Archive for September, 2008

Are You Doing This on Interviews?

September 29, 2008
When it comes to job interviewing, by-the-book advice is easy to come by.  But these being far from by-the-book times, it is with great pleasure that I share an inspiring client story about the power of approaching an interview differently.

What made the difference for the career changer I’m about to introduce was his recognition that a job interview isn’t simply the culmination of weeks and months of networking…
A job interview is a relationship-building opportunity itself.

True story
*: Four months ago, Roger contacted me for career coaching.  During the course of our work together, he landed 3 rounds of interviews at the very company he most wanted to work for, vying with 2 other candidates for his “dream job”.
Roger recognized the position might be a stretch based on his prior experience and technical skills, but he felt firmly “in the running”.

After a nail-biting couple of weeks, Roger received word that he had been turned down for the position.  Disappointed but undeterred, he and I put our heads together, keeping in mind the value of relationship building.

During the interview process, Roger had established great rapport with one interviewer in particular named Stan.  Roger felt Stan would be upfront with him about the decision that had been made, so he decided to call Stan.  He asked Stan for feedback, expressed his interest in keeping in touch, and requested pointed advice on resources that could improve his chances next time.  This was Roger’s initial way of building on the relationship he had begun to develop with Stan in the interview room.

While Roger continued to apply to a number of job openings elsewhere, he made a point to buy the books Stan recommended and to enroll in a class after work.  Each step of the way, Roger e-mailed Stan to let him know he’d taken his advice and how well it was going.  By taking the initiative to keep in touch, Roger continued to build that relationship.

Fast forward…Well, wouldn’t you know what happened two weeks ago?  Roger received a call from Stan, asking him to interview for another position that had opened up on his team.  This time, Roger was the only candidate…and this time, he landed the position.  Furthermore, on his first day on the job, Roger already had a relatively established relationship with his new supervisor, one built on mutual respect.

Granted, things came together pretty nicely for Roger.  Interview candidates aren’t always able to get honest feedback from employers, or witness the timing work to their advantage.  But Roger’s story is a great reminder that regardless of outcome, a job interview is an opportunity to establish a relationship with a key member of an industry.  Once we dismiss the perception that an interview is a pass/fail evaluation, we lower our anxiety, increase our confidence, and put the interviewer at greater ease, too.   Essentially, we make room for big things to happen!

Warmly,

Jen


*Permission was granted to share this story, and names have been changed.

Jen helps people to set goals and then exceed their own expectations!
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed for students and professionals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services, or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914.617.8283
Email: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com

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Quality Results Guaranteed

September 12, 2008

The trick to doing most anything well is doing it badly first.

My favorite illustration of this comes from the pages of a wonderful (short) book called Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

Perhaps it is truer to say that the trick to doing most anything well is DOING the thing in the first place. The hurdle lies in moving from contemplation into action…and the best way over the hurdle is practice.  Far too often, we don’t give ourselves permission to practice — to dive in head first, make a mess of things…in essence, create a bunch of ugly pots.

But what if we did?  What if, more often than not, we moved across the great divide between contemplation and action by focusing on doing rather than on doing well?  What if we set our sights on the quantity of practice rather than on the quality of our efforts?

Consider it…What would change for you if you gave yourself more permission to practice?

Jen

P.S. Many thanks for the terrific response to last month’s ZoomLetter on Laughter! Friend and veteran television director & producer, Abby Russell, makes it her mission to share the benefits of laughter with others.  Abby is the founder of Comedy Fights Cancer, a non-profit organization that delivers live and taped stand-up comedy to patients in hospitals and care facilities and organizes comedy benefits to raise money for cancer research.  CFC’s mission is to improve patient quality of life through humor. Learn more about this amazing organization at www.comedyfightscancer.org.

Jen helps people to set goals and then exceed their own expectations!
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed for students and professionals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services, or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914.617.8283
Email: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com