Posted on: November 7th, 2017 by
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Congratulations! The hiring manager must really be interested in you since you’ve gotten this far in the interview,. If you haven’t been given the opportunity to ask your own questions, your candidacy is over. Hiring managers who aren’t interested in responding to questions you have about the job or the company, isn’t interested in you as a candidate. Or better yet, you shouldn’t be interested in them.


So what are the questions you should ask that will make you a top candidate? Let’s start off with the questions you shouldn’t ask: Questions about compensation, benefits, vacation, moving allowance, bonuses, and the like. Why? These are the items you can discuss and negotiate after you get an offer, not before. When a hiring manager is convinced that you are the best person for the job, that’s the best time for discussion and negotiations.


The questions you should ask at this stage of the interview are those that position you as a competent contributor, who will add value to the organization and achieve results in the short and long term. How do you do that? By asking questions of the hiring manager like:

  • What are the issues that you need to find solutions for in the short term?
  • What performance is expected in order for key results to be achieved?
  • What are the strategies that need to be implemented in the longer term?


This type of question positions you as a results-oriented candidate wanting to know the expectations of the organization, and what you need to do to be a top performer.


The way in which the hiring manager answers these questions will tell you:

  • The depth, extent and complexity of issues you will be facing. Manageable?
  • The expectations of the hiring manager. Too high? Unrealistic time-frame?
  • Your potential success longer term? Opportunity for promotion?
  • The openness of the hiring manager to your questions? Skimpy or free-form?
  • The business acumen of the hiring manager. Can you learn from him?
  • How the hiring manager views your potential. Is he looking for alternatives from you? Does he ask how you would approach the potential solution? Can you translate your past successes to the issues of the open job?


If the hiring manager responds in this way, chances are that you are the top candidate for this position. If he can’t or won’t answer your questions, ask why.


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Posted on: October 31st, 2017 by
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Sometimes we hurt ourselves without really knowing it. A bad resume is one of those times. Here are some ways we hurt our chances of finding a better job, and what to do about it.


OVERUSED WORDS – Self-congratulatory words diminish your candidacy, like: Highly qualified, hard worker, problem solver, people person, self-starter, and so on. Your professional references should use these words, not you. Rather, define your achievements, like: Increased revenue by 10.2% within 15 months, or reduced cost by 3.7% through process improvement.



  • You don’t match up with the requirements of the open position. You can save yourself a great deal of disappointment if you parallel at least 70% of the position description. Anything less and your wasting your time. The higher the percent the greater your chances.
  • You don’t fit the culture. Everyone has a “sweet spot”: An industry and organization where they are comfortable and can contribute. The further out from your core, the more difficulty.
  • Your expectations are too high. Most hiring managers won’t take a risk with someone below a 60% chance of success, and only with someone who has been successful before.
  • Your resume reads well for the hiring manager but not for his boss. The bosses boss is usually looking for a longer term contributor which may not be on the position description
  • Your resume and your social media information are not compatible or say different things. The hiring organization won’t take the time to sort it out when they have other candidates.



  • If you send a photo or a “head shot” as part of your resume. The company is only interested in your achievements, not looks. However, Germany, France and Italy seek photos
  • Resumes that have large gaps in the work history. Unless you can explain “holes” in your resume, companies won’t take the time to hear your story.
  • Negative comments in your resume are poison to hiring organizations. You want to build a positive image of your achievements, not negative comments about bosses or employers
  • If you list your “demands” on the resume, chances it will be tossed, like: “I’m looking for a Directors title”, or a compensation level above the going rate, or other front-end demands
  • E-mail addresses that are frowned upon, like:, or Joker12 @….., or JustMarried@…… or BurningRubber@… and so on. Use an email address that projects a professional persona.
  • Paragraphs and narratives that run on too long without defining achievements or results. Just listing activities or responsibilities does not impress hiring managers. They usually find them boring and commonplace among all the other resumes. Yours resume must stand out.


Your resume and the words you use must project competence and potential. Identify your contributions, market your results, then minimize the things that diminish your image and you’ll do great.


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Posted on: October 24th, 2017 by
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Ever wonder why your career isn’t getting the kind of traction you need? You may be making mistakes that automatically put your career in a stall. Assess your career against some of these common errors to see if you can ignite a new outcome.


#1 – Your Start Point – Careers are sidetracked because they’re started by what’s convenient rather than what’s strategically smart. Some jobs are easy to acquire but get you nowhere. Your career direction is hard to change once you’re in it.

#2 – Passion – Many talented individuals find themselves in a job, company or industry that they don’t find energizing and for which they can’t develop a passion. Very successful people have a passion for what they do. Lacking passion means a lack of success.


#3 – Point of Focus – Focus on a high level of performance or you’ll fall short of expectations. Your energy has to be centered on what you can do for the organization, rather than what they can do for you. It’s a relationship based on mutual results.

#4Shorter-term Steps – Don’t start by looking at an ultimate long-range goal that may be out of reach, without obtaining shorter-term objectives as stepping-stones. Every dream is achievable through a series of successes that take you to the next step forward.


#5Key Results – Hiring managers want to know what makes you different. Is it a long list of your responsibilities? No, because everyone has those. Is it your pay level? No, because you may be overpaid. It’s your results! No one can replicate your achievements.

#6 Poor strategy – You may stay too long in an industry or job and fall behind or not have enough time to gain the experience you need for the next level. If you’re in the wrong industry, get out as soon as possible. Too much time and you’ll be pigeonholed.


#7Underestimating Your Value – Value is determined by expectations, contributions and time. High performance must be defined, measured and communicated.

#8Articulation – If you can’t effectively communicate your contributions, how can a potential boss see your value? You must “market” your experiences, value and your worth.


#9Lack of a Network – Most jobs are found through people you know and who understand your potential. Others need to help you find the next job. Networking is critical.

#10 – Never, Ever Give Up – As they say, “It only takes one”. You may apply to 100 job openings, but the one that is tailor made for you has to be discovered. Keep digging.


In summary:

  • Take time to discover your passion/strengths and what you really want to do
  • Design your strategies and focus on the next two steps
  • Learn how to present your value in a way that is relevant to your targets
  • Align yourself with the companies that best fit your career direction and style
  • Find a mentor to pull you up and mentor those below who will push you up your career


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Posted on: October 17th, 2017 by
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Having a career plan is essential to achieve your career goal. A flexible career plan should:

  • Target your ultimate goal
  • Identify where you are now
  • Define the multiple steps and the skills needed at each step to get to your ultimate goal
  • Outline the range of months or years needed at each step


You should also understand the “stall points” that indicate if you need to recalibrate your dream. Maybe your current job turns out to be a disaster or you can’t find the perfect job at the next step. Other times you may need to change your industry. Each example will impede your career plan.

So, what are the key questions you need to ask of yourself? Here are a few:

  • Do I see opportunities where I am, or somewhere else? Will I stall out if I stay?
  • Do I have unique skills that are in demand or have the same skills as everyone else? You must differentiate yourself from all others.
  • Do I have the educational background or certifications to position me above the rest? In a tie, the one with the most credential usually wins.
  • Are your strengths pushing you up the ladder or are your weaknesses pulling you down? Lead with your strengths but shore up your weaknesses.
  • Are you still energized at day’s end or worn-out? Passion and the love of what you do are the drivers of any career plan.
  • Is the company and your boss supporting you? Support has to come from somewhere.
  • Look for the signs of success or lack thereof. Just like a baseball batter, you may keep fouling off the ball, but you’re still at bat. Striking out a dozen times is a pattern of concern.
  • You can’t change functions or industries without a cost in time and momentum. Moving from finance to marketing or mining to consumer goods is very difficult and costly in time lost.


What do I do if my dream becomes unreachable?

  • First, check it out to make sure it can’t be reached:
  • Talk with someone who is either at the step above you or a person who has achieved your ultimate goal. They should be able to give you some insight about your alternatives.
  • Talk to friends, family and colleagues that you trust. It could be very simple like a needed certification, the way you dress or your current compensation (too high or too low).
  • Adjust your ultimate goal. Instead of a CFO position for a Fortune 500 company, it’s a CFO position in a mid-sized corporation or a division CFO of a large corporation.


Take a deep breadth and objectively assess your current situation. Talk with a recruiter in your specific field. A recruiter knows how you stack up against your competition. But be ready for information that may be difficult, as your self-assessment may fall short of what you want to hear.


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Posted on: October 10th, 2017 by
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Let’s assume that you match the education, key experiences and requirements of a position description for a job for which you are interested. What other factors will elevate you as a top candidate and best selection?


Hiring managers want to know: What have you achieved? How did you do it? What were the results? Use this checklist to your advantage.


  • Can you contribute in the short & long term? Are you focused on doing a good job? All hiring managers have short-term problems they want solved. Look at the top five items on the position description to figure out what they are. But they also are looking at the longer-term: Will the candidate be able to grow to a higher level?
  • Do you have the energy and passion to drive performance to results? Hiring managers are looking for that little bit of extra that demonstrates your willingness to make the extra effort or stay the extra hour to find solutions. Energy and passion are hard to fake, but when the hiring manager sees it, it’s infectious.
  • What about your Interpersonal relations and communication skills? Hiring managers are looking to see if you can relate easily to other people and communicate effectively. You can be the greatest expert in your field, but if you can’t relate or communicate, it’s worthless. You are also joining a team that’s already in place. The hiring manager doesn’t want that team disrupted.
  • What about extra credentials, professional associations or leadership positions? When it gets down to the final 2 or 3 candidates, the person who has gotten that extra credential or industry recognition will have an advantage. Membership in a professional association shows that you’re interested in keeping up to date in your field. Show that you’re out in front.
  • Do you have knowledge of the business, industry or competition? Hiring managers will be very impressed if you have insights into the business and where the competition is weaker. Every industry and most companies have a language all their own. Research it.


  • Are you flexible, can change with the times, and are you dependable? Hiring managers don’t want rigid employees who can’t adapt or pitch in when extra hands are needed. The world is in constant motion and organizations need individuals who can be successful in different situations.
  • Will your references be positive to the question, “Would you hire them again?” The hiring manager is really asking the question, “Is this person honest and trustworthy for me to take a risk on them?” Hiring managers can’t afford to make a bad decision. You and your references have to convince the hiring manager that you are that right person.


You can’t read the minds of a hiring manager, but you can make an educated deduction of what they want in a candidate. Why? Because, if you were in their shoes, you would make a similar checklist.


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