Category Archives: Interview

Why Should You Be Hired?

“Why should you be hired?”  The dreaded interview question right behind “Tell me about yourself”.   If you are unable to confidently answer why you should be hired, then an employer certainly will not know either.

Employers seek confidence supported by tangible evidence answering why you are the best candidate for any given position.  Often times, interviewees come down with a dangerous case of timidity and humility during interviews which results in disaster almost every time.  The source of your job search marketing campaign is you and employers look to you for confident answers to their questions.  Balance that humility with confidence.  As you plan for your next interview, take an inventory of your approach to answering questions.  Humility is highly admired, but do not portray yourself as overly humble at the risk of showing lack of confidence and ability to succeed in the prospective position.

When responding to why you should be hired, delete the following from your answer:

1. I feel, I believe, I think:  If you are not confident in your ability to succeed, then the interviewer most certainly will not.  Ask yourself this question: How would you feel if a surgeon told you he felt like he could remove your appendix?  Know what you can do.  Be confident in your ability.

2. To gain experience:  Employers do not hire to just give people experience.  Employers hire employees who can deliver positive results.   You should be hired because of what you can do not because of what you want to receive.

3.  You want to see if you will like the career:  Once again, employers hire people who can deliver results.  You may not have direct experience in a given career, but you do have skills.  Identify the transferable skills from your past and confidently connect your past success into your future success.

Always show confidence in what you know you can do coupled with the humility of what you seek to learn.  Be a solution.

 

Career Answers Every Prospective MBA Should Know

MBA Admissions activity is in full swing.  Programs are in the process of traveling the globe to recruit the best of the best. Work experience, GPAs and GMAT/GRE scores are top of discussion in MBA Admissions offices.

If you are planning to get your MBA, think of what you can offer as a candidate and future business professional.  It’s not enough to say that you want to advance your career and are open to any career path.  What do you want to do with your future?  How do you plan to achieve your goals?  Develop a marketing plan which includes a targeted value proposition message that you can deliver to both business school programs and potential employers.  The job market for MBAs is competitive, so any potential MBA must be ready to meet this competitive challenge not just in the classroom but also in the job market.

As you start to think about seeking an MBA, make sure you have solid answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your value proposition?  What do you have to offer?
  2. How can you contribute to the education of your fellow classmates?
  3. What are your goals?  You don’t have to have specific answers, but a successful prospective MBA must be able to talk future direction.
  4. Why do you want to transition into management? Career changers coming from a non-business background have to provide a better answer than to just want to make decisions and manage people.
  5. What indicators for success can you demonstrate to a potential MBA program as well as a future employer?  Prove your skills that transfer from your former career or position into the career path you plan for the future.

Whether you are changing the trajectory of your career by seeking an MBA or planning to completely change careers, start with your skills as place to start building your “employability” case.

As you attend MBA recruiting events both around the world and on campus, be confident in knowing what you can provide a potential program.  You must be able to talk about why you want to get your MBA and how the program and future employer can benefit from your knowledge, skills and experience.

 

When You Can’t Get An Interview

For many, the kneejerk reaction for job seekers who cannot get an interivew is to change their resumes.  Your resume may very well be a part of the problem, but most likely there are many other things you need to do to either change or add to your job search strategy.  Of course, your lack of experience and skills may also be a reason you are not chosen for an interview, but sometime it is neither your background or your resume that is keeping you from interviews.  Your approach may be at fault.  Consider these ideas if you struggle with your job search stalling at the resume submission stage:

1.  Are you only applying online?  While this is probably the most widely used format for applying for positions, too many job seekers only use this step.  The problem with only applying online is that you are not setting yourself apart from the competition.  You aren’t directly reaching out to the hiring manager.  I liken using online applications as your only step in finding a job to that of purchasing a lottery ticket.  You could get chosen, but think about the odds.  They aren’t good folks.

2.  Are you asking for people to distribute your resume for you?  Networking with friends and colleagues is the key to a successful job search, but please be careful in how you approach this important part the progress.  Some of your contacts are ideal for floating your resume around a company and will volunteer to do so, but only expect someone to do this if they offer.  Be careful in asking someone to distribute your resume for you.  Instead of asking someone to do you a favor (please distribute my resume), ask for advice (can you provide me some guidance?).  Advice is easy for someone to provide you, but doing work for you is an entirely different request.  The more people you can connect with yourself, the better opportunity you have for controlling your ability to secure an interview.

Job seekers have to come from behind the computer screen to exercise a successful job search strategy.  Email, the Internet and the telephone can only take you so far in your search.  Implement that human connection that only you can provide.

Be Original – Write a Thank You Note

Do you know that the percentage of job seekers who send thank you notes after an interview is less than 25 percent?  Would you be even more shocked to know that the percentage of people who send hand-written thank you notes is less than 15 percent?  Talk about a missed opportunity.  If nothing else, a thank you note is sign of respect to the person who spent time with you.  Always send a thank you note.  No ifs, ands or buts with this one.  Always send a thank you note.

Job seekers ask me whether they should send an email or a hand-written thank you note after an interview or networking meeting — send both.  Anemail is sent and received within 24 hours and provides a reminder at the end of the day for the interviewer.  Maybe the interviewer had a complete day of interviews, and your time slot was first thing that morning.  Your thank you email reminds the interviewer of your conversation.  Email thank you notes provide an opportunity to write a line or two touching back to a topic of your conversation as well as a reminder of your interest in the position.

A hand-written note, while written within 24 hours, is not received until three to four days after your discussion.  Write a quick thank you (even if you have poor handwriting) and include a business card.  You have space to write a short statement concerning something discussed in the interview, but the purpose of this quick note is to provide a different message from the email note.  A hand-written note shows your intiative and personal attention.  You took the time to find this person’s physical mailing address, you wrote out the note, addressed the envelope, put a stamp on the envelope and took the envelope to the mailbox.  It seems exhausting doesn’t it?  At one point in time, everyone practiced this method of communication.  Today, very few send letters through the US Postal Service.  By writing a hand-written note, you are immediately setting yourself apart from at the very least 75 percent of all job seekers.  That’s remarkable.  What used to be common practice has become quite original.  So be original and get back to basics.

The devil is in the details.  And taking the time to extend a proper thank you is a major detail you can’t afford to miss.

Job Search Problems? Your Resume Isn’t Always the One to Blame

In the job search, there are a multitude of factors that can contribute to one’s struggle in securing employment.  Instinctively, the first culprit blamed for the problem is the resume. If you not getting job offers, ask yourself where the breakdown is happening.  Be careful not to immediately blame the resume. 

If you are getting interviews, then your problem is most likely not your resume.  You got the interview, so your resume must be doing its job.  If you are not getting call backs after interviews, then I am going out on a limb here and your interviewing skills could be to blame.  If that is the case, then you are in need of a challenging mock interview.  Just because you have the knowledge, skills and ability to do a job won’t matter to an employer if you can interview effectively. 

There are many other possibilities as to why you might not be securing job offers which proves you have to identify the root of the issue.  Your problem could, in fact, be your resume, but it can also be your interviewing skills, your behavior while waiting for your interview (never be rude to a receptionist), your thank you note, your follow-up manner (always be gracious), along with many others.  A good solution is to find a career coach—someone who will work with you in breaking down the job search process to find where your weaknesses lie and work with you to strengthen your approach and job search competencies.

Are Your Interviews Conversations or Interrogations?

What is the first question that comes to your mind when preparing for an interview?  Let me guess:  What questions will the interviewer ask me?  You work yourself up studying interviewing questions just like you would a multiple choice exam.  When job seekers do this, they lose sight of the purpose of the interview.  They want to know what questions will be asked but fail to realize the purpose of the questions in the first place.

Who likes to answer the question “Tell me about yourself”?  What about “tell me about a time you failed”?  I can imagine the cringed look on your face as you read this. But have you ever sat down to really ask yourself why these questions are asked in the first place?  

Interviewers want to talk with you and ask questions to see if you are the best candidate, so why do we treat these interviews as if we have committed a crime and are being put through an interrogation to see if we will crack under pressure? 

Trust me; interviewers do not take the time out of their work day to torture you.   Some might come across that way, but that is not the purpose of an interview at all.  Companies have to hire talent to help the company grow; therefore, the interview is meant to get to know the person behind the resume.  It’s not meant to make you feel less about yourself or make you ill.  A company’s culture might be competitive, so the questions you are asked might lean towards those to test your ability to succeed in that environment.  However, the interviewer is not trying to beat you up at all. 

The next time you go into an interview, and I hope soon, sit down and talk with the interviewer relaxed and ready to “talk” about your qualifications, the position you are interviewing for at the time, and the company itself.   If you really studied the company culture and position in which you are interviewing for in the first place, you will know if the candidate needs to have certain traits which may sway the types of questions you are asked. 

In preparing for your interview “conversation”, focus on the position, the company, and YOU!  Know the position and be prepared to answer questions concerning your qualifications to succeed.  Know the company; its mission, competitors, partners and recent press releases.  And most importantly know you!  Know your strengths, your weaknesses, your failures, the reasons why you want this job, and your ability to succeed in both the position and a career with the company. 

Relax and smile.  You have committed no crime, so stop treating your interviews as if you have.