YOU'RE HIRED guides young professionals toward making the best of job interviews. It recognizes that a candidate's qualifications can get him or her through the interviewer's door, but securing the dream job requires much more.
This book provides the three key strategies for getting hired. It shows how to identify the strongest qualities a candidate has for any job interview and additionally, provides the most appropriate responses to typical job interview questions. This material comes with practice worksheets to help the candidate apply the key learning of the book and position him or her perfectly for the next dream job.
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MAKING THE BEST OF JOB INTERVIEWS
By Harry Nnoli
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Harry Nnoli
All rights reserved.
Becoming a Person of Value
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Adding value to yourself is the process of investing in yourself so you can contribute more to your environment.
Like an expensive jewel in a shop, you should be worth what someone is willing to pay for you.
Improve yourself constantly: read a new book, learn a new trade, learn a new subject, learn a new sport, and invest time in upgrading your skills and knowledge.
One of the best ways to find a job is to do an excellent job in the one you have, even if it's not the ideal job you want. Always "think fresh," and challenge yourself to come up with alternatives and options to a problem. This way you will always train yourself to be a solution-provider. Learn something new every day, and make up your mind not to give half measure on your job.
Be someone your employer knows to do more than you are paid for. Open your mind to new ideas and always be ready to challenge the status quo. Always be willing to help, and be disposed to teach others when you have knowledge, skills, and ability that others do not have. People hoard information because they think that the other person may become better than they are. Well, each time you teach another person, you also learn and become better. Those you teach will never beat you unless you stop learning.
If you are currently without a job, don't feel locked out. It's an opportunity for you to read the numerous books you bought over the past few years that you have never opened. It's an opportunity to learn something new, to try new hobbies; you may just discover a new talent that could hold the key to your financial independence. While not the focus of this book, the discovery of your talent is one of the potential benefits of unemployment.
To constantly add value to yourself these are some of the questions that you should ask:
What books have I read recently?
What training or seminar have I attended?
What professional journal have I read?
What personal development site or educational internet site have I visited recently?
As a professional, it is the value that you have acquired that enables you to give value to your employer. You can only give what you have. When you develop your talent and skills, you deserve all the recognition and reward (financial and emotional) that you get. Your ability to earn more money will depend on your ability to contribute more to a greater number of people. It doesn't necessarily come by years of experience but by years of experience doing productive things and contributing value.
Work not to be a man of success, rather work to be a man of value.
What Employers Seek When Hiring
Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every employer desires to build a winning team, and to build a winning team you need good people. Hiring good people is hard and to hire great people is obviously brutally harder! So what do prospective employers look out for in the potential employees?
There are many traits looked out for by prospective employers, but here are seven that apply to any hiring decision irrespective of level or organization involved.
People with integrity tell the truth, and keep their words. They take responsibility for their actions, admit mistakes, and fix them. They play to win the right way, by the rules. They know and adhere to the letters and the spirit that govern their companies, industry and nation. They can be relied upon.
Employers test for integrity by observing you closely as they interact with you from when you stepped into the company for the interview, how you answer the interview questions till when you leave the premises. They also test for this from outside by reputation and reference checks. The prospective employer checks to know if the candidate is honest, openly admits mistakes, talks about his life with equal measures of candor and prudence.
Some of the words synonymous with integrity include candor, honesty, forthrightness, principle and sincerity. Therefore, display these not just for the interview but also in all aspects of life.
This doesn't mean the person must be a rocket scientist or a heart surgeon. This means strong dose of intellectual curiosity; the desire and inspiration to learn and the breadth of knowledge to lead others. This could be refined and enhanced through education but note that education is not same as schooling. Many go to school but are not really educated, instead they get fixated on specific pattern of thoughts with little application. Think broadly, challenge the status quo and be disposed to new information.
Some of the words synonymous with intelligence are aptitude, alertness, agility, capacity, discernment and sagacity. All these will enhance your ability to win.
This is not the same as chronological advancement in age. An individual is mature when he has developed the ability to withstand the heat, handle stress and setbacks, and also knows how to celebrate success when it comes with equal parts of joy and humility. Mature people respect the emotions and time of others. They are confident but not arrogant.
To test for this the prospective employer relies on reference checks, reputation and intuition.
Some of the words synonymous with maturity are wisdom, mellowness, fullness, advancement, and development. These virtues must flow from you.
This has to do with the candidate's lively interest in the job, any activity or life itself. This is what John Francis "Jack" Welch, former CEO/chairman of GE and bestselling author, referred to in his book, Winning, as positive energy and the ability to energize others. Those with this attribute thrive on action and relish change because they have the ability to go on and on. They make conversation easy, they are full of energy at the start of day, and they end it that way. They love life, never complain about working hard, because they love it anyway as much as they love to play.
Beyond being full of energy themselves they have the innate ability to get others revved up. This is the effect of positive energy. People who energize can inspire the team to take on the impossible and enjoy doing it. For this to happen, you must be an expert in your field with a great persuasive skill, which is nothing more than understanding the benefit of the task at hand to the one you want to energize, and communicating it so clearly that the person sees the benefit.
Some of the words synonymous with enthusiasm are energy, conviction, emotion, zest and passion among others. If you want to win, be full of enthusiasm; it has a way of affecting others.
5. Intuition or The Edge
This is the courage to make the tough yes-or-no decision. Anyone can look at an issue from different angles and some can analyze these angles endlessly. Always remember that effective people know when to stop assessing and intuitively make a tough call, even without the full information. Especially when interviewing for a manager position, prospective employers look out for this quality, not the manager that says, "Bring it back next week, we would take a second look at the figures."
The "next week" for such managers never seems to come as they habitually postpone indefinitely, and such people are so easily swayed by different shades of opinion. Indecision can stifle an organization and no employer wants such a person in his or her organization.
This is the ability to get the job done. You are enthusiastic and have made the tough call, now this quality helps you bring that call to life. I have interviewed several candidates that seemed to have everything in its proper place but it turned out when they where hired that nothing ever got done to completion. They spoke the right words, sounded convincing and enthusiastic, but each time fell shot in terms of results. The ability to execute was lacking.
From experience and by intuition an interviewer can discern people lacking in this all-important quality. They can see through the smooth and tough talking performances during the interview by drilling into the details of the candidate's previous achievements.
Those that execute are the people who know how to put decision into action and push them forward to completion, through persistence that overruns resistance, chaos and obstacles.
People who can execute know that winning is all about results. To execute is synonymous with eliminate, do, finish, liquidate, and carry out with respect to a task or assignment.
By passion I mean that desire, deep hunger, heartfelt excitement about work. Passionate people care about friends, colleagues and other employees winning. They are eager to learn and grow, and love it when those around them do the same and win.
Prospective employers know that a man of passion and conviction is unstoppable no matter the task. While I can send a staff on training to gain functional knowledge in any discipline in the organization, I have found from experience that it is practically near impossible to train a staff lacking in passion to become passionate. When staff are passionate, organizations can literally move mountains, and employers know this, and look out for it when they interview job candidates.
Some of the words synonymous with passion are affection, dedication, eagerness, intensity and excitement. Let these be part of your traits because the interviewer and other circumstances of life will demand for them.
With these seven attributes—integrity, intelligence, maturity, enthusiasm, intuition, execute and passion—you are armed with the knowledge that should serve as a guide when you prepare for an interview.
Preparing for the Dream Job
Never tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon.
Before the Job Interview
A job interview is your chance to show a prospective employer what kind of employee he or she will get if you are hired. This is why it is essential to be well prepared for the job interview.
Preparing means being current with the industry in which you are seeking employment, so that you're familiar with the employer and aware of what he is likely to require; it means that you are well prepared to meet those needs. This will also include paying attention to details like personal appearance, mannerisms, punctuality, comportment, and demeanor.
Knowledge, especially when applied is power, and it is always your best weapon. Arm yourself with it.
A good place to start is to have a resume that commands the attention of the prospective employer, and an understanding of the basics of job interviews.
To be invited for a job interview in the first place, you typically would have made an earlier contact by applying for the job and/or by sending your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to the prospective employer. Even when hiring managers "poach" a potential employee, they would have first received the candidate's resume or CV.
For clarity, the essential difference between a resume and a CV are the length, what is included and what each is used for. A resume, which is more popularly used, is a one or two page summary of your skills, experience and education. The CV on the other hand, is longer with more detailed synopsis. It includes a summary of your education and academic backgrounds as well as teaching, training, research, publications, awards, projects, honors, hobbies, affiliations, and other details.
In Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, employers may expect to receive a CV. In the United States, a CV is used primarily when applying for research, scientific, academic or education positions. It is also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.
Writing an Interview Winning Resume
Your resume needs to be professional and polished, because if you don't have a professional resume, your application probably won't be considered by a hiring manager.
Part of writing a professional resume includes paying attention to vital details such as the use of basic fonts, indicating all relevant contact information, and incorporating keywords used in the job description for the position applied to. Other details include, choosing the appropriate formats—a lot of templates and formats are readily available online and are free—as well as prioritizing your content to match the job requirements and leveraging on technology.
If your resume requires enhancement or if you don't have any at all, then you would need to turn to appendix F page 126 right away for the tips on writing an interview winning resume.
Today's harsh economic realities have forced many longtime employees into the job market again, dusting off resumes for the first time in years. As thousands of these new candidates vie for a dwindling number of positions, recruiters are increasingly turning to talent management technology to help narrow the pool of applicants and find the best candidates for open positions. Therefore, in writing a resume you should be mindful that your resume might be reviewed by software as well as by hiring managers.
In the appendix you will find the essential elements you need to consider when writing your resume so that it puts you in a good position for the interview.
Types of Job Interviews
A good resume puts you in a place of opportunity to be identified, and shortlisted for an interview. However, it's important that you have some general knowledge about the different types of job interviews.
There are several types of interviews you might face, but the key types are the Screening Interview, the Phone Interview, the Selection Interview, the Group Interview (or Group Selection Interview), the Panel Interview, the Presentation Interview, and the Stress Interview.
The focus of this book is primarily on Panel Interviews, which constitute about 70 percent of the interviews conducted for entry-level and middle management positions. Group and Presentation Interviews are also often an integral part of the interview process. See appendix D page 114 for notes on all seven types of job interviews.
The Group Interview
In the Group Interview, several job candidates are questioned at the same time. The group could be given a topic to discuss or a simple project or a game to play while the interviewers watch directly or remotely. In some cases, the Group Interview precedes a Panel Interview or a Presentation Interview.
The Group Interview is an exercise the prospective employer conducts to see how well you communicate with others and solve problems. Since any group naturally stratifies into leaders and followers, the interviewer can easily determine which category each candidate belongs, whether you are a team player, and whether the personality traits you display during the group interaction fit in well with the values of the organization. If you find yourself in this scenario, you should just act naturally, as acting like a leader or a team player if you are not one may get you a job that is inappropriate for you. As a rule, employers seek team players rather than shooting stars. Train yourself to be a team player if you want to win in the corporate environment.
The following tips will be helpful during Group Interviews:
1. Be friendly with other members of the group.
2. Show respect for everyone's opinion, even if you don't agree with them.
3. Do not be either domineering or docile.
4. Be lively, positive, and active.
5. If none of the interviewers is present in the interview room, you can be sure they are watching from a remote location! Show the best of yourself, and do not say or do what you would not say or do if the interviewers were present.
6. If the group gets rowdy, look out for the best way to bring order to the proceedings. For example, if everyone is talking at the same time and some (as is always the case) are more vocal than others, find a way to suggest that the team appoint a timekeeper or institute a time check. Suggest that the group have "ground rules" to guide conduct, including how long each person should talk, so everyone gets an opportunity to express himself or herself. Part of your ground rules may be that cell phones ringers be turned off, that no one should be hushed while speaking, and that those who want to express their views should so indicate by raising their hands. This kind of conduct, well-executed, will impress the interviewers and will position you favorably. Of course, there are other suggestions you may think of that could work in the situation.
7. Be confident and unassuming.
8. Keep your comments concise, and to the point. The "KISS" (Keep It Short and Simple) principle works well in group interviews.
The Panel Interview
In a Panel Interview, several people interview the candidate at once, so it can be intimidating. Remembering a few tricks can help you remain calm. Try to establish rapport with each member of the panel, and make eye contact with those on the panel, especially the person whose questions you are answering. In addition to what you will learn in subsequent chapters of this book about Panel Interviews, one of the ways to establish rapport with the panel is to find opportunities to highlight the strengths of the organization without resorting to empty flattery. One way to do this is to point out what the organization is doing better than its competitors and to mention how you can help the organization maximize this advantage.
Excerpted from YOU'RE HIRED by Harry Nnoli. Copyright © 2013 Harry Nnoli. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
PART I THE BASICS....................
Chapter 1: Becoming a Person of Value.................... 3
Chapter 2: What Employers Seek When Hiring.................... 6
Chapter 3: Preparing for the Dream Job.................... 12
PART II GETTING PREPARED: THE "3R" STRATEGY....................
Chapter 4: Preparing for an Interview.................... 21
Chapter 5: Rehearse.................... 35
Chapter 6: Replicate.................... 46
PART III THE MOMENT OF TRUTH....................
Chapter 7: Handling Typical Interview Questions (Best Answers)............. 57
PART IV THE OFFER AND CHOICES....................
Chapter 8: After the Job Interview.................... 81
Appendix A: SWOT Analysis.................... 99
Appendix B: Your 5-Star Points Approach.................... 100
Appendix C: Your Answers to Typical Interview Questions.................... 104
Appendix D: Types of Job Interviews.................... 114
Appendix E: Dress Code for Job Interviews.................... 121
Appendix F: Important Tips for Writing an Interview Winning Resume......... 126
Appendix G: Benefits of SWOT Analysis.................... 136
Appendix H: A Simple Breathing Exercise to Relieve Tension................. 138
About the Author.................... 141
Audio Materials for Personal Development.................... 143