Smile – A Great Start to Your Interview

Many interviewers will tell you they can spot a winner within twenty seconds of meeting the candidate. Whether that’s a race worth winning is the subject for another day. Today’s topic is about the belief that it’s possible.  With that in mind, how can you make your case in less than half a minute? Smile. Smile from the inside out. Smile nice and easy. “I’m pleased to be here”, your smile says, “and I’m pleased Continue reading →

Let’s Settle Those Interview Jitters

If you’ve got the interview jitters and you’d like to calm your nerves, let’s get on top of some of the issues that can get to the best of job seeking applicants. “I understand that negotiating is part of the interview process, but I don’t know why I should bother.  After all, employers know what they’re willing to pay and that’s what they’re going to offer, right?” Employers know what they are willing to pay. Continue reading →

Q&A: Interviews, Thank You Notes and Being Smart Enough

Questions from readers: “I’ve just returned from what I’d call a mighty good interview. I’d like to improve my odds for getting an offer by writing a thank you note. Is that an old fashioned idea? If it still makes sense, what should I say? How long should it be? Should I send it by e-mail? Long- hand on nice stationery? Please respond as soon as possible. My future may hinge on what you suggest!” Continue reading →

Conquering Interview Jitters

Let’s settle those interview jitters. How can you keep yourself from worrying about the questions that interviewers are apt to ask? By remembering that you’re the specialist in information about you: your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, what you do best and what you do least well. What you say is of interest to interviewers, not because it’s right or wrong, but because it helps them determine if what you bring to the table Continue reading →

Face Your Fear

I wrote a newspaper column about fear and the number it can play when you’re looking for a job.  Given the number of responses I received, it seems the subject hit a chord with a lot of readers.  With that in mind, let’s continue the conversation about those times when your concerns are greater than your perceived ability to do something about them. “I’m grossly overweight. Whenever I go to an interview I see the Continue reading →

Explain Your Termination

Q:  I was fired from my job because I refused to take the blame for what was their fault and not mine. How am I supposed to explain this on an interview? A: In explaining a termination it’s important to say what you learned from the experience and as a consequence, what you would do differently going forward. With this reframing you can approach your explanation in a variety of ways. For example, you  might Continue reading →

Easier to Tell the Truth

It takes all kinds… I definitely intimidate interviewers because I’m smarter, more sophisticated, more talented, and have more experience than they. No wonder they don’t want to hire me, they’re afraid I’ll take their jobs away from them. With that, the job seeker smiles and raises his hands as though it’s settled, as if there is no point attempting to look for a job, the deck is stacked and the house wins. The smartest guy Continue reading →

What Does It Take?

What does it take to advance in an interview? There are many personality attributes that impact the outcome of that first interview: Your energy, your self awareness, your level of preparation, your curiosity, and your sense of optimism. Those elements, if positive, in combination with being a reasonable match to the opportunity, should move you through to the next round. What does it take to improve your odds of keeping your job or getting another? Continue reading →

Do Not Do This in Your Interview. Just Don’t.

Here are more of those mistakes people make on interviews; mistakes you can easily avoid: Lack of self-awareness: This happens when you’re sitting in the reception area, waiting to interview, and make or receive calls on your cell… speaking more loudly than you might realize (or worse, realizing how loudly you’re speaking and doing it anyway). It happens when you bring food and beverages into the reception area (or worse, when you cart them into Continue reading →

Four Completely Avoidable Mistakes by Job Seekers

Job seekers, you, like the rest of us, are human (that was never in doubt) and like the rest of us, you can make mistakes. Here are some of the avoidable mistakes I see you making that not only trip you up, they cause your job search to take longer than necessary. You don’t know what you’re looking for and expect the interviewer to figure it out for you. They don’t. They won’t. Hear that Continue reading →

Get Organized in 3 Easy Steps

If you’re among the  “organizationally challenged” you can understand the dilemma this job seeker finds himself: “I was excited. I had an interview. The first one I’d landed in over a month. I didn’t know how to find the company so I called their switchboard to get directions.  That was smart, right? Except my call somehow went through to the president of the company. He was very patient with me, even when I couldn’t find Continue reading →

No-fail Prep Strategies for Any Interview or Networking Meeting

If you have a networking meeting or an important interview coming up, you want to be ready. And, there’s no time like the present to brush up on your preparation strategies. Go to the company’s web site; review their history and their mission statement. Learn their product mix, business locations, and if they’re global, where they are headquartered. Read profiles of their senior officers and if they publish an annual report, look it over. If Continue reading →

Interviewing Mistakes

In career coaching, there seems to be one topic that clients can’t get enough of — help preparing for an interview.  Interviewing, like public speaking, seems to raise fears of mythical proportions.  So, I thought I’d point out some common interviewing mistakes that you’d probably prefer not to repeat. I’ll tell you what they are and what you can do about them but fair warning, this might not be pretty: You’re getting there late and Continue reading →

Sharpen Your Communication Skills

Sharpen your writing and speaking skills folks, because the lights are on and they’re shining on you. With every resume, cover letter, telephone call, networking meeting and interview, you’re presenting your skills and abilities in the two ways most of us have learned to communicate; you’re either writing or talking. You better be good at both. A worried reader comments that, “Introverts like me don’t have a chance against extraverted competition.” Instead of focusing on your Continue reading →

Sticky Interviews

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Health tell us that memorable stories, stories that stick, are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional. The Heath brothers may not have consciously applied that perspective to the art of interviewing, but its well worth the effort. An interview that works is memorable. It is complexity simplified; a conversation between equals that is grounded by unexpected clarity and purpose. It’s concrete; the speaker succinctly describing a learning experience in Continue reading →

Imagine Your Interview

I just got your message marked urgent. You have an interview tomorrow morning; you want to know what to do; and you want to know it now. For starters, relax. You’re so uptight you’re likely to shut down the interview along with the interviewer. Go for a walk, jog, or swim and think about how you want to be on that interview. Image your calm, cool, and collected self driving to the meeting, knowing where Continue reading →


Job applicants seem to complain a lot when they describe how they feel they’re treated during and after their interviews. I thought it only fair to get some candid perspective from prospective employers and the applicant situations that bother them. Here are just a few: Our interview committee was so impressed with a job candidate we wanted to make him an offer on the spot. The hiring manager insisted that we check references first and Continue reading →

Tell Your Story

The interviewer asks you to describe your strengths. You respond by reciting a ready list of tidy, scouts-honor phrases. “I’m loyal, honest, hard-working….” Are you making points with the interviewer? Probably not. She’s heard the same or something similar from everyone she’s asked. Rather than parrot words that may be true but sound like the National Anthem of all Job Seekers, advance your candidacy. Describe your attributes in ways that demonstrate your understanding of what Continue reading →

Five Fresh Tips

You’ve asked for more interviewing strategies and here they are: 1. Pay attention while walking around. If you have a chance to tour the facility where you’re interviewing, go for it. It’s a great way to get a read of the culture and a handle on your comfort within it. For example, if employees appear to move about in stony silence and the place is quiet as a tomb, the company might be a model Continue reading →

Five Fresh Tips

By request, I’ve prepared some interviewing tips for you. If you like these, you’ll get five more next week. Extraverts! Don’t talk too much! You’re so good with words you don’t seem to know when to stop using them and you’re talking your way in and out of great opportunities. Instead, stay on point and make your points calmly and succinctly. Don’t repeat yourself. And don’t interrupt. Sell yourself on track record and potential, not Continue reading →