Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Interviewing Stragey & TIps

Here are some strategic tips for intervening successfully.

Learn to think like a salesperson.  Put yourself in the shoes of your customer - the employer and your prospective boss - what would you want to know about a product or service before buying it?

It’s really a lot like dating if you can remember back that far.  Each party to the interview tells a little, a little more, without revealing too much, too soon.  It’s a strategy, really.  It worked in dating and it works in interviews.  A cautious, slower-to-reveal approach allows you to gauge what information should be revealed and when.
Nancy’s Cardinals Rules of Interviewing

Hundreds, and probably thousands of rules, guidelines, and guides have been written about how to interview successfully.  Some are more helpful than others.  However, ignoring the rules of interviewing listed below can hurt, if not ruin, your chance of getting the job!

Rule # 1    Never answer a question you don’t understand.





Rule # 2    When an interviewer asks you a question, figure out the purpose behind the question and then answer accordingly.





Rule # 3    Do not answer any question is a self-deprecating way.





Rule # 4    Exhibit a positive and appropriate attitude, manner, and energy level for the corporate culture  in which you are interviewing.




Rule # 5    Learn to listen to what’s being said, and for what’s not being said.



.

Rule # 6    Get comfortable with silence.  If the interviewer has stopped talking, don’t fill the void unless you have something meaningful to say that will help your candidacy.





Rule # 7    Sell what they’re buying!





Rule #8    Identify any skeleton(s) in your past and prepare an answer that puts it in its best light.





Rule #9    Never, never, never wing it! 

A 1st impression . . . is a lasting impression . . . if not a last impression.


Recently, I heard a job seeker - brand new to the task - state that “Interviewing is a confrontation.”  Right?  Wrong! 

Interviewing generally goes best when the interviewer and interviewee, or job seeker, view the interview as a conversation - not a confrontation.  In the more congenial atmosphere of a conversation, both parties can participate in the give-and-take of the normal flow of a conversation, each providing information and asking questions.  There’s less stress, and without the stress, both parties can be more relaxed, and share information more confidently.  In other words, both make a better first impression.


●  Consider every interaction/ meeting / greeting an interview.  You never knowwho you’re talking to.



● 4 C’s what are companies looking for

● 5 basic question types
 There are 1000s of I questions.  Whole book s are dedicated just to this.  So a job seeker can buy it and try to memorize them.  Or a job seeker can understnd that there are 5 basic areas in which you’ll be grilled.  Each comes with many questions but they are all trying to get at one thing.

So whether your first “interview” is a chance meeting at an event, a phone screen,


I recently heard a brand new job seeker make a comment that an interview is basically a confrontation. 

Most things in life go better if you know a little about them before jumping in with both feet and interviewing is no exception.  nterviewing before you take the plunge.  Understanding

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ignore HR at Your Own Periol

Interviewers - 4 Factors Make Up the Hiring Decision

"I can't believe they didn't hire me!  I was perfect for the job!  "

It happens all the time . . . . 
     You apply for a position for which you meet every requirement.  
          You even get an interview, maybe several, and then . . . 
               The lines of communication go dead.  
                     No one calls and . . . . . . . . . . No one offers you the position.

What happened? Why didn't the hiring firm offer the position to the candidate who was perfect -- or, at least thought he or she was?  There are a multitude of things that can affect a hiring decision.  But the short answer to the question is that you didn't tick all the boxes of the 4 factors that comprise a hiring decision.

It becomes less of a mystery when you have a little background in how companies make hiring decisions.  While the fact that you meet all the requirements seems enough, in fact, it is only 1 of 4 factors in the hiring decision.  Competency is important, no doubt about it, but establishing competency just gets you in the game.  The others will then make or break your candidacy.

4 FACTORS make up the Hiring Decision
What are companies looking for? If searching for a job is a sales process - and IT IS - learn to think like a salesperson.  Put yourself in the shoes of your customer - the employer and your prospective boss:    What would you want to know about a product or service before buying it?  What would they want to know about you before buying your services?

FACTOR 1. Do you know your stuff? = Competence
Interviewers want to know:  Can you do the job?

This is the critical first question.  If the answer is Yes, you get to "Pass Go" and continue toward your goal of getting an offer.  If you fail to impress the hiring firm that you can do the job, initially, by the representation of your experience on your resume, and, secondarily, by your answers in the initial phone screen, the game with this employer is over.

Employers seek to establish competence early in the process.  There really isn't any point in continuing the expensive and time-consuming task of interviewing you if it judged that you don't have the experience, skills, and/or education to perform the duties of the job.
  • Tip:  Study the job requirements as advertised by the employer.  Make up a table and list the requirements on one side and examples of you meeting / performing the requirements on the other.  Keep this tool in front of you as you customize your resume as well as answer questions during the phone screen.  You’ll tick Box 1 if you do!
FACTOR 2. Can they afford you? = Compensation
There’s not much point to talking in any depth if they can’t afford you.  That’s why interviewers ask the question right up front.
  1. Come in too high and it’s a short run.  It's simple:  They can't, or choose not, to afford you. 
  2. Come in too low, and it's also a short run.  While you may think :  "Wow- I'd be a bargain if my salary requirement is lower than you expected to pay,"  think again.  Companies hire compensation experts who know what the market pays for certain types and levels of experience.  Coming in too far under the going rate may translate into a suspicion that you are too inexperienced in the duties and responsibilities of the job and therefore not able to handle it.
  • Tip 1:  Try to hold off the "$alary discussion" as long as you can.  If the company gets to know more about you and likes what it hears, it may be more willing to accommodate your price down the road.  Try saying something like you are really interested in this opportunity and what is most important to you right now is learning more.
  • Tip 2:  If Tip 1 doesn't work, try asking the interviewer what the salary range for the position is.  If they reveal the range, and you are within the range say so!
  • Tip 3: If Tip 2 doesn't work, try stating a salary range - make it plausible but broad to give yourself room for negotiation down the road.

FACTOR 3. How do you handle things? = Culture
This factor concerns the hiring firm's "Company Culture," commonly referred to as organizational culture.  It goes into work ethic and style, and explores if you are compatible with the firm's way of getting things done.

Interviewers want to know:  Can you do the job HERE?  They will seek to find out the answers to questions such as:
  -  Are you compatible with their process for getting work done, the firm's management style, their problem solving approach, and the firm's way of recognizing achievement as well as correcting problems?
  -  How do you handle situations when things are going well?  When they're not?
  -  How do you handle crises or problems?
  -  How do you interact with people? 
  • Tip:  Do your homework.  Learn about the company culture via:  
  1. Visiting the company website to see how they talk about and view themselves, 
  2. Researching the firm through the Internet and reading articles and comments, and,   
  3. Very importantly,  researching the firm by contacting people in your network who know about the firm and can share actual knowledge and experience.  An insider's account is worth its weight in gold!
FACTOR 4.  What is your Attitude and Outlook = Chemistry
An HR Employment Manager colleague of mine once said:  "The last thing I need is to hire another problem; I’ve got enough of them walking around here already."

It's a quote I never forgot.  Remember that Human Resources is the department charged with solving problems presented by employees that just don't work out.  So HR reps, working in conjunction with the hiring managers, will want to know:  Can you do the job WITH US?

Think of it this way:  If a major work project is due, and it is going to involve some late evenings and weekends, is the fit good enough that they can envision working in this manner with you.
  • Tip:  They are looking to see if your attitude is positive and "can do."  For instance, are you easy to work with, calm and in control in a crisis, and able to solve problems without making a big deal out of it.  The demanding world of work today is hard enough.  High maintenance employees make getting the job done harder.
The BIG Take Away
Hiring firms use the 4 FACTORS to assess if you will be a good fit and productive employee for their firm.  Remember, interviewing is a two-way street, and any hiring involves an expensive risk on the parts of both the company and the candidate.

Just as companies are using the 4 FACTORS to determine if hiring you is a risk worth taking, you can use your knowledge of the 4 FACTORS to do the same.  Gauge hiring companies as they do to determine if the firm is a good fit for you and if accepting their offer of employment is a risk worth taking.

There are many firms to choose from.  No one employee is right for every firm and no one company is right for every employee.  Use the 4 Factors to help you as a candidate identify and join a firm that right for you.

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________
nancy@ajcglobal.com              www.ajcglobal.com             AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:  www.linkedin.com/pub/nancy-c-gober/6/14b/965        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub



Interviewing 101 - A Short Course in What an Interview IS and ISN'T


Interviewing is an  ART!
Successful interviewing is an art - not a science.  No one can give you a formula virtually guaranteed to provide a certain outcome. 
  • No one can predict exactly how an interview will go.   
  • No one can give you a fool-proof method for acing every interview.  
Why?  There are too many factors outside of your control, not to mention controlling your own expectations, research ability, and fears and other emotions!

But with a better understanding of the process, a foundation and a grounding in the art of interviewing, and knowledge of what it IS and ISN'T, you increase your chances of staying in the game and ultimately winning the prize  – your new job! 

An Interview is NOT a confrontation
 Recently, I heard a job seeker, inexperienced in the task of searching for a new job, comment, “Interviewing is a confrontation.  Right?”   . . . . . . Wrong! 
     ●  An interview is not a confrontation. 
     ●  Nor is it a round of “20 Questions.” 
     ● And, it is not a “tell-all” on the part of the job seeker.

An Interview IS a conversation
An interview, simply put, is a conversation between 2 or more people who try, through the art of conversation, to learn about each other in order to determine if the job seeker is the right candidate for the job.  There is a give-and-take of information by each, that naturally leads to questions being asked and answered by both throughout the conversational interview.

Interviewing generally goes best when the interviewer and interviewee, or job seeker, view the
Defenses go up in interview!
interview as a conversation - not a confrontation.   Expecting an interview to be an argument between the 2 sides, or expecting to be grilled by an interviewer, sets up defenses on both sides.   


The job seeker, bracing for a round of 20 questions, goes into a defensive posture - guard up.  The interviewer may respond by going on the offensive. 

Take a different tack.  View the interview as a conversation.  
View it as a chance for both parties in the discussion to explore mutual professional interests and get to know each other.  In the more congenial atmosphere of a conversation, both parties can participate in the give-and-take of the normal flow of a conversation, with each strategically revealing information and asking questions.  

There’s less stress, so both parties  . . .
  • Can be more relaxed, 
  • Share information more confidently, and 
  • Put their best foot forward.  Both make a better first impression..

THE  4   PARTS of an INTERVIEW
In establishing a firm foundation for better interviewing, understand that there are 4 parts, or stages, of an interview:  The schmooze, the opening, Q&A, and the close.  Here’s what you need to know to move smoothly through each stage.

PART 1:   The Schmooze . . . Small talk counts
It is in Stage 1 where first impressions are established.  You say hello, and rapport is, or is not, developed.  Handshakes count.  Eye contact counts.  Smiles count.  Appearance, both physical and confidence, count.  Small talk counts as you work toward developing a rapport and a positive connection and impression.
Tip 1. Learn to schmooze.  Do your homework:  Find out as much as you can about the firm and your interviewer(s).  But don’t reveal all you know as you say hello - it’s way too much too soon.  But by, for instance, commenting conversationally on a positive showing of the firm’s latest product, or an accomplishment of your interviewer, you help establish a connection, develop rapport, and make a positive first impression.
Tip 2.  Learn when enough is enough!  You can comment on things that impress you about the firm or your interviewers - even a hobby of your interviewer if appropriate, but keep it short.  Your objective is to tell about you - not wind up using 20 of your allotted 45 minutes on his or her hobby.

Part 2:  Opening . . . Interview begins
Stage 2 is where the formal phase of the interview begins.  You can feel the shift away from small talk into information sharing as interviewers begin to talk about the company, its challenges and needs, leading to why the position exists.  More often than not, the most frequently asked interview question pops up here:   “So why don’t you tell me about yourself?”  This question, an ice breaker, gets the ball rolling.
Tip: 1.  Listen to the interviewer’s discourse on the company and take notes.  Obvious –   but the obvious sometimes bears mentioning    what they talk about is important to them.  Use this information when you answer the ice breaker question.  Your interviewer has just revealed needs as he/she sees them, so weave how you have met similar needs into your answer about your work experience and accomplishments.
Tip: 2.  The best answer to the ice-breaker question is your “L”vator speech.  Prepare it ahead of time, practice saying it as often as possible, and adapt it to feature your relevant background and accomplishments in relation to what you have just learned about the firm’s needs and interviewer’s interests.

Part 3:  Q & A
Interviewers have various styles and strategies for questioning candidates. Some ask straight-forward factual questions that can be answered with information only.  Others prefer behavioral questions which require providing an example of you using your skills and achieving results.  Others use a combination of the two styles.
Tip: 1.  Do some homework and learn what questions are at the top of most interviewers’ lists.  Prepare and learn – not memorize    answers ahead of time to these frequently asked
questions.
Tip: 2.  Read your resume thoroughly before the interview.  It is amazing how we actually forget what we’ve written on our resumes.  It happens - trust me - so read and review it. 
Tip: 3.  Review the accomplishment statements you have listed and practice telling the story of these accomplishments aloud.

Part 4:  Close . . . Sell yourself
There are 2 closes to the interview - the interviewer’s and yours.  Many, if not most interviews have only one - the interviewer’s.  Here the interviewer thanks the candidate, often talks of where he/she is in the process of interviewing candidates for this position, and tells the candidate, “We’ll be in touch.”
Tip: 1.  Take advantage of this time to offer your close as well.  In sales jargon, this is the first of several opportunities you will have to  “close your sale” and move the action forward to the next step.  Here’s how to Close Your Interview in 4 Steps:
Step 1:  Thank the interviewer(s).
Step 2:  State why you are a good fit for the position.
Step 3:  Express your interest in the position and going forward to the next step enthusiastically.
Step 4:  Find out what the next step is!  If you don’t, you’ll spend the next several days or weeks waiting anxiously by the phone.
Tip: 2.  Close your sale again  - this time in writing.  Send an e-mail, and/or a hard copy of a letter to each interviewer using the 4-step process for closing an interview just described.   
Forgot something? 
     -  Did you forgot to mention a relevant accomplishment in the interview, an experience, or a problem you solved?   
     -  Did you think of a better answer to a question after you said goodbye?   
Your written follow-up Thank You letter gives you another chance to include that information.

Like most things in life, interviewing goes better if you know a little something about what you are doing!  It helps to know that:
     ●  An interview IS a conversation. 
     ●  It is an opportunity for both side to explore and learn what each has to offer the other while
You got the offer!
     ● Strategically revealing information puts your best foot forward.

As we said earlier, to interview successfully, it is essential to have (1) an understanding of the process, (2) a foundation and a grounding in the art of interviewing, and (3) knowledge of what interviewing is and isn’t.  

With this understanding, foundation, and knowledge, you increase your chances of staying in the game and ultimately winning the prize  – your new job!  And, isn’t that what interviewing is all about!

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________
nancy@ajcglobal.com              www.ajcglobal.com             AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:  www.linkedin.com/pub/nancy-c-gober/6/14b/965        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Don’t Go Into Business Because You Need a Job

Don’t go into business because you need a job  – Go into business because you want to be in business.  Work at getting a job if you what you REALLY want is a job!

It's about that time of year when job seekers, who began their searches with great zest and zeal at the beginning of the year, grow tired and discouraged.  They’ve been at it a long time, working hard, and despite all their effort, have not yet landed their next job. 
    ●  Discouraged, some just give up. 
    ●  Others think, "Maybe I'll just start a business!"  Seems like an option – Right?  Wrong!! 

There is only one reason to go into business:  You want to be in business.
Starting, building, and running a small business is a life commitment and a lifestyle.  Those who succeed do so because it is their burning desire to do so.  Born of necessity, many  –  if not most  –  other things come in second!  It is interwoven into their daily existence, so that you can't tell where one starts and one lets off, leaving no clear demarcation between the business work day and personal time.  Being in business becomes a way of life.

If you want a job, work at getting a job.
What playing around with the idea of starting a business does for someone who actually wants a job is deters them from the job of finding a job and delays their  search.  They waste their own and others' time and energy.

If you are looking for a job, engaging in business start-up activities sends a mixed message about your commitment to being a good, reliable, and long-term employee for an employer.
    ●  A prospective employer isn't sure what you want from them:  business or a job?
    ●  It also sends a confusing message to network contacts, leaving them wondering in what capacity to refer you:  job seeker or budding entrepreneur?
    ●  It even carries over to business cards:  Do you design them to look like a prospective employee or business?
In summary, in doing business start-up activities, a job seeker winds up NOT spending time on the very job search activities that will get them what they really want . . . A JOB!

So, decide.  Are you looking for a job or an account? 
You can’t do both at the same time.  You water down your argument in either case as to why you will be the best employee or the best provider of your service or product in your business.

Don’t mix up searching for a job with starting a business.  
Focus on your search if you want a job, and on building a business if you want a business.
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________
nancy@ajcglobal.com              www.ajcglobal.com             AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:  www.linkedin.com/pub/nancy-c-gober/6/14b/965        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

Interviewing? First Impressions Count

A 1st impression . . . is a lasting impression . . . if not a last impression.

It’s an old familiar saying, and an important concept for job seekers to really grasp.
Why?
Because . . . First impressions count.  First impressions can make or break your prospects for getting hired.

Pay attention to the "cover" you project!
Don’t judge a book by its cover . . . we are told,  But --
. . . we do, and we do it all time in our interactions with each other.  Judgements are made about you all the time, and it is frightening how quickly they are made.   In seconds - in fact, in split-seconds - judgements are made and opinions formed about your . . . . .
     -  character
     -  personality
     -  capability
     -  trustworthiness
     -  stamina
     -  ambition
     -  intelligence
     -  health
     -  honesty
     -  education level
     -  financial success
     -  financial status . . . . . .. and lots, lots more.

We've all heard that people form impressions of us in under 60, or even 30 seconds.  However, Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov say it's even quicker:  "All it takes is 1/10 of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and longer exposures don't significantly alter those impressions."  Their research was presented in their article First Impressions, in the publication Psychological Science.

First impressions count
Make a positive first impression, and you get to advance to the next step in your job search process.  Make a negative initial impression on a person with whom you are meeting, networking, or interviewing, and your chances of advancing to the next step are slim to none.

So, take care as you network, when you interview, and in the production of your written materials, i.e. marketing materials, (applications, resumes, cover letters, thank you letters, business cards) to put your best foot forward.

Find out the type of initial impression you make on people 
Ask a few trusted friends and/or colleagues: “How do I come across?”
     -  Hard as it may be to hear, take the feedback you receive and put it to work.
     -  Identify the gaps, and fix and fill them! 

What are the things that hold you back from making a great first impression?   
Here are some things to check that may be making or breaking your ability to make a positive first impression.
    ✔ Check any written materials for typos, format, and correct information.
    ✔ Check that you have with you your “marketing materials” - business cards, phone, a couple resumes - any time you leave the house.
    ✔ Check your appearance.  While you don’t have to be in a suit and tie, or suit and heels, for a Saturday trip to the grocery store, look presentable enough that you would not have to duck down the frozen foods isle if you spot a network contact or recruiter or hiring manager walking toward you. 
    ✔ Check your attire.  You don’t have to be - and shouldn’t be - a fashion plate, but inspect your wardrobe to ensure you are not wearing fads or outdated clothes that could lead a contact or interviewer to wonder if you are too far out there creatively for their business, or outdated in your knowledge or skills, or respectively.
    ✔ Check your speech, tone, and voice.  Record yourself talking and see if your style of speaking helps or hurts your delivery when introducing yourself and talking about your capabilities.
    ✔ Check your mannerisms.  Do you have distracting habits that would distract a listener from really hearing what you’re saying?
    ✔ Check your hairstyle.  Does it date you, either outdated or too, too fashion forward?
    ✔ Check your overall knowledge of how to conduct an effective job search, and specifically of how to network and interview.  Find out what you don’t know, and read, take a course, or get a coach to learn the fundamentals of how to find a job in 2014.
    ✔ Check your currency when it comes to knowledge of your field.  Identify gaps in your current knowledge, training, certifications, and experience that could prevent you from making a favorable impression in front of an interviewer or contact.  Figure out how to fill the gap and get started filling it!

The take-away is this:  Whether you like it or not, whether it’s fair or not, first impressions count
They can rule you in or out of the competition very early in the job search and interviewing game.  Take care to identify the type of impression you want to make and make it!

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.


For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________
nancy@ajcglobal.com              www.ajcglobal.com             AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:  www.linkedin.com/pub/nancy-c-gober/6/14b/965        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub





Wednesday, June 4, 2014

If You're Talking, . . . You're Interviewing

If you're talking, you're interviewing . . . when it comes to finding a job!  So act accordingly.
Treat every conversation, and the information you reveal, as if it could lead to an interview.

It's an important concept to grasp if you want to be successful quicker in your search for a new position or new role. Keep the following 3 key precepts in mind as you talk with folks about your job search:
  • Be cautious - This is not the time for "tell-all conversations" with strangers.  You never know who knows who . . . even true of those you know well and casual acquaintances.
  • Be strategic - about what you reveal about your current situation as it applies to the type of work you are seeking.  Skip the negative comments about previous employers, folks who are of little help or no use at all, and your employment status:  "Why did this happen to me?"
  • Be prepared -  Develop a sales mindset, and carry your "tools of the trade."  Don't leave home without business cards to hand out to folks you meet in chance encounters as well as planned meetings.  Carry your phone so you don't miss any calls from prospects.
A 1st impression . . . is a lasting impression . . . if not a last impression.
 What we're talking about is creating a positive and lasting impression, with the goal that whomever you cross paths with will remember you in a positive way should they hear of a career opportunity that you might fit and fill.  What you say, and the attitude you display, will rule you in or out in their minds.

So, whether you are networking, engaging in a formal interview with a prospective employer, or just meeting up with a group of folks at a casual event, remember . . .  if you are talking, you are interviewing.   
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________
nancy@ajcglobal.com              www.ajcglobal.com             AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:  www.linkedin.com/pub/nancy-c-gober/6/14b/965        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub