What to Do When You Get Laid Off

Following these steps will help you get back to work as quickly as possible.

  • Don’t Burn Any Bridges
    This is the number-one post-layoff rule, and it applies to almost every layoff-related situation. In all your dealings with the company, your supervisor, your human resources representative, and your former coworkers, use “don’t burn any bridges” as your personal mantra. You never know when contacts you

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Ten Questions You Should Never be Asked in an Interview

There are numerous state and federal antidiscrimination laws designed to assure that employers hire based upon skill, rather than stereotypes. Therefore, there are some things an interviewer isn’t allowed to ask. How do you know what’s fair game? Here are some questions that should raise red flags.

  1. “What’s your race?”
    It is illegal for an employer to ask you questions about race or skin color.

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Why Companies Interview

Generally speaking, interviewing helps employers know the three things they need to know before they make a hiring decision…

  1. Are you capable of doing the job? Do you have the necessary skills and experience or can you be easily trained?
  2. Are you motivated to do the job? Will you take the trouble to do the job well, ask for guidance when appropriate, and make the necessary

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What to do before the interview

Before you even think of heading off to a first-round interview–or mass-mailing your resume–you’d better do some detective work. Recruiters constantly stress the importance of doing adequate research before you start interviewing.

While there are no easy answers when it comes to the job search, recruiters say that one factor clearly distinguishes the best candidates from the also-rans: their knowledge of the company … [ Read more ]

Questions about Industries

  • Who are the key players in the industry?
  • What is the history of the industry, and where is it heading in the future?
  • What are some of the major industry trends?
  • What skills are required to succeed in and contribute to the industry?

Questions about companies

  • What role does the company play in its industry?
  • What are the company’s key products, and what is its market share?
  • How has the company made money in the past, and what will its sources of revenue be in the future?
  • What skills are in demand at the company–marketing, engineering, finance, sales, product development?
  • What types of jobs are available for recent college and MBA grads?
  • Does the company

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Frequently Asked Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interviewing is still the most popular approach to assessing a candidate’s worth. Essentially, the premise is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. In my work as head of recruiting for a bank, consumer products company, and retail company, and in advising many recruiters while at Stanford, I have found these to be my favorite frequently asked questions across industries:
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How to Handle Such a Situation–if You Still Want the Job

If the interviewer ignores you when you walk in the room, just dive in with something like, “I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and tell you why I think I’m the right person for this job.” After a long pause, you might say, “Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear.” Then explain your previous response.

If the manager ridicules your background, … [ Read more ]

I-Banking Interview

What They’re Looking for

Your interviewers will be trying to learn three basic things about you.

  1. First, they want to learn about your personality, and whether you’d fit in with the people you’d be working with. Expect questions that get at your strengths, weaknesses, leadership skills, ability to work in a team, professionalism, and work ethic (see Behavior Interview section)
  2. Second, your interviewers will be looking for evidence

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Three Rounds of Interviewing

  1. The First-Round Interview
    The first of the three basic steps in the I-banking interview process usually takes place with a recruiter who screens candidates to make sure they have the basic technical skills and personality profile to make it in the job they’re interviewing for.
  2. The Second Round
    If the I-bank still finds you an attractive candidate, you’ll be invited back for a second round of

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Interview Tip

Finally, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer to a question. Your interviewers will be able to spot a half-baked answer from a mile away. In fact, many interviewers deliberately ask difficult technical questions to see whether you can admit you don’t know something. Once you’re on the job, after all, it might cost the bank millions if you screw up because … [ Read more ]


  • It is less formal than an interview, so both you and the person you are meeting with will feel free to have a conversation rather than a cross-examination.
  • You define the agenda, and so you can learn about the broad issues and needs of the person’s organization. This will help you discover opportunities still in the making–as well as those that are already defined.
  • If you

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Informational Interview Tips

Take the initiative to set up informational interviews with people in your network (alumni, people referred to you by your career center or your personal network, or other people you have identified in companies or industries you are eager to learn about). They should last about 30 minutes and be held in a place convenient to the interviewee.

During the informational interview, ask … [ Read more ]

What to Say When it’s Your Turn to Ask Questions in an Interview

Are recruiters just being polite when they ask if you have any questions for them? NO. Are there questions you can ask that don’t sound totally canned? YES.

Asking questions is a key part of the interview process. It shows the company how interested in it and its industry you really are. But there’s an artistry to not asking too many questions, or annoying ones, or … [ Read more ]

Acing the Interviews

Following are ten tips to help you be your best as you interview.

  1. Research the industry and company beforehand; over-prepare. Use every resource to your advantage: fellow students, professors, career-center resources, informational interviews with alumni of your school, the company’s recruitment literature and website, WetFeet’s Insider Guides, and databases and websites such as Lexus/Nexus, the U.S. Business Browser, and Hoovers.
  2. Know what you’re looking for,

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How to Handle Your First-Round Interview

The types of questions you are most likely to encounter in your first-round interview include:

  1. “Tell me about yourself.”
    The perfect opening for your two-minute presentation! Describe your educational and work background, identify your key strengths and provide a couple of illustrations, and state your intended career direction. Usually, this is the first question asked. If it isn’t, you can usually defer answering a different

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What Your Body Language Tells Interviewers

Here are some examples of body language cues and their possible interpretations.

  • Crossed arms—closed off or defensive
  • Fidgeting, running tongue along teeth, playing with hair or jewelry, or tapping feet—nervous or bored
  • Lack of eye contact or, conversely, staring too intently without breaking a gaze—untrustworthy
  • Leaning back—uncomfortable
  • Clasping hands behind the head while leaning back—looking to gain power
  • Leaning forward—interested in the conversation
  • Smiling or attempting to be humorous—friendly
  • Eye contact

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Three Levels of Preparation

Before an interview, learn about career-related issues in your selected field and prepare a two-minute presentation; think through the key points you want to make in response to typical interview questions; develop a portfolio; create a weighted list of must-haves and nice-to-haves in a job; and choose and brief your references. For a specific interview, there are three levels of preparation you can do, depending … [ Read more ]