What To Expect In An Exit Interview

Exit interviews are commonplace nowadays particularly in larger organisations.  HR Departments conduct this type of interview for a number of reasons such as to garner information to improve the work environment to help with employee retention and also for legal reasons in some instances.

It should also be noted that you are not obliged to take part in an exit interview but you are best advised to do so, to help ensure you receive a positive reference from your company.  Job seekers are often torn between giving honest reasons why they are leaving versus giving canned responses that are not true representations of his/her reasons for changing jobs.  The reason that employees provide canned responses because they are afraid that if they provide their true reasons they again may not receive the glowing reference they expected.

The types of questions you can expect to face in an exit interview include:

- what are the main reasons for you leaving?

- what have you enjoyed about working here?

- what have you not enjoyed about working here?

- did you receive the necessary training and support to help you do your job?

- did you have any issues with management / colleagues or is it a career decision?

- how could we have helped to make you enjoy the role more?

- what would we need to do to make you reconsider your decision?

It is fine to be honest in answering questions as long as you do so in a rational constructive manner.  An exit interview is not the place for snide comments, there is no point in burning bridges with the company.  Look forward to new beginnings in your new job and don’t use your exit interview as a vendetta against your employer or else your reference may not be so glowing after all.  It may be worth your while reading a previous blog post 6 rules to successful job references.

It is normal to feel nervous before a job interview, you can bet everyone else going for the job feels likewise.  Getting yourself into an anxious state may mean you don’t perform to your true potential but there are ways to help ease those nerves in order to give a confident interview that will help you get the job you are looking for.


1. Find out what to expect in the interview.

If you leisurely stroll into an interview expecting to meet one person and then see that you have a group of people on the other side of the table ready to give you a panel interview, then you will get nervous very quickly.  Avoid these nerves by finding out in advance who you are meeting, what their job title is and if anyone else will be attending the interview.

                                                                                                                                                   2. Prepare yourself for difficult interview questions.

Your nerves will be in turmoil if you are faced with tough interview questions that leave you speechless again these can be prevented.  Study your resume, look for weaknesses or gaps in your resume that the interviewer might exploit and have answers ready to explain any perceived shortcomings that the interviewer might find.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Go easy on food and drink before the interview.

Do you really want to interrupt your interview saying “excuse me where is the restroom I need to use the toilet”?  While at times this is unavoidable, you are better served by using restrooms in advance of your interview so the momentum and natural flow of your interview goes uninterrupted.

                                                                                                                                                       4. Picture yourself being successful with your interview.

Often our mindsets make us worry about things that could go wrong in our lives rather than picturing the opposite.  If you focus your mindset on being successful with your interview then you will find that your nerves will lessen and you will be more confident during the interview.

                                                                                                                                                   5. Plan your journey.

Nothing will make you more anxious than being stuck in traffic on the day of your interview worrying that you will be late.  Be sure to give yourself ample time to get to the interview and add an extra few minutes in case of any mishaps along the way.

                                                                                                                                                  Don’t allow the nerves you encounter to be blown out of proportion.  The job interview is something that the company arranged so your resume obviously impressed them, all that remains is for you to keep calm and give a confident interview bereft of unnecessary anxiety.

10 Funny Sayings About Work

April’s humorous post 101 funny answers to interview questions was so popular that we went through May without our usual monthly light-hearted post but we change that today by looking at 10 funny sayings about work to help brighten up your day.

1. There might be no I in TEAM but upon closer scrutiny you will see a ME.

2. Never get done today what might become somebody else’s responsibility tomorrow.

3. If you have kept calm while those around you panicked then it seems the severity of the situation has yet to hit you.

4. The secret to success is to know who around you to blame should things not go according as planned.

5. Teamwork is crucial, without that you don’t have the option of blaming someone else.

6. Owning up to a mistake might be good for your soul but tends to be not so good for your career.

7. I pretend to work the appropriate amount, they pretend to pay me appropriately.

8. Don’t come to work and complain about traffic, once you arrive at work the only thing worth complaining about is the job itself.

9. Meetings are perfect examples of how smoothly an office can run when the boss is unable to intervene.

10. He who smiles during a crisis has usually got a scapegoat to offset the blame.

If you enjoyed this post then you may also enjoy 10 funny quotes about work which we featured in an earlier post, next week we are back to the business of helping you improve your quest for job success by looking at how to manage your nerves before a job interview.


Why Keywords Are So Important On Resumes

In an ideal world you would like to think that once you have emailed your resume it arrives to the attention of the intended recruiter/ HR manager, sometimes this happens but certainly not all the time. There are a couple of reasons why this might be the case as discussed below, along with a third point explaining why the right keywords are important for candidates registering with employment agencies.


1.  The company uses a database to weed out unsuitable applications.

With companies being swamped with resumes it is understandable that they use filters to identify appropriate candidates from less realistic candidates. How do they do this? By providing whatever software they are using with keywords and phrases relevant to the job, if your resume does not include these keywords then you may find your application fruitless.

                                                                                                                                                  2.  Recruiters are screening resumes for the job.

This is not too dissimilar to the 1st point except instead of software intercepting resumes to seek the best candidates for the job, the task falls to recruiters.  Before forwarding a resume to the HR manager / hiring manager the recruiter might  browse your resume to see if you have the keywords that fit the job description.  This is particularly relevant with technical roles where the recruiter may not be familiar with technical terminology and is reliant on keyword compatibility to filter candidates accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                  3.  Keywords with recruitment consultancies.

If you register for work via a recruitment consultancy then your resume will be added to their large database of resumes.  So when a vacancy comes in the recruitment consultant will search his/her database using keyword-rich terms in the hope that the software the consultancy uses will provide a shortlist of candidates most suitable for the job vacancy.

                                                                                                                                                 Not having job-specific keywords on your resume will leave you at a disadvantage when searching for a job, so use the job description as a guide to predicting what keywords are key to each role you apply for and tailor your resume accordingly.  Next week we continue on this theme by looking at ways to identify keywords to use on your resume.

There are many varying reasons why someone may want to change jobs, after all jobs for life are few and far between these days. Timing is key in making that crucial decision to work elsewhere or even to change career so today we look at 5 questions to ask yourself in order to reach the right conclusion.

                                                                                                                                                   1. Have you lost interest in the job and dread going to work everyday?
If you have been doing the same job for years, been passed over for promotion on more than 1 occasion and are going through the motions at work just to get paid, then it probably is time to look around for other opportunities. A new challenge might be just the thing to put a spring in your step and make you passionate about work again.

                                                                                                                                                   2. Are your stress levels increased and affecting family life?
There are few jobs without some level of stress in them but if you are coming home on a constant basis in bad form then that is a sign that perhaps it is time to move on, or at the very least to speak to your manager to see if things can be improved.

                                                                                                                                                   3. Has your relationship with your manager or co-workers disintegrated to the stage where it is beyond repair?
Disagreements in work are nothing new and happen on a daily basis in firms around the world, but if your relationship with a co-worker / boss is damaged in such a way that it makes life in work uncomfortable then it is worth considering whether it is worth staying in the job.

                                                                                                                                                   4. Have you reached the proverbial glass ceiling?
If you feel you are in the highest position that you can possibly attain in your existing company then it may be worthwhile looking for opportunities in larger companies in order to reach your own goals in business. Staying in the same job without possibility of progressing further will eventually cause you to lose interest in the role.

                                                                                                                                                   5. Have changes happened within your company that may harm your career prospects?
If a key client has given it’s business elsewhere or if you hear that there are to be cutbacks in the company then it is worth planning ahead. It is easier to find a new job when still working so don’t wait for bad news to come, instead be proactive and have a new job with secure prospects waiting for you.

                                                                                                                                                    A handy way of deciding whether you feel it is time to switch jobs or not is to get a blank piece of paper and list the pros of staying against the cons of staying and using the outcome to decide what is best for you.

When a job offer comes your way, once you calm down after the immediate euphoria of being successful in your job search, there are a number of things to evaluate before finally deciding on whether to accept the role or not.

Knowing the answers to the 5 questions below will allow you make a more informed decision on whether to accept the job or to decline it.


1. Did you meet your prospective boss when interviewing?

Did he/she come across as the type of person that you would enjoy working with? If he/she seemed a fair, approachable, reasonable person then that is fine but if he/she came across as arrogant or overbearing how would you feel working day in day out with him/her?

                                                                                                                                                   2. Are you clear on what your daily tasks would be in the role?

It is hard to make the correct decision on whether to accept a job offer if you are not aware of what is expected of you. If you are unsure about any aspect of the job put in a call to HR or the hiring manager to seek clarification or to arrange another meeting. You will be better positioned to make the right decision once you have this information.

                                                                                                                                                   3. Do you know why the job became vacant in the first place?

If it is a new position in a company due to expansion, or it is with a start-up organization then this question is not important. However if it is a replacement role then try to find out why the previous employee vacated the role. It is not unreasonable to ask this question and once you know why he/she left you will find the decision to accept or decline the role easier to make.

                                                                                                                                                    4. Will there be opportunity for advancement within the company?

You don’t want your resume showing that you jump from company to company so enquire as to opportunities to grow within the organization. If there is a future career path for you then it will make the job all the more attractive for you.

                                                                                                                                                       5. Does the salary and benefits package meet your requirements?

An obvious question maybe, but it is important to take into account the overall package that comes with the job rather than basic salary alone. If for example Company A offered you $50k and little else but Company B offered you $45k plus health insurance, stock options, fully paid vacation time and a pension plan then your best option would be to take Company B’s offer despite the shortfall of $5k in basic salary.

                                                                                                                                                You owe it to yourself to make the most informed decision possible when evaluating a job offer so don’t rush into accepting a job until you are fully satisfied in your own mind that it is the best decision for you.

Hiring managers and HR managers get bombarded with resumes once a job vacancy is advertised so applying in the correct way is imperative if you want your application to stand out from the rest.  In a previous post we looked at how to get your resume noticed which is worth reading.  Today we look at 5 things you could do in order to champion your cause for the job when applying by email.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Find out the name of the person who is recruiting for the role.

As with any job application you should try to find out who is the person that is hiring for the job.  It could be the HR manager or a different hiring manager but either way make the effort to find out.  A good way to find out the person’s name is to call reception and explain that “as a matter of professional courtesy I want to address the person correctly rather than sending a bland, to whom it may concern email”, or words to that effect.

                                                                                                                                                   2. Use the body of the email to briefly explain your credentials for the role.

The body of your email should take the role of a short cover letter.  This should be no longer than 2 paragraphs and include the key factors that make you a strong candidate for the job.

                                                                                                                                                   3. Ensure the subject line of the email is correct.

To grab the attention of whoever is hiring for the job make sure you take the opportunity to use the subject line of the email to your advantage.  If you are applying for a role as a senior engineer and have 8 years experience for example, and you are available immediately then your subject line should be something like : “Engineer with 8 years experience, available immediately for senior engineer vacancy.”

                                                                                                                                                   4. Provide clear contact information.

While contact information will be on your resume, make sure to use your email to notify him/her what number to be used when contacting you during business hours. It can also pay dividends to make the HR manager /hiring manager aware of your availability for interview in your email.

                                                                                                                                                   5. Send yourself a test email to check formatting.

If you have another email account or access to an email account of a family member send a test email to see how it comes across, in terms of formatting and style.

                                                                                                                                                    If your resume is being sent as an attachment make sure it is saved with the appropriate name such as “John Smith Resume for senior engineer role with Sample Company Ltd” or similar and if you haven’t already read the post how to write cover letters that grab the recruiters attention then take a minute to read it.

If you are interviewing for a job and have been laid off or fired you probably will be dreading the “why did you leave your last job?” question.  Though depending on the circumstances there may be no need to fear the question at all.

Firstly, it is important to differentiate between both being fired and being laid off.

Being laid off is often beyond the employee’s control, it can occur due to market forces, a downturn in the employer’s economic outlook and many other reasons so, in most cases, no blame can be aimed in the employee’s direction.

There are a number of reasons why someone can get fired including misconduct, excessive absenteeism, weak performance in his/her role and many more reasons. The tips outlined below should help you craft an answer that suits your scenario.

                                                                                                                                                   If You Have Been Laid Off

 1) Explain the honest reasoning why you were laid off and be sure to make the interviewer aware that it wasn’t just you, your department was laid off also for example.
                                                                                                                                                    2) As part of your answer describe that it was disappointing given that in your previous 10 years (for example) professional experience you have never faced the situation before.

3) Express that you have overcome the disappointment and are now eagerly looking forward to a new challenge.

                                                                                                                                                       If You Have Been Fired

1) Describe the reason why you were fired before going on to explain how you have learned from your mistake and are now older and wiser.

2) Mention how your failure in your previous job has made you even more determined to be a success in your next job.

3) Be honest never try to blame anyone else for past mistakes as this will make you come across as a bitter ex-employee and that is not good.

                                                                                                                                             Don’t bring the subject up unless the interviewer does, as there is a slight chance that the question about why you left your last job may not even be asked.  Prepare for it regardless as in most probability you will be asked it and by answering the question correctly you will have overcome a significant hurdle in your quest for interview success.

101 Funny Answers To Interview Questions

Funny job interview answers take pride of place in our once a month humorous article on employment issues, next week we return with a serious post on how to explain to interviewers why you have been fired / laid off in your previous job, until then have a blast reading through some of these answers and be sure not to include any in your interview.

 01. I didn’t mean to hit the “reply to all” button when sending the email that cost me my job.

 02. I don’t need 5 words to describe myself, 2 will do – lone wolf.

 03. I like working at the weekends, you have less clowns telling you what to do.

 04. When do I get to meet the important people in the decision-making process?

 05. If you need someone to work beyond the stated hours on their contract then that’s not me.

 06. Do you mind if I tape the interview? I have a trust issue with HR departments.

 07. My priorities are to get paid as much as possible for doing as little as possible.

 08. Just so you know in advance one of my best friends is an employment lawyer.

 09. Weaknesses? Me? Are you nuts?

 10. If you don’t hire me, you will end up regretting it.

 11. I was fired for using offensive language with a client.

 12. I’m just after the money to be honest.

 13. Weakness ? very funny, I haven’t got any.

 14. In 3 years time? probably in your chair asking the questions.

 15. I have 2 other offers on the table so I expect a quick response otherwise you have lost me.

 16. I have difficulty getting along with co-workers.

 17. Do I get a company car?

 18. I haven’t got the slightest idea.

 19. I can’t give my former boss as a referee as we are not on speaking terms.

 20. My boss is an idiot.

 21. Can I use the company’s computer for personal use?

 22. Are all the staff as cute as you?

 23. As long as the job gets done, I don’t think it matters if a few rules are broken along the way.

 24. I’m thirsty, could you get me a coffee please?

 25. I’m a busy guy, can we wrap this up?

 26. Patience is not a virtue of mine, if a customer has a problem with how I work then they’ll just have to deal with it.

 27. I wasn’t aware that she was my manager’s wife.

 28. If I get an offer from you, I can’t promise anything as I have a few interviews lined up.

 29. Do you mind if I take my shoes off?

 30. I was caught stealing in my last job but it was just a big misunderstanding honest!

 31. My mom said that I’d be good for the job.

 32. There is no address on my resume because I am living in my car.

 33. What is the process if I don’t get along with colleagues here?

 34. I thought I had the autonomy to offer a discount unfortunately my boss disagreed.

 35. I rarely have to interview, I am usually hired on the spot.

 36. Is it okay if I decide to abstain from taking the medical for the job?

 37. Don’t worry about the clients, I’m a great bluffer.

 38. I want the job as I don’t want to work with jerks all my life.

 39. One of the references on my resume is a guy that I have fallen out with, so don’t be surprised if his feedback is not positive.

 40. I didn’t lie to my boss I was just economical with the truth.

 41. If my drug test is positive, can I come back in a week’s time to take it again?

 42. I don’t know why businesses are so concerned about making a profit as long as you do your best that’s all that matters.

 43. As long as I’m left alone to do my job we’ll all get along just fine.

 44. The guys in my last job just didn’t get me, I’m just a little misunderstood.

 45. To what extent are criminal background checks searched?

 46. I don’t mind moving to a new city for this job as long as the city has some nice restaurants and a couple of good strip bars.

 47. I try not to set my personal targets too high, if you set your targets low you will rarely be disappointed.

 48. Amongst my strengths are determination, passion and an ability to down a pitcher of beer in record time.

 49. How hard I work is dependant on the size of the budget that I am given to work with.

 50. I would like final say on who joins my team, after all who wants to work with clowns?

 51. My dog ate my resume.

 52. Sorry I am late but it is so rare to be actually met on time, that I went around the corner for a coffee.

 53. My hobbies include music and movies though not the type of movies that can be found in your local movie theater.

 54. The last time I faced such interrogation was with my parole officer.

 55. Just to let you know, if I don’t feel comfortable answering any of your questions I will politely ask you to move on to the next one.

 56. I met a couple of other candidates in the waiting room, I can save you the interview time as I am far superior to them.

 57. You are lucky to have a candidate of my stature available in fact, it should be me interviewing you not the other way round.

 58. Be nice to me, bear in mind when I get the job, I will be your superior.

 59. No, I’m saving that information for the 2nd interview.

 60. I just put that on my resume so I would get a chance to be called for interview.

 61. Honesty is overrated, if telling a few lies closes the deal then that is the way to go.

 62. Is it possible to get the job without providing a reference?

 63. I dated a girl in my last job, but then her husband found out.

 64. I have a short attention span, if I don’t like a job then I move on to something I do like.

 65. I got to bring the company laptop every night so I figured I could search the web for my personal interests, no big deal.

 66. The only reason I punched him as because I thought he embarrassed me in front of a client.

 67. My experience?  You have had 2 weeks to review my resume yet you still want to know about my experience, that is so typical of HR Depts.

 68. I couldn’t disagree with you more, are you qualified to ask such questions?

 69. What a ridiculous question to ask.

 70. Do you mind if I smoke?

 71. I’d like an immediate decision, I don’t do second-round interviews.

 72. Can I use family members as referees?

 73. My main motivation is money, anyone who says otherwise is a damned liar.

 74. When do I start?

 75. My ideal job is one where I will be stimulated, excited and happy in my role, until then this job will do.

 76. While work is important it falls after family, friends and hobbies in terms of life’s priorities.

 77. If I got the job one of the first things I would do is overhaul the HR Dept.

 78. If my contract states my working hours are between 9am and 5pm then they are the hours I work, no more and no less.

 79. In business I am used to getting my own way, and if I accept this job then I expect that to remain unchanged.

 80. Am I in the right room?

 81. I’d appreciate it if you actually listened to me rather than just take notes.

 82. The reason I want this job is, despite the job being mundane and the company boring, it is near my home.

 83. I didn’t know I put that on my resume.

 84. I don’t need to take the earphones off the volume on my ipod is low so I can hear both the song and you.

 85. Outside of work my personal interests are exactly that, personal and I don’t plan on sharing them with strangers.

 86. Can I use my last 2 parole officers as references?

 87. Sorry for being late, the last interview lasted longer than I expected.

 88. I don’t have a favorite opera, I just included it in the interests section of my resume because I thought it might make me look sophisticated.

 89. I’d rather be cocky and blunt than be nice but sit on the fence.

 90. Can you open the window please, this room is very stuffy.

 91. Weighing up this job against others I would say it is fifth in my list of preferences.

 92. Hmmm, can I get back to you on that?

 93. I didn’t think you were allowed to ask that question in a job interview.

 94. Yes, it wouldn’t be on my resume otherwise.

 95. How would my boss describe me? I don’t know, we haven’t been on speaking terms for months.

 96. Sorry about the spelling mistakes on my resume, that is the last time I will get my wife to type it.

 97. I’m going, if you haven’t made your mind up by now then you are insulting my intelligence, goodbye.

 98. I have moved around so much because getting a job is something that I find easy, but keeping the job is a different matter altogether.

 99. Salary is very important, my gambling debts are rising.

100. Of course the job interests me, I wouldn’t be here otherwise now would I?

101. The job impresses me, the company impresses me, you however do not.

I’m sure each of you have your own favorites from this list, I however sorted them randomly. Hopefully one or two of these made you smile and also made you aware that a job interview is not an ideal scenario to try be a comedian. A professional approach will serve you a lot better, though that is not to say that you cannot reply with a lighthearted comment, if the interviewer initiates the humor.

How To Get Your Resume Noticed

In a corporate environment a company’s business plan is the most important document to help the company achieve their goals, it is their blueprint to success, likewise for job applicants a resume holds the same position of importance so taking the time to improve your resume whenever possible will be to your advantage.

The tips I outline in this post are to ensure your resume gets noticed favorably, if your resume is littered with resume mistakes then your resume will get noticed, but for all the wrong reasons unfortunately.


1) Personalize your resume for the role.

It is very important for job applicants to personalize their resume for the exact role they are applying for, this opportunity should not be missed.  While some job seekers may think it a time consuming task it is one that will bring a better chance of getting interviewed as opposed to sending out resumes with a “one size fits all” approach.  If you are applying for a job where sales experience is emphasized in the job description then you should tailor your resume accordingly focusing on your experience in sales.

Demonstrate achievements you reached such as ” top sales consultant 2 out of 3 years“, or “over-achieved on my sales target 3 out of my 4 years” and similar statements, that will catch the hiring manager’s eye.  Of course it is vital that you only include accurate statements in your resume.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2) Perfect the language and tone in your resume and cover letter.

Powerful action statements work well in resumes so rather than using bland statements in your resume have them littered with action verbs to catch the attention of the hiring manager.  If you are applying for a role as a team leader for example you could use a line like, “I addressed the issue of absenteeism by formulating a training program to ensure that staff members were appropriately trained to work with the new technology that was being introduced, since then  absenteeism has improved by 75%.” 

Be vivid in your descriptions, without using in-house jargon, and provide examples to back your statements up.


3) Keywords are king.

In modern times computers can sometimes be used to filter through appropriate resumes and inappropriate resumes, so ensure your resume is rich on keywords that are relevant to the job without going overboard with them. 

If keywords are used too often the computer may consider the resume to be spam rather than a genuine application.


4) Brevity is best.

Keep your resume to between 1 and 2 pages, you want your resume to catch the attention of the hiring manager so keep your resume brief and avoid gimmicky resumes, resumes on plain white paper with regular font will have a far better chance of being read.


5) Ensure your cover letter addresses the hiring manager by name.

Generic “to whom it concerns” applications don’t carry the same weight as a tailored cover letter such as “Dear Mr Jones” or “Dear Dave”, traditionally you would address the hiring manager by last name but it is becoming far more acceptable to address him by first name nowadays, the choice is yours. 

If you are unsure of who the hiring manager is then simply call the company and enquire as to who he/she is, if they ask you why you need this information, be honest and tell them that you are sending a resume in and out of courtesy would like to address him/her by his/her name.


Taking the time to do an overview of your resume before sending it to employers will be time well spent, one simple error in your resume may be enough for the hiring manager to ignore your application so keep the tips provided in this post in mind as you prepare your resume for each position, and don’t be surprised if your interview ratio begins to increase.











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