ASK THE EMPLOYMENT EXPERTS
||Dear Smart Guys,
I recently passed the exams to be a Certified Purchasing
Manager, but have not yet received the official document
from ISM, my professional association. I am applying
for a Purchasing Manager position, and would like to
include my CPM designation. Is that ok or will it make
Signed: New C.P.M.
Steve Hines, consultant, career coach and
Dear New C.P.M.,
Congratulations -- all of your studying and hard
work will pay big dividends! Your CPM designation
will indeed make a difference in your career, and
you should highlight it at the top of your resume:
John Doe, C.P.M. More and more companies are
encouraging their employees to seek certification in
their fields as a way of determining who is really
serious about developing a career. Most
certifications are administered through the
appropriate Professional Association, and I urge you
to join a least one that covers your field.
Dear Premature C.P.M.,
In addition to passing the tests, the C.P.M.
certification requires some administrative functions
including verifying years of experience and paying a
fee. Until these are completed, ISM will not award
the certification. I recommend not showing C.P.M. at
the top of the resume, but in the text highlight,
"All tests have been passed for C.P.M certification
by the Institute of Supply Management." You have
reason to brag now but once you have received the
notice to use the C.P.M. certification, show it
after your name.
View a Job Interview as a Sales Call
Whose responsibility is it to see
that a good employment interview takes place, the hiring
organization or the job candidate?
Current thinking is that the hiring
organization should have a reliable and accurate interview process
and there is little a job candidate can do to influence it.
That is scary when combined with
recent surveys which have shown that a majority of the HR
professionals questioned believe people in their own organizations
use poor interviewing techniques resulting in hiring the wrong
person for the job, or not hiring the right person. The largest
percentage of these mistakes was felt to be caused by a lack of
training or a lack of preparation to properly interview and select
for the position. So we know that bad interviews are going to take
Can a job candidate improve the odds
of having a good interview?
Now let’s look at the analogy of
viewing a Job Interview as a Sales Call, as the title of this
article suggests: the Job Candidate is to the Interviewer as a
Salesperson is to the Buyer.
Job Candidate is to the Interviewer as a Salesperson is to
In a sales call, if
the Buyer is not prepared, I can not picture a Salesperson being
passive and sitting there waiting for the Buyer to ask him the right
questions. In a sales situation, the Salesperson is trained to seek
out the needs of the Buyer and then formulate a presentation
matching the features of his product to the needs of the Buyer.
If the Job Candidate
will look at the interview as if he were a
Salesperson making a sales call on a
Buyer (the hiring official) he would obviously not
be satisfied sitting passively through a bad interview either. To
create a good outcome, there is a point at which the Candidate would
step up and make sure that his appropriate talents and
qualifications make it onto the table and to the best of his
ability, are matched against the job requirements and company needs.
A sharp Candidate would do it with
enough tact and skill to avoid being labeled as being too pushy or
aggressive because, the Hiring Official, no matter how ill-prepared,
may need to save face and feel that he himself is the one in
Do not allow your possible
conclusion that the Interviewer is inept or untrained, lead you to
be a bore or to act inappropriately. The Interviewer may be inept
but the interviewer is still the interviewer. A successful
alternative conclusion is likely only if you have taken time to
establish rapport and have adequate communications skills.
When tangible evidence indicates the
Interviewer is unskilled or ill-prepared, the situation can be
tested with a sensitively asked question such as, “What is the
process you would like to follow?”
If the answer continues to
confirm the fact that the interview will be ineffective or a
disaster if the course is not changed, the Candidate may
continue to probe with questions such as:
“Where does this interview fit
in the selection process?”
“Who will likely make the final
“What problems do you want to
solve with this hire?”
“What do you see as the major
activity or projects the successful candidate will tackle?”
“What were the shortcomings of
the prior incumbent?”
Once you feel you have gathered all
the major needs of the company for this position, you can now put
together a presentation of your best qualifications and
accomplishments that will satisfy the company’s needs. Refer the
Interviewer to accomplishments highlighted in your resume, being
very specific to match them to their needs. Supplement the
information in your resume with stories of additional
accomplishments addressing as many of their needs as appropriate.
Present the accomplishments in terms
that the Interviewer can best appreciate; a Human Resources
professional may appreciate examples of organizational fit,
management style and adaptability, while an operations manager may
best relate to dollars to the bottom line and your ability to solve
problems and make your boss look good.
Gain the Interviewer’s agreement
that the needs of the company are properly covered by the
capabilities you possess, by using a Closing question, such as, “Do
you agree that I represent an ideal solution to your organizations
Probe for objections that you can in
turn, clarify and satisfy with additional presentation of related
Obviously, being hired even using
this approach depends upon a lot of factors somewhat beyond your
direct control, such as:
Does the interviewer have the
authority to hire you?
Does their process require them
to interview additional candidates?
Is the interviewer mentally
capable of putting it all together to follow the logic of your
presentation to its proper conclusion?
It may not be the best job for
you or you may not be the best candidate for it.
This process may not result in a one
for one interview-to-hire ratio but thinking of the interview as a
sales call will open up the opportunity to possibly salvage the
interview that was destined to be a bad interview. Good luck using
the interview as a mental game.
Jon Harvill CPC, can be contacted at
Structure Your Job Search
12 tools to make your job search
A well-written Resume.
A 30-second verbal resume.
Daily planning and telephone log or a Contact
Home office or outplacement office space.
Internet access for research and email.
Telephone and answering machine.
A personal support organization.
Thank-you note stationary.
An interview uniform.
An impressive list of favorable reference
Step 2: Resumé Tips
The resume has one primary purpose: to
lead to getting a job interview! It is a marketing piece, not a personal
history or autobiography. The following suggestions may help make it
And, your 30-Second Resumé
How many times have you been to a party,
seminar or networking group and someone asked you "What do you do?" or
"Tell me about yourself?" How did you respond? Did you fumble for words
or lose your listener attention with a long drawn out explanation
involving technical words that they could not understand. The
conversation could have gone much smoother if you had a short oral
resume prepared that highlighted your background and job objective, and
still kept your listeners attention.
Step 3: Networking
Many of you have heard my opinion of job
search priorities. In a job search, your highest priority activity is to
be face-to-face with a live person. If possible that person should be in
a position to hire you, but more likely they will just know someone else
who may need your talents. During normal working hours, when you are not
successful at being face-to-face, you should be on the phone trying to
get face-to-face. After hours is the only time you can afford to work
the less effective methods such as the job boards, internet searches,
newspaper help wanted ads, emails and correspondence.
Step 4: Interviewing Skills
Your physical appearance is as important
as your interviewing skills and credentials. Dress attractively, but
conservatively, even if you tend to be more flamboyant normally. Men
should wear well-tailored suits, preferably dark blue or gray; solid
neutral shirts, striped or solid-colored ties; dark, well-polished shoes
solid black or navy socks. And, don't forget to get a good haircut.
Women should wear business suits or tailored dresses with jackets;
medium-heeled closed pumps; and have your hair done in a conservative
style. Remember, first impressions count.
Step 5: Negotiations
Everything is negotiable or nothing is
negotiable depending on the company, the hiring official, the situation,
and the position. You have to be perceptive enough to determine your
bounds. Negotiations begin with the ad or job listing. Serious
negotiations begin after the initial offer is received. If the job
listing indicates the potential salary range, the title, the number of
people supervised, the dollar responsibility---all of these things are
indicators of rigidity or flexibility.
Additional Articles for Job Seekers
Your Story In One Page
Please feel free to visit this external website for more articles on
networking, interviewing, and your resumé.