Category Archives: interview

How To Get the Job Interview

Scoring the interview for the job that you want doesn’t have to be rocket science. Sometimes you can score that interview by simply making a phone call. There are many ways that people go about trying to get an interview. The methods of achieving one vary by company. It is best to know what the company’s application process is before taking your first step.

Generally, when a company is hiring they post an ad in the newspaper or an online job bank. How to contact them is usually included in the ad as well. You don’t want to email a resume to a company that is requesting that you walk in with your resume. You don’t want to call a company that requires a faxed resume etc. Ignoring their initial contacting information will guarantee that you will not get that interview because you have already proven that you can’t follow simple directions.

Sometimes, you can get a job lead from a friend before the job has been posted. If this is the case, you can either ask the friend to give the employer your resume and cover letter. If your friend doesn’t actually work where the lead came from, you can try calling about the position and ask what the application procedure is.

There are four general methods of applying for a job, and they include these basic methods.

Sending a Resume

Some companies prefer that you mail in your resume. For this type of approach, it is best to include a cover letter with your resume. The cover is a basic letter that describes the position that you are interest in and a few details of your qualifications and skills. It is basically your lead in your resume. Before writing your cover letter, you should know who the letter is to be addressed. You never want to begin a cover letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To whom it may concern”. It shows that you have not prepared and that you are not looking for a specific position with their company, but any job that you can get your hands on. Basically, it is disrespectful to your prospective employer.

Emailing Your Resume

Emailing resumes is becoming a commonplace way for recruiters to get resumes. Most companies offer this method as an alternative to the others. However, there are few tips on how you should go about it.
You should attach your resume as a word document or PDF file. These are the most common formats and what most companies will accept. The subject line should read like this: Smith, John (clerical position)This makes it easy for the recruiter to know who the email is from, and what it pertains to. It also assures that your email will be read.
Sometimes there are specific methods for addressing an emailed resume. Some companies have certain subject line requirements so follow them. If your company wants you to paste your resume, don’t send attachments because your email will be deleted right away.

Faxing Your Resume

Again, you will need to include a cover letter when you fax in your resume. If you are not using your own fax machine, be sure to include your proper contact information. The rules for your cover letter are the same as for mailing your resume. More about cover letters will be provided a bit later on in this book.

Walk-In Your Resume

For this type of application procedure, you will want to dress appropriately. You would want to dress just like you would for an interview. The company usually asks you to do this if you are going to be working directly with customers. They ask for a walk-in because they want to get a look at your grooming habits right away. Sometimes, a walk-in will have the employer giving you a brief interview on the spot, to see if they will require a formal interview later. So be on your best and most appropriate behavior.
Also, walk-ins do not require you to bring in a cover letter with your resume. Your appearance is sort of the cover letter. Sometimes, you will be requested to fill out an application form as well. Smile and be polite, no matter who you are talking to. That could be the difference between getting an interview and just taking an extra trip for nothing.

Telephoning for an Interview

It is not particularly common anymore for companies to ask you to call them for an interview. That is usually saved for jobs that include sales and/or jobs that are not so easily applied for by the other methods. Telephoning for an interview is a bit common when a company requires that you be on the phone a lot. It gives them a feel for the quality and the personality of the person on the phone. When making this type of interview request, always speak in a clean and clear manner. Be polite and prepared to answer any questions that may be asked of you. You might approach the telephone interview like this:

“Hello Mr. Brown, I am Mike Sandal. I am calling with regards to your ad in the Post about the clerical position”. If you are asked your experience and/or previous work experience, be prepared to answer quickly and explain how long you have been doing that type of work and give a brief description of your duties.

How To Be Successful At Interviews

The key to success is to treat the interview as a project, for which you must gather information, make decisions on feasibility, set objectives, identify the resources needed, draw up a plan of action, and manage the project carefully through to closure. In simple terms, you must be professionally prepared for the interview, in order to have the optimum chance of success.

No matter how expert or experienced you are, when you are applying for a promotion in your own organization, or a post in another organization, being fully prepared for the interview is critical. Your expertise, knowledge, reputation, experience, and appearance, will help you, but it is highly likely that the other candidates will have similar attributes.

Here is a list of actions that you should carry out in order to be fully prepared. Gather information about the recruiting organization (this includes your present employer if it is an internal interview): before you decide whether to attend the interview, it is essential that you gather information about the organization and analyze this. You need information on its recent and forecast performance, the condition of the business sector in which it operates, and the post that it is offering. If the organization and sector are healthy, and the post looks secure and has potential, then you can move on to the next stage. If your findings are negative then it is almost certain that the best decision would be to reject the opportunity. You need to gather information about the condition of yourself, looking at how your personal and career plans are progressing, focusing on how the prospects in your current job match with your personal and career objectives, and then how the new post could help you to achieve those objectives.

Decide to attend or not to attend the interview. You need to make an objective decision as to whether taking up this new post is the right decision for you, at this time. Armed with the information that you gathered earlier, you can assess the merits of being appointed to the new post, against staying in your current post, albeit perhaps until a more appropriate opportunity arises, and make your decision confidently. It is, of course, tempting to apply for a job which appears to offer a higher salary, more responsibility, more status, and new directions, and if this is so appealing that you are confident that you can adjust your development plans to match it, and be happy with that decision, then yes, attend the interview and perform to the best of your ability. However, be warned that the interviewers may well reject you because it will become obvious to them that the position they are offering is not a natural fit with your career to date, and worse, they may well ask you how this new opportunity fits with your future personal development plans, and be disappointed with your unconvincing response.

Gather details of the job itself. You need as much information as you can gather about the nature of the job, the role, responsibilities, reporting relationships, location of the workplace, working conditions, and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, and corporate policies and procedures that apply to the position. Some of this information will be given to you in the information pack sent to you by the interviewing organization, or department, but often, sadly, the quality of information sent out is poor. Most professional organizations will have HR departments that will answer your questions on these issues, or pass you on to the appropriate line manager.

Research the interview format: you need to do some basic but essential research on the practicalities of the interview. Again, some of this information will be sent to you. You should be clear about: how to get to the organization and the specific interview location (don’t rely on asking for this information when you arrive, as this adds to the stress of the occasion); who is on the interview panel (their titles will give you important clues as to their relationships to the post); what format the interview will take (there is nothing worse than arriving expecting a traditional face-to-face interview and finding that it is a day-long series of tests, group activities, and interviews).

Timing of arrival. Make sure that you arrive in good time, allowing time to tidy your physical appearance after your journey and sufficient time to become calm before the actual interview.

Your appearance. Do not make the mistake of thinking that it is only your history, qualifications, skills, and knowledge that will win you the job. Most other candidates will have similar attributes, so you need to make an impression, to look professional, smart, and appropriate for the post. In many cases, there will have been a previous holder of the post that the interviewers may be using, albeit subconsciously, as a benchmark.

How to Live Life Free of Stress – An Interview with Joe DiMaggio

Stress! Everyone can relate to that overwhelming feeling. It creeps up on you at work, at home, sometimes even on your vacation. How can one impact this? How can one end the vicious cycle of stress?

Stress! Everyone can relate to that overwhelming feeling. It creeps up on you at work, at home, sometimes even on your vacation. How can one impact this? How can one end the vicious cycle of stress?

As a Senior Program Leader for Landmark Education, an international training and development company, I lead courses for hundreds of people on a monthly basis. The people that attend our programs are there to create breakthrough results in the areas of their life that matter most, including career, relationships, and productivity. Each person brings his or her own set of life experiences to the course. However, one commonality that I often find among participants is that they feel STRESSED. They are stressed about their jobs, their kids, responsibilities, schedules, and on and on. Many participants, including extremely successful individuals, communicate that they sometimes feel overwhelmed by what they have to deal with in their day-to-day lives, and they don’t know what to do about it.

In today’s world, it is clear that stress can have an enormous negative impact on people. It ultimately robs us of our ability to operate at our maximum potential and to enjoy life fully. When coaching participants about stress in Landmark Education’s courses, I often share the following ways to begin to interrupt the natural progression of stress:

Give yourself a room. It is helpful to remember that it is completely natural to experience stress from time to time. When this happens, allow yourself time and space to experience just how you are being impacted. A natural response to serious events, or numerous events that require your attention at the same time, is to sometimes become numb or distracted. This takes away our ability to experience what is actually happening. Reacting is natural. Be clear that there is nothing wrong with being affected by the events of the day. It’s natural to have reactions. At the same time, you do not need to be limited by them.

People need to create a distinction between what stress is and what causes it. Stress is not based upon outside sources but rather on how we perceive a circumstance and then react to it. Observe your reaction. The key here is to react appropriately to “what’s really happening” rather than “overreacting.” How does one know if he or she is overreacting? You can begin by making a distinction between “what’s actually happening” versus “what you think about what’s happening.” Here’s an example: You are busy at your job working hard to make a deadline. Then, unexpectedly, your wife calls to tell you that one of your sons was stung by a bee and has to go to the doctor and she needs someone to watch your other children. Your first reaction is to overreact: “It is always something, I can’t catch a break, my wife should have been watching the kids more closely, I am going to miss my deadline and my boss will be furious, etc.” Your stress and frustration begin to mount. This is when you must consciously decide to distinguish between a) what happened and b) what you are thinking about what happened. At that moment, you will see that all that is happening is that your son has a bee sting and needs to be treated and you need to find someone to watch your children. You will see that everything else is just part of your reaction. As your stress subsides, you will remember your neighbor and best friend is on a home on vacation. You will call him and ask him to watch your children and he will accept. The crisis will be handled and your stress will disappear. When you recognize that you are simply reacting — perhaps even overreacting — you will expand your view and ultimately find additional power in the face of stress.

Another thing that I have noticed is that most people experience stress when they are feeling like something is out of their control. There are many demands and expectations that are placed on each of us, from others and from ourselves, and we often fall into the trap of mistaking these expectations as the way things should or must go. To deal with stress that results when our expectations go unfulfilled, we invite participants in our Landmark Education courses to try letting themselves be 100% present to a situation to watch the events unfold rather than trying to force those events to conform exactly to their expectations. For example, even if we know better, we expect people to do exactly what they say they will do by the time at which they say they will do it. Therefore, when people fall short of doing what they said, our unfulfilled expectations leave us upset and stressed. We may even blame them for our feeling so upset. This overreaction then leaves us stuck in the middle of how things should have gone things went. This robs us of the power to deal with what needs to be accomplished with the available resources at hand.

You have a say. While there are events in life that we cannot alter, one thing that always remains in our control is who we are going to be in the face of those events. Where are you standing regarding the events that are taking place? Focus your attention on what you are committed to -for yourself and others- and take action based on that. By doing this, you will experience more freedom and clarity, and your actions will make more of a difference

How To Interview Sales People Successfully

Since the dawn of free trading, only two things have ever mattered; producing a quality product or service and the ability to sell it successfully. By successfully, I mean ensuring that you achieve maximum profit from the sale, while the customer is delighted with their purchase. In most cases, the Business owner understands what they need to produce, but more often than not rely on someone with sales skills to sell it.

Since the dawn of free trading, only two things have ever mattered; producing a quality product or service and the ability to sell it successfully. By successfully, I mean ensuring that you achieve maximum profit from the sale, while the customer is delighted with their purchase. In most cases, the Business owner understands what they need to produce, but more often than not rely on someone with sales skills to sell it.

Would you know a good salesperson from a bad one?
While many company founders realize that they may not have the requisite sales skills, would they be able to recognize and hire someone who could sell? It is a recognized fact that four times as many businesses fail due to poor salesmanship, rather than poor products. Can you afford the other Sales person, based on the margins of what you intend to sell?

Thus hiring the right people to sell for you is one of the most important decisions most companies will make.

Unfortunately hiring is a bit like selling. First, you must find prospects. These are the candidates that you will interview. To do this you must create a job spec. This will be your advert.

How to create a sales job specification.
Like marketing, this step must not be rushed. First, understand exactly what you want the person to sell (Product Mix). Whom you wish them to sell to (territory) and how they should sell (Quota). You then need to ensure that you compensate them appropriately through a mix of base salary, Commission, and Benefits.

Assuming you arrived at your targets, using an appropriate mix of sales history and market research, you will need to do a similar exercise on the cost of the salesperson. In other words, can you afford them, based on the margins of what you intend to sell? It is also imperative that you offer a competitive package if you want to attract the right level of the person.

So now assuming you have advertised your position on the likes of or have advised an agency, what do you do next? You should partition the CVs that you get in, by sorting them into piles of “no” and “possibly”. You may have an agency doing this for you, or you might have a stab at it yourself.

The First Interview – by Phone or in Person?
The next step is to telephone interview the “possible” candidates. I would select about 10 candidates to interview by telephone. At ½ an hour each, it is 5 hours well spent. The purpose of this step is to whittle down the number of applicants, to no more than 4 per position to be filled.

I have a telephone interview sheet, which I have refined after years of interviewing salespeople, and it works pretty well for me. The key facts that you need to ascertain from the interview are as follows.

Does the person have a good telephone manner?

Did they research your company well?

Why they are leaving their current role, what their package expectations are?

Are they a strong performer as quantified by their results – how did they compare to their colleagues, how much money did they earn?

Will they be a good fit for your company and prospects?
Do they understand what a good sales process is, and have they experience using one?

Can they generate leads for themselves?

This is a non-exhaustive sample, the key is to get score all of the answers they give – I do it from 1-5, and only when I have completed all of the telephone interviews, do I add up the scores and rank the candidates. You will be surprised how high your “gut feel” candidates rank. The reason behind this is that you used a repeatable process with all candidates.

Does the P65 Really matter?
When bringing the final candidates to your premises for a final interview, you should ensure that they bring with them their last 3 years’ P65. This will verify their “sales figures” and earnings – it is amazing how few potential employers actually check this out. In addition, you should also ask them to supply the details of two referees. I like it when these referees are previous or existing customers.

If you have not had professional help in interviewing up to now (the most cost-effective is at the telephone interview stage), I would strongly recommend you get in someone who has been a sales manager who has hired and fired salespeople in their career. There is an old saying that “It takes one to know one” – this basically says that sales managers can smell a rat a mile off that someone who has not had a day to day contact with salespeople might miss.

On the final interview day, I would suggest that you have all the people come down on one or two days and have them meet at least three of the following, as well as yourself; the business owner.

Some of who does marketing

An existing sales person, if you have one

Someone in Customer Support

Someone in Production (or a consultant if you are a service company)

This way, all the people who could end up working with this new person will at least have a view. At the end of the day, you will have the final say, but it pays to hear other people’s opinions.

Could luck, good hiring, and most importantly good selling with great profit!

Top 10 Things People Do Wrong at Interviews, And How To Avoid Them

As the selection process starts to draw to a close it’s time to impress the hiring team. A large part of a successful interview is avoiding potential pitfalls that can undermine your ability to impress the hiring team.

A face-to-face interview is the most stressful part of the job search for many individuals, but it is also a critical component of the recruiting process. Up until this point, you have been able to hide behind your resume and cover letter. As the selection process starts to draw to a close, though, it’s time to impress the hiring team. A large part of a successful interview is avoiding potential pitfalls that can undermine your ability to impress the hiring team.

The top ten critical mistakes that people make when interviewing for a position are:

Arriving late to the interview

Arriving late makes a strong negative first impression and will raise questions in the interviewer’s mind about your reliability and punctuality. Always ask for directions to the interview site and double-check a map so that you know where you are going. Don’t forget to allow extra time for traffic and other unforeseeable events.

Poor dress attire and grooming

Remember that professional companies are looking to hire professional individuals, not the beach bum who just shook the loose sand from his hair. Dress conservatively in a well-fitting suit and keep jewelry, makeup, and fragrances to a minimum. It’s also important to always take a shower, brush your teeth, and comb your hair before an interview as well to present to the clean, polished image.

Failure to do research about the company prior to the interview

Show you are interested in the company by doing some outside research before the interview. This attention to detail sends a clear message to the interviewer that you are serious about the position and are willing to go the extra mile. This research will also help you determine if the company’s industry, products/services, and culture are a good match for you.

Failure to give specific examples of your experience and measure your skills against the position

Interviewers want to know more than just the bare bones of your experience. They are interested in the specifics of tasks how you performed, the challenges you have faced, and the methods you have used to overcome those challenges. This is especially true of behavioral interviewers. Take the time to give the interviewer specific examples of how you have performed and how these collaborate to the duties of the position. If you can draw a clear parallel between your work experience and the position you are interviewing for, you have a much higher chance of being successful in the interviewing process.

Not taking the opportunity to ask intelligent questions about the company and/or position

The interviewing process is not just an opportunity for the company to evaluate your fit for the position; it’s also your opportunity to evaluate how well the company and the position match your ideal job. Asking questions not only helps you determine how well-suited you are for the position (and it for you) but also clearly indicates that you have done some basic research about the organization. Don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking questions. Intelligent, poorly-worded questions can frequently do more damage to your reputation than remaining silent.

Failure to practice

Even the best public speakers need to take the time to practice delivering and answering detailed questions. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will get with your answers and the material, allowing for a much smoother delivery.

Talking too much (or not at all)

The best answers are succinct but detailed. Interviewees who ramble on and on come across as trying to compensate for some weakness, while those individuals who just sit there and stare appear as though they are in shellshock (and maybe in over their heads). Neither of these scenarios is ideal in an interview situation. Choose your words carefully and sparingly, but don’t be mute.

Bad-mouthing previous managers or companies

One of the fastest ways to turn off an interviewer is to bad-mouth your current or previous employer. This raises questions about your loyalty and integrity and labels you as unhappy and a complainer. Even if you worked in a sweatshop with no lights, running water, or meal breaks for 18 hours a day, keep all negative commentary to yourself.

Fail to explain why they are a good fit for the position (and the company)

If you leave it up to the interviewer to evaluate if you are a solid fit for the company, then you risk the chance that they might not make the decision you’d like to hear. Make it easy for the interviewer to hire you by connecting your experiences, talents, and strengths to the job description.

Don’t state that you want the job

Once the interview has concluded, if you want the job, let the interviewer know that you are still interested in the position.