Tag Archives: interview

A little thanks goes a long way

After Birthday parties, Christmas or any other times of celebration my children sit down and write thank you notes to all those who have sent them a gift.  It’s time-consuming ( they are lucky kids, too often spoiled rotten by doting Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles ) but I think it important that they acknowledge the time and effort people around them have gone to.

This is not a lesson in parenting, nor am I trying to extol my virtues ( there are very few! )  It did however get me thinking of the values of saying thank you and the part that very simple yet enormously valuable expression can play in the job search.

How many of you ever write to say thank you after an interview?  Have you ever considered the value were you to do so?

Think of the impact on your application.  You may be one of three, five, ten invited in.  That process is often protracted ( it ought not to be but invariably is ).  Standing out from the crowd is tough.

Success is in the margins, the small things can make the biggest difference.  We are all human.  Anything that can help you to remain at the forefront of the hiring managers mind is to be recommended.  How long would it take you to write a note to thank your interviewer for their time and to re – affirm, politely, succinctly, your interest in the job?

Even if you have made the decision that this particular post isn’t for you, what impact a short note of thanks?  If another job was to arise in that organisation that is more in line with your ambitions, how would such a note impact your chances of success in a future job application?

It takes a second to say thank you, minutes to write an email to express your thanks.  Think of the potential impact on your job search?  What harm can it do?

Manners cost nothing.  Think about that next time you apply for a job.


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How to ace a job interview

Everyone is looking for that nugget of gold, that stellar piece of information that can fundamentally transform your interview technique to become an absolute sure-fire interview winner. I am sorry, there aren’t any, no startling revelations, no lightning bolts.

Like all good things, success at interview is about keeping it simple. Pay attention to the basics, the little things, the details. And repeat. Over and over again, until you are set in to a routine that you know works for you, that gives you confidence, makes you comfortable.

So what are those basics?

I came across this excellent resource, www.howdini.com the site that encourages you to “get yourself a guru”. So what’s there take on the job interview? See for yourself.

Let me know what you think, as always I would love to hear your comments.

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The secret to a successful hire

The secret to successful hiring is in the questions you ask at interview and in listening to the answers.  I mean really listening, not hearing, listening.

My first Boss once told me you have one mouth and two ears for a very good reason.  The more you use your ears and the less your mouth the more successful you will be he told me.

Picture this scene.  I am sitting in on an interview with another Boss.  He wants to approve (or otherwise) a hire he wants to make of someone for whom I will be responsible.  My reputation, my stock in this company depends very much on those people for whom I am responsible.  Therefore I have a vested interest in knowing as much as I can about this person before hiring them.

This was the best example of how not to interview I can possibly recall.  He talked “at” our prospective hire for an hour.  He sold her the dream ticket, painted a rosy picture of life as she would get to know it (an entirely inaccurate one I should stress) and then asked her when she could start.  He never asked her a single question.

Despite my protestations, she was hired.  It was a disaster, for her and for the business.   He told me that I was lucky to have her and that she would be a great addition to my team.  He didn’t know a thing about her other than what he read on her CV.  When it didnt work out it was my fault for having hired her.

Have a list of four or five key questions that you know will really test your candidate.  Ask them, sit back and really listen to the answers.  If you are not satisfied with the answers, don’t give up, keep asking questions and listening intently to the response until you are.  Sure, paint a picture of what life is like to work in your company.  An interview is a sales pitch both sides.  You need to inspire.  If you want success, bottom line you need to listen.

Ben Affleck in Boiler Room show’s us how to sell, how to inspire, how to paint a picture of life inside a company, but certainly not how to interview!

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Filed under Hiring, interview, Recruitment

Let them fall in love first ….. interview tips from a Recruiting Pro (part three)

In our final guest blog of the week, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber, President of leading Search Firm ISC continues her series of interview tips for job seekers.



  • Close the deal- you want to end the interview on a positive note. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and let them know how you feel about the job and why you are interested in working for their company. Recap main points of why you are qualified for the job and while it can be intimidating at times, ask them directly in a sincere way if the interviewer sees you as a good fit for the position. If they say no, find out the objection and try to overcome it.

If they say yes, ask for the interviewer’s next steps. Lastly, be sure to get a business card from them as well for a correct address to send the thank you card. You always want to send a thank you note to all the persons you interviewed with.  Remember..if you want the job, ASK FOR IT!! We always half joking tell candidates not to let their hand touch that doorknob to leave until they have an invitation to come back.

  • Have an effective follow up plan- if you do not get the offer, be sure to write follow up thank you letters, thanking everyone that interviewed you for their time, and restating your interest in their company. It is a classy thing to do and something that will definitely separate you from the rest of the interviewees.   If they give you specific reasons on why you were not chosen, work to correct those.
  • Visualize, and it WILL Materialize! For long-range goal planners, I would encourage you to go onto one of the job sites, like www.indeed.com, which compiles all the job postings everywhere on the web, and look up your literal dream job. Look at the requirements and go out there and start building a resume that reflects those requirements.  Also, make a follow up folder and check in with companies that you interviewed with on a monthly basis. It’s always a good idea to create Google alerts for specific companies alerting you to job openings, changes in their company, etc. That gives you a terrific reason to contact them again when you are alerted to new positions opening up, news in the industry that may affect them, etc. You would be surprised at the number of people that end up in their dream job after being turned down initially, but through perseverance and determination, end up in just that job.

A huge thank you to Ann for her tremendous contribution to The Recruiters Little Black Book.  We shall leave week with this poem from Ann, an inspiring and thought provoking piece of prose on the subject of success.


To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.” ….. The Success Poem, attributed to Bessie Lefkowitz, an American housewife who won a poem contest in 1934



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Let them fall in love first ….. interview tips from a Recruiting Pro (part two)

Continuing in our series of guest blogs, we welcome back Ann Zaslow-Rethaber, President of ISC with her second installment of tips for interview success



  • Be prepared for the questions that you will be asked. If you have a spotty job history, rest assured you will be asked your reasons for leaving each position, and have ready replies, that are brief and positive. The more you can prepare yourself for a variety of questions, the better you will do in the interview. For example, some sample behavioral questions the interviewer might ask include:
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Keep in mind, that a question that often can throw a candidate is when the interviewer asks them to describe their worst trait. A great response is to tell the interviewer with a straight face that you have always been accused of being a work-aholic or something that is somewhat funny but doesn’t reflect poorly on you….a little humor can be a great thing. Have a good answer for that question, funny is great, but for goodness sakes, have an answer in mind.  And remember, never interrupt the interviewer!

  • Prolong any talk of salary — When it comes to money, defer that topic as long as possible. You already know the salary range when you applied for the position or when you were approached for the job.  Other than that range, you should not be talking about what it would take to get YOU, until an offer is made.   Statistically, we have found that the longer you can put off talking specifics, the more money you will get.
  • Let them fall in love first, BEFORE you tell them what kind of ring you need –-You get the picture…you are not going to open the door for your first date and tell your date that it will take a three carat, unblemished stone, top grade, etc for you to date him or her. In the same way, you do not want to tell the interviewer that you will take the top end of the range and endless benefits to get you interested in the position. We have had candidates do that and it never fails, the entire interview the interviewer is comparing that candidate to others in the pipeline, thinking are they worth it? Are they THAT much better than the other candidates? Much smarter to focus on making sure the position and corporate culture is a great fit, and then sell them on YOU, get the offer and then you can push for more money if desired. But never before the offer.  “Let them eat the steak BEFORE you give them the bill. “

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber will be back tomorrow with yet more great interview advice including affecting the close and getting the job offer you deserve.



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Let them fall in love first …… interview tips from a recruiting pro (part one)

I just googled “interview tips”.  The response was 56.2 million search results!

Clearly there are countless views and opinions as to how best to approach an interview.  Whilst interview success cannot be guaranteed there are basic fundamentals that can and should be applied without exception that can massively improve your chances of success.

As always from The Recruiters Little Black Book there is little by way of startling revelation.  The best advice is always simple and easy to action.

This week we will be running a series of guest blogs on Interview Tips.  I am delighted to welcome to The Recruiters Little Black Book Ann Zaslow – Rethaber, President of ISC http://www.iscjobs.com one of the United States most reputable search firms.


Ann’s wealth of knowledge and experience has proved of huge value to an enormous range of job seekers over more than 14 years as a Recruiter and Business Owner.  Join us over the course of the week and experience this great advice for yourself.

Let them fall in love FIRST, before you tell them what kind of ring you need!

Interview hints from a recruiting pro …the Do’s, the Don’ts, and the Don’t Even Think About It’s!

As a job seeker, it can be exciting yet daunting when you get a call from one of the companies on the top of your list to set up a job interview with you.  In many cases, how you prepare and conduct your first interview, will determine whether or not you close the deal and get the job.

Where to start you ask? How about approaching it as a first date –where instead of getting a second date, you get that second interview, which can then lead to a final job offer.

Here are some basic steps to improving your interviewing skills to land that job you desire:

  • Do your homework –just as you would want to do a casual background check on someone you are about to date, a company background check is that and so much more. Start by reviewing their website on the Internet to find out the main headquarters, regional offices and the names of key company representatives.  Research recent news on the company and get general information about the industry if you haven’t done so already.
  • Check out other resources–Hoovers (www.Hoovers.com) can be a terrific source of information, not only on the company itself but it can also give you industry trends and other information. Also visit Linked In (www.linkedin.com) and look up current and past employees –that can be a fantastic place to try to connect with someone who may be able to give you the ‘inside scoop’ on corporate culture, etc.
  • Dress the part and be prepared –Wear appropriate business attire and always remember, it’s ALWAYS better to be a little over dressed than too casual. No one has ever been accused of being over dressed for an interview, as long as that attire is professional. Also, be sure to turn your cell phone off and bring a pad of paper and pen to take good notes. You can also have a copy of the job description discreetly in your notepad for reference. By studying their job description and requirements beforehand, you can make a point of emphasizing your skills that you want to highlight during your interview, matching to those mandatory requirements. You should do your best to have that job description and requirements virtually memorized prior to your interview.

Join us tomorrow for further insight and great advice from Ann Zaslow-Rethaber, President of ISC.



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There is no magic bullet – sheer persistence and will is the key

I am often approached by people wanting advice to help them with their job search.  I always come away from such a conversation wishing I had a magic wand that could create a job from thin air, or at least a magic bullet or that could instantly transform their situation.  The truth is (I am ashamed to admit!) I don’t have such power.  So much of what I know to be good advice is down to the application of practical common sense and the sheer dogged determination to apply it relentlessly on a daily basis no matter how demoralised you may feel.  Anyone can offer advice, its easy.  You just say what you think.  Actually applying it is the hard part.  I have seen no better exponent in recent times of the real desire to make a change, evidence of a great attitude and the persistence to make it happen than in the form of 23 year old Mark Wheeldon from Staffordshire in the UK.

The story was reported last week in the Daily Telegraph (www.dailytelegraph.co.uk).  Wheeldon sounds like a genuinely decent bloke.  He sacrificed two years of his life to look after his former partner who was suffering with rheumatoid arthritis.  As a consequence, when he decided to get himself back in to the jobs market, he found himself with a two year gap on his CV and no references.  Disillusioned with living on benefits and wanting to take responsibility for his own future, Wheeldon “concocted a plan to get himself noticed on the jobs market”.  His plan?  He decided to stand on a roundabout at one of the busiest road junctions in the area in which he lived and advertise his services to all passers – by with a hand painted sign asking “please give me a job”.

How many would do this?  Was he worried about feeling humiliated?  Did he worry about what people would think?  Was he desperate?  I don’t know the man and no little of his personal feelings at this time.  What I feel about him however is clear.  I think this guy is a hero.  He is to be celebrated.  I hope this doesn’t sound patronising.  He took action.  He was innovative, creative, determined and he threw himself in to changing his life.  I take my hat of to this kind of person for there is much I find to be admired in his behaviour.

Was he successful?  For three hours he stood in torrential rain with little joy but no sign of giving up.  Vince Champion is the Director of a local Timber Factory.  According to the story, he was out that morning getting Bacon Sandwiches for his colleagues (which says much about the kind of boss this guy is) and spotted Wheeldon at the roundabout.  He picked him up and drove him to the factory where he gave a soaking wet Wheeldon an interview.  After 20 minutes offered him a job.

“I was really impressed by his determination and he has the right kind of attitude that we want here.  Now he’s getting on brilliantly and fitting right in with all the other employees. I wish more people could show the same kind of determination to find work”.

Champion is recruiting for attitude and I for one applaud him for this.  He is a great example to so many of what talent you can attract to your business by taking a chance and approaching things differently.  He recognises he can give people the skills and experience provided they have the desire and willingness to learn, to apply themselves.   So many employers could gain much by adopting a similar approach to hiring.

We can learn much from Wheeldon’s story.  Know what you want, devise a strategy to achieve it and stop at nothing until you get there.  Mark Wheeldon is an inspiration to us all.

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