Every so often you will get an interview question like this from HR or a senior level executive. “Greatest weakness” types of interview questions also include “tell me about a criticism your boss once gave you,” or “give me an example of a situation where you didn’t get the outcome you wanted.” They use these questions to a) find people who are genuinely self-reflective and open to improvement, and b) screen out people who say something problematic. When forming your answer, keep these three guidelines in mind: More
Whether your goal is to sell, inform, or land a job offer, telling engaging, relevant stories can turn even a so-so presentation into a great one. Illustrating your points with the right stories will have a far stronger impact than many other things you can do, including slide design, body language, eye contact, and so forth. More
It can be tempting to attribute a long job search to factors beyond your control. The factors that I hear jobseekers mention include age, experience (i.e. over- or under-qualified), resume gaps, weight, ethnic background, gender, or some other physical feature. While, at times, these factors and biases do cause problems for job-seekers, nine times out of ten I see that the problem is actually in their job-search strategy or execution.
So, here’s a checklist of 10 questions to ask yourself first, before attributing a long search to factors beyond your control. Your answers will help to put you back in the driver’s seat and on the road to the job you want. More
Job-search clients often ask me whether they should mail or email their cover or followup letter. I tell them to default to email unless there is a compelling special case for sending a traditional letter. The reasons I recommend email: More
Many (or most) of you are probably on LinkedIn to some extent (if you’re not you should be– www.linkedin.com). LinkedIn is an awesome tool for getting results in your job search. But are you really getting the value out of it that you could be? Use LinkedIn to advance your search in three ways: More
The Five O’Clock Club has a four-step approach to salary negotiation that I have used to help clients (and myself!) negotiate thousands more in compensation. Thought I would mention a few highlights from this approach. More
Difficult interview questions fall into a few different categories, including stress questions (“I don’t think you’re good enough…”), seemingly off-the wall questions (“how do you find a needle in a haystack”), behavioral questions, including those that assume a negative (give me an example of a time when you had a difficult employee…”) and “greatest weaknesses” types of questions. In answering these questions, the key thing to remember is, as we say at the Five O’Clock Club, to play the interview “game”. More
Below are four of the areas that I focus on with clients when helping them to prepare for a job interview.
1) Be a consultant (take a strategic approach to the interview)
This is a whole mindset that can change the dynamic of the interview. You do this by figuratively sitting on the same side of the table as the interviewer, helping the interviewer solve her or his business problems. It’s NOT about just memorizing the answers to their questions and then asking three of your own (this is the way many job-seekers approach the interview). It IS about preparing extensively through research (like any consultant would), anticipating what issues they face, and gaining the understanding needed to demonstrate how you can help them.
2) Seek to tell two or three “stories” about your experience that are relevant to the interviewer, and that you’ve practiced beforehand.
Make it your goal to get these stories out in the interview. Use them in answering most of the interview questions you receive. Telling a story, or illustrating your expertise (i.e. saying “I have strong analytic skills, for example…”), can make all the difference between a lackluster interview and a powerful, compelling presentation. I tell clients to use a storytelling format, such as “problem, action, result” (or PAR), and make it interesting!
3) Surface objections to your candidacy by asking these two questions at the end of the interview…
1) How do I stack up against the other candidates? 2) Any reason you couldn’t see me in this position? These questions are essential to conducting an effective followup (see below). There’s a saying that the sale doesn’t begin until you find out what their objections are.
4) Follow up effectively (like any consultant would)– don’t write a thank you letter– write an influence letter.
Use the answers you receive from the questions above, and other questions you asked about their needs/issues, to write that powerful followup. Address their objections to your candidacy, if any, and show how you can help them solve their problems. The follow-up is often more important than the interview itself– I’ve seen numerous cases where candidates have turned a “no” into a “yes” from an effective followup.