THE “SHOW STOPPER” QUESTIONS

Posted on: January 25th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Interviews are a curious way to find a job.  It’s kind of like going on a date:  Everyone is dressed up, on his or her best behavior, and move through choreography like a written script.  Now ask yourself, “How can I differentiate myself from all others so I’m the candidate of choice?”

There are basically a series of three interviews:  First, the telephone interview to check you out.  Secondly, as a result, there’s a screening interview.  Third, you interview with the hiring manager.

Within each interview there are 3 segments:

  1. To start off they’ll say, “Let me tell you a little bit about the company”
  2. They’ll get to the heart of what they want, by saying, “Let me ask you questions about your background and experiences”
  3. Lastly they casually ask, “Do you have any questions of me?”

During this last segment is where you jump in with your Show Stopper questions.  Your objective during an interview is to answer all the questions intelligently, but you also need to ask the right questions. The answers you receive from the Show Stopper questions will provide you with the information you need to design and excel at the next round of interviews. 

What are the Show Stopper questions?  During the telephone and screening interviews you need to ask key questions:  First, “What are the key issues in this function that need to be solved?” and second, “What are the performance expectation for the new hire during the first year?” 

When you extract that information during the telephone interview, you will be prepared for the screening interview, as you now know what they are looking for.  Your responses can now be customized to fit the “key issues” and “performance expectations” from the previous interview. 

During the interview with the hiring manager, your objective is to engage in a discussion around actual issues that are important:  Issue definition and potential alternatives for solutions.  Since you already know the key issues and performance expectations, two items are key to your success:

  1. Shape your answers to the questions based on your prior interviews that will help solve the hiring manager’s issues.  Lay out alternatives, pro’s/con’s and implications to those solutions.
  2. Develop an interactive relationship with the hiring manager.  Their mental question will be: “What can this candidate bring to my organization that will add value to my results?”  Your job is to answer that question without it being asked.  Show Stopper questions are the key.

When the hiring manager sees you as a problem-solver to the issues that need resolution, you become a primary candidate.  Now it’s just a question of “closing the deal”.

Take control of your own destiny. Be a candidate rather than an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.  Find more information, articles and mini-webinars at our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com


CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING: WHAT A BUSINESS NEEDS TO DO WHEN DOWNSIZING

Posted on: January 23rd, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Here are some key points to consider if you plan to downsize your employee base:

FOR YOUR BUSINESS:

Ease the pain for you and your employees as much as possible

Communicate the need to downsize in a compassionate way, with the right information

Assess your objectives:  Where do you need to be – Revenue increase/cost decrease

Prioritize the business needs over the next 3, 6, 9 and 12 months

Identify the key employees that will help you achieve your objectives

Communicate with the employees that are to stay

Consider some incentive for them to remain highly productive

FOR AFFECTED EMPLOYEES BEING DOWNSIZED:

Maintain the dignity of those being let go

Provide support assistance to those employees affected

Meet with affected employees on a group then individual basis

Provide them with the skills to land another position

Hire a professional to help you

Provide a way back for some, who may be needed later

Provide references & recommendations to help displaced employees

Help them understand their benefits and support agencies

How do you downsize employees with dignity?  How do you downsize in “the right way”. Like the famous saying goes, “Measure twice and cut once”.  When it comes to your downsizing strategy, think through the steps and implications then implement flawlessly.  Of course, a professional can help you make sure the actions you take are not going to cause you more problems later on.

Employees that have been separated from a company need to feel that they have been treated in a fair and positive way, even if the situation is not positive.  Companies that provide employees with the tools and skills to find another position are seen as caring for their welfare. It also leaves a positive attitude for those that remain. You will benefit in a number of ways when you develop a strategy of support for terminated employees by training them in the skills of finding another job.

Consider the end game:  Always develop your strategies by asking the question, “A year from now when we are up and running again, how do I want to look back at the way the business handled its downsized employees?”

My Greener Future – Business can provide the professional help you need.

Call now for a free consultation and we will explain how we can help – no obligation, just objective input!

Contact Bill Kaufmann, President, My Greener Future at 757-220-0774


MY GREENER FUTURE BUSINESS DIGEST: DOWNSIZING/RIGHTSIZING

Posted on: January 20th, 2012 by
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WHAT BUSINESSES NEED TO DO WHEN DOWNSIZING OR RIGHT-SIZING

by Bill Kaufmann, President, My Greener Future

 

Faced with strategy decisions? There’s real value in seeking objective input!

 

Firms like yours (with fewer than 500 employees) make up the “backbone” of our nation’s businesses.  Yet services that provide a high level of personalized help is hard for the business owner to find.

NOW, YOU DON’T NEED TO MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS ALONE!

My Greener Future Business Services is designed to support the small business owner with cost-effective approaches every step of the way, including:

Consulting/Coaching: (From turn-around to accelerated growth)

  • We will review with you, your business plans and strategies
  • Identify the most effective revenue drivers or cost reduction alternatives
  • Integrate your business and staffing needs over the next 3, 6 & 12 months

Support affected employees with performance improvement or job search skills

  • Identify required staffing levels for the next 12 months, and training needs
  • Develop steps to train all retained or displaced employees to succeed
  • Prepare individual employee packages that address all aspects of separation

(Programs may include financial, benefits, state/federal assistance programs)

Put Your Plan into Action

  • Plan & conduct effective staff announcements (Why, When & Next Steps)
  • Personal meetings with affected employees (Support for retained employees and details of individual severance packages)
  • Ongoing positive communications with retained employees and support for revered employees.

Organizing in the “right way” involves good decision making, treating affected employees with the dignity and consideration they deserve, while moving the business forward. At My Greener Future Business Services we have over 40 years of experience, skill and knowledge to help you make the best business decisions for the future.

Call now for a free consultation and we will explain how we can help – no obligation, just objective input!

Contact Bill Kaufmann, President, My Greener Future at 757-220-0774


UNIVERSAL Q & A’s WITHIN AN INTERVIEW

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

There’s a universal pattern to interview questions and answers.  Understanding what they are and how to use them effectively to your benefit can result in a more powerful outcome.

First, from THE INTERVIEWER’s perspective:  The job of the interviewer is two-fold:  To extract as much key information as possible and to establish a constructive relationship with the applicant.  In your resume, questions like “Where, when and by whom were you employed?” are already identified in your resume.  It then comes down to three universal questions:

  1.  “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”
  2. “HOW DID YOU DO IT?”
  3. “WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?”

The interviewer wants to find out if you are up to the task for the job opening.  The objective of the interviewer is to identify similar experiences that parallel the job opening.  The perfect candidate is one who has already done the job successfully somewhere else and can then transfer that success to the open position, while fitting into the culture.  The greater the overlap, the better your chances.

When an interviewer asks a question like, “Tell me about the marketing strategy you developed”, they are really saying, “We have a similar situation and we need someone to show us how to do it”.  Every question has a rationale behind it.  You need to understand the question in the context of the job opening.  This is usually achieved through prior research and cues from the interviewer.

Now from THE INTERVIEWEE’s perspective:  Your role is an easy one:  To relay stories about your past experiences in a way that intertwines with the requirements of the open position.  The way you deliver that information is the key, not only in the content but also in your execution.

The universal answers should follow this pattern:

 1.    STATE THE ISSUE: Example: “The issue we were assigned to resolve was x, y, z”

 2.    IDENTIFY THE ACTION:  Example: “We formed cross-functional teams, with me in the lead, and analyzed x, y, z against a, b, c, to find the critical points of differentiation”

  3.    DEFINE THE RESULTS:  Example:  “Resulted in 12% more revenue over 18 months…”

Since you already know what the questions will be about your background and experiences, you can formulate and practice your answers beforehand through “mini-pitches”.  A mini-pitch is a well-practiced response in 20 to 30 seconds to questions you know will be asked of you.   

In this way your responses are targeted, then presented in a logical and understandable sequence.  Your answers demonstrate a businessperson, with competence in your functional area of expertise. Continually practice your mini-pitches to produce maximum command of the material.

With this approach, you now have an edge in the interviewing process.  That’s an advantage in this competitive world.

Take control of your destiny.  Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

Our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com

Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net


VISIONARIES ,TRANSLATORS and IMPLEMENTORS

Posted on: January 11th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Every organization has 3 kinds of people:  Visionaries, Translators, and Implementers.  Where they are in the organization and how they interact with you is critical to your job search.

First, a definition:

  • Visionaries see over the horizon and set the direction of the unit or organization
  • Translators interpret the vision and develop strategies to accomplish the unit’s objectives
  • Implementers execute the actions necessary to achieve the results

Each one of these elements is within us, albeit at varying degrees and ability.  It’s a question of identifying the more dominant ones.  If you could rate yourself in each of these elements, what would be the percent distribution? A 10% visionary?  A 20% translator? With a 70% implementer?  Or would it be 50/25/25?  Or maybe even 10/50/40?  No combination is good or bad, but helpful to know.  The question is what’s your combination and how it effectively fits with your boss and peers?

What’s the best combination for you to function most effectively?  Sometimes if your boss is a visionary, a translator might be needed.  If your boss is a translator, an implementer could be best. Or sometimes a visionary may want another visionary on staff as a sounding board.  There is no “one size fits all”, but understanding how you function within your environment is critical.

The best Visionary is at or near the top of a unit.  It’s difficult to provide vision from the bottom.

Translators take the vision and evolve it into operational strategies.  They are the ones who determine the actions that need to take place within their functional responsibilities.  The Translators then integrate all of the pieces into a coherent whole.

The Implementers are just that…  those who execute the strategies into results for the success of the enterprise.  They are the “doers” of the organization, executing the strategies to accomplish the vision.  Without excellent implementers, the best vision in the world is useless.

Assess your current organization. Who does what?  Where do you fit in?  How do you best function?  Now assess your potential boss:  A visionary, translator or implementer?  If you report to different types of bosses, will it affect your performance?  You bet!!  If you are primarily a visionary/translator you will have a great deal of difficulty if you are forced into a pure implementer’s role.

So, if I was interviewing you for a position, I’d be looking at the level that you’ll be performing, plus look at your potential to perform in these different roles. The most difficult jump for people to make is moving from an Implementer role to a Translator role.  I’m sure you know of cases where an excellent salesperson (Implementer) who becomes a less than satisfactory sales manager (Translator) because their skill sets are mismatched with the expectations.

Neither one of these elements is better than the other.  It’s a question of matching and balancing these elements to achieve the objectives of the organization.

Take control of your destiny.  Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

Our website:  Mygreenerfuture.com

Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net