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Career-Life Times, Issue #69-- Stress-Relieving Silly Interview Tips
August 30, 2010
Imagine you want to find a new doctor, and you've narrowed your choice to two possibilities: Doctor Smith and Doctor Jones. You've researched their backgrounds and determined they are equally qualified. You decide to get a physical check-up by each of them so you can compare their abilities first-hand.
During your check-ups, you ask each doctor about his qualifications.
Doctor Smith speaks at length about his experience and achievements, telling you all about the commendations he's received, the internship he completed at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, his memberships in various medical associations, and his appointment to a special hospital oversight board. He tells you he is the most qualified doctor in the state. By the time he's finished telling you all about himself, your check-up is done and the appointment is over. He seems a bit arrogant, but his credentials are impressive. You now know a lot about him.
Doctor Jones, on the other hand, gives only brief answers to your questions about his qualifications. He spends most of your appointment time asking you questions about your medical history and overall health, listening carefully to your answers, and giving you helpful advice. After you mention your occasional back pain, for example, he asks about your job and then recommends ergonomic improvements to your work station as well as specific stretching exercises to prevent your pain from coming back. By the time you're finished telling him all about yourself, your check-up is done and the appointment is over. He seems genuinely interested in you and your well-being. He now knows a lot about you.
You asked them the same questions. Doctor Smith focused on himself. Doctor Jones focused on you.
Which doctor would you choose?
Most people would choose Doctor Jones. People (even shy ones) enjoy talking about themselves to someone like Doctor Jones who listens, cares, and helps to solve their problems.
Another characteristic most people share is always wanting to know, "What's in it for me?" People make decisions and take actions based primarily on how the outcome will impact their wants and needs. This isn't selfish; it's natural and necessary for survival.
Guess what--hiring managers are people, too.
During a job interview, you'll be answering questions designed to help the hiring manager determine if you're the best candidate for the job. You have to focus on yourself, right?
Yes and no. You can turn the tables at the interview, put the focus on THEM, and be more like Doctor Jones than Doctor Smith.
First, do extensive research on the company, the position for which you're applying, and the hiring manager, if possible. Your goal is to determine how you can help them achieve their mission and objectives--or how you can offer ideas, suggestions, and solutions for challenges they may be facing.
Then anticipate likely interview questions and design your answers to address their (usually unspoken) desire to know "What's in it for me?"
For example, let's say that during your research you found out that the company will soon be implementing a number of "green" initiatives to help protect the environment. It's a company-wide program and every manager (including the one who will be interviewing you) will be involved. During the interview, when asked to "Tell me a little about yourself," you could include a sentence or two about how you're very interested in "green" issues and have always wanted to work for a company that is taking action to protect the environment. That answer seems to be focused on you, but it's actually focused on the hiring manager, who will be thinking "This person will be eager to help me with that company-wide 'green' program I've been stuck with."
See how it provides an answer for his "What's in it for me?" question?
Try to incorporate into your answers information about how you will be able to help the company and the hiring manager with issues that are important to THEM. With a little determination, you can do this with virtually any question. Even one like "What's your greatest weakness?" You could say "I've always had a somewhat poor memory. I'd forget my mom's birthday if I didn't write it on the calendar. That's why I always use detailed checklists so I can keep track of all details and never miss a deadline. This practice really came in handy when I volunteered to organize XYZ Company's Earth Day Festival last year that showcased their environmental initiatives to more than 10,000 people."
See? You're answering a question about yourself, but including information relevant to one of the hiring manager's self-interests. He now knows you have experience with planning environmental events, even though it may never have occurred to him to ask you about that.
Even though both examples I gave are related to the same issue (environment), try to identify more than one issue and plan to address each through different answers to anticipated questions. Remember, prepare and practice your answers!
Now, let's go back to the fact that people like to talk about themselves to someone who listens and cares.
Typically during a job interview, you'll be asked if you have any questions. This is when you get the hiring manager to talk about him/herself and topics he/she would enjoy telling you about. Questions you might ask include: What do you enjoy most about working here? What attracted you to this line of work? How did you win the Whatzit Award? (Something about him/her based on your research or what you see in his/her office.)
Listen carefully and show genuine interest. If the hiring manager mentions something you have in common, briefly acknowledge that common interest, but avoid the temptation to start talking about yourself. Remember, you goal is to let the hiring manager enjoy doing the talking. Smile, nod, and ask follow-up questions to show that you're fascinated by whatever he/she is saying. This will put the hiring manager in a great mood, and he/she will relate that happy feeling to you.
Yes, this process of focusing on THEM instead of just yourself during the job interview is a lot more work. But I guarantee it will make you stand out from all the other candidates who focus only on themselves!
Got a job interview coming up? I know they can be stressful, so here's a list of interview tips designed only to make you laugh... NOT to be used in an actual interview!
1. Be fashionably late (about 15 minutes) for your interview. Punctuality is for wimps.
2. Be sure to start off the interview by making your demands known right up front. No sense wasting time if they're not going to give you the penthouse office, Mercedes company car, offshore account for your monthly bonuses, and private masseuse you deserve.
3. If you forget the interviewer's name, just call him Slick. If it's a woman, use Sweet Thing. Or vice versa.
4. Speak softly; a whisper is best. You want the interviewer listening as carefully as possible to everything you say.
5. If you don't know the answer to a question, change the subject by saying, "That's a very interesting question. Wow, those are some big feet! What size shoes do you wear?"
6. Bring a bag of peanuts to munch on during the interview (after all, you don't want your stomach to growl!). Be considerate; don't toss the empty shells on the floor, pile them neatly on the interviewer's desk.
7. When asked a stupid question like "If you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be?" respond with an equally stupid answer like "I'd be an ostrich, so I could leave the biggest possible pile of bird crap on your list of questions."
8. When asked about your experience, keep details to a minimum. Everyone loves a good mystery! Use vague sentences such as "I took care of things. It's best that you don't know too much," and then wink and aim your finger gun at them.
9. Show how cool you are by using these phrases as often as possible: "Don't get all salty on me! Ya feel me? My last boss was a real cheeseball. I'll blitz you refs. Hey, I'm late for my tweetup!"
10. Finally, disregard all these "tips" and ace your next interview!
According to the United Nations Environment Program, a green job, or a green-collar job is one that helps protect and preserve biodiversity and ecosystems. Green workers reduce materials, water consumption, and energy by increasing resource efficiency. These jobs are minimize pollution and all forms of waste.
Below are the top five Green jobs available in America today.
1. Farmer - Do you know the shocking truth about farmers in America? There are only 2 million, and their average age is 55. This market is screaming for more workers on the local and small scale, particularly for young farmers who know organic production methods and avoid the use of pesticides and petroleum-based fertilizer. The U.S. Job market has capacity for ten million farmers. However, the job is not as easy at it might seem to some. Modern farmers must be skilled businesspersons knowledgeable in heirloom genetics and marketing.
2. Energy Efficiency Builder - In the US, buildings actually account for 48% of greenhouse emissions and energy use. We are way behind the rest of the world in this. Switzerland and Germany, for instance, use 75% to 95% less heat energy than a building built to environmental code in the U.S.
There is a huge opportunity here for one of the major green building certifications today. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has given accreditation to more then 43,000 professionals. When the U.S. standards get stricter, the country will need a workforce of retrofitters to go with its millions of engineers and architects.
3. Urban Planners - The linchpin of America's campaign to lower its carbon footprint. Urban planners will help us reduce our use of cars and encourage the utilization of bicycles. They will also strengthen mass transit, limit sprawl, and help us plan for heat wave, garbage creep, and flooding contingencies.
4. Recycling Professional - More than 1 million recycling jobs are available in America. A shocking number of people engaged in this area have been continuing to grow. This is primarily because recycling still continues to be the most economical alternative to high disposal fees. Hiring in this sector will always be active.
5. Solar Power Installer - There are 770, 000 jobs worldwide for installing and making solar power systems. Opportunities for this work are still relatively high and high paying too. In fact at the present, 3,400 companies are still employing power installers--some as many as 35,000 workers in one company! This job will definitely promote the welfare of the environment and the economic sectors, and the job prospects of its skilled workers.
While we continue to face a recession and our young adults decide which jobs will be available when they graduate from college, green jobs are looking more attractive all the time.
Jeff Deutsch is an environmentalist and resident of one of America's fastest-greening states, New Jersey. He works for the environmentally friendly NJ electrician Vetter Electric. He also provides free info on the environment from an electrician's perspective on his blog, ElectricianInNJ.com.
1. JOBSPICE. I recently received the following email:
My name is Andrea Simmons, and I'm a huge fan of your blog! I graduated from Seattle University, and started reading it when I was doing my own job search! Since then I have joined a small startup company that helps students (and professionals) build great-looking resumes in 15 minutes and then publish them online.
Anyway, your recent blog post on 'When Does Your Interview Really Begin' was so totally relevant to what we've been working on here at JobSpice that I felt I had to write you and tell you what we've been up to (as I agree that the interview starts way before the actual meeting; I think it starts with the resume). In the last few months, we've gotten dozens of large universities, (Northwestern, University of Washington, ASU and more) signed up to use JobSpice, and we're expecting about 250,000 students to have accounts on the site this Fall. But we want to do more than help students build resumes.
In the feedback we've gotten from students who are already using the site, most say that they love the ability to post their resumes online and then tweet the URL to friends or potential employers. I just thought I would write to you to tell you about all that JobSpice has been up to because I feel our web application could really benefit your readers!
Anyway, I'd love to hear back from you and hear your thoughts on what you thought of JobSpice.com and the ease of building a resume with our web application. I'd really appreciate your advice!
I receive many solicitations to promote other sites, and to be frank, most of them are crap (the solicitations and the sites themselves). But Andrea is one smart cookie. Her email to me was NOT a "canned" generic request like 99% are; she made it obvious she'd actually read my blog; and she appealed to my ego by paying me a compliment before making her request. How could I refuse?
I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. JobSpice enables you to quickly create an attractively formatted resume by following the prompts and filling in the blanks. You can choose from several format designs. The prompts guide you on the type of content to consider including in your resume. So I like the resume-builder at JobSpice.
But I also like the fact that JobSpice includes helpful articles on topics like making the resume CONTENT more effective. The best resume design/creation tool in the world won't help a clueless job seeker to get hired if he/she doesn't understand how to effectively communicate accomplishments. If you decide to use JobSpice to build your resume, be sure to read the articles on its blog first.
I do recommend JobSpice. It's a useful, and even fun way to create and post your resume. It has a F*REE trial, and if you like it, it's only $20 for a year of service. That seems like quite a bargain to me. I suspect they'll raise the price as their service gains in popularity. Check it out here: JobSpice.com.
2. CITYTOWNINFO. This is a very useful site. CityTownInfo is the leading online resource for in-depth information and analysis on U.S. cities, communities, careers, colleges, and more. It provides an incredible amount of helpful information, including detailed career profiles. If you're considering a new career, moving to a new city, or going back to school, this site should be your first stop. Go to CityTownInfo.com.
3. The Best Career Strategies of 2010. If you haven't already grabbed this f*ree report I compiled that's loaded with helpful career tips from dozens of experts, you can get it here: F*ree Report.
4. The Job Interview Success System. The job market is getting better, but it still sucks. You don't have to go it alone. Get step-by-step help and a big advantage over your competition with my job-winning System. Read all the details here: Job Interview Success System.
"When I was a young man, I observed that
Resolving to surprise her husband, an executive's wife stopped by his office. She found him with his secretary sitting in his lap.
Without hesitating, he dictated, "...and in conclusion, gentlemen, shortage or no shortage, I cannot continue to operate this office with just one chair.
Thanks for reading this issue. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know: Bonnie@Best-Interview-Strategies.com
Feel free to forward this to your friends!
P.P.S. To prevent your email service provider's spam filter from interrupting delivery or this newsletter to your email inbox, please add Bonnie@Best-Interview-Strategies.com to your address book or "safe list."
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