Monday, February 27, 2017

Your Interviewer's Hidden Agenda and How to Spot It - Questions

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

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What you should know...

You and the person interviewing you are in two different worlds. Why?

You show up, ready with your resume' and/or CV, your best clothes, your sparkle. You've studied the company (You HAVE studied the company, right?), you know the in's and out's of the position you seek, and you've perfected your smile and best hand shake. 

You want this job and you're prepared with all the right answers to all the right questions. You read them in the books you found at the bookstore or library and you're going for broke. You got this nailed!

Well, not so fast.

The interviewer comes at this from an entirely different perspective. Chances are, you're not the only person he/she has been chatting with this morning, or this week, or maybe all month. And she's tired of hearing the same old pat answers. No one seems to know what's she's really asking. At any rate, she's actually weeding out those who don't make an instant good first impression. But sometimes there is a saving grace. Most don't know what that even means. 

Now you will.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Your Interviewer's Hidden Agenda and How to Spot It

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

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Are you aware that...

When you begin your new job interview, the person interviewing you will ask what seem like perfectly usual and normal questions:

  • Tell me about yourself...
  • What sort of degree do you have that would benefit this position/company...
  • How long were you at your last job...

And so on.

They seem innocent enough. And of course, you've prepared for just such questions. You've read all the books, right?


When they ask you ANY question, no matter how pertinent it may seem to the discussion, to the interview--even 'How's your day so far?--they're actually asking an entirely different question in their own mind. They're looking for clues.

Why would they do that?

One big reason:

What's in this for me?

They're not really thinking about you. In fact, the job of the initial interview is to weed out the riffraff*, so to speak. Those who don't meet a standard right off the bat. Even in dress, or breath, or tooth bend. Yes. Those things keep people out of the running more often than HR people or recruiters care to admit.

It's not necessarily fair, but that's the game, unfortunately.


You may not be able to get that tooth fixed before the interview, but you can improve your appearance, suck on a mint and...

You need to be armed with the inside scoop. You need to be aware of those hidden agendas, those silent questions.

Beginning Monday, February 27, 2017, here, on this post, I will share some tidbits with you that could change the way you do any further interviews. I'll share with you some of the questions really being asked of you. 

You can get a leg up on the interviewer. You can be armed with knowledge they don't know you have. And you can answer their real questions to their satisfaction. 

It may even shoot you to the top of their 'good' list and out of the 'riffraff' list. 

So don't miss it. Be here next Monday. 

You won't be disappointed.

*Riffraff: In interview-speak, anyone who doesn't last longer than the first impression.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Questions They Shouldn’t Be Asking You During Your Job Interview…But Will Try (Part 2 of 2)

By Richard Kent Matthews - Career Coach | Author | Speaker

See Part 1 for more no-no questions.

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Why are you asking me that question?

You've read Part 1 of this two part post, right? 

Here are a few more questions you shouldn’t be asked during a job interview. They are considered to be biased and most hiring staff should know better. They often don’t so keep your radar high.
  • When were you born?
  • Are you near retirement age?
  • Do you intend to marry?
  • Are you a single parent?
  • What kind of work does your spouse do?
  • Do you intend to have children?
  • What languages do your parents speak?
  • What kind of accent is that?
  • Do you have any roommates?
  • Do you tithe?
  • Are you ‘born again’?
  • Do your children go to Sunday School?
  • Do you have any health problems?
  • Do you spend a lot on prescriptions?
  • Were you ever denied life insurance?
  • When were you last in the hospital?
  • Are you handicapped?
  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • What was your record in the military?
  • Do you earn any money from hobbies or investments?
The list of questions like these is extensive and most employers and human resources professionals know not to ask them. But you may come across someone who is new, or forgets, or just doesn’t care.

If you feel you have been a victim of gender, religious, racial, or other forms of bias, you can contact your local department of labor and employment. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Questions They Shouldn’t Be Asking You During Your Job Interview…But Will Try (Part 1)

By Richard Kent Matthews - Career Coach | Author | Speaker

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Did you really just ask me that??

In his book, ‘Ask the Right Questions, Hire the Best People,’* intended mainly for employers or human resources personnel, Ron Fry shares a series of questions that should be avoided by the interviewer during the job interview. I highly recommend the book but in the mean time, I’ll list a few in this post and the next one that will help you spot the questions if and when they pop into the conversation.

As Fry writes, “Not every [question] is patently illegal but all can be interpreted as evidence of bias if one chooses to do so.”
  • How old are you?
  • Where were you born?
  • Aren’t you a little too old for a fast changing company such as ours?
  • Aren’t you a little too young to be seeking a job with this much responsibility?
  • Are you single, married, separated, divorced?
  • What was your maiden name?
  • Tell me about your children.
  • Are you pregnant/do you practice birth control?
  • What’s your nationality?
  • Where are your parents from?
  • What’s your sexual orientation?
  • Do you belong to any gay or lesbian groups?
  • What religion do you practice?
  • What religious holidays will you need to take?
  • How many sick days did you take last year?
  • Have you ever filed a workman’s compensation claim?
As you can see, these questions cover a lot of territory. And they’re only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Be sure to view the next post as we continue with the no-no questions.

If you’ve ever experienced what you consider to be bias during a job interview, your comments would be of interest to the many readers who stop by here every week.

*© 2010 – Career Press

Monday, February 13, 2017

Your Discreet Job Search: When You Don't Want Them To Know What You're Up To

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

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Sometimes your job search needs to be when you're still working!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What to Say When You've Had a Whole Lot of Jobs Under Your Belt

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

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Facing that big question: Why so many jobs in your history? Oops...

Lots of us have done lots of jobs during our lives. So, how do you explain them all to your next interviewer?

Liz Ryan at has a few suggestions. 

Click here: How To Answer 'Why Have You Changed Jobs So Often?'

Monday, February 6, 2017

What Your Interviewer REALLY Wants to Know, Even if They Don't Ask

By Richard Kent Matthews, Career Coach | Author | Speaker
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"It's not easy to interview you. I don't know you. You come with your own set of challenges. So, if I seem defensive, I am."

Interviewing people for jobs is no easy peasy deal. It's tough or tougher than being on your side of the table. Mistakes in hiring cost companies millions every year. They invest in their people and when that investment fails, well, money down the drain and back to the drawing board. 

Being prepared on your end is a great help. But here is what your interviewer really wants to know. 

1. What was your boss's name? Please spell the name for me.
2. Tell me about (their name) as a boss. What was he/she like?
3. What's something you could have done, or done differently, to enhance your working relationship with (their name)?
4. When I talk to (their name), what will he or she tell me your strengths are?
5. Now all people have areas where they can improve, so when I talk to (their name), what will he or she tell me your weaknesses are?

(These questions come from a great new-ish book entitled Hiring for Attitude by Mark Murphy (c. 2017 McGraw Hill)

These are basic. You may have a lovely smile, great clothes, and hair that movie stars envy, but the interviewer wants to know what your previous boss will have to say about you, especially your weaknesses. Can you handle it?

Here are some ways to strategically talk about your bad boss:
  • Be completely honest. Lying will only create more issues. 
  • No reason to share unnecessary information. Don't tell all, just the basics.
  • Turn the negative into a positive. Every cloud has a silver lining. Tell the interviewer your positive experiences about the negative situation.
  • Remember what you enjoyed. Not everything about the last job, or boss, was bad, right? So emphasize the best parts.
  • Say what you’re looking for instead. After briefly sharing about the previous boss and conditions, move on to what you want for the future. 
What are some of the best ways you have talked about a bad previous employer in a job interview? Please share. Thanks.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to Tell the Interviewer about Your Previous Job...and Survive

Sometimes it feels the person interviewing you is more like an accuser. Especially when it comes to your last job...
Are you prepared to talk about your earlier jobs, especially your most recent one? That is, without lying?
This article from Liz Ryan at gives you insights on how to prepare and present yourself.
From the article: It is a shame that so many job interviewers treat a job interview as an interrogation rather than the friendly and human conversation it should be.
Poorly-trained interviewers not only ask intrusive and inappropriate questions of job-seekers but they also have a knack for making every question sound like an accusation.
That's one reason why job-seekers worry about the best way to answer the interview question "Why did you leave your last job?"

After reading, please share your thoughts here. Thanks.