Saturday, July 30, 2016

How to Avoid Executive Interview Pet Peeves

You just got the good news! The company wants to interview you.

Now the nerves begin to rattle a bit. Can you handle the stress? You've been hoping and waiting for this moment. But are you ready?

You can be. Here's a great list of 'What NOT to do's' when you finally get that cherished interview. (Click anywhere on the title below.)

Top 20 Executive Interview Pet Peeves from Hiring Decision-Makers

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Do You Need a LinkedIn Profile? YES.

If you're a job seeker, or preparing for an important interview, you need to be on LinkedIn!

From F*ck Your Resume by Jeremy Dillahunt:
  • One in three professionals on the planet are (sic) on LinkedIn
  • 41 percent of the world's millionaires use the service
  • 44 percent of LinkedIn members are female, 56 percent are male
  • About 75 percent of users are between 25 and 54
  • Education, information technology, financial services, and retail are the most represented industries
  • LinkedIn represents workers from more than 200 countries.
I won't go into all the details about how to create your professional LinkedIn profile here. But the following resources will help you navigate the platform and create a knock-out presentation of your expertise, skills, and personality.

Your future employer is going to Google you, like it or not. You want them to be favorably impressed. Begin with a well polished (and honest) LinkedIn profile.

The Best 7 LinkedIn Books  (from

LinkedIn Tutorials 2015 - Quick Start (YouTube)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Don't Let Anyone Else Create Your Resume!

A short note about resumes, especially YOURS...

If you're about to spend any amount of money to get your resume created or updated, stop.

There are lots of 'experts' out there willing to charge you hundreds of dollars to do something you can probably do yourself, and better. 

Employers today can almost always tell when a resume has been created by the prospective employee, or from a resume mill. They can spot the 'style' of the mill a mile away. Often, they decide right there that you may not be able to write well, communicate or speak well, and all kinds of things that may or may not be true.

I am in the process of creating a separate page on this site with resume advice for you that will share tips and secrets to creating your own resume. I'll share the better books and web sites that can help you design a resume that is fit for 2016 and beyond. 

You'll get advice on resumes of every kind, including electronic ones. 

So be watching for my new and separate page on resume advice, coming next week (Beginning August 1, 2016*). I will keep it constantly updated and useful.


*Expert Resume Information page now up and running. Click here to view.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Outstanding! Get the Better Job by Increasing Your Skill Set

The job is yours...if you have the right skills. Do you?

I'm at the bookstore. The 'Careers-General' section has, oh, about 250 books, both new and used, for me to scan. Then, to my left is the 'Interviews' section. Another 50 or 60 titles. Up above, resumes. And next to them, cover letters.

Now I notice up above all that is the employment test section. You can study these enormous volumes to help you pass those weird tests Human Resources departments and head hunters will no doubt be throwing at you.

A bit further on are the college entrance exam books, the government testing books, and the women's only section with titles like 'You're As Good As He Is,' and 'Don't Let Jockey Shorts Stop Your Career.'

I've read a lot of these kinds of books, and I do mean a lot. Probably 100 or more. But it doesn't scratch the surface of all that is available. So much to learn, so little time!

Is it any wonder that the average job seeker will be more likely to increase the jitters and nervousness after looking over this enormous amount of reading material? And which is the best choice? Too many choices is not always a good thing.

What to do....

Thursday, July 21, 2016

You Can Get That Job!

Sometimes a boost in self-confidence is exactly what you need to get back in the saddle. Here's an interesting article you may find helpful...

Is Your Lack Of Confidence Holding Your Job Search Back?

Are you feeling defeated because you’ve done all you could do to attain a job, but have yet to land one? Examine your internal dialogue. Yes, put down the resume, halt the job search, and join me in this deep-dive exercise of exploring your thoughts…

Click HERE for full article

Monday, July 18, 2016

Great Tips for Your Upcoming Interview

12 Surprising Job Interview Tips 

You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?
To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.
Below you’ll find the 12 best tips to help before, during and after your interview.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why Hiring You Is Scary

Your next employer is scared you'll not work out. Can you prove them wrong? What are you bringing to the table that will ensure their trust, make them like you, offer you a good position with good money?

In recent surveys of more than 200 company presidents and CEOs, only around 20% of them felt they got what they hoped for--and paid for--from their external hires. (That's you!)

Human Resources executives in more than two dozen global firms revealed that nearly 80% of their outside hires turned out to be disappointments.

And only a very small percentage of HR execs consider hiring and promoting as adding to their success rates.

"The toughest decisions in organizations are people decisions--hiring, firing, promotion, etc. These are the decisions that receive the least attention and are the hardest to 'unmake.'" Peter Drucker

Your future employer sees you first and foremost as a threat. (Maybe not consciously, but it's there.) A threat to his/her department; to his/her company; and to his/her own job. You are like a strange piece of bacteria entering the gastrointestinal system. Until the body can determine the bacteria is safe and/or useful, it will prepare to destroy it. Only after it has been determined it's safe will it be allowed to do its job and exit.

If you get hired, and fail, it's on your boss's shoulders.

You can help to alleviate a lot of the fears your new boss may have about you, from the interview forward:
  • Come fully prepared. 
  • Know as much about the company and the interviewer as possible. Answer their questions as well as you can. 
  • Ask good questions. (This may actually be the most important aspect of your interview, even above skills and experience.)
  • Create an atmosphere of trust. 
  • Always be on time! Turn off cell phones. No gum.
Don't take the job if for any reason you know it will not suit you. You'll be doing yourself, the interviewer, and the company a great service. Plus, when you're completely open and honest, even if you don't take, or get offered, the job, you'll be establishing a good rapport with the company. Maybe you'd fit into another department. You never know. That's why it pays to keep all fires burning.

They might even recommend you to another company!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Does Practice Really Make Perfect? Well, Almost...

Preparation and practice can be--ARE--hard work. But most people won't take the time or make the effort. If you do, you're at a distinct advantage in the job search.

You want the job, you say you'll do what's necessary to get it, and you're ready for the leg work. 
  • Decide to do the work.
  • Commit to the work.
  • Focus on the outcome, the goal.
  • Find someone to rehearse the interview with you.
  • Allot time.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
 You will put yourself into a much better bargaining position by being ready to answer any and all questions. And with the research you've done, the time you've taken, and your practice, you'll ASK the best questions as well.

An impressed interviewer is a happy interviewer! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Three Secrets to a Great and Successful Job Interview

You have the skills--and a lot of experience. But that isn't all you need.

Your interviewer is not actually thinking about you. 

I know. You're surprised. He/she is actually thinking about him/herself. "What can and will this person do for me? Will he/she save or cost me money? Can I trust them? Will they stab me in the back? Are they lying to me? Can they actually do the job? Do they have reliable references?" And on and on. 

Your job is to convince, that is, persuade the interviewer to look at you as the Answer to the Problem, whatever he/she sees it to be. 

Are you the Answer? Let's see...

You have the talent, the skills, experience, and even a great personality. You'd think that would do it, right?

But harken back the WIIFM agenda (What's in it for me?). Can you persuade the interviewer to like you? YES. Like you. He/she wants you to not only have the requisite skills and experience; they must like you. You must fit. Or it's a no go. 

Are you convincing?
Maybe Aristotle can help. He broke down a persuasive, convincing presentation into three parts: Ethos, pathos, logos. Let's start with logos.

Logos means logic. If you think being logical--laying out your resume and a list of accomplishments--is the logical step to employment, think again. Important as it may be, it is not the most important of the three parts. 

Ethos means credibility. Are you trustworthy? Reliable? Truthful? Your interviewer can usually spot a lie from the get go. Be authentic and don't brag. Answer the questions posed. Ask your own. Always remember it's not about you, really, but them. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Going On A Job Interview? Ten Reasons You May Not Be Hired, Even If You Have All The Skills

Are you FULLY prepared to bring your best to the interview?

Even if you think you've aced the interview, you'll lose out if you haven't paid attention to the following sore spots:
  • You have a poor personal appearance
  • You come across as a know it all
  • You have trouble expressing yourself clearly--shaky voice, mispronunciation, bad grammar
  • You have not set a goal--for this job, or your career
  • You display a lack of self confidence
  • You don't seem very interested in the job or the interviewer
  • Your references leave a lot to be desired
  • You keep talking about 'the money'
  • Your education record is poor, sketchy, or non existent
  • You expect more than you should, way too soon
There are many more reasons the interviewer might not think you're suited for the job. So, it's important to be ready on all fronts.*

Are you ready?

*This list was taken (and paraphrased) from a list of 39 reasons I found in Sweaty Palms--The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed by H. Anthony Medley (Warner Business Books, 2005)

 If you live in the Portland metro area, I can help you rehearse. Click Here for more info.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Questions Your Interviewer Is Sure to Ask You. Are You Ready?

Relax! They're nervous, too!
Although interviewers ask a lot of questions, there are some basic ones you need to prepare for. Rehearse as much as possible! 

As a career coach specializing in interview prep and rehearsal, I spend a lot of time studying what kind of questions employers and recruiters are most likely to ask you. 

Not everyone will ask the exact same questions but you can bet the following ones will show up in some form during your interview. Preparing for them can give you a definite advantage. Being unprepared? Well, you just won't be unprepared, right?

I found this particular version of the usual questions in Michael Travis' recent book, Mastering the Art of Recruiting (2015, Praeger/ABC-CLIO). The book is aimed at employers and recruiting companies but you can get a strong leg up by rehearsing your answers to the questions. And not just once. Rehearse as often as possible before you actually face the person, panel, or Skype screen for the real interview.

  • When did you begin and end [your most recent] job?
  • Tell me about the business so I can put your work in (sic) context.
  • Why did you join the company?
  • How did you fit into the organization?
  • What were the challenges you faced when you joined?
  • Did you make changes to your team?
  • What did you accomplish?
  • How did you perform against your key metrics?
  • Why did you leave?

Granted, there will be a lot more questions than these. But it's important to nail the basics first.

In future posts, I'll share more questions with you so you can practice. It never hurts to have someone be your practice interviewer.

Keep calm, know your own history, do thorough research on the company you're applying to, find out who'll do the interview and Google them, and dress for the job you're seeking. 

Best of luck and success to you on the new job.

(If you need prep and/or rehearsal and live in the Portland metro area, I can help. Connect with me - Richard Kent Matthews - )

Monday, July 4, 2016

Are You Trustworthy? Your Next Employer Wants to Know

Your skills, talent, and personality are your 'product.' And you're trying to 'sell' them. Are they worth buying?

You have great skills, your experience is broad and deep, and your references impeccable. You can sing and dance better than most. 

Still, even with everything that recommends you, your prospective employer wants to know how trustworthy you are. Begin from the first moment to show your reliability and credibility by making sure you take these action steps:
  • Dress appropriately
  • ALWAYS be on time
  • Before you enter the 'space,' turn off your various electronic devices, especially your cell phone
  • Give a good handshake; make good eye contact
  • Start with, and maintain, a positive attitude
  • Know what you're talking about (Have you done your research about the company?)
  • LISTEN well (This is KEY!)
  • Ask researched and powerful questions
  • Share success stories that not only show your skills, but how those skills can help the new employer (WIIFM = What's in it for me? and the interviewer is wondering that about you through the entire process)
  • Be sure to thank not only the interviewer(s) but all peripheral staff who have been of any service to you. Receptionists, other employees, etc. And always follow up with a well constructed thank you note when you leave.
When you are seeking a new job, you are, in essence, a sales person. And your interviewer is, or represents, the buyer.

Bring your best to the table. You often will be the only one being interviewed who will do so. 

More than just about anything, your prospective employer wants to be able to trust you. 

Is your 'product' worthy?

(Need interview prep or rehearsal? I can help. Connect with me in the Portland metro area - Richard Kent Matthews - )

How You Can Make Your Job Interview a Raging Success!

By Richard Kent Matthews

You may be in a hurry but you don't want to rush things. Your upcoming interview could make or break your chances of winning the new job. Here are four simply yet powerful suggestions by Doug Doug Hardy at on how to help you share your best and sell your best to your new employer.  

(Connect with Doug at for more fine articles for the job seeker)
How to prepare for an interview
Doug Hardy, Monster Staff Writer
Your interview is in 24 hours. Use these four must do's to help build your confidence.

Even if you have less than a day before your job interview, you can outshine the competition with a little interview preparation. The following four tasks will take you about four hours (plus five minutes) to complete, making this the best approach when it comes to how to prepare for an interview.

How to prepare for an interview
  • 1. Conduct basic interview research
To prepare for an interview, find out as much as you can beforehand. Call the person who scheduled your interview and ask:
  • Who will you be talking to? Will you meet the manager you'd work for, or will you just talk to HR? What are the interviewer's expectations?
  • What's the dress code? Dress better than suggested. Most times, it's best to wear a professional suit. You'd be amazed how many candidates show up looking like they're going to class, not presenting a professional demeanor.
  • Get directions to the office. Plan to leave early. Keep a phone number to call if you get stuck on the bus or in traffic. If you arrive late and stressed, the interview will not go well.
  • If you don't have a detailed job description, ask for one.
That's a five-minute phone call.
  • 2. Learn about the company online
Do some fast research, which will give you something to talk about in addition to the job description. Go to the employer's website, or Google information such as:
  • How big is the company in terms of annual sales or employees?
  • What does the company say about its products or services?
  • What recent news (such as a new product, a press release, an interview with the CEO) can you discuss?
  • If the company is public, the boilerplate at the bottom of its press releases will tell you a lot.
Basic research should take you about an hour.
  • 3. Think of some stories
Be ready to answer typical interview questions with a story about yourself. To prepare, write down and memorize three achievement stories. Talk about times you've really felt proud of an achievement at work or school. These stories demonstrate all those hard-to-measure qualities like judgment, initiative, teamwork or leadership. Wherever possible, quantify what you've done, e.g., "increased sales by 20 percent," "cut customer call waiting time in half," "streamlined delivery so that most customers had their job done in two days."

By the way, non-work achievement stories are good, too; if you volunteer for the local food pantry, write down a time you overcame a big challenge or a crisis there.

Achievement stories make you memorable, which is what you want. There's an exercise in Monster Careers: Interviewing called "Mastering the Freestyle Interview," which helps you develop these stories into compelling sales points.
Take the time you need—at least three hours on this task.
  • 4. Pick your outfit, and go to bed early
Lay out your interview outfit the night before, get a good night's rest, and always get an early start. The last thing you want is to waste all of your interview preparation by arriving flustered and panicked because you couldn't find a parking space.


(Need rehearsal or help with prep? I can help. If you're in the Portland metro area, connect with me - Richard Kent Matthews - )

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Their Most Important Hiring Issue: Can You, Will You, Bring Value to Our Company?

By Richard Kent Matthews, Career Coach

There are three things your prospective employer wants to know more than anything else.

You may not like it, but when you go into an interview, it's actually a buyer/seller situation. And both you and the one interviewing you play both roles.

Whether it's a direct hire, through a recruiter, or online job board, these three questions are utmost in the mind of the person--the buyer--looking to bring you on board. If you--the seller--can give them what they're looking for, sell yourself better than the competition, they would be foolhardy not to hire you. But can you deliver the goods? 

The most important hiring issue: Will you bring value to our company?

Can you do the job? Can you solve my problem?
Can you provide sufficient evidence that you'll perform the job well? Based on education, experience, and skills, how can they be assured you'll live up to your own hype, or the hype of your references? They want to know if you've done a good job before and if you'll do a good job for them. Be ready with a lot of evidence. And specific instances of your