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Strong Suits and Weak Links

chain links for strengths and weaknessesIf there are two questions I can almost guarantee you’ll be asked in every interview, it’s the ones asking you to describe your greatest strengths and weaknesses. If you’re actively interviewing, you shouldn’t even have to think about your answers; they should roll off the tongue as readily as your own name. That said, there are ways to answer these questions that are better than others. Read More

Elevator Pitch

elevator pitchOne of my least favourite interview questions is, “tell me about yourself”. I don’t like it, so I don’t ask it. To me, it’s always felt like a ‘gotcha’ setup, because there are no parameters, there’s no direction. You could start by saying where and when you were born (almost certainly missing the recruiter’s meaning by at least a couple of decades) and technically you’d be answering the question.

And yet, you will be asked this question in an interview, if you haven’t already. So – to appease those people who (ugh) insist on asking it – what’s the right approach? The answer is: the elevator pitch. Read More

A Brief Debrief

taking notes after an interviewAfter a big game – win or lose – a good coach always gathers the team together and talks about how they played. After each performance, a world-class musician reviews where they made mistakes, and practices those passages repeatedly before the next performance. I could go on, but you get the drift. We have to figure out what needs improvement, before we can improve it.

Think about your last job interview. Did you leave the meeting, head home, send a thank you, cross your fingers that you’d hear back soon, and – more or less – leave it at that? If you said yes, you’re not alone. This is true for most people. Read More

Fake it ‘til You Make it

thumbs up confidenceWe all know people who just never seem to doubt themselves, who can walk into any room or any conversation with sure-footed ease. The truth is that nobody is really always sure of themselves. Even the people who exude confidence outwardly are often just putting a brave face on, when they feel differently inside.

Make no mistake: when you’re interviewing, you must project confidence, optimism, and positivity. Those are qualities that are desirable in any future employee, so that’s what an interviewer is going to be looking for. Read More

Bridge the Gap

bridge over a gap employment historyAlmost everyone, at some point in their career, will experience a period of unemployment. For some, it’s an intentional thing – a break to upgrade education, parental leave, or some time out of work to care for a loved one. For others, it’s the last thing they ever would have wanted. Perhaps their company downsized or shut down and their job was affected. Or worse, they were fired.

Have you ever experienced this? Losing a job unexpectedly, whatever the circumstances, is in fact one of the most stressful experiences a person will ever have. Worst of all, at the exact moment you need to project competence and confidence, those very things have been shaken to their core. And the longer you’re on the hunt for your next job, the more you may find your self-confidence slipping.  Read More

Best Behavior

sign saying what is your storyBehavioral interview questions are the reason you should invest some time early in your job search to develop a bank of stories you can tell. If you don’t, you risk being caught off guard. Having to mentally scrounge through all your previous work experiences for a good example to use, before you can even start to answer the question. Here’s how to avoid that. Read More

Money Talks

piggy bank for salary expectationsIf I asked you to pick one interview question that twists your stomach in knots, I’d bet good money that it’s exactly that: money. “So, tell me … what are your salary expectations?” It’s the question almost everyone dreads. Most mid-career working people today were raised in homes where our parents didn’t talk openly about what they earned. Generationally and culturally speaking, it’s not in our nature. Read More

A Moment of Silence

clock showing a moment of silenceThere are few meetings with more inherent pressure than a job interview, and worse, most of that pressure is weighing on only one of the people (how unfair!). When you’re interviewing for a job, two or three short seconds can feel like a lifetime. They’re not, though, and allowing them to pass in silence can make a big difference to the quality of an answer – possibly one that could make or break your interview.

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