Getting The Edge At A Job Interview, with Steve Nicholls, Career Coach


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  • Confirm you can hear me and see the welcome screen; type ok! Bear with me for 30 seconds, sometimes a delay between you typing and it appearing on screen.Welcome everyone to this webinar, presented by myself, Steve Nicholls. I’m a career coach based in the UK, very proud to beworking in association with Webrecruit – adding value by offering unique free content. I’ll introduce myself properly in a moment, but initially some housekeepingOrientation with screen, and all recorded – so you can return to thisFeedback Questions – explain drop down “screen” – want you to get the most out of this.45 minutes approxWe will be running webinars regularly on subjects that you might request – feedback always welcomed – email meMy email address is on each slide. Please note it, and it’ll be great to hear from you.
  • Ok, a bit of background about webrecruit and myself. I’m Steve Nicholls, a career coach based in the UK. Before I got into Career coaching I was in b2b sales (consultancy), and project management, general management. So I’ve been in the “real world” if you will, just so you know a little bit about my career. Incidentally, I came to careers work after being in sales, so I’ve been through the career change process myself – and talked to someone like me to generate ideas…. I hope you all know a little of Webrecruit? First fixed-fee recruiter in the UK. Established 10-11 yrs, Chairman is James Caan, highly successful entrepreneur (of the UK TV programme Dragons Den fame).Both our companies are committed to adding value to our services, and that’s why we bring these to you for free.I may use a bit of humour occasionally as is my coaching style, but I’m deadly serious about helping you, and I sincerely hope that this webinar does help you.This will be an on-going series of webinars, of which this is the second, so it’s a really exciting time for us! We’re learning as we go, so feedback is always welcomed!
  • Jobs: 20-40 for every job advertised80+ Applicants for every graduate postRealities and promises – knowledge is power, but its how you apply that knowledge – handling nerves is one of the big issues, and we’ll cover that later on, but you of course need the academic and business quals and experience to get the job – This presentation covers the added extras! The golden nuggets of information!Ways to prepare are numerous, Tried to filter the best bits for youOk lets get right into it!
  • Agenda: This will all be about tips and tactics which will hopefully set you apart from other candidates – or will remind you of things which you may have forgotten. (Ask questions as we go, then at the end I’ll see if we have time to pick them up; if not, I will respond individually. I’ll do my best to help. We’ll see how we do for time re questions. Ask, but try to stay with what we’re discussing also )Easy to remember and apply: Nothing here is rocket science, and I make no apology for that. It’s the basics that get overlooked, so we need to ensure the basics are nailed down, if we’re going to improve your chances at the job interview! I full appreciate that among you, there will be those who are more experienced than others at job interviews. Ages 25-55 and all business sectors, all levels, different countriesand employment statusesI bring to the table an accumulated knowledge & anecdotes, from my interactions with people over the years. I really hope you get something from this. Go onto Webrecruits LinkedIn group and vote on the next webinar!!... Next one will be transferable skills and then the next might be around motivation when job hunting…
  • They / Them = “The Company” – your interviewersGetting into the content:Company Website – Yes, it’s a given that you’ll do basic research, but how can you leverage this research to really give you an edge? Look through the Board of Directors & other staff (any of the interview panel listed? What are their key “areas” within the business? Note it down)…. Company Vision (Mission Statement – memorize it?), Use any logos or colour schemes for your presentation. Are there any regulatory bodies/authorities who monitor standards in your industry? Know about them!BONUS: Annual report pdf – mgmt summary at leastSocial Media – a whole separate subject I know – but how can it help pre interview? Follow company on twitter; start to engage/retweet. LinkedIn should be a primary focus: follow company– or recruitment co., any key staff on there? Connect with them , but don’t canvass them of course, then follow key people in that company.ensure your LI profile is bang up to date, and accurately reflects your physical CV, AlsoGoogle Plus, Pinterest – are they on there? What are they posting? What interests them? All of this can give you a good feel for the company, and for individual employees who post content.Competitors – Pros and Cons; Just be aware of who the main competitors / players are in your industry – especially if you’re entering into a slightly different industry.Location/Travel: - Don’t be late! If travel timings dictates you’re going to be an hour early, or 5-10 minutes before, which would you go for?.... Dry Run?Note pad, pen, in advance note down questions to ask that show you’re interested – not salary related at this stage!
  • Following on…. You’re on time, settled, checked your appearanceIt starts at reception (Head of HR story…) – heightened state of awareness as soon as you enter the building!Please always view every interview as a two way process – you’re interviewing them too! In reality you may be busting to get the job, but you really do need to make sure the culture, values (I talk more about values in the career change planning webinar btw), where the company’s going, that all these things match up. Does your perception of these things pre interview match up on the day? Are THEY being authentic?Your voice should sound motivated and enthusiastic! Speak clearly, confidently. Try to make the interview as “conversational” as possible - BIGGIEBe aware of people’s perceptions; handshake, posture, body language (display interest and commitment)No to tea and coffee, something to knock over – glass of water if you mustThe Tour – Always accept, even if you know the building. Opportunity to speak to employees – who may or may not be directly involved in the interview feedback process. Ask people you see on the tour what it’s like working for the company! What challenges they face? The information you find out can then be fed back as part of your interview answers!Make a positive first impression, and end confidently, thank you email
  • These examples will demonstrate how being social, and adapting to situations can make a difference. Both were successful by the way!Example One – Chris – High Level Management role (80 applications!!), 6 candidates, tour (some declined!), presentation, speech to staff, panel interview. What helped him to get the job? 1. Presentation backdrops (explain), 2. Reception 5-10 minutes chat (no one else did that). Why did number 2 the reception chat matter particularly? Staff were involved in a 360 degree feedback process. So this example is about being mindful of the people side of the interview process, and I urge you to have the people side in the front of your mind. With any interview, yes you have to know your stuff, but I assure you that the human side can be underestimated, and it can help swing things in your favour….Example Two – Laura – Came to me with a massive case of interview nerves syndrome. She was a competent person, but felt that she didn’t answer interview questions properly, due to her nerves kicking in. We also discussed truly being herself; trusting her instincts and intuition so to speak. An interview came up for her in a Children/Family Services/Council role (Operational management). Before the interview, the night before, there was to be a stakeholders* gathering… So, the evening of the event came and it was a semi-structured affair; imagine a large hall with *parents/kids, staff, partner agencies, tables, scatter cushions, sausage rolls!!. We had discussed empathy/importance of relationship building in her coaching sessions, and when it came to chatting with some parents and their kids, in an inspired move she kicked off her shoes and sat down on the bean bags and engaged the parents in conversation (can you visualize that scene?). She did get some funny (like someone looking over the top of their glasses!) looks from other candidates who were also in the room.I also understand that 50/50 Introverts/Extroverts out there, for whom these ideas will be easy or difficult to apply – but it can really give you an edge, particularly where the final decision might be a close call.Both of these true stories are on my blog page on the website btw…
  • Listen – really listen – to the question. It’s easy to lose concentration go off at a tangent in your mind / stay focussed. After the question has been asked, pause and gather your thoughts for a second. Use their words / terms in the answer you give. Think about key words which they use in the question, and be sure you’re clear about what you’re being asked. Examples would be: Describe a time when…., Give me an example of……Describe a situation where (problem solving / team working perhaps)…, ‘Explain how you contributed’…. A bit of breathing space by repeating back the question; not word for word – but leads onto next point….Two part or not two part (or even three part) questions: example in an I.T. context “Give me examples of programmes you’ve used, how effective they’ve been, and what tasks you’ve used them with?” IF you’re not sure ask for the question to be repeated – it’s ok to do that – also, if you’re in an interview scoring situation (perhaps 5 or 6 per question), its important to get a few points across in your answer (explain)Engage Everyone (if panel) – when answering a question from a panel member, ensure that your eye contact is across all two/three/four members of that panel. There will usually be someone you perhaps “connect” with a little better, but keep everyone engaged……. Be aware of the panels areas of expertise / responsibility and answer questions in their language.. e.g. If a FD asks a question, then talk about cost-effective, bottom line profits        
  • Job interviews there are only three questions: Next slide fast transition
  • Forbes online article: The only three true job interview ‘questions’ (questions that may be in their heads rather than spoken)are:1.  Can you do the job? – quals, skills2.  Will you love the job? - motivation3.  Can we tolerate working with you? – organizational “fit”, values, cultureHow do those break down in practice?
  • Generic & Specialized, not exhaustive: Give them time to write down. I’ll give you a minute to jot these down, but you can always come back to this slide, as all our presentations are recorded.What I cannot do is give you the perfect answer to every interview question… I’d give it a good go, but the answers have to be yours. You have to own them. They have to feel natural and authentic, and be worded in a way that you normally speak.Specialized: brainstorm anticipated specialised questions to your own role, position to which you’re applying. Aim for perhaps 10 in total, including the basic questionsMore about brainstorming questions? We’ll come back to that in few short minutes…..
  • Be Prepared Clear the room ofdistractions…Keep your CV in clear view, Have a list of your achievements Have a couple of relevant web pages printed out too – ones that have vision and missionstatement info preferablyIf using a landline, ensure your mobile is switched off or silent. Unless you're sure your mobile phone service is going to be perfect, consider using a landline if possibleHave a pen and paper handy for note taking.(If the time isn't convenient (unless it’s a pre-arranged call), ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives. This is a highly personal judgement call.)PracticeTalking on the phone isn't as easy as it seems. It's helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and record it so you can hear how you sound over the phone. You'll be able to hear your "ums" and "uhs" and "okays" and you can practice reducing them.During the InterviewDo keep a glass of water handy. Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.Take your time - take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.Smiling will project a positive tone in your voice.Speak slowly…nerves speed you up!!Check how they want to be addressed (If they introduce themselves as Mr(s). Last Name, then use that title. If they introduce themselves as e.g. Steve Nicholls, then use Steve. There are cultural considerations also re international conventions. Some countries use Mr or Mrs much more than people do in the Europe, or USA for example. Bear in mind re international career moves.After (Thank the interviewer) ask what the next stage is?After the Interview:Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered. (soon after or the memory can fade) – anything that you didn’t feel you answered well?Reflect on this and learn for the next occasion.Follow swiftly with a thank you note which reiterates your interest in the job. A hand-written, hand delivered short ‘thank you’ card is even better, if it’s feasible for you – if in the same town or city. Don’t forget, this is all about giving you an edge – things that will set you apart in a positive way from others. 
  • Skype can also sometimes be used as part of the interview process – e.g. three interviewers face to face, one by skype – that poses its own challenges of engagement. As I said a couple of slides ago, keep everyone engagedI know the eye is scary! But imagine that I could see you now… It changes the vibe a bit doesn’t it?!Smile and FocusRemember to smile – this is video now, so even more important. There is nothing more engaging than smiling throughout your call with a friendly expression. The person with whom you are speaking deserves your full attention so make sure to stay focused on them.Choose your Colours WiselyCertain colours like many shades of blue - royal, navy, sky blue - look great on video while others like reds and warm spectrum colours can be too bright. Stay away from patterns, dots, its about distraction control! Also means you'll need to take extra care with how you look. You'll want to use some hair product and you may want to style your hair so it is off your face and won't require constant adjusting. Make-up, too, is important. Remember, higher quality video means much more detail is going to be visible on screen. Script Sometimes it is easier to have a few notes written down about what you'd like to talk about or topics that you want to discuss during your call. It's easy to scan your notes without losing direct contact with your caller or having long silences during your interaction. BackgroundWhile you are the focus of the call and the video, remember that there will be background material that the viewer will see. Think about how your webcam is set up and what can be detected behind you. Are you in sitting so that a blank wall is behind you or is there a cluttered book shelf or large painting behind you?LightingCheck to be sure you have enough lighting that doesn't create shadows or throw too harsh a look into your screen.BONUS TIPS: Communicating via SkypeEye contact with the interviewer equates to looking into the point of light, i.e. the webcam. The temptation can be to look at their picture on screen the whole time – or even yourself!Be natural and speak at your normal volume – no need to shout to be heard!Set up cam so its fairly eye level….A bit about telephone and skype there, but what about if, as part of a face to face interview, you have to make a presentation?
  • This may well be a separate webinar in the future:Time it / rehearse - properly / nerves will speed up speech – repeat – BIG POINTPresence and purpose / Clear intro KISS! (think, beginning, middle, end!)Keep animations and transitions to a minimumPersonalise it – Background, logos?Tell emetcetc (3 times rule) , move aroundUse the slide sorter – check the flow as you build the presentation (again - think, beginning, middle, end!)Move around / Eye contactHumour – its ok in appropriate doses. I’m not talking game show host, but it can show your human sideNotes - Not just copies of your slides, but a supporting document- because if slides are good, they won’t explain everything in themselves, so the slides will be pretty meaningless to the audience. Give out at end, not beginning.Show them an issue** – then show them your solution (link back to tour**, which I hope if it happens you use it to best effect!)OK. Moving back to the job interview….
  • Ok, returning to what I was saying earlier re questions:Rehearsalis the key - this is the big one…First – write down questions and write down your answers – 5 gen, 5 specialistAsk the questions to yourself aloud – not internallyAnswer them aloud (big part of combatting nerves is hearing the sound of your own voice– project your voice; sound confident, but not like you’re reading from a script – get comfortable with your answers. They should FLOWBuild Up over 2-3 days the number of questions / answer them in blocks of 3 to 5 / do a few then come back to it.The answers should eventually flow, and sound natural and unrehearsed.Simple but effective method – you’ll be better prepared, but also more relaxed and generally able to answer questions better due to that.BONUS TIP:Combatting Nerves: Breathe / deep breath / hold for 2-3 seconds / then quick breathe out / 2 or 3 times / it changes your physiology and psychology for the better – advice from a doctor.
  • Objective of all of these tips is you’ll be controlled and relaxed at your next interview!Confidence / Relaxed Business-like approach will do you no harm at all…
  • Quick Summary
  • Questions
  • Repeatcall to action 1 and 2(Take time describing how to rate and connect)1. Please Rate This Presentation, out of 52. Connect with UsThanks and I hope to talk to you again, either one to one, or at future webinars. The next one will be about motivation while job hunting, so register for that one if its of interest.Final message about the job interview:Never give up. No matter how many interviews you’ve had, always keep trying and always believe in yourself.Thankyou
  • Getting The Edge At A Job Interview, with Steve Nicholls, Career Coach

    1. 1. Welcome! Connect With Us Today!Find Us On Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ All Social Links Are On The Websites Below Getting The Edge at a Job Interview © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    2. 2. © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    3. 3. Getting The Edge at a Job Interview Strategies For Success © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    4. 4. Agenda:Tips and TacticsResearchSocial SkillsTelephone & SkypeInterview QuestionsCombatting Interview Nerves © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    5. 5. Research:Company WebsiteSocial MediaCompetitorsLocation / TravelNote Pad, Pen, Questions © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    6. 6. On The DayYou Made It!First Impressions2 way processTea? Coffee?The Building Tour © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    7. 7. Social SkillsConstant Enquiry © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    8. 8. Answering InterviewQuestions• Listen To The Question• ‘Two Part, Or Not Two Part!?’• Engage with all © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    9. 9. 3 Questions ………..? © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    10. 10. 1. Can you do the job?2. Will you love the job?3. Can we tolerateworking with you? © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    11. 11. Generic Questions: • Tell me about yourself? What attracts you to this position? Why are you interested in this position? Tell us 2 or 3 achievements you’re particularly proud of? What experience can you bring to this role? Good points? Bad Points? Specialized Questions:• Team, Setting Priorities, Customer Service, Problem Solving, Innovation, Organisational Skills, Initiative, Meeting Deadlines, Questions specific to your Industry © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    12. 12. © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    13. 13. Skype © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    14. 14. PresentationsTime it / rehearse / nerves = speed! Presence & Purpose / Clear intro Tell ‘em!/ Move around © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    15. 15. Interview © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    16. 16. © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    17. 17. © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    18. 18. © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching
    19. 19. Getting The Edge at a Job InterviewFind Us On Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ All Social Links Are On The Websites Below © Steve Nicholls Career Coaching