5 Ways to Kill Your Chances with a Hiring Manager

I’m a big fan of the X-Men comic books, and have always loved the powers of Dr. Charles Xavier, who is telepathic. Who wouldn’t want the ability to instantly read a person’s mind and affect their behavior? This skill would come in extremely handy during interviews with hiring managers, many of whom seem to belong squarely to the school of “Say little and express even less.”

Here are 5 of the biggest hiring manager turn-offs to be on the lookout for:

1) Lack of Specificity in the Resume

A big mistake jobseekers make is submitting overly-general resumes. This makes sense in theory: after all, the more applications you can shoot off, the more interviews, right? But this can really turn off a hiring manager, who wants to know EXACTLY how your background will enable you to tackle the problems they need solved. Clichés just won’t cut it at this stage.

-Create a shortlist of 5-10 positions you’re an ideal fit for.

-Study the job postings for positions like this, as well as LinkedIn Profiles for people who currently have these jobs.

-Tailor your resume to quickly communicate fit for these roles.

-Here’s what separates the best from the rest: once you have a solid framework in place, include METRICS-BASED ACCOMPLISHMENTS for every major position you’ve held that PROVES your ability to execute. Here’s an example:

  • Saved global Telecom company $500M over 2 years through development and deployment of end-to-end Complexity Reduction methodology resulting in purchasing and inventory efficiencies.

2) Too Aggressive about Career Advancement

Look, it’s great to be ambitious. And of course the job you’re after today is probably not the one you want to retire on. But you need to place your focus squarely on becoming the ideal candidate for THIS job before even talking about the next step. Neglect to do this, and a hiring manager will naturally start thinking that you might jump ship within a year, and they’ll be back to square one.

-Create a short “Value Presentation” for the interview which talks about how your 3-4 strongest skills can be applied immediately towards helping the company. Get creative here! For example, if you’re going after a product development position, why not run some quick usability tests on a company’s products, document it, and develop some design suggestions?

3) Too Open About Weaknesses

A hiring manager is not a career counselor. With the latter, it’s perfectly fine to be honest about vulnerabilities in your personality or “pet peeves” that drive you crazy in the work environment. But if you take the same approach with a hiring manager and confide things like you have trouble balancing family responsibilities with workplace demands, you’ll most likely get passed over. They’re not only looking to find the best candidate, but MANAGE RISK.

-Learn how to “spin” negatives into something that ultimately leads to success. For example, if you’re asked what your greatest weakness is, you can tell a story about how you once had chronic shyness and needed 30 minutes to “amp yourself” up for a simple phone call, and now, through courage and repeated exposure, can handle dozens of calls with high-level clients per day. Negative to a positive.

4) Not Following-Up

Following up matters! It shows that you’re truly invested in landing the position, and aren’t just treating it as one of many potential opportunities. I recommend sending a simple, printed note within 48 hours of an interview thanking them for the opportunity, followed by an email sent a few days later that essentially continues the conversation- adding greater detail to questions raised, sharing an industry article of interest, etc. You’re making it clear that the interview was the beginning of an ongoing relationship.

5) Lack of Enthusiasm

If a hiring manager has to choose between the most qualified candidate on paper, and a less qualified candidate who brings genuine passion to the table, they’ll go for the latter every time. You can teach someone almost anything EXCEPT enthusiasm. So if you have a personal connection with the company you’re interviewing for, and believe that this is a meaningful step in your life’s ambitions, or simply love the unique culture they’ve developed, take time in the interview to let them know! It also doesn’t hurt to explicitly state, “I’m very interested in this position, and would love to see a positive outcome” or similar. Excitement fuels job offers!

What’s Your Why?

WHAT’S YOUR “WHY?” KEY CAREER QUESTIONS TO ASK:

CORE STRENGTH QUESTION:

Ask yourself: “AM I PRIMARILY…”

a) THE TALENT

b) MANAGER/LEADER

c) ENTREPRENEUR

Your answer is your CORE STRENGTH.

Now, what would be a path that would allow you to start dipping into one or both of the other areas? This should inform your career direction.

ROOT MOTIVATION QUESTIONS

  1. Think of a time when you were performing at your best. What were you doing? What were you saying, thinking and feeling? What was going on around you?
  2. List the top ten things in life that give you joy. What common themes do you notice?
  3. What are three accomplishments you are most proud of? What are your natural strengths that you love to use?
  4. Think about times that you have gotten angry/upset/irritated. What core personal value(s) were not being met?
  5. Who is the one person you admire the most? What would that person advise you to do?
  6. What do you dislike the most about your current or past work?
  7. What would happen in your career if we doubled your self-belief? What if we quadrupled it?

DAILY LIFE CHECK-IN QUESTIONS:

  1. What am I consuming? Reading, listening, watching. How much of it is actively helping me GROW?
  2. Who do I spend time with? Assess the 5 people you interact with most frequently professionally. Are they people to aspire to, or people who are holding you back?
  3. Who are my role models? Am I directly interacting with them, following them on social media, taking their courses? How am I “drifting” behind those who have already succeeded at what I wish to do?

CAREER DEVELOPMENT PLAN QUESTIONS:

  1. What do you want to achieve with your career?
  2. How much time are you prepared to spend on your career?
  3.  What skills do you need to develop?
  4. What resources will you need?
  5. Where can you get support or advice?
  6. What type of person do you need to be?
  7. What is your motivation?

3 Things You Must Know About Landing A Better Job

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TIP #1

A great job should NEVER be about just a big paycheck. True career fulfillment also needs:

1) REAL challenges. You can’t spend 40-50 hours a week doing mind-numbing tasks and think you’re setting yourself up for something better. You’re not.

2) MENTORSHIP. 90% of the executives I coach list “loss of a mentor” as the primary reason for seeking a new role. You need DIRECTION and GUIDANCE to get to that next level!

3) WORK-LIFE BALANCE. Not optional, required.

4) A LEADERSHIP TEAM THAT SHARES YOUR VALUES. Are you being heard?

TIP #2

Did you know: Studies show that a candidate who is REFERRED by a current employee is 40% MORE LIKELY TO BE HIRED!

This is why TAPPING YOUR NETWORK, EXPANDING YOUR NETWORK, and SETTING UP AT LEAST 3 INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS PER WEEK with key industry players will get you further, faster, than answering job postings.

TIP #3

NEVER accept a job offer before asking this question:

“What criteria will be used to judge my performance in this role? What does success look like during the first 30, 60, and 90 days?”

You need to understand PRECISELY what an employer’s expecting you to deliver!

Pros and Cons of Working with an INTERNAL RECRUITER

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In my work with jobseekers, I often encounter a lack of basic understanding about recruiters. This can really hurt you when pursuing new career opportunities.

Here’s some information to quickly get you up-to-speed:

* Internal recruiters, also known as “corporate” recruiters, work within an organization. They usually get paid by the employer who has the available job.

* External recruiters, also known as “independent” recruiters, do not receive a paycheck from the employer who has the open job. They work for someone else, either a recruiting firm or agency, or simply for themselves.

Let’s go over the advantages (and possible disadvantages) of working with an INTERNAL RECRUITER:

PROS

Insider perspective. They know how a company REALLY works and usually have deep relationships within the organization (including hiring managers).

Getting introduced to the hiring manager by an internal recruiter is usually a signal that they’re SERIOUSLY INTERESTED In you for the job.

-They can get you on the “inside track” if convinced you’re the best person for the position.

-Sometimes they will even coach you in navigating the various personality types and hiring procedures within the company.

CONS

Their allegiance is ultimately to the employer, and that can cause problems if you get caught in a clash between 2 key decision-makers, etc.

You always need to watch yourself with an internal recruiter (because they’re always watching you). You can’t confide vulnerabilities and offer “straight talk” on concerns as you might do with an external recruiter.

They will not hesitate to block you as a candidate if you try to go around them to the hiring manager.

KEY TAKEAWAY: You must ALWAYS present your strongest, most polished self when dealing with internal recruiters. They’re not “on your side” during the hiring process. Don’t ask for special favors, and don’t assume they have control over interview scheduling, salaries, etc.

I’ll give you the low-down on EXTERNAL RECRUITERS next week!

Ready to take your career to the next level?

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3 Tips on Negotiating Salary

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#1

Salary negotiation doesn’t begin when an offer is made. It starts at the VERY FIRST MOMENT you make contact with a company, and is continuously being adjusted and re-framed throughout the hiring process.

#2

Never start negotiating a job offer when it’s presented. Get as many details as you can (you don’t want to have to place a follow-up call before your counteroffer), say thank you, and ask for a day or two to consider.

#3

How to start a salary counteroffer:

“Everything about the offer’s great. The salary mentioned is ok, but [based on my experience and how it ties into the position] I was hoping for something closer to [SPECIFIC dollar amount].”

Then wait for a response! Avoid the temptation to over-explain.

12 great questions you can ask during a job interview

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“So, do you have any questions for us?”

It’s perfectly natural, after spending the bulk of an interview fielding questions, to be at a loss when asked this! Remember: you need to figure out whether a company’s a great fit for you, so tailoring your questions to determine this is the best approach.

Questions about The Job

-What are the most IMMEDIATE challenges that need to be addressed? What will I be dealing with for the first 30 days?

-What does a “rock star” candidate for this job look like? What skills, what personality traits?

-What are the skills that your team is missing that you are hoping to address with this hire?

-Will the major aspects of the job change during the course of the first year?

Questions about Performance

-What does success in this role look like? On what criteria will my performance be judged?

-What are the key metrics by which my performance will be measured?

Questions about the Company

-What can you tell me about new products/services in development, or growth plans?

-What goals is the company focusing on right now, and how does the team operate in a way which supports them?

Questions about the Team

-Who will I be working with on a day-to-day basis?

-What are the common career paths in this department?

Next Steps

-Is there anything in my background, or in the discussion we’ve been having, that concerns you about my fit for the role?

-What do the next steps in the interview process look like?