How About That Interview!

Taking time to prepare is always wise. Meditate on the results you wish to achieve. Without preparation, your direction has too much chance involved.
Taking time to prepare is always wise. Meditate on the results you wish to achieve. Without preparation, your direction has too much “chance” involved.


Does Your Interview Net Proficient Results?

In Coaching, some of my favorite relationships are with UMPC’s , Upwardly Motivated Professional Candidates. UMPC’s accept influence and effective strategies as part of their Emotional Intelligence, as part of their growth. They are often younger adults, (under 40), but are often more mature, unlocking their personal power to become the person, both personally and professionally, that other people are attracted toward.

It is a delight to assist people who are beginning to move ahead in career experience. In one of our sessions, we were discussing the interview process. The client’s experience so far had been to fill in applications, and in the resulting interview, to feel as if the deal was all one-sided. When offers were made, he would take the most hopeful offer from among those employers contacting him.

Granted, in pursuit of food and hospitality industries, he did wisely choose to work with people having culinary talent and experience. And he has been adept at learning from them. Still… Question: If you do not have enough information, how do you, employee or employer, know whether either are taking or making a best offer? A fair offer. In the conversation, are you initiating a move to improve the workplace and resulting customer experiences?

Dream big. See yourself primarily positioned to serve others. Doing so, you serve yourself.
Dream big. See yourself primarily positioned to serve others. Doing so, you serve yourself.

I asked him, “What seems to be some of the questions commonly used in your interview experience?” From the questions he recounted, his comment was that hours of work might be discussed, pride of the owner was paramount, and the biggest question seemed to be how much he expected to be paid. These comments really are not involving the benefits of “inclusive” language. In other words, we should be careful that the conversation and questioning in interviews give opportunity for open dialog and discovery. Are we, from the first, setting pace for the career we really expect? Yes, the interviewee can respectfully lead direction of conversation in an interview, as well as the person interviewing for a company.

Now, I understand that many times a position needs filling fast. Or loss of income might force a decision to move fast. BUT, by becoming more prepared, we can even move fast and move in a positive direction. Maybe we think that having a stack of apps is an answer. Maybe we think with having temp services to “try out”, there is an answer to hopes of finding the right mix. And it could be. BUT, does it seem that both the best positions and the best candidates are hard to find, because they are previously obligated, or not available because of a seemingly handcuffed pay scale? Then could it be that by improving the interview, we could find ways to improve our chances of success? Yes!

In many situations, if a candidate presently has basic knowledge of running the position, and an attitude of wanting to improve their abilities, might this make a better fit than many who are already “perfect” for the job? Reason? Growing with and into management can build camaraderie and loyalty and culture. Long term, companies and associates both want growth and significance, feelings of security through advancing through change, connection in the workplace environment with the variety of levels of relationship, and ability to contribute to a good that is greater than themselves.

We should not get stuck on the “salary” or hourly. Most research concludes that pay is not the most important reason for either staying or leaving a position. All of the satisfaction felt from the previous paragraph are more important than salary, once a salary satisfies the “necessities” expected at each position’s level. What can often work tremendously well are a series of bonus incentives that can always be added to slightly lower base salaries. We just sometimes need to be flexible in our thinking.

So many directions. So many jobs. So many applicants. How do I find the right one?
So many directions. So many jobs. So many applicants. How do I find the right one?

Jim Collins, author or “Good to Great” and coauthor of “Built to Last”, has researched consistently great companies, as compared to average or inferior companies. His research, and the research of others exalted in his books has, as the data shows, proven that some of the best associates and CEO’s of great companies are those who came through the organization. In fact, many of the “most sought after” executives did relatively little for their companies, compared to the great companies.

Another fact is that although the researchers expected that “good-to-great” leaders would begin by setting a new vision and strategies, it was not true. Instead, they first got the right people on-board, the wrong people off the decks, maneuvering the right people into the right seats. And then, they figured out where to drive! The adage for this century is: The RIGHT people are your most important asset! And, when chief positions, including CEO, were filled by what were thought of as “superstars”, the companies failed to meet expectations many more times than not. Six times as often, the prima donnas were replaced. And often, as each left, they left their companies in shape such that any sustained growth was improbable.

Listening to several more candidates for hire, and a few companies looking to hire, and having hired hundreds of people over the years, I was thinking that often, the interviewer needs as much help as the interviewee, so that a great fit becomes from the career time each will have with the other. With the right questioning process, curiosity, respect, and observance methods, while in an interview, we hold much more than chance meeting, that this proper fit can produce feelings of worth, and higher profits. I believe that everyone has worth and value. Still, mating the correct balance of values such as prior skills, attitude, dreams, ambition, compliance, respect, empathy, aptitude, and/or generosity, with the culture, goals, direction, and leadership of the workplace will make a difference in the abilities of company and associates surrounding that company.

First note: This procedure is for positions where both parties are interested in growth for both company and those who work for that company. Perhaps a more advanced realization for humanity, as we surge through our true present and into our more knowledge based future economy: Both can grow, together as has been shown thousands of times in our free commerce society. As we continue to hire for positions where the candidate knows more than we do about the position’s inner workings and possibilities, we must choose people with personality traits, and creativity which will enhance their position’s potential. It works in all industries. Risk is reduced for both sides as skill levels, hope for the future, and loyalty work together with emotional intelligence.

Complacency, fear of failure, distrust, overconfidence, being left out of the loop, office politics and arrogance might have been working for a time, but in the long term, all of these will kill company and the people’s desire to work to their best abilities. Let your interview ferret out the possibilities of candidates with such tendencies. Let your interview ferret out the possibilities of a workplace with so much drama in existence.

The modern workplace, like life should provide some security in familiarity, at the same time providing enough variety to address boredom or “stuck in the sameness” issues. Work can give feelings of significance to every associate, supplier and customer. Caring and connection should be developed as part of team initiative. Growth of the company can be plotted as we provide consistent growth for the individuals within that company, and innovative excellence for those clients we serve. And by sharing in a purpose, a cause, beyond “self” we address many dilemmas that would otherwise rear an ugly head.

How do we see the person across our desk?
Are you looking to grow?

A great interview sets the pace for success by revealing and reveling in 5 main characteristics which will enhance workplace relationships:

1. There are capable visions of company direction to be more easily shared (owned), from management through entry level part-timers. 2. Incentives for employees are effective for those who desire to rise to their personal best and as part of a team. 3. Profits can increase in many small steadily incremental ways, as opposed to addressing only some large “shot in the arm”, therefore providing stability. 4. As profit sharing becomes available, or safety issues addressed, or other opportunities revealed, an honorable relationship is respectfully shared with participating employees, giving all a pride in their work. 5. Belonging, recognition, respect, and coveted incentives create team loyalty which will better increases employee retention and give rise to better occasion for self motivation among team members.

Second: Remember to build rapport in mirroring the other person somewhat. Don’t be a fake, but at the start, begin in a curiosity mood. If the person across from you is casual, be casual. If authoritarian, acknowledge their position and honor it in the manner you each bring points into view. If laissez-faire, encourage the direction of the conversation in a meaningful way. Mirroring should include: 1. Pace and level of voice. 2. Posture. 3. Favorable gestures. 4. Acknowledgment while listening. 5. Note taking.

Prepare ahead, and then relax as you venture into job interviews.
Once we know our goals, the outcome is much more likely to be one that works best for each of us.

The more you know, the better the decision and the better the match will become. Are you in dire needs of a position to fill? Have you thought about prior experiences, both good and not as good, to help direct decisions into better ones to come? As things come forward, do you make notes so that the same recurrence can be better handled next time? Or that thing which worked well can be repeated? Or are you hoping fate will blow your sails into a safe haven? Is a secure port really what you desire? With risk comes possibility of greater reward. But who wants to be fool-hearty with risk in the world of business?

For those who are professionals at hiring, most of this might seem redundant. But hopefully you will find some renewal in spirit as you search to find personnel for positions needed. For those who have not experienced a recent need to interview until now, hope is that this will reduce anxiety, increase confidence in the process, and help you to find a perfect fit for the growth you need in a work environment. And, when the interview for employment is carried well, then following interviews of quarterly reviews will go much better. Coaching will be more readily accepted. And communication errors or delays are better averted. Anxiety may turn into anticipation, if handled correctly.

The purpose of an application is to continue to an interview process. In the interview, employer and employee to be, need to communicate in ways that each can see if the union will be a good fit for the company, the associates, management, customers and possibly suppliers and/or any consultants. Skill levels and positions may change, merge, or become obsolete. Does this position, this person, have what it takes to continue a positive relationship through change that is inevitably coming? How do you adapt? Can you discuss possibilities of adaptability, as it is needed?

In every environment, you know questions that are specific to that industry, or that position. We will assume for this discussion that each applicant is qualified to begin such position. And that initial determining conversational statements and questioning will clarify each candidate for ability. Now, it is critical that we look for character traits, initiatives, and ethics which may lead you to a right connection.

The questions and comments below are designed to unwrap many things underlying the reasoning and psychology of people in the workplace. Take a time and discover if you can pinpoint some of the discovery each series can provide. No, you might not be able to discuss each of these in one sitting. So, you can use your acumen to decide which answers might enhance which followup questions. You could also put part of this on paper for the interviewee to return at a later time. Or, you might ask certain of the questions in a first interview, with others in a second interview of the candidates or positions with most potential. Or as a candidate for employment, you might encompass some of the questions/answers in a cover letter to accompany your application, or as a “thank you” connection letter to the HR dept after the initial interview. You decide!

Look for the person behind the person you see.
Words said are not the only communication given.

Use your strengths of observation as the process proceeds. Remember that over 70% of communication is non-verbal. Let the other person converse as much as they should. Sometimes pause is for reflection, not because all is said, that should be said. Quiet space is not always wasted time. Sometimes lots of chatter is indicative of nervousness. Remember that some are visual, some auditory, and some kinesthetic in their understanding and delivery.

Conduct practice interviews in front of a mirror. Record them if you can. Look for nervous “ticks”. How is your smile? Be sure you truly smile so that you get those laugh lines at your eyes. Listen for too many uhs, ahs, or single word answers. Are you emphasizing those character traits you really possess? How is your diction? What words bring other words to your forefront? Could your story be made more concise, more elaborate, defined more closely to the position’s relevance? Could you practice better ways to bring your strengths into the interview in the way you question and answer? How is your posture? Are you turning toward your conversation, or turning away? Would you feel comfortable interviewing you? Would you feel comfortable having you as the person giving the interview? Because, in the interview process, each partner is actually doing both.

?s that work:
1. I wonder how you might see yourself growing with our company over the next 36 months.

2. Would you describe your idea of a dream position at work.

3. I want to put you at ease a little. Some people are really vision oriented. They see and believe, or having seen something once, they can be shown once or twice and really have it. Some are auditory. Their hearing is more sensitive. They can hear between the lines of what is said. Lots of ladies, and some really intelligent men seem to have this intuition. And some are kinesthetic, which means they feel and act with their arms all over the place. When they do something hands on, it comes much easier than if they are told to do something. And some people are comfortable with all three modalities of communication. Which is more comfortable to you? I understand just what you mean!

4. Some people say that proper education or technical skills are most important, and some say common sense and experience are more important. What’s been your experience in this debate?

5. What could you best contribute to this work environment?

6. If a customer came to you with an unusual request, how would you handle that request?
7. If a peer came to you with an unusual request, how would you handle that request?
8. If a manager came to you with an unusual request, how would you handle that request?

9. What makes you really want to jump out of bed in the mornings and get the juices flowing?
10. How interesting! Would you tell me about your favorite hobbies?

11. What if any direction might your interests lead, so that you could provide more benefit to yourself, your coworkers, your customers? Would you be willing to make an investment in yourself to make this direction possible? How so?

12. I wonder if you have a story to tell about your favorite team experience.

13. Could you tell me of a time that you felt you made a valuable contribution towards someone or something larger than yourself?

14. Tell me how you could have better served your customer base at your previous employment.

15. Have you ever been in charge of, or a main support of, or an important participant in a team project? Please tell me about the experience and how you felt during? Afterward?

16. Tell me about your worst experience in a workplace. Having experienced it, how would you now, make a difference in that experience?

17. Who have you discovered might have been most valuable in your work experience so far? I’m curious why you chose whom you chose.

18. If you have a disagreement with your parent(s), how would you handle that disagreement?
19. If you had a disagreement with a sibling, how would you handle that disagreement?
20. If you had a disagreement with a spouse or serious steady date, how would you handle that?

21. If you just got some really great news, who would be the first person you shared that news with?

22. OK, now, describe for me, your best, ideal, dream vacation. It could be one you had, or one you really want to have.
23. Alright! Now, describe your best , ideal, dream day at work. Is it one you have had? Or One you really want to have? How can you take an ordinary day and make it more like your best day?

24. What do you think of the laws about texting while driving? Drinking while driving? Marijuana legality? What is your opinion of gambling laws? Speeding laws?

25. What are some of the best ways you enjoy taking your break times?

26. Would you think that your social media skills and activities could be a blessing or a hindrance to our company? How so?
27. Do you like movies? Or reading a book? What’s your favorite music? Can you tell me one of your favorite scenes? Or some of your favorite lyrics?

28. If you are scheduled to participate on an important project at work, and one or some of your children are sick, or a spouse is ill, how would you like to handle communications with them, while working?

29. How would you handle it, if your best friend just became friends with another, that you just didn’t “hit it off” with, at all?

30. If you discovered a great alternative to, or inclusion of, or enhancement for, something this company has done well for years, would you present it? How?

31. Do you feel OK with sharing things with our company that you learned from previous schooling, or employment, that might enhance our workplace, or provide better profits, or better customer service?

32. If you experienced dishonesty in our workplace, how would you think it should be handled?
33. If you found that someone was cheating on your friend, how would you handle it?

34. What question(s) would you like to ask if you were doing this interview from my side of the table, that I might have forgotten to ask, or skipped over?

35. If you were CEO of this company, or could influence the CEO, for what position would you recommend that you fill at this time?

36. If you could influence the management of this company, what inspirations, or incentives, or directions, would you like to see us try?

37. Is there a particular market that you would be skilled at having us enter, or investigate as a possibility for growth? What might qualify you to oversee this venture? What might you need to prepare to venture into this idea?

38. If you had to pull together a team for a valuable project, from people that you already know, who would you pull in, and for which positions? And why choose each of them?

39. I know that nobody likes to be put on the spot, but we all make mistakes, we all learn from corrections. If you needed some correction, or direction, or perhaps were out of line due to something out of sorts, how would you like for any help, or coaching, or admonition to be handled?

40. If you could choose, are you more like your Mom or your Dad, or another relative? How do you see yourself so?

41. Are you familiar with the Ten Commandments? How do you usually enjoy spending Christmas holiday? Have you ever considered meditation, or oriental type self soothing? Have you given much thought to people who wear head covers as part of their lifestyle? How do you feel about a religion or belief other than yours?

42. Have you ever run for political office? Ever helped anyone campaign for any office? Do you usually vote?

43. What has been your experience with any Chamber of Commerce? Civic organizations? Artistic or cultural events? Social clubs or activities? Is there any “worthwhile cause” that turns you on, or raises the hair on your arms? Wow, can you tell me more?

44. We really appreciate your time with us today. What really brought you here, to our firm, rather than to our competition, to interview?

45. If you were to develop an increase of 20% to your present salary, how would you then plan your personal expenditures?
46. What might you offer to us, so that your 20% increase might come true?

47. In other interviews, What was the best question or statement you ever heard?
48. In this interview, What was the best question or statement you heard?
49. Have you seen an opportunity with our company that you did not see before today?
50. How do you feel about our time together today?

We will also assume that if you as a candidate for hire were really interested in finding a “best fit” for the time that will consume much of your waking week, you will have done some preliminary investigation, such as:

Whenever I begin a relationship as consultant, I want to study at least 6 issues of their major trade magazines. This is great advice for any candidate for employment too. Is the company listed in Thomas Registry? Better Business Bureau? Any stock exchanges? Chambers of Commerce? Are they active in any charitable endeavors? What are the hobbies of the owners or executive officers? Who are their customers? What are their values? Visions? Goals? How do they position in their marketplace? How do they deal with ongoing training at each level of employment? What is an average length of time for employment with most of their people? Do they promote from within? Do they sit on people, complacent with things rocking smoothly. How did they, do they, view change? Growth? What sorts of marketing do they employ? Does the marketing make sense? Or is it mostly “vanity” marketing? What trade shows are major in their industry? Could I attend? Who are their major suppliers and partners? How do their suppliers and partners view them? Could I make a difference in this organization? Would I have opportunity to make a difference in this organization? Would this organization care if I made a difference?

Due diligence before and after the first interview prepares both company and you for a more clear expectation.
Due diligence before and after the first interview prepares both company and you for a more clear expectation.

For my client, he was interested in furthering his career in the restaurant industry. I advised him to contact at least six restaurants that were Three Star or above, preferably starting not in the exact market location in which he wished to work. (Once we contact the first three, we would refine the research interview process.) Ask for an interview, over the phone, through Skype, or in person, as part of a discovery project. Let them know that you are considering hospitality as a career move, though not necessarily at this time, with their firm. Your interest is in understanding what they believe makes their company stand out from the others. You will be gathering data without disclosing publicly any information they would prefer to be held in confidence. You would appreciate their participation and would gladly supply them with statistical results from your research.

This research may be able to help them find more conscientious team members, consistent growth, and a happier, more loyal customer base. *** Approach every aspect from the viewpoint of helping others, more so than, as much as, you are helping yourself! People want to know: “What is in it for them.”

Find if there were another term they used as a description for waitress or waiter or dishwasher. Respect for front line people and the basic of positions will give indication of their philosophy as a work center. Ask if they offer, and for which positions in their company might they have incentives above base salary. How were those incentives based? Do they know how much their wait staff should expect to earn In tips above a base wage? In their employ, what and how might an assistant to the person in charge of an area expect to be paid, given current conditions. What might head chefs, or managers expect as base and incentives over base? If a person was to reduce costs, or to increase client participation, consistently, say in a combination of 15% increased real revenue, how would the company reward such achievement?

In many industries, there are trade schools. (Culinary institutions for my client) In other employment, there are business schools, colleges and universities with baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Each of these will have deans, or offices which can provide you with more statistical data, beginning salaries, and experienced salaries, as well as ideas of real world incentives and benefits of that industry. Sometimes, they will be familiar with, have worked with, or know of some of the possible employers in their marketplace. Great insights!

By having a knowledge of the industry, and learning as much beforehand about the company, you will hold a comfort level going into the interview. Now, knowing the averages and what is fair for the industry standards and standards in your area, you may negotiate for the advantage of both employer and employee. You will have some ideas of what has been working for other companies in similar circumstance. And you will be ready to turn the interview into a relationship encounter.

For more specifics, I am for hire! God Bless You – I believe He wants to bless you! And so do I.
But as is said in the book of James: “Faith without works is dead.” It is your move.

God Bless You,   Chuck

Coaching does not cost. It has a payback many times the investments in time and funding.


Interviews often work best in a relaxed atmosphere. Help people to reveal their real aspirations.
Interviews often work best in a relaxed atmosphere. Help people to reveal their real aspirations.