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Questions required!

One of the bigger mistakes job seekers sometimes make in an interview is to not ask questions when given the opportunity.

It’s very common near the end of most job interviews for the interviewer to ask something like…

Do you have any questions for me?”

Unfortunately, sometimes the response is along the lines of…

No, I think we covered everything!”

or…

No, I’m all set!”

Those kinds of answers can often bring the hiring process to an end.

Having no questions when prompted is likely to be interpreted as:

  • Not enough interest in the position or company to want to learn more

  • General lack of curiosity or desire to gain more knowledge

  • Over-confidence that an offer is inevitable

  • or… Not having a clue about what may be important!

 

As a recruiter, I have the opportunity to debrief with my client, the employer, after my candidates interview. Over the years, there have been occasions when the feedback I received has been along the lines of…

I thought the interview was going well, however, when I asked if they had any questions, they had none for me. If they don’t have enough interest to ask any questions, they aren’t the right fit for us.”

Always ask questions… even if you think you already know the answers! However, be wise about them…

  • Ask questions appropriate to the positions level and responsibilities. Asking about the company’s marketing strategy when interviewing for a Staff Engineer role and meeting with an Engineering Manager, comes across as irrelevant and contrived.

  • Don’t ask questions that were already answered previously in the interview. Coming to the interview prepared with questions to ask is a good idea. Asking one of those prepared questions even though it was already discussed earlier seems like a lack of listening.

  • Come prepared with a list of questions to be asked when given the chance. It shows the employer that thought went into the process before the interview. It shows you prepare. When the opportunity arises, it’s impressive to proceed with something like… 

    As a matter of fact, I do have some questions. I prepared a number of things I’d like to ask. We already discussed this one, and this one, however, one thing we didn’t touch on was…”

You will not likely have time to ask more than 3 to 4 questions. However, it’s a very good idea to prepare 15 to 20 so that regardless how much is covered in the interview, you will still have other topics to ask about.

Never take the opportunity to ask questions too lightly. It’s not just for your benefit that they ask, it’s a continuing part of their evaluation process of you. The curiosity, interest, passion and appropriateness of your questions tells them a lot about you as a candidate.

When given the opportunity… remember that there’s Questions Required!


RELATED ARTICLES:

Great interviews are a dialog!
Does the Culture Fit?
Rapport and Results
Would You Hire You???


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20 Most Common Job Search Mistakes

While it’s true that different people make different mistakes, and some mistakes aren’t a big deal to some potential employers…

there are some mistakes that are too common and can be fixed with some thought and effort. 

The effort is likely to produce dramatically better results!

 


Here are 20 (with potential help) in no particular order…

 

Negative, cynical, defeated or passive attitude 
          (See: The One Best Thing You Can Do For Your Job Search!)

 

Spelling mistakes and typos in a resume, email or letter 
          (See: Does Writing Matter?)

 

Spending the vast majority of time applying for jobs online
          (See: Want to improve your job search? Step away from your computer!)

 

Lack of networking
          (See: Do You Really HAVE To Network For Your Job Search???)

 

Using unprofessional or profane language when networking or interviewing
          (See: Watch Your Words!)

 

Looking sloppy or unprofessional when networking or interviewing
          (See: Are You Referable?)

 

Taking too long to follow up on leads, new contacts and referrals
          (See: Ya’ Gotta’ Be On The Ball!)

 

Neglecting to follow up with Thank You’s after networking or interviews
          (See: Do Thank You Notes Really Matter???)

 

Not being well prepared to state what you do or what you’re looking for
          (See: Your Elevator Speech: Keep It Simple Silly)

 

Talking too much / rambling
          (See: Are You a Talker???)

 

Not listening well 
          (See: Employers want "Emotional Intelligence")

 

Not practicing / preparing for interviews
          (See: One big lesson from the Olympics for your job search!)

 

Little or no knowledge of the company when interviewing
          (See: Preparing to Succeed)

 

No questions when prompted at the end of an interview
          (See: Interviewing the Interviewer!)

 

No specificity when asked what you’re looking for
          (See: The paradox of "keeping your options open" in your job search)

 

Poor time management
          (See: Time Blocks Prevent Mental Blocks!)

 

Asking tough questions
          (See: Ya' Gotta Ask!)

 

Not being organized in the job search
          (See: Are You Ready???)

 

Lack of online presence
          (See: Building A Professional Online Presence)

 

A damaging online presence
          (See: How Employers View Your Online Presence)


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Face-to-face networking works best
Spell it out!
The Art of an Informational Interview
Your Online Footprint and Your Job Search!


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In your job search… Don’t Ask For Jobs!

One of the biggest mistakes people consistently make in the networking process when seeking new jobs... is they ask for jobs!

"What!  Isn't that the point of networking??? To find a job???"

Yes ...and no!

I consistently have people approach me asking if I know of job in their field, and I hear them ask the same question of most others they meet as well. I'm a recruiter, and I do know of open jobs. However, not usually the kind of jobs they are looking for, and most people don't know of open jobs... even at their own companies. They are busy with their own jobs, and families, and other interests and have no reason to ask or pay attention to what jobs are open at any given time.

So, while they sincerely would like to help... when they're asked if they know of an open job, nothing comes to mind and they feel badly they aren't a better resource for you. The conversation becomes quiet, and awkward, and they walk away feeling useless, and you walk away feeling like this networking thing is a waste of time.

When you don't ask for anything in your networking conversations, the conversations seem to end in the same way. The contact may even say something like...

"I'll certainly let you know if I hear of anything!"

Which may sound encouraging, however, almost never produces any results. Typically, it's because they are thinking the same question you decided not to ask: "Do you know of any jobs in my field?"

The key in job search networking is to help them change their thinking, and look for worthwhile contacts for you that get you one step closer to an opportunity rather than the job itself.

If you're an Accountant, networking with the stay-at-home mom next door, having her think of her cousin that is also an Accountant gets you a valuable contact that is more likely to know of Accountants, or Accounting Managers at companies you may like to pursue. If you're brother-in-law is a sales person that might sell to companies that you have an interest in, the Purchasing Manager he calls on is likely to know who an Accounting Manager in his organization might be.

Realizing that the goal in effective job search networking is to get names of other people that may help you get closer to the right opening will help change the conversations and become far more productive. While someone is highly unlikely to know of an appropriate position for you... it's highly likely that they know someone that gets you closer to someone that does know of an appropriate role.

People overwhelmingly want to help in some way... they just often don't know how. As soon as they realize that you are looking for a job, they will certainly tell you if they know of one. They want to help, and that's the obvious question that comes to mind. It doesn't usually occur to them, however, that a name can be a tremendous resource for you.

Make it a point, in your job search networking, never to ask if they know of an open job, and see your results improve.


RELATED ARTICLES:

Face-to-face networking works best
No Questions = No Results in Your Networking
The paradox of "keeping your options open" in your job search
What good does THIS contact do for me?


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Sincerity Overcomes Skepticism

After my last post titled "Give Before You Get", I had a great email from someone asking...

"How do I make sure I am not the slimy guy who's just helping people to get favours? How do I make sure that I stay genuine?"

I appreciated the note, and it's a great question!

I think each person has to ask this of themselves each day.

Zig Ziglar, an exceptional motivational speaker, often used to say:

"You can get everything out of life that you want! ...if you help enough other people get what they want."

I believe that's true. However, I also believe that motives and the heart with which you do those things matters greatly as well. If it's clear that you are "the slimy guy who's just helping people to get favours", it's unlikely that most of those favours will ever materialize... AND you'll have a reputation as a "slimy guy"!  Don't be that guy!

The answer is... Sincerity.

If you sincerely want to build relationships, and be a blessing, a pleasant surprise, a welcome connection, a valued resource and a friend to those you meet, it will become evident. It will be evident in your words, in your body language, in your face, and in your generosity.

In the 1970's TV show M*A*S*H, Hawkeye, in one episode was trying to get a date with a particular nurse, and was having no luck at all in charming her. BJ, his best friend and tent-mate suggested that instead of trying to find a way to play her... he try sincerity. Hawkeye's response was... "Oh, sincerity, I can fake that!"

It was a funny line, but everyone understood that it was a bad idea. Real sincerity can't be faked. Faked "sincerity" becomes evident quickly, and the "slimy guy" reputation is born.

Checking your motives and determining you want to be of value to others will make the difference in all of your phone calls, meetings, casual conversations, and interviews as well. Before every contact, remind yourself that you truly want to be of help to the person you're about to engage. It's an opportunity for a new professional relationship, or perhaps even a friendship. Take the time in advance and during the conversation to think about who you know, what you know, or what you could offer that would be of help or of value in some way. Not just a token contact name or uninformed piece of advice that you throw out to them, but something that truly hits the mark.

It's possible, and highly likely many times that you can't come up with anything... and that's OK. However, SINCERELY expressing your desire to be of help somehow goes a long way toward planting a seed for future further contacts.
Don't fake it, and don't be the "slimy guy".

True sincerity will quickly erase whatever skepticism your contact may have... and then they will be much more interested in helping you as well!


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Never eat alone
The 20-Minute Networking Meeting
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Networking and Friendraising


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Give Before You Get

Job Seekers often express discomfort about networking because they feel like they’re beggars for leads, referrals, and ideas. That sense comes from a misconception and mis-application of how great networking should work.

Finding ways to be of value to your contact makes the connection much more equitable and a professional give and take.

Job seekers doing a lot of effective networking in their search are inevitably building a very valuable collection of contacts. People in a wide variety of professions, in a variety of industries, at a number of companies, etc.

Some of those contacts may be a great resource to some of your new contacts!

Offering to help them reach out to people that would be helpful to them is a great value and a great way to reciprocate in the networking process.

Asking your networking contact what challenges they are facing in their position, in their company, or in their career may trigger a recollection of someone else that may have some insight, ideas, experience, or advice for their situation.

Asking what kinds of positions they are hiring for, even if it’s not for your background, may enable you to recommend others that may fit those other roles and help in their hiring process.

Asking about hobbies, sports and other favorite pastimes may bring to mind people with like interests that may be happy to meet others that participate in the same activities.

Asking a variety of questions about your contact will invariably lead to some ideas of how you can be a valued contact to them. Asking them about themselves gets them talking and makes you more interesting to them… people like to talk about themselves, and like people that give them the opportunity!

While networking may not be the most attractive part of a job search for most people, it can be a terrific way to build relationships, a valuable list of contacts, and a way to be of value to everyone you meet!

If your networking conversations are premised on a ‘give before you get’ philosophy, you’ll find them to be far more productive, and more enjoyable as well!


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Great networkers don’t need a great resume!
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Humbled and Honored…

8. Harry Urschel @eExecutives

51,130 followers

recruiters on twitter

Privileged to be included on a list with some great people on Twitter…

 

Top 10 Most Followed Recruiters on Twitter

 

Follow the link to find other great resources for your job search.

 

 

 




HELPFUL ARTICLES:

Great networkers don’t need a great resume!
The Paradox of Networking vs. Job Postings
Breaking the rules in your job search
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Job Hunting Is Your Job!

There are many aspects of a job search that many people dislike… and so don’t do. Unfortunately, that often results in a very prolonged job search, creating a lot of stress and frustration.

Most people have heard the cliche that a job search is a full-time job in itself, however, very few people treat it that way.

Once the mental commitment is made to view, and treat the search as a job, the process becomes more productive.

Consider these points…

 

Any job requires some unpleasant tasks

While it’s a nice fantasy to think about the job you land as a blissful experience of going from one fun and exciting task to the next… the reality is that ANY job includes some things that are less than “’fulfilling”. Yet, you do them because it’s part of the expectation from your employer, and a required part to accomplish the ultimate objectives. The same is true in a job search. While getting an offer letter may be the exciting part… there are several necessary steps to take to get to that stage.

 

Most jobs require a schedule

There are expectations and requirements in most jobs to be at the place of work, or to be engaged in certain activities during certain hours and for a required number of hours per week. Most job seekers, however, have no schedule for their day or week and drift from one task, to down time, to extra-curricular activities, to another task throughout their day. Setting, and adhering to a schedule makes the job search far more productive and shortens it’s duration.

 

Jobs have required “output”

Typically, jobs have set expectations of completed tasks or achieved results. Setting daily and weekly goals for new connections, leads, meetings, and phone calls for yourself just as an employer may have goals for your work each day will produce greater results.

 

Doing your “job” well, improves your attitude!

The best thing anyone can do for their attitude is to do the things they know they ought to do. Working hard at doing the tasks required for an effective job search can be a great way to maintain a positive mental attitude during your search. Regardless of results… getting to the end of the day or end of the week and honestly being able to say you did the things you should have been doing will help reduce stress and put things in proper perspective.

Conversely, getting to the end of the day or end of the week and realizing you didn’t execute on a great number of tasks you should have done leaves you defeated, self-critical, discouraged, and frustrated. Do what you know you ought to do!

 

The more you treat your job search in a disciplined way, as you would a full-time job, the better your attitude, and your results will be!


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Quit Looking For Easy
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Decide to do what’s necessary
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Dealing With "Interview Fatigue"

I received a question that is a relevant issue for many job seekers...

How do I ward off interview fatigue?

I just completed my fourth interview for a job and there is the possibility of yet another interview. Since the first interview, this process has taken four weeks. I'm losing focus and this is affecting my ability to remain enthusiastic about this opportunity and keep re-loading my pipeline.      Help!

Sometimes a hiring process can seem to go on forever, and it creates a number of challenges for the candidate. Why do some companies take so long? What are the pitfalls? How do you keep the enthusiasm level up? And how do you manage the rest of the job search in the meantime?

Here are several points to consider...

If you lose interest, so will the employer


This is likely not news. Employers will sometimes put candidates through long interview processes because they are having a difficult time making a decision and they don't want to make a mistake by hiring the wrong candidate. When they aren't able to make a decision on their own, sometimes the process makes the decision for them. As candidates are forced to grind through the lengthy process, some will lose interest, some will drop out and some will show a lack of enthusiasm. The ones that keep shining throughout the grind, are the ones that will rise to the top, and ultimately get an offer. Showing the same level of interest in the fourth interview as in the first is critical!

A job search is a full-time job

Most people have heard this cliche before. It does have a great deal of truth to it, and the more that a job seeker treats it like their job, the better likelihood of earlier success. Any job, no matter how much you may love it, has tasks that have to be done that feel tedious, long and draining. Yet, if you are to become successful, those tasks have to be done well and with energy. The same is true in a hiring process. No matter how attractive the position seems, there will be parts of the selection process that may be less than ideal. Think of working the hiring process the same as a job in order to accomplish all the requirements regardless of how you feel about them.

It's a sales position

Not only is the job search a full-time job, it's a sales position! You are selling the value you bring to an organization to fulfill their needs and wants for the role you are pursuing. In sales, as in a job search, the client / employer may require a number of steps or "demonstrations" to determine if this "product" is right for them. Sometimes they make a decision quickly, and sometimes they do not. If you quit, or lose interest too soon, you will not make the sale. You can't predict which ones will "close" and which ones won't, so you have to be disciplined in keeping a full pipeline of new opportunities in case this one doesn't work out, and yet you have to keep the clients interest throughout the process. View yourself as a sales person that is professional, pleasantly persistent and enthusiastic throughout the process.

It's a two-way street

All that said... it's just as important for the candidate to be evaluating the potential employer as it is for the employer to be evaluating the candidate. If the employer seems to be going through extraordinary lengths to make a decision, and doesn't seem to be able to make a decision, it may be an indication of how they manage employees as well. There may be very good reasons for a lengthy process, however, it's incumbent on the candidate to be asking questions along the way.

A long selection process can certainly take a toll on the attitude and enthusiasm for a new role. Viewing the process as your "job", treat it like a professional sales person, and using the process as an opportunity to evaluate the employer as well can make the process easier.



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Picking a career?

If you're looking for career choices, this is an interesting infographic...

 

Jobs of the Future
Graphic Courtesy of: Affordable-Online-Colleges.net

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Never eat alone


If you’ve read much at all about job search, you’ve surely gotten the idea that effective networking is critical to landing a new position quickly.

Networking, however, is important for far more than a job search. Success in your career, success socially, success in charitable endeavors, and success in personal relationships can all be enhanced with effective networking.

One of my favorite books to help understand that more fully is:

never eat alone by Keith Ferrazzi

His original book has been a New York Times bestseller, full of very practical advice and inspiration. It is now updated with more current topics, encouragement, and prescriptions for building and improving your professional and personal relationships.

The biggest update to the new edition is about how to successfully utilize social media in your efforts.
What has always appealed to me about the original book, and now this update, is his emphasis on being a friend before expecting something. Being sincere and genuine is more important than any process. Building relationships instead of simply adding connections is far more enriching professionally and personally.

The same is true in social media interaction. Adding contacts alone, without relationship does little to nothing when it comes to being able to gain benefit from your networking. Staying in touch regularly is key to building those relationships. Whether it’s on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone, email, text or any other form of communication, it’s critical to turning a contact into a valued professional relationship and… friend.

The book is full of “Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profiles” that illustrate points with examples of specific famous people in history that have demonstrated their mastery of those points. The stories give real-world examples of how they are done well.

Understanding that adding real value to others in all your interactions makes all the difference in the world. Being the one that brings value instead of the one always looking for something from others makes your call welcome rather than one to avoid.

Never miss an opportunity to be a friend, form a new relationship or form a stronger relationship. Thus the title… Never eat alone.

If you want to get a far greater picture of what great networking is all about, and how you can become a better networker yourself, be sure to check out this expanded and updated edition of never eat alone!

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Ya’ Gotta Have a Card!

Job Seekers are constantly told they have to network for an effective job search. That is true, and yet so many people don’t do it… or when they do, they do it poorly.

There is plenty written on this site and so many others about how to become a better job search networker. One aspect that’s not often covered, however, is the importance of having business cards! There are many reasons they are a critical part of the process, however, a great many job seekers don’t have them, or don’t use them.

Ponder these factors…

 

Lead opportunities are limited without them.

While it’s terrific to meet someone and chat about who else they know or opportunities they may be aware of… they are often very likely to think of other information for you after you part ways. If they didn’t already know you beforehand, how will they reconnect? Leads are often missed because the person with the opportunity didn’t know how to reach you! Giving them a business card is no guarantee, however, your odds are greatly improved that they may re-contact you with new ideas, advice, referrals or leads if they have a card with your contact information!

 

Still the most dependable form of information transfer.

Smart phones, tablets, smart watches and other forms of new media transfer and storage can be tremendous tools to trade contact information. The reality, however, is that we are still in an age where only a small percentage of people have the appropriate tools, apps, or knowledge of how to use them effectively even if they have them. If you only rely on opportunities to trade information by smart phone, you will miss out on sharing contacts with the vast majority of people you meet.

 

Greater likelihood of getting theirs if you offer yours.

Ideally, you obtain the contact information from everyone you meet so that you can be the one to take the initiative to follow up… always thanking contacts for their time and consideration, and making sure you include your full contact information in an email you send them. Human nature, though, can be funny at times. Simply asking someone for their business card, will often be met with reluctance or skepticism. Offering yours and asking for theirs in exchange, however, will much more likely be met without resistance at all. If you don’t have one yourself, it puts you at a distinct disadvantage.

 

Very little excuse not to.

Professional looking business cards can be had very cheaply… or often even free. There are multiple online and local printers that offer free business cards in limited quantities… especially for job seekers. Do an online search for “free business cards” and you will find a plethora of options. You can even take advantage of multiple offers to have a variety of styles or customized information for various audiences or occasions. When they are easy to get, and very little, or no cost, it’s hard to say it’s not worthwhile.

 

While business cards are certainly not the ultimate arrow in your quiver, they are a vital tool for effective networking and follow up. As you’re preparing for your next networking meeting, informational interview, or chance meeting at the grocery store…

Ya’ Gotta Have a Card!


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Choosing how to start… Money or Experience?

As new grads begin seeking their first career positions they sometimes have options between multiple opportunities. Often there is a choice to make between an opportunity that may pay more, and one that may be an investment in their future.

While the appeal of an impressive salary is clear… both for bragging rights and the ability to pay bills and fund a lifestyle, it may not be the best long term strategy.


Many career choices have an ‘ideal’ track that produce lasting benefits throughout a career:

In Accounting, a few years at a “Big 4” CPA firm (KPMG, PWC, EY, Deloitte) will benefit a someone throughout their career.

In Marketing, a few years at a Fortune 100 Consumer Products company (e.g. P&G or others) can be a valuable asset.

In Engineering, a few years at a Fortune 100 manufacturing company (e.g. GE or others) sets someone up very well.

And in many careers, the same is true.

Someone in Accounting and Finance will see the benefit of a few years at a Big 4 firm throughout their career. They will get interviews when others won’t, and edge others out of offers simply because of that highly desirable background on their resume.

Jobs at those firms won’t necessarily offer the highest salaries in the short-run, but the investment in time and effort in those firms will pay dividends for the rest of their careers.

What choices do you have to make?

A choice that’s better as a long-term investment rather than a short-term advantage is likely to be a decision you will never regret!


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