9.5 Steps to Master Your Job Interview

You sent your resume and scored an interview. Now, will the interview make or break your chances? Depending on what list (this, that, etc…) you look at ‘social phobia’, ‘fear of rejection’, and ‘fear of public speaking’ are among the greatest fears suffered by people today. All of these come into play during an interview. A meeting with someone unknown to put yourself up for evaluation and possibly change your life in a very real way. If interviews make you nervous, here is some help. If you are generally confident in how you present yourself, polish your performance with these tips.

Many experts offer key advice for the interview process; most of it boils down to 2 things; be prepared to explain yourself and be prepared to know the company and its opportunity for you.

As we increasingly work remotely and even interview remotely, our interviews are often via telephone or video-chat. Still, most of these tips apply.

10 Best Job Interview Strategies

  • 1. Study the company – One of the best job interview strategies that most candidates ignore is to study the current events of the company. Knowing what the current events of the company is important so that you can ask pertinent questions. Doing so will show the interviewer that you have done your homework, and also have a genuine interest in the company. This strategy will definitely help your job interview.
  • 2. Know your resume – As a candidate, you should be very familiar with your resume. In any job interview, anything on your resume is at the interviewer’s disposal. Implementing this job interview strategy will help build credibility with your interviewer. Speaking intelligently about each of your previous positions will help do this, and is one of the best job interview strategies to follow.
  • 3. Study job description – After landing an interview, you need to study the job description to truly understand what the interviewer is looking for. If the description calls for attentiveness to detail, you will want to tailor the discussion accordingly. Knowing this, you can navigate the interview and discuss examples from previous jobs that will exemplify this trait. Do this for all significant traits or qualities that you identify in the job description. This is one of the best job interview strategies I have used, and know that it can bring you success.
  • 4. Build rapport – You know the saying, “There’s never a second chance to make a first impression/” That holds very true in the case of job interviews. That is why building rapport is such an important job interview strategy. Shake hands, make eye contact, and smile. Put those three together when you first meet your interviewer and it will set a positive tone for the rest of the interview.
  • 5. Make eye contact (In-Person Only)Making positive eye contact is one of the best job interview strategies to follow. Eye contact is one of the strongest forms of nonverbal communication. A person’s qualities and personality can be detected simply based on eye contact. Making direct eye contact communicates confidence and high self-esteem, two key qualities employers look for in candidates. Thus, it is very important that you make eye contact when you first meet interviewer and shake hands. And during the interview, it is important to make eye contact, not only when you talk, but also as you listen. Simply doing this job interview strategy will greatly help your chances of success in an interview.
  • 6. Body language (In-Person Only) – Just as eye contact speaks volumes about you, so does your body language. Proper body language conveys confidence and high self-esteem. During the interview, things like sitting up straight with your chest out and keeping a pleasant demeanor on your face will project confidence. The interviewer will be aware of this, and it will help you stand out in his/her mind.
  • 7. Display your skills with concrete examples (In-Person Only) – When it comes to discussing their skills, many candidates make the mistake of “telling” instead of “showing.” One of the best job interview strategies is to use concrete examples to demonstrate their skills to the interviewer. For example, if one of your skills is successfully handling multiple tasks at once, providing an example of how you do that will help paint a picture for the interviewer. It also gives the interviewer something to “hold on to” once the interview is over, and helps him/her remember you when it comes to decision time.
  • 8. Prepare an interview emergency kit (In-Person Only) – Many candidates don’t properly prepare for a job interview. Getting together a “job interview kit” is a great job interview strategy to follow. Suggested items for the kit include extra copies of your resume, directions to the office, a bottle of water, eye drops, pens, and notepad. But you should only bring the extra copies of your resume into the office with you, preferably in a portfolio.
  • 9. Be yourself – A common mistake that many candidates make is not being themselves. Some feel that they need to fit a certain mold and act accordingly. This will only end up hurting both parties in the end when your “true” personality comes out. You will be surprised how easy it is to detect insincerity during an interview. Thus, it is important to be professional, but also maintain your true essence. When you do this, your sincerity will be picked up by the interviewer. This is one of the best job interview strategies to implement, and will go a long way in determining your success.
  • 9.5 Follow up quickly – After the job interview, send a thank you note to the interview. These days, an email is fine, but traditionally a handwritten card is sent. Whatever method you choose, do it promptly after the interview. The correspondence should be sent the next day after the interview. Many hiring decisions are made quickly these days, so timeliness is very important.

Article Source: Ezine Article



Full Time vs Freelance Career

In my career as a software developer I worked as an employee, a founding-team member of a startup, and a business owner. I currently own and operate Rivello Multimedia Consulting (RMC) – an app & game software development company.

Owning a business is empowering and challenging. I love it. It affords me the flexibility to work with the people and technology that excite me and allows me to travel extensively. After years in Los Angeles I decided to take RMC mobile. Working within dozens of countries. I now travel full-time while I work on project-based client-assignments.

In the pursuit of new contracts I’m often approached by recruiters, head-hunters, and software companies to accept full-time positions. While I’m not actively looking for full-time employment, I want to brainstorm ‘The Ideal Full-time Job’ for two reasons. Perhaps I will accept a full-time position AFTER I decide to settle down geographically. So knowing what I want is important. Or secondly, perhaps if I have the ideal situation firmly in mind, I will find something so good it will encourage me to settle down geographically. I’d like to define what is ideal for me and keep an eye out for it.

Its also increasingly possible to be a full-time employee and work some or all of the position as a remote worker.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the full-time lifestyle compared to some alternatives.

FULL-TIME VS FREELANCE VS CONTRACTOR

Here are a few of my own definitions on the types of working relationships we find within the software industry.

An ’employee’ works 40 (in USA) or more hours per week for the same employee and receives compensation regularly in the form of salary and benefits. He belongs to the company. Generally speaking, the worker is on-site and the employer is his only source of income. The responsibilities are set by one or more bosses. The risks for the employee are low. He is told what to do, he does the work (with varying degrees of flexibility in how he completes it), and then submits it for review. The learning and growth opportunities are controlled by the employer. In short, for the worker, being a full-time employee is a very secure position with some personal and some professional growth potential, but little control.

A ‘freelancer’ works independently for 1 to 40 hours or more for an employer. The worker may be on-site, off-site, or a hybrid combination of both. Most of her power comes before the project is signed. She can seek the project and technologies of interest and offer the calendars and budget (subject to client approval). Once the project begins however, the relationship is mostly employee-employer where the freelancer does what she is told to do. She receives compensation hourly or flat in the form of salary during or after a project. Between projects there is no pay. There is some risk too. Generally she is responsible for her own benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc…). The volume of work to be done between due-dates may be very high, regardless she is responsible to get it done. She receives no training or growth, except what is learned on the specific job at hand. She must train herself on her own time to stay competitive and to offer value. In short, for the worker being a freelance worker is an insecure position with little (on the job) growth yet greater control of the projects and technologies used.

For many, freelancer and contractor are the same. However, I note a difference.

A ‘contractor’ is independent like  the freelancer, but accepts more responsibility and risk. He is free to choose his next project. But can take on projects that are not yet well formed or well documented. This allows him to create the specifications document (subject for client approval) for potentially larger projects. He may hire sub-contractors to help with the project too. At milestones and certainly at the project completion he submits his work to the client for review. Estimating hours and budget is also required. For this additional risk the contractor is paid more. The contractor may also manage her own team and do subcontracting too, where a freelancer is a solo worker. So for the worker, being a contract worker is an insecure position with little (on the job growth) yet a high level of control over what projects are taken and how the projects will be completed. He is responsible for creating specifications, hiring and managing subordinates, and delivering the completed work.

Full-time employees pay taxes annual (in USA, using a w2), freelancers are paid with a 1099, and contractors may use 1099 but there are other options too.

Generally, defining an ’employee’ is easy, but there is grey area between freelancer and contractor. To me, the more risk and responsibility the worker has, the more the role sounds like a contractor.

PAY COMPARISON FULL-TIME VS OTHERS.

When comparing the financial side of a full-time position vs a freelance/contract lifestyle, one must consider more than just the salary. All other things being equal, the freelancer must be paid significantly more than the employee for the freelancer to be a financially competitive option. Think of all the costs you must pay as a freelancer that you don’t pay as an employee:

  1. Utility bills. The heat, water, light and phone bills may all be higher when you’re home all day. As a worker, your boss essentially paid for some of this by hosting you at their place of business .
  2. Employment tax. Your employer footed the bill on half of this. As a freelancer, you pay both halves yourself. You can look up your tax deduction on a pay stub to see how much more you’ll owe the IRS. You’ll also likely pay state business taxes as a freelancer.
  3. Equipment. Your boss provided a computer, Internet access, printer, paper, and everything else you needed to work. Now, you’re on the hook for all those costs. When the computer dies, guess who gets to call a tech — or buy a new one?
  4. Marketing costs. You didn’t need to get out and market your business when you had a full-time gig. Now, you might need to purchase publications, join associations, take trainings, pay a web host, send direct-mail postcards — all those marketing costs are yours to bear.
  5. Non-billable hours. A full-time job gave you a guaranteed 40 hours of work each and every week. Freelancing isn’t like that. You’ll have hours you need to spend marketing, doing bookkeeping, chasing after slow payers. So to end up with equivalent pay, you’ll have to figure how many billable hours you’ve really got in a month and divide the monthly total you need by that figure, not the 180+ hours of a typical employee.
  6. Unpaid vacation and sick time. Your boss might have floated you a couple weeks free a year or more, and may have covered a week or more of sick days, too. As your own boss, when you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
 
ASSIGNING A VALUE TO YOUR WORK
The full-time position includes compensation in payment and benefits. So when offering services as a freelancer or contractor, you have a competitive edge in finances. You can ask for more payment, since typically no benefits are included.
 
Variables to Consider for a Consultant:
  • Length of contract, Temp to Perm, Work from home, # of hours per week, Overtime, Technology, Client
  • When was the contract signed, different Market Conditions?
  • W-2 vs 1099 (Taxes need to be paid by company or individual 6.2% SS or 1.45% Medicare of Gross Pay)

Think like a consultant:

  • 160 hours per month (2 weeks vacation, 9 holidays, 3 sick days, 10 days to find a new job), so to figure out what the candidate would earn in 1 year of consulting, probably multiple (Rate * Hours per month * 10.5/12 months)
  • Cost of Benefits, $500 to $1,000 individual or $1,000 to $3,000 family
  • Talk to accountant about write-offs, filing taxes, etc

Rules of Thumb:

  • Once a consultant, always a consultant
  • Consultants make more $ than a fulltime employee
  • Fulltime employees converting to contract roles worry about Benefits, Stability and Taxes
  • Big Companies hire Consultants
The following chart (2011) shows a comparison of hourly pay (freelance/contract) to full-time pay.

Consultant Hourly Pay                                                                   Full-time Employee Pay

$25 per hour                                                                                                      $40,000

$35 per hour                                                                                                      $50,000

$40 per hour                                                                                                      $60,000

$50 per hour                                                                                                      $70,000

$60 per hour                                                                                                      $80,000

$65 per hour                                                                                                      $90,000

$70 per hour                                                                                                      $100,000

$75 per hour                                                                                                      $115,000

$80 per hour                                                                                                      $120,000

 

THE QUESTION OF PERSONALITY

Because full-time positions offer less control and full-time/freelance positions offer less risk, we see that workers’ personalities generally fit one better than the other. Here is a partial list of thought-provoking points;

  • If you like to be told what to do (and that is not necessarily a bad thing), to do it, and to be paid then full-time is for you.
  • If you like to be a leader within an existing structure – the corporate ladder of being an employee is for you.
  • If you can take a bit more risk in your lifestyle and want to say ‘no’ to projects that are not of interest
  • If you are willing to take risks for greater control – contracting may be the best fit.
SO WHICH IS BEST?

Historically, workers are employees. There was a time when finding one great company and investing 40 years there, was the ideal. However, with changing business models companies and heightened competition companies are less likely to want or be able to hire life-time employees. The trends point to more of the world-wide (professional) workforce being contract-based independent workers. This lowers risk for the companies and requires more responsibility from the workers. Workers must more actively manage their own professional education and steer their careers. Still many of us start our careers as employees.

For many, particularly younger workers, the decision is ‘I am an employee, should I become a freelancer’. As outlined above that decision is usually “do I want to accept more responsibility and risk for the benefit of more control and income.” For me that decision was met with a resounding “yes” years ago. But it is not for everyone.



9.5 Must-Have Life-Skills

This article covers practical skills for every day life that pay major dividends with minimal expense.  Learning the techniques and setting up a plan to build them into your life will take some discipline.  Give it 21 days and the habits will take.

The (Learn How!) will be replaced with helpful links in an upcoming update.



Get Online First, Eat Breakfast Second!

By BRAD STONE

Karl and Dorsey Gude of East Lansing, Mich., can remember simpler mornings, not too long ago. They sat together and chatted as they ate breakfast. They read the newspaper and competed only with the television for the attention of their two teenage sons.

That was so last century. Today, Mr. Gude wakes at around 6 a.m. to check his work e-mail and his Facebook and Twitter accounts. The two boys, Cole and Erik, start each morning with text messages, video games and Facebook.

The new routine quickly became a source of conflict in the family, with Ms. Gude complaining that technology was eating into family time. But ultimately even she partially succumbed, cracking open her laptop after breakfast.

“Things that I thought were unacceptable a few years ago are now commonplace in my house,” she said, “like all four of us starting the day on four computers in four separate rooms.”

Technology has shaken up plenty of life’s routines, but for many people it has completely altered the once predictable rituals at the start of the day.

This is morning in America in the Internet age. After six to eight hours of network deprivation — also known as sleep — people are increasingly waking up and lunging for cellphones and laptops, sometimes even before swinging their legs to the floor and tending to more biologically urgent activities.

“It used to be you woke up, went to the bathroom, maybe brushed your teeth and picked up the newspaper,” said Naomi S. Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University, who has written about technology’s push into everyday life. “But what we do first now has changed dramatically. I’ll be the first to admit: the first thing I do is check my e-mail.”

The Gudes’ sons sleep with their phones next to their beds, so they start the day with text messages in place of alarm clocks. Mr. Gude, an instructor at Michigan State University, sends texts to his two sons to wake up.

“We use texting as an in-house intercom,” he said. “I could just walk upstairs, but they always answer their texts.” The Gudes recently began shutting their devices down on weekends to account for the decrease in family time.

In other households, the impulse to go online before getting out the door adds an extra layer of chaos to the already discombobulating morning scramble.

Weekday mornings have long been frenetic, disjointed affairs. Now families that used to fight over the shower or the newspaper tussle over access to the lone household computer — or about whether they should be using gadgets at all, instead of communicating with one another.

“They used to have blankies; now they have phones, which even have their own umbilical cord right to the charger,” said Liz Perle, a mother in San Francisco who laments the early-morning technology immersion of her two teenage children. “If their beds were far from the power outlets, they would probably sleep on the floor.”

The surge of early risers is reflected in online and wireless traffic patterns. Internet companies that used to watch traffic levels rise only when people booted up at work now see the uptick much earlier.

Arbor Networks, a Boston company that analyzes Internet use, says that Web traffic in the United States gradually declines from midnight to around 6 a.m. on the East Coast and then gets a huge morning caffeine jolt. “It’s a rocket ship that takes off at 7 a.m,” said Craig Labovitz, Arbor’s chief scientist.

Akamai, which helps sites like Facebook and Amazon keep up with visitor demand, says traffic takes off even earlier, at around 6 a.m. on the East Coast. Verizon Wireless reported the number of text messages sent between 7 and 10 a.m. jumped by 50 percent in July, compared with a year earlier.

Both adults and children have good reasons to wake up and log on. Mom and Dad might need to catch up on e-mail from colleagues in different time zones. Children check text messages and Facebook posts from friends with different bedtimes — and sometime forget their chores in the process.

In May, Gabrielle Glaser of Montclair, N.J., bought her 14-year-old daughter, Moriah, an Apple laptop for her birthday. In the weeks after, Moriah missed the school bus three times and went from walking the family Labradoodle for 20 minutes each morning to only briefly letting the dog outside.

Moriah concedes that she neglected the bus and dog, and blames Facebook, where the possibility that crucial updates from friends might be waiting draws her online as soon as she wakes. “I have some friends that are up early and chatting,” she said. “There is definitely a pull to check it.”

Some families have tried to set limits on Internet use in the mornings. James Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that deals with children and entertainment, wakes every morning at 6 and spends the next hour on his BlackBerry, managing e-mail from contacts in different parts of the world.

But when he meets his wife, Liz, and their four children, ages 5 to 16, at the breakfast table, no laptops or phones are allowed.

Mr. Steyer says he and his sons feel the temptation of technology early. Kirk, 14, often runs through much of his daily one-hour allotment of video-game time in the morning.

Even Jesse, 5, has started asking each morning if he can play games on his father’s iPhone. And Mr. Steyer said he constantly feels the tug of waiting messages on his BlackBerry, even during morning hours that are reserved for family time.

“You have to resist the impulse. You have to switch from work mode to parenting mode,” Mr. Steyer said. “But meeting my own standard is tough.”



7.5 Top Work/Life Balance Stories of the Year

By Michelle Goodman, originally appearing in NWJobs.

Happy New Year, folks. To wind down the year, my last post gave my picks for the top work/life balance stories of 2008. Today, I’m giving my predictions for the biggest work/life balance stories we’ll see in the year ahead:

1. The continued rise of flex work. Realizing that you can’t do the same amount of work with less people power, companies with common sense will choose flexible work arrangements over layoffs. Instituting telecommuting, shorter workweeks, and job sharing as cost-cutting measures not only keeps your people employed, it keeps their morale up during difficult financial times. Layoffs, of course, have the opposite effect.

2. The “working” retirement. Lewis Lin, a Seattle-based interviewing coach, wrote in with this one, and I couldn’t agree more. Increased life expectancy and cost of living have already contributed greatly to more and more people working well into their golden years. Fifty- and sixty-somethings who saw their retirement funds shrink by 40 percent or more in recent months will have to think twice about walking away from work any time soon. Many simply won’t be able to afford it.

3. The accidental small business owner. Those with means who’ve been laid off from a floundering industry (banking comes to mind) might find it easier to start a low-overhead business than find a job with a salary comparable to the one they lost. In October, business strategist Rhonda Abrams argued in USA Today that a recession is actually a fine time to start a low-overhead business. For one thing, the competition is likely weakened. For another, customers are hungry for cheap alternatives. (Entire article here.)

4. The reluctant freelancer. Take it from a long-time freelancer, if you have a service to sell, it’s easier during a recession to find organizations to hire you for project-based freelance and contract work than it is to find organizations to hire you for a full-time position. Why? Because it’s far less expensive for companies to farm out the work sporadically than to open a salaried position. Any time the country slips into a recession, you’ll find leagues laid-off writers, designers, programmers, admins, and project managers turning to freelance work to make ends meet.

5. The marriage of convenience. In a 2007 poll conducted by leading health policy research group Kaiser Family Foundation, 7 percent of Americans admittedly to marrying so they or their partner could get on the other’s health insurance plan. Given the high unemployment figures right now, I’d be shocked if more couples didn’t step up their nuptial plans for financial reasons.

6. The putting off of parenthood. Those pint-sized bundles of joy cost a small fortune. As the Chicago Tribune reports, the annual cost of raising a child in a middle-income, married-couple, two-child family was about $11,000 or $12,000 a year in 2007, depending on geographic location. Then there’s the whole matter of the college fund. If ever there was a year not to incur those added expenses, it’s this one.

7. The never-ending fascination with the Obamas’ family life. This young, history-making political family appears to have it all: beauty, brains, power, heart, education, ambition, compassion, connections, the world’s rapt attention, and the world’s seemingly infinite problems resting squarely on their shoulders. How can we resist gawking and seeing what we can learn from them?

and…7.5. You are amongst million of people newly interested in Work/Life balance.  Fast becoming a top Google trend “Work/Life” balance is increasingly fashionable.  As nervous breakdowns and mid-life crisis’ exist and so do people who want to avoid them, balance is a hot hot topic.



9.5 Simple Habits to Make Your Life Better

I will be exploring these in depth in future articles.  This serves as a placeholder.  This is my personal list of ‘Simple Habits to Make Your Life Better’.  Leave a comment with your favorites.

  1. Live within your means
  2. Get regular rest.  Fyi, If you are tired, you aren’t rested.
  3. Pay bills online, pay none in person
  4. Get regular haircuts
  5. Plan your life in increments of endless dreams, 3 goals, 3 tasks per goal, 7 days per task.  Live your life in 7 day increments, allowing goal-time, personal time, leisure time, & learning time, etc…
  6. Exercise your body 3 times per week for 20 minutes, or more.
  7. Watch no regular television.
  8. Watch no televised news (if you must get news, get it from the least sensationalized sources, i.e. NYTImes (But even that’s not great.)
  9. Avoid talking about taxes and politics

and…9.5. Reflect on the negative, dwell on the positive.