Winning Interview Preparation

Posted May 29, 2009 by rosewaltz
Categories: Job Search

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How should I prepare for a winning interview?

In addition to researching the company to learn about their products, services, competitors, profits…….  and  thoroughly reviewing your resume to make sure you are able to answer questions about it, the most effective method of interview preparation is to write true stories outlining how you have handled certain situations in the past.  Past performance is the best way to predict future behavior and employers are most interested in what you will do for THEM.   Being able to provide examples of your performance could make the difference between getting the job or remaining unemployed.

Think back over your career and jot down in brief outline form enough information that will enable you to rapidly think of intelligent responses to an employer’s questions.   Outlining your stories is better than writing out paragraphs because if you attempt to memorize a response you run the risk of forgetting what you meant to say or appearing over rehearsed.  Since you don’t know what you will be asked, it is a good idea to prepare at least 20 stories.

Be prepared with stories covering the following topics: 

Problem Solving;  Decision Making;  Initiative; Achievement/Drive; Handling Details;  Oral Communication;  Conflict Management; Coordinating/Leading Others;  Managing Stress or a time when you failed;  Technical Expertise.

An example of my own FISO (Facts, Impediment, Steps, Outcome) story in the problem solving category:

Facts—Client was demanding we change our process.

Impediment—Client indicated this might be a deal breaker and my employer was unable to accommodate client request.

Steps—Conference call with client and their attorney.   I acknowledged that because they were all busy people we would concentrate on what we could do for the client instead of what we couldn’t do and I outlined several options.

Outcome—Client selected one of the outlined options.  Problem solved.

I review my stories before each interview and if I’m asked about my problem solving skills I relate how I handled the above scenario.  This type of answer is much more effective than just assuring the interviewer you are great at problem solving.

Please create your own FISO stories and try this approach on your next interview.  Please post a comment on my blog letting me know how this worked for you.  If you have any other suggestions please share for the benefit of other job searchers.

Best of luck in your job search.

Rose Waltz 

http://www.rosewaltz.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosewaltz 

Digital Internet Footprints

Posted May 15, 2009 by rosewaltz
Categories: Job Search

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One of the most common questions about conducting a job search is:  Where should I have a digital footprint on the Internet?

After attending countless seminars and reading job search books and information posted on the web these are my conclusions:

1.  Linkedin–A complete profile on this site loaded with relevant key words, professional recommendations and group memberships is critical for a successful job search.  You will want to add a lot of connections.  Search recruiters have told me they use this site as their candidate pool when seeking to fill positions.  Just today I received an e-mail from a recruiter about a job as a result of my Linkedin profile at:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosewaltz.  The  job search feature is very helpful, especially if you download the JobsInsider tool found at bottom of page which will tell you if any of your connections can help you get the job.  This works when looking at jobs posted on the major job boards.  It is also important to write recommendations for others and post answers to questions to demonstrate you are a giver and not just a taker.   Answering questions gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

2.  Twitter–A regularly updated microblog with intelligent, work related tweets is recommended.  I tend to follow people who post information helpful to my job search and people are starting to follow me which I find humbling.  I have been told it is important to use your own name so that prospective employers typing your name into a search engine will find you. 

3.  Facebook–I found a job search agent on this site that has provided good job leads.   It is best to keep content professional when seeking employment.

4.  Just the other day I was told that Amazon.com is also useful in a  job search.  Write positive reviews about books in your field of expertise.  This will showcase your writing ability and establish your expertise in your industry.

5.  I personally like the visual cv.  If you go to:  http://www.visualcv.com you can create your own visual cv for free.  This is similar to a resume but this site provides you with the ability to demonstrate creativity that greatly exceeds the scope of a resume.   It also has a job search feature.  I was surprised by the number of hits I’m getting at:  http://www.visualcv.com/rosewaltz.

6.  Having your own personal website to showcase your resume on the Internet is also important according to search recruiters.  I chose to go to:  http://order.1and1.com/xml/order/Home;jsessionid=677BFB8E07061279A331CCD7FF55F08C.TC60a?__reuse=1242413757786 and use the 1&1 website builder to create my website.  Just click on web hosting and then Microsoft hosting.  I would recommend this method to build a website because it is easy to use, it is inexpensive, they offer a large selection of templates to choose from and the end result looks very professional.  They also offer some free bells and whistles called CGI’s (Common Gateway Interface) you can choose to utilize such as a website counter, date/time display, survey, feedback form, guestbook and forum.   You can view my website at:  http://www.rosewaltz.com.

7.  You will want to make sure you have a profile on the major job search boards such as Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, Indeed, Dice…… You will also want to utilize any niche websites for your particular industry.  If you post your resume on job boards it is important to refresh it at least every 2 weeks because employers may only search for new resumes.  You will also want to sign up for job search agents that will e-mail you with any new jobs posted that match your profile.  This is very handy and saves a lot of time.

8.  I have also heard that it is a good idea to have a MySpace profile.   The rationale is that the hiring manager or recruiter may be younger than the candidate.   If they search for you on MySpace and find your profile this might provide reassurance that you are in touch with technology.

9.  Zoom Info is another site you may wish to utilize.  They currently have information on 5,058,676 companies so it is a good way to research a prospective employer.

10.  When I registered for unemployment benefits the gentleman I spoke with also recommended using Plaxo.com as part of my job search.  This site states that it’s a dashboard for seeing what the people you know are creating and sharing all over the open web. You can hook your Pulse account up to all the places where you create or share stuff (your blog, Flickr, Twitter, Yelp, and more than 30 other sites).  At a seminar this week someone mentioned that this site will automatically update one of your contacts e-mail addresses in your address book if they change their e-mail address.

Best of luck in your job search.

Rose Waltz