Archive for August 2013

The One Question That Ruins An Interview   Leave a comment

The One Question That Ruins An Interview

Most HR representatives and headhunters agree on one thing: that few candidates arrive at the interview prepared to answer the one question that is almost always asked, “What is your greatest weakness?”

Although the question is seldom phrased like that anymore, it doesn’t matter how they word it because the response has to be the same. The interviewer wants you to tell them your weakness, where you need to improve, where you’re not as strong in technical skills or management experience, or something.

Candidates get flustered with this question more than any other, and for no good reason.

I’ll Let You In On A Secret…

Most of the time, the person asking that question doesn’t even want to know the answer. They ask the question because they want to see how you answer it.

After listening to responses from thousands of candidates, and discussing the issue with dozens of clients, I’m convinced there is only one way to answer the question, and that is by being…

Honest

Honesty is a much abused virtue. Really, the only time you see or hear of someone being honest is when they’re apologizing for already being caught. A politician with his pants down or his hands in the till. A comment that “slipped” out and offended any number of ethnic groups or religions. Or, a more general act of civil disobedience. The one thing in common is that the “honesty” part only surfaces after the guilty party is exposed. People are forgiving souls though, and if the apology is well-written and presented sincerely, all ends well.

This Is Not So In An Interview

You don’t get that second chance in an interview. You don’t get to rally the troops, have someone write a speech, and then proffer an apology. In an interview, you’re stuck with what slipped out of your mouth, so you better be prepared.

This is not difficult. You should know what your weakness is. People have probably been telling you all of your life—parents, spouse, co-workers—and by now it should have sunk in. If you don’t know it, think hard about the term “self-awareness.”

In any case, it doesn’t matter because that weakness you’re about to blurt out is nothing the interviewers haven’t heard before. In fact, if you didn’t know this, here’s another secret for you—everyone has a weakness. Even Superman can be hurt by kryptonite.

The reason you’re being interviewed is because the company thinks you might be able to help them solve their problems. They brought you in because of your strengths and accomplishments—accomplishments that you achieved even with your weaknesses. If you show them you can solve their problems, you’ll stand a good chance of getting the offer. Being honest with this response will go a long way toward getting the offer because they’ll know that, if you can be honest about your weaknesses, they can probably trust your other responses.

Don’t Try To Be Clever

The worst possible response would be to try and pass off a weakness as a strength. I’ve seen people recommend doing this, and it’s garbage advice. If the best answer you can come up with is that you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard, you have far bigger problems than you realize.

So, how do I answer the question? I’m not going to tell you how to answer the question. No one but you can do that. But I’ll show you an example of a normal response that’s a good one:

Let’s assume you’re a design engineer.

“I have a tendency to rush things. In the past that resulted in a few quality problems with the finished product. The second boss I had worked with me on that, and I’ve had to resort to desperate measures to slow myself down. If you walk into my office, you’ll see sticky notes all over my computer and desk, with notes that read, ‘SLOW DOWN’ or ‘Double check everything!’

“I also set alarms on my phone that pop up twice a day reminding me of the same things. When I see these reminders, it hits home. The good thing is, the process works. The last two products we put out have been finished on time, on budget, and, so far, with no field problems or quality issues. It’s actually made me a much better engineer, but, I still need those reminders.”

This kind of weakness people can relate to because it really is a weakness. The difference is you’ve shown that you learned how to deal with it.

Preparation

You should practice your response so you’re comfortable discussing it, but don’t make it sound like a rehearsed speech. Also, be prepared for the interviewer to probe deeper. Some interviewers like to dig a little to see if there’s any fluctuation in your answer or if you try to back off when pressed.

Bottom Line

Always be honest, even if you think it might hurt your chance for an offer, although it probably won’t. To summarize, here’s what to do when you’re asked the question.

  • State your weakness.
  • Let the interviewer know you’re aware of it.
  • Show them you’ve figured out how to deal with it.
  • Show them that solution worked.

15 THINGS YOU NEED TO GIVE UP IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL!   Leave a comment

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Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
 
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
2. Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
 
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
 
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
 
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
 
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, many things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy; no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
 
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
 
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
 
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell
 
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
 
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
 
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
 
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self-less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
 
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

4 Essentials For Reaching Out To Strangers On LinkedIn   Leave a comment

4 Essentials For Reaching Out To Strangers On LinkedIn

 

Last week, I received an info interview request from a total stranger as a direct message on LinkedIn. And despite my very busy schedule, I decided to take his call. Over the weekend, I asked myself, “Why did I agree?”

Let’s take his e-mail apart and put it into four essential elements so you can use them in your own LinkedIn networking communications.

First, here’s the e-mail I got over LinkedIn from J.:

Hi Joshua,

 

I noticed we are both connected to M. F. – how do you know M.? I first met her at J.P., and she actually photographed my wedding. Small world

 

I wanted to touch base with you because I saw an open position at J.R. I thought would be a great fit for me. I’m located in Portland now, and do social media strategy for a digital marketing agency here in town.

 

It’s a fun role, but you know how agencies are – fingers in a lot of different businesses, but no ability to truly own a marketing program. It looks like I would be able to do that with the Marketing Communications Manager role that is posted.

 

Would you mind if I called you sometime this week to hear about your experience at J.R. and your perspective on the marketing organization there? I’d really appreciate it.

1. Lead with Something In Common

My interviewee, J., began his e-mail by pointing out our mutual friend M.F., and although I know M.F. from my sister’s college days, what really got my attention was M.F. was the photographer at her wedding.

Now, with LinkedIn, there is a danger the first degree connection isn’t really a close friend. I went through an Open Networking phase and about 100 people in my LinkedIn network are complete strangers to me.

So don’t assume just because they’re connected, they know each other.

J. took a calculated risk. However, he mitigates that risk by further sharing a personal tid-bit…he’s married. And as another recently married guy, I can very much relate to his situation. (i.e. He has my sympathy.)

 

2. Get to the Point – Fast

J. wastes no time for BS or apologies. He’s writing to me because he saw an open position at a company I have a relationship with and thinks he’d be a fit.

Notice he says, “I saw an open position.” He doesn’t assume I know anything about this position. In fact, it was news to me. And so I can infer he’s not assuming I’m any kind of decision maker. I know this is going to be a purely informational interview.

Furthermore, he concludes the e-mail by re-affirming that he’s just looking to hear about my experience with J.R., the company and my perspective on their marketing organization.

My guard goes down because I know he’s not going to put me on the spot or ask me for more than just my opinion.

3. What Makes Him Qualified?

Without bragging, J. makes it clear that he’s a serious candidate, not one of those job fisherman.

He tells me he already works at an agency. And that even though he enjoys the agency, he’s looking for more. He wants to “truly own a marketing program.”

It might occur to me, after all, that if he already has a job, why is he looking to make a change? That concern is assuaged.

4. What Do You Want From Me?

He concludes his e-mail with, “Would you mind if I called you sometime this week…” meaning, I won’t have to do anything except wait for a phone call and talk to him. Sounds easy.

I would have even mentioned the exact amount of time such a conversation would have taken, “Would you mind if I called you this week for just 10 or 15 minutes?”

Other Observations

You may have also noticed…

  • The e-mail was VERY short. It took me less than 30 seconds to read it.
  • He named the position he was after by name, he did his research and I know he won’t waste my time
  • He is sensitive to and grateful for my time, “I would really appreciate it…”

The next time you are reaching out to someone new over LinkedIn; consider bringing in one or more of these elements to your message. I’m sure it will make a big difference in your response rate.

 

5 Quick Tips For Being A More Confident Networker   Leave a comment

5 Quick Tips For Being A More Confident Networker

 

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Networking with strangers can be a terrifying experience for many people,  especially when it’s in-person. What do you say? What if you’re awkward? What if  you don’t make a good first impression?

Don’t worry – prepare! Check out these quick  tips for being a more confident networker from Adam LoDolce, founder  of SexyConfidence.com and GoTalkToHer.com:

1. Know How To Break The Ice

Struggling for ice breakers? Instead of trying to memorize one-liners, keep  things simple.

“A simple ‘Hello, my name is ___’ is more than sufficient if said with a  smile,” said LoDolce. “Or, my favorite, ‘So, what brings you here?’”

2. Get Warmed up

Don’t start batting without a few practice swings! Make sure you talk to a  few people before you hit up your main target – it will ease your nerves and  make you feel more comfortable.

“The moment you walk into the room, just start chatting it up with someone to  warm up a bit,” LoDolce suggested. “Before you know it, you’ll feel comfortable  chatting up the big time CEO across the room.”

3. Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal? In order to give  off a positive impression, LoDolce suggests doing the following:

  • Don’t cross your arms
  • Keep a strong smile all night long
  • Hold strong eye contact

Feel weird keeping eye contact? Try just staring at the bridge of the other  person’s nose instead.

4. Ask Great Questions

“If you are uncomfortable doing the talking, then ask interesting and thought  provoking questions,” LoDolce suggested.

Here’s an example: “Oh, you’re an architect? What’s it like building  something that you know will be around for hundreds of years?”

5. Have Fun

Whenever you attend a networking event, above all else, focus on having a  good time. People will be attracted to your good attitude.

“If you’re enjoying yourself, people will enjoy your company,” said  LoDolce.

And, even if all fails, at least you can say you had a great night!

 

Posted August 15, 2013 by mikaljackson in Uncategorized

LEARN HOW TO BE A VALUE-ADD JOB CANDIDATE! THIS THURSDAY!   Leave a comment

Subject: NEED TO BE BETTER AT COMPETING FOR JOBS? Attend Free On-Line Coaching!


added value

EMPLOYERS WANT CANDIDATES
WHO ADD VALUE!
Hello Friends: webinars
You are competing in the toughest job market we have ever seen! Employers are in the drivers seat, with plenty of talent to choose from.  Most candidates have the same education as you do, the same experience as you do, and have the same skills as you…..so how can you differentiate yourself from the herd of others who want the same job you want?
Join me this Thursday either at 1:00pm EST or 7:00pm EST, and let me coach you on how to show that you are a value add candidate.  We will discuss how your resume needs to reflect how you add value and how to interview in a way that continually points out your value in relationship to other candidates!
 
If you are new to our free weekly on-line coaching sessions, I promise you that you will receive information that will change how you are marketing yourself and at the same time be motivated to get out there and WIN!
 
I look forward to coaching you this Thursday, August 15th.  Sign Up Below.
 
Regards,
 
Mikal
V. Mikal Jackson, Founder and Managing Director
on your mobile device:  http://jacksoncareerlifecoaching.mobi
800-984-8810
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The VALUE ADDED Job Candidate! 12 Competencies To Make Yourself Irresistible To ANY Company!
value added
 
Competencies are abilities, skills, traits, and behaviors that contribute to superior performance in a job!  A company looks for these key things in the ideal candidate.  As a job seeker you need to be able to identify which ones are important to the company you are interviewing with and know how to point to these strengths in yourself!  
In this new webinar designed to get you started in the right direction in 2013 Mikal Jackson will coach you on how to identify these needs in each company you interview with and how to point them out in your unique skills and abilities.
The person who wins in this competitive job market has these skills fine tuned and ready to be used!  Spend this time with Mikal and sharpen your skills for the job search ahead!
 
Register for a session now by clicking a date below:
 
Thu, Aug 15, 2013 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
 
Thu, Aug 15, 2013 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
 
 
Once registered you will receive an email confirming your registration with information you need to join the Webinar.
 
System Requirements PC-based attendees Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
 
Mac®-based attendees Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
 
Mobile attendees Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet 
 
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Posted August 14, 2013 by mikaljackson in Uncategorized

LIES WE TELL OURSELVES ABOUT JOB INTERVIEWS!   Leave a comment

How many hours did you spend researching that last car or flat panel tv you bought? How many hours did you spend practicing for your job interviews? We all know that many jobs and perhaps careers are won or lost during the interview process. You have a Great resume, Great cover letter and Great attire. Win win win. Not so fast. If you did not prepare for the interview this will put you at a competitive disadvantage. So why not prepare? It really is pretty easy. Just requires some practice and time.(Editor’s Note) Lies We Tell Ourselves About Job Interviews Guest Contributor: Michael Neece, CEO, InterviewMastery.com I present frequently to groups large (200+) and small on job interview skills, and I am constantly amazed at the harmful lies people tell themselves about job interviews.

Few will argue about the importance of having a great resume; after all, it is the resume that generates job interviews. But nearly all job seekers minimize the importance of their own job interview skills. Minimizing the importance of interview skills reduces the probability of getting the job offer because it is only through an exceptional job interview performance that you’ll get hired. 17-to-one is the ratio of job interviews to job offers during a recession. During a recession, the average applicant will interview for 17 different opportunities before he/she gets one job offer. When job openings are plentiful and candidates are in high demand, the ratio drops to 6-to-1, meaning it takes only 6 interviews to get an offer during the good times. The lesson here is that without interview skills, you’ll waste 6 to 17 job opportunities before you get good enough at interviews to get an offer. (Article Continued Below)
Below are six lies (assumptions) we tell ourselves about job interviews: “I’ll do great on my job interviews because…”
1. I’m Great at My Job. The skills required to get the job are fundamentally different from the skills required to do a job. If you have ever looked for a job you know this all too well. 2. I’m a Good Communicator Being a good communicator is a good start, but most of our business communicating is one-on-one or in a setting where you are talking about work. During the job interview, you are often speaking with multiple interviewers and responding to thought-provoking questions about you and your talents. Convincing an interviewer of your abilities is a unique situation in the world of business communications. 3. I’ve Interviewed Hundreds of People Being an interviewer is different from being interviewed. Just ask anyone who has been interviewed recently. I consult internationally to organizations on interviewer skills. I also present to thousands each year on job interviewing for the job seeker. While the interviewer and the interviewee are in the same room, each is playing a different role that requires different skills to be successful. It’s a bit like dancing. One person leads while the other follows. The skills to lead are very different from the talents needed to follow. When each partner does his/her part, they dance beautifully. When the job applicant has the skills, he/she facilitates a conversation and usually gets the offer. 4. I’ve Had Many Practice Interviews Learning by trial and error can teach you a few things about effective interviewing, but it wastes a lot of great job opportunities. Besides, practicing the same unproductive job interview ritual will only make you comfortable with ineffective habits that can really hurt your career. 5. Interviewers Have Interviewing Skills Having traveled internationally to train interviewers, I can state with certainty that over 95% of interviewers are unskilled and have had no training on effective interviewing. That is exactly why interviewers still ask totally irrelevant and bogus questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” When an interviewers asks you one of these questions, you know they are completely unskilled at interviewing. 6. The Most Qualified, Get Hired Most of the Time Eleven years as a recruiter taught me one truth about the job market: the most qualified person never gets hired. The reason is that who is the most qualified is a matter of interviewer opinions, assumptions, and personal bias. Additionally, a job description is actually a collection of guesses as to what the prerequisites are for a specific job. A job description is a way for the hiring manager to say, “I want to hire someone who has already done, many times, what I want him or her to do for me.”
To secure a great job, you can either continue lying to yourself and go through 17 interviews before you get an offer, or you can invest the energy to learn successful job interviewing and significantly increase your odds of getting a great job sooner.
Whether you try Interview Mastery or another job interview program is irrelevant. What really matters, is that you improve your interview skills. Common advice is everywhere on the Internet, but this common wisdom will only get you common results.
If you don’t want to invest any money in yourself, at least make a list of the interview questions you expect and those that you fear. Then ask a former colleague to mock interview you using the questions you listed. Record the mock interview using audio or video. You may be surprised at how you actually sound.Remember, the job interview is the most important moment in your job search and in your career.
While your resume may get you to the interview, it is your job interview skills that will secure the job offer. Preparation and practice make all the difference in your performance because the most qualified person rarely gets the job. It’s the person who interviews the best who wins the job offer.
Good luck on your next interview. You’re going to be awesome!

HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH TO EMPLOYERS TODAY?   Leave a comment

Find Out How Much You’re Worth To Employers

Do you know how much you’re worth to employers? Or, how do you know how much you should expect in a job offer?

This is especially difficult for candidates to assess when one is entering a new field, making a career change, moving to a new location, or entering the workforce as a recent graduate. It’s also a question you should have an answer to before accepting a job offer.

In order to negotiate a competitive salary, you need to know what the industry standard is for that job and that location.

For instance, you can easily see a $20K or more salary difference for the same position simply by being based in a metropolitan city versus a small town, reflecting the associated cost of living.

Or if you have unique talent or skills valued by an employer, you may also have better leverage in negotiating a more competitive salary.

Although today’s market condition means that many candidates are more concerned about securing a job versus being offered competitive pay, do not sell yourself short. At minimum, research what you are worth so that you are prepared to negotiate with the employer for a salary that meets the industry standard when an offer is presented.

So, you may ask, “Where do I begin to look for or research salary information?” Here are several reliable ways to obtain salary information. Resort to more than one of these resources for a comprehensive view of what is reasonable and fair.

1. Your Own Network Of Contacts

Do you know someone in the particular field of practice? While most people do not share personal salary details, you may inform the person that you are seeking advice on salary to help with negotiation. Present your contact with a salary range and ask for their opinion as to whether they view it as low, reasonable, high or what they think would be fair.

2. Your Industry’s Professional Organizations And Publications

Many professional organizations and industry publications conduct annual surveys and publish results, breaking down fine details. For instance, public relation professionals may rely on PR Week’s annual Salary Survey results. It also offers information related to job satisfaction for professionals at various levels in the industry.

3. Research At Salary Websites

There are dozens of salary websites you can resort to in order to find details on what others are being paid for similar positions in particular fields, industries and locations. Each site varies in their method of salary calculation. However, by reviewing several of these sites, you will have a general understanding of what a competitive salary is for the position you seek. In alphabetical order, some of the salary websites include:

CareerBliss

Find salary information and reviews on positions at different companies and organizations from this site. Employees directly contribute to the information offered.

Glassdoor

This site’s data is based on information entered directly by employees at the companies included. In addition to salary information, you can obtain perspective on company and organization cultures.

Indeed.com

This site offers salary information and you can also see trends for particular industries in terms of employment growth.

PayScale

This site is relied on by candidates and employers, alike. The online compensation database provides current pay records collected from employees and employers. A salary calculator is also offered. Certain services and access require a nominal fee.

Salary.com

Provides real-time statistics on thousands of positions by location. You can price three jobs for free and other services and access require a nominal fee.

The Vault

In addition to finding particular positions within an organization and the salary scale for those positions, you can review company message boards for insight to how the interview process is conducted and take a peek at other insiders’ perspectives. There is a nominal fee to access certain information.

WetFeet

This site offers information on compensation for particular careers and insight into companies and desired talent and skills for positions.

At the moment, the job market is not in its best state. However, you still have the option to negotiate for an offer that meets industry standards. If you don’t bother asking, you will never know and may end up falling short.

Also keep in mind while salary is important, you should also factor in additional employee benefits that may make the overall offer package a greater value, including benefits, bonuses, 401K matches, and many other considerations