Tag Archives: interviewing

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.

 

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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.

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.

Handwritten or Email Thank You Notes

I get this question quite often from job seekers.  Should I handwrite a thank you note and send through snail mail or should I email so the person can get my thank you that day?  My answer is yes and yes. 

Receiving a thank you note through email from a job candidate is a great way to refresh my mind at the end of the day.  It shows that you left our conversation enthused and wanting to make an impression.            

A thank you note through the mail is something we do not receive very often.  I remember back in the early 90s when the morning and noon mail at work was two to four inches thick if not more.  Letters could easily get lost in the fray.  Today, the volume of mail we receive is much less so thank you notes stand out amongst the bills and junk mail.  A thank you note through the mail is also received three to four days after an interview.  Within your letter, note a discussion topic from our interview which will remind me of our conversation and reinforce your interest.

With the age of email, texting and social media, sending letters through the mail is not as natural as it used to be.  We have to write the letter, address the envelope, put a stamp on the envelope and take it to the mailbox.  That takes time, I agree, but this effort reinforces your interest and shows your added effort in securing the company’s offer. 

My advice to job seekers is to email a thank you note later in the day of your interview and write a thank you note to send through the mail.  Talk about making a great impression.  You can’t go wrong.

I’m a People Person!

How many times have I heard a recruiter or hiring manager say, “If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone use “People Person” as a self descriptor?” My typical response is:  “As opposed to what?”  Since we are people; we should all be a “People Person” in one way or another right?  But in all seriousness, there are many phrases or answers to questions job seekers use that are frankly overused and cliché.  Here are some of my favorites used both in interviews and on resumes:

  1. I’m a “people person”: This is one of the most widely used self-descriptors used in the job search today.  What do you mean?  Do you thrive in teams?  Do you have leadership skills?  Are you great at teaching?  Be specific and better define how your skill can benefit business.
  2. My weakness is that I cannot say no:  Of course you can say no.  Interested in washing my windows?  There, you said no.  Quite frankly, everyone tries to use this example because it is safe.  Over-committing  is actually a symptom.  The weakness is in your prioritization skills.
  3. I am looking for experience:  Well, no duh! Employers know that.  When asked why you are applying for a position, the employer wants to know the value you can bring to the equation.   The employer knows you need experience and a job.  And honestly, it is not an employer’s job to give you experience.     
  4. Resume passive words:
  • Responsible for:  Every job has responsibilities.  You get your job description before starting the job, so this information has no impact on your value.
  • Assisted:  This word leaves the reader’s imagination WIDE open.  Did you assist someone with pouring coffee?  Define “assist”.  Define “help”. 
  • Acted as a liaison:  You acted?  That is the same as performed right?  People get awards for that.  Instead of saying you acted or performed, demonstrate something concrete such as communicated between, collaborated with, resolved, etc.  Those words paint a picture of your competency which is what the reader needs to see.

Please pardon my sarcastic humor.  My point is that while all of these answers and phrases are true, they are also way overused and are frankly too vague. In the job search, you are a marketing manager.  Marketing is about selling qualities that set you apart from the other applicants.  If your answers are like everyone else’s, you will be forgotten.  You will just be another “people person” applicant.

Shopping for Employees is like Shopping for Toothpaste

When shopping for toothpaste, you are looking for specifics:  whitening, tartar control, flavor, etc.  You as the customer want a product to meet your needs.    I know that when I shop for any product whether it be toothpaste, shampoo or even a car, my only concern is whether that product can do what I need it to do.  Don’t you think the same way? 

Colgate’s marketing campaign never mentions the company’s goal to increase market and beat the competition.  You will never find company’s goals listed on the packaging for a tube of Crest.  Both companies and all products and services for that matter focuses on meeting the customer’s needs.  Selling by definition at www.dictionary.com is to cause or persuade to accept.  Please accept my product or service because it can meet your needs.  If Crest or Colgate offer what you want, you will buy that product.  If the product meets your expectations, you will continue buying that particular product, It is as simple as that.  Focus on meeting the customer’s needs. 

Hiring is the same basic principle as marketing any product or service.  Employers state their needs through job descriptions.  Job seekers prove their ability to meet the employer needs.  The job candidate who does the best job of marketing and proving his or her value to the employer gets the job. 

Instead of focusing on what you in a job, focus on what you have to offer the employer.  Be the solution.  What are the employer’s benefits to hiring you?  Find out what the employer needs and make sure you are promoting a solution to those needs. 

If you can produce what you promise, then you will naturally reap the benefits. 

When employers go shopping, make sure they select your brand.