Jul 18, 2010

The Start, Middle, and End to Interviewing Answers

All good stories have three things.
A beginning: Once upon a time...
A middle or "climax": Princess is in a crazy dangerous situation! Will the Prince get there in time?!!
And an ending: Princess rides into the sunset with Prince. Everyone lives happily ever after.

Behavioral Interview questions should have just as interesting answers. They generally don't come just off the cuff. The answers to your work life should be thought out. Like real stories of how you have dealt with things in the past.

People have many different ways of going about answering these questions, but what in real terms will help you answer the looming question : "tell me about a challenging situation and how you handled it." ?

In essence a good method is this:
Explain the challenging situation (problem, aka. the beginning)
What outcome you were attempting to achieve (what is the story about aka. girl gets guy. no need to make it a suspense thriller)
What did you do? (action taken -- the middle exciting part)
The conclusion ( what happened? The end, riding off into the sunset)

One method, easy to research and much more detailed, is the STAR Method. Just google it. You will find a million different articles.

The end of this story? Success in an interview happens when you keep the audience engaged. Think of a movie, good book, or song. They all generally have a beginning, middle, and end. They are interesting and contain all the necessary parts.

Think of various projects you have worked on over the years. They are all stories. The trick is to explain your great efforts in a positive light, with the right amount of detail, and in a way that the audience does not get lost or become disinterested.

I will leave you with an awesome picture that has a beginning, middle, and end of its own. Think of one of the best days of your life and how you would tell that story.

Jul 6, 2010


One of my consultants called today to give me his 2 week notice.

He works for one of my clients and has been a great asset to their company. Although our billable hours here in the office are most important, I was elated for him on his new opportunity.


He is such a fantastic person. He called to discuss the offer with me, his thoughts of growth, and why he felt he should move on. I was so glad he felt he could be honest with me. There is a lot to be said for someone who wants to grow and not just rake in the cash. This consultant is strengthening his skillbase, smart move. I know I will be speaking with him for years to come.

So... When you are ready to move on, give your employer the benefit of the doubt and be honest about you career moves and why you are leaving.

PS. 4 day work week!!! :)

Jun 30, 2010

10 ten things you should not do

1. Dress "business casual" : Even though this should be common sense, I have interviewed someone who came in sockless before. Seriously people, if you are trying to show your best side to a potential employer a suit is the way to go. Every single time. Unless of course the interviewer tells you specifically not to dress up.

2. Use slang in an email: believe it or not, your future employer is checking to see what your written skills are in a professional environment. no y'all or cool or stuff in your emails.

3. Put a picture on your resume: I have come to understand that this may be the "norm" in other countries. Here in the US it just gets your resume passed around the office for a giggle.

4. Personal info on the resume: It is great if you are actively involved in an organization that involves your hobby, by all means add that information... Do not add your sewing hobby, marital status, or the 3.5 kids/animals you have at home. Not interested and will not ask.

5. Multiple phone calls: The recruiter and/or hiring manager did not forget about you. A courtesy email after a few days is fine, but stalking a very busy person is not a good idea. Bad impression.

6. Blue tooth: This invention is awesome, but it has no place in the interview. Take it off and do not tell the interviewer that you "forget" about it. The last thing I want is someone going to a client's office and "forgetting" to take their blue tooth out for a meeting. What else are you going to forget about if the blue tooth on your body is forgettable.

7. Not researching the company: No excuse. If you want the position, it is worth the hour long website research to find out what the company is all about and develop some questions about them.

8. Phone ringing: and even worse you taking the call. The interviewer has taken time out of their day to speak with you. Turn it off, leave it in the car. This clearly also applies to texting while interviewing -- as dangerous as texting while driving ;)

9. Understanding your experience: Make sure that you can communicate your background clearly and apply it to the job description you were given. Best idea is to create a "match-up" between your skill base and the needs of the company.

10. Wrong contact info on the resume: seriously? I won't even give an explanation here.

Jun 7, 2010


I was asked to present on Social Media to our company this morning. When attempting to build the PowerPoint I found myself asking, "what is it we are trying to accomplish?". Well, in my office we are working on bolstering sales and finding great people. I think the same question and answer can be applied to someone searching for a new position.

How do we get there with social media? By starting a conversation and winning people's confidence in our abilities. I really feel that is relevant for an active job search as well.

You want to find the best company to work for. The best company that fits your needs and you in turn fit their needs.

How do we start a conversation!?

Lets say you are looking for a Business Intelligence position. Find a group on LinkedIn or another outlet and start asking professionals what they think... About something you read, something you thought would be a cool project, problems you have had with projects in the past. Make the topic interesting and open-ended so that people want to respond. Also, make the topic transferable to others to keep a wide level of expertise.

You will find that great professionals will answer your call. This can be a great way to learn about new companies and in turn expand your current network.

One of the best people at starting a conversation on just about anything is Ellen. Check out her twitter page or website. Every single time she is interested in something people listen... I think it is more than her "famousness". I think it has a lot to do with the way she thinks about every day things.

My 2 cents for the day :)

Ellen's billboard that I see on the way home from work everyday. Who doesn't love a crazy straw?

May 21, 2010

Get Hype

Nothing is more important than displaying confidence in an interview... You have to understand your experience and be able to convey your abilities confidently. If you have not had this conversation with yourself, I suggest you do it immediately.

I came across this video this morning and I feel it accurately describes the best way to become positive and confident. Imagine if we all told ourselves everything that was awesome in our lives every morning. :)

Sometimes the best lessons come from little people!

May 12, 2010

Quotes of the Week

"Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious."
- Peter Ustinov

"Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new."
- Albert Einstein

Feb 23, 2010

LinkedIn is the real deal

I have been using LinkedIn for about 3 years now and I can tell you... it is for real.

As a recruiter I receive A LOT of resumes. It is so much easier to pick up the phone and work hard to present someone to one of my clients if I know there are people that recommend them.

Everyone has a list of references. People you can count on to stand up for your experience when they are called. LinkedIn brings a new light to that process. When someone recommends you on LinkedIn it is displayed on your profile page. Prospective employers feel a sense of ease when they realize your past co-workers actually appreciated your work. What makes LinkedIn the best way to display those accolades is the ease of access. We are all sitting in front of a computer and a website is the easiest way to collect info.

Long story short. Send out some requests for recommendations on LinkedIn and build that profile. It is one of the best tools we have today in proving you are right for the job you want. Add the link to your resume and BINGO = you have created interest.