10 deadly interview mistakes & bonus: How To answer the question they will always ask
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10 deadly interview mistakes & bonus: How To answer the question they will always ask

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A Recruiter Reveals: Are you making these interview mistakes? It's easy to assume we know how to answer interview questions, but NO! Making that assumption is why the most qualified candidate doesn't ...

A Recruiter Reveals: Are you making these interview mistakes? It's easy to assume we know how to answer interview questions, but NO! Making that assumption is why the most qualified candidate doesn't get the job. Increase your odds with this information.

Bonus: How to Answer the Question They are Always Going to Ask. If you are uncomfortable with your answer to this question, they are going to know. This answer alone can be the one that gets you the offer or gets a polite rejection. With this concept, you can create an honest answer they will love.

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    10 deadly interview mistakes & bonus: How To answer the question they will always ask 10 deadly interview mistakes & bonus: How To answer the question they will always ask Document Transcript

    • P a g e | 1 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 [Type a quote from the document or the summary of an interesting point. You can position the text box anywhere in the document. Use the Drawing Tools tab to change the formatting of the pull quote text box.]
    • P a g e | 2 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Welcome and thank you for reading! This report was written to help you make your next interview your LAST interview. Best wishes for a fast and outrageously successful conclusion to your search, 2014 © Please send this report to anyone you think may benefit. P.S. I’ve also included a special report on how to create a powerful yet honest answer to the question they are always going to ask. If you take that information seriously, you have significantly increased the odds of your next interview being your LAST interview. Only a small percentage of candidates answer this question well. And I can assure you that if the recruiter/hiring manager is uncomfortable with your answer, you may have blown the entire interview. Use the 3-step formula I’ve outlined, and you will feel confident and professional when you answer this question, no matter what your situation.
    • P a g e | 3 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Contents Introduction:..................................................................................................................................................................4 Why I Wrote This For You..............................................................................................................................................4 Do these still matter with all the other ways interviews are done, for example, video interviewing?.........................5 Quick Tip for Explaining Embarrassing or Uncomfortable Situations in your Career ....................................................5 How to Benefit Most From These Tips ..........................................................................................................................6 Mistake #1: Your preparation is misdirected because you think “I’ll have the whole interview time to come up with good questions.” ...........................................................................................................................................................7 Mistake #2: You leave out one or two of the three essential components of every successful interview answer.......7 Mistake #3: Your answers go far beyond what they asked for because you want them know all about you. .............8 Mistake #4: You turn the interview (or let it descend) into a Q&A session. .................................................................9 Mistake #5: When they ask “Why should we hire you?”, you cannot tell them in 30 words or 15 seconds why you’re the clear choice. .................................................................................................................................................9 Mistake #6: You think the more interviews you do, the better you will get. ..............................................................10 Mistake #7: Asking for the job in a way that really irritates the interviewer and doesn’t feel good to you...............10 Mistake #8: You have learned to use language and terms, and examples that make you sound like everyone else. 11 Mistake #9: You think getting a job is an interview numbers game............................................................................11 Mistake #10: You think to yourself: “I don’t need to practice or get any advice. It’s just answering some questions about my experience, so how hard can that be?”.......................................................................................................12 How to Fix Your Mistakes Before Your Next Interview. ..............................................................................................12 Additional Resources to End Your Job Search with Outrageous Success ....................................................................13 Want to talk?...............................................................................................................................................................13 BONUS: How you answer this common interview question could win or lose you the job........................................15 Critical Things to Consider ...........................................................................................................................................15 Common Problem #1: Too much information (TMI) ..............................................................................................16 Common Problem #2: Not enough information.....................................................................................................16 3 Step-Formula for Creating a Great (and Honest) Answer.........................................................................................17 Essential yet Woefully Underutilized “Next Step”.......................................................................................................18 What if the interviewer wants more information?.................................................................................................18 Last and really really really important ....................................................................................................................19 How not to do it......................................................................................................................................................19 The Answer that Really Worked for Me ......................................................................................................................20
    • P a g e | 4 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Introduction: It’s difficult to know which of these interview outcomes is worse. You interview for a job that seems just perfect for you. You are so excited! This might be the one! You dressed appropriately, had a great handshake, smiled, made eye contact and tried to do and say all the right things. When you left:  You have a sinking feeling that you blew the interview, hoping maybe they didn’t notice only to learn later you really did blow it,  You think: I nailed it! They loved me! I got that job! only to learn later that they are not moving you forward. When I talk to the hiring managers after interview, they agree the candidate looked perfect for the job…until the interview. And the reasons? In almost all cases, hiring managers did not reject a candidate because of experience. It’s all the other, often invisible and silent, things that happened during the interview. Let me take you behind the scenes and share what other recruiters and hiring managers say after they have interviewed candidates. This is the information they will rarely share with you as a candidate, but you need to know if you’re going to end your job search. I don’t want to hurt your feelings. I know from personal experience, it can be very hard to have someone tell you these things. It certainly was for me. However, if we don’t know what went wrong that kept us from getting the job in our previous interviews, we won’t know how to fix them for the next one. The hard cold fact of job search is that your resume can get you in, your connections can vouch for you, but have a poor interview and you don’t get the job. And your job search just goes on and on. Ugh! But don’t despair. Correct these mistakes and you may even start to enjoy your interviews. Why I Wrote This For You I still remember my own job search as one of the most painful, embarrassing and ego-damaging times of my life. In case you have some or all of these feelings, I want to help you end your job search fast and with outrageous success! How? By sharing what you need to know about the one thing still standing between you and your next job…the interview. As someone who now recruits every day, I can tell you the rules that are impacting your success in interviews have changed rapidly and dramatically. And they may not be intuitively obvious. When you understand how to interview with today’s rules, you’ll stand out from your competitors and get the job. I wish I could, but honestly, I’m not telling you I have a magic pill. But I do have the next best thing to that magic pill--something absolutely essential to help you upgrade your interviewing skills. And what is that next best thing? It’s the fact I’m talking to real live hiring managers and candidates every day. Over the last several years, I’ve recruited for a wide variety of positions around the US and Canada, usually in the $100K - $300K compensation range.
    • P a g e | 5 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Here’s why that matters. Because I can tell you “from the trenches”  the changes brought about by the increased competition for jobs, social media, mobile technology and the new ways we get and process information,  what hiring managers are doing that they haven’t done before, and what is important to them for the first time,  the things that used to be exactly the right things to do that now would get you tossed out of consideration for the position So to give you the edge in your next interview, I want to share the 10 most common mistakes job seekers make. Any one of these could be the reason you didn’t get the job. Do these still matter with all the other ways interviews are done, for example, video interviewing? No matter what form your interviews take, these are universal mistakes. Fixing them will help you no matter what form your next interview takes. Today interviews can be via Skype, video services, telephone interviews with large panels of interviewers, screen sharing, and more variations to come. This means you have the additional challenge of being able to appear confident, calm, and professional WHILE on camera or in any venue even if it’s your first time. So my advice is to conquer these mistakes first, and then record yourself answering interview questions using your webcam, tablet, phone, or whatever. Quick Tip for Explaining Embarrassing or Uncomfortable Situations in your Career I believe it’s absolutely critical to your success that you tell the truth. It’s also important that you feel comfortable with the answers. A lot of candidates have something they are worried about discussing. This might be something like being fired, taking time off to care for an aging parent or starting your own business that didn’t do well. Those things can be explained in a positive and honest way. But if you’re not comfortable with the answer, the interviewer will pick up on that discomfort. They won’t know why you’re feeling uncomfortable, but they will think the worst. Work out an answer that is truthful, even if it doesn’t contain all the facts, and one that you feel comfortable sharing. Practice it! If you would like my assistance in crafting an answer that is honest and still won’t raise a red flag to the interviewer, let’s talk. We’ll come up with an answer that works for you and for the interviewer. See the Resources section for more information.
    • P a g e | 6 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 How to Benefit Most From These Tips Be honest with yourself about your interviewing skills. Don’t despair if you come to the conclusion that you need help. There is a lot of it here!1 You don’t even have to read all of this. Decide which will be the first mistake to fix. Read the tip on how to change what you’ve been doing, and practice that. Then pick the next one. The most deadly mistake: Thinking that because it’s just a conversation about you, so you can just go in and talk. If you gain interviewing skills, when you say: I nailed it! They loved me! I got that job! You’ll be right. It will have been your last interview! 1 For even more essential interviewing secrets, tips, techniques, strategies, check out this guide.
    • P a g e | 7 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Mistake #1: Your preparation is misdirected because you think “I’ll have the whole interview time to come up with good questions.” 2 Here is one of my recruiter secrets. Often we will ask for your questions up front. One reason for that is so you as the candidate can get more clarity about the position so your answers can be more relevant to the position. Another reason is because your questions tell us a) if you’re prepared and b) if you really thought about the position. I’ve found that those with the best questions about the position often get the job, even if they don’t appear to be the best qualified on paper. So in addition to creating rapport from the start, be sure you are prepared with good questions. Don’t think the “I am sure I’ll have questions as we talk today.” is fooling any one. Saying that is a really bad way to start an interview. Recruiters and most hiring managers know that’s code for “I am not prepared.” Even today with all the information resources available to them, many candidates are poorly prepared. Of course you want to know about the company, the industry, etc. Just as critical is to really study the job posting and as the professional you are, identify the important questions to ask about the job. Recruiters and hiring managers expect candidates for accounting positions to ask the kinds of questions a great accounting person would have. If you’re a sales executive, ask the key questions. Those questions actually do more to demonstrate your expertise than many of your answers during the interview. Great questions can also create a good dialogue with the interviewer that other candidates will have missed out on. If you hope to have those important questions just appear during the interview, I think you’re going to have a tough time getting the job. Mistake #2: You leave out one or two of the three essential components of every successful interview answer Most candidates think one-dimensionally about their answer and just start talking. Most candidates don’t practice layering their answers with these 3 essential components. Remember, interview success truly is about more than just the facts! So if you include ALL of the components, you will knock their socks off and leave the competition far behind. Here are the components: facts that give them the info they needed, market yourself fin every answer, and third, connect with the interviewer so that you’re also building a relationship. By the way, did you realize that every person who interviews you is asking themselves “Will I like working with this person? Will this person fit into our team or culture?” I’d be willing to be that many of your answers are leaving out at least one of these components. 2 2 Check out this guide to see what constitutes a good answer. It may be different than you think.
    • P a g e | 8 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 1. The facts that answer the question they asked: brief not brusque. Put your facts into a story with the situation, what you decided to do, the actions you took, and the results. Information in a story form is actually more believable—and easier to listen to—than just a recitation of the facts. 2. Market yourself: make it clear how you are the right candidate. I know it’s hard to toot your own horn and stories can make that easier. Another great way to do it without being salesy or obnoxious is to quote someone. This can be people you worked for, internal or external clients, peers, etc. It’s much more convincing and easier for you to quote others on key points you are trying to make. Why is that? Well, research shows that we don’t necessarily believe facts in a vacuum but when they come from someone else, there is an element of social proof. Someone who hired you or worked with you before thought you were great! That approach also lowers their concern about making a hiring mistake. It may come as a surprise to you that hiring managers are often worried about making a bad hiring decision. 3. Build a relationship: continue to build on what you’re doing to avoid Mistake #1 above. Everyone interviewing you is always asking themselves: do I like this person? Would l like to work with them? Would they fit in with the team, culture, our clients, etc? Small talk is not a skill we all have; I was sooooo bad! But it is a skill you can learn. It was a big stumbling block for me, and I thought being stinko at small talk was ok and wouldn’t matter. I was wrong on both counts. So I figured out some simple any-introvert-can-do techniques and wrote them down for those of you who share this challenge with me. Here is one simple thing you can do, and I can guarantee it will make a positive difference in how you will feel during the interview. Remember that many hiring decisions come down to a chemistry fit, so this piece can make all the difference. Use inclusive words like “you”, “we” and “us”: For example, “you asked an interesting question” or “we’re having some incredible weather, aren’t we?”3 Mistake #3: Your answers go far beyond what they asked for because you want them know all about you. You may be tempted to include a lot more than they asked for when you answer. And to be honest, you might be trying to get in a few other facts less relevant to the question just because they are good ones and just might seal the deal for you. 3 If small talk is a bit of a challenge for you, check out my book on Kindle: Hidden Job Market Secrets For Job Seekers Who Hate Small Talk
    • P a g e | 9 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 But that quickly starts to fall into the blah, blah, blah territory. The listener goes on overwhelm, then they start to tune you out and their attention wanders. You probably know when that is happening, even if you on a phone call. So perhaps then you try to add more good stuff, talk faster, etc., to rekindle their interest. All of which is just convincing the person interviewing you that you aren’t their candidate. They won’t say it at the time, but that’s exactly what they are thinking. Too much information beyond what they asked for can make you seem salesy or desperate or peg you as a poor listener. Needless to say, those aren’t attributes hiring managers are eager to add to their team! Mistake #4: You turn the interview (or let it descend) into a Q&A session. This may seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t that what an interview is by definition? Trying to listen, give good answers, making sure you include all the good stuff? Well, sorta. What’s the problem? You aren’t having a conversation with the interviewer. So it becomes a little bit like a tennis match, back and forth, back and forth. Question, answer, question answer. That’s not a dialog. That means two things have happened. First, you are focusing on you, which is not the best place to focus in an interview. Secondly, you are not connecting with the recruiter so you’re not building any relationship nor are you finding out what’s important to them. Answering a question without understanding what’s important to them is a crap shoot.4 Sad but true that sometimes hiring managers don’t phrase their questions appropriately or think about the best way to get the information they need. Asking for clarification before you launch into your answer gives you critical information and, surprisingly, makes you look more confident. Probably not a good idea to do it on every question, and vary the way you do it. But don’t jump in hoping your answer is what they are looking for.5 Mistake #5: When they ask “Why should we hire you?”, you cannot tell them in 30 words or 15 seconds why you’re the clear choice. Of course we want to think that as job seekers we really are different and stand out. How could anyone miss the fact we’re the best for the position? Unfortunately, it’s more common than you might think that it’s easy to look and sound like everyone else and that can happen faster than you would imagine. 5 For ways to craft your answer to the question they will always ask, check out this guide.
    • P a g e | 10 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Candidates who cannot easily make it clear to the interviewer why they are the best suited for the position risk are unlikely to be the standout candidate. And if you can, the good news is you go to the head of the line because your competition couldn’t tell them. It’s risky to think that the reason will be obvious, or hope that a long detailed answer to “Why should we hire you?” will make you stand out. It actually will fade you into the group where my hiring manager will say “I really cannot remember anyone who stood out to me.” Mistake #6: You think the more interviews you do, the better you will get. I can relate to this one. Well, I can actually relate to ALL of these. But as a practical person, I did figure that while interviews were new to me when I was in job search before I became a recruiter, I thought practice made perfect. And it does. But unfortunately if you’re making critical mistakes, all you’re really doing is getting really good at those interview mistakes. Interview after interview may be perfecting the imperfect. So maybe you’re feeling more comfortable because the answers are coming easier, but if they aren’t good answers, your job search isn’t going to end soon. Mistake #7: Asking for the job in a way that really irritates the interviewer and doesn’t feel good to you. There is a way to ask for the job they will love and there is a way to ask that will really rub them the wrong way. Unfortunately some of the advice you’ve gotten on this point may sound good, until you use it with a real live interviewer. Out of the 7 or more ways to “do the close”, there is one that will get you critical information while minimizing the risk of finishing your interview on a sour note. “When you think of me in this position, how do you see me as a fit, on a scale of 1 to 10?” Note: this close will be way too soft if you are interviewing for a sales position. Use your sales skills to craft the question appropriately and be sure to go for the close. Doing that is actually what interviewers are expecting. Just remember that the way you do it will demonstrate how you do it with customers or clients. For other positions, the question shows your willingness to have a dialog with the interviewer and demonstrates you are open to honest feedback. That openness increases your chances of getting an honest response. To get additional feedback, you can ask a follow up question “What could I do to make that a 10? Is there additional information you need?” This approach can give you a very clear idea of where you stand and reveal any objections in the interviewer’s mind. Ask if you can take a moment to clear up any misunderstandings where perhaps you were not clear in your answer.
    • P a g e | 11 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 This is a tough question to ask, and I understand if you may feel reluctant to ask. At a minimum ask if they can tell you what next steps will be. But the rewards (jobs) go to the candidates who do great interviews. That can be you! Mistake #8: You have learned to use language and terms, and examples that make you sound like everyone else.6 If you sound like everyone else, you get grouped with everyone else. That’s not the place from which you get the job! So if you’re planning to say you are collaborative, a team player, self-motivated, etc. think again please. Everyone says those things. Just saying it doesn’t make it believable to the interviewer. Worse, these terms fall into the blah, blah, blah category. What are some terms to avoid? Well, start with this list from LinkedIn of the 10 most commonly used terms. 1. Responsible 2. Strategic 3. Creative 4. Effective 5. Patient 6. Expert 7. Organizational 8. Driven 9. Innovative 10. Analytical Think about what words you use out of habit or because they sound professional, etc. If you know they are terms lots of candidates will be using, come up with alternatives. It’s worth the effort. And did you know that research has shown that people who use more unique words are perceived as more intelligent? It has to be a word people will know, of course, but using a word they aren’t expecting can really work to your advantage. Mistake #9: You think getting a job is an interview numbers game. You’re thinking (hoping) that if you just keep interviewing, there will be a tipping point--a point at which the next job just has to be yours because you’ve hit some magical number. I’ve seen candidates get a job on their first interview; I’ve also seen candidates who have been interviewing for two years. It isn’t true that it’s just a numbers game. You don’t get the job because you’ve done X number of interviews. You get the job because you know how to answer their questions, market yourself 6 For more ways to create blow-their-socks off answers, take a look at this Interview Guide.
    • P a g e | 12 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 and build a relationship with everyone you meet so they cannot wait to have you join their team. Knocking their socks off isn’t a function of how many interviews you do. It’s directly related to how well you do those interviews. Mistake #10: You think to yourself: “I don’t need to practice or get any advice. It’s just answering some questions about my experience, so how hard can that be?” Remember this was my feeling when I first started. Let me admit right now that I was so wrong! The good news is you can actually benefit from the fact that most candidates do not do any prep at all or just as bad/sad, they do the wrong kind of prep. As I hope you realize by now, if you want to land the job, it takes more than just repeating some facts about your experience. At the same time, you cannot practice doing the wrong things and expect to nail the interview. You have to prepare and practice doing the things that count. One of the most important benefits of doing the right kind of prep is the confidence you will feel when you walk into the interview. Confidence is one of the most important things to demonstrate in an interview, and you have to feel it to convey it. Preparation will give you that confidence. It isn’t a matter of memorizing a bunch of answers and hope they ask the questions you have answers for. It’s a matter of knowing how to craft answers so you’re ready for any question they ask, even if it’s one you’ve never been asked before. How to Fix Your Mistakes Before Your Next Interview. I’ve reviewed what feels like a million interview guides, though just between us, it’s probably not that many. But I’ve looked at a lot of them, and read lots of interview advice. And I feel like Goldilocks because some of those guides were way too aggressive, some were not sophisticated enough, and most were totally confusing. Those are bad ways to go into an interview. Here is one that I think is just right. The Ultimate Guide to Interview Answers7 This is an investment in ending your job search! It isn’t a list of answer to memorize, but rather helps you see how to structure a good answer, and understand what makes it a good answer. So you’ll be able to blow them away with your answer to any question, even if you never heard that question before. Do yourself a favor and take a look at this guide. You’ll really be giving yourself a huge advantage in your next interview. After all, how many more of them did you really want to do? 7 Please note I make a commission on every sale. Not enough for a pony; more like a Starbucks Tall no- foam Latte and Red Velvet cupcake.
    • P a g e | 13 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Additional Resources to End Your Job Search with Outrageous Success 1. Free Report: How to open up the hidden job market Free and terror-free networking scripts to get into the hidden job market where it’s estimated 85% of jobs are found. No more procrastination or sweaty palms! Click here to get your free report immediately. 2. Videos: Job Search strategies and techniques Visit my YouTube channel to see lots of videos on interviewing tips and techniques as well as job search strategies from a recruiter’s perspective 3. Kindle ebooks written specifically for you in job search. People who know how important networking and small talk are when it comes to job search rarely talk about those skills. Adopting just one or two of these techniques from each book will catapult your confidence and raise the bar on your job search activities. I think these are the first and only books of their kind written on these topics specifically for job seekers. Hidden job market secrets: Networking for Reluctant Networkers Hidden job market secrets for the job seeker who hates small talk 4. Resume Writer The only resume writer I’ve seen who understands what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. Most job seekers miss this critical element on their resume. I do NOT get any commission if you use her services, but let her know you found her in this report, please. Kelly Donovan, CPRW Career Communications Strategist & Certified Professional Resume Writer 909.235.6383 www.KellyDonovan.com Want to talk? Email me Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com If you have a challenging or embarrassing situation to explain or if there are some questions that are giving you the shakes, let’s talk. I charge $50/half hour. You’ll get great new answers that truly “market” you and gain a new confidence. You may even start to be excited about your next interview. After all, it could be your LAST interview! All my best wishes for a fast conclusion to your job search. Thank you for Reading!
    • P a g e | 14 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Copyright notice © Katherine Moody, 2011, 2013, 2014 Please feel free to share this with other job seekers. My own experience and that of the job seekers I’ve coached has proven that this strategy is essential and highly effective for answering this critical question. My wish for you is a fast and outrageously successful conclusion to your search. P.S. For more interviewing tips, check out my video with the top 10 interview mistakes I see candidates make. http://budurl.com/10InterviewMistakes I’ve done many more videos from my recruiter perspective. Watch them to help make your next interview your last interview. To see all my videos with Job Search and Interview Tips that work today: http://www.youtube.com/user/HiddenJobMarket?feature=mhee Subscribe to my YouTube channel and I’ll let you know about new videos that will help you end your job search.
    • P a g e | 15 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 How you answer this common interview question could win or lose you the job Every interview you have will undoubtedly include one of these questions:  Why are you leaving your current job?  Why did you leave your previous job? As a recruiter, I ask this question many times a week. It’s so sad that most job seekers give really bad answers to the one question they can predict will be asked. Therefore, they blow this unique opportunity to differentiate themselves and stand out from the huge crowd of competitors for the job. So if your current answer is bad, you’re in good company. And the good news? The simple formula I’ll show you in this special report will make it easy for you to give a powerful answer. Critical Things to Consider I recommend you be prepared to answer it about every company on your resume. It’s rare for interviewers to go back more than the last ten years or so, which is probably all you have on your resume. But you never know when you might run into someone (like the partner I worked with at Heidrick & Struggles) who will want to know about every job you ever had. We lovingly referred to that as the “going back to the little log cabin in the woods where it all started” technique. As you read through formula for a powerful answer, it may seem like a lot of information that will take a lot of time to convey. Practice this and you should not need more than 3-4 sentences. I’ll show you how to build this answer around your brand to create powerful positive images that say powerful positive things about you in a question most job seekers typically dread. Answer this question with this simple formula and you will really differentiate yourself. First, let me share two common and deadly problems with typical candidate answers, so you can avoid them.
    • P a g e | 16 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Common Problem #1: Too much information (TMI) It’s critical to think through how you answer this question. I’m a total advocate for honesty, of course. At the same time, you may not want to go into all the ugly details just because they are the truth. It’s critical to know when you are doing TMI and do some editing. I’ve seen candidates lose the interview because they shared too much about the dirty laundry of their previous company. Senior level executives and HR professionals are expected to be discreet in what they share—after all they have access to a lot of confidential information about their company. So being indiscreet will raise real questions about your ability to keep confidences. Secondly, at this level, you are expected and required to have good judgment. Think about what spilling all the beans says about you (in case you’re tired of the laundry metaphor). It raises questions about your judgment. After all, you don’t know the person you’re sitting across from in this interview. Should you really tell all to someone who might have some kind of connection to the person and/or company you’re talking about? And think about what the interviewer may be thinking: “Oh my gosh. What will this person say about us out into the world if we were to hire them and then they leave?” Common Problem #2: Not enough information If your answer is very brief or rushed, it can give the interviewer a feeling that something isn’t right. I’ve heard hiring managers say, ”I just had a feeling there was something I wasn’t being told.” What a bind! You can get in trouble for a complete explanation and in just as much trouble for an incomplete one! Here’s how to create an answer that walks the line between those two problems. Even better, it makes you an even more desirable candidate. Here I’m talking about using your answer to differentiate yourself from your competition, as well as give an honest answer that makes the interviewer feel comfortable. Almost no one does this, and if you do, you will really set yourself apart.
    • P a g e | 17 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 3 Step-Formula for Creating a Great (and Honest) Answer 1. As long as this is honest, it’s great to hear that you liked the company and people you worked with. This is a subtle signal that you get along with others. Why does that matter? Because every hiring manager is evaluating whether you will be a good fit with the team during the whole interview. They are always asking whether they will like working with you. Set their mind to rest a bit by letting them know how you feel/felt about the people with whom you worked. 2. What did you like about the job—company—what you got to do, etc? Just pick one thing that will let you showcase your brand or special expertise. For example, you might say you loved the company and your boss because they trusted you to successfully implement new initiatives (or they respected your ability to manage change in the organization) and that’s why you accomplished XYZ. You might say the entire department was first class and you learned best practices in XYZ that you can now share with your new company. I’m sure you get the idea. 3. Now you will want to mention what happened to your old job. You can say there were budget problems, the department was moved to the Everglades, there was a RIF (reduction in force which just means layoffs, of course), etc. Be brief and honest. Then tell them what that meant for you. If the department or company moved and you were offered a position at the new location, always say that. Otherwise you’ve left the interviewer wondering why the company didn’t want you. If they didn’t offer you a position, a brief explanation can make all the difference in how the interviewer perceives you—perhaps there was another person who could do the job at the new location, the company was cutting costs by keeping lower level staff, etc. If your boss told you they regretted having to let you go, you might mention that. It’s also important to let the interviewer know it wasn’t a one-person RIF—tell them the percentage or number of people who were also let go. Whatever your answer is, be brief and honest. At the same time, consider what additional questions and concerns your answer might raise. Answer them positively even if the interviewer doesn’t ask. If you don’t address them, the interviewer will answer them mentally and probably negatively. It is always safer for the interviewer to make the negative assumption—can’t make a bad hiring decision that way.
    • P a g e | 18 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 Remember that the people interviewing you don’t want to make a hiring mistake. Help them feel confident about you as their new employee. Essential yet Woefully Underutilized “Next Step” After you’ve prepared these statements for your last three jobs, for example, put them together and see if there is a common theme. And does that theme support your brand—what it is about you that makes you the best candidate? If that theme is positive and reinforces your brand, you’ve created a real sales message out of what is typically a throw-away answer. It will help make you the stand-out candidate in the eyes of the hiring manager. If it’s negative, you can lose the opportunity. For example, I had a candidate who was the lead candidate for the position. She had the interview totally nailed--until she got to this question. The hiring manager asked why the candidate had left each of her last three positions. After the interview, the interviewer (my client) called to let me know this candidate would not be moving forward in the process. She told me, when taken together, the answers seemed to indicate the candidate lacked flexibility and did not take initiative to figure out to make things work when budgets declined or business circumstances changed. The clear theme was that once things got tight or focus changed at a company, the candidate bailed out and took another position. The company where she was interviewing happened to be going through its own budget tightening (which the candidate knew going into the interview). As a result of her answers to this critical question, the hiring manager felt the candidate demonstrated she would not be resourceful and resilient enough to be successful in their environment. So despite the fact she had all the other qualifications, the candidate did not get the job. When it comes to interviewing, it’s good to remember: Having strong answers to a question you will almost always be asked, in interviews and networking situations, makes you memorable, a candidate they have to have. What if the interviewer wants more information? Sometimes a recruiter or hiring manager will ask for more details. Be sure you understand what specifically they would like to know. By all means, give them the level of detail they want; they let you know if they have more questions about what happened. Even with more detail, I think it pays to keep
    • P a g e | 19 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 in mind the first two problems discussed earlier as you craft your answer. Truth is good. All the ugly details? Not so much! Last and really really really important Check the tone and energy you use to talk about why you left or are considering leaving. Words are important, but a low energy tone can make even the best words seem false or give the impression you’re hiding something. I know it’s tough to talk about why you’re interviewing, but your energy should be at your typical level. It can be difficult (it is for all of us at the beginning), so practice to make sure you don’t sound neither apologetic nor defensive. Don’t lower your voice or your eyes. If you’ve been interviewing for a while, check how you feel when you hear that question. You’ve probably answered it many times, and may need to remind yourself to keep your energy up. How not to do it I recently interviewed a candidate for a mid-management position, and of course, asked this question. I could tell from his resume that it probably had not been a good transition, and that he had probably been let go. With a good explanation, that wouldn’t have stopped me from moving him forward to interview with the hiring manager. The interview went well until we got to that question. His voice lowered, he spoke hesitantly, and gave me an explanation that had big gaps. It just didn’t really answer my question and actually raised more questions about the situation. And it just got worse. When I asked the question again, he gave me a version of his previous answer with some new information. He didn’t just add details; he actually changed the explanation. You don’t want to change your answer if the question is the same! It makes us interviewers nervous. I started to feel there was something important he wasn’t telling me. By now, I’m sure you can see the mistakes this job seeker made. And you can avoid making those mistakes with this formula.
    • P a g e | 20 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 The Answer that Really Worked for Me I resigned from a job a while ago because I felt I was being required to act in a way that was not aligned with my values. However, I didn’t feel it was necessary to share that particular perspective. Plus conveying that information could be seen as poor judgment, to say nothing of the danger of saying that to someone who might have had some connection to my previous company. At the same time, you probably realize that recruiters and hiring managers are always a little worried (suspicious even) of why someone would leave a job without having a new one. Since that is exactly what I had done, I realized I needed to create an honest answer that would alleviate those concerns. So I followed the formula above to create my statement. When it came to the reason I left, I realized there were actually a lot of things that I could honestly say. I really did want to have my own business, do some writing and try some new things. It actually was an opportune time to leave because the company was doing some resizing and had done several layoffs. While I had not yet been let go, I decided to capitalize on a unique time in my career and the company’s situation and try something entrepreneurial. My answer to that age-old always-asked question is in the table below. All of it is true. I don’t want to spend any time saying things that aren’t true! Obviously I didn’t memorize this word for word. For me, when I do that, I seem to lose some of the energy and it becomes rote and bland. So sometimes it comes out a little differently—but not much. What I Said What I Want Them to Know “XYZ is a fabulous company and working with them was a wonderful experience. I liked the company and my time there. I’m not harboring any ill will, and I can be gracious about the experience. I didn’t leave as an angry person. I still talk to many of the people I worked with. People liked working with me. I got along with people, made friends, and l kept connected to some of them. NOTE: If you’re not still talking to people from a previous position, it’s fine to just say you really enjoyed working with them. Again,
    • P a g e | 21 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 honesty is good but honesty doesn’t mean you tell ALL. I got to work with and learn from top notch professionals in the industry, including my boss. We made a great team and he would tell you how his business benefited from my ability to make our clients incredibly happy so they kept coming back. Says something complimentary about the people at the company. It’s very mature and professional to pay these kinds of compliments. I’m also talking about my special skill—making clients so happy they kept coming back. That is tailored to what I knew would be important to the company I was interviewing with. And, of course, it’s honest. XYZ was going through some restructuring at that time. Here’s what was happening with the company at this time. While I was not yet impacted, I’m glad I saw it as a great time to find a position where I could leverage what I had learned about making clients so happy they came back time and again. The position I’m talking about with you today seems to be one in which I can make that contribution. Even though I survived the restructuring so far, I was pro-active and decided to look for a new position where I could leverage my skills. And I’m glad I did--no regrets. Notice the brand reinforcement! Now it’s your turn. Please take 10-15 minutes to design your own answers to the question you know they are going to ask. It’s more important than you might realize. Plus when you’re prepared, you’re more comfortable and confident in your answer. Recruiters and hiring managers love that! How others hear it Once you’ve crafted your answers, I suggest recording yourself giving the answers you’ll give as if you’re in an interview. Pretend the interviewer is asking why you left your most recent job, why the job before
    • P a g e | 22 Katherine Moody Katherine@HiddenJobMarketSecrets.com 832.464.4447 that and why the job before that. Do it for at least 3-5 of your recent positions, ideally for the last 10 years of your experience. Put all your answers together and call your answering machine, record on your computer or even better video yourself. When you play it back, you’ll know if you need to make some modifications or if you’re good to go! You may want to modify your newly crafted answer based on feedback during interviews. You may want to modify it for different employment opportunities. Be alert to the best way to put an honest, upbeat and positive shine on your answers to this always-asked question. It will make the job search adventure easier and shorter. Good luck! Let me know how it goes! Here is a video with the top 10 interview mistakes I see candidates make. Check it out! http://budurl.com/10InterviewMistakes