How to Reel in Interview Rambling in 3 Easy Steps Nov01

How to Reel in Interview Rambling in 3 Easy Steps

Of all the deadly job interview sins, rambling is one of the worst. An HR Manager recently confided to me this about a candidate: He looked great on paper, but in-person he wouldn’t stop talking. I felt like I needed reins. As Matt Youngquist writes in his article on Interview Rambling, “Many candidates talk until they run out of steam or eventually just trail off to the point at which the interviewer decides to interrupt them. This is not ideal, as you might imagine.” Chalk it up to nerves? I’m not so sure. Feeling on-the-spot is one thing, but I’d credit most interview rambling to a simple lack of candidate preparation. As the interviewer, I want to see a candidate’s top performance, not their first rehearsal. After a first meeting, I tend to remember not just what a candidate said but how they made me feel. Was I intrigued? Was I annoyed? Did I feel my time and my questions were valued? Was I comfortable? Unfocused, long-winded talking can kill the sense that a two-way conversation is happening. It can also make a candidates seem unorganized, unsure of his/her self and unable to cope with pressure. And, frankly, it can be boring. Here’s how to pull back on interview rambling and make every word count: 1. Start in a Good Place Glassdoor.com recommends you take some time pre-interview to get happy and confident about who you are as a candidate – especially as it correlates to the job in question. Ask yourself: Why are you a great fit for the job? Do you have exemplary and compelling stories to relate about your career? Are you excited about you? Luckily, interview questions themselves are highly predictable – or at least the overarching themes are (prove leadership; prove likability; prove experience). Career...

Back to Basics: Phone Interview Tips Jan13

Back to Basics: Phone Interview Tips

Even with the growing popularity of Skype, Google Hangouts and Facetime, the old-fashioned phone interview is here to stay. After all, once your resume’s been flagged for a skill match, it’s a recruiters’ next logical step: phone interviews are efficient, cost-effective and often a great predictor of cultural and behavioral fit. But for many, it’s just downright hard to have a thorough and relaxed conversation on the phone with a stranger – especially when that stranger’s evaluating you. Is that silence because the interviewer is writing down what you’re saying? Or are they still waiting for you to say something interesting? The phone interview is your one opportunity to get in the door. You need to take the time to prepare yourself, just as if you were having a real face-to-face interview. As pointed out by learnvest.com, “You might have the best intentions, but what you say and how you say it (tone, pace, inflection, etc.) can easily be misinterpreted.” So, after you’ve done all your essential pre-interview research and connected with your #standapart self, take some time to review these six essential tips for giving your best phone interview – some of them obvious and some of them definitely not: (A special thanks to Jane Terepocki, HR Administrator and Recruiter at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)  for sharing her experiences and tips with us.) 1. Make a List, and Check it Twice Preparation is a given. What might not be so obvious is the importance of creating an “example list” to refer to during the interview. Think of the standard interview questions (strengths, weaknesses, skills, conflict) and create a list of 8 to 10 examples that you can access during the conversation (without the long thinking pauses). Jane @MEC recommends that you choose examples from across your entire work history. Hiring...

Smoke Out the ‘Pretenders’ May27

Smoke Out the ‘Pretenders’

How to Hire Proven, #StandApart Marketers   At Smart Savvy, we’ve interviewed a lot of people over our 8 years (4500+). We maintain: no one has the potential to pull the wool over your eyes like a marketer.  When we evaluate candidates, we adhere to the 20-60-20 rule.  In the workplace there is generally a top 20%, a middle 60% and, unfortunately, a bottom 20%.  With each interview, we are always looking to identify individuals who fall squarely within the top 20% of their field.  Those who truly #StandApart. When meeting with candidates, look beyond first impressions (the leading cause of hiring blunders) by performing a ‘deep dive’ through their career (scuba vs. snorkel).  For the bulk of our interviewing, we focus squarely on contribution and results.  Look for evidence of growth and professional proof to support claims of greatness.  When you spot a pattern of concrete, quantifiable accomplishments, you will know that you are zeroing in on a #StandApart candidate. Midway through our interviews, we reach a section that we often refer to as “The Humbling”.  At this stage we ask two questions: What have you done that has had the most dramatic impact on your employer’s bottom line — Specifically, what have you done that has increased revenue, streamlined efficiencies or decreased expenses for your employer(s)? What have you done (throughout your career) that would cause you to #StandApart from other candidates who will be applying for similar roles? Inevitably interviewees slip into describing the character traits that differentiate them from the pack.  Although we are keen to learn who people are, at this stage of the interview we must remain focused on what they have done.  You’d be surprised at how many ‘marketers’ have a difficult time articulating (much less quantifying)...

Hands Up: Do You Ask Good Questions?

There was an article flying around Facebook last week called, The Questions That Will Save Your Relationship. In all fairness, it was about the varied challenges of marriage and kids, but I think it can equally apply to work relationships. The article focused on one innocent question and the avoidance of it at all costs. The question was: How was your day? Seems innocuous enough, right? But the question, so well-meaning, such a good interluder, can open up a huge bag of worms. When you’re covered in apple sauce and the baby is screaming, it can say, “I don’t see you.” And when you’re on day-two without a shower and s, it can even say, “I don’t know you.” True enough, for author Glennon Melton, it was the simple complexity of early-motherhood that made the question unanswerable. Her days were packed with every high and every low (joy, pain, sorrow, glee) sandwiched together like jam and peanut butter. Enough so that a question like, How was your day?, became an unbearable weight. It was just not a “good” question. So what’s the tie-in with careers? There were three great lessons in the article that spoke to me with respect to asking better questions. I think these are important lessons when it comes to interviews and career growth too. Improving the questions we ask (the way we see and deal with others), can make vast improvements in our overall work performance. Here are the insights: 1) Don’t just check boxes with your questions – First step to a good working relationship is caring. As Penelope Trunk once said on her blog: “People would rather work with someone they like than someone who is good at the job.” If you don’t care, don’t ask. But if you want to move forward, find a...

Pulling the Reins on Interview Rambling Jan08

Pulling the Reins on Interview Rambling

Of all the deadly job interview sins, rambling is one of the worst. An HR Manager recently confided to me this about a candidate: He looked great on paper, but in-person he wouldn’t stop talking. I felt like I needed reins. As Matt Youngquist writes in his article on Interview Rambling, “Many candidates talk until they run out of steam or eventually just trail off to the point at which the interviewer decides to interrupt them. This is not ideal, as you might imagine.” Chalk it up to nerves? I’m not so sure. Feeling on-the-spot is one thing, but I’d credit most interview rambling to a simple lack of candidate preparation. As the interviewer, I want to see a candidates’ top performance, not their first rehearsal. After a first meeting, I tend to remember not just what a candidate said but how they made me feel. Was I intrigued? Was I annoyed? Did I feel my time and my questions were valued? Was I comfortable? Unfocused, long-winded talking can kill the sense that a two-way conversation is happening. It can also make a candidates seem unorganized, unsure of his/her self and unable to cope with pressure. And, frankly, it can be boring. I want to Here’s how to pull back on interview rambling and make every word count:   How to Reel in Interview Rambling in 3 Easy Steps 1. Start in a Good Place Glassdoor.com recommends you take some time pre-interview to get happy and confident about who you are as a candidate – especially as it correlates to the job in question. Ask yourself: Why are you a great fit for the job? Do you have exemplary and compelling stories to relate about your career? Are you excited about you? Luckily, interview questions themselves are highly predictable –...

What is Your Leadership Style?

Truly effective leaders should be able to describe how they will behave as leaders. Why?