Tag Archives: teaching business communication

10 Interview Blunders to Avoid

Hiring managers advise job seekers to avoid the following slip-ups when interviewing.

  1. Treating receptionist or other lower-level staff poorly. Consider the moments before meeting with the hiring staff as a pre-interview. Many hiring managers consult with staff about your behavior before and after the interview.
  1. Arriving poorly groomed. Make sure you look squeaky clean from head to toe. Go easy on the perfume and neatly manicure your nails.shutterstock_12264709_March2016
  1. Choosing inappropriate attire. Dress for success. Knowing what to wear shows you understand workplace expectations.
  1. Delivering long, rambling answers. Employers want to see that you are articulate. Practice answers before an interview so you can give concise responses.
  1. Lacking authenticity. While everyone understands an interviewee needs to be upbeat, hiring managers want to see the real you. Do not be slick or sound hackneyed.
  1. Underselling accomplishments. First-time job seekers often undersell their strength as a candidate. Be ready to talk about how you will make a contribution to the organization.
  1. Failing to give credit to collaborators. Show the hiring manager how you contributed to a team project by explaining your role without taking too much credit from other team members.
  1. Demonstrating poor understanding of the organization. Once you’ve landed an interview, the organization will expect you to have performed research about it and its products. Not doing so is the consummate no-no.
  1. Lacking energy. Body language such as slumping in the chair or a monotone voice translates to disinterest. Make sure you make eye contact and are actively engaged.
  1. Failing to ask relevant questions. Prepare questions that illustrate your understanding of the job and the industry so you appear interested. If you do not, the hiring manager could easily interpret it as a lack of interest in the position.

Discussion Questions

  • Why is it important to be respectful and kind to staff of any level?
  • What are ways you can “be authentic” without appearing overeager or giving yourself too much credit for work you collaborated on?
  • What kinds of specific questions could you prepare that would illustrate your interest in a given industry?




Internships—A Must for All Students

by Janet Mizrahi

We’ve been hearing for some years now that internships have become as important to future employment as an education. In fact, a recent study concluded that a summer internship is actually more important than a business degree.

As we march toward summer, you may want to remind your students about why they should actively seek internships.

  • Test drive a career. Perhaps the most important reason to obtain at least one internship while in college is to test the waters about different careers. Whether students are interested in law or fashion, they can never really know if a particular job is right for them unless they are exposed to its day-to-day realities. They can also explore a specific industry to discover if it appeals to them. Finally, through internships, students can determine if they prefer working at small or large organizations.shutterstock_253848799_March2016
  • Obtain real-world experience. Employers today expect new hires to have experience. Research conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 95 percent of employers consider a candidate’s experience when hiring, and more and more these employers are specifically looking for students who have had internships.
  • Develop workplace skills and behavior. Many internships provide on-the-job training. But just the fact that students will interact on a professional level provides a reality check that they simply will not get from class work. Internships will also be a wake-up call to students who may have turned in one-too-many late papers, behavior that is unacceptable in the workplace.
  • Build a network. A huge percentage of jobs are obtained through professional contacts, and the best way for students to reach beyond their immediate network of family and friends is to develop a professional network while interning.

You can help students jump-start their internship search, too, by offering the following pointers.

  • Contact family and friends for “ins” to specific firms
  • Attend job or career fairs at your college
  • Visit the campus career center to learn about its resources
  • Search specific firms’ websites for internship or entry-level job opportunities
  • Research using the 2016 ten best websites for finding an internship listed by Forbes.com

Of course, before the search for an internship begins, students should prepare meticulous cover letters and résumés tailored to specific organizations or industries. That is one area you know you can help them with!

How do you discuss the workplace with your students? Start a discussion!

Wardrobe Choices for Interviews ..Read This Before Starting a New Job…Four Skills Employers Seek

Wardrobe Choices for Interviews


Knowing what to wear to an interview can be confusing, especially as styles become increasingly informal. Experts offer the below pointers to college students seeking work.

  • Avoid clothing that is obviously expensive unless you are entering the fashion industry. A boss may assume you come from an affluent background and do not need to work hard.
  • Wear accessories to spice up your outfit if you are entering a field requiring creativity. An Apple watch or a colorful tie can do the trick, but only if you wear such accents naturally.
  • Dress one step up from the current staff. If you know employees wear jeans, you should wear trousers, a button-down shirt, and a jacket (though not a suit).
  • Show you have good sense. If you are interviewing for a job in which you will meet with clients, dress as you would if you were going on a client call.
  • Trim facial hair. Beards are not a problem as long as they are neat.
  • Comb your hair—never go to an interview looking shaggy.

–from The Wall Street Journal

Read This Before Starting a New Job

Fresh with your new diploma, you are about to start a job. Don’t blow it! Follow these pointers before you show up for your first day.

  • Research the industry you are entering. Read trade journals and conduct Internet research to learn about the industry at large and where your new organization fits into it.
  • Be ready to work without hand holding. There is no syllabus to follow in a new job, and no one has the time to give you step-by-step instructions.
  • Act like a professional. Wear the right kinds of clothes, be punctual, and behave kindly and respectfully to those around you.

Once on the job, discuss what success in your job means with your boss. Does it mean meeting a quota? Gaining new clients? Set clear goals. Then learn the best way to communicate with your boss. Just because you are used to messaging systems, you may have a boss who prefers face-to-face meetings.

–from Payscale.com

Four Skills Employers Seek

You may be able to write code in your sleep, but that’s not enough to guarantee landing a job. Employers need new hires who also excel in the following soft skills.

Communication Skills. Over 70 percent of employers need new hires who write well and communicate verbally with ease.

Organization. Nearly every employer considers organization a key skill. This includes a neat workspace as well as clear thinking.

Leadership. More than 80% of employers look for evidence of leadership experience on new graduates’ résumés. Leadership can mean the ability to rev up a lackluster team or revamp a chaotic situation.

Relationship Management. Being able to form and keep relationships is key whether you work with the public or colleagues.

–from QuintCareers.com

What are your thoughts about wardrobe choices for interviews, advice for starting a new job, and must-have skills? Start a conversation!