Category Archives: Uncategorized

Job Journey: Interview No-Nos

Interviews are stressful and sometimes we blurt out things without knowing how they will be interpreted by the hiring manager.

Here’s what interviewers don’t want to hear:

I want this to be the last job of my career.

Even though your intention is to totally commit to this role, that’s not what the interviewer hears. They hear that you are looking for place to park for the next couple of years until you retire.

I will take this job until the right job comes along.

This is fine to think but not to say. No one wants to hear that a place on their team is not the most appealing thing since sliced bread.

My objective is to have your job.

Telling the hiring manager you want kick them out of their office is not the best way to display your ambition. Talking about wanting to lead a team or run a project is a better way to do this.

I’d like to work from home.

What the interviewer hears is that you don’t feel like this job is worth getting dressed and commuting for every morning. If the position is not advertised as “remote”, then its not and the expectation is that you will be in the office with everyone else. You can ask if work from home programs are available but that’s about as far as you can go.

Hiring is about finding the right person for the role. Part of this is assessing skills and experience and part of is assessing the risks the person presents. Make sure your answers do not lead them to consider risks that are not there. Practice your interview responses with this in mind.

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Job Journey: Skype Interview Tips

Skype interviews are becoming more and more common. I find myself using them more and more. They are not the same as meeting someone in person but they allow me to experience how the person presents, their energy and hand gestures – basically everything except their sweaty palms.

Preparing for a Skype interview is pretty similar to a face to face interview. You still have to read up on the company and the role. You still have to practice talking about your experience.

And you still need to get a haircut. Just because the conversation is on Skype rather than in person does not make it casual in any way. You need to be just as professional as you would if you were going to a hiring manager’s office.

Before the conversation starts, decide where you are going to take the call. I get really nauseous if I have to watch as you move your phone all around  while you find a good spot to prop your phone or iPad.

Also, before the call, reverse the camera so you can see what the interviewer is going to see. Check for laundry, lingerie, questionable magazines, travel souvenirs or any other distractions. Put the cat in another room. You want to make sure that the interviewer is paying attention only to you.

During the call, if you are going to take notes (which is fine) tell the interviewer.  It is awkward if you keep looking down and they don’t know why.

Also, try to remember to look up periodically. The temptation is to look only at their image at the bottom of your screen. When you focus on the top frame of your screen, it feels more like you are making eye contact.

Make a couple of practice calls with friends to get ready. Pull up a chair and get comfy, because Skpe is here to stay.

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Job Journey: The Post Interview Thank You Note

Until recently, I was a strong advocate for sending a hand written note to the hiring manager after an interview.  I have come to appreciate that an email will do just fine. Emails are easier, quicker and you don’t have to worry about terrible hand writing.

Thank you notes help to cement your qualities of professionalism and the ability to follow up.  These are two characteristics are important for pretty much every job and the more you can bolster the positive impression you made during the interview, the better.

Your note should thank the person for their time and recall one or two points that were raised during the conversation.  The last bit should confirm your interest in the role and the company.

Ideally, you want to send the note the day after the meeting.  You don’t want to do it the moment you leave.  When you send it the day after, it shows that you have taken time to reflect and that you are organized enough to fit it into your busy day.

If you did not get a business card during the conversation and you do not have the contact information for the hiring manager, then send your note to whoever set up the meeting and ask them to forward it.

Thank you notes are an easy way to score points in the interview process.  Make them part of your post-interview follow up.

 

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Job Journey: Interview Pro Tips

I heard a fantastic phrase last week.  One of our senior sales leaders was talking with us about value propositions, enhanced authenticity and other eye rolling stuff.  I was starting to glaze over when he came out with this gem:

Don’t just show up and throw up.

What a perfect way to describe what happens when you head into an interview and you are nervous as hell.  The first question is thrown out and off you go.  You do a complete and uncontrolled brain dump.  Then you run out of oxygen and can no longer remember the question.  So embarrassing…..

Don’t get me wrong.  Nerves won’t ever go away.  There should always be some anticipation and a sense of excitement when you meet with new people.  I get that feeling even when I am meeting people I already know and I talk to strangers for a living.

The key is confidence and that comes with research and practice.  Once you know you have secured an interview, research the company.  Use LinkedIn, industry news sources and your network to find out what you can about the company.  Look for information on growth, awards, competitors, culture, locations and values.

Spend some time thinking about your experience and what might be relevant to the hiring team.  What stories could you share that would induce some good eyebrow raises and head nods?

Prepare five or six stories that illustrate how you deal with challenges, how you set priorities, how you tackle something new.  Practice telling these stories.  Make sure they sound smooth and they hang together so you don’t drift off in the middle.

A good career example is like a good joke.  You have told it many times and you know when to pause and when to keep going to get the desired impact.

That preparation should allow you to walk in to an interview ready to share what you know and learn what they need.  And that’s the goal.

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Job Journey: How to Prepare for a First Interview

It’s spring here in Canada and if you are doing the interview circuit, you need to be prepared.

There is nothing worse than sniffling during a conversation.  You try to be subtle by wiggling your nose or casually wiping your sleeve near your nose but face it: there is no substitute for a tissue.  So start each day by putting one in your pocket, sleeve or bra strap.

If you have a bit of a cough or a tickle (and who doesn’t these days?), then put some lozenges or tic tacs in your pocket, purse or briefcase. You can pop one while you are waiting for your meeting to start.  It will give you something to do with your hands.

Make sure you give yourself extra time before the interview but don’t hang around the reception area – that’s not cool.  Plan to take a few minutes in the lobby for your body temperature to sort itself out.  Your face and hands will be cold but your armpits will be working overtime.  It will be better if you greet the person you are meeting with warm hands and the tell-tale half moons of nervousness will have dissipated.  Take off your coat, blow your nose and wait until everything comes to room temperature.  Then head upstairs to announce your presence.

Finally, no matter how much of a Tim Horton’s or Starbucks fan you are, don’t take your coffee into the meeting unless you are prepared to offer some to the other person.

Set yourself up for a great first interview:  arrive early, finish your latte in the lobby and pop a tic tac.

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Job Journey: Taking an Olympic Break

It’s 12 minutes to the puck drop for the gold medal women’s hockey game.  I am way too distracted to think about resumes.

Whether we win or not, it is sure to be inspiring and energizing and make me even prouder to be Canadian.

More on resumes and applying for jobs next week.

 

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Job Journey – Perfecting Your Resume

Resumes are as individual as people.  Even when you use a Microsoft template, your document will still be different from other people’s documents.

Objective

Should you have an objective or not? There people on both side of the fence.  It can be helpful to the reader if you lay out a clear objective.

Looking for long term role in a fast-paced customer service team.

You can also have more of a summary statement.  The would be one or two lines that summarize what you bring to the table.

Senior Finance Leader with Expertise in Mergers, Acquisitions and Integrations.

This is one of the parts that can change depending on who will be reading it.  If you are looking to do something different, you might want to work that into a statement about your next career objective.

Inside Sales Leader  with great track record in consumer products looking to move in to an outside sales role.

If you want to do the same thing in a better place, a summary statement might make better use of the space.

Experience

For each job, you want to lay out the name of the company, your title, the dates you held the role and a few bullet points about what you did.

You can also add a link to their website and you can consider adding a line or two about what the company does.  This is a good idea if you were toiling away in a company that no one has ever hear of before.

You can add a detail about why you left but this is not really necessary.  You want to leave something to talk about during the interview.

Most people have details of at least ten years of experience.  You can add more if it’s relevant but just stick to company, title and dates.

Your resume may up being two or three pages.  There are no hard and fast rules about the length.  What we do know if that the average recruiter will take 2-3 seconds to read your resume and decide to move you to the A pile or the B pile.

This means that the top half of the first page is where the most important material should go.  Keep that in mind and make sure you maximize the use of that space.  You only get one page to make a great impression.

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