Category: Face-to-Face Inteviewing

An Absolute Must For A Job Interview

One of only three things that can be measured during a phone interview is communication.  The interviewer is determining how well you communicate and how well you will work with the management team. Communication style is critical to cultural fit. If you are thinking verbal communication, in this instance you are half right. Most candidates think we are talking about one’s use of the English language and proper use of verbs, avoiding the word “like,” being succinct, and all the other verbal components of communication. Generally you are correct, but not this time.

This time I’m referring to listening skills. This is also a component of communication. Before you click away, recognize that study after study revealed that most people are not good listeners. In the case of candidates not being good listeners, this happens not necessarily because you are not generally a good listener, but rather because of the interviewing process itself.

Too often candidates don’t hear the complete question because mid-question they start thinking of an answer to the question that hasn’t even been asked yet. The candidate anticipates what they think the interviewer is going to ask and then starts formulating an answer in their mind. Too often to the wrong question.

I have interviewed over 10,000 people in my 30 years as a recruiter, and this is a constant battle. This is even more profound on a phone interview. I believe it’s due to the fact that the candidate can’t see the interviewer, and can’t tell by body language or eye contact when the end of the question is coming is one reason why it is such a problem on a phone interview.

Failure to listen to the complete question and then targeting the answer to actual question is one reason why so many qualified people never get the job. I hear this from hiring managers all the time.

Most candidates will be better off taking a slower approach and listening carefully prior to jumping in with an answer that isn’t relevant to the question.

Work on your listening skills. Don’t just assume you have good listening skills in an interviewing situation. This is a unique environment. You may be a great listener day to day, but when the pressure of an interview and your desire to do a great job collide during the interview, listening is usually the first thing to go.

If this was helpful to you please help others by passing it on. Everyone needs to help everyone until the economy turns. Consider emailing it to your network, posting on a blog, adding to your status on Linkedin or Facebook or Tweet it. Let’s help others. It will come back to you.

Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group for a lot more discussions and articles to help you with your job search. CLICK HERE to join in.

Download our FREE 8 Point Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your job search so you jump start your search in 2010. CLICK HERE to get your free copy.

You can also download a free sample cover letter that  has proven to align your background with what the company needs. Thousands already have and it really works. CLICK HERE to get yours.

I welcome your comments and thoughts.
Brad Remillard




10 Simple Job Interviewing Questions Most Can’t Answer

I was sitting in on an interview with one of my clients recently, when out of nowhere came a question that not only made the candidate take pause, but also probably eliminated him for the job. It wasn’t a trick question or illegal question. It wasn’t a question that the candidate couldn’t answer. In fact, it was so simple the candidate should have been able to answer it easily. Instead, he sat there like a deer in the headlights thinking, because he didn’t have an answer. The mere fact that he had to think on such a simple question was a problem to begin with.

So what was this simple question, “What is the most recent book you have read that will help you be a better employee?” This could be any business related book on,  leadership, management, social networking, staffing, biographical,  functional, organizational, self-improvement, etc in the last 6 months. The person has been unemployed for 3 months so it isn’t  unreasonable to assume they read, or is it?

So what would you have replied? Please leave your answer in the comments section.

I find it amazing how many professional people don’t read on a continuing basis. If for no other reason than to stay up to date on trends, changes and advancements in their field. So many candidates stop reading non-fiction after college. We find that the very best candidates we work with are continually improving themselves by reading. Not just periodicals like the WSJ, trade magazines, or blogs, but books.

I started thinking back about other similar questions I’ve heard asked, usually by CEO’s, during an interview that most can’t answer. I’ve listed them below to help you out, so you don’t end up looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

1. What do you do to stay current and up to date in your profession?

2. How many workshops, seminars or training programs have  you attended in the last year?

3. What is your favorite book on leadership?

4. What book has impacted how you manage or lead the most?

5. If  you could only refer one book to someone coming up the ladder what would it be?

6. What do you do regularly to improve yourself?

7. In your annual reviews, what has your boss recommended you need to work on or improve on? After they answer, the follow-up is, What have you done to work on those issues?

8. How many books have you read in the last year?

9. What periodicals do you read daily or weekly?

10. What is your favorite business book of  all time?

I have heard all of these asked in one form or another in my 30 years as a recruiter. In fact, I even ask them when I know a client will ask them.

The fact that these questions may not directly link to one’s ability to perform in the job, they do reveal a lot about the person and their understanding to constantly improve themselves. A CEO that wants to constantly improve the company wonders how a candidate can do this, if they don’t even work to improve themselves.

I hope this helps you better prepare not only yourself, but for an interview.

Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group. 3400 others have joined in on the discussions and articles. CLICK HERE to join.

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I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Are You Speaking the Right Language During the Interview?

Candidates too often focus exclusively on the verbal communication aspects of a job search. How much time have you spent on the body language aspect of communications?

Some say body language is 70% of communications. Whether or not you agree with this  percentage is irrelevant. All will agree it is a high percentage. So that begs the question, “What have you done to ensure your body language is communicating the right way?”

Knowing I was going to write an article on this topic, for the last two weeks I have asked over 100 candidates, “What have you done to ensure you are using proper body language during your job search?”  Not surprisingly, most just looked at me like a deer in the  headlights.  A few actually knew what I meant and one even admitted they had thought about it. The famous thought about it, not necessarily done anything about it. Two indicated the outplacement firm had videoed them so they could see themselves.

Given this incredibly high percentage, I would think more candidates would at least have read up on the subject, maybe videoed themselves in a mock interview, or practiced so as to be aware of what to do and not to do.

The reason for this topic is because of feedback I received from an interview one of my candidates recently had. The problem wasn’t regarding the person’s technical abilities, it was around the candidate’s body language and what it conveyed. Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. In this economy the company can move on to the next candidate, get the same technical abilities and body language that conveys the right message.

When I met with the candidate, I noticed a couple of issues and mentioned them to the candidate. One was poor eye contact and the other was how he sits in the chair. He looked at me when the question was being asked, however, as he started to answer the question he would lose eye contact. He would look down, glance up from time to time then look back down, adjust his glasses, and then look down. I mentioned this to him. At first he was shocked, denied it, and flat out didn’t believe me. I have mentioned this hundreds of times to candidates over the last 30 years. This is a common reaction by most candidates. They don’t even realize they are doing this. Nobody has ever told them, and since they have never been videoed, they can’t see it for themselves.

The second thing I mentioned was how he sits in the chair. He was rather tall so he tended to slouch down in the chair almost like one does at home on the couch while watching a baseball game. I strongly recommended sitting up straight, and when wanting to stress a point, he could even slightly lean forward to engage the interviewer. Coming across overly relaxed in a somewhat formal setting of an interview is not the proper presentation. As my client said, “This would not look appropriate during a board or investor meeting.”

As a candidate, you should not assume you have good body language. You should test it. Consider videoing yourself. You will not only notice  poor body language,  but you will also pick up little nuances that you don’t even realize you are doing. This is a powerful tool. Most candidates have or can  borrow a video camera to work through this exercise.

Don’t underestimate body language. It not only applies during an interview, but also in your networking. People only want to refer others they are proud of. If you present poor body language in a one-on-one networking coffee you probably will not receive any referrals.

Download our free LinkedIn Profile Assessment and make sure your profile is as compelling as it can be. CLICK HERE to download your free assessment.

Our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group has over 3000 members and provides a wealth of topics and resources for you. CLICK HERE to join, it is FREE.

Also, our Web site has a sample cover letter for you to use that will help you stand out and align  your background with the job needs. You can find it at the bottom of our home page at in the “What’s New” section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If  you have a story about poor body language, please share it so others can learn.

Brad Remillard

You Must Adapt Your Job Search To The Company’s Culture and Style

Our job search coaching and facilitation programs for candidates take us down many different paths. Every program has to be unique to the needs of the candidate. No two job searches are alike and there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to a job search. Customizing our coaching programs is the hallmark of our success.

One example of this happened towards the end of the process with one of our sales and marketing executives.

The candidate had been interviewing with a small, very entrepreneurial company for a VP Sales and Marketing position. We had been working together, all along the way, to ensure he was properly preparing for every interview. It was now down to the final two candidates and the company asked each candidate to put together a short presentation on how they would market and sell the products to new customers. Nothing elaborate, just a half hour presentation.

Some background information is important. The CEO and founder of the company was a cigar chewer, speak your mind, no B.S. type of person. Some might say very rough around the edges. He wore as a badge of honor that he never graduated from high school and still had built a very successful business from scratch. The company was a plastic injection molding company that made custom plastic parts for a variety of industries. The CEO may not have graduated from high school and was rough around the edges, but he had a lot of common sense.

The other candidate was from Xerox and put together a very nice PowerPoint presentation that identified markets, market shares, potential customers in a 30 mile radius with charts/graphs and a lot of detail. I was later told it was a very polished presentation.

In discussions with our candidate, we talked about the company’s culture, the personality of the CEO, and the other people on the management team. Many on the team were well educated and from well know companies. However, as we discussed these issues, it became clear they all really liked working with the CEO for the simple reason that he was blunt, called it like it was, wasn’t one for a lot of staff meetings, liked blunt and direct people, and most said he was a very, “get to the point type person.” The candidate was  told by the team if he wanted to be successful, he needed to be able to work in that culture.

After all of this, we decided to take a completely different approach. The candidate scrapped the PowerPoint and instead simply started researching the market for potential customers and why the company would be a potential target. The day of the presentation my candidate walked in with a stack of magazines, business journals and trade publications. Every publication was dog eared, had stickers on pages and highlights on different pages. The candidate sat in front of the CEO and for his presentation all he did was start opening each periodical to a page and said, “see the company here, this should be our customer, here is why, here is how I would approach them, and here is how we can benefit them.” He did this for almost 20 minutes. That was his marketing and sales plan.

Which one do you think adapted to the company’s culture and the CEO’s style?

Needless to say, if the candidate we were working with didn’t get the job, I wouldn’t have written this article. Although the person from Xerox did a great job, he didn’t adapt to the style of the company. My candidate took all of this into consideration before going in. He also demonstrated to the CEO that he understood how to adjust to the unique styles and cultures of the customer. One type of sales pitch doesn’t work for every customer.

Have you ever had a situation where you could have adapted?

Never forget the importance of the company’s culture and management style you are interviewing with. The better you can adapt to their style and culture, the better you will fit in during the hiring process and after going to work for the company.

Join our Job Search Networking Linkedin Group. There are over 2700 members and an extensive supply of resources for you to tap into. CLICK HERE to join. Membership is FREE.

For information on our job search coaching programs, visit our University at

We have numerous free downloads on our Web site to help you in your search. Sample cover letters, audio downloads from past radio shows, a transferable skills list, Linkedin Profile Assessment Matrix, and our Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. All can be downloaded from our home page at

Every Monday at 11 AM PDT listen to our radio show anywhere in the world on on channel 2.

I welcome your comments and thoughts.

Brad Remillard

Don’t Underestimate the Power the Four “A’s” Have On Your Interview

In a previous article, “Leveraging the Power of the First Impression Helps You Win the Interview” we discussed just how critical (not important, critical) the first impression is to the interviewing process. One of the suggestions was to understand the most important points known as the four “A’s.”

These four “A’s” can dramatically impact the interview before the interview even starts. That is powerful.

Each of these must be integrated into your interviewing style and come off as if they come naturally to you.

  • Appearance – This is not just how you dress for the interview, it is much more than that. It includes your body language during the interview, how you sit in the chair, the appearance of your resume and cover letter, the appearance of any materials used during the interview, eye contact, and I hate to say it, but it does include physical appearance.
  • Assertive – This is mostly about how you project yourself during the interview. Please take note, the word was not “aggressive.” There is a big difference between aggressive and assertive. Most interviewers respect an assertive person and dislike aggressive people. Do you come across as confident, do you answer the question with a strong voice, do you engage the interviewer during the interview, do you ask probing questions or just sit there and answer questions, do you mirror the interviewer, does your body language and voice have a strong presence?
  • Affable – Are you friendly, outgoing, easy to communicate with, engaging and even have a sense of humor? Does the interviewer feel comfortable talking with you, are they relaxed and feel at ease, do you have some conversational questions to bring up on the way from the lobby to the interviewing room, do you engage in casual conversation and are you building rapport with the person the second they lay eyes on you?
  • Articulate – How well do you communicate? Do you listen to the question? Are your answers sharp and succinct? Do you have proper language skills, syntax, avoid using the word “like”, proper sentence structure and use of verbs? Do you ramble in the interview to make sure you hit every point in your background or are you able to quickly get to the point? This can be one of the easiest of the “A’s” to master. It takes practice and rehearsing, and you will probably need a coach to help you with this one.

On the surface, as you read these, they seem so obvious. Most are thinking, “I already know this stuff.” This may be true, but I think the purpose of the four “A’s” is to highlight in a very simple way some of the key issues many candidates take for granted. As a result they don’t work on mastering them.

There are a lot of dynamics happening at the same time during the hiring process. The more you can master, the better your chances of getting the green light.

Join our Job Search Networking Linkedin Group. There are over 2700 members and an extensive supply of resources for you to tap into. CLICK HERE to join. Membership is FREE.

We have numerous free downloads on our Web site to help you in your search. Sample cover letters, audio downloads from past radio shows,a transferable skills list, Linkedin Profile Assessment Matrix, and our Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. All can be downloaded from our home page.

Every Monday at 11 AM PDT listen to our radio show from anywhere in the world on channel 2.

Leveraging The Power of the First Impression Helps You Win The Interview

First impressions are so important in the initial meeting that one would not be too far off base if they argued the most important part of the interview. First impressions set the tone for the interview and often determine the types of questions, length of the interview, and ultimately the outcome. Making a strong first impression is often the deciding factor in who makes it to the next round. If the candidate makes a strong first impression they are immediately liked by the interviewer. This candidate just moved up the point scale towards the next round and they haven’t even been asked one question. On the other hand, if the candidate makes a weak first impression, the candidate starts out in the hole. This hole if often so deep  that no matter how well they answer the questions, the interviewer cannot overcome their first impression. In fact, they may have decided right in the lobby that this person isn’t getting the job.

Tips to making a strong first impression:

· Good eye contact.

· Remain a comfortable distance from the person.

· Firm handshake – even if you think you have one ask someone who will be open and honest. Many don’t, so don’t assume you do.

· Strong introduction coupled with a smile, a strong handshake and eye contact. Practice this introduction.

· Have a couple of conversational questions prepared in advance to engage the interviewer.

· The most important of all are the four “A’s.” A VP of HR at Rockwell Corporation gave us these. They are so important more than 25 years later we still remember them.

  1. Appearance

  2. Articulate

  3. Affable

  4. Assertive

Bring these four to the first impression and you will move up the scale – not down.

Study after study reveals that likability is the single most important factor used when determining who ultimately gets the job. Underestimating this is a failure of many candidates. Those that make a strong first impression will often do better in an interview than candidates with better experience.

Join our Job Search Networking Linkedin Group. There are over 2700 members and an extensive supply of resources for you to tap into. CLICK HERE to join. Membership is FREE.

We have numerous free downloads on our Web site to help you in your search. Sample cover letters, audio downloads from past radio shows,a transferable skills list, Linkedin Profile Assessment Matrix, and our Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. All can be downloaded from our homepage at

Every Monday at 11 AM Pacific time listen to our radio show anywhere in the world on channel 2.

I welcome your comments and thoughts

Brad Remillard

Tell Me About Yourself? Why Is This Question Asked In An Interview?

This is so often the first question asked in an interview. It may not be worded exactly like this, but in one form or another, many if not most interviews start this way.

Knowing this question is coming, why do most candidates get so frustrated answering this question?

It is, for the most part, a break the ice question. It gets the candidate talking, gives time for everyone to relax, is wide open, and generally a meaningless question. However, just because it is meaningless, doesn’t mean you can ignore it. In fact, this is an excellent opportunity for you to engage the interviewer.

You have a golden opportunity to hit the salient points in your background, open a discussion around what defines success in this role, and to get the interviewer excited about this interview.

In our opinion this should be a short 2 minute, so well rehearsed answer, that is doesn’t appear to be rehearsed. This is not the time to give your autobiography, go over every position in your background or bore the interviewer with a long winded answer.

In most cases, the interviewer is using this to simply start the conversation. They aren’t looking for a complex or even complete answer. They just want a quick overview. That is it.

We recommend starting with your most relevant position and hit the accomplishments that closely relate to the position. It is even acceptable to outline some of your current responsibilities, organization, relevant company information, products or services, and basic duties. The goal is to give the interviewer the information they need to better understand how your company, industry, experiences and organization aligns with theirs.

This is not the time to give a lot of information that doesn’t align with the company. For example, if the company is a small entrepreneurial company, it would be a fatal mistake to highlight your experience in a large Fortune 500 company, that you managed a staff of 30 people, and your department budget was bigger than the company’s sales last year.

A better answer would be to highlight a past company similar in size that you enjoyed working at, felt more fulfilled by the impact you made, preferred the ability to be hands-on and what you did to contribute to the growth of the company. This better aligns with the interviewer’s needs.

You should have a number of canned, well rehearsed, thoughtful answers to this question. This is your opportunity to start the interview on the best footing for you.

Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group. There are over 2500 people in the group, so it is a great resource for you and your search.

Get a free download on our homepage of a sample cover letter, job search self-assessment tool, and Linkedin profile assessment. All are free in our “What’s New” section on our homepage at

Every Monday at 11AM PDT listen to our live talk radio show on

We encourage your comments and feedback.

Brad Remillard

A Critical Interviewing Mistake Radio Talk Show

This is one of the most common mistakes I have seen in hundreds of interviews. Yet, it is one of the easiest to fix. Candidates know this is going to happen in 95% of all interviews, so why are they so unprepared for it. I don’t get it.

Avoiding this mistake cannot only ensure your success, but when done correctly and with some preparation it can ensure your success. You don’t have to make this critical and very common mistake.

Listen to all our past radio shows and download a free Job Search Self-Assessment Worksheet at

Tip To Overcome Interviewing Problems.

A preemptive strike works:

I came home from work one day, and had just walked in the house, when my son came up to me to tell me we needed to talk. He is too young for the birds and bees and probably knows that anyway, so I knew something was up. He explained while practicing his pitching for baseball, he threw a wide pitch and broke the window above the garage. I said “no big deal, all boys break a window once in a while.” He said, “Well that is not all. After that I moved to the other side of the garage and threw another wide pitch and broke the other window too.” He was scared I would be really mad. I thought, “How can I be mad. You stole all my thunder by coming to me. I didn’t have time to get mad.” He performed a preemptive strike.

How does this relate to a search? I was doing a search for a CFO, and one candidate’s resume indicated a lot of turnover. As I went through his background, it became clear that there were great reasons for the turnover and in most cases the company turned him over, not the other way around. The problem was, he wasn’t addressing these in the interview right up front. Basically, he wasn’t defusing a negative situation.

We changed that and put together a script that dealt with the turnover right up front. In the interview, he preempted the interviewer by saying “I realize from my resume, that it appears that I have a lot of turnover, and I can understand why one would think that. Let me explain the circumstances surrounding the turnover and I’m sure it will help clarify this issue.” This defused the situation and completely eliminated any confusion and there wasn’t a problem. The candidate demonstrated they had nothing to hide or be ashamed of.

The candidate did get a job and wrote to us saying he felt this technique played a major role in getting past the first interview.

Also, in case you are wondering, my son has broken the same windows again. I now buy replacement windows in bulk.

The worst thing candidates can do is assume that because the interviewer didn’t bring up the issue it means it isn’t an issue. The fact is, the interviewer is thinking it isn’t an issue worth discussing, because they have already come to a conclusion without even discussing it.

By bringing the issue up first it allows you to discuss it openly and clearly demonstrates you have nothing to hide.

Our “Complete Job Search Home Study Course” addresses exactly how to handle this and many other issues candidates encounter and often mishandle during their job search. One misstep like the one above can cost you a job, resulting in thousands of dollars in lost wages. To review the content of the home study course and have it sent to you for only$14.95 (We will even pay the shipping.) CLICK HERE.

For many more tips and help, join our Linkedin Job Search Networking group. It is free, and provides a wealth of great discussion and news. CLICK HERE

Join us on the radio every Monday at 11AM PDT on as Barry and I discuss a variety of topics to shorten your time in search. Our audio library has past shows for you to download for free. CLICK HERE

A Critical Interviewing Mistake!

Candidates more often that not miss one of the best opportunities during the interview to shine, to differentiate themselves, and demonstrate their ability to do the job. What a great opportunity missed!!

In most interviews, the interviewer even sets the candidate up with the opportunity to shine and candidates blow right past it. The interviewer asks the soft ball question, “Do you have any questions for me?” A golden opportunity to shine. The questions you ask can outshine every answer you have given so far in the interview.

However, time and time again, I hear candidates do one of two things:

  1. Answer,”No, not really. Most of my questions were answered during the interview.” What a terrible answer. How did the interviewer answer “MOST” of your questions, when they were asking you questions.
  2. Reply with one or two (occasionally someone stands out and asks three) standard, unimportant, basic no-brainer, no forethought questions such as, “What is the budget?” or “What is your management style?” Again, these reveal the candidate has not prepared and is very shallow.
  3. Actually, there is a third, the candidate sits there like a deer in the headlights trying to think of something to say.

This is your opportunity to ask questions that demonstrate your ability to understand the job and what performance standards will be. Challenge the interviewer, ask “Why” are you doing X, probe deeply into the issues you will face once on board, how they manage, etc. Every candidate knows this question is coming in one form or the other. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is a sign of strength, confidence and demonstrates a depth of knowledge. As a recruiter for almost 30 years, when a hiring manager calls back and says, “This person really asked me some great questions. They made me think in the interview.” I know that person is getting the job.

One component of your interviewing preparation should be questions to ask. Not just questions about the company, but specific questions about the job, ask “why”, ask about communications, ask about past issues, ask about future challenges, ask about people, ask about KPI’s, ask about systems, there are so many issues to discuss to make sure you will be successful.

The best advice I have is ask the same questions you will be asking once in the job to be successful. You might as well know them before you accept the position. Otherwise, it might be a position where you can’t succeed.

This is such a critical issue in our job search workbook, “This is NOT The Position I Accepted” (This wouldn’t happen if candidates probed in the interview.) We list over 150 question to ask in an interview in this workbook. We even break these questions into categories to help identify when to ask the question. In addition, we give you the 10 most important questions to ask in an interview. You can receive this book to review for FREE right now. Just pay the $5 shipping. CLICK HERE

Also, join our Linkedin Job Search Networking group. This is a very active group that deals with every aspect of a job search. All Linkedin groups are free to join and provide a wealth of information. CLICK HERE

Don’t miss our talk radio show every Monday at 11 AM PDT on Barry and I discuss the most important challenges you will face in your search. You can listen to past shows in our audio library. CLICK HERE to enter the library. All files are free to download