Posts tagged: Phone Interviewing

Ever Wonder Why No One Calls You Back After the Phone Interview?

Learn how to ACE the Phone Interview to start getting job offers

The Myth of Phone Interviewing

Yesterday I phone interviewed a candidate for a search I was conducting for a National Accounts Manager position. The phone interview was with my client – the CEO.

I had already interviewed the candidate by myself for the job. The candidate passed with flying colors. He was specific, precise, gave good examples, was articulate, and provided good validation and verification of his accomplishments.

Here’s what happened: My client started the interview with more open-ended questions than I typically ask.

As a recruiter, my questions are laser-focused, drawing out every detail of an accomplishment and achievement like having blood withdrawn.

I don’t care if candidates are not prepared for my interviews – I’ll extract it out of them like they were sitting in the interrogation room at a local police station. Some of my candidates have indicated these interviews feel like a “soft deposition” (not sure if I could have come up with a better oxymoron).

Unfortunately, most hiring executives and managers don’t dig and probe as deep to validate, verify, and vet candidate accomplishments. Instead, they ask broad high level questions and wait for the candidate to prove how good they are at interviewing.

Yes – I know it’s a travesty for hiring managers to base their assessments on how well candidates interview rather than on the substance of what they have done and what they can do. It’s a fact of life.

We’re trying to change it one interview at a time – getting hiring managers to focus more on measuring whether the candidate can do the job vs. whether the candidate can interview well. Not sure this will happen in my lifetime.

How to Blow the Phone Interview

The candidate choked up. He blew it. He stuttered through the interview. He was disjointed. His thoughts were jumbled. He would get sidetracked and lose the focus on his point. Here was a candidate who made hundreds, if not thousands of presentations to clients. Here was someone with a great track record of success. But he still blew the phone interview.

Why? How could this happen?

It happened because he did not prepare adequately for the phone interview. He never got a chance to get to the first stage of a physical interview. He can ill afford to miss an opportunity like this job after having been out of work for more than a year.

I’m convinced that one of the major reasons a lot of candidates are still looking for a job after 12 months is that they are not prepared for phone interviewing.

He didn’t review his accomplishments. He didn’t rehearse his answers. He didn’t organize his thoughts related to the potential company’s needs.

The interviewer didn’t guide him through the interview – question by question probing for success. Instead, the interviewer conducted a typical interview at 40,000 ft. and the candidate wasn’t prepared for a typical interview of standard, inane, common, and canned interviewed questions. These were the same 20 questions, hundreds of other managers had asked him prior to this interview.

Shame on him.

Death by Phone Interviewing

He tried to “wing it”.

I’ve seen this “death by phone interviewing” over and over again.

Many candidates think that their accomplishments listed in their resume should “stand on their own”. This myth of phone interviewing couldn’t be further from the truth. Keep in mind that you’re primarily being interviewed for how well you make it through the phone interview – not necessarily how good you are as a potential candidate.

If you can’t navigate the dangerous waters of a phone interview, forget about ever getting a job offer – since you’ll not even make it to the face-to-face stage.

Raise Your Chance of Winning the Phone Interview

If you’d like to learn more about how to win in a phone interview, download for FREE the most popular chapter, “Winning the Phone Interview”,  of our Job Search Workbook, “This Is NOT the Position I Accepted”.


So Many Candidates Are Only 70% Effective In Their Job Search

There aren’t too many things one can do only 70% effectively and be successful. Can you imagine doing your job 70% effectively? Would you hire someone that told you in an interview,” I work great 70% of the time?” Would you keep a person working for you the was only 70% effective?

I certainly hope you answered NO to all these.

So why then do so many candidates think they can find a job or conduct a job search at a 70% effective rate? I think in many cases I’m being generous in the 70%. I have worked with many that struggle to get to 50%. Stunning, but true.

Too many candidates just don’t know how to conduct a truly effective job search. That isn’t to say that they don’t try, as I’m sure they do, but trying in a job search isn’t what you are striving to achieve. You shouldn’t be ashamed of this. It is not your area of expertise. It would be like me doing your job. How effective would I be? Probably less than 50%.

In an economy like this in which companies will receive hundreds of resumes, receive numerous referrals, and will interview until the perfect candidate shows up,  one can’t afford to be ineffective or inefficient. This is the time to be at your best, 110% not 70% or less.

Here are some simple examples that might help you to identify how effective  your job search is (you can download our 8-Point Job Search Self Assessment for free to assess your search CLICK HERE):

  1. How good is  your LinkedIn profile? I have reviewed thousands of profiles and most are incomplete, lacking important data, not optimized for a search, and provide limited information. Yet like it or not, LinkedIn is more powerful than most resume databases.
  2. Many candidates have no idea how to properly network. Most think it is a numbers game. Meet a lot of people, shake a lot of hands, go to a lot of meetings and so on. WRONG. This is just a bunch of activity. Meaningless activity most of the time. How effective has your networking been for providing the right job leads?
  3. Candidates focus on only one type of key word search. The electronic type. They optimize the resume for the automated/electronic resume system that scans the resume to identify certain key words.  There are two types of key word searches that must be optimized. In my opinion the second one is more important. I have written an article explaining this. CLICK HERE if you want more information on the second type. I don’t have the space here to include it.
  4. What prompted this article is  that I had lunch today with a VP of HR and we were discussing just how poorly so many candidates are at phone interviewing. She brought it up, not me. She asked me if I had the same bad experiences conducting phone interviews as she. Yes, I replied.  Way too many candidates treat the phone interview the same way they treat the face-to-face interview. They are completely different and you have to adjust. This is so important that we actually offer this chapter from our job search workbook for free. Not because we have to offer it for free, but the phone interview is the most important interview. So many candidates just take it for granted. CLICK HERE if you want to download it.
  5. “I already know this stuff” syndrome. I get this all the time. You might even say this after reading the phone interviewing chapter. My answer to the comment, “I already know this stuff'” is “So what.” That isn’t important. We all know a lot of things, but we don’t do them and do them well. I know to keep my head still when I hit a golf ball. So what.  I know it but doing it isn’t the same. I’m only 50% effective at doing it. I firmly believe this is one of the biggest reasons candidates aren’t as effective as they should be. They think they know it, but don’t do it and do it right.
  6. Working hard and putting  in long hours isn’t the answer in a job search. A job search is an endurance race. It is very much like running a marathon so candidates must be efficient or like a marathon you will burn out. I find many candidates are just running in place and get burned out quickly.

The sad part is that there are so many tools and resources available to candidates. Never before in my 30 years have I seen so much excellent information readily available. Experts blogging, articles in newspapers, YouTube videos, and social media groups are all out there for candidates to tap into. Yet so few do, and even fewer actually implement the suggestions effectively.

I encourage all the candidates I represent to actively research. There are great tips and ideas out there and 90% are free. Spending an hour each night will dramatically impact your job search.  Reading blogs on resumes, branding, social media, or watching some of the outstanding videos on YouTube can change the direction of your search very quickly.

Our contribution to you are our many free tools and resources. For example our audio library (CLICK HERE) has over 50 great audio recordings from our weekly radio show, the free chapter on phone interviewing (CLICK HERE) and our free LinkedIn Profile assessment (CLICK HERE) are just a few of the tools we offer.

Don’t forget to join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group for many more free resources. CLICK HERE to join.

I welcome your comments and thoughts.

Brad Remillard



Getting Professional Help Can Shorten Your Job Search – Example 2- Interview Mistakes

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Getting Professional Help

The first article addressed how to handle the problem of turnover. This example deals with two simple issues that could have resulted in the person not getting the job because of simple mistakes that were easy to fix. The person just didn’t know how. Any professional career coach, outplacement firm, job search coach, or executive recruiter should know exactly how to help you: 1) not make the mistake in the first place and 2) how to overcome it once it has happened.

The candidate called me and said, “I think I may have just blown an interview with the way I answered one question. Is there anything I can do?” “What was the question?” I asked. He replied, “The CEO asked me what I wanted to do with my career, and I told him that I love marketing, and wanted to be a VP of Marketing in a medical device company.” Since he was interviewing for a VP of Marketing position in a medical device company that would seem to align well with the what the CEO was looking for. Also, given the candidate’s background and experience it was a reasonable answer.

Then the CEO came back with, “Well, that could be a problem here, as we like to hire people that want to move  up in the organization and that strive to be better and not just do a job.”  OOPS, there is a big communication gap here. The CEO meant one thing and the candidate interpreted it another way. This is often the kiss of death.

So what would have been different had this candidate been working with a professional?

  1. The mistake should never have happened. The candidate wasn’t prepared. From a professional’s point of view this question should never have been answered. It is clearly vague and too open to interpretation. What does career mean, what time frame is the CEO addressing, what is the motivation for asking this question, how soon does the CEO expect a person to move up, etc? These all  need to be clarified prior to either answering the question or integrated into the answer.
  2. The candidate would have been prepared not to fall into this trap. It wasn’t a trick question, and certainly not a deliberate attempt to trap the candidate. It was just one of those questions often asked that are so vague that the candidate doesn’t really know how to answer or there are just too many ways to answer it.
  3. Once this happened, a professional would know exactly how to minimize the damage. Since the candidate felt this was the turning point in the interview, and this was a critical mistake that would cost him the job, it can’t go unresolved.

Again, like the first example in this series, it was an easy fix. There was no guarantee the fix would work, but it certainly couldn’t make matters worse . At this point, the candidate was convinced he wasn’t getting the job. There was no place to go but up.

Since the candidate now knew what the CEO was looking for in this question, we simply expanded on the candidate’s answer in his thank you letter. The candidate explained that he thought the CEO was looking for a short term answer to what he wanted in his career, so he answered it with the next three to five years in mind. However, longer term he would expect to move  up in an organization within five to eight years. Obviously, a little more detail was added, but you get the picture.

It worked, and he did get the job. We know it worked because the CEO told him that the thank you letter changed his mind.

I believe, and the candidate believes, that the professional help was directly responsible for getting this job. He believes it saved him additional months of searching for a position. As he told me, “Even if I found a job one month later, it would have cost X in lost salary.”

Getting professional help can save you thousands of dollars. Take your monthly salary and multiply it by how many months you have been looking for a job. That is the cost of unemployment. Finding a job one month earlier because you got professional help is cheap compared to the alternative.

The final article in this series will help you identify the right professional. There are many frauds and unqualified people posing as professionals that take your money and don’t deliver results. These must be exposed and avoided. There are also many outstanding people that are true professionals, highly skilled, and with great experience, that are worth far more than they receive from helping candidates find a job.

We offer many free tools to help you. CLICK HERE to download a free sample cover letter that  recruiters like. CLICK HERE to download a sample thank you letter that will make sure you are remembered. CLICK HERE to download a free LinkedIn profile assessment that will help you build a great LinkedIn profile.

Finally, consider joining our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. It has a wealth of great articles and discussions to help you in your search. CLICK HERE to join the other 5,300 members of this group.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If you liked this article, please tweet or re-tweet it so others can benefit.

Brad Remillard

Answering Those Box Checking Interviewing Questions – Audio Recording

Don’t Be A Box-checking Victim

STOP allowing yourself to be box-checked in the interview by recruiters, HR, and hiring managers. You CANNOT SUCCEED in the interview if you are being box-checked against a traditional job description listing precise years of experience, exact industry experience, product knowledge, specific channels, and detailed skills. No one could pass these interviews with flying colors. Successful interviewing requires you to move the interview from a typical interrogation into a conversation about the needs and obstacles in the job. Brad and Barry provide specific examples, tactics, and recommendations in this radio program on how to move every interview from a box-checking interrogation into a conversation about the work that needs to be done.

To listen or download this recording from our audio library CLICK HERE.

You can also join our LinkedIN Job Search Networking Group. CLICK HERE to join


The Curious George Approach to Interviewing

Use the Curious George style to ACE your next job interview

As many of you know, I follow an large number of blogs every day on a wide range of subjects – hiring, job search, motivation, blogging, retention, performance management, social media, internet marketing, basketball coaching – every interest that I have both personally and professionally. I get hundreds of ideas about blogging, marketing, FREE tools to offer YOU – the list is endless.

Which begs the question – what are you reading?

Do you have your books list up in the LinkedIn Application? What blogs do you subscribe to and read consistently in some RSS feeder like Google Reader? What blogs/forums are you commenting on what you’ve recently read?

(Little sidenote: There are few activities that a professional, manager, and can engage in that will lead to as many benefits as a high level of reading and exploration – do you make reading and exploration a big priority in your job search?)

Shoot us back a note in the comments about your favorite blogs that keep you informed, moving to a new level of learning, and turned on about new knowledge.

YOU MIGHT ASK  – where are you going with all this? You might ask – how does all this talk about blogs relate to job search and job interviewing?

I was reading one of my favorite blogs on how to blog better, ProBlogger , and Darren Rowse, the blog author, talked about the lessons learned from reading Curious George Books with his 3 year old. You remember Curious George – I still have the ones from my childhood and I had the chance to share them with my kids when they were younger.

Here’s what Darren said in his blog article titled A Lesson from Curious George for Bloggers:

The books of choice at bed time in my 3 year olds room are all Curious George books at the moment. He’s crazy for George.

Needless to say that the 6 Curious George books that we have are getting read again and again – I pretty much know them off by heart…. to the point that I’ve started taking less notice of the story itself and more notice of HOW its been written.

There’s one thing about Curious George Books (or at least the ones we have) that I’ve noticed that really makes them more engaging than some of the other kids books my boy reads.

Do you know what it is?

It’s something that draws my boy further and further into the book.

Any ideas what it could be?

It’s a technique that actually causes my little guy to ask me to turn the page – something that gets him thinking about what is coming next – something causes him to be curious – just like George.

What do you think it is?

This technique is not only a page turner – its something that draws my boy from being a passive listener/reader of the book – but actually gets him interacting with the book – talking about it as I’m reading.

Have you guessed what it is?

The technique is simple – on every second page there’s a question.

It’s not a question that needs an answer – but it’s a question that engages the person reading the book and draws them deeper into the story.

They are questions about what will happen next, questions about what the reader thinks or knows, leading questions that draw readers to keep reading but also to become engaged.

I’m reading the blog article and all of sudden it hit me – this is the same best practice technique that most top candidates use in an interview to engage with hiring managers (Thanks Darren for letting me borrow your analogy). The same concept applied in a writing a popular children’s book can be applied in a high level interview.

Do you engage, build rapport, draw the interviewer toward you, and build passion in them around wanting to learn more about YOU? Think about your last few interviews.

  • Did you wait till the end to ask questions?
  • Did you use your questions as a technique of engaging and stimulating a conversation instead of an interrogation?
  • Did you get ask questions to get the hiring manager talking?
  • Did your technique of asking questions last for a moment or two – or were you able to sustain it through-out the entire interview?
  • What happened on the interviews you were engaging through questions vs. the interviews where you didn’t ask very many questions?

Download a few of our FREE Audio recordings of past Radio Broadcasts that Brad and I have done on interviewing best practices.

You can also find more details on how to prepare and ACE a “Curious George” Interview in our Job Search Workbook.

Try the technique on your next interview. Let us know what happens.

Who would have thought a simple children’s book could provide so much insight about interviewing?

Barry Deutsch

Our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group frequently discusses best practices for interviewing. Learn from some of the best in how the instinctively use the “Curious George” Technique.

Job Seekers Should Stop Being So Hypocritical

For 30 years this September, as both a contingent and retained recruiter, I have listened to the complaints by candidates (job seekers) about hiring managers and the complaints by hiring managers about candidates.

Even after 30 years, as I read blog comments, or sit in a chair and listen to these complaints, I’m still amazed (yes, amazed) at the hypocrisy spewing out from both candidates and hiring managers.

I read the comments to our blogs where candidates complain about the black hole when they send resumes, they complain about how long it takes to fill a position, they complain about recruiters, they complain about not getting their calls returned, they complain that their resume doesn’t get read in great detail, they hate the 10 second resume screen, they complain about cover letters, they complain about how these hiring managers are missing qualified people, they complain that the interview wasn’t fair or too short or too long, and that the person conducting the phone interview wasn’t qualified and didn’t know the job. This list could fill a book about the size of War and Peace, or for those not into War and Peace, book seven of Harry Potter.

Sound at all familiar if you are seeking a new position?

I then listen to hiring managers, HR, CEOs and key executives who are doing the hiring complain that, I get too many resumes, I get tired of interviewing average candidates, I will get to those resumes this weekend or next weekend, the resumes don’t match my job, candidates don’t know how to interview, candidates can’t put together two complex sentences, they complain that recruiters aren’t screening tight enough, they complain recruiters are screening too tight, they get angry at the recruiter for wasting their time interviewing unqualified candidates, they rule a qualified candidate out because they didn’t like the way they sat in the chair (I’m not kidding), they rule a candidate out because his tie was not straight (No, I’m not kidding), give me a job spec so tight and narrow that they themselves (this person’s boss and direct report) wouldn’t be qualified, tell me that from a 15-minute interview this person won’t fit, isn’t assertive enough, or my favorite, the candidate isn’t a  team player (so I ask, “What teams will they serve on?” Answer, “Well not right away, but probably in the next two years.”) They also don’t like the candidate’s handshake, or for this sales position the person needs to be a real go-getter, outgoing and aggressive (so then I ask if they like being approached by outgoing, aggressive sales people and they reply, “No, of course not.”) I could fill another book the size of War and Peace with these complaints.

Then I realized in both cases,  I’m talking with or listening to the exact same person.

Job seekers become hiring managers and hiring managers become job seekers.

The problem is that when they move from one side of the desk to the other, their perspective changes, their needs change, their priorities change, and it is a whole new ball game. Hiring, whether it’s a candidate or hiring authority is “all about me” and “what’s in it for me?”  That is just the way it is. Right or wrong, good or bad, like it or not, that is the fact of hiring.

So the next time, before you complain, from either side of the desk, please take a step back, look at yourself and treat the person on the other side of the desk with the same respect you complain about.

I know, I for one, would surely appreciate it.

You can download many free tools from our Web site. Our most popular free resource is the sample cover letter. CLICK HERE to get one.

If your LinkedIn profile is just fair to average download our free LinkedIn profile assessment to help you build a great profile that gets you noticed. CLICK HERE to download.

You should also join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking group. This group had 3,900 members. The articles and discussions can only help you with your job search. CLICK HERE to join, all are welcome, and of course it is free.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Good or bad, agree or disagree, all voices are welcome. Just be respectful.

Brad Remillard

What are Job Search Best Practices?

Success By Using Job Search Best Practices

Do you know the core best practices of conducting a job search?

Could you rattle these off the tip of your tongue right now?

Here’s the killer question – are you executing flawlessly against these best practices in your current job search?

If either you don’t know the core best practices and/or you are not executing flawlessly against them, your job search could be taking 2X-3X longer than necessary.

In our work with over 200,000 candidates over the last 25 years, we’ve discovered that most candidates are not up-to-speed on the latest job search best practices, nor is there an effective leverage and execution of the best practices – what’s the result of this lack of best practice knowledge:

  • Mental anguish
  • Burning through your savings account
  • Wasting precious time on the wrong activities
  • Taking too long to find a job
  • Humiliation, rejection, and despair

But wait – there is hope. You can create an effective job search around the most common best practices.

Over the last 15-20 years, we’ve been continually working on and refining a simple structured approach to conducting an effective job search. We call that process the Career Success Methodology. As many of you know, Brad and I have published a book on the Career Success Methodology called “This is NOT the Position I Accepted”.

Here are the simple 5 core best practices of an effective job search and the terminology we use in our Career Success Methodology to describe each one. There are a number of job search systems “out there”.  We happen to be slightly biased and think ours is the most comprehensive. However, at a basic level – there are a few best practices that regardless of the system, terminology, or trademarked name – all have the same basic elements.

1. Introspection – this is the stage of honing what you are looking for, what you bring to the table, what will bring you joy – the ideas behind one the most popular job search books ever – What Color is Your Parachute? Before you can start putting a resume together, thinking about where to send your resume, and prior to interviewing, you must go through this deeply reflective process.

We call this best practice in job search: Create a Personal Success Profile

2. Uncovering Job Leads and Referrals – this is the blending of traditional networking with social media to cast a large net and generate an abundance of opportunities from the hidden job market – the 80% or more of job openings that are never advertised. The vast majority of candidates rely on job postings in their job search – which at best yield 15-20% of the available opportunities.

We call this best practice in job search: Develop a Targeted Plan

3. Resume and Cover Letter – This is one of the most important documents you’ll ever create – yet most candidates give this the least amount of time in their job search. Very few understand how to create an exciting marketing-oriented document that captures the attention of HR, Hiring Managers, and recruiters. The vast majority of resumes and cover letters yield a response rate of less than 1%. You cannot conduct an effective job search if your response rate is less than 1%.

We call this best practice in job search: Compelling Marketing Brochure

4. Interviewing – Very few candidates recognize that the secret to acing the interview has nothing to do with what goes on during the interview. It’s all in the preparation. The small amount of time and effort most candidates spend in preparing for interviews is a complete waste of time and is essentially worthless. Interview preparation is like preparing for a battle – was it not Napoleon Bonaparte who claimed that battles were won in the planning tents of the generals – not on the battlefields?

We call this best practice in job search: Prepare for Interviewing

5. Closing the Deal – Just because you had an interview does not mean you’re going to get an offer – and even if you get an offer it might not be appropriate for your ability and market potential. This best practice is about showing your value, keeping the process moving forward, convincing the company to extend an offer, and negotiating a great package. Many “deals” that should have come together as perfect fits for company/candidate fall apart at this stage due to poor management of the “deal closing” process.

We call this best practice in job search: Win the Opportunity

FIVE Simple Best Practices that result in reducing the time it takes to conduct a job search by at least 50%.

How are you doing against these five simple best practices of conducting an effective job search?

Barry Deutsch

Don’t forget to join our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group to benchmark yourself against other job seekers in their execution and application of the 5 core best practices in conducting an effective job search.

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




I’m Getting Interviews But No Offers. WHY?

This was a question a potential job search coaching candidate asked me. Although frustrating, at the same time it is a very good problem to have. At least she was getting interviews.

In today’s world just getting up to bat can be difficult, but striking out is frustrating. So what do you do if this is happening to you? Over 30 years of working with candidates and over 10,000 interviews, it is my experience that when this happens the candidate is generally making some fatal mistakes in the interviewing process. They don’t need a major overhaul. They are either doing something small, that is easy to fix, or in most cases NOT doing something that eliminates them.

After all, the hiring manager has seen their resume, often interviewed them and asked them back, and they may have even come in second place a couple of times.  So rarely, if this happens a lot, is it always experiences, skills or abilities. Those have already been taken into account. Also, as everyone knows that has done extensive  hiring, the most qualified person doesn’t always get the job. Often, and unfortunately, it is the best interviewer that gets the job. A fact candidates have a very hard time accepting.

Many candidates have this  happening to them and never really understand, “why?” The sad part is the candidate ends up spending a lot more time in job search mode than necessary. Often months and that is expensive. To help, our job search workbook, “This is NOT the Position I Accepted” deals extensively with this exact issue.

The first step in dealing with this issue is knowing the answer to this critical (yes critical) question, because if you don’t know the answer chances are very good you will never know what’s wrong, so you can’t fix it. What are the most important three words in a job search and interview? Hint, they are the same words for both a job search and interview.

If you guessed preparation, good guess, but wrong. Preparation is the outcome of these three words.

Presentation is key, and the answer. Candidates are judged so much on the their presentation that it is often a bigger factor in getting a job than qualifications. For example, I heard on a news channel that Whole Foods will not hire anyone that shows up to an interview wearing a suit. I don’t know if this is true or not, (just because it was on the news doesn’t make it true) but that is presentation. Show up in a suit, and before you even leave the lobby, before you introduce yourself, in less than 1 second the hiring manager has already decided you won’t fit in their company’s culture. They assume you didn’t research the company or you would know this.

If this is happening to you, I have found from coaching candidates that it is time to take a hard look at their presentation. This is very hard to do. It means I have to be tough, possibly risk hurting feelings, get critical, tell people they come across too casual and therefore possibly signaling a lack of energy, and for older candidates this is often interpreted as burned out or just waiting to retire.

None of these may be true. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not. It is reality. A dose of reality is often exactly what many candidates encountering this issue need.

Another issue is confidence. Too often when candidates become desperate and really need a job they are too afraid to engage the interviewer. This lack of confidence comes across as weakness. This is the kiss of death especially if you are interviewing for a manager.

You should always interview the same way you would if you had a great job and didn’t need this job. That confidence will come out. Most companies want to hire people that are leaders, and confidence is an essential element of leadership.

Join our Linkedin Job Search Networking Group along with the other 3300+ members. The discussions and articles will do nothing but make your time looking for a job shorter. CLICK HERE to join.

If you are getting interviews but no offers, you should consider reading our job search workbook, This Is NOT The Position I Accepted. It was written to get you through the interview with confidence. We will send it to you to review for just$5. CLICK HERE to get  your copy.

I welcome and encourage your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Why Most Interviews Are Box-Checking

Don't allow your job search to fall victim to hiring managers box-checking you against a traditional worthless job description

The traditional process of interviewing is typically an exercise in box-checking.

Hiring Managers and Executives use the traditional job description to check off whether you meet the criteria for the job. As we described in a previous blog posting, the traditional job description is a set of minimum and mediocre criteria. We’ve identified the use of inadequate criteria in a job description as the Number One Hiring Mistake made by CEOs and Senior Executives. You can download a copy of the study we conducted to identify the Top Ten Hiring Mistakes Made by CEOs and Senior Executives.

In the face of all rational thought and objectivity – why do most hiring executives and managers still cling to the outdated and ineffective job description? By all standards, it is a worthless document to measure and predict future success. Let’s explore some of the reasons why the traditional job description is the primary tool you’re evaluated against in a job interview:

1. Hiring Managers don’t know any better. No one has ever taken the hiring manager by the hand and shown them a more effective method of defining success for a position. We cling to tribal hiring methods passed down through the generations without thought as to whether or not they are effective.

2. Hiring Managers refuse to accept accountability. Defining success and then publishing the definition of success (we call this a Success Factor Snapshot) is high accountability. As a Hiring Manager, if I define success and you as the candidate don’t achieve the expectations, then I’ll be forced to do something about it – as will my boss when the department/team misses their overall goals.

3. Hiring Managers give lip service to the hiring process. Saying that people are NOT your most important asset and consequently it’s NOT worth spending much time on the process is akin to being against motherhood and other cherished traditions. Instead, many hiring managers and HR professionals talk about how important hiring is in their company, but their actions convey something else entirely – they are unwilling to invest the time it takes to define, measure, and predict success.

How can you overcome these 3 obstacles to winning the interview when you don’t match up perfectly with the job description? Who could ever match up to a job description – one that has a list of random and arbitrary criteria which has nothing to do with the real job – it’s not a job or role description – it’s more of a people description.

Over 25 years in executive search, 1000 executive search assignments, interviews with over 100,000 candidates has shown me that top talent rarely meets the criteria described in the job description. In fact, if I had to make my living as an executive recruiter who depended on candidates meeting the box checking of the job description, i would have been bankrupt long ago.

Sorry – got sidetracked there for a moment. Back to the core question – how do you succeed in a box-checking interview when the criteria established is guaranteed to exclude you from consideration??

You do it through asking the most important interview question “How will you measure my success?” (or other variations of this question such as “What do I need to do in the job for you to consider me a success”?” What are the top 3 things I must achieve in this role to be successful?”). I discussed this idea in a previous blog posting regarding the syndrome of most candidates to interview blindly, flailing away with irrelevant information that the hiring manager most likely couldn’t give a darn about.

It’s like a magical question! Suddenly the interview transforms itself from an interrogation of bright lights and rubber hoses over box-checking your background to the job description to a discussion and consultative dialogue about the work that needs to be accomplished. Now you have an opportunity to demonstrate how your unique accomplishments and abilities will ensure the expectations of the hiring manager can be met.

Shame on all candidates who don’t ask that magical question. You are doomed to a prolonged job search and constant rejection. STOP allowing the tribal hiring methods used by most companies to dictate your career and job search success.

Barry Deutsch