Why should we hire you?

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“Why should we hire you?”

“Because you have a job opening and I am broke.”  (NOT THE BEST ANSWER)

Why should we hire you is a common interview question that can be pretty easy–even energizing– to answer if you do proper pre-interview homework.

Before applying for a position or as soon as you’re recruited, ask yourself “Why should I work here?” Then research. Check products, services, growth, employees, ratings, media postings and more. Memorize their mission. This research should give you some valuable information.

This way, you can confidently tell a company why they should hire you. Use specifics how you’ve made a positive difference. It’s great if you can find a problem and give an example of how you’ve fixed a similar problem in the past, you see they are on a certain road and you can help them stay on the road, and more. Don’t say something like, “Because I would work hard to help you succeed,” which is “Blah, blah, blah.”

A huge mistake people make when taking a job is that they know nothing about a company beforehand. People in an ill-fitting job often realize they’d rather clean toilets for a company they appreciate than serve as an executive for a company with clashing value. So research, review, and arm yourself with facts.

Good luck job seeking,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

A fulfilling job

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At times, job seekers come to me and say they want a new job because they aren’t fulfilled. More often than not, a new job won’t bring true fulfillment. A lot of times, fulfillment and happiness has very little to do with work, family, money, etc…nothing external. There’s also an incorrect thought that only fulfilling jobs or helping people come when someone works at a homeless shelter or with foster kids.  Instead, people can (and do) help others in every single type of position.

I saw this email yesterday, and it was perfect. Sometimes focusing on blessings—even in the midst of a job crisis—can turn your life around. You may begin to like your current job more, get excited about new possibilities and search outside your comfort zone, increase your self esteem, and more. It’s easy to say, less easy to do, but so worth it.

Good luck job searching,

Beth Husom, GCDF

Explaining Past Screw Ups in an Interview

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I gave some advice in a previous blog about answering the dreaded interview question about being fired. Many people have been fired. They could have screwed up in a variety of ways—maybe they lost a big account, struggled with hours, didn’t jive with coworkers, underperformed…for every firing, there is a unique reason. At the base level, it’s usually due to an ill-fitting company or position.

Sometimes, it’s due to darker reasons. One of the most common indiscretions surrounds money and misuse of company resources—not the $300,000 embezzlement situations but where an employee is stuck with their “hands in the cookie jar.” They jack products, use equipment for personal use, inflate expense reports, overcharge or undercharge, swipe the corporate credit card for their own purchases, etc.

I once worked with a former corporate project manager who had an affair with a co-worker. They hooked up as much as 3 times a day in a conference room. Only top management had keys to this room. Because he was a top dog, he had a key plus the meeting schedule, so he felt safe–that is, until the CEO and other executives needed a room to hold an emergency meeting with one of their biggest clients…he was handed his pants and shown the door that very afternoon.

I’ve also worked with many people who, due to their professions, have lost or had licenses suspended due to (mostly), drug and alcohol problems. I’ve met smart people who have done really dumb things like get in fist fights with coworkers, watched porn on work property, and so on. If you can think of it, someone has done it. And gotten caught.

If you were fired for something illicit, you can rise above past indiscretions. However, you must rectify past mistakes, learn from them, understand why you made these decisions, and learn new tools to make better decisions in the future.

People think it’s sometimes obvious why they made a certain choice. Their kids needed school clothes…. …that coworker was such a jerk that they just did what their other coworkers wanted. However, life is full of worldly problems. No matter your job, you may have future money issues. Coworkers will be jerks. There are people in these exact situations who took a different path. There may be a deeper reason that goes beyond the obvious. Remember that famous Albert Einstein quote: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

images (6)Once you’ve determined the why, you will need to determine how to think differently, and have the tools to make better choices in the future. You may need to consult a counselor. No matter what happened, I recommend doing what you can to make amends with past companies and/or coworkers. An “I’m sorry” followed by a period and not a “but” goes a long way. Calling your boss or meeting in person may help as well. In most situations, it doesn’t need to be long. Something like, “The fight I had with Bill was wrong. I should have handled our issues in a more adult fashion. I’ve gone through anger management counseling and have tools to ensure I won’t make these same mistakes again. Our fight caused you undue stress, and I am sorry.” End of story. It may be helpful to apologize to Bill. Don’t add anything negative about the other guy. Be the bigger guy. If you know financial amounts or estimates, bring a check.

People often feel better about you if you reach out and make amends to the best of your ability. In the short term, they may not accept your apology or your money if they feel they’ve been wronged. But you’ve done what you can, and in the long term it may help. If a potential employer contacts them, they may focus on your positives.

For a new job and fresh start, I recommend talking with companies, building relationships, and getting to know people first. Consider taking a temp job for a while to get some positive recent work history. You can be a little more general if an interview asks if you’ve ever been fired. You can say “Once I worked for a company that wasn’t a good fit, made some errors in judgment, learned a ton, and have since made better choices and experienced more successes.” But no matter the circumstances, never lie.

Good luck job searching,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

 

 

 

“Why Were You Fired?” Scary Interview Question.

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In an interview, how should you answer Why did you leave your last job?” or “I see on your application you were let go. Can you explain?”

What does the interviewer want to know? Beyond seeing if you were fired for something like stealing or conducting an affair with a coworker in the janitor closet, a potential employer wants to see how you handle adversity, have personal insight, and take responsibility.

Career counselors and employers usually agree on the following. When asked why you’ve been fired,

Be honest. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t play the blame game. End on a happy note.

Your situation is unique. You’ll have to figure out the right answer. Here are 5 examples:

Scenario 1: The job wasn’t working out. My boss and I agreed it was time for me to move on to a position that would show a better return for us both. Here I am, ready to work.

This shows communication skills, partnership. It’s honest and to the point.

Scenario 2: At my last position, I just saw dollar signs and took the job without researching the products or company. It wasn’t a good fit but was a great learning experience. I won’t make that same mistake. I’ve now researched and am excited to use my relationship and sales skills to successfully partner with a company that cares for customers and produces great products.

This shows you understand and have learned from past mistakes, have researched, and feel you are a good match.

Scenario 2: My last job started as customer-focused, and I received high marks for providing top service. Much became automated. I am much better at direct face-to-face and telephone contact. Leaving was a blessing as I can again work to brighten days.

This shows excitement, care, prior success, and success in an area you’ll be needed.

Scenario 3: I commuted 30 miles, gave myself extra driving time and was normally at least 30 minutes early. With inevitable traffic problems, there were days this wasn’t the case. Since I live 2 miles from here, I could even use my snowshoes or skis during a big Minnesota blizzard to be on time!

This shows problems out of your control that wouldn’t be an issue, a little humor, energy.

In general (although I hate generalizing), job seekers I’ve worked with seem to be a little less nervous if they are making a career change. A past corporate manager vying for a job at a nonprofit can focus on how they are more geared to work in the new environment. However, some hesitate to try for a similar or exact same type of job from which they’ve been fired. But remember, environment is even more important than job responsibilities in terms of job success. Past failures may have nothing to do with future successes. A financial wizard could be fired for a CPA position if they worked for an ill-fitting company. And some of the best have.

Before your interview, come to terms with all past emotions. I learned this the hard way.  Many years ago, I was recruited for a new position and left a great job for “greener pastures”. The new job sucked. I left after 3 months, moped around the house for 2 months, the bills stacked up and I started applying. At my first interview, the interviewer asked why I left my last job. To my shock and chagrin, I burst into tears and barely got through the interview. I hadn’t even known my negative thoughts and emotions were that strong. Needless to say I didn’t get the job.

Ensure you can calmly speak of your past. No one wants to hire an emotional wreck. Even if you were fired under false circumstances, don’t rip on others. Say it was a wrong fit. If you have integrity and past employers don’t, it WAS a wrong fit. Keep everything positive and looking to the future. Life is full of problems. Leaders understand them, admit them, face them, and use them as learning opportunities.

Good luck job searching,

 

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

9 major areas where your LinkedIn profile brands you — Things Career Related

Reblogged because LinkedIn is absolutely needed in today’s job world–Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

 

It’s safe to say I’ve critiqued or written hundreds of LinkedIn profiles. What’s most important in a profile is that it brands the LinkedIn member; it sends a clear, consistent message of the value the member will deliver to employers. Does your profile brand you? In this article we’ll look at nine sections of your […]

via 9 major areas where your LinkedIn profile brands you — Things Career Related

New Year, New Job

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As suspected, my phone’s been blowing up a little with people wanting resumes, LinkedIn profiles and career counseling. It’s the New Year—time for changes (and a great way to pay bills). People make resolutions and want fresh starts.

But how do you get past former work struggles—been fired, walked off a job, had 7 different jobs in 7 years and/or long periods of unemployment, negative news or Internet issues, license revocation, etc.? I just met with an RN with a suspended license due to drugs and alcohol. They were dismissed when she went to rehab but she can’t practice for 1 year. After 22 years in nursing, she was ready for a change, but wondered where to go and how to answer this question in an interview.

So how do you job search? Answer this in an interview? I will address specific issues in their own blogs. Searches and interviews vary, based on your situation—firing, losing professional licenses, job hopping, long unemployment stretches, and negative news/Internet. Fresh changes ARE possible and probable with the right mindset. People say otherwise, but don’t listen. You are a beloved child of God. He says we will have struggles in our life, but are forgiven, can amake new starts, and God is always with you.

In general, it’s vital to evaluate and understand what led to past issues. Why WERE you fired? Why DO you have trouble keeping a job? What LED to negative reviews, Internet problems, or negative news stories? We usually do the best we can with what we have (skills, knowledge, self-esteem, experiences, beliefs, mindset, and health). For success, we may need to learn, grow, and feel better, or our future will probably look a lot like our past. People are often their worst enemies. I’ve worked with thousands of job seekers. Sometimes they’re shocked at how far they can fly. This can be you, no matter your background. Chew on this and look to future blogs for specifics.

Good luck job searching,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

Can I Have “Just a Job?”

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Job seekers sometimes ask if it’s OK to simply want a low stress position that pays the bills and gives them the time and energy to focus elsewhere—maybe a family, social cause, faith, hobby, sports, interests and more. Being in the Career Development industry, some feel I must be all about moving up the corporate ladder. They are surprised when I reassure them a job that pays enough money for food, shelter, transportation, clothes, etc., is totally fine.

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Careers are important to some peoples’ identities. Some identify elsewhere. Both can be awesome. People differ, strengths differ, and our economy needs blue collar workers, corporate CEOs, and everyone in between. A social norm is to get a degree or two or three, land a great job, move up the ladder, have a wallet stuffed with cash and a house stuffed with possessions, and live the high life; travel the world, dine out, and drive a new vehicle. But there’s nothing wrong with living a small house, dressing in clean clothes from Goodwill or WalMart, eating in and getting home haircuts.

Another situation—people can have an unhealthy obsession with work. It’s led to medical issues, broken relationships, other addictions such as drugs, alcohol or eating, parental problems and more. Their kids have suffered, they are cranky, snobby, and have a hardened heart. Some ask: could a low key, non-competitive position help with urges to give 100% to their career to the detriment of themselves and other loved ones? Potentially yes; IF they take this drive and put it elsewhere. Always remember a job isn’t worth it if you or loved ones suffer.

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After over 15 years of Career Development, I never assume residents in high buck neighborhoods are happy and healthy or residents in trailer parks are miserable. Fights, loneliness and misery exists inside $1 million homes. Love, laughing, and healthy families are in small apartments and trailers. EVERY job is important and respectable.

The main thing—care for yourselves and others, respect people, raise your children well, give of yourself (money or time) to organizations and causes, and do your job with integrity to the best of your ability.

Good luck job searching,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF