Having Trouble Landing the Interview, And the Job?

I was talking with a client last month about how things were going since the production of her video resume. She had previously been looking for a job for over 6 months, and only landed 2 interviews.

The good news is, she had 5 interviews (4 in person, 1 over the phone) in the last month. The bad news, the interviews didn’t seem to go well. She said they would ask her a few questions, and then seemed to lose interest and the interview was over. So I pitched her a few standard interview questions to gauge her responses and I think we found the problem.

I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until yesterday, when I was producing an interview style video resume for someone else. I had sent him the instructions for preparing, and called the day before the appointment to make sure he didn’t have any questions. When he showed up for the appointment, he hadn’t even selected his interview questions, thinking he could wing it. He checked off a few questions on the spot and said “Just ask me these. I can do this.”

Ok, the customer is always right, right? So I pitched him a few of the questions (off camera) to see how it went…

Have you ever answered an interview question, then later thought “ugh, I should have said…”. Or even worse, realized you should have said something different while answering the question, started back peddling and trying to correct the answer and end up rambling? Things can sometimes sound better in our heads then they do when they come out of our mouths! And sometimes, we don’t even realize how the things we say come across at all, especially when we’re nervous, under a microscope being interviewed by someone else.

Both clients seemed to have similar difficulties answering interview questions :

  • Concisely including all pertinent information
  • Coming across positive

Below are a few tips I tell my clients when filming an interview style video resume to avoid the “foot in mouth syndrome”. These also apply to telephone or live job interviews.

Never be negative. ALWAYS be respectful of others and do not place blame. State your answers in a positive form.

Examples:
WRONG: I’m looking for a new job because there aren’t any opportunities available at my current company.

RIGHT: I’m looking into new opportunities that might be available in other companies and industries that can help me to grow professionally.

WRONG: There was an occasion when this customer was being irate and yelled at me.

RIGHT: There was an occasion when I helped a customer who was very upset because…

Never interrupt. Wait until the interviewer is finished asking the question. Take a moment to pause and consider the question before you start to answer. Then answer the question clearly and completely.

Tell the Story. Use the STAR method of answering interview questions. Describe the Situation or Task clearly, discuss the Actions you took, and talk about the positive Results that occurred due to your actions.

Do not ramble. Listen carefully to the question, and answer it concisely without unnecessary background information. Once the question has been answered, stop talking. :)
Do not back track, reiterate, or continue adding more information.

Different Video Resume Styles

Today’s topic… Video Resume Styles.

I get a lot of questions about different styles and features for video resumes so I’ve broken it down to 3 categories (really 2, but we’ll call it 3).

1. Standard
2. Interview
3. Custom

The Standard video resume is basically a person (typically head & shoulders) telling about themselves. This usually includes an introduction (your 20 second elevator pitch), a minute or so about your experience and skills, a short summary (why they should hire you), and your contact information.

The Interview style is different, in that the video is more like a conversation. You have someone either on or preferably off camera asking standard interview questions like “Tell me a little about yourself”, and “What is your favorite accomplishment and why”. The subject then answers the questions much like they would in a job interview, only with the benefit of knowing the questions in advance and having the opportunity to do re-takes. :)

The Custom video resume is very similar to the standard video resume in that the subject typically recites a script (pretty much the same as described above). However, portions of the script are used as a voice over, while a photo montage and/or additional video clips are used to showcase what the subject is saying.

There are also features that are often used in a video resume, such as background music (great if you lack enthusiasm in your tone of voice), green screen background images (adds some pizzaz that you don’t get with a plain background), scrolling summary (perfect for emphasizing your credentials if you have a lot of experience), displaying contact information (a must for everyone) and many others.

So what’s the best style for you?

Recent graduates or those who have less on the job experience in the field of work they’re applying for do well with a standard video resume. Discuss organizations, projects and other accomplishments. Throw in a few features for something really impressive.

People who have more experience or do creative work would do best to create a more custom video resume with video clips and a photo montage that showcases skills and accomplishments.

Anyone having difficulty coming up with a script they like, or prefer to talk about their projects and accomplishments (that can’t very easily be shown with photographs), would benefit from the interview style video resume. This gives them the opportunity to talk about and describe their accomplishments in a conversation style setting.

Regardless of what style you go with, ALWAYS remember to thank the viewer for taking the time to watch.

I hope this helps.

Using Twitter When Job Hunting

Today’s topic, using Twitter when job hunting…

First of all, it’s important to understand the employers are now searching the web to gather information on potential candidates, and search engines LOVE social networking / social media sites. Your FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube… postings are being viewed by hiring companies.

There are a lot of articles out there about how to use twitter in general, and how to use it for job hunting. I’ve condensed some of the best information I’ve found into a few simple helpful hints. Enjoy!

  • Use your real name as your twitter name (or at least include it). This helps search engines find you.
  • Create a professional profile with a good “One Line Bio”. You can also create a background image that includes more information about yourself or your skills.
  • Follow other twitter users who are leaders in your industry, as well as companies you’re targeting for employment.
  • Employers know that people tweet about things that are important to them. Make sure to tweet about any work or industry related projects you’re doing, articles you’ve read, or anything else positive that you want employers to know you care about.
  • Don’t post tweets that may be seen as too controversial or contain information that may reflect poorly on you to a potential employer.
  • If you have a video resume or video profile, you can share it by simply posting a tweet with a link to your YouTube video (use tinyurl to shorten the link), or you can use tools like TwitVid, Twiddeo or several others.

Thanks for reading and happy job hunting. Please feel free to comment on your own Twitter experiences while job hunting.