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The Telephone Interview – 3 Questions to Ask Ahead of Time

September 26, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Employers will often use telephone interviews to prescreen potential candidates. This almost always happens when their recruiters are headquartered out of your area. It’s also a huge time saver for the employer – even if you’re just across town. Telephone interviews allow the employer to preselect candidates before investing in face-to-face interviews. In my past, as an executive recruiter, I often telephoned potential candidates prior to meeting them. This screened out a number of candidates and allowed me to spend more time with those who fit the criteria of the job during face-to-face interviews.

The telephone interview may also be used when the responsibilities of the job will require you to communicate with clients, colleagues or executives by phone. It may also be done because your future manager or team is based in another city, and should you get the position, you will be reporting in to them long distance.

When scheduling your interview, make sure to ask these 3 important questions:

#1. Ask how much time you should set aside.

#2. Ask the name, title or position of each person who will be interviewing you. This is important because the position of the interviewer tells you something about the focus of questions you will be asked. Someone from Human Resources, for example, would be questioning for overall fit and will ask questions about your resume and / or behavioral questions related to the job description. A direct manager will ask more in-depth questions about your skills and experience as they relate to the position, and a more senior manager will question you more on overall fit and what you know about the company. Being prepared for every level of manager who may appear on the call (even unexpectedly) is vital.  A few sessions with an Interview Coach can make a world of difference in preparedness for this.

*It’s definitely worth the extra effort to research online each of those you will meet by phone (i.e., Linkedin and Google). Obviously this is true for in-person interviews as well.

#3. Finally, ask if you should call the employer or if they will be calling you. If they will be calling you, give a phone number where you will not have any interruptions.

 

A word of caution: Use a landline if your cell phone does not have reliable service. If you are using a cell phone, make sure your phone is charged. You can plug in the charger while you talk so you don’t have to worry about talking too long and depleting your battery.  If you have call waiting on your cell or landline, disable it by hitting *70 before dialing.  Remember that a quality headset is an important tool for this purpose – it allows you to take notes, walk around freely, and basically not be involved with the equipment. Having your papers neat and accessible to you means BOTH hands should be free.  Always test your headset thoroughly before the interview.

 

Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

The Telephone Interview – 3 More Tips for The Million Dollar Call

September 19, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Job Interview Skills 101What does it take to get the job? And what does the job mean to you, in dollars and cents? The bottom line is unknowable. Is it the annual salary you get just going from college to career? Is it the sum total of every job you ever have? The truth is, this is your million dollar opportunity – and a phone interview is often where it starts. Many companies will opt for a phone interview before meeting candidates face-to-face, so you must be prepared for this part of the process from the day you start your search. Ideally, a few sessions with a great Interview Coach will prepare you better than anything else. But here are 3 quick tips to help you get a good start, just in case an opportunity comes up on day 1 of your search.

#1. Have your 30-second commercial fully prepared, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Then, put a mirror on the wall in front of you or on the desk so you can see yourself during the interview. SMILE!  Believe me, people can hear a smile through the telephone – and no one wants to hire someone who doesn’t have a great attitude.

 #2. If you are nervous, walk around with the phone to your ear. This will help to release some nervous energy. One of my most nervous coaching clients used a headset and paced around her office during the interview. She said that this helped her concentrate and released her nervous energy so it did not come through her voice on the phone.

#3. Practice, practice, practice!  Nothing takes the place of a great Interview Coach, but practicing interviewing over the telephone with your friends and family is at least a starting point. Set up a time and ask them to comment on your voice and speech qualities as you answer mock questions you provide them beforehand. Why not record the interview and play it back for yourself? You can use a web-based service to accomplish this easily, like www.freeconferencecall.com.

A word of caution: Be 100% sure you keep a list of the names and titles of everyone you speak with. You need to send a thank you to each one of them. If you don’t want to ask a potential employer how to spell his or her name, call back and ask the receptionist for the correct spelling. Before you hang up, ask about the next step in the process.

 

(For more information on this, please see questions to ask the employer in my book, Job Interview Skills 101).

 

Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classing mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

The Telephone Interview – 3 Tips to Success

September 12, 2012 by  
Filed under General

In today’s virtual world, many companies will opt for a phone interview before meeting their short list of candidates in person. Here are 3 tips to help you succeed at that step of the interview process.

#1. Make sure your voicemail message is professional. Here’s an example to use as a guideline: “Hi, you have reached Ellyn Enisman. Your call is important to me, so please leave your name and number and I will return your call as soon as possible.”

#2. Be Prepared! If an employer calls unexpectedly and asks if you have time to interview at that very moment, ask to reschedule. You want to have everything you need in front of you and be prepared. It is okay to say that you are not in a place where you can speak openly and ask to schedule a time and date that would be convenient for them.

#3. Set the Stage. Be sure you’re in a quiet place with no distractions. You’ll want to have a glass of water nearby and to sit at a desk and have your resume, interview prep notes and the job descriptions readily available to you at all times. Be sure to dress the part! Take the time to put on your business suit just as you would for an in-person interview. This will prepare you mentally and physically to be at your very best.

A word of caution: Be Fully Prepared! Ideally, you should have a file folder for each job you have applied to. In that file should be a copy of the job description and your four-column list of what they are looking for, how you match that skill, and scenarios to back up your answers. I cover this extensively in my book, Job Interview Skills 101 (in the section on preparing for the interview). Your resume should be out as well, along with a pen and blank paper. Any other information about the company should be taken out of the file and placed on the desk as well, in case you need to access it. Also, have your list of questions to ask the employer already prepared and at your fingertips. Ideally, a few sessions with a great Interview Coach will prepare you better than anything else for this step in your process. Making the time and investment in that coach could be the most important decision of your life.
Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

Dress the Part

September 5, 2012 by  
Filed under General

So you’ve landed the interview for your dream job, with the celebrations aside – it’s time to prepare for the big day! Now you’re most likely an inch shy from being a nervous wreck and jitters are only natural. Still, with all those anxious feelings you cannot forget the lessons you have learned through Job Interview Skills 101.

In all the rush and excitement of preparing your defined responses to the key questions and making sure all you’re paperwork is in order; there is ONE huge aspect that many of us tend to let slip by! To some this may seem to be a very minute detail and until you read Ellyn’s book, I’m sure you may have been guilty of a few rules! (I know I was.)

But I am a big believer in showing up and showing up looking the part, is just as crucial as being on time!

First impressions are everything in life

Consider your interview as an audition for the lead role in a movie and you are the star!
On paper – your resume and portfolio will sell; your personality and charm will sell as well. But none of that can compare to your self esteem! If you look good, you will feel good and that is the total package!

Remember to keep professional but also remember to dress the part for the industry you will be interviewing with. You never want to be over the top, but you do not want to hide behind the seams of an ensemble that isn’t really you! Stay true to yourself and now that a company will not discriminate based upon your appearance. However it is much preferred your appearance not be a distraction or even worse, what you were remembered for!

Another phase of this process to keep in mind is head to toe maintenance for both males and females! Ask your mom, a friend or even ask the salesman! But you MUST have someone “proof read” your chosen ensemble and to answer any questions you might have. Upholding your personal sense of style is important to you, but also remember to keep along with the standards of what each industry requires. Some industries are very forgiving and will allow you to come in bold and making a statement; where others will prefer that you tone it down and keep the colors neutral or muted.

Remember that flashy is not always classy!  No matter the industry you will interview with, professionalism is the most imperative. You want to exude all aspects of confidence and appearance will be your starting point. It may be the easiest part of the interview process but success has to start somewhere! With a few helpful tips and reminders you should be well on your way to feeling like a million bucks and a few steps closer to your career!

 

Stephanie Badalamenti


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

Want to Win at Interviewing? Make Sure You Have the Right Recipe!

August 29, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Getting a job today is the result of serious, skillful planning and investigation, top-notch preparation, and bucket loads of confidence. If this overwhelms you, it should. Quite simply, your future is not something to take for granted. As an Interview Coach, I’ve dealt with professionals and students at every point in their career paths, and I understand that it’s never stress free when you’re looking for your next best opportunity.

At its core, there are simple pieces to this complicated puzzle of building a career. They are the ingredients you will need to be ready for any job interview, at any point in your professional development. Helping you to have those ingredients ready and at your fingertips is why I wrote my book, Job Interview Skills 101.

What do you need to have ready before you pick out your clothing or shine your shoes? Here’s a brief checklist to consider before you walk out the door. For most of these you will want to refer to my book, Job Interview Skills 101. *And remember, a few sessions with an Interview Coach can make a lifetime of difference!  Here’s your checklist:

A Well-prepared resume

Your “30-second commercial”

Complete and thorough knowledge of your experiences

Seven stories / experiences that you know thoroughly

Solid knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses

The job description

A portfolio or examples of work you have done

A writing sample

 

A word of caution: Remember to keep confidentiality at the forefront of anything you consider providing. If your work samples contain financial information or competitive information, or even the name of a company, these should be removed from all of your examples. If necessary, you can explain that you removed them because you wanted to honor the confidentiality of that company.

Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

Want the job? Ask for the Inside Scoop!

August 22, 2012 by  
Filed under General

The more you know about each company, the job description, the company’s services and projects, its history, latest news, accomplishments, its mission, vision, and values, the better you will be able to sell yourself as someone who is qualified for the job and can make a true contribution to the company. Does that sound like a tall order?  You bet it is, but in today’s competitive market, there’s no better investment you can make than knowing as much as you can and being prepared for a great interview, should the opportunity arise.

Here are a few online tips to help you gather as much information as you can about the position and the company:

One great source of easily accessible information is LinkedIn. Search the company name and you will find people who work there or who have worked there. Don’t connect to anyone on Linkedin without taking their tutorials first – there are rules about connecting and you want to be sure you abide by them and do not jeopardize your own presence. Instead, find them on Google and email them (I suggest former employees) and ask for their advice and insight. However, if they don’t respond, move on. If they do respond, ask them about the culture, tell them you are very interested in the company and will soon be interviewing for a position. People are always willing to help when you ask for advice. In addition look at their profiles. You may find someone who is in the same position you are interviewing for in another location or someone who had your position and has been promoted. You may also find someone who worked at the company previously.

Likewise, check Facebook for a company page and check to see if anyone is Tweeting about the company on Twitter.

A word of caution: You must tread lightly here. You don’t want to be viewed as a stalker, hounding people who work at the company where you are interviewing. Keep your professionalism and respect appropriate boundaries at all times.

Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

Busting the BS of the Job Search and Interview – Part Three

August 15, 2012 by  
Filed under General

This Guest Post was written by Heather Markel, Chief BullBusting Officer (CBO) of The BullBuster Café and The BullBuster Boardroom.

This is part three of my bull-busting strategies to take you forward in your search.  Helping people bust through their BS to create better lives is my mission, and when it comes to job searching and interviewing, you need every tool available to help you stand out in the crowd and get noticed. Today’s Bull Buster is one of the most important to shatter to pieces.


THE BIGGEST BS – You only need one resume.

The Truth – If you are applying for different positions, you need one resume per position / title.

The Reality – You need to make it quick and easy for a potential hiring manager to understand that you have the skillset they need.  Also, if you are still sending your resume in any electronic method, it will be sent through a keyword tracker.  If you wrote down that you took a class in “Managing Projects” and the job title you’re applying for is “Project Manager,” your resume is going in the virtual garbage.

The Strategy – Carefully read each job announcement.  It’s your guide to many of the keywords you should be using in your resume.  (Of course – only use those words if you have that experience!)  When you list what you feel are your most valuable skills, make sure to define them in the context of the specific position for which you’re applying.  Make sure that if you’re applying for, say a sales and a marketing position, that each resume is specific to only the skills relevant for sales or marketing.

Take the time to craft your resume to match each and every position you apply for and you will find far more success.  Once you get the interview, you will have a chance to shine – but getting the interview is definitely worth the extra five minutes this will take you.

 

Heather Markel is the Chief BullBusting Officer (CBO) of The BullBuster Café and The BullBuster Boardroom.  You can learn more about her, and BullBusting strategies at www.bustyourbull.com

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PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classing mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

Busting the BS of the Job Search and Interview – Part Two

August 8, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Helping people bust through their BS to create better lives is not easy.  As The BullBuster, it is my mission to help, and when it comes to job searching and interviewing, believe me, the BS is holding you back. Here are two vital, bull-busting strategies you need to implement ASAP to take you forward in your search.  Let’s face it: If you want to get a response to the resumes you are sending out and land the job, then it’s time to empower yourself with the truth.


#1. THE BS – A job search involves only sending resumes out or submitting them online and waiting for a response.

The Truth – Everyone can send a resume, so you need to give yourself an edge over your competition.

The Reality – You have to get yourself in front of people in order to gain the competitive edge. It goes without saying that follow-up and persistence are a must.  If you’re waiting for people to contact you, I hope someone else is paying your rent and food bill, you’re in for a long wait!

The Strategy – Attend qualified networking events that allow you to mingle with people from the company in which you want to work, or the position you aspire to (for instance, sales managers, project managers, etc.)  These people do not have to be the hiring managers!  You can ask them about their company, what they do there and who they recommend you speak to in order to learn more about the company and available positions.  This is known as an informal interview.  Your goal is always to get another contact, until, eventually, you are part of a formal job interview process.  For more networking tips (and a good laugh) check out the networking video at http://thebullbustercafe.com/networking-is-all-about-me

#2. THE BS – The interview is a one-way street.

The Truth – An interview is very much a two-way-street; an opportunity for the company to determine if you are the right candidate, and the chance for you to see if the job is a match for your skillset and your passion.

The Reality – An interview is like a first date.  If you don’t ask questions and express genuine interest and curiosity about the company that’s hiring you, you won’t be invited back.

The Strategy – Always walk into an interview with at least 10 questions about the company and the position.  Think of concepts like learning about the company’s overall mission and how your job fits into it.  How will your work be evaluated?  Where can you hope to be in 2 – 5 years and what internal opportunities exist for growth?


Heather Markel is the Chief BullBusting Officer (CBO) of The BullBuster Café and The BullBuster Boardroom.  You can learn more about her, and BullBusting strategies at
www.bustyourbull.com

 

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PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classing mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

Busting the BS of the Job Search and Interview – Part One

August 2, 2012 by  
Filed under General

This Guest Post was written by Heather Markel, Chief BullBusting Officer (CBO) of The BullBuster Café and The BullBuster Boardroom.

As The BullBuster, it is my mission to help people bust through their BS to better their lives.  When it comes to job searching and interviewing, I think there’s a lot of BS we believe or use to describe our search.  This leads to a low volume of booked interviews and low hiring rates.  If you want to get a response to the resumes you are sending out and land the job, then it’s time to empower yourself with the truth.  Here are two top areas where BS is holding you back and the strategies you need to implement to take you forward:

#1. THE BS – You’ve sent out “tons” of resumes and no one is responding.

The Truth – You’ve sent out 10 – 20 resumes over the last month.

The Reality – You have a lot of competition, so you won’t get a response to the majority of the resumes and cover letters you send out.  In this case, “tons” should be measured by day, not week, and not month.  When you’re out to market yourself, assume you’ll get about 2 – 5 responses per 100 resumes you send out.  If you do better, that’s fantastic, but with this expectation, you can begin to understand what “tons” really means!

The Strategy – Send out a minimum of 5 – 10 resumes a day, over a one month period, and you might actually get a couple of responses.


#2. THE BS – You really have sent out 100 resumes in the last week or month and can’t understand why no one is responding.

The Truth – You’ve used the same strategy with every resume – you go to a company’s website and submit your resume via their online resume submission service, or you send your resume to the HR Department.

The Reality – You’ve just sent all your resumes to someone else’s garbage can.  With the job market being this tight, the two strategies above make it easy for an employer to weed out lazy people they don’t want to hire from the cream of the crop.  You should NEVER submit your resume online unless you can answer this question, “What is the first and last name, and telephone number of the person who will receive my resume once I click the Submit button?”

The Strategy – Use the company’s website to track down the hiring manager for the job you want to apply for.  If you can’t find a name, then find the headquarters location, call the main number, and ask for the contact information of the hiring manager for the position you want.  Ideally, get their email and email them your resume directly. Then follow up within one week with another email asking if you can set up an appointment.

Heather Markel is the Chief BullBusting Officer (CBO) of The BullBuster Café and The BullBuster Boardroom.  You can learn more about her, and BullBusting strategies at www.bustyourbull.com

 

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PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classing mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at
http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

Help The Interviewer Hire You

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under General

12 Tips For College Grads Class of 2012
Secret: (The Interviewer Wants You To Be Great)

Good news for the class of 2012! The job market has improved over last year and college grads will be hired more this year than last year. That being said, the competition is fierce and if you want the job, you need to help the interviewer hire you!

What do I mean by that?

Well, think about it. How long does the interviewer spend with you in the interview? It’s common for first interviews to last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. You have had four years of college education loaded with projects and papers, one or more internships, and most likely some work experiences. The interviewer has 30 minutes to 1 hour to find out if those education experiences, internships, and work experiences have given you the skills that match what the company is looking for.

Add to that, the personal attributes they are seeking and there is no way an interviewer can find out everything they need to know about you in 30 minutes to an hour! It’s up to you to…HELP THEM HIRE YOU!

Let’s look at the situation. The interviewer comes to the interview armed with criteria and the need for information about you. You come to the interview with all your knowledge, skills, experiences, and personal attributes and want to prove you are a great candidate for the job. Now I have been recruiting for many years and I can assure you that the interviewer wants you to be great. Whenever, I go out to greet a candidate in the waiting area, I am thinking, no, actually I am praying: “I hope this candidate is great, then I can move on to fill my next position.”
Here is the caveat: The interviewer wants to learn about you and they can only do that through hearing about your stories of your experiences. Your experiences are specific to you and they make you unique. They tell the employer why YOU are a great fit for the job. The interviewer may not remember your name but they will remember you by your stories.

Here are 12 tips to be great and HELP THEM HIRE YOU!

1. Decode the job description. Decoding the job description is a skill I teach all my college students and new grads. Read the job description 3 times. Once to get an overview. Twice to look for knowledge, skills, and attributes, and the third time to circle each skill, attribute, and education requirement. What you have circled is what the interviewer will be looking for in the answers you give to their questions.

2. Read the company’s entire website. Here you will find clues about the type of people that work there, things that are happening within the company, the latest news and bios of leadership and more. You should get a feel for the company’s culture as well. Be sure to thoroughly read the careers section, as here you will often find more skills and attributes desired.

3. Look for the interviewer and other key execs of the company on LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s always helpful to know something about whom you will be interviewed by. LinkedIn will give you insight to their career progression. Twitter may give you info on what they are interested in and also info about the company. Many companies are committed to social responsibility, you may learn more about that on twitter.

4. Match your knowledge, skills, and attributes to the requirements. List each skill, attribute and education requirement. This is you beginning to identify how you fit the position. Next to each skill, attribute, and education requirement write what you have that matches it.

5. Build Your Stories. Next to each skill, attribute, and education requirement, write the experience/story that you have that describes how you have that requirement. Each story has the STAR component. S=situation: describe the situation, T=task: what did you have to do? A=action: what action did you take?, R=result: what was the result you achieved.

Example: Skill: excellent customer service,
Story: resolving the complaints of a customer who
Was angry that the item she bought broke.
To complete this, write out the entire story using STAR.

6. Have a minimum of seven stories. If you have 7 stories that cover all the skills, attributes, and education criteria, you should be able to answer any question the interviewer asks you. Repeat # 4 and # 5 for every skill, attribute, and education requirement.

7. Compose your 30-second commercial. This is the answer to tell me about yourself. It should include: Who you are, what you have done, what your strengths are, and what you are looking for. It should speak to the job description.

8. Practice your 30-second commercial. That’s right. Practice saying your 30-second commercial in front of the mirror 100 times until you have it down. Even if you forget some of it when answering the question, practicing it will allow you to get most of it out.

9. List your strengths that match the job description. Forget strengths, like I am a hard worker, or I like working with people. Interviewers are tired of those and they don’t tell anything about you. You have a lot of strengths, but it’s important to pinpoint yours as they relate to the job description. Make a note of which of your 7 stories proves that you have each strength.

10. Know your weakness. Forget weaknesses that everyone says like, I am a perfectionist. The interviewer wants to know that you know what challenges you have and how you work around them. One of my clients was president of her sorority, and she noticed that she made decisions too quickly with less than great outcomes. Knowing that about herself, she now forces herself to sleep on a decision before she acts. As a result, she makes better decisions now. She had a story that depicted how she realized this challenge and how she made the change. This was a memorable answer that showed her insight to herself and her ability to make changes.

11. Prepare questions for the interviewer in advance. Write out questions for the interviewer before you go to the interview. This is the answer to “What questions do you have for me?” It is okay to say that you did some research before the interview and wrote a few questions down. It shows your interest.

12. Always tell the truth. You must always tell the truth. Use real stories of real experiences. Most often you will get follow up questions to your answers and if your story isn’t real it will be obvious to the employer.

So how does this HELP THE INTERVIEWER HIRE YOU?

When your stories depict the skills, attributes, and education criteria that match the job, you make it easy for the interviewer to see that you are a perfect fit for the job. The interviewer doesn’t have to work hard to figure out if you have what is needed, you will be highlighting it the whole time during the interview. Your stories will create a memory of you long past the interviewer. So don’t wait for the interviewer to do all the work. Do it for them and HELP THEM HIRE YOU!

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