All posts by Jack Lawson

The Secret to Amazing Interviews? It’s All In the Job Posting

The Secret to Amazing Interviews? It’s All In the Job Posting

Getting an interview is exciting after submitting countless resumes. That is, until the panic sets in.

Job hunters looking to show up prepared to an interview should look no further than the original job posting. Most employers carefully craft these descriptions and use them to frame candidate performance and fit.

With the job posting in hand, use these five tactics to wow interviewers and get the job.

Look for keywords

If you want the job you’ve got to talk the talk. Using the same language as the job posting shows an understanding of the company’s needs and can help with the technical aspect of applying.

At the resume stage, many companies use automated filtration systems. Finding the words that are repeated in a job posting and peppering them thoughtfully throughout your cover letter and resume will help get it in front of a hiring manager. Be sure required skills are included, too—it doesn’t hurt to reiterate that you have experience with Node.js or Adobe programs.

Once you get to the interview, keep these keywords in mind. Think about how the company might ask about a time you met the leadership requirement or a project when you used responsive design principles.

Turn tasks into examples

Job descriptions always provide a list of responsibilities or tasks that the new hire is expected to deliver on. Prepare for the interview by turning each item into a question and thinking of a project or scenario where you met the requirement.

If the job description says you’ll need to explain technical things to non-technical audiences, think of a specific example where you did that successfully. The more detail you can add, the better. If you don’t have a long resume, this is a great opportunity to tie in volunteer or school experience.

The list of responsibilities also provides an opportunity to deflect the dreaded question about weaknesses. Take one of the least important requirements and think about how you could improve upon your skills. This shows your understanding of the role and willingness to grow within it.

Numbers don’t lie

Most job postings include a description of the company in plain terms. You can tell a lot about a potential employer based on whether they provided hard facts about:

  • How long they’ve been in operation
  • The company’s current and previous products
  • Number of operational countries, zones, or clients

If the position is limited as remote, it’s also worthwhile to determine whether the company is remote first, remote-friendly, or distributed as we’ve talked about before.

If the job posting doesn’t include this paragraph and you can’t find a similar one on their website, this hints the company might not know how to explain what it does. That should be a major red flag for any potential employer.

Company culture

All hiring offers are made based on technical skills and company culture. When you’re interviewing, it’s important to verify that you see yourself fitting in the company’s culture. A startup might lack structure and formal processes, while a government gig takes both to the extreme. Think about what’s important to you before taking the interview.

Job postings usually provide bits and pieces of insight into the company’s culture. Are there references to game nights or team building exercises? How does the role fit into other members of the team?

If these answers aren’t provided, don’t hesitate to bring them up in the interview.

Research the interviewer

Usually, an interview will include the hiring contact as well as the direct manager (sometimes, it’s the same person). Researching the people who will be interviewing you never hurts in the preparation process.

Companies often have staff pages with blurbs about each full-time employee. If they don’t, finding the interviewer on social media or LinkedIn is the next step. Knowing that you share an alma mater with the hiring manager or that the recruiter hates people who show up more than 5 minutes early can be played to your advantage.

Bringing it together to get the job

On the day of the interview, make sure you have all this information ready but not memorized. The goal is to have an understanding of the role and the company’s goals, but it’s key to be natural and not rehearsed.

Showing an interest and an understanding of the role ticks one box. Let your professional knowledge tick the other.

Before you test out your interview skills, you’ve gotta apply! Authentic Jobs has you covered.

5 Strategies for Separating Work and Home

5 Strategies for Separating Work and Home

Finding balance as a remote worker is hard. Distractions abound. They come in swarms of push notifications, the allure of hobbies from home, and the infinite rabbit hole known as the internet. Despite our best efforts, these magnets often compete with the reality of deadlines, team communication, and self-care.

Fortunately there are ways for remote workers to stack the deck in their favour, but it requires purposeful separation of work and life. Below are five tips to create boundaries when you work remotely.

Managing Schedules

Routine is what makes the world go round. It’s important to be consistent regardless of whether you’re rising before dawn or Skyping into a group video call at 9:00 AM. Regularity primes you for work in the same way that stretching warms your muscles before exercising.

Actions as simple as making your bed immediately after getting up, and doing the dishes before going to sleep can do wonders for the mental health of remote workers. Marking the end of a work day and the beginning of a new one with decisive actions allows for better definition between home life and work life.

It also helps to start each day with the same ritual, whether it’s making a cup of coffee or working out. In a world of shifting deadlines and project goals a little bit of self-enforced stability really helps.

Recharging Batteries

Everyone experiences fatigue. The challenge for remote work is learning how to pacing yourself without the ebb and flow of the traditional office environment.

Remote workers should try dedicating a few minutes of every hour to a non-work activity that they enjoy.

This window breaks up the day into manageable chunks and lets your brain take a break from work. Leave your computer behind, hop onto another device to check the tour dates for a band you like, go for a walk to some green space and back, or make a cup of tea and stand by the window.

Taking breaks doubles up to counter the health problems which come from working at a desk for eight or nine hours a day. Repetitive strain injuries and problems with posture are just two common maladies from working at a desk. Bones need time to stretch and our wrists need time to relax.

Moving about, even if it’s just to the couch or the front door, is an important way to break up the day, pace yourself, and stay healthy.

Designating Devices

People are great at building associations between activities and objects.  Modern remote workers use their phones, tablets, and laptops to connect with employers, clients, and friends every day.

What we use a device for tends to influence how we use it next. If you use your work computer to watch Netflix after a hard day you will be more likely to think about watching Netflix the next morning when you boot it up.

Designating one device for relaxation allows for your work computer to serve its purpose without acting as more of a distraction. Leaving your phone by your bedside table and setting its ringtone to call only is just one simple way to boost working efficiency.

Changing Clutter

It’s been proven that maintaining a clean working environment does wonders for the brain. Who hasn’t experienced that nagging voice reminding them about the dishes, kitchen counters, and dusty corners behind the front door?

It turns out that people perform better when there are fewer unresolved tasks on the mind. Finishing simple tasks, the kind of household stuff which inevitably gets put off, actually improves our ability to focus on difficult, work-related issues.

Silencing this internal peanut gallery can lead to an overall improvement in work flow productivity.

Take Your Time

At home, even minor distractions are amplified by space and freedom.

The real problem comes when these nagging feeling and thoughts compound into an increased sense of isolation. Remote workers meet plenty of people online but almost never see these new connections in person.

This can make it hard to get out on the weekend, or on our days off to do the things which we enjoy.

Remedying this feeling comes from managing the space in which we work as distinct from the space in which we rest. This extends to how we use our devices and talk to friends. Getting out on the weekends, going to local coffee shops and talking with people, despite the difficulty, is tremendously important.

Remote workers that take the time to enforce boundaries will be happier in the long run, which makes for a better personal and work life.

Find your next remote job on Authentic Jobs/