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  • Alexander K. Ammer

Coaching for Winners - Job Interview



JOB INTERVIEW? ASK AKAlytics!


AKAlytics Top 5: Must-have's before your job interview.

Make a difference for yourself. Win with a coach.


1) SHAPE YOUR STRENGTHS – Be a perfect hire

2) IGNITE YOUR WILL TO WIN – Winners really want to win

3) THINK LIKE THE INTERVIEWER – Know the company you desire

4) SHARPEN YOUR COMMUNICATION – Express top messages

5) GET YOUR GAME PLAN – Shine like a star


Valuable and impartial professional advice is hard to get. Not everyone is capable to listen, to analyze and to work on fitting recommendations. Advice is not just about experience and know-how. Advice is also not about telling stories about “how I did it”. The most valuable coaching will be tailormade for you. It considers your specific situation and your unique personality. Advice builds on understanding and on taking time to understand. Good advice needs to be right just for you.


Social media will not teach you on how to best navigate through your daily job, how to deal with a somewhat strange boss/ colleague or how to master job opportunities. It requires an independent observer to decide what is right for you.

Future-deciding career moments should be tackled with the very best of yourself. A professional coach will assist you with tips & tricks for an improved performance. Valuable insights will come from experts who care for empathy and strive for other’s success.

If you desire a change of jobs or are already heading into job interviews, which will decide on your future, it will be worth to reach out to a personal coach. Application and job interview advice seems more important than ever. Competition is international and expectations on candidates have never been higher. Although application processes are easy, it’s not a piece of cake to be better than all the other candidates.

Here are Top 5 for winning job interviews. Additional areas exist, but you need to start somewehere. Each theme originates from professional observation of many applicants. Get ahead of the crowd. If you fail on those, you are more likely to waste your talent and efforts. Please keep in mind that the Top 5 do not look into job specifics like qualifications or job-fit.


 

 

1. SHAPE YOUR STRENGTHS

What are three arguments why you should get the job? Most applicants whom I met could have improved on this question. It is all about you. It is your opportunity for your personal selling proposition. It sounds like a simple task, but choosing the best-possible arguments about yourself require careful consideration. Chose topics that the interviewer should positively remember.

A perfect personal-pitch needs to reflect on two dimensions.

First: What distinguishes your skills from others? The catch is that future employers will not only be interested in what you achieved in the past. They might put even higher emphasis on the future: What will you get done in the future? Position yourself as the solution to current or potential (job/ business) challenges. Present yourself as the solution to future tasks. Plan ahead: How will you be able to get ahead of others applicants in e.g. one year from now?

Second: Cater precisely to the employer’s needs for a “perfect hire”. Don’t make things up but streamline your strengths so that they fit to specific business requirements. Present yourself as must-have. Facts and numbers will prove to be most valuable. Check your own accomplishments and select some as your cornerstones for future success. Explain that you are serious about strengthening your strengths.

However, less tangible capabilities should not be overlooked. Are you flexible enough to overcome setbacks or adapt plans to changing environments? What about your team building or team leading skills? How comfortable are you to face opposition or deal with negative impacts? Just remember: hiring managers look for team members who perform and get the job done. Your presented strengths should provide what it needs. Evidence needs to fit. A coach will enable and make your strengths appear strong.

In a perfect world, everyone would just be a super hero with superpower. Of course this is not the case and therefore you need to make the best of your given or perceived strengths. Selection of the right topics is as important as presenting your skills in the best possible way. Think about the icing on the cake. Even a not perfect cake (inside) wins with an improved outside cover-up. Polish your strengths and make them shine.

Be optimistic and decide on few strengths. Make a list. Boil it down to the very best. Select your top choices, which might not easily be matched by other candidates. Think about case examples. Great strengths should be easy to explain. Provide real-life prove. Don’t over exaggerate. Don’t brag. But don’t be shy. Strengths provide a power to impress.

Your chosen strengths should fit to the desired position. Whatever you present, it needs to be relevant. Relevant for your application, your ambitions and for your (future) managers. AKAlytics will be happy to work with you - on your strategy for strengths.

 

2. IGNITE YOUR WILL TO WIN

Sometimes official job descriptions make me shake my head. Hiring personnel and managers seem to day-dream about perfect candidates. It seems as if profiles are written to intimidate and not invite potential candidates. In most hiring cases, the new hire will be a compromise who fulfills some key requirements. More important than being able to tick-off the ideal candidate requirements is the hire’s perceived future potential. At least for jobs with promotion perspective, the person who gets the job is being trusted to fulfill todays and tomorrows job requirements. Hiring looks also into the future.

If hiring managers should put faith into you, you better put faith into yourself. Winning in job interviews depends on your will to win. Winning spirit is contagious. Team leaders should be positive & motivating. Winning spirit is motivating. Don’t confuse a will to win with being arrogant or too-much self-confidence. A will to win creates an optimistic environment and job interviews require lots of optimism. The right dose of a winner’s attitude will be effective. The will to win reflects in your personality. Therefore it is more a personal process than just comments or sales patter.

It is key that you train yourself to sound like a winner. If you have doubts, you will communicate doubts. Winners take efforts to identify new paths to their next win. They will be careful about next steps. But what they do, they do whole heartedly. Interviewers check for competences, fit and confidence. Your attitude will make you win.

Winning spirit is also helpful, when dealing with an unknown future or unclear tasks. Even if you do not yet know what to do, the will to win inspires and ignites fresh ideas. Think about previous accomplishments and revive those great feelings. The human mind loves winners. Teams love winners – if they help the team to win too. Imagination has no limit. Leverage its full potential to ignite your will to win. If you convince others that you might win, you have a much higher likelihood to actually win. Perception becomes reality.

True winners might even show strength in weakness. A potential weakness could be a past failure or your inability to fulfill a specific job requirement. Don’t hesitate to acknowledge shortcomings. Just think about arguments, why you will improve next time. The winning mindset is always positive about the future. Your will to win is the key to your future. Trust your strengths. Believe in your win. Make others believe in you. Make it your win.

 

3. THINK LIKE THE INTERVIEWER

Job interviews are unlike any other meetings. You do not know the participants. You don’t know the agenda and surprises will happen. It is a little bit like an individual journey to unknown territory. To get ready for the interview, switch sides. What would you like to know about yourself, if you were the interviewer? How would you test your qualifications for the job?

Don’t get too much into a role play. Just try to envision, what it would be “on the other side of the table”. Write down possible questions. Think about your worst-feared questions about your background. Investigate your fit to the job and your fit to the desired company.

Core themes of this personal investigation could be: your profile, your qualifications, your lack of qualifications and understanding the employer’s specific business situation which made them post the job position. Consider that the hiring team might already have talked to a great candidate. How could you impress?

Put yourself into the position of the hiring managers and the business leaders of the desired company. What are they likely to want to know about you? Reflect which questions would be most frightening to you. Remember, some interviewers might try to challenge you.

Conduct solid research about the company and department you applied for. Prepare your very own and personal value-proposition - tailored to the desired employer. The time you spend on learning about the “other side”, will enable you to understand professional requirements and job necessities.

Great hires will display a profound know-how on the specifics of the future job and provide fitting case examples. It should be your ambition to think in the interview as if you were already a team member of the other employer. Your answers need to deliver value-add to the interviewer’s perspective. Try to provide positive building blocks to their business challenges. Be the candidate that delivers future business/ job solutions to the new employer.

 

4. SHARPEN YOUR COMMUNICATION

Business leaders, politicians and media stars have one thing in common: they train their way of communication. They are being trained to speak, to convince and to shine bright. In my exchanges with employees and applicants, clear communication was often overlooked. A simple conversation has little in common with effective communication.

People who decide on promotions and hiring will – intentionally or by habit – consider not only factual arguments. Despite what you actually want to say, it matters, how you get the message across. Too much talking will not help you to achieve your goals, as saying too little. Being able to win sympathy and memorable expressions might work better.

The good news is that communication skills can be trained. Embracing basic communication tricks might make a difference. First: think before you speak. From time to time you might even repeat the question – just to fill that extra time until your reply. A short pause in communication is for free and without pitfalls. Speak once you thought about a smart answer.

Second: try to avoid lengthy sentences. Leaders speak in short terms and clear messages. Third: use numeration to highlight key information. Don’t we wish that all in life would be as easy as 1,2, 3 ,go?

These are examples. Great communication is complex. It could even be fun to clearly convey your messages. Job interviews are very special communication events. Don’t let your ideas and capabilities get lost in poor choice of words. This is even more true for online interviews which are still growing in importance. Knowledge and practice will make the difference.

A coach might even identify communication habits which are not easily changed. Awareness is the first step towards positive change. Be open. Be ready to improve. A good coach will provide attention, guidance and feedback. Joint efforts are powerful.

 

5. GET YOUR GAME PLAN

Whatever you desire, a strategic plan will come handy. Before you go into a job interview, I recommend to define major building blocks for your core messages. You can take prepared notes with you to the interview. Nervousness and surprises play tricks on our memory. As the Head of Recruiting, I positively noted that interviewees asked for a moment to check on their notes. Notes are great. If your game plan was well prepared, it is worth to check.

Job interviews are limited in time. Anything you say - it better be good. Be sure to mention your key strengths. Top elements of a great job interview game plan:


a)     Great personal summary. Ask yourself: What are three sentences which would best characterize yourself?


b)     Very top professional strengths and must-knows about your future work/ job approach. Think about how to summarize those in a catchy and meaningful fashion.


c)     Prepare yourself for the unexpected. Some interviewers find pleasure in challenging applicants. Are you prepared how to best repel potential strikes on your integrity? Life is full of surprises and some interviewers consider it important to observe, how you react to topics which might be out of your comfort zone. Better train your best smiles and keep-calm attitude.


d)     Great questions about the employer and the future job setting. Shy away from obvious topics and information which you could retrieve otherwise. Insightful questions could even pinpoint to a strength of yours which could not yet be mentioned. Wrapping positive messages about yourself into questions can be brilliant. Just target your question to key job topics of your desired employer.


A game plan for your interview will consist of your must-have’s. Be precise. Be wise. Win!


 

Presenting yourself in the best-possible way is your goal. However, competition for great jobs has never been tougher. Self-improvement is tough. Only a good real-life coach will be able to suggest solutions which are right for your individual personal. What might create value to one person, could be useless for another.

A good trainer will spend time to understand your situation. Any suggestions which are quick and ready-to-use are generic and not adapted to your needs. A good coach will be a person that you can put trust into. The coach shouldn’t be your best friend. Independence is key to get valuable recommendations. High confidentiality matters.

Please reach out to me if you have any questions. My DIY guide “Your Career Star” offers more strategies to win and real-life examples. Special packages for job interview coaching are available.

Let’s get ready to win!

 













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