you?
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What do you think your references will say about you?
The Trap: Employers want to see if you’re insecure about your references and if you’ll volunteer any negative information about your prior experience or your ability to succeed in your role.
The Best Way to Answer: Simply put, don’t fall for the trap, but do be modest. Under no circumstances should you offer up any negative information. Your references wouldn’t have agreed to serve as references if they weren’t willing to speak positively about you.
Sample Answer: “I’ve had a wonderful experience working with all of my references, so I do expect their testimonials to reflect all that we’ve accomplished together at work, along with positive rapport we share personally.”
Next: Which part of the job description sounds most challenging, and why?
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Which part of the job description sounds most challenging, and why?
The Trap: Are you really as experienced as you say you are? When it comes to a job description, there will likely be aspects that you can ace, and aspects that will cause you some trouble. Employers want to know if your strengths align with their greatest needs.
The Best Way to Answer: A lie about your skills will come to haunt you later, so be honest. At the same time, use the answer as an opportunity to present yourself as a candidate who is always up for a challenge, and who is sharpening your skills to keep up with that challenge.
Sample Answer: “As a visual designer, the bulk of my experience has been in graphic design, specifically logos, posters and advertisement. I find dynamic web design more challenging, but challenges like that I live for. I just completed an online course on designing for mobile apps, and I’m currently taking another one in user experience design to ensure my abilities keep up with the latest trends.”
Next: Tell me about your dream job.
Tell me about your dream job.
The Trap: In many cases, passion breeds productivity. Dedication leads to success. Employers want to know just how invested you’ll be in the role, or if you see the job as a stop-gap measure just to keep up some income while you hunt for something better. Along the same lines, employers want to know if you love the idea of the job, or the job itself. Just because a job title sounds glamorous, doesn’t mean you’ll love the day-to-day work.
How to Answer: Is the job you’re applying for your dream job? If yes, then say so, emphatically. If your dream job is far-flung or far-fetched, it’s probably best not to mention it. You want the employer to understand that you’ll be fully invested in the position and not day-dreaming about some other position while you’re at desk. If the job you’re applying for is somewhere in between, you can tactfully frame your answer to convey that.
Sample Answer: “Advertising is my dream field and the junior copywriting position is an ideal placement for me right now. Of course, I know I have lots of learning to do before I can achieve my dream job – a creative director – and I believe this job will put me on that path.”
Next: Everyone has one exaggeration on their job application. What’s yours?
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Everyone has one exaggeration on their job application. What’s your’s?
The Trap: Will you fall for your interviewer’s attempt persuade you into admitting that’s an exaggeration or little white lie within your application? Hopefully not. And hopefully, your cover letter or resume is free from any mistruths. It’s never worth lying on your application.
How to Answer: Keep your cover letter and resume honest so you can be honest when you answer. (Did you lie on your resume?
Here’s what to do.)
Sample Answer: “I’m confident that my cover letter, resume and portfolio accurately represent my experience and my work. You are welcome to reach out to the references I provided if you’d like them to vouch for my attributes.”
35 Toughest Interview Questions With Answers
Best Answers for the Hardest Interview Questionshttp://jobsearch.about.com/od/inter…_campaign=list_jobsearch&utm_content=20150715
Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
It’s important to be prepared to respond effectively to the interview questions that employers typically ask at job interviews. Since these questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.
You don’t need to memorize an answer, but do think about what you’re going to say so you’re not put on the spot during the job interview. Your responses will be stronger if you prepare in advance and have a sense of what you want to play up during your interview.
Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
Review the top 10 interview questions you’ll most likely be asked at a job interview, plus the best answers. Also, review the other questions you may be asked, so you’re prepared to ace the interview.
Questions to Ask an Employer During a Job Interview
1. What is your greatest strength? – Best Answers
This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it’s important to discuss the attributes that will qualify you for the specific job and set you apart from the other candidates.
2. What is your greatest weakness? – Best Answers
Another typical question interviewers will ask is about about your weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee.
3. Why are you leaving or have left your job? – Best Answers
When asked about why you are moving on, stick with the facts, be direct and focus your interview answer on the future, especially if your leaving wasn’t under the best of circumstances.
4. Tell me about yourself. – Best Answers
Here’s how to answer questions about you without giving out too much – or too little – personal information. Start by sharing some of your personal interests which don’t relate directly to work.
5. Why do you want this job? – Best Answers
This question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company. Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you.
6. Why should we hire you? – Best Answers
Are you the best candidate for the job? Be prepared to say why. Make your response a concise sales pitch that explains what you have to offer the employer, and why you should get the job.
7. How do you handle stress and pressure? – Best Answers
What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? The best way to respond to this question is to give an example of how you have handled stress in a previous job.
8. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it. – Best Answers
The interviewer wants to know what you do when you face a difficult decision. As with the question about stress, be prepared to share an example of what you did in a tough situation.
9. How do you evaluate success? – Best Answers
What does success mean to you? A question like this gives your potential employer a sense of your work ethic, your goals, and your overall personality. Consider the company and your role and formulate an answer based on those and your personal values and goals.
10. What are your goals for the future? – Best Answers
This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company you’re interviewing with.
Job Interview Question: Do You Work Well With Other People?
How to Tell An Employer You Work Well With Others
Hiring managers often mention that some of the interview questions which don’t typically get the best responses from job applicants are questions about working with others. Companies want to know how you work well with other people and you’ll need to say more than that you enjoy working with others, which is the standard response.
It’s important to think about how you work with others because even if your role in the company doesn’t require a lot of communication, you will still need to deal with those you work with in a professional and personable manner.
Companies are as interested in your soft (people) skills as they are in your hard (quantifiable) skills. Here’s more on hard skills vs. soft skills and what employers are seeking in applicants.
In addition, regardless of the job, employers don’t want to hire people who are difficult to get along with because that will cause workplace issues and conflicts. It can make sense to screen out applicants who don’t have strong people skills, even if they have solid qualifications for the job.
Expanding Your Response
Candidates often say that they “enjoy working with people” but don’t explain or expand upon their response. Anyone can say that they work well with people, but it’s important to show hiring managers how you accomplish it.
How can you avoid the pitfall of giving a lame interview answer, but still make a viable point about your suitability for jobs requiring lots of interaction with people – and even for jobs that don’t?
What do you do that makes you a good people person at work? That’s what the interviewer wants to know.
What’s important is to show your prospective employer the skills you have and how you have used them in the workplace, using real-life examples.
Keys to Responding to Questions
The first key is to specify the types of interactions with people that are attractive to you or at which you are particularly adept. In addition to specifying how you work well with managers, co-workers, customers, vendors, and others, you should also speak to what you accomplish during those interactions. Here are some examples of what your people skills might allow you to do:
Assess the skills, personality traits and work ethic of candidates by applying behavioral interviewing techniques.
Motivate subordinates to improve performance.
Lead group discussions in a way that incorporates diverse views and draws consensus.
Develop a comfortable rapport with clients and determine their preferences for products and services.
Listen actively and emphatically to encourage clients to share their feelings and problems.
Create and delivering training sessions which engage the audience in active learning.
Provide difficult news to employees targeted for layoffs.
Mediate conflicts between employees or with clients.
Resolve customer complaints with patience and creativity.
The next key to interview success is to give examples of situations at work where you have used these people skills. Prepare concrete examples to convince employers that you actually possess those strengths.
Your examples should convey how, when, and where you applied your skills or interests and the outcomes. Personalize your examples so they reflect your skills and experience as they relate to the job for which you are applying.
Working on a number of team projects has allowed me to develop my ability to communicate clearly with others, and mediate conflicts between team members. For example, on a recent project, two of my teammates were having trouble coming to an agreement about how to approach an element of the project. I listened to each of their concerns, and got everyone to sit down and come up with a solution that would make everyone happy. Because of my ability to listen to others and mediate conflict, we were able to finish our project ahead of schedule, and even received commendation from our employer for the high quality of our project.
I am a patient listener and clear communicator, which is essential to being a sales representative. Customers often call me with complaints and concerns, and my ability to patiently listen and empathize makes them feel appreciated. I then work with them to come up with creative solutions to their problems. I believe my people skills are the reason I won best sales representative three years in a row at my previous company.
My ability to communicate effectively with others has been critical to my success as a manager. For example, my ability to listen to my employees has helped me motivate my staff and improve performance. When the quality of one employee’s work began to falter, I met with the employee to discuss the issue. I listened to her own concerns about her work, and we discussed ways to resolve her concerns while improving her performance. I firmly believe that being able to clearly communicate with and actively listen to employees is essential to improving their performance.
How to Answer Interview Questions about Your Salary Expectations
No matter how great the job interview goes, there’s always that one question that stops you short. What are you looking for in terms of salary? Such a straightforward question and yet, the answer is so complex.
How to Answer Interview Questions about Your Salary Expectations
You want to aim high, but what if you put yourself out of salary range? On the other hand, if your target compensation is too low, you leave the employer room to go even lower and you could end up miserable.
Worse, you don’t want to decide before you even know what the job is, as you do when asked to disclose a salary on an application.
While there may be no right answer, there is a way to think about the question and get what you want.
How to Determine a Salary Requirement
Do You Have to Answer Questions About Salary?
As difficult as it may be to answer the question, it’s more difficult not to – especially on an electronic job application. Try and skip the question and you can’t move on to the next page, and the field only accepts a number. That is when the exact number is important.
If you are in an interview, you could try to skirt around the question with a broad answer, such as: “My salary expectations are in line with my experience and qualifications.” Or “If this is the right job for me, I am sure we can come to an agreement on salary.” But the recruiter or interviewer will likely be looking for a number, so come prepared with a target salary figure or at least a range in mind.
That means prepare for every interview, even over the phone. If you are caught off guard, without something in mind, you could lowball yourself or seem confused.
How Do You Determine Your Salary Expectations?
Depending on how much you want the job, your individual needs and circumstances, you can figure out a number to offer with confidence.
If it is a lateral move in your industry, you probably have a sense of average salaries. Unless your last company was known in the industry for its low salaries, assume that your current salary is in line with market expectations.
What would you consider a fair raise from your current employer? That could be a good low-end starting point. Or ratchet up your current pay by as much as 15% to 20%, which gives you incentive to switch companies and is still within reasonable range for your industry and level of experience. Remember, only offer a number that you will accept and be able to live with.
If you are moving to a position with more responsibility or in a different industry, it helps to do some research on the position and its value in the career market.
Researching Salary Expectations
There are many websites that offer salary averages and estimates. Sites like Salary.com, Payscale.com and Indeed.com all offer comparable data, but if you have time to look at more than one source you may get a better perspective of range.
You can also input a variety of job titles to see if the averages change significantly. The problem with some salary sites is that job titles may vary from company to company. If it is possible instead get a sense of salary based on job responsibilities, you can come up with a more accurate number. Also remember to narrow your research to your region. Salaries for a job in Austin, Texas, may be different than those in New York, for example.
If the research seems off, go with your gut. Remember, you don’t want to confront a hirer with unreasonable expectations. But you also want a salary you can live with. If that’s not there, the job is not right for you.
Job Interview Question: How Do You Handle Failure?
How to Respond to Interview Questions About Coping With Failure at Work
Employees in virtually every job will encounter failure from time to time, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that interviewers will ask about your ability to cope with failure on the job. They will want to learn how you maintain your composure, attitude, energy and focus when you aren’t successful.Recruiters will also want to determine if you have the confidence to admit your failings and learn from your mistakes.In addition, this type of question is another device for uncovering your weaknesses to determine whether you have the right stuff to get the job done.It’s much easier to discuss your successes than your failures, but there are ways to answer this interview question without it looking like you can’t handle the job. In fact, being able to cope with failing and moving on can be an indicator of your success at work.
How to Respond
The best approach to this kind of question is to identify some scenarios when you came up short on the job in advance of your interview. Choose situations where you took responsibility for your failure, learned from it and took steps to avoid recurrences of similar failures.
Typically it is safer to cite failures that were not very recent. Be ready to describe your strategy for self-improvement in detail and to reference subsequent successes you achieved after taking those steps.
Your response to this question can begin with a general summary of your approach.
For example, you might lead with a statement like:
“I have always lived by the maxim that nobody is perfect, so I am relatively comfortable taking responsibility for my shortcomings. My approach is to figure out what I could change to avoid similar circumstances in the future. I look to my professional colleagues in similar jobs and co-workers at my organization for suggestions on how to improve. I am aggressive about taking workshops, training seminars and online tutorials to upgrade my skills.”
Share an Example
Employers will likely follow up with a request for you to provide an example of a failure that you addressed, so be ready to furnish something like this:
“When I was managing the Park Side Restaurant in 2010, I experienced a year without revenue growth after several years of substantial increases. As I analyzed the situation, I realized that some of my competitors were grabbing a segment of my customers by using online advertising/promotions and implementing a social media strategy. I recognized the need to move aggressively into the future, and mastered some digital marketing skills. I attended several workshops at the annual conference, took a class in digital marketing and hired a tech savvy intern to help introduce a new marketing strategy. We restructured our website, instituted a loyalty program, partnered with Groupon and initiated a Facebook campaign. After implementing these changes, our revenues increased by 15% in the next quarter.”
What Not to Say
Finally, avoid references to any failures that expose inadequacies that limit your ability to carry out core components of the job.
The only exception to this rule would be if you could tell a very compelling story about how you eliminated those weaknesses. But again, be careful. You don’t want to leave the employer with the impression that you don’t have the qualifications to succeed on the job.
Job Interview Question: How Do You Handle Success?
How to Respond to Interview Questions About Succeeding at Work
In most jobs, employees regularly encounter moments of success as well as moments of struggle or failure. You have probably anticipated questions about your professional shortcomings and how you handle failure, and have focused on this type of question as you have prepared for interviews.
However, you might be surprised by questions about how you respond to success, and miss out on an important opportunity to impress your prospective employer.
Most employers are looking for consistently high levels of productivity for their staff as well as continual growth and development. So they may ask a question like “How do you handle success?” to determine whether you coast after your achievements, and to see if you learn from your successes.
They may also be attempting to assess whether you are a team player or a good manager and have the ability give credit to colleagues who contributed to your achievements.
How to Respond to Interview Questions About Success
The best approach to answering this question is to prepare specific examples of your successes and to reference how you assessed the factors contributing to your achievements. Then share how you applied this knowledge to continue your professional development and to generate positive results.
You could reference a time when you led a team that was able to deliver a product ahead of schedule, along with the steps the individuals took to ensure that high quality was maintained despite the accelerated schedule.
You could then share how you recognized each effort, and how you and your staff were able to implement the technique on future deliverables.
For example, you might say “I like to maintain a consistent level of productivity and take both my successes and failures in stride. I try to learn from both and apply that knowledge to future situations. For example, last August my sales team landed P&Z as a client. We were all elated, and I took my staff out for a celebratory dinner. I thought up a series of awards to recognize the role that individual staff had played in the process, and saluted members of the team. I called a meeting for the next Tuesday to break down the process and identified several strategies that contributed to our success. We discussed new targets, and six months later landed another top consumer products client using some of the same tactics.”
Make it Relevant
When you think of an example to share with hiring managers, be sure that it’s relevant to the job and the company. Take a look at the job posting and pick one of the job requirements. Then share a response that includes something similar, if possible, to what you would be doing in the new job. The more focused your success story, the more it will have a positive impact on the interviewer. Here’s how to match your qualifications to a job.
What Not to Say
Try not to make your response all about you. Especially if you’re being hired for a job where you are part of a team or in a management role, it’s a good idea to give credit to the people who were instrumental in helping you succeed.
Sharing the credit for your successes will show the interviewer how you will be able to fit in when you are in a job that involves working well with others.
Why Amazon and other companies are trying 30-hour workweeks
For today’s always-on, ever-connected workers, it’s no surprise that the traditional 9-to-5 is dying. But what will the new normal look like?
Rather than expecting employees to work more, some companies are experimenting with shorter schedules.
Recently, Amazon announced that it is piloting a new 30-hour workweek for a group of technical teams within the human resources department. Employees work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and the remaining 14 hours of work for the week can be distributed whenever is convenient for the employee. In exchange for the flexible schedule, employees get 75 percent of their normal salaries and receive full benefits.
“This initiative was created with Amazon’s diverse workforce in mind and the realization that the traditional full-time schedule may not be a ‘one size fits all’ model,” the company says in an invitation to a talk about the new program. In the test program, everyone on the team will be working part-time, including managers.
Amazon (AMZN) is not the only company testing new schedules. An online search optimization company in Sweden, Brath, operates on a six-hour workday schedule and offers full pay and benefits. Its leadership touts its high retention and ability to be ultra-productive.
“Today we get more done in six hours than comparable companies do in eight,” says Magnus Brath, founder of Brath, in a post on the company’s website. “We believe it comes with the high level of creativity demanded in this line of work. We believe nobody can be creative and productive in eight hours straight. Six hours is more reasonable, even though we too, of course, check Facebook or the news at times.”
And currently, a care center for the elderly in Sweden, Svartedalens, is running a trial period of having employees on six-hour shifts, according to Henrik Dahlberg, a spokesperson for the city of Gothenburg.
The trial started in February 2015 and will end in January, and employees still get full pay. A mid-experiment evaluation found that work-related illness decreased from 6.4 percent to 5.8 percent. Meanwhile, the staff reported feeling better, and the patients reported better care, Dahlberg tells CNBC.
The flip side of the shorter workday at the Svartedalens care center is that it had to hire 14 new nurses, an additional cost of $706,000.
To be sure, the experiment has been a subject of debate. “The project has been fiercely debated in the City Council,” Dahlberg says. “This trial has seen huge media coverage, and it is fairly well known among people in Gothenburg. I have not seen much criticism from the general public. My guess is that center/right voters find the trial somewhat unrealistic whereas green/left voters are hopeful and see this project as a way of challenging the eight-hour norm.”
There are also a lot of variables. While it’s possible for some companies to accelerate productivity, not all workers can shrink the length of their day with the same results. There’s no way for a barista to tend a coffee shop for eight hours in only six, for instance.
What we do know, however, is that working long hours in stressful conditions can be bad for your health.
A study of more than 600,000 men and women found health risks associated with working long hours, according to an October report published in the The Lancet, a medical journal.
“Employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours,” the report says. Longer hours were defined as 55 hours or more worked each week for the study.
Despite such warnings, Americans can’t seem to pull away. In the U.S., the average full-time worker is actually working at least 47 hours, according to a Gallup poll. And women who are given access to workplace flexibility programs often don’t use them for fear of being professionally penalized, according to the annual Women in the Workplace studyfrom LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company.
Then again, trying to complete a full week’s work in fewer hours may also be stressful.
“A four-day week causes workers to squeeze more hours than usual into a day. For workers who are already prone to overwork, the additional burden of compressing five days into four could literally break the camel’s — or worker’s — back,” says Allard E. Dembe, a professor of public health at Ohio State University, in an article he wrote forThe Conversation.
“I don’t know about you, but the prospect of a four-day week scares me,” he said. “I already have a hard enough time getting my regular weekly work done over five days.”
While more companies are experimenting with alternative work schedules, they remain in the minority. The majority of workers will have to police their own time, and that may mean setting boundaries.
“Why not just pull back at a certain point? Maybe it’s time to take Friday off every so often,” Dembe suggested.