Tag Archives: Interview Advice

Hot Job Interview Trends for 2020: What the Experts Say

It is 2020 and you are in the job hunt, either because you are unemployed or looking for a better gig. While the hiring process might be painfully slow, you still must shine in the interview, and this means every stage of the process.

Interview Prep

This is why you need to need to understand the interviewing trends for 2020 if you want to be successful in landing your next position.

Advice from 5 Job Interview Experts

Here’s some good news: I asked 5 interview authorities to weigh in on what to expect in 2020. They tell you what to do before the interview, what to do during the interview, and what to do after the interview.

Do not rely on traditional methods to get the interview. Show your value.  

Austin Belcak has a unique view on how to get to interviews with blue-chip companies. He has helped hundreds of people, whether they have worked with him directly or gleaned vital information by following him on LinkedIn.

These are Austin’s thoughts:

Do not let unemployment numbers fool you. We are currently experiencing one of the most competitive job markets in history.

Relying on resumes, cover letters, and online applications is not going to be enough in 2020.

If you want to land interviews at high caliber companies, you need to focus on three things:

1. Build relationships with the people who can influence the hiring decision

After you press submit on your application, fire up LinkedIn and use it to find your potential hiring manager or colleagues on the hiring team. Reach out to them, show them you understand their needs/goals, and find ways to illustrate your value in relation to those things.

2. Find ways to illustrate your value on your terms

How many times have you said, “I know I can do this job, but nobody will give me a chance!”

If people are not recognizing your value, you need to find ways to clarify it for them. One of my favorite strategies for this is putting together a Value Validation Project (VVP).

3. Develop a Value Validation Project (VVP)

Value Validation Projects are deliverables that illustrate your ability to do the job by providing suggestions, ideas, or feedback to the team’s biggest needs or goals.

For example:

  • If you are targeting a marketing role, you could do a quick competitive analysis, and then package that data with 3 suggestions to help the company get more visibility.
  • If you are aiming for a data analyst role, you could work to find a source of publicly available data that you can use to parse and tell a story. Check out this example of an analyst who used Twitter data to capture consumer sentiment about different airlines.

VVPs are highly effective because they give you the opportunity to say, “I have done my research, and I know what your goals are. Here is exactly what I bring to the table.”

You are also doing that in your own words, via a medium you are comfortable with, that offers a lot more flexibility in terms of visuals, data, and content.

That is going to set you apart!

More about Austin: Austin’s LinkedIn Profile, Austin’s website.


In 2020, research will be even more important.  

Sarah Johnston, a career coach and former recruiter, is a strong believer in doing research before going to the interview. All too often job seekers fail to research the position, company, and even the individuals conducting the interview.

According to Sarah, you must know the employer’s pain points. Here is what she has to say:

The average corporate role gets 250 online applications (Source). And that is rising at a staggering rate thanks to automation and the Internet. Of those candidates, only 5 to 6 will get called in to interview.

The best way to beat the competition is through preparation before you interview; have a good understanding of your target audience, what they care about, and their pain points.

When you are researching your target audience (the company and the individuals who interview you), it is smart to look at the corporate website for press releases, mission, and diversity statements.

As companies are becoming more mission-centric, I am seeing an uptick in interview questions focused around values and the importance of inclusive cultures.

It is also important to interview the people who are going to interview you. Take the time to look at their LinkedIn pages to read more about their training, experience, and for common ground.

If you have time, do a search on your favorite search engine for podcasts they’ve been on or news articles that reference their work. I suggest identifying 3 to 5 connection points that you can use to make small talk during the informal part of the interview.

Finally, one of the best — and surprisingly most overlooked — ways to research and prepare for the interview is to look for pain points or “clues” in the job description.

Read between the lines to better understand the culture, reporting structure, and the actual job requirements. Consider that every bullet point in the job requirement section could be turned into an interview question.

For example, let’s say that the job description reads:

“Identify, initiate, and drive process improvement solutions that will ultimately provide operating efficiencies and synergies within the supply chain, resulting in cost reduction and increasing service level to customers.”

This could be turned into a behavioral question in the interview:

“Tell me about a time that you identified and drove a large process improvement solution in a previous role that led to increased operating efficiency. Tell me about the solution and the results of the implementation.”

Be prepared with your answer to this question.

More about Sarah: Sarah’s LinkedIn Profile. Sarah’s website.


It is not only about job-related skills. It is also about personality.  

Biron Clark is a former technical recruiter and is now a career coach and trainer. He foresees more emphasis being placed on hiring for motivation and fit in 2020. Expect more questions that will get to the heart of your drive and personality fit.

Biron says:

I expect that employers will be interested in learning about your personality and motivation just as much as your technical background in 2020.

The average person is spending less time in each role when compared to past decades, so employers are conscious of hiring people who are not only qualified but also excited about the day-to-day work and the general work that the company is doing.

This helps them reduce turnover and find long-term matches for their company.

To prepare for this, make sure you’re ready to answer questions like, “What about this role caught your interest?” or, “Why did you apply for this position?”

They may also ask, “What do you know about us?”

These questions are a chance to show you’ve done more research than other candidates. A bad answer here can derail your interview, but a great, detailed answer can set you apart and help you win the job… even if someone else was better-qualified.

Other questions to be ready for:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What motivates you?
  • Where do you see yourself in 2-3 years?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What would you be doing if money weren’t a concern?

The bottom line is employers do not want to just hire someone who is only capable of the work. They want to hire someone who is also motivated and excited to do the work.

My prediction for 2020 is that you are going to see more employers trying to learn about you as a person and asking about what motivates you, what interests you, what you actually want to be doing in your life and career. And if you cannot explain this, you may miss some great job opportunities.

One more area to be ready for: Behavioral questions. Employers want to know how you think and how you’ll react to situations. Be ready to answer questions like:

More about Biron: Biron’s LinkedIn Profile. Biron’s website.


Do I want to work here?  

Susan P. Joyce, publisher of JobHunt.Org and career strategist, shares her concern about finding the right work environment. And how do you do this? By asking questions during the interview. Our 4th interview expert feels this is an important piece of the puzzle.

Here’s what Susan has to say:

A job interview is frequently viewed as your opportunity to “close the sale” – convince the employer to make you a job offer. And it is. But, the job interview is also your opportunity to learn if the job is a good fit for you.

I made a big mistake early in my career by not paying attention in the job interview. I was more interested in leaving my old job and not paying sufficient attention to where I was going next.

So, until my first day of work, I did not notice that only male employees had window offices while the women all worked in cubicles. OOPS! I stayed less than a year.

When you interview at the employer’s location, observe the whole environment and the employees there.

  • Do people look happy or stressed?
  • Is the location noisy or quiet?
  • Do you see others of your gender and/or race there, and do they seem comfortable?
  • Does this place look and feel comfortable to you?

You will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewers. Leverage this golden opportunity to learn more about whether you would be happy working there. Ask questions like these:

  • How long have you worked here?
  • What is the best part of working there?
  • Why is this job open?
  • Did the previous employee leave or get promoted? If the job is new, what brought about the need to create the position?

Be cautious if everyone has worked there less than a year, this job is filled frequently, or they struggle to say something nice about the organization.

Note: If you feel the opportunity is right, ask if you can take a tour of the company. This is when you can observe the employees to get a picture of their mood. Any good employer will gladly give you a tour of their company.

More about Susan: Susan’s LinkedIn Profile. Susan’s website.


It isn’t over until it’s over.  

Ashley Watkins is an executive resume writer. As a former recruiter, she has a unique view from the other side of the table.

Ashley offers sage advice on what to do after the interview, which can be as important as before and during the process.

She advises:

Follow instructions.

At the close of the interview, most recruiters and hiring managers will give detailed instructions about the next steps. But if the timeline isn’t offered, ask the interviewer when and how you should follow up (email, phone, or not at all).

If you are scheduled to hear back in a week but get crickets, wait until that time has come and passed before you reach out to check your status.

Do not stop at the timeline.

Take it a step further, and use this as an opportunity to refresh the interviewer’s memory about why you are such a great catch. Share a few short success bullets that align with the goals of your target role.

Also, do not be afraid to reattach your resume or LinkedIn URL. Make it easy for your interviewer to review your work history and accomplishments again versus sending them on a wild goose chase in the company’s database.

Always ask for feedback.

Although many companies have strict policies about what information interviewers can release, you may encounter a recruiter who is willing to share some tips — or you may discover an upcoming role that is a better fit. Then, you can quickly express your interest in the opportunity.

Build a relationship.

Another way to further your interaction with your target company and build a mutually beneficial relationship with a recruiter is to make a referral.

If you know a friend or colleague who would be a great fit for a different job, offer to make the introduction. Now, you have established yourself as a resource.

Breathe.

Not knowing where you stand after an interview can be frustrating. Understanding the hiring process for your desired position can relieve some pressure.

Take the time after an interview to reflect on things you learned, areas for improvement, and any red flags.

Sometimes rejection can be a blessing in disguise. Keep pushing until you land that right-fit role.

More about Ashley: Ashley’s LinkedIn profile. Ashley’s website.


Wrapping it up  

As you can see, the interview doesn’t only consist of the meeting between interviewers and you. There is a before, middle, and end. Make sure you have all the bases covered. If you accomplish this, you will be successful in 2020.

Take it from the experts:

  1. The interview process is longer these days and involves more work to prove you are the one to earn an interview.
  2. Research, research, and conduct more research.
  3. Interviewers want to know more about you than just your job-related skills.
  4. Try to learn about the company during the interview.
  5. There’s still work to do after the interview ends and can be as important as the actual interview.

More Expert Advice and Hot Trends for 2020:

This article previously appeared in Job-Hunt.org.

4 ways to learn about workplace values before you’re hired

Think about the job you disliked the most. Perhaps it was because the work environment was toxic. Maybe you weren’t able to see your children’s events because of the commute home. You weren’t given the autonomy you craved. Or you were working at a dead-end position. The company for which you worked lacked integrity. There are many reasons why employees are dissatisfied with companies for which they work.

Stressed young businessman

The above are examples of how workplace core values are not met. How important are workplace core values? Statistics show that work values are more important than salary, unless earning a high salary is your main core value.

A Harvard Business Review article supports this statement:

“One of the most striking results we’ve found is that, across all income levels, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organization, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company. Among the six workplace factors we examined, compensation and benefits were consistently rated among the least important factors of workplace happiness.”

This brings to question how you ensure that you take a job which meets your core values. Here are four ways to discover the core values employers support, from worse to best.

4. Ask in the interview

This is the worst way to determine the company’s core values, as it may be too late. (It’s always best going into an interview with your eyes wide open.) You can ask the recruiter during the telephone interview.

However, he might not know much about the company’s values, especially if he’s an agency recruiter (not on site). A corporate recruiter would have a better idea of the company’s values; although, not as accurate as a hiring manager’s.

You may be able to ask the question, “Can you tell me a little bit about the company’s core values?” during the interview. But more likely you’d ask this question at the last phase of the interview when they ask if you have any questions for them.

If this is your only opportunity, ask the questions as such: “What are (Company X’s) top three core values?” This is a question that will challenge the interviewers and indicate that you’re serious about working for the company.

3. Comb through company reviews on a site like glassdoor.com

I’m skeptical of a site like Glassdoor. My thought is that disgruntled current or former employees won’t speak objectively about their present or past companies. And, reportedly, some employers have launched paid campaigns to encourage positive reviews.

However, there could be value in this site’s reviews if the they are consistent; if most of them are positive or negative. I looked at two companies, one a nationally known monolith and the other a largish company local to Boston. They were consistently positive in their reviews.

Dell EMC had a whopping 4.3K reviews and a 76% “Recommend to a friend” rating. In terms of pros and cons, work-life balance was the top value mentioned: 507 applauded the work-life balance, whereas 107 trashed the work/life balance.

The other company, Kronos, also did consistently well. Of the 1.3K employees who posted a review, 81% would recommend this company to a friend. Not surprisingly work-life balance was the number one value: 239 favored it; 45 employees saw it as a con.

2. Find someone on LinkedIn who can speak about the company

LinkedIn can be a great tool for finding people who work for your target companies; or better yet, worked for your target companies. It’s important to know how to locate people at said companies. You’re going to get very familiar with LinkedIn’s All Filters feature.

How to use LinkedIn’s All Filters

  1. First click in the Search bar at the top of most pages.
  2. Choose People.
  3. Click on All Filters.
  4. Type in the company name.
  5. Select second degree connection.
  6. Select Current or Past companies.
  7. Choose location.
  8. Scroll down to enter the title of the person you would like to approach.

Second degree connection who works for your target company

If you are a Premium account member (most likely Career), use one of your five Inmails to message someone who shares a common connection with you. You may mention in the first line:

“Hello Susan, you and I are connected with John Schmidt, who encouraged me to reach out to you….”

What if you don’t have a premium account? Go to the person’s Contact Info box on her profile and send her an email. Or, send an invite for quick action. My suggestion is to proceed like you would if you have a premium account in terms of the message you send. Indicate you share a common connection who will vouch for you.

Read this post to learn more about how to properly communicate with a possible connection.

Second degree connection who USED to work for your target company

Job seekers often don’t think of reaching out to someone on LinkedIn who used to work for their target companies. I tell my workshop attendees that these people can be their best online source of information, as they will most likely provide the truth. They have nothing to lose.

Again, if you don’t have a premium account and have to send an invite, it’s best to mention a common connection. Be sure the common connection you mention is amenable to vouching for you. There are many connections who will vouch for me, but there are some who (I hate to admit) I hardly know.

1. Have a mole in the company who will tell you about the company’s values

This is the best way to discover the values your potential employer supports. The person/people you ask, via LinkedIn or in person, are onsite and experience the company’s core values on a daily basis. They can provide intricate details, whereas glassdoor.com and current and former employees on LinkedIn might not be as willing to go into details.

I recall applying for a job that was posted by an employer I was considering working for. I knew someone within the organization who was very open about the company’s culture. She described an environment where management was so abusive toward their employees that people were quitting. Needless to say, I didn’t apply for the job.


Your workplace core values are not to be ignored when applying for positions. They can make the difference between being happy or unhappy. An exercise I have my workshop attendees do is write down their top five values, not an easy task for many. Then I have them narrow it down to three and finally one. Can you identify your top value? I bet it’s not salary.

This post originally appeared in www.job-hunt.org

Photo: Flickr, Reputation Tempe

3 major Skype interview tips Job Seekers should heed

One of my clients was supposed to have a face-to-face interview, but it was scheduled for a day of a Nor Easter. With the interview an impossibility, what would be a plausible alternative? The answer is simple: the company could conduct a Skype interview. And that is what happened.

for skype

The future of job interviewing may include increasingly more Skype interviews. If you’re a job seeker and haven’t had a Skype interview yet, chances are you’ll have one soon.

Following are important facts and tips concerning this form of interviewing.

Why do companies conduct Skype interviews?

One reason companies use Skype is because it saves time and money. Instead of having job candidates come in for in-person interviews, companies can put the candidates through the drill over computers, tablets, and even smart phones.

An interviewer can see the candidate’s nonverbal clues, such as body language and facial expressions. Does the person come across as relaxed or nervous? Do they maintain eye contact? Do they look and sound enthusiastic? More so than a telephone interview, Skype is more personal.

One of my close connections, Angela Roberge, recruiter and owner of Accurate Staffing, says this about Skype interviews: “We are in the people ‘business,’ so face-to-face interviews (including Skype) can help you assess the candidate on their ability to present themselves.”

A negative aspect of Skype interviews is its use for discriminating against candidates based on their appearance, including age, race, nationality, etc. Unfortunately the isms exists. On the other hand, interviewers are naturally curious and simply want to see a person before inviting them in for an in-person interview.

A nasty trick an interviewer played on one of my career center customers was turning his camera off, while my customer had to keep hers on. He could see her, but she couldn’t see him. My response to this was that she should have ended the interview immediately.

How seriously should you take Skype Interviews?

Do you take pneumonia seriously? This answers the question. In some cases you could be hired after only being interviewed via phone and Skype, particularly if this precludes the need to fly you to meet with someone at the company.

In essence, treat your Skype interview as you would an in-person interview. This means conducting rigorous research on the position, company, and industry/competition. Make sure you’ve memorized your research, as you don’t want to be caught looking to the side at your notes.

Make sure you’re prepared for the difficult questions. A a telephone interview, when the salary question and a rundown of your qualifications to do the job will take place, will most likely precede a Skype interview.

So during the Skype interview you’ll most likely receive behavioral-based and situation questions that will be more challenging. Your response to the answers will have to be delivered as well as if you were in an in-person interview.

As well, your physical reactions will be gauged by the interviewer in terms of your facial expressions and body language. Will you squirm when answering the weakness questions? Or will you answer it with little emotion? Remember, interviewers are watching you.

Logistics of a Skype Interview?

Along with treating the Skype interview seriously, you must make sure your setting and camera are set up for the best possible conversation. As simple as this may sound, improper lighting, sound, and other logistics could blow the interview.

  • Make sure you’re on time for the interview. Discuss with the interviewer who’ll be calling, them or you, and make sure you’re at your computer.
  • Be certain that you’re dressed as if you are attending an in-person interview. Some say you can dress well from your waist up only, but what if you have to get something during the discussion? The fact that you’re wearing pajama bottoms will not bode well.
  • Make sure the connections is strong. I Skyped with a client in St. Lucia and we had to reconnect a number of times. If you have a weak Internet connection, this could cause problems.
  • Your computer’s camera or webcam needs to be eye level; that’s what you’ll be looking at, not the interviewer’s face. Place your laptop on a platform that makes the camera eye-level.
  • Your background should have very little on the wall. Make sure it’s not cluttered, which can say something about your personality or that you were too “busy” to tidy up. As well, your background shouldn’t be bland. Some books in the background are a nice touch.
  • Sound quality is also important. If you’re in an open room, there may be an echo that is quite noticeable. The more objects in the room the better, as long as they’re not visible to the interviewer.
  • Background noise is a no no, just as it is with a telephone interview. Be free of any distractions to you and the interviewer. Your children playing in the other room can be heard, as well as loud outside noise. Often times fire trucks and ambulances ride by my house, so I warn people with whom I’m Skyping of this.
  • Lighting is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of a Skype interview. Here are some pointers: Have your laptop facing a window, not behind it. Lamps placed below you will cause an eerie appearance.

Watch this outstanding video of the logistics of a Skype Interview. http://tinyurl.com/zby4u6n


As said earlier, Skype interviews are becoming more common; so you need to be prepared. I suggest you take some time two nights before the interview to set up an account and practice Skyping with a close friend or relative to make sure things go smoothly.

Photo: Flickr, Aleta Pardalis