Thursday, August 29, 2013

Small Things That Make a Difference: Questions and Answers

There is no one thing, no magic move or act that will singularly get you a job you seek. Instead, you should look to improve small things here and there in your efforts and when you self critique your interview performance afterward. For most people it’s about making fine adjustments and the difference between being average and excellent is actually not a very big leap. There are a ton of things you can do to increase your chances and improve your efforts during your job hunting and interviewing efforts.
Sure, you’ve got to be qualified but is almost never only about qualifications. Let’s take, for example, the simple matter of asking and answering questions in an interview situation; I mean, how much more simple can it be, right? Whether it is a case of the nerves, enthusiasm or something else, in this case as in others it is not what is asked or is said, but how and it’s the how that provides better insight. Stay with me on this, it’s not complicated. “Slow down” is my overall advice but let me describe two examples of what I am talking about and then ask yourself if I am describing you.
When a person posing a question, be it either the interviewer or the interviewee, fails to await an answer, instead feeding an answer based on an assumption, they often answer their own question. This is irritating no matter who is asking the question and can render the entire question and answer ritual as a pointless exercise. Has this happened to you? We notice it when we’re on the receiving end but less so when we’re guilty of doing it. Here’s an example: let’s say you are asked a question about what you want to earn, “So tell me, how much money would you like to earn; what are your salary expectations?” And then, without waiting for your answer they offer, assume, suggest or feed their own answer, “So what is it, XX per year, is that it?” Or they might ask, “Can you tell me the reason you want to leave your current job position?” Again force feeding and assuming their own conclusion, “What was it, didn’t get along with your boss or something?” Or you might do it as a job applicant during an interview, “What does the job pay?” and then failing to wait for an answer, you quickly suggest, “What about XX per year or something like that.” When I hear and see this occur I want to shake them and tell them to stop talking and wait for the reply, geeez!
The second mistake is when answering a question, some folks are so eager to answer they prematurely respond before the question has been fully delivered, reminding me of a nervous Chihuahua bouncing around on a chair, or like the overly-eager smart kid in school knifing their hand upwards into the air, barely restraining themselves and saying, “Oh, oh, call on me!”
Please, for your own sake, slow down. An interview requires dialogue but there are moments when silence is golden. When you ask a question, present it and then stop talking, don’t feed an answer and wait. I don’t care how long it takes to get a reply, wait. If you must repeat the question or rephrase it do so and then, wait for the answer.
When you receive a question, no matter how sure you are of the answer, again wait! Very often you may miss a critical part of the question, resulting in an incomplete answer and looking silly. There is age-old advice that still applies, in which no matter how sure you are of the answer, silently, to yourself count “one-thousand-one” and then answer.
Cool and calm conveys confidence and self-assurance better than stressed and spastic. Don’t confuse it with being monotone or robotic; I’m not suggesting you put anyone to sleep. If you find it necessary, strive to make these changes and, by way of a number of small measures, you can make some big changes. Just showing up for the interview isn’t enough in the current jobs market so make an effort to up your game as much as possible.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

The Take Away Close

When it comes to interviewing and negotiating, what do you do when, after an extended amount of time, everything just – stops – you hear nothing but crickets and you’ve not received any information or correspondence? Make an effort to contact the last person with whom you’ve met to see what’s going on but, if you still can’t get any info, you can wait around collecting dust, or you can utilize the Take Away Close.

However, be forewarned, it should be your option of last resort, when you’ve exhausted all other avenues. It’s not a threat but instead a statement and using it as a bluff or crying wolf will get you the same result as the shepherd boy in the fable of Aesop. A sharp sales person might use this close to push the indecisive to be less so and to get a decision. They may say something such as “You know, I don’t think this is the item for you, I don’t sense there is much interest. Perhaps we should just forget it.” The simple rule is you only take away when you’re ready to walk away in order to focus your energy elsewhere. For the record, whenever there is a delay there is a reason for it although, for whatever reason they choose not to share with you. I can address some of this in another blog entry at another time.

If you’ve already interviewed face to face at least once and an inordinate amount of time has passed without any word or explanation, or you get repeated hollow and canned excuses for three or more weeks since your last communication, something’s up and you’re within your rights to follow up and, as far as I’m concerned, it is an issue of dignity. May I take this moment to suggest you’re not a piece of furniture and the same people with whom you’re interviewing would likely be just as frustrated if the tables were turned, eh. Indeed, companies and hiring managers juggle many responsibilities, but hiring is a part of their job description and if it’s not a priority there’s not a real need. And a curt response about being too busy is a non-reason and garbage excuse to which one must ask oneself, “Yeah and what, we’re all busy, does my time have any less value?” I always assumed time management was a basic job requirement for most managers so the excuse is pointless.

The take away close is the best way to either knock them off the fence they’re sitting on, or to conclude and proceed in another direction. Say something such as, “We’ve been meeting and speaking now for X weeks (or months) and during this period I’ve also been pursuing other opportunities. I don’t see any evidence that there is continued interest or perhaps filling the position is not a priority. Is there a time line or should I just move on?” Then stop talking, enjoy the silence and wait for their reply. You’re not being smarmy or snippy; you’re actually extending a courtesy by letting them know your intentions after you’ve likely moved on mentally anyway and who knows, you might even learn what is really going on.

I recognize that if you’ve got nothing else going on you can be forgiven for not wanting to do a take away and, while it may be difficult to do, ask yourself if what you’re waiting and hoping for is a legitimate opportunity or has it become more of a wish to which you’re still clinging? Sometimes it’s better to just rip that Band-Aid off and get on with other things. Personally speaking, I’d rather hear a no than to sit around with my fingers crossed about a process that’s outlived its shelf life or Best Before date on the label. Take the initiative, stay on offense, relying solely on others or the four winds to chart the direction of your career is not taking control of your destiny. Chance favors the bold, and what I’ve described is an example by which your attitude and belief in self can exert influence. So, if you determine a company for which you had interest has been demonstrating, as a result of inaction their disinterest, thank them for their time and go find another that is interested!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spun Out

Putting the best spin on any given subject appears to be the order of the day, regardless of what it is. Some may say they find it hard to find the truth amidst the spun versions of almost anything and everything. And it appears most people are just fine with this, they hear what they want to, happily smile and go on with whatever they are doing. “Tell me what I want to hear and I’m okay” seems to be the prevailing attitude. That is, until they realize things are not necessarily as described and they feel misled. But, even then, more often than not, too many can be easily soothed back into their walking slumber with more hollow words of reassurance as they resume shuffling forward  for the time being. As you may imagine, this extends to the employment realm, where hiring processes can more resemble a marketing campaign than a ritual of applicant selection.  

There are pros and cons to every job and, likewise, everyone has their pluses and minuses; there is no perfect job and there are no perfect people. Whether you apply or are recruited, whilst being evaluated during the interview process you will be asked about your experience and what you have to offer, and they will seek to learn about your shortcomings (as they should) and comparatively weigh the advantages and any negatives with which to make their decision. 

Ironically, many job seekers fail to apply the same scrutiny about the job and their potential new employer. And unless you make a conscious effort to ask and probe, hiring managers will almost always tell you only the good stuff; it’s up to you to ask about and investigate any negatives. So let me ask, if the tables are turned, can you offer up only the good stuff and conveniently gloss over or ‘spin’ your shortcomings or past mistakes and still assume you’ll be hired?  

When I begin to learn the details about a job for which a client wants my assistance, I will make a point of asking them about any problems with the job, department or the company; I ask them if there is any negative press or rumors about their company. I do this for a slightly different reason because, if I encounter any rumors, I want to address those concerns right away whether they are real or false, as they often are second and third-hand opinions or emotional responses. Often someone might make a reflexive decision based only on a rumor they heard from a friend of a friend’s cousin, who worked for the company, but left. In order to do a good job on behalf of the company (client) I am representing, I check these things out to save time and better inform those job candidates I recruit and or represent. You need to do the same thing. Joining a company because of their name or brand, or because a friend or family member says you should, isn’t very smart but this is what many folks do. You must check it out for yourself and when you do, really check it out thoroughly. Now, some may worry that a hiring manager might not like the questions, but if their patience is so shallow do you really want to work for that person? Furthermore, many managers I know are surprised applicants do so little investigation before jumping at an offer; even they think it is shortsighted.  

One of the most telling examples is in sales-related roles. Most often a manager will tell an interviewee how great the job is and talk about their best rep, who earned the highest bonus / commission, and suggest you too can be as successful. First of all they’re selling, because that’s what they do. But putting myself in the interviewee’s shoes, yes, it sounds great, but telling me what the best guy or gal in the best territory earned last year doesn’t tell me about where I am, it’s not quite relevant, is it? Therefore, the burden is on me, the job seeker, not to fall for this best spin and get the info that matters. If you don’t ask, they won’t tell you; they aren’t mind readers.  

So, when they tell you all the good stuff, acknowledge how great it sounds but then seek to learn about any negatives. Who knows, perhaps there are few or no negatives and it’s all good. Then, your fuller understanding of the job makes your decision easier and they know, by way of your due diligence, that you’re their best choice as well. 

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Employing the Alternate Close

Understanding and using closing technique is a critical tool at your disposal during the interview process. That’s assuming you want to take part in the process and are not merely going along for the ride, or simply nodding in agreement when you think it’s appropriate. If you want to take charge of your life and where you’re going, you should be taking charge of and asserting yourself – that makes sense doesn’t it?

On July fourth of this year, I posted a blog that  begins to explain what a Close is and its purpose. In basic terms, it is the way one asks for and gets decisions. And, along the way during the interview, you can use closing technique to gauge the situation as it progresses. At the time, I referred to the Assumptive Close as one of the most basic examples. How and when you utilize a close(s) can substantially influence one’s own fortunes and is, in fact, applicable to many facets of life; everything from negotiating the price of something to asking someone out on a date and, of course, interviewing. But I don’t want to get bogged down in the finer points, if you don’t already know the basics of how and why the rest doesn’t much matter.  

For example: when you’re seeking a decision about something, in this case setting a meeting time with someone, what do most people say? They will ask, “Do you have time..?” or, “When will you have time…?” Formulating a question this way, by asking someone you’ve just met, will more often get you a reflexively negative answer of “No, I don’t have time” or “No, I can’t meet”.  I suggest you’re asking the right question, just the wrong way. Instead, ask like this, “Do you have time to meet on Tuesday or is Thursday better for you?” This is an alternate close; literally you’re providing two (or more) alternatives to choose from, both of which can deliver a favorable outcome; either way is a win. The answer, no, doesn’t as easily enter into the equation. The logical follow up question is, “How does your calendar look?” 

Utilizing closing technique is what every salesperson learns, but few ever master and, delivered in an honest and friendly manner, one isn’t even conscious it is happening. Sadly, there is always someone who occasionally whines, “But you’re manipulating people.” No, it’s developing and employing interpersonal communication skills, something that many hiring managers would agree has been devolving as a result of the digital age. So mastering communications skills clearly can help to set yourself apart from others. Furthermore, utilizing this Close and others has an unintended but beneficial effect of exuding and projecting confidence, which is another trait employers want to see. While these single methods by themselves will not guarantee you success, just the manner in which you are formulating the questions makes a difference and increases your chances. There are a lot of small improvements you can apply to your job search and interviewing efforts, which combined, exponentially improve your chances. 

What I am describing is something we already experience almost every day whether we realize it or not. Don’t think so? Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase a time or two “And can I get you a soup or salad with your meal?” Note that a suggestion has been made, you’ve been given a choice and as a result are more likely to pick one or the other. Or, you may hear a question like, “Would you like something else?” This delivery is more likely to elicit a no. Small differences can produce a different and better result. (By the way, the first of the two questions I demonstrated is also an example of suggestive selling, which most everyone in the service sector learns, but that is unrelated and a whole other topic.)

It’s not what we say but how we say it that gains a different result. I recognize some people are reluctant to try new things, even minor adjustments. But if you’re not realizing much success with your current efforts and, yet, you don’t want to try anything different or new, then you can’t be disappointed with continuing to get more of the same non-results.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Few More Reasons to Be More Confident at Your Next Interview

On August first I posted a blog listing 10 reasons why you should have more confidence at your next interview. Today I’d like to share a few more reasons from a different perspective. 

Companies seek to portray themselves as having it all together, organized, with all eight cylinders firing away, a well-oiled machine. And as such, you, the applicant should be in awe and on the defensive; they want you to feel that you’re the one who’s supposed to prove yourself to them, if you seek admission and advancement to the next step and perhaps ultimately a job offer – that is if you measure up. Indeed that is your task but often the façade they throw up for people to see is just that. I’m here to tell you it ain’t always so. What if I told you most of those who are interviewing you, interview no better than most of us? And what if I said some of the people who are conducting the interviews have no real clue as to what they are doing or why? And what about when an interviewer asks the question, “Why are you interested in our company?” when, in fact, many of them could not, themselves, adequately explain to you why you should join their company. “We’re the biggest, we’re the best and everyone knows us…” is not an adequate answer and if you are just as vague when you are questioned, they likely wouldn’t refer you forward now, would they? Hmm, well, that’s kind of messed up, isn’t it? In future blog entries I can expand upon and provide more insight to validate my claims. 

I know it sounds as if I am picking on management, but I don’t like hypocrites, no matter who they are or what positions they occupy. However, let me be clear, I am not suggesting you play one upmanship and intentionally parry with the next person with whom you interview. My career has allowed me to glimpse behind the curtain to observe things most people are not aware of. I am only pointing out a few realities in order that you can have more confidence when you interview and, believe me, as a confidence builder the information I’m sharing is better than whomever came up with that silly suggestion to people uncomfortable with public speaking –  that to feel less stressed they should, in their minds-eye, picture the audience naked; yeah right, so how does that help? 

Although it’s an essential process, very few people like interviewing regardless of their role in the process. With tongue in cheek, here are some of my own generalized observations of what the different participants really think of the interview process:

Human Resources - It's a function of their department but conducting interviews is the part of their job they enjoy the least

Managers – Look forward to interviewing potential new employees about as much as they do assembling monthly, quarterly and year-end reporting, or employee performance reviews

Applicants - Would rather be doing anything else

When you apply and interview for a job it’s not always a matter of what you’re doing as much as it is about what others aren’t doing, or are unwilling to do, for whatever reasons. My intent is not to make fun of, ridicule or otherwise tear down folks for their shortcomings. Instead, I am seeking to demonstrate the irony that can work in your favor if you, as opposed to others, are willing and interested in making the effort to invest in yourself, and do what is necessary to improve your odds of success, making their loss your gain.

Taking into account the comments I have just made regarding the mindset of different interview participants, consider this:

  • Most hiring managers are not good interviewers 
  • Most managers lack real negotiating skills
  • Most HR personnel follow a process of formulaic interviewing and become uncomfortable if they stray from their routines
  • Most HR personnel can't answer specific job-related questions because they only have the most basic job spec information given to them on a sheet of paper
So you see, it’s not as bad as you think and the next time you interview, consider the process from a different perspective. 

If you have a scary or funny interview story, I’d like to hear about it.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

A Conversation About Business

Last month, on July 22, I posted a blog entry entitled The Great Equalizer: Being an Active Participant. Following an email from a reader I thought I would comment a bit more about what I am suggesting.  

When you interview the spotlight shines both ways, indeed you are under more pressure as they evaluate your suitability for the job, but you are, or should also be, considering their suitability as a potential future employer. Often people fail to think in this way and this posture by itself can lead to poor decision making. I am not suggesting the interview is a you vs. them duel of wits; it’s not meant to be a stare down to see who blinks first and, trust me, the applicant will always lose that little game.    

Interviews tend to be rather formulaic and understandably so, because each company establishes their own ritual and methods by which to evaluate applicants – there has to be a system in order to standardize a process, so everyone can be evaluated fairly and by the same measure. HR will utilize one system or another and among them one popular style is Performance-Based interviews. It is symbolized by a series of questions, such as, “Tell me about a time when you…” “Describe a situation in which you…” “Give an example of…”, the supposition being that past performance is indicative of a person’s future performance. Regardless of the interview style, you’re obligated to answer their questions to the best of your ability, but can I suggest you take it a step further and engage them and turn it into more of a business conversation?  

In actuality, there is very little difference between an interview and a business conversation and I would venture to say they are one and the same. Yes, of course they seek to validate your claims of experience and qualifications as stated on your resume but it doesn’t take long for that, and then what? Will you sit mute, waiting for them to steer the direction of the meeting? Because this is the extent to which most people go while attending an interview. I reject the notion that this is what the interview is meant to be, but it’s an established stereotype in the eyes of most job seekers. Perhaps that’s because the word interview is synonymous with interrogate – go ahead and look it up. It’s no wonder people are nervous; want to bet that if a law enforcement or investigative organization invites you to an interview, they actually mean something else, or perhaps I’ve just watched too many CSI episodes. 

Anticipating an interview should not make you feel as if you are sitting beneath a bright light answering one rapid fire question after another. If you’re only there to answer questions, then what’s the difference? The event is just as much yours to influence the outcome as it is theirs. 

So, as I’ve stated previously it is not and is never enough to simply sit there and answer questions; if you want the job you must do more. A business conversation is by its nature an interactive, two-way conversation; you’re not a lesser person nor participant whose opinion carries less weight. That said, don’t get cocky and remember, when you position yourself as a somewhat equal participant from the perspective of information gathering upon which to base your considerations, you bear the burden of having to demonstrate why they should choose you. If you’ve succeeded in satisfying their expectations it’s time for you to request info from them; here are some questions you can ask: 

  • Beyond the qualifications, what kind of person do you want to hire?
  • What are some examples of traits or personal attributes an ideal employee in this role would possess?
  • Why is this position open?
  • What happened to the last person who held this position?
  • How long were they in the position?
  • From your perspective, what were their strengths and their weaknesses; how would you want the next person to differ, if at all?
  • Who (what company) is your strongest competitor in this market sector and why?
  • How long have you been with the company? 

These are just a few examples. Would you agree these questions and others like them would provide you a more complete insight of the job for which you are interviewing? I recognize the job market’s tough, nonetheless it is not only a matter of whether they want you to work for them, but also for you to decide if you want to work for them. Perhaps what I am suggesting is too bold a step for you? I hope not, because these questions will help you to more completely learn about the company and the person for whom you might work, and provide for you a glimpse of what you can expect, if you were to become their employee.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

There’s Always Someone Else

Let’s say you worked hard, have done your best and were able to fend off other contenders for that new job you were seeking; you’ve been made an offer, great and congratulations. What’s that you say? You want to think about it? Okay, but don’t take too long. 

Consider this; any smart manager worth his or her salt has a back-up Plan B, a secondary candidate. True, there is no prize for second place when pursuing a single job position but, until there is an acceptance and signed job offer, the race is not over. While you may be relishing your supposed victory, the process is not concluded in the mind of a clever hiring manager. If they’re smart and if they have a choice, they have not bet all their money or chips on you alone. And I assure you there’s a person waiting in the wings who also wants that job. Make a mistake or delay too long and you could blow it. In this competitive jobs market there’s always someone else, hot on your heels, seeking the same job. They’re there, waiting for the lead person to falter or stumble. 

Ideally, by the time you receive a job offer, you should already have all the info necessary for a decision one way or the other. After all, at each interview you had a chance to ask questions and, if they weren’t answered to your satisfaction, then an offer is premature and you need answers, and are entitled to the info so you can reach a sound conclusion. Yes, if you want to discuss it with your significant other, of course, do so. If there is any other reason to ask for an appropriate amount of time before giving your official response, that being either a professional rejection or a signature of approval, this is fair. If, in fact, you see something in the offer that differs from what was discussed, absolutely, hit the brakes and get it addressed.  

Otherwise, what is an appropriate amount of time for consideration before you commit to an answer? In my humble opinion 24 – 48 hours, or if you receive an offer on Friday they should have your answer on Monday; perhaps you’ll want to respond the same day. I advise my client company’s hiring managers that if anyone, without really good cause, asks for more than a few days, or weeks – I’ve heard of people asking for months, I advise they give a time limit or, in the most extreme case, to pull the offer, rescind it, and find someone who does want the job. Likewise, if I talk to a company looking for someone, the position has been open for a while and I learn they have an offer out to a person who’s been dragging out their decision, I’ll suggest they meet my candidate   because it costs them nothing to meet another prospect in the meantime. More than once I have pulled the rug out from under a dawdler and helped a serious applicant to get the job.  

Perhaps you may think, “Well, I’m the best, they chose me and if they want me they’ll have to wait!” Yeah, well, I heard some good advice years ago from a man who said, “A person should never believe their own propaganda.” It was good counsel but, sadly, the man who shared it with me didn’t even follow his own advice. Yes, we’re all special to a degree; our parents told us so as well as our teachers, but “hello”, this is the grown-up real world; you’ve got to earn special status and it isn’t awarded, nor can you rest on past laurels, the times are as competitive as ever. 

So, here’s the question to ask yourself when you have an offer and everything’s ready to go except for your answer; “What will I know in three days, a week or two weeks that I don’t know today or tomorrow?” If the answer is “Nothing” go ahead, sleep on it for a night if you wish, just to make sure and then give them your answer. Say “Thank you, yes…” and look forward to your new job, or extend them the professional courtesy of telling them “…no thanks”, step out of the way, give someone else a shot and continue with your job search in another direction.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Can Social Media Kill Your Chances For a Job Offer?

The short answer is it all depends. Most people have a presence on Facebook, for example, as well as on other social media. No one in our modern society should be surprised that, by having a public presence, you’ve chosen to abrogate a measure of your privacy. But deep down we already know this, and recent events have only validated the rumors, and the conspiracy theorists many ridiculed in the past were correct all along.  

Although I am writing with everyone in mind I am aiming more specifically at young people, who are trying to establish and launch their careers. Clearly, among many there is a shortsighted and naïve perception that it’s no big deal, that everyone posts stuff. Nobody considers whether it can haunt them later. I recall doing some really stupid stuff when I was young but, fortunately, there is no online evidence of it! So, let’s talk about how this can affect you.  

In addition to asking you for employment references, as a part of most reference-checking processes companies conduct, an online search of your name and a short review of your presence on social media is a fast and easy way to gain a perception of who you are. For example, I was recently asked to consider a person for a position. My first act was to look up their profile and presence online. After reviewing a few photos they had posted, I was able to save myself time in considering them any further. Put as plainly as I can say it, there are people who, without a second thought, are sabotaging themselves. In this particular case, the individual had easily and decisively disqualified themselves. I’ll admit I had a good laugh and what they posted was funny, in a Jackass (the film series) manner. I suppose everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, but I can’t imagine they will gain the confidence of a serious employer. It always surprises me when people post photos of themselves at their workplace, while clowning around. Some may think it unfair to so easily judge a person in this way, but there are a lot of people competing for fewer jobs, so it is easy to find others who are more serious. Too often perception is reality; so what kind of vibe are you putting out there for the world to see? Like it or not this is the world we live in and you should heed my warning; as should anyone else who is now or may soon be searching for a job. Or, if you’re up for a promotion, is there anything out there that can negatively impact you? The process of reference / background checking people, through their online activities, is  here and most companies are already utilizing it. 

Who knows, someday the government may provide corporations with direct access to their vast databases to check you out, but I am sure that would never happen. At least for now, you can still somewhat control what people see; most social media sites have privacy settings. Take some time to consider what you choose to show the world and how you may be perceived, fairly or unfairly, and take the precautions necessary. You never know who’s watching.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ten Reasons to be More Confident About Your Interview

If you are nervous about the interview process, you are no different than most who seek employment, regardless of experience or position. The more they want the job the higher level of anxiety they may be feeling. I don’t know many people who like to interview, much less look forward to it. But there are those who feel more confident than others. Confidence by itself isn’t enough to get you a job offer, but it clearly is helpful to your efforts when observed by a hiring manager. And just for the sake of mention, an over-inflated ego, hubris or arrogance is not synonymous nor a substitute for confidence.

It is likely that when you are competing for employment you’re not alone and, in fact, a company you seek to work for might have received a hundred or more resumes. But this is not reason to stress, that number will be greatly reduced by the time you have secured an interview. Perhaps you will be competing with 10 or possibly more in the actual face-to-face hiring ritual. Nonetheless I recognize you’ll likely still have concerns.

In an attempt to help you chill a bit, let me provide you with a reality check as a gesture to help you regain a little more confidence about the process into which you’re entering. The following is a list of 10 truths, in no particular order, about people in general, who are also seeking the same job as you are.

• Most people are just as nervous as you, or more so
• Most people arrive unprepared for their interview
• Most people have very little understanding of the interview process
• Most people don't know how to best present themselves
• Most people lack basic interpersonal communication skills
• Most people possess little or no negotiating skills
• Most people rely on their resume, a piece of paper, to speak for them
• Most people won’t ask for the job
• Most people don’t follow up after an interview nor send a thank you note or email
• Most people are unwilling to do the things that could help improve their chances of success

This list exemplifies the subjects I write about on this blog and address in greater detail in my book in order to help those who want to help themselves.

Let me ask, how many of those above points describe you? Are you most people? Do you want to be most people? At the end of the interview process, only one individual will be selected, there is no second-place winner. So, if you are reading this blog, I assume you want to improve your chances for success.

It would be a mistake to have a false sense of security, thinking, “Oh, well, if everyone else is nervous it’s okay, I feel better.” Just because others are wandering, for the most part clueless, through a process they should take more seriously, doesn’t mean you should, too. Instead, recognize there is a lot of wiggle room for you to make self improvements in order to outdo and outshine others, who think the bare minimum is good enough – it isn’t, and so this is where you can gain clear advantage, if you choose to.

Here’s what I want you to do; print this list and use it as your personal checklist before your next interview and also to remind yourself it’s not as scary as you may think. Most people are as nervous as you are. No one is expected to be an expert interviewer, most of us already have enough going on in our lives, and we’re all busy enough as it is. But making an effort, whenever and however you can, increases your chances for success and something you must make a conscious effort to do; you’ll be making a sound investment in a commodity with unlimited potential – you.

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