The following is the introduction to my new book Active Interviewing-Branding, Selling, and Presenting Yourself to Win Your Next Job. The book will be published August 25th,2011 by Cengage-
“There are more than 3,000 interview books listed on Amazon and 105 million hits on Google for the phrase “job interview.” Does the world need another interview book? Do you? I think you do, but why?
There are two important reasons. The first is that good candidates like you are losing jobs they should be landing due to poor interview performance. Many candidates try to prepare for interviews, but their preparation is inadequate. They make job-losing errors, or their interview performance is average or poor[md]not enough to land a competitive job. Even with all the available information, candidates continue to commit more mistakes in the interview than in any other stage of the job-search process.
Over the course of a year, I speak with thousands of job seekers about job searches and, more specifically, about their interviews. Almost every job seeker I speak with is anxious about interviewing[md]they don’t look forward to being interviewed, and once their interview is over, they don’t think they did their best. This demonstrates that the books available today simply do not have the appropriate high-level information and strategies to help candidates prepare for and perform well in interviews and win jobs over stiff competition.
The second reason, related to the first, is that I’m tired of reading the same old interview advice over and over again, with no new information to help candidates compete in today’s competitive job market. Over the past four to five years, I have read everything I can find about job interviews. The majority of the information is about how to answer specific interview questions, which is helpful but totally insufficient to win interviews. The rest of the information is basic[md]bits about how to show up on time, have a good handshake, dress well, make eye contact, turn off your cell phone, be enthusiastic, be likable, not talk too much or too little, and so on. This book is based on an entirely new, tested, and dramatically effective approach to interviews, Active Interviewing -treating the interview as a sales call and developing an interview presentation to help you actively sell yourself as the best candidate for the job. Using a sales approach and developing an interview presentation has helped hundreds of candidate win their interviews and land jobs. Active Interviewing is new, innovative, and targeted toward landing a job in today’s hyper-competitive job marketplace.
I have worked with 1000s of individuals in job transition individually and in groups helping them with all phases of job search from resumes through compensation negotiation. Specializing in interview training, I have coached clients from entry level to CEO to prepare for interviews using everything from practice mock interviews through video training. After working with many clients it became painfully apparent to me that the interview process is broken, hiring managers are not good interviewers, and candidates make a lot of interview errors even after expert training-a radical new approach was necessary. I read a lot of books and reviewed the most popular training programs looking for a fix to no avail- well trained clients continued to lose jobs they should have landed. All the books and training programs stopped at the interview door and did not penetrate the interview itself. I came to the realization that that clients and hiring managers needed a tool or a strategy that altered the basic dynamics of the interview- something that was not blocked by the interview door.
Active Interviewing is the answer to improving the interview from the inside. A structured sales approach and a well delivered interview presentation fixes job interviews for both the candidate and the hiring manager. An interview presentation, the cornerstone of Active Interviewing, is the only tool a candidate prepares and brings with them into the interview to help them win the job. Candidates are no longer passive and hiring managers welcome the information that helps them make good hiring decisions. Once I began training my clients in Active Interviewing they began feeling more prepared, more confident and landed more jobs- I knew I was on to something!
This book is not only about using Active Interviewing in job interviews; it is about helping you find a job you love and earning the money you deserve. It is about developing a set of skills that will help you win your next job interview and carry you throughout your career. Job searches and interviews are just one phase of career management. It is an ongoing process in which you are engaged every day of your working life. In this book, you will learn about personal branding, identifying problems that need to be solved, developing presentation skills, storytelling, communicating your personal success factors, listening, and winning interviews. These are all important career-management skills.
“When it rains, most birds head for shelter; the Eagle is the only bird that, in order to avoid the rain, starts flying above the cloud.” Unknown
As I mentioned, this book is not about how to dress and shake hands correctly; it is about active higher-level strategies and tactics that will differentiate you and help you win job interviews. None of what you will read will require an extraordinary level of expertise in skills such as sales and giving presentations. You will learn how to use basic sales skills (which you have) and basic presentation skills (which you have) to vastly improve your interview performance. However, this book will challenge you to approach interviews more assertively, with a proactive rather than a reactive mindset. It will challenge you to take charge of your interviews and make sure you perform well. And, it will challenge you to take a broken interview process and fix it to your advantage.
“Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.”
-Don Draper, Mad Men
Active Interviewing, is different, out-of-the-box thinking. Thus, it is bold and not for everyone. Many candidates are more comfortable staying with the tried-and-true and are concerned that by straying off the well-worn interview path, they risk losing the job opportunity. In a sense, I agree with these candidates-using a bold and audacious approach will doom an uncomfortablecandidate to failure. However, for candidates who are comfortable with doing something unique and different, being bold and audacious differentiates them, impresses the interviewer, displays their comfort with being innovative, and vastly improves their odds of winning the interview. So, to paraphrase Dirty Harry, “Do you feel bold and audacious, candidate? Well, do you?”
“I am convinced that the presentation won the day for me. I so impressed a skeptical hiring manager with my interview presentation that he told me he was recommending me for the job when we completed the last page. He complimented me three times during the presentation as to its value in an interview. The presentation was a roadmap for me to follow during our discussion. It helped me keep on track and ensured that I covered all the points to demonstrate my value and get the job offer.”
Mark, management professional
I have written this book so it will be of value regardless of your experience level. The basic Active Interview approaches and techniques remain the same for every experience level; only the content changes. For example, the interview-presentation template format remains the same for entry-level candidates and CEO candidates. The only difference will be the level of experience and the type of job requirements communicated by the presentation. Both entry-level candidates and CEO candidates benefit from selling themselves in interviews. Think about it: Whether a car salesperson is selling a Ford or a Mercedes, the basic sales skills remain the same[md]only the product’s features (and cost) change.
No career coach, recruiter, training program, or interview book can guarantee you a job. However, using the Active Interview approach you will learn in this book, I will guarantee four important things:
* You will be fully prepared for your interviews.
* You will have an excellent interview presentation to use in your interview.
* You will be far more confident and less anxious going into your interviews.
* When the interview is over, you’ll feel like you did a good job, and you’ll be proud of your performance.
An impressive guarantee for an interview book, wouldn’t you agree?”