Friday, December 11, 2015

The three question job interview

A very close  friend of mine is currently looking for a new position. He and I talk frequently and he shared his most recent interview experience with me. I found his story very interesting and I am sharing his adventures with you as a way to help in your job search. For the sake of this blog, I will call him Bob. Here is Bob's most recent adventure in job hunting:

Recently, Bob got invited in for a job interview at a local company. Bob was very excited because this company was close to home, paid well, and was in a growing industry. Bob spent several hours  preparing for the interview. He researched the company, knew about their history, their leadership, their market, and their products.
He even did some research on the person that would be conducting the interview. Through the magic of LinkedIn, he found out how long his interviewer had been at this company, where he went to school, and was able to see a picture of this individual. Bob felt like if he knew some background information about who he would be interviewing with it would make him more comfortable - I agree.
The day of the interview, Bob drove himself to his potential new employer. He arrived an hour early, surveyed what was in the local vicinity and parked in the lot and began to ask himself questions. Bob had taken a list of 50 possible interview questions with him. For the next 45 minutes, he asked himself questions, and formulated solid answers. Also, by arriving early, he gave himself time to relax, and NO chance of being late or rushed. (Great strategy Bob!)
After several hours of preparation, Bob was dismayed that his interviewer only set aside 30 minutes for the interview. He told Bob at the greeting that in 30 minutes he would need to join a conference call.

The interviewer then proceeded to ask Bob three questions:

-What do you know about us?

-Tell me about yourself?

-How well do you know Excel?

And that was it.

Three questions.

Bob had prepared for so much more!

Bob was disappointed and confused but realized three important things;

1.) The interviewer was most likely just checking to see if Bob could walk and talk. (most phone interviews will take care of that requirement)

2.) This company may be just a bit unorganized and dysfunctional. (Red flag)

3.) This company was not really concerned about the time and efforts of the candidates. (Red Flag)

At the end of the day, Bob would still be interested in a second interview if offered, but his first interview provided a look into a company culture that may not be the best fit for Bob, but more time spent with his potential company may paint a clearer picture.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Free Job Interview Worshop

On Tuesday, December 8th, from 6-7pm, Interview Tutor will be offering a Free Job Interview Workshop titled “Job Interview Skills 101”. This workshop will focus on job interview skills for job seekers with limited to moderate interview experience. Topics will include: Basic skills, how to prepare, and how to encourage feedback and follow-up. There will also be several case studies for review and discussion.

This workshop will be held in the training room of Clearly CoWorking, 474 Grove Street in Worcester. Seating is limited, and advanced registration is required. To register, call 508.365.0077 or email

Interview Tutor is a professional career services firm that specializes in Job Interview Prep Services. To learn more visit us at:
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Follow up and tactics

A very close  friend of mine is currently looking for a new position. He and I talk frequently and he shared his most recent interview experience with me. I found his story very interesting and I am sharing his adventures with you as a way to help in your job search. For the sake of this blog, I will call him Bob. Here is Bob's most recent adventure in job hunting:

Bob saw a job posting that he had interest and curiosity in. He sent his resume and cover letter in as requested. Three days passed with no acknowledgement of receipt. (this is common and can lead to extreme frustration for the job-seeker) So, Bob took it upon himself to call the company and follow up. This is a key point. Don't assume anything, call and verify.
So, after finding the company's phone number, Bob called and asked to speak to someone regarding the position. This particular company is a mid-sized company and getting to the HR director was quite easy. Bob then asked a key question to the HR director: "Has your Staff Accountant position been filled?"  The HR director answered, "No", it has not been filled yet." You should note that he did not ask: "Did you receive my resume?"
Good Points

Now Bob has some key information. He NOW asked, "OK, I had sent my resume in a few days ago, can you tell me if it was received?" After a brief search, the HR administrator replied, "Yes, we did, but we assumed you were over skilled for this position." The  next question from the HR director was "What are your salary requirements?" This question at this point of the interview process is a trap. So, Bob wisely reversed the question, and did not answer. Bob's reply was, "That is a great question. Why do you ask me that now?"

The HR director replied that they had assumed that you would require more salary than this position offers. She also disclosed the salary range for the open position. She had tipped her hand first and Bob was now in the position of power. Typically, in salary negotiations, he who speaks first looses.
In a very wise tactical move, Bob was able to determine that this HR Director thought that Bob was overqualified and would require a much higher salary than this position would offer. Actually, Bob was pleasantly surprised by the salary for the position, and was then able to tell the HR director, "No, this salary range is not a deal breaker, and I would like to move forward with the interview process."
Two days later Bob was invited in for an interview. I will be talking with Bob to share his interview experience with you as well.

So, some key points to take away from Bob's story:
1.) Follow up with a phone call to the company after 3 days. Often times HR folks get flooded with resumes, make assumptions about candidates, AND they don't acknowledge receipt of resumes.
2.) Know the right questions to ask once you are talking to the HR director. Make the questions about them, not you. For example: "Did you fill the position yet?" or "What skill are you looking for to fill this position?" 
3.) When salary comes up this early in the process, proceed with care. Bob did a masterful job of not speaking about money first. Bob knew that his goal was to get invited in for an interview, not to talk about salary. Only after learning much more about the position, and the company should Bob engage in salary negotiations.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Are you ready?

You have an upcoming job interview. Your resume was impressive and the phone interview went well. You now are invited to meet with a real hiring manager - face to face. You are probably very excited and nervous.

You begin to think ahead about being offered the position. You start daydreaming about your new job. You envision yourself at your new company. You can almost feel your new desk. You start thinking about how you are going to allocate all of your new found income. It is all so exciting!

But wait.
Before you get ahead of yourself, you should really focus on preparation.

Are you ready?

Are you truly prepared? This interview could be responsible for the best position you have ever held! Or, it could turn out to be a disaster and haunt you for years! You will always wonder; What if? What if I was better prepared?
Some aspects of the interview process are well within your control and influence. Other things you can not control or influence.  I submit to you the following advice: Focus on what you can control and influence.
Here are 3 things that you CAN control and influence during your upcoming job interview:

1.) Your appearance. Look and act like a true professional. When in doubt about how to dress, dress up. You can't make a million bucks if you don't look like a million bucks. If you are not sure of how  you should dress, ask someone with some interview experience.

2.) Your attitude/passion. If you don't bring some passion and swagger to your interview, most likely you are at the wrong company interviewing for the wrong job. And, most likely, you will be exposed. So, ask yourself; Is this really how I want to spend my time?

3.) Your level of preparation. Are you truly prepared? Some job seekers don't even know what they don't know! Do you know all you can about the company? Their products? Their market? Their competitors? Are you really ready for the types of questions that may get asked of you? Do you know how to sell yourself? Do you know how to follow-up at the end of your interview? Do you know how to become the one candidate they can't live without?
A mock interview with an experienced hiring manager will truly test your level of preparation. Not questions that your roommate or partner ask, but a real life experience with open and honest feedback. Why risk such an opportunity? Why not be truly prepared?
If you can focus on the three aspects mentioned above during your next job interview you will greatly enhance your odds of a second interview or better yet-a job offer. These are skills that can be learned and improved upon. Good luck!
Our firm provide mock interviews with an experienced hiring manager. We also provide open and honest feedback to ensure that you are truly prepared. We score clients on over 30 individual aspects of an interview from your hand shake to your closing remarks and follow up.
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Sunday, September 20, 2015


Actors rehearse. Football players rehearse. Golfers rehearse. Great musicians rehearse.
Ask any talented professional listed above and they will tell you that they rehearse. A lot. Some for several hours a day, often in grueling conditions. Also, most of these professional take rehearsal very seriously. Most of these folks practice for hours in preparation for just one potential opportunity.
What if your favorite band no longer rehearsed? Imagine  that this band was coming to town. You paid dearly for tickets-months in advance. All the while, they were not rehearsing. Then, the night of the concert, they just showed up, got dressed and walked out onto the stage. They hadn't rehearsed and it was painfully obvious. How would you feel?
Rehearsal = Rock Stars
As a hiring manager, I can tell you I have been disappointed in the past by candidates who looked great, were educated, experienced, and had impressive resumes. It became clear after two or three basic questions, that they did not rehearse. That lack of rehearsal cost them a second interview and sometimes an opportunity. It was clear, they just got dressed and showed up.
Some will argue that raw talent is more important than rehearsal, but for those of us who were not gifted with such raw talent, we must rehearse. Most candidates fail to rehearse for their upcoming interview. They too think they can just get dressed and show up. But, that's great news for you as rehearsal can become the great equalizer. A skilled interviewer can trump the accomplishments of those who don't invest in rehearsal.
If we know that rehearsal can make us better, less nervous, and more confident, then it seems perfectly logical to rehearse our job interviews. A mock interview can provide an invaluable rehearsal and critical feedback.
Did you rehearse before your last job interview?
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sometimes, you don't know what you don't know...

I know, that title is confusing. But, what I am trying to say, is that many job seeker suffer from over confidence. Sometimes, you don't even know what you don't know. It's no fault of yours for not knowing. Many times, through experience you learn things. Other times through formal education or reading you learn. Learning how to interview can be hard and expensive (in the sense of the jobs that you don't get).
The entire interview process is cluttered with unknowns. Rarely do you get any honest feedback from a job interview. So if you have a fatal flaw in your interview style, you could go through your entire professional life wondering why you get offered so few opportunities.

Tower Power
Case in point; my most recent client has 3 college degrees. He has 5 years of professional experience. He is likeable, well spoken, and hard-working. His cover letter is well written. His resume is nicely put together and his LinkedIn page is far better than most. BUT, after over 20 interviews within the last 12 months, he has not been offered a permanent opportunity!

So, why is this candidate not getting hired? On paper, he looked great!

After the mock interview, it became clear.  He did not know some very important things:

1.) You must craft your "You Statement" and be ready to deliver it.
2.) You must sell to the position.
3.) You must research the company.
As evidenced by this client, if you don't do these three things with passion, you will consistently be overlooked, regardless of your qualifications, education, and experience. Once again, this client, like many, truly didn't know these things. Hence the true value of a mock interview with open and honest feedback.


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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Help! How do I address my age during my job interview?

I recently had a conversation with a job seeker that is 63 years old. He has no trouble getting interviews, but he has gone 6 months without a solid job offer!  He thinks the problem may be his age. He is concerned that he is being eliminated from consideration because he is an older candidate.

He asked me, "How do I address my age?"

Here is my recommended strategy: Be pro-active, and don't let the hiring manager make assumptions about things they can't ask you about.

Here are four things that the hiring manager's is thinking while he interviews an older candidate:

-How old are you?
-How is your health?
-How much longer do you want to be in the workforce?
-Do you understand and use technology effectively?
So, the hiring manager is thinking these thoughts, but he can't ask. So, I recommend you address these concerns up-front and honestly, before you let him or her form their own opinions.If you address each one of these, your odds improve significantly.

Better with age

For example, you could say something like this; "You may be wondering how old I am and just how long I plan to stay in the work force, that's a legitimate concern. Well, I'm 63 years old, I have over 40 years of experience, and plan to stay in the workforce as long as I can. I enjoy the challenges of working and have no intent of retiring soon. I am in good health and stay active. Also,  I embrace and use recent technologies."
Stress your experience. There is NO substitute for experience.
Plus, here are four qualities that most older job candidates posses that you should be aware of and weave into your job interview:
1. You have true people skills. You can communicate effectively face-to-face, most youngsters really  struggle with this.
2. You have decades of experience. This can't be taught in college.
3. You have wisdom. In all of your time in the workforce, you have forgotten more than most know.
4. You have a track record (hopefully a successful one), not just a degree and potential.


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Monday, April 20, 2015

3 Things you MUST take to your next job interview

A college senior recently asked me  "What should I bring with me to my job interview?" Great question, I thought. Here is my short list of things that I would recommend that you bring. These three things may seem obvious, but during my time as a hiring manager, they were often not obvious to many candidates. 

1. A copy of your resume. (heck, bring 3 copies)

A major mistake that many candidates make is forgetting to bring a resume with them to the interview. As a hiring manager, you may interview several candidates per day, receive several resumes per day, and have countless applications. As such, the interviewer may not have your resume. Or, he most likely has it - but really wants to see just how prepared you are. (Also, be sure to review your resume the day of your interview. You can bet your 1st paycheck that they will have questions about your resume.) 
2. A pen.
Sounds easy right?
Bring a pen.
I can't tell you how many candidates show up to an interview without a pen. Often times, you may be asked to complete an application. Don't be the guy or gal that asks for a pen to complete the application. 
3. A list of your references.
You may also be asked to supply some references during the interview process. Be prepared with a list of your references that you can easily hand over to the hiring manager if asked. This looks impressive.

These 3 things can all fit into a nice leather bound portfolio. Before your next job interview, make sure you put these three things into your portfolio.

I'd love to hear from you. Did I forget anything that you would take?

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Want to be happier? A better interview can help.

Your career is an epic journey. For most of us, it will last many decades and it will naturally just take some time to advance. One position  typically leads to the next better one. The position after that one should be even better yet. At some point, as you climb the ladder of success, you become happier. You become more confident. More experienced, respected, and knowledgeable. You become more satisfied and fulfilled with your daily responsibilities (and your pay should also improve). This creates a happier you.
If you are reading this and currently in your first job, rarely will this be your first and only job. For the rest of us, you know the twists and turns that your career can take with the ending and beginnings of different positions.
Curves in your career?
When taken in that context, the position you don't get now can affect you for years!

From my experiences as a hiring manager, most hiring decisions came down to very small differences between candidates. It was rare when interviewing for a specific position, that one candidate was far superior to the others. Most hiring decisions were very difficult and came down to the smallest of details.

Why is this important to know? 

Even the smallest improvement in your interview skills can mean the difference between a life changing opportunity and a rejection letter.
A typical hiring manager interviews 6 to 8 candidates for every open position.
One reason is that they really hope to find the perfect candidate. But the truth is that the perfect candidate is a rare find.
Why ?
Most candidates don't interview that well and as such they never represent themselves as the perfect candidate. They get nervous, don't work on their interview skills, and have trouble articulating. 
It is very difficult to hire a candidate that doesn't interview well, regardless of his or her qualifications. Trust me, it would save so much time and company resources to interview just half of the candidates that compete for the open position.
So, how does this relate to your happy place? One way is to become better prepared for your next interview. Over the course of a professional career, you will be given incredible opportunities. Many times, what stands between you and an incredible promotion, an exciting new job, or that coveted internship is THE INTERVIEW. 
Have you done everything possible to maximize your next interview?
If so, you will be soon be happier!  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Do you have any questions for me?

The job interview process should really be viewed as a two-way street. The employee is looking for the perfect candidate and the candidate is looking for the perfect position. Often times candidates forget this. They get excited about the prospect of a new position, an new company, a change of scenery. Also, some candidates really need any job, due to personal situations. But, the experienced and discerning candidate will be best served in the long-run to truly consider the job interview process as an opportunity to be critical of the potential employee as well.

Make no mistake, this is not easy. You are nervous. You are excited. You are thrilled that someone wants you! When the person on the other side of the table says "do you have any questions for me?",  this is really the time to relax, think, question, listen, and reflect on what you have heard and saw.
Relax. Take a deep breath and realize that if you have made it this far, they are truly interested in you and what you can bring to the organization. Thus, if they are interested, others must be interested as well. This is not the only opportunity in town. Also, several well thought out questions are impressive to most hiring managers.
Think. Think about what type of company and leadership you want to work for. Think about the things that frustrate you. Think about the things that excite you. Think about the things that you desire at your workplace. This is serious business. Most likely you will spend 40+ hours per week at this company, not to mention your commute! Life is too short to spend it with the wrong company or leadership. Think about what questions you want to ask. Write them down, take them with you, and ask.
Question. There are any number of questions that you could ask. If you are experienced, you may want formulate your questions to reflect your concerns and frustrations from previous situations. Recently, I asked an experienced health care professional for some potential questions that she would ask at her new job interview, given her recent experiences.
-How do you motivate your employees?
-How do you communicate with your staff?
-How do you reward performance?
-How do you team-build?
-How often will I receive performance reviews?
-What will I learn here?
-How long have you been with the company?
-Can I talk to some of your staff?
Listen. As your questions get answered, listen. Really listen. If you have your questions written down, you can truly listen and not worry about your next question. Listen for any answers that seem to present a red flag.
You must be aware that no one place is perfect. Every place that you will ever work will have its challenges. But if you are truly viewing the interview process as a way for you to interview prospective organizations, you must listen and consider the answers you hear. 
Reflect. After the interview and you have had some time to de-compress, reflect on the answers to your questions. Also, reflect on the body language and tone. Was the hiring manager open and honest? Did the hiring manager struggle to answer? Did he or she seem sincere? Did they get annoyed at your line of questioning?
Do yourself a favor and critically reflect upon the answers that you received.
P.S. Interview Tutor gift certificates make great gifts!
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guest Blogger - Dan's telephone interview

In this weeks blog, one of my friends (we'll call him Dan) writes about his experience during recent telephone interview. Dan is an experienced sales professional that has discovered an opportunity though a professional friend. Here is his post:
The call started out by being 5 minutes late. It was scheduled for 11:30 and by 11:34 I was really beginning to get anxious. However, at 11:35 the phone rang and the phone interview began. After some brief small talk her first question was;
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Why do you want to leave your current position?
I was still overly nervous at this point. The 5 minute wait seemed like an hour. I couldn't  help but wonder if she made me wait on purpose. Regardless, I think I did OK with this question. I was careful not to trash my current employer but also made slight mentions of my current frustrations, stated that I know that no place is perfect, and said I am always interested in new opportunities when they arise. I also told her that I was aware of her company and the special markets they serve and the way that they have differentiated themselves. I tried to keep my answer short and sweet as she had told me that she would only need 20 minutes of my time.

She then spent several minutes telling me about her company, the employees, and the open positions. I was so nervous that I really wasn't listening.
Then the questions got more pointed.
Do you hold a quota? (they must have a quota system)
Tell me about cold calling? (they must want me to cold call)
Do you like to travel? (they will want me to travel some)
Have you established a territory before? (they want me to establish a territory)
Have you done any transactional selling before? (they will want me to do some of this)

After I thought about the above 5 questions, it was clear to me that they will have sales quotas, will want me to cold call, travel, and establish a territory while doing some transactional selling. That was fine. That was what I was expecting from this job but now I was wondering what type of response she was really looking for. My answers were mostly positive and honest. I told her that I have worked with quotas, I know that cold calling is essential, don't mind some travel, have established territories before and had done some transactional selling at a previous position. I was beginning to calm down some and gain some confidence with some questions that I was prepared for.
What sort of metrics do you measure yourself by now? I told her about how I am measured at my current position. I'm not sure what sort of answer she was looking for.
How many salesmen are at your company now? I answered truthfully and was not sure why she asked this question.

She then asked me if I had any questions. I asked her a few specific questions about my potential market, leads, and company performance and she could not really answer them. She deferred and said that those would be better questions to be asked at the next interview, if invited. She made no mention of compensation and nor did I.
I assume that I must have done OK as she is to send a survey. I am to complete the survey, return it, and wait.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The job interview is almost over...How to encourage a follow up.

For those of you reading this that have been to interviews before, you know what it’s like to go to an interview, assume you did a great job and go home. Then you wait. You continue to wait even more. Now you begin to wonder; how long do I wait? How do I follow up? When do I follow up?
You, just like the person conducting the interview has committed time, effort, and energy to this process. You deserve some feedback. Sadly,sometimes the interviewing person and company are slow to get back with you. Sometimes you may receive a form letter that gives you a generic no. You deserve better. Here is one way to encourage some feedback. I call it the follow-up agreement.

The Follow-Up Agreement is a verbal agreement between you and the person conducting the interview. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a great technique to help set a follow-up phone appointment, or even better, a follow up face-to-face meeting.

As the interview is at its end, here’s the way it should go;

(Interviewee): Mrs. Hiring Manager, this position is very important to me. Can I call you in a few days to get some feedback and to also find out what the next step may be?
(It is critical that you pause, and force the hiring manager to answer. Don’t speak until they answer. Their answer is a verbal agreement and they are less likely to disregard your call, if they in fact answered yes.)
(Hiring Manager): Yes, you may

(Interviewee): Great! I realize you are busy, so can we set up a time right now for me to give you a follow-up call? How’s Friday at 11:30 a.m.?

What if the Hiring Manager says: No, we will contact you.

This is very likely, so if you hear these words, don’t give up. Persistence pays.

(Interviewee): OK, I understand. When should I expect hear back from you? If I don’t hear back from you or someone here, I will call you. Is that OK?


This no could also mean the worst. Her mind is already made up, and you are not the chosen one. That’s fine. In my view, you would much rather know this now, than be tortured by their non-contact and bad news that you would receive days, weeks, or months later.
Work here

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review - Rainmaker

This past week I was traveling. On my return trip home I picked up a book in the airport to read on my way home. The name of the book was "How To Become A Rainmaker-The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients" written by Jeffrey J. Fox. 
The book was a quick read at only 169 small pages. I was able to read the book within two hours-perfect for my journey home. There were several good points that were worthy of a review for an experienced salesman, but there were no "life-changing" strategies in this read. It did hold my attention and I was able take away four or five great ideas that I could put to use quickly.
Jeffrey J. Fox describes a "rainmaker" as someone who brings in revenue to an organization-or someone that can make it rain dollars. Much like the American Indian tradition that told of magical powers that could produce rain so that the crops would grow. Yes, this is a book for a person in the sales profession-but wait, during your next job interview, you too are a salesperson. Much like I have said in previous blogs, to interview well, you must be able to sell yourself!
Chapter 3 addresses the question; "Why should this customer do business with us?" Jeffrey says as a salesperson, you should always be able to answer this question. In that same vein, I'll say you should always be able to answer this question; "Why  should this employer hire me?" You can see the obvious parallels between selling products and selling yourself during the job interview process.
If you are in sales or want to be, pick it up - its well worth your time. If you are not in sales, I would encourage you to read a non-fiction, professional book at least 4 times per year. You'll grow as a professional!
What's the last book you've read? (You just might be asked this at your next interview!)
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Potholes in your road

This time of year in New England is "pothole" season. The salt, water,  and snowplows can find  weaknesses in the black top and create large craters in the street. Sometimes as you drive down the road you can see them in advance, and can easily avoid them. As you drive the same route daily, you know exactly where the potholes are and you react in advance to avoid them.
Actual Pothole
But, sometimes you can't avoid those nasty potholes. You may be in an area that you don't drive frequently and you hit an unexpected pothole. Likewise, a new pothole may emerge along your daily route  and without advance warning you hit the pothole. Sometimes, the pothole may be so large and so deep that you hit the pothole and bang! The jolt was so violent that you bend your rim and pop a tire. You are now in the break-down lane with a flat tire.
A very similar thing can happen to you during a job interview. Here are 3 "potholes" that may be in your road to job interview success:
1.) Your nerves. You are so nervous that you can't articulate. Your heart is beating so loud that you think the person on the other side of the desk can hear it. You are unable to relax and really give this interview your best effort.
This pothole is totally avoidable. The greater your preparation, the lesser the nerves. The ability to be calm and confident comes only after you have become supremely prepared. Mock interviews are a great way to judge your level of preparation. 
2.) Your lack of research. Most likely, if you are in a competitive interview process, the hiring manager will ask you the following question:
What do you know about us?
If you didn't do your homework, it will be obvious. You will hit the pothole, flatten a tire, and be in the break-down lane as the other candidates speed by you in the fast lane.
Do some research about the company you are interviewing with. Know who their leaders are, know about any recent news, know about their products and services.
Cover -Hole
(pothole at manhole cover)
3.) Your inability to sell.  Sadly, the candidate that gets the job may not be the most qualified, but the one who has the greatest ability to sell. They have a great resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile page.They have crafted a "you statement", they sell to the position, explain why they are the best candidate, and show passion and enthusiasm for the position. 
Do you want to learn more about how to avoid the potholes on your road to success?
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Sell to the position.

The majority of the interview process is about you selling yourself.
Your cover letter and resume got you invited to the interview, but to get invited back for a second interview or a job offer, you must sell yourself.
What do I mean?
As you are interviewing, sell yourself to the position.
If you are interviewing for a position as a veterinary technician, sprinkle in ways in your past that you have loved, helped and studied about animals. If you are interviewing for a position as a nutritionist, as you speak about yourself and answer questions, weave in ways that you have always studied food and nutrition.

If you truly have a lifelong ambition for the position that you are interviewing for (you should), let the interrogator know of this passion! Hiring managers want to hire people with a passion for the position. Hiring manager really want to hire people that eat, breath, and sleep for the open position. 
Now you should sell


Some examples:

A candidate interviewing for a position as a Financial Planner could say: “From an early age I have always loved personal finance. When I was in middle school I made my own budget.”

A candidate interviewing for a position as a Welder might say: “I have always loved to build things. My dad encouraged me to weld as soon as I could hold the torch.”

A candidate interviewing for an entry level sales position could say: “I have always loved to sell. I was always a top achiever when my school did its yearly fund raising drives.”

The above examples are good statements to use in your “You Statement” but you should also insert other examples of your passion into the answers of other questions as appropriate.

For example; You are interviewing for an entry level nutrition job and you are asked: What was your favorite class in college? DO NOT SAY “my favorite class was ancient history 101” If you sell to the position, you could reply: “I really enjoyed all of my nutrition classes but food science was by far my favorite.”

 Another example; You are interviewing for an entry level tax accountant position. The hiring manager asks you; What is your greatest weakness? DO NOT SAY “I hate public speaking.” If you sell to the position you could say: “My greatest weakness is my over attention to small details. It really annoys my wife sometimes but I feel it makes me a better accountant to pay such close attention to details.”

As you can see, this can take some practice and forethought- but it pays dividends. The hiring manager wants to know that you have a passion for the position. Selling to the position reinforces to the hiring manager that you are a candidate for serious consideration.
Are you selling to the position?
Interview Tutor
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Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Deep Freeze" chores

Snow Phone

Snow days.

White outs.

Snow blowers.

Brown snow.

Fender bergs.

Two hour delays.

10" to 12".

Ice dams.

Snow shovels.

Right now in New England we are in the middle of what I call the "Deep Freeze". Its early February and the local news channels report that we have had the snowiest 10 days on record with more snow on the way. Also, it has been bitterly cold forcing most of us to spend more time indoors than we normally would.
As so much of our time is spent inside, this can be a great time of year to tweak your job search tools.
Cover letters, resumes, business cards, and your LinkedIn page are the specific tools I am referring to. Here are a few things you can do during the "deep freeze" to improve some of your job search tools.
1.) Update your LinkedIn photo.
Maybe your LinkedIn photo is dated, taken with the family pet, taken with you in your Tom Brady jersey, or just a poor quality picture. Take a critical look at your photo. Is this how you want to represent yourself to the world wide web? If you are not pleased, upgrade.
Some profiles I view have no picture at all. Remember, LinkedIn is NOT Facebook. Save the goofy pictures for your Facebook page. On LinkedIn, the "first impression" is your photograph. Make sure your photo sends a professional message.
2.) Update your resume.
Another year has passed and you have accomplished many things. Update your resume to include of few of your accomplishments from last year. This may require some research and thought. "What did I accomplish last year?"
You never know when things can take a turn for the worse with your current situation. By updating your resume annually, you give yourself a leg up if you find yourself out of work on short notice.
3. Reconnect with an old colleague.
You never know where your next opportunity will come from. Most new positions are the result of networking, not by answering on-line or newspaper adds. Make some time this week to call an old college roommate, co-worker, or supervisor. You will most likely enjoy getting caught up and you just never know what opportunities may arise.
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Do you know how to get hired?

Richard Lathrop wrote in his classic book Who’s Hiring Who? that he or she who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do the job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired. Getting yourself hired is not easy, especially in a weak economy. Therefore, the more time and energy you spend on knowing how to get hired, the better. Your success or failure in the interview process can determine your future over the next several months, years, or even a lifetime!
Great Cover
Your career is really a chain of events. One job typically leads to the next better job. The job after that one should be even better. As you advance, your jobs get better-along with your satisfaction and pay. For most career minded people, your first job is the first of many along the road to career success and satisfaction. When taken in that context, you can see just how critical an interview can be to your future.
So, given the typical career path, the job you DON’T get now can affect you for years!
A typical hiring manager interviews 6 to 10 candidates for every open position. Why do they interview so many people? A good interview should take at least an hour! Why would they spend so much time interviewing candidates? One reason is that most interviewees are not prepared for their interview! Its very difficult to hire a candidate that just can’t interview well, regardless of the qualifications of the candidate.
A great book that has a boring, uninspiring cover is often left on the shelf. More often than not, a great cover helps sell the book. Think of your resume and interview as your "cover". Does your "cover" represent the real you? Does it represent a candidate that the hiring manager can't live without?
 If the answer is no, you owe it to yourself to learn more about how to get yourself hired.
 Interview Tutor
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

3 Reasons Why You Didn't Get Hired

Most likely, during your last job interview, if you did not get invited back, it was due to one of three reasons:

1.) You were nervous.

You were so nervous that you couldn't think clearly! The other candidates that you saw in the lobby looked sharp and you wondered what they were doing there. You began to doubt yourself. The hiring manger was running late and the longer you sat in the lobby, the more nervous you became. You just wanted to get this over with. Once you began the interview, the hiring manager asked you a few easy questions.
You began to settle down. He then asked to see your resume. You asked yourself, "Why would he ask that? Does he not have my resume? I sent him one last week!" Unfortunately, you did not have a copy of your resume. The hiring manager looked annoyed and you knew this was not good. You really got nervous after this exchange. The questions got more difficult and you felt like you were sinking....

2.) You couldn't sell yourself.

The hiring manager asked you the age-old question; "So, tell me about yourself?" You began to babble about high school, summer jobs, and an internship. All the while you failed to relate any of your story to the position that you were interviewing for! You described your prior duties perfectly but during the entire one hour interview you failed to discuss your accomplishments.   You were unable to articulate how your skills, education, experience, and potential were perfect for this position. Oh, you also may have lacked passion and/or likability.

3.) You were not prepared.

Some of the questions the hiring manager asked you were really tough. In retrospect, you wish you had more time to think about your answers. With some time to think, you could really craft your answers to better sell yourself to the position at hand. No problem, virtually every question that a hiring manager can or will ask you is written down somewhere. Seek, find, and formulate great answers!

Also, you have only been to a hand full of interviews in your life, so your interview experience is very limited. Also, it is very rare to get open and honest feedback from an interview. 
There is no substitute for experience. Mock interviews provide realistic experiences with open and honest feedback.

There are hundreds of resources available to help you prepare for your next job interview. Be good to yourself and get yourself better prepared for success!
Interview Tutor
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Small Talk

Hiring manages want to hire people that they like.
They really do.
In a perfect world, hiring managers would only hire a candidate with all the required skills, needed experience, and likability. Likable employees are more likely to be team players and offer a better fit to an existing team.
If you had a choice, would you want to work with;
A.) someone you don't like (self-centered, rude, obnoxious)
B.) someone who is friendly, positive, and helpful?
Very likable
You may have a degree from a great school, years of experience, and a great resume but if you come across as unlikable, all those great attributes may not matter.
What are some ways to come across as likable?
Its not always easy during an interview, but after the initial hello, try to find something to quickly converse about. Maybe there is an interesting article on the wall about the company, maybe the building is unique, and maybe the weather has been exceptionally nice.
If you are interviewing with someone in his or her office, there is a great chance that there will be something around their desk that they love to talk about. Maybe its a picture of their family, maybe its a calendar of their favorite sports team, or it could be a trophy or an award. If so, ask them about it!

The ability to create small talk is a social skill. Some refer to it as a Soft Skill. Even though small talk may seem to be a waste of time and have no useful purpose, it can create a bonding experience.  Either way, make some small talk! Take a genuine interest in the hiring manager and maximize your opportunity to bond.
Curious about your likability?
Do you think you come across as likable?
A mock interview is a great way to evaluate your likability!

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