Q: What is the key secret to getting a job?
A: When you’re asked in an interview to give examples, always give credit to your team by using the word, WE (never use I.) There is no “I” in the word Team. Next, after getting comfortable with the interviewer and having completed a good part of your discovery questions on the future superior’s needs, start to use the word, WE. If your future boss-to-be has identified a challenge, address the problem with a solution by stating, “When WE apply this solution to the problem, will that then help US solve the problem?” Using WE or US and never YOU, I or THEY will help the interviewer see you as the team member that might be starting soon!
Q: What if I am asked what my salary expectations are?
A: In most negotiations, the first person to name a number generally loses. Your answer needs to be politically stated so as not to rule you out nor leave any money on the table. Something like, “I am not sure what the budget for the position is or what the last person was making, but I am sure that given my experience that you will make me a fair offer. In my current position I am making this (state salary and bonus separately) and in my prior position, I was making this.” Then stop talking. Silence!
Q: There are only THREE reasons it didn’t work out… And ONLY three…
A: Let’s assume salary has been ruled out and is not an issue. Here are the questions the interviewer was seeking to have answered in the interview:
- Do you have the technical skills to do the job?
- Do you have the people/leadership skills to enhance the team, from the associates, peers, and upper management right through to the customer?
- Will you stay? The only way to judge whether a candidate will stay, is to review their past tenure. What is the average length of stay in each company? And were your reasons for leaving solid or are you starting to show an undesirable trend? Poor tenure is just that, poor tenure.
Q: What can I do about the testing phase of an interview?
A: Just be yourself. Behavioral tests are designed with various qualifying factors, most notably skills, compatibility with the current culture, and predictions on how your past behavior will pattern your future performance. Some oral behavioral tests seek buzz words that you use.
Q: What do I say about a bad boss I had when an interviewer knows of his/her reputation?
Do I play into it?
A: No, you stand your line of professionalism and do not allow yourself to be lead down what could easily become a slippery slope. You might acknowledge that the boss had an interesting management style, however, you learned from it in the process.
Q: What about negative issues from the pass?
A: Hit negative issues head-on. Take the air out of the interview’s balloon. Don’t wait for the interviewer to get an “ah-ha!” moment that makes them think you are lying, deceiving or using trickery to dodge a question or event in your past.
Q: What can I do about team interviews (board-style interviews, panel or sandwich interviews)?
A: Multi-person interviews are especially difficult to get a reading on of your success. Generally, you are only half-way through answering a question when two more are fired at you. Patience and perseverance are required along with succinct answers.
Q: What are some of the things to avoid?
- Never bad mouth a prior employer, boss or team.
- Watch your undertones when speaking to or about sensitive groups of people, whether political or social. Stay clear of political observations and religion topics.
- If you’re saying overnight, don’t order any pay-per-view movies or outrageously expensive room service meals at the hotel. Also, don’t order alcohol from the bar or in-room dining, even if you pay cash. Do not be seen in the bar.
Q: What are some of the things I should do?
- Get to the property early enough to take a self-tour of the entire facility so you have a frame of reference as to the scope and condition of the product. Sit in the lobby or restaurant to observe the staff.
- When asked by the interviewer about your observations or your overnight stay, do be complimentary of the team. This could be a good test question on your ability to know where the standards have shortcomings, so get your point across without brutalizing the staff. Show that you recognize that the issues are all fixable when the right candidate is hired.
- Do have two extra copies of your resume with you.
- Do have a small pad and impressive pen to take notes. Keep your focus on the interviewer and the conversation, not on actively taking notes.
- Do be prepared with questions to ask and commit to memory some key words to describe your management skills and leadership style.
- Do turn your cell phone off.
- Do wear a nicotine patch if you are a smoker.
Q: How do I write a thank you note?
A: They should be short. Use one sentence to express your thanks for meeting with you, then two sentences to discuss your fit for the position/company values/objectives. Then add a last sentence to wrap it up with – “I look forward to the next step.”
Q: How do I appropriately resign my position?
A: Resign face-to-face with your boss – not to anyone else and not by email or phone. Your resignation letter should be short. If you state a reason for leaving, its tone should be professional.
Be positive on your outlook in life!
Even in the darkest moments of your career, put a positive spin on events and show how the glass was half full. Demonstrate what you learned from the experience. Talk about the takeaway as a lesson rather than the event itself. Express how you are a problem solver.