Archives for posts with tag: interview

I remember growing up if I asked for something and didn’t say “please” my parents would ignore my request. Once I restated the question and added that little word, they would honor the request and we would carry on. After the request was granted or acknowledged, it was a given there would be a follow up “thank you.” This was for everything. Can we go to the park? “crickets….crickets…crickets…” Can we go to the park please? Even though my mom was probably dying to get my brother and me out of the house to run off some of our energy, she still managed to hold off and make sure we used our manners.

I would like to believe many other parents did their children the same favor and we as a society are well mannered. Unfortunately, I would be delusional if i thought that to be the case. I don’t know when in time the shift occurred, but “please” and “thank you” seem to be heard less and less. Why is that? Did it decline as technology has increased? Doubtful, some of the highest level people in the IT world I know feel the same way as me so that’s not it. Is it a generational gap between the boomers, gen X or Y? No again, I have seen it across the board. Is it because we are used to bossing Siri around sayingImage “Siri tell me…” This could be a possibility, but Siri was programmed by someone else so not there either.

I’m not one to do a lot of research for my blogs nor am I one to think I can change the world with my bi-weekly ramblings. I do however believe I can help some people and hopefully change a few lives for the better in the process. I also try and be as simple as possible so it can apply to as many people as possible. (the 15 or so people that read this anyway). I would like to let you in what apparently is a little known secret to job seekers out there.

One of the easiest ways to eliminate yourself from the running for a new position is to neglect sending a follow up email. Within that email “thank you for your time” should show up at least once, if not twice. You could be the number 1 candidate, go through multiple interviews and all but have the job, but if you don’t send an email to thank your interviewers for their time and the opportunity to speak with them and learn about their company, you could very easily lose the position to the number 2 or number 3 candidate.

Don’t believe me? I have spoken with 4 different hiring managers within the past few weeks who commented on the lack of a follow up email. 1 candidate was very well qualified, but do to her lack of follow up, she was set to the side as we searched for others. Another candidate for a different position had a great interview, was qualified, and we would have moved her on to the next steps in the process, but she didn’t follow up within 24 or even 72 hours for that matter so we assumed she wasn’t interested. She called me yesterday to see if we filled the position! She interviewed 3 weeks ago!!! Usually I speak with candidates fairly soon after they interview so I can hear their thoughts, but this particular position would require great follow up skills, so I wanted to see how hers were by not calling or emailing.

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You might be saying you would like to send a thank you email, but don’t have the email addresses of those you met with. Do you have 1 address? I bet that person would be happy to pass along your appreciation. Don’t even have 1? How about the person who set up the interview, did they send you pre-interview paperwork or directions? I bet they can help direct you. Still nobody? Call the main number, explain to the person you speak with who you are and let them know you would like to send a thank you note, but was so wrapped up in the interview you forgot to get a card and need an email address. I am willing to bet between those options, SOMEONE would be able to help.

Want to take it a step further? After you write a brief two or three sentence email thanking each individual person (if possible) for their time, send a handwritten thank you note as well. Do the email within 24 hours if possible, no later than 48 and do the handwritten note literally right after the email so it’s still fresh in your mind.Image The email will show your interest and also allow you to add something else you may have forgotten to mention in the interview. Most people are doing this or should be doing this, so in order to take it even 1 step further, sending a handwritten note could help you rise to the top.

These might seem like little, trivial ideas, but appreciation is becoming a lost art and those who are able to hold on to it will have the appreciation reciprocated. It may not be immediately for this particular position due to other circumstances, but I can promise it will help you stand out and will not go unnoticed.

Have you had a similar experience where someone “forgot” to send a follow up email? Have you had someone recently send a handwritten thank you note that caught you off guard? Please tell me about it and what your thoughts are! Thanks for reading!

So you have been looking for a new gig for a while and finally you find one that is worth checking out.  You get on LinkedIn and see if you know anyone in your network working there now or even in the past.  You find out the company is indeed a place you could see yourself in the future and continue to take the next steps.    You ask your colleague to make an introduction for you with the hiring manager and you also apply online through the company website.

All of this assumes of course you actually HAVE a LinkedIn profile which you have been building as well as the fact you are utilizing the relationships you have been cultivating.  If however, for some reason you have not then please let me know and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Well your colleague makes the introduction for you through LinkedIn and your previous experiences coupled with your complete LinkedIn profile land you a telephone interview with the hiring manager.  It’s only 30-45 minutes, but you are certain you will wow her and she will want you to come in and meet the rest of the team right away.  As with most telephone interviews, this is just to screen you to see if you would be a fit with the team, to make sure your skills on your resume all match up, and what type of personality you have.  This is often done by an internal recruiter, HR, or someone else, but since you showed the gumption to seek out the hiring manager she decides to perform the phone screen herself.

Right away you know you are moving on to the next stage in the process.  You did your research and aside from the colleague making the initial introduction, you tell the manager about the multiple similarities the two of you share which you found out by following her on Twitter.  You tell her how your background is a perfect match for what they are looking for and how you would be able to come in right away and make a difference and how much value you bring and this and that and everything else.  And on and on and on.

While all of this is ok in moderation, that is the magic word at this stage of the game.  MODERATION.  You may be very well suited to have an immediate impact. But how do you know exactly what this organization is looking for or even this particular group?  More than likely you know what they do and what they are looking for by the job description, but all too often even the hiring manager doesn’t TRULY know what is needed so chances are slim you have any clue at all!

Again, I am not against selling yourself to some degree, but just make sure you don’t over do it.  In fact, I encourage you to sell yourself!   Interviewing is about you selling yourself and your skills while the company sells themselves and the opportunity.  In theory.  And while many have the misconception that a great salesperson is someone that talks a lot, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  They DO talk a lot, but if they are doing it properly, they are asking questions or if they are answering questions, they are keeping it brief.  When you are talking the entire interview of course you think it went well.  As humans we love nothing more than to hear our own name and our own voice.  So if YOU are doing all of the talking you think everything is going well and you are a shoe in for the job.  Again, this is wrong.

Almost 100% of the time when someone calls me after their interview and tells me they aced it and they are certain it will go to the next level or they will get the job I know I need to find someone else to fill the position.  There are times where that isn’t the case, but it’s rare.  Confidence is great and all, but you spent the whole time talking and didn’t give the manager the chance to get to really know you and build rapport.  In sales (and interviews) building trust and rapport is so important that you can toss everything else out the window if you don’t have it.  That is why I say it’s great in moderation, but just make sure you are having a conversation, not a monologue.  Ask how she progressed to the current position.  What drew her to the company when she first started?  Something!  When you actually converse it allows you to uncover some of the needs possibly not mentioned on the job description which will allow you to speak of your unique attributes and how they relate to the position.

One of the main, if not THE main reason for speaking too much is being excited and/or nervous.  Trust me, I am quite guilty of this.  This is why the importance of practice interviews is a constant subject when performing searches on interview preparation.  By knowing what you are going to say, you are able to listen more and when the time is right sell your skills which will in turn enhance your chances to beat out the competition. 

So next time you finish up an interview, look back and ask yourself if you did all of the talking.  If your answer is “yes,” it may not be the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice.  If the answer is “no,” it’s still not the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice, but the odds will be stacked higher in your favor and you may be that much closer to your next great opportunity!

What do you think?  Have you been in this situation before or know someone who has? Please leave me some comments below and remember if there is anything I can do to help with any of this please let me know as I am more than happy to assist with the difficulties of the job search.

I’ll be one of the first to admit it, searching for a new job is not an enjoyable process.  Not only do I know this from speaking with people on a daily basis about it, but I have also had my fair share of visits to indeed.com the past year and a half as well (3 jobs in Nashville since March 2010).  The good news about my expertise in hiring and firing is that hopefully I can help shine some new light on your search through some simple ABC’s – Attitude, Blogging, and Checking in.

Let’s face it, searching for a job, when done properly is a full time job in and of itself.  Constant emails, applications, meetings,  coffees, phone calls, and networking events.  It seems like a never ending circle which often times produces little to no results.  True, the results aren’t always immediate and can be somewhat disheartening.  We find an ad that looks like a great match and come to find out the position is already filled.  Back to the drawing board!  These feel like little failures, but being without a job already puts us down and then it just feels like you are being kicked while you are down.

Norman Vincent Peale once said “life for most of us contains many tough and difficult problems; we need all the confidence and reassurance we can get.  Nothing builds confidence and reassurance like a word of praise.  Nothing restores our self-esteem and recharges our batteries like a little admiration.”  When we are in our work environment, we have others who are in the trenches with us.  We can reach out to them, they can encourage us.  When we are out on our own in job search town, who do we have?  Few cheerleaders helping us along the way.

Attitude plays an extremely vital role in ones job search.  For people in sales, rejection is common, but it can still sting when going on that second month without a job.  The secret is the daily habits that we form.  The more you treat your job search like you did when punching the clock,  the more you will be able to stay focused and maintain a positive mental attitude.  Believe me, it comes across in all that you do and people notice it.

One way to help stay on track is to write a blog.  You may or may not already do this and you may or may not have any clue on how to get started.  The great thing is that it doesn’t even matter because you can change it up as you go.  I put off writing this blog for months until a few weeks ago I decided to just jump right in.  I hope the content is improving week by week, but who knows!  The point is, I am here showing my expertise and sharing my knowledge about job searching, career tips, recruiting, hiring, etc.  Writing a blog will help in showing you are an expert in your given field, build your online presence and show that you aren’t just sitting on your hands all day.  If you are still trying to get over the hurdle of writing or not, just remember that action cures fear.  Set it up and go for it!  Even if it is just strings of ideas, that is better than nothing and at least you are getting started.

Speaking of online presence, I won’t go into many details in this post, but if you haven’t started to build your online presence yet and you are looking for a new opportunity then you should skip the blog and go straight to LinkedIn.com and create a profile.  Right now.  Seriously, stop reading this and go create it!

OK, now that you have your shiny LinkedIn profile, your blog, and your great attitude, you actually get a job interview.  What do you do?  You’ve been in a slump and then out of nowhere you feel saved!  First of all, it’s not out of nowhere.  You have been putting in countless hours and things are starting to pay off!  So you get an interview, you prepare and do everything you are supposed to.  You feel like it goes well and you get home and are certain you are going to be the one they hire.  Write a thank you note to every person you met and let them know you appreciate their time and enjoyed learning about their great company.  Then what?  The waiting game begins, that’s what.

I am often asked, “Adam, how long should I wait to follow up or check in?  I really am interested in the job, but I don’t want to be pushy.  If I wait too long, maybe they won’t think I am interested.”  This can be a difficult situation, but it doesn’t really need to be.  As long as you remember to send an email after interviewing, that shows you are appreciative and do have at least some interest.  If you are working with a recruiter, they will let you know as soon as they know, trust me.  Try to remember the more people involved in the interview, chances are the longer it will take.  If you just met with a hiring manger and maybe the team lead, they can discuss you and other candidates if in the mix and probably make a decision fairly quickly.  If it is a whole team and they will all have input and then they need to let the corporate recruiter know and then she needs to let your recruiter know, it’s going to take a little longer.  All that being said, checking in is still a great idea as long as you aren’t doing it morning, noon, and night.  After the initial email, give it 3-4 days so everyone has a chance to give feedback.  If by the 5th business day you still don’t have any feedback, checking with the recruiter is ok.  If this interview is independent of a recruiter, maybe a short email to the person you had the most contact with saying you just wanted to check in and let them know you are very interested in learning what the next steps will be.  It doesn’t need to be long and elaborate, just enough to give a subtle push to show you truly are interested and not just testing the waters or sending emails because that is what you are supposed to do.  Sometimes the hiring manager really is that busy and is just having a difficult time getting around to doing all of the necessary steps in order to extend an offer.  Just have a good attitude about it, write in your blog how great the company is and check back in again after another week or so and continue to do so until you are hired there or somewhere else!

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you have any questions?  Please let me know in the comments section below!  Thanks for reading!

After the job report this morning, I think it is safe to say that if you are able to secure an interview with a company you better take full advantage of the situation.  In my world as a recruiter, I have come to expect the unexpected.  I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore by what I hear from interviews, but I do deal with people and well, people are unpredictable!

With that, I thought I would share with you a recent situation we encountered.  This candidate is interviewing for a higher level job, paying in the upper $100K range and would be working in a management capacity.  One would think to get to that level in your career you would have to have your head on straight and know what you are doing, as well as be able to read situations correctly and act accordingly.  One would think…

Describe your management style…


To which the candidate responded  – “My employees love me. I make sure they have cookies, and cake and happy hour and stuff like that all the time.”  (Granted, I am sure most of us would love that as well, it probably isn’t the best way to conduct yourself in an interview.)

There were other questions asking the candidate about situations and relating to the potential position, but there was also another where the potential employer asked the candidate to describe their dream job and to speak about their passion to which the candidate replied “I’d like to be a tour manager for a rock band.”  Again, I am sure the person was just being honest and that sounds like it could be a pretty fun job, but I doubt it was what the person giving the interview had in mind, especially coming from a person of such “high caliber.”
There were a couple other odd answers as well, but that is enough to help prove my point.  Even though the job market is slow in certain parts of the country and having the chance to interview doesn’t come nearly as often as you would like, it is one thing to be yourself, just keep it within reason.  You may feel this is your one and only shot to leave a lasting impression.  And it is.  You just want to make sure the impression you are leaving is a good one where you don’t come across as immature or crazy or any other negative feeling.

Do you know anyone with some “different” interview answers?  Leave them in the comments section below and share with the rest of us!