13 Good Reasons Why You Need a Printed Interview Presentation

May 7, 2012

active interviewing

“Men trust their ears less than their eyes.”
Herodotus, Greek historian

A printed presentation works terrifically well in an interview in many ways, including the following:
* A well-crafted printed presentation communicates that you are well prepared and highly motivated for the interview.
* It clearly differentiates you from other candidates.
* It shows your ability to assemble and communicate pertinent information in a clear and succinct manner.
* It demonstrates important job-related behaviors[md]presenting information and then responding to questions.
* It contains the information the hiring manager needs to know to make an informed hiring decision.
* The visual nature of the presentation increases the hiring manger’s retention and your persuasiveness.
* A presentation reduces the hiring manager’s FUD level and makes it easier for her to hire you.
* It serves as a powerful leave-behind that the interviewer can refer to as she begins to compare candidates.

In addition, according to David Peoples, author of Presentations Plus (Wiley, 1992), using visual aids results in:
* The audience being 43 percent more likely to be persuaded.
* The presenter covering the same material in 25 to 40 percent less time.
* The listener’s learning improving up to 200 percent.
* Retention improving by 38 percent.
* The presenter being perceived as more professional, persuasive, credible, and interesting and better prepared.

Why should your presentation be in printed form and not electronic form? Using a laptop or projecting a presentation interferes with eye contact and rapport during an interview. Each bullet point in your presentation should be very brief- no more than 170 characters- and quickly read. The goal is to introduce a topic, speak to it, initiate a conversation, and not have the interviewer distracted by reading the information. Also, even in today’s electronic age, there is still something about having a printed and bound document that communicates credibility and professionalism.


Interviewing? Know What Your Selling!

March 5, 2012

active interviewingWhat Are You Selling?

Most job seekers can easily classify their professional identity and what their services generally include- for example, they may be an IT project manager, a banquet chef, a state representative legislative aide, a stockbroker selling energy stocks, a brand manager for consumer packaged goods, or an accountant. However, most job seekers do not sufficiently define the full range of services they provide, including intangibles that make them successful at the job. In addition to high-quality services, in a competitive marketplace intangible success factors differentiate you from your competition.

Services, Features, and Benefits

In defining your services, think like a business. What is the full range of features and benefits you offer? One business might differentiate itself by promising outstanding customer service, or it might offer a highly specialized component of the service that other companies do not have. One business might offer the base service but have ancillary services that add value and tip the buying decision in its favor. For example, a veterinarian might provide excellent pet care but may also have a mobile van for house calls.

What is the full range of base and add-on services you provide? For example, one of my clients was applying for a position as a manufacturing-plant manager. The position to which he was applying did not include reading blueprints or managing construction in the job description; however, during his interview he spoke about how he learned to read blueprints and manage construction contractors after having been involved in building a plant. The interviewer told him, “That’s great! We’re not currently building, but we anticipate that within 18 months, we will be expanding our current plant or building a new plant.” My client was hired

As another example, a client was applying for a staff accounting position. During his interview, he spoke about having been involved in evaluating, selecting, and implementing an accounting system. The posted job requirements did not include selection and implementation of accounting systems; however, coincidently, the company was beginning to consider purchasing an accounting system. My client was hired.


Are You an Expert? Probably, So Say So!

February 23, 2012

active interviewingWhen I’m helping clients with resumes and preparing them for interviews, I often get into a debate about using the word “expert.” Clients are concerned about overstating their skill and experience, coming off as immodest or arrogant, and turning off the hiring manager. But there is a difference between being the expert and being an expert. I contend that anyone with three or more years of experience in a profession is probably an expert.

Dictionary.com defines an expert as “a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority.” This is differentiated from a novice, who is “new to any science or field of study or activity or social cause and is undergoing training to meet normal requirements of being regarded a mature and equal participant.”

Marie-Line Germain, assistant professor of human resources and leadership at Western Carolina University, developed a measure of perception of employee expertise called the Generalized Expertise Measure (GEM). Ask yourself whether you meet the following criteria for being an expert. Borrowing a line from a well-known comedian, you might be an expert if:

     *     You have knowledge specific to a field of work.

     *     You have the education necessary to be an expert in the field.

     *     You have the qualifications (certifications, licensure) required to be an expert in the field.

     *     You have been trained in the area of expertise.

     *     You are ambitious about your work.

     *     You can assess whether a work-related situation is important.

     *     You are capable of improving yourself.

     *     You can deduce things easily from work-related situations.

     *     You are intuitive in the job.

     *     You have the drive to become what you are capable of becoming in your field.

     *     You are self-assured.

     *     You are self-confident about your profession.

Using these criteria, the term “expert” can be applied to any job. A janitor can be an expert at janitorial services, just as a lawyer can be an expert at criminal law. If you qualify as an expert in your field, include that in your self-image and your brand and communicate your expert status to the world and your interviewer.

Active Interviewing

Go to http://www.activeinterviewing.com to learn how to sell in your interview


Are You Using a Success Story to Win Your Interview?

February 6, 2012

Our Stories Define Who We Are

Our stories define who we are. Our sense of identity is forged by the stories we tell ourselves and share with others. The success stories of our careers tell about the defining moments when we were at our best, using our strengths, and contributing in meaningful ways. Our stories build and communicate our brand.

Most of us have multiple examples of career successes. The key is to understand that a career or job success is not defined by its size or financial value, but rather by how we feel about it and its contribution to the organization. One person’s success story might be about turning around a corporation, saving millions of dollars, and getting his profile in Forbes magazine. Another person’s success story might be about helping a troubled student feel more confident in school and having him progress to the next grade. Interestingly, both these success stories probably depend on many of the same personal success factors, including creativity, persistence, courage, hope, persuasion, and leadership.

When my clients write success stories, they come alive. They remember the times they felt productive and were fulfilling their purpose in their careers. They become energized and get in touch with the skills and strengths they enjoy using in their jobs. Some realize that they are doing what they love, while others are reminded of things they need to return to. Regardless, the stories are important statements of the contributions they have made in the past and indications of contributions they can make in the future[md]if they have done it once, they can do it again.

When telling your success stories, you have energy, enthusiasm, and confidence, and you feel a sense of pride. You are persuasive, engaging, and interesting- all the qualities you want to bring to your interviews! Telling success stories in your interviews will help you differentiate yourself, will impress the interviewer, and will make you memorable.

Active Interviewing

Go to http://www.activeinterviewing.com to learn how to develop interview stories


Are You Leaving Hiring Managers in the Dark and Losing Job Opportunities?

January 24, 2012

Turn On The Light

Don’t Let Hiring Managers Guess about Hiring You

The traditional interview consists of a question-and-answer format resulting in the hiring manager putting together the information she has heard and making a decision (guess) about which candidate to hire. But why let the hiring manager come to her own conclusion? Following your interview(s), the hiring manager should have a clear picture of why hiring you is a good idea- because you have told her exactly why!

Part of your interview preparation is developing a list of the benefits the company will get from hiring you. These benefits are even more powerful if they differentiate you from the competition. Going into an interview with this list of benefits will help you be focused and more confident. However, this list is of value only if you share it with the hiring manager.

Why Hire Me?

During your interview- typically toward the end- make a clear statement about why the company should hire you. This statement combines your features with the benefits the company will get from those features. The benefits are based 100 percent on the company’s needs as you have identified them during the interview process.

“As we discussed, I have six years of experience selling office equipment in this territory [feature]. This means I have established relationships with customers and I know the competition [feature]. Based on my knowledge and experience, I can establish a productive sales pipeline within three months and meet or exceed my sales goals within six months [benefit].”

“As I mentioned, I have worked on public relations campaigns for major companies, including Fancy Electronics and Electronics Shack [feature]. For both of these companies, I was responsible for a wide range of public relations activities, including print and industry shows [feature]. Based on this experience, I can help your company sell to larger clients and then make sure the public relations activities are delivered with a high level of quality and impact [benefits].”

“As I have described, I am good at acquiring and evaluating information accurately [feature]. I will be effective in quickly evaluating the marketing department and determining immediate measures to improve their performance [benefit].”

“We have discussed that I express ideas clearly both verbally and in writing [feature]. This will enable me to implement a new healthcare plan that will be of benefit to the employees and will save the company money [benefit].”

When you make these statements, the hiring manager will understand why hiring you is a good idea; she won’t have to guess. In addition, being clear about the benefits you will deliver is a further display of your knowledge of the company and the job.

Active Interviewing

Active Interviewing helps communicate why you should be hired


How Good are Your Interview Questions?

January 4, 2012

Asking Good Questions Fixes Your Interview

“There isn’t a pat answer anymore to this world, so the best we can do for students is to have them ask the right questions.” Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Syracuse University

One of the primary reasons why people fail on jobs is that they take a job with an improper understanding of what the job entails. They don’t realize that the job requires as much travel as it does or that it requires very long hours during certain times of the year. They don’t know what skills are actually required or that they will have limited supervision or training. Maybe they are thinking account management, and the job is actually sales or project management. You can fix this missing information and these misconceptions by asking good questions, paying close attention to the answers, and asking follow-up questions. Asking good questions often clarifies the position in the hiring manager’s mind as well, which supports your candidacy for the position.Leaving the interview with unanswered objections will doom your chances for winning the interview and getting the job. Asking the best interview question of all time can save your interview by reducing the hiring manager’s fear uncertainty and doubt and clearing the way for you to be the candidate of choice. Asking good questions has the following benefits:

*     It demonstrates a high level of interview preparation and motivation.
*     It demonstrates a critical job-success skill- asking good questions.
*     It helps expose concerns about hiring you and allows you to correct misconceptions.
*     It creates additional opportunities for quality conversations.
*     It demonstrates your knowledge of the industry, company, and job- increasing your credibility.
*     It addresses one of interviewers’ primary criticisms of candidates- lack of questions.

 

Active Interviewing

Go to http://www.activeinterviewing.com to learn how to ask good questions

 

 

 

 


Are You Mis-Representing Your Brand? Shame on You!

December 5, 2011

Your Brand Has to Stand Up to Scrutiny

“Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity.” William Shakespeare

Imagine a company trying to claim a false brand- Philip Morris claiming health, BP claiming safety and corporate responsibility, or Facebook claiming privacy. It wouldn’t work, and it would actually hurt their image. I have led team-building meetings where people shared with their co-workers what they thought their personal brand was. Many got nods of agreement, but many got puzzled looks and even expressions of derision: “Yeah, sure- in your dreams.”

For your brand to be of value, it has to be authentic and true. If you want your brand to be that of a caring leader, you must actually care about people and have good leadership skills. If you want your brand to be as a reliable and trustworthy co-worker, you must be dependable and not break confidences. Everyone wants a positive brand, but you can’t have a positive brand simply by declaring it- you have to deserve it. False personal branding is exposed quickly, resulting in an even worse brand.

During interviews, be prepared with stories and examples that support your brand. If you declare yourself a good communicator, have examples of using communication to achieve a success, and be sure you communicate well during the interview. If you brand yourself an expert[md]which you probably are have stories and examples that support your expertise.

Here is an example of a well-supported brand: One of my clients sold large, expensive medical devices, including MRI machines to hospitals. When developing an interview presentation, he chose the personal brand word “competitive” as one of the terms to represent his brand. I asked, “Joe, every salesperson brands himself as competitive. How are you going to prove your competitive brand?” He replied, “Eric, let me tell you how competitive I am. When I sell large medical equipment, I only have a few competitors. So when I go into a sales situation, I study the hospital to which I am selling, and I study the salespeople against whom I am competing. I know their strengths, weaknesses, track records, and employment history. So not only do I sell to the hospital, but I sell against my competition. In at least two situations, my competition did so poorly that they fired their entire sales staff[md]that’s how competitive I am.” I was convinced!

Active Interviewing

Go to http://www.activeinterviewing.com to learn about using branding in interviews


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