8 Interview Clichés to Avoid

The point of an interview is to show off to the hiring manager how wonderful and unique of a candidate you are.  So why would you waste precious time and words answering questions with clichés?  Unfortunately, when put in a nerve-racking situation, people often freeze up or stumble over their words, and these standard lines are the first things that come to mind.  Here are a few clichés to look out for, and some alternate ways to respond:

1. I’m a Team Player

The ultimate cliché, this one pops up in resumes, cover letters, and interviews.  But what does it really mean?  If you’re a “team player” and really want to get this point across, don’t say this line.  Explain what it is that makes you so great to work with.  Focus on your excellent ability to communicate or your willingness to both lead and follow directions.  Talk about a few instances where you have picked up the slack for someone else without having to be asked.

2. I’m the Perfect Fit

Ultimately this is up to the hiring manager.  Instead of wasting your breath telling them this and expecting them to believe you when they know nothing about you, barrage them with examples of why you’re a great fit.  Then they’ll come closer to making this conclusion on their own.

3. I’m a Hard Worker

Aren’t we all?  Again, saying this really means nothing to the interviewer until you provide concrete examples.  Tell them about all those times when you stayed late, turned work in before its due date, anticipated what needed to get done next, etc.  Make the interviewer really believe that you are a hard worker, because just saying so is not enough.

4. I’m Willing to Do Anything

Often this is the road many people have to take, especially when starting out in entry-level positions.  And while it’s great to have that sort of mentality, you don’t want to sound too desperate in a job interview.  And worse than sounding desperate, you don’t want to imply that the job itself is something you’re “willing to put up with” until you advance on to something better.  Mention specific parts of the job that excite you, and instead of focusing on your willingness to do anything, focus on your desire to do these specific things.

5. I’m a Fast Learner

When you say this, Hiring Managers hear, “I don’t know how to do this“. Saying this makes you sound like you are inexperienced, and that you may be underestimating the level of understanding it takes to do the job.

6. I’m Good with People

That’s exactly what the interviewer is trying to determine in the interview. It’s not just about determining if you have the skills and qualifications to do the job. The interviewer is trying to determine your general demeanor and personal skills, so let them see you in action, don’t simply state it.

7. I’m a very Loyal Person

People who say this are usually overcompensating for holding many jobs in the past, but not staying at any particular job for very long. Candidates who say this are typically concerned that the interviewer will think they’ll get bored and leave soon after taking the position. Instead of saying this, stress how you see this potential employer as a long term career path.

8. I really need this job

Some people think it’s a good idea to talk about their personal life in an interview, and how important it is for their family that they get this job. Even if this is true, do not say it. It only makes you look desperate. The less it seems you need the job, the more valuable you seem to the employer, because other employers want you too.

Clichés hurt you not just because they make you sound less credible, but also because they take away the chance to go into depth and provide specific examples of why you’d be a great hire.  Don’t do yourself an injustice by speaking vaguely with a hiring manager – the specifics will get you much farther.

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Doostang Success — My Dream Job in Venture Capital

Himani

UC Berkeley, 2010
Investment Analyst – Hercules Technology Growth Capital

“I ended up at Doostang after trying multiple job seeking platforms. The experience here was so much more interactive, unlike other places that felt like a black hole – sucking my applications with no response.

In contrast, at Doostang I was impressed by features like status notifications, which showed me when my resume was downloaded and which employer viewed it.

There is a great amount of credibility in Doostang, so I could be sure that my unique skill sets and qualifications would reach the right set of employers.

I’ve been ‘job watching’ for almost 2 years, and I’ve never seen such a relevant aggregation of specific ‘field-positions’ until Doostang.

Their investment management space in finance has the most updated and selective postings. And that’s how I landed my job at Hercules Technology Growth Capital. Doostang has been an ideal platform for me to end up at my dream job in venture capital.

Kudos to the team, and sincere thanks.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Finance Intern – Leading Capital Placement Firm, New York, NY

Sr. Marketing Analyst – Leading Ecommerce Retailer, Boston, MA

Start-Up Hedge Fund Operations Associate – Start-Up Hedge Fund, Manhattan, NY

Chief Executive Officer – Rising Nonprofit Educator, Charleston, SC

Entry Level Treasury Analyst – Top-Tier Financial Company, San Diego, CA

Search jobs on Doostang

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Behaviors that Tarnish Your Office Reputation – Part 1

Entry Level Treasury Analyst, San Diego, CA
Administrative Assistant, New York, NY
Research Analyst – Energy, Boston, MA
Consulting Associate, Multiple Locations
Associate, New York, NY

More recent jobs you might like…

Maintaining a good reputation at work is a delicate balance.  Because business is business, and there is usually a lot of stress circulating around an office, people are quicker to judge and slower to forgive.  That’s why it’s important to get off to a solid start and do what you can to remain in the good graces of both your superiors and your coworkers.  Here are a few behaviors to avoid:

Asserting Yourself as the New Guy

When you’re the new guy, it can be tempting to want to enter with a bang, but sometimes this can be a huge turnoff.  If you start off trying to revolutionize things too quickly, people might become offended about the fact that you’re trying to change everything around, and put you back in your place.  While you may have the best of intentions, try to hold back just a little bit, adding your two cents when it seems natural or when you are asked – not when you have to fight to get a word in.  When you first get to a company, take some time to learn what they are about and what they are trying to do, and this will likely enable you to contribute in a more valuable way.  After all, you may feel that you have some very enlightened observations to provide, but these may have already been observed previously (possibly more than once), and broaching the same topic all over again will just make everyone feel like you’re beating a dead horse.

Overextending Yourself

Many people feel that they will actually build a greater reputation by being a “Yes Man”.  Indeed, all companies value reliable employees.  But if you get to the point where you are saying “yes” to everything, you may reach a point where the quality of all of your work suffers, or you may find yourself unable to get to certain projects at all.  It’s important to learn what you can and cannot do, and to budget your time wisely.  It’s perfectly fine to explain to your boss that you simply have too much on your plate to take on another project at the moment – he or she will likely respect you for this.

Failing to Check In

Your boss manages a lot of people, and by extension, manages a lot of projects.  He has a lot on his plate, and so you figure you’ll spare him the headache by getting your work done first and then running it by him.  But this can be a huge mistake.  If you’re working on a big project, it’s probably a good idea to update your boss on your progress and allow him to offer feedback.  Managers like to feel that they are a part of the work, and may become aggravated when you try to run off with it on your own.  Additionally, when you fail to check in and end up doing something incorrectly, you’ll create more work for yourself and irritate your boss even more.

As you can see, much of maintaining a good reputation at work relies on learning how to communicate well – and this means being able to talk as well as listen.  So avoid the above pitfalls, and stay tuned for our next installment of behaviors that have the propensity to ruin an individual’s work reputation!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang Success — Sales Analyst Job with Morgan Stanley

Brandon

Villanova University, 2009
Sales Analyst – Morgan Stanley

“I signed up for Doostang a few months ago out of curiosity to see what opportunities were out there. Even though I wasn’t actively looking at the time, Doostang helped spark my interest in other career paths. The website is very useful in that I was able to locate an opening for a job as soon as it became available, thus giving me an advantage over individuals who may see the position after it has already been posted for some time.

I received a job at Morgan Stanley shortly after applying to it on Doostang and have been very pleased with my experience.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Investment Banking Analyst – Premier Full Service Investment Bank, New York, NY

Marketing Intern – LA-Based Boutique Investment Bank, Los Angeles, CA

Entry Level Financial Analyst – Leading Financial Consultancy, Philadelphia, PA

Sales/Business Development Associate – Leading PPC Program Developer, Chicago, IL

Operations Associate – Premier Asset Management Firm, San Francisco, CA

Search jobs on Doostang

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Tricky Interview Questions

Analyst, San Francisco, CA
Operations Intern – Summer MBA, Atlanta, GA
Entry-Level Financial Analyst, Philadelphia, PA
Consulting Analyst, Waltham, MA
Compliance Analyst, New York, NY

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We’ve covered a lot of tough interview questions in past posts, and here we come at you with yet another round.  Sometimes interviewers ask us questions that are more on the tricky side.  It’s hard to know what to say – it often seems the best approach is to tell them what they want to hear, rather than the truth – and sometimes it’s just confusing why these questions are being asked in the first place.  Here are a few examples:

What Are Your Hobbies?

Why is this question relevant to the job you’re applying for, and why would the interviewer care enough to ask this in a formal interview?  Try to look at this question as a means for the interviewer to understand who you are a little better.  If you’re hired, you’ll be absorbed into the company culture, so the company wants to get a more complete picture of you as an individual.  Understanding what you do for fun can help the interviewer determine what your working style might be like.  It can also help them determine how a job will fit into your life, given what you do outside of your work.

How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?

Do you even know the answer to this question?  Could you really provide an accurate assessment of what others think?  This question is more of a way for the interviewer to find out what qualities you most value about yourself, as you likely assume that these are the same traits that others appreciate.  It also showcases how modest or overconfident you might be.  Here you might take the chance to describe some positive interactions you’ve had with coworkers, citing instances where you have collaborated with them on projects.  This will give you a way to back up your answer, as well as to imply that you are able to work well in a team.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

This question is tricky because it’s hard to tell if you should speak about yourself in five years at that company – after all, you don’t want to appear presumptuous, but you also don’t want to seem disloyal.  And what if where you want to be is in the seat of the person who is interviewing you?  Instead of focusing on what specific position you see yourself in, try to think of things you want to have achieved.  In what areas will you grow the most?  What goals do you have for your career?  After you’ve considered these questions, you can then turn your answer around and talk about ways in which you will be able to accomplish all of this at the company you are interviewing for, speaking about how your growth will be mutually beneficial for you and the corporation.

Some questions during the interview can seem like time wasters – and some are.  But interviewers often have underlying points they’re trying to get at, even if it’s just to see how you’ll react to a specific question.  Try to prepare for an interview as thoroughly as you can and keep an open mind when tackling tricky questions like these.

All the best,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang New Jobs This Week: Mar 21 – 27


Doostang has thousands of highly sought after positions at companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, Summit Partners, Time Warner, Facebook, and more. Looking to get ahead in your job search? Be the first to apply to these exceptional NEW jobs just posted on Doostang.


Analyst, New York, NY – Boutique Private Debt & Equity Firm seeks an Analyst.


Global Content Researcher, Los Angeles, CA – Rapidly Growing Localized Nightlife & Travel Guide seeks a Global Content Researcher.


Associate, Waltham, MA – Newly-Formed Boutique Growth Equity Investment Firm seeks an Associate.


Experienced Consulting Analyst, New York, NY – Innovative Financial Services Consulting & Relationship Management Firm seeks a Consulting Analyst.


M&A Sr. Associate / VP, Seattle, WA – Leading Boutique Investment Bank seeks an M&A Sr. Associate / Vice President.


Business Valuation Associate, Nationwide, USA – Dynamic Healthcare Industry Management Consulting Firm seeks a Business Valuation Associate.


Investment Banking Analyst, Boston, MA – Private Transaction Advisory Partnership seeks an Investment Banking Analyst.

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What to Include on Your Resume

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Many job seekers feel the need to present a broad view of skills in order to qualify for a variety of positions and want to add in everything but the kitchen sink!  Discerning what to include and what to exclude can be a difficult task.  Don’t despair — here are some points to help:

Don’t Try to Include Too Much Information

Most hiring managers currently aren’t interested in a resume that goes back more than 15 years. In fact, including a lot of significant accomplishments from early in your career could backfire by inadvertently emphasizing the lack of recent accolades. Start by paring down to the essentials.

Each section in a resume has to reinforce your strengths and serve multiple purposes because of limited space. Many readers will not continue because of the time required to sort through the resume.

Package the Resume with Effective Position Titles

Be as specific as possible and consider changing the title as needed to fit the current job search.  With a well-rounded resume you probably won’t need to create an entirely separate resume for each application.  In addition, the broad range of skills can also make you a more valuable candidate.

Compare these two opening titles:  Software Developer vs. IT Professional.

There are pros and cons to the use of each type of title. The more specific title of Software Developer may unintentionally limit your search. However, greater specificity can also give you a leg up on the competition because it helps the hiring manager see exactly what opening your qualifications fit.  The more general title of IT Professional may help you in being considered for a number of positions, although you may stand out less from the competition. If you are applying to a broad range of positions and feel you won’t be able to modify the title for each position, you may be better off using the more general title.

Do Include a Brief Company Description

A brief company description provides a context to help the reader understand your accomplishments and it saves valuable real estate on the resume since you only state it once. Look at the 2 examples below to see the difference between a traditional approach and a powerful one.

Logistics Manager 2010 – Present
ABC Successful Company, New York

Duties included planning daily schedules to achieve production goals. Supervised plant personnel in US and Mexico to maintain on-time delivery.  Balanced budget. Trained and supervised office, plant, and management positions. Responsible for P&L oversight, analysis, and reporting. Increased sales and reduced costs. Expanded business.

ABC SUCCESSFUL COMPANY, New York, New York – 2010 to Present
Global multi-million dollar sprocket manufacturer, applying lean manufacturing principles in 100 factories throughout North and South America.

Logistics Manager
Orchestrate all aspects of daily schedules, remotely managing 13 sites through direct supervision of plant managers. Analyze production to reach weekly targets and maintain budget and delivery schedules. Command full P&L oversight, analysis, and reporting. Utilize participative management techniques to facilitate communication and shared ownership, while developing staff to potential.

How you choose to package your experience and skills is just as critical as your talent and expertise. If a hiring manager is unable to get excited when reading the resume, you are unlikely to get called for the interview. You have a lot of control over how the reader will react to your resume. Make your achievements shine by effectively organizing your resume and you are likely to be preparing for an interview! Good luck and stay positive!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Doostang New Jobs This Week: Jan 24 – 30


Doostang has thousands of highly sought after positions at companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, Summit Partners, Time Warner, Facebook, and more. Looking to get ahead in your job search? Be the first to apply to these exceptional NEW jobs just posted on Doostang.


Internship, San Francisco, CA – Research-Centric Boutique Investment Bank seeks an Intern.


Marketing Associate, Washington, DC – Rapidly-Growing Consumer Health & Wellness Company seeks Marketing Associate.


Analyst Fellow, New York, NY – Industry Leader in Real Estate, Economic Development, and Public Policy Consulting seeks Analyst Fellow.


Sr. Consultant – Healthcare, Boston, MA – Premier Healthcare Industry Consulting Firm seeks a Sr. Consultant.


Pre-MBA Private Equity Associate, San Francisco, CA – Middle-Market Private Equity Firm seeks Pre-MBA Private Equity Associate.


Entry Level Paralegal, Washington, DC – Leading Global Legal Firm seeks Entry Level Paralegal.


Investment Banking Associate, Atlanta, GA – Leading Independent Investment Bank seeks Investment Banking Associate.

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Doostang Success — Senior Associate Consulting Job of My Choice

Kapil

University of Virginia – Darden School of Business,  2009
Senior Associate – PwC

“I graduated with an engineering degree and pursued an MBA from a top 10 business school. I had several years of consulting experience and wanted to move higher-up the ladder in the consulting industry. I started my job search using LinkedIn, IvyExec.com and TheLadders.com. I spent a couple of months using these sites, but I was not getting any success.

One of my friends suggested Doostang to me. Within 1 month of using Doostang I had 3 interviews lined up and now I have a full time job of my choice. I believe that this would not have been possible without Doostang.

I found the job listings on Doostang to be very premium, and recruiters contact you very quickly. I also liked the portal design – it is very convenient to use and offers nice features to narrow down your searches. Furthermore, I was very impressed with the daily emails that listed new jobs at the top to keep my attention. Thank You Doostang.”



Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Investment Banking Analyst – Boutique Brokerage & Investment Banking Firm, New York, NY

Web Developer/ UI Designer – Game-Changing Social E-Commerce Platform, SF Bay Area, CA

Research Assistant, Largest Independent Investment Firm, Richmond, VA

Entry level Sales/Marketing Associate – Upstart Mineral Water Company, San Francisco, CA

Convertible Analyst – Globally-Focused Brokerage Firm, New York, NY

Search jobs on Doostang

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Doostang New Jobs This Week: Dec 20 – 26




Doostang has thousands of highly sought after positions at companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, Summit Partners, Time Warner, Facebook, and more. Looking to get ahead in your job search? Be the first to apply to these exceptional NEW jobs just posted on Doostang.


Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY – Leading Boutique Investment Bank seeks Investment Banking Analyst.


Associate, San Francisco, CA – Leading Sustainability Strategy Firm seeks Associate.


Investment Banking Sr. Associate, Chicago, IL – Premiere Financial Services Firm seeks Investment Banking Sr. Associate.


Entry-Level Online Content / Marketing Associate, Saint Louis, MO – Performance-Based Social Media seeks Entry-Level Online Content/Marketing Associate.


Analyst, Colorado Springs, CO – Boutique Real Estate Private Equity Firm seeks Pre-MBA Analyst.


Jr. Associate, SF Bay Area, CA – Leading Healthcare IT Consulting Firm seeks Jr. Associate.


Equity Research Associate, New York, NY – Full Service Investment Bank seeks Equity Research Associate.

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