Author Archives: Alex Freund

About Alex Freund

Alex has extensive experience with interviewing people. He has also practical training in career coaching. Consequently, he formed LandingExpert – Career Coaching services. He is prominent in a number of networking groups and has helped many job seekers with their career searches, providing them with tools, information, marketing material, and one-on-one preparation for the interview. Via his website www.landingexpert.com he offers people in transition and otherwise a comprehensive and updated list of job-search networking groups. This list is being viewed consistently by over 3000 people per month.

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How to Make the First Impression in an Interview

How important the first impression is?

“Nobody impresses me for the first sixty days on the job.” This was a saying that all of those working with me in the corporate world would hear me say over and over. I wanted to express that there’s a difference between the impression a job seeker leaves initially—even as early as during the interview—and the impression an employee makes afterward for the duration. I have proved that particular opinion to be correct many times over: people who had made a great impression during the interview not in all cases demonstrated those great qualities and extensive knowledge some months after being hired and on the job.

But let’s first agree on the purpose of the interview. No, it is not to get the job. It is to get a job offer. And once the offer was committed to paper and received by the candidate, the latter must perform due diligence, evaluate the offer, negotiate if appropriate and possible, and then make a final decision. However, to get that coveted letter that starts with the word Congratulations, one needs to convince the hiring team that one is the ideal candidate.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first impression

We’ve all heard the saying that the first impression is a lasting impression. And it’s true. Interview guru Lou Adler performed an otherwise admittedly less-than-scientific study via a survey. The result was that more than 80 percent of people like a person they meet for the first time. And this is applicable also in an interview situation. A further question asked about the importance of that first impression; in Adler’s study example, it was a salesperson. Of the respondents, 85 percent indicated that the first impression is highly important. Now, I don’t think there’s anything new or surprising about those numbers, but they do support the general tenet of the importance of the first impression.

The first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse. The impression made during a first encounter is extremely important, simply because it sets the scene for all future interactions.

Remember the importance of the smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too,” as the adage goes. There’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A pleasant and confident smile puts both parties at ease. So, smiling is always a winner when it comes to making a great first impression.

Project confidence

Body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words. Use your body language to project self-assurance. Stand tall, make eye contact, and greet with a firm handshake. Good manners together with polite, attentive, and enthusiastic behavior help make a good first impression.  When decision making comes, people will forget all the words you said but will remember the image you created.

The Secret Behind an Excellent Interview

The Secret Behind an Excellent Interview

The secret is: be brief

What is the secret behind an excellent interview?  Be brief. Now that the secret is revealed, I will support my tenet with a few facts. Actually, you can do what I did: I watched some television with a stopwatch to see how long an answer people provide for a question. As samples, I used, among others, Presidents Obama and Clinton because I consider them excellent communicators with media people in a question-and-answer setup. Typically, one of their answers would be 30 to 90 seconds long, with very few deviations. In order to get to such a level of excellence, one needs two ingredients: innate talent and lots of practice. Not all of us are born with this type of talent, but all of us can achieve it through practice and in fact should if we want to excel at interviews.

As an interview coach, I help people become better at answering difficult interview questions. I’ve found it interesting that regardless of people’s professions, backgrounds, or titles most are not good when facing a job interviewer—despite the fact that some think they are, because after all, they’ve gotten jobs in the past, right? Universally, though, people are long-winded, and their answers tend to be paragraphs instead of several bulleted items supported by examples. Some provide protracted answers that go way beyond the listener’s attention span. The danger here is that the job candidate is not made aware of losing the listener’s attention, since regrettably, interviewers don’t have digital readouts on their foreheads showing their listening level at that moment.

The best way to overcome that obstacle is to prepare for interview answers by first writing out the answers longhand in SARB format. (SARB is the acronym for situation, action, result, and benefit.) Next, review each answer with an eye toward shortening them. If an answer can be delivered in about 60 seconds, you’ll achieve your objective. Now, it’s practice time. Best if you work with a career coach who can give you not only honest feedback but also the correct answers. Otherwise, ask a friend, family member, or someone else who also might benefit from such practice.

 

The Biggest Change in Hiring

The Biggest Change in Hiring

Be nice to recruiters

Unpredictability and uncertainty in the business world shorten employment tenure. There are several reasons for this: The fast-paced and ever-changing evolution of technology is generating competitive pressures. Consumer tastes are changing and demanding new products and services. And world events are destabilizers; revolutions, wars, floods, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, and reactor meltdowns are examples.

Employers find themselves needing to react via quick adaptation. Company organizational charts the way we used to know them are shifting to meet foreseeable demands for staffing needs. Thus, the result is a contingent and temporary labor force. Statistics show that people change jobs on an average of every three years—some of them staying with the same employer but in new roles and some joining a different employer.

Recruiters will have an increased role in matching job seekers with jobs.

About half of all new openings at large employers are nowadays filled by internal mobility but still under the control of a recruiter. The rest of the openings are filled by new hires—also via a recruiter. The hiring manager makes the final decision about whom to hire, but recruiters can block job seekers based on their own discretion.

It is evident that job seekers’ interactions with recruiters will increase. In many cases, recruiters are not viewed favorably by job seekers. They are considered the necessary [d]evils. Most job seekers don’t understand the pressures on the typical recruiter. Each recruiter works simultaneously on filling 15 to 20 job openings. Recruiting is a human resources task but functionally reports to and is evaluated by hiring managers. Recruiters rely on applicant-tracking-system technology but have to make final decisions based on interviewing every reasonable candidate. Recruiters don’t know the details of the job more than the extent of the information supplied in the job description. And recruiters are very much under time pressure to produce results for hiring managers and meet hiring managers’ urgent needs.

How to increase your chances of being selected as a good candidate by recruiters

Follow the instructions precisely in terms of how recruiters want you to submit your credentials. Demonstrate that you have a keen interest in the position you’re applying for. Be honest and genuine. Come prepared when interacting with them. Don’t cause them embarrassment. They need to present you to the hiring manager. Ensure that you are a match with the job description. Use TagCrowd to make sure your résumé includes most of the keywords that recruiters are likely to use as queries based on the job description. And last, use Jobscan.co (note: the filename ends with .co and not .com) to match your résumé to the job description.

In the current job market, the competition is fierce, and to maintain a high level of competitiveness, one has to know what to do and how to adapt to employers’ needs. All of that learning and carrying out are laborious and time-consuming. But don’t give up! A job is waiting for you. Go get it!