July 22, 2018

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Career Remedies - Interviewing Q&A’s

Q)When I was midway through my interview, the hiring manager asked me a number of questions about my recent employment. I had worked for three different companies in the four previous years. Although all three career moves were for advancement reasons, she was concerned. Her question to me was why did you change employers so often? I’m not sure that I thoroughly convinced her. What I am seeking is advice on the best way to handle this question, if it ever comes up again.

A) Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and just the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” The right advice for you boils down to two words: “build confidence.” A large component of many interviewers’ questions is the search for reassurance. Hiring new people is difficult and mistakes are costly. So interviewers crave reassurance that you will stay with them, and fit into the organizational culture. Solving the problems you are being hired for is only half the equation. The other half of the equation focuses on; do you have the personality and attitude to fit in? Every time you answer a question, use it as an opportunity to raise their confidence level in you. You could reinforce your honest commitment to stay at the company for a specific period of time, if offered the position. You could remind her that every job up to this point has prepared you for this type of position. You could emphasize that this position is the type of opportunity that you have been seeking. In other words, work commitment and dedication into every answer. Most successful people among us have been through a number of learning experiences. Hopefully, your last three positions have built you into a stronger and more insightful person. Whether an interviewer sees this depends on how the questions concerning this area are answered.

Q) I get extremely nervous before each job interview. My question is how does a person find just the right balance between alertness and nervousness?

A) When John F. Kennedy gave his acceptance speech at the 1960 Democratic Convention, he held one hand behind his back the entire time. Did he have his fingers crossed? No. The future President of the United States, one of the great orators of our time, held his hand behind his back because it was bleeding. It was bleeding because he had been so nervous before the speech that he had chewed his fingernails down past the quick.

Someone should gently break the news to all job seekers that nervousness before an interview is natural. Everyone has some, and that is good because it helps us perform at our best. However, too much is liable to detract from our performance or leave us with bleeding cuticles. From talking to other people who have experienced excessive nervousness before an interview, I would strongly recommend that you rehearse well for anticipated interviews. If you do your research, get the facts, be fully informed before actually going on interviews, you can alleviate a great deal of nervousness. How? Find a spouse, friend, or roommate and have them ask you anticipated questions that will likely come up along the way, questions such as: Tell me about yourself? What are you best at and why? Why are you changing positions? What are your qualifications for the kind of work we are discussing today? What have you learned from your work experience? You can think of more, no doubt, and so can the people you rehearse with.

Additionally, get three-by-five inch index cards and write out interview questions. Place yourself in the interviewer’s position. What kinds of questions would you ask an applicant for this job? What would you be looking for? Particularly, write down the questions you personally would find most difficult to answer. Then practice answering them, using either a video or tape player to record what you say. Listen for ways to make your answers more precise and effective.

- Joe Hodowanes, Career Strategy Advisor

J.M. Wanes & Associates

Joe Hodowanes, M.P.A., SPHR, is a nationally recognized career coach, syndicated columnist, and president of Tampa-based J.M. Wanes & Associates, J.M. Wanes & Associates is a career coaching, outplacement, and executive search firm specializing in executive-level opportunities.

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