Interviewing Archives - Manpower Maine

Tag: Interviewing

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Acing the Virtual Interview

Landing an interview for the job you want feels amazing… until you start overthinking the interview process, and the panic sets in: what if I mess up and say the wrong thing? What if it doesn’t work out?  The thought of interviewing for a job can feel intimidating, but with a little preparation and a healthy dose of effective communication, you can set the scene for a great experience. While virtual interviews can present some unique challenges, following these tips will help you overcome them and allow you to make a great first impression:

Clarify the Plan

When scheduling the interview, make sure you’re clear on the procedure. Will the interview take place via Skype, Zoom, or some other platform? Will you need any information, such as a password, to gain access to the meeting? Knowing what to expect will give you peace of mind and help you prepare appropriately.

Test Your Tech

If you need to download a platform such as Skype for your interview, be sure to do it well in advance so that you are ready to go on the day of your interview. If you already have the software you need, or the interview will take place via an online platform, check to see if any updates are needed for the software or your browser to make sure you’re not surprised by any glitches at an inconvenient time. If possible, do a trial run to make sure everything is operating as it should. That way, you won’t have to stress about tech issues on top of normal interview jitters!

Assess Your Surroundings

Once you’ve decided what space you’re going to do your interview in, assess your surroundings. What will be within your webcam’s field of view? Tidy up any spaces that your interviewer will be able to see. No one is judging you for that pile of laundry you haven’t quite gotten around to folding yet, or that stack of mail piling up on the coffee table – we’ve all been there. However, you want your interviewer’s attention entirely focused on you and all the things that make you a great fit for the job, so for the sake of minimizing distractions, simply move any such things out of view. Also ensure that there is adequate lighting so that your interviewer can see you – fuzzy visuals can make it very challenging to focus.

Hone Your Personal Presentation

As casual as things may feel when you’re sitting on the computer at your dining room table, don’t forget that a virtual interview is still a professional meeting and should be treated as such. Dress as professionally as you would for a normal in-person interview – it will not only help you make a great first impression, but it will also help give you confidence as you interact with your potential employer. Maintain positive body language by sitting up straight and making sure that your facial expression conveys that you are engaged in and interested in the conversation. Sometimes the audio quality of virtual meetings isn’t great, so it is important to speak clearly and concisely and minimize background noise to ensure that you are heard correctly. If for any reason during your interview there is a bad connection on either end, work with the interviewer to reschedule.

Know Your Stuff

Just like you would with any other interview, prepare yourself to talk about your strengths and experience in relation to the job requirements and have a list of good questions. One of the best ways to do this is to review the job description and conduct a bit of research on the company before your interview. You may even want to practice answering some common interview questions to give you an even stronger sense of preparedness for your interview. Ultimately, your interviewer just wants to get to know you and learn more about the amazing things you bring to the world of work – so be yourself, be positive, make it clear that you’re excited about the opportunity – and go ace that virtual interview!

Let Manpower Help You Make a Great Impression!

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Tips to Thrive – Mastering the Interview

Interviewing is an important part of the job search process, and there are some very simple things you can do to improve your success. Follow these practical tips and you will be well on your way to mastering the interview!

Practice Active Listening

Many people get nervous about interviewing, and when you’re nervous, you may spend more time thinking about how you’ll respond to someone than truly listening to what they’re saying. To avoid missing out on important details that your interviewer is providing, make a conscious effort to focus on what is being said. This will help you both feel more connected and engaged in the interview process.

Be Honest

Everyone wants to impress in the interview – but be careful not to cross the line between putting your best foot forward and misrepresenting yourself. If you feel it is necessary to exaggerate or lie to land a job, it is likely that the role you’re trying to take on won’t be the right fit. Set yourself up for success by being authentic, and the right doors will open to you.

Ask Questions

Don’t forget that you’re also a decision maker in the interviewing process! Ask questions that will help you get the information you need to decide if this is a company you want to work for. Questions about the job itself and the workplace culture are excellent places to start, but you will want to tailor your questions depending on what is most important to you in a job.


Stay Positive

Over the course of a job interview, you may decide that the position isn’t the right fit for you – and that is totally okay. Make sure that you still end things on a positive note by letting the company know that you appreciated their time and the opportunity to learn about their job opening. You may not be interested in this job, but the company may have future openings that you’re better suited for.

Want more tips to help you thrive in the world of work? Click below.


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Ask Manpower: Following Up After The Interview

Ask Manpower:

I had an interview at a company I really want to work for, and I left feeling good about how it went – but it has been a couple of weeks and I haven’t heard back. Would it be appropriate to reach out to them?

Congratulations on securing an interview – that in and of itself is an accomplishment to be proud of. Chances are if you left feeling positive about how it went, then more than likely you made a genuine connection with the job, the company, and the person interviewing and that is no small fete. Waiting to hear back about a job that you are interested in can be nerve-wracking – but there are a few things you can do throughout the interview process to help.

Inquire upfront about their timeline.

Make sure you are entering into an interview with the understanding that it is a dialogue. All too often job seekers go into an interview thinking that the employer is the only one making a decision. Not only is the employer trying to decide if you have the skills, experience, and will work well with their team – you should be trying to make decisions of your own. Is this where you want to be, what you want to do, and who you want to work with? The answers can be uncovered by asking the right questions in your interview, one of which should be inquiring about their hiring timeline. By asking about their timeline, you will get insight into their process and potentially on their overall culture. Do they drag their feet making decisions? Are they impulsive in their choices? These are some insights into organizational thought processes and employment stability.

Make the most of your thank you email.

If you aren’t doing so already, be sure to send a thank you email after each interview you have – even if you have decided that position isn’t right for you. Letting a hiring manager know you are appreciative of their time and formally notifying them of your interest moving forward is always appreciated. You can also use this thank you email to ask if they have any other questions that you may be able to answer for them to help them in their decision-making process and get clarity on next steps. A thank you email should be brief, to the point, and preferably sent after 1 or 2 business days – which is a reasonable timeframe to demonstrate that you are not just going through the motions, but really took the time to reflect on your meeting with them.

Send an appropriate and well-timed follow up.

Hopefully you have followed the recommendations above and that has allowed you a window into the employer’s projected timeline. If so, you will easily know when a good time to follow up is. Let’s say the employer noted that they had a couple more interviews this week and plan to follow up with candidates early next week; your best course of action is to follow up by phone or email in the middle of that next week, and gently ask if they have made any decisions. If the timeline was more fluid or nebulous it is generally safe to follow up after two weeks. Hiring processes can take time and sometimes a job opening could even be placed on hold. For example, with all that is going on in the world around us, employers may be preparing for anticipated needs or have experienced an unexpected business interruption. Following up with an employer for a status update is perfectly acceptable, but you want to be careful of coming across as pushy or desperate, as it can leave a negative impression.

Continue your job search.

You have heard the expression that you shouldn’t ‘put all your eggs in one basket’ and your career is a terrific example of that. No matter how intriguing a particular opportunity is, or how well you think an interview went, it is in your best interest to continue to search with as much tenacity as if you had no viable job prospects. You do not want to leave anything to chance, and with so many other people out there looking for work right now, it is quite possible that no matter how stellar of a candidate you are, you may be the second choice for the job. The best way to control the overall outcome of your job search is to keep putting your eggs in different baskets until one fully hatches.

Let Manpower Help You Make A Great Impression!

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Back to Basics: Boundaries in the Job Search

There’s just so much to do in the job search – when you’re trying to update and edit your resume, browse jobs, research companies, request references, and find the right opportunity that meets all of your needs – boundaries are probably the last thing on your mind. However, understanding and honoring boundaries is important to your success in the job search and beyond. Read this before your next interview to help you get a clear understanding of boundaries that you may encounter in the process:

Observe the Rules

When you visit any place of business, it’s likely that you will encounter a variety of signage – including things such as where to park, where you can wait, whether cell phones are allowed, or warning what areas are off-limits to non-employees. These are all clear boundaries that have been set by the company, and it is very important to observe them. By respecting these boundaries, you are demonstrating that you are both observant and willing to follow the rules – two qualities that all employers like to see in potential employees.

Respect Personal Space

It is important to recognize that people have varying levels of comfort when it comes to physical space, and if you don’t know someone well enough to know what their level of comfort is, it’s best to err on the side of caution. A handshake is perfectly acceptable, but don’t assume that someone is comfortable with a touch on the arm or pat on the shoulder. Keep in mind that respecting spatial boundaries doesn’t just mean avoiding direct touching – it can also mean not hovering or talking too closely, leaning over their desk, or fidgeting with their personal belongings.  Being mindful of personal space in this way ensures a comfortable experience for all, allowing your interviewer’s focus to remain right where you want it – on the qualities that make you a great fit for the job!

Don’t Overshare

There’s no need for an interview to be an uncomfortable experience; it’s an excellent opportunity for both the company and applicant to determine if they can be successful together. However, don’t let yourself get too comfortable and cross professional boundaries by divulging excessive personal information. Even if you’ve built a good rapport with your interviewer, sharing personal stories that aren’t relevant to the job has the potential to create some unnecessary awkward moments, or worse, create doubts about your professionalism. To have a great interview and enhance your chances of success, it’s important to understand the balance between friendliness and professionalism; be friendly with your interviewer, but know that intimate details about your life are best saved for conversations with your friends.

Be Respectful of Other People’s Time

Of course, you want to be respectful of your interviewer’s time by showing up prepared and on time for your scheduled appointment. However, you might not have realized that being respectful of an employer’s time also applies to not overextending your visit. You don’t need to hustle out of there as fast as you can- by all means, ask questions about the job and company, and get the information you need to make an informed decision about your employment. However, once both you and the company are done discussing the job, it’s time to start making your exit. It’s not that you’re not welcome – employers enjoy meeting and getting to know people who are interested in being part of their team – but most places of business have tight schedules to abide by, so each appointment can only be allotted so much time. Pay attention to the conversation and to your interviewer’s cues – when it feels like the conversation is coming to a natural close and the employer thanks you for time, stands up, or otherwise indicates that they have other things to take care of, it is time to go. Thank them for their time and let them know you are looking forward to hearing back from them about the position.

These are some very basic ways to demonstrate you are capable of respecting professional and personal boundaries, and following these tips will help you be successful in any setting.

Whether you are looking for a new job or your next great employee, Manpower is here to help.

Contact one of our staffing experts today!

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Back to Basics: Dependability in the Job Search

Dependability is a trait that all companies look for in potential employees. Why? Think about it – if you need to hire someone to do something for you, like fixing wiring in your home, will your first choice be an electrician who came with excellent recommendations, or one with a history of showing up late and doing poor quality work? It is likely that you will choose the one who seems to be the most dependable and qualified, because the safety of your home and your need for electricity depends upon it.
It’s no different when companies are hiring; they too have an important job that needs to get done, and they need to be able to count on whomever they entrust it to, because the future of their business and the success of their team depends on it. You can have a dazzling personality and great professional experience, but if a hiring manager has doubts about whether you can be depended on to consistently show up and consistently perform your job to the best of your ability, they may decide that employing you would not result in a stable, successful partnership.
Don’t leave your job search success to chance – follow these simple tips to inspire confidence in your dependability:


One great way to put your best foot forward AND ease your pre-interview jitters is to prepare for your interview. Carefully read through the job advertisement and do some research on the company – their website is a great place to start. This research will help you with the second phase of your interview preparation: practicing discussing your work history and answering common interview questions. Being knowledgeable about the job and the company will help you develop a greater understanding of what they are looking for, so as you’re answering their questions, you can ensure that you discuss your most relevant experience, skills, and traits. Practicing some of these responses beforehand will help you feel more confident and ready to communicate why you’re the best person for the job.
If you’ve been asked to bring a resume, transcript, or any other additional materials with you, print them out in advance and put them somewhere you will see them before you leave for the interview so that you won’t forget them.

Show Up on Time, Focused, and Ready.

Setting the expectation that people can count on you is important, especially in the early stages of the hiring process – hiring managers don’t have much information about you at that point, so their observations of your behavior during the process play a significant role in their decision making. So show up on time, be ready to talk about your work history, and focus your attention on your interviewer. Plan on shutting your phone off upon arrival to your interview and checking any personal issues at the door. This will help you minimize distractions so you can be fully engaged and make the best first impression possible.

Follow Through with Agreed Upon Tasks in a Timely Manner.

If the company requests that you take additional steps after the interview, such as providing additional information or completing assessments, that’s a good sign – it means they’re interested in you and want to know more! But don’t get too comfortable yet; be sure to follow through with these tasks in a timely manner. Think of it like completing your first work assignment – would you approach that with the mindset of ‘I’ll get to it when I get to it’? Of course not! You’d prioritize it to show that it’s important to you, that you can rise to the challenge, and you can be counted on when it matters most. Now is the time to show them all of those desirable qualities and establish yourself as a reliable and dependable worker.

Don’t Ghost.

Maybe you found a different job, maybe you’re no longer interested, or maybe life circumstances changed and pursuing this opportunity no longer makes sense for your situation. It’s okay to change your mind, but whatever the reason, be respectful by promptly notifying the employer. This not only helps prevent wasted time and effort on their part, but also helps you preserve your reputation with that company. You never know when another job with that organization might become available, and if you’ve proven yourself undependable by disappearing on the hiring manager, it’s likely that door of opportunity will be closed to you.

Communicate in Advance.

Make sure you are communicating important information in a timely manner so that both you and the employer are on the same page throughout the process. For instance, if you’ve accepted a job interview, but your circumstances change and the schedule that was advertised will no longer work for you, contact the employer to discuss those changes prior to the interview. Maybe they’ll have another shift or job opening they could consider you for, maybe they won’t – either way, they will appreciate that they can count on your honesty, and you’ll both be better off knowing where things stand before investing more valuable time and energy.
Similarly, if you have concerns about the job or work environment, don’t just keep them to yourself and hope for the best – discuss them during the interview so that you can get more information and make an educated decision about your employment. This will help you prevent entering jobs or work environments that aren’t a good fit for you, enabling you to focus your search on jobs you can thrive in.

Whether you are looking for a new job or your next great employee, Manpower is here to help.

Contact one of our staffing experts today!

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Back to Basics: Appropriate Behavior in the Job Search

It’s amazing how putting a group of different personalities in one space can create such a vibrant and diverse work environment. Different people bring with them new approaches, strengths, and ideas – and employers understand that these things lead to a more well-rounded team as well as improved business results. If everyone was the same, not only would that be boring, but lack of diversity in thought would likely stagnate progress. An important thing to keep in mind, however, is that no matter how different we all are, there is a minimum standard of acceptable behavior that we must adhere to in the world of work – and employers are paying attention to how you conduct yourself in interviews to make sure you can meet that standard. To keep your behavior in check, be mindful of these simple tips when you head to your next interview:

Show Up on Time to Your Interviews

This tip never goes out of style, and following it is imperative to job search success. When you set an appointment for an interview, the person you’re meeting with has carved out that time especially for you. If for any reason you are running late, cannot keep the appointment, or are no longer interested in the job, it is common courtesy to notify the employer as soon as you can before the appointment. Life happens and things come up – but failing to take the simple step of notifying your interviewer shows a lack of respect for the employer’s time and hiring efforts, and demonstrates that you’re either not taking your job search seriously, or you lack reliability. Reliability is a core trait that employers look for in potential employees, so it is vital that you take the steps needed to show that you have it.  Nobody likes to be brushed off or stood up – or hire people that they can’t count on.

Don’t Bring Uninvited Guests

We all like a cheering section, but when arriving for an interview, don’t bring an entourage. If you need the assistance of an authorized support person, that is one thing – but bringing your significant other or friends could negatively impact your candidacy. An interview is a professional occasion and should be treated as such; uninvited guests could be a distraction that draws your interviewer’s attention away from where it should be – on you and all the things that make you the right person for the job. It may also cause the hiring manager to question how seriously you are looking for work, and that is not a concern you want to raise when you’re trying to build a relationship with a potential employer. In addition to interviewing independently, make sure you are following up on your applications independently as well – having someone take this step for you, once again, raises concerns about your level of engagement in the process – and employers can’t discuss that information with anyone but the applicant anyway.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone the Moment You Arrive

Just as you deserve the undivided attention of your interviewer, they deserve your undivided attention as well. To minimize distractions and avoid disrespectful behavior like checking your phone – or worse – taking a call during your interview, turn off your cell the moment you arrive at the interview location. We’ve all become so dependent on our phones that checking it is often like a reflex – sometimes we’re scrolling through our feeds before we even realize it.  So even if you put yours on silent with the best of intentions, you’re taking a chance. It’s best to just remove that temptation altogether. The hiring manager will appreciate your attentiveness, and your focus will help you nail those interview questions!

Don’t Try to Argue Your Way into a Job

You’ll never argue your way into a job – in fact, being belligerent or argumentative in the interview is a great way to ensure that you are not given consideration for that job or any other within the company. Soft skills like communication and teamwork are very important in nearly every work environment, so if you cannot express disagreement or difference in opinion tactfully and respectfully within the interview, it doesn’t build any faith in your ability to do so on the job. To preserve your credibility with the employer and keep the hiring process moving in a positive direction, always be respectful and mindful of manners – including what you say and the tone in which you say it.

Whether you are looking for a new job or your next great employee, Manpower is here to help.

Contact one of our staffing experts today!