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5 Types of Interviews that You Should Look Out For

5 Types of Interviews that You Should Look Out For

When searching for a job, one of the most rigorous and closely-analyzed part of the process is the interview. A whole industry—interview coaches, resume writers, personal growth coaches, and so forth—bases its livelihood on the potential interviewee (you), lacking confidence regarding your interview. Job aspirants need to know that the interview is as much a learning process for the company as it is for you.

In many cases, the interviewer has no idea what they are doing, and I’ve compiled just a short list of my experiences in which the interviewer may have been more nervous that the interviewee.

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1. My Party Interview at a World-Renowned University:

I once interviewed for an administrative position at a world-renowned university here in the Chicagoland area. The position was in the university’s grants department, and the aim was to compile huge amounts of data so that the university could continue to properly apply for funding for scientific research.

When I walked into the interview door, there were eight women, mostly aged 25-35, seated around a large conference table, chatting about whatever. They went around in order, asking the most basic questions of me, and only two of the eight seemed to even be able to hear what I had to say. One pair kept chatting over me the whole time. Safe to say, I walked out there wondering how they thought they were going to get a qualified candidate, and how such a prestigious institution could think that was an interview.

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2. The Generic Under-Interview:

In many positions I’ve fulfilled, I went into the interview needing a job, and was more or less immediately handed one. In a situation in which you need some source of income, this is great: maximum reward for minimum effort. However, when the person does so little to analyze how you might fulfill the position, that itself should raise flags. Not analyzing your ability to do the work at interview stage means the interviewer will likely under- or over-estimate the needs of a task later on, and you will often be left confused, overburdened, or both. If you need to take a position like this, after you are hired, be prepared to ask a ton of questions, because the supervisor will almost never give you what you need.

3. The Cultish Interview:

On one or maybe two occasions, I went into a company thinking I was getting interviewed and basically came out thinking the company either was trying to get me to buy their product or maybe even trying to brainwash me. The most recent occasion was for a company that sold sales self-improvement advice called Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle. (I feel comfortable mentioning their name because of their lower Better Business Bureau rating.) While that certainly can be a serious business sector, the panel of rotating interviewers at GKIC kept repeating the name “Dan Kennedy” over and over. The first interviewer said it just a few times, the second interviewer repeated it consistently, and when the third interviewer came in and asked me, before sitting down, “What do [you] know about Dan Kennedy?” I wished I had stayed home. Whether it was a Ponzi scheme or an actual cult, I never bothered to find out.

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4. The Therapy Session:

I cannot recall an instance in which this happened to me specifically, but several colleagues have recalled interviews in which the questions were intensely personal. For example, when I worked under the worst boss I ever had, coworkers and I would regularly commiserate, and one of them shared that my boss confided a past history of paternal abuse during my coworker’s interview. While my coworker took the position because she would not have to directly report to this tortured supervisor, I wish I had a glimpse of that before I took the position, because my tenure ended when I went to the Equal Employment Opportunity commission to see if several encounters qualified as sexual harassment. Sometimes, the interviewer is incredibly unstable, and, given the chance, they will show you that side.

5. The Casual Chat:

If ever an interview feels like you are chatting with a friend and not a potential employer, you can go ahead and assume you aren’t really even being considered. Signs of this include: talking about the requirements of the job more than your qualifications, conversing about a shared history, or even talking about the weather or news too much. Much like this entry, the casual chat interview will leave you pleasant and happy, but totally uninformed, lacking in a sense of accomplishment, and unconcerned about following up.

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Featured photo credit: WOCinTech Chat/Jimbo Fisher via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

1. Leadership Ability

Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

Example:

“Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

2. Problem-Solving Ability

Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

Example:

“Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

3. Perseverance

Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

4. Technical Skills

Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

Example:

“Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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5. Quantified Results

Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

Example:

“Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

6. People Skills

Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

Example:

“Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

7. Passion in the Field

Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

9. Your Adaptability

Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

10. Confirming Your Expertise

Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

15. Specifying All Accolades

Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

16. Transferable Skills

You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

Starting at the Top

The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

For example:

Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

For example:

Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

Putting It All Together

A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

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Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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