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Job Interviews - The Harsh Truth    and how to get through it!Thursday, 5 May 2011
About Me    ✤   Matt Powell (31)    ✤   Director, Savills Hanoi (5 yrs)         ✤    150 staff in Hanoi (700 in VN) from 2...
Extend this conversation    ✤   Email:         mattpowelluk@gmail.com    ✤   Molbalpa:      thu.nguyen@i-fva.com    ✤   Li...
Things you should get out of this    1. What is an interview    2. Understand the people and motivations in an interview  ...
What I’m not covering    ✤   Common interview questions    ✤   ‘How to answer them’    ✤   Application strategies (focus o...
First things first    - Interviews are not that important    ✤   What is important is you - BrandYou (www.tompeters.com)  ...
BrandYou    Today I’m really talking about the basics    of BrandYou    - not “how to interview well”   If you have a stro...
My Main    Assumption    That you are fully motivated, have fully    researched and actually really want to join    the co...
What is an interview (really)Thursday, 5 May 2011
What is an     interview ✤   Getting married after first date ✤   Flawed selection process (for employer) ✤   Great (for em...
Why interviews are stressful for    companies.    ✤   For example:    ✤   A typical hire costs $800 per month just in rent...
But really...        An interview is a        sales meeting        (even if you are not applying for a sales job)        (...
Structure of Interview Process    ✤   CV received (1 of many very similar CV’s and cover letters)    ✤   Phone interviews ...
A word on cover letters    ✤   Normal: 3 paragraphs, mention company name a few times, formal,        blah blah. Very bori...
A word on CV’s    ✤   Be interesting    ✤   Be well formatted (no excuse now - google!)    ✤   Be in reverse chronological...
A word on HR    (use at your own risk!)    ✤   Gatekeeper (remember sales)    ✤   Imagine their task!    ✤   Imagine their...
OMG! -you have an interview    Now what?!Thursday, 5 May 2011
Before the Interview    Do your research - or don’t turn up and save everyone some time    Research     ✤    The job role ...
Hiring managers don’t expect you    to be an expert but they expect    you to have made the effort and    to have an opini...
First    Impressions    ✤   SO IMPORTANT!!!    ✤   SO Hard to recover from        screwing this up    ✤   SO Easy! Do the ...
This applies to you, RMIT students!                        Many of your predecessors have screwed this up!                ...
My pet peeve     (applies          to ladies too!) ✤   Bad Handshakes:      ✤    wet fish, sweaty, limp, too strong, too   ...
Easy; practice it!    ✤   Firm    ✤   Fully engage hand    ✤   Eye contact    ✤   Smile    ✤   Dry    ✤   2 seconds, coupl...
Personal    Presentation    My second pet peeve!Thursday, 5 May 2011
General Comments    ✤   This is not uni, school, your parents house, a Tet visit, or anything else. This is a job        i...
For the guys - some quick basics   ✤    Get a suit. Dark: dark navy, black, dark grey, pinstripe, whatever. Make it nice. ...
For the girls    ✤   Disclaimer: not my area of expertise! My observations:    ✤   Makeup: less is more    ✤   Hair: think...
Body language    ✤   Don’t underrate the importance of this. Non-verbal communication is vital to nailing        an interv...
Manners maketh the man    (& woman)    ✤   Remember the hiring manager is making an investment decision.    ✤   Good manne...
....and be on time....Thursday, 5 May 2011
The Good News  ✤    These topics are learnt skills. You can practice them and get them right.  ✤    The key is to let your...
How to Stand    Out from    Crowd    My sure-fire tips to make you shine and    nail your interview!Thursday, 5 May 2011
Remember an interview is a sales    meeting? How do you sell?    There are 3 main parts to a sale. This is technique, anyo...
N&R    ✤   These will be qualifications, experience, character, work ethic, personality, suitability.    ✤   You can get a ...
Responding to Questions    ✤   Relax, Smile, Breathe    ✤   Qualify their question if necessary         ✤    “Tell me abou...
Open Questions    ✤   Understanding how to use these will make you successful. I can’t        make it any plainer.    ✤   ...
F&B’s    ✤   Demonstrate your experience, qualities, hobbies, sports, activities etc and find the benefit to        the inte...
Build a relationship    Smile / Relax / Be confident / Ask smart questions / Be polite and friendlyThursday, 5 May 2011
Close the deal    ✤   Reality is - you are not going to        close the deal straightaway.    ✤   BUT make the effort, it...
The Close    ✤   Thank them for their time and express a strong interest in the position    ✤   What will the next stage i...
Go the extra mile    ✤   Surprise them & show initiative   ✤   Bring extra CV’s        (r.a.r.e!!!)                       ...
Relationship / Info gathering qu’s    Don’t ask things that are on the job description or website. It looks lazy. “What ar...
“After Sales    Service”    ✤   Send a handwritten note or a        personal email thanking each        participant for th...
Thursday, 5 May 2011
The “Fine Lines”....your judgment and experience                              Turn ons                            Turn off...
What I look for    ✤   Honesty    ✤   Intelligence    ✤   Confidence    ✤   Character    ✤   Humility    ✤   Competitivenes...
My advice. Seriously    ✤   Take personal development seriously - BrandYou, sales (everyone has to sell), management, time...
Finally, a word on rejection    ✤   Embrace it, learn from it - its a learning opportunity.    ✤   Get used to it. All suc...
Relax, Smile, Breathe     You’ll do great!Thursday, 5 May 2011
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RMIT - talk on job interviews

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A talk I gave today in Hanoi to a group of RMIT last year business undergrads approaching the end of their course.

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Transcript of "RMIT - talk on job interviews"

  1. 1. Job Interviews - The Harsh Truth and how to get through it!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  2. 2. About Me ✤ Matt Powell (31) ✤ Director, Savills Hanoi (5 yrs) ✤ 150 staff in Hanoi (700 in VN) from 25 in 2006 ✤ Involved in majority of interviews ✤ RMIT Interns for 3 years ✤ UK; Professional Recruiter (5 yrs) ✤ Placed over 250 professional jobseekers (grads to Director, $40 - $500k p.a.) ✤ Interviewed over 3,500 candidates ✤ Zoology graduate, Univ. of LiverpoolThursday, 5 May 2011
  3. 3. Extend this conversation ✤ Email: mattpowelluk@gmail.com ✤ Molbalpa: thu.nguyen@i-fva.com ✤ Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/mattpowelluk ✤ Blog: www.mattpowellvietnam.wordpress.com ✤ Twitter: @mattpowelluk ✤ Skype: mattpowellukThursday, 5 May 2011
  4. 4. Things you should get out of this 1. What is an interview 2. Understand the people and motivations in an interview 3. How to approach an interview 4. How to nail an interview 5. How to screw up an interview 6. How to close the dealThursday, 5 May 2011
  5. 5. What I’m not covering ✤ Common interview questions ✤ ‘How to answer them’ ✤ Application strategies (focus on a few jobs/companies IMHO, not hundreds).Thursday, 5 May 2011
  6. 6. First things first - Interviews are not that important ✤ What is important is you - BrandYou (www.tompeters.com) ✤ BrandYou’s take charge of their own lives ✤ They are self-reliant and self-possessed ✤ They know that they are: ✤ Skills dependent ✤ Distinction dependent ✤ Network dependent ✤ Project dependent ✤ Growth dependent ✤ BrandYou’s - at age 21 or age 51 - are LeadersThursday, 5 May 2011
  7. 7. BrandYou Today I’m really talking about the basics of BrandYou - not “how to interview well” If you have a strong BrandYou then you do not need any “tricks” or “tips” or “interview role-playing” or “clever answers”Thursday, 5 May 2011
  8. 8. My Main Assumption That you are fully motivated, have fully researched and actually really want to join the company you are trying to get an interview at. Do you?Thursday, 5 May 2011
  9. 9. What is an interview (really)Thursday, 5 May 2011
  10. 10. What is an interview ✤ Getting married after first date ✤ Flawed selection process (for employer) ✤ Great (for employee) ✤ Nerve-wracking (for employee) ✤ Nerve-wracking (for employer = $$....) ✤ Like American Idol auditions (for employer) - waiting for ‘the one’ ✤ Not like American Idol - not 3 months of solid assessment before hiring!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  11. 11. Why interviews are stressful for companies. ✤ For example: ✤ A typical hire costs $800 per month just in rent, electricity, equipment (excluding salary, insurance etc etc) ✤ So even if you work for free that is significant over a year. Especially when the company has 720 employees. ✤ If we hire badly that is a lost cost. Money that we have to earn by selling something ✤ Biggest concern is OPPORTUNITY COST - incalculable. ✤ And we have to make this investment decision with very limited data in 1 hour ‘sales meeting’ - can we believe the ‘sales person’?Thursday, 5 May 2011
  12. 12. But really... An interview is a sales meeting (even if you are not applying for a sales job) (we’ll come back to this later)Thursday, 5 May 2011
  13. 13. Structure of Interview Process ✤ CV received (1 of many very similar CV’s and cover letters) ✤ Phone interviews by HR (to weed out the real non-starters) ✤ First meeting with HR (to weed out the non-starters that got missed by the phone interview) i.e. those with terrible first impressions ✤ First meeting with Hiring Manager (first cut) ✤ Second interviews (more in depth, second cut) ✤ Final interview (final cut) ✤ Job offerThursday, 5 May 2011
  14. 14. A word on cover letters ✤ Normal: 3 paragraphs, mention company name a few times, formal, blah blah. Very boring, never get read. Doesn’t hurt but doesn’t help much. ✤ What I like: personalize them, refer to a recent event, press article, product launch, give a real opinion, ask an intelligent question, be controversial. Still be polite and humble (don’t want “WTF!?” reaction). ✤ Automatically you will be noticed.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  15. 15. A word on CV’s ✤ Be interesting ✤ Be well formatted (no excuse now - google!) ✤ Be in reverse chronological order ✤ Photos - use wisely - they are like chilli sauce. ✤ Don’t add your parents life history & Don’t sign it like a legal declaration ✤ Make it relevant. Tailor for each job ✤ If not much work exp (that’s ok) expand on extra-curricular activities, sports, interests, achievements, travel, strange obsessions whatever - make it interesting. “Likes swimming, TV and football” Yawn...Thursday, 5 May 2011
  16. 16. A word on HR (use at your own risk!) ✤ Gatekeeper (remember sales) ✤ Imagine their task! ✤ Imagine their motivations! ✤ Can be your best supporter or worst enemy ✤ Go direct to decision-maker at same time. Refer to your formal application. [caution] ✤ “He who dares, wins, Rodney”Thursday, 5 May 2011
  17. 17. OMG! -you have an interview Now what?!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  18. 18. Before the Interview Do your research - or don’t turn up and save everyone some time Research ✤ The job role ✤ The company (not just the website) ✤ Recent press ✤ Key people in company ✤ Speak to other employees ✤ Research services / products ✤ Competitors ✤ Their market place ✤ The hiring manager (google is your friend!) ✤ You wouldn’t take an exam without doing at least some revision!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  19. 19. Hiring managers don’t expect you to be an expert but they expect you to have made the effort and to have an opinion.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  20. 20. First Impressions ✤ SO IMPORTANT!!! ✤ SO Hard to recover from screwing this up ✤ SO Easy! Do the basics!! ✤ Dress well, be confident (i.e. normal), smile, eye contact, good handshake, be polite, be on time “Yawn...I know all this rubbish...” ✤ That’s it!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  21. 21. This applies to you, RMIT students! Many of your predecessors have screwed this up! (many of them haven’t as well) All the time, effort, money, revision, exams, late nights, great lectures, boring lectures, hot drives, early starts - could be a waste of time!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  22. 22. My pet peeve (applies to ladies too!) ✤ Bad Handshakes: ✤ wet fish, sweaty, limp, too strong, too ‘dominant’, just coughed/wiped nose, too long, seated, no eye contact, too weird, double-handed, too close, funny moves. ✤ Not big thing culturally in Asia, but for most Westerners this is a massive part of our first impressions. ✤ I will make big judgment calls about Take this seriously. This can your character in the first two seconds screw your career (at an MNC). - Not fair I know! but thats life! No joke. Practice!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  23. 23. Easy; practice it! ✤ Firm ✤ Fully engage hand ✤ Eye contact ✤ Smile ✤ Dry ✤ 2 seconds, couple of pumpsThursday, 5 May 2011
  24. 24. Personal Presentation My second pet peeve!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  25. 25. General Comments ✤ This is not uni, school, your parents house, a Tet visit, or anything else. This is a job interview. Companies expect you to look professional ✤ Remember the company has to decide whether to invest a lot of money in you based on interview. If you look like crap that’s an easy decision to make! ✤ Personally, I feel insulted if a candidate turns up without making an effort. Interview over immediately. Bye bye. [happens more often that you think; intl grads, RMIT incl] ✤ No excuse for not knowing how to dress properly. [Research] ✤ Overdress - dress code at the company may be more relaxed but not for your interview. ✤ I want you to have a personality; but first I want to see you are taking this seriously and can act professionally.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  26. 26. For the guys - some quick basics ✤ Get a suit. Dark: dark navy, black, dark grey, pinstripe, whatever. Make it nice. Make it fit and make it not shiny please. No safari suits please ✤ Get at least one decent white shirt [that fits] . Use it. (www.ctshirts.co.uk) ✤ Get trousers that fit - I don’t need (or want!) a lesson in male anatomy ✤ Don’t wear white socks ✤ Get some decent black lace-up shoes. ✤ Shave. (you may be proud of your moustache doesn’t do much for people in biz) ✤ Interviewers are not impressed by the height or complexity of your hair. ✤ Your suit comes with a jacket, wear it. Yes I know its hot, but offices have A/C! ✤ Learn how to tie a tie. Wear one. A nice one. http://www.tie-a-tie.net/ ✤ The button at the top of your shirt has a purpose. Use it. Or get a shirt that fits. ✤ Extra points for interviews at European & Aus companies: double cuff with cufflinks.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  27. 27. For the girls ✤ Disclaimer: not my area of expertise! My observations: ✤ Makeup: less is more ✤ Hair: think professional not Dragonfly Bar ✤ There are some very nice women’s suit designs. I think a nice trouser suit with heels is sharp. ✤ Please no frilly shirts, massive shoulder pads, bunny rabbits etc. ✤ Don’t dress like its Saturday night or like my grandmother. ✤ Keep the outfit neutral but show personality with accessories or top. ✤ Remember its just an outfit, most important thing is you. So it shouldn’t overshadow you.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  28. 28. Body language ✤ Don’t underrate the importance of this. Non-verbal communication is vital to nailing an interview. ✤ Act natural, don’t stage it (looks a bit weird) ✤ Use good eye-contact (not a staring contest though) ✤ Good posture - don’t flop back like you’re watching TV. ✤ Research ‘mirroring’. Makes people feel more comfortable ✤ Be attentive, alert, confident and comfortable. ✤ Read this book; Influence: The Science of Persuasion by Robert CialdiniThursday, 5 May 2011
  29. 29. Manners maketh the man (& woman) ✤ Remember the hiring manager is making an investment decision. ✤ Good manners show good ethics, diligence, respect, consideration, empathy and intelligence. All things you want to demonstrate. ✤ The interviewer is not your buddy, not someone you met in a bar, not on your football team, not a family member and not your teacher. ✤ Vietnam is not the only place where people show respect to elders and especially hiring managers. ✤ Western business has a reputation for informality but there is an undercurrent of very complex cultural considerations. Its not that simple! ✤ Like your dress; if in doubt (which you will be) be over-polite rather than under-polite. ✤ Stand up when greeted / Mrs. Smith, Mr. Smith, should be used. / Please & Thank-you ✤ We can be friends after you get the job but until then mind your manners.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  30. 30. ....and be on time....Thursday, 5 May 2011
  31. 31. The Good News ✤ These topics are learnt skills. You can practice them and get them right. ✤ The key is to let your natural personality come through and shine without any of these basic issues making life difficult for you. ✤ Its a pity if a great candidate gets rejected because of something like this. But it will happen - fact of life.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  32. 32. How to Stand Out from Crowd My sure-fire tips to make you shine and nail your interview!Thursday, 5 May 2011
  33. 33. Remember an interview is a sales meeting? How do you sell? There are 3 main parts to a sale. This is technique, anyone can do it. 1. Understand your interviewer’s Needs & Requirements (N&R) 2. Highlight your Features & Benefits (F&B) 3. CLOSE THE DEALThursday, 5 May 2011
  34. 34. N&R ✤ These will be qualifications, experience, character, work ethic, personality, suitability. ✤ You can get a lot of these from the Job Description. ✤ But what are they really looking for? You need to ask! ✤ You will surprise and impress interviewers by asking these questions. ✤ At the appropriate time go ahead: ✤ What will the successful candidate have to demonstrate to you? ✤ What type of person does well at this company? ✤ Assuming most candidates have similar backgrounds and qualifications, what will the deciding factor for you? ✤ How important are qualifications vs extra-curricular activities for you?Thursday, 5 May 2011
  35. 35. Responding to Questions ✤ Relax, Smile, Breathe ✤ Qualify their question if necessary ✤ “Tell me about yourself” ✤ “Sure, where would you like me to start” ✤ This helps you tailor your answers to what the interviewer is most keen on hearing. ✤ Don’t script and rehearse your answers too much - do your research, know your CV backwards, know your motivations - relax, smile, break and go ahead! ✤ A good interview is like a conversationThursday, 5 May 2011
  36. 36. Open Questions ✤ Understanding how to use these will make you successful. I can’t make it any plainer. ✤ Open questions illicit information, help you build relationships, understand situations clearly and general mark you as a smart cookie. ✤ Use wisely, not every time you open your mouth. Think of them like fish sauce. Nice with rice but not to drink a glass! ✤ They are: Who..? What...? Where...? How...? When...? Why...? ✤ Practice and research this topic.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  37. 37. F&B’s ✤ Demonstrate your experience, qualities, hobbies, sports, activities etc and find the benefit to the interviewer. ✤ For example: ✤ Feature: I play on the RMIT football team ✤ Benefit: I’m self-motivated, dedicated, can work in a team, competitive spirit. ✤ F: I worked in my parents shop at weekends ✤ B: I am committed, I think of others, I can deal with other people well, I am motivated ✤ F: I was top of my class ✤ B: I am intelligent, I am competitive, I can put my mind to a task. ✤ Analyse yourself: what are your Features and Benefits?Thursday, 5 May 2011
  38. 38. Build a relationship Smile / Relax / Be confident / Ask smart questions / Be polite and friendlyThursday, 5 May 2011
  39. 39. Close the deal ✤ Reality is - you are not going to close the deal straightaway. ✤ BUT make the effort, it will make things clearer and demonstrate your aptitude.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  40. 40. The Close ✤ Thank them for their time and express a strong interest in the position ✤ What will the next stage in the interview process be? ✤ Who else, if anyone, will be involved in the interviews? ✤ How did I do? What could I have done better? ✤ When could you let me know about the next interview stage? ✤ When can I start ;) ? ✤ Be a bit persistent.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  41. 41. Go the extra mile ✤ Surprise them & show initiative ✤ Bring extra CV’s (r.a.r.e!!!) ✤ Attend one of the company’s ✤ Demonstrate your knowledge events ✤ Ask intelligent questions about ✤ Visit their sites - make some the company, clients, recent notes and comments. Surprise events or product launches. them! ✤ Ask questions about the interviewer ✤ Take notes.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  42. 42. Relationship / Info gathering qu’s Don’t ask things that are on the job description or website. It looks lazy. “What are your products?” “Next!” ✤ What has been the main factor in the company’s success last year? ✤ What is the main strategy for this year? ✤ Who is your biggest competitor? What sets you apart? ✤ How long have you been with the company? Aside from the obvious, what is it you like so much about the company? ✤ What is the company culture? What type of people tend to do well at the company? ✤ How long has the position been vacant? What is the reason for the recruitment? ✤ What difficulties does the company face in Vietnam? ✤ Etc etc. Make intelligent conversation. Do your research, it will generate questions.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  43. 43. “After Sales Service” ✤ Send a handwritten note or a personal email thanking each participant for their time and the interview; express your interest in the position; say you hope to have the opportunity to progress to the next round. ✤ “Go the extra mile” + “Manners maketh the man”Thursday, 5 May 2011
  44. 44. Thursday, 5 May 2011
  45. 45. The “Fine Lines”....your judgment and experience Turn ons Turn offs Confidence Arrogance Friendliness Overfamiliarity Manners Ass-kissing Well-researched Creepy internet stalker Strong character Psycho Ambition Entitlement Humility Weakness Nervous Scared Keen Insincere Good grades Boring Lots of interests Bad grades Dynamic Crazy Well-presented (guys) More time preparing hair than for int. Well-presented (ladies) Clown-face, pole-dancer, grandmaThursday, 5 May 2011
  46. 46. What I look for ✤ Honesty ✤ Intelligence ✤ Confidence ✤ Character ✤ Humility ✤ Competitiveness ✤ Normal people ✤ Ambition ✤ X-factor (sorry!) = combination of everything I’ve been talking aboutThursday, 5 May 2011
  47. 47. My advice. Seriously ✤ Take personal development seriously - BrandYou, sales (everyone has to sell), management, time skills, organisation. You’ve done the theory now you need the practical skills. ✤ Read. A lot. Seriously. http://www.delicious.com/mattpowell/personalmba . Read everything ever written by Tom Peters. ✤ Learn about sales. Its important for everyone. You have to sell yourself all the time. Everything has to be sold by someone to somebody. Don’t kid yourself that you don’t have to. ✤ Take your internship seriously. You could toss around for a few weeks, take it easy and get through. Or it could be a useful life-changing experience where you make great contacts and learn some useful skills. Its no skin off my nose, its your life! ✤ You will get low-level tasks in your internship. Great - make the best damn pile of photocopies anyone has ever done. Put your hand up for the next crap task. And the next. And the next. View each project as an opportunity to shine. [Did you think you were getting the best projects on the first day?] We’ve all been there. Think of a successful organisation like a fine restaurant’s kitchen - you have to know how to wash up before we let you near the food. Read ‘Linchpin’ by Seth Godin for more on this.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  48. 48. Finally, a word on rejection ✤ Embrace it, learn from it - its a learning opportunity. ✤ Get used to it. All successful people have been rejected over and over again. ✤ If you don’t make it through - thank them for the opportunity; you are trying to improve so would appreciate some candid feedback; say you hope to have to opportunity to try again in the future.Thursday, 5 May 2011
  49. 49. Relax, Smile, Breathe You’ll do great!Thursday, 5 May 2011
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