Preparing for the Interview

Being well prepared for any job interview will increase your chances of receiving a job offer. When you are well prepared for the interview, you will come across a self confident professional and assured. Preparation allows you to take care of the details ahead of time, and minimize the effects of “Murphy’s Law”. (Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.) and allows you to focus on the task at hand…… Landing that job!

Preparing in advance gives you an advantage by:

Eliminating the fear of the unknown

When giving a speech, it is often helpful to overcome your anxiety and fear of “Freezing” by writing it out and practicing it ahead of time to someone else or in front of a mirror. We think you should apply the same technique to the interview process by writing out and practicing your responses to the most anticipated interview questions.

 

Reducing the element of surprise

If you prepare properly by taking care of the logistical details of getting to the interview and anticipating questions you’ll be asked, you will reduce your chances of being surprised and caught off guard.

 

Increase your self confidence

Employers look to applicants who are confident in their ability to do the job for which they are applying. Knowing that you have prepared thoroughly in advance only adds to your level of confidence. An attribute that will come across loud and clear to the interviewer.

 

 Preparation falls into several categories

Know yourself

You must completely know the product you’re trying to sell. YOU! Remember you are promoting this product with the goal of getting the customer (the Interviewer) to buy your product instead of “another” model. Know your career goals, your skill-set, interests and aptitudes. Write them down. Be sure to include an honest list of your weaknesses.

 

Pratcice your interviewing skills

Make an effort to anticipate any question that will likely be asked during the interview. Know your answers to these questions inside and out. Be specific and detailed in your answers to these questions.  Run these question and answer secessions during dinner, or while driving. Be ready to answer these questions at the drop of a hat.

 

 Research the job and the company

This high-value activity often pays off handsomely. The more time you spend here, the less you waste later. Not only will you avoid wasting time on a job you don’t really want, you will impress an employer during an interview by taking the time to find out  about the organization. The employers assumption is that your thoroughness here will show up in your job performance.

 

Preliminary Checklist

Know where you’re going:

  • DON’T BE LATE! Right or wrong,  employers will assume that if you are late for something as important as an interview, you’ll be late for the job.
  • Find out exactly where the building, address, floor, and office where the interview is to take place. Don’t be late because you were wandering the halls trying to find the right office.
  • Get directions. Call ahead and ask directions. You might also use “Google Maps”, “Yahoo Map”, “MapQuest” etc…
  • Decide the best route to take. (Consider traffic during peak hours) Know an alternative route just in case you main route becomes blocked by traffic or construction.
  • If at all possible, make a dry run. This greatly minimizes the guesswork when figuring the time it takes to travel to your destination.  Not to mention, this will enhance your confidence level by knowing where you’re going.
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early so you can catch your breath and adjust. Visit the restroom. Check your appearance and practice a few interview answers one more time.

 

 

Countdown to the interview

What to do the day leading up to your interview

  1. Know the name of the person(s) conducting the interview. Write it down. Don’t rely on your memory.
  2. Have several copies of your resume. Hand one to each interviewer (Group interview only)
  3. Think about your agenda. Without taking over the interview, know the points you want to get across.
  4. Make sure your car has fuel. Have a map in your car just in case. If you’re using public transportation, have plenty of change and/or tokens.
  5. Have a little cash available for soda machines, pay-phones, etc…
  6. Decide on an outfit the day before. Choose something conservative. Cover any body art or piercings. Make sure the clothing is clean and pressed. Iron and starch your shirts. Shine your shoes. Show you’re detailed minded by being detailed in your appearance. Lay out your clothes the night before. Gather EVERYTHING you plan to wear. From Earrings, watches, neckties, tie pins and eyewear.
  7. Set your alarm clock. Give yourself at least 3 hours to get ready. From the moment you wake up that morning, try to look, act, speak and be professional.

 

The day of the Interview

  1. Shower, shave, clean your fingernails,  brush your teeth. Avoid using perfume or aftershave. Also, do not drink alcohol or eat foods with a strong odor. (Garlic, onions etc…) Chew some gum when in route to your interview.
  2. Double check that you have all necessary documents. Licenses, transcripts, letters of recommendation, note pad, and two (2) pens.
  3.   Take a deep breath and relax. Put on some music you find relaxing. Stay calm and confident. Be in a positive frame of mind. You want to appear self assured, confident and poised.

 

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Typical interview questions

You will not be hired for any given position without first going through at least one (1) interview. Whether or not the interview is short and informal or lengthy and formal, employers are trying to get a better “Feel” for you and if you’re going to be a good “Fit” into their company.

So far, the interviewer only knows you from what they’ve read on your resume. Now is your chance to shine. Now is your chance to showcase your skill-set, your personality and your ability to make their company better.

The information employers need to know, to make the best possible hiring decision is:

What do you want to do?

Employers need to know if your desires and abilities are a good match for the position you’re applying for. Why are your desires important? Because a happy workforce is a productive workforce. They also want to know if the job is an appropriate step along your long term career goals and that you’ll stay committed to work.

The Reference Store can help by determining what skill-set you have and then matching that skill-set with a particular Industry and position.

Will you do the Job?

Employers love employees that are ready, able and eager to get the job done. They love employees that are reliable and dependable. Those employees are highly prized and usually favored for promotion. They’re also interested in knowing if you have the interpersonal skills to work along side others to resolve problems.

Can you do the Job?

Employers need to know if you have the skills, aptitude, education and/or training, to perform the job for which you are applying. Employers want to know “How” your previous work or volunteer experience directly relates to the open position with their company. Before the Interview, we suggest, you “Do your homework.” Identify those skills and attributes that make the ideal candidate.

The Reference Store’s Case Managers can compile this data for you. Along with other very important Job Specific information. They will work with you to assist you in giving a better interview.

Are you Expensive?

All companies have to work within their budget. When a position is open, an employer must evaluate the cost to fill that position. This questions goes to much more then just…”Wages”; It goes to loss of revenue while the job is vacant; overtime being paid to cover the  vacant position; recruiting, benefits and training costs. You’re going to have to be comfortable with an appropriate salary for the position.

All employers are looking to find the “Perfect candidate.” That’s where The Reference Store comes in. We’re experts in that field. We take great care to make our clients the ideal candidate for these positions.  We know that employers have an idea of exactly how a perfect job candidate looks, sounds, and dresses.

Point to Remember:

During the interview process, the employers’ representative (the Human Resource Manager) is watching and listening to everything you say and do. From the time you say “Hello”, you’re being evaluated. The Human Resource Manager wants to see if you have the abilities, and inter-personal skills to BEST suit their needs based on their image of what the ideal candidate is like. Your job is to show it to them; down to the smallest detail.

The interviewer makes comparisons between the current candidate and the perfect candidate based on how well (or how poorly) the candidate responds to questions and presents themselves.

Frequent Interview Questions:

During the interview, you must be prepared to answer any and all questions put to you. Your answers should be immediate and without hesitation. Again we suggest, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the details of the job. Be confident and knowledgeable of the information the employer seeks. (The Reference Store has this service available in their V.I.P. & Executive Packages.) The more you prepare yourself, the better your odds of being hired.

“Tell me about yourself?

While this question may seem harmless, it’s actually a very important question. This is your opportunity to briefly take charge of the interview and make a connection with the interviewer. Answer this question by giving a brief history of your relevant work experience; emphasizing your experience, training, and education that directly relate to the job opening. Be sure to point out specific personal traits that make you the ideal candidate.

“Why should we hire you?”

This question is your opportunity to match yourself to the “Perfect Candidate.” Relate your skill-set with that of what the job requires. Be specific. If the job calls for experience using XYZ software version 3.4;  and you have experience using XYZ Software version 3.4, be sure to mention it.  If a job requires a self starting, decision maker with little supervision in a high paced environment; share episodes where you’ve done exactly that! Remember, this is YOUR interview. Use it to showcase what you bring.

Show that you are professional, motivated, and eager to get to work. Share your desire and inter-personal skills. If you present yourself as an outsider, you greatly injure your chances of being hired. A “Maverick” is only good in a very select environment. These people tend to be boat rockers and can become a cancer in the workplace. If you’ve had some issues with inter-personal skills on the job-site, make sure your previous employer won’t share that with the interviewer.

“Tell me about your experience.”

Describe your experiences; Paid, Volunteer Education and/or Training that relate to the job. Be sure to share specific duties or training programs if they directly relate to the open position.  Also, explain any and all gaps in employment longer then six (6) weeks. Show that you have appropriate experience and/or training, as well as a willingness to learn new skills.

“Describe your strengths and weaknesses.”

Identify your top three (3) strengths that relate to work requirements. Give specific examples f how you used each of these strengths and what you’ve achieved using them.

Identify one (1) weakness. (Having two (2) in mind.) Make sure you don’t appear to be hiding or worming your way out of having any weaknesses. Many times, a candidate will answer, “None.” That answer is a load of bull. We’re all human; we all have weaknesses. Be it impatience, shortsightedness, anger management, or lack of attention. Whatever your weakness is, be honest, be candid. The interviewer is gauging more then just your answers. If you hesitate on this answer, it may send the signal of deception.

“What are your career objectives?”

Describe your career goals. Illustrate how the position is perfect for forwarding your career objectives. Express commitment to the job and how you benefit personally and professionally from taking the job. Without being aloof or arrogant, be presumptive. Assume you ARE the right person for the job. The presumptive approach works well when combined with the right dose of confidence.

“What are your Salary needs?”

First, be flexible. Understand your local job market and what it pays. Be realistic. Know what you bring to the table and how much you can reasonably expect to make; and how much can a given employer reasonably afford. The Reference Store suggests anywhere from a low of 80% to a high of 110%. These figures are most desirable by employers. That is, if the position average is $36,000 per year, express a need as low as $28,800 to $39,600. (Based on your perceived value as an employee.)

“What would your former supervisors and co-workers say?”

Here’s an easy one. Simply say…”I’m glad you asked.” And pull out the letters of reference from former supervisors, managers and co-workers. The letters will speak for themselves. Letters prepared by The Reference Store see’s to it that these letters contain viable contact information for further follow up by prospective employers.

If you have no letters from supervisors, manager, or professors, be sure never to speak negatively about any person or organization. If your former employer wont give you a positive recommendation, express that you learned from the experience and how you appreciate your former managers leadership and position. Share your contributions to your previous work site.

“What do you know about us?”

Earlier, we suggested you “Do your Homework.” This is where it pays off. This question shows how well you prepare and retain important information. It also suggests how interested you are in working for a given employer. It also shows how important preparation is to you; which can translate into a valuable job skill.

Whom can we contact for further information about you?

Be certain to have a list of five (5) references readily available. (complete with addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.) Describe the nature of the relationship of each person. (i.e. Current Supervisor, Professor, co-worker etc…) Wherever possible, give local references. Offer copies of “Letters of Recommendation” where applicable.  Check and re-check all references older then one year.

A two way street:

The interview is your chance to ask specific questions on specific topics of an employer. They ask questions to see if you’re a good fit; you should do the same thing. Remember, you’re a valuable commodity. Use that to your advantage. Try to ascertain how eager they are to fill the job and their eagerness to hire you. Try asking questions like,

  • Please describe the Ideal candidate.
  • Can you describe the work environment?
  • What would my responsibilities be?
  • What type of person are the supervisor/subordinates?
  • May I meet them?
  • What is the salary range and benefit package like?
  • What’s the best thing you’ve discovered while working here?
  • What’s the worst?

The Reference Store provides Telephone and/or e-mail Job Coaching secessions to help you give a better interview.

Final note:

Many an applicant has the skills to do a job. Many times the “Best” applicant isn’t the person hired to do a job. Why? Because they don’t give god interviews. An interview is a sales pitch. You have to “Sell” to the interviewer on you and why you’re the best choice.

Threat the interview like a run for the Mayors Office. Always smiling; Saying and doing all the right things; Always appropriately dressed. Remember, its he image of the ideal candidate you have to show. Its their company and their position. They don’t have to change to “Fit” you in. You may have to change to fit their needs.

The Reference Store has the experience and expertise to greatly increase the likelihood of you getting hired. You bring the skills; we’ll bring the smoke and mirrors. Interviews are guaranteed.

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Dealing with negative information.

None of us are perfect. We all have issues we’re afraid might negatively impact a potential employers decision. In today’s economy, ANY negative information we share could be end of the road during the hiring process. In this posting we’re going to look at how to deal with and even avoid bad information, bad references, and termination. Knowing how to cope with these negative items appropriately, can significantly reduce their impact in hiring decisions

It is absolutely vital to pre-determine what bad information you’re going to share and what bad information you’re not going to share. One must take the time to pick apart ones own work history and reconstruct a new one. The Reference Store has case managers to help its clients do exactly that.

For example: in the fictional case of a person, (Oliver, a Sales Manager with a medium sized business) has been terminated and convicted for Grand Theft. He serves his time in prison and is released. Now, he needs to get back to work. He certainly isn’t going to want to share that all of facts with a new potential employer.

What does he do? He knows he cannot hide the criminal conviction, but he can diminish it greatly. Heres how….

On Job Applications:

1) Wherever possible, avoid filling out a job application. Seek jobs that don’t require an application. Applications ask specific and direct questions that may immediately bar you from further consideration. Questions like…. “Were you fired?…If so, Why?” or “Have you ever been arrested, or convicted of a criminal offense?”  etc…

*(It isn’t likely the Oliver can find work in his preferred trade that doesn’t require the use of an application. So he fills one out.)

2) If you cannot avoid using an application, be sure to leave the “OFFENSE” portion blank and give an explanation during the interview.

*(Oliver pre-determines what falsehoods he’s going to tell during the interview. He’s done his homework and understands the barriers he has to overcome.)

3) Tell the truth and trust that the interviewer will appreciate your honesty enough to offer you a position. These instances are very few and few far between. Interviewers are only human and are generally not willing to overlook negative issues; especially if there are other “Cleaner” job candidates readily available.

*(Oliver knows he cannot hide his conviction, so he leaves that portion of the application blank. And truthfully explains away some of the facts about his conviction. Other details, he doesn’t.)

On Resumes:

1) Select a resume format that will downplay your negatives. For example, if you have little work history, choose a format that emphasizes for your Skill-set, Education or Transferable skills. The Reference Store can also craft a Virtual Work History and resume to coincide with whatever you choose.

*(Oliver works with The Reference Store and puts a plan into operation. Oliver’s resume allows his skill-set shine; while explaining away most of his time in custody.)

2) Consider leaving out dates of employment, if you have large gaps in your work history time-line.

*(Oliver decides NOT to omit any Date of Employment. Instead, he can explain away his time in prison by saying. “I was convicted of Grand Theft and received one (1) year in the County Jail.” Even though he actually received five (5) years and served nearly four (4) years total. The Reference Store sets him up with Virtual Employment and Fake Reference Services. For all of the time he was in Prison. Thus minimizing the impact from a Prison Felony to a County Jail Felony.)

3) Omit any and all jobs you worked for less then four (4) months. This idea helps to downplay the appearance of an unstable work history.

4) At no time, do we suggest you voluntarily put any negative information on your resume such as an arrest, dishonorable discharge, or and terminations. Age and disabilities don’t belong there either. Let it wait until the interview if at all. Remember to have your cover story set, memorized, rehearsed and down cold. You must be able to deliver it without hesitation.

During an Interview:

1) If a negative item comes up, assure the interviewer that the issue has been dealt with and is in your past. Be sure to let them know that it will not interfere with your work performance.

2) Prepare yourself; do your homework. Be ready to address issues that might come up. Think the Matter through to its smallest detail. Case Managers at The Reference Store know what to look at and address. Call them for assistance.

Specific Negative Information – The Truth & Damage Control:

Of course, you can always try telling the truth. That is a decision you have to make based on the particular circumstances of your situation. Ask yourself….. Would I hire someone I didn’t know, with these negatives? The way you answer that question should give you a strong indication rather or not you should lie.

Fired: Admitting you were “Released” or “Let go” without saying you were “Fired”. Explain why, without getting defensive. Never say anything negative about your former employers. Explain that is was an isolated occurrence and it will never happen on the new job. Sometimes, your former employer will be willing to diminish your dismissal by saying something less damaging. Be sure to ask your former employer, what they’ll say?

Long Gaps in Employment: An interviewer may ask, “What did you do during your time off?”  Again, have these answers memorized and rehearsed. Give a positive, constructive answer like … caring for children or an aging parent, taking classes, deciding on a new career focus, or a home improvement project.

Little Experience: Use relevant volunteer experience, education and hobbies. Focus on your readiness and ability to perform the job. Emphasize your transferable skills.

Lack of Education: Don’t mention your lack of a degree. Focus on your volunteer work, skill-set, past experience, and training programs you’ve attended. (The Reference Store has training programs available as well.)

Overqualified: If applying for positions of a lesser stature, downplay your seniority with a previous employer and leave out any advanced degrees you may have. Change titles or even delete them altogether. During the interview, explain why you want a position with fewer responsibilities. Let them know you are willing to negotiate a lesser salary in trade for lesser responsibilities.

Medical issues / Disabilities: The law prevents employers from denying employment based on physical impairment or disability that does not affect your ability to perform the job. The laws also requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations to the work place to allow the disabled employee to perform the work.  Be prepared to outline each accommodation you will need to perform a specific job task.

Criminal History:

Arrested, but never convicted: you are innocent of any criminal activity. Check the Laws of your State to ascertain if an employer can inquire as to your arrest record.

Minor Convictions: These include infractions of State Laws and Misdemeanors. With the exception of Theft, employers (depending on the position) tend not to focus on these offenses. Explain the offense was in your past and you have move on. The greater the period of time, between the interview and the last conviction, the better.

Major Convictions: These offenses may limit your ability to perform certain tasks. Working with children, handling cash, obtaining security clearances or jobs requiring bonding, are likely out of the question. Just as with Misdemeanors, The older the felony the better.

Come Clean: You might wanna bring up your criminal past on your own. This allows you to put a more favorable spin on your criminal past. Since it is likely that the interviewer will find out anyway… coming clean is, in our opinion, the best option.

Juvenile Records: Offenses committed while you were under the age of majority, are almost always sealed and off limits. (Even to police agencies.)

Skirting the Truth:

We defy anyone. Yes! Anyone! To show us anyone (over the age of 21 that has had more the three jobs) that has NEVER lied on an application or resume. We’ve yet to see anyone who fits that bill. The Reference Store firmly believes it is doing a public service by allowing adults with hiring obstacles to find, obtain and keep meaningful employment.

Just as the “Witness Protection” Program sets up known felons with Virtual (Fake) Histories to get their assistance; We at The Reference Store do much the same thing. Our clients WANT to work. They just need a little help to get there.

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The Interviewers Point of View

The interviewer is just a person:

Interviewers are people just like you and me. They experience nervousness and anxiety during the interview just like you do. The Interviewer is many times uneasy during the hiring process due to:

1) Interviewers are sometimes afraid of hiring the wrong person. The process of hiring, training and dismissing people is expensive and time consuming. An interviewer must make sure they’ve got the right person for the job before they spend valuable time and money on them. If the other workers don’t like the new hire, the interviewer may feel responsible.

2) Interviewers don’t have ant training on “How to Interview” people. More often then not, the interviewer has risen into a leadership position, from among the rank and file. While they may very well be among the finest employees the company has, They’re not necessarily the best choice to conduct the interview and oversee the hiring process; because they don’t have formal training.

3) Interviewers, being people, might not be accustomed to turning people down. With only a limited number of available positions, a large number of applicants’ means, someone has to be turned down. That can be very draining for some people. The interviewer included.

First impressions:

Before you can even say “Hello”, the interview has begun. Your appearance, attention to detail, interactions with other people, hygiene, body-language, and professionalism all combine to make an impression with the interviewer. Use each of these items to your advantage. Be aware that the interviewer is watching you very closely. Observing every move you make, listening to everything you say. Making mental notes that can’t be put on paper. These notes are often exclusionary.

Ask yourself “How do I appear to the interviewer?”

Am I well dressed and groomed? (Clean clothes, clean body)
Is my scent overpowering of offensive? (Too much perfume, Cigarette odor etc…)
Am I polite? (Say please and thank you)
Do I appear happy? (Keep smiling)
Did I readily and easily answer all questions put to me? (Don’t dance around a question)
Was I argumentative? (Be tactful when you disagree)

What an interviewer needs to know:

“What” can the job applicant do?
Interviewers Want to ascertain not only, if you possess the skill-set required to perform the tasks a position requires; but the intangible and interpersonal skill as well. Not many employers can hire on a “Try Out” basis. Being hired means exactly that. You’re the person they liked the most.

Be sure to communicate what it is you can do for the company; How promote-able you are; How the current position isn’t the ending point of you career.

“Can” the applicant do what they claim?
Interviewers go to great lengths to discover how closely your actual skills match those required for the job. The Reference Store sees this as a key area in what we do. The Reference Store creates Companies to closely mimic companies you choose.

“Will” the applicant do the job?
One of the worst things the interviewer dreads is hiring someone that won’t work. You must be sure to communicate your willingness to perform the job; to be on time; to be through; and your willingness to work over-time if needed.

“How Much” pay does the applicant want?
Do your pay requirements match that of the available position? The Reference Store suggests you ascertain the rate of pay prior to using any of our services. If you cannot, maybe The Reference Store Can! With this information, We can put together a virtual scenario that will pass as genuine. We also suggest you use this approach in a “Relocation” job search.

The Ideal Candidate – YOU!

A good interviewer knows exactly what it is he or she is seeking in a applicant. The profile for the “Perfect” applicant is clear in their minds. The closer you are to fitting that profile, the greater the odds of your being hired. The best way to learn what that profile is, …is to ask well before your interview. That way, you may share what you’ve learned with your Reference Store Case Manager; allowing him or her to put together an ideal scenario to get you back to work.

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After the Interview

While The Reference Store guarantees interviews, we don’t stop there. We want all of our clients to successfully complete their objectives. After using our Virtual (Fake) employment reference service you must deliver an outstanding interview. Getting an interview, while important, isn’t the end. The Reference Store wants you to perform well beyond the interview. There is much you ca and should do to increase the odds in your favor. Things an employer will be looking for.

Employers know you only by what you show them about yourself in the interview. Follow up procedures offer many opportunities to show them your best side. Remember to stay on touch until a hiring decision is made. Polite persistence can pay off with a job offer. Follow up procedures allow you to:

1. Create a lasting positive impression.

2. Demonstrate good writing and oral communication skills,

3. Show the employer you’re really interested in the position.

4. Target yourself to a specific position, by identifying specific skills, education or experience

5. Demonstrate that you are well organized and can follow trough.

6. Stand out from among the other applicants.

7. Re-state or even correct an important point from your interview.

Be sure to listen very carefully during the interview and even take notes if necessary. Also ask for their business card. Make sure the card has the interviewers name(s), title(s), phone number(s), and e-mail address(es). Don’t rely on your memory. Be professional and take the extra time and get that card(s). This information will set the content and tone of your follow-up.

If the person conducting the interview, is not the hiring authority, be sure to get his or her name and title. Write a letter to BOTH the interviewer and the hiring authority. Express your interest, and close your letter to the Hiring Authority with, “I look forward to meeting with you…..”

If you do not receive a response to your thank you letter in the time frame discussed during the interview, call the interviewer or the Hiring Authority. Use this cal to express you continued enthusiasm and interest in the position AND to determine if a hiring decision has been made. If a hiring decision has been made, Don’t just walk away. Keep in touch with this new member of your network. Call them once more and inquire about new job openings. Be sure to find out what times are convenient for them to receive calls.

Sometimes, during an interview, candidates learn details about a job that turn them off. The decide immediately, that the position is not for them. If that is the case for you, be sure to remove yourself from further consideration. Write a simple letter or e-mail asking to be removed from consideration. Explain the reasons why. You might point out something the interviewer didn’t consider. They’ll appreciate it and may even contact you for other positions in the future.

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Knowing your skill-set:

Employers want to know the skills you bring to the job site. Can you perform the duties the job requires? The resume and interview is where you get to showcase what you know and the elements of your personality that make you the best candidate for the position. It’s vital for you to know what skills are in your “Tool-kit”. Even if you have all the skills, you’ll be overlooked if you can’t communicate what skills and attributes you have.

It’s hard to get people to discuss their skill-set. As a matter of fact, nearly 90% of people interviewed for various jobs, never share their job-skills with the interviewer. You must know and communicate your skills effectively.

Lets examine the elements that compose your skill-set.

Knowledge: Acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: (from Dictionary.com)

Skill: The ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well: (from Dictionary.com)

Ability: Power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc. (from Dictionary.com)

Make a list of what your knowledge, skills, and abilities are. This list will ultimately help you,

Write a better resume.
Give more effective Interviews.
Give more accurate information on applications.
Make better career choices.
Locate jobs that fit you as an individual.
Increase your self confidence.

Your skill-set is the basis of your career development. Certainly, a reasonable person wouldn’t try to get work, performing a job they haven’t been trained to do. Why would you try to get hired as an electrical engineer, without the education and training? Exactly! You wouldn’t!

We, all have a long list of skills. Some good; others, not so good. List them all and put yourself in the companies shoes, Would you hire someone with your skill-set for the position you’re interested in? You will find greater long-term success doing what you’re good at and what you’re able to do.

Your list skills into these two categories:

Job Specific Skills.
These are skills you use to specifically perform work tasks, Technical, Scientific, Craftsman, etc. These skills are often obtained by training, experience or education. For example, an electrician needs to know how electrical systems operate. They must be familiar with the tools of the trade and have knowledge of how specific tasks are performed. Almost every job has specific skills that are essential to the job.

Transferable skills:
This set of skills is not unique to any particular job and can be used in another career or position. Transferable skills usually involve doing something with data, people, or within an industry; and can be ranked according to complexity. The more complex a function is, usually requires more creativity, initiative, and reasoning ability. The more complex a skill is, the less competition there is in the market place; and the greater the compensation is for that skill.

Off or On:
Skills come in varying degrees. Not off or on like a light switch. Many people might tell you that … “You’ve got it or your don’t!” This isn’t true. Try to think of skills like the temperature of water. One skill for you might be ice cold; while the same skill in someone else might be boiling hot. Look at N.B.A. great, Michael Jordan. I’m sure his skill as a basketball player, at his peak, far exceeded the overwhelming majority of the population. He was red hot. But his skill as a baseball player was only luke-warm at best.

Every skill we have can be described on a scale from one to ten. (One being the highest) When considering a career field or a new position, look deeply at your personal skill-set and determine if you’re best suited for the post.

Review your job history:
What jobs have you held over the past ten to fifteen years? What hobbies do you enjoy? What skills and functions are necessary for them all? Sit down and write them down. Many people work years in jobs they hate. They realize that they do have the ability and desire to take up new challenges. These people only lack the recommendation to get going. The Reference Store has options even for them. If your job history has long periods of joblessness, if your job history lacks the poise of your competitors, consider using The Reference Store to give you the “Edge” you need and to get you back to work.

Good luck
The Reference Store

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Faking Resumes

The saying “First impressions are lasting ones!” is certainly true! Especially when it comes to finding work. Your resume is your initial contact with any potential employer. The Resume gives you the opportunity to brag and showcase the skills you’ve developed. An opportunity you shouldn’t miss.

Make no mistake about it. You’re going to need a resume! The question is…. Who should write it? Certainly many people do take a stab at crafting their own resumes with mixed results. Certainly most entry level positions don’t always need an expertly written resume. However, we suggest and encourage most college grads to have their resumes written professionally. Resumes don’t always have to be expertly written. Several factors come into play.

• Demand in the marketplace
• Entry Level, low, middle or senior level management
• Your ability to write.
• Cost factors
• Your Expectations

These are only some of the factors you should consider when deciding rather or not you should write a resume yourself. If you do decide to write your own resume and you’re not seeing results after 30 days or so, we encourage you to re-think the decision and have a professional take a look at what you’ve got. The Reference Store offers such critiques free of charge.

This brings us to the topic of “Fake Resumes“. In todays job market, competition is especially high. And lets face it… the overwhelming majority of workers exaggerate or otherwise embellish their resumes. Thats a fact! Actually… most hiring H.R. Directors and/or Small Business Owners already assume that youre telling a few Little white lies about your experience or accomplishments, just to get the job.

One has to be very careful about the lies that are told on resumes. The “Verif-ability” of the lies is the key. Make sure to dot the “I”‘s and cross the “T”‘s on every item you might have stretch the truth on. Using a friend or good ol’ Aunt Emily might be ok, as long as they’re able to give the specifics H.R. Mgr.’s tend to ask.

Fake Resumes and Fake References are the new reality in the Job Marketplace. Lying to get hired isn’t anything new. Fake Job Reference Services, like The Reference Store, only makes it easier for stay-at-home moms and the homeless to get back into the game.

Good Luck
The Reference Store

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How Reference Checks are performed.

We’ve found that nearly 50% of all Resumes contain overly exaggerated duties, accomplishments and status. Another 13% of all resumes contain flat out lies abut their experience and work history.

The application process is a lengthy one. If you’re using a Reference Service, like The Reference Store, You must organize yourself in such a way as to greatly increase our odds of success. You must know your cover story from front to back; top to bottom, and inside out. Youre going to need to ask yourself some specific questions. Why? You may ask? Because that’s exactly what the hiring Human Resource Manager is going to do.

You should expect the hiring H.R. Manager to fully investigate each and every claim on your resume / application. This includes all references. We recommend that your references include at least two supervisors, one peer, and one corporate client. The Reference Store provides such references with all of our plans. Clients will know precisely what these references will say. Because each of these references is written and or approved by the client.

Every fake reference is written to answer most every reasonable inquiry. Such as dates of employment, salary, position held etc. These references provide a concise and specific  response even to open ended questions. Such as:

  1. How well does the candidate communicate; both orally and in writing?
  2. Is this candidate suited for management?
  3. What is the management style of the candidate?
  4. Can the candidate function well without immediate supervision.
  5. Will the candidate, if hired, easily transition into the new work environment?
  6. Is the candidate the “Go-Getter” type?
  7. Does the candidate give and/or take instruction well?
  8. Does the candidate have a strong work ethic?
  9. How well can we expect the candidate to perform under stress?

10. How essential was the candidate in his/her last position?

11. Can the candidate ascertain and readily develop answers to problem issues?

What is H.R. looking for?

H.R. Departments can only ask a few basic questions. However, some H.R. Departments build a rapport and have conversations with other H.R. Departments, as to an employees or former employee overall fitness for a given position.

Here’s a general overview of what H.R. is looking for:

Confirmation of employment.

Job Title.

Number of subordinates.

Salary. (To include bonuses , tips, and others forms of compensation.)

Exempt, Non-exempt, or commission base.

Dates of employment.

Eligibility to be Re-Hired.  (The most important of them all.)

Once these few questions are answered, the reference check usually ends. In some cases, references did not answer the phone, and H.R. Managers simply moved applicants along anyway. Todays business environment is a hurried one. Time is short and expectations are high. This works to your advantage. Using an aire of confidence, adding some polish to your demeanor and behavior can favorably influence H.R. Depts. into trusting you a little more.

Federal Laws require an employer to use the same investigatory approach to ALL APPLICANTS. This is expensive and time consuming. Companies generally don’t want to waste time and effort conducting a lengthy background check. Many H.R. Departments simply use “Google”, “Yahoo” and other search engines to learn as much about you as they can for free.

With this oin mind, you must take care to “Clean-Up” your image on social networking pages such as “Facebook”, and “MySpace”. Remove any and all unflattering pictures that may be posted. Delete all objectionable comments made by you. (Sexist, Racist, or just plain stupid.) Remember, you’re trying to sell H.R. Departments an image that is professional and mature. You’ve got to do your part to increase the odds of success. The Reference Store can help with the rest.

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Salary Negotiation

Salary Negotiation:

Many times, people have a misconception as to what a negotiation is. They think its about winning. That’s only half true. A successful negotiation is when ALL PARTIES WIN! Understanding the needs and wants of others puts you in the best possible position to ascertain what you can do to make them feel successful while not surrendering those items you need.

In negotiating a salary / benefit package try to learn as much as you can about what others similarly situated persons have received in the industry as a whole; as well as that specific employer. Certainly you want to get as much as you can. The employer wants to give as little as possible.

Here’s what you and employers have to consider:

  • The level of the job within your organization.
  • The scarcity of the skills and experience needed for the job in the job market.
  • The career progress and experience of the individual selected.
  • The fair market value for the job you are filling.
  • The salary range for the job within your organization.
  • The salary range for the job within your geographic area.
  • The existing economic conditions within your job market.
  • The existing economic conditions within your industry.
  • Company-specific factors.

Plan and communicate

A negotiation is composed of two major steps: planning (research and strategy) and communication (information exchange and agreement). In the planning step, get as much information as you can up front and, using both the company’s written and unwritten signals; map your skills against what the company values.

Give it time

Timing is also important. Remember that the best time to negotiate is after a serious job offer has been made and before you have accepted it. Once you are clear about the initial offer, you can express interest and even enthusiasm, but ask for more time to consider the job offer. We suggest that this request be made “in light of the importance of the decision.” Sometimes you can split up the negotiating session into two meetings: one to firm up the job design and responsibilities and the second to go over compensation and benefits. The key message here is not to make an impulsive decision. If they really want you, there’s time.

Consider the alternatives

You should be prepared with a rationale for everything to strengthen your position. Counteroffers are an expected part of many negotiations, so be sure to remain flexible. Keep in mind that different companies can give negotiations more or less latitude. Smaller companies may be more flexible than large, bureaucratic companies. Unionized companies usually have very little room for individual negotiations.

Negotiate for a win-win

Remember that the negotiation is not about strong-arm tactics or win/lose. It is a two-way process where you and your prospective employer are each trying to get something you need. In a negotiation, you’re both designing the terms of a transaction so that each of you will receive the maximum benefit from the final agreement.

The Reference Store:

The Reference Store is able to assist further in your attempts to find work. The interview process contains many elements. Salary and compensation negotiations are chief among these. Take it seriously, your future may depend on it.

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So???….. You got Fired. Now What?!?

If people have a wish list of things they want in life? Being fired would probably rate right next to sick, dead, or locked up. There’s nothing nice about getting fired. Your employer has some reason(s) for “Letting you go.” Right or wrong, you have to face the facts.

  1. Tomorrow morning, you don’t have a job to go to.
  2. You still have to buy the groceries and pay the bills.
  3. Competition for work can be very tough.
  4. Self-esteem may take a considerable blow.

The Reference Store has alternative solutions to repairing your employment history. Call or visit TheReferenceStore.com for details. A FAKE Employment Reference can be just the thing to get you past is difficult period.

During this challenging time, it’s the duty of the fired person to find a healthy was release the anger, frustration and feelings of revenge. One must realize that it isn’t the end of the World. Try and see it, as a new beginning for your career.

We must come to terms with the notion that, every job is temporary. No job lasts forever. Yes. Some jobs may last longer then others; but all jobs DO come to an end. We aren’t living in the times of our mothers and fathers when a person could expect to be in the same job, day after day, week after week, year after year until the age of sixty three or so.

Someone that has been fired owes it to (him) / (her)self to put aside (his) / (her) own feelings, and to try to see the situation from the perspective of the former employer. Asking oneself the tough questions will be a definite advantage in clearing up some of the obstacles that stand in the way of the hiring process.

Consider asking yourself:

  • Have I been written up about the issue I was fired for?
  • Did I take significant steps to fix it?
  • How was my performance compared to my peers?
  • Was my work consistently on time?
  • Did I consistently report to work on time?
  • Was I polite and easy to get along with?
  • Did I allow personal issues to impact or distract my work?
  • Do I regularly try to impose will judgment over my supervisors?
  • Have I helped create problems or helped to solve problems?
  • How often did I offer enthusiastic help in the furtherance of the companies goals?

The answers to these questions can give you some insight on how your next supervisor might see you as a potential employee. Its solely up to you to make every effort to be honest with yourself.

Being fired can be minimized by knowing exactly why you were released. With the “Sue happy” society we live in today, many companies only give the vaguest of reasons for dismal. If this is the case, the fired employee should simply shake hands, collect his belongings and receive their final paycheck.

After a few days, call them back and suggest that you want to avoid being released in the future and you’d like to know, how could you have been a better employee? You may get lucky enough for your former supervisor to open up and be candid.

Be prepared to give some very specific answers to some very specific questions on your being terminated. Be concise. If a question calls for a yes or no answer, give one! If you feel the need to elaborate further, then do so in one sentence.

Do not talk bad about your former employer. Many times during an interview, a prospect will “Trash talk” his former supervisor. Not only is this unprofessional, but suggests the job candidate might not be easy to work with as well.

Remember that the business world is a world of results. Employers understand that day to day failures can and do occur. When these failures become routine, and begin to negatively impact the company’s goals, A Supervisor owes it to his supervisors to take action. Up to and including termination of an employee.

Lastly, never forget, Your employers doors are open to make money. PERIOD! Anyone, absolutely anyone, that impedes that objective is subject to removal. Your supervisor is going to protect his rear end by firing yours.

Good Luck from your friends at

The Reference Store

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