Monday, November 27, 2017

Questions You Should Ask in an Interview

It's game time — the interview is here. You prepped well. You aced the handshake. anticipated the questions they asked and wowed them with your smooth, competent demeanor and relevant work anecdotes.

Or maybe it wasn’t your best interview (it happens) and you need a way to salvage the whole thing. Either way, as the interview is wrapping up, it’s time to close strong. This is your chance to leave a valuable impression on your way out.

At this point, most interviewers will open the floor to you by asking if you have any other questions. Before you simply shake hands and say "thank you for your time," consider asking these four questions! to finish strong: 

1. "How would you describe the culture here in the office?’* This question shows that you’re already thinking about how you can fit in and add value to this company. It also gives you an unofficial glimpse into what the company is like — information that you can’t necessarily get from online research.

The interviewer is unlikely to tell you the "warts and all" version, but it’s a good way to get an initial feel for whether the job will truly be a good fit for you.

2. "What’s been your favorite part about working for this company?"
This engages the interviewer’s personal side, letting them give an opinion that isn’t necessarily based on the c! ompany motto or the job description. The answer can be even m! ore revealing about the day-to-day life at the company than asking, "What’s the dayto-day like here?"

For example, at one interview I asked this question and was pleasantly surprised to find out that once a month the company throws a pizza party for employees and holds regular events like employee bake-offs and craft fairs. That told me that the company valued employee morale, and was a deciding factor when I accepted the job.

If the interviewer seems stumped by this question and has to think a while before answering, that may be a red flag, which is also good information to have.

3. "What experience best prepared you for working here?"
Again, this engages with th! e interviewer and gets him or her respond candidly without being too intrusive or personal. It also tells you about the kinds of skills that will serve you best in this role, regardless of what’s in the job description.

For example, if the interviewer tells you that working for a chaotic small company prepared her for the "all hands on deck' attitude of this place, it tells you that teamwork is prized here. You can respond by saying something like, "I thrive in that kind of atmosphere too. Working at a small mom-and-pop store taught me how valuable it is for everyone to pitch in to get the job done."

4. "How would you describe the leadership style here?"
Up to this point, it’s likely that the interview was focused on the job itself and your qualifications. This question opens it up a bit and tells you more about t! he expectations of the company for this job — whether it’s a hands! -on management kind of company (or potentially micromanaging), or a leadership style that relies on employees being more independent.

It also tells the interviewer that you’re thinking about creating a productive, in-tune relationship with your potential manager.

As with all interview questions, it’s important to read the flow of the interview. If you’ve covered any of these topics earlier, no need to rehash them at the end — it could look like you weren’t paying attention.

But making sure you have a potential list of thoughtful, engaged questions ready to go will help you finish the interview in a polished, professional way.

Kate Lopaze is a career advice journalist for, where this article was originally publishe! d. She investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one's career.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Effective Networking Skills Key in Today's Job Market!

Here's a Summary of the Event Ever wondered how you could make yourself more comfortable with the mechanics of networking? Or if there was a way to strengthen the connection with your network contacts? Speaker Elizabeth Kunze's topics included:
  • Increase your comfort level in networking
  • Explore ways to make authentic connections with network contacts;
  • Examine your network strategically to determine if, where and how you may want to take proactive action to modify your network.
Speaker is Elizabeth A. Kunze, an Executive Coach and Corporate Trainer with more than 15 years’ of leadership development experience working with clients ranging from hourly employees and plant managers to senior leaders and CXOs. In her role as Executive Coach and Corporate Trainer, she has facilitated many seminars and workshops on Executive Presence, Networking, Entrepreneurship and Career Navigation. 
Elizabeth Kunze
Her Leadership Development practice entails working closely with leaders and organizations competing on a global scale in manufacturing, research, engineering, and technology. Prior to her current role, she spent more than 20 years in strategic marketing and business intelligence across a wide range of industries and organizations, mostly technical or engineering based. 
Elizabeth combines broad-based analytical and strategic thinking skill with extensive cross-cultural experience – including working with expatriate leaders on global and domestic assignments – as part of her Leadership Development practice.
UWIT is held monthly at City Range on Haywood Road.  Networking starts at 11:30 and lunch is served at 12:00.  Please register online  for future gatherings at   Walks-ins welcomed with cash or check payment of $20.  Contact Jill Rose at 864-908-0105 or for more information. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

That Salary Question!

Without a doubt, the "What is your desired salary?" question is one of the hardest to answer — either on a job application or in an interview situation. An online application doesn’t usually offer a box to tick for "I’d be willing to negotiate, within reason."

Don’t just make something up.

If you’re faced with a dropdown application box, remember that you have two tools available to you. First, do your research. Find out what the industry standard would be for that role in that geographical area, and ask for that (or a little higher or lower depending on your particular skills and experience). This is vital for not being weeded out based on asking for far too little or far too much.

Most companies have hiring policies that dictate they will pay new hires the midpoint of the stated salary range they are prepared to offer. Negotiation technique would suggest you ask for just a bit higher than the midpoint, in order not to be offered less than policy would get you.
Use your application to explain your reasoning.

A good use of your cover letter is to justify the number you selected. This is where you can add in that important sentence about being open to negotiation. Or explain, with numbers, why you feel a percentage increase from your former salary is called for — based on performance appraisals, market trends, new skills or experience, etc.

How to figure out and verbalize what you want.

There are different ways to go about this. You can ask for a flat salary number per year, which is usually negotiated and standard across a wide variety of industries and careers. Or, you might be looking for a job where you’re asked to state what you would expect to make per hour. In both cases, it’s important to ask for just a little more than you expect to be offered — usually 10-15 percent above what you really need to make.

In the case of hourly pay, make sure you’ve done the calculations to figure out exactly how much you need to make per hour to make ends meet. Most workers can expect to work about 2,000 hours per year. Don’t forget to factor in sick days and vacation time — for which you will often not be compensated in an hourly wage job. Don’t accept a job for less unless you absolutely have to!  And don’t forget to ask about overtime and bonus pay, if applicable, so you can factor that into your calculations as well.

Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a situation where you don’t particularly care what you make for salary, as this number might be standard or nonnegotiable in your industry, but there are specific benefits you’d like to negotiate towards. If there are any deal breakers for you in the benefits package, make sure to focus on these when asked about your salary requirements.

The bottom line.

Make sure you know the minimum you need to make. You can always use that as your answer, "I can’t accept this position for anything less than [AMOUNT]." And be prepared to hold to it. (These calculations are important and should be done with care.) If you prefer a softer touch, you can always answer, "I think [AMOUNT] would be a fair salary for this position."

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.