Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why Do Interviews Die: That Sinking Feeling and How to Prevent it!

Interviews die because a mistake occurred. Sometimes, you've made a mistake; sometimes they die because someone who screened a resume did.

1. Interviews often occur because someone has reviewed a resume and interprets something that you have written in ways that you didn't intend. Someone believes that you have a skill that you didn't list; sometimes, they misread something in your experience. Within 15 minutes, each of you knows that something is wrong but because interview etiquette doesn't permit it, the conversation languishes on.

2. Sometimes it is your mistake. Sometimes you have overstated an experience or skill in your resume. In job markets like these, it is common for people to include every skill or experience they have been near or around in their resume in the hope that they will get an interview. As I screen resumes, it has become too common for me to find out about people having 4 months of experience with the core skill of the job I am trying to fill. That is rarely adequate for my client in the searches we are attempting to complete, yet, like mission inspectors in Iraq, I have to ask a follow-up question to deduce that the experience is inadequate.

3. The interviewer is off in another thought and you don't bring them around to pay attention to you. Although an interview may be the most important thing in your day, it may be one of 25 priorities in the interviewers. What you may interpret as a dying interview may be the interviewer thinking about a project responsibility, the next question they're going to ask, their commute, an argument with a spouse/significant other or child, an upcoming meeting or a million other possibilities.

4. You are boring the interviewer. Too often, answers to questions send the job-seeker off in lengthy answers that are just downright boring and long. It's not the question; it's that the person hasn't organized their thoughts around a subject so the answer is becomes so lengthy, uninteresting and, often, have no relationship with the original question.

How Can I Avoid This?

There are different strategies depending upon the mistake. I'll answer by offering ways to both avoid the mistake and to steer the interview along a better route.

1. When you are invited to interview with a firm, ask about the position that they want to interview you for. Try not to interview for jobs for which you are not qualified. They may saw a Director's position or a programmer's role. Ask then, if they can tell you more about the role and responsibilities of the position and what they are looking for in the way of a background or experience. If you detect a "red flag" or something that gives you reason to feel like there was mistake made, it is useful to say what your actual experience was in the area that and confirm that it is adequate.

For example, a company looking for a Notes developer invites a Notes administrator with some development experience for a senior developer's role. The administrator states that they are an administrator with two years of development experience during which time 40% of their work was development. Some of you may say that this will "kill the interview" and you'll be right. Yet in this market, the interview would be a waste of time.

2. Don't exaggerate your knowledge or experience on your resume. Be accurate when you present your experience or knowledge. If you worked with something for two months three years ago, indicate it on your resume. Don't worry, you are not going to lose an opportunity to get hired because you were honest. You're going to save yourself the agony of interviewing for a job that you wouldn't get hired for anyway.

3. If you sense an interviewer is off in thought, there is a simple way to bring them back to you--shift your position by crossing your leg or adjusting in the chair or clear your throat and apologize for doing so. These two simple actions will bring their consciousness back to you.

4. Pay attention. Paying attention is not something you would think should be a necessary reminder. Too often, jobseekers are off in their thoughts and not paying attention. Not paying attention to what the company is looking for in the way of a solution to the job; thinking that they know better than the employer what they should be asking and then going off and answering that question instead of the one asked. Then the answer goes on forever!

Try to answer the question in 30-45 seconds if possible. Some questions require more time than that; most don't. By keeping your answers to that length, you will make the interview interactive. It is unlikely that you will bore your audience. You will create a back and forth with the interviewer that will keep them engaged in the discussion with you. You can probably even anticipate what their follow-up question can be and practice your answer in advance of the interview.

You'll probably notice that the first two suggestions occur before an interview, the next two occur during the interview. I don't believe that smiling or asking a lot of questions are anything more than damage control. By following the points here, you will avoid going on interviews that you can't win and do a better job in the ones you get.


RELATED ARTICLES Unemployment Survival: Taking Back Control

One of the most emotionally crippling aspects of unemployment is the sense of powerlessness it engenders. Job layoff triggers financial pressures, emotional distress, family turmoil, and dashed career hopes. Business Experience is YOUR Security Cover

Some may want to interpret "independent" to mean WITHOUT others. None of us are truly independent or able to make it in life alone. Employment Law: Unfair Dismissal - Employer Succeeded in Changing Terms of Employment

Good News for Employers wishing to change the terms of employment of employees, however, employers must still take care.In Scott & Co v Richardson [2005], the Dependant, Mr Richardson, who worked for a Scottish firm of debt collectors, refused to accept his new terms of employment which required him to visit defaulting debtors during the evenings. Dealing With How Would You...? Questions

I'm always preaching about proper preparation prior to interviews. If you research the position and company carefully, you can anticipate likely questions and prepare excellent answers. Career Search from Within

Seeking meaningful and fulfilling work can become a discouraging, confusing and overwhelming journey. Beware spending too much time looking for your answers outside of yourself. Don't Discount the Temporary Position Interview

If you think, 'it's just an interview for a temp job -- no big deal,' that's where you're mistaken. Some wonderful opportunities, networking connections and careers have resulted from temporary positions. Ask Me No Questions, Ill Tell You No Lies

If only there were no questions involved in getting a job!If you've been following NBC's "The Apprentice," you know who Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth is. She's had the honor of being fired by Donald Trump (and others, according to "People" magazine). Successful Job Search: Knocking Out The Competition

Most of the time, competition stimulates us, gets our juices flowing, generates creativity, a sense of excitement, and motivates us to perform at our best. Looking for work is another matter! When it comes to financial survival, to regaining independence and self-worth, competition can be crippling. Competency Based Interviews - 6 Steps to Success!

Competency based interviews are intended to get the best from you, the candidate, whilst also fulfilling the needs of the organisation to get the very best person for the job. There are some easy steps to make the most of yourself and have a much better chance of success. Why Human Resources Are The Real Key To Success In This Information Age

The rapid changes that have mainly been brought about by the information age are numerous and irreversible. They have affected our way of life on virtually every front and have left many old companies in ruins while causing other new ones to swiftly emerge and grow to great unprecedented profitability, literally overnight. Dissatisfied With Your Job? Stop Putting Your Attention on What You Dont Want!

If I were to ask you the percentage of time you spend thinking about what you don't want, what would it be? And the percentage of time thinking about what you do want?Experience with my clients has shown me that most of us spend a lot more time thinking about what we don't want. Some examples when it comes to our job include:-I hate my commute. The Chicken or the Egg?

Even before I checked my calendar on Monday morning, I knew the appointment would be there. Passed over for promotion again, Ralph wanted specifics on why I hadn't chosen him for the position. Free Resume Template: The ONLY One Youll Ever Need

WARNING: This article is likely to make you mad.In fact, I'm pretty sure it will. Ask the Recruiter

We all have career goals, big or small. Here are some questions I have recieved over the last month from those actively seeking new employment. History Reports: When Your Resume Equals, I Did This, I Did This, I Did This

Do these sound familiar?"I worked for?" "My responsibilities were?" "My duties included?"Does a prospective employer care about what you "did for other companies"? Of course they do, but that doesn't mean that's what they really want to know. Conducting a job search is a marketing campaign, moreover, a sales process, not your personal history lesson. 8 Steps to Getting On-Track When You Start a New Job

Starting a new job can feel like moving to a new country. Your language skills may be modest. How to Get Hired by Being Obvious

If you want a drink of water, do you hire a focus group or pick up the Yellow Pages? No. You go to the kitchen, fill a glass and drink. How To Get A Job Fast

In today's unpredictable economy, the idea of job security with any company would seem to be a thing of the past. Large company layoffs, golden handshakes, mergers, leveraged buyouts, company acquisitions and similar business moves have left people of all ages out of a job they need to live. Resume Tune Up

Employers have fears, uncertainty and DOUBT (the FUD factor) over your ability to actually do what you claim you can do in your resume and cover letter.Combine this with the fact that EVERY candidate looks good on paper, no-one leaves their previous job because they were paid too much, the work was too interesting and all the people were fantastic, and you can see the challenge you're facing. Dressing Tips for Interview Success

Dressing appropriately for job interviews is one of those areas that puzzles some people.Should you dress conservatively or wear casual attire?What colors work best?What types of shoes should you wear?As a rule, you should dress conservatively for most job interviews.

No comments:

Post a Comment