Tag Archives: Interview

7 signs you’re on the way out at the interview…

We have all experienced it…just walked out of a job interview with an empty feeling…what on Earth has happened here?

You are not alone…interviews are a dynamic process…like a growing organism that changes indefinitely…not really knowing what it will metamorphosis into. However, nature has given us a tool called the gut feeling and we all have it within us to feel our way through an interview. Some are naturally gifted at recognising the cues at an interview and some take a little longer to grasp it….but if you can tune into it…then it’s a great barometer of interview success.

Here are some cues I think you will find useful in determining your gut feel during a job interview that are most common with recruiters…even the better ones give it away!

  1. The recruiters eyes start to wander off into the never-never and there is alack of interest…preferring to look at an ugly print on the wall instead.
  2. The recruiter appears to be distracted by text messages on his phone…what on Earth must be so important they can’t put the phone away?
  3. One of the recruiters sends a signal to the other recruiter to wind it up…a kick under the table or a secret comment or code appears to have been ingeniously executed..they must think we are stupid and have not noticed!
  4. You are not asked about your salary expectations or notice period…and that is because they don’t like you and it’s not important anymore.
  5. There is no subtle banter or laughter around the table…its strictly business…and lets get this process out-of-the-way and move onto the next candidate.
  6. The interview has been cut short to a point where it is not possible to make an assessment any longer…in which case it was not really an interview in the first place but a tick the box to show the successful candidate was selected from a short-list.
  7. The recruiter has wound up the interview by informing you…we have more candidates to interview next week and will determine fit after that and come back to you with the outcome…oh really…you may as well tell the candidate they are out of the process and not inflate their optimism!

So next time you’re at a job interview and you’re feeling you’re on the way out…you are probably right! Move on and use it as an experience…there is sure to be another interview around the corner.

How becoming a maze runner improved my job search…

maze 1

Most of us have seen the movie Maze Runner…young boys pitted in a futuristic experiment where they are conditioned to fear the maze. They are gripped by obstacles, threats and unrelenting fear to navigate  a maze that would eventually take them to the other side, and free them from their current surreal incarceration…and so the the story goes.

So what has this got to do with job search…have I completely lost my marbles and my expertise in practical job search techniques? Just stick to the routine I hear you say…keep with the script!

In my book, How to Find a Job in 6 Weeks, I discuss managing the myriad of employment agencies and their respective consultants during your job search. Just like another famous movie western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, it’s precisely what your going to encounter. Some employment agencies and their consultants are terrific at managing the relationship with applicants…and some are just plain terrible.

There are reasons for such a diversity in the level of service…and it comes down to one thing only…care factor. The better employment agencies care about you as a person and also help manage your career aspirations. They understand they are dealing with an important and sensitive issue around your professional and career advancement. Looking for a job can effect family, income and social status along the way. Dealing emphatically with these needs rather than just a name on an application form is what makes the difference. Some of the excuses you hear are centered around time versus effort and reward. That is, employment consultants can’t respond to every applicant personally because they are time poor and don’t have the resources. They need to get top candidates in front of clients quickly and strike while the irons hot… so they can make commission. It’s an economic reality driven by highly incentivised agents and the pressures associated with hitting targets. Understanding this reality will help you better manage your job search so that you don’t get too frustrated with the lack of care and attention you may receive as you navigate the job search maze.

On the flip side, the are employment agencies that manage the job search process much better and will dedicate some time in assisting with your career aspirations. They understand every candidate is a marketing prospect and a potential client in the future. They are just not spending time with you for the sake of it…they are fully aware of the future benefits of a satisfied job seeker with their business. In some cases, I have met employment consultants that really care about you as a person and genuinely try to provide whatever assistance they can to help you achieve you objective.

maze 2

So what does this mean to you as a job seeker? Here are some tips to help you manage your aspirations when dealing with employment agencies:

  1. Choose employment agencies you want to deal with when registering for work that are closer aligned with your values and career expectations…employment agencies compete heavily for recruitment assignments that are often outsourced by companies to multiple agencies
  2. Understand that not one employment agency has a monopoly on the job market or sector, and they don’t have a bucket load of jobs to tap into
  3. You should seek feedback after you have invested time in a recruitment process and been unsuccessful…you may be denied feedback…however, you have a right to some clarity if you can get it because it will assist your learning and help you develop your job search skills
  4. Unless you have been treated unfairly and there have been breaches to your rights…if you have not had a good experience, just move on and don’t let it get to you as more opportunities will present themselves in the future.
  5. Build good relationships with employment consultants that share your values and are prepared to respect and assist you along the way.

Employment agencies…friend or foe? As you navigate the job search maze and just like the maze runner…there is a new beginning when you finally get there. Keep your spirits up and focus on overcoming the obstacles in front of you in the best way you can. Job search is a temporary process and eventually we all find jobs and move onto the next chapter in our career.

 

How to avoid being swindled at the job interview?

Swindled

Job Interview Swindler

It can happen to the best of professionals. The company representative or recruiter will create an illusion of grandeur unsurpassed with promises they can’t keep. They feed on your hunger to be wanted, loved, and appreciated for every little bit you stand for. And you say to yourself, “my boss does not treat me like this…these guys must be great to work for.” It’s a facade that is well presented and immaculately served to you on a platter in a way that you can not see the rotting truth underneath.

Yes my dear friends, it has happened to me also. Sucked in by the charisma of the moment and the adrenalin rush that overwhelms you straight after. We are taken off to a place, la la land, where we think we’re in such demand that we are now invincible. At this point, we are blindly about to be swindled! The only catch is  your career is at stake and your future prosperity is about to take a nose dive. Oh yes, lets not underestimate the costly mistake you have made by choosing the wrong job,  Your boss turns out to be totally opposite to his projection and profile and is a psycho in waiting with massive mood swings. The organisational culture is sick and suffering from the ravages of primal behavior and fear. You have gotten yourself into a fine mess and your strategy now turns to exiting the business before you are jettisoned yourself.

It did not have to be like this and precautionary action could have been taken prior to accepting the job. There are a number of things you could have done before accepting the job offer as part of your job search routine. It’s about stealth researching and getting underneath the nose of the bullshit you have been told at the interview to find out the truth. Research is more than just reading the annual report or articles in the press. Anyway, most companies pay to be written up well as part of their marketing strategy. You need to go deeper and talk to people in the industry who know the machinations of the company.

Speak to people who understand the industry you are about to enter and their views about the company you are about to join as an employee. You will find out the stuff  between the lines and what is underneath the cracks. What is the leadership team really like and how are their values and behaviors? What about the culture of the workplace and are the employees happy? Has employee turnover been high and why? Do they have a good safety record, and if not, why are people being hurt? Always remember that good companies are judged by the way they behave when things are not going well with an employee, and not just when they are performing magnificently. I say this because we all have our difficult moments in work life and rough patches at times. We are not made perfect and organisations that can help you when the chips are down, and get you back on your feet performing at the right level, are better to work for than those that will spit you out.

Then it gets really tough and you want to find out more about your boss and your bosses boss. We are considering not just their projection and profile but how they manage people in the workplace. What is their management style really like and how do they generally behave in difficult circumstances? What would their direct reports say about them and describe their attributes altogether? Finding this out will be worth its weight in gold as it may prevent you from making a costly career decision later on. Remember, you are making a fundamental decision at an interview. To choose the company you want to work for for many years to come, progress you career and grow your capability during this time.

There is a website you can research company reviews by past and current employees that remain anonymous, at glassdoor.com.au with over 4 million review so far. I wish I had knowledge about his web site previously before accepting job offers. It would have rounded off my research nicely and assisted me before getting swindled at the job interview!

 

‘Jobs go to those that are good at getting jobs’ – Job Myth of Fact?

Interview Outfit 1

Interview Outfit 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what are the secrets to job success? Do jobs really go to those that are good at getting jobs?

Lets bust this job myth open and uncover some key ingredients that elite job hunters use in their skill set to propel them to the top of the pile.

How critical it is today for employers to ensure they can achieve a quality match during the recruitment process when screening possible candidates. Your projection and profile may be the only thing left standing when applicants of equal ability are key contenders for a job. Your ability to align with corporate values and mission statements is essential. Companies will want you to be an extension of their corporate profile and you will be measured on your ability to fit the mold.

If you can obtain information on the corporate values of the company you are attending an interview for and can translate that into your profile, then you have a definite edge.

Research the founder of the company and what type of person they are. See if you can obtain articles on the company and write-ups on the CEO. Is the company older, traditional and more conservative or is it a new, vibrant and an entrepreneurial business? Do your homework and get that edge on other candidates.

You will be asked questions at interviews that seek to project your personal, business and professional profiles. Employers are always interested in your profiles as part of trying to establish a key match. For example does your professional profile match the organizational profile and corporate culture? Here are questions you may encounter that focus on your profiles:

  1. How would you describe yourself?
  2. How would people you work with describe you?
  3. How would your superiors describe you?

During the interview process, try wherever practicable to reflect on your personal and professional profiles in your responses to interview questions.

Personal Profile

Professional Profile

 

Reliability

Drive

Honesty

Motivation

Pride

Communication skills

Dedication

Team-player

Analytical skills

Energy

Listening

Confidence

Integrity

Determination

During the interview, it is good practice to add to your personal and professional profile by reflecting on your business profile. Your business profile is an indication of your work ethics. Companies are always interested in the prospective candidate’s work ethics and will consider various behaviours such as getting to work on time and working late if required.

Interviewers will test your ability to get tasks done more efficiently and economically by thinking of improved ways of doing things. Companies also have rules and standards called procedures and they expect employees to follow these rules all the time whilst performing their daily activities. The bottom line is about money and companies are profit-making organisations, so your ability to contribute to business profit growth will be considered positively by employers.

Build your business profile into your answer to interview questions wherever possible. The following is a list of the key business profiles you should consider:

  1. Efficiency
  2. Economy
  3. Procedures
  4. Profit

So there you have it…what elite job hunters practice as their key ingredient for success…they have a self awareness of their projection and profile and how it translates into a compelling business profile. Its about seeking a quality fit with the organisation and its culture. This is how jobs go to those that are good at getting jobs.

Resume Resurrection…bringing it back to life?

If you have come to this page thinking you are about to discover a new age religion that was lost and found within the depths of the deep Amazon jungle…I’m sorry…you may have to move on to another category!

This post is truly about resumes and how you can dust the cobwebs of your existing template and bring it back to life…resurrect them as part of an ongoing career plan. That is, im assuming you can remember where you keep your resume? Is it In a forgotten file path on your PC or dusting away in the confines of a cabinet draw with other unrelated documents?

So why should you bother? Have you not got enough to think about already? Now the author wants you to develop a career plan amongst all other things. Let me bring this terrible tragedy of the resurrected resume to an end and encourage you to at least consider the benefits of keeping your you profile document up to date.

I have been resurrecting my resume for many years in a way that is less time-consuming than you think…I will explain how to go about it…The best time to resurrect your resume is when you are on leave from work and usually during the Christmas break. You are relaxed and not in constant demand from work and other activities. All of a sudden you have some time up your sleeve to ponder about your future. Yes…its New Year and everyone becomes retrospective about what they did and what they want to be doing better. Your brain is fertile ground for reviewing you resume with the future in mind because you are in the zone, and heaven forbid, you may even be creative and adventurous.

Resumes

Resumes (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Find your old resume document, wherever it is, print out a hardcopy, grab your favourite drink and just look at it for a while. It’s probably out of date, and does not have your current achievements listed. Be critical…is it a true reflection of your projection and profile? If you were a recruiter in your field would you give this person a job?

Spend no more that an hour and pencil in your changes. We all have to set objectives at work every year and then measure our performance against them during the performance review process. This is where you will find your new achievements for your resume.. You only need 2-3 significant objectives that can demonstrate how you contributed to solving Company problems each year. So you don’t even have to think about developing new achievements for your resume. They already exist during the course of your work and all you need to do is to paste them into your resume. So the job is done and it only took around an hour of your time.

So you are still sceptical about this and need more convincing. Let me offer some words of wisdom which is about as close as you will get to a new age religion from me today. Expect the unexpected in life, one day during your career, either yourself or your boss will decide that you need to part ways and move on. It may not happen today or next year, or maybe not for the next 5 years, but being prepared with you career plan will grow your confidence during this difficult time. Because you are in a state of preparedness rather than panic-stricken and anxious.

And how can we not be prepared for ambitious recruitment consultants that head hunt candidates for a living. Maybe you will be approached one day, and I can assure you that the first thing they will ask you for is an updated resume because they need to move quickly on your candidature. Again, it’s about your state of preparedness.

How to Apply Emotional Intelligence (EI) at Interviews

I recently attended a workshop in Melbourne during Human Resources Week on Emotional Intelligence (EI). What was interesting about this event, besides the topic on hand, was the

number of human resources professionals present.  It was the most attended workshop throughout the whole week and I was astonished to see the amount of interest that Emotional Intelligence conjured among our professionals.

Perhaps human resources practitioners can relate to this concept better than other professions due to the humanistic element that Emotional Intelligence proposes.  Another factor that is influencing human resources practitioners in taking up the concepts of Emotional Intelligence, is that it can be applied at the recruitment stage, as a predictor of success and as a measure of intelligence.

A growing body of research suggests that Emotional Intelligence is a better predictor of success than more traditional measures. It may be the single most important factor that leverages the success of people and characterizes those individuals with the right stuff. Research also indicates that whilst your level of IQ contributes 20% of your success, another 36% can be attributed to your Emotional Intelligence (EI). At least 90% of the difference between outstanding and average leaders is related to Emotional Intelligence (EI) and explains why some people excel while others of the same caliber lag behind.

Well here it is, in the disguise of Emotional Intelligence. Recruiters will commence changing selection criteria for vacant positions to include Emotional Intelligence (EI) competencies and new behavioral questions will be developed to extract your level of (EI) at the interview.

There are also assessments already developed to test your level of Emotional Intelligence during the selection process developed by Genos Pty Ltd. To find out more about these testing products, got to www.genos.com.au

You may find sitting a pre-employment test to measure your Emotional Intelligence (EI) among a suite of other tests usually conducted to measure your abilities.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)
It is the street smart or intuition in you. Reflecting your ability to deal successfully with other people, your feelings, and your everyday work and social environment.

Ever since the publication of Daniel Goldman first book on the topic in 1995, Emotional Intelligence has become one of the most talked and written about influencers of personal and business success.

Applying (EI) at Interviews
When you are preparing for your interview, consider the following elements of Emotional Intelligence (EI) that you should demonstrate or incorporate into your answers to interview questions.

There are 5 competencies that recruiters will apply in measuring your Emotional Intelligence (EI) as follows:

  1. Emotional Recognition and Expression (in oneself)
  2. Understanding Others Emotions
  3. Emotions Influence Learning, Thinking and Decision Making
  4. Emotional Management
  5. Emotional Self Control 

How to negotiate your salary upwards at least 10% during the job offer

If you are on the verge of securing another position in a different organisation then you are probably in a position to negotiate your package up by at least 10%. This is on the basis your new role is on a comparable basis or perhaps senior to the one you perform now. I say this because you must take advantage of two things:

  1.  Market value for your profession
  2.  Initial type of interest in you.

One key point to remember is that once you accept a new role and enter an organisation, your ability to secure higher wages is diminished. You will fall back on the organisation’s performance appraisal and salary review process. My advice is that the best time to secure a more substantial increase is at the negotiating table before you accept a new job.

You are in the best negotiating position at this time and it is unlikely a similar negotiating position will arise once you are employed.

Let’s look at market value initially. Every job has a band in terms of market rate and you could cut that band into four parts. Your knowledge, experience, industry, location and market labour economics. That is, supply and demand will determine your positioning on the higher and lower end of the band.

This is a bit of a handful, but you should be aware that jobs in the city would pay better than country regional positions for similar jobs. Also, that your position on the band may vary between industries as some industries pay better than others because of the market segment they are in an. So there are many factors you must weigh up to determine your position on the band.

English: Average salaries of faculty of Califo...

A quick and easy way to determine your market value is to get a hold of expensive salary surveys and reports. Employer associations, larger employment agencies and private organisations such as Hay Group prepare such salary surveys. The problem with this is that the majority of this information is not free, particularly, if you want it to be up-to-date and specific to your position.

These reports are updated regularly and show movements in market rates by classification based on a number of factors. This is the information the professionals have when determining your rate during the interview process. Another cheaper way for you to determine market rates is to look for job advertisements in your profession and establish your own market salary band. I find that sometimes this is even more accurate than the salary surveys and a true reflection of the market place. When investigating your market rate, talk to employment consultants who are privy to this information.

Develop an information base dependent upon location, experience, industry, benefits and salary to form your own market rate. In other words, educate yourself as you would when buying a car or a home to establish market rates. This is important when negotiating salaries because you do not want to sell yourself short.

A good resource to get up-to-date salary survey information is contained at the Hays Consulting Website, http://www.hays.com.au/salary/index.asp

Here you can search for industry average salary information for your profession. The service is called Salary Check and it contains a Salary and Recruitment Survey.

Another excellent website with Australian wages and salary information worth visiting is

http://www.wages.com.au/

The following table is a good example of a salary band for an Accounts Payable Clerk. Notice the band split into four quartiles with accompanying rates of pay for those quartiles. Try to establish which quartile you are located in and then try to move to the next quartile during salary negotiations. It is not unusual for a successful candidate to move up two quartile dependent on industry and other factors.

Your ultimate goal is to reach quartile 4 and then look at promotion to a more senior position such as Accounts Payable Manager.

Salary Band (Australian Dollars)

Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4
On Commencement  (1-12 months) Some experience
(1-3 years)
Experienced
(3-5 Years)
Achievable
Salary Target
$22,000-$24,000 $24,000-$25,500 $25,500-$27,000 $27,000-$29,000