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Beyond the Job Interview

Podcast with Job Search and Career Transition coach, Dr. Beth Ross

 
Beth Ross, Executive Coach Beth Ross

"The purpose of any interview is not to get a job - it's to get the next meeting. You are on stage. It's a performance! And, you must be prepared." - Beth Ross

According to Beth Ross, there are still "good jobs out there for talented professionals. Your strategy should be to become an insider within the organization you're interviewing with." In our exclusive Career Transitions podcast with Dr. Ross, our focus is on interview training; one of the most frequent requests for her services.

Beth is a certified Career and Executive Coach, writer, speaker and resource for the media. Her background includes a distinguished career as an Executive Search Professional, maintaining a bi-coastal practice, and executing selected executive searches...

Beth Ross Interview Transcript

Peter: Welcome to a special careers transition edition of Total Picture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting.

Joining us today in New York is Beth Ross, a certified career and executive coach. Her background includes a distinguished career as an executive search professional maintaining a bicoastal practice and executing select executive searches.

Beth's coaching practice is global in scope. Her sessions with clients in the greater New York area are in person, while working with individuals in other areas and time zones by telephone. The protocol includes all areas of the job search and career transition process with particular emphasis on interview training.

Be sure to visit Beth's feature page in the careers transitions channel of Total Picture Radio. That's TotalPicture.com for resource links and show notes. Beth's website is BethRoss.com.

Beth, welcome back to Total Picture Radio.

Beth: Thank you.

Peter: We've done an awful lot of talking here on Total Picture Radio about how you go about preparing for a job interview, and I would really love to get your input on this because as we both know, the job market has substantially changed over the last couple of years. It's become much more competitive again and you really have to go in with an understanding of how to approach an interview if you're going to be successful.

Can you tell us how you go about approaching and working with your clients in developing those kinds of strategies that helps them (A) get in the door and get past that first interview with the gatekeeper.

Beth: Yeah, you know since we first talked – it hasn't been that long – I think the job market has changed dramatically. More people come to me for interview training than anything else. And that means it's a very emotionally charged subject. It's like oh my gosh, if I get an interview, then what do I do? Everything that happens in that interview is really, really, really important. So what do you do to prepare?

The first thing you do is get prepared. Information is power; you've got to know everything there is to know about the company, and that's pretty easy with the Internet. But more importantly, know everything you can about the person who is going to be interviewing you.

These first interviews can be anything; it can be, heaven forbid, a telephone interview which has its upsides and its downsides. It can be an HRR person that you have to get past. You have to figure out the purpose of this first interview is never to get a job; it's to get the next meeting – and whoever is interviewing you, you have to get to the next meeting – because even if it turns out to be the hiring authority, him or herself, it still means you're going to need to come back and talk to others.

Peter: In your experience currently, how many interviews do people normally have to go through before they even get close to getting a job offer?

Beth: It seems as if that number is increasing. That's why preparation for the interview is so important; the questions that you as a candidate ask. You've got to remember that some time in that experience, having wooed the person in front of you, knowing that they're liking you and that things are really looking good, you've got to find out where they are in the interview process, how many candidates they've already interviewed, or how many more they expect to interview, when do they expect to make a decision, and then the clincher is, being able to look across the table at whoever this person is or persons (sometimes it's a multiple interview) and say "how do I stack up with the competition."

Peter: So that's a question that you often ask in an interview is you want to know how you stack up, how far they are in the interview process and you're hoping that you are probably the last interview, right?

Beth: That would be very, very, very good if it turns out that way, and sometimes it doesn't. If you're the very first one, you know you've got your work cut out for you; you're going to have to keep a lot of contact going through the process.

Now having said that about multiple interviews, it can turn around and be totally different. If your qualifications look just right and there is really synergy with that other… especially with this first person, whoever it is.

Look, everybody ultimately gets a job because somebody likes them. You wouldn't be sitting in the room in the interview unless you've got the requisite qualifications.

Peter: One thing that we had talked about is the fact that the traditional job is dead. Can you elaborate on that and explain what you mean by that.

Beth: It is dead in the sense … think about it, it was fairly recently when people thought okay, I'm going to go to college, I'm going to get out, I'm going to have a degree, and then I will line up with other people, take an entry level position and grow for 30 years until I retire. Forget it.

Whatever job you have today, at this moment, or whatever one you're about to get, I guarantee it won't be the last one. You've got to distinguish between jobs and careers in today's marketplace.

Peter: What are some of the things you can do to help create a career path for yourself because as we both know the career – and as you just said – the career and the job are two very separate things and you really… people are overwhelmed today with the amount of responsibility that they have in their jobs and trying to do some sort of balance with their home life and their work life but they really still have to figure out a way to carve out time for promoting themselves and their career and sort of keeping that on track.

What are some of the strategies you give your clients to help them do that?

Beth: The first thing we really talk about is creating your own entity, your own brand, if you will.

A few years back, one of the big magazines had a big campaign about you incorporated. Hey, that's a great idea because you're out there really alone. The day of the corporation's or a company's loyalty to the individual has long gone. They can't promise it because they don't know what's going to happen with them. We don't know what's going to happen with the economy. So what does a person do to get their career into a manageable process?

Sometimes what you do is to take a job that I refer to as a bridge job, something to tide you over until you get onto the career path you think you want. Right now, the very best thing that you can do is to have multiple … let's call them multiple profit centers within yourself. You may be on a career path … think of the recent people who have been on the career path in banking; I believe they're having to think how will these skills and this experience translate into something else? There are endless ways you could go – other kind of careers, other kinds of transitions. I work with a lot of people who are trying to figure out whether they can actually transition into doing their own thing, being a sole proprietor or an entity into and of themselves, and this includes everything from purchasing a franchise if they're able to. And aaahhh… the franchise people, they'll really let you do this in a number of ways right now; so don't think you have to have tons and tons of money to do this, what you have to have is the personality, the management skills, the drive, the energy, the sense of entrepreneurship that is really going to make this fly.

Peter: I really like this idea of bridge job because I think a lot of people hold out and hold out and hold out for that dream job that never really comes along and let's face it, it's a lot better to be employed than to be unemployed. At least you're bringing in a paycheck and while you're doing that, you can continue to network, you can continue to expand your contacts and try to position yourself for that position that you really want but in the meantime, you're not so stressed out and financially disabled that you can't do anything.

Beth: The dream job may or may not actually exist. The dream job is in the eye of the beholder at that moment. It may be just a wonderful, wonderful dream realization to have a paycheck coming in the door. That gives you a whole different perspective about what you're doing.

You've got to remember … I can't stress enough … becoming multifaceted, even when you're working on a career path that you think this is it, I'm enjoying it, I'm going to grow it, I see all kinds of things that are going to happen – try to learn something else. Anything that you have as a backup could sort of catapult into what you do for a big period of your life.

Another thing here too – we're living longer, you're going to have more than one career in all likelihood.

Peter: I want people to understand who are listening to this interview that you work mainly with senior level people. These are people who are executive level, who are coming to you for advice on how to present themselves in an interview. So this isn't entry level stuff; this is senior level people who have probably, or maybe, have not had to interview in five years. When they come back into this job market that exists today, which is very different than it was five years ago, or even three years ago, there is a very different interview style that you have to adapt.

Beth: Very, very, very true. They're scared. I think I told you the story about the executive that I was working with who came to me, he was going to be interviewing within his own organization for a big step forward. These are his peers he was going to be interviewing with. I said "what's your biggest fear?" He said "That I will open my mouth and nothing will come out." Now this is a guy who has been interviewing people himself for years and years and years.

And yes, it is very true that I work primarily with executives; but, recently I was called by a mother of a 17 year old who is applying for one of the most prestigious scholarships in this country. Part of the scholarship process, in addition to grades – I mean this 17 year old has already run a business, all kinds of stuff – suddenly, I have in front of me a 17 year old who is after this scholarship and he needs incredible interview skills because the interviewing part will be the final deciding part of it. Everything else is on the table. They know all about this kid; he couldn't be more brilliant, they just don't come like this. It was very interesting to work with someone; I would only hope that I could live long enough to see what his career, whatever it's going to be, is going to be going forward. So every once in awhile, one of these things happens.

I also work a lot with people who are trying to get into very esoteric medical school programs, internships, residencies – you better believe they interview these people up one side and down the other because they want to be sure they can talk, they can articulate who they are and what they're all about and that they're not just brilliant, but they have many sides to their personality. So this business of a style… if I can work with someone on an interviewing style for one specific thing, I guarantee they'll have these interview skills for the rest of their life.

Part of it is just – it's so simple but so complicated – in talking to someone about it who's objective. Because again, let's go back to what an emotionally charged issue this is. You could be sitting in a room with someone and your whole life (or you think at the moment) – your whole life depends on what you do and don't say.

Peter: That's really interesting that you're working at that level. Recently in the Wall Street Journal there was an article that Stanford has now joined Yale, Harvard, and a few other of the top tier schools in offering free education to students whose parents earn less than $100,000 a year, or $80,000 a year, what that is doing is just making it all the more competitive with these colleges that so many young people are trying to get into. So you are absolutely right, I mean, any one of these, no matter how brilliant they are, no matter what their GPA is, they're going to have to sit down and interview someone.

Beth: They will interview not with just one person, not with just one someone, but many someones, and all of these people have different backgrounds, different experiences, different agendas.

I work with clients a lot... you know, some of us just take the business of evaluating people, we read people well. Someone like myself who has been in search for so many years, gosh, I've just interviewed and interviewed people and so I know how to do this. Not everyone does and not everyone who is going to be interviewing you is going to be a super interviewer themselves. And some people you're going to like and some people you will not like and you have to really make this distinction and know how you work with someone that you suddenly know oh we're so different, but the sameness that you want to convey is that sameness that's going to make you a fit in the organization and a fit for the specific position.

Peter: Beth, do you work with your clients from a strategic standpoint of say, alright, here are three companies I would really like to work with, or work for; let's figure out an plan to get me into these three target organizations that I have identified and done a lot of research with and know that I would be a good fit from a cultural standpoint, from an educational standpoint, from a personality standpoint – I'd really like to get into these organizations because I see them growing. How can you help me crack that and get in the door?

Beth: I wish I had someone intelligent enough to appear in my {laughing} sphere of influences that say this. No, but I say that… I turn around and I say this to them. Look, there are four ways that you get jobs.

You get jobs through ads, you get jobs through recruiters, you get jobs through networking, and you get jobs through direct contact. Now most of the senior level people I'm talking to are not going to be getting through ads – and not just generic recruiters, perhaps executive search, but that's a whole other thing. Networking – maybe yes, maybe no; we've got the social networking and all that stuff going now. But know it's part of my protocol and my way of working with executive, I have them target 3 to 10 companies they want to work for. They'll say "but I can't get in there, I don't know anybody, I don't have any names…" – yes, you can.

I show them how to get in front of a decision maker not to ask for a job (never ever, ever, ever) – to ask for advice, especially at the senior level. It's so hard to say the words ‘I need your help.' ‘Where do you think I might fit in to this industry?' And if they say oh my god, you never would, then say ‘where do you think I would fit - period.'

There is a whole strategy that I won't go into now, but that I really work with people on to get in front of decision makers. Because you're going to come out of that meeting – and yes, you will get that meeting. I can show you and tell you how. It is hard work, there is no free lunch, you've got to work at it and you've got to keep meticulous records and so on. But when you leave that meeting, you have a new networking contact. Hey, this is what we're doing now – networking! That's how we get all our information, all the sites you might be a part of and so forth. But we're talking now about a specific job search. You're talking about someone working with a career coach, like myself.

Now the first obvious advantage of that is that two brains are better than one. The second very obvious advantage is that one of the people, the coach, hopefully is totally objective about this thing and can really create focus and keep the whole process on track.

But yeah, this business of identifying exactly where you want to go, it is possible. I can document this. People can get a job at the company that they want to work for at whatever level because we are, alas, in a downsizing economy but there are still wonderful positions out there.

Peter: For the talented people that actually go after them.

Beth: Yep – that go after them and that can assume the attitude of a consultant.

One of the worst things people do in interviews, it's all about me, me, me, me, me. No! It needs to be about the company. Find out what their problems are, figure out a whole strategy in your mind of how can help solve these problems and positively impact their bottom line. It's all about money.

Peter: Beth, I want to return to something we talked about earlier and that is the gatekeeper. So many of the initial interviews today are phone screens that you have to somehow get through, and a lot of those phone screens are even conducted by third party organizations that are doing this on behalf of the company and they're not even part of the organization, or they may be just a junior level HR person within the company who has a script in front of them and is checking things off as you're talking.

What are some of the keys people need to think about if they have to go through a telephone screen to get to what's really their first interview in the organization?

Beth: The key is to remember that your task is to not only get through this interview, but get through it successfully so that you – literally, so that they do like you. You're going to know if these people are using a script and does the script adhere to what you've seen about a job description or have you even seen a job description. It's a matter basically of communication and having the skills that bring this person to your side to liking you.

You're in a position (think about this) to make them look really good. Be sure that you leave that interview, or hang up the phone, or whatever it is… I had a client who did that just last week. We had had several sessions, he was having a lot of trouble with getting past these initial HR screenings. He says "My god, they don't understand the industry. They don't what the manager wants." Yeah, that could be true; the manager is busy, doesn't have time to talk to them, he shoves a job description in front of them. And so there it is.

Here we go back to the preparation. What do you know about the company, what do you know about what they do, what do you know about what this division or department does, what's the background on the person you know that you're going to be reporting to. We can script a lot of this before you have the interview. You can't use it all. You're not going to have the luxury of using your own script; the yahoo at the other end of the telephone or across the desk from you does have.

Peter: One of the other things we talked about in preparing for this interview is the fact that – and this gets into another very important topic, which is resumes, unfortunately, are still alive and well and people put a lot of time into preparing their resumes and listing references in their resumes. References are rarely checked anymore. Is that correct?

Beth: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Now we all … if somebody asked you right now for four references, who would you give? Of course, four people that you know are going to say wonderful things about you. And the minute you write that down or tell somebody that, you pick up the phone and you call and say Joe Blow is going to call you and this is what I want you to say.

Many, many, many companies might do some cursory reference checking. Generally, they're leaning on background checks, and you sign something up front saying that it's okay to do a complete background check on you.

Now keep in mind, this resume is your calling card. That's what it is. It gets 20-40 seconds of perusal if you're lucky. That first page has to be so compelling that they can't put it down. I mean all those things, I go through with my clients and we get a great professional presentation there.

But more importantly is your pitch about yourself, and it has to be very concise, it has to be crisp, it has to be factual. The worst question in an interview is tell me about yourself, because most people start off and they continue, like War and Peace. When someone says tell me about yourself; okay, you know why they're asking. They want you to tell them why you would be the best person on the planet for this job in this company. And we could have that all ready beforehand.

Know your accomplishments, know your background and experience, know your company, know what you're going to say.

When you're deciding what movie you're going to see on the weekend, you go to the newspaper sometimes and there is this little blurb about what the movie is about. If that blurb is good, you get in your car or on the bus or subway and boom, you're there. If it's bad, the whole thing is toast.

Think of it as your movie logline – what is it all about? Well, your movie is your life, what is your life all about? All you're thinking at this moment is this particular career opportunity. Don't think of it as a job, think of it as your career opportunity.

Peter: I think one of the best pieces of advice that I've heard from you, Beth, is the fact that you have to make yourself an insider to get a job today. You have to really – and this goes to the point that you were saying – I mean, all of this research is now available easily on the Internet, so you can learn as volumes about any organization that you are interested in interviewing with. But when you go in there now, you have to be an insider to that person that is doing the interview with you. You have to be so familiar with that organization that they feel like you already work there.

Beth: You do. Not just the organization, but the industry in general. You're not really an insider, but you've got to give that impression. You've got to show enthusiasm, you've got to show intelligence, you've got to show drive – subtly you have to be saying I want this job because this would be just incredible, but you still don't know what the job is yet.

Often in the first interview you really don't – no matter what the job description was, how long a timeline, for instance, has there been since you first heard about this job and you got your interview. It could be they're thinking about you for something else. So don't close any doors.

I'm doing a lot of don'ts here – but some people decide in the middle of an interview oh heck, I don't like the way this is going, I don't really want this job. That's a luxury you can't afford. You don't know whether you want it or not. They want to know that you are knowledgeable, particularly if you're making some sort of career transition that is almost the same as what they're doing but not quite.

So what happens here, when you ask that question about how do I stack up with the other candidates, they might say something like "well, you just don't have enough of this industry segment…" and so on. Perhaps you don't even have to answer this because of time constraints at this time. This is what you answer in the letter that you send afterwards, which is incidentally not a thank you note – it's an influencing letter because you're going to emphasize all the areas of empathy, everything that was just a perfect match, you can do that very succinctly. These letters don't need to be long, they don't have time to read them. But if there was any area of concern, you can start off a paragraph by saying (and it all needs to be on one page), you mentioned that there was some concern about X or Y… by that time, my client and I will have talked about this and figured out exactly what script we want to send to them in writing, not only saying we can get past this because this experience or that time somewhere really fits in here, but you're going to find some subtle ways to be sure that they understand that you're the quickest learner that they've ever talked to and you would be so excited about all this new challenge… and so on.

You can turn any lemon into lemonade if you work at it right.

Peter: How long do you normally work with your clients? How long is it taking these days for a midlevel or senior level executive to go through the whole process of coaching with you and to get a job offer that they accept?

Beth: Boy, that's a hard one – and I'm not evading the question – but the answer varies. It really does. There are people who call up or send an email and it's panic city 101. They've put off having any contact with a career coach because they could do it themselves, and they're not doing it themselves because in two days, they have gotten maybe to the second interview and they say my god, I just barely squeaked through on the first. Or they're having tons and tons of first interviews and not getting second and what's wrong with me… sometimes we can have one session and get all this straightened out. It's amazing how much confidence people get.

Generally though, if someone is ready to make a career transition and we have to, for instance, target the right companies as we were talking about earlier, and we have to redo the resume and we have to go into interview training, and we talk about salary negotiation – all this stuff, I really ask them to commit to five sessions upfront. The reason for that is I want to be sure that all the deliverables on my part get delivered and that I'm there for them the whole way and secondly, that commitment on their part. When they do that, they're really, really, really serious. Not to say that the people who come to me for one or two or three interview training slots aren't serious, but it can be very different.

If interviewing – and so many of my clients this is very true – is their only focus, the thing that just really – people are different. Some people can pick up these truths and hints and tips and so on about interviewing very, very swiftly, other people really want the mock interview. They'll say to me "put together a mock interview for this job description," and plop, there it is on the table. I can do that. I can make them really think, really sweat the whole business.

You can't know every question that's going to happen. I can get someone to the position where they're so confident going in that you could ask them anything and they could deal with it. They could laugh about things that they might have taken really seriously two weeks before. That's really important too – take it seriously, care but don't care too much. If you think this is the only job in the whole world, you're setting yourself up for a broken heart (1), and also for the message ‘I'm not okay, I couldn't do it.' It's not the only job in the world. It never is.

Peter: One of the things you and I had talked about is the fact that people who set themselves up like that, you never know what's going to happen. A relative may show up or somebody internally may show up at the 11th hour right before they're ready to make you the offer and say "oh, I'm really interested in this job."

Beth: That can happen, and we were just talking before this interview about a company that's now going bankrupt. Last week, they may have engaged interviews for about five people who are now going to have a big, big, big disappointment because the company is in a downsizing mode. And that can happen.

Mergers, acquisitions may be going on behind the scenes. We never know about these things, that you might have, as a candidate, the unlucky honor of sitting there, interviewing for a job that whoops – is going up in smoke. It's not going to be there.

So you just never know.

Being turned down may have nothing to do with you. It can have to do definitely with that person on the other side of the table, particularly in that first interview. Getting past the gatekeepers in today's world is real, real, real important.

Decision makers are busy; they don't want to spend their time on doing this. So the whole interpersonal interaction with people that you're talking to, particularly if you're aren't … try doing this with someone who is very senior in accounting … "I don't really like to talk to people, I like to crunch number." Well, you've still got to interview.

Peter: I want to do a little role playing with you. Let's pretend I am a marketing director at Citibank and I'm part of the 17,000 people that are going to be laid off. I come to you and say "oh my god, now what do I do because the banking industry seems to be in real contraction. This is where I've worked my whole career. I've spent 20 years working in the banking industry. Where can I go?"

Beth: Lots of place, particularly if you're a marketing person as you said. Citi is one of those places where – you're right – people could go and they could be … Hewlett Packard was the same way – lifers. Because it was such a good company, why in the world would you want to go anywhere else; you can have all kinds of career paths within this organization and people choose to do that and they're encouraged to do that and are well taken care. Suddenly, maybe the best thing in their whole life has just happened to them, because new doors are going to open. They're going to have to open.

If you're a marketing expert, and you certainly know what the banking industry is doing right now, and you come and you sit down in front of me and we start talking about – I have a number of exercises I run people through to find out really what lights them from within. These are not tests; they're just things that we really talk about.

Because people may not have for those 17 years dared to say I wish I were doing this and this and this. And a marketing person ought to be an expert on branding. If you could do it inside the bank, you can do it somewhere else. But now we're talking about changing industries; we're talking about becoming an insider in some industry where you're really an outsider, and that's when we get real serious about how do you do this. What about trade associations? As you say, we can learn everything over the Internet. Networking suddenly takes on a whole new hue in these situations. Yeah, this is going to hurt, this is going to feel real desperate.

Now, I'm jumping all over the place in what I'm talking about, but I do have a protocol. I do have a methodology I use with people who are in this dilemma of I have to reinvent myself. Because we're having a lot of people … you can be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It has nothing to do with you, your competency or anything else; but it's so scary because it does have to do with how you make your money, how you take care of yourself and your family and all the obligations in life and so on.

Peter: Beth, what is your impression of these online networks, like LinkedIn and Facebook, do you think these are valuable resources that professionals should be using to continue to market themselves and promote themselves?

Beth: That's a fascinating world, and we're going to see more and more of this social networking. I get wonderful reports, particularly my friends who recruit exclusively. That's what they're doing now; they use LinkedIn for candidate development and so forth. They also get a lot of inquiries that they wouldn't get otherwise.

You've got to remember that this stuff takes time. Networking is not something that just happens with the click of a finger, you're going to get a lot of people who call you who want to figure out how they can use your knowledge and so on, forgetting that networking is a two way street, it goes back and forth.

I think basically it's good and everybody is hooked into it now. So the jury is still out. I can't say to someone don't do that.

Peter: What haven't we covered in this interview that you would like to share with the audience about either career transitioning or what… sort of the focus of this interview has really been on is strategies for going in and acing an interview.

Beth: Yeah, we've talked a lot about interviewing. But you and I had talked about beforehand about this being about the demise of the traditional career. Right now the big operative word in our world right now with the political upheaval and so on is ‘change.' The world of work is changing, even as we speak, in ways that we don't even understand yet because we don't know what's going to be happening with the economy and so forth.

But I think that the biggest thing that all of us – we're all workers one way or the other – we have to stay very alert to the fact that you've got to be creative, you've got to be innovative, you've got to be enthusiastic, you've got to be hardworking. It sounds like a bunch of platitudes, but it's really not. You've got to put that together in how it's going to work for you. It might mean working for an organization, a company, a corporation and so forth. And as you and I discussed, there are still good jobs out there; we're just going to be finding them in relatively untraditional ways.

Don't expect Monster to list all the jobs that you're going to go after, or heaven forbid you post your resume up there. This is about the social networking sites too; do you want your resume there because who is going to get it and who is going to use it – because they can, because that information is there.

A lot of things are really different. That would be the thing that … every individual's situation is unique. Of course, I'm a career coach and of course, I want people to come and use my services. I've written an article from this business of why and how to choose a career coach.

I will say one word about that. You can go to the Internet and troll around and find out about everything that you didn't even want to know about it – because everybody has got a good website. I think mine is outstanding, it's good and it draws people and so on. But then you're going to talk to people, because different is not better or worse, but it's different. People have different protocols and different methodologies. Some people will give you tests and tests and tests. If you want tests, you've got to go somewhere else. Ah, many career coaches (most, in fact) are either therapists or have been. And that's okay – totally. But I have to tell my clients, hey, if you need a shrink, you've got to go somewhere else because I'm a pragmatic businessperson, I think I'm really unique in that I come out of a very distinguished background in retained executive search. I've kept up with the world of work jobs and so on; I know what it's like.

This is, again, why I do so much interviewing training, I think that I can really get people into a mindset that will make them effective interviewers. They've got to do their own communication; I'm not going to be there holding their hand when they're interviewing.

Back to what's the one thing I would really want to say to people and that is you're going to have to keep on reinventing yourself, you're going to have to keep on making yourself better. The future is upon us, it is now.

Again, the last word I'd like to say is whatever that job is you have right now, it is not your last one. So you've got to be thinking about – I think you said this, Peter, not your next job, but maybe the next one. You must dream about that, think about that, prepare for it because it's coming.

Peter: Beth, thank you so much for joining us again on Total Picture Radio. It's been great to have you on the show again. We look forward to doing so again in the future.

Beth: Thank you.

We've been speaking with Beth Ross, a certified executive coach and executive search professional based in New York City.

Be sure to visit Beth's feature page in the "Careers Transitions" channel of Total Picture Radio.

Beth Ross Biography

Her coaching practice is global in scope. Sessions with clients in the greater New York area are in person, while working with individuals in other areas and time zones by telephone. The protocol includes all areas of the Job Search and Career Transition process, with particular emphasis on Interview Training.

Preparation of a Professional Resume, Salary Negotiation, Assessment, Targeting and General Career Management areas are also included. Clients typically are at the management or executive level, but can include persons at many stages of career development and change.

Prior background includes teaching at the University level, Public and Private Educational Administration, and Consulting for Technology and Publishing companies. Her Master's and Doctoral degrees are from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, and her undergraduate degree is from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Interview Tips to Nail the Job - Job Interview Tips

© Beth Ross

Always remember: the purpose of any interview is not to get a job - it's to get the next meeting. You are on stage. It's a performance! And, you must be prepared.

Basic interviewing technique includes

Developing your lines. In an interview, an inability to express yourself clearly is worse than a lack of experience.

Have a small notebook with you, (or use 3 x 5 index cards), and have written down:

  • The main reason the employer would want to hire you;
  • What you have to offer in the way of experience, credentials, and personality;
  • Two key accomplishments to support your interest in this position
  • An answer to what you think might be the employer's main objection to you, if any;
  • A statement of why you would want to work for this company.

Keep this stuff in your pocket at all times. Even if you never have to use these notes, just the act of putting it all together will pay off.

These are a few interview tipsto help you nail the job:

  • Look and act the part. Even if you don't feel self-confident, act as if you do. Act as if you are successful and feel good about yourself, and you will increase your chances of actually feeling that way. Enthusiasm counts!
  • Play the part of a consultant. You are there to sell your services. Ask questions and tell how you have handled situations in the past. If the interviewer has no p roblems, or if you cannot solve them, there is no place for you. Let them know how good you are and how resourceful you are.
  • Do your homework. Before the interview, thoroughly research the company. Show up early and read company literature in the reception area, talk to the receptionist, and observe the people. Get a feel for the place.
  • Don't' talk about what you want to do, talk about what you can do.
  • Suggest additional things you can do for the company. This is making the most of each interview, for you may be able to upgrade the job a level or two.
  • Make a list of difficult interview questions and possible answers. These questions exist, so know what they are and be prepared. Work with a professional to get ready for these questions and to develop credible answers.
  • If the interviewer gets off track, briefly give a satisfactory answer to whatever question it is, then get back on track.
  • Level the playing field by never having everything hinge on just one interview. Get as many balls in the air as possible, so that if this one interview doesn't work out, the other things you have in the works will carry you through in other directions.
  • Know everything you can about the person you are meeting with. Ask the person who sets up the meeting to give you this information, then dig on your own. Think about the issues facing the job and the company.
  • Be sure to ask where they are in the hiring process, how many other people they are considering, and how you compare with them. If you don't know something about your competition, you are less likely top win.
  • Don't' try to close too soon. Conduct yourself on the first interview so that they will want you back for another meeting.
  • Be sure to do a follow-up influencing letter after every interview. Be sure to address any areas of concern that may have risen during the interview. Keep in touch.
Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

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