The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (08/26/05):
- Providing some job interviewing do’s and don’ts
- Finding a job when job-seeker has diverse background
- Managing and succeeding in situational job interviews
- Handling sending thank-you letter to a panel of interviewers
|Q:||Joan writes: I could not find anything specific to interviewing do’s and don’ts on your site and would therefore recommend a tutorial on this subject. Can you help?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Interviewing is perhaps the most critical point in job-hunting where the job-seeker has to use persuasive communications skills to show that s/he is the perfect candidate for the position. And we have quite a lot of information and resources on interviewing. But because you asked here are just a few of the most critical do’s and don’ts of interviewing:
And do prepare and practice for the interview but don’t memorize or over-rehearse your answers.
And don’t forget that we DO have a Job Interviewing Tutorial for Job-Seekers.
|Q:||Carole writes: I cannot find an answer in your information on the Career Doctor site. I have been job searching actively for three years and cannot find a job because I have an unusual diverse background that doesn’t fit into a slot. I cover all facets of job searching. When networking I am usually told no jobs but set a meeting anyway. I have had some interviews from answering ads and basically try to show I am specialized or tailor myself to the ad. I am usually overqualified or underqualified because I didn’t work in the specific area all the time. How can I get someone to give me a chance I do volunteer work and have also offered to work for free. Have you ever heard of this before?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You are not alone in having this problem. Many job-seekers who have an eclectic mix of job experiences often have a hard time finding a job.
But yours is a valuable lesson for all job-seekers. Please remember that you are responsible for defining yourself as a job-seeker — and then providing the documentation to back it up. If you have no focus as a job-seeker why would an employer want to hire you?
Take some time for self-assessment and find a career focus. At that point you may need to do some temping or volunteering to get the experience to get your foot in the door but your current background may be enough — as long as you learn how to present it in a focused manner.
Once you find your focus and next career direction remember that a resume does not have to include every single job you have ever done — it should focus on the experiences and education you have for the job/career you are seeking. And a reminder for older job-seekers: please remember to remove all old work experience even if in a relevant field — anything older than 15 years should be removed. (And take all dates off your education listing also.)
For more advice on improving your resume read this article published on Quintessential Careers: Avoid These 10 Resume Mistakes.
|Q:||Amy writes: I have been on a lot of job interviews but I am stumped because I have been told to expect an upcoming interview to be something I think called a situational interview. Is this a new kind of interview? What is involved and how should I prepare for it?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: In situational interviewing job-seekers are asked to respond to a specific situation they may face on the job and some aspects of it are similar to behavioral interviews. These types of questions are designed to draw out more of your analytical and problem-solving skills as well as how you handle problems with short notice.
The key to preparation and success in situational interviews is simply to review your past work experiences and review the steps you took to resolve problems and make corrections. You should also have short stories of some of these past experiences so you can also incorporate them into your answers to show that you have experience handling similar situations.
For example an interviewer might ask an applicant for a customer service manager position: ‘How would you handle an angry customer who was promised delivery of the product on a certain date but because of manufacturing delays the company was not able to deliver on a timely basis? The customer is demanding some kind of compensation for the unexpected delay.’
Or for a management position a job-seeker might be asked: ‘How do you handle a disgruntled employee in your department who has made a habit of arriving late to work and causing minor disruptions during the day as well as a declining morale among the rest of the staff?’
For more information on interviewing don’t forget all the tools and resources in this section of Quintessential Careers: Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.
|Q:||Becca writes: I interviewed with a panel of 7 people for entrance into a radiology program. I have the name of the director of the program but not the other names of those in the panel. The panel interviewed me all at the same time. Is it acceptable to send one letter and address it as Dear Mr. Ray and interview panel? I’m afraid it is not feasible to get the names of the panel since they are students within the program. I interviewed on Monday and would like to send the letter today. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: The most important thing you — and any person — can do after an interview is to send a thank-you letter or note. It’s something that takes very little of your time and can make a very big impact especially if most others (as it typically the case) do not send thank you letters.
In a job interviewing situation I would always do everything I could to get the names of all the panel members. I am one of those people who is very bad at remembering names when people introduce themselves especially when I am in a stressful situation like a job interview. Typically you can call the organization and request the names from the panel. In your situation I would contact the director’s administrative assistant and get the names of the students on the panel.
Are you also sure that the director is a ‘Mr.’ and not a ‘Dr.’? Misspellings of people’s names or using the incorrect titles can be a major blow to any attempt at gaining an advantage by writing the letter in the first place.
If you cannot get the names of the students then simply address the letter to the director but in the first paragraph mention that you want to express your thanks to the entire panel of students.
To get more detailed advice about thank-you letters — and see some great samples — read this article published on Quintessential Careers: FAQs About Thank You Letters.