Category Archives: Interviewing

Four Things About Interviews

When you think about job-search there are really three big pieces – the resume, the interview, and the negotiation. Of course there’s is much, much more to it than that but those are the key pieces that landing a new job are built on.

When it comes to interviewing there are four critical things that must have to happen for it to work in your favor:

interviewing

Prepare. As a job-seeker its your job to know the following (at a minimum):

  • What the company does
  • The company history
  • The company mission / value statement
  • All about the person you are speaking to (school, history with company, whether they like tennis or not)
  • What the word on the street is (check Indeed and Glassdoor)
  • Why you would be an asset to the company
  • Why you would be an asset in that role

Remember its just a conversation. I have seen some people get so worked up over an interview that they start hyperventilating, freeze up, and almost go into a state of shock. The majority of the time the hiring manager is going to hire someone he/she likes so it behooves you to go in relaxed knowing that they are not the big bad wolf.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. As someone who is trying to convince someone else that they are the best candidate for an open job there are certain ways you should act. I think the pictures below sum up pretty well what to avoid.                                                                 Post

Find out what YOU need to know. When you are in an interview always ask questions. Always. You can ask why they like working for the company, what the team is like, etc but there are four questions that I think get to the heart of the matter:

  • Why is this role open?
  • How do you view my candidacy for this position?
  • Are there any areas of concern about my skill set / background? (if there are this question will give you the chance to combat them)
  • How are you going to ensure that the person gets hired is successful?

What are your most time-honored interviewing tips? What makes interviews work for you? Leave a comment – I look forward to reading them!

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

The Best Interview Advice Ever

Is what you are about to read really the absolute best interview advice ever? No, but I had to get you to read this post though, right?

Now that we are being honest with each other there are three keys that I think can help you improve how you perform when interviewing:

  1. An interview is just a conversation – nothing more, nothing less. I know some people who get so worked up about interviews that they get to the point of having a nervous breakdown. It is vital that you remember that at the end of the day an interview is nothing more than you having a conversation with someone else about why they should be interested in hiring you and why you should be interested in working there.There are going to be some questions that you have good answers to and others that you don’t (just like a normal conversation). There are going to be lulls in the conversation (just like a normal conversation). There are some people you are going to connect with better than others (just like normal conversations).
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  2. At the end of the day you are either going to get the job or not get the job.I know that is much easier to say when you have a job than when you are unemployed but at the end of the day it is the truth and all you can do is what you can do. If you are the best candidate you will get an offer and if not there are other opportunities that you can go after.If you get the offer great – it was meant to be and if you don’t that interview was practice for the next one.
  3. Preparing beforehand and showing up are 50% of being succesful in an interview. Believe it or not there are still some people who don’t prepare for an interview and some who don’t show up when one has been scheduled.If you can have an understanding of the organization (what they do, their history, their mission and vision, and their products), the role and how you fit in it (what is expected and what they want), and who you are talking to (their title/role and background) you are going to be much more succesful in interviewing.

If you keep these three ideas in mind as you move forward in your search it will hopefully take the edge off and help you be succesful in your interviews job-search conversations.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

George Costanza, Interviews, & Exit Statements

When you interview for a new role you know the questions are coming, you know they are going to be asked, but somehow you are still surprised when they are.

“Why did you leave your last job” and “the one before that…” and “the one before that….”

If you are not prepared you might be a little too honest like in the exchange below from Seinfeld.

Cushman: Why don’t you tell me about some of your previous job experience?

George Costanza: Alrighty. My last job was in publishing. I got fired for having sex in my office with the cleaning woman.

Cushman: Go on.

George Costanza: All right. Before that, I was in real estate. I quit because the boss wouldn’t let me use his private bathroom. That was it.

Cushman: Do you talk to everybody like this?

George Costanza: Of course.

Cushman: My niece told me you were different.

George Costanza: I am different, yeah.

One of the key pieces that gets left out of the toolbox of most job-seekers is a prefabricated exit statement – an explanation on why you have left each company that you have worked for.

With one you can have a STANDARD, MEMORIZED, POSITIVE statement surrounding each situation you have encountered while exiting stage left and without one you might sound a bit too Costanza-ish.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Throw Your Wants Out the Window if You Want to Ace an Interview

Many who are looking for jobs go into every day of their search concerned about their wants and needs in a job, take that same attitude into an interview, and then wonder why they are not getting offers.

Generally in an interview, a prospective employer could really care less about your wants and needs – sure, they will ask what you are looking for, what you enjoy, and may even ask what you are passionate about but at the end of the day they really only care about following things:

  • How can you help make them money, more efficient, retain and/or expand their customer base, or increase their market share?
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  • How can you make the hiring manager look really good to his bosses?
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  • How can you make the job of the other team members easier?
    .
  • How can you help make them better than the competition?

As a job-seeker, if you cannot answer those four questions and answer them well don’t expect an offer from that (or any) organization any time soon.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!


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George Costanza and Life After Your Job-Search

One of the most difficult things about the recruiting business is when a good candidate interviews and the client company says that they were ‘not a fit’ or ‘not what we were looking for’ without going into detail. That makes it hard for the candidate to know how to improve on the next interview and very difficult for the recruiter to judge where they fell short.

I recently heard of a situation where the company gave the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ routine in regards to why they were not moving forward with someone and it reminded me of one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite shows –

One thing that I have always found interesting is that when someone goes through the process of looking for a job and fails to get calls returned, emails responded to, and feedback on interviews they promise themselves (and everyone they know) that they are ‘forever changed’. They vow that they will always give people the courtesy of a return call or email and (if they are a hiring manager) never pull a George Costanza when giving feedback after an interview.

However, after they start a new job they quickly forget how frustrating life as a job-seeker really is and a quick Starbucks break is more important than giving two minutes of their time to really invest in someone else. My challenge for you is that after you land your next gig (and the good news is you will), don’t ever forget how frustrating it was to be on the other side of the desk.

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

Your Computer is Killing Your Job-Search and Other Ugly Truths

KickButtWhen I was growing up and veered off-course a little bit I always got a much deserved kick in the backside from my parents, sisters, coaches, friends, etc and it really helped get me back on program.

In job-search it is easy to do the same (get sidetracked)so we wanted to offer you eight ugly job-search truths that will (hopefully) give you a kick in the pants if one is needed.

1. You are killing your chances by sitting in front of the computer all day. Ask any salesperson (you are in sales when looking for a job) how much time they spend in front of their computer as opposed to making phone calls, shaking hands, and kissing babies and I would guess it is probably 90-10 if not more.

If all you are doing is spending time online you are missing the boat – in fact you never made it to the dock. There is a time and a place to do your online job-search work – it’s when everyone else is in bed.

2. Your résumé probably needs work. Sending in your résumé in for positions you are a perfect match for and not hearing anything back? It probably means you need to go back to the drawing board – here are some thoughts for you:

  • Are you articulating what it is you do? If not you need to.
  • Are you maximizing your keywords? Most of recruiting is keyword driven and if you are not using the right phrases/words your résumé will never get seen.
  • Are you separating yourself out from the crowd? If not you are losing out to the competition.
  • Are you showing why you are the candidate of choice? No? Then don’t expect calls anytime soon.
  • Is your résumé a pretty document? If not people might overlook it.
  • Are you using a Microsoft (or other) template? Those things are awful and difficult to work with from a recruiting perspective.
  • Are you dating yourself? Don’t go back into your work history more than 10-15 years if you can help it and leave off the dates of your education.

3. Your chances of getting into pharmaceutical / medical device sales is slim to none. When I get calls from people (outside of my work as a recruiter) who are looking for opportunities here are how many of the conversations go:

Me: “Why don’t you take a second and tell me a little bit about what you have been doing and where you want to go?”
Job-seeker: “I have been doing XYZ (sub in accounting, IT, customer service, etc) for five years and now I want to get into pharmaceutical or medical device sales?”
Me: “Do you have any experience in that area?”
Job-seeker: “Well, no, but I think it would be a fun job and I’ve heard you make good money.”

If you don’t have the qualifications (ie have done pharmaceutical or medical device sales before) or look like a super-model (or both) you probably won’t stand a chance against everyone else who wants to get into that space.

I am not telling you to not go after these two positions (or other very popular ones), just have a plan B and plan C to go after as well.

4. If you are not networking you are probably not going to land anytime soon. In today’s market with so many people looking, your chances of really getting noticed without an inside connection is very slim.

It normally takes people a few months and several thousand unanswered résumé submissions before they finally get the message that the most important tool in their job-search arsenal is the phone.

5. If you need a survival job by Monday (and its Friday at 4:30) you are in trouble. Don’t wait until the last-minute to get a survival job, you should start your search for one as soon as your job-search starts. If you spend 30 minutes a day looking for a survival job and the rest of the time looking for a career opportunity you should be in good shape.

6. No one else is going to find you a job. Don’t expect anyone else to do your dirty work. Your job-search is a YOU project, not your spouse’s, not your career or life coach’s, not a recruiter’s. If you are not motivated enough to do the work yourself, your search for a new opportunity will be a long and bumpy road filled with hurt feelings, frayed relationships and disappointment from everyone involved.

7. Get over it. You have lost your job. It’s not fun, it’s a hard spot to be in, and I don’t wish it upon anyone BUT potential employers can smell an ounce of poison a mile off and if you don’t get over it you will never find a new job.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with hardships – some excercise, some talk about it, some beat the tar out of a punching bag, and others find a hobby. Find what works for you and do it.

8. You get out what you put in. If you are only answering five advertisements a week and not putting in a full weeks worth of networking calls, going to professional association meetings, or working your network on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc you will probably be reading posts on this blog for a very long time.

The list above is far from complete – I would like to hear other ‘ugly truths’ that you have found in the search process.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

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The Big Disconnect

There has always seemed to be a disconnect between what recruiters and job-seekers think and see in around the job-seach/hiring arena and there is no greater area of contention than in the job posting / résumé submission process.

In our recent survey of 633 job-seekers, 553 recruiters (264 corporate, 215 contingent, 72 retained) and 119 career coaches / counselors we asked job-seekers specifically what was the deciding factor in whether or not they apply to opportunities they come.

As seen from the chart below, the majority of respondents said that their match to the qualifications required was the biggest deciding factor and some other smaller pieces followed after that with a few saying they would apply to everything out there.

Deciding Factor

When I have shared this chart and information with recruiter friends, most have been surprised by the results because as recruiters if we get ten résumé from a posting, half of them are no where near qualified for the job posted.

Another question in the survey asked all three (recruiters, career coaches, and job-seekers) where most job-seekers falter in the process and everyone agreed (even job-seekers) that applying to jobs that they are not qualified for is the biggest area of improvement for those seeking work .

Falter

After finishing the results of this survey I have often wondered how the vast majority of job-seekers can say they are only applying for jobs that they are qualified for and then turn around and say that the biggest mistake that job-seekers make is not doing so.  In any case, it is important to remember as you are looking for new jobs that if you do not meet at least 75% of the qualifications then you are more than likely not going to get a call back.

Just food for thought.

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

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