Being PREPARED To Interview Effectively

Compass-seaLOK, so you’ve secured and scheduled an interview…NOW what???  Do you understand that you will be an equal participant in this employment conversation? Are you prepared to take advantage of that and perform to the best of your ability in the interview?

 


Thursday, January 12th we will be discussing Closing the Deal

(Part I: Interview Strategies)


The Three Phases of Every Interview

There are three things that must be discussed in every interview:  First, the Candidate, a discussion usually conducted in the past tense to assess experience, knowledge, and skills… do they meet the potential employer’s REQUIREMENTS?

Second, the job itself.  Beyond meeting requirements, each Candidate must be judged for their potential to meet EXPECTATIONS.  As important, will the Candidate “fit in” on the team and Company culture?  This discussion occurs in the future tense… very obvious transition in a “good” interview.

Last, but certainly not least, is the quality of FIT.  While this is the most subjective and dysfunctional part of the process, it is where both sides must come together for a desired outcome.  When both sides like and find the other to be attractive, a “right” employment opportunity can result.  This is also where the QandA can become more defensive in nature.

And YOUR Tools…

Your VALUE PROPOSITION

Prepare for your interviews (and networking meetings) by understanding the value you bring to a potential employer and hiring company.    Incorporate portions of this information into your interview responses, or use some of the material in your interview closing remarks.  Tell them why you are good at what you do!

ANSWERING QUESTIONS EFFECTIVELY

The key to being successful in an interview is to answer each question well, with strong content and credible delivery. To do this, you must anticipate and practice what to say, display confidence and enthusiasm and show that you have a positive attitude. The way you deliver your responses can be just as important as what you say.

Look directly into the interviewer’s eyes; give short, crisp, smooth answers that don’t sound memorized.  Put energy and ‘texture’  in your voice.

Consider one of the following guidelines in answering questions relative to your communication strategy…

  1. ANSWER the question.
  2. Highlight strengths, giving examples as appropriate… plays to behavioral interviewer style and tactics. Minimize weaknesses.
  3. At least address the issue of the question before
    • Blocking
    • Turnaround
    • Answering in your terms
    • Confronting or changing the subject!

Behavioral interview questions

Many employers are moving away from a resume-driven style of interviewing to a behavioral format. Behavioral interviews are very probing in nature and are based on the concept of “predictable future behavior.”

In other words, what you have done in the past strongly suggests what you will do in the future.  It is about patterns of behavior, both good and bad.

Navigating these interviews successfully requires that you know yourself inside and out.  This will require a lot of introspection and soul-searching on your part.

You must be able to:

  • Know why you have made the decisions you have made that have brought you to this point in your life… and be prepared to explain and defend your decisions.
  • Provide concrete, specific examples of where you have demonstrated the proficiency employers are seeking.

Do you have any questions?

Have at least two questions ready.  They could relate to: the procedures; the systems; reporting relationships; size of working group; equipment; or immediate goals of the department or position.  Do not ask questions about benefits or holidays until you are close to a job offer.

MONEY$peak

 How do companies Pay?

Thanks to the Fair Labor Practices Act of the early sixties, salary administration is quite predictable. Companies are regulated/ audited to maintain the midpoints of their base salary ranges. Therefore the job market tends to collapse around salary range midpoints, regardless of job market conditions.

What is often very misunderstood is the difference between salary survey information, driven by reported salary ranges-and-salary offers made within the job market, driven by negotiated dollars. It is important to realize this simple fact of economic life. That’s why we must always be prepared to negotiate!

Knowing salary administration strategy from the Corporate view, The Careerpilot is not surprised by the actual marketplace performance of today’s professionals in career transition. Even in the “soft market” conditions of today’s marketplace, Candidates have been seeing 15% increases to be commonplace… even higher with some highly marketable Candidates or from within high demand industries and companies. You can negotiate anything.

Your POSITION “WORTH”

While potential employers recruit within well-defined salary ranges, your position’s worth is so much more.  This total value is what you seek to improve upon, and it has several variables…

  1. Base Salary
  2. STRUCTURED BONUS… paid in a regular and frequent paycheck
  3. UNStructured Bonus… these are the elusive, discretionary money sources.
  4. Benefits
  5. Perks
  6. First year vacation
  7. Starting date, if currently employed!

INTERVIEW STRATEGIES That Help You Win!

Your Career CompassEleven out of twelve steps in our job search process are aimed at obtaining interviews and performing well in them.  It is at that point ‘selection interview,’ a potential hiring manager decides if you are right for the job, and, just as important, it is your time to evaluate whether the job is right for you.

 


Thursday, August 4th… Closing The Deal I, exploring interview strategies, including MoneySpeak and PRE-Offer negotiation.


Pilot OnboardMost interviews follow a predictable format, with steps that both the interviewer and applicant follow to decide if both will benefit from working together.  The best interviews are ones in which both participants are equal and can have a mutually beneficial, interactive conversation regarding the opportunity at hand.

While I do not like to use the word “normal” as applied to any interviewing process (too many variables), I do encourage any job seeker to come into any interview with a strategic approach… Think of an interview as the natural extension, the successful result of your effective networking.

Many networking conversations actually become screening interviews, where influential contacts are assessing your qualifications, skill sets and experience relative to an opportunity at hand.  “Perfect practice” of the basics builds the confidence necessary to perform well in formal job interviews.

  1. Appropriate and productive networking TO an employment opportunity, coupled with supportive research, will allow the job seeker a solid notion of FIT going into the interview… How does their value proposition meet the employer’s needs?
  2. A couple of well thought out questions, asked in those first few minutes of the interview, will confirm that notion of FIT… and set the job seeker’s approach to the ensuing Q&A.
  3. Understand and be prepared to apply the guidelines of answering questions effectively…NO NEED for the memorization of anticipated questions!
  4. BE PREPARED to address money issues at all times, right up to your actual acceptance of the offer… Step #12 in all its glory.

THIS WEEK’s Event: CLOSING THE DEAL I-Interview STRATEGIES…Thursday, May 12th@ 8:45AM at The Egg and I Restaurant

Please SHARE THIS POST with your network.

Thursday, May 12th, we will focus on Interview concepts and strategies, including MoneySpeak and interviewingincluding a PRE-Offer Negotiation Approach.  This stuff is worth your practice time in anticipation of that terrific offer you’ll get!

We meet at The Egg and I Restaurant (NW Quadrant of Arapaho and Montfort) in Addison.  Come prepared to work on YOUR most difficult or challenging interview issues.

As it is important to be prepared for pre-mature discussion of salary…

“He who mentions money FIRST, loses!”

When an offer is extended to you, you should feel prepared to respond appropriately AND consider optimizing the package offered.

Who should attend?

  1. Those who want to perform more effectively in actual interviews–get to the offer!
  2. Those seeking a systematic, focused, more predictable way to conduct any interview and discussion of salary;
  3. “Regulars” who need a ‘booster shot.’… and bring a guest;
  4. New Comers and tire kickers… this is a great session with which to supplement your job search effectiveness!

Understanding The Interview Process

Your Career CompassEvery step in the job search process is aimed at obtaining interviews.  It is at that point, a potential hiring manager decides if you are right for the job, and, just as important, it is your time to evaluate whether the job is right for you.

Most interviews follow a predictable format, with steps that both the interviewer and applicant follow to decide if both will benefit from working together.


Thursday, March 3rd… Closing The Deal I: Interview Strategies + MoneySpeak, including

PRE-Offer negotiation


Pilot Onboard

The best interviews are ones in which both participants are equal and can have a mutually beneficial, interactive conversation regarding the opportunity at hand.

Think of an interview as the natural extension, the successful result of your effective networking.  Many networking conversations actually become screening interviews, where influential contacts are assessing your qualifications, skill sets and experience relative to an opportunity at hand.  “Perfect practice” of the basics builds the confidence necessary to perform well in formal job interviews.

Let’s break down the basics into four areas…

  1. pre-contact preparation/ research,
  2. greeting and rapport,
  3. questions/answers, and …
  4. meeting closure.

All four stages are equally important and deserve your consideration and preparation.

The Three Phases of Every Interview

There are three things that must be discussed in every interview:  First, the Candidate, a discussion usually conducted in the past tense to assess experience, knowledge, and skills… do they meet the potential employer’s REQUIREMENTS?

Second, the job itself.  Beyond meeting requirements, each Candidate must be judged for their potential to meet EXPECTATIONS.  As important, will the Candidate “fit in” on the team and Company culture?  This discussion occurs in the future tense… very obvious transition in a “good” interview.

Last, but certainly not least, is the quality of FIT.  While this is the most subjective and dysfunctional part of the process, it is where both sides must come together for a desired outcome.  When both sides like and find the other to be attractive, a “right” employment opportunity can result.  This is also where the QandA can become more defensive in nature.

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


I WOULD ALWAYS ENCOURAGE YOU TO REMEMBER THREE PRACTICAL GUIDELINES, RATHER THAN ATTEMPTING TO MEMORIZE GLIB, WELL-CRAFTED ANSWERS TO CHALLENGING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: 

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.
  10. EMBRACE CHANGE, NEVER COMING ACROSS AS DESPERATE… ENOUGH SAID!

Successful Interviewing and your next OFFER

Answering questions effectively

The key to being successful in an interview is to answer each question well, with strong content and credible delivery.  To do this, you must anticipate and practice what to say, display confidence and enthusiasm and show that you have a positive attitude.  The way you deliver your responses can be just as important as what you say.

PRE-Offer negotiation requires practice and the ensuing confidence during networking and interviewing process.  It is a good example of Guideline#3 in answering questions effectively…

At least address the issue of the question before…

  • Blocking
  • Turnaround
  • Answering in your terms
  • Confronting or changing the subject!

Thursday, July 23rd, we will be focusing on actual interview TACTICS that work well within our interview strategies learned in Closing The Deal I.  This will include a POST-Offer Negotiation Approach.


POST-Offer Negotiation

What is your position worth?

  1. Base Salary
  2. Any money structured enough to be paid in a regular/ frequent paycheck
  3. Unstructured or discretionary bonuses paid to you
  4. Benefits (budgeted as a ratio of base salary)
  5. Perks (becoming extinct, but not completely yet)
  6. First year vacation (what is your sanity worth?)
  7. Starting date (especially when employed -or- coupled with significant salary movement)

Under ‘normal circumstances’ you should have a salary increase as one of your objectives in career transition… NEVER sell yourself short!  Remember, you will be hired for your potential, not for what you’ve already accomplished.

Please SHARE THIS POST with your network.

THIS Week’s Event: CLOSING THE DEAL II-Interview TACTICS…Thursday, July 23rd@ 8:45AM at The Egg and I Restaurant

We meet at The Egg and I Restaurant (NW Quadrant of Arapaho and Montfort) in Addison.  Come prepared to work on YOUR most difficult or challenging interview issues.


Thursday, July 23rd, we will be focusing on actual interview TACTICS that work well within our interview strategies learned in Closing The Deal I.  This will include a POST-Offer Negotiation Approach.  This stuff is worth your practice time in anticipation of that terrific offer you’ll get!


Answering questions effectively

The key to being successful in an interview is to answer each question well, with strong content and credible delivery.  To do this, you must anticipate and practice what to say, display confidence and enthusiasm and show that you have a positive attitude.  The way you deliver your responses can be just as important as what you say.

Look directly into the interviewer’s eyes; give short, crisp, smooth answers that don’t sound memorized.  Put energy in your voice. Consider one of the following guidelines in answering questions relative to your communication strategy…

  • ANSWER the question….
  • Highlight strengths, giving examples as appropriate… plays to behavioral interviewer style and tactics. Minimize weaknesses.
  • At least address the issue of the question before
    • Blocking
    • Turnaround
    • Answering in your terms
    • Confronting or changing the subject!

PRE-Offer Negotiation

Become knowledgable of ‘MoneySpeak’ as it relates to your salary requirements.  Be confident in ANY discussion of your salary, either past or future (NOTE: There is no present tense where money is concerned!).  Remember…

“He who mentions money first, LOSES.”

PRE-offer negotiation is a very common use of guideline#3 in answering questions effectively.  And, as alwats, answer the question and then STOP TALKING.  You will feel pressured to defend or explain, compensating for your nervousness and emotion at this moment.  This is definitely worth practice time with your accountability partner.

POST-Offer Negotiation

What is your position worth?

  1. Base Salary
  2. Any money structured enough to be paid in a regular/ frequent paycheck
  3. Unstructured or discretionary bonuses paid to you
  4. Benefits (budgeted)
  5. Perks
  6. First year vacation
  7. Starting date

Please SHARE THIS POST with your network.

Who should attend?

  1. Those who want to perform more effectively in actual interviews–get to the offer!
  2. Those seeking a systematic, focused, more predictable way to conduct any interview and discussion of salary;
  3. “Regulars” who need a ‘booster shot.’… and bring a guest;
  4. New Comers and tire kickers… this is a great session with which to supplement your job search effectiveness!

THIS WEEK’s Event: CLOSING THE DEAL-Interview STRATEGIES…Thursday, May 14th@ 8:45AM at The Egg and I Restaurant

For years, CORPORATE Recruiters have relied on access to that special stack of resumes or a ‘Rolodex of top candidates’ to recruit from for hard to fill positions. Since the 80s the drive behind recruitment technology has been an effort to replicate and scale this activity by storing these resumes in databases making them available through key word search.

That ‘systematic approach’ is dysfunctional… It hasn’t worked!  Enter the assistance of third party recruitment professionals, headhunters, who charge a fee to the hiring organization to find you and get you placed.

If you are not willing or able to conduct your own personal negotiation with an interested hiring organization, the key is to know how headhunters think. They want one thing: to close the deal.  This is hopefully in synch with your motivation, but not always.  Remember they are already working for the Company who pays them.

What headhunters like least is a passive candidate who doesn’t state their requirements clearly. They want to know exactly what you want. They may not always be able to get it for you, but if it’s reasonable, they will try to satisfy you (and the employer) to get the deal closed. So, if you make things black and white for this headhunter, its easier to work on your behalf.

Pre-Offer Negotiation Tip:  Work with the headhunter… suggest, “This offer is attractive, but I want to make the right decision, here. I’d have to take some time to think about. I’m not sure I’d accept it. If it were 4% higher, maybe $5k more, I’d accept it on the spot. In fact, if you can get the offer raised by $5k, you don’t even need to call me back. You can tell them I accept… What do you think?”

Remember, your placement costs the Company real dollars when they work through a headhunter… make them earn it! 

The Careerpilot

+++

Thursday, May 14th, we will focus on Interview concepts and strategies, including MoneySpeak and interviewingincluding a PRE-Offer Negotiation Approach.  This stuff is worth your practice time in anticipation of that terrific offer you’ll get!

Please SHARE THIS POST with your network.

Who should attend?

  1. Those who want to perform more effectively in actual interviews–get to the offer!
  2. Those seeking a systematic, focused, more predictable way to conduct any interview and discussion of salary;
  3. “Regulars” who need a ‘booster shot.’… and bring a guest;
  4. New Comers and tire kickers… this is a great session with which to supplement your job search effectiveness!

NEXT WEEK’s Event: CLOSING THE DEAL II-Interview TACTICS…Thursday, March 26th@ 8:45AM at The Egg and I Restaurant

Thursday, March 26th, we will be focusing on actual interview TACTICS that work well within our interview strategies learned in Closing The Deal I.  This will include a POST-Offer Negotiation Approach.  This stuff is worth your practice time in anticipation of that terrific offer you’ll get!

We meet at The Egg and I Restaurant (NW Quadrant of Arapaho and Montfort) in Addison.  Come prepared to work on YOUR most difficult or challenging interview issues.

Please SHARE THIS POST with your network.

Who should attend?

  1. Those who want to perform more effectively in actual interviews–get to the offer!
  2. Those seeking a systematic, focused, more predictable way to conduct any interview and discussion of salary;
  3. “Regulars” who need a ‘booster shot.’… and bring a guest;
  4. New Comers and tire kickers… this is a great session with which to supplement your job search effectiveness!

THIS WEEK’s Event: CLOSING THE DEAL-Interview STRATEGIES…Thursday, March 19th@ 8:45AM at The Egg and I Restaurant

Thursday, March 19th, we will focus on Interview concepts and strategies, including MoneySpeak and interviewingincluding a PRE-Offer Negotiation Approach.  This stuff is worth your practice time in anticipation of that terrific offer you’ll get!

We meet at The Egg and I Restaurant (NW Quadrant of Arapaho and Montfort) in Addison.  Come prepared to work on YOUR most difficult or challenging interview issues.

This week only…two for one:  Immediately following the session, Bob will be driving over to Grapevine to present “Networking WITH The OTHER Job Market” to the Healthcare-oriented networking group.  Please consider the ‘field trip.’

Please SHARE THIS POST with your network.

Who should attend?

  1. Those who want to perform more effectively in actual interviews–get to the offer!
  2. Those seeking a systematic, focused, more predictable way to conduct any interview and discussion of salary;
  3. “Regulars” who need a ‘booster shot.’… and bring a guest;
  4. New Comers and tire kickers… this is a great session with which to supplement your job search effectiveness!