Dreading the Panel Interview?

You have made it through the initial telephone screen with the recruiter and the next step is to be interviewed by a panel.  That can be nerve wracking and it seems like a lot of judging by 2-5 people at one time. For companies, it makes a lot of sense because it takes the least amount of time for them and for you it gets you in and out quickly.   But, how do you remain calm and answer the questions in a way that keeps you in the running as a top candidate?   My top 12 pointers are:

 

  1. Investigate interviewers.  Learn as much as possible about each interviewer. Often, the panel consists of a human resources professional, your direct supervisor, others from the department or cross functional team leaders/members you may work with.  Ask the person who is setting up the interview the names of the panel members and their functions.  It is helpful to know if you are being evaluated by only the team whom you will be working with on a daily basis or whether it is a mix of department heads/members.  For example, if you are being hired for a mergers and acquisitions project management role, you would have several stakeholders, e.g. finance, human resources, and legal.  Then, use LinkedIn to read up on each person’s background … or if you have an inside track into the organization, try to uncover facts about their reputation and work style.
  2. Think of the questions that may be asked by the panel.  Thoughtfully write out your answers and rehearse with a buddy or a coach.
  3. Memorize names. Addressing each person by their name is professional and indicates your respect for them.  Be sure to list their names on your writing pad before you enter the room, just in case you have a memory lapse.
  4. Reduce nerves. Adrenalin and nerves come with the territory.  Take 10 minutes before the interview to take deep breaths and visualize success.  If you are by yourself in a holding area, you can pace back and forth or walk as it reduces anxiety and increases memory.  Take a bottle of water into the room just in case they don’t have beverages.
  5. Take notes. Bring your writing pad to jot down key points you want to follow-up on.  Just be sure to ask permission to take notes.  Everyone always says yes and it indicates you want to be thorough.
  6. Tell us about yourself. Be prepared to go into your short synopsis of your work history and the skills that you bring to the organization.  Not more than two minutes as they have your resume in front of them.  This is the icebreaker before they start asking questions.
  7. Include equal eye contact. Often interviewees look at only the person who has asked them a question.  This is a mistake.  Each question needs to take into account each stakeholder’s frame of reference and how it relates to the working relationship you will have with their group.  This makes it more conversational instead of rapid question-response to one interviewer at a time.  Make eye contact with the person who asked the question first, then shift eye contact and your body towards the panel member when you talk about their specific area of expertise.  This makes it feel like you are interested in building a relationship with each panel member versus deferring to one person at a time.
  8. Make connections. For each question, think how it can be answered representing the different constituents on the panel.   Reference previous questions that help make your point or allow you to follow-up with a question.
  9. Watch body language. If you see arms crossed or no eye contact, this is a person you need to win over.  Focus some of your questions to them or talk about their point of view.  All the panel members will appreciate your influencing skills when they see this person shed their resistance.
  10. Ask questions. It is the kiss of death to have no questions for the panel.  Clarifying questions relative to “what does success look like to them after you’ve been on board 90 days?”  “What do they view as immediate challenges to address?” Any questions relative to culture you want to uncover are appropriate. One of my favorites to uncover culture is “why do you think people stay with the company?”  The obvious last question is “What is the timeline for selection?”
  11. Express interest in the position. So many times, I have interviewed candidates and wondered whether the person was actually interested in the job.  A short and simple statement works best:  “based upon what I have heard from each of you,  I am very interested in the position and would be thrilled to be working with you.”  Be sure to make this your final comment to the group before you leave.  Then, as you head for the door, address each by name, thank them, and shake hands firmly.
  12. Follow-up. Thank you notes to all the panel members is a must.  Be sure to get their business card or contact information from the person coordinating the panel interview.

Remember, panel members are looking for candidates who stand up under pressure,  are articulate, display an interest in other’s agendas, and will make a difference in their organization. At the end of the day, they will queston:  are you a good fit for them?  Do you have the hard and soft skills needed to solve their problems?  Will you mesh with the culture?  Will you build a lasting relationship with your stakeholders?  Use the panel to your advantage to win multiple votes to get the job.  Finally, ask yourself … is this organization the right fit for you?

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The # 1 Mistake Job Interviewees Make

The # 1 mistake job interviewees make is not spending enough time on developing answers to possible questions that may be asked.   Let me share a shocking statistic with you: the average person spends less than 60 minutes preparing for an interview. You might be surprised that this is not enough time. In my opinion, 60 minutes is just winging it and it will not get you the job.  So, why don’t job candidates devote the time to get ready for an interview?  I have heard many reasons over the years such as:

  • I don’t know. How could I possibly know every question that will be asked.  There is massive knowledge available on the internet on questions that will be asked and tons of books on the topic.
  • It’s too painful. Yes, work is a four letter word.  Putting the effort in up front will actually boost your confidence and reduce your nervousness.
  • It’s better to be spontaneous than rehearsed.  Guess again, if you don’t have your success stories on the tip of your tongue, you will get tongue-tied.  Spontaneity is for the very experienced and for those who have lots of options.
  • My resume tells it all. Your resume does not reflect the way you carry yourself, the way you speak or reflect your confidence.  In addition, how could a resume possibly capture everything you have done that would match what the employer is looking for?
  • No time. I acknowledge that job seekers are pressed for time, particularly if you have a full time job.  View your job search and getting ready for an interview as a project.  Schedule time on your calendar for these activities.  What gets planned, get’s done!
  • It’s in my head. Many don’t find it easy to write out their answers in advance.  However, there is research that proves the writing-brain connection.   The simple act of writing with pen and paper and then repeating it back to oneself helps with retention.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these objections?  I hope not.  Here are my tips on how to prepare your answers to interview questions and an estimate of how long it will take:

  • Research the questions. There is so much information on the Internet and books that will give you ideas on what questions may be asked.  I encourage you to write out your answers to them.  The simple act of writing out your own answers will help you remember what you want to say.  Knowledge of the prospective questions will give you a head start over the other candidates.
  • Know your strengths, brand and role. Every interviewer asks “what are your strengths?”  A strength is defined as the combination of your knowledge, skills, and talent. Think about several jobs, tasks, projects that you have done in the past with great success. What are the strengths you used at the time? You probably have many more strengths, but keep it limited to what they are looking for.  What are you known for…your brand.  Your brand is a combination of your strengths, passion, attributes and differentiators.  Know the role you are applying for. Matching your strengths to the competencies listed in the job description is critical.
  • Success stories. Interviewers ask:  “can you tell me about a recent accomplishment?”   Prepare your success stories (at least three) of your accomplishments by using the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method of storytelling.   By using success stories during your interview, the interviewer will remember your stories before facts, figures, or data. It also gives them an easy way to describe you to others in the organization. The STAR method is great for not only describing your accomplishments, but also for questions like: describe a situation when you had to meet a challenging deadline; tell me about a time when you failed, how do you deal with pressure or stressful situations.
  • Rehearse.  I hear the groans every time I work with a client when I suggest rehearsing answers.  It’s the old story…how do you get to Carnegie Hall…practice, practice, practice.  Practice does make perfect, so please do it with a coach, a friend, or a family member and in private in front of a mirror.  It will settle some of the nervousness, too.

How much time does all this take?  My estimate is preparation can take 8-12 hours.  So, carve out the time on your calendar to write out answers to questions and to rehearse.  Do this over several days because doing it in one sitting can become overwhelming.  As you craft answers to questions, you will find yourself going back and making changes.  All good and confidence will be growing!

Putting in the time to write out your answers to possible questions will help you avoid the # 1 mistake interviewees make.  You will be 99% more prepared than other candidates and it will differentiate you from them.  Let others wing it, so you can shine.

I work with hundreds of clients each year to get them ready for their job interviews.  I have kept a record of the most often asked questions from client feedback, and have narrowed it down to the Top 20 contained in my new book Answers to the Top 20 Interview Questions with downloadable answer templates.  I get great satisfaction when clients come back to tell me that many of the Top 20 questions that we worked on together were asked and they felt prepared and ready to answer them.  Even better news is that they got the job!

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Do More of What You Want By Saying No

2016-06-12_13-46-18It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs knew  that saying no allows you to focus on what is important to you.  Yes, we are all so bogged down with our career “have to” tasks that we cheat ourselves of the “want to”.  And, the bad news is there will always be demands placed on us at work and at home that often distract us from getting the high priority items done.  Let’s also remember as kids we are taught to never say no.  However, to do more of what you want, you must re-learn how to say “NO” to the “have to.”

Think about all the things you do daily, weekly, that you feel you don’t want to do, but are still doing.  How can you break that cycle?  It isn’t easy.  Here are seven tips:

  1. Be aware. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.  Label one side “Have To” and the other side “Want To”.  Capture your thoughts in both columns.  Does the “Have To” column overshadow your want to?  If it does, you must be feeling a lot of overwhelm and a great burden.  Work probably isn’t a lot of fun.  Awareness is the first step in making positive change.  Say Yes to self reflection.
  2. Ask the hard questions.  Why are you really doing this with such an obligation of “have to”?  How did you wind up doing this in the first place?  Have you become a master of “have to” and a novice of “want to”?  What would be different if you did say No?  Say Yes to being honest with yourself.
  3. Reframe the “Have To”. Some “have to” on your list are about survival.   For example, if you are working for monetary reasons and it is a necessity of life, then it probably needs to stay on the list.  However, your thinking around it could change – you are working to provide support to yourself and your family.   This makes the job more palatable.  Say Yes to family because they are really important.
  4. Be clear about your career plan. Ask whether the “have to” tasks are a part of a learning process in your career plan.  If they are, you may need to master the tasks and move on.  Say No once you excel at the tasks.
  5. Could you delegate it or dump it altogether.  What is it about the job that makes it feel like a “have to” burden?  An analysis of your work tasks might be in order to determine which activities you could delegate or dump to free up time to do what you love to do.  Say No if you can delegate or dump it.
  6. Learn the art of saying No.  Focus your work and personal life around your wants and make commitments to do them more.  That means having to say no to people in order to make time for the activities that you love or to spend more time with certain people and not others.  No has a negative connotation.  However, saying it in a way that suggests you would if you could makes it easier.  For example, I would love to help you with that (charity work) (committee) (project), but right now I have a full plate – check with me in a few months.  It is an acquired skill which includes seeing where the other person is coming from and being able to tell them why you are saying no.  Say No to activities that are going to stretch the limits of your time.
  7. Drop the guilt. Yes, it is difficult saying no to our colleagues, family and friends.  We always feel it is going to damage the relationship in some way.  But, if you can’t give it your all, what will they think of you in the end when you are not at your 100% best.  Realize that saying “No” frees you up to do more of what you want to do.  Say No to guilt.

Remember that we have fewer and fewer days as we get older.  There are only a finite number of days left.  Take those years and work your own agenda to make your own heart sing with the “Wants.”  Say no to everyone else’s agenda if it doesn’t strike a chord with you.  Take time for yourself and stand up for yourself – just say NO.  

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Keep Your 2016 Goals Alive

From everyday “to do” lists to New Year’s Resolutions, goal setting has become a part of our work and personal life.  Even as we get older, goals are just as important because reflection and forward thinking are key ingredients to having a successful career and a healthy life. It’s not too late to get 2016 started the right way. Here are 10 key tips to creating goals:                                                                        

 

  1. Big, hairy, bodacious goals. If your goals are small, you will reach small goals. However, if they are big and make you shake in your boots – you are stretching yourself. Make your over-arching goal a BIG one. Then, you can add subset goals allowing smaller goals to be stepping stone to your big one.
  2. Ask why and visualize achievement.  Just like kids who ask why all the time, be sure to ask yourself why you want this. Will this goal help you achieve what resonates with your values and beliefs? Is there a greater cause you are fulfilling?  Once you have those answers, close your eyes and visualize already achieving the goal. Enlist your five senses in your picture of achievement – what do you hear, smell, taste, see, and feel?
  3. Write it down. There is research that shows that for those who physically capture a goal by writing it down, they wind up achieving their goals over those who do not write it down. Writing combined with a visual reminder is a powerful duo. Whether taped to your computer monitor, a mirror, or a piece of paper folded up and placed in your wallet – you pick it.  Just remember to look at it regularly.
  4. Keep at it.  Check your progress and give yourself a pat on the back as you reach milestones. Make it a public celebration with those who know about your goals.
  5. Share your goals.  Friends, family and colleagues can keep you accountable for what you say you are going to do. They may also be the very people who can help you.  Just make sure to pick someone who will be supportive and encouraging.  Sometimes, others unconsciously sabotage us when we work towards improving areas in our lives.  You want to set yourself up for success.  If you don’t feel comfortable with someone in your circle, consider hiring a professional.  Coaches, consultants and therapists are there for YOU!
  6. Be appreciative.  Every evening think about what you have accomplished towards your goal and appreciate yourself for your work and dedication.
  7. Never, never, never give up.  We have Winston Churchill to thank for that wonderful saying. So many people quit just before the finish line. Sometimes when it is toughest, that is where the learning lesson is hiding or we are on the brink of self-discovery.
  8. Celebrate.  How often do we accomplish a goal and then move without pause on to the next goal? Take time to celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem to you.
  9. Thank your supporters.  Just like the Oscars, be sure to roll out your short list of those you want to thank who helped and supported you.
  10. Key learning lessons.  Reflect back on what lessons you learned along the way to reaching your goal. What strengths did you use and how can you use them for future projects?  Goals can be tedious when you are working on them, but they can also be the light that leads the way to action and insight.

So, set your BIG goals, and go for it!  

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Love Your Career All Over Again?

One of my favorite HGTV shows is “Love It or List It”.  The two conceptual questions are:

  1. What changes could be made to your home by a professional designer, based upon your pre-determined budget, would cause you to “love” your current home and stay?
  2. What home could a realtor show you that would meet your requirements and be in your price range that would cause you to “list” your current home and buy the new house?

Case in Point:  These two concepts made me think about so many of my clients who are struggling with “loving or listing” their current job.  If a job opportunity does not arise quickly after previewing and interviewing, what can one do to “love” the current job?   

Here are 6 steps you can take to turn your current job into one you want to keep…

  1. Create a blueprint.  Take time to list out on paper what changes would make you happier at work – use your plan to take action steps to propel you forward.  Focusing on what you want is an energy booster and often results in exactly what you asked for.
  2. Deconstruct existing thinking.  What current thoughts and feelings about your work are contributing to bad feelings about your job and leading you to inaction?  What new thought could you use to replace the old thought that would lead you to a different way of feeling about your job which would result in positive action?  Only you can control your thoughts.
  3. Sharpen your saw.  Stephen Covey taught this principle.  Perfect your craft, be excellent at what you do currently at work and be proud.  It could lead to recognition or a promotion.
  4. Build new infrastructure.  Expand your relationships at work.  Take at least one person to lunch a week – preferably off campus.  Volunteer for company events and special community projects.  You will be surprised at the different perspectives there are on life at work and you may make some life-long friends and build your network.
  5. Keep hammering. Even when it seems like the job dissatisfaction will never end; make the decision to invest more of yourself than you anticipated so you can check off the items on your “job happiness” list as done.
  6. Home sweet home.  Take time to think about all the wonderful things about your job.  We often focus on the 3% of what we don’t like about our jobs. What about the 97% that is working for us?

Moral of the story: See if you can fall in love with your job all over again before you “list it.”

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Do You Have a Strategic Career Plan?

Strategic career planning often conjures up groans when I talk with my clients.  They think it is complex, a pain to do, and not necessary since things change so quickly.  So often in our careers, we just wind up in a job that carries us forward year after year.  We don’t often pause to think about creating a 5-10 year career strategy.  From time to time, it is critical though, to take stock of your career and assess where you want to be in the future.   A career strategy will get you from where you are today to where you want to be in several years.  

To start your career planning, establish 5 year and 10 year time frames.  Ready to get started?  Below are eight key questions to ask yourself.  I recommend writing down your answers so that you get a clearer picture and keep it on hand so you can review it every six months to monitor progress.  

  1. What’s Your Career VISION?  This is a statement of what you will be doing in five and then ten years from now?  It should paint a picture of the impact that you will make through your work.  Your vision statement should inspire you.
  2. What’s your DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?  Everyone’s definition is different.  Is it wealth, power, contentment, fulfillment?
  3. What are your VALUES?  These are the guideposts for your life that you want honored at work.  Things like integrity, respect, security, family, independence.  Everyone has their non-negotiable values list.
  4. What are your STRENGTHS?  Think about what you do at work that makes you lose track of time.  That’s a sign that you are using a strength which is the combination of talent, knowledge and skills.  You will want to do more of this.
  5. What would be your ideal LIFESTYLE?  Are you able to do all the things you would like to do in your life?  Maybe it is having a family, going on exotic vacations, owning a home, exercising daily.
  6. What is your COMPENSATION progression?  Put an actual number down for both the 5 and 10 year plan.  Think BIG!
  7. What is your WORK/LIFE BALANCE?  Do you care if it feast or famine, would you prefer a flexible work arrangement, is it 9-5?
  8. What’s your LEGACY?  At the end of your life what do you want to be known for – it’s your personal Brand.  How will you make a difference?

Get inspired by the great quote by Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”   So, take a stab at your strategic career plan and see where it takes you.

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

5 Secrets to Manage Change at Work

change red grunge seal isolated on whiteOne of the toughest things about change in the workplace is that there is a lot of resistance to it.  Resistance is all about not truly understanding why the change has come about.  It’s not unusual to hear employees ask:  “Why can’t we stay in the status quo?”

It’s helpful when leaders take the time to explain to employees the “why” of change and to paint the picture of how the change is going to increase revenue, improve employee satisfaction, or make things run more smoothly.  

If you are one of those employees who is resisting the change or a manager responsible for making change happen…below are five tips to help yourself or others move along the spectrum of acceptance.

1.  Ask for understanding.  Talk with a manager or supervisor to understand the bigger picture.  Discuss how the change is going to affect your job.  You may find that it does not which may be a relief.  If it does, then ask some probing questions:

  • How specifically will the processes or procedures you use now be changed?
  • What is the time frame for the “new” ways to take effect?
  • What training will be required of you?

Having this knowledge will help alleviate concerns.  Be proactive, don’t listen to the gossip going around the company of how “bad” this is going to be.  Straight answers from your manager or supervisor are the best.

2.  Focus on what you are gaining, not what you are losing.  In times of change, everyone focuses on what they are losing.  Often, change can be a welcome job enhancer by moving out of a comfort zone and into a stretch zone. It could also use talent that plays to your strengths.  New work relationships may result if there is restructuring going on.  So, re-frame a perceived loss by asking what am I gaining?

3.  Be patient with yourself. Learning anything new takes time.  You may find yourself working crazy hours because there is a steep learning curve.  But, in six weeks time – it will become the new normal.  Cut yourself some slack.

4.  Be an advocate for the change.  Those around you will be struggling with resistance.  Misery loves company.  Stay out of the complaining and whining that others do.  Help colleagues to understand the big picture.  Step out and be a leader yourself in helping make the change happen.

5.  Take care of yourself.  Change is stressful and it takes a toll on the body.  This is the time to hit the gym, take a walk, meditate, reflect, eat healthy.  Taking care of the body, helps the brain to also chill out.

The old saying goes, change is inevitable, growth is optional.  So true.  Change can be viewed as an opportunity to reach a higher potential. Growth always includes some kind of change and learning.  So, take the time to understand, focus on the gain, be patient, be an advocate and take care of self.  Change is always around the corner — go with the flow!

If you need help with navigating change, take advantage of my 6 part Thriving in the Midst of Change…Career and Life audio series on change which contains over 25 tips on how you can master change in both your career and life.  Each audio is 7-10 minutes long and comes in an MP3 format which is downloadable and accessible on any mobile device.  It’s easy, click here for instant access to Thriving in the Midst of Change…Career and Life!

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Career Skills Wanted

Nonprofits are the stomping ground for workers who want to make a difference and be a part of a larger effort for the greater good. Working as a team, volunteers bring diverse skills, expertise and passion as they work towards a common vision.

In a nonprofit environment, your unique career skills are gold.  And, while they are not handing out any gold to line your pockets, know that the sense of accomplishment and appreciation can far outweigh the paycheck.  

There are many reasons to volunteer your time and talent.  The times during a career when volunteering is an opportunity are:

  • When you are out of a job.  You are at loose ends and miss the daily structure you had before. Sometimes it takes months to find another job. Volunteering could be your key to sanity and in filling a work gap on your resume.
  • When you are headed for retirement.  You now want to do something meaningful — consider an organization that tugs at your heart strings. A local charity could provide full time employment and keep you very busy.
  • When you are still at work.   You feel you want to be a part of a bigger effort. Squeeze in a few hours a month and feel the joy that comes from making a difference, even on a smaller scale.  This is also a network booster – you meet many more people who may be instrumental in helping you land a different job in the future.
  • When it’s a company effort.  Take a stand and lead your company to rally around a local charity by donating to it or taking a company day and selecting a much needed community project. Ideas include everyone cleaning up a local park, reading to nursing home residents, painting a playground, planting flowers, etc.  Many companies are doing this; and they often receive favorable press which is great free advertising.  In addition, you meet new people in your company – you have expanded yourself beyond your group or division silo.

You would be surprised at what services nonprofits might need; your skills may be just what they’re looking for.  The return on your investment is priceless.  As Nike says, “Just do it.”

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Interview Conversation Starter ( Question )

dreamstime_s_4990278Interviewers love to start the conversation with “tell me a little bit about yourself.” I count it as the # 1 interview question.  It can be intimidating to talk about yourself immediately!

It is also a great opportunity for you to begin strong and shine. Here’s a few tips on how to respond to this seemingly small talk inquiry.

 

Be prepared.  Write out your response in advance so it does not seem awkward when you start talking.  Just the simple act of writing out your answer will help you remember what you want to say, and you won’t fumble at the beginning of the interview.  

Strengths and skills.  Highlight 4-5 strengths and skills that would be valuable to the company in under two minutes.  This means including the strengths and skills you see in the actual job description.  Strengths like strategic thinking, adaptability, analytical, communication are strengths that companies often are looking for.  Your skills can be specific to the job, e.g. medical coding, excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, specific technology applications.  

Don’t repeat resume.  Remember, they have your resume in front of them.  So, there is no need to think in bullet points through your resume.  There will be a time during the interview when you will be able to go into more detail about your work experience, explain any gaps, discuss military service, etc.

Focus.  Focus on your professional experience and minimize your personal information.  This sets off the interview on a professional level.  The interviewer may ask some personal questions later in the interview, but don’t offer the personal information during this opening conversation.

Ask what else.  After you have done your summary, ask what else you could tell that would be helpful.  Let them take the lead at this point in asking questions and guiding the interview process.  There can be an awkward silence – just keep quiet and smile.  You have volleyed the ball into their court.

Simple, simple, simple. Don’t overdo your response. You can lose your audience if you talk too much.  If you start to see their eyes glaze over, you know you are talking too much.

Practice, practice, practice!  Will you be nervous at your interview?  Of course, you will be.  Butterflies in your stomach are perfectly normal.  In fact, I firmly believe that if you aren’t nervous, it means you don’t really care.  You can practice in front of a mirror to get comfortable with the words.  Even better, find someone who can role play this with you and ask for feedback. Small tweaks as you practice can take your response from good to great.

Remember, most interviewers want you to succeed.  A firm handshake and looking them straight in the eye sets you up for success.  Then, be prepared to answer…”tell me a little about yourself.”  Good luck with your interview.

I offer my clients a 90 minute mock interview and critique session which covers the Top 20 interview questions.  If you are in need of this valuable interview preparation, please contact me at 706.550.4161.

To Your Career Success,

Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Create Your Bucket List Now Before It’s Too Late

In 2007, the movie “The Bucket List” was released starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It is about two men who, terminally ill with cancer, escape from the hospital with their wish list so they can fulfill the list before they die. The title is derived from the term “kicks the bucket” a phrase that dates back to at least 1785. The lesson of the movie is that it’s never too late to live your dreams and desires.

We all have unfulfilled dreams and desires. Why wait till tragedy strikes? Psychologists will tell you that creating a bucket list is actually very good for your mental health!

Even for very successful people, resentment, anger and/or regret may set in when they begin a life review of what their heart really wanted to do. It could be things like “going to Paris,” “kayaking down the Colorado River” or “learning to sail.”

Developing a bucket list is a great way to allay those negative feelings as well as put those wants and dreams onto a big “to do” list.  It’s also a visual way to “see” your dreams on paper and start making them a reality. For many people, just making their list is cathartic and can help to put their mind and their thoughts in a better place. Collaborating on a bucket list with your spouse or significant other can also be a great way to get to know each other better. Indeed, some of the things that you find out about each other might be quite surprising.

This week, create your own career and life bucket list. Even if you’re not close to retirement, I highly recommend setting yourself up for success by thinking long term. Think about your career, what you want to do after your career, and how your current professional life can help support that. Whether it’s through savings, a promotion or changing industries.  Perhaps there is an encore career you wish to pursue.

Creating Your Bucket List

Use this exercise as a visioning, creative process. While there are really no set rules when creating your list, below are some helpful tips. Remember the more specific you are, the more likely it is to happen.

  • Find a quiet place to think and reflect.
  • Take three slow deep breaths and ask yourself “Three years after working non-stop my entire life, I will…”
  • Sit and wait for inspiration to flow through you. It may take time, be patient with yourself.
  • Write down everything that comes to you. Just let your thoughts flow, think big and small. This is your list so do not hold back your desires or edit your thoughts at this point.You can use pen and paper or your tablet or smart phone.
  • You may want to take several days to complete this list as new, more exciting ideas may keep popping up.
  • Once you feel your list is complete, you may want to use a numerical system to denote how important an item is. For example, “seeing Paris” might be number five on the list while “learning to speak French” might be number one.
  • For greater clarity, break it down into years one, two and three.

Creating Your Action Plan

  • Ask yourself what steps need to be in place in order to make these dreams come true?
  • Capture your “activation steps” beside each bucket list item. This turns it into action vs. a static list.
  • Create a timeline for each item. Is it to be accomplished in a few days, months or longer?
  • Keep your list handy. Think of your list as a work in progress. You will always be adding to it over the years.
  • Share it with others. but only with people you trust will support you and your dreams. We all have naysayers in our lives. It’s important to keep them away from crushing your dreams. This also gives you more accountability once it’s public.
  • Finally, be sure to keep your list in a visible place so you can revisit it daily and stay focused on accomplishing what you want.

Have fun with this exercise! Remember, if you’re stuck getting started on any part of your career/life journey, you don’t have to go it alone.  Please contact me for a FREE Strategy Session.  It’s time to put LIFE into your dreams and desires!

To Your Career Success,
Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.