Tag Archives: Interview skills

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.


Learn to Re-enter the Job Market

Princeton Adult School

People in transition take classes in Princeton via the Adult School



Classes are held on October 4, 18, 25 and November 1 and 15

Objectives, Career Plan, Strategy

This five-part series is designed to provide a roadmap for any one re-entering the job market – even those who may be seeking a new position for the first time in many years, a career change, a promotion or those wanting to develop their professional identity.

Alex Freund, also known as “The Landing Expert,” will share the market’s newest strategies and tactics that can shorten your search to landing timeline.

A framework will be provided enabling you to develop your personal toolkit week by week. You will examine the job search process from the hiring manager’s point of view and how to present your best self on paper and in person. You will identify short-term and long-term actions to meet your desired goal

Each session will show case today’s most effective tools and techniques for break-through results. All sessions are highly interactive and include the opportunity to practice newly learned skills including answering challenging interview questions.

By attending this first session on Objectives, Career Plan, Strategy, you will:

  • Get grounded in the job search process
  • Analyze the construct of a compelling introduction
  • Examine the hiring manager’s priorities
  • Evaluate your value proposition
  • Create a powerful introduction

By attending this second session on Networking, you will:

  • Understand what networking is and isn’t
  • Identify spheres of opportunity
  • Learn how to comfortably network with any one
  • Set yourself up for success in every interaction
  • Practice and overcome your nervousness

By attending this third session on The Resume and LinkedIn, you will:

  • Examine hiring from the other side of the desk
  • Learn why you don’t need a resume to become a candidate
  • Separate the facts from the fluff
  • Compare blah to outstanding LinkedIn profiles
  • Identify the key components missing in your profile to ensure you shine vs. the competition

By attending this fourth session on Communication, you will:

  • Key in on keywords
  • Formulate why “you” are the best candidate for the position
  • Study hidden and non-hidden communications and behaviors
  • Delve into the merits of available communication channels
  • Recognize that communication is more than skin deep
  • Practice interview skills

By attending this fifth session on Compensation Negotiations & Wrap Up, you will:

  • See that there’s always room to negotiate beyond the offer
  • Recognize that negotiations are merely a dance
  • Identify tools to empower you during the negotiation process
  • Examine what’s negotiable
  • Learn how to negotiate the best deal for you



How Not Feeling Nervous When Interviewing

How Not Feeling Nervous When Interviewing

Are you nervous?

Most if not all people feel nervous before and during a job interview. For the past ten years, I’ve been helping people prepare for job interviews. I’m also a very experienced interviewer, but recently, when asked to be on a radio talk show, I went through the same emotions and nervousness as all my clients do—despite my vast experience. It’s normal. I just now listened to an old interview of famous Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti in which he revealed that—despite his years and years of seven-day-a-week vocal practice and endless stage appearances in front of thousands of people in an audience— he felt very nervous every time he appeared on stage.

A job interview is nothing less than an oral exam for which a person typically prepares ahead of time. And there’s nothing wrong with being a bit nervous, provided you know how to turn such nervous energy into a positive outcome. Otherwise, the nervousness can undermine your efforts and manifest itself in sweaty palms, dry mouth, difficulty thinking and focusing, talking very fast with poor enunciation, and eyes darting all over—all of which lead to a poor image and a downward spiral in self-confidence.

Sometimes the interviewer may not be attentive, or may demonstrate lack of deep interest, or may act visibly distracted and unfocused, or may feel hurried and simply not into it. That predicament generates strong negative feelings for the interviewer, especially when the job candidate wants to be liked and convincing and to appear professional and valued with the anticipation of getting a job offer. So let’s see how to deal with this daunting predicament.

First, you need to be very well prepared, with knowledge of the company and lots of facts and details about it. It’s also important to learn as much as possible about the interviewer or even several interviewers and, most of all if possible, about the challenges they’re facing. Having information on those issues via past, similar experiences with successful outcomes arms both parties with confidence. Second, position yourself to face the interviewer so that your shoulders are parallel to the interviewer’s shoulders. Think about the image of the anchor person reading the evening news on TV: make solid eye contact, but don’t stare, because that can make the interviewer almost freak out. Have both your feet squarely on the floor, and place your hands comfortably—whatever feels normal for you. Don’t cross your arms or lock one hand into the other with your fingers interwoven. It is perfectly normal to gesture, but minimally. Gesturing helps make emphasis and—combined with the words you say and the context—can make your responses even better. Think about American presidents making their famous speeches.

The main success factor in overcoming interview jitters and anxiety lies in practicing mock interviews with a competent trainer to the point that you feel confident. And then do a little more just for good measure. So, this has been my advice. What has been your experience? Please feel free to comment.