Friday, March 27, 2015

11 Questions Hiring Managers NEVER Want to Hear

Questions Hiring Managers NEVER Want to Hear
What have you heard a great candidate ask during an interview that loses them the job?

ANSWER below by Erin Berkery-Rovner, CAREER advisor and former recruiter.

I've heard variations of bad QUESTIONS in so many industries, so I've put them into a few categories.

The "I actually don't want to do this job" questions

  • We don't have to [insert duty that would need to be performed every day] at this job, do we?
  • How quickly would I be promoted from [entry-level job they are QUALIFIED for] because I really want to work as a [mid-level job they are unqualified for]?
  • Can I work part time or WORK FROM HOME? [when the work needs to be done on-site]
  • I don't think that doing [valuable work the company needs done] is important, would I be able to pass that work off to someone else in this role?

The "I didn't do my research or my research is incorrect" questions

  • If I assume [completely incorrect assumption A], then that means that this job would entail [a long DESCRIPTION that has nothing to do with the job, company and in some cases, industry]?
  • I read an article about [insert competitor] and I see that YOUR COMPANY is doing this new thing [that the company is not doing, because the candidate is talking about a competitor]. How would that impact MY JOB?

The "my last job and qualifications are drastically different from what you need" questions

  • At my last job I really didn't enjoy doing [task that is the reason THE INTERVIEWER called them in], how much of my workday will be spent doing that task?
  • I worked with a budget of [10 times the budget they will get at their new role] and I found that more was needed. How much priority do you give to [insert job function that will drain all cash from the department and give very little ROI]?

The "I want to name-drop because I think it will make me look smarter or savvier than the other candidates" questions

  • How does your company work with [buzzword that is irrelevant to the job]?
  • I noticed that your CEO [insert wrong CEO, mis-pronounce CEO's name or simply don't know the CEO's name] is doing [anything, because at this point THE INTERVIEWER has stopped listening so we will never find out the end to this question]?

The "if I keep talking and say hip things, then nobody will realize that this isn't a question" question

  • My main focus has been [insert theoretical concept], and with the [insert word that doesn't make sense], and [buzzword] that is prevalent in [insert large geographical area, large industry segment or big numbers], what would my options be for [buzzword] in [buzzword] and for [insert flashy conference that the company has no intention of this role attending], will this role allow me to [insert pretentious CLAIM]?
See full article at

Friday, March 13, 2015

What are they REALLY asking you at the interview?

Interviews are fairly anxiety inducing, especially when your interviewer has what can only be described as a professional poker face. You could drive yourself insane trying to figure out what exactly is going on behind that diplomatic smile.
To save you from the agony and to help you better prepare, here is an inside look at what goes through a hiring manager's mind during an interview. In general, employers are looking for the best technical and cultural fit that their budgets will allow for. While these questions will all go through their minds, the questions they end up asking usually aren't as direct. So, know that no matter how wacky or irrelevant the question might seem, they all come back to these five core concerns.

1. Have you successfully done similar work in the past?

Really, the question should be more along the lines of, "Can you do the job?" but that's not always the easiest thing to evaluate. That's why such weight is given to your ability to show relevant work that you have done, whether it was for another company, for school, or just independently.
Any chance you get, you should be talking about your relevant experience and transferable skills. Of course, it's not always just about results. Being able to talk about why you were successful is also important. Tell stories about your previous experience, and be introspective. The interviewer will be attempting to draw insights from your answers, so you might as well spell them out to make sure you're sending the message you want to send.

2. Will you work well with my current team?

There is always some context that you're being hired into, and it's in the hiring manager's best interest to make sure you will be a good fit and can hit the ground running.
How exactly can a hiring manager discern whether or not you'll work out? In the end, it's still a bit of a gamble, but a few things you should definitely try to get across are your communication style and effectiveness, your work ethic, your career values, and how you approach problems. Think broadly about these things, and then come up with a concrete supporting example as you're preparing for the interview.
And remember: There's no right or wrong answer here. After all, you don't want to end up in a situation where you're a bad fit either.

3. What do you know about my company?

You're applying for a specific role that probably exists in many other companies as well, so why this one? Hiring managers want you to show not only that you know what makes their particular company special, but that you're really excited about it. Doing your homework on the companyand considering why you'd be a good fit shows that you're invested.
Naturally, it doesn't stop there. Asking thoughtful and informed questions about the company is a great way to show continued enthusiasm as the interview progresses (here are a few great ones). Do the company research beforehand, and show off what you know in both your answers and your questions.

4. Does the job you're expecting align with what the job actually is?

In other words, do you know what you're signing up for, and is it what you're really looking for? No one wants to hire someone who just wants the job to tide him or her over until a new, more desirable job turns up. And, while we're on the topic of expectations, are your salary expectations in line with the company's? To get to the point, can the company afford to hire you?
To get to this, the interviewer might ask anything from your motivation for leaving your previous position to what you're most excited about in the new role. The current salary question will likely come up at some point as well. In the end, there are a hundred different questions that could get at this concern. To prepare in a realistic amount of time, figure out what your career narrative is. Where did you come from, where are you going, and why? How does this job fit in with your goals? Oh, and read up on negotiation.

5. Are you confident in your abilities?

This might not be something hiring managers are thinking about consciously, but you can bet that their perception of your confidence will make a difference in how they remember you. Now, confidence can mean different things to different people, but in general if you can show that you're passionate about the work and you look the part, half the battle is won. If you want to boost your confidence even more, set some time aside to do a few power poses before the big interview.
Of course, looking confident is just a matter of practice, but being confident requires a whole new mindset. If you're short on time, get a pep talk from your support network of friends and mentors. Having the right people in your life can make a world of difference when it comes to self-confidence—not to mention it's easier (and more effective) to say, "My manager would describe me as hardworking," rather than "I'd say I'm a pretty hard worker."
If you can get across a clear message that addresses all of these concerns, you're well prepared to meet the mysterious hiring manager. So, before you go into your next interview, make a point to check off everything on this list. You still might not be able to read the person across the table, but this time you won't need to.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to write a speech for ANY occasion

How to write a speech for any occasion

There's nothing worse than staring at a blank screen, and wondering how you'll begin to write a speech. Oh wait, there is something worse: Staring at a blank screen, and wondering how to start your speech — while your deadline is hanging over your head. Add some pressure to a confused mind and a dreaded task and, well, you're likely to throw something together, throw up your hands, or throw in the towel.
But don't get mad — get strategic. In my work coaching busy people (from powerful Hollywood movie moguls to nervous maids of honor) to make speeches, I have found that following these three simple steps can quickly take you from ideation to oration.

Step 1: Prepare

While it is deeply satisfying to start putting words on a page, it's more important to spend a few minutes thinking about what you want this speech or presentation to accomplish. After all, as Yankee great Yogi Berra once remarked, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else."
So, spend a few minutes reflecting on the following:
What kind of speech is this? Common types include informational (aimed at instructing or teaching), persuasive (targeted to change people's beliefs and behaviors), and evocative (focused on generating an emotional response).
Who is your audience? What do they already know about this topic? What do they believe that may or may not be true? What do they want? What do they hope for? What do they fear?
What do you want your audience to feel? What do you want them to do? What one to three things do you want them to know (based on what they already know or believe, hope for, want or fear, and what you want them to understand) that will drive them to do the thing you want them to do? Stick to three main points wherever possible. Two sets up an "either-or," where four tends to overwhelm.
What's your overarching point of view on the topic?** A neutral speech is a boring speech!

Step 2: Organize

Studies about consumer psychology show that when you offer people too many choices and too much information, they tune out and ultimately buy nothing. As you are asking your audience to buy (or at least buy into) what you're talking about, you want to keep your ideas as simple and streamlined as possible. Here's a simple outline to follow that will keep you and your audience focused:
An attention-getting introduction: Use a quotation, a story, a question, or a statistic — something to get the audience paying attention to you as quickly as possible. "Hello, good morning, and thank you for having me" does not count as a captivating opening. Remember, this is your one opportunity to let your listeners know that you're worth listening to.
A preview: Let your listeners know what's coming by saying "Today, we're going to cover..." That old saying "Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them" is absolutely right. (For a bonus, tell your listeners what benefits they'll get from your presentation. It will inspire them to pay attention!)
Points 1 through 3: Make your case. These main points should be based on what you prepared earlier (what you want your audience to know or understand). To make your points resonate, include stories, statistics, examples from the news and popular culture, expert citations, and personal experiences. But don't use all of these for each point. Pick one or two ways to bring each point to life and then move on.
A recap: Tell them what you just told them. (Seriously — our memories are short and our attention spans even shorter.)
A Q&A: You might think that you should leave the questions until the end. Think again. When you leave the questions until the end, you let the audience decide the topic and tone you end on. You've worked too hard for that! Hold Q&A before you wrap up so that you can deal with anything that comes up from your audience and still plan to conclude on your own terms.
The closer: It's almost over — but not quite. The law of recency tells us that the audience will remember most what they heard last. Wrap up any loose items, draw a final inspiring conclusion that will compel people to think and act differently, and then close with a stirring statement that's memorable. For extra credit, have your closing mirror your opening so that your speech feels like a complete package.

Step 3: Present with passion

Maya Angelou once remarked, "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to 
thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." Let it be your mission not just to survive your speech, but to deliver it with some compassion, some humor, and some style.

Make eye contact to connect with your listeners, use your arms to generate energy, move around the room (OK, not too much), and have your voice and face come alive to show that you care about your topic and your audience.
Don't just stand up there — do something. Shift your presentation from "Woe is me" to "Wow!" and from "I can't believe I have to write a speech" to "I rocked it. Next!"

See full article at