Posted on: March 24th, 2020 by
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Ever participate in an interview when you wish you were somewhere else?  Let me suggest four types of nightmare interviews and what to do about it.


The Sphinx Interviewer: This can be one of the most challenging interviews.  Sometimes the interviewer is creating a void for you to fill.  Be careful you don’t ramble on.  Other times the interviewer is uncomfortable in the role of interviewer.  In this case, find a common area of interest from the position description and attempt to initiate a discussion about a problem needing a solution.  If successful, you will be seen as a problem solver or at the least, an alternative generator toward solutions.


The Group or Panel Interview:  Companies are using group or panel interviews because it saves time and money.  It also puts you in touch with individuals that you will be working with as a group, if hired. Prepare in three ways: Research the company’s history, products, competition, financials and anything else you can lay your hands on.  Learn as much as you can. Ask for the names and titles of each member of the interviewing group beforehand, then look them up in Google.  Check for key information that will help you connect to each one.  During the interview, respond to each question based on that member’s function.


The Chatterbox Interviewer:  Some interviewers talk on and on and don’t give you a chance to say much.  This type interviewer is trying to “sell” you on the job rather than finding out about your experiences.  Nod your head to indicate that you understand the comments.  Wait for an opening to relate a similar story, so you’re sharing a common experience.  Usually at the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask, “Is there anything else you would like to discuss?”  This is your opportunity to summarize your background in parallel with the key requirements of the job.  Make it focused, crisp and use metrics.


The Never-ending Interview Cycle:  A candidate can anticipate anywhere between two to five interviews before a decision is made by the company.  I use the words “by the company” because the hiring manager usually isn’t the foot-dragger.  It could be the boss’s boss, HR, or the need for a unanimous group decision.  If it’s more than 3 interviews (one by telephone and two in-person) think about how actual work group decisions will be made.  Is this the right place for you?  How much latitude will you have to perform?


Remember:  Never let your guard down, even when you’re comfortable with an interviewer.  Their job is to not only find the things that will make you successful, but also find holes in your background.  If your interviewing for a total of 6 or 7 hours, these “holes” become bigger.  Keep your energy and enthusiasm at a high level.  All of these interviews take work time for you to travel to your destination, plus meetings.  Make them count.


Every interview is uniquely different.  Be prepared.


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Posted on: March 18th, 2020 by
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According to CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring them.  There are good reasons why hiring managers decide NOT to hire a candidate based on their social media content.  There are also good reasons why hiring managers decide to HIRE candidates partly because of what’s on their social media’s profile.  You should understand what these reasons are and what to do to about it.


Hiring managers want to basically know these three things before they hire a candidate:

  • Can they do the job? Most applicants meet the job specs for becoming candidates.
  • Will they fit in well within the team already in place? No one wants a disrupter.
  • Can they assume more responsibilities and grow with the organization? Assess the potential of candidates over the next 5 or more years and what is possible.

You may meet or exceed all of these factors but still not get the job.  Why?  Because some of the intangibles, like good judgement, respect, team effort or trustworthiness gets questioned when your social media profile gets scrutinized.  You can look like the perfect candidate on your resume and during an interview, but social media research may tell the hiring managers a different story when they view it.


What may the hiring manager see on your social media that knocks you out?

  • Photos, videos or information that questions your good judgement (39%)
  • Excessive drinking, drugs or antisocial behavior (38%)
  • Discriminatory comments about others (32%)
  • Negative comments about a past company, boss or employees (30%)
  • Lies about qualifications or inconsistencies on your resume versus social media (27%)

A “selfie” that you thought was funny may not be for an image sensitive company.  Look at your content and what others say about you before the hiring manager does.


On the other hand, 44% of hiring managers made offers of employment to candidates who, through social media, presented a sterling profile, like:

  • The information supported their professional qualifications and experience (39%)
  • Their communications skills were well done (37%) … articulate and well written
  • A professional image (36%) … they looked like a positive company representative
  • The candidate showed creativity (35%)

Hiring organizations are wary when a candidate has no on-line presence.  They’re concerned that you may have something to hide.


What should you do?

  • Google yourself to see what’s out there being said or shown about you
  • Clean up your information as some of it can be ten or more years old
  • Correct any information that is not accurate
  • Review all information on your profile through the eyes of a hiring manager
  • Install new information with articles, photos or videos that show you in a positive light

Your on-line presence is part of the hiring process that you control.  If you don’t actively slant it in your favor, you may not ever know why you didn’t get the job of your dreams.


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Posted on: March 10th, 2020 by
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In order to understand an effective career strategy, you first need to understand what’s going on in the marketplace, and also how you best present yourself within it.  Here are some informational pieces that begins to address your strategic and tactical issues.


At the macro level:

  • One major trend is that companies are hiring from within more often. Internal promotions are increasing over external hires.  Why?  Because the “Boomer generation”, ages 56 to 74, are estimated to be retiring at 10,000 a day.
  • What that means is the “next in line” employee takes less training and presents greater continuity than an outside hire. There appears to be less risk of a wrong hire since the internal candidate is a known quantity.  Whether they can do the job is a different question.
  • Although the internal candidate brings continuity, the external candidate brings a variety of ideas and different experiences from a number of other companies. So, it comes down to risk versus potential reward with new approaches.
  • What does this mean for you? Don’t be surprised when after a highly successful interview you don’t get the job.  It’s not about you, it’s about an internal candidate projecting less risk.
  • During the interview, emphasize the results you have achieved that the hiring manager is looking for in a replacement. Internal candidates have not yet achieved the results that their bosses want.  If you have successfully done it before, you have the edge.


At the micro level:

  • You may be sending multiple resumes with the wrong approach. If you use generic words to describe your contributions, you may doom your candidacy. Words like:  “Excellent communicator”, “Team Player”, “Detail oriented”, “Results driven”, “A track record of results”, are all meaningless without facts.  These are all throwaway lines that must be documented as they can’t be trusted by hiring managers.  You’re wasting opportunities for an interview.
  • Demonstrate your results with measurable examples that gives the hiring manager something of value: What you may be able to do for him/her.
  • Validating past results targeted to the needs of the hiring manager shows what you have achieved in the past, and potentially can do again. If your resume only conveys universal generic words, you may not get the opportunity to tell your powerful story of accomplishments.  Your resume won’t do its job of getting an interview.


So, what are the key words to move your candidacy forward?

  • Check out the position description, especially the first 5 or 6 items. When a hiring manager puts to job description together, the top items are the most important.  Make sure your key words are included in those items.
  • Include key words from the function and industry your pursuing. The automotive industry key words are different from the mining or electronic industry.
  • And most important, define how your results benefitted and impacted current or past employers. Hiring managers want to know if you can help them with greater results.


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Posted on: March 3rd, 2020 by
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Technology has made life so much easier and more difficult at the same time, over the past 10 years.  On the dark side, we are victims of scams, identity theft and hacking.  Now a new cause for concern (at least it’s new to me):  Fake jobs.


The way it works is a job opening is posted on the web or even placed in your local newspaper.  The job sounds like it’s ideal, the pay is terrific and you can work remotely.  Sounds perfect.  In fact, it may be.  However, be cautious and double check factors that can tip you off that you may be applying for a fake job.


Why would someone post a job that doesn’t exist?  To get your personal data.  Here’s how it works:

  • A job that doesn’t exist is posted on the website from a company that doesn’t exist. It could be a known company, but the website is a phony that is being spoofed.
  • You apply and get an email that asks for a telephone interview or even a Skype. It still seems on the up-and-up when the interview goes well.
  • The interviewer sounds very encouraging that you seem to be the right candidate and are a shoe-in to be a finalist.
  • Comments like, “Your potential income is totally based on the time and effort you put into the preparation. It just takes a few hours a day to follow up on pre-qualified buyers.  Just follow the guidelines in the training manual and you’ll get an order at an average rate of 75%”.


  • Now the stage is set. The interviewer says in order to schedule an interview with the hiring manager at the home office, he/she needs some basic information beyond your resume.
  • An actual letter of offer comes through, but some added information is requested: A copy of your latest tax return (to make sure you’re stable), your social security number (to make the appropriate tax deductions), your driver’s license (to make sure you are mobile), and a copy of a major credit card number (for confirmation of your credit worthiness)
  • Now what happens? You never hear from them again but you begin to get charges to your credit card and penetration into your banking and debit cards.


So, how do you know it’s a fake job?  First, when you get an email, make sure the return address matches the company name.  Check out their website under “open positions”.  The job should be listed.  If there’s no position description or it doesn’t make sense, beware.  The interviews may be shaky or amateurish.  You can’t find the company on Google or LinkedIn or the BBB.


What should you do?  Never, ever give personal or private information to anyone on-line or over the telephone.  Ask to visit the home office or the place where you’ll report.  If you’re convinced of a scam, contact local authorities, or the FBI.


Protect yourself from fake opportunities.


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Posted on: February 25th, 2020 by
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What are the reasons you would consider not continuing an interview?  I can think of a few bad interviews I experienced that I knew were going nowhere.  On one occasion, the interviewer asked my name and if I had a copy of my resume.  Obviously, the interviewer was unprepared and lacked interest in me as a candidate.


There may be situations where you would like to just walk out, but is that smart?  Most times you want to be pleasant and courteous.  But there may be exceptions:

  • When a supervisor asks a candidate what plans they had for starting a family as it would interrupt the normal flow of a project they were working on.
  • When you know within 5 minutes of an interview that it’s going nowhere. Anytime the attitude is antagonistic or rude, it’s a sure sign that the position isn’t for you.
  • When an interviewer blatantly flirts with the candidate or asks personal questions outside of the position to be filled. Anytime the interview changes from a professional interchange to a personal one is cause for concern.


A few thoughts to consider:

  • Is the interviewer going to be your boss, or is it someone who will not be interacting with you if you are offered the job? If they are not your potential boss, then it might be worthwhile to have the interview cycle play itself out to see where it goes.
  • Since the job interview is a two-way street between you and the organization, you have just as much right to ask questions of the organization as they do, but it must be within the bounds of a legal and mutually beneficial exchange.
  • Is the job worth it? Sometimes the open position is a short-term job that moves you quickly to a higher assignment.  Is the job opportunity a major career move?  After a bad interview (if it’s only one interview out of many) ask the human resource manager what the conditions and time-line for the job will be.


There are at least a few options open to you:

  • When a bad interview has begun and you definitely know the job isn’t going to work out, simple stand and say, “I have the sense that this position may not be the best fit either for me or the organization. Thank you for your consideration.  Good luck.”  When an interview is so short, someone will get back to you and ask why.  Tell them.
  • You may also want to mention your concern to the human resource or recruiting manager with whom you have been working. If you are the candidate they want to retain, you will be given another opportunity to re-interview with a more experienced, and probably higher-level manager.
  • Say and do nothing and move on.


Interviews should be an open exchange between you and the principal with whom you will be working.  Whenever there’s a misfit, its best to end it sooner rather than later.


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