Tag Archives: Unemployment

Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories

Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories

starToday we republish an extract from an earlier post. But I make no excuses because I think writing STAR stories can make such an important contribution to your job search and to your career development, if you want to prove to your employer that you are ready for promotion.

STAR Stories Make You A Star

Writing STAR stories is a way to prepare not only to write your CV but also to answer questions at interview. This will be particularly important if the organisation you want to join, or contract with, is committed to competency based interviewing or wants evidence of what you have done so far! Your STAR stories help to give evidence of just how competent you are.

But preparing your STAR stories can also be a real boost to your self-confidence, particularly if you are going through a difficult period at work.

Writing your stories

The STAR method means that for each of your major achievements you will set out the;
  • S – Situation, the background – when where, who and why
  • T – Task or tasks, you need to be specific here – exactly what was the problem you were trying to solve, you were you required to do and what was the required outcome?
  • A – Action, what did you do and what skills did you use? How did you behave? What obstacles did you meet and how did you overcome them? 
  • R – Result . what was the outcome? What happened and what were the benefits that you delivered. How could you measure them? Can you put a price or some dimensions on the scale of your achievement?  How did the organisation respond?

People like hearing a well told story. And telling your stories well will make sure you are memorable for the right reasons; so long as they are not too long, they stay positive and they are realistic!

You will not put all detail from your STAR stories into your CV, but it really helps to remind yourself of the past vividly when you write it.

When you start, think right back to the beginning of your career;

  1. Use your laptop or simply get a notebook and note down all the good things you have achieved. We are talking here about your personal successes!
  2. Don’t spend time on the things that you don’t feel good about! Remember, a whole programme or initiative doesn’t have to have been a total for your part of it to be something you are proud of!
  3. Now pick at least 10 achievements across your career. For job search, include at least five from the more recent past. But there is no limit to how many STAR stores you can produce.
  4. For each achievement, write a STAR story, setting out what happened and clearly explaining your contribution.
  5. Of course you can write as much or as little as you like about each success but for your portfolio record about one page of A4 for each is usually enough.
  6. Start with your early achievements and work forward.
  7. Do your research if necessary about times, places and events. You are building a portfolio to be proud of so make sure your stories are accurate!
  8. After you have completed each story take a pause and review! Enjoy your success.
  9. When you have completed five lay them out before them and feel proud – I bet you had forgotten how good your were!
  10. When you are ready, type them up and print them out on good quality paper! Then put them in a folder with your name on the front!

Your portfolio now has its foundations. You can references and recommendations as well as certificates you hold and any awards. From this material you can draw soundly based evidence of your competencies. It can be drawn on for your job applications and used as reminder of just how good you really are when you hit those career bumps that everyone has to endure sometimes

By the way STAR stories don’t have to be confined to paid employment. Have you had a voluntary role? Are there things you have done for your local community? Well write the stories and put them in! They will all serve to show just what a valuable and competent person you really are!

And I would love to hear how you get on and I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search every success. If I can help, please get in touch.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Five Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

confidenceFive Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

This is a post I published a few years ago now but I believe it still useful.

Having a healthy amount of self-esteem and self-confidence is something that helps to make your life happier and more successful. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities goes a long way whether you’re facing a tough decision, adapting to a new situation or facing major change. Here are some tips on how to build your self-esteem.

1. Stay relaxed

Staying relaxed in general can help you see the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff so much. It’s also a good frame of mind to be in when you’re taking a close look at the things you’re not so good at. There are lots of simple relaxation techniques around that can help – simple breathing exercises are easy to learn and really do help. Try this link.

2. Understand your strengths

Everybody’s good at something, and many people are good at quite a few things. Even if you don’t have a talent or strength that you’re aware of, you probably have some interests you can develop into strengths.Make a list of a few things you’re good at and a few things you’re interested in and would like to be better at. Share this list with someone you like and trust – this is a good exercise to do with a partner who also wants to work on their confidence. They can probably help you find other things you’re good at, too, and help you come up with a plan for developing other skills and interests.

3. Realize your limits.

Remember no one is perfect and no one can do everything. It may not always seem this way, but it’s true. So if you are not the chief executive or a millionaire – that’ is OK! You have a personality and a perspective on the world that’s all your own and completely valuable.

4. Stop criticizing yourself. Now!

This is one of the things that stop us achieving our goals and feeling good about ourselves. You are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else.Concentrate on the good bits! If you don’t do well at a particular project or task the first (or even the second time), it doesn’t mean that you never will. Perhaps you weren’t prepared or the time simply wasn’t right. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you’ll never succeed. It is natural to feel disappointed but don’t get hooked on it – let it go and move on. You’ll be that much closer to achieving what you want if you do.

5. Celebrate the good things.

Notice all the good things you do in a day even the small things.Everything – the favor you do for a friend – the help you give a relative – it’s all good.Notice it and give yourself a big pat on the back.Get hooked on feeling good about what you achieve – it will become a habit. You could always keep a celebration journal to reflect on when you are feeling down.  Don’t be afraid to treat yourself when you do something good.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Danger Unemployment – skirmishes ahead!

Today we have a new update on Dave’s page – you can find it here.

It is now over nine months since Dave left the Civil Service and his wife, June,  is still waiting for him to find a “proper job”.

She would like him to be earning enough to give extra financial support to their grown up children and their families.

June has clear ideas for the kind of job she would like him to take.

She knows he is more relaxed now than when he was at work.  She had reason to be grateful that he was around at home when she broke her ankle and then her wrist.  But she thinks if he can find a “professional”  job locally they can have the best of both worlds.

Dave doesn’t agree.  He thinks the children should be independent by now and he is developing quite different ideas about how he wants to spend his time.

When we lose a job, the ramifications can be wide. Certainly it can mean big changes for close family and dependents.  In the present financial climate, parents do provide extra financial support to grown up children.  It hurts when you can no longer do it.

Most people don’t welcome an enforced  change in their life style.  Change of any kind is stressful and feelings of guilt and shame make things worse!

Loss of a job can mean a loss of status and that is hard to bear and not just for the person being made unemployed.

In times like this families need each other.  They need to share the grief and disappointment. Above all they need to talk to each other and to work out a future together, with support from coaches and counselors when they are available.

Now is the time to share feelings and anxieties and to work together.  There is a good future ahead but you need to help each other to find it.  Don’t let getting there tear you apart!


Wendy Mason is a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence. If you would like support finding your way successfully through the career change maze, Wendy would like to work with you. Also you can find her Learn to Be Confident Program at this linkYou can contact Wendy at wendymason@confidencecoach.me  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Assessment Centres – how to do well!

My friend Jim has just got through to an assessment centre and I think he has done really well.  It is a job he really wants and I think he will do well in the role.

Clearly the recruiters think so too! Assessment centres cost money and you don’t usually call up candidates unless you think that from what you have seen on paper they could do well.

Now Jim has been to an assessment centre before so he knows the kind of thing to expect.  If you are not sure then there is lots of good advice at Prospects, The UK Government Graduate Career’s Website.  But Jim hasn’t been very successful in the past.
He knows I’ve set up assessment centres and acted as an assessor.  So he has asked me for a few top tips, so here is what I’ve told him.
  1. Be Yourself! My top tip is to understand that the assessors know what they are doing – they will be able to see through an act. Of course you should keep your wits about you and present yourself at your best but try to relax enough to let the real you shine through. It is a good idea to have a simple relaxation technique to practice during odd break. 
  2. Know the criteria. Usually, the assessors will be assessing you against a pre-defined list of qualities and competencies. For most public sector jobs you’ll know what these are before the event. In the private sector, openness can vary. But you should try to find out before the assessment centre.  If you applied through a recruitment consultancy they should be able to help. At the very least the job description will give an indication of the criteria you’re likely to be measured against.
  3. Manage your time carefully.  Many candidates at assessment centres fail to do themselves justice because they run out of time in exercises. Where you have to read a brief and then do an exercise afterwards, start by skim reading. After this there is a chance to go back and study important points more carefully once you have a feel for the overall objective and what you are required to do. Keep an eye on your watch and allocate your time carefully.
  4. Don’t put other candidates down. Remember you are being measured, not against other candidates, but against the criteria for the role.  Scoring points off others in group exercises doesn’t make you look good it just makes you look like a non-team player who scores points off others; that is not likely to make the assessors warm to you.  It would be unrealistic to say that you are not in competition but in this situation your best strategy is usually going to be to support, not to compete.
  5. Practice if you can.  It really help if you can run through possible exercises with someone you trust as preparation for the centre.  You will find some good information about the kinds of exercises you might face at this link. You will find organizations that offer paid-for practice on-line.
  6. Know what you are doing and show you are doing it. At the assessment centre listen carefully to all instruction and show you are listening through your body language.  If there is an opportunity to interact with the assessors – say at lunch time – then make the most of it.  But don’t be nuisance and certainly don’t hog the limelight.  You out to make an impression be memorable but make sure it is for the right reasons.
I’ve coached a number of people for assessment centres in the past so if you would like my help please get in touch.   





Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Assessment Centres – how to do well!

My friend Jim has just got through to an assessment centre and I think he has done really well.  It is a job he really wants and I think he will do well in the role.

Clearly the recruiters think so too! Assessment centres cost money and you don’t usually call up candidates unless you think that from what you have seen on paper they could do well.

Now Jim has been to an assessment centre before so he knows the kind of thing to expect.  If you are not sure then there is lots of good advice at Prospects, The UK Government Graduate Career’s Website.  But Jim hasn’t been very successful in the past.
He knows I’ve set up assessment centres and acted as an assessor.  So he has asked me for a few top tips, so here is what I’ve told him.
  1. Be Yourself! My top tip is to understand that the assessors know what they are doing – they will be able to see through an act. Of course you should keep your wits about you and present yourself at your best but try to relax enough to let the real you shine through. It is a good idea to have a simple relaxation technique to practice during odd break. 
  2. Know the criteria. Usually, the assessors will be assessing you against a pre-defined list of qualities and competencies. For most public sector jobs you’ll know what these are before the event. In the private sector, openness can vary. But you should try to find out before the assessment centre.  If you applied through a recruitment consultancy they should be able to help. At the very least the job description will give an indication of the criteria you’re likely to be measured against.
  3. Manage your time carefully.  Many candidates at assessment centres fail to do themselves justice because they run out of time in exercises. Where you have to read a brief and then do an exercise afterwards, start by skim reading. After this there is a chance to go back and study important points more carefully once you have a feel for the overall objective and what you are required to do. Keep an eye on your watch and allocate your time carefully.
  4. Don’t put other candidates down. Remember you are being measured, not against other candidates, but against the criteria for the role.  Scoring points off others in group exercises doesn’t make you look good it just makes you look like a non-team player who scores points off others; that is not likely to make the assessors warm to you.  It would be unrealistic to say that you are not in competition but in this situation your best strategy is usually going to be to support, not to compete.
  5. Practice if you can.  It really help if you can run through possible exercises with someone you trust as preparation for the centre.  You will find some good information about the kinds of exercises you might face at this link. You will find organizations that offer paid-for practice on-line.
  6. Know what you are doing and show you are doing it. At the assessment centre listen carefully to all instruction and show you are listening through your body language.  If there is an opportunity to interact with the assessors – say at lunch time – then make the most of it.  But don’t be nuisance and certainly don’t hog the limelight.  You out to make an impression be memorable but make sure it is for the right reasons.
I’ve coached a number of people for assessment centres in the past so if you would like my help please get in touch.   





Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Unemployment – looking after your mental health!

Depression (emotion )

Losing a job is one of the most difficult things we have to deal with in life.  It ranks right up there with losing someone you care for or going through divorce.

“It’s a serious fracture in one’s world view,” says Robert London, M.D., a staff psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a bus driver–your identity is very much wrapped up in your job. And to suddenly be without that identity can be devastating.”

That is why it can make you feel down in the first few weeks and seriously depressed if unemployment stretches over months.

It is all too easy to start believing that there must be something wrong with you personally or that you lack some vital characteristic that the rest of the world seems blessed with.

Sometimes you may not realise you are depressed.  You just want to sleep all the time, you don’t want to mix with other people and/or suddenly you start feeling mysterious aches and pains.

Now that you are depressed, of course, finding a job becomes even less likely and you may not feel you can make the effort.  If you do feel like this, then please do seek help from your doctor, coach or counsellor.

But how do you intervene before things become quite that bad?

Well, first, recognise the risk! Then, you need to take responsibility for looking after your own mental, as well as physical, health.

Being jobless can make you feel you have no control over your own life and that makes you feel insecure and unhappy.  So start to take control by giving yourself a set schedule for every day of the working week.

Make finding your new job your new job.  Set a time to start each day and make sure you are showered, dressed and in your new work space (allocate a space at home for this, if you don’t have a home office) by that time each day.

Work to a flexible but firm timetable for the day.  Explain that you will be working at home during the day to family and friends.

Each morning and evening allocate a time to check and revise your work-search “to do” list.  Make sure you build in some networking time – either by telephone, face to face or on social networks – social contact with others will be refreshing as well as part of your job search.

Make some time as well for your own personal development – are there new skills you would like or need to acquire?  The internet and your local library will help you to find free or at least inexpensive resources.

At the end of your working day, if you can, close the door on your working space or at least make it look different.  Then spend time with family and friends doing what you usually enjoy.

Resist the temptation to hole up in your house and wait for the world to come to you. As Dr London say “Isolation is a dangerous thing. When you live in your head, you ruminate and feed your depression,”

Try each day to find either something to be inspired by – nature is great for that – or something to laugh at.  Laughing at old comedy programs should probably available for us all as part of public health services.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Share

Unemployment – looking after your mental health!

Depression (emotion )

Losing a job is one of the most difficult things we have to deal with in life.  It ranks right up there with losing someone you care for or going through divorce.

“It’s a serious fracture in one’s world view,” says Robert London, M.D., a staff psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a bus driver–your identity is very much wrapped up in your job. And to suddenly be without that identity can be devastating.”

That is why it can make you feel down in the first few weeks and seriously depressed if unemployment stretches over months.

It is all too easy to start believing that there must be something wrong with you personally or that you lack some vital characteristic that the rest of the world seems blessed with.

Sometimes you may not realise you are depressed.  You just want to sleep all the time, you don’t want to mix with other people and/or suddenly you start feeling mysterious aches and pains.

Now that you are depressed, of course, finding a job becomes even less likely and you may not feel you can make the effort.  If you do feel like this, then please do seek help from your doctor, coach or counsellor.

But how do you intervene before things become quite that bad?

Well, first, recognise the risk! Then, you need to take responsibility for looking after your own mental, as well as physical, health.

Being jobless can make you feel you have no control over your own life and that makes you feel insecure and unhappy.  So start to take control by giving yourself a set schedule for every day of the working week.

Make finding your new job your new job.  Set a time to start each day and make sure you are showered, dressed and in your new work space (allocate a space at home for this, if you don’t have a home office) by that time each day.

Work to a flexible but firm timetable for the day.  Explain that you will be working at home during the day to family and friends.

Each morning and evening allocate a time to check and revise your work-search “to do” list.  Make sure you build in some networking time – either by telephone, face to face or on social networks – social contact with others will be refreshing as well as part of your job search.

Make some time as well for your own personal development – are there new skills you would like or need to acquire?  The internet and your local library will help you to find free or at least inexpensive resources.

At the end of your working day, if you can, close the door on your working space or at least make it look different.  Then spend time with family and friends doing what you usually enjoy.

Resist the temptation to hole up in your house and wait for the world to come to you. As Dr London say “Isolation is a dangerous thing. When you live in your head, you ruminate and feed your depression,”

Try each day to find either something to be inspired by – nature is great for that – or something to laugh at.  Laughing at old comedy programs should probably available for us all as part of public health services.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Tycoonwoman takes on the Abyss of Self Doubt

Simulated gravitational lensing (black hole go...

Ola Agbaimoni (Tycoonwoman) left the public sector a year ago after 25 years in local government.  She took the plunge, left and set up her own company, Leaders to Follow Ltd. She works with work with ambitious, heart centered

 women in their late 30s to mid 50s who are committed achieving their true potential. 

But like most people starting a new business she had some difficult times on the way. Below is something she wrote a few months ago – before she moved on to success.  It is a very good example of what the bad times can feel like. But if you want to succeed in business you just have to pick yourself up like Ola did, arm yourself with self belief and move forward.

“I’m still busy going to network meetings and talking to people, although perhaps not as many as my conversion projections would suggest.  In sales’ speak that means how many people you have to speak to before you convert one into some one prepared to pay you, well in this case me. I won’t scare you with the numbers and to be honest you only have to do it that way until you get people prepared to recommend you, nothing sells you better than personal recommendation. This is me looking on the bright side. However, I often find myself starring into the Abyss Of Self Doubt.

The Abyss of Self Doubt

I have no clients. Not a single one. No one is paying me for my services.  I have very clearly defined services and a fantastic elevator pitch to describe them. However, as yet they remain in my head because I have no leaflets and even though I have a web page it says UNDER CONSTRUCTION –a lot of help that is to potential clients!. It’s all going round and round in circles. I don’t want to produce my publicity without sorting out my branding and without publicity I won’t get any clients,  so I won’t earn any money and I won’t be able to pay someone to do my branding and without branding I can’t do my publicity …I think you get the drift.

I can’t get to grips with why I don’t seem able to move forward. What is really going on for me? I did think it was because I’m not used to doing my own administration, but clearly that is just an excuse. Something else is prevented me from moving forward with my business and making money.  I am not making any money at present (waling voice). Indeed I am not even spending money. So imagine my surprise when the HMRC sent me a VAT  bill. Yes a VAT bill!  When I already told them that I was not trading! When I already called and asked them if I needed to submit a VAT return for August as I was about to leave the country, AND as they had sent the notice so late, there was no time to respond before I left.

They said ‘no you don’t need to send in a VAT return. Your application missed the deadline and our system doesn’t show that one is due. We will send you a bill for the next quarter’.

I said ‘Are you sure? I don’t want you to write to me telling me that I should have sent you a return. Can you please put that on my records, so that if somebody else sees it they will know that you told me this?’

‘Yes’ said the very helpful (but as I discovered later) very ill informed person on the phone.

Clearly it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that it all ended in tears. With me having to quickly put in a VAT return, which basically said I have spent money on an IPad and have not made a single penny because I DON’T HAVE ANY CLIENTS!.  I DON’T HAVE ANY CLIENTS!.

I am finding it so hard to find clients. I’ve done the ‘Painless Selling’ training. According to this – there are opportunities to find clients everywhere! All you have to do is start a conversation with a complete stranger! Show them their pain and behold you have a client! Yeh right!!!.

In the first place I really don’t want every single conversation I have to be a sales pitch.  Definitely incongruence there – how can I be putting forward the philosophy that you have to be open and honest with people and come from a place of integrity, if I only ever talk to people because I’m trying to sell them something?

Anyway I have a deep aversion to sales people. As soon as I detect the sales pitch my guard goes up and I become completely defensive, horrible and nine times out of ten rude! The only thing I can think if is ‘GO AWAY!’ So if this is going to work for me (and I really want it to) I have to find another way.

I thought of talking to everyone I meet regardless of their client potential.  Every conversation would just be a conversation. A sharing formation rather than a sales pitch. But how much time do I have to do that? I worked out that I would have to speak to over 1200 people per month to get 20 clients wow. (Oops Just gave you the scary figures!) Clearly that isn’t doable! When would I have time to coach them?!.

Ok enough of the Abyss of self doubt. It really isn’t as bad as all that. I’m getting stuck into my networking via 4Networking  -‘ … the first joined-up national Networking organisation to let you decide where you go to meet like-minded business people, how often you go and how you can generate results for your business. They guaranteed 3 ten minute meetings at every event – up to 4 times a week – in nearly 200 linked breakfast groups’

I volunteered to be the group’s marketing assistant because you get your membership for half price and you can call any business you like and invite them to breakfast and then set up a meeting with them before anyone else can – what power. Takes the sting out of cold calling and I’ve already managed to find a business to trade coaching time for design skills.

So I shall leave on an optimistic note. The most powerful business tool I’ve discovered to date is self belief. With it you can get through the Abyss of self doubt and come out the other side more determined to succeed. Without it … I guess you just die in there! “

Tycoonwoman

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12 Tips for a Confident Interview







So many people I know and work with are going for job interviews.  I thought it would be useful to record some tips for approaching them with confidence.  


There lots of interview tips around but I think these are some of the best!

1.            Know the organization. Do your home work – find out as much as you can about the role, the organization, its needs and its challenges.  Find out what is going on in their sector.  How can your experience and knowledge give them an advantage? Look at their website and see what people are saying about them on the internet.  Research the company at your local library. If they are in the private sector who are their competitors?  Who are their customers? Go to the interview armed with knowledge of the organization you hope to join.

2.            Know what you bring! Review your skills and knowledge and be ready with examples of how you have used them.  What kind of person are you?  How will you bring value?

3.            Know your CV/resume. Review your past achievements and be ready to describe them in answer to questions.  Prepare and remember examples of your achievements.  Practice describing them.

4.            Know one of the first questions. You can almost bet on being asked: “Tell me about yourself”.  So have your “elevator pitch” ready. This is a short paragraph or two that describes who you are and what you can contribute.  Give it punch – make it interesting, informative, and memorable.  Practice delivering it at home with confidence and don’t rush. Approach it from the employer’s point of view. Ask yourself, “If I were hiring someone for this position, what would I want to know?”

5.            Be ready for follow up questions. Be ready for some tough questions about you experience and abilities. Think through what they might ask and then prepare positive responses.

6.            Prepare questions of your own. Employers expect you to be interested in them and to ask some questions about the organization.  Prepare some intelligent questions about the position, the company and the industry. Ask about the issues they are dealing with!  

7.            Visualize!  Imagine the entire interview, from start to finish. See yourself as performing with style and confidence. How will the interview end? Will you get a job offer or be called back for a second interview? How much salary do you want? What kind of benefits? Use your research and practice, practice, practice.  See yourself successful!

8.            Be punctual - arrive at least few minutes early. Allow extra time for traffic, parking and slow elevators. Then take a few moments out in the bathroom to check your appearance and to take some deep breaths.

9.            Dress for success and appropriate for the position you’re seeking and the organization.  Find out about dress code when you do your research.  Be clean and tidy with well ironed clothes and well polished shoes.

10.         Body Language and handshake. Stand straight! Move confidently and have a firm handshake. It does wonders for your confidence and theirs – again practice, practice, and practice! Make eye contact when you shake. Sit slightly forward in your chair and show you are enthusiastic and interested.  But don’t gush and remember to smile.

11.         Communication and listening skills. Listen carefully!  Ask questions if there is anything you do not understand and to show interest. Communicate clearly and stay positive. Never, never make negative statements about earlier jobs or employers-be diplomatic!  

12.         Write back! Send a thank-you note to the company recruiter after the interview.  Ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful – remember to ask them to keep you in mind for future openings.
  

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Unemployed – Interview Techniques – Behavioural or Competency Based Interviewing

Interview Questions
Image by MattHurst via Flickr

STAR Stories for Optimum Success

An earlier post explained how to build your STAR stories. When faced with a Behavioural or Competency Based Interview they will serve you well.

What is Behavioural Interviewing?

Behavioural or Competency Based Interviewing is a style of interviewing that more and more organizations are using in their hiring process.

This is based on a belief that the most accurate predictor of future success is past performance in a similar situation.

So this form of interviewing is based on your experiences, the way you behave and your knowledge, skills and abilities.

Traditional interviewing questions ask you general questions such as “Tell me about yourself.”

But behavioural interviewing is much more probing.

How do Employers go about Behavioural or Competency Based Interviews?

Employers find the skills they think are necessary for the job and then ask questions to find if you have those skills.

For example, if leadership is necessary for a role, you may be asked to talk about an experience you have had as a leader and what you think makes a good leader.

In any interview you should always listen carefully to the question.

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.  It is better to do this than to jump in uncertain of what is needed.

How can you prepare for a Behavioural or Competency Based Interview?

When going for any interview, you should research the organization carefully. Then look at similar jobs in the same sector. You are trying to find the qualities required.  Remember to note at any qualities they mention in the advert or in the information pack.

Then find useful examples from your past and your CV/resume; times when you have demonstrated the behaviours you think the organization may be seeking.

During the interview, your responses need to be specific and detailed. Tell them about a particular situation that relates to the question, not a general one.

Outline the situation, what you did specifically and the positive results that followed.  Be certain to show clearly what you contributed.

Remember your STAR stories. Your answer should include the Situation, Task, Action and Result.

The STAR Method

  • Situation: give an example of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome
  • Task: describe the tasks involved in that situation
  • Action: talk about the various actions involved in the situation’s task
  • Results: what results directly followed because of your actions

Interview Questions

Typically, the interviewer will then ask questions to get to the specific qualities they seek.

Sometimes this is called “digging a well.”

The interviewer may ask you open-ended questions to allow you to choose which examples you wish to use to illustrate a particular quality. They will then ask you very specific follow-up questions. For example;

  • How did you reach that conclusion?
  • How did you manage that meeting?
  • How did handle that senior manager?

Wherever you can, be specific.

Quantify your results! Numbers illustrate your level of authority and responsibility.

Be ready to explain difficulties and how you handled them.  What did you learn when things started to go wrong and how did you bring things back on track.

Good preparation and work on your STAR stores should make you feel much more confident about handling this kind of interview.

But I would welcome comments from others about their experience of these kinds of interviews.

I will be very happy to answer any questions you have.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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