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Do you warm up before a job interview?

warming-up

Your on your way to an important interview first thing in the morning and navigating through some stiff traffic. Your listening to your favorite morning radio program and having some laughs along the way. Some drivers have cut-in front of you inappropriately, while trying to steal the last meter of territory you have managed to obtain through some tricky and skillful driving. You share your opinion of their driving standards in the usual manner by sign language and other unpleasant expressions of the not so kind variety. No need to worry about the interview for now…you will cross that bridge when you arrive at the employers premises. In the meantime, you have some personal objectives to achieve such as testing the limits of your road rage and the amount of points you have scored against inferior drivers.

The interview is worth a major promotion to you and a 10-20% increase in salary with a highly reputable company. It’s the third and final meeting with the CEO, and as far as you are aware, there are 2 candidates remaining for this highly regarded and well sought position. Have you prepared appropriately for this meeting? Have you given yourself every chance to succeed or are you just going in cold and hoping your personality and experience will pull you through? Anyway, this employer really wants you and how could they not resist hiring some one of your reputable professional talents.

Sports athletes prepare meticulously before an event. Musicians and television performers go through a managed routine to ensure they are stage ready to deliver an immaculate performance. Stunt drivers plan every centimeter of their task execution in intricate detail to ensure they survive the dangers of their harrowing ordeal. However, I have lost count the amount of times i have seen job candidates come to an interview unprepared thinking their smarts is going to wing-it through the process. Why do they think they are so good that they can outperform at the interview with very little preparation?

Lets go back to the early morning driver and reverse the situation. You have turned off the radio and left home 20 minutes earlier, driving patiently in a reasonable way, and not concerned too much about other drivers.  You have prepared a number of practice interview questions and have jotted them down to trigger your memory and activate your thought processes. Preparing your mind about what’s ahead at the interview and silently role-playing answers aloud or in your thoughts will give you an edge. Elite athletes use this method of role-playing and visioning in preparation for the real thing when the match commences.

Here are a list of ten warm-up questions you can role-play on your way to the job interview to stretch the mind and put you in a state of readiness whether it’s the first or final interview;

  1. What attracted you to this position and why do you think you are a good fit for the role?
  2. What do you know about our Company?
  3. Provide me with a brief overview of your work history by focusing on your key areas of expertise?
  4. Provide me an example of a difficult situation at work and how you resolved this issue? What were the key steps you took to achieve a satisfactory outcome?
  5. What are the 3 things you enjoy doing most at work and why?
  6. What are your career objectives for the next 5 years?
  7. Why are you seeking to leave your current job?
  8. Can you give an example where you have made an improvement to a process at work and how you went about achieving this?
  9. How would others describe your work style and work ethic?
  10. Are there any questions you would like to ask about our business and the job?

Warm-up before the interview…when travelling to work in the car, bus or train. Alternatively, grab a coffee before the interview and find a quiet location to sit down. Warm-up by jotting down bullet point answer to the warm-up questions provided. It should not take more than 20 minutes…and be in a state of ultimate preparedness that will give you the edge and outperform at the 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.

Exposing the hidden job market…elaborate marketing myth or fact?

So what is the mystery of the hidden job market that has us in raptures and clinging to a sea of job opportunities undiscovered to the naked eye? Jobs go to those that are good at getting jobs and the secrets of elite job hunters  are revealed in an invisible jobs paradise.  A Shangri-La of employment opportunities that only career transition experts hold the keys to good fortune.

Let me bust this discussion right open with a bout of controversy that will inspire you senseless into believing its nothing more than an elaborate marketing hoax! That’s right, there is no such thing as the hidden job market.

When I wrote my book, How to find a Job in 6 weeks, almost 7 years ago, I dedicated a whole chapter to the hidden job market and I researched this phenomenon to find proof of this sea of jobs. I attended seminars and even paid good money pretending I was out of work by attending career transition programs, at a lofty expense.

What I found was incredible and consistent throughout; an elaborate sales training program re-packaged into a networking platform for job hunters to generate leads. And leads for what? It was leads to people, by way of referral, who are in the know about untapped and hidden jobs. Wow! It was a sales lead and networking program that also involved cold calling prospects that have the ability to make hiring decisions.

So there is no hidden job market and by definition it can’t exist. To assume one does exits would be saying that employers are deliberately disguising or hiding their job vacancies. That is, jobs that are not advertised by internal job boards, newspapers, online or anywhere else. For a small proportion of jobs, employers may ask a recruitment agency to research candidates confidentially or perhaps the hiring manager has knowledge or a relationship with someone containing specialist skills that goes back many years. However, that is not a hidden job market but a select and very small proportion of jobs that are recruited outside traditional advertised means. Hardly the sea of jobs referred to as the hidden job market.

So how big is the hidden job market? 70%, 75% or 80% I hear you say? This is nothing but statistical  nonsense of the best kind that cannot be justified. The hidden job market is no way as large as proposed. US Government Bureau of Labor  Statistics in a regular report called JOLTS stated in 2010 that 40,831,000 hires were made. Of this number 25,490,000 were advertised positions.  The difference is 15,341,000 or 38% that falls into the category on unpublished jobs. This is significantly lower that the touted 75% hidden job market.

So, is there a place for networking in your job search tool kit? The answer is yes, and concept of networking as a job search tool must be part of your toolkit when looking for work and not discounted. It should work together as part of a suite of job search methods, and more importantly should be targeted at high value contacts and  people who are genuinely interested in helping you.

Looking for a job by networking is about relationships you have built over time with people in your industry and profession you trust. These are people who are more likely to assist you or direct you to job opportunities that you are not aware because there is a mutual concern for you. The solution to the hidden job market is to engage in sensible networking principles that may assist you in tapping into a less inflated number of unpublished opportunities.

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.

7 Highly Effective Habits of Elite Job Hunters…

Career Day

I have often considered the question, What makes an elite job hunter stand out from the rest? During the development of my book, How to Find a Job in 6 weeks, I used my experience as a human resources professional to research and find out what makes elite job hunters click and more successful at finding jobs. The answer was not surprising and 7 key habits were found to commonly  illustrate their effectiveness in finding jobs.

1. Successful Job Search Skills Knowledge

Your very first objective when you have lost your job is to get another job. Now that may sound a bit straightforward but it isn’t. To get another job today requires special knowledge and skill;

  • Ability to tap into the hidden job market
  • Successful behavioural interview skills
  • Good letter writing ability with a marketable resume

2. Strong Financial Management Initiatives

Money management is certainly an area of great stress during redundancy or job loss. This is because your comfort zone has been taken away from you. The weekly or fortnightly pay you have relied upon is no longer there and you are concerned about where your next pay is coming from. I have seen this scenario cause great stress to people with debts, mortgages, and young families particularly where there is only a single income earner. Developing strong financial initiatives will stretch your savings over a longer period and take the pressure off money matters so you can focus on job search.

3. Flexible and Open Career Re-assessment

My advice in this instance is get out of your comfort zone whatever you do! Too many people I have helped in their career transition have hindered their job search prospects by sticking to old beliefs and methods of approach. It has to do with familiarity and what people know best, a type of comfort zone holding you prisoner within an electric fence. Once you have lost your job your life will change from despair to opportunity.

I say this because it’s a perfect opportunity to try something new and different. That’s right, you have nothing to lose now and you can experiment and try new ideas and concepts. Stretch yourself and become excited with the thought that everything you have always dreamed of doing outside your steady and regular job has now arrived. It is time to try to test new ideas, experiment with new concepts or see where your hobbies will take you. I commenced writing my book to keep me busy when I lost my job.

4. Mental Toughness and a Strong Belief System

Losing your job is one of the toughest events that can happen to you in life. All of a sudden your standard of living, prosperity and your perception of yourself is challenged. Not easy thoughts to deal with on a daily basis.

If you have a family with young children and a mortgage like the majority of us, matters can get worse because others dear to you and reliant upon your steady employment are also affected. There is nothing like coming home to your partner and informing them you no longer have a suitable job and watching their jaw drop all the way to the ground in a split second.

I learned very quickly that being sorry for myself was not going to help me and what had happened in my previous job was over and done with. I could not change the past but I could ensure that the present and future be better managed with a new way of thinking. The best way to get another job is to stay focused and challenged, to be mentally tough. If you cannot do this for yourself then do it for your loved ones who rely on you. Many authors describe this situation of downward spiraling anxiety and depression as ‘learned helplessness’. You believe that no matter what you do, nothing can help you out of your current situation, and that you are destined for doom and failure.

5. Managing your Current Job

I have made it very clear in my book that good jobs are hard to find today and that the oversupply of good candidates ensures that employers have the upper hand at recruitment. This is what we are dealing with in the new millennium and sometimes we may lose sight of this and feel that the grass is greener on the other side.

Working as a professional employee relations practitioner for many years, I have seen many people leave good jobs simply because they were not good at managing or keeping their current employment. I don’t mean that you should give up better opportunities, far from it. I am referring to those who have left their employment in difficult circumstances or were not entirely happy with their workplace circumstances at the time. It is easier for us to lose our composure rather than think a situation through rationally during difficult circumstances.

6. Establishing your Professional Network

Networking can be a critical job search skill often ignored by job hunters. The best time to network is when your employed and this can be achieved on a regular basis by attending industry groups and seminars, profiling in linked in and other social media, and maintaining contacts with colleagues and recruiters you have built relationships over many years. These simple methods will keep you in touch with your professional community and by dedicating up to one hour per week to this activity will grow your network over time until its established.

7. Mapping out your Vision and Building a Plan

A good technique in getting to know your career goals better is to map out your vision for the future and to extrapolate where you see yourself in 5 years from now. When we are in career transition mode it is a good time to reflect upon what we really want to achieve in life. Be open with yourself and review the sort of things that motivate you with great passion.

 In just one sentence, write your vision – that is, where you would like to see yourself in 5 – 10 years from now. For example, I would like to be self-employed and running my own business successfully so that I can have more time to myself.

How will you get there

Write down how you are going to achieve your vision, that is, what are your milestones going to be or what do you need to do to get there. For example, do you need more training in a particular area, equity to launch your vision, support from people close to you? Just list them below with your time frame

 

Exposing the hidden job market…elaborate marketing myth or fact?

So what is the mystery of the hidden job market that has us in raptures and clinging to a sea of job opportunities undiscovered to the naked eye? Jobs go to those that are good at getting jobs and the secrets of elite job hunters  are revealed in an invisible jobs paradise.  A Shangri-La of employment opportunities that only career transition experts, at a nominal and expensive rate, hold the keys to good fortune.

Let me bust this discussion right open with a bout of controversy that will inspire you senseless into believing its nothing more than an elaborate marketing hoax! That’s right, there is no such thing as the hidden job market.

When I wrote my book, How to find a Job in 6 weeks, almost 7 years ago, I dedicated a whole chapter to the hidden job market and I researched this phenomenon to find proof of this sea of jobs. I attended seminars and even paid good money pretending I was out of work by attending career transition programs, at a lofty expense of-course.

What I found was incredible and consistent throughout; an elaborate sales training program re-packaged into a networking platform for job hunters to generate leads. And leads for what? It was leads to people, by way of referral, who are in the know about untapped and hidden jobs. Wow! It was a sales lead and networking program that also involved cold calling prospects that have the ability to make hiring decisions.

So there is no hidden job market and by definition it can’t exist. To assume one does exits would be saying that employers are deliberately disguising or hiding their job vacancies. That is, jobs that are not advertised by internal job boards, newspapers, online or anywhere else. For a small proportion of jobs, employers may ask a recruitment agency to research candidates confidentially or perhaps the hiring manager has knowledge or a relationship with someone containing specialist skills that goes back many years. However, that is not a hidden job market but a select and very small proportion of jobs that are recruited outside traditional advertised means. Hardly the sea of jobs referred to as the hidden job market.

So how big is the hidden job market? 70%, 75% or 80% I hear you say? This is nothing but statistical  nonsense of the best kind that cannot be justified. The hidden job market is no way as large as proposed. US Government Bureau of Labor  Statistics in a regular report called JOLTS stated in 2010 that 40,831,000 hires were made. Of this number 25,490,000 were advertised positions  The difference is 15,341,000 or 38% that falls into the category on unpublished jobs. This is significantly lower that the touted 75% hidden job market.

However, the concept of networking as a job search tool must be part of your toolkit when looking for work and not discounted. Is should work together as part of a suite of job search methods, and more importantly should be targeted at high value contacts and  people who are genuinely interested in helping you.

Looking for a job by networking is about relationships you have built over time with people in your industry and profession you trust. These are people who are more likely to assist you or direct you to job opportunities that you are not aware because there is a mutual concern for you. The solution to the hidden job market is to engage in sensible networking principles that may assist you in tapping into a less inflated number of unpublished opportunities.

14 point sanity check for detecting Psycho Babble at work

Psycho (Imelda May song)

If it wasn’t so funny it would be serious, very serious. The bearers of bad behavior are alive and well strutting their stuff day in, day out…in a mixture of disguises. They know when to turn it on and off, almost to perfection, as they trance around the workplace manipulating in subversive behavior  Their goal…control, authority and power at your expense. So how can this be and why do they get away with it?

 “The number one aim of a corporate psycho is to protect themselves.”

To understand the answer to this question there must be an acceptance that such people really exist and survive in organisations through a web of complex partnerships and cultures that have developed over time. That’s right, they don’t play alone! There is a support network that may not encourage their bad behaviour, but are aware of it, and how it impacts on the morale of employees. In just about every company I have worked in as a human resources professional, I have encountered this kind of subversion culture in some form or another. In some workplaces psycho babble can be described as;

  1. Protected species
  2. Anointed ones
  3. Untouchables
  4. Dragons
  5. Clicks
  6. Political animals

It’s not easy determining if one of your colleagues is engaged in psycho babble. The 14 point checklist below may assist in early detection. However, this is just a snapshot and more detailed assessment is required.

  • Superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Need for stimulation and prone to boredom
  • Pathological lying
  • Conning and manipulative behaviour
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow emotional effect
  • Callous lack of empathy for others
  • Parasitic lifestyle and taking credit for other people’s work
  • Poor behavioural control
  • Promiscuous sexual behaviour
  • Lack of realistic, long-term goals
  • Inability to take responsibility
  • General irresponsibility

The 5 Emotional cancerous behaviours of fragmented people are:

  1. Criticizing
  2. Complaining
  3. Comparing
  4. Competing
  5. Contending 

It not easy trying to deal with a corporate psycho because they may have the favour of their boss and their wrong doings are filtered. My only advice is that eventually they will unravel themselves and expose their rear guard. So sit back and watch them implode into a frenzy of all sorts.

Perhaps you want to take the quiz…this is a screening measure to help you determine whether you might have been a victim of workplace psycho babble. Answer the following questions based upon the your boss’s behavior during the past 6 months and good luck!

http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/workplace.htm