Saving an Interview and Landing a Job

January 23, 2013

With an Interview Presentation This Could Happen to You!

Joe, a senior salesperson for a digital machine company, was contacted by an executive recruiter about a position at another digital machine company. Joe was interested in the position and asked the recruiter to set up an appointment with Ron, the hiring manager. As is often the case with busy executives, finding a time to meet was difficult, and the meeting was rescheduled multiple times over several weeks. While Joe and Ron were finding a time to meet, Ron’s company identified an internal candidate and offered her the position.

Because Joe was a senior executive and Ron did not want to cancel again, Ron decided to meet with Joe even though the job had already been offered to an internal candidate who Ron believed would probably accept the job. The meeting was on a hot July day in the late afternoon in a hotel in Center City Philadelphia. Due to traffic and parking, both men arrived a little late, sweaty, and harried. Wanting to limit the interview time, upon sitting down Ron told Joe that he had a dinner with a client scheduled and that he had about 45 minutes to meet. Joe had prepared an interview presentation, and he said, “I’ve prepared a presentation about how my background and skills match the critical requirements of the job and why I’m a good candidate for the position. Because our time is short, maybe we can just go through presentation together.”

iBest Interview Presentation

Use a presentation to win your interview.

Ron was relieved to have Joe take the lead and not have to run a “lame duck” interview. Joe took Ron through the presentation page by page. Because he knew the industry, in the questions section Joe included a question about a challenge with which every digital machine company was struggling. Ron said, “We’re trying to come up with strategies for this problem- let me tell you some of our thinking.” Ron went and got a napkin and began to draw diagrams.

Forty-five minutes later, Joe and Ron were still discussing potential strategies to solve the problem. Did Joe get the job? No, he didn’t, because the internal candidate got it. However, Ron went back to his boss, showed him the interview presentation, and convinced him to create a position for Joe, which Joe took. Without the presentation, Joe and Ron would have met for 45 minutes, and Joe would’ve been forgotten as soon as Ron’s dinner started. The presentation gave Joe a way to structure the interview and present information he wanted Ron to know in a brief amount of time, and it gave Ron a printed document to show his boss. The presentation was an interview- and life-changer for Joe.

 

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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.


Did You Know That Actively Selling Yourself Wins Interviews?

April 16, 2012

Companies acquire talent the same way as they acquire any other service, and job seekers benefit by taking an active sales-oriented approach and using sales techniques in their job search. Using a sales approach will empower you to be more assertive, directed, and organized in your search. The more you use these skills, the more interviews you will be invited to. And the more interviews you have, the more interview practice you will get[md]and the more skilled you will become.

The benefits of using a sales approach include the following

*     You will have a well-defined service you are selling to the job marketplace and a strong set of marketing and sales documents.

*     You will be more focused on establishing a good sales process and less focused on the outcome of landing a job. Focusing on the process rather than the outcome will improve your chances of landing a job.

*     Companies know how to purchase services, and if you use a sales approach, it will be easier for them to purchase your services.

*     Many candidates have a hard time “bragging” about themselves in an interview. Selling is not bragging, and it will empower you to present your most commanding reasons for why you should be selected for the position.

*     You will have a better answer to questions regarding your strengths and weaknesses.

You have all the selling skills you need to do well in interviews, you just need to learn how to apply the skills!


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 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


Do you Differentiate Behavior From Performance to Win Your Interviews?

June 8, 2011

Behavior VS Performance

performance

Participating is not enough

It is not prior behavior that predicts success it is prior performance. Just because a candidate has done a task does not mean they have done it well. Most interviewers, including interviewers using “behavioral interviews”, ask questions and focus on the candidate’s past behaviors but do not adequately tap into performance- another indication of broken interviews.

To fix you interview, talk about your performance not just your behaviors. For example, question- “Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.”

Candidate “I was working with a team to determine if my company should submit a proposal for a $15MM piece of business. The business would have grown the company but we were not sure we had the internal systems and personnel to deliver on the project and failure with this high profile customer would have severely damaged our reputation and chances for further business. I developed a decision matrix which contained all the pertinent factors and used the matrix to make the decision.”

Where is the performance aspect? A better response,

“… I developed a decision matrix which contained all the pertinent factors and used the matrix to make the decision. The decision was to pass on the business. This decision turned out to be correct, saving the company a significant loss and positioning me as a thorough and logical problem solver. As a result, I received a nice year end bonus and was promoted to Director.”

Adding the performance element will differentiate you from other candidates that simply report their behaviors, impress the interviewer, and position you as a stronger candidate.

iBest Presentation

Use an interview presentation focus on performance

101 Interview Strategies

This book has the strategies you need to win interviews


Avoid Filler Language and Interview Your Best

April 14, 2011

Filler wordsAvoid filler language
Filler language is words that provide no meaning to what you are saying and weakens your message. As people get stressed, filler language tends to increase. Do away with any words that when dropped does not change the meaning of your message. Filler language includes;
* Um – Um, we um need to um move ahead um with this project.
* Uh – Uh, we uh need to uh move ahead uh with this project.
* Clearly – We clearly must make a decision about this.
* Actually – We actually went to his office to speak with him.
* To be honest – To be honest, I don’t agree with that approach.
* Like I said before – Like I said before, we are focusing on the problems.
* Well – Well, I don’t think we should go.
* I mean – I mean they were really good at the game.
* I guess – I guess it is time to begin.
* OK – After you complete this form return it to me, OK.
* Quite frankly – Quite frankly, I am not happy with the outcome.
* In fact – If, in fact, you have the authority.
* If you will – Making this decision is like pushing a rock up the hill, if you will.
* Like – It is like, when I went to the meeting like it was very apparent like people were not like going to be like in agreement.
* Sorta –  When I work at home its sorta like being on my own.
* Kinda – I want to show you something that is kinda strange.
* You know – I work well with teams and you know it’s good to be part of a you know strong team.

Read each of the above sentences without the filler language and you will see how much more direct and powerful the sentences become. During your interview avoid using filler language to sound more professional and become more persuasive.