Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Handle Behavioural Interview Questions

Have you recently shown up to an interview feeling fully prepared to prove that you would be the best person for the job?

You thought you had it all figured out and had come prepared to tell the interviewer why you would be a perfect fit for the position.

However, when you sat down and the interviewer started asking you questions about your past work-related behaviour, it threw you off your game. You were not prepared and could not remember examples of your behaviour in past jobs. Who knew that the way you handled a difficult situation with a co-worker on your IT team several years ago would be pertinent in obtaining a new position?

Behavioural interview questions have become widely popular with interviewers. This is when an interviewer asks you a question where you are required to describe a specific example of past work-related behaviour. This technique is so popular that today it is rare to go through an entire interview without being asked at least a few of these types of questions.

The reason is that employers believe past work-related behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour. If you could convince a team to work on a project they were less than thrilled about in your last job, then you could probably be a great Team Leader today.

Here are some tips on being successful at answering behavioural interview questions:

Show You Are Competent:
There are no right or wrong answers to behavioural interview questions, although there are definitely certain competencies and skills that employers are looking for when they are analyzing the behaviours you describe in your answers.

The best way to answer successfully is to think about what types of behaviours and competencies that the employer is looking for in the specific role and then come up with examples where you have demonstrated these in your past jobs.

Be Prepared:
Go through the job posting and do your research on the company. What does the company value? If the job posting is looking for someone with proven customer service skills, then come up with an example where you successfully dealt with a difficult customer in the past. If it says they value organizational skills, then they may ask you to talk about a time where you had a lot on your plate and had to prioritize.

If you take the time to think about the role, then it will not be too difficult to pinpoint some of the questions that may be

Stay On Topic and Answer the Question:
Get to the point. Have a game plan on how to answer behavioural questions in general. First, describe the situation, then how you reacted and why, and finally, describe the result, or what your actions accomplished. Do not go off on tangents or get off topic. Make sure you answer the question that is asked and try not to be too long winded when doing so.

Prove You Can Do the Job
Behavioural interview questions are a great way to prove that you are the right person for the job. They can be prepared for easily and allow you to demonstrate that you have the reactions and competencies necessary to be successful in a role. So be prepared and embrace your chance to be direct. Be ready to prove that you have previously used and demonstrated the skills that the job requires.

Although behavioural question can be difficult to answer on the spot when unprepared, they should be easy to predict, related to the job, and an advantage for someone who has the proper qualifications.

Written By Dan Leibner

Friday, November 19, 2010

10 Reasons I Jumped on the Wordpress Bandwagon

I’m building a new Wordpress-powered version of Our current site is okay, but Wordpress could bring us to a whole new level. Actually it’s become a bit of an obsession for me.

The seed was planted about a year ago when my colleague Ryan Ayres told me about Wordpress. I wasn’t ready to take the plunge at the time. But since then I've been building little Wordpress sandbox sites to play with and learn.

I’m not the only one jumping on the bandwagon. According to Wordpress stats, there are over 32 million WordPress publishers as of November 2010.

The magic of Wordpress is that it enables anyone to create a dynamic corporate website very quickly and fairly easily depending on how much customization you want.

Something for everyone. It’s not just a blogging platform. It’s a full-fledged content management system. It can be a do-it-yourself web development tool for non-designers and non-coders. Or you can extend Wordpress by building your own templates, plugins and widgets. In either case your site is powered by the amazing open source PHP and MySQL based Wordpress platform.

Top ten reasons I Love Wordpress

  1. It’s revolutionary. With Wordpress anyone who knows a little HTML and CSS can put up a dynamic business website in a few weeks (except for me apparently :-).
  2. Open source. Its continuously improving thanks to a huge community of developers lead by Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg.
  3. You’re in good company. NYTimes, Ebay, Yahoo, Ford, SmashingMag, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Sony, Samsung, Playstation and Wired all have Wordpress sites.
  4. Easy to install. is famous for the 5-minute installation. (It took me quite a bit longer the first time).
  5. Community support. Numerous sites like , and offer tutorials, tips and reviews.
  6. Templates. Wordpress enables you to style your website automatically with a huge selection of free and premium design templates.
  7. Plugins. Get a free plugin for almost anything: social media , backups, caching, security, mobile integration.
  8. Widgets. Drag and drop elements to build your sidebars and footer.
  9. Documentation. The Wordpress Codex is fully searchable and meticulously maintained by a dedicated development community.
  10. It’s Free! Take advantage of all of this awesomeness for free. Really. I know. It seems too good to be true.
I am so excited to launch a Wordpress powered version of I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime if you have any Wordpress tips to share you’ve got my attention. I’ll be happy to try to answer your questions too!

Written by
Laura Upcott
Stafflink Solutions Ltd.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Sparkle in a Room Full of Diamonds

Phones are ringing, calendars’ are booked and recruiters are drinking more coffee -- it can only mean one thing… job openings! The good news? The job market is turning around. The bad news? The competition is fierce.

The amount of well qualified candidates looking for new opportunities is tremendous. So how do you stand out in a group of front runners? How do you make your mark? More specifically, how do you prove to prospective employers, that you are the one worth investing in? When the competition is close and many applicants fit the position, the best thing you can do is find a way to shine.

Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to stand outside an employer’s office with a stereo above your head singing a song to the hiring team. I am simply asking you to put in that extra effort.Not sure where to start? Not a problem. I’ve started a list of some creative ideas that will help you make your mark. Test a few out and see what you can add.

1) Watch Your Manners: Reaching out for a handshake, remembering names and saying thank you can go a long way. Manners not only demonstrate your professionalism but they make employers feel valued.

2) Find Shared Interests: Look around the employer’s office – what is hanging on the walls? You can tell a lot about a person’s interest by their office environment. If you see a fishing picture, strike up a conversation about your last fishing trip. Maybe everyone can do the job but not everyone can listen to someone talk about their eight hour fishing expedition.

3) Promote Yourself: If you look through your office, chances are you have a few promotional items from various companies. Why do they do this? So you remember them! Whether it is creating your own portfolio, blog/website or handing out a personal business card – find a way to promote your personal brand.

4) Snail Mail: In today’s fast-paced environment, an email may seem like the most appropriate form of communication to send a thank you letter. It’s fast, quick and convenient. However, if you want the job – convenience should not matter. Yes, it is true that most employers will want to receive a thank you letter within 48 hours of your interview. So why not express post a hand written thank you letter? Snail mail (that isn’t a bill) always catches my attention.

5) Sizzle in Style: One of our very own Stafflink employee’s used this trick. He wore a baby pink dress shirt to stand out among the sea of black suits. Whether it’s wearing your favourite red dress or sporting that bright bold tie, find something in your closet that helps give you that extra punch. Some people might be taken back if you show up in a bright orange suit, but a bright purple tie just might make you the perfect amount of memorable.

Not every idea will suit everyone. Pick something that feels comfortable and honest. The point is to find a way to show your personality, passion and drive to prospective employers. If you are truly passionate about a position, demonstrate that passion and there will be no stopping you. As a wise philosopher once said, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius.

Do you have any tips for standing out in the crowd while you're searching for a job? Please share your strategies in the comments.

Related Articles:
What Should I Wear to an Interview for a Job?
10 Job Networking Strategies to Consider if You're a Newcomer to Canada
Build an e-Resume Portfolio Site with WordPress
How to Land a Job in 7 Seconds
What's Your Superpower?

Written by: Michelle De Rubeis, Technical Recruiter, StaffLink Solutions Ltd.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

IT Resume Template: Optimize Your Resume for Job Boards and Recruiters

I see hundreds of resumes a week so I really appreciate a well formatted resume that enables me to quickly skim to the information I need to know. Here’s an IT resume template that is optimized for job boards and looks good to recruiters too.

Keyword Resume Template

Tips to Balance Keywords with Readability

1. Highlight your accomplishments. These differentiate you from other candidates. It’s even more impressive when your tie your accomplishments in with your job experience.

2. Keyword dumps don't work. You may be tempted to try to trick the search engines into putting your resume at the top of the list by dumping a load of keywords on the first page. When I see a keyword dump and no real experience on the first page of a resume I assume that this person is not qualified.

3. Highlight specific capabilities within your description of each job in your Employment Experience section. Describe the technical skills, communication skills, organizational skills or management abilities you demonstrated in that role.

What did I miss? Please comment and share your resume writing tips.

Related Articles:

Tim Collins