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!

Think INSIDE This Box!

Your Career CompassFor the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at interview strategies and tactics.  Many people rely on their communication skills and basic research to get through an interview… It’s so much more than that…and it is different for everybody!


Thursday, October 13th... Closing The Deal I,  interview strategies plus MoneySpeak, including PRE-Offer negotiation.


Pilot OnboardOften, a skilled communicator who thinks quickly on their feet must learn to limit themselves, to stick to their message!  The opposite is true for the terminally shy… they may be researched and prepared, but must learn to make their points effectively.

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.

Research the company/position

 Second level research will help you to identify attractive companies.  But, this is third level (in-depth) research.  Learn as much as possible about the company, the position and the individual who will be conducting the interview.

Your research goals ought to include developing information about the company’s products, people, organizational structure, successes (and failures), profits (and losses), capital spending, strategic plans, philosophy and labor climate. Showing your knowledge of some of this information can give you added credibility over other candidates interviewing for the job.

 Use the following research strategies:

  • Research the company web site, looking for information relative to your function and level… a company’s financial and annual reports can provide clues to their stability and market share. Don’t forget directories, trade journals, the “business press,” and databases of articles and other news.
  • Ask a friendly recruiter, business acquaintance or stockbroker what they know about the company… and by extension, call people with whom you have networked and ask what they know about the company and/or individual conducting the interview.
  • Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
  • Call the company directly; request a sales brochure, annual report or other company information. Companies have to market themselves, too, you know.

Once your basic research is complete, you must next identify how your abilities, experience and expertise can meet the needs of the interviewer, the company and the job.  This point cannot be over-emphasized.

It is the company’s needs that you must fill, not your own.  Surprisingly, however, by meeting the company’s needs, your needs also will be met.

 Your VALUE PROPOSITION

Prepare for your interviews (and networking meetings) by fully 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…

  • 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!

KNOW “IT”… Confirm IT…Use IT

Compass-seaL

A productive mindset, during any career transition, is your ability to relate your well positioned “story” to others, answer questions effectively, conduct productive negotiations, and, in general, fine tune your personal salesmanship skills.  So what are those basic tactics that will allow you to effectively “close the deal?”

  1. Practice your two minute drill every chance you get…. it’s the fundamental building material of your communication strategy–your verbal collaterals!
  2. Practice your exit and qualification statements… most all potential employers and networking contacts will want to know your current situation and why you are available.
  3. Practice answering both common and tough questions… including pre-offer negotiation tactics.

 


Thursday, August 11th… Closing the Deal II, Interviewing tactics plus POST-Offer negotiation!


Pilot OnboardThe most asked question during career transition is, “Tell me about yourself.”  Appropriate use of your two-minute drill and related verbal strategies, your “verbal collaterals,” is a key ingredient to personal salesmanship…

  • A verbal resume… A tightly focused, upbeat telling of “your story” told in a high impact two minute format.  With practice, can be easily personalized to your listener.
  • An “elevator pitch”…  A succinct summary of your qualifications for a specifically positioned function or opportunity.  With practice, can become quite spontaneous.
  • Brag bytes…  Wordcraft various collections of words, phrases and sentences to capture memorable moments or accomplishments–the best you have to offer.  “…saved 80% cost-per-hire…”  Used in MSWord Auto Text Format can be quite efficient when building high impact correspondence as well.
  • Personal Portfolio…  Your collection of certificates, examples of work, reference letters, etc that can bring life and interest (not to mention PROOF) to your story.

KNOW “IT”

Go in to any interview with at least a good notion of why that JOB is a good CareerFIT for you.  You will be at a distinct disadvantage if you plan on using the interview to figure out why you are a FIT!  ‘Knowing’ the nature of a good CareerFIT for you comes from the first few steps of our 12-step process, networking and research will surface attractive opportunities for you to pursue.

So as a first thing to accomplish in any interview, you will want to…

Confirm IT

“As I have prepared for this conversation with you, it seems that you are looking for a person who is good at X, Y, and Z… is that true?”  As a first question to ask, as you are getting seated, get the first question in!  Engage your Interviewer in this most obvious bit of information… you’ll be surprised how this serves to direct the front end of the interview process.

USE It

Remember the three basic guidelines for answering ANY question asked…

  1. Answer the question! (and then stop taslking!)
  2. When in a topical area of strength or FIT, look for opportunities to integrate a personalized W.A.R. story
  3. At least address the issue of the question before blocking the subject, changing the topic, or clarifying the topic at hand.

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.

CLOSING THE DEAL: Winning Interview Tactics

The next time you meet with a potential employer, open the conversation with this simple phrase:

“In preparing for this meeting I took some time to…”

Then simply highlight the two or three critical things that you did to prepare and watch what happens to the atmosphere of the call. You will blow away the last interviewee (your competition) who opened their meeting in silence, waiting to be interrogated!


LAST Session of 2015… Thursday, December 17th… Closing The Deal II: Interview tactics, including POST-Offer negotiation.


The less you talk about yourself, the more you have to prepare to talk about them. And the more you talk about them, the more likely they will be interested in you. Not exactly the secret formula you were hoping for. But it is an obvious formula—so obvious that most job seekers ignore it.

Here are ten keys that you can use to create your own successful pre-interview habits:

  1. Learn about their business—their products/services, customers, industry trends, key initiatives, financial status, and competition… what are THEIR specific needs?
  2. Discover something about the person you are meeting with. Google them, talk to their colleagues, or call others in the industry who have insights. Use a targeted organization networking approach.
  3. Identify the benefits of your value to this potential employer. The benefits need to be clear, concise, credible and compelling!  It is important to remember, they are looking for the best FIT… so should the job seeker.
  4. Prepare ideas that hold value for your ‘next employer.’ Your language needs to reflect a focus on solutions…meeting their needs!
  5. Move from ‘meeting their requirements’ to ‘meeting and exceeding their expectations… let them experience your motivation and performance potential.
  6. Plan questions that establish your expertise and get them to think in new ways. The more thought provoking, conversation generating your questions are, the more your prospective employers will respect and remember you!
  7. Communicate your “value proposition” prior to the actual interview.  Ask them to review and provide you with feedback. Getting their buy-in before you walk in the door is critical, and it demonstrates your commitment to delivering value.
  8. Identify the resistance that you are most likely to encounter and prepare ideas, case studies, testimonials or expert opinions to help reduce their reluctance to move forward.
  9. Plan how you will close the interview appointment and decide what agreements you need to ask for…for example, follow-up timing.
  10. Remind yourself to be warm, friendly and courteous to everyone that you encounter. Your potential employer is constantly deciding how much they like you, how much they believe you, how much they trust you and how much confidence they have in you. It takes time—often a long time—to build your personal brand. And it takes only a few seconds for it to be destroyed.

THIS WEEK’s Event: In-sync Personal Marketing Materials, 8:45 AM at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison

The implementation of a well-thought out, Personal Marketing Plan, has always been built around productive and pro-active networking toward your next appropriate employment…getting your message out to potential employers!  Most of us refer to this activity as a job search. To be efficient and to avoid confusion in the marketplace, it is important to develop your message around those keywords that define your candidacy… your communication strategy.

Further, it is important to be consistent and regular in delivering your message to the marketplace, always BEST in a “target rich” environment.  Because you will be using multiple distribution approaches for your message, it becomes important to assure that those approaches are in-sync with each other.  In other words, your written collateral materials (resume, bio, a networking profile, and all job search correspondence–including email), your verbal collaterals (all permutations of a well-thought out 2 minute commercial, elevator pitch, qualification statement, and self-introduction), AND your digital “footprint” (social media branding) need to be developed using the same strategies.

This may seem overwhelming to some job seekers, especially those attempting to be everything to everybody.  Rather, it simplifies the process, making it easier to create “top of mind awareness” with potential employers.  These communication strategies are actually built on 3rd Grade Grammar!  Read on…

(Key)Words, like “problem solving”… every professional is a problem-solver!

Phrases, like “practical problem solving” (adding an adjective that fits you) or “solving problems professionally” (adding an adverb that fits you) allow you to add your uniqueness to your message.

Sentences, like the accomplishment bullets of your professional experience, allow you to showcase your experience, supporting your ability to perform to an employers expectations.  When this ‘proof’ is well designed, it can trigger the right questions to set up your use of…

Paragraph(s), like your best W.A.R. stories to support your candidacy and address behavioral questions.

Words that build phrases, sprinkled in to your message within your accomplishment sentences, create your opportunity to get your message across to potential employers!   And that, my friends, we all learned in 3rd grade grammar!  When applied through your communication strategies, you, too, can become an effective job seeker!

NEXT EVENT: Thursday, October 27th, 9-10:30 AM at The Egg and I Restaurant (NW quadrant of Arapaho and Montfort, 1 blk east of Tollway)

This is the next in a weekly series of FREE career transition workshop events. Yes, networking happens at these events, but our purpose is to learn innovative “HOW TO” approaches into The OTHER Job Market. Both strategic and tactical issues and models are incorporated… this week?

NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES: Pre and Post OFFER!

We will explore an overall strategy that will enable you to perform well in all interviews, AND delve into an easy to remember interview strategy that organizes and focuses your interview time and effectiveness. As always, consistent and focused efforts are keys to your success. Some selected topics to address:

  • Developing your network… an evolutionary process.
  • Responding to premature discussion of money
  • ASKING questions effectively
  • Answering questions effectively… Creating and closing all communication ‘loops’
  • Negotiating an actual offer

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

– Professionals who seek “job security” for the rest of their career
– Professionals formerly reluctant to engage “all-IN” networking
-Job seekers who gain interviews, but can’t Close The Deal or optimize their offers!

As always, GUESTS of our DFWCareerpilot regulars, and…

First time visitors… this session is a great place to start!

NEXT EVENT: Thursday, October 20th, 9-10:30 AM at The Egg and I Restaurant (NW quadrant of Arapaho and Montfort, 1 blk east of Tollway)

This is the next in a weekly series of FREE career transition workshop events. Yes, networking happens at these events, but our purpose is to learn innovative “HOW TO” approaches into The OTHER Job Market. Both strategic and tactical issues and models are incorporated… this week?…

CLOSING THE DEAL

We will explore an overall telephone strategy to secure interviews, AND delve into an easy to remember interview strategy that organizes and focuses your interview time and effectiveness. As always, consistent and focused efforts are keys to your success. Some selected topics to address:

-Developing your network… an evolutionary process.
-An interview request is NEVER a cold call
-ASKING questions effectively
-Answering questions effectively
-Creating and closing all communication ‘loops’

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

– Professionals who seek “job security” for the rest of their career
– Professionals formerly reluctant to engage “all-IN” networking
-Job seekers who gain interviews, but can’t Close The Deal

As always, GUESTS of our DFWCareerpilot regulars, and…

First time visitors… this session is a great place to start!