Riding your bike to work

Just a quick story for today. A friend of mine told me about when he was on the interview panel for a job in his division of the company. One of the interview subjects, a guy who seemed eminently qualified on paper, was quite distracted during the interview. He kept looking out the office window; my friend wasn’t sure why.

“This job would be perfect for me,” the candidate said after he finally finished rubbernecking out the window. “I would be able to ride my bike to work!”

Not once did the man mention why and how he could solve the employer’s problems. He even brought up the “riding his bike to work” concept again at the end of the interview.

It probably doesn’t need to be said, but he didn’t get the job.

Please remember and never forget: It’s not about you.

Information interviews

I’d like to talk about a job-hunting technique that can bring tremendous results, but one that very few people actually take advantage of: information interviews.

Unlike traditional job interviews, information interviews aren’t the usual headache-inducing, clammy-handed stress tests. Because the difference here is, you’re the one doing the interviewing! You’re in control, not them. Sound good? [Read more...]

The personal touch

Want to know a simple, inexpensive way to increase your chances of getting hired?

Go to a bookstore or museum gift shop and buy a box of small note cards with matching envelopes. Don’t forget stamps, in case you don’t have any of those around the house.

Now, after you have an interview, instead of sending out thank-you emails to the people you met, sit down with a real pen and write a short note to each person. The same rules apply: make it short and to the point, but always include something unique to that person so they know it’s not a canned response.

It’s best if you do this the day of your interview, so the note(s) can go out in that day’s or at the most, the next day’s mail.

I think you’ll be amazed at the impact a real snail mail note can have. Think about the last time you received a personal note or letter in the mail. See what I mean?

This technique works for lots of situations, not just after job interviews. Send notes to contacts you met for coffee, past employers, freelance clients you haven’t worked with in a while…this real-life communication has tremendous positive impact. You’ve shown that person a level of personal engagement and regard that’s quite rare these days.

Just try it a few times – magic can happen.

Interview secrets – Part Deux

Last time, we dealt a little bit with the psychological side of job interviews. But I left out what I think is the most important thing to elevate your performance from good to great:
Do the job in the interview.

What does that mean, exactly? It means several things.

Preparation
First, it means that before the interview (really, before you sent in an application for the job) you were convinced that you could kick ass in this job. Not “yeah I could probably do that,” or “I guess I could manage to work there for a while.” It means after looking at the job description, and doing your research on the job and the company, you’ve come to the conclusion that if they don’t hire you personally, they will regret it for the rest of their miserable lives. [Read more...]

My interview secret(s)

Job hunting books and websites are packed with checklists that are supposed to help you succeed at interviews.

Maintain a firm handshake! Be on time! Be positive! Don’t answer your cell phone during the interview! Dress appropriately!

Thanks – how helpful! You left out how I shouldn’t wear nothing but a shaving cream bikini to that interview for the bank manager job.

The fact is that job interviews are largely horrible, tremor-inducing affairs that rank right up there with visits to the dentist on the “stuff I want to be doing right now” meter. They are the gauntlet of the job interview game. And no simplistic checklist is going to really help you get through it. [Read more...]