Five Things to Know about the Millennial Hiring Mindset

millenial businessmen having conversation inside the officeWith millennials predicted to comprise more than 35 percent of the workforce by 2020, it’s inevitable to see members of this millennial generation in hiring-manager positions, recruiting and hiring senior-staff members who may be far older and more experienced than they are.

Understanding the way millennials think about work, jobs, and career is key to making the right impression in the interview, getting hired, and fitting in with a multi-generational workforce. Here are five general observations:

1. Leadership, teamwork, and communication are always in vogue. Millennial hiring managers seek these traits just as much as their counterparts in other generations. millennials are especially obsessed with collaboration, so stories that demonstrate your team-leader and team-player competencies will play well in interviews with them. As for communication, remember that millennials are visual learners who grew up consulting YouTube to learn how to do things. They are not big readers and have actually been conditioned to skip large blocks of text. That means they are unlikely to appreciate huge amounts of detail on your resume. And they might just resonate with a pitch deck about yourself that you bring to the interview.

2. Millennials respect experience, but as hiring managers, may not be willing to pay for it. Hiring managers in this generation recognize that experience is valuable, but they are more focused on the specific contribution you can make and how productive you are. They do not necessarily associate years of experience with a premium salary. It’s important to describe in the interview how you’ve contributed your productivity in similar situations, rather than emphasizing your vast experience. Show that what you bring to the company – not your years of experience – makes you worth your requested salary. It’s also important to show that a wealth of experience will not impede your ability to react quickly to changing dynamics. You want to show that you are not fixated on looking at new situations through old lenses.

3. If the watchword of real estate is location, location, location, the watchword for older executives under scrutiny by millennial hirers is flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. Demonstrate that you value diversity. Show you are not tech-averse but open to learning new technologies. Prepare for interviews with stories of responding effectively to the kind of rapid change millennials have experienced all their lives.

4. Millennials raise their eyebrows at careerists who’ve worked at one place for a long time. The good news is that job hopping is scarcely an issue for millennials who hire. Instead, the opposite is true; they look askance at those who seem to have stayed in one place too long. Their generation has tended to seek personal growth by moving from job to job. If you have been at your most recent job a long time, prepare an explanation about how you’ve grown in your work and have not stagnated. By the way, if the millennial interviewing you will be your supervisor, don’t count on him or her to stick around for a long time.

5. Millennials admire work-life balance. Stories of the long hours you’ve toiled and personal sacrifices you’ve made for your work are not likely to resonate with millennials, who tend to dedicate themselves to meaningful work, values, and balance between their professional and personal lives. In interviews, be sure to share the volunteer and community activities that make you a well-rounded contributor.

Final Thoughts
Being considered for a position by a hiring manager many years your junior can be intimidating. But once you understand the millennial hiring mindset, you can navigate interviews with these young hiring managers with ease.

If you need help with your interviewing skills, consider coaching with us.
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Could You Benefit from Presenting a Pitch Deck in Interviews?

A dozen years or so ago, a popular trend in the job-search world was the idea of a career portfolio – a physical, tangible set of artifacts, often in a binder, showing skills, experience, strengths, and more. The job-seeker, armed with the portfolio, would look for opportunities to present parts of it in interviews.

Portfolios aren’t talked about as much these days, but that doesn’t mean that visual representations of your employability aren’t still a good idea. But just like the fat books of software documentation that have shrunk down to a single card, portfolios have become more streamlined – as pitch decks. After all, even the most compelling career portfolios have likely been allotted only a small amount of time in interviews; a visual that can be covered much more quickly makes greater sense.

Employers also understand the pitch-deck concept more than they do portfolios, and some employers even request that candidates conduct interviews in presentation style or bring a pitch deck with them.

What are the basics of pitch decks for careerists?
     • A pitch deck has 10-20 slides.
     • It should be very visual and contain very little text; you will provide the narration.
     • It should provide a platform for storytelling.
     • It’s the perfect medium for showing measurable performance – graphs, charts, and tables showing sales, profits, growth, successes in cost-cutting, and more.
     • It should be customized for each interview and showcase research you’ve done on the prospective employer. Consider even using some of the organization’s branding – colors and fonts – which has the psychological effect of making it seem as though you already work there.

What slides should you include?
In the world of pitching venture capitalists with startup ideas, slides describing the Problem/Opportunity and the Value Proposition/Solution are a given. With strong research and tailoring, you can create a pitch deck that targets the specific problem the employer would be trying to solve in hiring you and an overview how you would solve it (you don’t want to give too much away). The “Underlying Magic slide,” recommended by gurus such as Guy Kawasaki, describes why you are a better bet than the competition to solve the employer’s problem. It’s your “secret sauce,” your differentiator, your competitive edge.

If your work is project-driven, you can then include 2-3 slides with project highlights. The slides should show what the project looked like, what it accomplished, and how much it moved the metrics. If collaboration will be an important part of your next job, be sure to show how you worked cross-departmentally or across branches of the company. A pitch deck for investors always includes a slide showing the startup team; if relevant to the next job, you can include a slide showing who and how many report to you, as well as the overall team structure.

You can also include a slide that includes your job target – the job you are interviewing for. This slide is obviously very specifically tailored and shows how you are a fit for that organization.

Testimonials can be part of your pitch deck, especially if they are concise and punchy.

Introducing the portfolio
The ideal tool for presenting your deck is a tablet, but a slim laptop will work, as will printing your deck.

If the employer has not asked you to give a presentation in the interview, listen for opportunities to bring your deck into the interview. Any question to which you would likely respond with an example or story is one that you can consider answering using your pitch deck. Behavioral questions, based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, typically offer the best opportunities to integrate the deck into your response. Say the question is, for example, “Tell me about a time when you had a very short timeline to meet your goals. How did ensure you would meet the deadline?” If you have an appropriate example in your deck, you can respond with, “Sure, let me show you the results I got on a software implementation that had a tight timeline.”

Tell your stories and show the illustrative slides in your deck using the formula Problem (or Challenge or Situation) –> Action –> Results.

Final Thoughts
Don’t forget about the option of using your pitch deck as an online artifact. You may need to create a version with more text to explain the images. You can then convert to PDF and make it available on your own website or LinkedIn profile. Or add a voiceover and make a video of it.

If you need help with your interviewing skills, consider coaching with us.
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Non-Verbal Communication During Recruiter Interview

Happy business people talking on meeting at officeNon-verbal communication strategies can help improve your interaction with the interviewer. Interviewers typically trust the non-verbal messages they’re receiving as well as the verbal messages. If there’s a discrepancy in the verbal and non-verbal, it creates a feeling of uneasiness. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your body language, posture, eye contact, facial expressions, nervous habits, voice pitch, tone and speed.

Body Language: Your body language speaks volumes about you. How you walk into the interview, how you shake hands, how you do or don’t make eye contact, how you sit, how you gesture, the manner in which you converse, the attitude you exude. It all creates an image of who you are. Candidates who are authentically engaged and present in the interview process involve their body and mind in the conversation.

Posture: An upright posture communicates openness and strength of character. You need to sit tall with your head up, shoulders square and feet flat on the floor. This not only conveys confidence that you can do the job, but also improves your own sense of self-confidence. You will also want to keep your hands visible as this conveys honesty and openness. Avoid folding or crossing your arms in front of you as this conveys defensiveness.

Eye Contact: Shifty eyes and an inability to maintain eye contact is seen as an indicator that you are lying or being deceptive. When interviewing, maintain eye contact with the interviewer as this communicates that you’re telling the truth and conveys a sense of openness. If you’re interviewing with non-American recruiters, be sure to research the meaning of eye contact for that that particular culture.

Facial expressions: There are 43 muscles in the face which will convey your inner thoughts and emotions and will be unconsciously read and interpreted by the interviewer. Be sure to smile occasionally as a smile conveys warmth and suggests that you would be someone amiable to have on the team. Some interviewers will try to test your stress level with weakness and negative-based questions and some will test your reasoning power with brainteaser questions and assessments. During this phase of the interview, refrain from frowns or angry, confusing, or astonished expressions. Stay calm and take your time in developing your response.

Voice: A large part of the impression you make in an interview is not what you say, but how you say it. Try to speak in your normal voice pitch and tone and modulate your vocal tone to punctuate key points. Often when candidates are experiencing the stress of an interview their pitch will raise, their tone will be tense, and their speed of their speech will be rapid. Try to match the speed of your communication with the speed of the interviewer to convey you are on the same wavelength. These non-verbal expressions communicate a lack of confidence and competence.

Nervous habits: Avoid nervous habits such as bouncing your leg, shuffling your feet, tapping on the table, twirling or rearranging you hair, clicking you pen, fiddling with objects in your lap, laughing at inappropriate times, or whatever you do when you’re nervous. Before your interview, be sure to practice thoughts of gratitude which will increase your positive vibrations and heighten your self-esteem. While driving to the interview, consider listening to some relaxing music or a motivational speaker. If you’re accustomed to meditating, consider spending a few minutes meditating to help calm the nerves.

While your main objective is to focus on and engage in the interview, it is important to be aware of any negative non-verbal communication signals you may be emitting.

If you need help with your interviewing skills, consider coaching with us.
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6 Tips for Successfully Responding to Brainteaser Interview Questions

Brainteaser questions require you to answer an unusual or abstract question and develop a suitable answer based on logic, analysis and hypothesis. They are used to assess your capability to solve a complex problem. In many cases, you are not expected to reach a correct answer. Rather, the recruiter is more interested in your methodology and creativity.

  1. Always Anticipate that a Brainteaser Question May Be Asked. Brainteasers are increasingly likely to be asked across the spectrum of disciplines. Just as you anticipate traditional screening questions, behavioral questions, and situational questions, you can add brainteasers to the list of questions to prepare for. It’s possible, however, to find out more about a company’s interview formats by asking members of your network who work at the organization what interviews are like or consulting Glassdoor, a job search engine that offers a repository of job-seeker-reported questions they’ve been asked by various employers. You can also visit the Brainteaser Interview Questions portion of Glassdoor.
  2. Keep in Mind Why Hiring Managers Ask these Questions. Experts note several traits employers are seeking when they ask brainteasers:

Logic. Hiring managers want to see that interviewees can develop a logical process for responding to brainteasers.
The ability to think on one’s feet. Because the real world of business often requires executives to make quick decisions in the face of unexpected situations or questions, many brainteaser questions mare designed to test this ability and are often timed, increasing the pressure.
Problem solving ability and level-headedness. Employers want to know that you can quickly analyze a problem and devise a solution.
Composure. Hiring managers sometimes ask brainteasers to see if the candidate will get flustered if unable to come up with the answer.

  1. Keep Your Cool. To prove that you’re a candidate who can fill this unique position, take your time and think the question through, then respond calmly. Often times there is not one perfectly correct answer. The purpose is to see someone’s thought process, their problem-solving abilities, and their reaction when faced with a question they don’t have the answer to.
  2. Think and calculate your answer out loud. This advice connects with the “logic” motivation for asking brainteaser questions. Be sure your interviewer knows your logical process by describing each step in your problem-solving approach. In the course of describing your process, you may even decide to switch directions, which is OK as long as the interviewer can follow your process.
  3. Ask for Clarification. Ask the interviewer questions about the brain teaser. An interview is a conversation between two people, not an exam, so you should not feel completely alone when answering these questions. However, do be prepared for the interviewer to say that he or she cannot give you a particular piece of information or assist you.
  4. Have a Response Planned in Case You Just Can’t Come Up with an Answer. As you try to develop your response, you may realize you will not come up with an answer in the allotted time. Identify the skills being tested by the question and explain that, while you don’t excel at brainteasers, employers have cited you for the skills targeted by the question. Perhaps even give an example of how you have demonstrated that skill.

The bottom line is that, while you will probably face brainteaser questions at some point in your job search, you need not be rattled by them. Remain calm and work through the process, demonstrating your relevant skills along the way.

What To Do When the Executive-Search Consultant Calls You


When the Executive-Search Consultant Calls You

The phone rings at 4:30 in the afternoon, and it’s Tom Headhunter, dropping upon you a tempting position that’s a “must” career move. At the end of 10 minutes of talk, you know little of the position and nothing of Tom Headhunter. What do you do? How do you decide if this position–and this person–are worth doing business with?

It’s hard, because you don’t want to be taken for a ride into a vast unknown, risking your confidentiality and relationship with your current employer–and perhaps other executive-search consultants. Just the same, you don’t want to hastily turn Mr. Headhunter aside. You could gain some value in the position and the potential relationship. When these cold calls come in, most executive search consultants advise the following:

First Things First – Interview the Executive Search Consultant
Interviewing the executive-search consultant may sound like an odd way to turn the tables, but start with a few qualifying questions to the consultant before moving on. Find out:

  • Who the executive search consultant is/what firm he or she represents. An executive-search consultant should disclose his or her firm and whether it’s a contingency or retainer firm. Be skeptical if the consultant won’t disclose. Don’t necessarily expect him or her to identify the client hiring firm, however. While you may get that information from the consultant, you often won’t as he or she has been instructed not to divulge.
  • Background in field. Ask the recruiter how long he or she has been in the firm and industry, what types of placements and clients he or she handles. Specific names of client employers are better, but you may not get them. Just as the executive-search consultant will want to know more about you, you should know more about the headhunter before proceeding. Look for competence, professionalism, and experience in the field of specialty. Avoid the used-car salesman type who tries to pry you loose to nab a quick commission.
  • Learn the executive -search consultant’s process. Ask a few questions about how he or she conducts business.

Don’t Commit to Anything
Be careful not to go too far down the path in the first call. Yes, an executive-search consultant’s time is important, and if you’re talking to one of the industry top names on the phone, you could benefit if you keep going. Preferably, though, gather some information, start the relationship, and then step aside. “I’ll get back to you” is a good line to keep in mind.

What do you do before getting back to the executive-search consultant?

  • First, think through everything that was said. Does the position really sound like a fit for your experiences and objectives? Most people get excited, even emotional, at the prospect of an employer wanting them. Let this emotion subside and discern whether you really want to be wanted in this situation. At the risk of a tenuous analogy, think through your dating experiences.
  • Do your own research. Look up the recruiting firm online. Does the firm indeed specialize in your industry? Has it been around for a while, and is it a member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants or other accrediting organizations? Look at its Web site. What types of positions does it deal with? What type of clients, if it discloses? Does the site and its message convey a professional tone and manner, or is it sales-y?
  • Then, use your network. Talk to peers, colleagues, and executive search consultants if you know any. Talk to people outside your organization but in your industry. Have they heard of or dealt with the executive search consultant or his or her firm? Do your contacts know what kind of clients this executive search consultant typically works with?

After satisfying yourself with these answers, call the executive-search consultant back. Getting comfortable with the consultant may take you minutes or days, but doing so is important. Whether you initiate an executive-search consultant relationship this way or by contacting the consultant initially, the next step is to work with that executive -search consultant toward a productive and effective job placement.

If you need help with your job search, consider coaching with us.

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Have You Done Your Homework? When an Interviewer Asks What You Know About the Company

What Do I Need to Know words in 3d letters beside a thinker wondering about information he must have for a job, task or learning in education

One of the most common tactics interviewers apply when interviewing candidates is to see whether you’ve researched the organization before the interview. Here’s a guide for responding to company-knowledge questions.

Interviewer motivation for asking: Quite simply, the interviewer wants to know that you’ve done your homework. The employer expects you to come into the interview with thorough knowledge of the organization and the position. The interviewer wants you to know the organization well enough so that you also know what you can contribute and perhaps how you can respond to the employer’s issues and challenges. The degree to which you’ve researched the employer shows your level of interest in the job. The interviewer may also ask you about the geographic area in which the organization is located if relocation is part of the job.

Strategy for response: Having done your due diligence and performed extensive research on the employer and the job, showcase that knowledge in your responses. Be prepared to demonstrate not only what you know about the organization, position, and geographic area, but also what you like about them. When asked about the contribution you can bring to the employer, relate one of your accomplishments to a need that your research has told you this organization has. If you are asked about solving a company problem, be sure your research has given you sufficient background about the issue before responding. If it has not, ask the interviewer questions (such as finding out what approaches have been applied to this problem in the past and why they haven’t worked) to get sufficient information. Don’t assume that a solution that worked in one of your past positions will automatically work for this employer.

Sample questions in this subject area:

  • Tell me what you know about our company.
  • Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?
  • Why are you seeking this position?
  • Why do you think you might like to live and work in the community in which our company is located?
  • If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • What suggestions do you have for our organization?
  • What are your expectations for this position?
  • What do you expect to contribute to our organization?
  • What changes would you make in the organization?
  • What can you tell me about our organization’s …
    • Size?
    • Key stakeholders?
    • History?
    • Revenues?
    • Products/services?
    • Mission statement?
    • Most recent media releases?
    • Competitors? News about the competitors?

Sample responses for this subject area:

Question: Why do you think you might like to live and work in the community in which
our company is located?

Response: The great thing about Bentonville is that the city is a microcosm of WalMart’s strengths, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing the company. Bentonville, like many places across the U.S., has changed dramatically since the time when the first WalMart store opened there. In fact, just in the past 40 years or so, the population has more than quadrupled–going from a rural community of about 5,000 people in the 1970s to more than 20,000 today. While still the county seat, the town has seen the development of upscale neighborhoods and shopping centers. Just like the town, WalMart’s growth and expansion over the past 40 years has brought amazing success, but also many new challenges, especially as the traditional markets become saturated and the company expands into new and unchartered territory. Thus, driving around Bentonville and talking with the townspeople will not only be a fun and challenging experience–as any move to a new town is–but I believe the experience can also help foster new strategic ideas for helping WalMart achieve even greater success.

Final Thoughts

Never neglect this important research facet of job-interviewing. The Internet puts just about everything you’d need to know at your fingertips. Don’t forget, too, that your research can include gathering insights from people who already work for the organization.

If you need help with your job search, consider coaching with us.

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When the Employer Invites You to Sell Yourself

Employers often ask questions early in the interview process that opens the door to a selling opportunity.

The interviewer’s motivation in many cases is to decide whether to move you forward in the interview process; some of these questions are designed to screen you out if you don’t fit the criteria for the responses the employer seeks.

Another motivation is to break the ice, put you at ease (that’s the theory, though questions like “Tell me about yourself” can be nerve-wracking), and help the interviewer learn more about you. These questions also challenge you to explain why you are here – why are you interviewing for this job. That challenge is an opportunity to sell yourself.

Strategy for response

Because questions in the sell-yourself category can cover a wide territory. Here’s a strategy that fits virtually all of these questions:

  • Identify one to three top selling points that you would like to communicate to the interviewer with each response. Be sure these selling points are relevant to the position you’re interviewing for (you’ll know because of the research you’ve done).
  • Relate each response specifically to the organization at which you’re interviewing and the position you’re interviewing for. For example, the desired response to the request “describe your ideal job” is that your ideal job is the job you’re interviewing for. Describe the elements of the organization and position that perfectly fit your qualifications and attributes. Similarly, the best way to answer the question “What are your strengths?” is to list strengths relevant to the employer and the position.
  • Quantify whenever possible. In your “tell me about yourself” response, for example, use metrics such as percentage by which you’ve increased revenue or reduced costs, number of projects you’ve brought in on time and under budget,

Sample questions in this subject area:

  • Tell me about yourself/How would you describe yourself?
  • Describe your ideal job.
  • What do you want in your next job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What separates you from your colleagues?
  • Why do you believe you are the best candidate for this position?
  • How will we know we’ve made the right decision by hiring you?
  • What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty on the job?
  • Why shouldn’t we hire you?
  • What one area do you really need to work on in your career to become more effective on a day-to-day basis?
  • If you could change something about your [life] [career], what would it be?
  • Do you have a geographic preference?
  • Would it be a problem for you to relocate?
  • How much travel are you willing to do for the job?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Tell me about your greatest strength, and why it will benefit our company.

Sample response for this subject area:

Question: Why should we hire you?

Response: My abilities in so many areas – sales, marketing, promotions, and management – will be invaluable for your company, including my experience working with people with diverse backgrounds and at different levels, my background working with various clients, my work overseeing sales teams, my eye for detail, the fact that I strive to do the best job possible at all times. I’m also reliable, loyal, and trustworthy … and if you hire me, you will have a team player who will add to the integrity and quality of your sales force for years to come. As an example of the kind of results I get that would justify your hiring me: Sales were down in the electronics department of the retail store at which I worked as an assistant manager. The perception was that our products were inferior to a competitor. I took the initiative to create excitement at the store level to increase sales. I attained buy-in from my manager so that I could run a contest. I collected sales data from the store on our products and used that information to back the need for this contest. My manager loved the idea. He thought it was exciting and loved the fact that I provided him with details on how I planned to track the sales process. In the end, I increased sales for that month by 110 percent, which was phenomenal.

If you need help in responding to these questions, schedule a call using this link to discuss our coaching programs or give us a call at 386-749-3111.

Pre-Employment Screenings and Assessments are Ubiquitous but Need Not be Stress-Inducing

Employers are increasingly using pre-screening and assessment techniques early in the interviewing process, typically after one or more initial phone screenings and before the first face-to-face interview or between the first and second interview. Sometimes they are used only when the field is narrowed down to just a few candidates. Surveys indicate more than 80 percent of Fortune 500s use assessments for executive positions and that small businesses also use them. The use of assessments is growing.

According to those employers who use them, pre-screens and assessments assure the organization of hiring a reliable, qualified manager or executive. Because decision-makers hiring for the C-suite are essentially placing the future of their organizations in candidates’ hands with limited evidence of executives’ ability to perform, testing prospective hires is good business. Assessments can provide information about how well a candidate can handle the position’s required tasks and interact with people within the hiring organization.

Companies that produce pre-hire assessments call the tests accurate predictors of future success or derailment in a new job and work culture.

Experts also point to the objectivity of these methods and the notion that they prevent hiring decision-makers from being influenced by candidate charisma or tendency to say what the employer wants to hear.

Many employers see the use of pre-employment screenings and assessments as the first line of defense against candidates who manipulate their personal information in resumes and other employment communications. Stretching the truth about education and employment on a resume is all too common.

Third-party assessments claim to objectively identify and describe the executive’s job-relevant characteristics, as well as capacity to lead and manage others effectively.

General reasoning or cognitive tests may be used to evaluate how quickly candidates can process new information and evaluate complex scenarios.

A few tips for taking assessments:

  • Candidates should be aware of what they’re getting into before undergoing pre-screens and assessments. Don’t be afraid to request information on the purpose of the assessment, as well as its validity and reliability. Inquire about how your privacy will be safeguarded for retention of the assessment results, along with the test-taking environment.
  • The degree to which you can prepare for pre-screens and assessment varies with the method used. In fact, many assessments are designed so that the user cannot prepare for them. You can, however, ensure that you are well-rested and that you take the assessment in quiet, private surroundings. If the employer requires multiple assessments, avoid assessment burn-out by taking time in between to stretch, get something to drink, and mentally unwind before proceeding to the next assessment.
  • Try to skim the assessment so you have an idea of how much time to devote to each question or section. During the assessment, apply the techniques you normally summon to subdue stress and keep yourself relaxed.
  • In preparation for the questionnaire and essay-style methods, keep a detailed journal of successes and past work accomplishments. Many employers will later check this information with your references.
  • While undergoing the assessment or prescreen, give truthful and detailed responses, rather than trying to “game the test” by making statements you think the employer wants to hear or listing characteristics you wish you had. The employer wants to know how well you will fit in with the organization. You do both yourself and the prospective employer a disservice by presenting yourself inaccurately. You may get hired, but you risk your success and satisfaction by hiding your true self.

Because candidates are matched against benchmarks that demonstrate patterns of successful executives, as well as evaluated for job, team, and culture fit, personality, behavior, values, and attitude, assessments aren’t looking for “right or wrong” answers. This matching process can save both employer and candidate from a bad fit that fails to meet expectations on both sides.

Typically, employers don’t rely on the assessments alone but affirm in interviews whether the candidate might not to be a good fit for the job, team and/or culture. In fact legally, an assessment can’t be the only reason for exclusion; a background check, references, work history, industry fit, communication skills, intelligence, the interview, and chemistry enhance the information gained in the assessment. Some experts have said assessments make up about a third of a hiring decision in organizations that use them.

Among the types of pre-screens and assessments that employers may require are:
Predictive Index, which its Web site describes says “predicts primary personality characteristics and cognitive ability [employers] can predict workplace behaviors and on-the-job performance.”
Kolbe A™ Index, which measures a person’s instinctive method of operation, and identifies the ways he or she will be most productive.
Hogan Development Survey, identifies personality-based performance risks and derailers of interpersonal behavior that affect an individual’s leadership style and actions.
• Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is a well-known personality assessment, the use of which in hiring is controversial at best. The Myers-Briggs Web site notes “there are ethical concerns in using it for hiring purposes.”
Simmons Personal Survey, which measures job-related emotional and behavioral tendencies, such as energy, stress, optimism, self-esteem, commitment to work, attention to detail, desire for change, physical courage, self-direction, assertiveness, tolerance, consideration for others, and sociability.
The Executive Achiever, which looks at intelligence, knowledge of leadership skills, and a variety of leadership personality traits.
PXT Select, which gauges cognitive, behavioral, and connative (occupational interests) attributes.
Caliper Profile, which measures more than 25 personality traits that relate to job performance.
Five-factor personality assessments, a variety of assessments that measure the “Big Five” personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (sometimes known as emotional stability).
DiSC, which profiles four primary behavioral styles (dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness) each with a distinct and predictable pattern of observable behavior.
Key Management Dynamics Assessment from Objective Management Group, designed specifically for the executive team and candidates for executive leadership positions. It measures nine styles and 16 qualities.

If you find that you are getting screened out of the interview process after undergoing pre-screens or assessments, consider coaching with us. 

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Are You Crystal Clear About Your Value Proposition?

iStock_000015653759XSmallYour branded value proposition is your unique promise of value. It is a statement of the tangible results a company expects to gain by hiring you. But how do you define this value and, most importantly, how do you demonstrate your value to the company you are interviewing with?

When defining value, it is important to keep these key factors in mind:

  • Your value proposition must be compelling. For instance, significant cost cutting, hefty profit improvements, large sales increases, opening major new markets, or customer satisfaction turnarounds that spell the difference between company success and failure. Always remember this: Top decision makers are interested in sweeping changes, not miniscule improvements.
  • Focus on top line, bottom line, market share, and shareholder value. Improvements in any of these four fundamental categories will make the decision maker’s eyes shine and bring a welcoming smile to his or his face.
  • You need to relate your value proposition in terms of what the hiring company can reasonably expect. That objective must be first and foremost on your mind during the interview because, more than anything else, it will help you land the job you’re seeking and get you off to a fast start. Showing how you drive value is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of the business and your ability to help the hiring company succeed. This language speaks directly to the decision maker.

Every accomplishment you claim must be ultimately tied to the bottom line … even if you don’t have P&L responsibility. This is vital, because every decision maker is interested in profitability.

When creating your value proposition, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I bring to the table?
  • How consistently successful have I been in impacting the top line, the bottom line, increasing market share, and increasing shareholder value?

Remember that a clearly defined and clearly stated value proposition communicates your value to the hiring organization. It identifies your natural talents and aligns them with your target companies and intersects with the company’s brand, creating a perfect marriage between you and the company you are interested in working for.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.


10 Interview Preparation Tips

Today’s interviewers expect you to know something about their company. It’s an indication to them that you’re interested in the position and the company. In fact, some interviewers will ask, “What do you know about our company?” If you haven’t done your research on the company, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot. On the other hand if you have, this is your invitation to showcase how your qualifications and expertise will allow you to drive and deliver on the company’s goals and objectives. So here’s a shortlist of tips:

1) Research the company’s size, industry position, market share, brand, growth rate and style, products/services, customer type(s), funding source (private equity, venture capital, or angle investors; family-owned/operated, etc.), and stability. Warning: Don’t depend on the recruiter’s information. I’ve heard too many cases where the company did not give the recruiter accurate information.

To find this information, review the company’s website, blog, press releases, podcasts, YouTube videos, white papers, and SEC reports. If you don’t find this information on the company website, you may be able to find it using these sites:
Press releases:
White papers:
YouTube videos:
SEC reports:

Additionally, “Follow” the company on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. More and more companies are embracing social media as part of their marketing strategy, so be sure to check all three sites.

2) Research members of the leadership team and the organizational structure of the company using your LinkedIn contacts, LinkedIn’s company search tool, or these sites:;

3) Research the interviewer(s) using Google or LinkedIn. “Follow” the interviewer on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

4) Research your predecessor. Find out how long s/he was in the position, why s/he left the compny, and where s/he went.

5) Identify ways you will be able to contribute to the company. Be prepared to convey your value proposition as it applies to each specific position and company. Contact employees, vendors/suppliers, third-party consultants/advisors, and customers to gather information about problems you can solve for the company.

6) Create a customized interview portfolio that contains examples of your leadership style, contributions to previous employers (expand on bullets on your resume that align with each specific opportunity), value proposition, strategic initiatives you drove, impact you had on the company, and/or technical expertise. If you prefer an online portfolio, check out and include a link to your portfolio on your resume, cover letter, and other marketing materials.

7) Be prepared to give a presentation (Think: board presentation) on why you’re the perfect candidate, what accomplishments you can drive for the company, and what quantitative and qualitative impact you can have on the company. If you don’t have access to presentation software, you may want to check out This is particularly effective when the interviewer doesn’t have an agenda for the interview.

8) Research the company’s culture. Speak with others who work at the company (no matter what level-shipping clerk to senior management). For example, companies owned by foreign companies may have a country-centric culture; technology companies often have a distinct culture; private equity- and venture capital-owned companies also have a unique culture. Some companies are fast-paced, innovative, ahead-of-the-curve and have a flat reporting structure while others are methodical, hierarchal, and risk adverse. Knowing this information will help you respond appropriately during your interview. You may find some help at

9) Research salary information particularly if the company is located in a different state or region. Even if an executive search consultant has provided you with salary information, you need to research the salary range for that position in that geography so that you can negotiate the best salary for yourself. ( or ( can help you with this research.

10) Research the company’s benefits package. If you’re interviewing with a public company, you can find this information in their SEC filings. If it’s a private company or not-for-profit organization, you might find some information in the careers section of the company’s website. Often times the company lists their employee benefits in the position descriptions. Of course, as a senior-level executive, you can expect a more comprehensive benefits package, however this would provide you with a baseline.

While there’s no doubt, this IS a lot of work … knowledge is power … and it can set you apart from the other candidates who are being interviewed.

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

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