A Good Interview Requires a Good Job Description

September 5, 2012

The decision to purchase any item or service depends upon a set of requirements that must be met before the item or service is acquired. Think about your purchasing decisions- each one has a set of requirements that determines the item you select. Some requirements are set in stone; if the item does not meet the requirement, there will not be a purchase. Other requirements are things that are nice to have; if the item does not have them, you might still purchase the item. In other words, some requirements are critical while others are preferred or optional.

A job description is essentially a set of purchasing requirements, both critical and optional. Unfortunately, most job descriptions are poorly written and don’t provide the information a candidate needs to gain a deep understanding of the job, nor do they have enough detailed information to help a hiring team communicate the specific role that a new hire will fill. Providing a poorly developed job description to a candidate is like saying to a computer salesperson, “We want to buy a computer that does the work we need it to do. Got one?”

A Good Job Description

Once you know the elements of a good job description, you will know a good one when you read one. You will also recognize a bad job description when you read one. A good job description is based on a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job and states the nature of work, tasks to be done, skills expected, responsibilities and duties to be fulfilled, educational eligibility, qualifications needed, and other specifications related to the job. A good job description has the elements discussed in the following sections.

Job Description

*     The job title

*     The nature of the job

*     Job type: full-time or part-time

*     Location of the office

*     Salary and benefits

*     Physical demands

Education and Specifications

This covers qualifications and prior experience in the particular field that the applicant must have to be successful in the job, which may include:

*     Education level

*     Diploma and vocational training

*     Experience in prior jobs

*     Number of years of experience

Duties and Responsibilities

This covers major areas of responsibility and roles the candidate will play, including what the person in the position actually does, the primary goals and objectives of the position, and its overall contribution to the organization.

*     Managerial requirements

*     Supervisory level

*     Any corporate or individual objectives

*     Working conditions

*     Goals to be met

Skills and Knowledge

These are attributes the employer is looking for in a candidate to be successful in this job, including knowledge, skill, and abilities required to perform the job. These may include:

*     Communication skills

*     Networking skills

*     Analytical ability

*     Teamwork skills

*     The ability to deal with stress

*     Flexibility

*     Persistence

Look for these elements in a well-written and comprehensive job description. If the job description lacks these elements or is not sufficiently detailed, it becomes your task to find the job description details you need to sell yourself into the job.


In Job Interviews Find the Pain and Get the Job

June 20, 2012

Discovering the “Pain”

Many sales training programs instruct salespeople to look for the prospect’s “pain” points. Their contention is that customers are motivated to purchase services only if the service relieves a pain or problem. In many sales situations, the prospect knows the pain and is looking for a solution- for example, “My computer is broken. It can’t be repaired, and I need to purchase a new one.” In other situations, a salesperson has to identify the pain for a prospect and then sell her the solution: “Are you aware that your computer isn’t being backed up offsite to a secure location, and you could lose all your information? You need a backup service.” When you are buying something, consider what pain you are hoping to relieve.

Candidates can do both- sell to the obvious pain and identify additional pain points. The obvious pain is the company’s stated reasons for hiring- replacing a person who has left or staffing a new position. There are typically more subtle issues beneath the obvious reasons for hiring someone. Your task is to discover the subtle issues beneath the obvious ones and include these in your interview.

You already know how to discover the pain points: Ask good questions and listen. When interviewing with the hiring manager, listen for subtle statements related to pain points. For example, suppose you’re interviewing for a call-center supervisor position. In the interview, the hiring manager mentions that she spends so much of her time doing reports that she is not able to implement new money-saving programs that would make her look good. The obvious pain point is supervising the staff, but the subtle pain is all the time-sucking reporting. The first step is to gather more information about the reporting pain by asking, “What kinds of reports are required and how often?” When you have this information, talk about things you have done in your past related to reporting and how your experience with reports can save her time. This could be just the differentiator you need to win the position.

Consider that a hiring manager’s work pain may be related indirectly to personal issues. For example, a hiring manager might do a lot of traveling and thus sacrifice time with his family. If you can take some of the travel burden, he can spend time with his family, and you’ve addressed that pain. Once again, by asking good questions and listening, you can hear pain points that, if addressed, can be the pain reliever you can use to land the job.

The Best Pain of All
The best pain of all is the pain a hiring manager begins to feel when she thinks about working with someone other than you- another candidate who could be less than satisfactory, less efficient, less ethical, less timely, less friendly, less enthusiastic, and less able to solve her pain points. When you have done a great job of interviewing, the hiring manager will begin to experience this pain, and she will work hard to hire you. No one wants to hire number two, and she will negotiate with you to bring you onto her team. You are in your strongest negotiating position at this point in regard to compensation negotiations.

Are You A Commodity in the Employment Marketplace?

September 30, 2011

Keep Ahead of the Competition

Competition is Fierce

In a competitive and crowded marketplace, every product and service must differentiate itself. It is not enough to be simply as good as all the rest, because there are too many “all the rests” in the market. In addition, with easy access to cheap (or even free) Internet advertising, there is a great deal of advertising that makes differentiating services and determining buying decisions difficult- just think of all the pop-up ads you see online. In the employment marketplace, this is exemplified by the tens of thousands of job sites and hundreds of resumes submitted over the Internet in response to advertised jobs. To rise above the flood of advertising, successful companies establish powerful branding and distinct value-adds. You can adopt the same strategy to rise above the flood of your competition in the employment marketplace.

A value-add refers to an extra feature of a service that goes beyond the standard expectations and provides a more compelling reason to purchase. A value-add makes the service more desirable and positively influences the buying decision. However, a value-add has no value if it is not in addition to good service. Always having on-time delivery does not make a difference if the pizza tastes terrible.
The worst position for a service is to be a commodity. A service is a commodity when it is equivalent no matter who provides it. A provider of a commodity service is easily exchanged for another provider of the same service who offers a lower price. For example, many dry cleaners provide a commodity service. Customers will change to another dry cleaner if they can find one that costs less. In the employment marketplace, many employees[md]even mid- and senior-level employees[md]are commodities in that they provide a service that can be replaced easily. In bad economies, companies replace more expensive “commodity” employees with cheaper employees. Are you a commodity in the employment marketplace?

If you are a commodity, it will be difficult to differentiate yourself in interviews. However, most of us are not commodities we just have not deteremined out value-adds. To determine your value-adds:

Know Yourself

Take a complete inventory of your skills. Do not limit the inventory to skills applicable to the job for which you are interviewing; do a full inventory. This inventory should include skills connected to your job, interests, hobbies, and leisure activities. When you have a full inventory, you can choose which skills serve as value-adds for the job for which you’re applying.

Know Your Profession

Every profession has a number of areas of concentration and a large skill base. For example, within human resources, you might be applying to be a compensation manager. However, the human resources field has a number of other specialty areas and required skills, such as diversity management, employee retention, job-task analysis, and international employment. You might have experience in international employment, and even though you’re applying to be a compensation manager, having international employment experience could be a differentiating value-add for a multinational company or a company that is expanding internationally.

Once you have determined you value-ads, use an interview presentation to clearly communicate them in your interview. To learn more about value-ads in interviews go to Active Interviewing.

Read Active Interviewing to Learn More About Value-Ads

Read Active Interviewing to Learn More About Value-Ads

The Only Hiring Issue You Need to Know to Interview Your Best

June 15, 2011

There is only one hiring issue; your value to the company

ValueWhen a company or person purchases any product or service, they are looking for value. Nothing is purchased without the prospect of getting value from the purchase. More expensive items have greater value expectations. The same is true for hiring, the higher the salary the greater the value expectation.

The hiring process is to determine one thing, can you and will you deliver the expected value to the company. This is a two sided issue. One side, based on your background skills and experience, is can you deliver value to the company and the other side are you interested and motivated to deliver the value to this company.

During your interview always think value; what is your value to the company, how will you provide value, how will you provide more value than your competition, and how will you provide value quickly?


Use an interview presentation to communicate your value

Interviewing Strategies to Win Interviews

Learn the Strategies you Need to Know to Win Interviews

Here’s the Secret to Beating Your Competition and Winning your Next Job

May 11, 2011

People waiting for job interview

It's a long line

With our economy it is difficult to just get a job interview and with so many applicants interviewing for the same spots, it is important to find a way to edge out the competition and win the job.

Luckily, there is a new and inexpensive resource for job seekers to use when preparing and presenting themselves at their next interview; the iBest Presentation.

Job InterviewThe iBest Presentation, featured on InterviewBest.com, is an interview tool that assists job candidates to communicate their job specific qualifications and personal attributes during the job interview. Not only does it quickly and clearly show the interviewer how they fit each requirement, but also leaves a powerful impression of professionalism and enthusiasm for the job.

“It’s really designed to create a conversation,” said Eric Kramer career expert and creator of InterviewBest and the iBest Presentation. “The best interview you can have is a conversation rather than the typical interrogation.”

An interview is a sales call Kramer said that the design of the presentation is based on his belief that every interview is, essentially, a sales call. Therefore, Kramer said candidates should enter each interview with a sales style presentation that clearly answers the three main questions of all job interviews—can the candidate do the job well, are they motivated, and will they fit the company’s work environment.

The iBest Presentataion

The iBest Presentation

The iBest Presentation is a brief eight to ten pages in length, beginning with the requirements of the position and the candidate’s qualifications that directly match those requirements. The interviewer can read through the booklet to find the candidate’s personal strengths, career accomplishments, and a 30 and 60 day strategic action plan detailing the candidate’s initial goals. It finishes with a list of reasons the candidate should be hired and questions the candidate has for the interviewer.

Preparing for a job interview

How do I prepare?

When candidates walk into an interview, Kramer said only about 25 percent are fully prepared. He said that many do not do the necessary company research or prepare for difficult questioning. By creating the iBest presentation, Kramer said applicants walk in with a clearer assessment of the job, the company, and how they specifically fulfill the requirements of the position.

Janice Bilotti, who successfully used the iBest Presentation while interviewing for a Customer Service Supervisor position at Jones Apparel Group, said that the presentation enabled her to be prepared for the interview in addition to keeping her thoughts organized during the interview.

“iBest helps to make sure you cover the most important things that you want to discuss,”
she said, “because now it’s right there in writing and it organizes you during the interview as well as beforehand.”

Job InterviewBilotti introduced her presentation in the interview when the interviewer asked her to describe herself. Pulling out iBest, Bilotti said that she and the interviewer read through it, touching on the important points she felt the company needed to know about her qualifications.

“It keeps you focused,” she said. “It makes you talk about what you want to focus on when you’re having your interview with the company.”

Bilotti said that her presentation impressed both of the individuals who interviewed her, adding that she didn’t think they had seen anything like it before.

Winning a job interview

It's a win and a job

Bilotti got a call later that same day with a job offer.

In addition to the iBest Presentation, InterviewBest.com has information for anyone involved in the interview process including candidates and hiring managers. Information includes links and tips for things to do before, during, and after the interview. The site also includes information about how to conduct an interview and ways to improve the selection process.

To create an iBest Presentation, job-seekers can go to http://www.InterviewBest.com and find an easy-to-use program that automatically generates a presentation as they add text. Included are expert libraries with phrases or words suggested for use in presentations. These libraries make developing an iBest quick and efficient. Once the presentation is made, users can either print it at home or take it to a local office supply store for professional binding.

Bilotti said that she would use the iBest Presentation in any future interview due to the positive impact it had on her last one.

“…It sets you apart,” she said. “Very few people would even go to that point of having a presentation much less having one of this quality.”

iBest Presentation

Go to InterviewBest for a Free Trial of iBest


101 Successful Interview Strategies

Buy the book that will help you win your interview

Do You Know Your Competencies? You Should to Interview Your Best

March 11, 2011

High Performance

High Performance

Employers hire people based on their ability to perform a job. The ability to perform a job is based on the “competencies” a person brings to the position. What the heck are competencies and what do they have to do with interviewing?

Let’s start defining competencies by  doing some differentiation. Job descriptions typically list the tasks or functions and responsibilities for a role, whereas competencies list the abilities needed to conduct those tasks or functions. Thus, competencies are the basic skills you offer an employer and are independent of the specific job for which you are interviewing. Employers are primarily interested in your competencies and during the interview you should make sure the interviewer hears all about your outstanding competencies.

Here are the competencies you should be communicating:

time and moneyManaging Resources: Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources

  • Time – selects goal-relevant activities, ranks them, allocates time, and prepares and follows schedules
  • Money – Prepare budgets, makes forecasts, keeps records
  • Material and facilities – acquires, stores, allocates, and uses materials or space
  • Human resources – assesses skills and distributes work accordingly, evaluates performance and provides feedback

information Managing Information: Acquires and evaluates information

  • Acquires and evaluates information
  • Organizes and maintains information
  • Interprets and communicates information
  • Uses computers to process information

systemsUsing Systems: Manages complex relationships

  • Understands systems – knows how social, organizational, and technological systems work
  • Monitors and corrects performance – distinguishes trends, predicts impacts on system operations, diagnoses deviations in systems performance and corrects malfunctions
  • Improves or designs systems – suggests modifications to existing systems and develops new or alternative systems to improve performance

technologyUnderstanding Technology: Works with a variety of technologies

  • Selects technology – chooses procedures, tools, or equipment including computers and related technologies
  • Applies technology to task – understands intent and proper procedures for setup and operation of equipment
  • Maintains and troubleshoots equipment – prevents, identifies, or solves problems with equipment, including computers and other technologies

reading.writing.rithmetic Basic Skills: Reads, writes, performs arithmetic and mathematical operations, listens, and speaks

  • Reading – locates, understands, and interprets written information in prose and in documents such as manuals, graphs, and schedules
  • Writing – communicates thoughts, ideas, information, and messages in writing; and creates documents such as letters, directions, manuals, reports, graphs, and flow charts
  • Arithmetic/mathematics – performs basic computations and approaches practical problems by choosing appropriately from a variety of mathematical techniques
  • Listening – receives, attends to, interprets, and responds to verbal messages and other cues
  • Speaking – organizes ideas and communicates orally

thinkerThinking Skills: Thinks creatively, makes decisions, solves problems, visualizes, knows how to learn, and reasons

  • Creative thinking – generates new ideas
  • Decision making – specifies goals and constraints, generates alternatives, considers risks, and  evaluates and chooses best alternatives
  • Problem solving – recognizes problems and devises and implements plan of action
  • Visualizing – organizes and processes symbols
  • Knowing how to learn – uses efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills
  • Reasoning – discovers a rule or principle underlying the relationship between two or more objects and applies it when solving a problem

honesty,intergrity tee shirtPersonal Qualities: Responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, integrity, and honesty

  • Responsibility – exerting a high level of effort and perseveres towards goal attainment
  • Self-esteem – believes in own self-worth and maintains a positive self view
  • Sociability – demonstrates understanding, friendliness, adaptability, empathy, and politeness in group settings
  • Self-management – assesses self accurately, setting personal goals, monitoring progress, and exhibiting self-control
  • Integrity/honesty – chooses ethical courses of action

Here is the way to use this list-

  1. Think of those competencies which are most critical to the position for which you are applying. Be prepared to answer questions related to those competencies.
  2. Ask the  question, “What are the basic competencies a person has to have to be successful in this job?”
  3. Think of situations, on and off the job, where you used one of these competencies.  Write a brief description of the situation. During the interview, if you are asked a question where you can use an example of one  your competency do so.

Good interviews are based on a common understanding of the job and the skills a successful employee has to have. Thus, knowing about the competencies required to perform the job is critical for both the candidate and the hiring manager. Focusing on competencies assures a best “fit hiring” decision for both candidate and company.

InterviewBest helps organize and communicate competencies

InterviewBest helps organize and communicate competencies

You Better Be Presenting To Interview Your Best

September 13, 2010

Breaking NewsIt isn’t a news flash that job are scarce, competition is stiff and companies are more selective. Here is the news flash- there is a unique approach to preparing for and managing a job interview that will differentiate you, impress the interviewer, give you more confidence, and win the interview; a job interview presentation.

Imagine a structured tool that walks you through preparing for an interview, focuses your thinking about the critical requirements of the position, helps you develop a strategic action plan and then prints out a professional presentation that you can take to your interview. Would that tool improve your chances of acing the interview, you bet it does!

Here are some typical questions about using an interview presentation:


Who Controls the Job Interview?

Won’t it take control away from the interviewer and don’t they mind?
Let me answer this question with a question, who is in control of a sales call the salesperson or the customer? Neither, it is a shared responsibility of the salesperson and the customer to make sure the customer ends up with the best product or service to meet their need. The ultimate choice resides with the customer but the salesperson needs to do a great job presenting their product/service. Also, the customer has to give the salesperson the information and opportunity to do a great presentation. Every good salesperson goes into a sales call prepared to do an excellent sales presentation. Every customer expects the sales person to do a great sales presentation. Customers like good sales presentations it helps them make purchasing decisions. Clear enough? Interviewers like interview presentations, it gives them the information they need to make a hiring decision.

Public Speaking


I am not a good presenter, should I still use an interview presentation?
When used correctly, an interview presentation creates a powerful “hiring conversation”.  So even if you are not a skilled presenter, an interview presentation will be of great benefit. The presentation provides talking points and guides the interview to focus on content you want the interviewer to know. It also serves as a great leave behind.

How do I know what to put in the interview presentation?
Fortunately, this is the easiest part. Simply go to www.interviewbest.com and use the iBest Presentation tool to guide you through developing a presentation (full disclosure- this writer is affiliated with InterviewBest). It can take as little as 30-40 minutes to develop a professional presentation.

Risky Business

Take the Risk

So here is the big question; why aren’t more people using it?
Well it is new, it is different, it is not well know (hence this blog entry) and many people are hesitant to take a risk on a new approach to the old job interview. But think about it, doesn’t using a presentation in a job interview just make good sense? And where is the risk? Develop a presentation, get the great preparation, and then decide whether or not to use it in the interview.

An interview presentation is a new “technology” you can apply to the job interview. Walking into an interview and putting a professional presentation on the table lets the interviewer know you are prepared, motivated, professional and qualified. All the information they need to say “your hired”.

Interview Presentation

Present to Interview Your Best