Tag Archives: interviewing skills

How Power Posing Can Improve Your Career

BODY LANGUAGE: How A Short ‘Power Pose’ Can Change Your Life and Career, Article by Henry Blodget posted November 19, 2012 (viewed Septermber 18, 2016 on Business Insider).

“Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy gave a TED Talk this summer about how tiny changes in your body language can radically change your job performance and career.

“Certain “power poses” immediately change your body chemistry, Professor Cuddy says.

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Lower power pose                VS.                           High power pose

“And these changes help or hurt the way other people perceive you and, importantly, affect the way you actually perform.

“Professor Cuddy concluded her talk with a startling revelation about herself, one that led her to choke up momentarily. Then the talk ended in a standing ovation.”

 

Mr. Blodget then listed Professor’s Cuddy’s key talking points. Below, I’ve listed a few of these talking points:

  1. Body language is the non-verbal communication that can tell us almost everything about what is going on in a given situation such as a interview.
  2. Small gestures, such as a handshake or smile, reveal glimpses of character and shape perceptions about how people are percieved.
  3. One of the most important elements of body language is what is called the “power pose.”
    • In this pose, the person is “opened up” and taking up space. Such as holding your arms over your held in a large “V.”
    • This is the most common high-power poses.
  4. In low power situations, when people feel feeble or helpless, they close up and become small.
    • In this pose, the person hunches over, crosses their arms, and wraps him or herself up.
    • This person takes up little space and closes off from other people.
  5. The “high power” and “low power” poses tend to compliment one another so that it appears  that one person is in charge and the other is not.
    • Professor Cuddy detemined that our nonverbal communication affects how other people think and feel about us.
  6. Professor Cuddy also determined that our nonverbal communications govern how we think and feel about ourselves. In other words, our bodies can change our minds.
    • After a two-minute “high power pose,” the risk tolerance of the high-power posers soared. The risk tolerance of the low-power poses shrank.
    • After a two-minute pose, the testosterone (dominance hormone) levels of the high-power posers rose 20%.After a two-minute pose, the testosterone of the low-power posers fell 10%.
      • After a two-minute “high power pose,” cortisol levels dropped sharply and people were better able to handle stressful situations.  The cortisol levels of the “low-power” people rose.
  7. So, can power posing for a few minutes really change our lives in meaningful ways?
  8. Professor Cuddy found that tbody language is everything. According to Professor Cuddy:
    • Our bodies change our minds
    • and our minds change our behavior
    • and our behavior changes our outcomes.
  9. Professor Cuddy’s message is this . . . FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU BECOME IT.
    • Small changes in body language can change our body chemistry : tiny tweaks result in BIG CHANGES
    • Eventually you will no longer fake strength and confidence because  you will have strength and confidence. You may have started out faking it but eventually you will have it.

CONCLUSION:  Try a power pose before your next interview and see how it makes you feel. Try a power pose every day until your physical presence emotes passion, enthusiasm, confidence, authenticity, and comfort.

BODY LANGUAGE: How A Short ‘Power Pose’ Can Change Your Life and Career, Article by Henry Blodget posted November 19, 2012 (viewed Septermber 18, 2016 on Business Insider).

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences and interests with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Clues to Uncover Corporate Culture, Article by Barbara Safani

“I often remind my clients that when they are interviewing for an open position, they are interviewing the employer as much as the employer is interviewing them. By paying attention to the subtle clues in the office environment, job seekers can gain a better perspective on the culture of the company or division and make more informed decisions about how they’ll fit. Here are a few tips to help you size up the work environment of the company you are interviewing with.

1. If possible, schedule your interview early in the morning, late in the day or during lunchtime.

When you arrive, look around and see who else is there at that time. If you have an early morning or early evening appointment and the office is packed, chances are that the culture is one that expects long hours. If you interview during lunch and everyone seems to be eating at their desks, that could be a clue about the culture of the organization. If you are interviewing with a company that has a company parking lot, observe how full the lot is during these hours to determine if late nights or early mornings are part of the culture of the entire organization.

2. Ask to do a walk-through of the office.

If you have made it to the second round of interviews, consider asking to see the office space. This allows you to canvass the physical space, but again gives you important clues about the office culture. Is the setup cubicle-style, big open spaces, windowed offices or a lot of closed doors? Does the space appear clean and well maintained, and feel like a place where you would feel comfortable and safe?

3. Make small talk with the receptionist.

This is important for several reasons. Many hiring authorities ask the receptionist his impressions of candidates who come in to apply for jobs. Make sure his first impression of you is positive. Through your conversation, you may gain valuable tidbits of information or see firsthand what types of people come through the reception area and how they interact with each other.

4. Note any interruptions during the interview.

Again, this could be a sign of what it’s like to work in that particular environment. Did your interview start on time or were you kept waiting? Is the interview conducted in a quiet environment behind closed doors? Does the person interviewing you interrupt the flow of the meeting to take phone calls? Does the interview end abruptly due to some sort of office crisis? While there are some hiring authorities who ‘stage’ interruptions to see how you deal with them, I truly believe that for the most part these are not planned. Instead, this can be indicative of the department’s culture or the hiring manager’s style.

5. Observe preferred communication styles.

How were the interview and follow-up meetings arranged? Were they set up by e-mail, phone or snail mail? Does the company prefer one-on-one or group interview formats? Did the hiring manager give you any technical tests or assessments as part of the interview process? By observing the different ways companies interview and gather information, job seekers can begin to uncover how information is managed and validated by members of the organization.

Of course, no interview scenario is perfect, and I’m not suggesting that you penalize a company or hiring authority if a glitch occurs during the interview. But it is important to observe the rhythm of the office and factor that information into your decision. What have you observed during your interviews, and how has that information influenced your feelings about a company or a job?”

This article was written by Barbara Safani, owner of CAreer Solvers. Ms. Safani has has over 12 years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching and organizational development. She is a triple-certified resume writer and author of “Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips for Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future.”

ARTICLE VIEWED ON MARCH 11, 2016 ON THELADDERS.COM

bitmoji1895589661This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

25 Oddball Interview Questions

It’s been awhile since I offered any suggestions for answering interview questions. This is always an interesting topic because there are so many possible interview questions and so many excellent answers to those questions. Today I’d like to share with you some strange and unique interview questions I found on Forbes.com.

After reading the list below you may think there is no way that you can prepare in advance to answer these questions. You would be wrong.

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Your goal in responding to an oddball interview question should not be to get to the “right” answer. Your goal should be to show, by example, how you handle challenges and approach the process of solving problems.  The interviewer will assess whether, when faced with a difficult situation, you are likely to freeze like the proverbial “deer in the headlights” or if you are quick “on your feet,” composed, and confident.

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If asked an “oddball” question at an interview, do not rush into your answer. Take a moment to breathe and gather your thoughts. Perhaps you will ask a pointed question for added details or descriptions. Then respond with a thoughtful and reasoned answer.

 

 

fotolia_26700943The Forbes.com 25 Oddball Interview Questions are:

  • If you were to get rid of one state in the United States, which would it be and why?
    • Asked at Forrester Research
  • How many cows are there in Canada?
    • Asked at Google
  • How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State Building?
    • Asked at JetBlue
  • A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
    • Asked at Clark Construction Group
  • What songs best describes your work ethic?
    • Asked at Dell
  • Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?
    • Asked at Amazon
  • What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
    • Asked at Gallup
  • How would you rate your memory?
    • Asked at Marriot
  • Name three previous Nobel Prize Winners.
    • Asked at BenefitsCONNECT
  • Can you say: “Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper” and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?
    • Asked at MasterCard
  • If we came to your house for supper, what would you prepare for us?
    • Asked at Trader Joe’s
  • How would people communicate in a perfect world?
    • Asked at Novell
  • How do you make a tuna sandwich?
    • Asked at Astron Consulting
  • My spouse and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend that we go?
    • Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?
    • Asked at Accenture
  • Estimate how many windows are in New York City?
    • Asked at Bain & Company
  • What’s  your favorite song? Perform it for us now.
    • Asked at LivingSocial
  • Calculate the angle of two clock hands (pointers) when time is 11:50.
    • Asked at Bank of America
  • Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
    • Asked at Jiffy Software
  • Pick two celebrities to be your parents.
    • Asked at Urban Outfitters
  • If you were kitchen utensils, which kitchen utensils would you be?
    • Asked at Bandwidth.com
  • On a scale form one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.
    • Asked at Kraft Foods
  • If you had turned your cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?
    • Asked at Kimberly-Clark
  • If you could be anyone else, who would it be?
    • Asked at Salesforce.com
  • How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?
    • Asked at PETCO

Source: 25 Oddball Interview Questions – In Photos, Forbes.com. Viewed on 2/4/2016.

Do you think you would be called back for a second interview if asked an oddball question in the first interview?  The way to your next job is just like the path to Carnegie Hall . . . Practice, Practice, Practice.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Sample Interview Questions and Answer Strategies, Part 3

Why are you thinking of leaving your current position?

Your answer should be positive. Avoid any negative comments about your position, industry, company, boss, coworkers, or customers.

Let the interviewer know what you are looking for in a new position and how the open position meets your interests. Does the open position offer more money, responsibility or the potential for advancement or growth? If you are not 100% certain that you want to leave as your present position for the open position, let the interviewer know this too.

If you are presently unemployed, be prepared to give a brief reason for leaving your prior position. Let the interviewer know if you left your position voluntarily or if you were let go. If you were let go, was it the result of a company-wide or department layoff, merger or takeover?

If you were fired, give as fair and unbiased a response as you can; answering from both your point of view and the point of view of your former employer. This means describing the situation candidly, succinctly and without any bitterness. Be prepared to answer follow up questions such as “What did you learn from this experience?” or “What would you have done differently?”

What could you have done better in your last job?

Again, it is best to avoid being negative. Likewise, do not confess to any problems, major or minor. A better answer is to say “With the benefit of hindsight you can always find things to do better, but off the top of my head I cannot think of anything of major consequence.”

If the interviewer pressures you for more information, describe a situation that failed as a result of external conditions beyond your control.

Why have you been out of work so long?

You’re answer should be the same regardless of whether you are doing a telephone screen or an in-person interview with a recruiter or hiring manager. Here are some possible responses:

  • I decided to start a business (like a consulting business)
  • I am the officer of XYZ organization
  • I took some college courses to stay current in my career (or on-line classes)
  • I am currently teaching XYZ subject (ensure that it has business relevance)
  • I volunteer at a local soup kitchen, my child’s school or an organization in my current industry or business
  • I started a networking organization to help those out of work
  • I decided to coach a season of my child’s baseball league

Source: www.info.theladders.com.

It is suggested that you emphasize factors that have prolonged your job search by your own choice. You do not want to seem like damaged goods.

Why should I hire you?

If you have done your homework and prepared for the interview you should be able to answer this question easily. Help the interviewer to see you in the position. Walk him or her through each of the position’s requirements as you understand them, and follow each with a reason why you meet that requirement. Specifically, if you understand the employer’s needs and company culture, you will be able to match each position requirement with your personal qualifications.

Why aren’t you making more money at this stage in your career?

Your answer should not sound defensive or give the impression that money is not important to you. You will need to explain why your present salary or salary history might be below industry standards.

Your best answer is that money is important to you but other factors are even more important. For example, “Making money is important to me. That is one of the things that interests me in this position because I am looking to make more money at this point in my career. But even more important to me is doing work I really enjoy and am proud to do at the kind of company I like and respect.”

Be prepared for follow up questions about your ideal position and company. Be sure to match your answers as closely as possible to the requirements of the open position and the culture of the company/department.

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Now, get to it . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Do You Have the Right Blend of EQ and Grit?

To be successful, job seekers need the right blend of emotional intelligence and grit.

Wikipedia defines emotional intelligence (EI), also referred to as emotional quotient (EQ), as the ability to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. This is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and to label those emotions appropriately.fotolia_75190353

Our IQ (intelligence quotient) and personality stay basically the same throughout our lives. But our emotional intelligence can be improved. The two skills of emotional intelligence are personal competence (understanding our feelings and managing our emotions) and social competence (understanding what others are feeling and managing interactions with other people successfully). Source: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.

In order to improve our emotional intelligence we begin by looking inward and taking an honest evaluation of our skills and strengths to understand what we do well and what needs improvement. This is self-awareness. The second step is looking outward to observe others and take into account what motivates and satisfies other people. Bradberry and Greaves.

“Woody Allen once quipped that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. Well, it looks like grit is one thing that determines who shows up.” Interview of Angela Lee Duckworth, a noted psychologist, public speaker and author, by Deborah Perkins-Gough in Educational Leadership, September 2013. “Grit predicts success over and beyond talent. When you consider individuals of equal talent, the grittier ones do better.”

fotolia_63877452What is grit? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, grit is a firmness of character and indomitable spirit. Duckworth takes this definition a step further and describes grit as perseverance and a passion for long-term goals. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice: “Do something that scares you everyday.”

If you have been reading this blog you know that prior to an interview you must do your homework. It is required that you research the company and the people you are to meet at the interview. You must do an extensive review on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You also have to spend considerable time acquainting yourself with the company on the company’s website, O*Net, glassdoor.com, etc. But this is not enough.

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You have to stay alert and on your toes during the interview. Be prepared to go off plan if necessary.

In other words, you have to be flexible, gauge the interviewer’s reactions to your responses to questions, and be prepared to change your strategy. Keep in mind the things that you learned from your research about the company’s long-term goals, bottom line, etc. and the value that you can bring to the company. Know your STAR stories and be prepared with examples to highlight your strengths and success. But most importantly, rely on your grit to stay in the game.

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Now, get to it . . .

 

This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

The Top Most Valuable Career Skills of 2015

240_F_59188705_IQBjR2l30W9ij3u50dNzcJTQ4UNqtqM2 (1)According to Coursera* (www.coursera.org), the 10 most valuable careers and the associated skills of 2015 were:

  1. Digital Marketing — strategic planning and analytics for digital marketing channels
  2. Data Science — GitHub, RStudio and data visualization techniques
  3. Interaction Design — Prototyping, user testing, and visual design
  4. Business Strategy — strategy formulation, execution, and assessment
  5. Strategic Business Analytics — marketing, supply chain, and human resource analytics
  6. Data Science at Scale — SQL, NoSQL, data mining, and machine learning
  7. Genomic Data Science — Python, R, Bioconductor, and Galaxy
  8. Organizational Leadership — motivation, self-assessment, and conflict management
  9. Social Media Marketing — campaign management, brand positioning, and content development
  10. Strategic Management and Innovation — goal setting, value creation, and diversification

240_F_68248134_XEOcSk5SehSx8Z9JUklyzYxJ3WRVOYKlLooking forward to the new year, job seekers will need a mix of technical and traditional “soft skills” to be competitive in the job market. The tech industry will continue to accelerate and tech skills will remain in high demand. The emphasis in the job market will be on technical job skills necessary for the accomplishment of mathematical, engineering, scientific, and computer-related tasks.

Also in demand in 2016 will be traditional people skills, often referred to as soft skills. To be successful in job search in 2016, job seekers will need leadership, entrepreneurial and interpersonal skills such as a strong business strategy, communication, time management, and teamwork / collaboration skills. It is not enough to say that you possess a cache of these skills, whether on your resume or in the interview, you must be prepared to quantify and describe your experience and success in each of these areas.

Now, get to it . . .

* Coursera (www.coursera.org) is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer online courses and programs that anyone can take.

 

This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Sample Interview Questions and Answer Strategies, part 2

fotolia_60664026It is December and employers are, most definitely, hiring. Many employers want to fill vacated positions before the end of the year. Other employers will want to onboard new employees soon after the New Year.

You may find that there is less competition for job interviews around the holidays because many job seekers take time off from their job search to shop or make gingerbread houses. Do not be one of those people.

With that thought in mind, I wanted to provide you with more food for thought with regard to preparing for job interviews. Here are a few more sample interview questions and response strategies.

What was the most difficult part of your last job? 

Do not admit to anything. You might want to say that your last position was challenging but nothing that you could not handle. You do not want to describe a difficult situation and find out that it affected your candidacy for the open position.

If the interviewer presses for an answer, consider a positive response.  Perhaps avoid a direct response and describe aspects of the previous position that you enjoyed more than other aspects. Remember to focus on those tasks that are the most relevant to the position for which you are interviewing. These tasks will be the ones described in the job lead (job description or advertisement) and by the interviewer in the interview. You might also research the job online at glassdoor.com or O*Net (onetonline.com). These are two excellent resources that you should have bookmarked on your computer.

What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?

You will need to answer this question with a well-thought out example. The example will need to explain why the decision was difficult, the process you followed in reaching the decision, what actions or steps you took to carry out the decision, and how your unit, division or company benefited as a result of the decision.

Be prepared to justify the decision and the steps you took to resolve the situation. The interviewer may ask you why you did what you did or if you considered taking other steps to resolve the situation.

What makes you angry?

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If you have done your homework and researched the company, you should be able to answer this question in a way that is true to your personality and the management style of the company or division.

For example, if you are feisty and the position requires the candidate who can be tough, your answer should be straight-forward and direct. You might say, I am angered by people who do not pull their own weight, have a negative attitude, lie to cover up mistakes, are frequently late to work, do not take responsibility for their mistakes, constantly blame other people for their failure to meet deadlines, etc.

But if you are a reserved person and the company culture is low-key, your answer should reflect an even-tempered and positive approach to problem-solving. You could respond by saying you want to know as soon as possible if someone on your staff is having a problem or is not able to get the job done. You might elaborate and say that you would speak to the person or his or her supervisor and see to it that appropriate steps are taken to support the employee and move the process forward.  You might conclude by saying you believe every problem can be solved effectively and efficiently if you have hired the right people, motivate them to perform their best and continuously monitor progress.

Do you perform well under pressure?

You should answer “yes.”  To be convincing you will need to provide an example or two of a goal or project that you accomplished under extreme pressure. Your example might include ways in which you manage stress, like taking deep breaths, counting to 10 or remembering to take short breaks to hydrate or stretch at your desk.

Be prepared for follow-up questions. If you have described an interesting example or one that the interviewer can relate to, he or she is bound to ask follow up questions. You may be asked if you considered another path to accomplish the task or whether there was fall out from co-workers or clients.

Good luck and get to it . . .

Recommit to Your Job Search During the Holiday Season

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Many people may make the decision to slow down their job search activities during the holiday season. These people may think employers are too busy to think about hiring new employees because they are preoccupied with year-end tasks or are taking time off to spend with family and friends.

This is a mistake. The hiring process may slow down during the holidays but it does not stop. Companies are interviewing and extending offers to the most qualified candidates. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities resulting from the void left by job seekers who have abandoned their job search and headed to the mall?

An argument can be made that you may even benefit from pursuing your job search during the busy holiday season.

  1. There may be less competition for positions because many job seekers are on holiday.
  2. Some employers may be in a rush to onboard new hirers before the end of the year or immediately after the new year.

The holiday season is also a great time to refresh your job search efforts. You should review your marketing materials and business cards, reassess your short and long-term goals (including researching your target companies), update your resume and LinkedIn profile, and practice your interviewing skills and networking speech.

Here are a few thoughts you should keep in mind when practicing your interviewing skills.

  1. Interviewers will rate your educational background and prior work experience. They will want to know if you have (a) the appropriate educational qualifications or training for the position and (b) acquired, in your previous work assignments, the skills and qualifications needed to succeed in the position.
  2. Employers may also test your knowledge of the company. Have you researched the company prior to the interview? Have you looked on the internet, including the company’s website, read their Twitter feed and Facebook account, looked up comments from former employees on glassdoor.com, and read the interviewer’s LinkedIn page?
  3. Interviewers will be interested in how well you will fit with the company culture. They will be interested in your personality, manner, attitude and whether you made a good first impression. Be yourself and let your personality and charisma shine. You want to project a warm, open and accepting attitude that attracts others.
  4. Keep in mind that potential employers may want a candidate who works effectively with other. Are you able to convey to an interviewer that you have outstanding interpersonal relationship abilities and perception? Do you have an exceptional ability to organize your thoughts and make decisions which exhibit sound judgment and common sense? Are you a self-starter who can motivate others but recognize that there are times when team work is best?
  5. Do not forget your S*T*A*R* stories. Depending on the story you choose, you will be able to demonstrate to a prospective employer that you have the technical skills necessary for the position, good team building and interpersonal skills, a high degree of initiative, good management skills, a high level of customer service abilities, your greatest strengths, and the value that you will bring to the company. “S” stands for situation. You must describe the situation with enough detail so that the interviewer understands the specific event that was at issue.
    “T” is the task you needed to accomplish.
    “A” is the action that you took to accomplish the task.
    “R” are the results that you achieved. The results do not have to be yours alone if you worked with a group to resolve the task.

Perhaps most importantly, the holidays offer the perfect opportunity to establish new connections and refresh your existing network. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google to reconnect with distant relatives, former co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates and friends and to expand your network. Expand your network by meeting new people at holiday parties and  your child’s year end school play or holiday concert.

Do not let the gifts of the season pass you by.

Now, get to it . . .

 

Interview Preparation Exercise

In order to get the job you want you will have to master the interview process. Think of the interview as a buyer and seller relationship or interaction. You are selling your services to a company willing to pay you for your skills and experience.

An interview consists of five opportunities. First, establishing rapport and creating a favorable impression with the interviewer/hiring manager.

smiling interviewee

Second, obtaining a detailed description of the position and ideal candidate. Third, if you obtained a detailed description of the position and ideal candidate, you now know the employer’s specific needs and can share the benefits of hiring you. In other words, you will have the specific information you need to prove to and persuade the interviewer that you are the ideal candidate for the position.

Fourth, asking the interviewer/hiring manager if she has any  concerns about hiring you. By doing this you are creating an opening to share specific information to overcome and neutralize any objections to your candidacy through targeted STAR stories.

STAR stories are an interviewing technique for responding to behavioral job interview questions. The premise behind the behavior job interview is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance. With that said:

  • “S” stands for situation. You must describe the situation with enough detail so that the interviewer understands the specific event that was at issue.
  • “T” is the task you needed to accomplish.
  • “A” is the action that you took to accomplish the task.
  • “R” are the results that you achieved. The results do not have to be yours alone if you worked with a group to resolve the task.

Fifth and finally, taking the opportunity to look the interviewer/hiring manager in the eye and ask for the job.

Interviewing does not come naturally to most of us and practice is absolutely necessary. Below is an exercise you can do with two friends to simulate an interview and improve your interviewing skills:

1. Each person plays a part. You are the interviewee, one friend acts as an interviewer and the other friend observes the interview. You can do this exercise with one friend but the friend will have to play the roles of interviewer and observer.
2. You provide the interviewer with a job lead (description of a position that you are interested in)
3. You are interviewed by the interviewer for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. The interviewer can ask you questions based on the job lead or ask “typical” interview questions such as:
  • What interests you about this position?
  • Why should we hire you? and
  • Why are tennis balls yellow?
5. The observer completes an interview evaluation/feedback form that rates you (the interviewee) on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) in the following areas of interviewing skill:
  • Professional Presentation
    • appropriately dressed
    • firmly shook hands with interviewer before and after interview
    • maintained good eye contact with interviewer
    • energy level and enthusiasm
    • greeted interviewer by name, spoke clearly
    • thanked interviewer
    • stayed calm and responded to questions promptly but not hurriedly

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  • Articulation of Professional Skills and Experience
    • answered questions completely yet briefly
    • emphasized qualifications, transferable skills, experience, STAR stories
6. When the interview is over, the interviewer and observer give you (the interviewee) their critique. The three of you discuss ways in which you can improve your interviewing skills.
Good luck!