SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
Earning ‘The Offer of Employment’
A great résumé has only a sole purpose – to gain the interview. Only great interviewing will gain ‘The Offer.’ Now, how fair is the Offer? Research based upon job title, industry, and zip code (of where you will be based) is easily accomplished through a simple Internet ‘search.’ You should have done this in advance to be sure the salary and potential bonuses are satisfactory to you before continuing your career search campaign. You’ll surely be asked verbally and/or on the Application for Employment what is your expected salary and yes, you do need to provide a number! (This number is not etched in granite. Travel, bonuses, etc. could cause that initial number to increase, or decrease to be fair to all)
As a Certified, Professional Resume Writer, I obviously believe that virtually everyone needs professional assistance with their resume and cover letter (email body, these days). Since most people only write a handful of resumes in a career, the end-product is more like a professional, chronological obituary when what is required in this ultra-competitive marketplace is a marketing masterpiece…a hiring proposal. Also, don’t you find it difficult to write about yourself? Poor resume – no interviews.
Now, the interview. It could be a telephone screening interview from an HR Generalist. It could be a Skype, or in-person interview with a recruiter, or another HR Generalist. It could be with the hiring, decision-maker (DM). It could be with your future, potential boss (DM) along with others.
Who ‘controls’ the interview? The interviewer, right? If the candidate was obviously trying to 'control' the interview, that would probably upset the interviewer(s). Actually, it is the person asking the question(s) that controls the interview for that moment in time. Historically, the interviewer has the control because (s)he has an old list of questions which most are rather useless – intended for the candidate to ‘train-wreck’ their response, and the candidate has NO questions prepared. Only at the end of the interview is the candidate asked “So, do you have any questions for me?” “No, I believe that you have covered everything well.” (Great! The next candidate is in the lobby and let’s get moving.) Typical interview. An interrogation with neither party gaining the valuable information they really need to make a great decision IF an Offer could be forthcoming!
Can you, the candidate, change this interrogation into a meaningful dialog for both parties and provide positive separation between you and the other candidates that will appear ‘better’ in print? The answer is YES! To do that, however, you (a) need sharp, smart business questions prepared and, (b) most importantly, begin to ask them very early in the interview. I know it’s different, but it will be so much easier to have a meaningful dialog and so much more productive since none of your competitors will do the same!
Depending upon whether you are interviewing with the DM, or someone from HR, or recruiting, their first questions may differ. The most asked ‘first question’ is T.M.A.Y. “So, Tell Me About Yourself.” Ouch! Deer-in-the-headlights expression. (Do not provide me your name, where you live, or anything that is on your resume! Not only have I read it completely, but your resume is sitting on my desk in front of me. I can read!) My response to that question, as a candidate, when I was a VP/GM was (pause, eye movement showing that I’m thinking) “Professionally…I promote corporate growth and increase profit.” Yep…only eight words. And, net/net, that IS what I did professionally in the end! You see, every employee from janitor to CEO can only do one, or two things for any company. You either save the company money, make the company money, or both…GET TO THE POINT!
This brief, right to the heart response will cause a pause. NOW is the time to ask your first question! With the DM, it would be “Mr./Ms. Johnson, what do you believe are the issues…challenges…problems that your successful candidate will face on Day One?” “Oh, may I take some notes (which you’ll need handy to provide ‘the fit’ for the two to four issues that will surface)? This is the time to "SELL THE FIT" based upon your successful experience, expertise, and solving these issues in the past! Each time there is a pause, ask another question. The interviewer had the same chance to do so during that pause. This is NOT the first question from a recruiter, or HR since the DM did not provide those ‘challenges,’ therefore these folks will not have an answer (embarrassing).
You have now started a dialog and that thick list of questions that the interviewer has been asking for decades will likely be pushed aside. Keep asking these prepared, sharp business questions every time there is a pause. I provide these questions to my ‘interview coaching’ clients and executives LOVE being asked sharp, business questions! Bonus points!
You, the candidate, have uncovered much more valuable information about the position, the company, their corporate culture, its future plans and they have heard you address the issues, challenges, and problems that will face the successful candidate and, hopefully, after providing your solution(s) you confirmed that (s)he liked your response! Very important to get this confirmation!
You have now greatly improved your position to separate from the competitors and the interviewer, if done well, will see how you can bring real solutions to real issues tomorrow!
YOU have earned The Offer! CONGRATULATIONS!!
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY multi-certified professional* in Pennsylvania.
- Bruce Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.