Behaviour Descriptive Interviews

by Roberta

Interviews can be scary, but behaviour descriptive interviews can be terrifying if you're unprepared. This interview technique was designed to discover how you act and react in certain circumstances, and employers are looking for real life examples of how you behaved in situations relating to the questions they pose. Given that the City of Calgary and other major employers use this interview technique, we invited experts to give their best advice and recommendations as part of our recent Accelerate Your Career event at the Central Library on April 26th.

Our first presenter, Debbie, stressed one word: Prepare! Make sure you’ve got lots of relevant stories and examples to give your interviewer. The better you know yourself and the more reflection you’ve done, the better you’ll do in your interview. Know yourself, and research the company you’re interviewing with and the role you’re interviewing for.

David reminded everyone preparing for any interview to be prepared, but not so prepared and memorized that you end up sounding phony. Be genuine and yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, be aware of your strengths, and understand weaknesses or areas for improvement. And, before you leave the interview, know your next step. If the interviewer does not offer that before you leave, you should ask them. Go into every interview with a positive attitude. Remember: employers only interview strong candidates, so if you received an interview you are doing amazing. It will just be a matter of time before you land a job.

David and Debbie hosted such a lively session that we have made it available Calgary Public Library's YouTube channel.

Here are some great examples of possible questions from the Asper School of Business, while this article offers good advice on how to craft and tell your own story. For further research, our wide selection of interviewing books go into greater depth and offer a wider range of questions and strategies.

Keeping Your Head and Nailing the Interview

by Roberta

A nice, fresh batch of career books recenty arrived, and there are some very solid reads in the bunch. Here are some of my favourites, and reasons why:

Keeping Your Head after Losing Your Job: How To Survive Unemployment, by Robert Leahy

The buzz: Advice and strategies to help boost your self-esteem and confidence, decrease anxiety and feelings of helplessness, and develop resilience and strength during unemployment. Dr. Leahy’s thesis is that by keeping your head and learning how to deal with your situation, you can learn how to live your life more effectively when you get a job.

What I love so far: How to accept uncertainty, challenging your reasons for worrying, dealing with unemployment as a family.

The Everything Job Interview Question Book, by Dawn Rosenberg McKay

The buzz: Strategies for hundreds of interview questions to increase your confidence, along with help on handling inappropriate questions, advice on questions to ask employers, and tips on handling remote interviews.

What I like so far: Behavioural interview questions, guidance on how to communicate what you can bring to the company, and follow up advice.

The Subversive Job Search: How to Overcome a Lousy Job, Sluggish Economy, and Useless Degree to Create a Six-Figure Career, by Alan Corey

The buzz: A narrative, unconventional, self depricating and humourous little book full of career advice and Corey’s sly techniques on how to create a lucrative job.

What I like so far: How he recovered from “financial implosion”, his boldness, and his “subversive job tips.”

The Essential Job Interview Handbook, by Jean Baur

The buzz: Offers detailed interview strategies and solid insights into the logic behind the questions, while encouraging thoughtful and extensive preparation

What I like so far: A Good, Better and Best strategy for examining questions, years of professional experience to back up the advice, and lots of pull out tips for quick reference.

21 Days to Success Through Networking: The Life and Times of Gnik Rowten, by Ron Sukenick and Ken Williams

The Buzz: Written to help you meet and prepare for the reality of successful job hunt by presenting scenarios through the perspective of a fictional character to learn how to extend, deepen, and effectively use your personal and business networks.

What I like so far: His method of pulling out critical and “Aha” moments to drive home important networking concepts, and a quick and effortless read that prompts contemplation.

Job Interviews—the 4 Ps of Successful Interviews

by Janice - 2 Comment(s)

During Career Tours at the Central Library, I often ask the participants how many enjoy the interview process. Generally one or two brave souls will raise their hands. The rest of us look at job interviews as something we have to endure.

So what can we do to help ensure a positive job interview experience? According to the ALIS Tip Sheet: 4 Ps are key to a successful interview:


1. Prepare

  • Know yourself
  • Know the organization and the job
  • Know your accomplishments

Pre-interview preparation can be the key to a successful interview. The Library has have books, articles, databases and programs to help you research a job, industry or employer and better understand yourself and your accomplishments (as applicable to job interviews). Contact us to get started.

Two databases to start your employer or key contact research:

  • Reference USA: Canadian Businesses
    This database includes more than 1.5 million Canadian company profiles, providing information on type of business, company size and key contacts.
  • Canadian Newsstand
    These databases allow access to full articles, columns and features from major Canadian dailies and smaller regional daily and weekly newspapers, including full text of Calgary Herald articles from Dec 7, 1988.

2. Practice

As I say to customers, most of us don’t have much practice in selling or marketing ourselves—this is why practice is so important. The library runs programs on preparing for interviews and has books, ebooks, DVDs and other information sources to support you. I always suggest having a friend, colleague, classmate or family member do a mock interview with you. Give them a list of typical interview questions and answer as if you are in an actual interview. The more often you practice answering these types of questions, the more likely you’ll be able to answer similar questions well in real interview situations.

books

ebooks

3. Participate

Participation is how you present yourself in a job interview, from your appearance and how you greet the interviewer(s) to how you behave during and after the entire interview process. Hiring managers often get an impression of you in less than 2 minutes so be sure to make those first minutes (or seconds!) count. Preparation is another aspect of participation: if you have researched the employer and position, you’ll have targeted responses to the interviewer’s questions and have prepared intelligent questions for the interviewer.

Forbes 5 Ways to Make a Killer First Impression

What You Wish You'd Known Before Your Job Interview David Schepp AOL Jobs

4. Be Positive

Remember to always remain positive, both during the interview process and afterwards. View an interview that doesn’t lead to a job as practice, learning or even networking for future potential positions. Interviews can be stressful and not getting a job can often be a big blow to the ego. Talking about the experience with others can help you realize that most of us have stories about “interviews gone wrong” or “the perfect job that got away.”

Our popular Strategic Networking program is a great place to come talk to others and get some positive support in your career journey.

Accelerate Your Career—Saturday, April 20th

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

Back...and better than ever

Accelerate Your Career 2013

A full day of career programs at the Central Library

Program

Time

Location and Registration

Career Conversations
Meet one-on-one with twenty professionals from high-demand industries to learn more about their careers

11:00 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Sign up during event
First-come, first-served

Resume Help
Register for a 30-minute session with a career professional to review your resume

11:00 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Preregister by calling 403-260-2782. Drop-ins may be accommodated

Career Serving Agencies
Come talk to staff from BVC Career Connection, Alberta Human Services, Directions for Immigrants in the Trades and Professions, and Bredin

10:30 am–3:00 pm

Main Floor
Drop-in

Moving Forward with Mentorship
Discover the merits of mentorship along with local mentorship opportunities. Hosts: Calgary’s Corporate Readiness Training Program and the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council

10:30 am–12:30 pm

Third Floor Open Area
Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

Personality Types: Understand, Connect and Work Better
Learn how Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help you understand you own and others personality types in order to be happier at work. Presented by Calgary Career Counselling

10:30 am–12:30 pm

Lower level Meeting Room 1
FULL

Phone and Skype Based Interviews: Master Techniques
Learn insider tips for acing your telephone or web based interview from Calgary recruiter Sabina Souliere

12:30–2:00 pm

Third Floor Open Area
Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

How To Shine at Work
Learn how to build confidence and workplace connections . Presented by Bow Valley College Career Connection and Directions for Immigrants in Trades and Professional Careers

2:30–4:00 pm

Third Floor Open Area Register online or by calling 403-260-2620

Ed2go Launch: Overview of new educational resource for Calgary Public Library cardholders. Learn how to access 300 free online courses for professional and personal educational development

10:30 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm

Third Floor Learning Lab: drop in

Register by calling: 403-260-2620 or online at calgarypubliclibrary.com

Job & Career Accelerator—a new tool for job searchers

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

We have long recommended our Learning Express database (found under the Business, Investment, Directories & Career section in our E-Library) to job searchers looking for online courses and information related to resumes, interviews, communication skills and professional examinations.

Through Learning Express, we now have a valuable new resource: the Job & Career Accelerator.

The Job & Career Accelerator is another source for occupational descriptions and has resume and cover letter builders, examples of excellent resumes and cover letters, and information about interviewing and online job applications:

We are especially thrilled that the Job & Career Accelerator also has video tutorials for many of the most popular basic computer programs, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Project and Adobe Illustrator:

If you want to learn more about the Job & Career Accelerator database, or any of our other career databases, contact us: 403-260-2782 or busn@calgarypubliclibrary.com/.

Hot Off the Press: May 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

Complete Canadian GED Preparation by Jim Barlow

This book is an excellent comprehensive Canadian resource for students preparing for the GED test. The book features extensive reviews in all test areas, which include English grammar, essay writing, social studies, science, arts and literature, and math.

Résumé 101 : A Student and Recent Grad Guide to Crafting Résumés and Cover Letters that Land Jobs by Quentin J. Schultze

Minimal job experience? No problem! You’ve just graduated and are ready to land your first real job after college or high school. But how do you write the first résumé and cover letter of your career if you don’t have any previous jobs to list? With Dr. Q’s help, you’ll soon have a résumé and cover letter that will show hiring managers who you really are, why you’re prefect for your dream job, and why they should choose you.

Interview Success : Get the Edge by Julie Grey

Are you facing a crucial interview and don't want to risk losing that job because you lack confidence or you think your interview skills aren't up to scratch? Fiercely practical, this book could be the answer to all your problems. Whether you only have a few hours to prepare or a few weeks, Julie Gray will guide you through all the techniques and strategies you need to give yourself the edge in a competitive market.

SSAT & ISEE for Dummies by Vince Kotchian

The Secondary School Aptitude Test (SSAT) and Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) are the two most common standardized aptitude tests used in American private secondary schools. If you're a parent or student looking to apply for admissions at a private, military, or boarding school, this book is your family's ticket to success.

ACT demystified by Alexandra Mayzler

This book takes you step-by-step through the fundamentals of preparing for the ACT.

Becoming a Construction Manager by John J. McKeon

This book explains everything a person needs to know to become a Construction Manager—from formal education to getting their first job. This practical guide is packed with useful information for anyone considering or beginning a career in construction management, as well as professional construction managers seeking to work in a specific area.

1,296 ACT Practice Questions by Melissa Hendrix

The best way to prepare for standardized tests is to practice, and this resource offers you plenty of opportunities to do just that.

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Building Your Career by Jennifer Merritt

Are you looking for a mere job-the kind where you do virtually the same thing day after day, year after year, and spend the hours counting down the minutes until the clock hits five p.m.' Or are you looking for acareer-the kind that engages your interests and passions, constantly presents new and exciting opportunities and challenges, and allows you to grow personally and professionally?

If you chose the latter, this is the book for you.

GMAT Review

The only official GMAT review guide-from the creators of the test. Includes 20 percent new practice questions-all from previous actual GMAT exam.

Interview Strategies and Techniques: Accelerate Your Career

by Roberta - 0 Comment(s)

On Saturday, May 12th, the Central Library is hosting its annual Accelerate Your Career event. Local career consultant Brian Lambier will be presenting the Brian Lambier, Career VitalityInterview Strategies and Techniques program from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., where you will learn how to WOW prospective employers with your knowledge, preparation and "fit." We asked Brian a few questions about current interviewing trends:

1. Is it true that the decision on whether or not to hire a candidate is often decided in first 40 seconds of the interview?

A skilled, experienced interviewer who understands the position and the type of person they are looking for will sometimes have a “gut feeling” about interview candidates fairly quickly but their experience tells them to keep an open mind for the remainder of the interview.

2. How important is it to bring your own questions to the interview?

Extremely important! Interview candidates should consider the interview as an opportunity to learn more about the position and organization and to determine if the position is the right fit for them.

3. Are phone and Skype interviews becoming more common?

Employers certainly will conduct interviews using telephones or messaging systems like Skype. This method of interviewing may be used for the first interview in a multi-interview process or if the candidate is unable to meet in person due to time or geographical constraints. Meeting in person is always an employer’s first choice whenever possible.


Brian Lambier is the owner of Career Vitality Services Inc. in Calgary, Alberta and specializes in career and retirement transition coaching and corporate training. He can be reached at (403) 978-9134 or brian@careervitality.ca. He will be presenting his interview program during our all-day Accelerate Your Career Event held on Saturday, May 12, at the Central Library. Register online or by calling 403-260-2620.


Accelerate Your Career 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012, Central Library

Career Conversations • 11am–3pm • Main Floor • Sign up during event
Resume Help • 11am–3pm • Main Floor • Preregister: call 403-260-2782
Career Serving Agencies • 10am–3pm • Main Floor • Drop-in
Interview Strategies and Techniques • 10:30am–12:30pm • Third Floor • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Company and Employer Research • 1–2pm • Third Floor Open Area • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Power Networking • 2:30–4pm • Third Floor Open Area • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Enhancing Your Job Search through Social Networking • 10:15–12:15pm • Bsmt Rm #2 • Register online or call 403-260-2620
Work Search on the Internet • 1–4pm • Third Floor Learning Lab • Register online or call 403-260-2620

The T-Cover Letter

by Janice

Debbie MastelThe style and formatting of excellent resumes and cover letters can vary depending on geography and industry and change over time. The T-cover letter is a newer format that is tremendously popular with hiring manager and recruiters. Debbie Mastel, one of the library's Strategic Networking program volunteers, answered a few of our questions about the T-cover letter:

When should someone use a T cover letter?

DM: It doesn’t matter if you’re using transferable skills or an exact match to a posting, the T cover letter should always be used. If you don’t have a posting then you can do some research to figure out what you think the requirements for their organization would be. This can be done by getting old postings or postings from other companies. This style is also difficult when writing a cover letter in to an e-mail instead of an attachment so I recommend people have templates for the letter that can easily be used in either Word format or e-mails.

Do you prefer the format? Why?

DM: Yes, I do prefer the T cover letter format, as I believe it serves three main purposes:

  1. It assists the recruiter, especially if they’re junior and working on technical roles. It allows applicants to clarify acronyms, or similar systems they may have worked on.
  2. When a recruiter is using key words to score resumes. Because of volume, sometimes recruiters rely on systems to rate resumes. According to Right Management, 94% of the top 500 U.S. companies are now using computer programs to evaluate resumes. Canada is sure to follow suit.
  3. When you’re using transferable skills to obtain a position. Countless times I’ve received resumes from people clearly using transferable skills but I can’t make the connection. I remember a colleague of mine once getting the resume for a fellow who groomed ski hills and had mentioned she didn’t see him fitting anywhere. Luckily it was brought to her attention that he might be a fit for a Heavy Equipment Operator position. We ended up hiring him as that but other people aren’t so lucky.

Recruiters don’t have time to figure out where you fit, that’s your job. The t-letter cover letter makes you articulate why you are qualified for the role. This is what you’re asking for, this is what I have.

Would you suggest that any job hunter should use this format for their cover letters? Are there any instances in which you wouldn't prefer the T cover letter?

DM: The only time I can think of that this format may not work is for Academics or people that need to submit a CV instead of a resume. I’m not that familiar with this area but that’s the only example I can think of. I would welcome comments from others if they have reasons this cover letter wouldn’t work for them.

Can you give one or two anecdotal examples of people you've hired or Strategic Networking customers who have found that the T cover letter opened doors that may not have otherwise been opened?

DM: I asked some job searchers to share their feelings about the usefulness of the T-cover letter. Here is one response:

The reason I believe the two-column T cover letter worked well for me in the past was because it was significantly different than writing three or four paragraphs as in a standard cover letter.

The T cover letter was simple to use. First, I underscored the keywords or phrases in the job description’s requirements and qualifications sections that fit my background, experiences, and skill sets. Then, I filled out the position’s key requirements in the table’s left column and aligned them with my matching skill sets or experiences in the right column.

The concisely-worded bullet points in two column format immediately captured the hiring manager’s attention without him having to read longer paragraphs. My T cover letter intrigued and interested him. I was able to zero in on the value I could provide that related to the hiring manager's and position's needs, and, consequently, the hiring manager continued with reviewing my resume. In summary, the T cover letter helped me to (1) focus my reply, (2) save time, and (3) avoid responses to inappropriate job postings.”

March 19: Debbie sent another response from someone who had great success with the T-Cover Letter:

"The T Cover letter is the most effective cover letter I did come across in my entire professional career. It was introduced to me by Debbie in one of the networking meeting I attended. From the time I heard about it, it really did strike me and I know it was the correct formula I was looking for to grab employer attention. By that time I was around just 5 weeks in Canada and everything was new to me. I was quick enough to change my formats to T letter and also customize my resume to go with that.

Within a week I got an interview at a Big Oil & a Gas Company, and another one at a IT company. I almost got the Oil & Gas job, and the Hiring manager was complimentary of my cover letter. After about 2 weeks I got an interview at DeVry University and now I am working there,.

I am glad to say I attended that networking meeting and met Debbie, where I learned all about the best secret in finding employment—the T cover letter. Thanks to it, I am now working in less than 12 weeks from moving to Canada. I think it’s a great tool and many people should start using it, it also helps you focus and identify your suitability to the job and helps you easily focus on target than be general in applying. Thanks Debbie.”

For more information about the T-cover letter:

A template of the T-cover letter: Workopolis Sample of the T-style cover letter.

Thoughts from another recruiter on the T-cover letter: The "T" Cover Letter—The Only Type Worth Sending.


Debbie Mastel volunteers with the enormously popular Strategic Networking program that runs on the Third Floor of the Central Library every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Debbie is a Critical Talent Specialist with Devon Energy Corporation in Calgary.

Hot Off the Press: February 2012

by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

ACT: Strategies, Practice, and Review 2012

This essential ACT guide provides focused strategies, practice, and review so candidates score higher on test day--guaranteed. This book covers all material tested and includes two full-length practice tests, an online diagnostic quiz, detailed answer explanations, and more.

New GMAT Premier, 2012-2013

The GMAT is changing in June 2012. The new GMAT will have a new Integrated Reasoning section that will have interactive questions that test a student's ability to analyze and interpret charts, spreadsheets, graphs, and data. This book will help students study for the June 2012 test change and ensure they are prepared.

Business School Essays That Made a Difference by Nedda Gilbert

Most top business schools require multiple essays, and this book is your best bet for acing them all. This book contains actual student essays that tipped the balance between admission and denial, as well as interviews with admissions pros and with students who've been through the process and made it to business school.

Job Interviews for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy

Does the thought of interviewing for a new job send shivers down your spine? It doesn′t have to! Whether you′re searching for your first job, changing careers, or looking for advancement in your current line of work, this book shows you how to use your skills and experiences to your advantage and land that job

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William Poundstone

Poundstone guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging job interview questions, Zen-like riddles, and other interviewing techniques candidates need to know. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, and much more.

Job and Career Coaching

by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

In celebration of International Coaching Week, Calgary Public Library is partnering with the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches to offer free 15-minute coaching sessions with experienced professional coaches. These valuable individualized sessions can focus on various topics such as: career, business, team and personal relationships.

This is the first event of its kind in Calgary and will be offered at two Library locations on February 8th and 9th, 2012.

Register online or by calling 403-260-2620. The regular Career Coaching program offered at four library locations offers further opportunities to access career advice from our experienced volunteers.


Calgary coach and human resources professional Tanya Snow answers some of our questions about career coaching:

Tanya Snow

What exactly does a career coach do?
A career coach can help you to take your career to the next level, assist you in finding a career that aligns with your interests, skills and values, or to make a small career shift to ensure a good fit.

What is the difference between an Executive Coach and a Career Coach?
A Career Coach would typically have clients from all walks of life and would be focusing on career related issues and barriers. An Executive Coach would deal specifically with senior management clients and would look at issues and barriers preventing them from achieving professional and personal goals.

When I hire a coach how much of my time is coaching going to require?
Typically Career Coaching consists of an initial assessment, and then three to five 1-hour sessions, depending on the type of change required.

Where do I find a career coach in Calgary?
The Calgary Association of Professional Coaches (CAPC) site has a Coach Referral Service that can help you find a certified coach that fits your needs.

What is price range for a Career Coach?
Prices can vary depending on qualifications and experience but typically you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250 a session, or a flat rate per month of approximately $500.

What do you find personally satisfying about career coaching?
I find it very satisfying and rewarding to work with clients to help them achieve satisfying career goals and to find a career that fits their individual values, interests and skills.

Tanya Snow is a certified Human Resource Professional and with over 10 years experience in the areas of career development, job search strategies and resume development. Tanya is also a Certified Executive Coach specializing in Career Transition Coaching, Leadership Development and Career Management Coaching.

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