You’ve submitted a resume for an advertised position. You are fully qualified for it and it’s a job you really want. But, here you are again waiting, waiting and growing more and more concerned that you aren’t going to get a call for an interview. You know that there are many qualified candidates in the marketplace. So, what can you do differently to land an interview this time?
Try the Send a Solution approach – sending a letter or e-mail directly to the hiring manager telling them exactly how you can help them solve their problems with your expertise. The closer you are to addressing ways you can help them make or save money will increase your odds of getting an interview.
In recent months, a growing number of my clients are getting follow-up e-mails from the internal and external recruiters, who conducted the initial phone interview, asking them to respond to specific questions. And, they request that those responses be e-mailed back to them in writing.
Behind the scenes, this often means the hiring manager is interested in your resume, has qualified candidates but needs more detailed information about your background and experience before deciding whether to interview you face-to-face.
As a candidate, this request is ideal. You get the opportunity to take the time to carefully craft your responses. Consider them as an addendum to your resume.
- Give them solid proof of your experience by including specific examples.
- State the result first then briefly indicate how you achieved it.
- Keep your responses short and to the point.
And remember, this is also gives them an example of your written communication skills. So take the time to carefully proof-read and spell check your responses before e-mailing them.
Review these questions carefully when you prepare for your subsequent interview. They may indicate what’s really important to the hiring manager too.
And, finally, think about whether you should add this information upfront in your resume.
Many people call me a few days before a very important interview asking me to help them prepare. Yes, I help them. But, they are missing the opportunity to be their absolute best – both polished and confident in their interview. That comes from preparing well in advance.
You are probably wondering how you could possibly prepare when you don’t know the exact details of the job. So, here’s how to get started, before you receive the call for your interview.
- Identify the key requirements of your targeted jobs by reviewing the descriptions of jobs you’ve already applied for or are interested in pursuing. Review a minimum of 3 to 5 of your targeted positions.
- Create a list of common qualifications, skills and attributes from these job descriptions.
- Then, using this information you can uncover your key interview stories. Create 3 to 5 interview stories that prove your qualifications and your ability to deliver results in those areas.
By preparing these 3 to 5 interview stories in advance, you’ll have plenty of time to practice and refine them by testing them out on your networking contacts. That way they’ll resonate in your next job interview. And, by preparing in advance, you’ll feel more confident too!
If you need help identifying the common elements of your targeted positions or want help identifiying and refining your best interview stories, just call me at 416-570-7959 or contact me by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d be pleased to help!
Today’s job interviews requires you to do more than just answer interview questions. If you are a professional, more and more employers are requiring you to present your technical skills in a variety of ways. These technical tests are often part of the initial screening process – before you meet the hiring manager. Some of my clients are asked to give definitions of specific technical terms. Others are asked to complete test projects of up to 2 hours in length. One person, applying for a senior research position, now has to successfully complete an 1.5 hour research assignment to make it to the next round of the selection process.
And, employers are continuing to ask senior professionals to present business plans. Typically the employers asks candidates to present a “first 90 day business plan” to an interview panel. Employers want to ensure you have both the technical savvy and the necessary presentation skills to get your ideas supported and implemented in the workplace.
The key to winning the technical screening is to ensure your technical skills and your presentations skills are up-to-date, well honed and rehearsed before you hit that round of the interview process.
Many job seekers think job interviews are all about answering the interviewer’s questions effectively. While that is very important, it is equally important to turn your interview into a peer-to-peer conversation. Asking the interviewer meaningful, open-ended questions is a powerful way to help them start seeing you in the role.
One way to start the conversation is to ask them directly about their business concerns. I’ve found that asking: “What business issues keeps you awake at night?” is the easiest way to make the shift from interview to conversation. Just remember to actively listen. Resist the urge to jump into the conversation before they’re finished responding. Once they’re done, share specifics on what you’ve done to help solve similar challenges in the past.
To successfully turn your interview into a convincing conversation:
- identify the key issues and challenges affecting the industry and the company. This requires thorough and thoughtful research before your interview.
- create a list of open-ended questions in advance; and
- prepare concrete examples [in the form of interview stories] to prove that you’ve used your expertise to solve similar problems in the past.
The more you use this approach, the more comfortable and confident you’ll get in turning your interview into a convincing conversations. And, you’ll reap the rewards. They’ll see you as a peer not just another job seeker.
During your interview, you may get the feeling that the interviewer is concerned about something. So, what do you do? Ask them about it during your interview – Do you have any concerns that stand in the way of my succeeding in this position? It is better to know what it is upfront so you can address their concerns right away. You may not have another chance to do it.
To handle their concerns effectively:
- Respond directly to each issue they raise.
- Turn a perceived weakness into strength.
- Include examples to prove your point.
- Support your response by including what others have said about you and your work.
Thinking about their possible concerns in advance is an important part of your interview preparation. Are you missing one or more of the job requirements they’ve listed? Is your work experience in a different industry? …
List any possible concerns you think they may have about your candidancy. Then, write down your responses to each concern using the above guideline. You’ll find that by preparing your response in advance, you’ll be effective in addressing any concerns directly during your interview. And, you’ll build your overall confidence before and during your interview.
Use these questions as a starting point to prepare for your next job interview. They’ll provide you with a foundation for responding effectively and powerfully to the 12 most-asked questions. Preparing your responses will help you build a framework for thinking on your feet during interviews so that you can land the job you really want!
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your salary expectations?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Tell me about your strengths?
- Why did you leave or are planning to leave your last position?
- Why has it taken you so long to find a job?
- What would a boss or co-worker say about you?
- Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or co-worker?
- What do you know about our company?
- What are your goals?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why do you want to work here?
Want to know exactly how to prepare your answers to these questions, grab a copy of our eBook – What Top Professionals Need To Know About Answering Job Interview Questions.
My clients often want to know the questions interviewers will ask. But, that’s almost impossible to predict because there isn’t a list of common questions. Yes, there are standard questions, but that’s a short list. Besides, many interviewers are seasoned executives, and not necessarily expert interviewers. However, there’s a better way of preparing – by understanding what the hiring organization needs to achieve at each stage of the interview process.
During the interviewing process, the hiring organization needs to answer these five questions:
- Do you have all the required skills, abilities and experience to do the job?
- Can the organization afford you?
- Do you have the necessary motivation, drive and work ethic to get the job done?
- Are you easy to supervise and manage?
- Will you fit with the team and the organization?
Most hiring organizations structure their interviewing process into two or three stages. Each stage delves deeper into each of these questions, and goes further down the list.
This is the last of six steps to acing your phone interview and often the most difficult. Let any silence during conversation just be there.
- This is tough to do when you’re on the phone. However, being comfortable with brief silences will keep you from saying things you haven’t practiced and really don’t want to say.
- When you do break the silence, ask if the interviewer wants you to expand on anything. If not, ask an appropriate follow-on question.
Practicing all six steps will help you master your phone interview skills so that you can move to the next step in the hiring process – a face-to-face interview.
To sound professional, it helps to:
- Stand up so you remain alert and focused.
- Speak clearly so they hear your entire response.
- Smile because smiling makes you sound warm, friendly and approachable.
- Dress in interview clothes to achieve a confident, professional manner
- Avoid chewing gum, coughing or clearing your throat directly into the phone. It’s always better to excuse yourself for a minute if necessary.
- Practice beforehand with friends or family members.