So you didn’t get the job; ask yourself 3 questions

So you didn’t get the job you wanted. You nailed the interview, had rapport with the interviewers, they loved you and said you’re in consideration for the job. But your recruiter said they went with someone who was a better fit. Does this sound familiar?

In my Interview workshops I ask people if they’ve been on interviews lately. Some raise their hand, so I ask them how the interviews went. Their typical response, “Not so well. I didn’t get the job.”

To assuage their disappointment by explaining they may have done perfectly well at the interview but didn’t have one of the three components employers’ look for—they didn’t meet the technical requirements for the job. Having the other two components, willing to do the job and being a good fit, just didn’t cut it. Too bad.

Let’s face it, recruiters, HR, and hiring managers are foremost concerned about your ability to handle the task assigned to you. The other two components are important, but the first priority is meeting the job specifics. This may be wrong according to Mike Michalowicz ‘s article in called The Best Recruits May Not Be Who You Think, but many employers don’t realize the value of the variable. He writes:

“When hiring new employees, most recruiters consider qualifications first – and last. They’re looking for someone with the best education, the most experience and the most impressive skills. This is a mistake because you can teach employees what you want them to know, you can give them the experience you want them to have, but you can’t change who they are on a fundamental level. Their attitude, values, willingness and work ethic are all ingrained in them.”

Let’s take a marketing specialist position that lists the following requirements:

  1. Familiarity with data storage software.
  2. Write copy for direct mail and electronic distribution, including web content.
  3. Manage relations with appropriate departments.
  4. Coordinate projects with outside vendors.
  5. Speaking with media, partners, and customers.
  6. Research competitors’ websites and reporting activity.
  7. Coordinate trade shows.
  8. Photo shoots/animation development, webinars, product launch planning.
  9. Willingness to travel 25%.
  10. Plus a Master’s Degree in Marketing preferred.

Now, if the other candidates have all the technical ingredients for the job, and you’re lacking webinar production experience and coordinating projects with outside vendors, have limited experience speaking with the media; the decision of whether you advance to the next round may be based on your lack of experience.

You may be perceived as someone who is motivated to work at the company, because you express enthusiasm for the duties and challenges presented; and come across as a great personality fit, because you demonstrate adaptability to any environment and management style. But these components usually aren’t weighed as heavily by the interviewers.

The fact is that most hiring authorities must be assured that you can hit the ground running. They want to hire someone who has 80%-100% of the requirements under their belt. You can’t beat yourself up for not getting the job, despite shining in every other way. published an article called 5 Things You Need to do After the Interview, in which one of the things suggested was to evaluate your performance. It says: “Right after the interview, recall what happened. You need to start by asking yourself these three vital questions:

  1. What went wrong?
  2. What went right?
  3. What can be improved?

As I tell my workshop attendees, “What went wrong?” was probably the fact that another candidate presented him/herself as more qualified for the position based on his/her experience. Or there are other reasons that were out of your control. Here are five possible reasons:

  1. Legitimate reasons like costs to the company.
  2. They went with someone inside.
  3. You’re too good.
  4. Hiring managers are sometimes incompetent interviewers.
  5. Unfortunately hiring managers make decisions based on personal biases.

What went right? You stood up to the pressure of an interview and presented an articulate, thoughtful, and personable candidate. You answered all their questions with confidence and poise, maintained eye contact. When asked about direct experience, you highlighted transferable skills that would make the transition seamless. You learned more about what is expected at an interview.

What can improve? Ideally you’ll apply for jobs where you have 80%-100% of the job-related requirements; but don’t shy away from jobs where you only meet 75% of the requirements, because occasionally employers see other qualities in you other than the alphabet soup. Please don’t throw in the towel yet. Keep fighting the good fight!

Job search tip #6: Create your accomplishment list

The previous tip looked at writing a powerful cover letter. Now we’ll address creating your accomplishment list.

For those who are unfamiliar with an accomplishment list, it’s a number of outstanding achievements you’ve accumulated over the course of your career—but not to exceed 10 to 15 years of work history.

Your list should be broken down into positions/titles, or you may compile a list of accomplishments that reflect one occupation, providing you’ve been in the same line of work and industry.

If you’re wondering why an accomplishment list will help you with your job search, here are five reasons.

Build your self-esteem. Writing your accomplishment list is an excellent exercise that will help you remember the positives in your life. You’ll get a sense of pride from doing it, and your list will come in handy. Many of your accomplishment statements will come from your résumé, but try to think of other outstanding accomplishments you’ve had, including those you’ve achieved through volunteerism.

Networking meetings. Most believe they should bring a résumé to a networking meeting, but an accomplishment list could be more useful, given that a generic résumé will not impress the interviewer. Let’s say the person with whom you’re speaking mentions that the many of the company employees expressed dissatisfaction in their responsibilities.

On your accomplishment list is: “Reduced turnover by 50% and increased employee satisfaction by implementing a program that facilitated cross-training in various departments.”

Networking. Bringing your accomplishment list to networking events for jobseekers will serve you well. You won’t cite all your accomplishments when you’re standing at the front of the room during a “needs and leads” session but telling the group about your best accomplishment will leave a lasting impression in their minds.

“At Acme Company I volunteered to lead computer training for people who were struggling with SAP. My patient, yet thorough, style of training enabled all the trainees to understand the program in a week’s time, thus increasing their production.”

Interviews. Why not make your accomplishment list part of your portfolio? Chances are you’ve included the necessary job-related accomplishments on your résumé—and you’ve explained them during the meeting—but there may be other accomplishments that could contribute to your candidacy. Your list might be the tie-breaker.

Telephone interviews are also a great time to share your accomplishments. Because the interviewer can’t see you, your list will be by your side where you can see it. The interviewer asks if there’s anything you’d like to add.

You say, “I would be remiss in not mentioning that I excel in writing. In fact, when technical document was needed, sales would often come to me for easy-to-understand documentation on our products.”

When you’re employed. Often we overlook accomplishments we’ve had at work. The best time to compile your accomplishment list is when you’re working and the accomplishments are fresh in your mind. Every time you do something outstanding, write it down. Better yet, add it to your résumé.

Next Friday we’ll look at creating your contact list.

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3 ways introverts need to promote themselves in the job search

I’m cleaning the house, going room to room, and come across a test sheet attached to the refrigerator with a magnet that says Welcome to Massachusetts. The test is one of my daughter’s and it says in large red ink, “100%!” Upon close inspection, I notice the test was taken in September of last year. I throw away the test.

I go to the living room and start watching the Celtics/Heat game and suddenly jump out of the seat. I stride to the trash. There I retrieve my daughter’s test sheet and put it back on the refrigerator.

I don’t do this because the test covers a stain on our refrigerator—I do this for a different reason. When my daughter attached her test to the fridge, she did it because she wanted to promote her achievement. I want her to know that self-promotion is acceptable.

My colleague, Wendy Gelberg, is a champion of introverts. I believe she would call my daughter’s act of tacking her test on the refrigerator a healthy way for a teenager to promote herself to her parents; and in fact we were very pleased when we first saw her grade…almost eight months ago.

Introverts who have a hard time promoting themselves must learn how to do it correctly. Especially when it comes to jobseekers who are trying to make a great impression in the job search. In her article, Alternatives to Self-Promotion, Wendy suggests three ways for introverts to promote themselves without looking boastful:

  1. Let others speak for you
  2. Bring a portfolio
  3. Report the facts.

Of the three ways mentioned in Wendy’s article, my daughter illustrates “bring a portfolio.” She is providing a visual aid for us when she attached it to the refrigerator. She can tell us every time she does well, but she feels that showing proof of her success would deliver the message more effectively.

“We all know that sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words–and sometimes having some visual aids can help you promote yourself,” Wendy states.

The portfolio jobseekers show potential employers acts as a picture. Wendy gives “work samples, news articles, certificates/licenses, letters of praise, or other documents” as examples of bringing a portfolio. Bringing a  portfolio to the interview also helps introverts get over the fear of “boasting,” as it confirms to introverts of their accomplishments; it is concrete. Furthermore, employers are convinced of said accomplishments.

The third way to promote yourself in the job search, Report the Facts, is also imperative to doing well at the interview. This means you must back up what you claim. Wendy suggests answering question with the Problem-Action-Result (PAR) formula, and I agree. The PARs explain the skills you’ve demonstrated in the past and also uncover other valuable skills, skills the employers might not ask for but will be happy to hear.

The Celtics are down by nine points, the bathroom still needs to be cleaned, and I have to make dinner; but I’m feeling a sense of pride for what my daughter has accomplished, even if it was eight months ago. More to the point, I’m proud of her for realizing that self-promotion is necessary, even if it’s only for her parents. Self-promotion will be more important in her future job search. This is something I’m going to tell her when I have the chance, even though she’s only 16 years-old.

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7 ways to overcome the interview nerves

NervousHave you been so nervous at an interview that you’ve forgotten your name or what your previous title was? It happens. Have you been so nervous that the cup of water you’re holding is shaking beyond control? Sure, it happens. But it’s avoidable if you go into the interview with the right frame of mind.

Nervousness can overcome anyone, especially those who are being interviewed for the job of their dreams. All the anticipation comes to a head just before the daunting meeting, and then it’s time to perform. Unfortunately some interviewers see the meeting as a performance and not so much as selecting the right person for the job.

Not the best interviewers think this way, mind you. They want to get the best out of you because they want to hire the right person because hiring someone who is unqualified has consequences. It’s estimated that 68% of employers have hired the wrong candidate at least once at the tune of $25K-$50K to make the situation right.

An interesting article, 3 Reasons to Hire Nervous Candidates, implies that introverts (referred to as “neurotics”) tend to be the most nervous job candidates, but that they can make the best employees in the long run—as producers, team members, and salespeople—and backs it up with studies. The message of the article is that interviewers should look past the nervousness of the job candidate because, in the long run, she might turn out to be the best hire.

It would be a great thing if employers understood that nervous interviewees will demonstrate their brilliance upon being hired, whether she be an introvert, extravert, or ambivert; but don’t rely on the employer to operate this way. Some interviewers will base their decision to hire someone or not based on your first impression, which includes whether you appear nervous or composed.

A nervous job candidate, the best you can do is accept your nerves and try to manage them. To do this, it’s important to do a number things before and during the interview.

  1. Be as prepared as you can. You’ve heard this many times; and if you’re smart you’ve done something about it. You’ve researched the job so you can recite the responsibilities. The same goes for the company. You must go beyond the cursory reading of the job description and company website. Also take time to research the competition and industry.
  2. Practice. Professional athletes don’t go on the baseball field or soccer pitch without practicing in between games. My valued LinkedIn connection and executive coach, Greg Johnson, reminds us that mock interviews or even practicing answering questions in front of the mirror can help reduce the nerves, as it prepares you for the real thing.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep. As basic as this seems, being well rested is essential to doing well. Remember the days when you crammed for high school or college exams, trying to mash all that information into one night? Didn’t work too well, did it? Same goes for the interview–do your research over two, three, for days; as it’s easier to remember the information.

At the interview

  1. Admit that you’re nervous. That’s correct. Make a brief statement about how you haven’t interviewed  in a while and “might have some jitters, but I am very interested in the position.” This will explain a slow start until you warm up and get into high gear. This doesn’t give you the right to completely lose your nerves; eventually you’ll settle down.
  2. Don’t let the questions that are very difficult get to you. There are bound to be some questions that stump you, but don’t lose your head if no answer comes to mind. Instead ask if you can think about the questions a bit longer by saying, “That’s a very good question and one I’d like to answer. Can I think about this a bit longer?” Don’t take too long, however.
  3. Use your research to your advantage. Whereas some candidates may seem naturally composed and confident, your knowledge of the job and company will be impressive and negate any nervousness you have. Your advanced research will show your interest in the position and the company, something any good interviewer will appreciate.
  4. Remember you’re not the only one who’s nervous. Come on. Do you think you’re the only one in the room who’s nervous? Many interviewers will admit that they’re also nervous during the interview; there’s a lot at stake for them. They have to hire the right person, lest they cost the company someone who’s a bad fit or not capable of doing the job.

Anyone who tells you interviews are not nerve-racking think you were born yesterday. I’ve had exactly two people in eight years tell me they enjoy interviews. Those are people who must either be ultra confident or out of their mind. Even job candidates who do well at an interview, experience some jitters and recall times when they could have done better, including keeping their hand from shaking while holding a cup of water.

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10 job search blunders I find hard to believe

Some things are hard to believe, like I stepped on my scale this morning expecting to be two pounds heavier, due to Easter weekend, and I was actually two pounds lighter. Or I deliver the best workshop of my life and receive less than stellar evaluations. What about my wife still talking to me after I haven’t installed a, new screen door on our house three weeks after she’d asked me to?

Other things I find hard to believe are things that jobseekers do in their job search. For example:

  1. They tell me they have no accomplishments to list on their résumé, so they have a résumé that looks like a grocery list of duty statements. One of my customers told me that in five years of working at a company he hadn’t achieved anything great. Come on, try, guy.
  2. They send the same résumé to employers thinking targeted cover letters will address the requirements of a job. One customer admitted he sends out the same résumé but makes sure to tailor the cover letter to meet the employers’ needs. Half way there.
  3. Related to #2: They don’t send cover letters with their résumés. Come on, it only takes an hour at most to write a cover letter that elaborates more on your qualifications and accomplishments. Unless specifically told not to send a cover letter, send one.
  4. They think it’s acceptable to dress like they’re going to the gym while they’re in public. You’re always in the hunt and you never know when someone who has the authority to hire you—or knows someone who has the authority to hire you—will bump into you in the grocery store.  Networking is not only about going to organized events; it’s an everyday thing.
  5. They start a LinkedIn profile and just leave it there like a wilting plant. Do you think doing this will create a positive impression on recruiters and employers? No, it will do more harm than good. Having a profile is one part of the equation; being active is another part. Be active on LinkedIn.
  6. They spend the majority of their time on the computer, posting résumés to Monster, SimplyHired, the Ladders, etc. Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute, says your chance of success is between 5%-10% when using this method alone. To me this is not a great use of jobseeking time.
  7. They spend mere minutes researching companies and the jobs for which they apply before an interview. Really now, don’t you owe employers the respect of being able to articulate why you want to work at their company and do the job they’re advertising? Do your research.
  8. After getting laid off, they think it’s a great time for a three-month vacation, especially during the summer. Take a week off and then start your job search is my advice. Some downtime is healthy, but the longer you’re out, the harder it will be to get a job.
  9. They expect recruiters to work for them. Who pays the recruiters’ bills? Recruiters work for employers, and any optimism you hear in their voice is to give you confidence when vying for the position, not to indicate you have the job. They’re busy people who don’t always have time to answer your phone calls or e-mails, so don’t feel slighted.
  10. They don’t send a thank you note to employers after an interview. I know, people say it’s a waste of time; but don’t go about your job search in a half-ass way. Thank you notes are an extension of the interview and could make you or…break you.

These are some of the things I find hard to believe. The majority of my customers don’t commit these blunders, but some of my customers…make me scratch my head because I find them hard to believe.

5 things to consider for an interview; it’s not all about the hard skills

Recruiters and staffing agencies are not only concerned about job candidates’ hard skills; they’re also concerned about their soft skills. And this makes sense. Who would want to hire a dud who brings the operation down with his attitude? Jon Prete, “Who would you hire: Charlie or Ashton? It’s all about attitude!” and Jeff Haden, “The 5 Biggest Hiring Mistakes,” both emphasize the importance of hiring someone who will be a good fit.

This said, how should you prepare for the job search with this in mind? Here are five areas of your job search to focus on.

Be the round peg for the round hole: “The outstanding salesman with the incredible track record of generating business and terrorizing admin and support staff won’t immediately play well in your sandbox just because you hired him,” writes Haden. Let’s face it; if you’re difficult to work for, you have one strike against you already.

Look at yourself long and hard and determine what areas in your personality you might improve. Also determine in which work environments you feel most comfortable. If you’re a demanding person with little tolerance, you might consider an atmosphere with other demanding people…where you can’t terrorize other people.

Show it on paper: Many jobseekers say writing about their soft skills on their résumé and in their cover letter is irrelevant. This is bunk, especially with your cover letter. I don’t suggest that you use clichés like, “hard worker,” “team player,” “dynamic.” I suggest you illustrate these traits through your accomplishments. Show rather than tell.

A Manufacturing Manager who has a team-work approach and leadership skills might write: Consistently met production deadlines through collaboration with colleagues in various departments and providing effective leadership to (formerly) unmotivated subordinatesResult: Products were shipped to customers with a 97% return rate.

Talk about your soft skills while you’re networking: “I hate bragging at networking events,” I’m constantly told. “Nobody wants to hear about my personal qualities.” Yes they do. If someone is going to recommend you to a solid contact, wouldn’t you like to be assured that she will tell him that you loved what you were doing; you were a positive influence on you co-workers?

Demonstrate your enthusiasm while you’re networking, whether at events or on the sidelines of your daughter’s soccer game. Instead of saying, “I’m innovative”; say, “I came up with ideas that were often implemented and led to significant cost savings.”

Of course demonstrating your soft skills at the interview is important: This goes without saying. Interviewers today are using behavioral questions to find the people with the right attitude. “If crafted properly,” states Prete, “behavioral questions can provide a glimpse into a candidate’s decision-making process as well as their values. [Leadership Development Advisor, Beth Armknecht Miller] believes that a great majority of employees fail in a company because their soft skills and values don’t match those of their manager and company.”

Unlike the résumé where you have limited space, the interview provides you the platform to tell your stories using the STAR (situation, task, action, result) formula. You may be asked about your ability to effectively discipline subordinates. “Tell me about a time when you were effective in disciplining an employee. How did this help the employee perform better?” Have a story ready.

Seal the deal: The interview is not concluded until you’ve sent a follow-up letter, I tell my workshop attendees. This is another opportunity to emphasize your strong personality skills, making you a better fit for the position than other applicants. Many jobseekers fail to send a thank you note, and some don’t get the job for that reason.

A former customer recently wrote me, “The HR person really liked my hand-written thank-you note; said it was rare.” The message here is that you can stand out as a courteous, professional, and follow-through type of candidate simply by sending a thank-you note.

Jobseekers generally think that recruiters and staffing agencies care only about the technical skills. (After all, recruiters can’t present a zebra with orange stripes to their client when a zebra with black stripes is called for.) But two recruiters are telling you that employers want a great personality fit, as well. Take their advice and sell yourself as an all-around employee from the very beginning.

Job interviewers, 10 things you need to know about your candidates

In a US News article titled 10 Things You Should Know About Your Interviewer, Alison Green enlightens job candidates on what interviewers are thinking during the hiring process. Interviewers are human too and have their own struggles. Her 10 statements are below.

But job candidates have their own struggles. Let’s look at it from the candidates’ points of view, according to what jobseekers have told me.

1. We want to find the best person for the job. Many job candidates want to be that person but are passed over for a number of reasons, such as they don’t perform we at the interview…regardless of their qualification. There are other reasons why candidates don’t qualify as the best person for the job, but should nerves be one of them?

2. We’re busy. Candidates get that and value your time. But keep in mind, the best candidates will take a great deal of time preparing for the interview, sometimes more time than some interviewers.

3. We might have our hands tied by human resources. HR is the gatekeeper and makes it difficult for candidates who just want to deliver their résumé and cover letter to the person who will make the decision. So interviewers shouldn’t complain; candidates have it tough from the get-go.

4. We’re afraid of making the wrong hire. Job candidates don’t want you to make the wrong hire either. They want you to hire them as long as it’s going to be a happy marriage and won’t end poorly. In this case, it’s not “better to love than love at all.”

5. We want to hire someone we get along with. Ditto.

6. We’re trying to figure out what you’ll be like to manage. Most candidates want to know what it will be like being managed, as they might have had difficult managers. It’s a two-way street, as they say.

7. We want you to help us figure out why we should hire you. That’s fair. Don’t ask them a bunch of stupid questions like what kind of tree they’d like to be, or where they’d like to be in five years, or what is their greatest weakness and strength. Take some time to figure out how to get the best answers out of them, not the answers you’d necessarily like to hear.

8. We won’t always tell you what we really think. Now why wouldn’t you? If a candidate is daft enough to tell you he hated his last boss, or seems more concerned about the length of lunch time, or seems completely insincere; he deserves to hear your thoughts ASAP.

9. We’re wondering what you’re not telling us. Ditto again.

10. We hate rejecting people. Jobseekers don’t want to be rejected either, but they hate being put on hold more. If you’re not going to hire the candidate, and you know this very soon in the game, have compassion and tell him as soon as possible.

It seems, according to what Alison says, there is a lot of angst over hiring the candidates to fill positions, and it’s refreshing to hear some honesty. What it comes down to is making the best hiring decision. The process isn’t perfect–some say as high as 60% of all hires don’t work out–but who’s to blame for that?

When the interviewer is doing 100% of the talking

Have you experienced a situation like this at an early-stage interview–you’re excited to be there, a bit nervous expecting the difficult questions to be fired at you, but the interviewer is doing 100% the talking?

Then toward the end of the interview, you ask if he wants to ask you any questions, to which he replies, “No, I read your résumé. We’re good to go.” You’re wondering what the hell happened. You didn’t have the opportunity to sell your skills, experience, and accomplishments.

Some of my customers complain to me about similar scenarios, while others tell me they felt relieved and grateful for not having to talk. Those who felt relieved erroneously believe the interviewers were doing them a huge favor.

Interviewers who do all the talking are not doing you a favor; they’re hogging your precious time. And although you’re nervous at the time, it’s essential that you achieve what you went there for–to sell yourself.

You never want to come across as controlling the interview, but sometimes you have to break in so you can inform the interviewer why you are the right person for the job.

So how do you break into the conversation?

First of all, don’t make assumptions. One assumption might be that it’s an inside hire and the interviewer is just trying to take up time. Another might be that the company is required by law or according to their policy to interview a few candidates. There are a number of reasons why the interviewer is blabbing like a fool, but chances are he’s simply self-absorbed and unaware of his duty.

Know when enough is enough. After the interviewer has rattled on for a number of minutes, it’s time to put a halt to the monolog. There’s a chance the interviewer might get on a roll and sabotage the whole process.

Don’t get belligerent. Saying, “Aren’t you going to ask me questions?” won’t leave a good impression. You’ll come across as rude and trying to control the interview.

Break into the conversation in a seamless manner. “The management around here leaves a lot to be desired,” he is saying. This is your cue to answer one of the most popular questions; what kind of manager do you prefer?

“Where I last worked, management was very good,” you break in. “They were fair, communicative, and had their priorities in order. I’ve worked under many different management styles from hands-off to hands-on. I’ve thrived wherever I’ve worked because I can adapt to all types of styles.”

Later he says, “Our customers are very needy. They require a lot of hand-holding–a real bunch of idiots.”

You counter, “Interacting with difficult customers is one of my fortes. In fact, many of the difficult customers were routed my way because I had a very patient attitude which the customers could sense. I managed to revive many failed customer relations.”

This may put a halt to the interviewer’s loquaciousness, or he may continue to drone on and on. But you can’t give up your efforts of getting yourself heard. The next time you hear a break in his monolog, engage him again by summarizing your job-related skills and accomplishments, declaring you’re the person for the job.

At the end of the interview inform him that you’ll send along an e-mail outlining how you can address many of the problems he was so kind to elaborate on. You may want to ask him if you should forward it to his manager and HR.

4 components employers are looking for in job candidates.

Okay, now Forbes magazine’s article, Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions,  has confirmed what employers are looking for in candidates. This is not new news. Employers want people who can 1) do the job, 2) will do the job, and 3) will fit in (or be tolerated).

But there’s a fourth piece to the puzzle Forbes doesn’t mention, which is “can we afford you?” Unfortunately, this seems to be almost as important as the other three requirements, as evidenced by the phone screening, where you’ll most likely get the salary question.

Let’s look at the four components employers look for in a candidate.

Of course interviewers won’t ask the questions phrased as such: Can you do the job? Rather they’ll pose them as: “What skills do you see being necessary to do the job?” “Tell me how you’ll handle problem X.” “What kind of experience do you have in the areas of Y?”

Having the technical know-how is essential to performing the job and advancing in your career, but there are other qualities employers look for in candidates, perhaps qualities on par with the hard skills.

For the motivation part, they’ll want to know if you’re in love with the responsibilities and the mission of the organization. Will you work until the job is finished? “Why do you want to work for this company?” may be a question you’ll have to field. Were you ever given the directive, “Tell me why you applied for this job.” Nerveracking, to say the least.

How can you prove your desire to work for the company? Stories using the Situation-Task-Action-Result (STAR) formula are a great way to demonstrate competencies that talk to your desire to do the job.

Showing that you’ll be a good fit is a tough shell to crack and a concern many employers have. It’s about your personality. They don’t want to hire someone they’ll have to let go because he can’t get along with co-workers. In this area you’re likely to get behavioral-based directives, such as: “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate colleague.”

A surprising figure stated in the article claims that: “40 percent of senior executives leave organizations or are fired or pushed out within 18 months. It’s not because they’re dumb; it’s because a lot of times culturally they may not fit in with the organization or it’s not clearly articulated to them as they joined.”

Are you affordable? Salary negotiation makes some people’s skin crawl because they see it as a confrontational discussion, when in fact it’s straight forward. Companies don’t want you to resent them by paying you too little. However, a smart company sees this as business, so they’re not going to give away the farm.

Martin Yate, in Knock ‘Em Dead, page 249, says, “They want you! Before you sign on the dotted line, however, you should be well schooled in the essentials of good salary and benefits negotiation.” He advises to be a master negotiator but be reasonable about your expectations. Do your research.

“What do you think you’re worth?” might be a question you’ll get. Or, “What did you make at your last company.” Be prepared to answer it so you don’t lose out on the salary you deserve. As well, don’t be surprised if you’re out of their price-range. The final piece.

When giving advice to jobseekers, remember to keep an open mind

If you are going to advise jobseekers on how to properly conduct a job search, please do them a favor; get over yourself. That’s right, remember it’s not about you; it’s about giving your listeners options and opening their minds to possibilities.

Occasionally I’m told about speakers my jobseekers hear at  networking events who speak from one point of view, their own. One speaker told the audience that he never reads cover letters. Because he’s an eloquent speaker, an accomplished recruiter, I’m willing to bet everyone in the room left thinking, phew, I don’t have to write cover letters anymore.

Recently I heard of a hiring authority who said she prefers one-page résumés. Now, I know she was speaking for herself, but immediately following the presentation, one of my jobseekers rushed to tell me she was changing her résumé to a one-pager. I spoke with her and we agreed that she had enough experience and accomplishments to warrant a two-page résumé. Further, we agreed that she should construct a one-page résumé. I don’t have anything against one-page résumés, but different situations call for different types of résumés.

A job coach once told me that he doesn’t think job candidates should go to interviews prepared; rather they should go in and wing it. Better to be relaxed than all hyped up, he reasoned. Screw the research, right? He also tells jobseekers that cover letters are a waste of time. He never got a job using a cover letter, so what’s the sense for all jobseekers to write them.

We tend to give advice based on our experience, sometimes forgetting there are other points of view, other ways of doing things. I’m guilty of doing the same. In my mind a cover letter is a compliment to one’s résumé—you write one that’s tailored to each job for which you apply. But I also get that that some recruiters don’t read them. To some, cover letters are fluffy narrative that aren’t worth the paper (or bytes) they’re written on. My advice is to send a cover letter unless specifically told not to.

I realize that one-page résumés are preferred by some hiring authorities. Hell, I’d rather read a résumé that tells it all in one page. But some people have significant accomplishments that simply can’t be covered in one page. Nonetheless, I show my Résumé Writing workshop attendees an example of an excellent one-page résumé that consists of one hundred percent quantified accomplishments. I have an open mind.

Some jobseekers can go to an interview having not researched the company or position for which they’re applying and do quite well. They’re loose and confident. They have the gift of gab. I have to admit that I’ve never suggested an alternative to preparing for interviews, but perhaps I should…nah…prepare your ass off.

I cut my jobseekers a little slack when I explain the ways they can write their LinkedIn profiles, particularly when it comes to the summary. I like one that’s lengthy, written in first person, and tells a story. Others suggest summaries written much like a résumé’s. Not for me, but who’s to say what works best in certain situations. I’m sure hiring managers in the technical fields like things short and sweet. I tend to be long-winded. Can’t you tell?

Look, your advice is probably sound, but there’s more than one way to skin a…bad analogy. Just present sound options and let the smart jobseeker decide what’s best given the situation. Let’s face it, if there were only one way to tell people how to find a job, we’d be rich people. Or we’d be out of work.


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