Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

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Did He Really Just Ask That?

You are sitting in your interview for that dream job that you really, really want. Suddenly your jaw drops a little and you try to compose yourself, as you say to yourself silently, “Did he really just ask me that?” We all know there are questions that an interviewer in New York is not allowed to ask by law.

These questions are considered to be discriminatory and you can file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). These types of questions are in respect to your nationality, your family life, your age, pregnancy or plans for pregnancy and much more.

What are these questions that are illegal for an interviewer to ask in New York?

  • Asking if you are a US citizen is illegal. Asking if you can work in the US legally is ok.
  • You cannot be asked what your native language is but you can be asked what languages you speak.
  • In regard to religion you cannot be asked what religion you practice or what religious holidays you observe. You can be asked if you are able to work the company’s regular schedule.
  • Most of us know that you cannot be asked what your age is. Be alert for questions that try to gather this information without directly asking for it. You cannot be asked how much longer you plan to work or when you plan to retire. You can be asked about your career goals and if you are over 18 put those are about the only questions relating to age that you can be asked.
  • Asking if you are married or have children is also illegal. You will be amused by all the questions that attempt to get around this question. Some of the illegal versions that you might get asked include “what is your maiden name?”; “Are you planning to have children or do you have children?”; this is really a question about availability so you should be asked it that way. “Are you available to work overtime?” You cannot be asked what your plans would be if you were to become pregnant. If you are asked if you have a babysitter or can get one on short notice, know the question is illegal.
  • You can’t be asked about your parents or what they do in their careers even if the interviewer is looking for your knowledge of the industry. You can offer that your parents have always worked in the industry, but the employer cannot ask.
  • You can’t be asked if you smoke, drink or take drugs. However you can be asked to take a drug test and you can be asked if you use illegal drugs. The employer might also inform you of a non-smoking or non-alcohol policy.

So what should you do if you find yourself in the position of our interviewee in the opening paragraph of this article? What if you find yourself saying to yourself silently, “Did he really just ask me that?” You do have a choice. You can answer the question or you can inform the interviewer that the question is illegal and you prefer not to answer it.

posted by | on Article, Blog | Comments Off on Disability: To Discuss or Not?

Interview Advice

Disability? To Discuss or Not to Discuss in an Interview

Most people in New York have enough to be concerned about when preparing for the interview for the job of their dreams. If you have a disability, this task becomes even more complicated as you attempt to discern if you should bring up your disability and if so, how to do so.

If your disability is something that will affect your job in any way, you need to address it. It is particularly important to address it if you will need “reasonable accommodations” in any way or any area of the job. So how do you approach this need in the interview process, especially if your disability is not obvious?

As you ponder this as part of your interview preparation, it is important to understand what your interviewer legally can and cannot discuss in an interview. Every employer has to abide by the regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In following these laws and regulations, the employer is not allowed to discriminate against “a qualified job applicant with a disability” if that person meets the job requirements including experience, education, training, skills and any required certifications or licenses.

However the Americans with Disabilities Act actually defines what a disability is and yours must meet these standards to provide you with the protection of this law. The ADA defines a disability as: “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits you; a record or history of a substantially limiting impairment or impairment the employer regards as substantially limiting to job performance.”

The law also states that you do not have to disclose this disability to the prospective employer. It is really up to you to decide while in the interview whether to bring it up or not.

What to Share/What not to Share

So what is reasonable to share during the interview and what isn’t?

Do Not Share: Medications you are taking even if you think they might impact the company’s drug screening policy. You should share that with the drug screener at the test, not with the hiring manager in the interview.

Therapies you are undertaking to help with pain or functionality also should not be shared in the interview process as you will need to arrange for those therapies to be after work hours. A reasonable accommodation might be possible, but you would discuss it at after you have been hired.

Do Share: Anything associated with your disability that could impede your ability to do the job without causing harm to yourself or anyone else.

The right way to go is to listen closely in the interview and discuss in depth with the interviewer all the requirements of the job and the physical requirements that go along with them. As you are doing this you can decide whether or not your disability is in anyway impacted by these requirements.

This is when you can disclose your disability and allow the interviewer to ask questions in order to determine your ability to meet these requirements and perform the job duties with or without any reasonable accommodation.

Keep in mind that you have the right to ask for those reasonable accommodations.

posted by | on Article, Blog | Comments Off on Illegal Interview Q’s

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You Don’t Have to Answer these Questions

As the economy in New York continues to improve and hiring continues to pick up, it seems like a good time for a refresher on the kinds of interview questions that are illegal. You don’t have to answer these questions and it is your right as the candidate to report the use of these type questions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Reporting the company is your right but might not be your best choice when looking for a job. Most candidates are not aware of the specifics of what is legal for an employer to ask and what is not. You only know that the question the interviewer just asked you makes you feel a little uneasy and uncomfortable.

Illegal Questions

  • A fairly common question in any interview situation is where you see yourself in five years. This question should only be asked in respect to your career and professionalism, not your personal or family life. If the question is asked in any way to include or imply an inquiry about your plans to care for an elderly parent or begin a family of your own, it is out of bounds.

You cannot be asked about personal, family matters. If you have children you cannot be asked about their care or if you plan to have additional ones. If you have older parents you cannot be asked about plans for their future care either.

  • Another common question interviewers ask is where are you from or where were you born. It may appear that they are just breaking the ice, making conversation as it were, and perhaps they are. Regardless this is an illegal line of questioning. Most often the interviewer is attempting to find out if you are in the US legally or their firm might intentionally discriminate against “foreigners”.

If you are asked if you are a citizen, that is an illegal question. Yet if you are a citizen say so. If not just say you are authorized to work in the U.S. You don’t have to answer the question about citizenship. It is illegal for an employer to hire based on the candidate’s citizenship.

Dealing with Illegal Questions

So what do you do when you are asked questions in an interview that make you uncomfortable or that you think might be illegal? Don’t just answer the question out of fear or intimidation that you would not get the job. Ask the interviewer how the question pertains to the job requirements or responsibilities.

Let the interviewer know that you prefer not to answer questions that are not related to your ability to perform the job or to any function of the job. If you think doing this will cost you the job, set up a meeting with the company’s Human Resource Director and confidentially discuss the situation. If you are still not satisfied you can report the incident with the EEOC.


Just keep in mind that any question you are asked that does not pertain specifically to your qualifications for the job is an illegal question and you do not have to answer it.

posted by | on Article, Blog | Comments Off on How To Succeed in Sales

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So You Want to Succeed in Sales? Try These Tips

You have been thinking about getting into sales for a long time and really want to succeed in New York if you make the leap. How can you even get sales managers to interview you with your administrative or non-profit work resume? Having made this move in my own career there are tools for you to use to get that interview and succeed in the job.

Getting the Sales Interview


When you send in your resume and cover letter – and yes you better have a cover letter – you need to show the sales manager that you know about sales. When sending your resume packet, remember to CLOSE THE SALE. What does this mean? You close the sale in your cover letter by “asking for the interview and setting the follow-up”. A good close might sound like this: “I look forward to the opportunity to share with you in person how I will contribute to your bottom line. I will call you next week to set up an interview appointment.” Now ask for the job in the same way.’ I look forward to sharing with you why I will make immediate impacts on you sales numbers once hired”

Don’t be afraid of this or think of it as ‘too much’. It is what we call an assumptive close. You are assuming the sale and you have not left room for the manager to say no. You will impress any sales manager with this type of close.

Transferring Skills

Now you have to sell the hiring manager on your ability to transfer your current skills to a sales role. You want to do this both within the resume and in the cover letter.  This is one of the most frightening aspects of this process. Most of us look at our skill set and we know it transfers but we don’t know how to say it. Remember you do not have to have it all laid out in the resume or cover letter. You can say your skills are easily transferred to sales and will describe this in detail in person at an interview. Now you have the hiring manager interested.

What skills transfer? These skills can be acquired through a job or a volunteer activity. Have you done any fund raising? Do you ever give presentations or teach anyone? Do you teach children at church? Have you ever asked local businesses to participate in an activity or make a donation? Do you have good communication and interpersonal skills and can you demonstrate them? Do you coach? Did you play sports or were you a part of a governing body of any kind? These are all skills that translate into sales skills, or they can be.

Who Will Hire You

Do your homework and only apply to companies that have strong, historical training programs. Try to learn everything you can about sales with or without a training program. What product or service do they sell? Is it something you believe in? It needs to be if you are going to succeed.

Interview Prep

Go to free presentations, network with sales people; ask friends in sales if you can shadow them for a day or two. Be prepared to deal with rejection. In sales you might close 1 in 10 sales calls. Can you accept that? If you can’t then you don’t belong in sales. Learn how to overcome objections before you go to the interview. Again do your homework. If you really want this you will enjoy the research. Do all of these things before you interview for the job you really want.

posted by | on Article | Comments Off on How To Handle an Interview

Interview Advice

How To Handle Your In-face Interview

Once you have done all the hard work, and it is hard work, to attain your in–face interview for that job you really want, what do you do now? There are a lot of tips when going on a really important face to face interview but do you know what they are?

Do you know how to make a good first impression? Do you know how to handle the interview questions to make the best impression? What do you do when the interviewer is out of questions? Do you know what not to ask and how to close the interview? This article will take a look at a small sampling of these items and offer you a few tips to find your dream job in New York.

Make a Good First Impression

Making a good first impression is critical to your interview success. How do you do this?

  • Dress for success. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. These are clichés yes, but they are clichés that just happen to be true every time. Make a good choice and dress well, No jeans and t-shirts no matter how casual the company dress policy is. No flip flops or tank tops. Dress professionally.
  • Shake hands firmly and smile. Make eye contact and don’t be afraid of it.

 How to Handle the Questions in an Interview

  • “Tell me about yourself” – ah the dreaded question. Actually this is the easiest question in the world. ‘What?’ you say. Everyone hates this question. So many interviewees get tripped up on this question yet everyone knows this question will be asked. Prepare for it. If it is not asked, great. But expect it to be asked and prepare for it. There is no reason to allow yourself to get tripped up by it. “Tell me about yourself” Does not mean the interviewer wants to hear about your life. No they want to hear about your professional work life. Relax, talk about what you do, what you have done, your accomplishments…keep your answers focused on your job.
  • The rest of these questions are predictable as well. Prepare for them. If you do you will find yourself relaxed and able to talk about yourself with confidence and ease. Why did you leave your last job or why do you want to leave it? Keep this answer focused on your ambition and your goals. What do you want to succeed at that you did not have the opportunity to do so. Never say anything bad about your previous employer.
  • Stay positive and know how you would describe yourself, what are your strengths and weaknesses – weaknesses should really be strengths such as “work too hard” or ”don’t know when to quit.”

Closing You Interview:

Make sure you are polite, positive and express your desire for the job but don’t be needy or sound desperate.


Just do your homework and have answers ready for the questions you know will be asked. Your confidence just from being prepared will get you through and will come across to the interviewer. Good luck.

posted by | on Article, Blog | Comments Off on Getting The Right Job

How to Get the Right Job     

Sometimes if you want to get the right job, you need to understand how your potential employer goes about hiring the right person. This article will talk about how a good company can go about hiring the right person. With this knowledge you can learn how to approach a company, interview better, make sure you get the interview to begin with. The more you know about how businesses think about the hiring process, the more successful you will be within that process.

Hiring Right

Always Upgrading

The best companies will be interviewing all the time whether they have an opening or not. They don’t wait till their best person quits or their weakest link gets fired. They are always looking and always interviewing. These companies know their weakest link and they are always looking to upgrade. Once they fire that weakest link it is too late. They will have downtime in that position unless they have been interviewing and can turn to their rolodex and make an offer to an already interested and interviewed candidate.

What this means for the candidate – for you –don’t be afraid to interview for companies that don’t have current openings. Keep in mind that they are interviewing because they know their weaknesses and they know they will need you in the future.

Not Rushing the Interview Process

The best companies will not rush the interview process and neither should you. The best companies will expect you to meet a lot of different people throughout the company and they will expect you to respond the same way to everyone you meet. Treat the maintenance person with the same respect and deference as you would treat the CEO.

Make sure you are open and friendly to every person you meet on your interview, the receptionist, the secretary, the maintenance people as well as the recruiter, the Human Resource staff and the hiring manager that you might actually be interviewing with. The more people you make a good impression on, the better.

Hiring managers and Human Resource personnel are increasingly willing to expose their candidates to more people in the interview process to see how the candidate responds and who they interact well with. Don’t get caught in this net. Be prepared.


Share Your Core Values – Make Sure They Match the Companies

Every company has core values. In the past the hiring manager or interviewer might not take those values into consideration in the hiring of staff, only sharing them in orientation or training sessions after the hire. In the last ten years however, those same hiring managers and recruiters have been trained to look for these values in candidates and to ask questions that will uncover the candidates’ core values.

So do two things. First know what your own core values are, know how they form the way you work and know how to articulate both of those things well. Secondly do your homework and know before you go to any interview what the company core values are and if they are compatible with yours and how to articulate it if they are.

If you understand these steps in the hiring process that allow a company to make the right hire, you will also understand how to be that right person.