Category: Executive Job Interviews & Offers (page 3 of 5)
“So, where do you want to be in three to five years?”
This is one of those “trick” interview questions that answered wrong, could tank your candidacy rankings.
A general rule of thumb when interviewing is that you always want to answer trick questions with short answers. The reason is twofold:
- You don’t want to risk opening up a can of worms, rambling, getting nervous or defensive, etc.
- You want to minimize the time you spend answering tricky interview questions so that you can spend the majority of your time speaking to your strengths and aptitudes as they match what your interviewer is looking for!
So memorizing short answers to the top three or four of these questions is a very wise move. I consider this one to be at the top of the list.
It used to be that the seemingly correct answer to this question was:
“I want to have your job,” or “I want to sit where you are sitting!”
However, now that answer is viewed as too coarse and not politically correct.
Another pitfall to watch out for with this question is that you probably won’t know if your potential employer is interviewing you for a position that is prime for promotional opportunities, or if they want someone solid in the role for many years.
Rather than guess at what they are thinking, here is a completely safe (even fail-proof!) answer you can give:
“Well, I would expect to be advancing based on my job performance and taking on additional responsibilities.”
You can even add:
“And I would anticipate being appropriately compensated for it.”
You could also say:
“Since we are on the subject, can you tell me where you see the growth of this company/position in the next several years?”
Not only is this a great answer, but you can follow it up with a great question! You will look engaged, enthusiastic and interested in the company and the position – a triple threat!
Remember, employers will pay more for someone who markets themselves well. This includes both a well-designed and targeted resume, as well as in-job interviews. Why? Simply because that is who they end up wanting more!
Armed with this simple response, you will have successfully sidestepped a slippery trick question and taken a big step closer to a great offer!
Whether you are changing industries, changing up your position, relocating or just looking to work for a better company, there is one thing you must have to be successful. It’s something that is rarely talked about in direct terms by job seekers, recruiters, resume writers or career coaches. Sure, you can muddle through some job search techniques and develop some marketing collateral to get you pointed in the right direction, but without this ONE thing, your success will surely be limited.
So, what is it? It is called VIRTUE. The thread that weaves itself through your every job search technique and interview strategy is truly virtue. And by focusing on developing and increasing your virtue, you stand to improve every facet of your job search.
So what kinds of virtue do you need to be a highly successful job seeker? Every kind. Temperance, fortitude, kindness, patience, graciousness, politeness, truthfulness, courage, excellence, high morals, high ethics, servitude, honesty, tactfulness, discipline, fairness, flexibility, commitment, diligence, integrity, honor, and my favorite: humility.
A word about humility: It seems we rarely hear the word humble anymore, especially as it relates to success or successful people. Perhaps that is because in western society, humility is erroneously connected with weakness. However, the opposite is true. It takes a strong, gracious and grounded individual to express true humility. And humility is one of those beautiful gifts that cannot be hidden. It comes through in a person’s tone, their voice, and their mannerisms. It is a prize and treasure to possess humility. Even just a little.
A truly humble person stands to greatly impress a key decision maker when introducing him or herself over the phone. For example, a humble person often makes a tremendous positive impression in an interview. And it is often the humble individual who earns the respect of their team or rises up through the ranks to become a cherished and respected corporate leader.
There is a story about a corporate executive who was trying to switch industries and obtain a position in academia. When a key university contacted him about a job, they indicated they needed to see his college transcripts before they could submit his application. Instead of complying, this executive wrote a scathing email to the director of human resources complaining about the overemphasis on the legalities of applying. Needless to say, this executive did not get an interview.
The daily successes and losses of a job search require diligence in achieving your career goals, patience as you move forward each day, and kindness to those who agree to speak with you and help you. Each of us possesses virtues that are more developed than others. Which ones are yours? Once you have defined them, you can LEAD with them in order to maximize your job search success.
What is the one question you KNOW you will get asked at the beginning of each and every first interview?
“So, tell me a little bit about yourself…”
My clients continually share with me that although it seems like this should be an easy question to answer, they struggle with exactly what to say!
Well good news! I am going to give you a short script template to answer this question, and you will only have to fill it out once. This is a simple way to break down what to say each time you are asked to share a little about yourself that will work for multiple interviews.
You will want to keep your response under a minute to ensure that you don’t lose your listener.
Your script should begin with a statement such as:
“Well, as you can see from my resume, I have…”
At this point, include any relevant academic information, years in the industry or position, and short highlights of the key positions you have held. It may sound something like this:
“Well, as you can see from my resume, I have 15 years of experience in the construction industry. After graduating from X University with a bachelor’s degree in construction management, I was hired by Company A to work as a project manager in their hospitality division. That’s where I got my feet wet in project management. I quickly developed a reputation for bringing projects in on time and under budget.
Then I was recruited by Company B…”
Continue your script through to your current position. Invest the most time talking about the positions that are most relevant to the one for which you are interviewing. In most cases, this will be the position(s) you have held in the last 5 to 7 years.
Your script should end with the statement:
“I am really excited to be here and to learn more about the qualities you are looking for in a top candidate. Would it be okay to talk about that now?”
Your interviewer(s) will love your positive attitude and you will get to learn more about the position – right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Be sure to jot down the key points they share with you, because these are your talking points for the rest of the interview!
Don’t forget to practice your template several times out loud until you feel comfortable. This will reinforce your confidence, too.
By using this simple technique, you will calmly and confidently answer this question, and impress your interviewer in the process.
Do you think selling yourself in a job interview is “selling out?”
I hear this from clients from time to time: “I hate the idea of marketing to prospective employers. I am just me. I shouldn’t have to ‘sell myself’ to get a job!”
I think the problem is that our definition of marketing conjures up feelings of going against our authentic selves. After all, if someone doesn’t like us for who we are, then the job probably isn’t suited for us anyway, right?
Let me offer another perspective on selling yourself to a potential employer: when you are able to communicate your strengths in a way that compels others, you are doing yourself and them a great favor. After all, you can’t help a company that doesn’t hire you.
To boost your “know, like and trust” factor in job interviews, it’s vital you know how to encourage potential employers to hire you in a way that’s ethical, full of integrity and authentically you.
The more you learn and understand how to truly “sell” yourself, the more you will attract the interest of employers, receive bigger and better job offers, and feel confident communicating the multiple ways you can help potential businesses get the results they want and that only you can deliver. Then everyone gets what they both need and desire.
Below are three tips use can use in your very next job interview.
Tip #1: At the beginning of the interview, ask what the potential employer is looking for in a star candidate.
As you casually jot down what they share with you, pay attention to those key words and phrases that match what you love to do the most. Let’s say for example you are a marketing manager who is an expert at product launches; they mention they just had a problem with their latest product launch and are looking for help there. Circle that challenge! You have just been given a BIG gift by your interviewer!
Tip:2 Dig by asking more questions about their challenge.
Utilize the gift you have just been given and ask more questions about their product launch challenge such as:
- Why do they think they were not successful with their product launch?
- Who has tried so far to fix the problem?
- What would it mean to them if the problem was fixed?
Tip #3: Seed the interview by frequently mentioning your value in terms of your product launch expertise.
If you are a marketing expert, you will frequently share the results of your marketing efforts throughout the interview.
Plus, you can mention plenty of stories that highlight results you have achieved. The best ones clearly paint a before and after picture (and the worse the better, so don’t hold back). Think of all the problems, challenges and dire situations with past product launches with previous companies that you have taken on and how great things are now that you have helped them.
BONUS TIP: Make THEM an offer they can’t resist.
The point is to create an “offer” that’s so irresistible, your interviewers think, “We have to hire this person!”
To do this, you need to offer something they believe they can’t get anywhere else. Be creative!
Continuing with the product launch example, you could offer to fix the problem within a certain time frame. Or, as part of your interview, come in for a couple hours and evaluate the product launch in more detail. Then you could offer some solutions (don’t give too much away when you do this though; they have to hire you for that!).
Here are some additional examples:
- One of my clients quickly received a robust offer because he promised to produce at least two potential solutions to a challenge the company was facing within 60 days.
- As part of her interview process, another client set up a 1/2 day, on-site observation of the potential employer’s media company. She then presented an outline of 10 ideas to improve their work environment and boost their ratings. They offered her a whopping 100K over what she had been making previously. All this, even after she was let go from that previous position. I love it.
You will benefit from shifting your thinking if you look at selling from the vantage point that you must be disingenuous, or that to “win” someone else must lose.
When you unburden yourself from these limiting beliefs, you will instantaneously feel more free to communicate to your interviewers how you can authentically help them. By doing so, you will be removing the obstacles (including money, time and your competition) that might otherwise stand between you and the job offer(s) you want.
There are many articles about industry growth popping up lately! I have listed a few articles and links to company hiring trends below. Remember, it doesn’t matter as much who they are hiring, but that they are moving, growing and expanding. 90% of 6-figure positions are never advertised, so use this information as an indicator and fish where the fish are!
After a combined 17 years as an executive recruiter, award winning job search coach and certified resume writer, I have had the honor of working with thousands of executives, and thus, have amassed quite a few “stories” about the executive job search. Working with, coaching, watching and learning from my clients has helped me to identify trends and correctly teach what and what not to do. This is information that I can now “give back” to my clients and readers; not just theoretically, but as accurate reflections from the front lines. Which leads me to the following story…
But before I begin, I should note that I have many similar stories. The star of this one, Tom, is not the exception to the rule, but rather an excellent representation of what happens when a professional – trying to better himself by leveraging himself in the market – takes a deep breath and begins to approach his career by seeing himself and the opportunities available to him in a whole different light. Planning and preparation equal empowerment and control of your destiny. The opposite of this is the all-too-often reactionary or passive-receiver roles that even top executives get duped into from time to time, causing them to jump on anything that comes along.
Now back to Tom…
Tom was a top senior executive in his “small world” industry and many of the key players knew of his skills and strengths. Which is why when Tom went searching for another position, he didn’t think he needed to do anything special to his resume. After all, everyone knew what he could do. Or so he thought.
After 3 months of sending resumes to friends, colleagues and contacts, he called me angry and frustrated. I listened to his tale of woe and after reviewing his resume I told him to let me rewrite his resume and fix this issue he’s having. When I shared his investment would be over $1,000, he hit the roof and needed a very thorough explanation of the marketing and labor that goes into crafting such a document.
In short, he was not convinced.
But in the end, knowing the alternative was not working for him either, he reluctantly enlisted my help. The key to Tom’s resume was laying out the design to help the reader quickly organize his strengths, specialties, key accomplishments and project stories. His old resume was written over a decade ago and thus did nothing to reflect the multiple promotions and leadership status he had attained. There was no detail, there was no focus, and there was no design.
When Tom saw his new resume he was pleased, but the payoff truly came when he sent it to the original five key contacts that he had sent his old resume to with no success.
Long story short: he landed 4 interviews and soon had 2 offers in hand. Then came a 5th interview and even a bidding war. In the end (a total of 30 days later), he had an offer on the table that was $70k over his then current salary.
I like this story so much. Not because of Tom’s nice compensation increase, but because it sharply illustrates what often happens in a job search when three simple things are aligned:
- A clear focus of direction.
- The best marketing collateral possible.
- The right job search techniques.
There are many things that you can do to advance your career; there are just a few that have this kind of ROI. My challenge to you would be to think about one thing you can do before the end of this year to advance your own career so you too can rise to the fullness of your potential.
Oh, and stay tuned – more stories to come!
Check out Career Cloud’s latest info on companies that are moving, growing and hiring in these categories!
Here is a sneak peek:
A fantastic list of the 25 employee-rated US companies to work for, including Solar City, Southwest, Intuit, Red Hat, LinkedIn and more!
Do you have a telephone interview coming up? If you are unsure about how to prepare, then read these 5 simple and easy tips for acing your “virtual meeting!”
Tip One: Focus on Them
It’s wise to study the company’s website and latest press releases, as well as the job description, prior to your phone interview.
Tip Two: Job Description Technique
If you have a written job description, a GREAT inside tip for using it to your ultimate advantage during your phone interview is to highlight all the key words and phrases in it that match your background of experience. Include transferable skills in this as well. Then weave these exact words and phrases into your conversation. Simple solution; profound results.
Tip Three: Show Your Positive Enthusiasm
Isn’t it true that we all like happy people? And what’s more, you will make a great impression on your interviewer if you share with him or her how excited you are about the position, about their company, or a combination of both! They want to hire people who want to work with them!
Tip Four: Be Wisely Proactive
Ask questions (at the appropriate times of course) that show your intellect and your enthusiasm for the position. Examples include questions about future projects, biggest challenges and if you were hired, what the first things you could do to make a positive impact in the position would be.
Tip Five: Awareness of Your Environment
You want to conduct your end of the interview in a peaceful, quiet place you feel good in, free of disturbances like barking dogs, call waiting, planes, trains, autos and other people. This will help you focus and heighten your calm and confidence!
Bonus Tip: Politeness
Your clear, deliberate words, not talking over your interviewer, your display of appropriate respect (please, thank you, etc.), and your awareness of a balanced dialogic conversation, will serve you well. In addition, if you stand up and smile, you will increase your overall energy – which will be “heard” by your interviewer(s)!
Getting ready for a networking event or interview? Then be sure to read this fanastic article on how to use your body language for success that was published in the American Management Association website.