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Job Search Strategy
To Get The Job You Want.
Tour Overview
1. Assess Yourself
2. Research Potential Employers
3. Establish Your Fit
4. Write Your Own Resume
5. Start Networking
6. Get In On The Ground Floor
7. Create Your Own Job
8. Informational Interviews
9. Interview Preparation
10. Tough Interview Questions
11. Negotiation Skills
12. The Key To Hirability

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Orange County, California


Online Career Guide



9. PREPARE FOR THE JOB  INTERVIEW: Your value is what makes an employer want to hire you. Nothing impresses an interviewer more than showing how you can add value and profit to their bottom line by: increasing sales, saving them money, obtaining more new customers while retaining existing ones, etc. Prove this during your interview and the job is yours.

The Selection Process
You might be one of hundreds of people who respond to a job opening. However, most of the people who respond won't get interviewed. They'll get screened out through a process of elimination by an individual or committee which will determine the final candidates. In essence, here's how the screening process works. Generally, between 5 to 10 candidates are invited to a preliminary interview out of every 100 resumes a company receives for a job opening. Then, only those candidates with the highest "score" will qualify for second interviews. This continues throughout subsequent interviews until the list is whittled down to about three final candidates. When you reach this point you can count on having at least two, or as many as five interviews, before a final candidate is chosen.

Typically, this is how you'll be scored during interviews:
50%... Good chemistry. Can you "fit" into the organization?
30%... Competence and ability. Can you do the job?
20%... Willingness and enthusiasm. Will you do the job?

Here is an example of how you are evaluated under each of the three categories:

50%... Good chemistry -- Can you "fit" into the organization:

  • Grooming/General appearance: Does candidate fit our image
  • Social fit: Communicates and listens well, good fit with co-workers, customers, management
  • Shared Values: Personal interests and beliefs consistent with the company's goals and objectives
  • Present/Future/Leadership potential: Honest, mature, stable, likable, relates well to others
  • Attitude: Positive and upbeat with a can-do attitude, follows directions, accepts criticism

30%... Competence and ability -- Can you do the job:

  • Technical Fit: Has the skills, talents and ability to do the job
  • Expertise: Has the background and experience to do the job
  • Education: Has the required knowledge to do the job

20%... Willingness and enthusiasm -- Will you do the job:

  • Ambition: Has the desire to learn, grow and excel
  • Intelligent/Energetic/Motivated/Team Player: comprehends and adapts quickly, achievement oriented

Tips For A Winning Interview

  • Understand the employer's perspective
  • Make a good first impression
  • Communicate interest and enthusiasm
  • Focus on what you can do for the company
  • Prove that your skills, talents and abilities match the employer's needs
  • Show that you can quickly contribute value and profit to the organization
  • Have a list of questions to ask that were not found when researching the company
  • Never bring up salary, perks or benefits unless a job is offered
  • When interview concludes, say "I've enjoyed our time together, where do we go from here?"
  • After the interview, make notes of what you did well and what you need to improve upon
  • Always send a thank you letter/note within 24 hours of your interview

Why the Best-Qualified Candidates Usually DON'T Get the Job
Research indicates that about 65% of the time, the hired employee meets fewer than 50% of the job qualifications.

How can this be?
The reason is because job offers are given most frequently to those candidates who, regardless of formal qualifications, sell themselves best, intimidate least and listen the most.

All About Interviewing
Practice interviewing with a friend or loved one. Better yet, videotape the entire interview. Have a friend or career coach act the part of interviewer by asking you selected questions based on the type of job you're interviewing for. Use the Tough Interview Questions as a guide.

Plan your interviews. Take the Interview Worksheets with you to your interview. Make sure to place them on top of your note pad for a quick reference should you need them. By listing your top 3 or 4 achievements and having written down the questions you want to ask the interviewer, you'll be focused, organized and ready for your interviews.

Keep in mind what employers want to know about you and prepare accordingly:

  • Ability
  • Attitude
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Fit
  • Intelligence
  • Interests
  • Motivation
  • Skills

Your References: Make sure you send each one of your references an updated version of your resume and also provide them with a list of your skills, talents, and abilities. Also, make sure you notify them of the companies that may call.

Always remember that to hire and train a new employee is a "big ticket" purchase for the employer costing between $10,000 to $30,000. For this reason the employer will attempt to get the best value for their money. Therefore, it is not uncommon to undergo three screening interviews and two selection interviews before a final candidate is chosen.

Types Of Interviews
There are basically two types of interviews: the Screening Interview, and the Selection Interview. However, both of these interviews come in a variety of altered types and styles.

Screening Interviews
In-Person Screening
A screening interview is used to determine if you have the necessary qualifications to continue to the next step. Typically conducted by human resources in larger companies or the hiring manager in smaller firms, these tend to be done very quickly. The goal is to screen out as many job applicants as possible. Making it through to the next step will be determined by the candidate's attitude, intelligence, interests and "fit". The latter is the most important determinant in this initial process. The question that the interviewer will have in the back of their mind is, "Will the candidate 'fit' within our organization?" (Refer to "50%... Good chemistry" above)

Your goal: To be invited back for a follow-up interview.

Telephone Screening
The Internet has created a global reach making it possible for employers to broadcast their job listings all over the world. Telephone screening interviews serve as a very efficient and low cost way to quickly evaluate a candidate's viability for the open position.

The purpose of this interview is to draw out more information than is shown on your resume and cover letter. Don't attempt to establish rapport with the screener as this person's primary task is to establish whether you meet the basic requirements for the position. Do not smoke or eat while taking this call. Focus on the caller: avoid distractions and minimize background noises.
Some interviewers may not call you to set up a telephone appointment. Because of this, you should have your resume, your list of questions, and a pen and note pad - conveniently placed near your telephone - ready for their call.

Always remember that body language is eliminated from this setting so you must: take a moment to organize your thoughts, give clear and concise answers to questions -- and smile -- to make sure your voice reflects enthusiasm and a positive attitude.

In closing the interview: thank the interviewer for his or her time, write down the correct spelling of their name and confirm their mailing address to help in sending them a thank you letter.

Your goal: To be invited to an in-person interview.

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