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One-Week Job-Search: How to Lay the Foundation for a New Job in Just Seven Days

One of the hardest parts of job-hunting is often putting in enough effort to get the results you seek. You may respond to a few job ads, perhaps talk with a couple of people in your network, and possibly post your resume on a few job boards… but then you wait and nothing really happens.

If you are serious about finding a new job, then you need to put more time and dedication into the process and one way to accomplish this feat is to set aside a week to focus solely on your job-search. This process involves starting each day with a set of goals to accomplish and then spending the day doing your best to achieve them.

By following the guidelines in this article, you should be well on your way to laying the foundation for a new job.

Day 1 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to establish your job-search goals and to get organized. These two activities are essential to job-hunting success.

The ideal goal is one or more solid job leads by the end of the week, but you may have some other goals too, such as expanding your network of contacts and researching further educational or training opportunities.

Organization is essential. You can too easily waste time the entire week if you don’t step up the planning an organizing. Consider setting up some spreadsheets or logs for your network, for job leads, and for other aspects of your job search.

Day 2 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to make an inventory of your accomplishments, develop your USP, and analyze your network of contacts.

Before you can even begin to analyze your resume or work on your interviewing skills, you have to spend the time describing and categorizing accomplishments from all your relevant work experiences including school projects if you are a new grad. Review all your past experiences and brainstorm the impact you made how you performed the job differently than anyone else and what results you achieved. Whenever possible, try to quantify those accomplishments.

Once you’ve identified all your accomplishments, you can start on your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is the thing that makes you different better than all the other job-seekers. Your USP sets you apart. You’ll want to craft your USP into about a 10-15 word statement that you can use on your career marketing documents as well as in interviews. Some experts also refer to this statement as your elevator pitch.

The final part of your day should be analyzing and mapping your network of contacts. Your network is the people with whom you have a relationship family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, mentors, former bosses. And your network actually can extend to the networks of all the people you know. Your goal is to organize and prioritize your list of network contacts so that you’ll be prepared to contact the people who will most likely have access to or knowledge of job openings in your field.

Day 3 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to perfect your career marketing documents and spend more time on networking.

Now that you have identified your accomplishments, you can write a new resume or revise your existing resume. Actually, what you’ll be doing is perfecting your resume foundation because with each job opportunity, you’ll want to modify your resume to reflect the specific requirements of the job as well as use some of the words and phrases the prospective employer uses to describe the position. There simply is no such thing as one-resume-fits-all anymore.

Finally, if you have any concerns about your resume your most important job-hunting document consider having it critiqued by a resume professional.

The other important career marketing document is your cover letter. While the goal of your resume is to obtain an interview, the goal of your cover letter is simply to get your resume read. Your cover letter must be dynamic and concise. Your goal should be to develop a solid cover letter core that you will modify for each opportunity.

An oft-neglected marketing document is your list of references. Take the time now to review who you currently have listed, brainstorm some other possibilities, and most importantly, contact each person you have listed or want to list and be sure they are willing to be listed as a reference for you. Remember that you do not have to list former bosses as references; use people who know your work and will speak highly of it and of you.

The last part of your day should be spent on networking. First, send your newly revised resume to your key network members. Do not ask for a job, but ask for their help in identifying possible job opportunities. You should also look into ways to add new members to your network.

Day 4 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to exhaust all possible avenues for job leads.

First, follow-up with your network about any possible job opportunities because these leads will have the most likelihood for success.

Second, develop a list of prospective employers in your target area and then conduct an in-depth research campaign to learn more about each one, obtaining the name and contact information of the hiring manager for your area of expertise. Remember to check each organization’s job postings to see if there are any openings that match your qualifications.

Third, research and contact recruiters and temporary agencies that place job-seekers with your expertise.

Fourth, talk with the career services and alumni offices at your previous (or current) educational institutions and obtain possible networking and job leads.

Fifth, search some of the online job boards for possible leads. Don’t just search the major boards; consider geographic-specific or industry/profession niche boards.

Sixth, consider conducting some informational interviews. This networking tool often leads to the discovery of other job opportunities as well as strengthening/broadening your knowledge of a particular industry/profession and expanding your network.

Send or deliver cover letter and resume packets to the hiring manager for each of the leads you uncover.

Day 5 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to prepare for job interviews and follow-up on job leads.

The best way to secure a job offer is to perform strongly in job interviews, and the best way to perform strongly in job interviews is through preparation. The most basic preparation you can do is to review a list of typical job interview questions, such as you can find in our Job Interview Questions Database for Job-Seekers.

The next level of preparation is to uncover the types of interviews or interview questions that are most likely for your industry/profession. You can learn more here: Job Interviewing Resources for Job-Seekers.

The deepest level of preparation is to actually write your answers to expected interview questions. There’s considerable research that shows that this type of preparation helps you better retain the answers, thus helping you perform better in the actual interview. Just remember not to memorize your answers.

Finally, remember to format your answers to interview questions as short stories illustrative anecdotes that focus on your actions, accomplishments, and learning experiences.

And as the day progresses, remember to continue to track down and follow-up all job leads. Schedule interviews.

Day 6 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to continue following-up all job leads as well as pursue further career development.

Continue to work the phones, emails, and hit the pavement in your quest to uncover and follow-up on all job leads.

While you are waiting for the results of all your efforts, you may want to consider strengthening your interviewing preparation by developing a career portfolio. Your career portfolio contains an archive of job-search materials that help document your qualifications… your accomplishments. Portfolios often contain samples of your work, letters of accommodation/recommendation, awards and honors you’ve received, client testimonials, professional development, and much more.

Day 7 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to continue following-up all job leads, scheduling interviews, and considering other options to take.

Your persistence in tracking down job leads will pay off greatly, so keep at it.

You should now have several hot prospects on your radar.

However, if, at the end of the day, the end of the week, you have gotten little or no interest from all your hard work, you may want to consider working with a career professional to review all aspects of your job-search campaign. Sometimes an outsider can see and help you fix some minor issues that are holding you back from achieving your goals.

Finally, remember to keep your network in the loop and send thank-you notes to everyone who helped you in your job search.

Final Thoughts
The one-week job-search lays the foundation for a successful job-hunt, but you may not see the results of all your hard work for weeks or months after this intensive seven-day effort. You may get lucky and be in the right place at the right time, but if your one-week efforts do not lead to any solid job leads, the best advice is to keep at it. The average job-search takes months, so don’t get discouraged — just keep following-up all job leads and keep uncovering new ones.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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10 Deadly Sins of Job-Hunting: Top Ways to Bomb Your Job Search — and How to Avoid Them

Are you in the market for a new job, but find yourself struggling to find job leads or obtain interviews? Are you getting job interviews, but no offers?

The vast majority of job-seekers we talk with who are having a hard time finding a new job typically are making one or more of what the QuintCareers team refers to as the 10 deadly sins of job-hunting.

If you’ve been looking for a job for months with little or no success or are about to start a new job search review the most common ways job-seekers bomb a job-search, and then make certain your job-search avoids them.

1. Not having a job-search strategy. Any good job-search starts with a plan, a vision, and a strategy. Issues to address include the specific types of jobs you want to seek, prospective employers that match your values, and tactics for developing job leads. The more finely honed and developed your strategy, the more success you’ll have in uncovering perfect career opportunities.

2. Too little time spent on job-hunting. If you’re in no hurry to find a new job, passive job-searching may work fine for you. But if you are seriously looking for a new job, then you must commit large allotments of time daily (as much as you can spare, depending on whether you are working or unemployed) to the search time that is well-spent uncovering job leads, interacting with your network, preparing or going on interviews, and following-up with prospective employers.

3. Not maximizing all aspects of networking. Most job-seekers have now heard the statistics that show that the vast majority of new hires come from a networking situation, not from job boards or other job-search techniques. Thus, part of each day should be spent making new network contacts and talking with current network contacts. Take advantage of traditional face-to-face networking techniques, as well as online social networking sites. Consider informational interviews as a tool to build network contacts if you are seeking a job in a new field or location.

4. Spending too much time with online job sites. The big job boards are not useless not yet anyway but the time you spend on a Monster or CareerBuilder should be minimal. Better to use that time with a niche job board (by profession, industry, or location) or on each prospective employer’s career center. Most experts suggest you should still consider posting your resume on one of the major job boards, but don’t expect significant results. If you’re looking for job leads, consider using a job-search engine such as Indeed.com.

5. Problems with your resume. The typical problems with resumes include lack of focus, including misleading or untruthful information on resume, and/or writing weak, unquantified, or nonexistent accomplishments (or focusing on duties instead of accomplishments). While networking is the cornerstone to uncovering job leads, your resume is pivotal to obtaining interviews. Your resume, as your main marketing document to prospective employers, must have a sharp focus, be tailored to each specific employer and job, include only relevant information, provide quantifiable accomplishments, contain no errors of facts or writing, and entice the reader to want to meet you for an interview.

6. Lack of clear positioning, branding, digital presence. If you can’t clearly and concisely discuss who you are and what you want, how do you expect an employer to figure it out? While marketing and IT may not be your core strengths, you need to learn some elements of both if you want to have greater job-search and career success. Start with the basics, such as developing your Elevator Speech and resume, but move forward with online measures, such as developing a professional profile on LinkedIn. Ideally, you’ll get to buying your domain name and developing a branded Website that includes key information about who you are as a professional. As part of the hiring process, more and more employers are conducting online searches of candidates.

7. Not keeping current with skills, emerging technologies, or certifications. One of the biggest mistakes of mid-career and older job-seekers that we see is that they stop learning new and emerging technologies and techniques — encouraging the stereotype that old dogs can’t learn new tricks. Lifelong learning and professional development is essential in all career fields. Ideally, your current employer provides you with a professional development allotment, but if not, pay for the training, certifications, and education yourself. Besides staying current in your field, attending classes and professional meetings are also great methods of meeting new people and building your network.

8. Aiming too high or too low — feeling overqualified or underqualified for many job openings. You are wasting much of your time and energy if you are applying to jobs that are too far below you or way too much of a stretch. Take the Goldilocks approach and seek out jobs that are just right for the next step in your career. If you have a reason for seeking a position in which you are overqualified, such as you are looking for a less stressful job, and thus applying for positions that make you appear overqualified, carefully address that issue to even be considered. Underqualified? There’s no harm in making a case for a job that is a stretch from your current work — but you’ll need solid credentials and a great sales technique to even get considered. Overqualified? Read our article, Fighting the Overqualified Label: 10 Tactics for a Successful Job-Search. Underqualified? Read article, Underqualified? Ten Tips to Inspire Employers to Take a Leap of Faith.

9. Poor job interview preparation and/or weak interviewing skills. When we talk with employers, we hear the horror stories of job-seekers who arrive for interviews either completely unprepared or clueless about how badly they interview. Once your networking and resume get you in the door, your focus should be on researching the organization, both for its interviewing approach and to prepare you to ask and answer interview questions. We recommend job-seekers anticipate the most likely questions that will be asked and prepare strong and relevant responses. If you have had trouble with previous interviews, conduct mock interviews and other practice techniques to get you ready for the big day. Finally, remember the importance of first impressions and dress professionally, make eye contact and smile, and always greet the interviewer(s) with a firm, dry handshake. Find all the interviewing help you need interviewing database, common questions asked, behavioral and traditional interviewing articles and tutorials, and more in our Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.

10. Little or no follow-up. The burden is always on the job-seeker to follow-up with employers about potential job leads and after job interviews. While some employers may contact you, most are too busy with other obligations and responsibilities. While it’s harder to follow-up all your job applications, do the best you can because your persistence will lead to interviews. Similarly, after job interviews, first follow up with thank-you letters to each person who interviewed you, but also continue to follow up with the hiring manager and/or key contact to show your continued interest and enthusiasm for the position.

Final Thoughts
If you take away only three concepts from this list of 10 deadly job-seeker sins, take away the three most important aspects of a good job-search: strong use of networking, well-written and focused resume, and effective interview preparation and delivery.

Finally, one other area that many job-seekers feel inadequate is salary negotiation. It’s important to know when to anticipate a job offer and how to negotiate the salary or other aspects of the job offer. Learn more in our Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tools and Resources.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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Follow Up All Job Leads: Don’t Wait by the Phone (or Computer)

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re in the market for a new job, and after conducting all your research, you send out 20 cover letters and resumes to potential hiring managers. Weeks go by and you wonder why not even one of those hiring managers has called you for an interview. Is the problem too obvious? It must not be for situations like this one are the most common we hear about when job-seekers ask our advice about their situation.

If you remember nothing else from this article, please remember these words if you want to succeed in finding a new job: follow up, follow up, follow up. Following up job leads shows prospective employers your interest in the company and position and gives you another chance to sell your qualifications. Some job-seekers fear sounding desperate or annoying when making follow-up inquiries, but as long as you do it right, you will come across as interested, not desperate.

Determining Best Method of Follow-Up
How you follow-up your job leads depends partly on how you initially contacted the employer, as well as your own personal preferences. For job-seekers who simply hate talking on the phone, e-mail may be the best (or at least initial) method of follow-up, but for people who are natural extroverts, the phone may be the best way to showcase your personality.

But, don’t waste time debating the method you choose. The important lesson here is that job-seekers need to be aggressive in following up all job leads because employers are not going to call you when hundreds and thousands of other job-seekers are applying for the same position. Choose a follow-up method, review the follow-up tips listed below, and get moving toward a more successful job-search!

Tips for Following-Up
Here are some useful guidelines to consider before you follow-up with prospective employers.

General Tips:

  • Always make time to follow-up all job leads, no matter how busy you are.
  • Follow-up in a timely fashion usually a week to 10 days for conventional job-searching, sooner for online applications.
  • Create a job leads log, so you have a record of your job-search and follow-up.
  • If you apply online for a position, consider following-up the online application with a cover letter and resume sent to the hiring manager via postal mail. You will stand out over the other online applicants because few will also send a hard copy.
  • Keep your follow-up brief, to the point, and professional.
  • Focus your follow-up around your fit with the position and organization and your USP. You might also ask the hiring manager if he/she needs any further information not included in your original application.
  • If you recently completed training, received an award, or earned some other recognition that would make you an even better candidate for the position, be sure to mention it in your follow-up.
  • Continue following-up regularly, but don’t overdo it.

By Phone:

  • If you are nervous, consider developing a short script about what you want to say (such as your fit with the job, knowledge of the company, USP).
  • No matter what, you should at least make an outline or some notes of the key points you want to make.
  • Keep a copy of your resume nearby in case you need to refer to something on it.
  • Make the phone call from a place where you can talk calmly and not have distractions – and avoid following up from your current place of employment.
  • Be prepared for a short screening phone interview by practicing answers to common interview questions. Use our interviewing resources.
  • End the conversation thanking the hiring manager for his/her time and asking about the hiring timetable/next steps. If you are extremely confident, you could ask when you might expect an interview.

By E-mail:

  • Always address your email to the hiring manager. If you are having difficulty finding hiring managers, read this article: Sleuthing Out Hiring Managers Is Key to Job-Search Follow-up.
  • Keep your email short and to the point. Simply again state your interest in the job and your key qualifications for it.
  • Be sure to spell-check and proofread your e-mail before sending it.
  • Remember to check your email regularly.
  • Because e-mail is such a one-way communication, and you don’t really know if your e-mail is even being read, consider asking for a phone number so you can then follow-up by phone. (And if you get no response, do your research and uncover the phone number yourself.)

Final Thoughts
You may get discouraged if you discover through following up that you are not a final candidate for a position, but isn’t knowing that information sooner rather than later better in terms of moving forward with your job-search? And don’t let a rejection stop you; in fact, if you are told you will not be one of the job-seekers interviewed, consider asking why so that you can improve your chances for other job openings. And if you have a good rapport with the hiring manager, you could also ask about the possibility of an informational interview, possibly turning that person into a valuable networking contact and source of future job leads. You could also say that you would like to be considered for future openings.

Finally, please keep repeating these words at your mantra: follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. It truly is one of the keys to job-search success.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

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200 Informational Interview Questions For Success in any Interview

You should be well prepared when you conduct an informational interview with questions to ask your interviewee. Below are 200 possible questions. Of course, you can’t ask anywhere near this many in an interview of 20-30 minutes, but this plentiful list will ensure that you choose questions to which you really want the answers.  

General questions about your interviewee’s career field:

  1. What are the various jobs available in this field?
  2. What types of training do companies offer those who enter this field?
  3. In what ways is your occupation changing?
  4. How is the economy affecting this industry?
  5. What is the employment outlook like in your career field? How much demand is there for people in this career?
  6. How quickly is the field growing?
  7. What are the growth areas of this field?
  8. Can you estimate future job openings?
  9. What parts of the country offer the best opportunities in this field?
  10. What are the opportunities in this career like in [geographical area you are most interested in]?
  11. What is the typical entry-level salary in this field?
  12. What are the salary ranges for higher levels in this occupation?
  13. Is there a salary ceiling?
  14. Aside from such visible compensation as money, fringe benefits, travel, etc., what kinds of mental dividends (such as job satisfaction) does this career yield?
  15. Is this industry heavily regulated?
  16. What do you find unique about your career field?
  17. From everything you’ve observed, what problems can you cite regarding working in this career?
  18. What skills or personal characteristics do you feel contribute most to success in this industry?
  19. What sacrifices have you had to make to succeed in this field, and do you feel the sacrifices were worth it?
  20. When people leave this career, what are the usual reasons?
  21. What are the typical entry-level job titles and functions?
  22. What entry-level jobs offer the best opportunities for the greatest amount of learning?
  23. What are the most significant characteristics of this industry?
  24. What trends in the field would be most likely to affect someone just entering this career now?
  25. What kinds of people experience the greatest success in this field?
  26. What is the most important thing that someone planning to enter this career should know?  

All about your interviewee’s job:

  1. What is your exact title?
  2. Do other people in your company with the same job title that you hold have the same responsibilities?
  3. What was your title when you first started here?
  4. What precisely do you do? What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?
  5. What is your job like?
  6. To what extent is it you expected it would be?
  7. How much job security do you have in this position?
  8. What is a typical day like?
  9. What kind of hours do you normally work?
  10. Do you have to put in much overtime or work on weekends?
  11. Are the time demands of your job specific to this company, or would anyone in this career be expected to put in the same hours?
  12. Do you ever take work home with you?
  13. What kinds of problems do you deal with?
  14. What do you do if you can’t solve a problem on your own?
  15. Do you have to deal with a significant amount of conflict in his job?
  16. What systems are in place for dealing with conflict?
  17. What constraints, such as time and funding, make your job more difficult?
  18. What kinds of decisions do you make?
  19. Describe some of the toughest situations you’ve faced in this job.
  20. To what extent do you interact with customers/clients?
  21. What percentage of your time is spent doing each function?
  22. How does your time use vary? Are there busy and slow times or is the work activity fairly constant?
  23. Which other departments, functional units, or levels of the hierarchy do you regularly interact with?
  24. How much flexibility do you have in determining how you perform your job?
  25. Is your work primarily individual or predominately in groups or teams?
  26. How are work teams or groups organized?
  27. What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfactions connected with your job? What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? most challenging?
  28. What are your interests and in what way does this job satisfy your interests?
  29. What do you like and not like about working in this job?
  30. Do you find your job exciting or boring? Why?
  31. Are there aspects to your job that are repetitious?
  32. Is multi-tasking a skill that is required for this job?
  33. What projects have you worked on that have been particularly interesting?
  34. What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job?
  35. How did you learn these skills?
  36. What are the educational, requirements for this job?
  37. What other types of credentials or licenses are required?
  38. Is graduate school recommended? An MBA? Some other graduate degree or certifications?
  39. What obligations does your employer place on you outside of the ordinary work week?
  40. What social obligations go along with a job in your occupation?
  41. Are there organizations you are expected to join?
  42. Are there other things you are expected to do outside work hours?
  43. How has your job affected your lifestyle?
  44. To what extent does this job present a challenge in terms of juggling work and family life?
  45. What are the major frustrations of this job?
  46. If you could change anything about your job, what would it be?
  47. Is there a great deal of turnover in this job?
  48. What interests you least about the job or creates the most stress?
  49. What is the job title of your department head or supervisor for this job?
  50. Where do you and your supervisor fit into the organizational structure?
  51. How many people do you supervise?
  52. How would you assess your prestige or level of status in this job? In the company?
  53. If you ever left your job, what would most likely drive you away?  

About preparing for this career:

  1. Does your work relate to any experiences or studies you had in college?
  2. How well did your college experience prepare you for this job?
  3. What courses have proved to be the most valuable to you in your work?
  4. What courses do you wish you had taken that would have prepared you?
  5. If you were a college student again, what would you do differently to prepare you for this job?
  6. How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field?
  7. What do you feel is the best educational preparation for this career?
  8. How do you think [name of your college]’s reputation is viewed when it comes to hiring?
  9. How did you prepare for this work?
  10. If you were entering this career today, would you change your preparation in any way to facilitate entry?

 About your interviewee’s career path:

  1. In what way did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
  2. What was your major in college?
  3. How did you get your job?
  4. Did you enter this position through a formal training program?
  5. What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
  6. What kinds of things did you do before you entered this occupation?
  7. Which aspects of your background have been most helpful?
  8. What other jobs can you get with the same background?
  9. What were the keys to your career advancement?
  10. How did you get where you are and what are your long-range goals?
  11. What is the job above your current job?
  12. If your job progresses as you like, what would be the next step in your career?
  13. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  14. If your work were suddenly eliminated, what kinds of work do you feel prepared to do?
  15. If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?  

About the culture of your interviewee’s company or organization:

  1. Why did you decide to work for this company?
  2. What do you like most about this company?
  3. How does your company differ from its competitors?
  4. Why do customers choose this company?
  5. What is the company’s relationship with its customers?
  6. How optimistic are you about the company’s future and your future with the company?
  7. Has the company made any recent changes to improve its business practices and profitability?
  8. What does the company do to contribute to its employees’ professional development?
  9. What systems are in place to enable employees to give management feedback and suggestions?
  10. How does the company make use of technology for internal communication and outside marketing? (Use of e-mail, Internet, intranets, World Wide Web, videoconferencing, etc.)?
  11. What other technologies are integral to the company’s operation?
  12. How would you describe the atmosphere at the company? Is it fairly formal or more laid-back and informal?
  13. Do people in your department function fairly autonomously, or do they require a lot of supervision and direction?
  14. What are the people like with whom you work?
  15. How would you describe the morale level of people who work here?
  16. Do you participate in many social activities with your coworkers?
  17. Is there a basic philosophy of the company or organization and, if so, what is it? (Is it a people-, service- or product-oriented business?)
  18. What is the company’s mission statement?
  19. What can you tell me about the corporate culture?
  20. Is the company’s management style top-down, or do front-line employees share in decision-making?
  21. Is there flexibility in work hours, vacation schedule, place of residence, etc.?
  22. What’s the dress code here? Is it conservative or casual? Does the company have dress-down of casual days?
  23. Can men wear beards or long hair here?
  24. What work-related values are most highly esteemed in this company (security, high income, variety, independence)?
  25. What kind of training program does the company offer? Is it highly structured or more informal?
  26. Does the company encourage and/or pay for employees to pursue graduate degrees? Is there a tuition reimbursement program?
  27. Does the company offer an employee discount on the products it sells?
  28. What’s the best thing about the company?
  29. How does the company evaluate your job performance?
  30. How does the company recognize outstanding accomplishments of its employees?
  31. What does the company reward?
  32. Are there people within or outside the organization that the company holds up as heroes?
  33. Does the company observe any rituals, traditions, or ceremonies?
  34. What is the typical job-interview process at the company? How many interviews do candidates generally go through before being offered a position?
  35. What does the company do to foster innovation and creativity?  

About the company’s needs:

  1. In what areas do you perceive there to be gaps in personnel in this company? If the company had unlimited resources for creating new positions, in what areas should those positions be created?
  2. In what areas do you see the company expanding? Do you foresee the opening of new markets or greater globalization? Do you predict development of new products and/or services? Building of new facilities?
  3. How can employees prepare for any planned changes at the company?
  4. What obstacles do you see getting in the way of the company’s profitability or growth?
  5. If you needed someone to assist you in your job, what tasks would you assign to your assistant?  

About opportunities for advancement within this company and/or field:

  1. How does a person progress in your field?
  2. What is the highest-level job one can hold in this career?
  3. What is a typical career path in this field or organization?
  4. What are the advancement opportunities?
  5. What is the average length of time for an employee to stay in the job you hold?
  6. How rapidly do people move to the next level in this career?
  7. What incentives or disincentives are there for staying in the same job?
  8. Would someone in this field need to relocate to advance in his/her career?
  9. If I performed well at this company, where could I expect to be in five years?  

Seeking advice if you are a career changer:

  1. My current career is ________________________. How easy or difficult do you think it might be to make a transition from that career to your career?
  2. The skills I use the most in my current career are ________________. To what extent and in what ways do you think those skills are transferable to your career?
  3. What aspects of my background do you feel would be the most helpful in making the transition to your career field?
  4. What aspects of my background do you feel would be the biggest obstacles to someone making the transition to your career field?
  5. What skills needed in your career field do you think someone in my current career might be lacking and might need to develop?
  6. What would be the best kind of training to get to make the transition from my current career to your career?
  7. What’s the best way for me to get more experience in your field without taking major steps backward from the level to which I’ve progressed in my current career?
  8. How do you think someone in my current career would be viewed by those with hiring power in your career? Would you personally hire someone coming from my current career field?
  9. The things I like the best about my current career are: _____________________. Will I find some of those same things if I switch to your career?
  10. The things I dislike the most about my current career are: _____________________. Will I encounter any of those same challenges in your career?
  11. Do you know of any other people in your career who have made the transition to your field from my current career or a career similar to my current career? How did the transition work out?
  12. I’ve heard that people in your field have characteristics such as _______________________, which I have not had the opportunity to develop in my current career. How important is/are that/those characteristic(s).
  13. What sacrifices do you think I might have to make to make the switch into your career field?
  14. Knowing what you know about your career field, and knowing what I would have to do to get into this field, do you think you would make the change if you were me? If not, can you suggest any other fields that might be more appropriate for me?
  15. Could you take a brief look at my resume and suggest ways I could tailor it to make myself more marketable in changing from my current career field to your career field?  

Seeking general advice and referrals from your interviewee:

  1. Can you suggest some ways a person could obtain the experience necessary to enter this field?
  2. What is the best way to obtain a position that will get me started in this occupation?
  3. What do you wish you’d known before you entered this field?
  4. What are the major qualifications for success in this occupation?
  5. What are the skills that are most important for a position in this field?
  6. What courses should I be taking?
  7. How can I assess whether or not I have the skills needed for a position such as yours?
  8. With the information you have about my education, skills, and experience, what other fields or jobs would you suggest I research further before I make a final decision?
  9. Do you know of other people whom I might talk to who have similar jobs?
  10. Do you have any advice for someone interested in this field/job?
  11. Which professional journals and publications should I be reading to learn about this career?
  12. Are there any other written materials (such as company brochures) that you suggest I read?
  13. Which professional organizations associated with this career should I join?
  14. What kinds of experience, paid or unpaid, would you encourage for anybody pursuing a career in this field?
  15. Who else do you know who is doing similar kinds of work or uses similar skills?
  16. What other kinds of organizations hire people to perform the functions you do here?
  17. If I am unable to obtain a position in this field, what other fields would you recommend I consider?
  18. What special advice do you have for a student seeking to qualify for this position?
  19. Do you have any special world of warning or encouragement as a result of your experience?
  20. These are my strongest assets (skills, areas of knowledge, personality traits and values):___________________________________. Where would they fit in this field? Where would they be helpful in this organization? Where might they fit in other fields? Where might they be helpful in other organizations?
  21. What should I do to prepare myself for emerging trends and changes in this field?
  22. How would you assess the experience I’ve had so far in terms of entering this field?
  23. What qualifications would you be looking for if you were hiring for a position such as yours?
  24. What qualifications would you be looking for if you were hiring for a position subordinate to yours in the office?
  25. Do you have any written job descriptions of positions in this field/company?
  26. What areas of the company would be most interested in hiring people with my background?
  27. If I wanted to obtain a job here, who would the best person to contact?
  28. If I wanted to obtain a job here, what would be the best way to learn of job vacancies?
  29. If you were conducting a job search today, how would you go about it?
  30. Would you be willing to answer more questions, by phone or in person, if I need additional advice in the future?
  31. [If you feel comfortable and it seems appropriate:] Would you mind taking a look at my resume to see if you have any suggestions?
  32. How would you react if you received a resume like mine for a position with this company?  

By QuintCareers.com 

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