Do You Suck at Interviewing?

You wear the right clothing. You are very proficient in your field. You know people in your industry. Your resume was good enough to get the interview. And then you blow it!

Too many people do most things right and then just plain, to be brutal, suck at interviewing.

Top 10 Reminders (that you probably already know):

1. This meeting is THEIR meeting. What can YOU do for THEM?

2. See number one above…focus on what your CONTRIBUTIONS can be to the company…not what they can give to YOU. Don’t lead off asking about the vacation policy!

3. Be on time. Duh!! Scope the trip, the parking, etc. out ahead of time? But don’t show up 30 minutes ahead of time because you look too eager and like you have nothing to do.

4. Make them look away first during that eye contact phase of shaking hands. Look at the bridge of their nose if this idea makes you nervous. Your eye contact shows your confidence.

5. Bring copies of your resume along! You don’t know who will show up at you interview without one. Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared!

6. Bring some questions written in your notebook. I’ve interviewed many who show up with empty hands and it looks like they just wandered in off the street.

7. Regarding number 6, isn’t it worth a few hours on this internet thing to research competitors, industry trends, technology, press releases and investor relations sections so you HAVE good questions? They WILL ask if you have any questions. Sample: “I noticed your competitor, ABC company just released XYZ service/product. How will that affect your similar product/service?”

8.Regarding number 7 and having something to say: Don’t say TOO MUCH!! America’s Job Coach would be living in a most favorable city where he interviewed many years ago if he followed this edict. He was right for the job but TOO EAGER. He talked the interviewers to DEATH. He had the job and pissed it away! Better to ask: “Does that answer your question or would you like more detail?” Tap the brakes now and then.

9. If you are interviewing for a SALES related job, DON’T say, “I can get by on “X dollars.” The sales manager wants to know you will knock the cover off their quotas…not “settle.” Try “My goals are to sell enough of your product / service to enjoy a six figure income in six to twelve months. If I make enough sales, will your commission plan get me there?”

10. If you are interviewing for a technology-related position, it’s a buyer’s market for talent. If your tech skills are outdated admit it and don’t play the overused “I’m a fast learner” bit. How about “I am only familiar with your ABC platform BUT, my INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS WITH USERS LIKE YOURS can help move your IT department forward. Would you like more detail?”

Bottom line: Be strategic. Be prepared. Stare them down. Use success stories (next blog post). Smile! ūüôā

Good stories on the above strategies abound in “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010” …a timeless classic.

Two Girls For Every Boy!

In 1963, the song Surf City¬†was recorded by a¬†young, feel-good¬†band named¬†The Beach Boys.¬† It¬†was the number one song on Billboard¬† Magazine‘s Top 100 (according to¬† Some¬†people who are ‘Over-50 Types’ might even remember when the song hit gold.¬†

What a fun concept for¬†millions (of especially young men)¬†to think about — a place¬†where the girls may have worn¬†an Itsy¬†Bitsy Teenie Weenie¬†Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, AND¬†there were also¬†two¬†girls¬†for every one boy!¬†¬†Wow! ¬†

First Wave Boomers were not alone in their indoctrination to this song however. It went on to be enjoyed by millions more who were born later and grew up hearing it at wedding dances and theme parties for decades to come. Throngs (not thongs!) of youth heard it for dozens of years and it became a part of culture.

Fast forward 45 years or so. Instead of ‘Two Girls for Every Boy,‘ now we have “Six Seekers For Every Job.”

A recent¬†editorial by Paul Krugman of The New York Times¬†included the statistic that¬†we are now seeing¬†six job seekers¬†pursuing every one available job.¬† That doesn’t sound near as much fun as Two Girls for Every Boy.¬†This level of competition for work looks like it is going to be with us awhile. It may become part of our culture…

If you are stuck in a job you don’t like, or you are out of work, that culture thought might¬†be depressing.¬† Don’t let it bring you down!¬† Three out of five 50-something laid off people I know¬†have recently found jobs! Collectively, they were competing¬†against hundreds of other job seekers. But, they¬†managed to land something despite the long odds.¬†¬†¬†

But the numbers are still the numbers.¬†We are probably stuck in a¬†“hot mess” with regard to optimal employment for at least the forseeable future.¬†So what do you do?

A short answer is similar to what you may have heard already. If your line of work is clogged¬†with too many competitors for too few jobs, you may need to reinvent yourself. This topic is addressed in many, many good books out there so I won’t go into detail. The short version is this:

  • Take what you know better than anyone else, repackage it, remold it, add a new, big dash of passion to it,¬† get someone smarter than you to review your efforts, and give it a whirl.¬†
  • Maybe you¬†now can become¬†a consultant to your former industry, or to a niche you have followed for a long time?¬†Maybe you can boldly approach your former employer with a new¬†“value-add” proposition or TwitterVator Speech?¬†Maybe the time is finally getting close where you can turn your hobby¬†into a small business?

I won’t expand much here, but instead¬†invite readers to¬†comment. Free job coaching¬†by¬†this blog’s participants¬†may¬†be¬†helpful if you are struggling with how¬†to reinvent yourself.¬†But you have to be¬†willing to ask for the help…

Let this group help to conquer your career crisis as you work to catch that perfect career wave and land your surfboard on an ideal beach of a job! 

Maybe comments by this¬†blog’s readers¬†will lead to¬†Two Jobs for Every Boy (and Girl)!

Surf’s Up!

America’s Job Coach