Archive for the ‘Job Interview’ Category

Job Interview Success

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Job11Securing a job interview can be as exciting as landing the job! Are you prepared? If you haven’t had a bad job interview you’ve heard from someone else who has. There is no guarantee that nothing will go wrong; accidents happen, personalities differ and expectations could be dashed on either side of the table. The best way to increase your chances for success in any job interview is simply to be prepared.

Some research was needed to compose a personalized cover letter to accompany your resume which got you the job interview but if you intend to ace the interview and land the available position you’ll need to investigate further. Confidence is an extremely positive influence in any job interview and nothing fuels it better than knowledge. How much do you know about the company, the interviewer, current and past employees? Is the position newly created or will you be filling a position previously held? Was the previous employee promoted or did they resign from the position? How does your experience and education compare to theirs?

Don’t leave anything to chance and pay attention to every detail; time, location, appearance, rehearsed  answers and prepared questions. This is not the time to “wing it”! Above all, listen carefully to ensure you provide the appropriate answers. If you do not fully comprehend the question do not guess at an answer. Rather than simply stating you didn’t understand what they were asking for, try rephrasing the question back to the interviewer to obtain a clear understanding.

Amy Levin-Epstein provides some excellent job interview tips in 5 Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview, CBS MoneyWatch.com.

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Soft Skills In Your Cover Letter

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Day 01.01 A new yearrrrrrr !Are you fully articulating your soft skills in your cover letter? Hiring criteria for some employers may revolve more  around hard skills, specific areas of expertise and relevant degrees, but there are many organizations interested in those soft skills relative to their corporate culture and conducive to an established team of employees.

A BNET article, Why I Hired Someone Who Showed Up Uninvited as told to Joseph Conway by Michael Shore, CEO, FLS Energy is an excellent read from the employers perspective on hiring practices. Vision, enthusiasm, resiliency, ethic, gutsy; these were the skills that not only secured the position but led to a key, long term role within the company.

The importance of soft skills should never be underestimated, nor the significance of a cover letter. Your professional resume will list both your hard skills and soft skills but it is your cover letter that provides the ultimate tool to sell your soft skills and many employers are interested in hiring the whole package and not just a degree.

Are you customizing your cover letter to the position you are seeking and selling your soft skills? Contact Elite Resumes to obtain a free critique of your cover letter from an executive career management professional to ensure you secure your next job interview.

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Are you interviewing in 20 year old attire?

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Ken and Jerry Oct 1970 going to Ann Proctor's Birthday?
If you are a senior executive you have probably updated your wardrobe several times over the past few years and would not consider  going to a job interview donning a 20 year old suit. If you are managing an executive career with your sites on moving up the corporate ladder, have you given consideration to updating your wardrobe recently? Equally important, have you updated your physical appearance in the past 20 years? In this competitive job market, employers are looking for the whole package and it is as imperative that you look as impressive as the credentials are that you bring to the table. After all, you know your chances of getting the job are hinged on making the best impression possible.

Of course there are those who don’t think appearance should matter and it is possible that you may walk into your next job interview and sit down with an interviewer wearing an old wrinkled suit and sporting a long grey beard! Seriously, what are the chances? Your opinion of whether your appearance should have an influence on the decision maker is totally irrelevant because we are all human and it will! You will be considered for a postition based on a potential employer’s impression of YOU and not what you want them to think of you! If you want the job, the final decision in landing it will not be yours, it will be theirs!

The value the potential employer believes you will bring to their organization will be evaluated. Do you stay current? Are you innovative? Do you embrace change? Not unlike curb appeal when buying a house, your appearance will influence the decision maker and the answer to these questions. Your ability to move an organization forward in a competitive economy will be questioned if your appearance shows you’re are still living in the 80′s sporting a beard and mustache, wide legged trousers, outdated glasses and a comb over.

Go for the makeover, dress the part, feel good about yourself and exude the confidence needed in an interview to impress upon the interviewer that YOU are the best person for the job! It is a small investment to entice a potential employer to want to investigate further giving you the opportunity to sell them on your many successes and your expertise.      

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Job Interview Questions

Friday, September 17th, 2010

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Is your professional resume getting you in the door but you can’t get passed the job interview? Were you prepared and confident in providing answers to the job interview questions that were asked? There could be many reasons you were not considered as a potential candidate after your job interview and if you are not aware of the reason, ask! If you are unable to obtain an answer, take the time to carefully reassess the interview to ensure you’re not missing something that could result in another lost opportunity. Revisit the job interview with a  friend or colleague willing to help you with reverse role playing and put yourself in the position of the interviewer. Give consideration to the questions that were asked and the answers that you provided. You may or may not discover some valid reasons for being overlooked as a potential candidate and there is the possibility that the reason was beyond your control. In a competitive job market there may be many equally qualified candidates and the deciding factor could be as simple as a “gut feeling”! However, there is plenty that is within your control including that of a professional and confident demeanour, which has been recognized as highly influential by HR professionals and recruiters. Beyond your qualifications and experience, being prepared to answer the job interview questions you are likely to be asked is your best chance of landing your next  job.         

Interview Questions and Answers by Alison Doyle, About .com Guide provides an extensive list of interview questions by category, best answers and the reasons behind the questions being asked.   

You’ll find, Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them, on BNet.com by Penelope Trunk reviewing the 3 basic questions that you are sure to be asked in any job interview.  

Invest the time to review and provide confident and knowledgeable answers for the top job interview questions that are likely to be asked and you will be assured you have the competitive edge in your next job interview! 

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Toronto ExecuNet Speaker, Bill Dennis

Friday, May 28th, 2010

We are pleased to have Bill Dennis speaking at the next ExecuNet Meeting, June 23rd, 2010, presenting:

“ Understanding and Succeeding With Interviewers of Different Cultures, Generations, and Personalities”

During career transition, today’s executive experiences a world of widely different types of interviewers and these differences can significantly affect your ability to connect and successfully work with this array of interviewers.

“Understanding and Succeeding With Interviewers of Different Cultures, Generations, and Personalities” is a practical, research-based presentation that will provide you valuable insights into understanding and successfully connecting with interviewers of different cultures, generations, and personalities.

Bill Dennis is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

Over the past 35 years, Bill has held significant sales and marketing positions at major companies including KPMG, Canadian General Electric, Bell Mobility, and Westinghouse Canada.

Bill also held key management positions at medium-sized firms which were leaders in their industry.

Bill has provided over 4,500 hours of training to Continuing Education students at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. He is their most experienced Continuing Education instructor in professional selling skills and strategic marketing.

His academic credentials include a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) and MBA (Strategic Marketing and Finance).

Bill also recently passed with distinction the “Certified Sales Professional” set of examinations from the Canadian Professional Sales Association.

 Bill Dennis & Associates,

Oakville, Ontario,

905-599-6365,

www.billdennisandassociates.com

bill@billdennisandassociates.com

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Ten Tips – Get Ready to Get Interviewed

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Networking events, research, resumes, cover letters, thank you notes, phone calls, coaching, educational courses,……let’s face it, the time and effort that is necessary to secure a job interview can be at times, overwhelming! The majority of executives today are in career transition for longer than ever so when the opportunity arises for a job interview it is critical to be ready!

Here are ten tips that will help you get ready to get interviewed:

  1. Conduct a thorough investigation of the company or organization, current and past employees and the position you have been invited to interview for. Your time may be limited but with the wealth of information available online, it should be manageable.
  2. Keep notes on any questions that you may have in case there is an opportunity to bring them up during the interview. Take a copy of your resume as well as it will allow you to be on the same page as the interviewer. If the interviewer is not using your resume as a reference you have the opportunity to leave your copy with them.
  3. If the position noted a preferred educational requirement, be prepared to share your desire and ability to achieve the required designation.
  4. If you are not completely familiar with the location of the interview, take a test drive. Yes, you can google it but it won’t show the closure of a street due to construction and this is not an appointment you want to be late for.
  5. Look in the mirror. If you had planned to get to the hairdresser last week but didn’t get around to it, do it now. Being well groomed, donning professional attire and shined shoes are not options, it is expected. Inspect the suit and shoes you are planning to wear before the day of the interview just in case you forgot about the broken shoe lace or the blouse you just got back from the cleaners has a stain on it!
  6. The opportunity for a job interview is likely a result of extensive networking, a professional resume and a significant online profile. Be sure to google your name to be sure of the results as you can be assured the potential employer has done the same.
  7. Introduce yourself at reception upon your arrival and confirm the name of the individual who will be interviewing you in case there has been a change and to ensure you have the correct pronunciation of their name.
  8. Being prepared and knowledgeable will increase your confidence and comfort level entering into the interview and a firm handshake, eye contact and a smile will ensure the best first impression and set a positive tone for the meeting.
  9. Your attention, interest, enthusiasm, knowledge and general preparedness will all be critical factors during your interview. Avoid talking too much which is often a common nervous reaction. By listening closely you will discover the most influential factors in their decision making process.  
  10. At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for their time, for answering your questions and if it was a pleasure to meet them, say so. Again, a firm handshake, eye contact and a smile.

Qualifying for the position you are preparing to interview for was established prior to the opportunity for a job interview and although an interview will include some elaboration of skills, it is the impression you leave with the interviewer which will be influenced by your appearance, demeanour and level of confidence that will most strongly impact the success of your job interview. If you believe salary could be a make or break issue seek out available resources to assist you in a successful negotiation including Jack Chapman’s book, “Negotiating Your Salary: How to make a $1000 a minute”.

Get ready to get interviewed and your chances of receiving a firm offer will increase substantially!

Elite Resumes provides exective career management services. Contact us today for a free resume critique from a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

For further information in preparing for your job interview review the following professional advice from other members of the Career Collective, Collaboratively Helping Job Seekers:

Sit Down and Panic. The Interview is Yours @GayleHoward

How to Stand Out in a Job Interview @heathermundell

Avoid These Reference Mistakes @DawnBugni

Unspoken Secrets of Job Interviewing Prep: How Your Nonverbal Presentation and Behaviors Impact the Impression You Make @KatCareerGal

Prep for Interviews Now: Snuff out the Elephant in the Room Later! @chandlee

What Should Job Seekers Do Now to Prepare for an Interview @erinkennedycprw

Take a Ride in the Elevator Before You Interview @barbarasafani

Are You Ready for the Elephant in the Room? @WorkWithIllness

“Tell Me About Yourself” (Oh, Yikes!), @KCCareerCoach

The job interview as a shared narrative @WalterAkana

Prepare your references for job search success @Keppie_Careers

No Pain No Gain In Job Search and Interview Prep @ValueIntoWords

Job searching? Take a cue from the Boy Scouts @LaurieBerenson

Preparing for Career Success Starts with Interviewing the Employers @JobHuntOrg

The Interview: A Well Rehearsed Performance or Hacked Improv? @careersherpa

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Job Interview Advice – What’s In It For Them?

Monday, November 30th, 2009

job interviewIf there is one piece of advice you need to follow in your job interview it is to avoid the thought of what is in it for you and concentrate on informing the Interviewer what is in it for them.   

If you’ve made it to the job interview, you have successfully sold yourself in your resume, impressing upon a potential employer that you are a valuable candidate worth interviewing. So don’t stop there! You could just as easily be eliminated in the interview process as in the resume process. Both systems are based on elimination and the goal to find the right candidate is no less important than finding a reason to eliminate you to establish a manageable number of candidates for consideration.

Every aspect of your job interview must be taken into consideration and taken seriously right down to your arrival time! Don’t be too early, as the Interviewer may not welcome the interruption especially if they scheduled a task to complete prior to beginning interviews. Of course if you are late and keep the Interviewer waiting you will probably put yourself at the top of the elimination list. Your appearance and your handshake will create the first impression. If you do not look professional or are unable to put forth a confident handshake, how will you represent their organization? Prepare yourself well. The more knowledge you have about the organization the more confident you will feel. It will also show the Interviewer that you have done your homework and will lend credibility to your assertion that given the opportunity you will exceed their expectations as their new Senior Sales Manager!

What is in it for you does require your consideration but if you want to be considered by the employer, you must convince the interviewer what is in it for them!

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Professional Advice – Do Not Offer Personal Information

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Whether you are in a job interview or composing your resume,  Do Not Offer Personal Information! There are those who would like to believe otherwise, wanting to believe the decision maker actually cares but the professional advice offered by experts and decision makers confirms, be professional not personal. 

Jessica Holbrook, a former Executive Hiring Manager for Fortune 500 companies and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast has an excellent article posted on the Happen Blog sitecourtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, So Tell Me About Yourself – STOP! It’s a Trick Question. Included are many reasons you do not offer personal information in a job interview.

A Hiring Professional has a long list of requirements necessary to fill a position and you can be assured that their list will not include sexual orientation, how many children you have, if you are single, married or divorced, which sports interest you or if you prefer red or white wine. And everyone knows to avoid religious and political affiliations! While reviewing professional resumes, the objective is to look for any reason to reject it in an effort to reduce the list of resumes from potential candidates to a manageable number of qualified individuals. A reference to irrelevant, personal information may be reason enough to discard your resume. Beyond lacking professionalism, the potential employer may have some concerns regarding your inclination to take days off work to go to the golf course because you have said you are an avid golfer.

A professional resume and job interview should include your qualifications and notable accomplishments throughout your work history. The HR Manager has a responsibility to hire a professional with the ability to fulfill the needs of the company and those needs will not include your personal interests! Offering personal information will likely leave the same impression as showing up for an job interview in blue jeans and running shoes.

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Be a Follower, Not a Leader

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Rarely is it in your best interest when seeking a job to be a follower rather than a leader unless, you are in a job interview. In this case, be a follower, not a leader! Allowing the interviewer to lead the interview will provide you with the opportunity to follow their lead to provide the information they require and to discover the person they want to see in you.

This is just one piece of advice from Challenger, Gray & Christmas in their recent report, “How to find a job in a Jobless Recovery”. Although qualifications are important, the report states you won’t be hired because you are the most qualified, you will be hired because the interviewer likes you the best. 

Most people, whether the job interviewer or a new acquaintance will decide within the first few minutes whether or not they like you. So remember, first impressions count! Dress appropriately, listen and learn and follow the lead.  

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Resume Writing 2009

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Resume Writing 2009The days of a paper resume are gone! If you were considering stuffing your resume in an envelope and affixing postage, think again. HR professionals and recruiters alike expect a properly formatted, professionally written resume with an accompanying cover letter to be submitted online. Your online proficiency doesn’t stop there. You must also have a significant personal and professional online presence. The best way to find out what the majority of recruiters will discover about you is to google yourself.

Maintaining a consistent and professional name for each of your online profiles is important. Unless you have a very unusual name, it may not be in your best interest to use only one initial with your last name as you could end up lost in a sea of people with the same handle or possibly mistaken for someone with a less than stellar reputation. Consider establishing your online presence using your full name, Harold J Smith, rather than H Smith to differentiate yourself. Eliminate all of the dots and dashes and numbers that are often automatically generated and use your proper name. Most online networking sites give you the option to customize your URL and generate one based on the user name you choose. How does this relate to your resume? A resume written in 2009 must contain your Linkedin address with your contact details.

Also included in your resume is your email address. The question to ask in 2009 is not whether or not you have an email address on your resume, but how old is your email address and is it professional? Today there is no excuse! Email addresses are easily acquired and they’re free. If you haven’t updated yours in years or you’re still using the one you created using a nickname, create a new one that can be used professionally. Recruiters are interested in forward thinking individuals who stay current. An AOL address is perceived as outdated and a Hotmail address lacks professionalism so update your resume with an appropriate email address.

First impressions are key to your success and the contact information you provide on your resume is your first impression on paper, or rather, on the computer! Without an impressive resume it is unlikely you will be given the opportunity for a job interview. If you want to be taken seriously in your pursuit of an executive position and increase your chances of a job interview, submit a professionally written resume with at least one online address and a professional email address.

Not sure if you have a resume that will get your foot in the door? Don’t take any chances! Contact us for a free resume critique today!

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Moving in a Positive Job Search Direction

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

all-software-is-currentJob searching is challenging, emotional, time consuming, stressful and depressing. It can be a rocky road that plays out within the family environment and all persons in the house can be affected in some way or another. It’s a time for active support and guidance to open up new job search channels and travel from unemployed to hired in the fastest time.

As a Certified Job Search Strategist, a major component of my work with a client is emotional support, keeping them active and exploring all options in a competitive environment with checks and balances. It’s a turbulent time, well up there on the stress scale and made even worse if you have been terminated. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t hunker down in your house all the time. Get outside, come rain or shine, for at least 30 minutes each day. Fresh air helps to re-energize you.
  • Look for volunteering opportunities, preferably not political, or not religious. Although time consuming, you can gain valuable knowledge. It also shows a potential employer that you are willing to give your time for free, that you are caring, sharing and willing to assist others in need. Also, you never know who you will meet, perhaps a person who can be influential in your career. Networking is an integral element of a job search. Your contributions for free are always appreciated.
  • Stay clear of alcohol and other depressants. If in need of some psychological help, seek it fast! If you feel tired, angry or lonely give yourself permission to take a break from the arduous job search.
  • Return to college or university; life is one continuous learning exercise. Develop new skills, something that a future employer will applaud. The more trained and knowledgeable you are, the more opportunities for employment. Continuous education is great to show on a resume.
  • Celebrate triumphs. After each interview, invite your friends to a party and have fun. With each party you host, you are closer to the big job success celebration where you can really relax.
  • Bypass miserable, negative, pessimistic people. Instead, connect with positive, supportive, driven and energetic people who strive for success and are willing to provide proactive guidance and support throughout the job search process.
  • Network, network, network. This should be a prime focus. Get out there and introduce yourself to others within your defined area and with other unemployed professionals.
  • Do inspirational and energetic things: join a gym, play sports, participate in your community.
  • Ask your friends to provide some inspirational things about you; these will inspire you to pursue the job search through thick and thin.

Finally, be realistic about a job search; it takes patience and determination. Make it fun!

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Follow The Rules

Monday, October 27th, 2008

If you have received specific instructions and rules related to a company’s hiring process, do not deviate from them.  Choosing to make up your own rules will most likely result in a lost job opportunity and a tarnished reputation.  You may even put the reputation of others at risk so follow the rules.

Recently, I learned of an individual who had an inside track on a great job opportunity within his company and chose to share it with an organization giving them very specific instructions how to apply for the position.  Three of four candidates applying followed the instructions as given, however, the fourth candidate chose to ignore the instructions and contacted the principal of the company directly.  Not only did that person violate the trust that had been extended to him, the individual’s reputation was put on the line and the professionalism of the organization was called into question.  Needless to say, only those candidates who chose to follow the rules were contacted for an interview.

Following the rules or specific instructions established by a company regarding their employment processes is not something to be questioned if you are interested in obtaining a job with them.  Do you recall your grade school days when tests were given with clear, “read first” instructions?  If you didn’t follow them, you failed!

Innovation, persistence, determination and creativity are all wonderful personality traits and may lead you away from a common path in your job search but if you are provided with specific instructions from a potential employer, I recommend you follow their rules if you want to succeed in obtaining a job interview.

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Nonverbal Communication and Your Job Interview

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

In The Wall Street Journal, “The Power of Nonverbal Communication”, provides some very interesting information regarding the unconscious and nonverbal ways that humans communicate with one another.

Dr. Alex “Sandy” Pentland, a professor at the MIT Media Lab, has written the book “Honest Signals”, based on studies related to unconscious social signals and patterns in how we interact with other people offering insight into our intentions, goals and values.  He claims we can accurately predict the outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates!

Specific areas of communication included monitoring the levels of nervous energy using a “sociometer“, which indicated excitement, anticipating responses in conversation indicating levels of interest, evidence of mimicry of gestures, correlating with feelings of trust and empathy and finally fluency or consistency in tone or motion, suggesting a level of expertise or of being well practiced.

In studying job interviews, Dr. Pentland says, “We found that if job candidates show confidence and practice, if they’re mirroring the inteviewer’s gestures, if they’re active and helpful, if they act the right way, they’ll get the thumbs up.”

The MIT Press, Honest Signals, How They Shape Our World, says scientific background is presented in this book providing an understanding of this form of communication and shows that by “reading” our social networks we can become more successsful at pitching an idea, getting a job, or closing a deal.

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What goes around, comes around!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Some of us are firm believers in what goes around, comes around and as professionals, we spend a great deal of our time networking. Successful networking involves sharing information, experiences, and most importantly, our needs. Understanding what we can do for others and what they can do for us and then following through will sooner or later result in what goes around, comes around.

Promoting my expertise online as well as my relentless networking generates many calls to my business line and I do speak directly to all potential clients and associates.  Yesterday I received a call from a potential client that I had never spoken to or knew of prior to the call.  He was rude, disrespectful, abrupt and was quick to relay his needs, “I don’t need a resume, I need a job”, just prior to disconnecting the call.  Although my expertise includes that of a Master Resume Writer, I also hold other credentials, including that of Branding Strategist, Career Transition Coach and Employment Interview Professional.  If this person had had the foresight to listen to what information I required from him, it would have been possible for me to address his needs.

Who you know, is likely to be a key factor in advancing your career, or not!  There is a reason that we are being overloaded with information on personal branding.  First impressions are critical.  It sets the stage and is very likely the only impression that anyone is left with.  Did you leave them with a positive impression?  Did you have a positive impression of them?  Would they recommend you?  Would you recommend them?

Did you know that most hiring professionals have a standard practice after a job interview to ask the individual at reception what they thought of the potential candidate?  The next time you are face to face with someone or the next time you pick up the phone you may want to think about the impression you want to leave with that person.  Someday, that person could be a very influential force in your future because, what goes around comes around.

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Don’t Panic in Your Job Search

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

It is unlikely that you will find your new job within the first month of your job search.  Or the second or third or even the fourth or fifth! The fact is you could be in your job search for longer than you expected and although this is not a comfortable situation for most of us, it is important that you don’t panic!  If you want to advance your career and secure the position you are dreaming of, you must remain focussed and present yourself in a postive, confident and professional manner.  Panic can lead to missed opportunities or a costly decision.

Recently, I heard from a job seeker, who was concerned about how long her job search was taking and was looking for any way, as she said, ”basically to learn anything that would help me get employed faster”. Unfortunately, she is now trying to get her money back from a course that she registered for and later found out that there was nothing about it that would help to speed up her job search.

As in any industry, you must be beware of the many offers that will offer little or no return on your investment.  Many organizations will prey on your vulnerability as you transition through this difficult and stressful period professionally and personally.  If you receive an offer from any company offering to provide career management and outplacement services for a fee, keep a cool head, don’t panic and do your due dilligence to verify references and credentials.

If you are offered an interview from a recruiter, say yes.  You want your name out there and if no one knows who you are, you could be missing out on a potential opportunity.  If you are offered a job interview, say yes even if you are not sure that it is the right fit for you.  Don’t panic and try to make it the right fit because you need a job.  Openly acknowledge it, be honest, maintain your professional demeaner and show appreciation for the opportunity extended to you for an interview.  Recently, a client of mine was called back after a first interview because the company was interested in interviewing them for a more senior postion.

Networking is your best resource in your job search, presenting opportunities to share valuable information and pick up postitive leads.  In your career transition, stay positive, focussed, confident and above all, don’t panic!

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Big Expectations for Today’s Executives

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Globe and Mail article, Hit the ground running, by Wallace Immen relays the reality of expectations for immediate and measurable success from today’s executives.

Stephen Smith, regional vice-president for Canada of Servisair Inc. said, “There was a huge agenda of things I was expected to do immediately”.  In the first week he had to make personnel changes and renegotiate contracts for ground support, baggage handling and aircraft cleaning services.

Bruce Wood, chief executive officer for the Hamilton Port Authority, was given 30 days to make a progress report to the board of directors.  Before actually starting the job he spent two weeks examining the existing operation and developing a progress report which included a list of accomplishments within a clearly defined time frame.

Both Mr. Smith and Mr. Wood implemented similar strategies in order to get to know everyone associated with the organization.  “When you are coming in as a new leader and pushing the envelope, you’ve got to make very sure the entire organization is following you”, Mr. Wood says.

John Burdett, a partner of Bedford Consulting Group offers some great advice to avoid stumbling when you hit the ground running, starting with finding a mentor, through to a forward focus.

As a career expert, I am also quoted in this article and advise executives to ask companies at the job interview itself to open up about their expectations and agenda.  “In fact, companies will think of you as a stronger candidate for being realistic about the challenges involved.”

I am proud to acknowledge Stephen Smith and Bruce Wood as past clients and offer my continued support in their executive roles.

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Investing in Soft Skills

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

How much time and money have you invested in your soft skills? Developing soft skills and hard skills are equally important in moving forward in your career. Despite this fact, you’ve likely invested a great deal more in your hard skills.

Investing in hard skills, such as a university degree, is an important element in your career.  Your hard skills will be impressive on your resume and may get you the job interview you wanted.  But once there, you need your soft skills! The ability to greet people in a professional manner is critical to your success. Needed are a  good handshake, eye contact, appropriate attire, confidence and clear communication.  Your soft skills include your ability to be persuasive in the way you share what your hard skills can do for the company you are interviewing for. If you want to shine above the competition, your soft skills are critical.

Noticing, adapting, developing and strengthening your soft skills is a sound investment guaranteed to open up new opportunities. It is your soft skills that will ensure a memorable first impression!

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Your Job Interview – Will you receive an offer?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

The job interview is over and you would love to know how you did.  You may already have a good idea that you will receive an offer, or not.  If you really are not sure the following questions may provide you with a little better insight.

Did the interviewer provide you with a specific date or timeline for when a decision will be made?

Were you asked about your timeline?

Did the interviewer spend time selling you on the position, company, etc.?

Were you in the interview longer than scheduled?

Were you introduced to others in the company after the interview?

Since the job interview have you heard that the employer has contacted any of your references?

There is no one question or sure sign that guarantees you’ll receive an offer but if you answer yes to all of these questions you can at least be assured that you did well in your job interview.

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Beware of Distractions

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Recently I had a discussion with a colleague about a blog I had written, Job Interviews and Tattoos and was surprised that the feedback I received was their belief that most potential employers have a negative perception when it comes to tattoos and body piercings.  It is highly likely that many of these people are also sporting tattoos and possibly body piercings too allbeit, discreetly, as most professionals understand that any potential distractions should be eliminated.

Have you seen the Tide-To-Go Interview commercial of a man being interviewed that has a large stain on his shirt?  An exaggeration, yes, but still a great example of an interviewer faced with a distraction.  The interviewer is unable to concentrate, (hearing instead, “blah, blah, blah, blah”), on anything the job candidate is saying because the stain on the front of his shirt is too much of a distraction.  So too can a sloppily dressed person, a loud shirt, tattoos or body piercings create distractions.

It is impossible to make a good first impression if something is getting in the way, a distraction!  When conversing with someone sporting a tongue piercing, are you able to look them directly in the eyes or are you staring in their mouth?  If you meet someone with a large tattoo on their arm, do you notice the “snake picture”, (and you hate snakes) or will you see a well dressed, sophisticated, confident person?  You love the brightly coloured polka dot shirt that the job candidate is sporting and whether you want to know where it was purchased or you are thinking that it is not appropriate to wear to a job interview, it is a distraction and takes away from focussing on the candidate and their talents.

Yes, some distractions will be negative, but whether negative or positive, it is the distraction that is the problem.  So if you are entering into any meeting and want to exude a professional, confident and highly successful impression, hide the tattoos, remove the obvious body piercings, change the mohawk hair style, don a conservative suit and make sure you are wearing a clean shirt!

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Bizarre Behaviour in a Job Interview!

Friday, August 8th, 2008

In a recent survey, OfficeTeam asked executives to recount the most embarrassing job interview moments they had heard of or witnessed.  Yes, in a job interview, the time you really want to put your best foot forward.  The opportunity you are given to present an exemplary first impression!

The following are just a few of the responses:

“The candidate sent his sister to inteview in his place.”
“A candidate fell asleep during the interview”
“A guy called me by the wrong name during the entire interview.”
“We’re a retail company, and when we asked the candidate why she wanted to work for us, she said she didn’t want to work in retail anymore.”
“An interviewee put his bubble gum in his hand, forgot about it, and then shook my hand.”
“The candidate stopped the inteview and asked me if I had a cigarette.”
“An applicant was doing really well in the inteview until she got to the reason she left her other job. She told us everyone was out to get her.”

You’ve heard it so many times because it is important, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”.

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