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Jan 15, 2014

12 Essential Job Hunting Secrets

Getting a job is more of a science than you think. Here are 12 essential job hunting secrets.

In the past 30 years, on more than one thousand different search projects, I must have debriefed four thousand different hiring managers and candidates. The big aha from all this: getting a job is as much art as science, with a lot of luck mixed in.

Increase Your Chances to Be Found

Regardless, by knowing what to do and not to do, job-seekers can better position themselves to be found more easily, assessed more accurately, and getting an offer more likely. Following is my shortlist of the required dance steps.

  • Implement a 20/20/60 job-seeking plan. Only 20% of your effort should be spent on applying to jobs, another 20% on making sure your resume and profile are easy to find, and the balance on networking.

  • Give yourself a 10-second review. Look at your resume for 10 seconds and circle everything that stands out. Since this is how much time a recruiter takes to decide to read your resume, make sure the first line is compelling and your track record stands out.

  • Become a networking guru. HR leaders contend their best hires come through employee referrals. So when you find a job posting of interest, use LinkedIn to find someone you’re connected to who is connected to someone in the company. Then get this person to refer you. Networking will also open the door to the hidden job market.

Don’t Get Excluded When First Contacted

  • Be strategic, not tactical. Don’t focus on the comp, location, company or job title. Ask about the job and the impact on the company. If this represents a career move, the stuff you get on the start date will be more than enough. Better: you’ll be invited in for the interview or possibly considered for other jobs.

  • Take control of the interview by asking questions. Don’t let the recruiter go into box-checking mode. Ask about why the job is available, how long they’ve been looking, and some of the challenges and responsibilities. Even if the job is not a perfect fit, you might be able to get it modified if they think you’re a strong person.

  • Shift the conversation to performance. Very few candidates are a perfect match on skills and experience. The best candidates are those who have accomplished the most comparable work regardless of their direct experience. You’ll need to get this point across during the first call.

Make Sure You’re Accurately Assessed

  • Ask job-related and forced-choice questions. First, ask the interviewer to describe the job. To ensure the person asks about your strengths ask something like, “Is (one of your major strengths) important in this job?” Then give an example that best demonstrates this ability.

  • Be prepared to discuss major accomplishments in depth. Write up your biggest team and individual accomplishments using the SMARTe model below. Giving a detailed two-minute answer separates you from those who mention quickly forgotten generalities.

  • Give SMARTe answers. I wrote a book for interviewers on how to ask SMARTe questions. Job-seekers can reverse engineer the process by giving examples of accomplishments that are Specific, Measurable and Action-oriented. Also include the Results achieved, the Timeframe and describe the environment.

Negotiate the Job, Not the Compensation

  • Find out where you stand. At the end of the interview ask about next steps. If non-committal, ask what area in your background is the interviewer most concerned about. Then attempt to provide a SMARTe answer to address the concern.

  • Expand or modify the job to fit your background. Jobs can be modified to fit the needs of a strong person. Rather than focusing on compensation, see if the job can be enlarged or re-scoped. If you’re successful in a bigger role, your compensation will rise accordingly and more rapidly.

  • Prove you’re worthy. Negotiate an early performance review if the company is unwilling to increase the compensation. To prove yourself, volunteer to start in a temp role or on a short-term consulting project. Not only does this demonstrate confidence and character, it also puts you in a very strong bargaining position once you’ve demonstrated your ability.

Getting a new job takes practice, patience and perseverance. Following these ideas will increase your odds, shorten the time to get another job, and improve your bargaining power. The key is to proactively lead the process, not follow someone else’s. This is what dancing is all about, especially with a partner who is a bit clumsy or out of step.

(Article via Business Insider

Jan 13, 2014

3 New Years Resolutions Every Job-Seeker Should Follow In 2014


With a new year ahead comes new strategy and if your goal for 2014 is to land a new job or make that career switch you’re going to need more than just good thoughts and positive energy. The first step in seeing the change and outcome you want is to put fourth a plan and take ACTION.

Taking the right steps to define and execute your plan will lead you to your success.  We’ve put together a list of “resolutions” to help guide you in the direction to start 2014 off on the right (career-wise) foot. 


You need to figure out where you are and where you want to go, and without a solid plan this won’t be achievable. Define your strengths and weaknesses. Come up with a list of what it is you enjoy about your work life and what it is you want to change. Think about your past work experiences and what you liked/disliked about each one. Start small with short term goals (these next few months) and move on to long term goals (where it is you want to end up)

Setting up a clear straight-forward list is an easy way to start the ball rolling and set a road map to where it is you want to be. 


It is so important to build up your network and create connections in the field you want to grow in. Most positions are filled through networking and by personal connections made.  You never know who may know somebody or have some internal contact with a company you are trying to get hired by, so always always always talk, ask and express your interested to anyone you might think could help. 

Following up with your “established” network is also super important. After meeting and making a connection with someone be sure to exchange information and follow up the next day with an email or phone call to maintain your relationship and keep your interaction fresh. 


Research the company you are applying for so that when it comes to your interview, you know that company backwards and forwards - you want to be able to to establish a back and fourth communication to really impress your interviewer. Ask questions about things you’ve found out about the company. Engage with your interviewer by showing your passion and interest for their company.  In addition to your interview, you also want to make sure your resume is up-to-date. A clean, well formatted resume is one of the most important things you have to worry about. It is your first impression a recruiter gets of you. You want your resume to set the right tone for you and be an advocate of the skills and work background you have. 

Jan 10, 2014 / 1 note

How To Give Original Answers To 7 Cliché Interview Questions

Your answers to the cliché questions say a lot about you. They can make or break your chance at landing the job. It’s essential to prepare original answers for the cliché questions you know you’ll hear at your next job interview. The strongest answers are unique and will give you a leg up in the competition.

Here are seven of the most cliché interview questions and how to answer them with originality:

1. Tell me about yourself. Employers will often begin the interview with this one. Because it’s so vague, this answer truly needs to be prepared ahead of time. You can answer using your elevator speech. Talk briefly about three areas of your career: job history, most impressive accomplishments, and relevant goals. Your interviewer already has your resume, so rather than memorizing your background, you need to expand on what makes you different and emphasize your passion. Remember to keep it concise.

2. Why do you want to work here? This question is designed to show hiring managers if you’ve done your research before the interview. You should enter the interview knowing plenty of background information about the company, recent news surrounding the company and industry, and specific details about the position. Understand the company culture and mission. Use what you learn to highlight the detailed reasons you want the job and why your background makes you a perfect fit for the company.

3. What are your biggest strengths? Your strengths and weaknesses tend to be paired together by interviewers, so it’s important to have answers for both. When it comes to your strengths, you need to tailor your answers to the job description. In addition to a laundry list of responsibilities, job descriptions will often list soft skills required for the role. If you have these qualities, list them as your greatest strengths in the interview. It’s not enough, however, to just say your biggest strength is your ability to communicate. You need to show them why by telling a story that showcases a time when you used your skills to accomplish a goal.

4. What is your biggest weakness? On the flip side comes your weaknesses. This one is tough because it’s extremely easy to give a cliché answer. Avoid giving a strength disguised as a weakness like, “I’m a perfectionist.” Interviewers know this is a cop-out. Instead, choose a real weakness and put a positive spin on it. Talk about the fact that you realize it’s a problem, and discuss the ways you’re working to improve. For example, “I tend to rush through tasks because I want to get them done quickly, but I am learning to step back and put a bit more emphasis on quality than speed. I’ve started to become both efficient and effective.”

5. Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years? Your answer to this question should demonstrate your desire to commit to the job and grow within the company. Talk about how you want to learn everything you can and expand your skills to benefit the company. Mention your desire to move up in the company over time. Explain that you want this job to be the start of a long career with the company.

6. How do you handle conflict? When interviewers ask this (or similar questions about teamwork, leadership, etc.), they are looking for you to describe specific examples of your experience. Describe a time when you faced conflict in the workplace. Explain the situation, how you handled it, and what were the results. Don’t forget to tell the story from start to finish to show how you accomplished your goal.

7. Why should we hire you? This question might be one of the last things you’re asked in an interview. Like #1, it’s pretty vague so it’s important to have an answer prepared. Talk about your best skills and accomplishments that show why you, and you alone, are the perfect person for the position. Use specific details from the job description and emphasize why you are capable of doing them best. If you’re not asked this question, you might be asked, “Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?” Use the same principles to answer this question. End your interview by proving why you’re the only person for the job.

Even though all of these questions are fairly cliché, you can use them to truly shine in your interview. The fact that they’re so cliché is an opportunity. Expect to be asked these questions and answer them with stories tailored to make you the best candidate.

(Article via glassdoor | Read more:

"Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming."
-Richard Branson
Jan 10, 2014
Jan 10, 2014

6 Habits of Remarkably Likable People

When you meet someone, after, “What do you do?” you’re out of things to say. You suck at small talk, and those first five minutes are tough because you’re a little shy and a little insecure.

But you want to make a good impression. You want people to genuinely like you.

Here’s how remarkably likeable people do it:

They lose the power pose.

I know: Your parents taught you to stand tall, square your shoulders, stride purposefully forward, drop your voice a couple of registers, and shake hands with a firm grip.

It’s great to display nonverbal self-confidence, but go too far and it seems like you’re trying to establish your importance. That makes the “meeting” seem like it’s more about you than it is the other person—and no one likes that.

No matter how big a deal you are you pale in comparison to say, oh, Nelson Mandela. So take a cue from him. Watch how he greets Bill Clinton, no slouch at this either.

Clinton takes a step forward (avoiding the “you must come to me” power move); Mandela steps forward with a smile and bends slightly forward as if, ever so slightly, to bow (a clear sign of deference and respect in nearly every culture); Clinton does the same. What you have are two important people who put aside all sense of self-importance or status. They’re genuine.

Next time you meet someone, relax, step forward, tilt your head towards them slightly, smile, and show that you’re the one who is honored by the introduction—not them.

We all like people who like us. If I show you I’m genuinely happy to meet you, you’ll instantly start to like me. (And you’ll show that you do, which will help calm my nerves and let me be myself.)

They embrace the power of touch.

Nonsexual touch can be very powerful. (Yes, I’m aware that sexual touch can be powerful too.) Touch can influence behavior, increase the chances of compliance, make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly.

Go easy, of course: Pat the other person lightly on the upper arm or shoulder. Make it casual and nonthreatening.

Check out Clinton’s right-hand-shakes-hands-left-hand-touches-Mandela’s-forearm-a-second-later handshake in the link above and tell me, combined with his posture and smile, that it doesn’t come across as genuine and sincere.

Think the same won’t work for you? Try this: The next time you walk up behind a person you know, touch them lightly on the shoulder as you go by. I guarantee you’ll feel like a more genuine greeting was exchanged.

Touch breaks down natural barriers and decreases the real and perceived distance between you and the other person—a key component in liking and in being liked.

They whip out their social jiu-jitsu.

You meet someone. You talk for 15 minutes. You walk away thinking, “Wow, we just had a great conversation. She is awesome.”

Then, when you think about it later, you realize you didn’t learn a thing about the other person.

Remarkably likeable people are masters at Social Jiu-Jitsu, the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened. SJJ masters are fascinated by every step you took in creating a particularly clever pivot table, by every decision you made when you transformed a 200-slide PowerPoint into a TED Talk-worthy presentation, if you do say so yourself…

SJJ masters use their interest, their politeness, and their social graces to cast an immediate spell on you.

And you like them for it.

Social jiu-jitsu is easy. Just ask the right questions. Stay open-ended and allow room for description and introspection. Ask how, or why, or who.

As soon as you learn a little about someone, ask how they did it. Or why they did it. Or what they liked about it, or what they learned from it, or what you should do if you’re in a similar situation.

No one gets too much recognition. Asking the right questions implicitly shows you respect another person’s opinion—and, by extension, the person.

We all like people who respect us, if only because it shows they display great judgment.

(Kidding. Sort of.)

They whip out something genuine.

Everyone is better than you at something. (Yes, that’s true even for you.) Let them be better than you.

Too many people when they first meet engage in some form of penis-measuring contest. Crude reference but one that instantly calls to mind a time you saw two alpha male master-of-the business-universe types whip out their figurative rulers. (Not literally, of course. I hope you haven’t seen that.)

Don’t try to win the “getting to know someone” competition. Try to lose. Be complimentary. Be impressed. Admit a failing or a weakness.

You don’t have to disclose your darkest secrets. If the other person says, “We just purchased a larger facility,” say, “That’s awesome. I have to admit I’m jealous. We’ve wanted to move for a couple years but haven’t been able to put together the financing. How did you pull it off?”

Don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability. People may be (momentarily) impressed by the artificial, but people sincerely like the genuine.

Be the real you. People will like the real you.

They ask for nothing.

You know the moment: You’re having a great conversation, you’re finding things in common… and then bam! Someone plays the networking card. 

And everything about your interaction changes.

Put away the hard-charging, goal-oriented, always-on kinda persona. If you have to ask for something, find a way to help the other person, then ask if you can.

Remarkably likeable people focus on what they can do for you—not for themselves.

They “close” genuinely.

"Nice to meet you," you say, nodding once as you part. That’s the standard move, one that is instantly forgettable.

Instead go back to the beginning. Shake hands again. Use your free hand to gently touch the other person’s forearm or shoulder. Say, “I am really glad I met you.” Or say, “You know, I really enjoyed talking with you.” Smile: Not that insincere salesperson smile that goes with, “Have a nice day!” but a genuine, appreciative smile.

Making a great first impression is important, but so is making a great last impression.

And they accept it isn’t easy.

All this sounds simple, right? It is. But it’s not easy, especially if you’re shy. The standard, power pose, “Hello, how are you, good to meet you, good seeing you,” shuffle feels a lot safer.

But it won’t make people like you.

So accept it’s hard. Accept that being a little more deferential, a little more genuine, a little more complimentary and a little more vulnerable means putting yourself out there. Accept that at first it will feel risky.

But don’t worry: When you help people feel a little better about themselves—which is reason enough—they’ll like you for it.

And you’ll like yourself a little more, too

(via INC )

Jan 10, 2014

3 Tips to Stand Out on Your Next Job Search

A new year calls for new trends - and that doesn’t exclude new focus’s when it comes to your resume and job search. It’s always good to update your resume and interview skills when it comes to your next job hunt.  

Here are our top tips in crafting your resume and crushing that interview to ensure you stand out from the rest:

1. The “30-secound test” : On average recruiters and resume reviewers spend about 30 seconds or less when determining if a resume is worth reading or not - which means your most important/critical skills and accomplishment need to stand out. You’ll want to be concise and clear when it comes to writing. This isn’t your college essay - keep it to the point and remember it’s all about what YOU can bring to the table. 

Organization is key. Spacing, bullet points, attractive layouts are all important. 

2. Confidence: Fake it till you make it : Whether it comes to your interview or resume you always want to appear confident in yourself. If you don’t appear sure of yourself and confident in your skills how can you expect your potentially employer to be? Turn your fear of whatever it might be into excitement and frame your situation into an opportunity.  

3. Do your research: Before going into that next interview, look up the company. Look up their competitors. Read the annual reports, know that company backwards and forwards so that not only are you able to go in there and sell yourself on how exactly you’re going to contribute and help them grow but also so you can engage and be active in the conversation as well. Employers wants to know how YOU are going to help them get to where they want to be as a company as well as feel confident that they are going to higher someone who knows that they’re getting into. 

It pays off to know your stuff and background on the company and/or position you are applying for. If you can, find out who your interviewer is and do your backward work there as well. Finding similar interests or backgrounds always gives you a lead and is a sure way to stand out. 

Apr 8, 2013

4 Questions to Ask A Prospective Recruiter

It’s hard to evaluate a third-party recruiter in advance. The ultimate test, of course, is whether the recruiter brings you high-quality candidates. But you won’t know this until you’ve worked with that recruiter for months. You’ll certainly want to choose a recruiter who has experience hiring in your industry for the type of talent you need. But these basics just scratch the surface. 

To dig deeper, Software Advice asked three recruiting experts for some clever questions to ask a prospective recruiter. Our experts: 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, the President and CEO of Xceptional HR which provides businesses with recruitment strategies and human resources consulting.
Julie Labrie, the President of BlueSky Personnel Solutions, a Toronto-based recruiting agency. 

Jennifer McClure of Unbridled Talent, a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of recruiting and HR strategy. 

To see what they said, read the full article here
*Thank you for this contribution from Managing Editor at The New Talent Times
Thanks to for the great interview they did of our Co-founder and CEO #MichaelDennis @FindHire
Dec 27, 2012

Thanks to for the great interview they did of our Co-founder and CEO #MichaelDennis @FindHire

Nov 7, 2012 / 2 notes
Nov 7, 2012