5 Tough Interview Questions…and How to Answer Them

5 Tough Interview Questions…and How to Answer Them

5 tough eA five-part series of really tough interview questions….  and how to respond!!

Interviewing for a new job is “single-elimination” process! Get it right and you usually move on to the next step in the job-seeking process with that organization. If you don’t do well…it is then time to start over elsewhere. You really want to avoid the knock-out interview factors….such as bad answers to an interviewer’s questions.

The job-seeking process requires the need to prepare for interviewing – you really do need to be ready to answer all the questions that will come your way…. especially the tough ones… the ones where a bad answer will end your opportunities with that potential employer.

Let’s look at one of the five toughest interview questions:

“Why have you changed jobs so many times?”

Note the wording is inflammatory… the reference to “so many times”. The interviewer is saying that for one of two reasons: a. they believe it is a lot of times; or b. they are challenging you… testing you… to see how you answer. The question could also be asked, “Your resume indicates a lot of jobs; why do you seem to change jobs frequently?”

Suppose you have had five jobs in the last 8 years. Your answer needs to demonstrate that each move was to a better situation; more opportunity; more responsibility; a bigger or better territory; a better organization. After all – you did change for a series of reasons – right? So package the most recent reason or two into a short and concise answer. No need to explain all five unless you are asked. Just paint the picture of someone seeking upward mobility.

You might respond:

“Yes – it really seems like a lot when listed on paper. For each of them, it made sense to me to make the change. For example my job at (next-to-last-job) was in a location without public transportation, often required an hour or more drive twice a day in terrible traffic and was located in a pretty sketchy area that lacked the access for a place to eat lunch, take laundry in on my way to or from work and so forth. I compare that to where I would be if I worked for your organization – a world of difference – as it is for my current work location. I don’t mind a reasonable commute… but I could never predict if it would be 45 minutes or an hour and 45 minutes.”


“My last two jobs were ones where it seemed I had a new boss every 3 or 4 months; I never could settle into a routine where I know what was expected of me and how to communicate with my boss.”

Of course if the reason was that your employer went out of business or was acquired and you had to relocate across the county to keep your job – these are easy to explain.

Analyze what were your reasons at the time – why did you make the change – and create/draft an explanation for each of them that is credible. If one or more of the moves was a “mistake” on your part be prepared to say so:

“Accepting the position at XYZ was a mistake. I didn’t do a very good job analyzing the match before I accepted their offer. I have learned since then and haven’t made that mistake again… and won’t.”

IMPORTANT – you also MUST include a statement to the effect “In spite of those five jobs over the past 8 years, I am really seeking stability. I don’t like changing jobs; I want to find a place where I can establish myself and make a continuing contribution.”

Demonstrate that you understand the interview’s concern and that you are looking for a break in the pattern!

OK… you now know how to answer the question:

“Why have you changed jobs so many times?”

Next week – how to answer “Why should we hire you?”

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A Proven Plan to Uncover the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market! Part 1 of 2

Job-Seeking Strategy – Uncovering the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market….another way to find a job!

What is the “Hidden and Unpublished Job Market”?

hidden-job-market-970x451The term “Hidden Job Market” refers to job openings that exist or will in the very near future, but that are not available to the general job-seeking public; they are not being advertised, are not on the internet job boards and are not listed with staffing services. They may or may not be listed on the employer’s website.

This is a lengthy post so I will divide it into two sections. This post will discuss:

How do you get your foot in the door for these “hidden” jobs?

  • Timing – Due to the nature of most of the hidden jobs… timing is critical. Which means you need to be ready at a moment’s notice to respond. LinkedIn and Facebook profiles have to be current and in good shape. Resume and cover letter both need to be up to date as well as ready to send. Interview question responses need to be completed and ready to be reviewed in the event that a telephone interview is in the cards very quickly after initiating action.
  •  Check your sources frequently – perhaps every day – job boards, websites of targeted employers with available job listings, classified ads, etc. When a hidden job becomes “unhidden” you want to know about it and be ready to act that day – not a week later. Ben Franklin had it right when he talked of early birds and worms!
  • Networking – As noted in the title of the great networking book by Harvey Mackay Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty – you build your network before you need it. If your network is skimpy, however, use what you have and get to work to build it to a far more robust level. We will cover how to put your existing network to work for you to unearth the hidden job market, but you should make building your network a priority. My advice to you is to buy – and read – Harvey’s book!
  • Have and execute a self-marketing plan – The most pro-active way to unearth those hidden jobs… as well as those that are not hidden, but you have just not found them yet.

Self-Marketing Plan:

This self-marketing plan involves you making lots of phone calls and following a carefully worded script (see notes accompanying each aspect of the call):

“Bill – Harry Smith here. How have you been??…it has been a while since we talked.”

Hopefully it will not have been so long that Bill hasn’t a clue who you are!! Networks and contacts are like tuna salad – the fresher the better. If it has been awhile… or the person is just a business card you collected at a meeting a year ago, you should add:

“Bill – you may not remember, but we met at the XYZ meeting/conference/reception/whatever last year in (city). I enjoyed our brief conversation then…and I was impressed. I kept your business card knowing that I would want to touch base with you in the future… like now when I need some advice!”

“Say Bill – I have a favor to ask… nothing heavy mind you.. but important to me. I am in the process of changing jobs and I really need a critical eye to take a look at my resume. I respect your judgment and know I can count on you to tell me like it is.”

Note what you have done: (a.) you have paid Bill a compliment. We all like getting a compliment, and (b.) you did not ask Bill for a job or if he had an opening. You never want to ask that question… it puts people on the spot, makes them uncomfortable and puts them in a position to usually say “no”… and people don’t like to do that, especially to a friend or acquaintance.

“May I email my resume to you and then get some feedback in a few days?”

You asked Bill to do something that is both very easy and will take very little time….so virtually all asked will say “yes”.


“I will also include my target list of possible employers…and it would be most helpful if you knew anyone at those firms…getting my resume in front of a decision maker is my objective… I can get that feedback at the same time I get your read on my resume.”

Bill has already said “yes” once… he is not going to say no to this add-on request, although it is a bit more time-consuming. The target list has been compiled through your knowledge of the area’s finest employers, newspaper articles regard those firms that are expanding, those firms posting jobs that are of interest. Limit listings to 15-20; one page only.

“Bill… I can’t thank you enough. I really appreciate your input. I am working on my schedule… and I need to be near your office in the next few days. Can I swing by your office and take a few minutes of your time to get your feedback?? What day and time will work for you… I am at your disposal.”

How well Bill knows you will determine how successful you are in getting a personal meeting. If you can hit 50% on these, you are doing great. Why do you want a personal meeting rather than a telephone conversation? You will have Bill’s full and uninterrupted attention and an opportunity to impress Bill with your demeanor and personality. Refresh Bill’s memory of how sharp and personable you are. All harder to do over the phone.

(If Bill can’t grant a personal meeting)

“Hey …no problem… I will give you a call in a few days or so to get your feedback. Thanks again… you will have my resume and target list within the hour… let me confirm your email address.”

You want an agreement that Bill will take your call and give you the input you want on your resume as well as the details regarding who Bill knows on your target list. You have also confirmed Bill’s email address. Send him your resume and your target list as email attachments (done in MSWord of course) along with the following email:

Bill – thanks so much for taking my call today. I am excited about the challenges of a new position and I really appreciate your candid review of my resume – does it flow?? – is it clear as to my achievements?? Any and all comments will be appreciated. I have also attached a target list of employers I am interested in…. and it would be most helpful if you have any contacts at any of them that can get me past the gatekeepers in HR. And of course… let me know who else you think I should be talking to.

Thanks again… and I will give you a call in a few days.


Harry Smith

The operative words in this email are resume review and who do you know.  In order to review your resume, Bill has to read it. First mission accomplished – you have a potential employer (depending on where Bill is located and what his business is) reading your resume… and you have a “sphere of influence” reading your resume.

What is a “sphere of influence”? It is a person whose position and achievements make them a valuable contact in and of themselves… AND… because of who they know and who is in their network.

People talk with people of all walks of life, but particularly with peers… spheres of influence talk to other spheres of influence. You make this kind of call to enough spheres of influence… and sooner or later you are going to hit one who either has a job opening – hidden or not… and/or knows someone who is in a hiring mode.

But – Bill’s job is not to find you a job. Bill is busy (or else he wouldn’t be a good sphere of influence!!) You need to follow up! If you can get the personal face time with Bill – great. If not, make this call 3 – 4 days after you emailed your info to Bill:

“Bill – Harry Smith here… is this a good time to talk?

Just following up on our recent conversation and the email I sent you. What are your thoughts on my resume?”

At this point – don’t talk any more. You want – gently – to make Bill talk to you about your resume. Depending on how certain you are regarding the content of your resume, you really want Bill’s comments. Listen intently… make notes… and recognize that he may have some good input to fine tune your resume. If you get a blanket “looks good”, ask a few questions such as:

“Bill – if you were to make one recommendation to improve my resume, what would it be?”

“Does it flow smoothly, or are there are areas that are confusing?”

DO NOT be defensive or argumentative about any comments Bill makes!!

“Thanks… that was really helpful.”

“As to my target list.. let’s see … there are about 20 firms listed on it… do you have any contacts at any of those I can leverage to see if they have an opportunity where I can make a contribution?”

Make sure your list is no longer than 15 – 20 firms…any more than one sheet of paper becomes an imposition. If Bill says “Yes, I do… at XYZ”, ask for the info.

OK… back to your request of Bill. If Bill offers to make a call on your behalf, you have a decision to make.

If Bill is not a close friend, decline his offer by saying:

“Bill – I appreciate the offer… but let me make the call, mentioning that you referred me. It will help me get a feel for the organization. I will let you know how the call goes, and I may ask you to make a follow up call or email.”

Why don’t you want Bill to make the call? Because you can never be sure that he did make the call!!…it is not a priority for Bill… it can fall by the wayside…and you sure can’t call him back to ask him if he made the call!!

On the other hand if you and he are very, very close… and you have no doubt he will make the call, then you will say:

“Great.. who will you be calling so I can follow-up a few days after your call? How about if I make the follow-up call in a week?”

“One last question Bill. Can you think of any other people or organizations I need to contact… is there someplace I have overlooked that comes to mind?”

This is one last effort to get any additional leads from Bill.

OK… Bill, I really appreciate your help.. .it has been most valuable. Thanks again…and I will keep you posted as to my progress. If something comes to mind… just give me a shout or send me an email. It would be greatly appreciated.


In OK…now you know a proven process to unearth hidden and unpublished jobs. In part 2 of this topic next week, I will discuss to whom you make these calls and some modifications depending on who you are calling.

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For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

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Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

Interviewing Preparation – Critical to Getting a Job Offer

Interviewing Preparation – Critical to Getting a Job Offer

Yes – getting a job offer is indeed is a competitive affair.

Just as your organization, division, department, etc. has goals and objectives…. you should too have a personal development plan.

If an interviewer asks “what have your learned this past year that makes you a good hire for us?… last three years”?…you need to have a good answer. And “good” translates to something or things specific, and measurable. Let’s face it – interviewing well is an important step to getting a job offer!

Management expert and author Tom Peters of “In Search of Excellence” fame (a great book by the way –  a must read in my opinion) offers a short laundry list of questions and statements to address so as to create and implement a personal development plan.

  1. I am really good at (list one – three things here). By this time next year I can add (one – two things here).
  2. The most valuable things I have learned in the past six months are (list one – three things… they can be skills learned, information gained or things you learned about yourself to make you a better person and/or a more productive employee).
  3. I am going to (be more active in an organization –  spend more time in the gym – lose “x” pounds – read “x” book that has been sitting on my bedside table for a year or more – etc.). Detail here a favorable action you are going to take.
  4. I am going to reach out to renew my  contact with (one – three names); see if I can’t set up a lunch or coffee with each of them.
  5. I will mark my calendar to do this exercise again in six months.

As you compile things from Q 1& 2 above… find a way to include them in a revised resume as well as update your LinkedIn, etc. profiles so that they and your resume are in sync.

Getting a job offer is a competitive process… do your thinking and preparation to be able to give a great answer to the question “what have your learned this past year that makes you a good hire for us?… last three years”?

You can find much more information about interview preparation in Chapter 8 (Interviewing – The Bridge Between you and Your Next Job) of The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Guide.

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Getting a Job Offer – Social Media Job Seeking Tips!

Getting a Job Offer – Social Media Job Seeking Tips!

If you have one or more social media pages/profiles (LinkedInFacebook

The picture you DON'T want to be part of your job-seeking process!

The picture you DON’T want to be part of your job-seeking process!

Twitter – etc.) two very important pieces of advice from an expert….when it comes to getting a job offer.

1.    Review very carefully what you have posted and who else impacts what appears on your profile.

2.    Be sure they are all in sync AND match your resume – no inconsistencies.

Let’s review both.

First – take a close look with a critical eye as to what is there for a prospective employer to see. Many an employment opportunity has ended abruptly when a prospective employer’s recruiter/interviewer saw things on a social media site that concerned them sufficiently to conclude that the candidate would not be a good fit for the organization and hence no longer a viable candidate for the job.

After all, the person that screens and interviews for open positions is the “gate-keeper” and empowered to screen out those that are not a good fit in terms of organizational culture.

And don’t “friend” with those whose social media content is inappropriate in any way – it can adversely impact you!

Secondly – be sure your resume and LinkedIn profile “mirror” each other; you don’t want a prospective employer trying to reconcile inconsistencies between the two.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account/profile – you need to create one posthaste… just be sure it mirrors your resume!

You can be sure that the process of reviewing your application will include a Google search of your name – you and only you can control what is found! Getting a job offer requires a little work on your end…

Here are some more great tips about how your social media can hurt your job search: http://socialmeep.com/5-social-media-mistakes-job-seekers-need-to-avoid/

These guidelines – and others – about how to get the job you want can be found in “The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Guide”.

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Interviewing to be Hired – What is the Interviewer Looking for?

Interviewing to be Hired – What is the Interviewer Looking for?

Interviewing – as noted as a chapter title in my book – is “The Bridge Between You and Your Next Job”. You can never be too well prepared to interview.

Interviewing cPart of being prepared is to put yourself in the shoes of those who will interview you – what is it they are trying to learn about you and then evaluate whether you are a good match or not.

I am part of an advisory team assisting a group of students at American University in Washington, DC. My role is to facilitate discussions that will help prepare them for life after graduation, including career planning and finding that first “real” job after college.

In doing so I have been looking at the material provide by AU’s career center and I find it to be really good informaton – much better than I have seen at other colleges and universities.

In particulalr, I really like their piece on Interviewing – “Key Considerations”. It breaks the interview process into four parts with suggested questions to be prepared to answer or ask as follows:

  • Likelihood For Success
  • Willingness To Perform
  • Organizational Fit
  • Your Turn (you get to ask questions here)

As noted in my book and elsewhere in this blog, to successfully interview… you need to be prepared. Really well prepared!

You need to be prepared to answer any and every possible question you might be asked by an interviewer. You also need to be prepared to ask questions to flesh out full knowledge of both the job and of the organization.

Write out the answers … and rehearse

If you are going to do anything a multiple number of times, it makes great sense to figure out the very best way to do so and then “cookbook” the process. Interviewing falls into this category.

You will be interviewed multiple times, often by different people at the same organization. You really need to nail the answers—every time. And the only way to do that is to draft—in writing—what you want to say as an answer. Then speak it aloud and then revise the answer to fit the spoken word. Ideally, have a friend or relative ask the questions, you speak out loud the answers in return, and have him or her critique your answers. You can read your answers for this exercise and then again edit the written responses. Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes again!

The point is that you should never “wing it” answering a question. Your response needs to appear to be natural, an extension of your thought process. Yet you want to put the absolute correct spin on it—to convey the thoughts, ideas, and image putting you in the best possible light. And if you prepare properly, you should virtually never have to answer a question for the “first” time in an interview! You have answered it before in rehearsal and honed your answer to be the best possible answer.

Have you essentially memorized the meat of each answer? Yup, you sure have! To not do so is to risk not doing your best. Actors commit their lines to memory because they understand that without sticking 100% to the script, the story line will not be as clear and vivid as the producer and writers intended. Your interviews are no different.

It really isn’t that hard. The process of modifying your answers and then rehearsing them will result in you remembering them.

OK.. back to AU’s four areas of focus. I really like their recommended list of possible questions to be prepared to answer…..so I am going to list them here…with full accreditation to American University’s Career Center:

  • Likelihood For Success – To convince an employer that your are the person it needs, you must first artulate your unique qualifications and outperform other interviewees. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
    • What do you know about our organization?
    • What led you to choose your college major?
    • What is your greatest strength and weakness?
    • What do you consider your greatest accomplishments and why?
    • Why should this organization hire you?
  • Willingness To Perform – Before investing heavily in you, an employer assesses your level of commitment to the position and organization. To convey your enthusiasm for the role and support of the organization’s mission, prepare genuine responses to these common questions:
    • Why are you applying for this position?
    • What are your most looking forward to in this role and why?
    • What activity do you believe will be the most challenging and why?
    • What contributions can you make to our organization?
    • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Organizational Fit –  An employer asks questions  like the ones below to measure your compatibility with its mission, goals, workplace values, procedures, and people. In the interest of both you and the employer, answer honestly.
    • What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
    • What qualities do you seek in a manager?
    • In what type of work environment are you most satisfied?
    • How would a colleague or professional reference describe you?
    • What situations are most stressful for you and how do you cope?
  • Your Turn – An employer always reserves time toward the end of an interview to answer your questions. Take the opportunity to learn more in order to determine if the position and organization are right for you. If you are not prepared to ask questions, an employer may doubt your intention, so use the samples below as a starting point.
    • What would a typical day be like for me?
    • How will my performance be evaluated?
    • How do employees advance within the organization?
    • What do employees most enjoy about working here?
    • What significant changes or challenges to the job, department or organization do your foresee in the short or long-term?

In closing – to “make the cut’ when interviewing – you MUST be prepared. Use this list of the four factors interviewers are exploring and the sample questions to aid in that preparation!!

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How To Get A Job Offer… The Questions & Comments YOU Make During Your Interview to Set Yourself Aside from the Competition!

How To Get A Job Offer… The Questions & Comments YOU Make During Your Interview to Set Yourself Aside from the Competition!

Let’s look at the interview process from a thousand feet in the air.

The employers – and therefore the interviewers – you will encounter during the interviewing process have other candidates to consider other than you.

Notwithstanding your background and qualifications – what can you do to stand out – make a great impression – have each of your interviewers exclaim “he/she is the hire”! Let’s assume that most of your competition is also “qualified” and can walk and chew gum at the same time. Your objective is to stand out from the pack! How to do it?

One way is to make comments/observations and ask questions that set you aside from other interviewees! To achieve this, your questions and comments need to be astute and reflect that you aren’t just looking for a job but rather the RIGHT job (there is a good-questiondifference!). They need to reflect that you are articulate in presenting your thoughts and credentials. Finally they need to reflect that you understand the specific issues/challenges in the industries/job classifications where you are interviewing and that you have some thoughts regarding those issues.

Another of your objectives with regard to these questions is to also learn as much as you  can about the organization and the job. You don’t want to unknowingly jump into a pit of problems!

Here are some questions and comments that will set you aside from your competition:

1. What do you see to be the biggest strategic challenges facing (the department,, division or organization where you are seeking a job offer). What do you see to be the role of the person you will hire to help address them? Hmmm…what particular skill set would be helpful to do that successfully?

2. Virtually every organization in the U.S. is grappling about how to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka “Obamacare. It would be to your advantage to understand the overall provisions of the ACA and how they might apply to the organizations you are interviewing with. If you are interviewing for a job in HR or Accounting you will be dealing with the ACA for sure and you should know and understand the basic current information about it. Stay away from the politics regarding the ACA… but do ask the question: How is XYZ approaching the Affordable Care Act…or is it still too soon to have plan in place?

3. I’ve been reading about some of the issues facing your industry. It appears that your organization is ahead of the “power curve” on addressing (whatever it is). Would you agree? Of course you have in fact identified some issues and are prepared to discuss them if asked!

Now – recognize several things:

a. The interviewer may not be up-to-speed on the matters you raise; their job is to screen against a set of criteria. Therefore they may not be able to respond. Be careful you don’t talk down to them… quit this approach if that is the case. Do recognize, however,  that you probably have impressed them with your questions.

b. Don’t come across as a know-it-all… make your questions conversational.

4. Do you see any disconnects in my background?; anything that  seems to not be what you might be looking for?

5. How would you describe the culture here – the “personality” of the organization? Formal or informal? How would you describe it?

6. Why do you like working here?

7. What are the career path opportunities for whomever you hire for this job?

8. What single piece of advice would you give a new person starting here at XYZ in this job?

Remember – your objective is to stand out from the competition by asking questions and having a dialogue that is more in-depth and that will impress your interviewer with your sophisticated approach to your job search! And after a day of many interviews…. you want your interviewer to remember you above all others! Good Luck!!

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How to Find a Job – Interview…. AND Raise No Red Flags!

How to Find a Job – Interview…. AND Raise No Red Flags!

Two recent posts have detailed the most memorable and most common mistakes made by people seeking a job while interviewing…the results of a survey done by Career Builder.

Interviewing cLet’s talk about how to avoid those blunders and mistakes that disqualify you from further consideration.

The mission of the person interviewing you is to ask both fact-finding as well as behavioral questions  and then to determine if you are a possible match for his or her organization and the job in question.

Typically you will have multiple interviews with an organization before getting a job offer. In many cases, they will be with more than one person; expect multiple interviews with multiple interviewers.

Your mission is to make the cut each time; this is a “single elimination” process!!

Some of this is determined through reference and background checks, and perhaps testing, but much of it will come from the verbal back and forth of in-person interviews.

Before an offer can be extended, the interviewer and the organization need to anticipate what they will know for sure after you have been on the job for a few months.

You want to be sure that three things happen as a result of the verbal back and forth of these interviews.

  1. You answer all questions fully to the satisfaction of the interviewer…AND in doing so, paint the most favorable (but honest) portrait of yourself.
  2. You fill in the gaps in the interviewer’s battery of questions to make sure all of the positive and favorable aspects of you and your employment history are covered.
  3. You don’t raise red flags… don’t give the interviewer a reason to screen you out!

We are going to focus on #3 in this post.

As you interview, keep in mind the dynamics facing interviewers and the organizations for whom they work. It is not the hiring of people that gives HR people and CEOs nightmares… it is the “un-hiring” of people that does!

A bad hire that leads to a termination is – at best – troublesome. It will negatively impact co-workers, and perhaps customers. In our litigious society, a bad hire that results in a contested termination can become a disastrous nightmare… lawsuits… huge settlements… tarnished reputations… and the list goes on

Is it no wonder therefore that one of the basic objectives of an interviewer is to screen out potential problem candidates? Yes, their mission is to sell the job and sell the organization to each person they interview, but they also don’t want anyone to slip through the screening process that can  become a problem employee and trigger the need to terminate.

That is why you need to be primed to commit no errors that raise red flags. You must  demonstrate that you do not have a “chip on your shoulder”, and furthermore, that you are not the kind of person to have one. You don’t want to exhibit  those personality characteristics and background history aspects that say “this person could become a problem”.

You need to demonstrate beyond a doubt that you have a teamwork attitude, that you are adaptable to change, that you speak kindly of all.

  • Watch your attitude – you must display a positive one. Ask those who know you to tell you true – do you sometime demonstrate a negative attitude? If so, work on it.
  • Watch your language and articulation. Don’t be a mumbler that requires questions to understand what you are saying. Don’t speak at a whisper and don’t use your “outdoor” voice. If you are a loud talker, turn the volume down! Purge any slang or lingo that might creep into conversation. And do I need to remind you to      NEVER use curse words or coarse language?
  • Eliminate any annoying mannerisms… ear-tugging, hair-twirling, knuckle-cracking, etc. Use your hands only for emphasis as you speak!
  • You want to be seen as friendly, warm, and congenial. Be sure you pass “The Tulsa Test” (would a total stranger enjoy sitting next to you on a long-distance flight to Tulsa?).
  • You want to project that you are a rational, logical and adaptable person and that you understand that the real world is not perfect.
  • If you have ever cited an employer – filed an action against an employer – bring it up and explain it thoroughly. If it was discharged as without merit, you have a problem. Sorry about that, but you carry a red flag the size of a blanket on your      back. The best you can do is to explain the circumstances and make your      case… logically.
  • Be yourself… but also project a person that is likeable, realistic, enthusiastic and not argumentative.

OK… now go back and review two recent posts – “Interviewing Blunders” and “Interviewing Mistakes”…and Remember that one of your objectives is to NOT raise any red flags!

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Interview Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make! – How to Not Find that Next Job!!

Interview Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make! – How to Not Find that Next Job!!

Employers Share Most Memorable Interview Blunders – Part 2 of 2

CHICAGO, January 16, 2014 – When it comes to a job interview, the first few minutes may be the most crucial. A new survey from CareerBuilder finds that nearly half (49 career  builder logopercent) of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for the position, and 87 percent know within the first 15 minutes.

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from November 6 to December 2, 2013, and included a representative sample of 2,201 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

Common Mistakes

The top most detrimental blunders candidates make in interviews are often the most common, according to employers:

· Appearing disinterested – 55 percent

· Dressing inappropriately – 53 percent

· Appearing arrogant – 53 percent

· Talking negatively about current or previous employers – 50 percent

· Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview – 49 percent

· Appearing uninformed about the company or role – 39 percent

· Not providing specific examples – 33 percent

· Not asking good questions – 32 percent

· Providing too much personal information – 20 percent

· Asking the hiring manager personal questions – 17 percent

Communication involves much more than simply words, and forgetting that during an interview could harm your chances. Employers weighed in on the worst body language mistakes candidates make in job interviews:

· Failure to make eye contact – 70 percent

· Failure to smile – 44 percent

· Bad posture – 35 percent

· Fidgeting too much in one’s seat – 35 percent

· Playing with something on the table – 29 percent

· Handshake that is too weak – 27 percent

· Crossing one’s arms over one’s chest – 24 percent

· Playing with one’s hair or touching one’s face – 24 percent

· Using too many hand gestures – 10 percent

· Handshake that is too strong – 5 percent

“Employers want to see confidence and genuine interest in the position. The interview is not only an opportunity to showcase your skills, but also to demonstrate that you’re the type of person people will want to work with,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Going over common interview questions, researching the company, and practicing with a friend or family member can help you feel more prepared, give you a boost in confidence, and help calm your nerves.”

About CareerBuilder® – CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors and 1 million jobs. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing everything from labor market intelligence to talent management software and other recruitment solutions. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit http://www.careerbuilder.com/.

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The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The following is a question about the best way to find a new job – by utilizing your contacts – that arose out of a recent webinar I did entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work”.

Thank you very much for yocontacts graphicur webinar on the world of work this afternoon. I’m a mid-career professional just beginning a new job search, and I found your direct and honest guidance refreshing and helpful.

If I may, I would like to ask for your thoughts on a follow up question about job hunting through one’s professional network. I planned to contact specific people in my network expressing my interest in available positions at their respective companies. I anticipate my contacts will ask for a resume, though they may not know of a specific opening. Do you have any suggestions beyond today’s talk for building a resume that isn’t position-specific? Alternately, should I demur and offer to send a resume specific to a position, if my contact learns of one, instead?

I appreciate your guidance, and I’m looking forward to putting it into practice during my job search.

Best regards,

My response was:

Glad you found the webinar to be of value!

As to your question, unless there is a specific opening I would send them a resume that broadly summarizes what you have done/accomplished in the past and your areas of expertise. The real customization of a resume occurs:

1. When you are including in your resume key words from a specific job listing or posting… to “mirror” it and have it jump off the paper as the “perfect fit” as seen by a screener or recruiter! Also very important in the event your resume is processed via a scanner.

2. When you are skewing a resume to fit a position; e.g. – applying for controller position (stress financial statement capability) vs accounting manager (stressing management experience).

When you contact people, best to ask for their overall career guidance (“I am in the process of making a change and would like to get your read on my resume and where you think I might send it”. I do not advise asking them (as a person) if they have a possible job for you – it can create a very awkward situation! You can ask if they know of any opportunities within their organization, however.

Hope this helps… let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!


P.S. Suggestion – buy my book and read Chapter 9: Job-Seeking Strategy – Uncovering the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market. – $14.95 at www.jobseekersguide.net

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