Nick Corcodilos, Ask the Headhunter, shared 6 Secrets of the New Interview from his book, The New Interview (an instruction book), on this blog post.
Here are his six, with my commentary:
1. Insiders have the best shot at the job. They also have the best shot at recommending outsiders for the job. Are you networking with people at your target companies so that you could be recommended by an insider? This, my friends, is what I would call working the hidden job market. How do you keep track of all of your networking touch points, and follow-up conversations? Using JibberJobber, of course.
2. The real matchmaking is done before the interview. Nick says “a headhunter never sends a candidate to an interview unless the headhunter already knows the candidate can do the job.” How do you keep track of which recruiters know what about you? Use JibberJobber to keep a profile on your recruiters, and when you send them what information, and who you have referred them to.
3. The interview is an invitation to do the job. Nick says the interview is not an interrogation (even thought it might feel like one, since the stakes for you are so high!). In JibberJobber there’s a section called Interview Prep, to help you prepare for your interviews.
4. The employer wants to hire you, and he will help you win the interview. Combine the idea of interviewing well and having insiders network you in and refer you, and you’ll be ahead more than if you didn’t do those two things! As noted above, JibberJobber helps with both.
5. The boss wants one thing from you: He wants you to solve a problem. Same as #4 – can you, in the interview, prove you can solve the problem? And, do you have insiders that influence the boss vouching for you? JibberJobber helps organize and track this.
6. You will win the job by doing it. That is, not talking about it, but somehow assuring them that you know how to do the job, without any doubt. This, I think, comes down to your personal brand, and how well you have communicated your abilities and success to your contacts. You can use JibberJobber to keep track of which contacts need to know what about you, and whether you have told them the right stories or not.
In Nick’s post he shares a link to the interview flow chart… this is a complex process, and I can see how JibberJobber could add value to almost every step in the flowchart.
I remember going to an interview, after a two day training for job seekers, and thinking “did the interviewer prepare in any way for this interview?” It was horrible. It was embarrassing (for the interviewer). It was a waste of time.
I remember the interviewer reading questions from a printout (thanks Google, five minutes before our interview!), and not really listening to the answers. No eye contact, just reading the next question, then the next question.
An interview is not a checklist task to just get through the questions… it should be an engaging time to figure out if the person can do the job and will fit nicely into the culture of the company/team. But somehow we haven’t figured this out very well.
We let things… discrimination and stereotyping… get in the way of the job search interview. Sometimes how a person looks, or what they where, or how charming their smile is, will trump how anyone responds. I’ve seen this in real life.
Jon proposes that the format of a programmer’s interview is scrapped, and they are tested with real situations to solve… kind of like puzzles, from the work environment. I read Jon’s proposal and think “wow, that sounds intense….!” But here’s the line that really caught me:
“Now, this does require one huge prerequisite: every candidate must have a side project that they wrote, all by themselves, to serve as their calling card.”
A side project… their calling card. In the creative world this might be considered your portfolio.
Whatever you call it, I totally agree with Jon. What can you point to that you have done/accomplished/figured out?
This becomes part of your personal brand messaging. Swap spots at the interview table for a minute and image that you have 10 final resumes in front of you… and they all look kind of the same. They all have similar education, similar years of experience, similar titles at similarly impressive companies… they all look great, but none really stand out.
The one who has had a side project, and talks about it. Perhaps there is a website or blog where you can learn more about this person or their side project. Where the other 9 resumes are just names on resumes, with nothing else to distinguish them, this person’s resume stands out because you read a few blog posts, and saw pictures, and got caught up in the stories. You read about their project and realized that they have skills and experience that didn’t quite come across in the resume.
You learned about their portfolio because they had one.
Jon has a lot of great points, but this one stuck out the most.
What’s in your portfolio? What are your side projects that you can point to?
You know, when you are in a job interview, the question the interviewer asks might not really be the question they want you to answer. Or, to put it another way, they might ask a question just to see if you have… issues.
Here’s a great youtube video where Ford Myers addresses the why’s and how to answer specific questions in a job search interview:
On LinkedIn there is an article proposing the ultimate interview question. I don’t agree with the author.
Spoiler alert: he says the ultimate interview question is “What did you learn last week?” The author makes a case for this being the ultimate question… but I’m guessing he is someone who really values learning and curiousity… both great things. My experience, though, is that most interviewers aren’t even close to ready to ask that question, much less understand great answers to the question.
If I were to interview someone right now, I would ask questions about their skillset (we are a technical company and I need to know you have the breadth/depth of skills for the job) and experience and results (if it’s a sales role, I need to know you’ve been a rainmaker). My series of questions, and their answers and attitudes, will hopefully help me understand if this person has integrity, will fit into my culture, and of course able to do the job.
But none of the questions I ask would be the ultimate interview question. Most of these questions will sound run-of-the-mill and boring.
The ultimate interview question, I think, will be the one that the job seeker asks.
You see, I’ve got my list of questions I’m going to ask the final 10, or 5, or 2 candidates… and after a while all the answers will sound the same. Once I get it down to the best of my list, you will all be admirable. Each of you will have your own strengths, and some weaknesses, but overall, any of you might be the right hire.
If you really want to knock my socks off, and show me that you CARE, and WANT this job, then don’t wait for me to ask the ultimate interview question. You should bring your own question. Show me that you’ve done your research. Show me that you understand my company, customers, competition, challenges, etc. Show me, with your question(s), that you are a smart thinker, and anxious to attack some problems.
I want to hire someone who is, as my college programming professor said, “high speed, low drag.” That means they aren’t going to sit around waiting for me to give them direction. Show me that you are ready to take initiative, and you don’t need me to hand feed you your tasks.
Having laid that foundation, what are some great questions you could ask in an interview? I’m not sure there is one question that will show all of those things… it will depend on the company, industry, culture, and how the interview is going (and how interested/engaged the interviewers are)… but what are some ideas of questions you might ask to position yourself as the right person to hire?
Her points (read the article because she has more details):
Find Out The Next Step
Don’t Think The Worst
Use Your Common Sense
Leave A Great Follow Up Voicemail
Send A Thank You Letter
Include A ‘P.S.’ In Your Follow Up Letter
Send A Follow Up List Of Short Testimonials
Note three opportunities to FOLLOW-UP! As you follow-up, focus on potential long-term relationships, not just on a yes/no answer. Of course you want a yes/no answer, but if you change your mentality from “it’s a numbers game,” you’ll leave less casualties on your job search journey and strengthen your network size and depth (of relationships).
Attitude is so powerful, isn’t it? Just going through the motions without the right attitude will be detrimental (trust me, I did that).
Many years ago I heard about the brilliant idea of pasting your resume, or a job description, into a word cloud generator to get an analysis of what words and phrases were commonly used. We now have a tool to help you do this type of analysis in JibberJobber. What we have now is Phase I of a bigger project, with some really cool and useful enhancements in the planning stage.
This type of reporting and analysis can help you create better resumes, and prepare for interviews better. If I had an interview I was preparing for, I would do this analysis on ten jobs with the same titles and then compare, side-by-side, what the analysis shows me. Smarter resumes, smarter cover letters, smarter interviews, smarter networking dialogs… it all comes from understanding better what companies are looking for.
Below is how our word cloud stuff works (this is all on the Jobs Detail Page – I would create a “Job” record of just my resume, and do the same analysis of my resume as I would of a job description):
First, put a Job into JibberJobber. You can see this is for a Senior Systems Analyst / release Manager:
Then, scroll down on the Detail Page (the page after you save the job, not the Add/Edit page), and you’ll see these three tabs (right above the Log Entries area):
The first tab is for Notes, which is what we have in the other Detail Pages, and what we’ve had in JibberJobber since 2006. The second tab is where you paste the Job Description, which is a simple Copy/Paste from LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, Dice, etc. The third tab is where you will see the Word Cloud, and other analysis (see below).
Here’s what a Job Description looks like, pasted into the second tab (NOTE that double-clicking on the tab will allow you to add/edit the Notes, and add (paste) a Job Description):
Now that we have a job description in, we can click on the third tab, and see the Word Cloud (first tab), and the Analysis. Here’s what the Word Cloud looks like… notice I can change the output to different types of word clouds, and I can show x% of the top words/phrases:
So that’s it – that is what most word cloud systems let you do (afaik). The next thing we do is show you a simple statistical analysis, under the Analysis tab:
NOTE the last line in this image (there more more below this one) is TWO words… we allow you to create multi-word “phrases (see more below), as well as blacklist words or phrases, in the last two tabs.
So, click on the Phrases tab and you can see that we can force phrases – if “computer systems” are two words right next to each other, we force them to be a phrase, instead of making computer one word and systems another word… pretty cool way to “clean up” the results:
We can also blacklist words, like and or the or something else we don’t need to see in the analysis. This also helps clean up the analysis:
SO that’s it’s for Phase I. There are some REALLY COOL features that I want to introduce in Phase II… stay tuned! If you have any requests to enhance this analysis and reporting, let me know: Jason at JibberJobber dot com – thanks!
Note: I don’t blog about that because my competitors like to read my blog posts to see what we’re up to, and see what they can squeeze into their system…
My call with Fred Coon was awesome. There were a lot of gems throughout this call. I have two regrets:
We didn’t have more time. It seems like Fred just skimmed the surface on an 8-step plan… I think we could have talked for hours more. BUT, what he was able to share in 90 minutes was a great foundation for anyone.
I asked Fred, impromptu, to provide a little banjo music in the back while I wrapped it up. He did, I wrapped up, and I mistakenly stopped the recording when I was done instead of when he was done. I’ve never been banjo’d before… it was very cool
Below is our conversation. I encourage you to take notes, and if you want, let us know what impacted you most, and the minute mark of that impactful moment, so we can get to it easier.
Enjoy! (vimeo provides a full screen option comes on after you click play, but there is no visual… you can put this on while you do something else (like take notes?))
Why is this a must-read? Not everyone here is a writer… but everyone here is a communicator!
This list is all about taking normal conversation and enhancing it. The goal is not to confuse people with fancy words (like sagacious, which I would actually have to look up). The goal is to have more impactful communication. Say or write your message differently to have more impact! Can you imagine being a job seeker in an interview, or a salesperson in front of a prospect, and being the most memorable because you were the most impactful?
It’s really that important. Check out this brilliant list from Amanda Patterson in South Africa
Save it, print it out, highlight it, and read it three times before you do a video interview. There are examples of what not to do (keep your finger out of your nose, even if you think the interview is over / don’t get sloshed to “calm your nerves”) and a great list of what you SHOULD do.
Yes, you can buy the guy’s book if you want, but make sure you save this article for a quick reference when you are preparing for the interview. From lighting to makeup to waiting 3 seconds after the question is asked… this stuff WILL make or break your interview.