Archive for the ‘Posts by Jeff’ Category

Happy New Year Job Seekers?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Although the holiday season has come and gone, it is not too late to  work on New Year’s resolutions.  Especially for job seekers!  My recent Job-Hunt.org article provides many choices for improving the job search process.

Link to Article:  New Year’s Resolutions for Job Seekers

The Interview is Done–Will the Phone Ring?

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

When the phone doesn’t ring within 24 hours of an interview, many job candidates start to assume they didn’t get the job.  The waiting game is worse than the interview itself for some.

Read what to do and NOT do during this stage in process in a JobHunt.Org article Post-Interview Waiting Game

Double Duty for Hiring Managers

Monday, October 19th, 2009

jin-jang

My wife has been in China for over a week and I’ve been playing the role of Mom AND Dad for our girls.  Stereotypes aside, I’ll just say I’m having to be the good cop and bad cop.  Sweet and sour.  There are many who do this full-time and I admire them.

This situation reminds me that hiring managers have to remember to pull double-duty during the interview process.  A hiring manager should be critical during the interview and ask pertinent, direct questions.  At the same time, the manager needs to realize the (best) candidates are also interviewing them.  Managers must present themselves in a professional manner, but should also let their true personality show.  Being a real person during the interview gives the candidate a chance to evaluate how well they could work with that manager.  Being open to questions about management style, work environment, and expectations is a good start.

A relevant example comes from a friend of mine who was interviewing recently.  She interviewed with a manager who asked all types of off-the-wall questions and pushed hard for more if he thought she was giving "pat answers."  Later in the interview, he explained why he asked certain questions and gave feedback on her answers.  He went on to say how he is easy to work for, but nonetheless, my friend had a hard time picturing a good working relationship.  Most likely, she was not the right fit for the job.  The right person for the role might have been someone who enjoys frequent debates or a fever pitch work environment.

As a part of being the "good cop" in the process, it is also important to convey the benefits of working for the company.  Even in an economy where there are many candidates available for every posting, managers still have to present their job as a great opportunity.  After all, the best candidates for the job may have other options.  More information on communication strategy for enticing the candidate to work for your company is available in a previous post:  Have You Wooed Lately?

Acting as Mom and Dad boils down to simply being a good parent.  And acting as an interviewer and interviewee during this process is a part of being a good manager.

How The Best Candidates Get Picked

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Part of how recruiters earn their fee is by determining who are the best candidates for the client’s job opening.  Some candidates may feel a little put out when they are not selected to be presented to a client. 

Understanding what qualifies as the best candidate for a job may dispel any myths or mysteries about the selection process recruiters use.  An article I’ve written for Job-Hunt.org gives an objective description and some guidelines for job seekers.

Click here to read the article.

Your Job Interview IQ

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

I read an interesting article earlier this year written by C.J. Liu of Payscale.com where she asks us to determine our Job Interview IQ.  She asks some pertinent True/False questions about interviewing and provides good insights with the answers.  I’ve added some of my own at the bottom of this post that I’ve discussed with candidates over the years.

What’s Your Job Interview IQ?

by C.J. Liu, PayScale.com

After networking, sending resumes, and waiting patiently by the phone, all your hard work has paid off with an invitation to interview. But, how do you prepare? What do you wear? And, how should you explain any layoffs or gaps in your resume?

See full article>>

My additions to her article:

11.  When asked the age-old question of where I see myself in five years, I should say, "in your position."

False.  It is good to show ambition in your interview and that you seek growth in your career.  However, unless you have really good information on the career path on this job, you’re guessing as to what the plans for this job are.  It is best to stay generic.  Let them know that you would expect in the next five years, you would have grown your skill set, learned their industry well enough to teach others, have enhanced your abilities in working with all types of people (vendors, clients, colleagues, management), and would be positioned well for any new opportunities the company has planned for you.

12.  When asked what is your pet peeve, you tell them you can’t stand people who eat their lunch at their desk and talk endlessly on the phone to their aunt in Tallahassee.

False.  Although this may be true, there is no need to share this pet peeve of yours.  The reality is, this is a trap question. There really is no good "real" answer.  So instead, use humor or a light-hearted comment that has little relevance.  Example: "I hate when I get my coat caught in the car door on the way to work and everyone is pointing at my car on the way in."  When pressed for more peeves, you can say you’re not the type to get "peeved."

13.  You’ll sound too desperate if you tell them you really want the job.

True/False.  You’ll sound too desperate if you say it in a begging tone or down on your knees.  But, I always advocate sounding very interested in the job.  During the interview, consider it your best option for a job (you can evaluate this assumption later).  Thinking this way will naturally guide your comments to lean toward enthusiasm, true interest, and excitement about the prospect of working there.  Interviewers gage this and want to hire candidates who really do want to work there, not just be employed.

For more insights on all these questions along with interviewing preparation, etiquette, and strategy for answering interviewing questions, feel free to download my eBooks.

The Importance of a Consistent Message

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Whether you are searching for a job or searching for the best candidate, a consistent message needs to be communicated throughout the entire candidate selection process.  For both parties, the message can center around the Five W’s:

  • who you are
  • what you seek in an employer or employee
  • where you are in your career or hiring process
  • when you expect to make a decision
  • why you are looking for a job or candidate
  • (and even how: how you expect to arrive at a decision)

For example, some who’s and what’s for both:

Candidate:  I am an experienced marketing executive looking to lead a team marketing custom software.

Company:  We are a Fortune1000 software development company looking for a marketing executive with 15+ years software marketing experience, an MBA, and five years experience leading others.talkdirectly

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  You might be surprised how often both sides veer of the path of delivering a consistent message. 

The Candidate’s Message:

Candidates need to follow the advice I’ve written for interviewing. Specifically, they need to understand what the company is looking for and communicate the experiences and skills that tie directly to those requirements.  An inconsistent message starts to form when a candidate starts layering in all the other things they might be interested in or relating skill sets that the company does not need.  Mentioning all these things dilutes the core message.

Throughout the interview, all the interview responses and examples provided need to tie back to the core message.  By doing so, a candidate will reinforce the impression that has started to form of what they are all about.  The more examples provided, the stronger the message gets.

The Company’s Message:

On the company side, the consistent message can get diluted when there are a series of interviewers who have not been prepared adequately.  Each interviewer should be asking questions tied to the same requirements.  Also, when asked, "what is the company looking for in a candidate," every interviewer should answer the question almost identically.  Granted, direct reports to the position may have different needs than the supervisor to the position.  However, all these answers should be agreed upon up front.

Another area of concern is the messaging on what the company is all about.  If one employee says the company’s core competence or mission is X and another says Y, what is a candidate to think?

Even little things like "where are you in the process?" can be a tripping point.  If one interviewer says, "we just started looking at candidates" and another says, "we’re close to picking three finalists," what is the candidate going to think?  Although, both statements could be true, it doesn’t sound very consistent.

Bottom Line:

Just like in traditional marketing, when the message is not consistent across all sources, the receivers of the information lose sight of the intended message.  A little preparation and strategy can go a long way (on both sides) to ensure both clearly communicate what they are looking for and what they are all about.

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