As a guest speaker at a recent Workforce Center job-search event, I shared communication techniques on how to answer tough questions in a way that gets you the result you want.
Whether you’re in the market for a new job, looking to get promoted or want to boost your approval ratings, the key is to communicate effectively. Job-hunt obstacles like terminations, job-hopping, ageism or disabilities aren’t necessarily deal breakers. You just need to beef up your communication strategy.
- Create a short introduction to use when asked, “Tell me about yourself?” It should be no more than 90-seconds long and include your unique approach to life or business, a snapshot of your career progression, examples of results you’ve produced and, finally, what you’re looking for now.
- Craft a brief and favorable explanation to address potential spoilers. Don’t wait for negative issues to surface during a background check. Be as transparent as possible, while demonstrating consideration and objectivity. Badmouthing an ex-boss won’t win you any perception points. Instead, showcase your accomplishments and speak enthusiastically about achieving new goals.
- Focus on the positive. We often worry about things we can’t do, such as run specific software programs, when what we have to offer is so much more valuable to an employer. So, if tough questions about what you can’t do surface, be prepared to steer the conversation back to what you can do.
- Know how to talk about money. Salary shouldn’t be based on what you made at your last job. It should reflect market demands, your expertise and the results you’ve produced. Do your research, be prepared to suggest a salary range and focus on the value you can bring the company within that range.
To help you get even more of an edge:
- Be sure to end presumptively. Often times the main reason a candidate isn’t offered a job is that the hiring manager wasn’t convinced he or she really wanted it. To declare your sincere interest in the role say, “After hearing more about the position, I’m convinced that I’d be a great fit. What can I do to convince you that I very much want the job?” Then sit quietly and smile.
Before you act . . .
Be prepared to ask your interviewer questions that can sway decisions in your favor. Consider asking things such as “What do you see as the top priority for the person in this role? Or “If you could describe the main character trait you’d like the person in this role to have, what would it be?”
For a copy of the handout I provided to the Workforce Center audience, simply comment below.