Does Your Interview “Style” FIT You??

Often you can build in credibility by talking about yourself as others see you, in the third person.  “My customers have always valued my responsive problem-solving nature.  Why, just last week….”  -or- “I have been consistently reviewed for my …”

Thursday, September 24th… Closing The Deal I: Interview Strategies, including Money$peak and PRE-Offer negotiation


FIRST… ANSWER THE QUESTION!  The implication, here, is that you have listened to and understand the question.  Clarify if necessary, but never repeatedly!

SECOND… LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO INTEGRATE YOUR STRENGTHS. When on an issue of FIT, confirming a strength with a behavioral example is always welcomed.  When the issue reveals a weakness…. answer the question and stop talking.

THIRD… AT LEAST ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF A QUESTION BEFORE BLOCKING THE SUBJECT, TURNING THE TABLES, OR ANSWERING IN ANY MANIPULATIVE MANNER.  This strategy allows you to respond to “illegal, unethical” questions and also money talk.

“If you practice the way you play, there shouldn’t be any difference. That’s why I practiced so hard. I wanted to be prepared for the game.”

Michael Jordan (1963- )
American basketball player & business person
regarded by many as the greatest basketball player who ever played the game

If you are finding that you need to develop a more persuasive interviewing presence… It will be helpful to develop some effective strategies to bring focus to the session–a focus on how your strengths FIT the job’s expectations.  Never allow an interview to be an interrogation of YOU…

  1. USE A STRONG OPENING… Clearly state your desire to work with the interviewing company.  Back up your desire with solid research on why you are a good fit for their needs.  “I’m talking to you to determine where my skills in can best be applied to make a solid contribution here.  Seems you are looking for a person who…”
  2. ALWAYS INCORPORATE YOUR KEY STRENGTHS… Like your resume and other written collaterals, your supportive telephone and interviewing style should reflect a compelling message, based on your strengths that meet an organization’s needs. If you have researched and networked your way toward a particular opportunity, you should be able to “echo” your abilities relative to their needs. For example, in tabular form…

    This opportunity calls for…

    And I offer…

    Communication Skills

    8 years of demonstrated effectiveness in sales presentations to decision makers. Customers often mention the persuasiveness of both my verbal and written skills.

    Strong Computer/ Software Background

    Proficiency in MS Office applications, including the ability to create and develop complementary power point and web page presentations.

    Proven Account Development Success

    Recent track record of three straight years of leading our Regional Sales Team in revenue growth while establishing a new territory. Identified, secured and have developed several Fortune 200 customers.

  3. TAKE DUE CREDIT WITHOUT OVERUSING THE WORD “I”… Focus in on meeting needs or requirements. Specifically, minimize the use of the “I word” in beginning your sentences. Third-party statements can create credibility: “My customers have always said that…” -or- “My supervisors have always been kind in complimenting my …. “
  4. STRATEGIZE AROUND THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES PRESENTED BY THE INDUSTRY AND THE SPECIFIC OPPORTUNITY… Adopt a positive, future oriented perspective.  Optimism secures cooperation and advice easier than negativity.  Develop a solid value proposition. Make it clear that your focus on this Company and its industry is because you enjoy the work.              
  5. USE YOUR WRITTEN COLLATERALS TO COMPLEMENT AND SUPPLEMENT YOUR STORY…  Your written collaterals were designed around compelling examples of your strengths—little mini-stories to prove your worth from actual experience and results.  Pull from the same examples to gain repetition and behavioral evidence of your strengths = REMEMBERED!
  6. BE SPECIFIC AND CLEAR in positioning your candidacy/value proposition to meet an employer’s needs. Don’t try to be everything to everybody with vague, winding sentences and paragraphs.
  7. FOCUS ON YOUR FUNCTIONAL STRENGTHS, NOT SPECIFIC TITLES…  Be prepared to research and mirror your strengths to specific openings, always echoing the FIT between your strengths and their needs. Make each receiver feel as if they are getting your personal approach to them.
  8. PRACTICE POLITENESS, making mutual respect for their time and attention a valued commodity. Proper protocol, here, can pave the way for high quality relationship building.
  9. CLOSE WITH A CALL FOR SPECIFIC ACTION AND YOUR CONTROL OF THE FOLLOW-UP… What IS the next step? Or attempt “closing” on an offer.

OPTIMIZING Your Use of LinkedIn in Building Your Network

The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…  Where to begin?

Thursday, September 10th… A Linked-In Primer, Part II: Task #2, Building your network

The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions. That choice is LinkedIn.

Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and with more than 380 million users worldwide (110 Million + in the US), it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s how to build a network, leveraging your available time… and put it all to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.  I call this critical, rest of your career activity…

TASK#2: Building your network

Goal 1: As a beginner in LinkedIn, you’ll want to achieve your “tipping point” as soon as possible.  This is that magical ‘dotted line’ in your ‘connections’ count where you begin to benefit from organic growth of your network, with professionals you don’t already know inviting you to connect.

After you’ve created your profile, it’s time to begin to connect to others. LinkedIn will allow you to search for people you know to see if they’re already members. But once you connect to someone, you can also look at the profiles of anyone they know, and in turn anyone those people know.

Because of these three degrees of separation, your network can grow rapidly. Before you begin connecting, decide who you want to connect to. The low hanging fruit are people you already may have in your MSOutlook or Gmail contacts, alumni from your school, and employees of your current and past employers… Prioritize those who you feel are quite connected themselves, or influential in their profession or industry.

Goal 2: When you’re ready, begin to create and maintain your focus in developing your network.  Are you a gifted and available professional… or a motivated job seeker?  Stay focused.  Only connect with others who share your professional interests or are related to those interests in a complementary way… and can help you meet your goals.

I started with twenty contacts from my MSOutlook.  My first line has grown to well over five hundred by accepting and sending out INVITATIONS to people I know, are likely to be interactive within our network, or who could provide resources to me or the Candidates I serve… what’s really impressive is how this translates, numerically, into my second and third lines of contact… we’re talking, WOW!!! – The Careerpilot

Goal 3:  As you grow in confidence, and use of your social media network, consider the following…

  1. Check in on “Network Updates.” Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing.
  2. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. Connect with those who have viewed your profile if their might be mutual interest.
  3. Export connections. Transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system. LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and then scroll down and click “Export Connections.” You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file.
  4. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn. Speaking of connections, the “LinkedIn Companion for Firefox” is a great plugin that helps you identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who are emailing you. It also enables you to easily access other LinkedIn features via your browser.
  5. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Some groups have their own job boards.  Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities. Don’t forget to engage in the Discussions of a group… your activity will enhance your search ranking.
  6. Take advantage of advanced search options. LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you’re connected to anyone that works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then sort the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first or second degree connections to any employees.
  7. Link your Twitter acct to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account in your “settings” area.