Four Questions to Help You with Your Interviews

QuestionsPassover, which is celebrated this week, is a very joyous holiday where the traditional Passover Seder starts with the youngest child asking Four Questions in order to get those in attendance to start thinking about the past, the present, and their mission in life.

Unfortunately being Passed Over for a position you just interviewed for is not a reason to celebrate. So in honor of Passover, here are Four Questions to ask and answer about the current and future direction of your career.

Questions One: Do you have a defined plan for your career and / or job search?

Too many people in business, from recent undergrad and graduate students to professionals in management and executive roles, give little or no thought to how their career will progress over the next few years and what they need to do today to progress either in their own company or with a new employer. So to speak, they leave their career up to the winds of fate. This is also true for people who are engaged in a job search. Many have an inkling of what they must do, but very few have a defined and well executed game plan that they monitor closely for results.

If this sound like you, it is time to take stock of who you are today and who you want to be; what stands between you and your eventual goals; and whether you are on the road towards success or the road to eventual failure.

Question Two: Are you making the most out of your LinkedIn network?

You know lots of people and have countless LinkedIn connections, but are you making the most out of them? Ask yourself when was the last time you reached out to the people you are connected to on LinkedIn? I would venture to say you can’t remember the last time.  Then think about how long ago it has been since you reached out to the people you work with, especially the ones who can make and break your career?

With the advent of LinkedIn it is easy to build up a large network of people you know casually or have never met. However what most people forget is that the main purpose of LinkedIn is for “Relationship Management” whereas most of you look at it for an easy tool for connecting to others.

This holiday week of Passover and Easter is the ideal time to touch base with people you know and re-establish and solidify relationships with them and catch up on what they are doing and how you can help them and vice versa. I also suggest you take the advice from one of my favourite 60’s oldies, “Well I’d like to get to know you” by Spanky and the Gang and reach out to people you’re connected to who you never met and know nothing or very little about and try and get to know them.

Question Three: Are you prepared to invest in your future today, and if not now when?

This is one of the hardest questions for most people to deal with. To get ahead in your career many of you will need to make some sort of investment ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some will need additional education, certification and/or training to reach the next level. Some a new interview wardrobe, others may have all the education and qualifications but need to invest in counselling to learn how to get from Point A to Point B and beyond, and some people need to invest in a new resume and other career services because they are just not qualified enough to do it themselves.

My suggestion is to stop running away from this question and stop letting others, including your spouse, parents, and trusted associates make this decision for you. After all it is your career and if you cow-tow to other people’s opinions on when and how to invest in your future you will have a hard time finding success. If you have a strong conviction about what you need to be done to get to where you want to go and think the investment is worthwhile, then champion it and look for reasons to take action rather than prolong it.

Question Four: Do you ramble on or talk too much during an interview?

The “kiss of death” during an interview is saying too much about nothing, or acting like the Energizer Bunny who just keeps going on and on and on and on…

The key to a successful interview is in knowing what questions you’ll be asked and having the answers to these questions. Much of this can be accomplished during the resume writing process if you learn how to identify your core audience, the profile of the person they seek to hire, what really matters to them, and what success stories you can share that speak to these issues.

Have a great holiday whichever you celebrate, and if you’re not celebrating this week have a great week and do something positive.

As always I am happy to critique U.S. resumes and LinkedIn pages at no cost. Email me at perry@perrynewman.com

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