Posted on: April 28th, 2020 by
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During an interview, you as a candidate want to respond to questions that:

  • Show that you have real solutions to issues they are experiencing, or
  • Define a result that you have achieved in a similar situation


If successful, you will move up the list of candidates.  Those candidates who answer questions with a generic, non-specific answer will move down the list.  The difference between the two, is that one provides examples of a potential solution to an issue while the other provides a pontificating philosophy, but no concrete answer.


Finding solutions and producing results represent critical aspects within any organization. The interviewer wants clear-cut examples that the candidate can do the job.  That can be very difficult during a 30-minute interview. It requires you to have a focused approach.


The experienced interviewer may ask a question like, “Give me a specific example of a situation in which you solved a major issue in your field of expertise. What was the issue and what did you do?”  Some candidates will say something nebulous about having great problem-solving skills and technical knowledge, but fail to give concrete facts.  Those are the candidates that lose credibility.  Other questions?

  • ‘Give me a specific example of an action you took that turned out to be a mistake. What happened and what did you learn from the mistake?”
    • Some will claim they cannot recall making a mistake. That is the worst possible answer. Those people are either lying or they are afraid to make decisions
    • Some will discuss a mistake, then slowly begin to shift the blame to someone else. This answer is the 2nd worse answer
    • Some will describe a specific error, accept full responsibility, plus what they did so it didn’t reoccur. That’s the answer you are seeking. It demonstrates someone who’s not afraid to identify and correct an error.
  • “Give me a specific example of your greatest accomplishment to date”. Candidate answers will be varied, but it gives the interviewer insights into your style, priorities, character and thoughtfulness.  Did you take all the credit or was it a team effort?  Was your achievement meaningful?  How was it accomplished?


So how do you best prepare for interview questions?  I suggest three steps:

  • Your resume is the only document they have, so something on it drew their interest. Take each line of your resume and with the position description identify what questions are likely to be asked?”  Prepare your answers before the interview.
  • Outside of the resume, there are about 50 most asked questions, from “strengths and weaknesses” to “why are you a better candidate than others?”. Use your imagination to figure out the questions and prepare your best answers beforehand.
  • Prepare, practice and improve your answers to questions you know will be asked. Each job may have a slightly different answer, but prepare, prepare, prepare.


My thanks to R. Johnson for some of the ideas within this article.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send it to:  wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: April 21st, 2020 by
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The marketplace is both “hot” and “cold” depending upon the industry, company and your job function. Technology, health care and data scientists are some of the hottest, while brick and mortar retail, journalism and transport drivers are the lowest demand and lowest paid.  So, what are the steps to getting hired no matter what the job.  The following list defines the general steps to take, but may need to be modified by job category.


  • Create a “compelling” resume – If you meet 70% of the job specs, go for it. The higher the percent the higher the probability of an interview if you have a compelling resume.  A compelling resume is where a hiring manager, after reading your resume says, “This is someone I need to talk to, as they have what I need!”


  • Test the marketplace – Find out what’s hot in your industry, function, location, and what is not. Find where the demand is highest and the supply is lowest. Search through the internet and a network of professional contacts.


  • Match your experiences with the job description – Check out the top 5 to 8 items on the position description of an open job. Those top items are the key areas of interest to the hiring manager.  Identify parallel experiences and results that will be of high interest to the hiring manager.  Show that you have results to the issues for which they are looking


  • Practice answers to questions you know will be asked – Assume you are a hiring manager. Look at your resume.  What questions would you ask for each item?  Every interviewer will ask, “Why are you seeking a new job?”  Practice your answers before they are asked.


  • Prepare for at least 3 different interviews – When you get a request for a telephone interview, it means you are one of the top 10 or 15 candidates. A request for the first one-on-one or group interview means you are one of the top 2 or 3 candidates.  A second interview means you are a finalist candidate.  A third interview usually means an offer will be made.


  • Questions you need to ask – When asked for your questions, focus on the results expected for the job, not questions about holidays, vacations, benefits and so on. Ask well thought out questions that will impress the interviewer, focusing on performance expectations, short term issues needing solutions, and concerns they may have.


  • Understand the offer – When an offer is made, make sure you understand all aspects of the functional responsibilities, expectations for results, reporting relationships, to name a few. Ask questions if you’re not satisfied with the offer, like, “The compensation looks low to industry standards.  Is there room to improve the starting salary?”


The timing is good for a job seeker.  It is especially good for those who are competent with state-or-the art skills, have a track record of high performances and results, and can fit in easily with the culture of the new organization.

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: April 14th, 2020 by
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The Coronavirus has really played havoc on the economy, the marketplace and those who would have been looking for a change from their current job to a new and higher-level position.  So, what should you do?  Wait?  Forget about it?  Or accelerate your efforts?


Let me lay out some ideas for you to consider as to why now might be a good time to search for a new position:


First, now is the best time to prepare.  Why?  Do to “sheltering in place”, you may have the time to create a powerful resume, research the marketplace to see where the opportunities are available, organize your strategy to tailor your experiences to the strongest part of the marketplace, research the functions that hiring organizations are in short supply, and find out where the compensation factors align with your talents and experiences.  All of this information takes time to position yourself in a professional manner.


Second, once the Coronavirus begins to wane, there will be a surge of opportunities to fill in order to recapture the business or momentum that was lost.  So many businesses and organizations have diminished or lost their forward motion. It will take added staff or replacements to recoup what was lost.  The skills needed for results will be:  To Increase revenue, decrease costs, upgrade systems, implement process improvement, or train new staff to develop new skills in the existing staff.  Hiring organizations will need to get a jump on their competitors quickly, or be left behind.


Thirdly, the job opportunities will be greatest as the marketplace begins to wake up, since other potential candidates will sit back and wait, giving you a month or two head start.  As the Coronavirus begins to diminish, hiring organizations will accelerate the hiring process by using the telephone or Skype as a primary interviewing tool rather than face-to-face interaction. This will shorten the time-line for candidate selection.  When the surge breaks, there will be a run on available talent.  You want to be at the head of the line, not at the back.  All sectors of the marketplace will be competing for talent:  For-profit companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, state and local municipalities, and especially entrepreneurial small businesses.


Here are some other items you may consider while you’re waiting for the market to turn around:  Get a certification to advance your functional skills; take an on-line course with the latest technology in your field; read the latest research; talk with others in your field to learn who is planning to expand; research the most innovative companies in your function to find out what they’re doing; interview a role model.


The Coronavirus has caused major disruptions in our normal everyday life.  For some, it will cause an irreversible career stall.  Time and opportunities will be gone.  For others, it will provide expanded opportunities.  How you deal with your available time and effort will determine how you come out on the other end.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: April 7th, 2020 by
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Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew the questions that will be asked in a job interview?  Well shucks, there are only three primary questions for which hiring managers want to know:

  • “What results have you achieved in the past and give me examples with metrics?”
  • “Are those results directly transferable to my organization, short and long term?”
  • “Will you be a comfortable fit and positive influence in my organization?”


These questions may not be asked in this specific form, but no matter how roundabout hiring managers approach the interview, these three questions are what they want to know.  If you understand these questions it makes your job easier.  Figure out how to answer these three questions in a way that:

  • Shows how your high performance of the past will segue to contributions in the new job
  • Increases your value to the objectives of the hiring manager
  • Removes any concern about your ability to smoothly integrate into the current team


If you do it right, you’ll be placed in the top tier as a finalist candidate.  Of course, there are secondary questions beyond the three primary ones.  Usually those secondary questions are focused on more detailed explanations of the primary ones centered around the “how”:  How long before reaching results?  How did you train the staff?  How much did it cost?  How did you sell the idea to management?  How could your results be implemented here?


These are some thoughts as to how to prepare to answer the hiring managers questions:

  • Take your resume line-by-line and create a short story about how you contributed to the results of that item as a group or team
  • Be prepared to discuss your individual performance as a “team” member
  • Discuss the metrics of how you measured your results. Give specific examples.
  • Discuss how you expanded your skills to prepare for this open job
  • Identify how you have worked with co-workers to obtain better performance
  • Make sure you aren’t negative about your current company or management


From the company’s view:  Their primary question is:  Will you add value to achieve the organization’s objectives, both short and long term?  You need to be able to have a targeted answer to that question.


From your perspective:  Your primary question is:  Will you be able to contribute at a high level, grow professionally, fit the new culture, and prepare for a move up the organization?


If these primary questions can’t be answered in the positive, you may want to take a second look at the job.  You need to understand the risk / reward ratio before accepting an offer.  If a problem occurs and the wrong person is chosen, the organization can easily make a change and move on.  The individual, however, may not recover for a long time.


Remember:  The risk is always greater for the individual than it is for the organization.  Make sure you’re the right person for the right job.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com


Posted on: March 31st, 2020 by
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I’ve been doing a lot of video watching and reading recently (“sheltering-in-place”).  One of the books I just completed is “Secret Service” by Tom Brady, published in 2019.  There was a passage that got me thinking that became the theme of this article: “You can pick a destination, but you can never predict the journey.” The corollary is: “You can’t change the past, you can only try to enhance, diminish or modify your actions going forward.”


Your ultimate career goal is your destination.  The strategy to get there is your journey.  How you prepare for your journey will determine your success.  Preparation means having the right experiences, skills, education, strategy and some good fortune.  Without a well-managed plan and irrepressible determination, you’ll fall short of your destination.  Anticipate and plan for the positives and negatives.


Four factors of your past may determine the results of your job search strategy.  The four factors are your experiences, reputation, long memories and the internet.


Experiences In creating a career path, look at the long-term experiences you’ll need to reach your ultimate goal.  In the short-term look at the requirements needed for the next step up toward a new and more responsible job.  My point:  Without the right experiences built into your past, your future is diminished toward your ultimate goal.  Your past experiences are a prolog to your success.


Reputation Your reputation is a composite of what others think about you.  It’s primarily based on their interaction with you and opinions of your character, performance and results.  Reputations are very fragile and must be enhanced and protected over time.  My point:  Your reputation is one of the factors that drives your career, whether it’s based on your past bosses view of your contributions, the results you’ve achieved, or the contacts and references needed when you apply for a higher-level job.


Long Memories People in general have long memories.  Maybe not in the details, but they remember the tone or “feeling” of an event or encounter.  The more positive people’s memory of you, the greater support or accolades they have for you.  The less positive the memory, the less support.  My point:  Everyone you meet has a memory of you.  Make them all count in a positive way.


The internet Everything on the internet is forever, unless you take action to diminish or eliminate it.  Many job opportunities have been determined by what a hiring manager found on the internet.  Simply “Google” your name to see what’s there.  Over 35% of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated a candidate for something on their social media.  Over 40% say social media helped a candidate by their internet persona.  My point:  Don’t’ let the internet dictate your future by either having false or misleading information about you. Clean it up.


Your past career and achievements control your future.  Create a plan, develop alternatives, manage the strategy and optimize the opportunities that come your way.


For a FREE critique of your resume, send to:   wkaufmann44@gmail.com