Archive for April 2011

Have You Made Any of These 7 Deadly Job Interview Sins? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

April 26, 2011
  • You are not well-prepared.  The job is won or lost before the interview begins, based on your preparation.
  • You have not taken the steps necessary to control your anxiety.  It’s normal to be nervous in a job interview!  While some people will naturally get more nervous than others, you can control and reduce your anxiety by being well-prepared, practicing ahead of time, looking your best, showing up early, and so on.
  • You are not professional at all times.  I won’t list all the possible ways you could be unprofessional.  Let’s just say that you can blow your chances of getting hired in the first 3 seconds you meet someone.  Make sure you have confident body language, your breath is fresh and that you don’t have any body odor or smell like smoke.  Make sure you are nicely groomed.  Turn your cell phone off before the interview.  Don’t say anything that could damage your chances.  Don’t volunteer more information than is needed.  Never let your guard down.  And… don’t be weird!  Seriously.  One of my friends started her own business recently, and she told me of all sorts of bizarre ways that people showed up and acted in interviews.  She said it was amazing how hard it was to find someone who was “normal.”
  • You give the interviewer too much credit.  First of all, do not make the person interviewing you into some almighty king or queen.  When I interviewed with an NBA Team President as a college student, I talked to her like an equal, and she respected me for that.  Secondly, do not assume the interviewer knows what he is doing.  I conducted interviews for a previous employer and I had no training, and none of my colleagues did either!  This happens more often than you might think, and more often than any employer will publicly admit.  Lastly, do not assume the interviewer is familiar with your background.  I once interviewed with a senior executive when I was in the process of leaving my job in the NBA.  I showed up with a professional portfolio with the Wizards’ logo on it.  The interviewer said, “Oh, are you a big Wizards’ fan or something?”  I replied, “Well, yes, I work for the team.”  He said “Oh, wow, that must be very cool.”  The guy had clearly not even read my resume or cover letter at all!
  • You do not know how to sell yourself.  Don’t assume credentials will speak for themselves.  It is your responsibility to prove to the employer why you are the best person for the job.  Selling yourself is not bragging about how great you are.  The best ways to sell yourself are by asking great questions, by sharing stories and examples that demonstrate why you have the traits and skills needed for success in the position, and by closing the interview strong.  You can finish strong by asking for the job while recapping why you are the best candidate.
  • You are not likeable.  Another reason why interviews exist is because employers hire people they like.  The most qualified candidate is not always the person who gets the job.  Treat every person with respect.  If you are rude to the secretary, you are not getting hired.  Don’t badmouth anyone or be negative.  Don’t be a robot; include humor when appropriate.  You have to be enthusiastic and friendly during the entire interview process.  Note: if you have to fake enthusiasm, that’s a sign you should not be interviewing with the organization.  If you can’t get excited for 1 hour about the possibility of working for the employer, do you really think you will be excited working for the organization 40-50 hours a week?! 
  • You don’t bring your “a” game throughout the entire process.  The interview process begins the moment you come in contact with someone who could potentially refer you or hire you.  Treat every career conversation like an interview, because every career conversation is an interview.  Once you get into the formal interview process, bring your “A” game at all times.  I remember going through a series of 4 back-to-back interviews with a Fortune 100 company when I was in college.  I asked most of my questions in the first interview, and 1-2 more in the 2nd interview.  In the 3rd interview, I asked no questions at all, somehow thinking that the first 2 interviewers would tell the 3rd interviewer about all the brilliant questions I asked earlier.  The 3rdinterviewer even threw me a bone by telling me it would be good to ask some questions, and I replied by saying that I already asked my questions earlier in the day.  Big mistake!  Even if you ask the exact same questions with each person you meet, that’s better than asking none.  Treat each interview as if it is your only chance to make a great impression.  You want each person you meet (including secretaries) to be sold on hiring you because you never know who has the final say.  It only takes 1 person being adamant against hiring you for you to lose a job offer. 
  •  

    P.S. To receive a FREE, 25-page report on other Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at www.PeteLeibman.com

    Sincerely,

    -Pete Leibman

    -Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You” (due out through AMACOM in spring 2012)

    -President of Idealize Enterprises

    -Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

    Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

    www.PeteLeibman.com

    www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

    Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

    Advertisements

    To Get Your Dream Job, Does Size Matter? (Written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

    April 6, 2011

    To get your dream job, you have to first identify the organizations you would ideally want to work for.  As you identify your target market of ideal employers, you also have to consider the size of the organization you want to work for.  Working for an employer with 27 total employees will be a very different experience than working for an employer with 27,000 total employees. 

    It’s similar to attending a major state school with 50,000 students versus a small liberal arts college with less than 2,000 students.  As a result, spend some time reflecting on what you liked or disliked about your collegiate environment.  That experience can help you determine your ideal company size.  In addition, here are 4 benefits of working for small organizations (less than 100 employees) and 4 benefits of working for large organizations (100-10,000 employees, or more).

    4 benefits (in general) of working for small employers:

    1. Greater individual impact.  Smaller employers often give new employees more responsibility at the start, simply because they have fewer people on staff.  This can be rewarding since you can wear a lot of different hats, run your own projects, and even start projects of your own, all of which make it very easy to see the impact of your work.  You certainly won’t be free of any grunt work in a small organization, but you’ll likely have to endure more of it initially in a large organization.  It can also be harder to see the impact of your work in a large organization where it is easy to feel insignificant in relation to the big picture.
    2. More day-to-day variety.  In many cases, your day-to-day responsibilities can be much more diverse at a smaller organization since you often end up wearing a lot of different hats.  Many smaller employers also give their employees more freedom to determine how to get their work done.
    3. More intimacy with colleagues.  Because there are fewer employees, it’s more likely you will get “face-time” with key executives and that you will get to know most of your fellow colleagues when working for a small employer. 
    4. Faster growth potential.  Smaller organizations usually have less bureaucracy and less complicated organizational structures.  As a result, you can usually move up faster in a small organization; large organizations usually have much more deliberate (i.e. slow) processes of promoting from within.

    4 benefits (in general) of working for large employers:

    1. Greater organizational impact.  While your personal contribution might feel more significant at a small organization, the impact that your employer can have on the world is usually much more significant at a large organization, simply because of a much greater supply of resources (i.e. more people, more financing, more equipment, and so on).
    2. More name recognition.  Working for a large organization that is a household name provides some advantages.  First of all, you get to align yourself with the organization’s brand next time you look for a job.  Sorry, this will probably not be the last time you will look for a job!  Secondly, small employers usually don’t have as much name recognition within an industry, and this is especially important if you are looking for a sales position.  When I worked in the NBA, nearly every prospect I contacted had heard of our organization, and this made it easy to start conversations.  When I later worked for a small direct marketing firm (that was not very well-known outside of our existing customer base), it was much more challenging to start dialogues with new prospects. 
    3. Greater stability.  Larger organizations are usually much more well-established and stable than smaller organizations, who tend to have less predictable futures.  However, anyone who worked at Circuit City or Lehman Brothers knows that this is not always true.
    4. More opportunities to change directions.  Larger employers often have offices worldwide and are actually multiple organizations (sometimes in totally different markets) operating under 1 large umbrella.  As a result, once you get inside a huge organization, there can be many more opportunities to move to new cities, branch out, and change professional directions.  On the other hand, smaller employers often have fewer office locations (sometimes just 1 office location), and they often play in a very specific niche.

    These are all broad generalizations that are definitely not true across the board.  For instance, a small employer could actually have great name recognition or actually provide very little variety on a day-to-day basis.  On the other hand, a large employer could actually have a very negative reputation in an industry or provide a very entrepreneurial environment where you have the ability to implement new projects and see the impact of your work from day 1. 

    While you could likely achieve great success and satisfaction at a small or large employer (if you are in the right industry/position and working for a great organization), it’s worth taking some time to think through your ideal company size.  Most students and young professionals ignore small employers altogether (I certainly did as a young job-seeker), simply because they don’t know what’s out there. 

    Don’t limit your job search just to organizations recruiting on your campus or organizations you are aware of through traditional advertising.  In many ways, it is actually much easier to break into a smaller organization.  It’s considerably easier to connect with the real hiring decision-makers at small companies, and those individuals can usually move on hiring decisions much more quickly.

    P.S. To receive a FREE, 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets, visit my web site at www.IdealizeNow.com.

    -Pete Leibman

    -President of Idealize Enterprises

    -Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

    Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

    www.IdealizeNow.com

    www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

    Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com