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!

Interview Tutor
Professional Career Services

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Look at me.

Look at me.
That's what I was thinking.
Look at me.
A few years ago, I was interviewing a candidate for an open position. He was telling me about himself and why he thought he would fit it. He was doing a fair job of answering my questions, but he really wouldn't look at me for more than a spit second. After several minutes of this, I began to tune out his answers. He had created a natural distraction that took my focus away from his answers.

Look at me

William Shakespeare once said that the eyes are the window to the soul.
As such, eye contact just may be the most important form of non-verbal communication. Eye contact shows respect, interest, understanding, sincerity and appreciation. Don’t be afraid to look your interviewer in the eye and show passion about the position that you are trying to obtain.
Eye contact can demonstrate powerful passion of what you are speaking. So, as you are selling yourself to the hiring manager, look him or her  in the eye to demonstrate just how passionate and excited you are about the opportunity!

The lack of eye contact can demonstrate a lack of confidence, a sense of aloofness, or general disregard or disinterest. If you are a shy person, you most likely have difficulty looking others in the eye. This will come across in a negative way during the interview. You must find a way to make eye contact!

I believe that greater confidence can result in improved eye contact. How do you gain confidence as you walk into a job interview? One way is through positive self talk. Before you walk into your interview, tell yourself these three things:

"What's the worst that could happen?"

"I'm the best candidate for this job, the hiring manager just doesn't know it yet."

"I cant loose. Even if this whole interview turns out to be a disaster, think of all the things that I will learn."

Another way to increase your confidence is through preparation. Mock interviews are a great way to gain practical experience without risking a great opportunity. As I would interview young job candidates, I could see how the experience of an interview was so helpful-even if their interview skills were so poor that they had no chance at the job I was interviewing for.

How's your eye contact?


 Interview Tutor
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

The wet fish vs. the gorilla

You've been invited to an interview at a great company and you sit waiting in their lobby. Naturally, you are nervous. This is a great opportunity and you don't want to blow it. The initial telephone interview was challenging but you did well enough to get invited to their office.

What appears to be another candidate walks down the hallway and out of the office. You wonder "how many people are they talking to?" You just got more nervous. The hiring manager steps out into the lobby and extends his hand towards you.

This is how it begins.
Wet Fish

Naturally, you extend your hand and grasp the extended hand of the hiring manager to shake hands. You may not realize this but your handshake just spoke volumes about your character. You may have never given a hand shake any real thought, but you should.

Your handshake is a direct reflection of who you are and it is a critical element of the “first impression.” There are few things less impressive than a lousy hand shake, especially to a hiring manager that is taking notes on every move you make.

The “Wet Fish” handshake  is a sweaty, limp hand with no grip. It just sort of hangs out there waiting for someone else to grab hold of it. It has no power or strength. It expresses no passion or excitement. It seems uninterested and lazy. It demonstrates a lack of character.

If your handshake is a reflection of you, do you want your hand shake to reflect a "wet fish'?

The “Gorilla” is a hand that reaches out with full force with the intent to crush every bone in your hand. This form of handshake is common amongst people that don't really know their own strength. It comes across as some sort of “strong-man” audition. If you are a bigger person and think you may be shaking like a "gorilla", odds are, you are. Try to tone down your grip just a bit.

You want neither "wet fish" nor "gorilla". A nice firm handshake is ideal. Not too short, not too long. A good rule of thumb is to let the hiring manager take the lead with ending the handshake. Also, you should always be standing, smiling, and making eye contact while shaking hands.

Lastly, you should also be aware of whose hand you are shaking. Are you shaking hands with a petite 50 year old lady or a burly 30 year old man? It can make a difference. A firm handshake to a older woman is not the same as a firm handshake to a younger man. Be aware of your handshake “style” and make changes based upon the advice above.

Small details like this really make a difference in a hyper-competitive job market.

Want more advice?

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