My name’s Biron Clark. I’ve been a Recruiter for most of my career. This blog is dedicated to helping you advance faster, find better jobs, feel more confident and earn more cash. Get up to the minute advice on job interviews, salary, careers and more by following this blog.
They might ask about the job description directly, with a question like, “what on the job description made you think you’d be a good fit?”
Stay calm and don’t panic here. This DOESN’T mean they think you’re a bad fit. It just means they want to know what you saw and what you think!
Be confident and be ready to show them you know what the job involves and are ready to put in the effort to succeed.
Study the job description before going into any HR Coordinator interview so you can talk about specific points you read on the job description (and how you fit those points).
That’s a great way to stand out and show employers you really prepared, and that you didn’t just apply to 100 jobs without looking (that’s not going to make an employer feel like you really want their job, right?)
Here’s a full job prep checklist if you want to know what else I recommend doing besides practicing questions and answers.
4. Questions About Your Communication Skills/Personality
You should expect HR Coordinator interview questions about how you communicate, and your personality overall.
Examples of interview questions:
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Tell me about a time you solved a conflict by communicating
Dealing with age discrimination when job searching isn’t easy – it can be frustrating and mentally draining, and you might even feel like giving up.
Don’t call it quits yet, though!
In this article, I’m going to share my best advice for how to overcome age discrimination in a job search so you can get hired faster and with less frustration. (Based on my experience as a recruiter).
How to Overcome Age Discrimination When Job Searching: Master Guide
First, we’ll look at age discrimination on job applications and your resume.
Then we’ll talk about age discrimination in job interviews.
Finally, I’ll share more tips to help you get hired faster, as well as how to know when it’s time to contact a lawyer when you feel you’ve been discriminated against.
Part I: Age Discrimination on Job Applications and Resumes
The bottom line is: If you’re always thinking about your age, then you’ll always be thinking that a failed interview was about your age.
I know age discrimination happens, and it’s awful.
But while you may feel your past five interviews went poorly due to age discrimination, it might be the case that two employers discriminated against you, and the other three chose to hire somebody else for an entirely different reason.
That’s why it’s important to focus on your interview skills, and the things you can control!
When to Contact an Employment Lawyer
If you feel you have real evidence you’ve been discriminated against, it may be time to talk to an employment lawyer who specializes in discrimination cases.
I’m not a legal expert so it’s up to you and them to discuss whether you have a case.
I’d search google for “Employment Lawyer <City Name>”.
But as mentioned above, I’d really recommend focusing on your interview preparation and how you’re selling yourself to employers.
This is the piece you can control, and is the best way to overcome age discrimination in your interviews (because if you apply for jobs consistently, you WILL find employers who don’t discriminate and do value your skill set, but you need to be ready to impress them in the interview).
What Else Can You Do to Stop Age Discrimination When Job Searching?
Beyond what I’ve shared above, here are a few more ways you can improve your chances of getting hired and avoiding age discrimination when job searching:
First, apply for a lot of jobs.
Even if some employers discriminate, some don’t. You need to find them. And applying for two or three jobs and then stopping isn’t going to make that happen.
So use volume to your advantage.
And don’t give up!
Take a break if you need to, but then come back and continue searching!
Only you can control whether you give up or not. Don’t let this happen. You decide when you’ve failed; nobody else.
Also, research employers on LinkedIn and try to get a sense of their age demographic before applying.
Spend your time and effort applying to companies who seem to hire people in their 40’s and 50’s, not just in their 20’s.
So what is your plan to make the most of their training, and get up to speed quickly?
This could include reviewing and studying at home each night for the first week, staying 30 minutes late to review what you learned each day, finding a teammate to have lunches with, or finding a fellow new-hire to review with (if you’re in a training class with multiple people).
Other things to talk about in the first part of your plan:
If you’re new to this industry, how will you learn the industry/market overall?
How will you learn this company’s systems and procedures? (They might have an employee booklet you can review, so include some time to review this in the first 30-day period of your business plan.
Your goal in this section is to show them you have a detailed plan and a lot of motivation to learn the basics of the job and understand how they operate quickly.
The Next 30 Days
The next 30 days should focus on how you’ll learn and improve by “doing”.
By now, you should be able to start using what you’ve learned to perform some of the job duties on your own.
You might be interacting with team members, customers, etc. (this will depend on your specific position)
And while learning is still a focus here, you want to show them that you plan on being ready to work hands-on and learn in a real-world environment.
Also, a big part of this section should be getting feedback from your manager to see how you’re progressing.
What is your plan for checking in, receiving and organizing feedback, and using it to improve?
Most new employees wait for their manager to set up a meeting to review their performance…
Show the interviewer that you’re different – that you’ll take initiative and be responsible for this yourself.
Employers love when a job candidate seems proactive and self-starting.
The Final 30 Days
In the final 30 days of your 90-day plan, you want to show the interviewer that you’ll be ready to use everything you’ve learned to work independently.
You’ll be up-to-speed, contributing to the team’s efforts, and not requiring any more supervision/help than anyone else on the team.
You may also want to talk about ways you’ll go above and beyond the basic job duties now.
This could include looking for processes that can be improved, finding new ways to help the company get more customers, etc.
Also, you can still include steps for getting feedback and continuing to improve.
But it should be less of a focus here. The main focus now should be on contributions, independent work, and “taking off” with what you’ve learned.
What will you be able to do for them? What will you be contributing after 90 days?
Using S.M.A.R.T. Goals
When talking about a specific goal or objective in your 90-day job interview plan, try to use SMART goals whenever possible.
SMART goals are:
Saying, “I plan on being very good at serving customers after 90 days,” doesn’t say much.
However, it sounds a lot more impressive if you say something like, “At the 90-day mark, I plan on achieving 120% of the monthly goal for customer service calls taken, and I will achieve a customer satisfaction rating of 98% or greater.”
Using “Learning Goals” and “Performance Goals”
One strategy I’ve seen used very effectively is to divide your main goals for each 30-day period into two different categories: Learning Goals and Performance Goals.
You’ll have more Learning Goals than Performance Goals in the first 30-day period.
Then, as you move through the plan, you’ll gradually shift to having more Performance Goals, and fewer Learning Goals (but still some!)
You can also add one or two personal goals, such as having lunch with one new team member per week, or visiting the gym after work two nights per week to stay healthy.
Don’t worry if this sounds complicated. Coming up soon I’m going to show you a full example of a 90-day plan for your interview, that you can copy.
And in that sample business plan, you’ll see the three different categories laid out (Learning Goals, Performance Goals, and Personal Goals).
Creating and Formatting Your 90-Day Plan
If you’re comfortable making a good-looking document in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or some other word processing software, feel free to use that to create your 30-60-90 day business plan.
The website has great templates for creating a PDF, and it’s free to use. I use it myself for creating images and PDF guides for this blog.
Make it EASY to Skim and Read
I’d keep the whole document to 1-2 pages maximum.
It’s an outline/presentation, not an essay.
Try to avoid long paragraphs and giant blocks of text with no spacing.
Make it skimmable and easy to read.
Use headers, bullets, etc.
Here’s a full example of how you might lay out your 90-day plan…
30-60-90 Day Plan Template/Example:
(Write your main focus and objective here. The priority should be learning and getting up to speed on the basics as quickly as possible. What will you need to learn to perform well in the job, and how will you learn it?)
Learn the company’s entire product offering
Study the top 3 competitors’ product offerings to understand strengths/weaknesses
Review training manual, and bring any questions to direct supervisor before the end of month 1
Listen to at least 4 sales calls per week with senior team members
Learn all industry terminology so I’ll be ready to communicate effectively with prospects and customers
Meet with supervisor at the end of each week to discuss progress, questions, and results achieved
Score 100% on the training manual examination on week 3
Get coffee with each team member before the end of the first month
(Write your main focus for the next 30 day period here. You should still be learning, but the focus now shifts to taking what you’ve learned and using it in the real world. You want to start doing the work and learning through experience).
Continue listening to 4 sales calls per week with senior team members
Find team members to listen to at least 10 of my sales calls per week and provide feedback
Meet with supervisor twice per week to ensure I continue learning and progressing as quickly as possible. This will include reviewing my sales call results and the tactics I’m using and working on as I listen to team members
Qualify leads and do thorough research of potential clients before calling, so that at least 80% of prospects I speak with are fully-qualified for our products
Track all follow-ups with a maximum of four business days without a prospect hearing from me, for at least three follow-up attempts per prospect
Have at least two lunches with Supervisors or Team Leaders from other departments to grow my network and better understand how other areas of the organization work.
(Now you’ll want to show that you’re now ready to produce at a high level and be a valuable member of the team. Your learning is never fully done, but this section should talk far less about learning, and really focus on demonstrating that what you’ll DO for the employer after 90 days on the job.)
Meet with supervisor once per week to track progress and continue learning sales tactics
Conduct a minimum of 25 outbound sales calls per day
Convert 4 sales call per week into customers
Qualify leads and do thorough research of potential clients before calling, so that at least 90% of prospects I speak with are fully-qualified for our products
Ask for referrals after each completed sale, and/or after determining a sale is not going to occur. Goal: Obtain five qualified referrals per week and contacting each referral within 24 hours.
Join the gym and go every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for one hour minimum.
You can alter this example however you want. This is just one way to set up your 30-60-90 day plan for a job interview.
If you invest the time into creating a plan like this, it will make you stand out and will boost your chances of receiving a job offer.
And once you’ve created a template for yourself, you can re-use it for multiple interviews by changing the basic details to match each job.
If you want to get noticed and get job offers in your interviews, this article is going to help.
We’re going to look at 11 proven ways to answer interview questions effectively.
Let’s get started…
11 Effective Ways to Answer Interview Questions
1. Know when to tell a story, and when not to
Storytelling is a great skill to be more memorable and persuasive, but you need to know when to use it…
Don’t tell a story for a yes/no question. That’s going to drive the interviewer insane.
However, for questions that open the door for you to give a longer answer, like behavioral questions (“tell me about a time you ___?”), storytelling is a powerful skill.
Let’s say they ask a question like, “tell me about your experience serving customers in a fast-paced environment.”
You could just say, “I’ve worked with customers a lot and my last company was very fast-paced,” but that’s not going to be very memorable.
You’ll be a lot more memorable if you paint a picture through storytelling.
You might say, “In my last job, I interacted with an average of 50 customers per day. I really excel in a fast-paced environment like this. In fact, each year our company gives an award to the top person in customer service, and I won last year for earning the highest customer satisfaction rating.”
2. Share specific facts and data to make your answers more impressive
Which one sounds better:
A: “I’m one of the top salespeople in my company right now.”
B: “I’m one of the top 5 salespeople in our group of over 50, and I’m on pace to hit 200% of annual sales goals for my position.”
Facts, data, and statistics make your answers far more impressive.
Do your research before the interview so you KNOW your past results and can talk about it.
A reader emailed me recently and was having trouble in her interviews…
She had experience selling, but she had never sold to software developers. And in this new position, that’s who she would be selling to.
So to address this concern of the employer, I recommended she make a comparison.
At some point, she had never sold to her current clientele either, right? (In this case, it was other types of engineers).
So I told her to explain how she learned to sell to those people, with no experience, and then using that to show them she would be able to learn to sell to this new client-base as well.
Making comparisons like this can shift the interviewer’s focus and turn a negative into a positive (or at least make it a non-factor and stop them from being concerned).
4. Be brief and concise
This is another way to answer interview questions more effectively…
Cover the important details and highlight your best points, but then STOP.
Many job seekers have a tendency to carry on for too long when they should have stopped after answering the main question or highlighting their best points.
5. Take your time and ask for clarification if needed
This is one of the most under-utilized ways to answer interview questions…
And it’s dead simple:
Take a breath, relax and really think before answering. You can’t take something back after you say it, so don’t rush yourself.
And if you’re not sure you understood the question, ask for clarification.
You can say things like:
“Are you hoping for a specific example? I just want to make sure I understand the question.”
“Do you only want to hear about my hands-on experience? I’ve done this directly, but I’ve also led small project teams for this.”
And you can ask for feedback at the end of your answers too, for example:
“Did that answer your question, or did you want more detail?”
(This is a great way to make sure your answers don’t go on too long and annoy the interviewer, which was tip #4).
6. End your answer with a question
Asking questions mid-interview helps you target their needs and “tailor” your answers as the interview goes on!
Let’s look at how to do this…
They mention the job requires managing people and ask for your experience in this area.
After answering and highlighting your relevant experience, you’d say, “Can you tell me more about the management I’d be doing? For example, what size team would I lead, and would I be responsible for hiring and growing the team?”
This will also make it feel more like a casual two-way conversation, which will boost your confidence and help you give better answers overall.
7. Make it about them, not you
Most job seekers think the interview is all about them…
The truth is, you’ll get more job offers if you focus on talking about THEM.
What are their concerns and needs?
For example, don’t just describe your skills and experience when they ask about it.
Instead, show them how you’ll put those skills to use in this specific role, and how their lives will be easier by having you on their team.
That’s how you get more job offers and stand out from other job seekers, who just talk about themselves.
It’s okay if you’re an introvert or naturally quiet… you don’t have to be the most outgoing, bubbly personality to get hired.
Just turn it up a bit…
Do slightly more than you usually do in terms of energy in your tone of voice and body language.
Tone of voice is especially important when answering questions in phone interviews since they can’t see your facial expressions or body language.
If you need help showing energy and enthusiasm in your voice, try standing up and smiling when you talk on the phone. This may sound odd, but it’s a proven trick that phone salespeople use all the time.
9. Treat it like a conversation
When you boil it down, the interview is really just a conversation to see if it’s a good fit for both sides.
It’s a two-way deal.
So go in and treat it like that and you’ll feel a lot more comfortable.
This is one of the best ways to answer interview questions in terms of your mindset.
But if you really want to stand out, make it your goal to know more about the company than anyone else they’ve spoken to!
Read some recent news stories.
Read their company history. Why were they founded, when, and by whom?
Who’s their CEO?
How many locations do they have?
What do they sell, and who are their customers?
How are they different than their competitors?
Doing this extra research will make you more seem more confident, and make you feel more comfortable in your interview – especially in the first few minutes when you’re making that all-important first impression!
2. Be results-oriented
Most people talk in very general terms… both when describing their past work and when talking about what they’d accomplish in a new position.
Don’t do this. You want to stand out, remember?
So instead, talk about specific results.
If they ask about your past work, talk about the actual results you achieved.
What was the impact? Be ready to name specific facts and data.
How did you help your past company save money, save time, or make money?
How did you make your manager’s life easier? This new hiring manager is definitely going to want to hire someone who will make his or her life easier, too. So this is a great thing to show!
3. Bring a case study
To continue on the last idea, if you really want to stand out you should consider coming up with detailed examples, and measurable results, and putting them into a case study to show what you’ve done in the past.
What were one or two big projects you completed for your last employer?
Your body language is super important if you want to stand out and leave a great impression in your interviews.
People judge you visually before anything else; it’s just human nature. And the hiring manager or interviewer is going to gather their first impression of you within a few seconds of meeting you.
This isn’t just about the first impression either; this will affect how they react to everything you say in the interview.
If you’re sitting up straight and maintaining good eye contact while giving interview answers, it’s going to give you a huge boost.
Whereas if you’re glancing down or to the side while talking, and slouched over, your answer will be less impressive even if you said all the right things!
Try to walk in looking like you’re confident and happy to be there, not terrified or anxious.
Keep a soft smile on your face like the image above.
Dress for success, maintain eye contact, and sit upright. Lean slightly forward to show interest.
Don’t tap your feet, grind your teeth, tap your hands, or anything else that’ll distract from the conversation.
This all takes practice, so make sure to build these habits BEFORE your interview.
If you need help building and practicing these habits, here’s a full article on body language tips.
7. Send a great “thank you” email after the interview
After the interview, you’ll want to follow up and thank them for their time, reaffirm that you’re interested in the position, and tell them you’re eager to hear feedback and information about the next steps.
I recommend doing it the day after your interview, or Monday if your interview was on a Friday.
Also, customize the email so they know it’s not just a cut-and-paste email you send to everyone. You should have at least one place where it’s clear you didn’t just copy and paste it.
One easy way to do this: Thank them for sharing information about a specific topic they discussed with you – something that you found interesting.
Example: “Thanks for taking the time to interview me on Thursday. I really enjoyed our conversation, and the information you shared about how this role would collaborate with other groups and manage projects across the organization sounded fantastic…”