Increase Your Interview Odds with Preparation and Practice – By Kris Plantrich

People spend huge amounts of time preparing for upcoming events, finals in college, big presentations at work, or planning for a wedding. But when it comes to preparing for an interview for a position they will be spending at least a third of their lives every week at, most people take little time to prepare for their interview and end up with whatever job is offered or available.

Although looks do matter and non-verbal first impressions play a strong role when interviewing, proper preparation for an interview dramatically increases your chances of impressing an employer and landing the job. When employers and potential employees are asked the same question, “Are the applicants effective or good at interviewing?” Most applicants would say “yes” while the employers say “no”. Imagine the advantage you will have being prepared for your interview, that alone will get you noticed and keep the attention focused on you as a position candidate.

How do you prepare for interviews and increase the odds in your favor? Preparation – Practice – More Practice!!! I can’t stress this enough. Like a test, ball game, or any activity the more you prepare the better you will perform. How one practices is how they will play the game so give your practice efforts 110%.

Become familiar with the company. Do research on the company; discover where they are now and where they are headed. What are they looking for? What the work atmosphere is? Once you are familiar with the corporate goals you can use your experiences and skills and relate them specifically to what the current needs of the company.

Make a list of questions that will be asked of you at the interview. When I am preparing my candidates for an interview we work on both the easy and tough questions. Remember to answer honestly, ease negative responses by explaining how you turned a situation around or learned something valuable from the experience. Try not to talk negatively about current or past employers, focus on positive experiences, relationships, accomplishments and share that. And again, as I tell my interview candidates, you must Practice – Practice — Practice!

Have a friend or possibly a family member help you with a mock interview. Practice before you begin, think out and even write down your answers. It usually takes several tries before you are comfortable and confident at answering all the questions. Taping yourself is probably the most effective training tool – seeing your verbal and non-verbal communication style helps to understand how you are perceived. Keep what works and changes things that don’t.

Interviewing usually isn’t a comfortable experience for anyone. You will increase your confidence; and increase the employer’s confidence in you by sounding confident and having a well thought out answer. Being prepared will help you to provide relevant powerful information when you know before hand how you will answer questions. People tend to ramble on when they get nervous and that can be dangerous. Interview preparation and practice is key!

Kris Plantrich is the owner of ResumeWonders Writing and Career Coaching Services. Certified in Resume Writing and Interview Coaching through PARW/CC. Experienced in all areas of resume writing and nationally published.

Get Hired Faster Using A Recruiter! – By Raymond Sahley

There are many reasons to use a professional recruiter in your career search. Recruiters in a specific field have many connections that are not public knowledge, so they can give you access to jobs that aren’t available otherwise. They already have a relationship established with the hiring manager of many companies and this speeds the process along. And the best part is that their services are FREE to the candidates.

Traditionally, the job seeker submits their résumé blindly to a human resources screener who has limited knowledge at best on what skills the position requires and what a great resume with experience looks like. Sometimes they are hourly employees and not devoted to effective and efficient screening. This leaves the candidate waiting for the phone to ring all day every day, when in reality their submission has been sitting in a folder on a desk and probably won’t get looked at for a long time… if ever. Do not ever submit your resume blindly!

Working with the recruiter is much different and more efficient and effective. The recruiter already knows what needs the companies have and if they contact you then you know that you are a cut above the rest of the potential candidates. If that weren’t the case they wouldn’t be calling you. So shame on you for not returning their phone calls in a timely manner. You are doing yourself a disservice and hindering your search for a great position, if you don’t utilize their FREE services.

Once you are in contact with the recruiter, they should detail everything about the position and interview you to gauge your skill set and self-marketing abilities. They should also be looking for potential problem areas in your interviewing technique and coach you into being more prepared for that face to face or the dreaded phone screen that most people struggle with. A recruiter should always tell you what they are going to do and whom they will be submitting your résumé and information to BEFORE they do it!

Another great aspect of using recruiters is the area of confidentiality. When you post your resumes on those online public job boards, you never know who will see them and what the repercussions might be. I have seen immediate terminations when the candidate’s current boss sees their employee posted and actively pursuing another career and it is becoming increasingly common for them to cut their ties with you quickly. They see it as a protection of their assets and in their best interest. So if you are going to post publicly you might as well tell your boss about it before they find out themselves. When you use a recruiter you can focus solely on the interview process and leave the rest up to them. They will help you throughout the process and make your life that much easier in this stressful time. Always use a recruiter you can trust and someone you have had more than one phone call or face to face with because that shows they care about you and your relationship and will help you with all their abilities.

They should be industry specific to your career, for instance you wouldn’t use a restaurant manager recruiter like myself for the information technology industry and I sure wouldn’t want someone with an IT background sending me a restaurant candidate.

Also if the two of you don’t click immediately it is probably time to move on, but always keep it honest with the recruiter so they can help you. If you aren’t interested, tell them as soon as
possible so they don’t waste man-hours on you.

With these tips I’m sure you have a greater understanding on the give and take relationship between you and the recruiter and can clearly see the many benefits of using them to pursue your next dream job.

Beware Of The Counteroffer! – By Raymond Sahley

A counteroffer is a ruthless and potentially hazardous renegotiation of your salary with your current employer, which occurs when you threaten to leave for employment with a competitor. Although the counteroffer is almost always a lose- lose proposition for the job seeking candidate and the employer, we see candidates entertain the notion all the time.

Also consider whether you are truly the winner in this employment strategy. Many employees who give their 2-week or 30 day notice are receiving counteroffers from their current employer as an incentive to stay.

Before going any farther, think about the horse that pulls the cart struggling to reach the tasty carrot day in and day out. Trust me the horse has it better than you in this situation. Don’t be
a fool and don’t be the horse!

These counteroffers and proposals can include an increase in salary, a direct promotion or added responsibility to your job functions, or an often-empty promise of a future raise, promotion or other incentive within the organization.

Honestly, if you are good at what you do, your employer will try to convince you to stay because it is in their best interest. Their reasons are financially obvious because finding and training your replacement will be expensive and time consuming.

Operationally there may be profit lost as a result of the work you performed in the past not getting completed and other peer employees may also be influenced by your success to look for another position.

If you entertain the counteroffer for even a second, you will be thrust into the temptation to discard a careful decision you have made for your best interest and using objective reasoning.

An attractive counteroffer has three primary reasons existing to lead you down the wrong career path. First there are your emotions, which are already shot to hell and stressed out. You will be leaving peers, friends and co-workers, which might be weighing on you.

Second, there is the fear of change, which all humans are programmed to hate since birth. Lastly there is the fact that your current employer seemingly wants you to stay and this fuels your ego.

If you listen to, entertain for an instant, look at, hear of or really consider the counteroffer you will likely succumb to it, but know this…it’s not your fault. You are a programmed human, who will always go back to something you have already experienced, rather than branching out and evolving into your true self.

The decision is yours and yours alone! Take a step back and trust your instincts that led you into your new career search in the first place.