There is an unspoken set of rules that goes on in the interview.
And you are expected to know them.
These rules come from the recruiter or hiring manager. They have things they want to hear and things they don’t want to hear. How do you know what they are and how do you prepare for them?
Candidates practice their interviewing skills vigorously. They read up on what to say, how to answer. Dress appropriately. Smile. Follow body language. Get in front of a mirror and practice. Be on time, but not too early.
They go over their lists of strengths and weaknesses, their accomplishments, their contributions to the last job, what they offer this new company.
But what about the things they should NOT say? Interviewers are weighing what you DON’T say just as much as what you do say.
Here are 7 key things you shouldn’t say in the interview.
1. Salary. “How much does this pay?” is one of the worst ways to start a conversation. Don’t talk about it right away. The longer you wait, the more leverage you have when negotiations start. They know you are anxious for clarity but they are also interested in what their ROI will be before they make an offer. Wait it out.
2. Company. Come prepared. Know what the company does! Know their mission, product, or service. What do they do? Who do they sell to? Who is their biggest competitor? What were their quarterly and year-end earnings last year? Act as though you are the company ambassador. The more you know about it, the more impressed they will be. Telling the interviewer you are “sort of familiar” with their company will put you in the NO pile.
3. Your old company. Do not bash your last company, manager, co-workers, or the way they did things. It might have ended badly, but the new company doesn’t need to hear about it. It makes you look bad and will let them know that you will bash them as well. It also makes you look difficult or whiny. Honestly, when I talk to a client and all they do is bash their old company, it does send up some red flags. I also assume that the client will be difficult to work with (past experience tells me they will). Work out your feelings before going to an interview and leave it behind.
4. I need this job. Don’t let your desperation show. They know you want the job. They know you (most likely) need the money. Keep your focus on what the company needs from you and how you are the right fit for the role. You want to lead with your strengths and experience. They don’t want just anyone for the job. They want the RIGHT person.
5. I want your job. When they ask you “where do you see yourself in 5 years” don’t tell them you want their job. You might think it sounds ambitious but it could come off as arrogant or that you plan on leaving soon. Plus, you may be talking to a sensitive or worried manager who doesn’t know how stable their job is. Telling them you want their job may automatically make them defensive or turned off. Instead, let them know that you hope to gain experience and knowledge from the role with a promotion following.
This is a stepping stone. If you know this next role is only to benefit your career through additional experience so you can move on to the role after that, don’t tell the interviewer that. They don’t need to know that you only view their company as temporary. They want to hire someone committed to the company and the role.
7. Questions. Have questions ready! Expectations? Culture? What is a typical day like? How do you measure success in this position? What type of advancement is there? What types of challenges should I expect? Who will I be working with? You’ve read my resume and spoken with me, do you think I am a good fit for the role? Even ask them about their role! Going to an interview without follow up questions will make you look unprepared.
Interview don’ts are just as important as interview do’s. Good luck!
How many times have you felt you were PERFECT for that role, but still didn’t get it? You went over the interview in your mind a hundred times, noted how easily the conversation flowed, how they interviewer would nod enthusiastically when you described a certain experience or skill. They seemed excited when they said they would get back to you soon.
Then you got the email that you weren’t chosen.
Safe to say, I think we’ve all been there.
I’m a firm believer in if you didn’t get the job, something better will come along. Through the years, some of our clients have come back to us to tell us about interviews they nailed and were sure they got the job. But didn’t.
However, there are various reasons companies may choose a different route:
They decided to hire internally. As unfair as it sounds, they may have already had a front runner in mind but posted it anyway to see if there is someone better. Some companies HAVE to post externally due to contract constraints or affirmative action plans. Federal contractors or government agencies may have to post externally as well.
You were overqualified. Perhaps they think you won’t do tasks you deem “beneath you”. While it’s unfair for them to assume what you will or won’t do, it is a common concern. They may also fear that you will be bored at the job—especially if you’ve been on an impressive career track. Or, that after a while, you will leave and they’ll be back to square one.
You were underqualified. Thinking you’d be great in a role and actually having the experience to master the role are two different things. Read the job description thoroughly and make sure you have the experience to apply for the role.
They already had another candidate in mind. It’s possible they already found their choice but they had to have a certain amount of candidates to interview to fill their candidate roster. It might be company policy that X number of people need to be interviewed before a choice can be made.
Your online presence wasn’t professional or up-to-date. Hiring managers check your social media profiles to learn more about you. Turn on your privacy settings if you have personal pictures or information on there. Also, if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a while (or years!), now is the time to do it. Lack of LI presence can hurt you as well. Get it up to date.
You shared too much. I’ve talked with recruiters who said the candidate told them their life story—the good, bad, and ugly—and in the process turned off the recruiter. Keep the conversation on the company, their pain points, how you can help them, and that’s it. Don’t talk about your jerk boss, your sick parent, or a personal health problem. They really don’t want to or need to hear it. Keep it professional.
You didn’t know enough about the company. Be very prepared when you go to the interview. Research the company, its mission, what they do, what they sell, or what they are about. Research the role, figure out their pain points. Have questions ready to interview the interviewer, questions like, “What should I know about the role I am seeking? Do you have any other insight?” Be both knowledgeable and inquisitive.
Whatever the answer, you may never know. You might have done everything right and still did not get the job. It might have been narrowed down to you and someone else, but they went with the other person because they had more strategy experience.
Either way, you gave it your all.
About two months ago, an operations exec said to me, “You know, after three rounds of interviews, they finally told me I wasn’t chosen. So, I reached out to a few old colleagues that resulted in a round of interviews with a company I was never interested in and an industry I wasn’t very familiar with. But they liked me and saw what my vision was for their company–and hired me. It has been the best job I’ve ever had.”
If you are struggling with job search, hang tight. The right job will come along.
Landing a phone interview is often the first step in getting your foot in the door for a formal interview. However, if you don’t take the interview seriously, you may never be invited to the office for the next step. Although a phone interview generally doesn’t last more than 30 minutes, it’s still extremely important and valuable for both you and the employer. You’ve spent a lot of time writing resumes that get you hired, so be sure to avoid these common phone interview mistakes so your efforts aren’t wasted.
Talking Too Much
It’s understandable for people to be nervous during any type of interview. A common nervous habit is getting too chatty, and it’s even easier to talk too much in a phone interview since you can’t see the other person’s facial reactions. The interviewer likely has scheduled a set amount of time to talk to you, so be sure to answer questions precisely and without a lot of extra fillers.
Getting Off Topic
If you aren’t prepared for a particular question, it’s easy to get off topic. Many executive resume services will suggest writing down some of the most common questions you could be asked and creating a cheat sheet so you can be better prepared. It’s easy to ramble on for several minutes if you aren’t sure exactly how to answer a question, but you may be doing yourself more harm than good.
Talking About Yourself Instead of The Company
No one knows more about you than you do, but it doesn’t mean you should only talk about yourself. The company wants to learn about you, as well as what you bring to the table. The key to writing an effective resume is targeting the specific company and demonstrating your value. The same is true for a phone interview. If you talk solely about yourself, then the interviewer may struggle to find exactly what value you bring.
Not Asking Questions
You have to be able to identify the right time to ask questions during a phone interview. Most of the time, it’s best to let the interviewer ask all of their questions. They will typically then ask you if you have any questions for them. If you don’t ask any, then they’ll think you aren’t interested in the job and may not consider you to be a serious candidate. Make a list of some specific and targeted questions to ask beforehand and you’ll be viewed as more of a credible candidate. Professional Resume Services provides various executive resume services to help people with their job search, including writing an effective resume, boosting personal branding and much more. Phone interviews are becoming more popular today than ever before, so it’s important to be prepared for them. To learn more about what to do and what not to do in a phone interview, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time for assistance or advice.
Clean up Your LinkedIn Profile This Summer With These Tips!
While most companies are hiring professionals and executives throughout the year, the summer months tend to be a little slower. With people taking time off to go on vacation and spending time away from the office, the hiring process takes a little longer than usual. For job seekers, this is the perfect time to clean up your executive LinkedIn profile. Most people don’t spend enough time updating their profile, which could have a few downfalls. Here are some tips on how to clean up yours this summer.
Read your entire executive LinkedIn profile word-for-word and update anything that has changed. Chances are you’ll think about several skills or experiences you’ve developed or had since your last profile update. Having updated information about yourself is one of the keys to the best LinkedIn profile development.
Filter Through Your Endorsements
You may have gotten several LinkedIn endorsements from friends or family that simply aren’t relevant to executive jobs you’re looking for. The amount of endorsements you have isn’t nearly as important as the quality of the endorsements. Filter through all of them and remove any of the unimportant ones so a recruiter will see only the relevant endorsements.
Focus on Your Summary
The summary section is the place where you sell yourself to potential recruiters and connections. If you aren’t a strong writer, you can always reach out to a professional LinkedIn profile writer for assistance. The summary needs to be specific and straight to the point without a lot of fluff. Writing the best LinkedIn summary is an art, so seek help if you need it.
Keep Your Profile Straightforward
Your executive LinkedIn profile should be treated differently from your executive resume, but they do have some similarities. Don’t use a lot of filler words on your LinkedIn profile just to make it longer. Being clean and concise with your words will look more impressive to a recruiter than having to scroll down through blocks of text. If you’re actively looking for a job, make it clear. If you’re currently employed but keeping your options open, make that clear as well. Professional Resume Services is here to help you with your LinkedIn profile development this summer. Whether you need advice on tidying up your profile, or if you need a professional LinkedIn profile writer, feel free to reach out to us at any time.
“While not new, predictive analytics is an important factor in assessing a candidate’s fit and potential. What is new is its accelerating use in corporate America as a means to filter candidates in and out of consideration long before any personal assessment is made.” — Lou Adler
Lou Adler is a regular contributor to LinkedIn and has so much experience and authority in his perspective on the hiring process that it is worth taking the time to understand what he says about the way Big Brother is Now Determining Your Hirability. Today, a person seeking a position is filtered by all that is in their resume, and all that is in their online brand as well. There’s a list of characteristics that fit into a pattern; the pattern of the Achiever.
Here is what the “Achiever Pattern” that many companies look for consists of:
lower turnover with growing responsibility
quality of the years of experience rather than number of years
quickly being assigned (or volunteering) for important projects and/or teams
demonstrating same patterns of initiative & responsibility in every position
rehiring and being rehired by past co-workers
participation in expanding cross-functional teams
Why Are Certain Qualities Desirable?
If you look at the Achiever Pattern’s overall impression, you see someone who is willing and able to work within any setting and maximize the potential. They are good to work with, as evidenced by the fact they hire past co-workers and are hired by people who have worked with them in the past. There’s a pattern there of more than a self-centered trampling on the way to a shinier inflated ego — the achievement they consistently reach is an achievement that is good for everyone.
If you don’t have these qualities, you may be filtered out of the running before you ever get to the interview. It may be a good idea to carefully look at your resume and online presence and see how accurately they are portraying your own achievements. LinkedIn profile development has never been more important than it is today because it reveals a pattern that your next employer uses to predict your hirability.
3 Reasons To Track The Numbers In Your Job Performance
Some of us liked math class, and some of us did not (I am in the latter group). But like it or not, numbers are essential in your career, from resume to retirement and everywhere in between. Job performance numbers are particularly useful for at least three reasons:
they look good on your resume
they help with salary negotiations
and they give you confidence
Performance Numbers Validate Your Resume
When you can state that your work for a past employer resulted in a 15% increase in sales, that is an authoritative statement. It had better be a true statement that you can back up with more information, too! The fact is. illustrating your success with hard numbers always gets a good ROI on your resume because it is specific proof of your worth. Employers looking for a good return on their investment in hiring you will be impressed.
Performance Numbers Bolster Your Salary
When you come into a salary negotiation equipped with the numbers showing your worth, you have a powerful argument for getting a raise or added benefits. You have provided the company with more profit and are worthy of a bigger wage. Again, the numbers need to be backed with additional information so it can be verified if questions come up. If you are due for a salary increase, be prepared to bolster your claims with the numbers to prove it.
Performance Numbers Boost Your Confidence
When you are keeping track of what you do at work and the difference that it makes, there’s a record of your valuable input. Even something as simple as attendance means you were on the job — and if you are tracking all the numbers of your particular job you should see which numbers will be valuable for your resume and salary negotiations. You will also begin to see indications and trends in your personal work habits and opportunities that will help you establish goals. Keeping track of your own job performance numbers puts you in control of your own career.
6 Ways To Turn Your Social Media Savvy Into A Career
Did you know that many businesses are looking for someone to be their Social Media Manager? It’s true — because social media is fast becoming an essential part of marketing and customer relations, companies need somebody to devote a lot of time to doing it right. Scarlett Wilson recently shared the Top 6 Skills Employers Look For In A Social Media Manager on B2C (Business 2 Community) and the list is worth considering:
Experience in using social media tools — the more, the better.
An analytical mind-set — the ability to use analytical tools to interpret data and explain what the numbers really mean.
Ability to plan long-term social media strategies — understanding your particular market and trends, etc.
Ability to write quality content — this is crucial because search engines increasingly look for relevancy, and people insist on it.
Additional digital marketing skills — blog writing, keyword optimization, formatting, or anything in this category should be on your resume because they are in demand.
Communication skills — because social media is all about communication. So is business, actually.
Social Media Skills Are Marketable
It used to be that things like LinkedIn Profile Development were considered to be a good networking device for an individual career and that was all. Most business owners didn’t think about their business social media development unless reputation management became an issue. But today the reality of internet marketing means social media has to be an integral consideration.
If your company doesn’t do any social media marketing, and you have these skills, you could be able to convince your boss that it would be good to let you start doing something in this field. If you are looking for a job, make sure that you have any social media skills listed in your resume and can explain why they are there.
An old-school employer may not understand why it’s important until they are shown some facts. Any employer who is at all concerned about the company’s internet presence will be very interested in what you have to offer.