Tag Archives: Interviewing

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 →

What Should I Include?

“I’m confused. What’s more important to include in a resume: an objective or a summary? Is it better to include references or say they’re available upon request? Is it smarter to name prominent people (I know a few) as my references or list people who really know me? It is wiser to include all my years of experience or just my best years?” No wonder you’re confused, you’re all options and no answers. Let’s sort 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 →

He Wants More

The caller wanted help with his job search. He said he had been at it for more than a year and couldn’t land anything that he wanted to accept. I asked him why he was looking for a job and all he could muster was why he was leaving one. I asked him what he does best and all he could tell me was what he does most. I asked him how he adds value Continue reading →

Try Again

If you’re willing to think through your answers and select the responses most likely to lead where you want to go, you can turn a potentially difficult interview into an honest, open exchange of relevant information. When you’re asked, “why were you fired?” don’t play victim or blame the person who fired you. Accept accountability for your role in the outcome and connect your strengths to what employers want and say they need. Why did 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 →


“I’m intimidating. I know it. I don’t like it. I’ve never known what to do about it. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s my personality. My whole family’s like that. My mom’s direct and my father more so. My brothers and sisters are all competitive go-getters. We earned our stripes around the kitchen table. Every meal was a potluck of competing voices and spirited debates. We argued about everything you shouldn’t; from politics and religion, to Continue reading →

Travel and Job Seeking

What does job search and foreign travel have in common? Having recently returned from a business trip abroad, I’m not only brimming with fresh perspective and chock full of new learning, I see connections I’d earlier have missed. The learning: Airline personnel, flight cancellations, impatient travelers. When the few are assigned the work of the many and there’s a critical intersection of the few, complicated by a critical interruption of the many, chaos reigns.  The Continue reading →

School is Starting

There’s something about the sights, smells, and start of fall and the school year that can get the kid in you revved up for what’s to come. You have to repress that urge to run out and buy a new lunch box, backpack and notebooks, because you’d look a little silly, given your age and station in life. If you’re a job seeker, your search can feel more like the first day of school in Continue reading →

Rude Behavior 2

Last week I described a job candidate I’ll call Sam, who was flabbergasted to find he’d been eliminated from competition because the interviewer viewed his behavior as unacceptable. This is Sam’s version of what happened: Sam had a busy morning and as a result, was late getting to his interview. When he arrived, the receptionist asked him to wait for an escort to Human Resources. Several minutes passed before he was accompanied to the interviewer’s Continue reading →

I Don’t Know What’s Wrong – 2

You can repeat your mistakes or learn from them. That’s up to you. Life’s lessons are many and varied. Some are easier to understand than others. When it comes to interviewing it’s hard to know what comment, question, response, smile, frown, or explanation got in the way of your winning first prize. There are too many X’s and Y’s, too many unknowns, and too little opportunity to find out what worked and what didn’t. To Continue reading →

I Don’t Know What’s Wrong

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I think I have a great looking resume and impressive experience; that I’m reasonably attractive, smart, and have an outgoing personality. I’ve mailed hundreds of resumes and haven’t had one interview! I’m frustrated and losing confidence. I’m enclosing my resume for your review. I need help so don’t hold back. I’ve looked it over and here’s what I see that’s working in your favor: You have an impressive Continue reading →


Smile. That’s right. Smile. Too many of you are walking into your interviews as though you’re ready to have a very long and involved conversation with the Grim Reaper. Rewind. An interview provides you an opportunity to learn about a job to which you may be well suited, and to present your credentials in order to secure the position. That’s reason enough to smile. Yes, the business of getting a job is serious business, but 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 →

Question: What do I need to do in an interview?

Thanks for your calls and emails requesting information about the following topics related to job interviews. What are the best questions to ask on an interview? The ones that net the information you need to make a good decision. They’re the probing, open-ended questions that ask how, what, where, when, and why? They find what you ought to know and not always what you want to hear. They’re tough to ask and challenging to answer: Continue reading →

Guide for Boomerang Parents Receives Review

The slow to no-growth economy and high unemployment rates have kids of all ages returning to their parents’ homes as they transition from college to work or from lost job to new job. Co-authors Joyce Richman and Barbara Demarest have been getting some attention for their guidebook, Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job, which they wrote to help parents deal with these times of transition in their children’s lives. Steve Continue reading → Continue reading →