Archive for the 'Interviewing' Category

Can You Identify Your Single Greatest Accomplishment?

I’m working with a client whose documents include a note about a specific role that she performed in one of her positions. She indicates that this was “her single biggest professional accomplishment.”

This led me to ask: How many of us can identify our single greatest professional accomplishment? Can you? What if someone asked you in an interview what work experience made you the most proud? Could you pick one?

Maybe we are all too busy trying to identify our weaknesses to describe in an interview, when we should be focusing on the best things we have to offer. Think about it…If you don’t know your greatest strength, who does?

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photo by ducktourer

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What to Eat Before Your Interview

Who would have thunk it? It turns out that eating yogurt and nuts can help reduce anxiety, according to a new study by scientists in Slovakia. (Hat tip: Speechworks)

Joey Asher reports on Speechworks’ blog:

The scientists gave either amino-acid supplements or a placebo to a group of men and asked them to give a speech. The men who had taken the supplements experienced half as much anxiety according measurements of stress hormones in their bloodstream.

Yogurt and nuts have very high levels of the type of amino-acids used in the study.  So a healthy snack might help reduce your anxiety.

It seems logical that this stress-reducing snack might be a good choice in advance of an interview, which is kind of like a super-stressful speech and presentation all rolled into one!

So, prepare for your interview, and give yourself an extra boost by downing some yummy amino acids!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Anxious about your job hunt and don’t think that eating yogurt and nuts will solve all of your problems? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by josephp

Using Twitter to Hire – the Employer’s Perspective

Yesterday, I shared several stories from people who used Twitter to help drive their career bus. Jessica Smith found her “dream job” from a tweet. Kyle Flaherty, moved his family from Boston to Austin, TX as a result of a job hunt that started as a tweet!

Kyle’s boss, Pam O’Neal (who hired him as a direct result of his tweet and blog post), was kind enough to answer some questions for me about using Twitter and social networking sites from the employer’s perspective. I hope you’ll agree with me that her answers help shed some light on the subject of social networking for a job hunt.

Tell me about using Twitter to hire?

Happy to share. I think it is a fantastic tool to find a job and for recruiting new hires. It’s a great way to expand your network exponentially to spread the word about an opening. And, if used properly, to alert employers that you are available.

In this instance, I knew it was going to be difficult–if not impossible–to find an experienced social media marketer. I had hired bloggers and other new media marketers before, so I knew what to expect. It’s a new role that demands a completely different mindset. Also, it’s difficult to find marketers who fit into a start-up culture. It’s usually best to hire someone you know or based on referral, but in this case, I knew no one that matched our needs.

How did you actually come to find Kyle? Did you receive his tweet directly? Via another contact? What about his tweet and/or blog appealed to you?

An important thing I’ve learned in my marketing career is to think like your prospect, speak their language and go where they are. So, when it comes to recruiting, I follow the same path. I had done this in my last position, pre-Twitter. In this case, however, I was not ready to broadcast the position, so I alerted my LinkedIn network, my PR agency, etc. Fortunately, one of the folks at our PR agency Porter Novelli was on the lookout for me and saw a tweet that Kyle posted about his next career move and alerted me that he would be a fantastic hire.

What was special about Kyle?

Kyle really took an out of the box approach using Twitter. He had already informed his employer that he wanted to make a career move and made a list of the exact opportunity he was looking for, so he posted an announcement to his 700+ Twitter followers and described that role. So, between the agency referral, Kyle’s use of Twitter and the insights he’d posted on his blog, I knew he would be a great addition to the team. I emailed him immediately.

(Note – I thought Pam’s description that follows of how she and Kyle used Twitter to update each other on the hiring process was really interesting…)

Once Kyle and I connected, we communicated throughout the interview process via Twitter. I followed his Twitter updates and sent him regular updates on what was going on at BreakingPoint (Pam’s organization) and in the industry. I could also tell the other companies he was talking to in Austin so I knew my competition. It was also a good way to get to know each others’ interests and philosophy about the role prior to closing the deal.

Do you (or your colleagues) regularly source employees online?

Not typically, but for hard to find specialists, I will alert my network via Twitter and other social media sites. We’ve had candidates reach out to us on Twitter and I’ve also spread the word for other colleagues who are hiring marketers.

What sites/tools do you use?

LinkedIn and Facebook mostly. I’m now a member of several online professional groups that I will use in the future.

How many employees have you connected with via social networking tools?

Wow, too many to count. I use them almost exclusively these days. Ads are a waste of money and sorting through stacks of resumes is an extraordinary waste of time. My last 4 or 5 hires have been through social media sites or personal referrals. I found Kyle via Twitter and a demand generation specialist via LinkedIn. I found a blogger via a social media content site. I can tell you that it has dramatically reduced interviewing costs. In two instances, I was able to hire the first candidate I interviewed as they were a somewhat “known” quantity based on their online profiles, content, network, etc.

Do you do background checks online as well? Have you ever NOT hired someone because of what you found?

I’ve used MySpace to do some “reference-checking” to see if a candidate would be a good hire. One such candidate foolishly posted publicly that he had enlisted in the army but would try to “get out of it” if he found a job. That was a couple of years ago. Needless to say, we didn’t bring him in for an interview.

Your Turn

So, how do you feel about engaging in a job hunt via Twitter? Would it be great if your prospective employer tweeted updates so you wouldn’t be left in the dark? What if you were also tweeting where else you were interviewing? Please share your thoughts about open-book hiring using Twitter!

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If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

A Comedy of Errors and the Job Hunt

photo by GotMeAMuse

Sometimes, even the best laid plans don’t go as planned…

Case in point, a new client of mine whose job search is in full swing. His resume is top-notch, cover letters targeted and linkedin profile updated. He has started being invited for a lot of interviews, which is very exciting (for him and for me!)

Having worked in one place for his entire (lengthy) career, the interview is a stress point, and we have discussed and prepared to face this very important bridge between the opportunity for a job and actually getting a job!

He knows what to do to prepare. Sometimes it just doesn’t go as planned. For example, a recent interview:

  • The shirt he was planning to wear didn’t fit. Luckily, he had an extra one handy.
  • His well-thought out portfolio was waiting on the kitchen table. Unfortunately, he forgot it there and only realized it when he reached his interview destination.
  • His GPS didn’t have the company’s address in its system, so locating the interview spot was a bit tricky.
  • Sitting down for the interview, his phone rang. Forgetting the cardinal rule about not answering your phone during an interview, he answered it. Who was calling? A very high-profile recruiting firm asking him to schedule an interview!

There are several lessons to be learned from this story, but the most important lesson is the one I haven’t shared with you – this client’s reaction to the whole mess:

I was not angry with myself…Have a giggle with me not at me, all I can see is the funny side of what happened today.

You can’t buy a great attitude like that! Next time, he’ll triple-check that he has his portfolio and he’ll NEVER answer his phone in an interview. All of these are lessons that are easily learned. The ability to see the humor in a comedy of errors isn’t something you can teach. It’s a “soft” skill that will serve him well in his job hunt and as an employee for the lucky employer who hires him!

Further proving this client is a true math guy – he estimates the statistical probablility of all of these things happening at once: 10 trillion to one. So, don’t worry too much that your interview experience will be similar!

Keppie Careers can help you navigate all the ups and downs of your job search: www.keppiecareers.com.

Smooth Sailing for Your Job Hunt: Heat Up Your Interview Skills

Sailing on the Sun

Photo by Auer1816

Seeking smooth sailing for your interviews?

Logically, once you have a hot resume and network for success, it’s key to focus on interviewing skills to win the job. A summary for those hoping to heat up their job search for the summer season:

Prepare for your interview. Decide how to connect your skills to the employer’s needs.

Avoid typical interviewing blunders and turn your interviewer into a fan!

Know how to answer the most important underlying interview questions.

Have structured replies to behavioral interview questions.

Don’t forget to follow up your interviews with a timely thank you note.

Know what to wear. Know what NOT to wear

Don’t miss interview red flags. Don’t get involved in a bad situation if you can help it!

Keppie Careers will conduct mock interviews and help you prepare to blow your interviewer away with clear, concise and correct answers to important interview questions! www.keppiecareers.com

The Most Important Interview Questions


Photo by Alexander Drachman

What’s the question that every interview includes? It may be phrased in a number of ways, but it is the underlying question in every single interview query:

“Why should we hire you?”

After all, interviewers want you to sell yourself. It’s not up to them to figure out if you are a good match; it is up to you to draw the lines, connect the dots between your skills and their needs. If you don’t know why they should hire you, you certainly won’t be able to convince anyone else!

What’s the other most important interview question?

“Tell me about yourself.”

Even if you are an “experienced” or “seasoned” professional – do NOT consider this question an opportunity to launch into your life story. If you can’t zero in on a few brief autobiographical details and connect them to the position, you will be wasting your time and the interviewer’s patience.

So, how should you prepare
to address these questions?

Refer to your elevator pitch. Your pitch, which should contain information about you and your skills (customizible to individual targets) will focus on what problem you can help solve, include specifics about your abilities and accomplishments and demonstrate your expertise, interest and enthusiasm for their organization. Of course, all of these will be focused on the organization’s needs.

Your answers should NOT focus on what they can do for you – make sure you demonstrate how you can impact them in a positive way.

I invite you to refer to some of my earlier blogs for more advice about how to respond to interview questions to GET the job:

5 Tips to Turn Your Interviewer Into A Fan
Behavioral Interview: Have STAR Stories to Share

Keppie Careers will help you figure out why the interviewer should hire you – and give you the tools and information to make sure that you can do it! Do you need a resume? A mock interview? Keppie Careers can help: www.keppiecareers.com.

5 Tips To Turn Your Interviewer Into a Fan


Have you been thinking of interviews as an opportunity to be grilled with questions like “What’s your weakness?” and NOT focusing on them as chances to make a fan of your interviewer?  Today’s blog aims to change your interview mindset.  Research shows that a positive mindset is important in job hunting, so starting with what you can control is a good first step.

5 Tips to Turn Your
Interviewer into a Fan

1. Convince yourself that the interviewer really WANTS to hire you.
The fact is, it is tough to hire a quality employee. I can say from experience that your interviewer hopes that you WOW him or her with your answers and give fabulous reasons to hire you.  In essence, the interviewer is rooting for you! 

2. Know what to say
Prepare in advance.  A lot.  No, you don’t have to memorize answers to 100 interview questions, but be sure that you spend time thinking and practicing what you will say in response to topics that will come up: 

  • Think of your key points (as they relate to how you fit into the job).  These points are your message.  They answer the question:  Why should we hire you? 
  • Create several stories that illustrate your points and describe how you are able to fill the organization’s needs.  Stories should demonstrate successes, a time you overcame obstacles and examples of how you interact with colleagues and employers. Use the STAR technique to describe these situations.
  • Incorporate the fact that you’ve conducted research on the organization, their goals, values, accomplishments and needs in your answers.  Your interviewer will be happy to know that you spent some time on the organization’s website or reading up on them.  It’s flattering to know that you’re interested enough in the job to prepare.  Interviewers love prepared candidates.

3. Listen carefully and answer the question
You won’t believe how many candidates reply to a direct question without actually answering it.  It can be a little painful for the interviewer.  Ask for clarification if necessary, even think for a few seconds before replying.  (Not too many seconds, though.)  If you don’t answer the question, you’ll lose your fan.

4. Don’t keep talking and talking (and talking)…
There is no quicker way to lose your audience than by droning on and on before you get to the point.  If it doesn’t seem that you’re getting to the point, you will lose your audience quickly.  Even if you do (eventually) answer the question, your interviewer will be busy making mental notes about what to pick up for dinner by the time you get to the point.  Be succinct.  Your interviewer will love it!

5. Follow Up
Send a thank you note.  It matters. 

If you follow these tips, you’ll increase the likelihood of keeping a fan on the other side of the interview table.  That fan is much more likely to become a colleague if they like you as much when you leave the room as they did when they invited you to interview!  It’s in your hands – interview to seal the deal and GET THE JOB!

Keppie Careers is dedicated to helping you seal the deal.  We offer mock interviews, a plethora of advice and tips and resumes to get the job.  Learn more: www.keppiecareers.com.


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December 2017
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