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Preparation for your Next Career Step


Situations that interfere with people getting hired for or keeping a new job can be prevented with a little prior planning.  Before you post or send your resume, BE READY so you can interview, get hired, start your job and be a dependable team member without any "but first I need to ..."!

  • Appearance - Maintain your appearance "interview ready"  (You may not have time for a touch-up or manicure when the call comes.)   Have 2 interview outfits or scrubs ready - try them on head to shoes and have them pressed and in the closet ready!!! 2 outfits allow for first and second interviews.
  • Transportation - Ensure your car is ready - oil change, tires, etc....   If you normally take public transportation, set aside some funds so you could consider an Uber/Lyft to ensure you get tot he the interview stress-free, quickly and on time.
  • Personal appointments - Have doctor/dentist/vision appointments etc.. already handled
  • Vacations - Consider carefully before planning an extended vacation - the employer is hiring because they need someone to help and having a new employee out for 2+ weeks may be a deal-breaker.
  • Resume - Have someone else review your resume to look for typos, inconsistent formatting and double-check your employment dates!
  • References - Reach out to your prior employers to confirm their professional phone and email contact information so you can provide reference information for your interview.  
  • Names and dates - Know the full name and title of your prior supervisors, the proper name of the company and your employment month/year start and end for each job for the past 10 years!   Employers will question your employment history if you stumble on these details or only know some one by a first name or "Dr. Smith."
  • "Good Job" Documents - Gather your diploma, certifications, letters of reference (signed and dated!), prior employment evaluations and any letters or emails from people giving you "kudos" at work. 
  • Improve your computer skills has FREE fun games and timing tests to help improve your typing accuracy and speed.  Challenge yourself to get your typing speed and accuracy as high as you can!  Learn new wys to use on Microsoft Word - open the program, at the top left of the screen click "Help" then "Training" and follow the tutorials!   No computer?   The library has computers you can use FREE!

  IF YOU ARE NOT WORKING - plan ahead to avoid delays to your start date or call-outs after you start:

  • Childcare - Have your childcare READY for the schedule you seek.   If you aren't working, an employer would expect you to be ready to start immediately. 
  • Family - Be sure your household is ready for you to begin work and no longer rely on you at random times.  Call outs will quickly end employment.

IF YOU ARE WORKING - stay "income secure" :

  • Security - DON'T LEAVE your current job without having another position.  People tend to get lower salary offers if they are not working.
  • Why Leave - Have a reason in mind for why you are leaving that is both true AND doesn't speak badly about your employer.
  • Privacy -  In general, you do not want to share with co-workers that you are considering leaving.  An employer could decide to be proactive and find your replacement to avoid being left shorthanded.  This could leave you without a job.
  • Positivity - Stay positive about the fact that you have a job and can wait for the ideal new situation to arise.  You can put up with something when you know that change is in the works.
  • Notice - Always give a professional notice (2 weeks for employment of 1 year or more.)  Leaving an employer shorthanded with little notice can come back to bite you! 

Marilyn Taylor staff  can help you navigate this checklist to be ready to seal-the-deal for your next career step!  Send your resume now to begin...

Good interview questions are designed to generate conversation and provide the employer with information about you that helps them decide if you will be a good fit for their team.  Many times, these questions get you to say the first thing that pops into your head, which may be something you might not want to divulge during an initial interview.  In addition, questions can be worded in such a way that your answer opens the door to topics that are generally a taboo line of questioning such as are you married, do you have kids, or your religion...

Interview questions to consider before the interview:

1. Tell me a bit about yourself.

Focus on items that demonstrate why you would be a good PERSON to hire to spur further conversation about you (play sports, cook, get friends together, like to do projects.... whatever you say will open the door to other questions about you. 

2. Why do you want this job?

Your answer should mean something to the employer such as you like their type of work or the people you've met, proximity to your home.... Avoid anything that sounds like "I need a job - any job!"  

3. What is your greatest strength?

Find something that would impact your workplace (honesty, punctuality, team work, happy personality.....) and what it means to your employer.

4. What is your greatest weakness?

We ALL have them!  If you aren't sure - ask your Mother :)   Find one that you have identified and how you are working to overcome it.  Such as...I always say "Yes" when asked to help not wanting to disappoint anyone.  However, I found myself always overcommitted.  I am learning to better prioritize myself and say "no" when necessary. 

5. Why should we hire you?

Have a short list of your assets that align with the employer's needs (punctuality, specific skills you have..).  

6. Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.

Leadership can be leading people, a project or taking initiative in handling something.  

7. Tell me about a time you were successful on a team.

Successful on a team can be that you completed your part, on time, under budget, and helped the entire project... or something personal such as you worked with your neighbors to accomplish a safety goal.

8.  What was something that went wrong at work and how did you handle it?

Choose some situation that was due to YOUR action (not someone else's).  OWN YOUR MISTAKE!  Then how did you fix the situation, what was the end result and WHAT DID YOU LEARN!

9. What would your co-workers say about you?

Be real!  Keep in mind that the employer will likely talk to those people for references. 

10.  What is your dream job?

Keep in mind the job you are interviewing for - ensure your answer is in the same line of work - healthcare such as  "I would like to work toward my RN at night school" or "I love working with patients so anything Back Office is wonderful to me."   BEWARE - If your answer is something like "acting", they are likely to recommend you focus on that other career path and pass you by assuming that as soon as your acting career takes off, you would leave.

11. Tell me about something you’ve accomplished that you are proud to share.

Can be an education level, new skill, personal goal....   

12. What do you like to do outside of work?

This answer is important as it could open the door for discussions of your marital status, children, religion etc... choose your answer wisely.  Depending on your situation, you might stick to things YOU personally do that don't necessarily require other people such as cooking,  sports, reading (be sure you have a book in mind that isn't a comic book :),  

13. Tell me about a time you had to manage conflicting priorities.

Another very important answer as it can illustrate how you balance work with personal priorities.

14. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

If you have no plan in mind "Here, if you hire me!"  is a good answer.  If you plan to go to school, move etc... keep in mind that employers want to know that if they go to the time and expense of hiring you that you will be there for a while.  If you mention future or present schooling, be sure to define how it will NOT interfere with work (night school) but will help the employer with your increased skills. 

15. Tell me about a time you failed or made a mistake.

Can be work or personal BUT be sure you own your mistake, why it happened (don't blame others!)  and discuss what you learned from it!

16. Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult person.

Avoid the blame game!  Identify in your own mind the reason that person was difficult and how YOU dealt with them to try to maintain a positive situation.

17. Tell me how you would learn a new computer program without someone else's help.

PROACTIVE ANSWER REQUIRED!  If you say "can you TRAIN ME?" you will likely not be hired. The best answer is that you can look over the program and use the help tools and internet to likely figure out at least the basics.  SO - get familiar with the computer so you can utilize a "Help" menu plus there are YouTube videos for everything!  You can also get on the program and click the icons to determine what they do...  Practice learning a new skill on a program you know like Word or Excel so you feel comfortable "self-learning."  If you need help with computer proficiency - call us for guidance 310-393-2228!


If you have been stumped by an interview question or situation - send it to us and we can help develop a good response and add it here for others to use, too!

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