Ask a Houston Employment Agency: How Do I Make a Great Impression During an Interview?

November 14th, 2017

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. And, as one of Houston’s top employment agencies, Murray Resources knows if you ace your opportunity, it could lead to an exciting new job offer. To help you get there, here are some tips to remember:

Show up on time, looking professional.

It sounds like a no-brainer. But too many times, candidates show up a few minutes late, or wearing clothes not appropriate for an interview. Just because the company comes across as more casual than corporate doesn’t mean you should don anything less than a suit for an interview.

Be friendly with everyone you meet.

You may not realize this, but if you’re rude to the receptionist or parking attendant, it could very well get back to the hiring manager. So make sure you’re respectful and friendly with everyone you meet, whether it’s an entry level employee or the chief executive.

Know when to talk and when to listen.

During an interview, you don’t want to drone on endlessly about your skills and experience, talking over the hiring manager as they try to ask follow up questions. Make sure you’re a good listener. That means staying quiet until the interviewer is done talking or asking their question. This will also help to ensure you have the full question before you attempt to answer it.

Ask smart questions.

Go beyond the basics and ask more sophisticated questions that will help you a) better evaluate the opportunity and b) impress the hiring manager with your preparedness. These include questions such as:

  • How will my performance be measured?
  • What are some common traits among the company’s top performer?
  • What do employees like most about working at the company?
  • How does this position fit into larger company-wide goals?

Don’t forget about body language.

Sometimes, it’s not what you say, but how you say it that has the most impact on a hiring manager. So smile and make eye contact. Offer a firm handshake. And don’t slouch or fidget during the interview. Even if you are anxious, try your hardest not to show it.

Need more help acing your next interview – or getting one?

Call Murray Resources, one of Houston’s top employment agencies. We can connect you with leading jobs often not advertised and help you prepare for your interviews – all so you land the job you want. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

5 Smart Interview Strategies for Job Candidates

March 14th, 2017

You’ve managed a successful career and earned plenty of accolades along the way. But job interviews still make you nervous. You’re not alone. Whether you have five or 30 years of experience, interviews are stressful situations for most job candidates, no matter how high up on they corporate ladder they are. But the reality is, if you want the job, interviews (and sometimes many rounds of them) are a process you’ll have to endure.

That said, as one of Houston’s most experienced job agencies, Murray Resources knows there are some steps you can take so you’re more comfortable during interviews and perform better as a result. Here’s a look at 5 of them:

1. Be confident; you already got an interview.

It’s normal to be nervous. There’s a lot at stake. However, keep in mind you’ve already passed an important first milestone – getting the interview. Not all candidates are called in for one. So when you are, there’s a reason.

2. Memorize information about the company.

The more you know about the company, the more confident you’ll feel walking into the interview. Read about and memorize a few key facts about the company so you can weave those details into your interview answers and questions. You might say something like, “I noticed on your website your company is acquiring XYZ firm. Can you tell me how that would impact this role?”

3. Know your audience.

Before the interview, know the format (e.g., is it a panel interview or a one-on-one?), the players, and the position details. Then create a list of questions you’ll likely be asked and practice your answers. Also, consider any weaknesses or gaps in your experience and how you’ll address them with interviewers.

4. Sell your accomplishments.

When you’re in an interview, don’t simply tell the interviewer about your accomplishments. Sell them. That means being able to quantify specific accomplishments, as well as talk about the impact they had on the overall company bottom line.

5. Re-frame any negatives into positives.

Even when an interviewer asks you about a skill you don’t have, or a weakness, turn the negative into a positive. For instance, when talking about an area where you fell short, make sure you talk about what you learned from the experience and how you were able to apply that knowledge at work. Or, if a particular project got off track, explain the corrective action you took and the end result you were able to achieve.

In addition, a few other tips to keep in mind for interview day success:

  • Keep your answers concise and on target.
  • Be mindful of your body language.
  • Don’t crack jokes.
  • Smile and be engaging.
  • Ask about next steps before leaving.
  • Follow up with a thank you note to those you interviewed with.

If you’d like more help acing interviews and finding your next job, turn to the experts at Murray Resources.

As one of Houston’s most experienced job agencies, we can connect you with top employers in the city, as well as rewarding jobs in a variety of fields. Contact us today to learn more.


What To Do When You Don’t Know the Answer to a Job Interviewer’s Question

October 30th, 2012

As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources understands that job interviews are stressful enough, even when you’re well prepared. But what happens when you’re asked a question that you’re not prepared for – and that you don’t know the answer to?

Rather than having a panic attack or making like a deer in headlights, there are some steps you can take to turn a negative into a positive:

Take a Deep Breath.

First, take a deep breath inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. It’s okay if you need to take a moment to get your thoughts together. Remember, just because you lack the right answer for a certain interview question doesn’t mean you’re not a great fit for the job.

Keep in mind, though, it’s important to not come across as nervous or anxious in these kinds of situations…even if you aren’t quite sure what to say right away.

Be Honest.

Don’t try to navigate your way through a topic that you have no knowledge of; you’ll come across as dishonest and ill-prepared. It’s much better to honestly admit you lack expertise in a certain area than to attempt to say what you think the interviewer wants to hear – especially when you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

Don’t Apologize.

That said, don’t take your admission too far. In other words, don’t apologize or make excuses for the fact that you lack knowledge or experience in a certain area. If you do, you’ll simply highlight your deficiency in the mind of the interviewer.

Appear Confident.

Simply state matter-of-factly that you haven’t had the opportunity to gain experience in a certain area, but that you’re eager to learn about it should you win the job. Even better, provide an example of a skill that you didn’t have before accepting your last job, but you were able to acquire through hard work and a willingness to learn.

If you can keep your composure in a job interview, even when you don’t know the answer, you’ll score big points with the interviewer. You’ll demonstrate that you can stay calm under pressure and think on your feet – two traits that are important for almost any job.

Need More Job Interview Help?

As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources can offer you additional guidance with crafting your resume, prepping for interviews, and finding job opportunities that are a great fit for you! Contact Murray Resources to get started.

Ignore Call Waiting and Other Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

August 23rd, 2012

As a Houston staffing agency devoted to matching talented candidates with top employers, Murray Resources sets up lots of phone interviews. Read on for tips on how to make yours a success.

Work with your recruiter to set up a specific time for the call. You certainly don’t want the call coming right in the middle of your P90X routine. “Gasp – hello!?” As your Houston recruiter, we can help you avoid that.

Use a landline instead of a cell phone. As much as we love our cell phones, it’s still safer to trust a landline for a call this important. And test it out beforehand if it’s been a while since you’ve put it to use.

Make sure your voicemail message is courteous, professional, and includes your name. Got one of those quirky “Hello? [Pause] Hello?” voicemail recordings? Change it. And double check your message either way. Some people unknowingly leave outdated or awkward messages on their phones for years.

If you have given your home line as your point of contact, be sure to let your household know that potential employers will be calling. Try to answer the phone yourself, but just in case you can’t, ask your family or roommate(s) to answer the phone in a professional manner and to pass along messages promptly.

Conduct the interview in a separate room in order to avoid any potential distractions. Make sure the caller hears nothing except your voice. Got a yappy dog? It might be a good time to give him a new chew toy. You can also create a calm signal to let your roommates know that it’s the call you’ve been waiting on, instead of the standard frantic hand wave/shushing motion some employ.

DO NOT interrupt your conversation to answer another call. Silence your other phones, and if a call does come through via call-waiting, creating that distinctive break in the conversation, either ignore it or make light of the situation – “I told the telemarketers not to interrupt this call, but apparently they didn’t listen. Sorry about that!”

Talk directly into the mouthpiece. Most of us have talked on the phone to someone who holds the phone at their neck. Please don’t be that person. And if you have a bad connection and/or have difficulty hearing the caller, either have the person call you back, adjust the phone, or ask them to speak louder. Either way, do not move forward in the conversation if you can’t hear what’s being said.

Be fully prepared with notes in regards to: 1) the company, 2) the position, and 3) yourself (resume). All the interviewer is going on is how you sound, so sound organized and well prepared.

Prepare (but don’t memorize) responses to 5-10 common interview questions. We’ve made this part easy. For sample questions, consult our Typical Interview Questions resource document.


About Murray Resources
Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency, providing quality professional-level placement services, as well as temporary, temp-to-hire, contract, payroll and direct hire administrative/clerical services.

Over the past 24 years, Murray Resources has developed a unique placement process to match candidates based not only on experience and skill set, but also on how well a candidate can put that skill set to work within a particular corporate culture. Murray Resources’ 95% Performance Evaluation Score represents one of the highest placement satisfaction rates in the industry. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009

The Zen Approach to Job Interviews

March 13th, 2012

As one of Houston’s top employment agencies, we know that even the most experienced and skilled people get nervous before job interviews. It’s only natural, after all…especially considering some interviews can feel more like interrogations.

But if you’ve got a lot on the line (as most job candidates do), how can you get over your job interview jitters and knock it out of the park? Here are some tips to consider:

Do your homework.

The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel. So do plenty of homework ahead of time. Research the company. Check out their website. Learn about who they are, what they do, and who their target audience is. Read about their mission and vision and try to evaluate where you could fit in and what unique value you bring to the table. Find out who the key players are at the company and what each one does.

Practice your answers.

As one of Houston’s top employment agencies, we can tell you that you never really know what an interviewer is going to ask you. Questions could range from the boilerplate (“Tell me about yourself”) to the off-the-wall (“If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?”). But there are certain questions, or variations of questions, you will almost always be asked – such as “Why should we hire you?” and “Why do you want to work here?” So prepare your answers to these inevitable questions.

Do a dry run.

One of the easiest ways to lose your cool before a big interview is if you feel rushed or are running late. To avoid this stressful scenario, do a dry run to the location of your interview to ensure you know how to get there and that there aren’t any construction detours along your route. You’ll feel much more calm on your way to the interview as a result.

Take a break.

Once you’ve done all your prep work, then take a break and relax. There’s no use stressing about your interview the night before. So enjoy a quiet dinner or go workout. Also be sure to go to bed early and get a good night sleep.

Think right.

On your way to the interview, don’t think about everything that could possibly go wrong. Just think positively and take deep breaths. The worst thing that could happen is you don’t get the job, which could actually be a good thing if it’s not right for you anyway.

And if you’d like some extra help finding job leads and preparing for interviews, let us know. As one of Houston’s top employment agencies, Murray Resources can help you locate the position that best matches your skills and interests, whether you are looking to move up the corporate ladder, re-enter the workforce, get more experience, or just gain more control over your schedule. Contact us today to learn more.

Posted in: Blog, Tips

How to Answer the “Why Should I Hire You?” Interview Question

February 15th, 2011

If you’re answering this interview question with something along the lines of “I’m experienced and hardworking,” then you could be in trouble. Hiring managers expect candidates to be experienced and hard-working. They’ve already screened out all the candidates who seemed inexperienced or unqualified via their resumes. What they want to know is what you can do for them. In other words, what value you bring to the table that will help them:

  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Make money
  • Solve problems

So before every interview you go on, think carefully about your answer to this inevitable question. Here are some suggestions to help you along the way:

Review the job description.

This should give you a sense of the goals an employer is trying to accomplish with the new hire.

Create a list of your accomplishments.

Write down three to five past accomplishments that align with the employer’s goals. Think in terms of categories – i.e., were you able to impact productivity, cost reduction, client retention, employee retention, company growth, regulatory compliance, and/or financial stability? Also, keep your examples brief, yet relevant.

Demonstrate results.

How did your accomplishments impact your employer? Use numbers, percentages or dollar amounts whenever possible. For example, if you’re a marketing professional, you might say something like: “I developed and managed an advertising campaign that improved company revenues by 5% over the course of a year.”

Showcase special skills.

For instance, if the employer is a global company and you speak Spanish, be sure to let them know. Even if the position you’re interviewing for doesn’t require fluency in a foreign language, your skills will set you apart from other candidates. That said, don’t go too far outside the box when it comes to special skills. The employer doesn’t need to know that you’re a video game whiz (unless, of course, you’re interviewing for a position with a video game company).

Practice your answer.

Once you’ve written down your accomplishments, results, and special skills, practice you answer aloud multiple times to familiarize yourself with it.

You’d be surprised by how many candidates fumble this question. As a Houston, Texas employment agency, we see it all the time. But if you follow the tips above, the next time you get this question from an employer, you should have a stand out answer. Good luck!

Posted in: Tips
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