“Hope changes everything.”
That’s how Jessica Pierce, Executive Director of Career Connectors, opened today’s event held at the Gilbert Campus of Central Christian Church. After welcoming participants, Jessica went on to tell the inspirational story of one recent Career Connectors graduate who had landed a job with Green Tree after hearing about the company at a Career Connectors event in Gilbert two weeks ago.
According to today’s keynote speaker, Bill Markham, hope means to look forward to with confidence and expectation. Having the right attitude and staying motivated can mean the difference between disappointment and self-pity, and landing your dream job.
As president of Winnerviewer and a career coach with over 35 years of experience, Bill has worked with countless professionals in transition to help them prepare for and succeed in their job search. In today’s keynote, Bill outlined 12 steps to winning every job interview:
- Decision – Read the job description and ask yourself, does this job work for me? Should I go for the job or not? Evaluate whether you should apply to it. Do your skills match up? As Bill pointed out, 80% of people don’t know what they want to do. Rather than sending out hundreds of resumes, be selective on what companies you apply to. Some great questions to ask yourself are: Is this a job to which I can become committed? Do I even want this job? Can I see myself doing this job every day for 40 hours a week (or more)?
- Squaring up – Bill stressed the importance of “squaring up” – pulling yourself together mentally before your interview. It’s important to review your strengths and think about why you can be hired. He also talked about visualizing the interview room and the interview itself before going in as a way to help calm nerves.
- Gangplank – Bill used the word “gangplank” to describe the walk from the lobby to the interview room. The gangplank is a wonderful opportunity to start selling yourself and establish rapport with the interviewer. Have a brilliant opening – smile and give a firm handshake. Lead with the best you’ve got. This shows you have a positive attitude and that you have confidence, passion and are engaged in the interview process. Smiling is one of the best indicators of self confidence. You need to be confident in yourself before someone else can be confident in you.
- Yourself – The “tell me about yourself” question is crucial. Be brief and keep your answer to a minute and a half max. The interviewer doesn’t want to know your life story. This is an opportunity to describe your skills and the results you’ve delivered on previous jobs. Bill stressed the importance of focusing on results. Go through your resume and find the results you delivered, then weave them into your answer.
- Results – Results are the number one thing you need to convey to win the interview. Talk about your strengths and greatest accomplishments. Are you skilled in leadership? Problem-solving? IT? What can you deliver that someone else can’t? What makes you unique? During your interview, talk about your accomplishments on previous jobs. It’s all about the results.
- Weaknesses – Being asked to describe your weaknesses during an interview can be tricky. Don’t let your guard down when the hiring manager throws this difficult question at you. These types of questions are designed to trip you up. Keep your answer focused to administrative functions, never behavioral weaknesses.
- The Company – The hiring manager’s job is to screen people out and pick the best candidate. One question you might get asked is what do you know about the company. Do your research before the interview and come prepared. Not knowing what the company does, it’s philosophy or who works there could be a fatal mistake.
- Value – As Bill pointed out, the interviewer will try to determine what value you can add to the company. What are you good at? What expertise do you have that they need? Are you a good cultural fit for the organization?
- Revenue – The bottom line to getting hired is whether you can create revenue and/or lower the company’s expenses. Answer this question by focusing on your results in revenue generation or cost savings.
- Summary – Towards the end of your interview, Bill described giving the interviewer a quick summary. Review your 4 – 5 best points for the interviewer and why you are the best person for job. This will help leave them with a good lasting impression.
- Close / Pick Me – The best way to close the interview is to ask for the job. Bill suggested saying something like, “I’m very interested in the job and I’d like to work for you. If given the opportunity, I know I could make an immediate impact on the job.” Remember, you have the skills and talent to succeed. You can be the answer to an employer’s problem.
- Hello Boss – It’s important to follow up with the hiring manager after your interview. Thank them for the opportunity and reiterate how much you want the job.
The key thing you must do in the interview is sell yourself. It’s okay to brag about your accomplishments. The more successes you can list, the higher you will rise above your competition.
Jan Plank, Human Resources Division, Department of Administration
The State of Arizona is comprised of over 100 agencies, boards and commissions with approx 35,000 employees. But don’t overlook the State as a potential employer because of it’s size; 25% of State employees will be retirement eligible in 2014, meaning the State of Arizona is hiring. The best way to land a State job is to apply online and use networking techniques. Try to track down the hiring manager (using public records – internal State of AZ phone directory). Send that person a hard copy of your resume, or leave a voice mail for the hiring manager after hours. In your voicemail you might say something like, “I’m […] and I applied for […] job. Thank you for your consideration I hope I get a chance to meet you.” Find ways to differentiate yourself. Customize your resume for each specific state job. Make sure job description keywords are in the resume.
Jobs on offer: Graphic design, fish and wildlife, child protective services, corrections, administrative assistance, human resources.
Danny Real, Talent Acquisition
Clearcall Solutions is a growing sales and marketing company in the East Valley offering security and systems and dish satellite services. It also operates a call center with a “sales floor” culture. They are looking for people who can fit the corporate culture, who are coachable and highly motivated. You will need great attitude to succeed at Clearcall Solutions. The company works hard and plays hard together.
Jobs on offer: Sales advisors and recruiters, sales managers, director of marketing, IT specialists, marketing analyst.
Linda Michaels, HR Manager
Insight is a fortune 500 computer technology company. It is the largest global software reseller in the U.S with extensive license management services. Client focused, accountability, and excellent customer service define it’s corporate culture. Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Tempe, Insight operates in 23 countries. There is a strong emphasis on community involvement. Staff are given time off to volunteer and the company offers an on-site health center.
Jobs on offer: Account executive, sales, financial analyst, network engineers, services technician, pricing analyst, developers.
Jessica encouraged participants to take advantage of the full range of services on offer. These included professional resume writing services, taking the DISC assessment, getting a professional photo, and talking with educators about national certification programs.
The next Career Connectors event will be held Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 9:00am in Scottsdale. Check out the Events Schedule on the website for further details and information on how to register.