Posted on: November 24th, 2020 by
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Most interview questions revolve around your resume: What education and skills do you bring?  What have you accomplished?  How did you achieve results?  Those are questions you can easily prepare for because you can easily recall your past performance.


The most difficult questions are non-resume questions that force you to be more reflective and respond more thoughtfully with insight and substance.  Here are few of them:

  • Why are you looking for a new job? This is a reasonable question. How you answer should also be reasonable.  Be careful not to denigrate your boss or company.  Solution:  Talk about the results you’ve gotten and now you’re looking for the next challenge.  Be ready for the follow-up question as to why.  Talk about the lack of opportunity, the economy, or the business climate.
  • Brief me on your background – First off, don’t give them your life’s story. They want two things: How you think, organize information and deliver it in a cogent way.  Second, how your experiences transfer to solve their issues.   Solution:  Provide progressive experiences and solutions that match the position description of the open job.  What did you do in past jobs where you solved a similar issue somewhere else and can do it again for them?
  • How did your handle an issue/solution that you and your supervisor disagreed?  If you’re not prepared for this question you may come up blank.  The interviewer is looking for your “people skills” and your ability to help the boss when you may disagree.  Solution:  Show that you supported the boss as best you can with alternative solutions to produce a better outcome.
  • How are you different or better than all other candidates? Be modest but positive about your contributions in your current job. Solution:  Parallel your past achievements with the key requirements outlined in the position description.
  • What do you do well or not so well? The “do well’s” are easy.  The “not so well’s” are more difficult.  You don’t want a long list of failures.  Solution:  Prepare one or two examples where you overcame a fault and performed at a higher level, or where you didn’t initially recognize how to assist a co-worker but eventually figured it out.
  • What compensation are you looking for? Don’t give a specific number as you’ll probably be too high or too low.  Research what others are paid through or  Solution:  Two potential strategies:  If your “forced” to give a number, provide a range, “Between x and y” based on your research.  Or you can say, “I prefer not to provide you with a number until I better understand the parameters and complexity of the position, along with information about incentives, bonuses, benefits and their cost to me, 401K matches, and other contributory programs”


You need to ascertain your potential to the organization.  Do you have value that few others can provide based on your prior experiences, or is your function viewed as a commodity that many others can fill?


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Posted on: November 17th, 2020 by
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Are you considering working abroad remotely since you can theoretically work from anywhere in the world?  Some countries are openly inviting the remote worker from the United States because the local tourism dollars are down and they want to revive their economy.  So where should you consider, what should you be concerned about, and what are the hidden issues that can cause you difficulty later?  Read on.


These are the countries that are actively making it easy for the remote worker: Albania, Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Jamaica, Republic of Georgia, Germany, Mexico, Portugal and Spain.  There may be others over time.  Many of these countries have a low number of Covid-19 cases at this time.  Some countries are closed to outsiders:  Australia, New Zealand, and some European countries.  A website called gives updates periodically.


Of course, there are different hurdles to overcome before many countries will admit a remote worker.  Here are some that needs to be checked out:

  • You’ll need a valid passport
  • Most require a negative coronavirus test within a day or so before departing
  • A few have a special visa permit for a 6 or 12 month stay
  • Some ask for a special fee – from zero to as much as $3,000 for a family
  • Some want proof of health insurance, employment and a minimum income, while other countries don’t ask for much of anything.


The upside of working remotely from a “paradise” or interesting foreign location are fairly obvious, but some of the downside reasons are not.  Here are some of the things you need to consider before launching into a decision without thinking it through completely:

  • Is the technology adequate to support the internet, videos, conference calls and major uploads and downloads? How about data security?
  • Will you be in competition with local workers? If so, you can be shut out.
  • What is the currency exchange rate? Will it put you at an advantage or disadvantage?
  • Will there be a language problem, especially for computer technical assistance?
  • What’s the cost of living differential? Some are exorbitant, while others are low.
  • Should you tell your boss?   If you don’t and something happens (like a special or emergency in-person meeting) it will spill the beans.  But there are other considerations where your company is involved.
  • Will your company medical insurance cover you if needed?
  • What other insurances are in jeopardy? How about Workers Compensation?
  • What are the tax implications? Will your host country tax you in addition to the U.S.?
  • What are the implications for a significant other or family considerations?
  • What about education for children? Many don’t allow for public education, only private.


While the image of working remotely from a once in a lifetime location is appealing, the realities suggest you research and plan, then triple check your answers.


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Posted on: November 11th, 2020 by
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Assuming you have chosen a clear career goal and strategy, the next step is to answer key questions about your rationale, readiness, alternatives and decision points.  Each answer should clarify your actions and reinforce your decisions.  Here are a few of the key questions to consider:


  • Do I have all the important information or facts that I need for a decision? Beyond the usual who, what, when, why and where, career decisions have to include the marketplace; the supply/demand equation for your function, by industry and location; the organizational level (staff, supervisor, manager, director, VP); past experiences and performance; the quality of references; state-of-the-art technology skills; total compensation opportunities (now and in the future); remote versus office proficiency; and job specifications.
  • Do I have to make a decision immediately? Is it the right time? The quickest decision may not be the right one, unless you’re 100% sure.  Reflect on all the information you need given the economy, projections and your probability of success.  Also consider your contingency plan if it doesn’t work out.  What is your Plan B?
  • Should the decision involve others? Certainly, the family/partners/commitments and how you leave your current job all needs to be considered.  Your legacy and reputation are potentially at stake.  What do mentors and coaches say about your readiness or risk factors?  How about someone who has had this kind of job before?
  • What are my alternatives? Every decision has alternative options.  Expand your thinking to “what is possible” rather than just “do I want this job”.  Consider alternatives that are out-of-the-mainstream rather than what everyone else is doing.  Be unique and special.  Will moving sideways give you a skill set or experience that will accelerate your career later on?
  • What are the pros and cons of each alternatives? Do a deep dive into each alternative available to you.  You owe it to yourself to look at each alternative in an objective and thorough way.  The pluses and minuses will show you the best path to follow.  If the pros and cons are equal for one alternative, don’t move forward.  Reconsider that choice.
  • What are the implications for each alternative? Each alternative has far reaching implications.  Carefully assess how each alternative will support or detract from your longer-term goals. Some implications will launch you in a positive way.  Others not.
  • What are the potential financial and non-financial costs? There is a cost to everything.  Even a non-decision is a decision and has a cost in time, effort and opportunity.  Make two lists, financial and non-financial, to fully understand how each decision can affect you and your career.
  • Is it in my best interest to make a decision? While others can attempt to influence your direction, only you can make the ultimate career decision.  Only if a decision is right for you, can it be right for others, the new organization, and the stakeholders you will be working with and serving.


Honest and objective answers to these questions can prevent a career disaster.


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Posted on: November 3rd, 2020 by
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The job market is erratic.  The economy is in fluctuation.  The question of office versus remote work is in debate.  Some functions are in decline.  Your current situation may be uncertain.  What do I do now?


This is the question that many professionals are asking. Here are some guidelines to consider to establish a solid foundation from which to move forward.


  • SET YOUR GOALS – Identify your long and short-term goals. A long-term goal is the ultimate job you aspire to at the end of your career.  A short-term goal is one that you need to attain within a year or two.  If you don’t have a destination, you can’t create a roadmap!  Your goals should be realistic, reachable and achievable within the time frame available.
  • SET YOUR PRIORITIES – Answer fundamental questions like, “What are the achievable steps you need to reach over these next few months?” “What are your top priorities for the next 6 months to jump start your short-term goal?”  “What are the weaknesses in your experiences, background or skill sets that need to be fortified?”  Now is the time to augment your current competencies in order to be prepared for the opportunities to come.
  • DEFINE YOUR OKR’s – An OKR is short for Objectives and Key Results, originated by Andy Grove of Intel fame. It’s a way to develop a strategy to define (Objectives) and achieve (Key Results) that are required for your next career step.  The essential elements that hiring managers are looking for are: What did you do? How did you do it? What were the results?  Connect your past achievements/results to the needs of a hiring manager to fill the job that is open and requires someone like you.  For example, if the next job in your career plan requires a certification and you don’t have it, the chance of you being a finalist candidate is nil.
  • MATCH YOUR RESULTS TO AN OPEN JOB – Track your results, then match them to the job you want. Hiring managers want to see experiences/results on your resume and during an interview that matches and parallels the job specs/requirements of the open position.  If your goals, priorities, OKR’s and results match the requirements of an open position, your chance of being a finalist candidate is very high.  Tracking results from past jobs show your value to a hiring manager.
  • YOUR RESUME AND INTERVIEW – There are three answers a hiring manager needs when looking for a finalist candidate: Can they do the job?  Will they easily fit into our operating culture?  Will they be able to grow and excel in the future?  You need to demonstrate these three elements on your resume and during an interview:  What have you achieved that are transferable to the open position?  Your background, experiences and results must closely match and be conveyable to the open job.


Your future will depend on what actions you take now during this period of confusion.


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Posted on: October 27th, 2020 by
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Who ever thought that a virus would determine your work and career?  Professionals are forced to work away from the office, cut off from their coworkers, customers and managers, and in some cases unemployed.  Some careers are postponed for a year or so, while other careers are changed forever.

It’s time for some critical review and decision making.  Few of us like to critically assess our jobs, performance or career choices. But some of the highest paid professionals count on critical feedback to improve their performance.  Superstar athletes have a coach and fans that gives them immediate feedback, famous actors have a coach and an audience, apprentices and journeymen have a master performer to learn from, and successful business leaders usually had a mentor.

Critical feedback improves results to help achieve realistic expectations.  One way to learn is by assessing mistakes, then finding a new and better solutions. Insecure individuals may not want to hear negative feedback even though it could be information that would be the most helpful.  Successful people seek out those who will tell them the hard, cold truth, by which they can improve and thereby advance their careers.


Most high performers are seeking new and better ways to improve.  In that way, dissatisfaction is an asset. High performers set themselves apart from all others by being flexible to change.  This can take the form of a higher degree, additional certifications, seeking a career that is in high demand with a low supply, take on-line courses, join industry associations or study new techniques or applications in their field of expertise.


Those who are fully satisfied with their lot in life may not act to improve it. The problem with this approach to a career strategy, is that over time they fall behind, get stale with the same skills or doing the same thing and hope to get better results.


So, what differentiates you from all others?  What sets you apart?  It must be unique enough that only a small number of professionals can match.  When you apply to an open position, there is only one reason why you get hired and the others don’t:  You have a skill, experience, or result that the hiring manager wants, that other candidates don’t.


How do you find out what that “unique something” is?  The answer is to assess open job position descriptions.  First, you need to match at least 75% of the initial 10 items listed.  Second, your experiences need to demonstrate solutions to the issues of the hiring manager.  Both have to be demonstrated with measurable results from past jobs.  If you can’t add value, you’re not going to be considered.


You need to know what the differentiators are that set you apart from all others.  If you don’t know, you better find out.  Spend less time cultivating activities that are not needed. Focus on the outcomes that hiring managers require in order for them to meet their goals.


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