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!

 

How to Win in Today’s Job Market

Getting a job is a competition

It is well-known that in today’s economy, job seekers face unprecedented challenges. One of them is the large numbers of applicants chasing just a few openings, but another is their lack of understanding of the rules of the competition. Many discount the fact that employers use different methods of selecting final candidates by applying certain technology, and those job applicants simply keep doing what they did years ago, when they almost always had success finding a job.

Data supporting the facts about job application are available online via such sources as wsj.com, CareerBuilder, TheLadders, staffing.org, Adecco, and BeHiring. Here are a few of those facts: On average, 200 to 300 résumés are received for every single corporate job opening. Half of those will be screened out by recruiters or applicant-tracking-system (ATS) software. About 20 to 30 résumés will be reviewed by the decision maker. Only 4 to 6 will be invited for interviews. One to 3 might be invited back for a final interview, and ultimately, of course, one will be offered the job. And then, 20 percent of applicants given an offer will reject it. Surprised?

Data shows that recruiters spend on average six seconds reviewing a résumé. Their eyes follow a certain pattern by seeking out (1) job titles, (2) companies you worked at, (3) start and end dates, and (4) your education. Recruiters are known to deselect résumés with even one tiny typo, résumés of applicants not currently employed, and, often, if your name or certain other information reveals something the recruiter has a bias against.

Applicants should realize that many ATSs are simply not able to scan and read résumés that are in pdf or other formats. A very high number—sometimes up to 90 percent—of résumés are rejected because they have not been customized to the specific job opening. Before initiating contact with an applicant, recruiters typically search on the Internet for additional information about the person. Mostly they look at LinkedIn, and if the applicant has no photo, that’s another reason to move on to the next prospect. If there is indeed a photo, it should be professional looking and complimentary. Sometimes people even apply for positions that do not exist. Or a posted job description got changed in the meantime.

Recruiters don’t have an easy job because if they submit candidates to be interviewed who in the eyes of the hiring managers don’t have the perfect qualifications those hiring managers are looking for, the recruiters will hear about it in a derogatory way.

So, what’s the answer to increasing your chances of being chosen for an interview? Here are a few suggestions.

  • Your résumé should be customized for application to each and every specific position.
  • You should ensure that it contains many of the keywords included in the job description.
  • It should have no typos or misspellings or grammatical errors.
  • It should be in the standard résumé format starting with the job title you’re applying for, followed by your past employers and including your titles, and ending with your education.
  • After you customize your résumé for the position, you should save it in plain-text format with everything flush left and submit that. A nicely formatted version can be sent at a later point.
  • Your best chances for being invited to an interview lie in finding someone inside the company who would sponsor your candidacy.