Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Robert's Job Interview - Case Study #1

Robert was a 60 year old professional that had been living and working overseas for the last 5 years. Family matters forced him to return to the United States. As such, he began a new career search that would allow him to work closer to his extended family. He had years of experience, solid references, and was highly educated. He had discovered our firm and wanted to take advantage of the mock interview, cover letter review, and resume review.
Robert made the call
He was concerned about the following:

-His age. He knew that in a hyper-selective economy, his age could be a detriment.

-His resume. How would he put 40 years of achievements on one page?

-His interview skills. He had not interviewed in years and was unsure of himself.

During the Mock Interview I discovered several weaknesses:

1)      Robert’s “You Statement” failed to highlight his 40+ years of experience and failed to “sell to the position.”

2)      His answers to my questions were not specific and seemed to ramble on. He spent far more time talking than I did.

3)      He failed to mention how he incorporated current technology into his daily routine. One reason employers are hesitant to hire older workers is the fear that they cannot and will not embrace technology.

4)      Robert knew very little about the mock company that he was interviewing with. This is a giant mistake. He needed to spend some time researching the company. This made him seem unprepared and lazy.

We also discussed some strategies for condensing a 40 year career into a one page resume (Create a 10-year resume and include accomplishments- not job descriptions).  Our firm also discovered some weaknesses on his cover letter that needed attention (he made mention of a possible return date overseas).
Work here

Interview Tutor
Professional Career Services
Worcester MA

 There were a few other minor weaknesses in Robert’s Interview that were uncovered and his overall score was 62% out of a possible 100%. The bad news for Robert was that his score was not that good. The good news was that he found out about these things during a mock interview-not during the real thing. Prior to his consultation with Interview Tutor, Robert was unaware of his interview weakness. Robert now had time to work on his weaknesses before he began his round of real-world interviews.



Monday, November 17, 2014

The "You Statement" and the most important two minutes of your job interview.

Without fail, during your next interview, the hiring manager will say; 
So, tell me about yourself. 
OK, so you know they will ask this question. There is NO WAY they won't ask you this. Its almost like cheating. You know this questions is coming. When you hear it come out of his mouth, inside you smile because you have inside information. You knew.
If that is the case (and I do believe that to be the case), why do so many interview candidates blow it when asked this? Allow me to help.
In my view, this is the most critical point of your interview. This is your chance to really impress. The next two minutes can change your life! I just can’t stress enough how important it is to answer this question correctly. I refer to your answer as the “You Statement”.

Your “You Statement” should include:

No Problem
 -A brief personal history  

 -A brief work history

 -A brief educational history

 -Why you want this position

 -Why you are qualified for the position

 -Energy and enthusiasm

 -Eye contact

 -A smile

 -An open posture



Your “You Statement” should not include:

 -Negative statements

 -Poor speech (ums, like, you know…)



 -Soft talking

 -Long-winded details

 -A closed posture


Your “You Statement” should be rehearsed. You should know well in advance how you will answer this most important question. You should practice this and be able to deliver this “You Statement” with ease and confidence. Even though you may rehearse your answer, you will want to deliver your answer in a way that seems natural. It’s ok to pause for a few seconds before answering to demonstrate that you are thinking about your reply. It is also recommended to insert a few strategic pauses into your statement as well – this also demonstrates a thoughtful reply. 

I also believe you should keep your reply to less than two minutes in length. I have interviewed many long-winded candidates that just turned me off with their long reply. There is a fine line between informing someone and boring someone. A long reply can bore and annoy. Being able to make a point quickly is a very desirable trait that you can demonstrate while delivering your "You Statement."

2 Minutes!

Richard Bolles wrote in his best-selling Job-Hunting guide What Color is Your Parachute? that you are most likely to get hired if you talk half the time and the interviewer talks half the time. On the other hand, if you talk 90 percent of the time, or if the interviewer talks 90 percent of the time, things are not likely to go so well for you. Sound advice.
Be prepared to “hit one over the fence” when asked this question. Think about your answer. Time it. Practice it. Record yourself saying it and listen to yourself.  This will be the most important two minutes of your interview and if executed properly, could change your life!
Interview Tutor
Professional Career Services
Worcester, MA

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans, don't let these 5 traits go unnoticed during your job interview!

In honor of all the men and women who have served our great county, this post is for you!

One of your challenges during a job interview is to successfully communicate how your previous experiences relate to the position you are seeking. The transition from military to civilian workforce is not an easy task. This can be particularly difficult for most military veterans whose duties don't easily transfer over to the civilian workforce. Some of your duties and work environments were so drastically different than those in the private sector, how would you possibly make any sort of connection between the two?

Decorated Veteran
Well regardless of your position in the military, I believe the five traits below can be an asset to any civilian workplace. Your mission is to ensure that you communicate these to the hiring manager during a job interview. Below are five traits that you posses as a veteran and some ways to communicate them during an interview.
1.) Leadership - Very early in your military career, some of you were thrust into leadership positions. Quite possibly in the first few days of basic training or officer training school, you became an instant leader. That particular experience didn't necessarily make you a good leader, but you found out in a hurry what leading might look like. Also, as you advanced in your military years, leadership courses were routinely taught and some were even mandatory to make rank. Lastly, most military folks were fortunate to be surrounded by a great leader or two during their time in the military. So, you know what a good leader looks and acts like. Just seeing a great leader in action has its benefits.
Possible application: "During my ____ years in the military, I eventually lead a team of _____ that was responsible for_______________. "(you fill in the blanks). 

2.) Teamwork - Odds are, you learned very quickly that selfish behavior was not the path to success and acceptance in the military. From your military experience, you understand that each individual had a specific job to do, you were highly trained, and if done well, the entire team won. "Service before self" became a not just a saying, but how to conducted yourself in order for the team to succeed.
Possible application: "One of the things I enjoyed most about the _________ (your branch of service) was the camaraderie. I really enjoyed working with my comrades and being on a winning team." 

3.) Punctuality - While you were in the military, you were not simply on time-you were early! The unwritten rule in the military is that you arrive not on time, but 15 minutes early. Show up late while in the military and you could spend some time in jail. How many private employees could potentially go to jail for being late! The bottom line is that you show up, slightly early, every day, without fail. That is what I call dependability.
Possible application: "I am extremely dependable. One of the biggest lessons that I learned from my military experience was the importance of being on-time. When you are late, you let your team down."

Fighting Falcon

4.) Respect for authority - All veterans understand "the chain of command".  It meant maximum respect your immediate supervisor and the chain of supervision above them. You never broke the chain without repercussions.
Possible application: Just continue to maintain your military bearing! (Yes sir, no sir, please, thank you.)

5.) Cool under pressure - We all make mistakes. But for many professionals in the military, a mistake could cost you valuable equipment, bodily harm, or even loss of life. Now that is pressure! Not that the pressures in the civilian sectors aren't intense, but nothing like the pressures that you faced in the military. These experiences can really make you as cool as a cucumber in the civilian world. When you are calm, you make better decisions. This is an awesome trait to posses.
Possible application: "I was put into many stressful situations during my time in the military. I feel that those experiences have made me better equipped to handle stress. (feel free to give an example).

So, if you are a veteran engaged in a civilian  job hunt, don't be discouraged that your talents won't transfer over. You have several amazing traits that you were probably not even aware of. The key here is to:
A.) Recognize these traits (you probably have more than the 5 above).
B.) Be able to highlight these traits as you interview.

Put some of these traits into your "you statement" (more about the "you statement" later).  Work these into your presentation. If you let the interview end without touching on these traits, you are missing a golden opportunity. Trust me, employers are always looking for people that posses traits like these.

Good luck vets!

Interview Tutor
Professional Career Services
340 Main Street
Worcester MA


Sunday, November 2, 2014

10 things I know about your next job interview:

Preparation = Success

10. You will need to sell it!      
If you can’t sell your skills, accomplishments, and your potential, you will be overlooked more often than not. You need not become a fanatical "used car" salesperson, but you must be able to promote yourself. You need to be able to tactfully describe how perfect you are for the position.
 9. Your degree and experience will not automatically get you a job offer.
We've all been there. Discovered the perfect position for us in the want ads, on-line, or from a friend. We think, "this position was tailor-made for me! I have everything they are looking for!" However, in a competitive job market, you must display intangibles to include; likability, professionalism, positivity, as well as the basic qualifications. Furthermore, you may get the nod over a more qualified candidate based upon your passion, energy, and enthusiasm.
8. You will need to make a great first impression.
When your grandfather got his first job, the first impression he made was critical. The same holds true for you today. One thing that technology has not changed is the importance of your first impression. A firm handshake, a smile, small talk, and your appearance all matter-greatly.
 7. Most likely, someone will ask; "So, tell me about yourself..."
The next 2 minutes can change your life. When asked, “tell me about yourself”, you should be well prepared to use two minutes (no more) to tell how your past has helped make you the perfect candidate for the position. Make your point quickly. Most candidates shoot themselves in the foot by talking too much or talking about the wrong things. I call the answer to this question your "you statement." Your "you statement" should be a finely tuned response.
 6. You will be more successful, if you sell to the position.
Do your homework. Understand the position and the company. Craft your responses so that they relate to the position and the company. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. They want to fill the open position with a candidate that been on a collision course with this opportunity for years. 
5. You should be specific.
Be prepared to discuss very specific accomplishments from your past. Potential employers want to know how you have made specific contributions. Be prepared with at least 3 specific accomplishments that can demonstrate how you are better than the rest. Discussing your specific accomplishments and contributions are far more impressive than talking about your prior job duties. Make your points quickly and don't ramble.
 4. Your energy and enthusiasm will take you far.
Sometimes energy and enthusiasm can trump experience and education. The hiring manager is looking not only for specific skills, but a solid addition to a team. If you show passion for a position, the interviewee will take notice.
3. The person that is interviewing you will be nervous too.
If the hiring manager makes a bad hire, it will be painful for him and the company.  You are not the only nervous party here. Take a deep breath and relax! You should view this interview as an opportunity, not a chore. 
2. If you are prepared, you won't be nervous.
Through preparation you gain confidence. As your confidence grows, you look forward to the interview and the associated opportunity! Its understandable that you are nervous. Even the coolest cat can become a nervous wreck prior to an interview that could lead to a life changing opportunity. As the saying goes, 90% of any job is the preparation. Get yourself prepared.

Ace your interview

1. If you are invited back, it was because of your interview skills. 
Anyone with mediocre interview skills can find a mediocre job. But, to find a position that is truly awesome, and potentially life-changing, you will need to have awesome interview skills. These are skills that can be improved upon. Contact me to learn how my service can help you develop interview skills that can set you apart from the others.

  Interview Tutor
Professional Career Services