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How to Ace Your Next Behavioral Job Interview

If you are preparing for a behavioral job interview, your first question may be, “What is a behavioral interview?” Employers use this popular interviewing method to assess job candidates’ potential based on their behavior in past situations. The interview normally consists of questions that refer to how you responded to work situations with former employers, whereas a typical interview often only asks what you would do if you find yourself in a particular situation on the job you are applying for.

The technique’s concept is that your past actions are a predictor of how you will behave in the present position being offered. Behavioral interviews are 55% effective at predicting future behavior on the job, as opposed to traditional interviews, which are only 10% effective.

How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interviews are a great tool. Here are two crucial aspects to consider when developing yours.

  • Consider past work experiences. As you begin prepping for your behavioral interview, it is best to start by thinking about specific situations you have faced in former positions and how you responded and handled the situation. The more compelling your stories are, the more likely you are to make an impression the prospective employer will remember. Problem-solving, dealing with stress, meeting goals, and conflict resolution are great situational examples in which you can express your response in a positive light. Consider that you may be asked questions regarding circumstances in which you would have acted differently, and be prepared with an answer stating what you would have done in hindsight.
  • Be prepared for questions you may not have thought about. You never know exactly what questions they may hit you with, so be ready to think on your feet. These “what if” questions may require you to be resourceful, focusing on your initiative and drive to succeed.

What Are Some Common Questions?

Employers often know what specific skills they are looking for in the applicants they choose to interview. Glassdoor says, “A behavioral interview is most effective when the interviewer already knows what he or she is looking for in a job candidate.” Some of the common questions you may expect often resemble these:

  • Explain a situation in which you worked well under pressure.
  • Give an example of a difficult situation you faced with a coworker and how you resolved the issue.
  • Tell about an unpopular decision you made and how you successfully handled its implementation.
  • Give an example of a goal you attained, and explain how you reached the goal.
  • Tell about a time you went above and beyond for an employer or client, what motivated you, and the results.
  • Give an example of when your schedule was interrupted and how you adapted to the situation.

If you face a behavioral job interview and wish to prepare with some personal coaching, Susan Ascher is ready to help you come out on top. Visit our website, or call (973) 919-8180 to find out how you can feel more comfortable going into your interview.

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Growing Your Career in a Virtual World Webinar

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Join Susan Ascher and Kerry Barrett for a New FREE Webinar:

Growing Your Career in a Virtual World

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WHEN: Monday, November 9th, 2020 from 11:00am-12:00pm
TO JOIN: Click on the Zoom link to join us on November 9th:, Meeting ID no. 237 900 1168

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We will share our vision for STANDING OUT in the virtual world!


  • What it takes to find a job in #thenewnormal
  • The importance of being camera ready in a #zoom world and why image matters
  • How to curate accomplishment-driven resumes and LinkedIn profiles
  • How to prepare for behavioral interviews


  • Jobseekers
  • Gig seekers
  • Executives in transition
  • Anyone who wants to prepare for an upcoming job search
  • Or raise the bar in understanding what it takes to STAND OUT in a virtual world

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About Our Speakers:

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Susan Ascher is an award-winning Career/Executive/Leadership Coach and author of Dude, Seriously, It’s NOT All About You! AND Dude, Seriously, get Your ASK in Gear!

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Kerry Barrett is an Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist, author and media trainer who turns people into on-camera rock stars.


Improving Communication in a Virtual Workplace

With an astounding 88% of employees working from home on a regular basis, it seems more and more people dimming the lights on an in-person office setting and converting space in their homes into a functional workplace, optimal communication is key in creating a successful virtual work environment. However, most people are new to this new virtual world and aren’t sure how to navigate the workplace successfully. There is actually a learning curve involved in learning how to speak, respond, and engage virtually.

Tips for Improving Communications in a Virtual Workplace

If you or your crew are new to the virtual work world, you might have to teach your team some new strategies for communicating. Here are four ways to improve communication on your virtual team and preserve existing relationships so that you can move forward during this transition and flourish, no matter where you are.

1. Keep It Personal

It’s no mystery that effective communication builds strong relationships, fosters healthy collaboration between managers and employees, and is imperative for successful outcomes. The easiest way to develop this type of communication is to give yourself permission to ‘get personal.’ Even without a physical desk filled with family pictures and one’s obvious football pick by the pennant tacked to their corkboard, an individual’s virtual space can tell a lot about the person and can add to the characteristics that are unique to your coworkers.

Engage in conversation during your morning huddle about what’s going on outside of work. Allow space for people to tell about an upcoming anniversary or celebrate their son getting his driver’s license. A little small talk can go a long way in a virtual setting. Your more social coworkers may be missing the water cooler conversations that ultimately create relationships that lend to professional successes. Those connections are crucial, even when you can only see the person from the waist up.

2. Use the Tools

When it comes to video conferencing and virtual meetings, take your pick of the many effective platforms, including Google Meet, Zoom, and Skype, just to name a few. Thanks to the advances in this digital era, there is no shortage of ways to meet in large groups or one on one. A strong point in favor of these apps is that they are an easy way for teams to unite, which is motivating and allows for clarification of assignments, in addition to encouraging discussion among team members.

3.Create a Calendar

Gone are the days when the workday is a strict 9-5. A major advantage of working remotely for most of us is the flexibility it provides. We are well into seven months of a pandemic, which has contributed to canceled appointments, rescheduled time off, and adjustments to our workday. Some of us are working to accommodate children as they attend cyber school instead of brick and mortar or looking for safe ways to see parents in nursing homes.

It is more important than ever to keep each other in ‘the know.’ A simple shared calendar can do the trick! By showing others what times you are available, everyone’s day can be as productive as possible. Block off times you are unavailable or set an auto-reply in your e-mail settings so others aren’t guessing as to where you are if you can’t be reached.

4. Embrace the New Norm

As time goes by, this new way of working is becoming less of an anomaly and more of a normal way of life. Embrace this opportunity, and support others in their circumstances. Not everyone’s space and workday will look the same. Learn what works best for you and think twice before judging someone else’s situation. The best form of communication is empathy. Develop the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and you will be surprised how easy it is to form deeper connections that will yield success in all aspects of your work life.

Get Advice When You Need It

Cultivating good communication among a virtual team is well worth the time. Keep it personal. Use the many existing tools to fit your team’s needs without reinventing the wheel. Share your calendar and find ways to support each other along the way. The successful outcomes are a direct reflection of how well your team communicates.

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Stand Out in Your Job Search During the Pandemic

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, its effect on the job market has been swift and severe. It is a frustrating time for anyone searching for employment or a career change. The high unemployment rate that the pandemic has created means that employers are being flooded with job applications, but don’t let this scare you off. If you take time to polish your job search skills, you can stand out from the others.

If you are embarking on a job search, patience is your first tool. Once you accept that this is a marathon and not a sprint, you simply need to focus and put a little ingenuity to work. Competition is fierce right now, so the key is to stand out from the crowd and get your application to the top of the pile. Consider these tips as you set out to find new employment.

1. The first step is landing a job interview. One of the most powerful tools in landing the interview that you want is networking. According to a LinkedIn survey, 85% of jobs are attained through networking. Begin with people you know but also reach out to contacts on employment networking sites. After you have made connections, be sure to follow up with them.

2. Ask questions that leave an impression. When you are interviewed for a position, you want to ask questions that show you have done your research and are interested in applying your skills to the position they are hiring for.

3. Be thorough with your answers. When a potential employer asks you questions, do not give generalized answers. Provide detailed examples from your past work experience that highlight the answer. Specificity can be the difference between you and dozens of others.

4. Don’t allow yourself to blend in. You always want to have a unique selling point that shows the potential employer that you are the best candidate for the job. Highlight educational and professional milestones that other applicants may not have achieved.

5. Wow them with your leadership abilities. Employers like to see job applicants with leadership skills. If you have been in charge of projects at previous jobs or attained any management experience, be sure to highlight those experiences.

As you set out to acquire a new job, do so with confidence, and keep these tips in mind. Be sure to keep an open mind, as you may come across an opportunity that you have never considered before. A recent Siliconrepublic article states, “The ongoing global situation has inevitably caused changes in demand across skills and industries, so try to be flexible and perhaps look outside your usual field.”

On top of flexibility, you also want to be able to think on your feet and not be caught off guard during a job interview. When you educate yourself on the specific jobs you are applying for, it allows you to think quickly when speaking with potential employers, so always be well-prepared.

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Finding New Work After Losing Your Job to the Lockdown

The COVID-19 lockdown has changed everyday life for countless Americans. While part of the country, including healthcare workers, emergency responders, and IT security professionals, are working harder than ever, another swathe of the country’s workers have been furloughed, laid off, or forced out of business. By the end of March 2020, nearly seven million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits and that number has steadily increased over the last several weeks.

If you’re uncertain about your current job in the face of the pandemic or you’re forced to find new employment as soon as possible, you’ll find that the typical avenues of finding new work are largely unavailable. Those who can are working from home, and companies across industries are limiting personal contact as much as possible, including interviews. If you’re looking for a new job, you may need to shake up your approach and broaden your search criteria to find new employment as quickly as possible.

Embrace Digital Networking Sites

Companies across the country are moving to digital networking for locating, interviewing, and onboarding job candidates. If you haven’t used any professional networking sites like LinkedIn before, now is the time to get to know these platforms and build up your online profiles. These sites are some of the best places to connect with potential employers, look up employer reviews, and cultivate a network of professional contacts that might be able to help you find new opportunities in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Since more people are spending more time online, you should assume that prospective employers will be, too. If you have extra free time due to the lockdown and losing your job because of it, take advantage of this extra free time to refine your social media profiles. Kelly Services Senior Vice President Kelly Thorpe recommends a look over your social media content:

Scrub any content you don’t want a potential employer to see — or, if that’s too much work, make your profiles private.

Chances are high that potential employers will be looking extensively at your online presence to get to know you during the interview process since they will probably refrain from a face-to-face interview.

Adjust Your Expectations

Depending on your skill set, education, and professional experience, you may have many more opportunities than you realize. However, it can be hard to imagine working outside of the field you so recently left against your own wishes. As you begin your lockdown job hunt, you might need to come to terms with the fact that the industry in which you previously worked has changed and your skills may be more valuable to an employer in a different niche.

It’s also vital to acknowledge that most available jobs at the moment function on working remotely from home. If you have never done remote work before, you’re going to need to ensure you have the hardware ready to go as well as adequate workspace to complete your job duties. Many Americans have adjusted to working from home, and it’s easier for some than others.

Work With a Professional Job Coach

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unpredictable disaster that reshaped modern life in countless ways and coping with these changes can feel overwhelming in the face of piling bills and uncertainty about the future. Susan Ascher is a professional career coach with significant experience helping people realize their potential. The pandemic lockdown is certainly a crisis, but it could also present an opportunity to expand your skills and find enriching and lucrative work in a new field.

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What are the Keys to a Successful Job Interview

A job interview can feel equal parts exciting and daunting, but it’s possible to not only make yourself feel more at ease about an upcoming job interview, but also increase your chances of having a more successful one. Job interviews are a necessary part of every industry; hopeful applicants try to secure employment at the organizations that appeal to them the most, and those organizations invest in extensive recruitment and human resource management to ensure they hire the right people for their open positions.

If you want to have a successful job interview, the keys to doing so are research, presentation, and confidence. For a greater chance of securing the position you want, take time to prepare so you can make the best possible first impression with your interviewer.

Researching the Position

Your first step in increasing your chances of getting hired is to research the organization to which you’ve applied. On average, less than 30% of applicants are asked to appear for interviews after submitting their applications. If a company has invited you to appear for an interview, you made it through one of the biggest hurdles facing many job applicants and should prepare accordingly. Take time to not only research the company but also their typical hiring practices, the job description for the position to which you applied, and industry averages pertaining to compensation and benefits for similar positions.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the company’s history enough to understand their values and what traits they’re likely to find most attractive in a job applicant. You can probably find quite a bit of information about the company if you take your time and search through popular job search and recruitment websites.

Present Yourself in the Best Possible Light

First impressions are crucial in virtually any type of interaction. People tend to make snap judgments about a person within seconds of meeting them, so keep this in mind as you prepare for your interview. Even if you’re applying to a laid-back company, dressing professionally for your interview is a must. This shows your interviewer you are serious about your application and want to make a good impression because the opportunity matters to you.

It’s also essential to bring everything you’ll need for your interview in a presentable form. For example, you probably submitted a CV or resume with your application, but it’s a good idea to bring a few hard copies with you to your interview. Additionally, make sure you can arrive at least 15 minutes early. Take time to check the traffic in the area as soon as you wake up so you can leave earlier if necessary. Present yourself as a clean, professional, and motivated applicant.

Build Your Confidence

Countless promising job interviews have taken sudden downturns due to applicants’ inability to find the line between confidence and arrogance. While it’s necessary to prove that you know your stuff and would be a great fit for the position to which you have applied, it is ultimately up to the interviewer to decide how good of a fit you are for the job. Demonstrate your qualifications with confidence; thoroughly researching the job description for the position in advance can help with this. Remember to prepare a few thoughtful questions for your interviewer, but don’t focus entirely on potential compensation for the position.

Interviewing for a new job can be daunting for some people but following these tips can help you feel more at ease about your interview and increase your chances of getting called back for a second interview or hired.

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Your Go-To Guide for Setting Business Goals

how to set business goals

Business goal setting is a necessity for growth. A recent study from Harvard Business School found that only 14% of the population actively set goals – and those 14% were 10 times more successful than those who did not set any. Based on this data, we can see that setting written business goals is essential for getting (or remaining) ahead of the competition. Like so many other things, approaching your business goals smartly can help set you up for success.

Make Your Goals SMART

We didn’t use the term “smartly” by coincidence. All goals – whether personal or business – should be “SMART” – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-phased. In other words, all goals should be quantifiable and realistically accomplished within a certain time frame. Consider the two following examples:

“We want to leverage new technology to drive business success in 2020.”


“We want to use our three social media channels to create campaigns that increase conversions by 30% by the second quarter of 2020.”

See the difference? The first goal doesn’t reference anything specific and provides little direction. The second one lays the groundwork for a viable business goal – the company wants to bring in new customers and plans to do that by funneling more money into social media campaigns in hopes of increasing conversions. This goal lends itself to the creation of objectives that will ultimately increase the likelihood of successfully accomplishing the goal.

Commit to Your Goals

Once you set a goal, make sure to commit! This looks a little different for every company – some put their plan in motion by holding weekly stakeholder meeting to assess progress, while other collaborate over virtual means like Slack. No matter which method you choose, it is important to begin promptly on the execution of the goals you choose. As you move along, you may find that your business goals or objectives need to be adjusted based on certain realities of the business landscape. If you find your original goals seem likely to fail on budgetary constraints or business demand, adjusting them should not be considered a failure.

Be Public About Your Goals

Another surefire way to maximize the success of your business goals is to make them public. Make the goal-setting process collaborative and invite several different team members from different departments to brainstorming and business-mapping sessions. Once you agree on goals together, disseminate information to the rest of the organization. This creates a level of accountability that can be motivating for managing, while increasing buy-in from multiple levels of your organization. The exact role others in your organization will play is up to you, but take steps to make sure that your organization’s goals are public.

Goal setting is an essential part of advancing your organizational mission. It is important, however, to exercise deliberation when creating goals as an organization. Use SMART goal -setting strategies in the creation and execution of your goals, and remember to get multiple levels of your organization involved. By following these tips, your business goals have a better chance of success.

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How to Get Out of Your Career Rut

how to deal with a career rut

It doesn’t matter if you landed your dream job right out of school or worked ten years to get the promotion you’ve always wanted; everyone eventually suffers career burnout, and even the most exciting job in the world can turn into monotony over time. If your job feels more stressful than it used to or you’re starting to second-guess your career choice, you may be stuck in a career rut. Instead of uprooting your entire life, you are a few steps to get out of it more easily.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Doing the same things the same way day after day will eventually bore anyone in virtually any job. Instead of sticking to your usual day-to-day routine, start looking for things to improve things in your working environment to streamline your processes and increase your comfort level at work, within reason. A few suggestions for shaking things up include:

  • Clean and reorganize your workspace. This isn’t just hygienic, it’s also good for your mental health. It can be interesting to change things up and rearrange your daily surroundings occasionally.
  • Get the right tools. How many days have you made do with the tools at hand because it was more convenient but ultimately less efficient? Take an inventory of what you have and what could be better, then make those changes.
  • Change your routine. If you do certain tasks in the morning, try working on them in the afternoon for a different perspective.
  • Ask for help from colleagues. Sometimes, we become too self-contained in our workplace. Asking for some help from others builds bridges in the workplace and can transform your workplace experience.
  • Keep up with technological changes. The digital workplace is changing all the time. If you use specific systems for specific tasks, consider whether better technology has replaced older systems.

Set New Goals and Create a Strategy to Achieve Them

Once you’ve considered these ways to shake things up, start thinking of new goals to set for yourself. These goals could pertain to specific work processes, personal goals, continuing education, or advancing your career in a new direction. In many cases, a career rut is just a career track waiting to happen; all it takes to start the process is motivation and dedication to making change happen. Outline action items, milestones, and a timeline for the goals you want to accomplish in your career, from single projects to yearly goals and career track advancement.

Look for Opportunities and Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Stretching yourself is the best way to break out of a box if you’re starting to feel trapped by your career. Look for opportunities to show your skills and experience and don’t shy away from risks. Perhaps your company recently posted a job listing that was more of what you hoped to land when you accepted your current job. Even if you have doubts about your qualifications, apply anyway. It never hurts to try, and taking a leap like this could be incredibly rewarding in the long run.

Ask for Advice

There is no one answer for how to get out of a career rut. Almost everyone will eventually feel some type of burnout from work, and the key to overcoming it may be as simple as changing your perspective. Input from others can be incredibly helpful, too. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues and supervisors for their advice. Friends and colleagues with similar jobs at other employers may offer useful tips, too. You may know someone with a position similar to yours who has experienced the same burnout, and a sympathetic ear can be just what you need to change your perspective and escape your career rut.

Additional resources:

Transitioning Back to Work After an Extended Absence

Extended absences from work are fairly common in today’s workplace. From the joys of being a stay-at-home parent to the challenge of long-term illness, heading back to work after an extended absence can be difficult. Whatever the reason for your absence, when it’s time to head back to work, there are a few things to keep in mind for the transition.

Choose a Focus

When coming back to work after an extended absence, it is important to focus your efforts. Should you concentrate on what your college major was, or do you have work experience that would lead you into your previous field? Your resume should reflect the experience that relates to the field of your desired job. If your degree was in Marketing but you found you didn’t enjoy that field, consider jobs where marketing experience is a plus but not the end job. Likewise, if you found yourself unhappy in your past jobs, use those experiences to target your efforts at finding another one.

Consider Your Soft Skills

Hard skills are evidenced by degrees or agility – typing speed, speaking a foreign language, or earning a secondary degree are all good examples. Soft skills aren’t as quantifiable, but they are often equally important. Look for a job that uses these natural skills and create a resume that reflects them. Sometimes, these soft skills aren’t apparent until you reach the interview stage, so, when you get there, be ready to discuss them.

Attend Professional Events

Research your area to find professional opportunities. These could include workshops, clinics, conferences, classes and more. Make sure you record these on your resume as professional development so any potential employer will see you are enthusiastic about your choice of career and that you are up to date with the latest information. Any program that gives you a certificate or a certification at the end is especially relevant.

Make Connections in Your Field

Attending these professional events is a great opportunity to network with people in your chosen field. Be honest and open about your job search. Someone may hear your story and end up having the perfect connection for your situation. Both professional and social connections are important. You never know who will have a connection with exactly the right person for your dream job.

Get Professional Assistance

A plethora of resources are available to job seekers looking to get back into their careers, but sometimes it takes a knowledgeable eye to find them. From professional resume builders to career coaching, turning to someone who knows how to help you shine could be a crucial step, especially when you’ve been out of the game for a while.

Reentering the workplace after an absence – whether it was your choice to leave or not – takes some adjustments in thinking. It’s unlikely that you will score your dream placement overnight, so accept that it may take some time to find the right spot and practice patience during your hunt – it’s a necessary skill no matter what field you are in.

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Follow-Up Etiquette for Job Interviews

Determining when and how you should follow up with a prospective employer in the aftermath of an interview can be confusing, but if you neglect to get in touch at all, you may miss an excellent opportunity. Look at the following post-interview etiquette tips to gain a better understanding of the right way to follow up after your job interview.

Ask About Timelines

To follow up with an employer properly, you should have a basic understanding of the recruitment time-frame. A credible employer will give you an idea of when you should expect to hear back and what the next steps in the process are. Don’t leave the interview without asking how you should reach the potential employer once he or she has decided. If your interviewer does not provide this information, it is completely appropriate to ask for it. If you are truly interested in the position, the interviewer will take that question as sincere interest in the position.

Be Gracious

After an interview, always thank your interviewer for making time to see you. You don’t have to wait weeks to send a message after an interview. In fact, sending a brief thank-you email either the day of the interview or a day after an interview is the optimal way to show your gratitude, illustrate your sincere interest in the position, and ensure your interviewer keeps your name in mind.

If you want to add a personal touch to the message, briefly mention a project you discussed during the interview or a moment where you felt a connection with the hiring manager. Be sure to keep your message short and place the primary focus on thanking the hiring manager for his or her time.

When You Don’t Hear Back

In average situations, you should wait two weeks after an interview before reaching out for a status update. If you ask about recruitment timeframes before leaving your interview, you’ll have a better understanding of when you can plan on hearing back.

If the hiring manager told you to plan on hearing back in one week, but two have gone by without any contact, give them a couple of extra days from that time. Call or send your interviewer a short email to inquire about the status of the position. You may want to ask the hiring manager what the preferred method of communication is during the interview, so you can reach them through the appropriate channels and at the right time.

Whether you opt to email or call your interviewer, your message should briefly discuss your interest in the job and welcome him or her to contact you. Avoid using an urgent tone or becoming a pest. Asking someone to get back with you ASAP suggests your time is more important than theirs – a danger when looking for a job.

What Not to Do

When it comes to following up with an interviewer, never approach him or her in person without a direct invitation. You should also refrain from contacting an employer directly if you were originally working with a recruitment firm, as this contact tends to be inappropriate. It can cause both the employer and recruitment agency challenges.

As in the interview, be yourself, but professional. Whatever way you and the employer decide to communicate after an interview, approach it with appreciation that the organization considered you.

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