Tag Archives: Interview preparation

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 Interview Is Not a Chat But Trust Building

The Interview Is Not a Chat But Trust Building

Interview or just a chat?

Even if you’re told the interview is just an informal chat, don’t believe it. The interview is a business transaction whereby both parties are exploring the opportunity to initiate a work relationship. But if you stop and think about what is at the core of that potential future work relationship, the logical answer is mutual trust. Yes, we all agree that the interview is a process whereby the employer wants to determine whether you have the skills that employer is looking for, and if so, whether you’d be good at them or just average, whether you could solve work-related issues, whether you’d be well accepted by your peers—meaning, whether you’d fit into the organizational culture—and so forth. The employer knows there are other options and so reviews other applicants. But the candidate, too, knows there are other options and can explore other prospective employers. Above all, though, both parties are asking themselves—actually during the interview process—whether they can trust each other.

Mutual trust and confidence

This basic concept of mutual trust and confidence was solidified by the legal system in the distant past when it referred to the employment relationship between employee and employer carried an understanding that there is an implied obligation between the two parties to behave in a way that does not undermine that mutual employment relationship. Simply put, both parties should have each other’s back. This means that each party is expected to trust the other.

What does trust mean?

If you asked people how they interpret trust and what trust means to them, you’d get many and various answers. I’ve tested this numerous times when presenting to large groups, and the answers have clearly demonstrated to me that trust means different things to different people. For me, trust means you do what you said you’d do. On one hand, similar to the establishment of a personal reputation, trust is not something someone can establish instantly; it takes a long time to establish one’s trustworthiness because trust is based on behavior that is cumulative and over time. On the other hand, trustworthiness can be destroyed in an instant.

How to evaluate—and demonstrate—trustworthiness during an interview?

An easy way for an employer to test a candidate’s trustworthiness is via the common and mostly dreaded interview question, What are your weaknesses? I have never met anyone who likes that question. Here the employer is testing the candidate’s honesty and, thereby, trustworthiness. A good answer here is to talk about an occurrence in the not too distant past—something that is common and plausible wherein the candidate admits failure but then claims to have been smart enough to learn from it and by now has so well fixed it that others ask for his advice. This is a turnaround tactic that works in most cases.

In a job interview, the candidate should give several examples whose common thread shows honesty, dependability, reliability, and credibility. They all lead to trust. Conversely, the candidate, too, should look for those same qualities in the prospective employer. Mutual trust will lead to a long-term employment relationship.

Why Can’t I Get That Job?

Why Can't I Get that Job?

What do I need to do to get that job?

How often do you feel that you were a perfect fit for the position but did not get the offer?  You may have felt that you provided impressive answers, connected with the interviewer, had the exact experience wanted, met all their requirements, and even sent but timely follow up notes. Despite your extensive efforts, the company awarded the position to another candidate. If only you could understand why you did not get that job.

This presentation will open your eyes as to why you may not have won the position or may have never been in the running as a viable candidate. Alex Freund, The Landing Expert, shares what won’t be revealed to you by Human Resources or hiring managers. Based on his observations and experiences as a career search expert and someone who has hired hundreds of employees as a corporate leader, he will pull back the curtain on the interviewing process and why you weren’t “the one.”

Attending will enable you to identify potential signals as to what’s really going on.  You’ll become empowered to ask questions and act strategically so that you become the candidate who gets the offer.

In this session, you will:

  • Identify those things that rule out most candidates right away
  • Explore the “secret culture and decision making process” that exists in most every organization
  • Learn what to say when the hiring manager asks if you have any questions
  • Understand why and how someone will be an advocate for you