Pullezzzz answer my question!

Some tips for effective interviewing…

Kids have a knack for answering questions with concise, factual answers like “I don’t know” or “I guess so” or “nothing happened.” They’re young people, so we don’t expect enlightening answers that open doors to stimulating conversations.

On the other hand, I need more. I would like to know what happened at school, if they had a good time at the mall, how they feel about their teachers, etc.

There many ways to fail an interview … and one of them is not answering questions in a concise and alert mode. I write in my book (Chapter 8 – Interviewing – The Bridge Between You and Your Next Job) that you should never answer a question for the first answer the questiontime in an interview. Rather, you have anticipated the questions you will be asked and in turn drafted and rehearsed the best possible answer. You still have to be 100% alert during the interview itself so as to give the best possible answer in a manner that enhances your employability rather than detracts from it.

The thing about recruiters and employers is that they want direct, factual answers to their questions, not a long-winded response that has very little to do with the question at hand. In order to make the interview go smoothly, in addition to having rehearsed your answers, adhere to the following 6 requirements…and remember – interviewing is a single elimination process!

1. Listen to the questions: Some people have the tendency to formulate what they’re going to say before the interviewer finishes with his or her question. This can cause you to take off in a direction that may be headed the wrong way and is hard to correct. If you need clarification, ask what the interviewer meant by the question…just don’t do this too often, lest you come across as daft.

2. Think before speaking: All too often you might want to answer a question as soon as it’s left the employer’s lips. This is a mistake, as you want to deliver of the best possible answer before you blurt out an inadequate one. The interview is not a game where the fastest job candidate to respond wins. Occasionally taking time to reflect shows thoughtfulness on your part. It also speaks to requirement number one: listen.

3. Don’t talk too much: When you’re talking with a recruiter, over elaborating on an answer may be more harmful than helpful. Recruiter Mark Bregman says in his article “Don’t be De-Selected” this about being loquacious:

“You risk boring the interviewer, or worse, they don’t ask all of their questions, because you wasted too much time on early questions. Then, the interviewer might not have an opportunity to really get the key info they need to screen you in.”

When you go into too much detail, you come off as someone who talks too much. For me, and I imagine others, this is a great irritant and makes me want to end an interview.

4. Make your answers relevant: Everything you say must be relevant to the interviewer’s direct question. “If the question is ‘How did you improve processes?’, don’t start describing in detail the products you were making; just answer the question,” advises Mark. This is also a sign that you have no idea how to answer the question. In this case, ask for more time saying, “This is a very important question, one that I’d like to answer. Could we return to it?” Or admit that you can’t answer it.

5. Don’t ask too many questions: Career advisors encourage interviewees to ask questions during the interview to make it seem more like a discussion, as long as you have enough questions to ask at the end. Mark says this can backfire if you ask too many questions. I see his point. Interviewers are busy people and don’t want you to take over the interview.

6. Say enough: Finally it’s essential that you effectively answer the interviewers questions with enough detail and plenty of examples of your successes. Many times a job candidate won’t provide enough information for the interviewer to make a decision on whether or not the candidate makes the cut. You don’t want to let opportunities to pass you by. Many jobseekers I talk with regret having not sold themselves at the interview, which was due, in part, to not elaborating on an answer they knew they could have nailed.

Effective communications at an interview requires the ability to listen and then answer the questions with transparency and accuracy. Take your time, respond with accomplishments, and most importantly – just answer the questions. On the other hand, don’t give answers like most children do!

Compliments of http://thingscareerrelated.com as adapted

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Veterans’s Day – November 11

Today is Veteran’s Day – a national holiday and a day off for most folks. What happened on November 11, 1918 to warrant this?

November 11th was once known as “Armistice Day” in celebration of the armistice that ended the hostilities of World War I – also known as “The Great War”. It started  on July 28, 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo and ended June 28, 1919.During the almost four years of war some 9 million combatants died and total casualties were almost 39 million (dead, wounded or missing in action). Carnage and destruction reached un-heard of levels due to the introduction to warfare of machine guns, tanks and chemical weapons.

The Last Two Minutes of FightingSoldiers of the U.S. 353rd infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 am on November 11, 1918 – just two minutes before the armistice went into effect.

While WWI ended with the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919 (which set the stage for WWII – but that is a different history lesson!); an armistice , or temporary cessation of fighting, was signed between Germany and the Allies and went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

President Woodrow Wilson asked the nation to set aside everyday tasks for a few moments of contemplation at 11am every November 11th.

It became a day of parades and celebrations, but it was not until 1938 that Armistice Day became a national holiday. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill changing the name to Veteran’s Day to honor American veterans of all wars.

And now you know why we have a national holiday on November 11 and why it is called Veteran’s Day!

And…. as you enjoy the holiday on November 11 this year, give a moment of thought to the 4.7 million Americans that fought in Europe during the “War to end all wars” and the  117,000 that made the ultimate sacrifice.

For further information see:



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Where Can I Find Job-Seeking Resources in my Area?

The following is another question asked following the webinar I did for the alumni of Georgetown University entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work” along with my response:

Hi Robb!

Thanks so much for the interviewing and resume seminar. I live in the Denver, CO area and wonder if you have any recruitment services you can recommend to me in this area.

Many thanks!

Glad it was of value!

I suggest three approaches to finding a staffing service in your area that can be of service to you.

ASA webFirst – go to www.americanstaffing.net – the website of the American Staffing Association. Go to the “Job Seekers” tab and take it from there to find several staffing services in your area of experience/expertise as well as in the Denver area.

The second thing is to talk to friends and business contacts and ask them which staffing services they have used in the past and get their feedback.

Third – regardless of how you come up with a staffing service or two to consider working with – vet them. I cover in great detail how to do so in my book, but essentially you want to “interview” them as to their ability to be of service to YOU!

Ask such questions as:

  • How long has your firm been in business?
  • How long have you been a recruiter?
  • I am looking for a position as a controller or accounting manager. How many orders like that have you personally filled in the past year? How about your firm?
  • How many people work in your firm?

You get the idea!!

For further information, buy my book and read Chapter Six – “How to Best Use a Staffing Service Company/Headhunter” (shameless book pitch!!)

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