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.

Advertisements

Next Week’s Session: Turning Opportunities Into INTERVIEWS

Your Career CompassWhat is the most critical skill to one’s  CAREER success – yet also the most elusive?  Time management?  Strategic thinking?  Discipline?  Decision making?

No. While these are important, they pale in comparison to communication skills, BOTH personal and professional: Attentive listening, asking relevant questions, showing empathy, and knowing how to handle difficult communications are the most critical to career success.

They are vital to building healthy relationships, exchanging ideas, sharing feelings, gaining buy-in, setting clear expectations, and working collaboratively. The lack of these skills is at the root of most conflicts, employee performance issues, failed projects, and lost opportunities…JOBS????


Thursday, February 25th… Turning Opportunities into INTERVIEWS


Pilot Onboard

You can be a subject matter expert, but if you can’t communicate your ideas, your ideas are of little value. You can have a great value proposition, branding, for the future, but if you can’t get people to buy into it, your vision doesn’t matter. You can be a masterful manager, but if you can’t reassure or empathize with your clients, they will seek help elsewhere.

You might have a skill set/experience to sell, but if you can’t articulate a compelling value proposition, you won’t find many takers. Your ability to communicate determines your success at work or home.

How do you rate your current communication’s skills?  And, more importantly, how do you improve them to enhance job search or career transition SUCCESS?

Consider The Basics…

On a scale of passive ==>  to assertive ==> to aggressive, let’s take a look at how we could communicate direct to contacts in and surrounding a targeted organization…

Email…safe, but too easy to be deleted before a relationship is established. Requires follow-up.

LETTER of introduction… also safe, but read more often. Paves the way for a first call to a referral… creates dialog. Requires phone follow-up.

Phone call…direct… often a cold call… requires risk. Establishes contact, interaction and, worst case, VISIBILITY.

There’s only two reasons to be on the phone during active job search…

  1. Reconnecting with valid contacts, seeking their advice and information, sharing your communication strategy, and seeking referral activity…
  2. Securing actual interviews

Cover NOTE and resume… Rather than mindlessly applying to countless jobs, playing the numbers game; develop your networking style to motivate a person to request your resume.  When requested, resume gets read more often. Establishes relationship. Requires follow-through. Face2face office visit!

LEVERAGING Your LinkedIn Network

After you’ve created your LinkedIn Profile, your digital footprint,” 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. LinkedIn suggests in its FAQ, “Only invite those you know and trust.”


Thursday, February 18th… A LinkedIn Primer: Task#2 Networking


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 your second and third lines of contact… we’re talking, WOW!!!

The 411 on “How Not to Be Connected”

If someone contacts you and you don’t want to form a connection with them, you don’t need to flatly reject them and worry about the attendant awkwardness. When looking at the invitation to connect, simply hit “Archive.” The other person does not receive a message saying their invitation has been rejected, and you don’t have to worry about unwanted invitations clogging up your inbox.

Likewise, if you find that an existing contact is blasting you with too much information or making overly aggressive requests for introductions and recommendations, LinkedIn will let you remove that person easily — and without the contact knowing they’re out of your network.  If only it were that easy in real life.

What’s Next?

  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. And, it’s a 2-way street: Your updates, including white papers you may choose to “publish,” go out to your network.
  2. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. When you click the information under “Who’s Viewed My Profile” on your profile page, you’ll be able to view users who have looked at your profile, stats on your profile’s number of views, and its appearances in search recently. To change this, go into your settings and click “See what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
  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. Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities.
  6. Link your Twitter account to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account in your “settings” area.

IMPLEMENTION Of Your PMP

Your Career CompassSteps four and five of our 12-Step Process M.A.P. are in place to provide you with confirming feedback that you have selected an appropriate approach to the marketplace.  Coaching your references, then branding yourself in the digital world of recruitment will help you validate your initial decisions.

This validation that the marketplace needs you and your value proposition helps you to have the necessary confidence in your story.

  • Discuss your resume with your references… does your story capture the real YOU? Have you missed any key bits of supportive information?
  • Use LinkedIn, your “digital footprint,” to pull interest in you to your Profile, and to push your message out to the marketplace through your network of contacts and Group activity.

Thursday, February 11th… Implementing Your PMP: The first and ensuing ‘waves.’


DISTRIBUTION NETWORK

 The next two steps, initial research and pulling together your initial contact list are in place to create focus to your efforts…  What are the trends in the market that are attractive to you, and which target organizations are most needy of your value proposition?  Your evolving contact list will take you through the A-B-C’s of networking and the development of your distribution channels…

  1. Start with people you already know or have reason to “should know,” as they are the most likely to be receptive to your initial efforts.
  2. As you develop your network, identify key bridge contacts that can give you specific information or introduce you to key decision-makers and hiring authorities.
  3. Critical to your success is building relationships with people who can influence your hiring. This ‘must see’ list of influential contacts and hiring authorities is the epicenter of your job search campaign!

YOUR CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

Pilot OnboardHave an implementation strategy and stick to your plan.   Your Personal Marketing Plan should evolve as you progress in your job search. I would recommend early on in your search you attend several events where other job seekers hang out. These are great places to meet new people, develop and practice your elevator pitch, and get some support.

However, within 6-8 weeks you want to begin moving AWAY from those kinds of events to places where potential employers and people close to potential employers hang out. The former of these events will usually be free.

The latter may cost you something. That’s why you want to work out the bugs in your verbal and printed “brand image” in the early stages of your job search. So you can be more effective and efficient when you implement your PMP. Yes, this means you will say “no” to some things.

You want to be strategic!  Remember that an occasional job search is the most predictable part of your career-long strategy!

Critical to the efficiency and productivity of your campaign is the regularity and frequency of the activities you are willing to commit to, and the uses of your time, that will create top-of-mind awareness of YOU (the product) in the desirable or chosen marketplace.  In other words, what are you willing and able to commit to to get HIRED!…to LAND your next right employment?

READY… The first seven steps of the 12-step process are there to prepare you to be successful in a job search campaign.  You are READY!

AIM… Steps five, six, and seven are there to help you focus your efforts.  You’re ready and have your targets in sight… you have the correct AIM!

FIRE… Anyone can pick up a weapon and fire it… most of us can push the button that launches a missile.  But the practiced, prepared, and confident marksman is the one most likely to have the skill to actually hit their target!

Steps eight, nine, and ten are what most job seekers call an “active job search.”  I encourage you to develop your PMP before you need to, implement it wisely with a first wave to “get the word out,” distributing your story to the widest possible network.  By its nature, your first wave will identify target opportunities.

In the skilled implementation of your PMP, your second wave of networking your way to those target opportunities will naturally overlap your initial efforts to get the word out… in fact, as you grow in confidence with your networking abilities, you will create your own productive ‘style’ of networking for the rest of your career!

Your Personal Marketing Plan: A CAREER Strategy

Your Career Compass

While involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times. Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…

 


Thursday, February 4th… Developing YOUR Personal Marketing Plan (PMP)  Are you fully prepared to conduct a productive and efficient job search?


When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities…
  • We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management… 
  • And, as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

Pilot OnboardSo, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?   But, before looking at what such a Personal Marketing Plan would look like, please review the PREPARATION Portion of the 12-step Process Model.

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

Personal Marketing is a contact sport.