Tag: job applications

3D Juggling 611: Out Of Body Experience

Welcome to all our new readers this week – we’ve met a whole bunch of lovely people who have signed up in the last few weeks. Hot off the press, there will be a Team Coaching Masterclass in Milton Keynes on 4th July.  Alan and Claire will be unpacking some of the interesting things about working with teams.

Claire writes: “There’s a lot of change going on and we are meeting an increasing number of people who are looking to change jobs and finding the interview process a challenging thing to navigate.  If you have been brought up with humility as a value, an interview can feel like a shameless exercise in self promotion.  The conflict that this creates in people means that some people take their body to the interview and leave the real self outside the door – like an out of body experience.  The same can happen with introverts who are only just arriving as the interview is ending – and who come up with the best answers out of everyone – two days after the decision has been made.

What can be done?  Firstly, it’s a mindset.  It doesn’t have to be self promotion but if you can’t describe how you do what you do, no one else will speak for you.  Secondly, good preparation and identifying stories that demonstrate that can really make a difference.  It’s worth thinking through what evidence the panel is looking for and noting key words that will remind you what story might illustrate that.  If you can answer with an example and then say what happened you will find that it feels less arrogant.  Often people we work with jot down names of people to help them remember their stories.  Then instead of going in alone, you will be going to the interview with a cloud of witnesses who will help you describe how you do what you do.  Because in the end, although the panel are looking to see that you match the person profile, almost every candidate will.  They will probably appoint on what’s different and your stories will help them see what that is.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

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3D Juggling 578: Disfluency

Claire writes:  “When we were writing the Great Appointments book, Su and I invented the word disfluency.  We notice that really good and competent professionals are disfluent when it comes to talking about themselves and their skills and experience in an interview or assesment centre.

If you can’t describe yourself, the interviewers will not have enough information to be able to decid whether you are the right person for the role.

Here are some tips

  • Prepare your data on yourself as much as you research the data on them.  And then make the connections between the two
  • Make sure that you use a voice where you are confident – people are often fluent and articulate in meetings or presentations or in a public arena and inarticulate talking about themselves.
  • Stand in the role you are being interviewed for when you answer so that you are using their language and making the connections from your story into their context so that they can imagine what it will be like to have you in role.

Disfluency, unexplored will mean that they don’t meet the real you.  Think about it…”

If you want some help preparing for interview, give us a call on 01462 483798.

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 352: Magic Seats

Claire writes: ‘When we bought our car, all I knew was that it would be a supermini with room for 4 people and good fuel consumption. Being available in red was desirable but not essential!  If that had been the final criteria, it would have been very difficult to chose between the makes we looked at – Citroen, Peugeot, Skoda, Renault etc.  What allowed us to make an informed choice was that each garage was able to clearly communicate what they felt the added value was in their car. And we did a test drive. So we had to choose between interiors, boot space and leg room.  On the way to buy the Toyota Yaris which fulfilled all the criteria except boot space, we stopped off at the Honda garage because it was raining.  It was the leg room and the magic seats which made us buy the Honda.  You can fold the back seats up or down.  We didn’t know we needed that, but realised it would mean we could fit a bike in the back… or a large plant… or a big box of training materials.

When employers advertise for posts, they advertise the generic basics which are essential for the job.  When we apply, we need to be really clear how we fit that and also what added value we bring so that they can decide who is the best fit for the job.  That means that you need to be crystal clear what you bring before you even fill out the application.  If you only answer the questions you are asked, there may be a significant piece of information which you forget to include.  Until you are clear what you bring, the potential employer will not be able to find it out from you – however hard they try. Especially if you are changing sectors or applying for a different type of role. That’s why we spend a considerable amount of time with individuals and groups facing job changes simply asking: So what did you do? If you have a job change coming up, do you know all the generic skills you bring?  And what evidence you have for them? It’s worth investing time to find that out BEFORE you start approaching employers.

And if you don’t know what you’re thinking unless you speak, don’t waste time siting staring at a blank computer screen or white paper… enlist a listening partner – a friend, colleague or a coach.

© 2007 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 528: Rocket Science

Claire writes: “It’s when someone gets slightly irritated when describing their skills and says ‘Of course I do that – doesn’t everyone?’ that we know we are getting to the heart of what’s unique about them. Because not everyone does things like you do – and probably your most important skills are the ones that you don’t think are rocket science.

I can remember speaking at a conference about career change and finding your purpose.  Having invited all the delegates to talk with their neighbour to try and extract their core skills, a man in the front row stood up.  He told me that he had taken early retirement at 50, had a great CV and wouldn’t be doing the exercise.  I offered to look at his CV instead.  The first page spoke of communication skills.  ‘Imagine that a lady from customer services in a supermarket is sat next to you.  She also has communication skills’, I said. ‘What are different about yours?’

You could tell that he understood things in a different way when he smiled and replied: ‘I’m a trained hostage negotiator. I get it!’ Then he rewrote his CV!!

Clarity about skills is important when you are looking for a different kind of job and are unclear what that might be.  It’s also important when you are being interviewed and all the candidates fit the person profile.  The job is likely to be appointed on that extra piece of uniqueness. And you need to be able to describe it.

What is different about your skills? Think about it…”

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 478: Finding the right story

Jane writes: “Imagine that you’ve done all the hard work needed to present a winning job application, and you’re getting ready for that all important interview. What are you thinking about? Maybe what to wear, how to get there on time, what they might ask, and what your answers could be.

Maybe you could think about the stories you will tell. Not lies, or exaggerated truths, but stories about real things you have done. When we talk about things that have meaning for us and that we own we are authentic, and this is visible to others. And as it will be the real you that goes to work for them, it makes sense to offer this to them from the start. When you offer them something else, maybe what you think they are looking for, you may end up in a job that you can’t do or a place where you don’t fit very comfortably, and either of these things can make you unhappy, or even ill.

So, how do you find your stories?

Start by looking at the information you have about the job – the job description, person specification, competency framework. Look at what you have found out about the organisation – its values, activities, contribution. What do these tell you that they are looking for? Make a list of the five or six most critical things you find. If you’re not sure what these are ask someone else to help you to identify them, or put all the information to one side and listen to yourself – you probably know.

Then ask yourself ‘What is my best evidence for each of these?’ The answers will be your stories, the things you have done that demonstrate that you have the skills and experience that they are looking for.

One of my clients identified that her interviewers would be looking for evidence that she could deal with conflict. At first she didn’t think she had a story, so we explored what conflict might look like and times when she had witnessed or experienced something that looked like this and done something about it. Start your story with a brief description of the situation. What was happening?

Then we explored what she could have done in that situation – her options. The next step was to describe what she actually did – the action she took. We followed this up by clarifying what happened next, and what the final outcome was. And that provides the structure for your stories: situation, options, action, response and result. And use lots of ‘I’, not ‘we’. This will happen comfortably when you are telling your own story.

Through this approach my client found a powerful story that she hadn’t realised she had. You may need to find several stories before you’re happy that you have one that is relevant, safe and powerful for each critical thing the interviewer may be looking for. Choose your best one for each, then practice telling them until you can tell each one with confidence in a few minutes. You don’t want to tell stories so long that the interviewer falls asleep.

And don’t forget that a job interview works both ways – you are assessing them as well. What are you going to ask them?

We’d be happy to help you find your stories, and your questions.”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who has an interview coming up.

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

Alternative to Mission Statement

Jude Trenier, who was at Spring Harvest, just sent me an interesting link from Donald Miller‘s blog about an alternative to a mission statement. We use a similar exercise in some Career Makeovers and this makes it even clearer. Have a look…

3D Juggling 461: Invisible Orchids

Claire writes: ‘The orchid we were given as an office warming present lost its flowers after a few weeks and has sat sadly on the window ledge for months looking decidedly dead. I trust that one or other of us has watered it from time to time. I have also considered consigning it to the bin. After all, what does a dead flower say about an organisation!

This morning I was listening to a client celebrate some significant changes in the culture of her organisation. It was great to hear as I can remember many conversations which were less positive. As a senior manager, she has influenced in many quiet ways and was taking stock of the changes. Others have noticed a shift in culture and are unaware that it came from her. Like the orchid, the organisation hasn’t been dramatically pruned or heavily watered. Quiet patience and a nudge here and there have taken it to the point where change is clearly visible. I moved a stake on the orchid this morning so that it can manage the weight of its new flowers. That will be our celebration of a living flower! My client has plans to celebrate what she has done in her team.

Some leaders are visible. Some leave a legacy that survives them. Some have done drastic pruning and some have elegant leaving dos when they move on but a year on, little of their legacy is left. Often it’s the invisible influencers who leave the biggest impact because the team say ‘We have done it ourselves’. The challenge, of course, is how to communicate that on your CV!”

Want to know more? Talk to us!

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who you believe to be an invisible influencer.

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 438: It’s not what you know

Claire writes: “Graduates are finding it increasingly hard to enter the work place and there are 70+ applicants for every job. Having the knowledge is no longer enough. What else can you do to increase your chances of at least getting an interview? One way is through volunteering strategically. Where would you really like to work? Go and talk to them and offer to work as a volunteer for, say, 3 months in exchange for a reference. It won’t get you there straight away, but it’s a start…”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who has a gap on their CV.

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 425: Stretch Limo

Claire writes: “I have chipped a bone in my foot, and can’t drive long distances so Clare drove my car for me last week. Her first manouvre was to reverse out of her drive onto a busy road. By the time we got to our destination she’d only stalled once early on, and was rather enjoying my car! A stretch, but less of a stretch from upgrading from a Smart car to a stretch limo, or driving a left hand drive car. At the same time I had to learn how to drive a mobility scooter!

The reality is that we both know how to drive. Changing cars or contexts is different and uses the basic skill of driving. At first it can feel uncomfortable, but with practice we soon become fluent and recognise that it wasn’t so far after all. Sometimes we need some help – like reverse parking a limo, but the basic principles are similar! Starting to do something new – at work or as a volunteer rarely involves starting from nothing. We always bring skills and experiences from other parts of our lives, some of which will transfer into a new context. We just need to know what they are! Do you know what your transferable skills are?

PS Interestingly, downsizing to a mobility scooter was harder than changing car! Foot improving!”

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

Juggling in 3D 415: Angels, Hubs and Fans

Claire writes: ‘There are so many internet based job sites that we are meeting an increasing number of people whose search for a job, or for their dream job, is happening from their keyboard. It’s true that the internet can connect you to thousands of adverts. It’s also true, as well, that some things are better done in person. After all, companies hire people more than CVs and a timely conversation can be far more productive than a speculative application.

The key question is not ‘have you any vacancies/opportunities’. It is ‘Tell me about your job’, Who else do you know who I need to be talking to about…?’. We’re often asked how to start finding people to talk to. The answer is talk to people! It goes like this. In the circle of people you know already, some will be:

  • Acquaintances: they know who you are
  • Fans: they know you and think you have something to offer
  • Hubs: they are fans and also know loads of people. They may not go out and tell the world about you, but they may be very willing to make some introductions to people you can talk to. Take them out for coffee and ask them who they know who you need to be talking to about x…
  • Angels: are rare and valuable beings. You may only have one or two angels. They are fans and think that the skills and experience you have are worth talking about. They will tell other people about you – only if they know what you’re looking for! Keep them up to date – through conversations.

Research is important. Knowing what’s available is important. And getting out and speaking to people is critical. If you try this, you’ll find it’s not cold calling, either.

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com