When people interview for jobs, too often they spend too much time focused on themselves instead of focusing on the needs of the interviewer and/or hiring manager. Jeff speaks with Hal Klegman about how to do an effective interview and create a great impression.

Effective Job Interviewing | Job Search Radio

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hi this is Jeff open the big game hunter
and welcome to job search radio on web
talk radio net I started show with a job
search tip I call the job search in fire
and today's tip is about thank you
letters now most people are running into
these days have gotten out of the habit
of sending thank you letters but I must
tell you I told sophistic recently that
was pretty stunning and should wake you
up to the importance of sending a
thank-you letter the statistic I saw
said fifty eight percent of employers
say it's important to send a thank you
note after an interview and twenty four
percent say it's very important in other
words more than eighty percent of all
employers think there's a value to use
tending a thank you letter now I want to
be clear not ever thank you what is
going to quang work but they can be very
helpful and the absence of sending a
thank-you letter can wind up calling
having a negative impact leaning
candidacy so if we wanna send a thank
you letter which i think you should
here's what should go into first of all
you thank them for making time to see
then you mention a specific part of your
experience that would help you excel in
the role there confirm and state your
spatial interest in the position and
tell them that you look forward to
hearing from the about the next step in
the process so we can form very simple
things to communicate I also want to
tell you that you need to email it not
mail it why very simple by the time US
mail delivers your thank you know to
them they've already made their decision
there's going to be no beneficial impact
on your candidacy email it get it to
them right away do not delay to the next
day if you've gone out for a five
o'clock interview send us that evening
when you get home
if you went out for one at 9am there's
no excuse me not to send it that day so
again thank you letters are extremely
important in the eyes of an employer
don't get lazy or don't be lazy send one
every time so today's guest is executive
coach Hal Klugman he specializes in
effective communications business
relationships networking and preparing
executives for job changes how it's been
30 years working executive recruiter at
chicago-based Roy told & Associates a
boutique technology search firm retiring
last year to pursue a graduate degree
how welcome back the job search radio
great to have you on board thank you
Jeff thank you for letting the second
time you're welcome now the first show
that we did was about resume writing now
we're going to come back and talk with
people about interviewing a subject that
you and I know a heck of a lot about and
this shows folk this show is going to
focus in on primarily white collar
workers or no one's really a
white-collar worker any more I think the
more khakis and polo shirts these days
but we're going to i'm guessin i'm sorry
now but we're going to look at you know
the mistakes people make and how easy
they are to be corrected so what do you
see is the big mistakes that people make
when they interview they don't prepare
for the interview and too many people
when they do prepare don't prepare
properly there's a lot of interview tips
out there and almost all of them seem to
put a large emphasis on finding out
about the company you're interviewing
with and I'm aware that that's important
however it's not primary we're not going
to they're going to the interview to see
how what an expert you are on on the
corporation you're applying to you
should absolutely no more than a little
bit about it you're going to the
interviewer and how much
know about yourself and how what you do
know about yourself and how you present
it how that fits into the needs of the
company and in particular the needs of
the hiring manager when what if what I
think of interviewing how I think in
terms of demonstrating not just simply
your what you know but and what your
experience is but how your knowledge and
experience relates to what they care
about and what they need absolutely the
trick and and it is almost a trip in any
interview is to find out what the
manager is hiring for now my belief and
and this is based on three and a half
decades of executive search experience
is that all managers in a hierarchy
outside of an honer are looking for the
same thing when they choose to hire
someone and that's simply someone who
will make them look good now that's not
about brown-nosing I wrong it's about
understanding what has to be
accomplished and what the priorities of
that manager are in fact and I wear this
from you Jeff the first question that I
have an applicant ask a potential
employer a manager not in the resource
person unless it's a human resource job
is what has to be accomplished and what
are your priorities and this of course
allows you to tailor your answer as to
what matters to them exactly but then I
take this back to the resume as you know
I believe the resume in the interview
are completely intertwined look at the
projects you put down on your resume
take a piece of paper and with each
project write down exactly how you went
about solving the problem you would take
to solve and at work
can be loaded as a problem i was asked
to solve whether it's putting chicken in
the new prior mcdonalds or building a
house or planning a merger and
acquisition it's a problem to be solved
so if you start out with this is the
problem these are the sources i had this
is the solution i came up with this is a
result of implementing my solution that
goes on the resume what you're doing for
the interview is you're taking that how
you solve the problem step by step write
it out step one step two step three
support etc so that there is a nice
coherent narrative to the solution this
is what I did and at some point
especially for complex problems there
will come a place in the solution where
you did something that didn't work now
my experience is that people not read
senior management positions because they
never made a mistake they can surely
senior management positions because they
learn from their mistakes so hard- you
and someone who told me they never screw
it up I simply don't believe them or
they don't have any real work experience
I want to back up for a second hell I
know when we did this show on our
writing resumes you were very big on the
idea of discussing metrics as the
benchmark for an individual and their
success on a task or a project how much
they might have made for a firm how am I
think how much they might have saved the
firm in the way of revenue in answering
these questions that as you're talking
about do you want them to mention the
metrics as well what generally yes there
really are forwards under resume in
forwards in a range of you that will
immediately get someone's attention
saved increased and decreased what is
one of the questions all will ask people
when I'm interviewing someone why is
this company you work at better because
you work there what have you contributed
and at that point methods come into play
and now I'm living down south now we
move down and Arkansas from Chicago and
under the culture that near is not
bursting on yourself well interview at a
few too few times that institutionally
it is is required that you boast and you
talk about your achievements totally I
tell people down here if you don't have
a high opinion of what you do why should
the potential employer of a high opinion
the Senate all that you you'd be
prepared to talk about your successes
and achievements in the course beginning
beginning of the interview it's all
about accomplishments oh well I have
much less interest in what someone is
responsible for for a traditional white
collar job than they're doing what they
accomplished it's it's what go back to
that question why is this place better
because you are there what did you add
and the inability to come up with an
answer this is exactly like an inability
to get the job and it's one of those
huge mistakes that people make so if I'm
going to follow your thinking I know
we've talked about this many times over
the years we start off with that opening
question about what the hiring manager
needs to have accomplished and then from
there once you get that answer
there are variably going to ask you to
tell me about your self question right
which is the hardest question on any
interview it usually gets an eye roll
and the head goes up and looks at the
ceiling so how would you suggest someone
answer the tell me about yourself
question I have finally come up with
with a format answer for answering that
question we're looking for information
that is not on the resume and that's
usually the information that's
transmitted when that question is asked
what I'm looking for is tell me
something personal that you sell I have
nine children I grew up on a farm I
spent six months traveling in East Asia
I'm remote you know then you're a
military veteran I would hope belongs on
the resume unlike when we started in the
business back in the 70s and what
follows hopeful about yourself a hero
story something you have done that is
noteworthy that's not on the resume or
is not on the resume in any detail and
finally something about a goal and I
have been telling people that if you go
as five years out or ten years out which
is a really long time so it's an office
and that's a good thing in this case
managers don't want to know that you
want to be a director within the next 18
months nor do they want to know that you
don't have goals so you quickly boy
that's five years out and most managers
are thinking when you probably won't be
here in four so that's fine and so you
have these three aspects something
personal hail stirring and something
without a goal the trick is you have no
more than 15 seconds for each of those
three pieces questions need to be
answered in 45 seconds or less why do
you think that is how because
the mind of the interviewer will wander
I have I teach a method of preparing
three responses to all all detailed
questions about projects your first 45
seconds should be an overview of the
project and my role in it at which point
I will ask you have any further
questions would you like more
information if they have a question you
answer it if they're not more
information you have bought another 45
seconds so some more detail about your
particular role in the project is now
required ask again after 45 seconds what
would you like me to continue do you
want to hear more about this particular
project if the answer is yes you network
two units of time and if you're really
good at making presentations and you can
use a whiteboard effectively now is the
time to do it if not take the two
minutes if you can't explain a complex
project to me in what is now three and a
half minutes more likely you can't
explain to me in three and a half hours
and unfortunately the hiring manager's
mind will channel surf as I like to
refer to it if you start going past that
final two minutes they're going to war
movie what when you get to the point
already because they have a limited
amount of time available on their
calendar so they want you to move
through things as quickly as you can to
illustrate through points so then get on
what they need to evaluate I'm glad you
brought up the point and how much time
they have on their calendar I always ask
applicants you have a two o'clock
interview it's five minutes to to you
show up the receptionist cause the man
who insist Susie Smith is here for her
what do you believe the manager is doing
in that time immediately prior to your
interview the info i usually get my
resume or thinking about the job opening
the truth of the matter and I've tested
this with manager after manager is what
got manager is thinking is I don't have
time for this isn't there someone else
who can interview this person and so on
the applicant walks into the office of
the person that's going to hire them or
not we're ready to hold the earlier
deficit situation so out comes the big
smile some meaningless chit chat and
then they're asked tell me about
yourself at which point to Canada rolls
their eyes looks up at the ceiling and
lonely interviewer it's not even two
minutes into it agreed most of the time
if you are passive and allow the
employer to immediately go into tell me
about yourself they can go back to
thinking about how they can finish and
when they can finish that which they
left to talk to you instead by getting
their attention right away by asking
that what do you need to have done here
type of question at the beginning you
pull them into the interview get their
attention remind them of what they're
looking for in someone right you're
reminding them about what it is they're
trying to screen for and you may
actually green some additional
information that wasn't on that job
description is hopefully you saw
beforehand that made new thing new
thinking about the job you see one of
the things i know about job descriptions
is that from the time that position is
approved by HR and the powers that be
until the time you walk in the door it's
gone through a couple of changes since
then yes my primary my primary all
responsibility when I was at Roy tallman
was less about making placements of
applicants that I had recruited more
about bringing in new business and the
way I got into business was by working
with managers on job descriptions job
description forms usually come out of
human resources and it's a list of
responsibilities followed by a list of
required skills analyst a list of
desired skills of its sophisticated
human resource department followed by
information that you have to be strong
enough to lift up a 10 pound box what I
asked managers to do is write a person's
annual review and make it glowing that's
the job description now you know it has
to be accomplished work backwards as to
the skills that are desired so that that
might be accomplished but this isn't
about knowing how to do something this
is about knowing what has to be
accomplished and accomplishing it at the
effort that the emphasis on resumes on
this is what I accomplished that what I
was responsible for its why during the
interview talked about how you achieved
something what you did that made a
difference did you increase the value of
the company did you increase sales did
you decrease downtime did you earn
learning for the company did you save
money for the company how did you do
that if if you look in to go to an
interview and you ask some manager you
said will manager as you're shaking
hands I've read the job description i
spoke with city and the only resources
are spoke with mrs. smith in in your
department that given me a picture of
what you're looking for but position
reports to you would you be good enough
to tell me that has to be accomplished
where your priorities you can get an
answer about 40
of the time and if they go into
answering that question you're already
hired and if you know the answer the
question how should someone push to get
the answer or just let it go let it go
because managers are just going to go
it's a good question and get to that
it's a ploy that's what I would that's
what I advise people as well let it go
that it has a ploy where where I do push
is at the end of the interview other
interviews in exactly the same way do
you have any questions I've yet to hear
of an interview it ended differently
except for people who would dragged out
by the police now we've had in the low
so they're telling you about the job at
the beginning of the interview you can't
ask them to tell you about the job at
the end of course you can because during
the course of an interview when
someone's going to get hurt the Job
Description changed oh you can do that
well that's great I don't go to that its
regular assuming you I army and as soon
as one year from now and you are sitting
down to write my annual review what will
I have accomplished for you that will
get me the best annual review you can
imagine writing that's the final
question what will I have accomplished
for you this job or our job is to get
the biggest annual bonus you can get
your job is to make sure you do
everything possible that your voice gets
a big bonus that's how you get your
raise and it's a beautifully crafted
question because it causes them to
imagine you in the job exactly and
imagine you being successful in the role
very hard on hell thank you one of the
things I also tell people on my new and
I have booked on a lot of work with
stations before you go into an interview
visualize the end of the interview where
the manager stands up and you stand up
and they shake your hand and they say I
look forward to you coming on board put
that picture of success in your mind
walk in there believing you're hired
because if you walk in there not
believing you're hired you will walk out
not hired it's so true and I want to go
one one layer past some of the stuff
we've been talking about so far he'll
and ask you about the personal
attributes that an employer is trying to
figure out from you in the course of you
talking about your achievements and want
to speak to that absolutely when I hire
people when my clients hire people and
any number of times my clients have
brought me in to be part of the
interview process with them critical
thinking adaptability tenacity I need
people to understand that adaptability
and tenacity are absolutely required you
may be working on a project for two
months you may put your heart and soul
into it and four layers up in the
company they decided that they need to
switch gears and your project is now put
on hold or putting the trash and you
need to do something else well you're
allowed to be upset about it for three
minutes and then you need to go and be
adaptable they are not paying you a
salary because you get to do what you
want they're paying you a salary because
you're accomplishing what they need
accomplished tenacity there's a
wonderful book called pilot is overrated
I would rather have someone with a high
degree of stick-to-itiveness mrs. Dunn
was like sixth grade teacher used to
refer to it then somebody who's
brilliant but a little flaky tenacity
stick-to-itiveness the willingness and
the desire to get the job done
regardless of how long it takes or the
effort it takes is so highly valued by
employers and if you're putting that
into your employment and you're not
being appreciated working for the wrong
company and thus in the course of the
interview of what you're attempting to
do is talk about these attributes in
telling your stories that we've been
talking about in talking about your
achievements successes even the personal
stories absolutely I don't want to you
know I want to hear somebody tell me
about a really hard project and a hard
to meet deadlines and a 60-hour week I
want to know that something's going to
do what it takes to get the job done I
want to know that projects were done on
time and in budget well that of course
is somewhat of a pipe dream for a lot of
projects because of what we call mission
creep the fact that it will assess but
when all is said and done in in the
course of telling your story if let's
say this right in an interview it's not
like they're going to say so do you
tenacity yes good that was the right
answer they're going to find this out
from the stories that you tell and where
you can tie the bow for them and use
words like you know it was a very
difficult project that I worked on you
know we had people from different
departments coming at us with new
requirements all the time in the
management that said you got to fulfill
it so we always had to adapt to the
situation it is the same time hold
tenaciously to the idea that we were
going to deliver this project online the
one of the things that comes up right
around this particular subject before
you sit
the manager company for employment
interview rehearse your answers with
someone able to make judgments about the
quality of the answer rehearse rehearse
rehearse interviewing is not fun not for
the interviewee and quite frankly not
for the interviewer because if they make
a mistake they've got to live with it
it's a higher than in person it was
comes to know what were you thinking as
opposed to brow that chef Roman value
higher good mood because that's all the
manager wants from you so we host your
answers so that they come out coherently
logically and I know your boss's boss
really only wants to hear about you in
the future because someone's called them
up and said this guy two levels down
from you is terrific they only want to
hear from you when it's time for the
review they never want to hear about you
when there's a problem so you've had two
out of three instances where your boss's
boss is going to want to hear about you
that are positive and the other one
that's the one that your boss is most
worried about exactly exactly you are
not responsible your bosses very Troy as
your boss is it on blame you know with
him and such as the nature of Iraqis
it's what happens when we take on more
responsibility there's more
accountability that's the other thing
people want is accountability if I say
if someone tells me they're going to do
something I assume that it will be done
and when it doesn't get done um I'm not
really acceptable kisses I expect people
to deliver what they finally bill
deliver so don't over promise show up on
time we're getting away from
interviewing and that's where our focus
needs to
here so how there any points that that
mistakes people make on interviewing or
reminders you want to give people about
interviewing that we haven't already
covered on these little things dressing
appropriately for an interview is always
important if it's a professional shop
and people are in khakis and polo shirts
wear a suit for a man and for a woman
you can't go wrong wearing a suit
whether or not you have the tie on well
if it's a casual shop leave the tie off
if it's a lesson casual shop but all
means wear the tie have your shoes
shined your haircut is being trimmed men
in a list of a man manager for the men
and the women absolutely look look like
you care about somebody else's opinion
about what you look like because what
you look like is part of that
instantaneous judgment people will make
in the first few seconds they look
sloppy a bit sloppy i did a video for
youtube recently about an appearance
mattern now this is one of those
differences between the genders and how
they approach appearance in professional
situations women know the importance of
appearance is part of the sexism in our
culture men on the other hand think they
can get away with being a little bit
more sloppy or casual about appearance
but then again that's one of those
benchmarks that firms use would your
boss want to present you to a group in a
different department for us the way you
are in that knife or would they rather
have someone else doing and that you
have to think that way and even if you
dressed send me appropriately like the
shoes are and shine though
you know it has it impacted the impact
can be on the amount of the job offer
it's not like they're going to sit there
going you know his shoes weren't shine
today we're going to offer five thousand
less it's just that they're going to
think less of you how happen folks reach
you for advice on how quite minute gmail
com could you spell your last name for
them al EG må and so it's h al que le
GMA n @ um it comes out
there's no doubter dash or anything
between my first and last name on that
email address and i am available for
coaching and look forward to hearing
from your listeners Jeff thank you and
thanks for being on the show again how
thank you for inviting job you're
welcome folks we're going to be back
next time with more job on the advice
I'm Jeff off in the big game hunter and
you can find out more about my coaching
programs in VIP personal search com I
also like how coach people about how to
interview and as I've coached tens of
thousands of people over the course of
my career and helping more than a
thousand people filling find positions
through my work and indirectly helped
many tens of thousands find positions
through their own efforts so contact me
through VIP personal search com or if
you haven't have an individual question
you can reach out to me through
liveperson com or I'm a job search and
career coach now by the way it confirms
trying to hire someone you can reach out
to me a Jeff often at the big game
hunter us I'd love to help the firm
staff positions and
I also want to encourage it to come over
to youtube and watch my channel there
which is the big game hunter TV all one
word the big game hunter TV I have
hundreds of videos at that different
elements of job hunting it will help you
because folks as hell I've been showing
you time and again job hunting has lots
of details to it and missing on one of
those details making a mistake of all in
the one way can be very costly you may
lose the opportunities that frankly you
can get if only you had the best advice
and frankly I'm one of the best
recruiters in the United States today
and have spoken with is evaluated more
than 400,000 people and helped
organizations hire more than a thousand
people over the course of my career so
reach out to me I'd love to help you
find work I love to help you

You may also find my YouTube playlist, “Stupid Interview Mistakes” contains many helpful videos.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website,

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