Tag Archives: interview tips

My top posts in 2014

A BIG thank you to all my readers.  Here are the posts you enjoyed most!

 CVs

Personal interests: 10 CV dos and don’ts:  There is always much conflicting advice from career experts on what to include on CVs. One of the areas  that has an opinion divide of Grand Canyon proportions,   is  whether  including your personal interests and hobbies on your resume can actually make a difference to the selection process.

The hard truth about soft skills: Five years ago it was normal to have a line at the top of a CV just stating a professional objective. What we are seeing now is a marked shift. Most companies are less interested, in the early stages of a hiring process at least, in what a candidate wants personally.

Personal Brand and Executive Presence 

How to rebuild a damaged reputation:   Reputation has been a topic covered by many thought leaders and philosophers from  Shakespeare, to Socrates and more recently Warren Buffet who says  ” It  takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think  about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Is there an executive presence hand book and if there is, what lessons can be learned?  It all sounds a bit like personal branding by another name to me.  Read on…

Workplace bullying

Accused on being a bully: Most organisations have guidelines for what constitutes bullying behaviour and ACAS certainly does. A critical self-analysis and audit is vital to check if firm management could have crossed the line into bullying. It is possibly best done with the support of a coach or other professional.  This can happen in organisations with a top-down, embedded bullying corporate culture. If the answer is no – go to the next step of analysis.

Mobbing is emotional abuse by stealth in an organisation or community”  Read how to deal with it.   

 As a “Titian blonde”,  I was surprised to learn that there is a growing move for redheads to become a  “protected minority” as a result of the increased incidence of bullying and discrimination. Read more…  

Career Transition

Repatriation  –   8 causes of  re-entry shock;  Increasingly there is a great deal of corporate support during the outward process to guarantee a seamless transition into an expat assignment.   But I know from any number of stories heard socially and professionally, that repatriation is quite often not supported as seriously as the outbound transfer and even neglected totally by many companies.

Frozen eggs don’t address the real issues:  I am all for family planning being openly discussed with both men and women equally.  I am all for career strategy. I can indeed see there could be some advantages in the egg freezing perk but I am also aware of the process being fraught with potential difficulties.

Communication

Over-communication  7 reasons to learn Mench  A recent article in the Harvard Business Review  suggested what happened to a senior woman in a meeting ” was like a snowball going down a hill and picking up stuff in its path”  and was a real barrier to being taken seriously  So what happens to people who over communicate and is this a gender issue?

Interview advice

6 ways to shine in a group interview: An increasing number of companies are now carrying out group interviews to reduce recruitment costs.  As an added benefit, this process also allows hiring managers to measure the performance of potential candidates simultaneously and to make behavioural and leadership assessments which they can rank.  Although this type of interview practise is carried out more frequently at junior levels,  I am starting to hear that this selection style  is being implemented for more senior roles.

Designer stubble and interviews:  For many years facial hair has almost considered a barrier to career progression for men. A 2003 University of Sao Paulo study showed 60% of personnel managers said they preferred clean-shaven men as a boss, compared to 15% who preferred a bearded boss. But is this changing with a younger generation coming through the ranks? The former CEO of Apple, the late Steve Jobs was well known for sporting signature, designer stubble.  Are these attitudes now out dated?

 What would you add?

 

Pitchcraft: The 3Ps – Prepare, Practise, Perform

A number of people claim responsibility for creating the term Pitchcraft so I can’t source it exactly. It’s a term I’ve used myself for many years, thinking I was being very creative, although not in the context of baseball, which I find incomprehensible. This is on par with its equally mystifying UK counterpart cricket  – but “bowlcraft” doesn’t have quite the same ring.

However, like any sport the aim is the same. To deliver a winning performance.

It is simply the art of delivering your message in the way that is most appropriate for the situation. This can range from a subtle message to a full on sales drive.  It should be something we can deliver smoothly and succinctly to meet every occasion. Clearly you are not going to produce the same pitch on a hot date as you would in a networking event, unless of course you didn’t want a second date, in which case it would be a sure-fire tactic.

You would be surprised how many people fail to prepare to pitch in their careers. By doing so as Benjamin Franklin said, in reality they are preparing to fail. Opportunities come and go, many times when they are least expected.  We know that if a lot of famous, successful people, many of whom are no longer with us,  are oft quoted on any subject, then there will be truisms involved.  And there are indeed lots of quotes on preparation and being prepared. But a high number of people are not prepared to pitch themselves, whether in a formal interview, in a meeting, with their clients, their boss or in a networking situation. Very often not only are they unprepared, they might even be reluctant to do so.

In the words of another late American President

The 3Ps of Pitchcraft are:

1. Prepare  

  • Have you carried out a review of personal and career goals –  are they aligned?
  • Do you know your strengths and development needs?
  •  When was the last time you did an audit of your CV and online profile?  Have you identified your hard and soft skills? Can you articulate your success stories?
  • Do you have an up to date, ready to send CV?

2. Practise

  • How fluent is your 30 second commercial?
  • How is your non-verbal communication?
  • What about responses to typical interview questions.  Do you have any prepared?  What about the old chestnut  “Tell me about yourself” It is a trick question!

3. Perform

  • How smooth is your delivery? Can you deliver your USP in any circumstances –  a cocktail party, networking event or other business occasion. Or do you make even yourself cringe it sounds so awkward
  • Have you ever recorded yourself either online or on your own answer machine? How do you sound?

And finally another truism on the subject