Monthly Archives: September 2014

How to Build Instant Rapport in an Interview

Article by Belinda Fuller

If you’ve ever felt instantly comfortable with a recruiter, you’ll know it’s got a lot to do with rapport. According to its definition, rapport is ‘a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well’. You might think that’s difficult to achieve with someone you have just met, but it may be simpler than you think.

There are several strategies you can employ to help. These include making a good first impression, being prepared, taking an interest, and ensuring the interviewer sees how you ‘fit’ their organisation.

It is well-known that we are naturally attracted to people who are similar to ourselves. When you build a good rapport with someone, the similarities are emphasised and the differences are minimised – which is a great basis for a successful interview. Here are some strategies you could use:

Make a Good First Impression: Whether you agree or not, the interviewer will make some initial judgements about you before you even speak. These ideas will be formed within the first few seconds of seeing you. Give yourself the best possible chance of making a good first impression by arriving on time, or a little early so you’re not flustered or rushed. Dress neatly and make sure you are well groomed. Research the company and work out what attire is most appropriate. Look the interviewer in the eye, use their name, smile and greet them warmly and sincerely. Shake hands firmly.

Show Your Interest in the Role: Research the company and role before the interview so you can demonstrate your knowledge and interest during the interview. Ask questions, comment on a new product/service or recent announcement. Be prepared to talk about yourself. The whole process is about YOU and YOUR suitability for the role. Spend some time brainstorming strengths, weaknesses, recent projects, and accomplishments so when you are asked about yourself, you have something to say. Focus on achievements you made in current or previous roles and demonstrate how you handle different scenarios.

Listen More and Talk Less: There isn’t much worse than a candidate who rambles without really saying anything. Concentrate on the interviewer and listen carefully to the questions they ask. If you find yourself becoming distracted, make an effort to re-engage with the interviewer. Maintain eye contact, lean forward in your chair and sit up straight – don’t slouch or lean back. This will take more effort and concentration and help you to remain alert. Ensure your answers are succinct and to the point. Research common interview questions and practice appropriate answers beforehand, so you have an idea of how you might respond to different questions.

Match Your Body Language: Successful rapport often stems from matched body language which encompasses all forms of nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, energy levels, posture, eye contact, hand gestures and general body position and movement. The technique of “matching” someone else’s body language can be used to support your story and more quickly establish the idea in the recruiter’s mind that you are a ‘good organisational fit’. It can be a powerful technique in an interview but could also be perceived as mimicking or intimidating by the recruiter if done in an obvious way. Simply take note of the recruiter’s voice tone, speed and volume as well as their energy and enthusiasm levels, body posture and gestures. This is a good place to start. Try to also pick up on the recruiter’s level of detail when answering questions – are they detail or big picture oriented? Incorporate your observations and provide your responses in a similar way.

Establishing instant rapport is something that can be done with practice. Do you lack confidence or are you nervous during interviews? This can create a barrier to achieving rapport which is why preparation is key. Research the organisation and the role, prepare standard responses to questions you know you’ll get asked, and watch your body language.

If you would like an Interview Coach to help you prepare for an upcoming job interview, please see our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

Resume Do’s and Don’ts

Article by Belinda Fuller

Resume.Do's.and.Don'tsWhen it comes to Resumes and work experience, faking it is one thing we definitely do not advocate. You may recall the sacking of a new senior executive earlier this year by a high profile retailer in Australia over a fake resume? In this article we discuss the importance of 100% honesty when applying for a new role. But how do you make the most of your skills and expertise to give yourself the best possible shot at the role?

In a job market like we are experiencing right now, it’s never been more important to get your Resume and job application 100% right the first time. Since it will most likely be one of many received, you need to give yourself the best chance at getting noticed. But that doesn’t mean faking your level of expertise. Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts for success:

Don’t Lie: Never exaggerate your responsibilities, achievements or education. The interviewer may use your Resume content as a basis for interview questions so don’t make statements that you can’t talk about or back up in more detail and lying about your qualifications or education is an obvious mistake.

Don’t Overdo Your Content: A  recruiter does not want to read an extensive shopping list containing everything you’ve ever done in the past. Often, what is NOT included in your job application is almost as important in making that all important first impression as what IS in there. So don’t waste words – put yourself in the employers’ shoes and ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” and only include relevant content.

Do Articulate Your Value: We always suggest a Career Overview to articulate exactly why you’d be perfect for the role. This area can be customised depending on the role and should provide a clear snapshot of you, your relevant qualifications, skills and experience and the value you could bring to the role.

Do Include Relevant Information: If you have a diverse work history, you may find it difficult to present it in a cohesive way. Include information that is relevant to the role you are applying for. This might require thinking creatively about how you could use some transferrable skills to highlight ability or success in other areas. There are also different ways to format your Resume to help you achieve more clarity.

You don’t usually get a second chance to make a first impression. Your resume is your first step in the door – but don’t risk embarrassment if you’re found out lying or faking content. If you’re not qualified to do the job, find another role to apply for that is more suitable. You are not only wasting your own time, but the recruiter’s time as well – and it is only a matter of time before you are found out.

Would you like assistance from a professional Resume Writer to create a job application that gets you noticed? Do you feel your application lacks relevance to the roles you are applying for? If you would like assistance with writing a winning job application, please see our Resume Writing Services.

Career Advice and Planning Tips

Article by Belinda Fuller

Career.Advice.and.Planning.TipsAre you feeling unhappy in your current job but unsure what to do about it? Are you a recent graduate who doesn’t know which career path to take? Do you have experience across many different areas but don’t know how to best present yourself to potential recruiters? The career planning process can be complex, but it is one that should be undertaken on a fairly regular basis in order to ensure you are on the right track to achieve the success you desire and deserve!

Follow these steps to start planning for your success today:

STEP # 1: TAKE STOCK. This first step requires you to sit down and look at your current situation. Think about the kind of work you enjoy and write down your goals for the future – what direction would you ideally like to pursue? If you have absolutely no idea, give some thought to the kinds of tasks you enjoy doing as well as what you’re good at. At this point, it is important to be aspirational – research online and look up job sites for roles you think you would enjoy over the long term.

STEP # 2: LIST YOUR SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE. In this second stage, you should list your current skills, knowledge and experience – then think about how useful they could be. Ask yourself where your strengths and weaknesses lie – both personally and professionally, then think about how they might help you achieve your aspirational role. At this point, you should involve other people – professionals, family, work colleagues you can trust – to help clarify your direction. You could also consider taking a professional career assessment to better understand your interests, values and personality and help narrow down options.

STEP # 3: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS. Based on your initial research and thoughts, you now need to clearly articulate your broad career goals and think longer term regarding where you’d like to be in five and ten years’ time. Identify areas for improvement – what experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications do you need in order to succeed?

STEP # 4: RESEARCH RESOURCES. It is important now to identify available resources. Look everywhere – courses, contacts, technology, online resources, etc. Consider the financial, family, study and other impacts you will experience if you were to pursue your goal. If you need to study, research providers and decide whether you can complete some study part-time while still working. Identify whether or not you can gain relevant skills in your current role and find out if there is an opportunity for volunteer work to help you gain experience.

STEP # 5: DEVELOP A CAREER PLAN. A well-structured career plan will clearly outline your goals and milestones. You should include action points to help you succeed, but remain flexible to change if need be. Include areas for development that cover skills, experience and education or training; as well as networking with individuals and finding out more about specific companies or industries. Identify your important transferrable skills and how you can best present those to potential employers. If you can, find a mentor who can help you through your transition.

STEP # 6: IMPLEMENTATION. The final and most important step of course is to start taking action to implement your plan!

Are you in charge of your future career direction? If not, consider seeing a Career Counsellor for an independent perspective. Career Counsellors are trained professionals who can help you achieve your full potential in your career. Wherever you are on your career path, start taking those initial steps today towards achieving your future career goals.

If you would like help from a Career Coach to evaluate your options for a new career or better understand the options that best suit your interests, values and personality, see our Career Guidance and Career Counselling services.