John is an executive recruiter & speaker sharing his thoughts on healthcare, recruiting, digital technology, career management & leadership. 

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7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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PART III:  The Art of the Interview – 10 Ideas to Help You Prepare

Posted July 21st, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a three-part post/podcast combinations on The Art of the Interview.  Part I focused on the trauma of losing a job — how it affects us emotionally and the steps we take — the mistakes we make — to re-enter the market as soon as possible.  Part II, our Thursday podcast zeroed in on the importance social media plays in the search process and the with steps executives can take to enhance their on-line presence and effectiveness. 

Lack of preparation is one of the most common mistakes candidates make in an on-site interview, either with the search consultant orrp_JOBSEARCH.shutterstock_241745419-300x197.jpg when meeting with the client’s representative, the person who ultimately will make a  hiring decision.

Under the broad heading of “Doing the Homework,”  here are 10 ideas to be more effective in selling yourself in a competitive interview process.

  1. Know your ValueProposition©.  This is at the core of your resume and interview messaging.  If you do not know it, or you do not understand the term, quickly find someone who can help you develop your VP.  The creator/perfecter of the concept, NSwain76-12-0001Nancy Swain,  happens to lead the outplacement practice at my firm. Check out our archive of blog posts at SelfPerspective.  Being locked in on your ValueProposition© will dramatically enhance your interviewing skills.  It is all about building your confidence.
  2. Check your LinkedIn connections and other members of your professional network with either know people who work at the targeted facility, or who, through a variety of other sources, may be able to provide insight to the organization’s reputation with employees, their corporate  culture, etc.  Having a bazillion LinkedIn networking members is really a waste of your time if you do not leverage what they know.
  3. Search on-line media reports regarding publicity, adverse or otherwise, that might shed light on the organization’s current business challenges, their successes as well as the all important  corporate values proposition.  News stories can frequently provide additional names who may be able to help with actionable business intelligence.    (Be sure to keep excellent records of who you talked to and the type of information they provided).
  4. In every interview visit, there is always a kingmaker, typically the person who will make the final hiring decision.  Know his or her work history and education background.  This information is readily available on line.  Moreover, if you your research your LinkedIn or personal professional network, you may be able to gain additional, valuable insight.  That said, most candidates do NOT put forth this effort.So, if you are looking for another way to differentiate yourself in the market, her you go.
  5. Ask the recruiter for information on the organization’s financial position, as well as insight regarding their cultural profile, their financial condition, the CEO’s standing, or any known but unannounced career plans, etc.  Unfortunately, far too many recruiters have only a superficial knowledge of the organization so you need to ask.  And do not forget to ask the “C” question — the aforementioned cultural question since this is the issue that trips up more new employees than any other.
  6. Review your notes from previous interviews — in this search and others.  Candidates report that they hear the same questions over and over so there is no excuse for a candidate not to have a compelling, engaging  response.  Do not memorize answers —  for some people it sounds like you are reading an answer from a script. (Don’t laugh, I have had that happen morerp_042070371-young-businesswoman-interview-300x210.jpeg than once.) Practice answers to the questions you identify as the most commonly asked.  “Play” with your responses to maximize your effectiveness. Stand in front of a mirror as you rehearse.  Are you smiling when you answer the question(s)?
  7. Be sure your market/position intelligence is up to date.  Information and situations change.  If you have an inside or otherwise connected source about the organization from LinkedIn or your personal professional network, conduct a last minute recon call to be sure the terrain has not shifted.  Being well prepared is important, but using out of date information, or using information incorrectly, is a deal killer.
  8. Master the new interview technology.  Whether you like it or not, whether you are comfortable with video or not, it is readily becoming an important tool in the candidate screening/interview process.  Candidates must master this technology or run the risk of being seen as out of touch with the times.  There is zero advantage in trying to create an attractive brand as a senior executive who is out of step with technology.  You may think it is cool but you will be in the definite minority on that issue.  Here is a link to our archive on video interviews.  Do not minimize the potential negative impact of a poor FaceTime/Skype/Video Conference interview.  You can shoot yourself in the foot, from long distance, if you fail to mater this technology. 
  9. Your choice of attire is important for video and in-person interviews.  In the video world, you want to be careful with stripes, plaids and colors.  The current fad of dark suits and dark ties may win you kudos from the fashionistas, but on television, contrast and a little color is a good thing.  Be stylish but sensible.   Here are some of my posts on this subject.
  10. Be authentic.  When you review frequently asked questions, rely on your ValueProposition© and your True North compass.  Do not try to be that person you think the recruiter is looking for.  In the end, that strategy is a net loss for the candidate.  Be yourself, your authentic self, well prepared, and confident.

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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20 July, 2016 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Career Transition/Outplacement, Physician Recruitment, Podcast
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PART II: The Art of the Interview – Role of Social Media

Posted July 20th, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

Here is today’s podcast rundown:

1.  Today John focuses on the importance of social media in the job search. Is it a meaningful tool for career brand management that can aid your job search, or just a passing fad that will be replaced by the next sparkly, shiny mobile application.

2.  In an information segment, John explains the Firm’s new Vision and Values Physician Recruitment Solution and how the Firm will work to add value in this broken business model.

3.  In Part II of this podcast, John provides 5 ideas to help you improve your social media strategy and enhance your career brand.

You can listen here on subscribe on iTunes. 

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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19 July, 2016 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Uncategorized
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PART I: The Art of Looking For Your Next Job

Posted July 19th, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

There is a certain socioeconomic dynamic surrounding our jobs.

They provide security.  They are integral to our identity as a productive member of society, as a  husband, a wife, a dad or a mother.  So, when we are out of work, the result of a termination, downsizing or sale of the business, we are unmoored and unsettled.

We worry about things like the mortgage, school tuition, the cost of food, gas for the cars  — the list is endless.  And this state of anxiety generally prevails whether we have an adequate severance, sufficient cash reserves or not.   

For many people the angst begins building the very moment they JOBSEARCH.shutterstock_241745419cross the threshold of their  former office, plant or wherever they worked and that angst is fueled by a need to avoid any stigma of “losing a job.”  So we want to take action.  We want things to happen when we want them to happen.  Oh, if it were only so.

Most job hunters re-enter the market too quickly and they are poorly prepared— absent an understanding of their value proposition, little or no strategic market insight and a crummy resume that they plan to send to every job opening (another bad idea).  They are anxious, they want instant gratification for their efforts and they are easily frustrated when the job process does not move as fast as they want it to advance. 

There is another complicating factor that is contributing fuel to their fire.  The existence of social media to help them network.  Platforms like LinkedIn will surely make the job search go faster, they reason, then they will find a recruiter to help them secure a job and all will be well, rounds out a very misguided job search scenario.

Lets deal with the easy stuff first:   Most recruiters work for clients, not candidates.  Some contingency recruiters will make calls on your behalf in search of a commission but if your are at a director level position or higher, this is a bad idea since you have no control over their activities or their message to clients when they call.  Having someone shop you around the marketplace screams “lost his/her job. I wonder what happened?” Moreover, if in their zeal to land a commission the recruiter sends a resume to a potential employer, one that you later approach on your own, you have set yourself up for a conflict when that recruiter finds out you took a job with a company they had contacted.  They will insist on being paid a commission.  I know.  I learned that lesson the hard way earlier in my career as an uninformed job seeker.  Employers hate that, so I advise candidates not to spend more than three seconds on the notion that they don’t need a recruiter to help with the job search.  Building a relationship with the right kind of recruiter, the right kind of search firm, is a very good idea, especially as that firm may have an assignment that might match with your skills and experience.  Most retained firms will not make calls to market candidates, not should they.

The other misunderstood element of the job search is social media.  This is not an instant answer, there is no immediate gratification here either.

Building a significant social media presence takes far more work, and much greater commitment of time, than the vast majority of new social media devotees realize.  It is closely aligned with building a professional network.   Sites line LinkedIn and others are called a platform for a reason.  It is most certainly not a launching pad.  Yes, a site like LinkedIn gives people enormous  and unprecedented control over how they develop their brands but getting from there to where you want to be is a big challenge.  In fact, you might even say that LinkedIn and the Web Page have something in common. 

When  I first invested in my web page  in the late 1990s, everyone wanted to know if I was getting any return on my investment, as in new work. Those without a long-range digital/web outlook thought it was a waste of money, nothing more than an awkward on-line brochure, one business consultant informed me.   I did not see it that way.  I thought of it as an important pillar to help me develop my brand as an executive recruiter, speaker and writer.  I got the same financial lectures when I began my blog in 2006.  Does it bring in any business?  No? Then why do you waste your time?  Because it is another of those brand management pillars.  Now, with the unveiling of our podcast, the questions are the same.  And my answer is the same — another pillar to support the platform for my career brand.  The same goes for the book on career management, and my speaking. 

I just hope I finish building it out before I retire.

Programing Note:

John will focus on specific social media strategies for career management in his Thursday podcast.  You can listen to the broadcast on this page, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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