Interview Mistakes that are Deal Breakers

Leveraging Your Past for Future Success with Good Interview Habits. 


Gallup Poll did extensive research whereby they interviewed hiring manager about what they disliked concerning candidates.  Here are the top 10 things they said led to candidate failure.  
1.    Dressing inappropriately: 
Make sure you are well groomed and dressed appropriately for the interview.  Never assume Friday’s are casual or that no tie is the usual dress code.  Ladies, while fashionistas may demand bare legs as fashionable, it is not always seen as appropriate to arrive without some form of hosiery.  The best advice is to arrive in dress attire.  You can always down play it by saying you are being respectful of the organization and the interviewer’s you meet.  You can also ask the recruiter what is expected so you will be in the know before arriving. 

2.    Winging it:
 If you do not have time to do your homework on the company and job then you will come across as being ill prepared.  Take time to research the company, interviewers and job. Know the history, latest news, mission, values, stock price, etc.  Do not think you can ask questions that could be answered online and come across well.  Know and prepare. 

3.    No differentiation: 
One of the best marketing tools is differentiation.  Meaning… be different than your competition.  If you do not have something that will cause the interviewers to think of you in a better and unique way than the other candidates, you will be passed over.  Know your strengths, values, accomplishments and how you can solve the problems indicated in the job description.  If you can show some form of how you are different then you will stand out.  I like to tell my clients to be bold.  Bold means that you are clearly seen, you are different than others and you can’t be ignored.  

4.    Talking too much/too little: 
Once in the interview you need to keep your answers to 2 minutes or less.  Yes, timing is critical.  If you talk to long the listener will zone out and stop listening.  If you talk too little, then they cannot get a firm idea on how you can help them solve their issues.  It is a balancing act in too much/ too little.  But if you keep all answers to under 120 seconds, provide results and actions taken previously then you should have a good interview.  I also suggest practicing your answers before the interview to be sure you have them firmly prepared. 

5.    No interest shown: 
Having practice interviews are great, but if you do not show interest in the job, company or the person and team then you will not be considered for the job.  If all you want to do is have a practice session I suggest you call a friend, take on a coach or find a practice interview group to help.  Taking the opportunity away from an interested candidate is not the right thing to do.   It also causes bad habits to form so you will interview poorly when it really counts.  

6.    Lack of personality: 
The thing that people remember most is how you make them feel.  If you lack personality, then they will forget you.  If you show great personality, humor, likability then you will be remembered as such.   People only hire those they like.  So, show some personality, the real you and be likable. 

7.    Lying/fuzzy facts: 
One of the quickest way to end an interview is to let them catch you lying.  No one wants someone on the team that is untrustworthy.  Many mistakes and failures can be overlooked but lying is one of the biggest killers of careers.  So, get your facts straight and make them detailed.  In an interview you have to be detailed in your facts and be specific to lend credibility.  If you don’t know say you do not know.  If you have a different experience say so.  Just be wise in your answers, try to never say “no”, and give an example of similar experience...  But always be honest and factual.  

8.    In appropriate behavior: 
While it is ok to bring humor into the interview or have some fun with the interviewer it is not ok to have poor behavior.  Answering calls, sending texts, looking things up online, chewing gum, yelling or other bad behaviors are not welcome.  You are there to impress, not depress.  Watch yourself, your words and actions. You get one chance to make an impression and once formed it is nearly impossible to change the person’s opinion.  That opinion will form within 1/10 of a second per psychological testing so start out well and keep things appropriate. 

9.    No follow-up: 
Many times, the hiring manager or interviewer will get busy, have other priorities or emergencies happen which can cause delays in call backs.  If you do not follow-up you will be seen as uninterested in the job.  Don’t let it be a one-way street of communications with the company.  You have every right to call or send a message as a follow-up about  your interview.  Hopefully you know when the employer will be in contact for next steps, so the follow-up is just to reaffirm your interest, ask a question or send a note concerning something of interest about the company you have seen on TV or in print.  Either way, always keep in touch.  How?  Email messages, phone calls are typical.  You can send a business letter or note on a personalized stationary card.  Do Not send a Hallmark thank you card like you buy in the store or a greeting card.  These are for gifts from weddings, parties or birthdays.  Be professional at all times and use professional forms of communications.

10.    Not asking for the job: 
The number one differentiator is not asking for the job.  Rarely will someone take the initiative, courage and opportunity when talking to the hiring authority to ask for the job.  This does not mean you asked for next steps or when you will hear from the recruiter.  This means you ask for the job, where your desk will be, request an offer be extended today or make them an offer.  Be bold and brave in this action as it is a real game changer.  You will get one of two answers...  Yes, here is an offer or we are still in a decision mode.  
 

Prepare Yourself for the Interview

 

Leverage your past for future success

Preparing for the interview is either considered a daunting task or taken with little seriousness.  However, one of the top 10 errors candidates make, per Gallup Poll, is little preparation about the company, job and industry.  To show your interest and to get prepared try the following steps:  

·       Research the company, the industry and individuals you may know or have connection to within the organization.  This also includes checking out individuals that may be on the interview panel or contributors in the process.  For those you know invite them to coffee to get further intel about the organization.  Learn the good, bad and ugly before you go in if you can make these determinations. 

·       Know what the “must haves”, “requirements”, “will be responsible for”, or other key parts of the job description mean.  Be able to tell a story that will show your success and activity in each area. 

·       Develop your stories in a RATS format so that you hook the listener with the Results first, develop the story on the Actions you took, then follow through telling about the Tasks and Situation that led to this success.  Practice each story and edit to 2 minutes or less.  Focus the story in telling the Why, What and How verses the Who, Where and When.

·       Know the history of the company from start to finish, including owners, stock price, down-turns and up-turns in the business.  Prepare questions on significant up-turns so you are viewed as a candidate with real interest, not just in for an interview. 

·       Know the Values, Mission and Vision of the organization.  It is vital you can denote what each is and how your values meet with the organization’s.  If you do not understand or buy-into the mission and vision you will be uncomfortable which may lead to failure or at least an unhappy work place.

·       Have your “Tell me about yourself” answer ready to go.  It is best to have some very key info in this statement which will peak interest about you and your past successes.  Be prepared to tell two things about yourself that is significant and likeable, tell two or three results of success you have achieved and then be prepared to ask a question.  A sample question could be, “Tell me what two things I would be required to do to be successful in this job?”  The point is to get the interviewer to tell you something that will allow you to turn the interview into a conversation whereby info is more easily exchanged. It also gives you key parts the interviewer thinks are significant for success.  You can then keep bringing up your strengths and past successes to drive home the point that you are the right person for the job.

·       Make sure you are dressed for success with clean, unwrinkled clothes.  Shine your shoes, make sure your clothes have not tears or missing buttons.  Get a haircut and for men… please shave unless you have an established beard.  Look sharp and act energetic. 

·        Be brave and be bold.  No one wants to hire an Eeyore so cast off the feelings of being unsure, uneasiness, sadness and self-doubt.  Put on your gear to go into battle for this new job as this is a true battle and you must prepare for the fight to the win. 

Good Hunting,

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Career Leverage Advisors

Gratefullness

Gratefullness... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Leveraging the Past for Future Success

Today as I was thinking about the holiday season my head started thinking of the old Beatles song with a lot of Yeah’s in it.  Why, I don’t have a clue, but since this is a time of giving thanks many in the transition journey would probably say, “Thanks, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, right”, but you can feel more thankful when giving more effort into the process during the Season.

How can we make the most out of this time in our life with more than a lip sync kind of feeling? 

1.      List what you are grateful for today, this week, this month and this year.  Even if the list is short make it count.  Look back at the things that were accomplished even though difficult, family, friends, the opportunity to do something for others that you may not have been able to do if not in the journey.  Also, look ahead at what things you can be grateful for in the new year. 

2.      Spend your time wisely when not working on your job search activities.  Take the time to bake the cookies with the kids, sing in the choir, feed the homeless and elderly, babysit for someone who needs to go shopping, take the dog to the park, participate in the Christmas play, take a drive to see the lights or watch a great old movie that makes you happy.  The ultimate challenge is to see if you can capture the feelings you had as a kid during Christmas time.

3.      Discover your “Why”.  This means figure out why you are here on this Earth, in this family and on this journey.  Take the time to discover yourself by taking a breath and looking around for all the greatness you see.  Some would say to stand at the ocean’s edge and feel small while others may look up at the night’s sky to see all the stars to feel the wonder of the universe.  What ever it takes, use this opportunity to learn about yourself and discover your purpose again.

4.      Just keep saying “Thanks” and professing your appreciation for everything you have.  When you rise in the morning give thanks for a new day.  When you sit down for a meal give thanks for what you have on the table.  When you take a walk give thanks for health, nature and natural resources we have access to daily.  Hey, if nothing else give thanks that we have modern plumbing in the home.  For one, I would not want to live without it.  Find the little things that are taken from granted and be grateful for each.

It does not take much, but it does take awareness to be grateful in a serious and meaningful way.  We don’t have to glaze over the real meaning of this Season just because our journey is difficult or long.  Give thanks and appreciate all you have… Yeah.

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Career Leverage Advisors

Spring Break...Forgotten in the Work World

Spring Break... Forgotten in the Work World

Leveraging the Past for Future Success

Spring Break!  It is an expectation and privilege the American School kid looks forward to annually.   After months of sloshing through the snow and cold to be buried in piles of homework it is a time of taking a breath of fresh spring air and rejuvenation of spirit.    Remember Spring Break?

It is amazing that we who are in the work world forget how great it was to take frequent breaks after enduring a period of significant achievement or hard work in school.  When we were kids the breaks were imposed by the school system with the understanding that it was necessary to give the students a time to rest the mind and rejuvenate the spirit.  Somewhere along the way we forgot to carry this whole practice forward into adulthood and the work world. 

If it is a good practice for students, why is it not a good practice for adults?  Yes, the adult mind can take more stress than a child’s.  Yes, an adult has more stamina to work longer hours and with heavier burdens.  But… how much better would we be professionally if we had a forced break every three to four months? Think about it…  Companies in other countries provide much more vacation time, holidays and time off than US based organizations. 

Seriously, I question whether US based companies are really getting more accomplished with the hard driving, 24-hour on-call schedules than other businesses around the world offering a differing culture.  If you work for or partner with companies outside of the US, you know this is a differentiator within the workplace abroad.  It causes US team members to wish they worked elsewhere, had more work/life balance and wonder what they are missing outside of such demanding expectations.   Is our balance in life really a balance??  I think not and believe progressive businesses will look for opportunities to allow for more free time, so a better work/life balance will be fostered.  A fresh mind is far more effective than one which is tired and overburdened. 

So, let me be the cry in the wilderness to advocate in favor of Spring Break and other forced breaks for all the hard working, stressed out professionals out there.  Remember how great it was to bask in the sun on a beach for a week before taking on that push toward finals.  Wouldn’t it be nice???  Well, let’s start influencing the work culture around us by expecting more work/life balance for a healthier and happier LIFE. 

 

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SHRM-SCP, SPHR

Career Leverage Advisors

Mindfulmess... The Here and Now

Leveraging the Past for Future Success

For some time, I have been encouraging my clients to use “Mindfulness” or attention to the “Present”, so they learn to focus on current issues.  For many staying “Present” in mind is very difficult because we tend to let our minds and attention drift to dwell on the future or things we can’t control or even predict.  When we let our minds wonder or get bogged down in the future challenges we eliminate many of the most important steps in our transition and/or other life commitments. 

Here are 10 positives to starting a practice of “Mindfulness”:

1.     We learn to focus on today

2.     We allow ourselves to break up big issues into small ones.

3.     We don’t get ahead of ourselves in trying to fix things before pre-work is completed

4.     We learn to plan, but execute the plan one step at a time

5.     We allow for mistakes, do overs and changes by focusing on the current

6.     People notice use paying attention to them and their issues instead of other issues

7.     We become more aware of our surroundings, people, and daily ques that may have been missed before

8.     The Boss, spouse, kids, friends and peers will have a better impression of you

9.     We become happier by limiting the stress of too much to do

10.  We can enjoy the special things that come along daily because we are not thinking about things of tomorrow or next week or even next year.  We focus on the now.

So how can you become more “Mindful” or “Be Present”? 

Some use yoga, meditation, prayer or exercise to help clear the mind, focus on the present or one issue.  Will it take time to develop a good practice?  Yes.  Can you do it?  Yes. 

I encourage you to buy a book on the subject and start practicing your “Mindfulness” or “Being Present” in 2018.    Listed below is a link to the best books from 2017 on this subject by Mrs. Mindfulness:

https://mrsmindfulness.com/best-mindfulness-book-list-for-2017/

I hope this gives you a sense of why it is important to be “Mindful” or “Present” today and every day going forward. 

Career Transition Planning for Year's End

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Grateful… Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Today as I was thinking about the holiday season my head started thinking of the old Beatles song with a lot of Yah’s in it.  Why, I don’t have a clue, but since this is a time of giving thanks many in the transition journey would probably say, “Thanks, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, right”, but you can feel more thankful when giving more effort into the process during the Season.

How can we make the most out of this time in our life with more than a lip sync kind of feeling? 

1.      Make a lists

List what you are grateful for today, this week, this month and this year.  Even if the list is short make it count.  Look back at the things that were accomplished even though difficult, family, friends, the opportunity to do something for others that you may not have been able to do if not in the journey.  Also, look ahead at what things you can be grateful for in the new year. 

2.      Spend your time wisely

Spend your time wisely when not working on your job search activities.  Take the time to bake the cookies with the kids, sing in the choir, feed the homeless and elderly, babysit for someone who needs to go shopping, take the dog to the park, participate in the Christmas play, take a drive to see the lights or watch a great old movie that makes you happy.  The ultimate challenge is to see if you can capture the feelings you had as a kid during Christmas time.

3.      Discover your “Why” 

This means figure out why you are here on this Earth, in this family and on this journey.  Take the time to discover yourself by taking a breath and looking around for all the greatness you see.  Some would say to stand at the ocean’s edge and feel small while others may look up at the night’s sky to see all the stars to feel the wonder of the universe.  What ever it takes, use this opportunity to learn about yourself and discover your purpose again.

4.      Say Thanks

Just keep saying “Thanks” and professing your appreciation for everything you have.  When you rise in the morning give thanks for a new day.  When you sit down for a meal give thanks for what you have on the table.  When you take a walk give thanks for health, nature and natural resources we have access to daily.  Hey, if nothing else give thanks that we have modern plumbing in the home.  For one, I would not want to live without it.  Find the little things that are taken from granted and be grateful for each.

It does not take much, but it does take awareness to be grateful in a serious and meaningful way.  We don’t have to glaze over the real meaning of this Season just because our journey is difficult or long.  Give thanks and appreciate all you have… Yeah.

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Career Leverage Advisors
careerleverageadvisors.com
kathygm@careerleverageadvisors.com
972-768-5020

Action Equals Coping Through Transition Journey

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Transition can impact various parts of our lives today and means different things to different people.  To some transition is a change in career path while others may see transition as an opportunity to make changes to their life or improve upon skills.  Whatever the reason for transition, it is important to take the process seriously through the journey. 

Some clients tell me transition has had a significant impact on their mental wellbeing which was unforeseen at the start.  After all, no one plans to be in transition and therefore never thinks about the emotional toll it can take on the psyche.  Typical comments range on topic, but common themes are how to manage the feeling that time seems to drag daily, how to deal with the feelings of loss and embarrassment for not having a job, or how to regain an identity the job provided? 

First, let me say that being in transition is not something to be embarrassed about or any reason to feel less of a contributing person to society.  We all have ebbs and flows in our lifetime and job transition is just one of those situations.  I hope the following is helpful for coping with negative feelings and assists in putting the most positive foot forward.

Let’s talk about dealing with the feelings of embarrassment.  We must ask from where are these feelings originating?  Are they coming from internal or external sources?  If feelings are being radiated from an outside source, then you need to get away from the source or put up a barrier that will protect you from the negativity.  If family is the source, you will need to have the important conversation in which you tell the person(s) how this behavior is making you feel then ask them to stop.  You should explain how this journey is affecting you, the feelings, the desires, the action plans begin taken as an educational bridge to understanding. Of all the issues discussed, this is probably the most difficult to work through when family is less supportive, so it is understandable if this action is hard to perform.

If the feelings are coming from internally, then let’s think about why you feel this way.  Just saying, “Oh don’t feel that way”, is not fixing the issues.  The more you understand the “Why” the better you will be able to turn these feelings around.  Do some research on how many people are in transition if you think you are by yourself in this journey. Think about how you can turn these feelings into actions for the good of another. Do a deeper dive into why this journey is embarrassing to you.  We can’t solve every issue in this article, but with careful review of your internal voice and call to action perhaps you will be able to make the time in the journey feeling productive again.

Next, let’s talk about how time can drag.  The only fix for this is to get out, be active and develop connections of significance.  Ideas are dependent upon what makes you tick, your values, your purpose in life and what is enjoyable.  Ideas may include volunteering in an area of interest, going to class to develop a skill you always wanted to learn, being the parent that helps coach your kids sports team or brings the kids lunch on a Tuesday.  This is your opportunity to do some of those things you always wanted to do, but had no time.  You now have the time so make the most of it as your transition journey really is short in the long scheme of life.  As you build in activity keep in mind that your identity can be connected to these actions.  For example, you become the coach, you become the “Parent” for the class, you are the “problem solver”, you are a student again. 

Activity is not a trick, but a magnificent way to create meaning in life again, help cope with the feelings of embarrassment and may provide an identify again.  With a deep dive into the “Why” of feelings, understanding the sources and taking steps to combat the negativity, we can feel better and journey through transition in a mentally healthy manner. 

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Career Advisor & Founder, Career Leverage Advisors
careerleverageadvisors.com
kathygm@careerleverageadvisors.com
972-768-5020

Fall Change-Up Tips for a Successful Career Transition

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The Fall is a wonderful time of year when the seasons change, the temperature cools and we start to think about winding down for the year.  However, the Fall is a very active time of year for recruitment as many companies want to get candidates on board before the start of the new year or the change of fiscal year when headcount can be lost due to vacant positions. 

Instead, think about increasing your activities starting today.  Here are some suggestions:

1.  The Informational Interview
Seek out more people you know and invite them to coffee (Informational Interviews). This can be one of your best sources for being introduced to key people in the industry or company of choice.  It is usually not the first, but the fourth or fifth person from the original individual you are introduced to that is the key player you need for career success. 

2.  Visit the Workforce Development Office
Make friends with one of the agents there, many are very willing to help if they just know you are looking.

3.  Volunteer
Get out of the house and volunteer in more than one place. You will get to know new people; new opportunities may be presented and you get to be a hero to an organization or someone in need. You get a great emotional boost too.

4.  Review Your Marketing Materials
Review your resume, bio, LinkedIn page or other social media formats to be sure each is up to date and using the latest trends in job search

5.  Review All Your Profiles and Documents
Your profiles and any documents attached on job boards like Jobs.com, CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, Zip Recruiters, etc., might need review and updating. An old profile can cause you to be either filtered out or not considered as a serious candidate.

6.  Make Good Clothing Choices
One of the most overlooked issue this time of year is that with the change of seasons comes the shift in our clothing choices.  Be sure to try on all items you plan to wear for informational interviews, onsite interviews or career fairs as you may have gained or lost weight as the year has gone by.  If clothing is too baggy you may be able to have items tailored to fit, if they are too tight then you may need to make a trip to your favorite shop for items that provide a much fresher appearance.  Either way… Look Sharp!

7.  Shoes Can Make a Difference
Don’t forget to check your shoe choices, polish and resole if possible or buy to better fit the current style trends.  Old styles can be a deterrent when interviewing with those hiring manager of a younger bracket.  You don’t want to be the “old candidate”. 

8.  Be Grateful
In this season of Thanksgiving and gift giving remember to take time to be grateful.  Even in a time of transition when money may be tight or you see little opportunity, count the things you can be grateful for daily.  If you can get in a habit of being grateful for the little things then I believe you will see a major transformation in your future as positive thinking is very contagious and wonderful to be around.  After all, who would not want that happy and pleasant person on their team. 

Good Luck and keep believing that you can leverage your past for future success!

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Career Advisor & Founder, Career Leverage Advisors
careerleverageadvisors.com
kathygm@careerleverageadvisors.com
972-768-5020

Perception Is Everything When Stressed

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When we are faced with job loss or change of career we many times feel an increase in our stress levels.  Stress increase is not uncommon as any change in life can impact multiple parts of life.  Work and money rank at the very top of stressors listed in a recent study performed by the American Psychological Association concerning stress.  They noted over 44% of Americans feel moderate to high stress which can lead to various other issues including health and family.  How does someone deal with the stress encountered during a career transition? 

If you are one of those die-hard individuals you would say to just push forward and get through whatever it is.  If you take a more panicked approach you may want to hide out till it all passes.  Unfortunately, neither of these techniques will give you the results you may desire. 

So… what do you do???  I suggest looking at the following four points:

Seek to understand the whole of the situation:  Ask yourself for example…

  • Is this just temporary or a more long-term situation?
  • Will this situation be something I can resolve easily or will I have to take serious action?
  • What does this situation mean to me and my family today and next month?

Seek to understand how your core values are impacted:  Ask yourself for example…

  • What are my core values?
  • Does the situation provide a new path that will allow me to better align my career or work with those values?
  • How can my core values guide my next career decision?
  • Do my core values direct me to find a new career or purpose in life?

Seek support when needed, which is now: Ask yourself for example…

  • Are there any groups or individuals that may be willing to help me during this time?
  • Do those groups or individuals want the best result for me?
  • Once found, will the group or individual have the capabilities and resources to help me in the needed areas?

Seek to change perceptions: Ask yourself for example…

  • How do I see my situation, through a lens of worry, doubt, fear?
  • Can I change my perceptions to be of hope, opportunity and wonder?
  • Who will support the change of perception to help me move forward?
  • Can my core values support a changed perception?
  • Am I looking at this in a gratefulness mindset?
  • How can I put a positive approach to work for me?

Stress comes to us in countless ways for a host of reasons.  When we use a perception lens that leads to worry, fear, doubt or does not match our core values the stress levels can be more severe.  Change the lens perception to one supported by your core values, using hope and positivity to see how stress can fade or disappear.  Practice of positive thinking and gratefulness also can impact our overall being when given full attention. 

Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Career Advisor & Founder, Career Leverage Advisors
careerleverageadvisors.com
kathygm@careerleverageadvisors.com
972-768-5020

Reference source: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america.aspx