Tag: interview tips
After coaching hundreds of professionals over the years, it has been enlightening to see and understand the various reasons people don’t get hired.
Here are a few mistakes you can easily avoid with a little practice:
Mistake #1: Too Arrogant
There is a fine line between the confidence you need to have and being overly confident in a job interview. If you catch yourself saying any of the following statements you might be you might be skating that line:
“I am in no rush.”
“I need XXX of money.”
“I am being interviewed by ___ other companies.”
State your achievements, but stay grounded, respectful and diplomatic to ensure the best outcome. Make certain your potential employer knows you are enthusiastic about the position!
Mistake #2: Too Laid Back
I am a big believer that things end where they begin and most employers would agree that first impressions are paramount. Failing to promptly return calls and send thank you notes are easy errors to make that have disastrous implications.
Mistake #3: Still Grieving
A tumultuous split, being fired, or being laid off, are all difficult situations that usually require a grieving process to get over. Denying yourself the time it takes to heal and move on can result in your being “less than your best” in your interviews. You might not even notice it, but unfortunately, your interviewers will.
Give yourself a little time. Have some kind of “moving on” ceremony (this helps tremendously), so when it comes time to talk about your past employment, you can do so without raising any red flags.
Mistake #4: Too Money-Driven
When you put the focus on the salary you will command too early in the interview, or before you are asked about money, then you are perceived as asking for money, not wanting to add value to the company. Keep the focus on the value you bring to your potential employer and the money almost always takes care of itself.
Mistake #5: Too Vague
The best way for you to pique the interest of potential employers from the start is to take a strong sales/consultant role. Meaning specifically, you must continue to peel back the onion of their needs and then speak to those needs. They will be the key reasons for wanting to hire you, so show them you understand what their challenges are and demonstrate you have the solutions. Failing to zero in on your potential employers’ needs can cost you the job.
By understanding how we are perceived in interview situations it’s much easier to circumvent potential roadblocks to your career success and the job of your dreams.
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 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)!
People get fired for lots of reasons. Some are legitimate, based on performance issues, and some are completely unjustified. Regardless of the reason for being let go, there are solid methods for communicating the circumstances without hurting your candidacy with potential future employers.
In fact, many of my clients who were previously “let go” went on to land better positions with a sizable increase in total compensation. One of my clients secured a whopping $60,000 in additional salary after being fired as a result of getting caught in between some ugly corporate politics.
The following are three solid steps you can take to have successful interviews after being fired.
Step #1: Give yourself time to decompress.
This is the most important step you can take. If you have lost your job, you will most likely go through a grieving process similar to other significant life losses we all experience. If you interview prematurely, you may inadvertently “wear your grief” and/or find yourself unable to talk about your last employer with the kind of convincing detachment and discretion you will need to keep interviewers focused and excited about the value you offer them.
What if you need to begin interviewing right away? To speed up your “grieving process” while still honoring that time cycle, take a ceremonial weekend vacation, book a round of golf, take a spa day, or a family picnic by the lake. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s fun and relaxing, because this is your decompression time… just for yourself! Title your outing: “Your Ceremonial Moving On.” This is a physical process that evokes very real physical and mental benefits.
I have seen this “moving on ceremony” work wonders with my clients and I promise it will work for you too. In fact, I have used it myself. When I left my last employer, my husband threw me a congratulatory dinner and I bought myself a big decadent slice of carrot cake, stuck and candle in it, and we spent the evening talking about the future. It was wonderful!
Step #2: Identify your allies.
You want to contact any and all allies you have and had with your last company. These can include past colleagues, people that worked for you, key executives, clients and vendors – anyone that can attest to your strengths, your attributes and anything positive. If applicable, individuals who can diplomatically hint that there were problems beyond your control with your last company can be especially helpful. Remember, references can be provided by lots of other people besides your past “boss.”
You will want to gather as many WRITTEN references associated with this position as possible. If you are in my job search coaching program , you can listen to my audio coaching call on how to get and use jaw-dropping references. This call goes step by step through how to ask for these references, whom to ask and exactly how to use them once you have them (you’ll find that the payoff for you is nothing short of amazing!).
Focus on short, written quotes, and if you are on LinkedIn (you should be), you can ask for endorsements and then use them. Not only does this enhance your LinkedIn profile, but repurposes it as part of a reference page you put together for your “marketing collateral.”
Step #3: Prescript a BRIEF, but clear, statement.
Develop a brief statement about the reason you were fired and practice saying it. You can use it in your upcoming interviews. Keep it short, simple and clear. Here is an example:
“Unfortunately, I had no choice but to leave my last employer.
When I originally took the position, I was excited about ________.
At first blush, it seemed that their recent merger was going well. I had no idea there was such internal animosity amongst upper management. Perhaps in my excitement about the opportunity, I missed the subtle signs. Now I am focusing my attention on moving forward and I am quite excited to be here to talk with you about your corporation’s goals.”
No matter what you say, the secret is to be BRIEF, positive, bold and forward-thinking. Your interviewer(s) will focus on whatever you shine the spotlight on… so keep your attention on them, their challenges and how you can help.
Using these three steps, you can easily turn a situation you may be worrying about into a non-issue. Many who have been fired fear that they will have to make big sacrifices in order to land their next position, but most of the time this is simply not the case. Use the situation to reflect on whatever can be learned from it, use these powerful techniques to minimize any damage, and simply move on!
This is a very common question I receive from new clients. There is no one right answer, but there are some quick and easy steps you can take to make sure you are assessing your situation correctly.
Usually when a professional isn’t getting responses or quality interviews from their resume, the reason falls within one of these categories:
• The resume is poorly written
• The resume hasn’t been distributed widely enough to generate interest
• The methods with which the resume is being distributed are generally poor methods
Let’s take a look at each category:
The resume is poorly written
The problems I see with resumes are too extensive to go into too much depth here, however basic reoccurring problems include resumes that are too wordy, resumes that are not laser focused on the preferred industry and resumes that aren’t loaded with quantifiable achievements.
Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for me to see resumes that were “written professionally” by a resume writer or outplacement agency that just don’t cut it.
In short, if you can’t afford a resume writer, look for up-to-date resume samples via print or online media and do your best to use them as a template. Read several how-to articles on resume writing basics so you know what to emphasize.
Finally, if you hire someone to write your resume for you, make certain they are certified through a reputable association (CMI or CDI for example) and that they have ample experience. Prices can range from as little as $300 to $3,000. Hire the best you can afford. You are worth it.
The resume hasn’t been distributed widely enough to generate interest
It’s a common error to feel that a submission of 10 to 20 resumes via a job board is a good call to action. Unfortunately most people will find that this produces little, if any results. Yielding slight higher results (optimistically 5 %+) include niche job boards, paid job boards, association job boards and direct-to-company websites.
The methods with which the resume is being distributed are generally poor methods
Do you want to see better than a 5% response rate? Then you are going to want to learn basic techniques to tap into the unadvertised job market.
Many people mistakenly believe this means “networking”. It does not, though learning basic networking techniques (that don’t involve calling everyone you know to ask them if they know who is hiring) will both boost your confidence, lower any contact-anxiety you may have and increase your overall results.
A final word about professional help
A certified resume writer and/or job search coach isn’t just for the 6-or-7 figure professional with money to burn.
In fact, a good resume writer and job search coach can save you a substantial amount of money, and that’s not hype. A few of the results a professional can help you achieve include:
• More interviews
• Bigger offers
• Shorter job search
If you are in between jobs, then the sooner you land your next position, the sooner you can regain your monthly income. Just saving one month of wasted effort in a job search can easily translate to savings of thousands of dollars.
A good job search coach knows how to help you identify and reach your goals. They have a goody bag of resources you probably would be hard pressed to find on your own and don’t forget that this help is often tax deductible (check with your CPA for details).
You can take what you learn and apply to your long term career strategy and future career transitions. Bottom line, an effective and meaningful investment in yourself and your career.
Before you decide what your next best step is in your career search, take a few minutes to apply the points in this article to your current situation. This will help you determine the solutions right for you so you can move forward with confidence.