I love Reddit. Many years ago, a retained recruiter hosted a huge 'AMA' (Ask Me Anything) post. They delivered great responses which were spot on. Here are some of the best (please disregard the grammar - I wanted to preserve the questions asked):
Many of my clients who are in transition from one job to another are frequently thrown into the practice of an initial phone interview. Here are a number of key tips and learnings to make you crush it every time:
Control your space.
Optimally, try to ensure no noises or interruptions. Pick a room where you can safely close your door and separate yourself from the outside world for the entire interview. No ringing phones, no screaming kids, no barking dogs . . . nothing. Make it your fortress of solitude by taking steps to eliminate all interruptions or noises that might throw you (or your interviewer) off their game. If you have to — find another location to call if your home has become another DisneyWorld.
Stand & Walk Around.
Your best voice comes from good posture and the best posture is to stand. Your breathing, your voice and your energy are all affected when you stand. It allows you to move your hands to make a point if needed and move around to stay focused on listening to the question. That's why most singers stand — they enunciate better, they breathe better, and they project better. Even if your phone is corded, you can still walk around. But don't walk too far away from your notes!
They aren't going to see you — so wear clothes that make you feel your best. If you want to dress up — go for it! If you want to wear sweats — by all means! Go naked — I don't care! I want you to feel your best so your entire personality flows through your receiver to the interviewer. One caveat — wear silent clothes and accessories. You don't want scratching, clinking, or tinkling noises to travel and possibly send a negative signal to the interviewer. So can the metal bracelets, ornate necklaces, or over-ornate earrings. Keep it simple and silent.
Don't answer the phone like a serial killer.
I can't tell you how many people I talk to answer their phones like Ebenezer Scrooge. Heeelllllooooo? No name, no real greeting, no energy, no excitement. What a great way to lock in a negative first impression! Here's a simple tip — answer every call like it's Publishers Clearinghouse calling to hand you a $100 million check. "Good Morning! This is Rich Gee — can I help you?" or "This is Rich Gee — how are you today?" The first six seconds of your call sets the stage for anyone on the other line — make it special.
Energize your voice.
Throughout the call, constantly monitor your energy and ensure it's flowing positively over the line. Even with tough or objectionable questions, pull back, pause and then answer with honest energy so the recipient receives it with gusto. Modulate your conversation by moving it all around the spectrum:
- Talk faster when you are truly excited about a topic or feel the interviewer finds it important. Pop your words.
- Slow down when you have to explain a complex situation or process with clarity.
- Talk slightly louder when making a point or agreeing with the interviewer. Laugh if you want.
- Power down your voice if the conversation turns serious. You don't want to come off totally flippant with a serious subject.
In the end, try to parallel your voice, tones, and enthusiasm with the interviewer as much as you can. Be positive, enthusiastic and add energy as frequently as possible.
It's free. Try to smile the entire time while you're on the phone. There is a decided difference in sound/voice/energy between a person who isn't smiling and one who is. You can instantly tell if the person is smiling by the intonation of their voice. It's really easy to do — so do it.
Keep all your thoughts in front of you.
Hit Staples and purchase a white tri-fold foam core board. This will be a valuable tool to keep all of your:
- Talking points especially the key areas you feel the interviewer needs to understand.
- Prompts to keep your energy up - put a big "SMILE" sign right at the top to remind you to smile.
- Use post-it notes to help you with specific areas you'd like to cover during the interview and pull them off as you use them.
- If there is a complex list or topic — put it up there.
This board will allow you stay on point and cover all the elements you need to communicate without forgetting anything. In addition, your board will help you with your nervousness if asked a tough question — you have all the answers right in front of you!
Don't ask selfish questions.
Initial phone interviews are not the time to ask about specific compensation or logistic questions. Usually, the phone interview is a first pass to see if you initially qualify for the job's requirements and it's usually with someone from Human Resources. If you have a second phone interview with your hiring manager, you've probably passed the first level and now they want to know more about you, your accomplishments and your personality. They don't want to talk about specific dollars, hours, location, etc. Keep that to subsequent interviews (hopefully in person).
Prepare great questions to ask.
You need to ask a number of critical questions not only to get the right answers, but to also impress the interviewer with the topics you choose. Here's a great list of questions I offer to my clients — Click Here (PDF).
Catch red flags and prepare to lower them.
You know your gaps, your faults, and your black marks. Be prepared to address them quickly, succinctly, and put them to bed. Don't try to hide them — most good interviewers will pick them out immediately and hone in on them like a good dentist looking for gingivitis. Don't equivocate — address the question, answer it, and move on. Everyone has issues — you're not special.
Hope these tips have helped. Contact me if you use them or if you have any comments!
Interviews are tough - some questions are easy - and some catch you off-guard. These are the ones you should REALLY prepare for.
Most interviewees don't realize the questions they ask also play a major part in honing that impression. So you need to plan, make time, and ask them.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for boards to attract outstanding board candidates. Candidates are reluctant to consider opportunities because of the increased time demands of board membership as well as the increased time demands of the candidate's own positions. This is especially problematic because the need for board members, and especially outstanding ones, has never been greater.
You’ve gotten pretty far in a job discussion. You like them. They like you. And it's getting down to the nitty gritty.
Most people don't realize the power of personal connection on the job.
I hear it all the time from my clients when hiring — "I can't find someone that is "just right" for the position." Or "They don't meet all the qualifications for the job." Well - they're wrong. You need to STRETCH your new people's potential.
By Robert "Scobleizer" Scoble at Scobleizer.com. Robert is the KING of Twitter, Facebook, All software, and social marketing in general. This article hits so many personal points I discuss with clients that I just had to post it. So let's all lift our glasses - here's to Robert!
I’m getting a LOT of chats from people who have been laid off. Most of the time I find that they just aren’t presenting a good face to me for me to help them find a new job.
If you are laid off, here’s what you need to do:
- Your blog is your resume. You need one and it needs to have 100 posts on it about what you want to be known for.
- Remove all friends from your facebook and twitter accounts that will embarrass you. We do look. If we see photos of people getting drunk with you that is a bad sign. Get rid of them. They will NOT help you get a job.
- Demonstrate you are “clued in.” This means removing ANYTHING that says you are a “social media expert” from your Twitter account. There is no such thing and even if there were there’s no job in it for you. Chris Brogan already has that job and he’s not giving it up.
- Demonstrate you have kids and hobbies, but they should be 1% of your public persona, not 99%. Look at my blog here. You’ll see my son’s photo on Flickr once in a while. But mostly I talk about the tech industry, cause that’s the job I want to have: talking to geeks and innovators.
- Put what job you want into your blog’s header. Visit Joel Spolsky’s blog. He’s “on software.” That’s a major hint that if he were looking for a job that he is totally, 100%, thinking about software. If you want a job as a chef, you better have a blog that looks like you love cooking.
- Get rid of any 'smart' name/acronym like "LOLCats". Do not argue me on Twitter about this. Google finds Twitters. Do you want your future potential boss noticing that you post LOLCats all day long? Believe me, you do not. It will NOT help you.
- Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time.
- Do not beg for links. If you did the above, you can Twitter me and say “check out my great software blog” though. Include @scobleizer in the tweet so I’ll see it. I’m an egotistical person so I read all Twitter replies that include my @scobleizer name in them. Hint: I haven’t met a blogger yet who is not an egotistical person. Take advantage of it. But no begging.
- If you want to be a plumber, look for other plumbers to add to Twitter, friendfeed, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Remove all others. Be 100% focused on what you want to do.
- On Twitter you can tell me what you had for lunch, but only after you posted 20 great items about what you want to do. Look at Tim O’Reilly’s tweet stream. Very little noise. Just great stuff that will make you think (he wants a job as a thinker, so do you get it yet?)
- IMPORTANT: Invite influentials out to lunch. Getting a job is now your profession. If you were a salesperson, how would you get sales? You would take people out to lunch who can either buy what you’re selling, or influence others who can buy. That means take other bloggers (but only if they cover what you want to do) out to lunch. That means taking lots of industry executives out to lunch.
- Send out resumes. Make sure yours is up to date and top notch on LinkedIn and other sites where employers look for employees. Craig’s List. Monster. Etc.
- Go to industry events. I have a list of tech industry events up on Upcoming.org. If you want to be a plumber, go to where contractors go. Etc. Etc. Make sure you have clear business cards. Include your photo. Include your Twitter and LinkedIn addresses. Your cell phone. Your blog address. And the same line that’s at the top of your blog. Joel’s should say “on software.” Yours should say what you love to do. Hand them out, ask for theirs. Make notes on theirs. Email them later with your LinkedIn and blog URLs and say “you’ll find lots of good stuff about xxxxxxxx industry on my blog.”
- When you meet someone who can hire and who you want to work for - Follow them on Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Their blog. Stalk them without being “creepy.” Learn everything you can about them. Build a friendfeed room with all their stuff. That way when they say on Twitter “I have a job opening” you can be the first one to Tweet back.
- Tell others where the jobs are. One thing I learned in college is by helping other people get jobs you’ll get remembered. So, retweet jobs messages (if they are relevant to your professional friends and to you). Blog about job openings. Help people get jobs. Hold lunches for people who are jobless. Some of them will get jobs and they’ll remember you and invite you along.
- Do what you want to do. Let’s assume you’ll be laid off for a year. Are you going to lay around on the couch waiting for a call? No. You will do exactly what you want to do. Want to be an engineer at a great startup? Go and volunteer to work there for free. Make sure you do a blog post about every day you do what you’re doing for free. Say “I could do this for you, call…”
- Do some work on SEO. Make it possible for people to find you. THINK about how people would search for someone with your expertise and skills. Here’s how, Visit the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Do a search on a word that you think represents best what you want to do. I just did one for “Electrical Engineering” and it brought up a ton of great info about what people are searching for. Include those terms in your blog. And, even better, blog about those things!
- Remove any hint that you hated your old job from all your online things.
Good luck. It sucks. I know that. I was laid off last time and, who knows, might be laid off again, but if you’re doing all this stuff and you aren’t finding a job, let me know. You know where to find me.
Interviews have morphed into very weird experiences for my clients. I've heard some of the most stupid questions, tests & assessments come out of highly respected organizations. My opinion? I think they're lazy.
This interview of John Donahoe, president and chief executive of eBay since March 2008.