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The Laid Off IT Guy! Interview Training

As part of the outsource placement service, upon departure from my firm, I was given a Career Consultant (see blog #2).  Her name is Debbie Kukla, and she’s been a terrific coach throughout this process for me.  Her company, Oi Partners (www.cciindy.com), provides individual career transition services.

Recently Oi Partners conducted an Interview Training program as part of their Job Club, a group that meets periodically as a network support group to help job search skills.  I attended that session and got some good things out of it to share with you today.

First of all, it wasn’t a canned lecture. They brought in 3 HR Directors from local companies, as well as a local recruiter for the panel.  For me, the timing couldn’t have been any better.  I had 2 interviews scheduled for the same afternoon.  So I went to get some last minute pointers to really impress those companies.

Some of this is going to seem obvious, but it can’t hurt hearing again.  Be prepared to be positive! Go in with a sincere smile and a good mood to set the tone.  Always be honest.  Getting caught in a lie is worse than not saying anything.  Have success stories ready.  Be prepared to give detailed examples of your work, not just telling them yes, you can or have done something.  After the interview they’ll remember the stories more than the facts, and it will help you stand out from the competition.

One of the topics our panelists threw out to us was the dreaded, “What is your greatest weakness” and, “What frustrates you?”  Make it something that isn’t terrible and is correctable, such as you need to work on your organization because you don’t like your messy desk.  Another popular choice is that you work too much and want a better work-life balance because family is important to you. 

Here is one I hadn’t thought of:  Answer the question and stop talking. Droning on to fill the silence is NOT want the recruiter wants to hear.   It helps you control the conversation. Saying too much only gives you the opportunity to say the wrong thing.

A few more nuggets:  Follow up with a hand written Thank You letter.  Don’t go around HR to get to the hiring manager unless you have a personal reference to that person.  Consider making business cards for yourself that have your contact information and a list of key characteristics that you can hand out to people you meet in lieu of a resume.  Hopefully, they’ll reciprocate.  When they share their business card send them an electronic version of your resume.  They can then forward it to someone that can help!


Let me hear from you.  Do you have some interview Do’s and Don’t to share with our readers?  Please post your comments!

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