Tagged: Job interview mistakes
April 24, 2019 at 6:10 am #2635JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
I am going to talk with you about mistakes that people make sometimes when job hunting.
I was talking to someone yesterday, a really solid individual. I knew of his work from . . . I don’t want to say from where. General Manager for a large corporation. Had risen through the ranks to this role. Very well thought of. Got laid off a couple months ago.
20 years with one firm. Almost 20 years with one firm. And, as often happens, people who rise the hiring manager roles are sometimes the worst people when it comes to doing their own interviews. So, I started talking with him about his work, what he had done, and I started off by asking him, “you know, let me ask you a couple of the traditional questions. So, the easiest place for me to start off with is what happened? Why aren’t you working for the firm anymore?” He paused and he said to me, “Well, I got laid off.”
And I said, “How long has it been since you’ve done an interview?”
He said, “I’m doing some now. But until now, it’s been a while.”
I said, “I got it.”
Now, here’s the point I want to make as to what his answer should have been.
“I don’t know if you know my industry, but, for quite a few years, my industry has been hurting. And my organization for each of the last five years, has been laying off people and I survived the first four cuts, but they got me this time.”
Now, it’s a little bit different an answer than, “well, I got laid off.” So, for this man, and the next couple of questions I asked him confirmed, he had done no planning to talk about his situation, had done no homework to prepare for interviews. You can’t afford to do that.
You have to think like, “what’s my audience expecting from me?” And he’s been hiring manager! He knows what he likes and dislikes and he completely forgot about it.
In thinking of himself and going out into the market, you need to think of what it’s like for the audience, who’s talking to . . . they’re reading a lot of resumes, that all they want is that one person to walk in the door. What can you do to look like that one person?
Now, it starts with your resume and having a resume that actually shows that it fits the background that they’re looking for. But it progresses to, from the time of the first call, to the time that you end your final interview and they finish hiring you, you have to carry yourself like a pro.
What does that mean? Real simple. You are prepared, you are prepared for any contingency. I’ll go back to the pro sports as an example of this. Would a pro team walks out on the field, the court, wherever they’re playing, they’re not unprepared. They know exactly what they’re going to do under any circumstance. In pro football, they’re practicing plays on different different practice fields so that they’re ready when they come into a game for what their opponent is going to wind up doing.
On the basketball court, do you think they’re just running around for the heck of it? No, it’s all purposeful action that’s designed to help them score and help them defend. Same thing in baseball.
I know you think they’re positioned there arbitrarily but when players are on the field, defending against the team that’s at bat, they’re all taking purposeful action based upon probabilities that a ball is going to get hit to certain places, and they’re prepared to hit a cut off man, to turn a double play a whole host of other things less obvious, including how do you field the bunt? How do you defend against the bunt situation with a man on second? You know, lots of things the pro teams prepare for.
For us, as a job hunter, you have to do much the same thing. You may think you can walk in and wing it, and eventually you will get a job because someone will be sufficiently desperate that they may want to take a shot on you. But you’re not going to make as much money because you’re going to come across as being mediocre. You’re not going to get the opportunities that you want. You’re going to get the B minus and C opportunities. And is that really what you want?
People who know me know that I use this phrase, right? And that is winners find the way to win and losers have excuses. For you, as job hunters, there are lots of reasons that you get turned down.
Sometimes it’s because you don’t have the right skills. Sometimes they misread the resume and, you know, it has nothing to do with you. Sometimes it’s because someone walked in the door who has comparable or better skills and is willing to work for less money. There are a lot of reasons why people get turned down for jobs.
But the worst reason someone gets turned down for a job is because they’re not prepared. Don’t walk in the door unless you’ve done your homework. Don’t be lazy, because that’s really what you are. You’re being an amateur by being lazy.
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