Monthly Archives: April 2011

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

How a candidate previously acted in a work-related situation can often be the best indicator of their future behavior. This is why many interviewers take the time to ask questions that prompt the candidate to describe a specific work-related situation and how they handled it. These types of questions allow the interviewers to get an idea of your “soft skills.” Soft skills include: communication, decision-making, customer service, management, adaptability and teamwork.

If you’re not exactly sure of what a behavioral interview question might be, here are a few examples:

  • How do you determine priority of projects when scheduling your time?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate customer. What was the problem and how did you handle the situation?
  • Describe a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done.
  • How do you involve your manager and/or others when you make a decision?
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a difficult problem. What did you do? What was your thought process? What was the outcome?

While it’s hard to plan for every behavioral question you might be asked, having a general outline in mind for how to respond will help you be able to give a thorough and thoughtful response. Typically, the best way to answer a behavioral question is to describe:

  1. The situation or task you were faced with
  2. The action you took, while explaining your thought process
  3. The result or outcome of the situation based on your action.

What behavioral questions have you been asked in an interview? How did you answer them?

Thanks to Simply Hired Blog for these helpful tips.
For more on how to prepare for your interview, read:
Improve Your Listening Skills

Improve Your Listening Skills

Good listening skills are worth honing at any point in your life. When you’re in job-search mode, they can be even more crucial to improve. Active or focused listening, as it’s often called, is something most people don’t practice, and studies suggest we only remember between a quarter and a half of what we hear.

Active listening requires you to not only hear the other person but also to understand what they’re saying. Whether you’re interacting with your spouse, boss or an interviewer, these key elements of focused listening will help you.

Pay attention. Try not to be distracted. Even if the person you’re talking to has an ugly tie or isn’t focused them self. Hone in on both what they’re saying and what their body language is telling you. Make eye contact, avoid preparing your response while they’re talking and focus all of your energy on the current discussion.

Show you’re listening. Body language speaks volumes; attention to non-verbal communication can help you become a better listener. Make a point to nod occasionally, smile and positively respond with your face. Also maintain open and inviting posture (don’t fold your arms). If you’re confused by something the person says try summarizing it back to them. Start by saying, “so what you’re saying is…” or something similar. This will show that you’re paying attention and will also give them the opportunity to clarify anything that they may have communicated poorly.

Defer judgment. Don’t interrupt or start responding to the question before the employer finishes. Doing so makes the other person feel like you don’t care about what they’re saying and that you’re not listening. That’s the last thing you want, whether you’re in an interview or talking with a loved one!

Respond Appropriately. Demonstrate you’ve been listening and paying attention by providing an honest, candid and respectful reply. Again, body language plays into this. 60% of communication is non-verbal and studies show that people are more likely to believe your body language over your words when the two don’t match up.

Practice your listening skills as often as possible – any time you have a conversation! Focused listening will improve your relationships and it will also improve your memory. When it comes to your career, your listening skills will make a huge difference and help you stand out in a crowd – exactly what you need in a competitive market.

Do you practice focus listening already? Share how it’s helped improve your relationships and career below!

For more on this topic see: Improve Your Listening Skills to Win the Job

The 10 Most Innovative Companies in Film

01 / Netflix >>

For ushering in the era of streaming video. Netflix has grown to more than 20 million subscribers, $2.2 billion in annual revenue, and nearly 70% of its subscribers have streamed video over the Internet for at least 15 minutes. With 2010′s introduction of an iPad app and a long awaited iPhone app, those numbers are sure to increase.

02 / Double Negative >>

For blowing our minds with Oscar-worthy visual effects. If you saw any mind-boggling moments in 2010, chances are Double Negative created them. The visual-effects studio is responsible for the whiz-bang elements in Inception, real-world-meets-video-game Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Iron Man 2, and November’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

03 / Real D

For taking 3-D mainstream. RealD is working with Sony, JCV, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic, and DirecTV to bring 3-D capabilities to the home after tripling the number of 3-D-capable cinema screens installed worldwide to 9,500. RealD provides the technology for 85% of all 3-D films; more than 30 are planned for 2011.

04 / Dreamworks

For cornering the market on brand extensions. Shrek has spawned a Tony-nominated Broadway musical and a national tour (Madagascar is up next). And last November, just before the release of Megamind, Dreamworks Animation teamed up with FarmVille creator Zynga to build a Mega-Farm, the first ever feature film integration with the popular social game.

05 / Participant Media

For creating big-screen movies that can affect big-time social change. Just as 2008′s Food Inc. took on the corporate-controlled food industry and 2009′s The Cove aimed to stop mass dolphin-killings, 2010′s Waiting for Superman opened our nation’s eyes to the vast problems in our public education system. To promote the movie and its message, Participant is also working with advocacy groups, such as Michelle Rhee’s “Students First.”

06 / AMC

Theaters For transforming itself into an entertainment center and venue rather than just a cinema. It hosts sporting-event viewing parties, and Saturday morning airings of the Met opera sell out at $20 a ticket. It’s also expanding a fine-dining Fork & Screen program.

07 / Tool of North America

For ushering in interactive cinema on the iPad. Tool of North America’s Touching Stories is an iPad app that allows viewers to interact with the characters in the movie or ad they’re viewing. In one short film created by the company to showcase the app’s abilities, viewers can nudge characters on the screen (though they interpret it as a ghost), or shake the iPad to subject them to an earthquake.

08 / Tiffen

For bringing its high-end filmmaker tools to the masses. Tiffen created a handheld Steadicam (the stabilizing mount for filmmaking that creates even-handed shots even when the camera operator is moving quickly) for smartphones called the Smoothee, attaching to the smartphone to keep it isolated from small, jerky movements.

09 / Gnomon School of Visual Effects

For being the top educator in visual effects. Last July it launched Gnomon Studios, where advanced students work on professional projects under the guidance of industry directors and producers. Gnomon also launched its first full-time, three-year program for artists interested in working in production for films, games, and TV, including specialized tracks for modeling and texturing, character animation, visual effects animation, and 3-D.

10 / Magnolia Pictures

For its creative approach to indie film marketing. To release the Freakonomics movie, based on the book by the same name, Magnolia pictures chose an unconventional marketing strategy, releasing the movie through video on demand and iTunes before its schedule theatrical release. They also offered pay-as-you-wish screenings in 10 markets, with a minimum cost of $.01 and a maximum of $100. One-third of the tickets went for a penny, but the stunt generated interest for a tricky independent film.

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Things Looking Up for May Grads

According to NACE’s, 2011 Job Outlook Spring Update, things are beginning to look brighter for students graduating this May. Here’s why:

  • Employers indicated that they plan to hire 19.3% more graduates in 2010-11 than they did in 2009-10.
  • The number of applications employers received for each opening has risen nearly 45% since last year at this time, but the total number of positions/job postings reported has nearly tripled. This means that the average number of applications received per position dropped from 40.5 in 2010 to just over 21 currently. Giving graduates an even better chance of getting the job!
  • With the exception of four industries, increases in hiring are being seen across the board. Results suggest that oil/gas extraction, chemical (pharmaceutical) manufacturers, computer/electronics manufacturers, and employers in the finance, insurance, and real estate group are among the best bets for 2011 graduates.
  • College hiring is increasing in all regions. The increase projected by the Northeast is the largest, and nearly identical to what employers in this region projected in 2010. Compared to last year at this time, the Midwest and Western regions show the most improvement.
  • Employers were given a list of skills/qualities to rate and verbal skills were top ranked, followed by the ability to make decisions and solve problems, and the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work.
  • Expectations for on-campus recruiting look promising, as 80% of respondents expect to recruit for full-time and/or internship positions this spring.

Other sources are also reporting good news for 2011 grads. According to CNNMoney, manufacturing has expanded for the 20th straight month, retail sales had a slight gain in March and 216,000 jobs were added. Michigan State University’s, Recruiting Trends 2010-2011, indicates that total hiring this year will increase modestly by 3%, a significant increase over last year’s hiring forecast.

Although hiring levels are still far from what they were in 2007, students have good reason to be encouraged as they prepare to enter the work world.

For more on this topic see:
Happy New Year? Job Market Looking Up for College Grads?
College Grads: Best hiring picture in 4 years
Recruiting Trends 2010-2011

Wait… is this job for real?

It’s a perfect storm for job-seekers.  The cross-winds of an economy in recession and of thousands of job-hunting seniors create the perfect climate for scam artists to post fraudulent job postings designed to elicit money or personal information for a seemingly “perfect” job.  Protect yourself from being caught in a scam by educating yourself on what fraudulent job postings look like.  You may be looking at a fraudulent job posting if:

1. You are asked to provide your credit card, bank account numbers, social security number, or other personal financial documentation.

2. The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company, but the domain in the contact’s email address does not match the domain used by representatives of the company or contains the domain @live.com.

3. No address, actual contact, or company name is provided.

4. The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.  Western Union is often referenced for such transactions.

5. The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.

6. You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often for depositing checks or transferring money).

7. The posting description focuses on the amount of money to be made, not the responsibilities of the position or indicates a “first year compensation”.

8. The employer responds immediately after you submit your resume, asking for personal or financial information.

9. The position indicates a “first year compensation” that is far above the average compensation for that position type.

10. The company’s website contains information only about the job you are interested in, but lacks information about the company.

Even highly recommended job boards aren’t safe from some fraudulent postings. Educate yourself on these commonly used tactics: that is the best way to avoid being swept up in a scam.

Fraud tips sourced from Symplicity at: http://www.symplicity.com/blog/_1/17/fraud_posting_tips

More samples of fraudulent job postings can be found at: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobsearchscams/qt/scamexamples.htm.

Biola Ranked in Top 50 Social Media Colleges

StudentAdvisor.com, a Washington Post company, ranked Biola University #47 out of more than 6,000 colleges and universities in this month’s report. Ranking is based on how schools engage their audiences on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media tools, such as iTunes and podcasts.

Congratulations Biola!

Source: http://www.studentadvisor.com/top-100-social-media-colleges

10 Great Employee Qualities

If you’re wondering what qualities will really set you apart in the work place, here are 1o. Every boss desires to have an employee who models these qualities.

1. Manage Yourself
Manage yourself by knowing your roles and responsibilities. In addition, learn what it takes to go a step beyond what your current role entails. Know what makes you a competitive advantage to your boss.

2. Manage Your Boss
This means knowing your boss’s likes and dislikes and how they work best. For example, do they prefer to be updated via e-mail (a more visual based person)? Or do they prefer verbal updates (a more auditory person)? Learn how to break bad news to them, prepare them for meetings and for the unexpected.

3. Managerial Attitude
Even if you work an entry level position, have a managerial attitude. See to it that things are done the way they should be. Help manage the expectations of everyone in the team.

4. Time Management
Prioritize! Know what to do and when to do it. It’s important to avoid procrastination. Great employees know how to manage their time as well as their boss’s time.

5. Works for Results
Work with objectives in mind. Think: what is the overall goal of this project? With the goal always in mind, it will be easier to stay on task and to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

6. Can Do
Have a “can do” attitude. It’s never fun to work with someone who has a million excuses for why things don’t work or they hate their job. Be intentional about not having that attitude. Have the courage and patience to work things out. Bosses trust people who have a “can do” attitude.

7. Strives for Excellence
In everything you do, strive for excellence. Take the initiative to ensure things are being done properly. Spend time doing what everyone else takes for granted. This should not be confused with perfectionism (read Perfection vs. Biblical Excellence). Instead, consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

8. Enjoys Work
Peter Drucker said, “Those who perform love what they are doing.” A boss can feel whether employees enjoy their work or not. Someone who enjoys their work will naturally bring their best to the job.

9. Good Work Relationships
Creating and maintaining good relationships at work, across departments and ranks, is very important. This is a very helpful quality and should be a priority for every employee. With it, there will be more cooperation and you’ll have a strong network to help you get your work done.

10. Contributes Positively
If you have the above qualities, you’re already contributing positively. Have a good attitude, exceed expectations, take initiative, give suggestions and so on. This is how a great employee works and by doing so they help achieve greater goals for their organization.

Do you have these employee qualities? If so, how have they helped you in your career?

Thanks to Careerealism for some of these tips:
11 Great Employee Qualities: Do You Have Them?

Don’t Be Afraid of Opportunity

Holding your diploma for the first time or receiving a call back for an interview can be an empowering feeling. But when the reality of what it means sets in, even some of the biggest go-getters experience fear. Whether it’s calling to ask for a reference, going to your first (or 33rd) interview or realizing that you’ll be a college graduate in less than 8 weeks, feeling apprehensive is normal. Realizing that can help you move forward and learn how to embrace opportunity. Here are a few helpful things to remember:

Opportunity may Strike at the Unlikeliest of Times - but seize it anyway! When you get the call for an interview you weren’t expecting, suddenly your dream job may seem like a nightmare. The sheer amount of adrenaline coursing through your body may cause you to second guess what you’re doing. But don’t turn down opportunities because they catch you off guard or make you feel nervous.

It’s OK to be Nervous. It’s a normal human coping mechanism. By the time you’re five minutes into doing whatever made you so nervous you’ll probably find that you feel fine. When you face your fears after awhile they don’t seem that scary anymore.

People are People. The next time you’re stressed about meeting a deadline at work or editing a last-second slide for your presentation, remember this: they’re just people. People who have strengths, weaknesses and emotions just like you and me.

What has helped you embrace opportunity? Share below.

Thanks to Jim Armstrong of Brand-Yourself for these helpful tips. Read his story.

Other Related Posts to Check Out:
Perfection vs. Biblical Excellence
Being Young Has Benefits
Staying Positive in Your Job Hunt

Ways to Make Extra Money in Your 20's

Our generation is being faced with multi-faceted financial problems. Consequently, most of us need more than one means of income: regular check and a hustle check. Below are five  examples of side businesses you can start so that you have a hustle check coming in each month.

1. Freelance Writing and Blogging: Thanks to the internet you can literally find writing jobs just about anywhere. If you want to make some money as a freelance writer check out: Make A Living Writing.

2. Virtual Assistant: This side business is becoming very popular. Small businesses are always looking for administrative assistants, and it just so happens that most administrative tasks can be done via telecommuting. For a great example of this see: Virtual Assistant Services for Bloggers.

3. Social Media Management: Small businesses and professionals are constantly looking for people to run their social media accounts and no one has more experience in this area than young people.

4. Online Tutoring: Have a special skill that you can help people with? All you need is Skype and a PayPal account and you can run your own online tutoring business. That’s what Ashley over at The Middle Finger Project did back in the day to make some extra cash and now she’s a web entrepreneur extraordinaire.

5. Web Design: Many of us computer savvy young people know our way around WordPress and Adobe Photoshop. Even if you only have basic skills you can still make some extra money by helping those who are completely web design illiterate. A good example of a web design business run by 20somethings is: Shatterboxx Media.

Earning some extra money can be easier than you think. It will take time and perseverance to turn ideas into money generating gigs, but those are two things our generation’s got. So get creative!

Have you already started your own side business? What is it and has it been successful?

Thanks to The Smart College Grad for these tips & more.

Summer Jobs & Internships

Do you have a summer job or internship lined up yet? If not, it’s time to get a move on! The earlier you begin looking, the better. To help you get started, here are a few of the most recent jobs & internships posted to BiolaLINK.

  • Elementary Grade 6 Teacher at Grace International School
  • Web Developer Intern
  • College Ministry Coordinator
  • Online Media Producer
  • Legal Assistant Intern at Public Defender’s Office
  • Marketing & Communications Assistant Intern at the Department of Child Support Services
  • Junior High Ministry Leader
  • Finance Intern

To learn more about these and other positions, make a BiolaLINK profile.

There are countless websites where summer positions are posted daily. But many students begin to apply three or four months in advance so they go quickly. Don’t be shy! Here are a few other sites to check out: Internships.com, Christianjobs.com and Jobsearch.com.

Which websites have you used in the past to find a job?