Tag Archives: Job search

Want to Change Career? What Does It Take?

Changing jobs

Want to change career? Really??

Want to Change Career?

No surprise that in this economy more and more people are toying around with the idea of changing careers. For some, such a change represents an opportunity; for others, it may be a necessity because their industries are shifting, shrinking, or becoming extinct. The question my clients ask with more and more frequency is how to go about it. Regrettably, though, there’s no simple or one-size-fits-all answer, because each situation is unique. In other words, no two people’s circumstances are the same. A career coach cannot make such a decision for a client; the answer has to come from the individual. A career coach can of course counsel, guide, and support the process.

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Bad Interview—Everybody Loses

Bad interview everybody loses

Bad interview everybody loses

Bad interview — What is it?

Have you had recently a bad interview?  During a recent presentation to a job search networking group, I told the audience that 5 out of 10 interviewers do a bad job; 3 do an acceptable job; and the remaining 2 do a very good job. The audience agreed with me, even though many in attendance were in leadership positions themselves and had conducted job candidate interviews for their companies. The vast majority of people who said they’d conducted such interviews admitted that they had never taken any preparatory courses in the subject of interviewing, yet they had interviewed many job seekers. They also admitted that they had conducted those interviews on gut feelings by using methods and questions similar to those they themselves had experienced when being interviewed in the past. This state of affairs is a shame, considering the extraordinarily high cost of turnover caused primarily by poor interviewing skills on the parts of interviewers.

Interviewing is an art and a science combined. The objective behind every interview question is to be able to predict to what extent the candidate’s past performance and accomplishments match the company’s future needs. And even though the hiring manager’s opinion is important, so is the input of others—such as team members and the customers they support—because a diversity of opinions generates a better outcome.

The four main things interviewers look for are:

  • Great communication skills
  • Outstanding technical competency
  • Pertinent cultural fit
  • High level of motivation

All four components are important, and if even one of them is missing—even though the candidate may be very strong in the other three—the end result will most likely not be favorable for the candidate.

Typically, companies call back the top candidates for further selection. That second interview’s objectives are (1) to gain more knowledge about the candidate’s motivation, (2) to probe in more depth the candidate’s ability to gain the trust of colleagues and customers, and (3) to become able to predict the candidate’s future behavior. In some cases, there are three or even more sets of interviews.

Companies should invest in improving interviewing skills

The investment of time and effort in a structured and thorough interview process yields rewarding results. A structured interview includes a consensus meeting of members of the interviewing team—a very important segment of the entire interview process. That meeting brings the entire interview process into focus and enables members of the interviewing team to interpret individually for the rest of the team what they heard during their interview of the candidate.

Employee turnover costs companies 10 to 30 percent of a new employee’s yearly salary—without mentioning the loss of productivity and the internal turmoil that results. Besides the cost of hiring the wrong job candidate, such a decision can be detrimental to the entire team or organization. You probably know the adage “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.” And how true that is in terms of hiring.

How to Improve Your Interviewing Skills

Practicing interviewing skills

Practicing interviewing skills

Interviewing Skills

Interviewing skills is a business transaction wherein the objective of the hiring manager (the person who has the authority to hire) is to make a selection among job candidates called in for interviews. A candidate has two challenges: first, to convince the hiring manager that he is the ideal candidate for the position, and second, to outshine the others (i.e., the competition for the job). Following are several suggestions.

First, prepare for the interview by working with a seasoned career coach. A career coach can practice with you certain mock-interviewing techniques, thereby helping you to not only answer difficult interview questions but also recognize traps and avoid saying the wrong things. As a career coach, I need no less than five hours to get someone ready for the big test. If the result is to get the job, then the fee paid for such a service is merely a drop in the bucket.

Second, prepare your SARBs: situation/action/result/benefit. These are short vignettes about your experience, describing for the interviewer how you solved problems on the job and the results and benefits to employers. They are the tools you bring with you to the interview. If presented well, the examples will convince the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.

Third, research the company. Spend some time in the public library investigating as much as you can about the company. You cannot overdo this aspect of the job search, and neither should you underestimate the importance of showing the interviewer you understand–on either a macro- or microlevel–the issues the company faces.

Fourth, use your personal connections via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to discover as much information as you can about the people you’re going to interview with. While doing that, attempt to find something in common with them. This is very important, because people are known to hire candidates with whom they can build a relationship even during the interview process.

And fifth and last but not less important, make sure the position you’re interviewing for aligns with your own needs and desires. Consider your skills and attributes and traits. Evaluate the organization’s work environment, the commute, the compensation, and the benefits. Pay attention to your gut feeling. If it feels good, make sure you clearly show your enthusiasm. This is what the hiring manager wants to “buy.”