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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Ten Simple Steps to the Perfect Job Interview + 5 + 3

Ten Simple Steps to the Perfect Job Interview

When you’ve applied for dozens of jobs, actually landing an interview can seem like a major accomplishment. And it is.
But don’t just be happy to get an interview – work hard to make sure you nail the interview.
Here are practical ways to ensure you shine:
1. Be likable. Obvious? Absolutely – but you’d be amazed by how many people don’t try to be likeable at all – much less try to be remarkably likeable.
Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer's name... be yourself but be the best version of yourself possible.
We all want to work with people we like – and who like us. Use that basic fact to your advantage. Surprisingly few candidates do.
2. Use body language to your advantage. How you sit, stand, and move can sometimes matter more than what you say. You can easily improve your body language – it just takes a little thought and preparation.
The right postures and gestures can help you come across smart, open, engaging, less stressed… off of which contributes to making an awesome impression.
3. Know the company -- and some of the key players.
Don't just do a quick Google search. Look for current and past employees on LinkedIn. See where they worked previously. If they've moved on, see where they went. Get a feel for career progressions.
A little time and thought will show you what skills the company values, its areas of growth, why employees come and go... never forget that companies are a collection of individuals, and each individual has a story to tell.
And definitely research the person(s) who will interview you. (How will you know ahead of time who will interview you? Ask.) Use what you learn to help establish a rapport and connection with the interviewer.
4. Set a hook. A sad truth of interviewing is that later we often don't remember a tremendous amount about you -- especially if we've interviewed a number of candidates for the same position.
Later we might refer to you as, "The guy with the alligator shoes," or, "The lady who finished an Iron Man," or, "The guy who grew up in New Zealand."
Of course you don’t have to be The Most Interesting Man in the World. Your hook can be simple, like clothing (within reason), or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your experience or career. Hooks make you memorable and create an anchor for interviewers to remember you by -- and being memorable is everything.
5. Be ready for unusual questions. Most people know a number of standard behavioral questions like these. (A quick search will uncover hundreds more possibilities.) Those kinds of questions – as long as you’re qualified and experienced – are easy to answer.
Then go a step farther. Prepare for odd or unusual questions. A friend likes to challenge job candidates. Another has three questions he asks candidates about each of their past jobs. Talk to friends, check out message boards… while you can’t prepare for every possibility, the more you consider what you might be asked, the quicker you'll be able to think on your feet if you are surprised.
And never be afraid to say, “Give me a second to think about that.” Smart interviewers don’t care if you need a few seconds to reflect; quality, not speed, is what matters most.
6. Describe what you can offer immediately. Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area.
If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. Think hard about what makes you special and then show how those skills will instantly benefit the company.
Always remember that hiring an employee is an investment, and everyone wants to see a return on their investments.
7. Avoid leaving negative sound bites. Just like with your hook, most interviewers will only remember a few sound bites from your conversation – especially if they are negative.
So if you've never been in charge of training, don't say, "I've never been in charge of training." Say, "I did not fill that specific role, but I have trained dozens of new hires and created several training guides."
Whenever possible don’t say, "I can't," or "I haven't," or "I don't." Share applicable experience and find the positives in what you can do, have done, and are eager to do.
No matter what the subject, stay positive – after all, your worst mistake is also your best learning experience.
8. Ask questions that really matter. (Here are five questions great job candidates ask.)
Rule number one: never ask a question you could have answered through a Google or LinkedIn search. Asking those kinds of questions isn't just lazy, it shows a total lack of respect for the interviewer's time.
Instead focus on making sure the job is a good fit for you: the people you will work with, the person you will report to, the scope of responsibilities, etc. Interviews should always be two-way, and interviewers respond positively to people eager to find the right fit. (Plus there's really no other way to know that you want the job.)
And don't be afraid to ask a number of questions. As long as you don't completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember your conversation as a nice change of pace.
9. Ask for the job – with solid justification. By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so.
Otherwise use your sales skills and ask for the job. (Don't worry; we like when you ask.) Focus on specific aspects of the job: explain you work best on a team, or thrive in unsupervised roles, or get a charge from frequent travel... ask for the job and use facts to prove you want and deserve it.
10. Reinforce a connection when you follow up. Email follow-ups are fine. Handwritten notes are better. Following up based on something you learned during the interview is best, like a note including additional information you were asked to provide or an email with a link to a subject you discussed (whether business or personal.)
The better the interview -- and more closely you listened -- the easier it will be to think of ways you can make following up seem natural and unforced.
And always make sure you say thanks. Never underestimate the power of gratitude.
If you liked this post you'll love my book based on four years of sharing personal and professional advice: TransForm: Dramatically Improve Your Career, Business, Relationships, and Life... One Simple Step At a Time(For now only available in PDF; Kindle etc versions to come.)
While I could go all hyperbolic on you, here's the deal: If after fifteen minutes you don't find at least 5 things you can do to make your life better, I'll refund your money.
You have nothing to lose... and hopefully a lot to gain.

Job Interviews: 5 Questions Great Candidates Ask |

'via Blog this'

5 Questions Great Job Candidates Ask

Many of the questions potential new hires ask are throwaways. But not these.
Be honest. Raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, "Do you have any questions for me?" is almost always a waste of time.
Thought so.
The problem is most candidates don't actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking "smart" questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.
Great candidates ask questions they want answered because they're evaluating you, your company--and whether they really want to work for you.
Here are five questions great candidates ask:
What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don't want to spend weeks or months "getting to know the organization."
They want to make a difference--right away.
What are the common attributes of your top performers?
Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.
Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe it's a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment.
Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.
What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
Employees are investments, and every employee should generate a positive return on his or her salary. (Otherwise why are they on the payroll?)
In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR folks to fill job openings... but what you really want is for HR to find the right candidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.
You need your service techs to perform effective repairs... but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits--in short, to generate additional sales.
Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.
What do employees do in their spare time?
Happy employees 1) like what they do and 2) like the people they work with.
Granted this is a tough question to answer. Unless the company is really small, all any interviewer can do is speak in generalities.
What's important is that the candidate wants to make sure they have a reasonable chance of fitting in--because great job candidates usually have options.
How do you plan to deal with...?
Every business faces a major challenge: technological changes, competitors entering the market, shifting economic trends... there's rarely a Warren Buffett moat protecting a small business.
So while a candidate may see your company as a stepping-stone, they still hope for growth and advancement... and if they do eventually leave, they want it to be on their terms and not because you were forced out of business.
Say I'm interviewing for a position at your bike shop. Another shop is opening less than a mile away: How do you plan to deal with the new competitor? Or you run a poultry farm (a huge industry in my area): What will you do to deal with rising feed costs?
A great candidate doesn't just want to know what you think; they want to know what you plan to do--and how they will fit into those plans.

Read more:

3 Interview Questions That Reveal Everything

Employee fit is crucial. Here's a simple way to know if a job candidate is right for your business.
Interviewing job candidates is tough, especially because some candidates are a lot better at interviewing than they are at working.
To get the core info you need about the candidates you interview, here's a simple but incredibly effective interview technique I learned from John Younger, the CEO of Accolo, a cloud recruiting solutions provider. (If you think you've conducted a lot of interviews, think again: Younger has interviewed thousands of people.)
Here's how it works. Just start from the beginning of the candidate's work history and work your way through each subsequent job. Move quickly, and don't ask for detail. And don't ask follow-up questions, at least not yet.
Go through each job and ask the same three questions:
1. How did you find out about the job?
2. What did you like about the job before you started?
3. Why did you leave?
"What's amazing," Younger says, "is that after a few minutes, you will always have learned something about the candidate--whether positive or negative--that you would never have learned otherwise."
Here's why:
How did you find out about the job?
Job boards, general postings, online listings, job fairs--most people find their first few jobs that way, so that's certainly not a red flag.
But a candidate who continues to find each successive job from general postings probably hasn't figured out what he or she wants to do--and where he or she would like to do it.
He or she is just looking for a job; often, any job.
And that probably means he or she isn't particularly eager to work for you. He or she just wants a job. Yours will do--until something else comes along.
"Plus, by the time you get to Job Three, Four, or Five in your career, and you haven't been pulled into a job by someone you previously worked for, that's a red flag," Younger says. "That shows you didn't build relationships, develop trust, and show a level of competence that made someone go out of their way to bring you into their organization."
On the flip side, being pulled in is like a great reference--without the letter.
What did you like about the job before you started?
In time, interviewees should describe the reason they took a particular job for more specific reasons than "great opportunity," "chance to learn about the industry," or "next step in my career."
Great employees don't work hard because of lofty titles or huge salaries. They work hard because they appreciate their work environment and enjoy what they do. (Titles and salary are just icing on the fulfillment cake.)
That means they know the kind of environment they will thrive in, and they know the type of work that motivates and challenges them--and not only can they describe it, they actively seek it.
Why did you leave?
Sometimes people leave for a better opportunity. Sometimes they leave for more money.
Often, though, they leave because an employer is too demanding. Or the employee doesn't get along with his or her boss. Or the employee doesn't get along with co-workers.
When that is the case, don't be judgmental. Resist the temptation to ask for detail. Hang on to follow-ups. Stick to the rhythm of the three questions. That makes it natural for candidates to be more open and candid.
In the process, many candidates will describe issues with management or disagreements with other employees or with taking responsibility--issues they otherwise would not have shared.
Then follow up on patterns that concern you.
"It's a quick way to get to get to the heart of a candidate's sense of teamwork and responsibility," Younger says. "Some people never take ownership and always see problems as someone else's problem. And some candidates have consistently had problems with their bosses--which means they'll also have issues with you."
And a bonus question:
How many people have you hired, and where did you find them?
Say you're interviewing candidates for a leadership position. Want to know how their direct reports feel about them?
Don't look only for candidates who were brought into an organization by someone else; look for candidates who brought employees into their organization.
"Great employees go out of their way to work with great leaders," Younger says. "If you're tough but fair, and you treat people well, they will go out of their way to work with you. The fact that employees changed jobs just so they could work for you speaks volumes to your leadership and people skills."

JJ Ramberg: Ask Creative Interview Questions

The host of MSNBC's Your Business, JJ Ramberg, explains how to get the information you need during a new employee interview.


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