Tag Archive: interviews

  1. Who Would Do Better in a Job Interview, McCain or Obama?

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    The candidates have been chosen, the political jabs and smears are in full swing and the Republican and Democratic conventions are just around the corner. With all the emphasis on qualifications and experience, what can the average job seeker learn from Barack Obama and John McCain before they sit down in the interview chair?

    Tom Gimbel, CEO of staffing and executive search firm The LaSalle Network, who has placed over 10,000 employees at over 900 companies, has some helpful feedback on both candidates’ basic job skills that might help you land YOUR next big job:

    TECHNICAL SKILLS:

    John McCain: In a YAHOO! News interview early this year McCain stated that he is “illiterate” when it comes to computers and relies on his wife to navigate the Internet for him. In addition, his campaign has been slow in getting messages out through social media like Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.

    Barack Obama: Obama is frequently seen on the campaign trail with BlackBerry in hand and even “teleconferences” with his young daughter on his Mac. His Facebook page has 1.2 million friends and he has even started his own social network called My.BarackObama.com.

    Tom Gimbel’s Feedback: Obama has the edge on this one. Being “tech savvy” in the modern workforce is almost an essential and many times required. Many companies are employing social media, online video and blogging into their corporate indentities. Knowing your way around the tech world just might get you hired.

    COMMUNICATION SKILLS:

    John McCain: McCain is not known as a great public speaker. He’s not going to whip a stadium crowd into a frenzy with carefully crafted speeches. However, speaking off the cuff with a smaller audience is his strength, so he has opted largely for “town hall meeting” style events during his campaign.

    Barack Obama: Obama is most comfortable speaking in front of large audiences, which is why he is giving his Democratic Convention speech to 80,000 at Invesco Field in Denver. There is no doubt he can lay down a rehearsed speech with the best orators around, but when he gets one-on-one or gets grilled with questions he can get a little shaky. Once the teleprompter shuts off, Obama gets a bad case of the “ums.”

    Tom Gimbel’s Feedback:  This one is more of a draw. When searching for that dream job, it’s important to play to your strengths. If public speaking isn’t your forte, you’re probably not going to be a lawyer or a motivational speaker. However, everyone needs to hone and polish their communication skills, because nothing can ruin your chances of getting a job faster than not presenting yourself well in an interview.

    JOB EXPERIENCE

    John McCain: Though some have seen McCain’s age as a hindrance to his campaign, it is also his biggest strength. With 22 years as a naval aviator (including five years in a P.O.W. camp), four years as a congressman and 22 years as a U.S. senator, McCain has a depth of experience that is difficult to challenge. He certainly has the qualifications typically associated with Commander-in-Chief.

    Barack Obama: As a senator with less than two years’ experience, a couple best-selling books and a legal background, Obama has a lot to prove to show the country he’s ready to be President. He’s made up some ground by running a very successful grassroots campaign and energizing younger voters, but he is still a political rookie with a lot of question marks.

    Tom Gimbel’s Feedback: McCain definitely wins in the experience category. When searching for a job or a career path remember that the longer you spend in a job, the better your resume looks to potential employers. The person with many years of experience in a specific field shows they have staying power and can “hit the ground running” their first day on the job. Try to avoid shifting career paths and stay with companies for as long as you can.

    So, in summary, who would Ginbel give the job to?

    Sticking to the true political nature of this post, his answer seems to dodge the question:

    “Honestly I would choose the experience of Mccain and the charisma of Obama.”

    Personally, if I’m behind the desk, I think Obama gets the job hands down. His communcation skills vastly out-weight that of John McCain. And while McCain does have more life-long experience, it doesn’t translate well when he’s a near carbon copy of the lackluster employee you are trying to replace.

    Tom Gimbel is CEO and founder of The LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruitment firm that has placed more than 10,000 employees at over 900 companies. Read more of Tom Gimbel’s musings on his career blog, www.pastfive.typepad.com.  For more information about The LaSalle Network, visit www.thelasallenetwork.com.

    Read more interviewing advice at www.GraduatingEngineer.com.

  2. The Art of the Successful Job Interview

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    It’s graduation season, and this means it’s time for job hunting. Joining the pool of applicants will be a lot of people who have been downsized, fired, or who found their previous employment to be less than satisfying. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran of the job search, it’s helpful to get advice about the all-important but nerve-wracking experience known as the job interview.

    Most of the articles on this topic are written from either the psychological or legal perspective. But ethics also are–or should be–a component of job interviews, and taking ethics seriously is beneficial not just to the employer, but to the job applicant, too.  Here’s a look at the specific ways that ethical behavior before and during an interview can lead to getting the job you want.

    The art of the job interview seems to be mainly about strategy: how to get from point A (unemployment, underemployment, or otherwise unsatisfying employment) to point B (a good job). But there are lots of ways to get from A to B, and some are more ethical than others. You can lie on your resume, exaggerate your accomplishments, or mislead a prospective employer about what you can do well. Taking the low road may lead to a job offer-but at what cost?

    If you have to become someone other than yourself, what does this say about your integrity?  And what will happen to you, professionally as well as personally, if it comes to light that you lied to get the job?

    Even if you are committed to being truthful, however, it is still possible to miss the main point of a job interview (and run the risk of being passed over). A job interview isn’t about you. Or rather, it’s not merely about you. It is about whether or not the company will benefit from hiring you. Ethics is about thinking beyond our own needs and desires, and applying the ethical principle of Make Things Better in the context of a job interview means concentrating on how you will help the company. This can’t be at the expense of other ethical principles, such as Respect Others, which requires us to be truthful, and Do No Harm, which asks us not to say or do things that will make things worse for others or ourselves.

    Ethics thus lies at the core of any job interview. With this in mind, here are five guidelines that you can use to ace your next interview-by taking the high road.

    1. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WILL BRING TO THE COMPANY.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people respond to my own job offerings with an endless discussion of why the position will help them: “This job is perfect for me, because I need something that will offer me flexibility.” An employee should be concerned, first and foremost, with helping the company, not the other way around.

    2. BE HONEST.

    Few of us are good liars, and this is a good thing. When an interviewer asks you something to which you don’t know the answer, it’s much better to admit this than to pretend otherwise.  Also, misrepresenting yourself on your resume in any way is a big mistake, not just because it will come back to haunt you (since it may not), but simply because it’s wrong.

    3. WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T.

    The most fundamental ethical principle of all, Do No Harm, applies to how you treat yourself as well as others. Resist the impulse to say something that would make you look foolish, incompetent, or naïve. If you’re not sure about how something will be taken, it’s best to leave it unsaid.

    4.  DON’T BADMOUTH YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYER.

    Your prospective employer may ask you about previous jobs and why you left, or why you want to leave your current one. If a poor relationship with a boss or colleague was a contributing factor, it’s better to say something like, “My supervisor and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of projects,” rather than, “He was the biggest jerk I’ve ever worked for.” Criticism at its best centers on what a person has done, not on who a person is.

    Personal attacks make you look petty, and that could be a reason for you to be passed over for a position. Also, bear in mind that professional circles can be small and tight-knit; it’s entirely possible your interviewer knows your previous boss or colleagues. You don’t want to acquire a reputation for being petty, vindictive, or tactless.

    5. LOOK WITHIN.

    This last rule is the most important. Before you even apply for a job, do some soul searching and find out what it is you’re really looking for. To realize a company’s mission successfully, you have to know what your own mission in life is, and why you want to devote considerable time and energy to that organization. Honesty applies not just to how you deal with your prospective employer; it also applies to how you deal with yourself.

    Yes, it’s a cutthroat world out there, and finding work now is probably more difficult than any time in the last few years. But that’s no reason to throw ethics out the window. In fact, I hope I’ve shown just the opposite–that keeping ethics front and center is the best way to be successful.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Dr. Bruce Weinstein is the professional ethicist known as The Ethics Guy.  His column, “Ask the Ethics Guy,” appears bi-weekly on BusinessWeek online and is distributed internationally by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.  He has appeared on TODAY, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, and NPR.  His latest book is, “Life Principles: Feeling Good by Doing Good” (Emmis Books).  For more information, visit TheEthicsGuy.com.

    For more interview advice, visit www.GraduatingEngineer.com.