The interview process can be one of the most daunting aspects of finding a job, particularly in the job hunting climate we have nowadays. There’s so many qualified candidates for a job, it’s important that you set yourself apart from the pack, should you secure that all-important interview.
First impressions are everything. Put your best foot forward by dressing appropriately for your interview. In addition, silence your cell phone before going into the interview.
There’s several ways to prepare for your interview- you can do it independently or even through professional interview training. Either way you choose to do it, just make sure you ARE prepared. Being unprepared for an interview is a guaranteed recipe for disaster!
Some interview coaching services recommend memorizing your answers to interview questions. While, I agree that it’s good to rehearse what you might say if asked a specific question, perhaps memorizing the exact words may be going a bit too far. After all, you want to sound at ease and, if you memorize your interview responses, it may come off sounding more robotic than natural.
When being asked a question by the interviewer, make sure you listen to what it is they are asking, exactly. Take time to pause after the question is asked to gather a thoughtful, intelligent response. Don’t think it’s necessary to jump in immediately with any old answer. Interview training with a coach can help you gauge the appropriate response time for a question.
Many interview training services will advise you to use the STAR model when structuring your response to interview questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results. For example, describe a situation from your previous employment experience, what you needed to achieve in that situation, the action you took (always keep the focus on YOU) and, finally, the results you achieved. This approach helps the interviewer gain a clear picture about specific capabilities that you possess related to the job you are interviewing for.
During your interview, you may be tempted to give far too much information than what the interviewer is seeking. Make sure you keep your answers brief and to the point. If an interviewer wants additional information, he or she will ask you for more details. And, if they do, limit your responses to two to three minutes per question. You can prepare yourself by taping your responses to see how long it takes to answer a question.
Make sure that you speak in concrete facts, not generalities. You can do this by citing measurable results and by pointing out specific accomplishments as you discuss your strengths. If you are able, make sure that you choose example results and accomplishments that would enhance your value to the interviewer.
Often times, individuals are reluctant to discuss their strengths. The interview is not the time to be a wallflower. Confidently and comfortably articulate your strengths as they relate to the position and how the company would benefit by hiring you. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself!
During the interview, try to put yourself in the role of one of the team members. Explain how you would add value to their team and place yourself “already in” by using the company name and identifying yourself as a team player.
When interviewing, make sure you keep a flow to the interview- like a conversation as opposed to a question and answer session. To better prepare yourself to be able to speak off-the-cuff, make sure you research the company, their goals, their achievements and any other important data that you can draw from during the interview.
And lastly, when you wrap up the interview, make sure you thank your interviewer politely for his or her time, firmly shake their hand while maintaining eye contact and smile. Let them know that it truly has been an enjoyable experience to meet with them!
If you feel your interview skills aren’t up to par and you need more than just a few tips to land that job, an interview training service may be exactly what you’re looking for! Not too expensive and worth their weight in gold, that one investment may provide you with rewards a hundred-fold!
Read More »
The job market is tough for everyone nowadays, but perhaps no demographic is having a tougher time than Baby Boomers.
Although no one wants to admit it, ageism is alive and well. Yes, it’s illegal to discriminate due to age but, frankly, it’s hard to nail a company for employment discrimination, particularly age discrimination.
So, then how can a Baby Boomer level the playing field when looking for a job? First, when you build a resume, make sure it’s functional, not chronological. Potential employers need a 30 second overview of your most relevant qualifications as they pertain to the position for which you are applying.
Secondly, in order to compete, you have to stay competitive. Make sure your qualifications are up-to-date. If you have no idea what social media or Facebook is, there’s a variety of community colleges that offer classes to help you get up to speed on some of the latest internet tech that companies use.
Thirdly, know a little bit about your prospective employer. While your resume gives them a glimpse of you, you may know virtually nothing about the company you’re applying to. Do a little online sleuthing to find out more about the company, their accomplishments, their challenges and even their hot buttons. It’s amazing what you can find out via a company’s own website, press releases, business journals, and even local newspapers. Nothing says, “I’m the one for the job!” more than taking the time to get to know the prospective company.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, be confident but not cocky. While your interviewer may not know your exact age, they certainly know that you’re a Baby Boomer. Frame your interview on the expertise your wisdom brings to the company and be confident that you have what THEY need.
While it may take Baby Boomers a bit longer to find employment, there are great companies who are out there looking for exactly what YOU have to offer. Seek them out and deliver what they’re looking for. They’ll have no choice but to say, “you’re hired!”
Read More »
In my previous post, I covered what some may feel are basics of the LinkedIn profile. But, do you know how many people don’t fully utilize the power of their profile? I don’t have any hard statistics, but I’d venture A LOT of individuals don’t. And, if you do, that puts you way ahead of the competition!
This last aspect of your profile within LinkedIn is what I consider to be among THE MOST POWERFUL pieces: the RECOMMENDATION section. These are testimonials from individuals you are connected with in LinkedIn. By asking an associate for a simple recommendation, you have added INSTANT social credibility to yourself. The best part is, you can choose which recommendations to display or you can ask for a re-write of a recommendation in two simple clicks.
You may be wondering how this is beneficial to you if you don’t have any connections that will give you recommendations. Answer: You can create an offer to send out to your groups, extending a SPECIAL to them in exchange for a recommendation. For example, if you’re a web designer or web programmer, offer to design or program a website for a drastically reduced rate or even free for the first 10 people to respond. If you’re a graphic designer, offer to spiffy up their website graphics with new, web 2.0 designs. If you produce videos, offer to make a quick video intro for a site. You get the idea!
Can you imagine the power of just 10 or 15 recommendations from individuals and companies and how that would position you as an expert within your industry? That’s free public exposure in exchange for a little investment of time. I can almost guarantee it will repay significant dividends for you!
Recapping The Profile Process
• Optimize your profile by using targeted keywords
• Join groups that are relevant to your industry which have a significant number of members
• Create an offer related to your specialty
• Extend the offer to your groups via broadcasting a blog post
• Provide your service to a specific number of group members
• Request a recommendation for the service you performed
By investing a little time and effort into creating your LinkedIn profile, you can leverage the true power of your LinkedIn profile to not only create profitable connections, but also land your DREAM JOB!
Read More »