How to Nail the Job Interview with Your Story

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Landing a job is a two-part process: (1) creating the resume to get the interview and (2) interviewing well to get the job offer. Both require different skills sets. Some people are good at both, whereas, others have a competency for one or the other. Creating a best practice resume is usually the easier task, because there’s an abundance of technical support in the market. On the other hand, the interview can be more challenging, because you have to go it alone.

So, how does one ace the interview? There are many factors that contribute toward nailing the interview including “making a good first impression” with eye contact, wardrobe, and handshake. Next is how well you answer the interviewer’s questions. Most will ask a range of open-ended questions to learn more about you—how you think, work, and will fit into the company culture. How you structure your answer is just as powerful as the content.

A powerful way to answer questions is through storytelling. People naturally learn, relate, and retain more when information is shared through stories. So, if you’re asked, “Tell me about a time when you struggled with a work project or situation,” answer it with a story that has the following structure:

  1. Briefly describe the experience. No need to provide too much detail, because the interviewer will ask if he or she wants to know more.
  2. Explain what actions you took. And why.
  3. Describe what happened. What was the main outcome of the action you took?
  4. Summarize what you learned from the experience. Keep it simple, positive, and impactful.

If you’d like to learn more on how to create a powerful resume and/or be your best in the interview, reach out for a conversation.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Let Me Help You Have More Success

Sandra Dillon Business Card

You wonder how coaching might help you achieve greater influence or impact in your work or career. You ask yourself if you’re a candidate for coaching. Yes, my clients are like you. They work in all industries, hold a variety of jobs, and are employed for a few months to several decades. Although the list is long, below is a small sample of what my clients seek my help for, because they want to be more successful in:

  1. Moving from sales into sales management or from one type of job to another
  2. Changing careers after decades of working in the same line of work to become more fulfilled
  3. Strengthening team skills after spending a significant amount of time as an individual contributor
  4. Inspiring and getting the most from their teams or staff, especially when the teams are cross-generational
  5. Developing and leading powerful meetings
  6. Creating a meaningful resume and LinkedIn profile

Some clients mistakenly believe coaching has to be done in-person, but I coach clients around the world with the use of Skype and Web Ex. With video technology, face-to-face coaching is just a click away.

I would welcome the opportunity to hear what you want to achieve, explain the coaching process, and answer any of your questions. For those connections who will be attending the annual American Society for Industrial Security conference in Las Vegas, we can have a conversation beforehand and schedule a first session during ASIS. Further coaching engagements can be done through video conferencing.

I am booking appointments for sessions between September 24 – 26, 2018. Reach out to me at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or 281.793.3741 and experience the power of coaching in your work life. Coaching is confidential and the benefits are priceless.

 

How Can Coaching Help You?



GreatnessI’m frequently asked what I coach on. Although it’s probably not a useful answer, the simple answer is quite a lot. Most coaches focus on a niche market and clientele. As a former business executive, who specialized in business development, marketing, and sales, I fully agree with this strategy. However, I’ve taken the road less traveled by offering a diverse range of coaching services based on my unique skill set and passion to see people grow across all dimensions of their lives. I’ve coached people in:

  1. Leadership
    • Improve ability to influence colleagues’ performance at all levels and across generational cohorts
    • Develop skills for coaching direct reports and teams
    • Identify and overcome personal barriers to performance
    • Cultivate stronger relationships
    • Improve communication and conflict resolution skills
    • Manage through a crisis
    • Build teams with the right skills sets and behaviors to succeed
  2. Career/Job
    • Select a job or profession aligned with preferences and strengths
    • Create a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile
    • Prepare for a job interview
    • Lead effective meetings and projects that deliver results
  3. Life
    • Create a personal, value-driven vision and mission
    • Identify core values and strengths and use for purpose and success
    • Establish and drive on meaningful goals
    • Balance work and family
    • Handle difficult situations
    • Navigate through different seasons of life (young adulthood, empty-nester)
  4. Business
    • Create a compelling vision and mission
    • Develop strategy and winning execution plans
    • Build and lead teams that deliver results
    • Identify and expand brand awareness
    • Prioritize and manage time to focus on the right things
    • Enhance productivity with limited resources
    • Develop sales and negotiation skills
  5. Financial
    • Create short- and long-term financial goals
    • Learn budgeting and financial skills
    • Understand money mindset and how it influences decisions
    • Build and be accountable to a personal budget
    • Plan for retirement
  6. Marriage/Premarital
    • Learn effective tools to communicate and solve conflicts
    • Understand different spousal personalities and how they work together
    • Define and meet marriage needs
    • Blend families successfully

When clients engage me as their coach, they learn and practice new skills and behaviors that translate across all life dimensions. Many clients see a holistic life improvement, even though they may have initially focused on one area. For example, relationship strategies in how to lead people at work are transferable to family life.

My clients have said I’ve changed their life for the better. What can I help you with? I welcome a conversation. We can talk about an approach and how to get from here to there. Although I live in Houston, my clients live across the country. Video calling is a wonderful tool for coaching. Don’t let distance between us stop you from getting the coaching you want.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or engage her as your coach by reaching out for a conversation at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com

What Should Savvy Companies Look for When Interviewing a Candidate?

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Back in the late 1980’s, while I was working at Mobil Chemical as a technical service manager, I was selected as an employee participant to train and practice a cutting-edge initiative called competency-based interviewing. Mobil’s intention was to always hire the best and brightest employees to join its workforce. However, despite its best attempts, Mobil’s batting average was far less than its target. With the help of a consulting firm, Mobil embarked on a study of its top performers to determine what characteristics these employees all had in common. The result? The consultant agency found that across all job functions, those employees that Mobil rated as its highest performers had an abundance of the following competencies:

  • Analytical thinking – analyzing a situation/problem, seeing trends and outcomes, and developing solutions
  • Conceptual thinking – identifying and developing concepts and ideas
  • Concern for accuracy – performing the job right the first time
  • Concern for effectiveness – taking action that balances results and efficiency
  • Effective Communication – communicating messages both orally and in writing so the intended message is clearly and easily understood
  • Enthusiasm for work – working and contributing with enthusiasm
  • Flexibility – adjusting priorities or a course of action without concern
  • Initiative – acting without being asked
  • Perceptual thinking – being aware of how people are responding to communication and behaviors and adjusting to elicit a more positive response
  • Teamwork – working effectively with other people to achieve a goal
  • Technical Knowledge – working knowledge of subject matter

Identification of these common competencies then led Mobil to develop competency-based interviewing, which was a radically different interview process and approach used up until that point. The competency-based interviewer was trained how to ask specific questions to help an interviewee unfold stories, so the interviewer could identify as many competencies practiced by the candidate. In the case of personal competencies, past performance was an assumed indicator of future performance.

tim-gouw-bwki71ap-y8-unsplashWhen 20 summer interns became willing interviewees to help trainees certify in this new interviewing process, the results were surprising. These college students were only told that they were interviewing for factitious jobs and had nothing to gain or lose. Each intern was separately interviewed by four interviewers. The interviewers then ranked each intern for competencies and compared notes. The results? Most interviewers found the same number of competencies for each interviewee. What was unexpected? The interviewers identified a handful of candidates that Mobil would have clearly offered a job based on the criteria of the past such as sociability, confident manner, physical appeal, participation on team sports, and academic performance, and yet, these same candidates had no competencies.

What does this mean for those companies who want to hire the best employees? Every candidate should be screened for basic knowledge that cannot be taught on the job. Certain jobs need specific technical skills such as a design engineer or lawyer. However, for many jobs, companies would likely be more satisfied in their employee selection, if they emphasized competencies in the hiring process. Most technical knowledge can be taught on the job, as opposed to personal competencies, which can only be influenced and may take more time than an employer can afford to invest. Rare is the candidate that has all the above competencies, so an interviewer should have a clear understanding of which competencies are most important for the job.

Competencies are found in both young and older adults, because they typically manifest from core values or personal characteristics of the individual. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find personal competencies across all or several dimensions of a person’s life. Since my competency-based interview training, I have always focused on hiring for competencies over a pedigree, and I have been pleased that my batting average has been higher than most.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.