Job Interview Strategy: Ask Questions.

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The job interview process is a two-way street; dialogue is the key to a successful encounter.

Remember the Five “P’s”, Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Questions for consideration include:

1. What happened to the previous employee or why is the position available?
This will allow you to determine if the employee was promoted (This is a good sign and may indicate future opportunity if the company promotes from within.) or did they move on (This will indicate that you may have to dig deeper in your questioning to determine management style and corporate culture to determine “fit”.) or is the job a newly created role and the question can reveal the amount of turnover in the position. Beware:  If the position has had five people in that role in the last four years this may be a “red flag”, especially if they are no longer with the company, it could signal management or leadership concerns, etc.

2. What type of on-boarding or initial training is provided to ensure success?  Does (insert name of organization) support continuing education or certifications?  
This question allows the company to express the fundamentals they have in place to ensure your success through a detailed on-boarding and trainee program, continuing education, and resources or certifications for continued professional growth and development.  Ongoing training programs are proven to increase employee engagement.

3. What is the preferred management style of the (insert department, company, etc.)?
This will determine if the role is that of a “worker bee” with minimal contribution or does the culture support input allowing you to contribute concepts and ideas for growth and development of your role and the organization.

4. Would you paint a picture of the typical day in the role of a (insert job title)?
This will allow the organization to provide a snapshot of the role and what you can expect. Look for defined, confident replies.  Some companies allow for job shadowing to determine if a role is a good fit for you and the company. 

5. What challenges/problems/concerns are associated with (insert the department, the role, the company)?
This will reveal the pain they need to address and may open the opportunity for you to share background, skills, or abilities that may assist in overcoming the various challenges revealed and/or mentioned in the job posting.  How can you be of immediate benefit to help the team and the company achieve their defined goals and objectives?

6. How are expectations measured?
This will allow you to get a sense of how your progress and success or failure will be reviewed.  Does the company provide 90-day feedback and review? 6-months? or Annually?  The employee review allows for periodic feedback to assess your contributions and keep you on track for success in your role.

7. What are next steps in the hiring process?
This question should be asked at the end of your job interview. You will gain insight as to the hiring manager’s processes for moving forward and you will be able to navigate your next steps for outreach and expectations.  Should you follow-up by phone? email? When will they be making a decision? 

It is “OK” to ask questions. It is necessary and required! You are interviewing the organization and their team just as much as they are interviewing you. Why? Because you need to also determine “fit”, to learn if this organization’s culture and leadership environment “fits” with your work style and career goals so that you can flourish and succeed and contribute in a productive and meaningful capacity.  Good Luck! 

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Job Interview Strategy: Tell Me About Yourself…Solved.

jobinterview-70292-largeThis is NOT a trick question…

…many candidates appear bewildered and befuddled because silently they are thinking, “Well, what do you want to know?” or “Where do I begin?” or “Why don’t you just ask me specifically what you want to hear?” so let’s review what this question really reveals…

#1. Your Communication Style. If you are unable to clearly communicate about who you are, where you have been and your key skills and abilities in an effective manner; how can the interviewer expect you to clearly communicate about their products or services effectively once you are hired?

#2. Organized Communication. When you can communicate in an organized, easy to follow manner, then this demonstrates your ability to communicate in that same capacity once you are hired.

#3. Confidence. An individual that can exhibit a confident demeanor while expressing their work history will make a more significant first impression.

#4. Extended Conversation. It allows for the interview to take on a greater depth, and allows you to expand on accomplishments that correspond with the job posting. In other words, you get to sell yourself.

Most candidates self-sabotage their ability for success in this all important area by saying too much or saying too little or providing information that is of little value.

One of the most asked questions during the job interview is “Tell me about yourself…”, and it is the single greatest question posed when looking for a job, networking, and when meeting new people.

Maintain a chronological format and keep your reply under two minutes, practice, practice, practice, and continually evolve shorter versions for career fairs and networking events (also known as a 30-second commercial or sometimes called the “elevator pitch”).

Step 1: Start with your most recent position/role, state company name, your title, and job responsibility overview (one or two sentences) and a key accomplishment. Be brief.  Your goal is to generate interest and you can expand further as the job interview progresses.

Step 2: Next, take the job interviewer back to the beginning of your career history (How I began my career…) and walk them forward (chronologically) back to your current position/role; (dates in this statement are not required) stating company name, position and job responsibility overviews, add a key accomplishment, here and there, that applies to directly to the job posting.  Tip:  Bring a copy of the job posting with you to the job interview and use it for reference.

Make  Connections For The Interviewer.  “I accomplished…..and saw that you were looking for someone with this particular skill, expertise, etc., in the job posting…” or “This is where I gained the experience noted in your job posting.”

Step 3: Speak with confidence, enthusiasm, and practice so that you sound as though you actually did the work; avoid sounding as though you are uncertain as this will create a “red flag” for the hiring manager, recruiter, or job interviewer.

Avoid talking about hobbies, family matters, where you were in kindergarten etc., keep it professional. If you left the workplace for personal reasons (stay at home mom, caregiver, health, etc.) state something like; “I made a personal decision to leave the workplace to attend to family matters ( to further my education, care for my mother, etc.) .” Keep it simple.  Focus on your skill and abilities and the job role.  If you are confident about your choice; they will remain confident.

Good luck!

The Interview Lunch: Mind Your Manners.

During the job interview process many prospective candidates are invited to a job interview over a meal. It is important to recognize that many individuals have failed miserably at this task and have compromised the promise of a career opportunity and a paycheck by demonstrating poor table manners.

Tips for a successful interview dining experience:

Show up on time and at the correct location. Be sure to map out your route if going to an unfamiliar location. It is up to the host to choose the venue.

Avoid gum. Use mints, as gum chewing is seen as a sign of bad breeding in many parts of the world and becomes an issue when you do not know what to do with that sticky glob once you begin to dine.

Avoid waving, pointing, or flailing the silver. When engaged in conversation do not wield the knife and fork around as you are speaking. This creates a distraction and is unprofessional.

Avoid the use of salt or pepper prior to tasting the meal. Many individuals will salt or pepper their meal without first sampling. This sends a non-verbal message of making hasty or rash decisions and can compromise the ability to move forward in the hiring process.

You were not invited to a meal because you are hungry. Avoid ordering expensive menu items, finger foods and difficult to manage items (ribs, lobster, fried chicken, spaghetti, etc.). If a food item is difficult to manage, you spend more effort on eating the meal and less on building rapport with emphasis on the main mission; getting hired. It is not about the food; it is about the relationship building process.

Order menu items that allow you to focus on the interview. Safe items to order when on an interview lunch or dinner include; soup, a main entree’ featuring poultry, fish, meat, starch and vegetable. A salad may be cumbersome as not all leafy greens are cut into bite size pieces.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol inhibits the ability to recall important details, impairs the ability to remember names (especially in a networking setting), may cause improper conversations to emerge, and is not advisable when being considered for hire.

The purpose of the interview lunch/dinner is to determine the social savvy of the job seeker. Many times this form interview is the determining factor in hiring as it sets apart candidates for hire that are closely matched in skill and technical ability. You are an extension of the organization you represent, and table manners demonstrate your ability to be an ambassador for that potential hiring organization. Good luck!

Job Search Tips: Email and Your Job Search.

jobsIt is important to recognize that today’s job search REQUIRES being comfortable with technology. For many individuals, it may have been 10, 15 or 20 years since embarking on a job search; what worked in the past has changed. We all know that the Sunday job classifieds in the local paper have disappeared and most companies and hiring managers use  job boards or social sites when looking for candidates to hire.

Create an email address that is solely utilized for your job search.

This will allow you to filter and track your job search submissions, alerts and research all in one place while avoiding any SPAM or unsolicited communications from clogging your personal email. Many job seekers create a Google or Yahoo email account they can easily access and use for their job search.

Your Email Address.

Be sure to use your name or some portion of your name in the email address you create for your job search. For example: John.Smith@gmail.com or JSmith@yahoo.com, or JSmith123@gmail.com, etc. Avoid emails that do not identify you in a professional manner. For example: Harleyman@gmail.com, Kitten4you@yahoo.com, grandma1@gmail.com, etc. as they may not be taken seriously and are difficult to weed out among the communications with the hiring manager.

Ready to Send Your Resume?

Due to the strong SPAM filters at many companies you may want to consider building your cover letter and resume into the body of the email versus sending an attachment or PDF file. Why? If it is a job you really desire it may get filtered out of their system, companies rarely communicate receipt unless they are interested in your submission, therefore, if it was filtered…you would never know.  By copy and pasting documents into the body of the email, you ensure that it is submitted.

These are just a few tips to consider when taking on the next steps in the job search process! Happy Hunting!

Why do we “Clink” Glasses during a Toast? Solved.

 

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Etiquette 101:  The idea was to involve all five senses; sight, taste, touch, smell, and the only thing missing was sound/hearing and as a result a “clink” of the glass was established…

Job Search Tips: Research!

Research, research, and more research. It is important to come prepared to the interview. Investigate a company thoroughly; understand their philosophies, financial status, size and locations, recent press releases reveal wonderful detail, products and services.

As with any presentation; you must know your audience and interviewing is no different.

This step is not only to impress the interviewer with your interview savvy and company knowledge. It is also an important step to determine if the organization if a good “fit” for you, as well.

Too many candidates for hire choose to “wing-it” or “go with the flow” when it comes to interviewing, and in this competitive marketplace that attitude no longer prevails.

Candidates owe it to themselves to research an organization.  The ability to access information and detail from around the globe means there are no excuses for not being prepared.

Researching a company shows your interest, allows you to ask specific questions, and ensures your selection when determining which company to represent.  Be an investigative reporter and learn everything and anything you can about the company, the role, and the hiring manager before the interview and you will be on your way to success.