June 29, 2009

Why did you leave your last employer?

Posted in Interview Tips, positive outlook, Treasure Coast tagged , , , at 12:17 pm by jannyf

This question is a guarantee on any job interview.  As an employer, we want to hear what you have to say about your sudden availability.  As an interviewee, you need to know how to answer this question.

How you answer this question sets the tone for the rest of the interview.  For example, if you were bored or burned out from your last job, the employer will have some concerns as to whether you will become bored at this job, and rightly so.  Employers want to hire someone who is motivated!  If you left under circumstances that were not so favorable, you need to know how to explain this situation so you can land the next job.

Here are 3 possible answers to that question.  Read through them and see which answer you think is the best:

  1. My position was eliminated when the department was restructured.  I really liked my job and my fellow co-workers.  It wasn’t a surprise when the work began to dwindle.  I was offered a severance package, and I accepted it, as did everyone else in my department.  I hope to find a position similar to that one.
  2. I am looking for a new challenge. I have been with my current company for two years now and don’t find the work as interesting as I once did. I am looking for a company where I can take on new challenges and grow. My current job is dead-ended for me.
  3. Since there are no advancement opportunities within the company, I have decided it would be a good time for me to look outside. I have set some career goals for myself that I could not achieve at that company. What I am looking for is a job with a bigger company where I can contribute, but also move on a career path that has more responsibility.

Which one did you chose?  Answer #1 is the strongest answer of the three.  The interviewee uses a sandwich approach in answering this question:  start with something positive, explain the situation (which was negative) and end it with something positive.  The situation was totally out of his/her control and the interviewee kept a positive attitude about it.

Answer #2 is the weakest answer you can give.  It’s pretty trite and a common answer.  Plus, it almost sets a negative tone from the interviewee’s perspective.

Answer #3 is the strongest or weakest – it’s somewhere in the middle.  As an interviewer, I would have a few follow up questions for this job seeker, like, ‘What are your career goals and how do they fit into this company?’, or ‘how do you think you can contribute to this company?’.  As the interviewee, you better be prepared for these follow up questions.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this question.  Honesty is always the best policy, as the cliche goes, but be positive and upbeat about your circumstances.  Maybe you were fired, but what did you learn from it?  Again, being prepared for this and other tough questions is what makes you stand out against the other job seekers in the market.

Until next time, keep your chin up, stay active and stay healthy!

June 16, 2009

25 Ways to Sabotage Your Job Search

Posted in Interview Tips tagged , at 5:40 am by jannyf

I came across this great article from CNN.com.  Check it out!  These are some great tips that you don’t want to miss….

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/06/15/job.search.sabotage/

Happy job hunting!

– Jan

May 15, 2009

Have you completed your skills inventory?

Posted in Interview Tips, skills inventory, Treasure Coast tagged , , , , , , at 6:40 am by jannyf

Being prepared for an upcoming interview is the secret to success.  You have to get a leg up on the competition and show the employer why they should hire you.  One tip I would like to share is completing a skills inventory on yourself.  Remember, 90% of employers say that the primary reason they do not hire a candidate is because the interviewee could not clearly state his or her skills.  You need to know your skills well enough that you can verbalize them in the interview process.  You do this through a skills inventory.  Let’s look at the components of a skills inventory:

  1. General skills – skills that can be found in every industry.  These include things like managing, filing, communicating verbally or in writing, budgeting, etc.
  2. Job-Specific skills – abilities that you need to succeed in your particular job in your particular industry.  For example, if you are a computer programmer then some of your job-specific skills include computer languages and platforms.
  3. Personal Traits – these are the personal characteristics that you possess.  There are a huge list of traits, but some to help you get started include charismatic, balanced, ambitious, intelligent, detail oriented, ethical.
  4. Competencies – these are clusters of skills and they are very quickly becoming the criteria upon which all employees are judged.  Some of the most valued competencies include:  flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving skills, interpersonal communication and ability and willingness to learn.
  5. Your Gift – this is about who you are instead of what you do.  Here are some questions to help you discover your gift:  What is the most compelling thing about you?  What do people compliment you on?  What is a quality, under any circumstance, that you would never give up?  What quality would you like people to remember you for upon your death?

Grab a few sheets of paper and start listing out your answers to this skills inventory.  You must be able to communicate to the interviewer what your skills are and provide backup as well.  List examples that demonstrate these skills.  Practice out loud with your spouse or friend.  In my next blog post, I will discuss how to develop powerful answers using your skills inventory.

Remember, I offer a FREE 10  minute interview analysis.  Visit my site at www.intcoach.com and click on Job Seekers on the top navigation bar.  There is a short form on that page for you to complete and e-mail me your toughest interview question that you would like help with.

Until next time, keep your chin up, stay active and stay healthy!

April 27, 2009

Scared? Nervous? All interviewees are!

Posted in Interview Tips tagged , , , , , at 9:58 am by jannyf

Everyone has been in the ‘hot seat’ – from entry level to executives – we’ve all had to interview, and we are all nervous and/or scared.  It’s a natural reaction, so you need to recognize that fact.  So, what can you do about your nerves?  Try some of these tips:

  • Recognize that it’s OK to be nervous.  As an interviewer, I expect candidates to be nervous, and part of my job is to put the interviewee at ease.  However, if you recognize and accept that fact that you are nervous, you become more in control of your feelings, and you will feel more confident.
  • What’s the worst thing that can happen?   The worst thing that can happen is you don’t get the job.  It can be devastating – if you let it be.  No one wants to be rejected – it can hurt.  It’s a natural human instinct to want acceptance from others.  From my perspective as an interviewer, I absolutely did not like calling applicants to tell them they did not receive the job.  It’s a hard thing to say to someone.  BUT – what can you do about it?  Look at it as a learning opportunity.  It’s OK to ask the interviewer for feedback.  Take this feedback and apply it to your next interview.
  • Face the fear.  Take a little time to figure out what it is that is making you scared or nervous.   Write it out and then find a solution to the fear.  Remember, an interview is about you.  Interviewers want to hear about your skills, abilities and knowledge. 

I hope some of these tips will make you start to feel more in control of your emotions and help you move toward confidence in the job interview!