Posted on: March 13th, 2018 by
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How do you impress the hiring manager? What gets attention? What gets skipped? When a hiring manager screens a pile of resumes, certain things jump out, while others do not.


Understand that the hiring manager is looking for 10 or 15 people out of a 100 that he wants to telephone-screen. These are the people who have something the hiring manager wants: A specific result, some needed experience, or a practical solution to an immediate problem. After reading your resume the hiring manager should say, “This is someone I want to talk to, as they have the skills or experience that I need”.


Generally, these are the items that get more attention from the hiring manager:

  • Results (especially metrics) that parallel what I’m looking for to fill the position. If you don’t have the skills and experiences that can do the job, I’m not going to waste my time.
  • Companies that you worked for that I recognize: In the same industry, same job scope, or a competitor where I can learn something. That can be an advantage to you.
  • Do you have career progression over time? Do you have increasing responsibilities that will benefit my organization?
  • What are the “stall” points, gaps, things that don’t make sense? Did you take time off to travel around the world? Raise young children? Start your own company? Why hide it?
  • Have you only been in one place for an extended period of time? Are you constrained by location and not be available when I need you?
  • Is the resume organized and error free? If you can’t do that well, why even talk to you?
  • I want to know if you’ll peak out early or continue to advance my organization.


Generally, these are the items that get glossed over initially or get you demerits:

  • Your school name is less important than your major and level of education. Experience and results achieved is much more important to me than your Alma mater.
  • Decorative or lavishly formatted resumes usually take away from important information. It’s distracting. Attach a portfolio of your work if you feel the need.
  • Don’t include a photo. If I want to see what you look like, I’d be hiring you for the wrong reason. I want qualities in a person that don’t show up in a photograph.
  • Personal information that has nothing to do with the job. Your personal issues are of little interest unless it affects the job.
  • Too many words like I, me, my, and not enough words like we, team, group results.
  • Superlatives about how wonderful you are that can’t be verified: “Creative solutions leader”, “Strong manager”, “Multi-talented professional”, “Collaborated with, contributed to, or assisted in” (means you were a minor player).
  • Have you stayed too long in one place, or have fallen into a “maintenance mode”? I can’t afford a hiring mistake.


You usually get only one chance to impress the hiring manager. Make it count.


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Posted on: March 6th, 2018 by
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When it’s time to provide references, match each reference to the specific job. Prepare “talking points” for each reference that matches your past experiences with what the hiring manager is looking for. In other words, tailor design a references response to the needs of the job to be filled.

There are two kinds of references: professional and personal. Professional references are related to your work experiences and past employers. They usually come from bosses or a higher authority within the work environment: The higher the level, the higher the value that others ascribe to it.

Always check to make sure the reference is willing and able to give you a good reference. Don’t put a professional in the awkward position of a surprise telephone call without their knowledge from a potential employer asking about you. You may not like the response.

Personal references are only used if you have no professional references. Personal references are not work related and have little value to a potential employer. All a personal reference can say in so many words is, “This is a nice person”. An exception is if the hiring manager knows the reference giver. Then it might have some weight to it.

If you are conducting an open search that everyone knows about, then references can be provided at almost any time. Just be careful that multiple companies aren’t contacting your references at the same time. It could prove confusing and awkward.

If you’re conducting a quiet search, however, wait until the final interview to provide references. References can provide substance to your past experiences and should match the function for which you are applying.

Tell the reference giver what you’re interviewing for and why so they have some background. Provide them with the key functions of the new job and how your prior work with them ties directly to the work you are seeking. Suggest that they may want to use that information as an example when contacted. Offer to write up a brief list of talking points and results you achieved that will help them link with the job you are pursuing. In that way, the information that’s provided will be more powerful. This kind of information can advance your candidacy if it’s done the right way by the right person.

When hired, employers will usually contact prior companies to check out your documented compensation, date of hire, separation and any other information they can get. So don’t fabricate information on your resume or interviews. Some companies will Google your name on the web or go into your social media sites to see what’s there. Be forewarned. I have known people who have misled future employers only to find themselves without a job.

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Posted on: February 27th, 2018 by
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Have you ever met someone for the first time and had a negative feeling almost immediately? How about the reverse: Meeting someone and immediately liking him or her. Why is that?


Whatever the reason, there are certain clues that determine what the early relationship with another person or group will be. It’s difficult to change or erase over time. In an interview or a presentation that is only an hour long, whatever the initial rapport is, it probably won’t be changed within that hour’s time. So it’s important to get it right the first time.


How do you do that? Here are some examples:


In a presentation, make your key points early on, then go back and explain more in detail the rationale and information to support each key point. This helps the audience warm up to you and comprehends the content material by stimulating their interest early on. They tend to pay full attention to the complete presentation when getting a fuller explanation.


If you’re writing an article or a newspaper story, the headline will draw the reader in, or not. The headline is the bait that leads to the first paragraph that summarizes the whole story, and then moves into the body of the article. Each segment brings the reader to the next segment.


Interviewers, like most people, have a short attention span especially when they are interviewing candidates one after another. You have to differentiate yourself from all others by getting your key points across in a concise yet understandable way. Many candidates spend too much time answering a question that wasn’t asked, or give background information that isn’t needed. Usually interviewers will ask targeted questions like, “What did you do?” “How did you do it?” and “What were the results?” Your answers should be compressed into about 30 seconds. The interviewer will either move on to the next question or ask more detailed questions on the same subject.


When an interviewer moves on to the next subject, it means you have given them what they were looking for. When an interviewer asks more detailed questions on the same subject, it means they are particularly interested in learning more about your experiences in that area. It’s an important indicator that the interviewer wants more information because the open job requires that experience. You now have important information. You now need to parallel your answers with the interviewers interest and what’s listed on the position description. This form of triangulation is a skill that can be learned and effectively used by candidates to enhance their positioning as a finalist candidate.


Your initial contact with an interviewer is critical. Smile, exude warmth, project confidence and make the interviewer feel comfortable during your time together. Make your key points early, short and focused on answering the question and not meandering around your response with useless information.


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Posted on: February 20th, 2018 by
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The marketplace rewards organizations whose workforce is smaller, yet works smarter. As a potential candidate, you need a job search strategy that will position you better than others. Use word-pictures that tell the hiring manager that you’re the perfect choice for the open job.


Position yourself in relation to the job your seeking. Tailor your resume to fit the job opening in a way that parallels what the hiring manager is looking for. In summary, the hiring manager is looking for three things:

  • Who can contribute the most to resolve my issues short and long term?
  • Who will fit in as a team member with the least disruption?
  • Who can move results forward to the next level?


When you design your resume, choose effective word-pictures so the hiring manager can relate those words to the issues that need to be solved. Use words that create an image of achievement, accomplishments and results. Words like:

  • Continuous improvement…     Performance enhancement…
  • Team management…     Increased revenue and profit…
  • Decrease cost, time, or effort…     Accelerate development, and so on…

These are the words with accompanying metrics that impress the hiring manager.


Self-adulation doesn’t work and turns the hiring manager off. Some real examples:

  • “Strong manager with excellent work ethics…”
  • “Vast expertise in Internet/Digital Marketing within different marketing channels”
  • “Strategic, visionary and analytical mindset”
  • “Extraordinary experience in fast-paced, highly competitive environments”

These are the words that appear boastful without substance.

After your word-pictures, attach valid numbers or measurements to quantify your achievements. Descriptive words, numbers or phrases such as:

  • Reduced turnover in critical operations from15% to 8.2% within 15 months
  • Through continuous improvement projects, increase productivity by 5.6%
  • Reduced time-cycle by two-fold through a team management style


During the interview, when you’re asked how those results were achieved, make sure you:

  • Define the action steps your took in less than 30 seconds
  • Relate the action steps to the issues of the hiring organization
  • Be objective in your achievements and don’t overblow your results
  • Give credit to your team-mates or others who were part of the effort


When you use word-pictures, you’re able to position yourself in the mind of the hiring manager as a productive and performance-driven part of a team. How the hiring manager perceives you is critical to being hired.


For a FREE review of your resume, send it to:


Posted on: February 13th, 2018 by
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At the end of most interviews you’ll be asked, “What questions do you have of me?” That’s the time to move your candidacy up the ladder or down. You’ll be assessed by the quality of your questions, not the quantity. Questions that demonstrate your business acumen or the value of your insights will move you closer to becoming a top candidate. Other questions will knock you out as a candidate. Do you know the difference between the two?


QUESTIONS TO ASK THAT GIVE YOU HIGH MARKS: These are questions that demonstrate your desire to perform at a high level, contribute to results, and achieve operating goals:


  • “What are the objectives that need to be attained by this function in the first 12 months?
  • What do you see as potential impediments that need to be overcome?
  • What are the top priorities in the short term to obtain operating results?
  • How do you see this function contributing to the long-term strategies of the organization?
  • What can we do to differentiate ourselves over the competition?
  • How can I best demonstrate my value to you in achieving your goals and objectives?”


Questions like those above show the hiring manager that you’re interested in the contribution and results both on an individual basis and also part of the operating team. It projects a “can do” attitude. These types of questions also differentiate you from other candidates who may ask questions from the list below.




  • What are your policies on vacation, holidays, benefits, insurance, moving, merit pay, etc? (Save these kinds of questions once the company indicates a greater interest in you)
  • Do you require references from my past employers? (They will ask if interested)
  • Do you have a drug-testing requirement? (Why ask unless you have a problem?)
  • How many other candidates are you interviewing? (Focus on your own qualities)
  • What are the promotional opportunities? (Concentrate on the job in front of you)
  • Are there other positions that I can apply for? (Not what a hiring manager wants to hear)
  • What level of technical skills is required? (This question shows you are unprepared)
  • I know your main line of products, but what else do you do? (Shows lack of research)
  • I have other opportunities, so when will I hear back from you? (Probably never)
  • Do you have a probation period? (Shows a lack of confidence in your ability to do the job)


Candidates are successful or fall short in the interviewing process two ways: By how they answer questions from the interviewer and from the insightful questions they ask. Most candidates spend a lot of time thinking and practicing the first part, and almost no time on the second part. When two or three candidates are finalists, the one who focuses on the results the hiring manager is looking for by their questions, will usually come out on top.


For a FREE review of your resume send it to: