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What Not to Say or Do in an Interview: Part 2 by Stephanie Lloyd

sshhh. dont say it! the x-word is the un-word of the day. and tomorrow!
This is part two of Stephanie Lloyd's 2-piece series on what not to say or do in an interview. You can find the first five here.

6.  Interviewer: "What questions do you have for me?" Candidate: "How much vacation will I get?"

Do *not* discuss salary or benefit packages, particularly during the first interview! Remain open. If you are asked what you′re looking for, it is fine to let them know what your salary and bonus structure is today.  Beyond that, let them know you′d rather defer that conversation until you′ve learned more about the opportunity, and they′ve learned more about what you can bring to the company.

7. Interviewer: "Candidate flushed the toilet during the phone interview."

Phone interviews are frequently a first step in the interviewing process.  Do *not* disregard the importance of this first impression! Be sure to set up a specific time in advance for the call.  This will allow you to be fully prepared and avoid situations where you are unable to conduct an effective interview. Make sure your phone (especially if you are on an extension) is audible or in good working order.  Avoid cell phones. Be aware of any potential distractions, i.e.; radio, television, background conversations, etc. If you have the "call waiting" feature on your phone, do not interrupt your conversation to answer a call.

8. Recruiter: "Candidate was so nervous; the poor guy asked me how my weekend was four times."

Do *not* appear nervous or desperate! A client recently told me that their top candidate for a particular position was ultimately not given the offer because he appeared so desperate during his interviews with the hiring manager.

9. Recruiter: "Candidate showed up for her 4:00 p.m. interview at 2:30."

If you have an interview scheduled for a job you really want, don′t be late. Also, do not be an hour and a half early. It′s disrespectful; recruiters and hiring managers have busy schedules just like everyone else. Be sure you know where you′re going so that you can arrive ten to fifteen minutes early. Drive to the location in advance of the interview if necessary to be sure you know exactly where you′re going. In the event that you do arrive more than ten minutes prior to your scheduled meeting time, wait in your car or find a nearby place — outside the office/waiting room — to wait.

10. Interviewer: "Candidate showed up with his mother and said she would give him an excellent reference."

No matter what, do not, I repeat, do *not* allow your parent(s) to go with you. And do not let your parents try to negotiate your offer for you! Your parents have no place in the interview process. EVER.

What would you add?

Stephanie Lloyd is a Recruiter and the Principal of the Calibre Search Group in Atlanta, Georgia. She has more than 15 years experience in financial services recruiting and sourcing and started her own firm in 2006.

You can find Stephanie on Twitter at @atlrecruiter, on LinkedIN, or on the Calibre Search Group website.

Photo credit: Pieceoplastic [Flickr]


What Not to Say or Do in an Interview - Part 1


Getting Your Next PR Job in 2009

The Examiner PR columnist, Valerie Simon, recently interviewed me for a piece she wrote on "Getting Your Next PR Job." Here is an except and read the rest of the comments over at the Examiner

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Although just last November "public relations specialists" ranked 19th on Time's list of 150 recession proof jobs Charade dvd , it seems that these days no position, or company is immune to the economic crisis. While much of the news you are hearing probably concerns layoffs or entire companies going out of business, the fact is that there are many PR positions available. So how do you find them? And how do you distinguish yourself from the myriad of other candidates out there? Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing some conversations with both recruiters and organizations who are currently hiring. There is good news out there, and with the right resources, you can be a part of it!

Lindsay Olson, a partner and recruiter at Paradigm Staffing, continues to make successful placements, regardless of the current job market. "In the past two weeks, we placed a Director of Public Relations for a marketing services company in Connecticut and a Sr. Account Executive for a technology PR agency in San Francisco. We've also signed two new clients in the past week - both in-house PR positions."

According to Lindsay, while there has been a decrease in the number of new jobs available, those jobs that are available are open because the position is a very important hire for the company. There are many candidates vying for the same positions, so the competition is fierce and means candidates need to be more prepared than ever for their interviews....

Continued here...

Photo credit: Matias Dutto

Deadly Interview Sins

I came across this interview with Marc Cenedella, CEO of, from March 2007. Enjoy!

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Interview oversharing

Starburst® Moments in Sharing: Interview from StarburstChannel on Vimeo.

This video is not exactly the typical interview experience, but I've had my fair share of finishing a conversation and saying to myself - "did that really just happen?"

Oversharing extends into areas outside of the actual interview. Our blogs, social network profiles and Twitter comments blur the line between personal and professional life and what is considered appropriate to share in a public forum is continuing to change.

But some details are not for sharing, no matter how casual or comfortable the relationship - especially in a job search.

Recently, I've been on the receiving end of these interview overshares and I'm beginning to wonder if it is just me.

Here's a story for starters:

Miss Curious was very curious indeed. She liked asking questions - questions that probed into the personal lives of the office staff. While she was waiting for me to start the interview, she began to chat up my colleague and no more than 30 seconds into the conversation she asks, "So, do you have a boyfriend? What's he like?" The recruiter, caught off-guard, answered her quickly and change the subject.

Miss Curious insisted and told the office the entire story of how she met her boyfriend and then detailed the difficulties of her intercultural relationship. She was having a hard time adjusting to living in a new country and sharing a home. Before the interview even started, the office knew about this woman's uncertain and unstable relationship.

And this is just one of the tamer stories ...

It wouldn't be fair to say this only happens on the candidate side. Hiring authorities are guilty of TMI syndrome too like the time... well I'll save that one.

Stories anyone? I'd love to hear your most memorable.


The STAR Approach to storytelling


By The Stars

Photo credit: Brian Talbot

Yesterday I wrote about why storytelling will help you land your next job. This is a follow-up post on how to effective tell your stories in a job search.

The STAR Model is a method of answering behavioral interviewing questions. You can also adapt this method to tell stories about your achievements on your resume (bullet points), a cover letter, or non-behavioral interview questions like the dreaded "tell me about you."

Part of your interview preparation should be to write out several examples of your previous successes - just another reason it is so important to keep track of your projects and work achievements. Anticipate what types of challenges you could face in this new role and create 5-7 stories around your previous relevant experience.

To do this, consider using the STAR Model:

S = Situation - describe a situation. This is a where you will set up the plot of your story for the listener. Give a brief outline of a situation you faced and your role.

T = Task - What was the task you had to accomplish? This is your goal or the hoped outcome.

A = Action - What did you do to accomplish the task? Describe what happened and how you attacked the problem through to resolution.

R = Results - What was the result of your actions? Be specific. Try to quantify these results if possible. The more specific you are, the more convinced the interviewer will be you are the person for the job.

Your stories require some thought and practice. Interview questions that begin with "Tell me about a time when...." are answered best using this model, but you can also find opportunities to tell a relevant story in various points in your job search.


  • When using this approach, be sure to focus on your actions, even if the situation was resolved by the team. It's okay to give credit to your teammates, but don't let the interviewer wonder what part you actually played.
  • Be careful to not ramble on. Give concise, but powerful stories and make sure they are relevant to the conversation. Give a specific, measurable result and be quiet. Let the conversation flow from there.
  • Your stories should be factual accounts that demonstrate your relevant experience. Opinions and theories can be saved for other types of conversations.
  • Don't use the same story for more than one interview question.

Related articles

Stories That Stick


Storytelling can help you land your next job

The Infamy of a Story Never Told
Photo credit: Felipe Morin

Companies hire you based on your experience, ability to solve their problems and how well you fit into the "culture." If you are called in for an interview, you've passed the first step. More than likely the hiring managers have already seen your resume or heard about your work. They know you have the qualifications to do the job - that's why you are interviewing.

The interview is the company's opportunity to evaluate your ability to handle its organizational challenges once you have the job. Since the hiring manager may not be the most skilled interviewer, it's up to you to demonstrate you are up for the challenge. This is why being an effective storyteller is so important.

Stories will help you interview better and land your next gig in a number of ways:

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  • Stories engage the listener and help you become a memorable candidate. People tend to remember stories more than straight facts. That's why the best history teachers are usually great storytellers. Turning your career accomplishments into short mini-stories makes you a stand out against the competition.
  • Stories help build trust with the listener. Stories give more detail to back your claims and explaining the details builds your confidence and the hiring manager's confidence in you.
  • Stories reveal your personality and your communication skills. It helps you and the interviewer determine what it will be like to work together.

This is part one of a two-part series.

Part 2: Star Approach to storytelling A History of Violence divx


Interesting links: November 20-26

Interesting links for the long weekend reading... Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy!




Top things to never put on your resume by readers


cono adoquin

Photo credit: Matias Dutto

Yesterday I listed five things to never put on your resume. By no means was it an exhaustive list. Paul Copcutt, former recruiter and blogger at Reflections of a Square Peg, left some great comments worth sharing.

Here are Paul's five things to never put on a resume:

  • Silly, Funny (usually just to you), or offensive e-mail addresses. Gmail is free and generic - use it!
  • An objective (still seen on far too many resumes) - by all means have something to give off a resume but make it a value proposition. Think: What you can do for the employer - not what you want from them? Jennifer Schooley chimed in here as well stating it's obvious by receiving the resume you are looking for a job, so don't waste the space.
  • No phone number! Yes believe it - when I was in recruitment I did a quick survey once and found over 15% of resumes had no contact phone number. Huh???!!
  • Reasons why you left - rarely seen now, but it does happen. Do not eliminate yourself before the interview. Save it for a face to face, or at least a telephone conversation.
  • Photos. In recruitment we used to have a "˜rogues′ gallery of photos that were attached to resumes. Again, save it for the interview or web interview. Or make sure any photo is professionally taken for bios and on-line profiles like LinkedIn.

Another great tip from Martin Buckland:

    Space Chimps video

  • Leave responsibilities out. Build each bullet around STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Tell a short story, max 3 lines, about each accomplishment. These can also serve as a platform for the interviewer to position his questions.

Bill Green added "GPA - leave it off. If you have a 3.8, you have just publicly said you not as smart as someone with a 4.0."

Jacob Share at JobMob also pointed me to his top 10 unusual resume mistakes. He puts out some of the most useful content in the world of job search out there. If you don't read Jacob's blog, it's a good addition to your daily feeds.

Thank you all for your insight! I'd love to hear any other ideas you would add in the comments.

This part two of a three-part series about what to never put on your resume.

Part 1: 5 things to never put on your resume

Part 3: Make sure your career progression is not mistaken for job hopping


Interviewing 101 for job seekers and hiring managers

A Cheating Oldie But Goodie

Photo by Jared Stein

Thanks to HR World for compiling this excellent cheat sheet of links to help the job seekers and hiring managers interview better. It doesn't mater how confident you are with your awesome interviewing skills, even the most awesome get hung up on something in an interview from time to time.

I recommend candidates also study resources applicable to hiring managers. Understanding the process from their perspective and what they are looking for will only help you to present yourself better.

Here's a brief overview of the type of information compiled in the 100 resources.

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  • Sample interview questions for candidates and good answers
  • Types of interviews
  • Tips and interview techniques for hiring managers
  • Interviewing strategies for candidates
  • How to dress
  • What not to do on an interview
  • Interview preparation steps and advice
  • After interview follow-up and thank you letters
  • Resume help

The list is extensive, so no need repeating here. Enjoy!


The Interviewing Cheat Sheet: 100 Resources for Interviewers and Candidates -

Daylight Robbery rip


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