Strategies build confidence, increase salaries and generate more interviews!

Linda West, Career Center Coordinator, University of Washington, Bothell

Strategies That


• Learn key traits employers judge you and your interview by
• Determine if you will be considered a low or a high hiring risk
• Graph your interviews to determine the image you present to employers
• Anticipate and understand each phase of the interviewing cycle
• Identify employer needs and market your skills to solve those needs
• Understand how to control your image and land a higher salary!

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Interviewing: Strategies That Increase Salaries and
Land More Interviews
Every business or organization has two primary needs in mind when hiring: To maximize profits and
productivity. To win-out and get hired over other job seekers you must first identify the needs of each
employer, then you must clearly understand and explain how your knowledge, skills and experience can solve
those needs and result in maximizing profits and productivity.
Interviewers face a certain level of risk when hiring, because employees who are hired, trained and then
perform poorly on the job, or must be terminated, cost employers thousands of dollars. Employers know this
and enter each interview or hiring situation with the need to prevent such losses. As a result, employers gauge
the perceived risk in hiring you based on the way you present yourself both physically and verbally throughout
the interview process. By showing employers how you meet their needs you can significantly reduce their
perceived risk in hiring you. If an area of risk comes up during the interview you must be prepared to
minimize or eliminate such perceived risk.
To prepare for each interview, imagine that you are an employer hiring someone for the job you want.
How could an employee help your firm maximize profits or productivity? What traits and skills would you
look for in such an employee? What criteria would you establish to judge each candidate by? Here's a list of
some of the most common requirements or standards that many employers judge applicants by:
1 Appearance and Dress is Appropriate for Work Environment and Level of Position Being Sought

2 Presents Self Confidently and Can Communicate Effectively
3 Demonstrates A Thorough Understanding of The Job and Ability to Perform The Job
4 Possesses Primary, Secondary and Supportive Skills Needed For The Job
5 Can Make Bottom Line Contributions Such as Cutting Costs, Increasing Profitability and Productivity
6 Past Work History and Current Demeanor Demonstrate Reliability, Trustworthiness
7 Past Behavior Indicates Candidate Will Be Successful In Job
8 Has Proven History of Initiative, Ability to Work Independently and Be a Team Player
9 Can Handle Level of Stressful or Demanding Situations Occurring in the Job
10 Has the Mental Capacity or Alertness Demanded by the Job
11 Educational Background Is Close To or Matches Job Requirements
12 Reviewing These Factors, Employers Assess How Quickly You Will Be Productive on The
Job and The Level of Such Productiveness
13 Employers Assess Combination of Experience, Skills, Personal Traits and Perceived Productivity
To Determine If They Justify the Salary Being Offered or Negotiated For

1 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes - Strategies That Increase Salaries

Do Not Duplicate

We'll use the list of requirements or standards on the facing page to assess if Cynthia appears overqualified. present themselves strongly and confidently. Cynthia had trained new sales representatives. by marketing your bottom line contributions and accurately assessing how you will be perceived you can develop a solid understanding of how to shape and control your interviews. This will give you a better sense of where you stand at the end of each interview.As employers move through the interview process they gauge how applicants present themselves from the very first word spoken to: eye contact. and managed a call center employing 35 sales reps during her manager's absence. how prepared applicants are for the interview. qualified or unqualified. Using this information we'll gauge how Cynthia will be perceived by employers as she moves through her interview. questions and answers for conducting stronger interviews but do not provide a systematic method of understanding what is really happening throughout the interviewing cycle. They dress in corporate attire. Then we'll plot an interview that landed Cynthia a great job. On the next two pages. It also helps you to identify any answers or comments you make which are weak and have the potential to damage your image. In contrast. 1 Do Not Duplicate 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . The Call Center Manager is responsible for generating a high percentage of qualified leads which can be turned into sales by Outside Sales staff. must be able to manage diverse staff and multiple activities. Internally. Cynthia had been an Inside Sales Representative making $35. In this case. and how closely their experience. employers react to every verbal and nonverbal communication presented by the applicant. we'll use a graph like the one below to plot an interview that didn't land Cynthia a job offer. skills and education match specific job requirements and enable the applicant to contribute to profitability and productivity. To assess how Cynthia performed during her interviews it's important that we develop a picture of typical Call Center Managers. Most resume and job search books add to this sense of confusion because such books throw together a raft of ideas. A great way to do this is to graph how employers respond to you and the statements you make during every phase of your interview. helped to create a very successful telemarketing and lead development program.000 but wanted to become a Call Center Manager and boost her salary to the $45. handshake. such an awareness will help you take immediate action to repair such damage by strengthening your answer or focusing the employer's attention on skills he is interested in and allow you to bring your interview back on track.000+ range. how well applicants answer questions. Just as we've graphed before and after resumes to determine the image they create you can apply this same strategy to analyze the image you present during interviews. Since each employer's internal assessment and reaction process cannot be viewed or readily quantified by the applicant the interviewing process is often misunderstood or viewed as a "mysterious" process that seems overwhelming to many job seekers. and be able to guide sales reps in making thousands of daily sales contacts.Strategies That Increase Salaries 2 .

most of the accounts I contact are the lower end accounts although I sometimes assist with key accounts. Driving home she began wondering if she had overestimated her ability to land a Call Center Manager position. She wore slacks and a blouse to her interview. I saw that you had been with this company for three years and I had assumed it was all in the call center. I have several more applicants to interview this week. Looking at your resume. Cynthia replied. Cynthia stammered a little and replied. dressed immaculately in a dark suit. "No. "Can you give me an idea of the type and size of accounts you've handled in the call center?" Being totally unprepared for this question. Thanks for coming in." Knowing she blew the interview but not sure why." Hearing this." and pointed to her resume already on his desk. As he introduced himself and shook hands with Cynthia. Once in his office. "Well. Cynthia replied. Why don't you tell me a little about your education. Kendall was selected to interview her and had just come into the reception area to see if his next appointment was going to show up. "How long have you been in this position?" Realizing her experience was short and a big weakness. Cynthia immediately realized that Kendall seemed like a no-nonsense person. moving from sales assistant to inside sales within 6 months of being hired. "To start." Realizing Cynthia only had 18 months call center experience. "I've only been in this position for about 2 years but have progressed rapidly." Feeling the interview slipping away. how they matched the job. Cynthia left feeling discouraged.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . She then replied. My supervisor has been very open in complementing me on my sales skills and has said in the future she will consider me for a management position. Kendall leaned back in his chair and said. "Well. or how she could contribute to a Call Center's profitability or productivity. "Well. Kendall stood up and reached to shake Cynthia's hand and said. After a moment. 3 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . why don't you give me an overview of your skills and why you feel you are qualified for the Call Center Manager position. I have a copy. I'm not sure how much sales the accounts generated. He said. Cynthia put her purse on the floor and began rummaging through it to take out her resume. she straightened up and asked Kendall if he needed her resume." Surprised her interview was starting so quickly. I pursued marketing because I love working with people and wanted to combine that interest with my minor in advertising. It was windy and because she was a few minutes late Cynthia didn't stop to brush her hair so she looked a little windblown." Kendall then asked." Kendall then leaned even farther back in his chair and said.Cynthia's Before Interview Even though Cynthia had landed an interview for a Call Center Manager position. she hadn't spent any time thinking about her skills. "Well. he noticed she glanced away and seemed to lack the confidence needed as a Call Center Manager. "I have a Bachelors Degree with a major in Marketing from the University of Washington. Kendall then said. I'm afraid we're looking for someone with at least 3 years call center experience. I'm currently an Inside Sales Representative for a Call Center and have helped to train other sales representatives. Cynthia shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

Trustworthiness 7 Past Behavior Indicates Candidate Will Be Successful In Job 8 Has Proven History of Initiative. How would you rate the employer's risk in hiring Cynthia for a Call Center Manager position? As you can see. I rated the risk an employer would face as high. Skills.000? See if you agree with how I ranked my impression of Cynthia's dress and appearance in the first column of the graph below. Personal Traits and Perceived Productivity To Determine If They Justify the Salary Being Offered or Negotiated For Our Graph Shows Why Cynthia Didn't Land a Job Offer Cynthia's image should present her as looking well qualified for the job. Secondary and Supportive Skills Needed For The Job 5 Can Make Bottom Line Contributions Such as Cutting Costs. Then continue on and rank Cynthia in each of the 13 requirements. Employers Assess How Quickly You Will Be Productive on The Job and The Level of Such Productiveness 13 Employers Assess Combination of Experience. 1 Appearance and Dress is Appropriate for Work Environment and Level of Position Being Sought 2 Presents Self Confidently and Can Communicate Effectively 3 Demonstrates A Thorough Understanding of The Job and Ability to Perform The Job 4 Possesses Primary. Ability to Work Independently and Be a Team Player 9 Can Handle Level of Stressful or Demanding Situations Occurring in the Job 10 Has the Mental Capacity or Alertness Demanded by the Job 11 Educational Background Is Close To or Matches Job Requirements 12 Reviewing These Factors.Strategies That Increase Salaries 4 . qualified or unqualified as a Call Center Manager making $45.Now Let's Graph Our Response to Cynthia's Interview Consider each of the job requirements listed below and use them to rate the image Cynthia presented in her interview. yet she consistently appears unqualified. 1 Do Not Duplicate 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . Increasing Profitability and Productivity 6 Past Work History and Current Demeanor Demonstrate Reliability. This demonstrates the image Kendall had formed of Cynthia and why he dismissed her so quickly. Reading the description of how Cynthia was dressed. would you rate her as presenting an image that makes her seem overqualified.

On her second interview.000 annually. She then determined how her skills would contribute to increased sales." Leaning forward and seeming very interested Francis replied." 5 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . His staff then contacted each company and followed up. I have worked many long hours to generate those awards. "Great. We then prepared a detailed summary of each account. Cynthia noticed several sales awards that Francis had been given. Microsoft. whom I often communicated with on a daily basis. profitability and productivity. I have a minor in advertising which was a great asset in helping me to market our products to clients and identify their needs.000 up to $125. Analyzing several ads for Call Center Managers. I'm in a rush today but want to give you a short tour. Can you describe the type of accounts and volume of sales generated from the leads your department developed?" Feeling confident. I served in this function whenever our Call Center Manager was out of the office which could be up to 50% during peak times. UPS and Hewlett Packard. Cynthia then commented.A. overseeing initial sales contacts to more than 2. He documented the fact that the training I provided increased our leads to sales ratio by more than 30% which resulted in an increase of over $250. Our minimum requirement is a B. Cynthia contacted me to help her revise her resume and coach her regarding her interviewing skills. "Looking at your resume. key decision makers and qualifying customer interest. Francis then asked. She was then interviewed by Francis. This information was forwarded to our District Sales Manager." Looking pleased. Degree. "Yes. Using this information she created a resume which matched her skills to employers' needs and highlighted her bottom line achievements. "That sounds like just the kind of initiative that helped me become the Call Center Manager. Cynthia answered.The Difference Bottom Line Contributions Make A few days after her first interview. Then I'd like to set up a second interview so that we can discuss your sales experience in-depth. Our call center also employees between 30 and 35 sales staff." Looking very interested. Key account sales ranged anywhere from $50. Following Francis into her office. I received performance awards for generating the highest number of leads competing with over 30 other sales representatives in our call center. Do you have any other education that is relevant?" Cynthia then replied. I see you have a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. which was instrumental in increasing our lead development. Cynthia made sure she arrived 10 minutes early and carried only a briefcase with her. "Yes. Our staff was responsible for identifying buyers. Cynthia also realized that she needed to present a polished corporate image. Cynthia identified the top skills required for such positions. "It looks like you have been very effective as a Call Center Manager having received so many top awards. have you received any sales awards?" Prepared for this question Cynthia answered. Following the strategies discussed in this booklet. Tell me.000. equipment needs and potential sales products. so she purchased several new suits that matched the image of a Call Center Manager making $45. It sounds like you're familiar with accounts similar in size to the ones we deal with and you seem to be comfortable overseeing call center activities." Francis smiled and answered. I also received a commendation and bonus for training approximately one-half of our sales staff which increased the production of leads from our department by more than 10%.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . "I managed up to 35 staff. Francis stood up and said. "Yes. who had been promoted from the position of Call Center Manager to Department Manager.000 accounts per week for accounts such as IBM.000 in annual sales.

effective communication and interview preparation can turn unsuccessful interviews into job offers. Francis felt little or no risk in hiring Cynthia as a Call Center Manager. Employers Assess How Quickly You Will Be Productive on The Job and The Level of Such Productiveness 13 Employers Assess Combination of Experience. Trustworthiness 7 Past Behavior Indicates Candidate Will Be Successful In Job 8 Has Proven History of Initiative. 1 Do Not Duplicate 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes .Now Let's Graph Our Response to Cynthia's Interview Again. Then continue on and rank Cynthia in each of the 13 requirements. As a result. Secondary and Supportive Skills Needed For The Job 5 Can Make Bottom Line Contributions Such as Cutting Costs.Strategies That Increase Salaries 6 . resulted in Cynthia looking well qualified for the job. 1 Appearance and Dress is Appropriate for Work Environment and Level of Position Being Sought 2 Presents Self Confidently and Can Communicate Effectively 3 Demonstrates A Thorough Understanding of The Job and Ability to Perform The Job 4 Possesses Primary. Skills. This is an excellent example of how proper appearance. consider each of the job requirements listed below and use them to rate the image Cynthia presented in her second interview. See if you agree with how I ranked my impression of Cynthia's dress and appearance in the first column of the graph below. Increasing Profitability and Productivity 6 Past Work History and Current Demeanor Demonstrate Reliability. Personal Traits and Perceived Productivity To Determine If They Justify the Salary Being Offered or Negotiated For Our Graph Shows Why Cynthia Received The Job Offer The professional image Cynthia presented along with answers that demonstrated her ability to increase Call Center profitability and productivity. Ability to Work Independently and Be a Team Player 9 Can Handle Level of Stressful or Demanding Situations Occurring in the Job 10 Has the Mental Capacity or Alertness Demanded by the Job 11 Educational Background Is Close To or Matches Job Requirements 12 Reviewing These Factors.

many interviewers will refer to your resume. To prevent such red-flags. My goal is to teach you how to analyze each position you'll interview for and the unique questions it will generate. Questions To Judge Your Skills and Experience After introductions are made. Interviewers are trained to look for such non-verbal cues and use them as red-flags to identify problems and find weaknesses that can eliminate us as viable applicants. 7 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . I've categorized the interviewing cycle into three phases--from introductions--to questioning--to closure--that occur sometime during each interview. or more. you could be asked anywhere from 7 to 30 questions. the interviewer will begin to ask questions about your job specific skills--the skills. confidence. We may stammer. experience and abilities that are required to perform the job. To promote yourself as the top candidate you must anticipate questions you'll be asked and provide answers that demonstrate your ability to cut costs. during each interview. Getting caught off guard by an unexpected question causes many of us to fall into the great interviewing pit. using it to ask you questions.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . This includes asking conversational questions like. look confused. The Interviewing Cycle Phase I: Introductions and First Impressions Most interviewers spend a few minutes in chit-chat to build rapport and put the applicant at ease at the opening of each interview. Such a heavy emphasis on job specific skills makes it imperative that you know the requirements for each position and be ready to explain how your background matches each requirement. it's important to understand and anticipate each phase of the interviewing cycle and the questions it may generate. Questions You Can Ask To Direct and Control The Interview Employers control and direct interviews by asking questions. This strategy alone can put you in the top 5%-10% of applicants who are ultimately hired. This strategy gives you an opportunity to sell those skills that the interviewer may fail to ask about or that you wish to emphasize. Therefore. poise. shift nervously in our seats and ultimately give a weak answer to an important question. Such questions form the core of the interview and take up to 50% or more of interviewing time.Thoroughly Preparing for Interviews Like Cynthia. blush. maximize profits. Then to prepare answers slanted to market the best of your skills for that particular position. "How was your commute?" Substantial interview questions are not asked during this introductory phase but handshake. you can take part in directing and controlling each interview by asking leading questions of the interviewer. In contrast. you must view your resume as an interviewing tool and anticipate any and all questions it will generate. the biggest mistake job seekers make before going on interviews is not preparing for them. increase sales and enhance productivity. eye contact. Questions About Your Bottom Line Contributions As employers gather information about your skills and experience they assess the degree to which you can contribute to their bottom line and determine if you provide enough value to justify your salary. or more. Most interviews last from 15 minutes up to an hour. Considering it can take only one to two minutes to answer a question. appearance. vocabulary and non-verbal presentation are already being assimilated and judged by the interviewer. Phase II: Questions Asked Based On Your Resume Once introductions are over. This is much more effective than memorizing a group of general questions and answers that are not slanted to match the jobs you want.

They will also use this figure and balance it against their assessment of you in order to determine if you are worth the salary you request. many employers will ask you what salary you desire so that they can determine if your request falls within their salary range. You should also review your work history in order to anticipate any questions employers may have about problem areas such as gaps in employment or an erratic work history. Before leaving an interview it's important to identify any negative assumptions an employer may have made about you so that you have an opportunity to address them and turn them into a positive impression. second interviews are often discussed. employers will ask questions to uncover your personality. at the end of this chapter you'll be provided a checklist that will guide you in preparing for each phase of the interviewing cycle. Many employees are hired because they pull ahead of the pack by writing strong thank you letters. Values and Coping Style In the long run. and how you handle stressful or demanding situations. The friendly. If the interviewer feels you are a good candidate. second interviews will not be discussed and you will be sent on your way. Then. If the interviewer feels you are not a viable candidate. Questions About Salary Requirements Toward the end of each interview. the interview will be drawn to a close. they are most interested in how your training and involvement in college activities has resulted in skills or knowledge that in some way enhances your ability to do the job. your personality. Questions About Your Work History As interviewers gather information about your skills and achievements they will review the work history presented in your resume or application. One has a very dry personality and the other is very friendly and outgoing. Consider two applicants with equal skills. Therefore. and that you possess key skills and personality traits that indicate you will be a successful employee.Questions To Assess Personality. or several letters of recommendation. Phase III: Interview Closure Once an employer feels he has gathered enough information from each phase of the interview cycle. As a result. Questions About Education and Training When interviewers ask questions about education. Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . I've provided key strategies to help you answer questions along with tips on formulating questions that allow you to introduce and emphasize your top skills. After that discussion. that you are reliable. Post Interview: Follow Up & Thank You Letters Follow up and thank you letters are a must in generating second and third interviews as well as solid job offers. it's important that you be able to articulate how your education will assist you in performing the position being sought. values and coping style may weigh more heavily in helping you get hired than your job specific skills. with you to the interview. outgoing person will probably be the one that's hired because that person will be seen as more of a team player.Strategies That Increase Salaries 8 . A Review of The Interviewing Cycle On the following pages we'll discuss each phase of the interviewing cycle. Employers are looking for feedback and verification from others that the information you present during an interview is accurate. values and work habits. Questions About Your References Many employers ask that you bring a list of references.

Then to mimic them as closely as possible. Below. I then planned our monthly parts requirements and ordered just enough parts so that we had them at least one week prior to production deadlines. It's not so much that any one of these things in itself will cause you not to be hired. or that the person doesn't go the extra mile to present a good image. For example. My recommendation is that you identify the level of dress. Phase II: Questions Asked Based On Your Resume Interviewers often use the resume as a guide to ask questions yet many job seekers are not familiar with the information in their own resumes and get caught off guard when employers question them. It must be that they think employers really won't care if an applicant's hair is a little windblown. you'll see a resume statement along with a question and answer about the statement. A weak handshake. fidgeting. Doing so will greatly increase your interview success. getting embarrassed or becoming flustered can also result in negative assumptions.Phase I: Introductions and First Impressions I'm not sure why people don't pay closer attention to their grooming. Employer's Question • Can you tell me more about what you did to increase your department's productivity? Applicant's Answer • "I analyzed operations and found that many departments were waiting for parts that often came several days behind schedule." 9 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . and allow you to revamp your resume prior to an interview. may be unable to work independently without a lot of direction. This enabled us to bring over 6 production lines back on track and increased our production by 15%. may be intimidated by high level staff and therefore not be effective in supporting them. Resume Statement • Increased departmental productivity by 15% by pre-ordering short-term inventory. or a negative question that an employer might ask. that shoes are scuffed or that clothes are not freshly pressed. eye contact and other non-verbal signals during interviews. poor eye contact. or may be incapable of dealing with difficult customers or challenging situations. won't care about doing all he or she can to do the best job. an employer may assume that windblown hair. handshake. it's the underlying assumptions that employers make about you when they see such behaviors that will prevent you from being hired.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . if an employer needs to hire someone to support high level staff. or if the applicant is facing financial difficulties that he may not be reliable. work independently or deal with the public in stressful situations--such behaviors can lead an employer to assume that the applicant is not confident. This process can also help you catch a negative conclusion that an employer might make about you. Therefore it's important that you take each line of your resume and anticipate and answer questions the employer will be likely to ask you. It's these underlying assumptions that an applicant with poor grooming or physical presence must really battle against and prevent. scuffed shoes and unpressed clothing means the person is careless about their appearance. demeanor and communication style--including handshake and eye contact--portrayed by those doing the job you want. may be on the edge financially and can't afford new shoes or clothing. especially when first greeting an employer. dress. These assumptions can make an employer believe the person will also be careless on the job. For example.

Strategies That Increase Salaries 10 . Just like thousands of job seekers. Designing the jig and using all our clamps cut our production time from 5 days to 3 days.000 order. Then select stories from your work history that you can use to answer each question and explain why you are well qualified. I quickly estimated how long it would take to finish the order and realized it would take over 5 days. Tony kept remembering more and more examples of work situations where he had used his problem solving skills--yet none of them were in his resume. Coaching him on his interviewing skills. imagine how weak his interviews would have been without this story and the many others he shared in subsequent interviews. Write down each story. many job seekers give interviewing answers that are too long or not direct and to the point. he spent about 10 minutes recounting a situation that saved his company from losing a big order. Another weakness is that most job seekers are not aware of the full range of their skills and falter when trying to explain how their skills match each employer's needs. allowing us to meet Bon Marche project deadlines and retain a $400. I normally spend from 1 to 2 hours with each client when writing a resume. This is a lot of work. Then I designed a customized jig to speed the set-up of each unit." Statement Written For Tony's Resume • Designed a customized jig and set up a gluing schedule which cut production time from 5 days to 3. review each statement in your resume and anticipate the questions it may generate. Tony's Answer When Asked About His Problem Solving Skills "During my second week at XYZ Furniture we received an order from the Bon Marche for 200 display units to be delivered within 3 days. It took us about 5 minutes to pare his story down to a verbal description that he could share in one to two minutes during an interview. He replied. then practice saying it aloud until you can share it within one to two minutes. Production had already started when I was given the project and our company had been told if we couldn't meet the deadline that the order would be cancelled. Once you read Tony's story below." I then asked Tony to describe a work situation that demonstrated his problem solving skills as a furniture designer. To prepare. and we were able to meet the Bon's requirements. as the example on the facing page illustrates. "Problem solving skills are almost always mentioned. I asked Tony what skill was requested the most in ads or job descriptions for designer positions. Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . Then it took us 5 more minutes to pare it down and create a written statement for his resume.Use Stories That Prove Your Qualifications Many applicants do poorly during interviews because they have not selected stories from their backgrounds that prove they are qualified. After thinking a moment.000 range although he had left a position making $40. Tony's resume was a reflection of how he viewed his skills and how ill-prepared he was for interviews. My being able to step in and solve both the design and production problems resulted in our keeping a $400. I gathered together all of our gluing clamps so I'd know how many units we could glue at one time. but will increase your confidence and impress employers.000 order.000. This same preparation is mandatory for maximizing interview success by paring down verbal descriptions of skills and achievements into stories that take only one to two minutes to share. a furniture designer who was upset because he was landing many interviews but receiving salary offers in the $32. As a result. I remember working with Tony. The bulk of that time is spent talking about each person's background and then paring down descriptions of their achievements and skills so that they fit on a one or two page resume. If Tony had gone on another interview without sharing these stories he would have continued to receive low salary offers. As we went through this paring down process.

Below. proposals. 9) Able to work with large. meetings and travel arrangements? 5) This position requires heavy contact with clients. WordPerfect and Excel. Have you been responsible for such systems? 8) This position requires heavy Word.Questions To Judge Your Skills In addition to resumes. 1) Ad for Division Assistant 2) Leading engineering consulting firm requires 3 years administrative experience. diverse workgroups. 8) MS Word.79 to $20.59 per hour. budgets and spreadsheets. client visits and presentations. Do you have similar experience? 10) Our entry requirement is a Bachelors Degree. Degree preferred. budgets and spreadsheets? 7) You will be responsible for file set-up and maintenance. What is your experience using these programs? 9) You will coordinate with large. 11) $16. diverse workgroups. Therefore. employers also use want ads and job descriptions to guide them in asking questions. coordinate meetings. 3) Will provide staff support to Division Managers and Project Teams. 7) Set up new files and maintain them. 5) Process invoices.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . WordPerfect and Excel. skills and educational requirements needed in each position. 4) Prepare and approve correspondence. Do you have such as degree? 11) The salary is quite high for this position. travel arrangements. What type of client interaction have you been responsible for? 6) Have you been responsible for preparing technical documents such as proposals. 6) Prepare technical documents. Questions That May Be Asked About the Ad 1) Can you describe your experience as a Division Assistant or as an Executive Assistant for me? 2) Please tell me about any experience you have with engineering or consulting firms. skill and educational requirements listed in an ad for a Division Assistant. This knowledge will allow you to accurately anticipate many of the questions employers will ask you and to prepare answers that promote you in the best possible light. Compare each of the numbered skills to the numbered questions below to see how I've used each skill or requirement to anticipate potential questions about each requirement. What skills do you possess that qualify you for this salary? 11 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . it is very important that you also analyze ads or job descriptions in order to identify the duties. 3) Can you tell me how many staff you support in your current position and what their titles are? 4) What type of correspondence have you been responsible for preparing or approving? 5) Do you have experience preparing invoices and other billing functions? 5) Have you been responsible for coordinating presentations. I've numbered the job title.A. 10) B.

B. is a second ad for a Branch Manager. who you will work with and the types of problems you will be responsible for dealing with.A. Where do you fall in this range and why? Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . 7) Hiring and supervising office staff. Tell me how your education fits our needs.000. Preparing in this way will increase your confidence prior to interviews. but will consider other alternatives. 3) Extensive experience acquiring major accounts with sales of up to $5 million annually. Give me a review of your credit background.A. The more confident and prepared you are--the better presentation you will make during every phase of the interviewing cycle. Questions That May Be Asked About The Ad 1) Can you give me an overview of your Branch or Departmental Management experience? 2) Can you describe your experience opening and managing office furniture or related distribution centers? 3) Tell me about your background managing major accounts and the sales volume your branch generated. Use ads and job descriptions to help you develop a good understanding of what each job entails. 8) Proven ability to minimize bad debts and implement credit/collections procedures. The ad we just analyzed was for a Division Assistant. What size of staff have you managed in the past? 6) What experience do you have overseeing contract negotiation. budgeting and sales reporting. Do you have related experience? 5) This position will train and supervise up to 20 sales staff. training and supervision of up to 20 sales staff. 11) $45.000 to $60.000 to $60. Managing accounting.Another Example Analyzing ads to anticipate employer questions works for any position at any salary level. 10) M.000 DOE. vendor scheduling and customer relations. 4) Proven history of managing multiple branch functions including: 5) Marketing. 9) Have you managed warehouse and fulfillment operations to support accounts in multiple states? 10) We prefer an M. preferred but can substitute the right combination of experience and education. advertising.B. 4) Have you been responsible for managing multiple locations and internal functions? 5) Marketing management includes all phases of advertising. 9) Coordinate warehouse and fulfillment operations to service a 3-state customer region. 1) Ad for Branch Manager 2) Take charge executive level manager to open new office furniture distribution center. As you can see using job requirements to anticipate employer questions worked equally well to analyze this ad. Can you describe your experience in this area? 8) You will direct credit and collections functions for multiple sites. Below. vendor scheduling and customer relations? 7) Have you hired and supervised office staff? If so.Strategies That Increase Salaries 12 . 6) Overseeing contract negotiation. what were their job functions and the size of your staff? 8) We demand an exceptionally low bad debt ratio. 11) The salary range is from $45.

Ad for Division Assistant Leading engineering consulting firm requires 3 years administrative experience. diverse workgroups. Read through the ad and imagine what other skills or abilities someone will need to do this job. Consider the types of problems and situations this person will face on a daily basis. B. See if the skills or problems you thought of are in the left hand column of hidden needs I listed below. However. abilities or problems that an employer may be concerned about and ask about during your interview. Prepare and approve correspondence. •Must work independently •Give me an example of when you worked independently on a major task. There are many more "hidden needs" that each employer must deal with beyond those mentioned in an ad or job description. Prepare technical documents.A. In the right hand column are questions I developed that employers will be likely to ask about each of these hidden needs. •Requires minimum instruction •Describe your ability to initiate and complete tasks with little instruction. Able to work with large.59 per hour. budgets and spreadsheets. client visits and presentations. Set up new files and maintain them. Process invoices. want ads and job descriptions are snapshots--providing only a small amount of information about each position. Hidden Needs Questions About Hidden Needs •Strong typing / 10-key skills •How fast do you type? Can you use a 10-key by touch? How accurate are you? •Can catch errors in data •Can you describe your ability to proof contracts and verify project data? •Good writing/editing skills •What type of documents have you been responsible for writing and editing? •Has good follow through •Can you describe your experience following through on work projects? •Strong attention to detail •How would you describe your attention to detail and accuracy? •Good organizational skills •Tell me about your experience organizing tasks to support multiple departments? •Adept at problem solving •Tell me about some of the most important problems you've solved. $16. •Can handle pressure •Tell me about your ability to handle pressure.Questions About the Employer's Hidden Needs As you've seen. •Is a team player •Describe a time when you served as part of a team and what you accomplished. Below. you'll see the ad for the Division Assistant. coordinate meetings. proposals. Will provide staff support to Division Managers and Project Teams. experience and knowledge allow you to solve those needs. •Can meet deadlines •Describe two instances in which you had to meet important deadlines. Degree preferred. You will increase the success of your interviews if you analyze the hidden needs each employer faces and determine how your skills. travel arrangements. ads are a good way to anticipate many of the questions that employers will ask you during an interview. You can do this by making assumptions about the needs or problems each employer faces. MS Word. WordPerfect and Excel.79 to $20. 13 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes .Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . Such hidden needs can include additional skills.

Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . "Can you tell me your top concerns or needs in hiring someone for this position?" This question elicits a wealth of information from employers that you can use as a guide to match and market your skills to their needs. employers will ask a variety of questions to determine if and how you can contribute to their firm's bottom line. The sample questions below. What is your experience in fund-raising? Your Response: As a Program Director. CEO and 3 Department Heads who were responsible for sales staff in 3 states. introduce fund-raising and executive support skills into the interview. streamlining operations and maximizing productivity 2) Increasing sales and profitability or generating new and repeat business 3) Inventing new products or procedures 4) Improving employee morale or customer relations 5) Cutting costs by researching and negotiating lower vendor and supplier prices Questions Employers May Ask: 1) Have you helped your department cut costs. like every agency we are solely dependent upon grants and corporate donations. create a list of your top 5-10 skills. Question To Sell Your Skill: Does this position support executive staff? Employer's Answer: Yes. Anticipate questions you may be asked about each of the areas you identify and then prepare answers that show how your past experience. Another great question to ask early in an interview is.000 from donating corporations as well as receiving annual grant approval each year that I managed the fund-raising program. it requires working closely with the President and Vice President of Marketing.Questions About Bottom Line Contributions Throughout the interviewing cycle. it's wise to make a list of ways an employee performing the job you want can contribute to increased profitability and productivity. Asking questions in this way creates a dynamic image of you actively taking part in each interview. Then develop a question you can ask which will allow you to sell each skill. skills and current abilities allow you to positively impact the employer's bottom line.Strategies That Increase Salaries 14 . streamline operations or maximize productivity? 2) How have you contributed to increased sales or profitability. I obtained over $60. new or repeat business? 3) Have you assisted in the creation or new products or procedures? 4) What is your history of success in improving employee morale or customer relations? 5) How have you helped cut purchasing costs? Ask Questions To Direct and Control Interviews Asking questions allows you to direct the interviewer's attention to your strongest qualifications. Question To Sell Your Skill: Does your agency have an ongoing need to procure funding in addition to grants? Employer's Answer: Yes. Your Response: Great. To begin. Some Ways Employees Contribute to the Bottom Line by: 1) Cutting costs. As the example below illustrates. in my last position I served as an Administrative Assistant to the President.

while it's always hard to be criticized." Tip: There are hundreds of questions like these that you can read and try to remember answers to. Most employers would rather hire employees who require training as long as they are enthusiastic.Questions To Assess Your Personality. if a supervisor severely criticized me with no good reason. For example. Therefore. You'll be amazed at how easily you can use such a list to answer a multitude of questions during your interviews. you may find it most helpful to list several of your strongest personality traits. Our first tendency when answering questions like these. a customer emergency and preparing an extremely important package that must go out the door in 5 minutes? Take a moment and select one of the questions shown above and imagine what you would say in answer to it. Rather than trying to answer so many different questions. your payrate or your job satisfaction? 2) How do you spend your spare time? 4) Which is more important to you. Then we could work on improving the situation together. is to be honest. And. Values and Coping Style Personality. unless we are professional interviewers. A better reply would be: "I would take some time to review what I did and try to determine if I had made a mistake. values and coping style are an extremely important component of why people are hired. If you're like most people. Questions To Reveal Personality Traits 1) What supervisor had you disliked the most and why? 2) What kind of boss and working situation do you prefer? 3) Are you more of an optimist or a pessimist? Questions To Reveal Values 1) What is more important to you. getting along with everyone or doing things right? Questions To Reveal Coping Style 1) What would you do if you saw a co-worker steal from the company? 2) If a supervisor severely criticized your work without good reason what would you do? 3) How would you prioritize answering a busy phone. But. that strategy often knocks many job seekers out of the running by revealing weaknesses or problem areas. I would get very angry. values and coping skills which lead you to be a top worker and then to use that list of traits to answer questions like those shown above. If I reviewed what I had done and found that I had not made a mistake I would wait for an appropriate time and then ask my supervisor to explain in more detail what he or she felt I had done improperly. or if I really liked the person I might feel like crying. If so. 15 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . the answer probably doesn't roll right off your tongue. have the right personality and can cope with the job--over employees who can step right into the job but that no one will like. that would not be an appropriate answer to give and would probably keep me from being hired. employers often ask questions that are designed to see how you would react in a particular situation in order to predict how well you get along with others. Here's a short list of questions used to reveal personality traits. values and coping styles. I would review what my supervisor told me and see how I could correct the mistake.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate .

if you worked while attending college you might be asked. If so. Tell me why you would change your pattern of employment now.all while maintaining a 3. Can you tell me why? •You've held a lot of jobs in the last 5 years. Now that I've graduated I can devote all that energy to being a top employee on a full-time basis. As a result. Potential Work History Problems •You Have Gaps in Employment Between Jobs •You Have Held Too Many Jobs •You Have No Industry Experience Related To The Field You Are Pursuing •You Have Only Held Temporary or Contract Employment Positions •You Have Only Volunteer Experience •You Haven't Worked in Several Years and Are Re-entering The Workforce •You Have Been Self-Employed •You Have Been Employed At A Much Higher Level Than The Job You Want •You Have Been Employed In One Job For A Long Period of Time •You Were Fired.Strategies That Increase Salaries 16 . laid off or downsized. Be sure to provide reasons for gaps in employment or having too many jobs in the best possible light. Unlike many students who don't put themselves through school. Then anticipate any questions that may come up during your interviews." Here are additional situations that can cause employers to be concerned about your work history. Tell me why you've stayed so long with one company. "My employment has been somewhat erratic because I worked part-time while going to school full-time. My top priority was completing my education and my work schedule often didn't fit my college schedule. Downsized or Laid Off Employer Questions •I see you were unemployed for some length of time between the last positions you held. Why do you think you are a good fit for this job? •Why have you held only temporary or contract positions? •I see your background comes solely from volunteer experience. followed by questions an employer may ask about each situation.Questions About Work History Work history questions can sometimes be the hardest to answer. For example. Why do you feel that qualifies you for this job? •It's been several years since you've worked. why? Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . I frequently had to find positions that fit the time schedule of important classes. Why do you think you'd be happy in this job? •You've been in your current position for over 10 years. •Have you ever been fired. and in your application. How current are your skills and how do they match this position? •Most people who have been self-employed have a hard time working for someone else again. A formula that works well is to agree with the problem and then provide an example that shows why you experienced the problem and how you have overcome or successfully solved the problem. Why won't you? •This position is at a much lower level than the positions you've held. "Why have you held so many jobs?" You might say. To prepare. •You haven't worked in this industry. review the work history you have listed in your resume.5 GPA. I demonstrated my ability to set and achieve goals and pay my own way .

I completed 8 clinical rotations in Obstetrics. If you feel a particular supervisor or instructor can give an employer great feedback about you. Medical Surgical.000 which involved writing report summaries to the board. knowledge or achievements from your educational background to discuss during your interviews. then ask for a letter of recommendation. I served as the Secretary Treasurer for Student Activities Management and managed an annual budget of $60. employers or other business professionals that you have received. Trainee: Completing an internship. I trained 10 staff in the use of computerized accounting applications. For example. 17 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . My clinical experience is quite broad and proves my ability to move between medical specialties. On the following page is a short list of questions employers may ask about your references. Cardiac and Oncology units working with staffs of up to 50 Nurse: physicians and interdisciplinary team members. Also. Question: How can your education benefit you in performing this job? "While completing my accounting degree. Registered Telemetry & Surgery. prepare a list of 3 professional and 3 personal references and bring it with you to each interview.Questions About Education and Extracurricular Activities When employers ask questions about education and training they are most interested in how the education you've received can enable you to perform the job you are seeking. leadership. interviewers want to assess leadership skills. First. where and what did it entail? •Were you a member in any associations or organizations. with two good answers.N. as the RN Float position requires. Both required strong communication and accounting skills which are needed for this position. Always ask permission to use someone as a reference and let them know the types of positions you will be interviewing for and the skills needed in those positions. how will you balance that with working full-time? •What was your favorite subject or class? Why? Questions About Your References Before going to an interview. what was your role? •How was your college education funded? •What were your grades like? Were you ever on the honor roll? •What were your study habits and attendance like? •How would your teachers describe you? •Do you plan to pursue additional education? If so. Below is a typical question about one's education. When inquiring about extracurricular activities such as being involved in sports or associations. If so. an employer hiring a management trainee will be interested in supervisory. Then ask your references to point out your best traits and abilities that match the positions you'll interview for." Some Questions About Education and Extracurricular Activities •What was the major and minor you completed to obtain your degree? •How many hours of study did you complete to obtain a community college degree or a technical certificate? •Did you complete an internship or an externship? If so. I've also provided several more questions that employers may ask about your educational background. Geriatrics. Then select matching skills. bring any letters of recommendations from instructors. Degree.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . areas of interest. initiative or community involvement.S. communication. Pediatrics." "To obtain my B. A hospital hiring a Registered Nurse will be interested in clinical training that matches the position being filled. and problem solving skills. ask yourself what skills are required to do the job you want.

"Having pioneered a new territory and developed over 200 new accounts in only 9 months gives me the skills to step in and assist you in quickly meeting your sales quotas. avoid eye contract or act nervous many employers will push you to tell them the salary you expect. Try these strategies. At this time. It's like getting a raise before you're hired! What's Your Bottom Line Before going on an interview determine what your rock bottom salary requirement is. Make sure that this is the least you would be willing to take. I've been told numerous stories where these strategies helped individuals receive from $2. Then summarize this information when closing your interview.000 or more per year. By letting the employer sell himself on hiring you. an employer was very interested in Randy's ability to develop new accounts. Phase III: Interview Closure As you talk with employers keep track of what skills and experience you possess that most interests them. The employer's range may be higher. By being sure of this amount you will know where you stand on salary issues when asked. Randy summarized his skills by saying. Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . he will be more likely to consider a higher pay rate than if you bring up pay on the first interview. It's also important to learn what salary range employers are considering before stating your salary requirement. you must confidently look the employer straight in the eye and speak in a friendly. even if your dream job came along. my primary concern is obtaining a position that offers stability and career potential." Summarizing your skills in this way presents you as dynamic and purposeful and ends the interview with your strongest selling points. You don't want to lose a great opportunity and regret it later because you weren't ready to negotiate. When an employer asks. relaxed manner. but if you state a lower range that's usually what you'll be offered. They work.000 to $20." To make either strategy work. Shaking hands with the interviewer. Using either of these statements intimidates and scares many job seekers.Some Questions About Your References •Do your references know I will be calling? What will they say about you? •Which reference will know the most about your work performance skills? •Which reference will give you the best recommendation? The least enthusiastic recommendation? Why? •Can you tell me in what capacity each of these references knew you and why they are recommending you? •Can I contact every reference on this sheet? Are their addresses and phone numbers current? Questions About Your Salary Wait for the employer to bring up the issue of pay. If you plan to use either statement be sure to practice what you'll say until it feels smooth and like second nature to you. vacation allowances and bonuses. I'm very excited about this opportunity and look forward to a second interview. If you do. If you mumble. For example. Can you tell me the salary range for this position?" or "I am much more interested in working for the right organization and obtaining a position that will fully utilize my skills. "What pay rate or salary level are you looking for?" answer with either of these statements: "I am flexible. I would prefer to discuss pay after I've learned more about the position and how I can meet your needs. When considering what your bottom line is take into account other factors such as health care and sick leave benefits. you will be in a much better bargaining position. I am flexible regarding my pay and am sure your firm offers competitive rates.Strategies That Increase Salaries 18 .

"Do you feel my skills and experience qualify me as one of your top candidates?" This question gives you an opportunity to hear the employer's concerns about hiring you. "Yes. This will ensure that it is received before a hiring decision is made. If the employer is still deciding on whom to hire. Is this the type of experience you prefer?" Looking interested the employer might then answer. you'll know this by their non-verbal demeanor such as leaning forward and smiling when you talk about one of your skills or by their asking detailed questions. Once you've heard his concerns you can then deal with them. Use this information to write a powerful thank you letter. "I'm not sure you have enough direct customer experience. 19 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . After your interviews. or the day after your interview. Post Interview: Writing a Successful Thank-You Letter Thank you letters are an opportunity to remind employers who you are and finish selling yourself as a top candidate. You want to do the same thing when interviewing. Once they know our concerns they can then explain how their product meets our needs. an employer might reply. Ask When Second Interviews Will be Conducted Before leaving your interview find out when the employer will conduct second interviews or make a hiring decision. coupled with the thank you letter she had sent." You reply. Send your thank you letter the same day. This tactic substantially increases sales. Turn to pages 21-22. before you leave his office. take notes on which of your skills and abilities that your interviewers seemed most interested in. "Can you tell me what you mean by direct customer service experience?" The employer might reply. your call may put you in the forefront." Sales people use this tactic all the time. who would you be more likely to call for a second interview? Use these examples to guide you in writing effective thank you letters. Typically. It can also let you know if you're not in the running so that you free up your energy and focus on your next job lead. organizational. If he doesn't. He told her he had been wavering between hiring her and someone else but that her phone call.Before Leaving An Interview: Ask If You're A Top Candidate If at the end of your interview the interviewer doesn't state that you are a top candidate be sure to ask. and prioritization skills. Her competitor had not sent a thank you letter and had not followed up. let me ask you a few more questions . "Great. Wednesday morning she called the employer. Follow-Up If you know the employer will make a hiring decision on a certain date and you do not hear from the employer get your courage up and call the next day. You might ask. "May I follow up with you on such and such date if I haven't heard from you?" By following-up on a specific date you'll be able to determine where you stand and won't be left wondering what has happened to the job. For example. If we are hesitant to buy a product it's their job to find out why and overcome our objections.. at XYZ Company I managed front counter sales dealing in person with over 40 customers per day to process orders valued up to $7.000." You might then ask. "Well. Dorothy had been told a hiring decision would be made on a Tuesday but she didn't receive a call.. and you'll see a set of before and after thank you letters. Which one could have been written by anyone? Which letter has better design and content? Which letter is most impressive? If you received these letters from two different candidates with equal skills. Then anticipate and practice overcoming any concerns an employer may have about hiring you.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . ask. Read them both. made the decision for him and he offered her the job. we generally need someone who has dealt with customers in person rather than by phone. "Do you know when you'll be conducting second interviews?" Once an employer is asked this question he will generally tell you when you can expect to hear from him. Practice the question above until you can ask it confidently. This required strong problem solving. Follow-up can land you a job.

Sherry: "I recently completed a course in bookkeeping and received a 95% average. modifications. will and estate planning. it's important to identify your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. table of contents. Sherry was disillusioned and worried. that sounds just like the experience we need. Before: Employer: Tell me about your bookkeeping experience. Take a moment and read the after example below. In only two weeks of using this new approach Sherry landed three interviews and two job offers." Employer: "Well that's nice. property division.Strategies That Increase Salaries 20 . 6 electronic technicians. Q: How many electronics production staff have you supervised at any one time? A: In my current position. tables and columns. Using this training I want to move into the accounting field." Employer: "Great.000 in cash and receipts for my department." After: Employer: Tell me about your bookkeeping experience. Q: Describe your advanced wordprocessing skills using MS Word to prepare contracts. style sheets. A: Over 5 years experience using Word includes preparing and formatting contracts and proposals with page numbering. Be sure to use specific examples and relevant industry language to market any experience you have that matches the position you want. Can you come in for an interview tomorrow?" Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . As a result. prenuptial agreements. custody and support. paternity. 9 electronic component and circuit board assemblers. I have a certificate in bookkeeping and office automation. templates. The first example below shows the depth of knowledge this person has of family law. Sherry: "While I was with Frederick and Nelson I handled over $60. adoption. If you can't turn a weakness into a strength then you must deflect an employer's attention away from it. 10 manual solder assemblers. mathematical calculations. De-emphasize Your Weaknesses To increase your success in landing interviews. and the third example shows the depth of experience supervising a broad range of electronics production personnel. Sherry wanted to become an accounting clerk but didn't have experience. importing and placement of graphics. 10 wave flow solder specialists.Tips on Answering Questions Providing specific details about your industry knowledge and ability to perform a particular job task convinces employers of the depth of your skills and experience. the second one shows an in-depth knowledge of MS Word and advanced wordprocessing functions. Send your resume and we'll keep it on file. In addition. Sherry did have experience that was bookkeeping related and was able to focus each employer's attention on that experience--which took her response rate from 0% to 100%. but we need someone with experience. A: Overseeing court calendaring required a knowledge of all legal cases being scheduled including dissolutions. Sherry ran into problems when asked about her bookkeeping experience. As you can see from the before example shown below. Q: Tell me about your experience scheduling family law court cases. However. and 2 electronics inventory control clerks. I supervise up to 45 staff including 8 production leads.

Rex VanderHolm 21 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . I am confident that I have the skills needed for this position and look forward to a second interview. Parfitt: Thank you for interviewing me yesterday for the Customer Service Representative position. I am very excited about your expansion and the opportunities for growth that it would provide me. Arizona 37374 Dear Mr. thanks for your time and consideration.Before Thank You Letter Rex VanderHolm 1414 50th Street Sacramento. Arizona 37374 (555) 555-5555 Date National Customer Service Corporation 57483 Lillyington Lane Sacramento.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . I can be contacted at (555) 555-5555. Again. Sincerely.

Your plans for expansion are very exciting. MS Word. Excel and Access. Arizona 37374 (555) 555-5555 Date National Customer Service Corporation 57483 Lillyington Lane Sacramento. Professional and Corporate Customer Service Training The 1. I trained and supervised 12 staff in all areas of service and sales. Parfitt: Thank you for interviewing me for the Customer Service Representative position. Sincerely.400 hour certificate program I completed at Sacramento College focused on increasing corporate profitability and gave me a hands-on knowledge of customer retention. invoicing and collections techniques. Again. Arizona 37374 Re: Thank You Note for Yesterday's Interview Dear Mr. I would like to thank you for speaking with me. Computerized Customer Service Applications My use of computerized systems includes running cash. Rex VanderHolm Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . My knowledge of customer satisfaction measurement and service recovery methods will allow me to implement your new programs and train staff as needed.After Thank You Letter Rex VanderHolm 1414 50th Street Sacramento. I'd like to summarize additional points of my background that are relevant but which we did not discuss: Customer Service Administration Dealing with up to 200 customers and accounting for over $1/4 million in sales per month required strong troubleshooting and liaison skills. As we discussed. customer account processing and automated billing programs. As a Customer Service Lead. Please call me at (555) 555-5555 if I can provide additional information regarding my qualifications. marketing. sales and expense reports. I will contact you next Tuesday regarding a second interview.Strategies That Increase Salaries 22 .

deal with them and move on. While answering it. Studies show that public speaking is a number one fear for many people. If you don't face your fears and gain control of them they will control you and have a negative impact upon your interviews. As you list the skills required for each position ask yourself how your background relates. 23 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . It will get you a job. Since I had never worked in this field. This focused the employer's attention on her strength not the weakness. Fear of interviewing can cause you to procrastinate in your job search. Rather than letting fears run wild in your mind. Provide Answers That Demonstrate Your Knowledge An incredibly strong interviewing technique is to subtly mention important facts you've learned about a company. It might be a question about our education. Sherry identified her weakness of not having bookkeeping experience but drew upon a related skill to offset it. the employer was concerned and asked me the question shown below. I had already planned on going into the personnel field so I began conducting research. why have you chosen it and why do you think it's a good fit? A: Prior to finding your advertisement. By overcoming your fears you will gain control of your emotions. The question Sherry had worried about the most was. he changed his mind and hired me. Q: I see you haven't worked in this industry. This worked for me. we came up with a terrific answer that landed Sherry several interviews and two great job offers. I casually fanned out the articles. excited and proud of herself. or work history. I was very surprised to find that temporary placement is a $12 billion dollar industry and that it includes many specialty areas such as technical. so it's very important to identify your fears and overcome them. This made her extremely nervous and caused her to dread interviewing. or botch an interview. many qualified applicants are never hired. Reviewing this information I realized that this field is growing and will offer me many opportunities. Focus your answers on that experience and minimize or eliminate what you don't have. I had gathered about 40 articles on the temporary industry and took them to my interview for a position as a Personnel Coordinator with a leading placement agency. Knowing my administrative and business management skills are a good fit for administrative placement I then began researching firms and found over 40 articles on this industry including several on Dunhill.As you can see. administrative and legal placement. The employer later told me he had never interviewed anyone who had done the type of research I had. That's exactly what you want to do. take that thread and expand upon it. You want to identify any questions you're afraid of being asked and then to write and practice answers that boost your confidence. Even if there is only a small thread in your experience that relates. However. Interviewing must rank a close second. Think of creative ways you can share the information you learn about companies as a natural part of your conversations during each interview. Applicants that market themselves effectively are the ones that get hired even if they don't have all the skills an employer is looking for. She then imagined how terrible she'd do in an interview. Maximize what you do have. Anticipate and Answer Questions You're Worried About It seems we all have one or two questions we worry about being asked in an interview. After several role-plays her whole demeanor changed and she left feeling motivated. experience. By practicing how she was going to answer that question she slowly built her confidence. Remember. "Can you tell me about your bookkeeping experience?" When she thought of having to answer that question her mind went blank. This strategy made a strong statement about my motivation and desire to work in this field. and even though he had already selected someone else.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . face your fears.

Having closed my personnel agency I had planned to take a couple of months off before going back to work. Which answers do you think create the strongest image of each person and his skills? Question: Can you tell me about your outside sales and account management experience? Before: "Well. However. After that my attitude changed. I set up and handled key accounts." After: "With XYZ Company I provided customer service to a client base of over 2. Delivering products from $1. Below you'll see two sets of examples that illustrate how important it is to user power words and to use numbers when answering employer questions. When I reminded him that the position required a lot of paperwork he tried to backtrack and said.000 annually." The impression he gave me was that he'd take the job and as soon as something better came along he'd be gone. over one-third of our client base had requested that I be assigned to service their accounts. I almost didn't land a teaching position because I hadn't determined what I wanted before the interview. but I'm good at it. Even though an applicant may really want the position if he shows a lack of enthusiasm an interviewer will probably assume that the applicant can "take or leave" the job. "Well." After: "While managing key accounts such as Key Bank. I wrote a thank-you letter knowing that I had to use it to overcome the lukewarm response I had given during my interview. You'll also want to quantify and use action. when answering interview questions. I also increased the sales to my accounts substantially. After I left the interview I went to the library and called several vocational schools to see if I could find similar positions.000 accounts. I don't really like doing it. and Microsoft I increased sales by over 35%. which often results in the applicant not being hired. During this process I discovered there were very few teaching positions I would qualify for without a masters degree. Because I had become so good at dealing with customers. when I contacted a friend she set me up for an interview the next day." Employers Hire Enthusiastic Applicants When interviewing for each and every position be sure to show your enthusiasm for that position. Hiring officials who have conducted a lot of interviews will tell you that many applicants hardly ever smile or act genuinely interested in the position they're applying for.000 per order often required strong problem solving skills. Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes ." Question: Can you tell me about your customer service skills? Before: "While driving truck I dealt with customers dropping off goods and having them sign their paperwork. or $170. or "power words". Nordstrom. I didn't hire him. During the interview the employer kept asking when I would be available and I kept giving a vague answer because I hadn't really made up my mind about going back to work.Use Power Words & Quantify While writing your resume you learned how to quantify and use action words. other than having to go back to work sooner than I expected.000 to over $10. I interviewed one person for an office position which required a lot of recordkeeping and paperwork. Of course.Strategies That Increase Salaries 24 . While interviewing he said he didn't like bookkeeping and wouldn't really be happy dealing with paperwork all day. The job was suddenly exactly what I wanted. Using them can have a tremendous impact on the image that an interviewer develops of your skills and can result in a higher quantity and quality of job offers. If there was a problem with an order I had to resolve it to the customer's satisfaction as quickly as possible.

Carefully plan what props you are going to use. I felt she was going through some very difficult times and assumed it might be hard for her to concentrate on work. Answering The Most Common Questions Now you're ready to answer some of the most common interview questions. Some will require yes or no answers but many will be "open ended. Fumbling with both a purse and a case makes me feel awkward. he felt that if he had taken these steps he would have been hired. If he had practiced using this prop and had anticipated questions about it he would have been prepared. Be creative and show your enthusiasm. I like to use an attache case that holds my keys and all the items I normally carry in a purse. 25 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . or that you excel in a particular skill and this position uses that skill. As you know. He had been doing great up until that point. I also consider attache cases and nice folders as props. Using a nice case or folder helps me feel more professional and confident. Just like an actor or actress going into wardrobe to select clothes and props for a big scene . For example. I look forward to talking with you on Monday. Make a list of all the reasons you are excited about the position(s) you are applying for." Open ended questions generally get people in the most trouble. It could be that the job is close to your home. awards. Many people have no idea how to answer this question properly and as a result fall into the great interviewing pit while trying to answer it. Using them allows you to be actively involved in your interview and helps to draw attention to your selling points. One woman told me she was getting a divorce and then proceeded to tell me about her marital problems. I ended up staying in that position for two years and would have been very upset with myself if I had lost that opportunity because of my lack of enthusiasm. increase your confidence and sell your top skills. In a similar way I also consider clothes and shoes as props. and examples of work you've done are all excellent props and visual aids. there are several types of questions you'll be asked.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . I excluded her as a candidate. that it will allow you increased career growth. Having them in hand was much more impressive and convincing than just saying I had done a lot of research. "Tell me about yourself. but then lost control of the interview. great performance evaluations. one of my clients took a report he had prepared into an'll want to select props that help you put on the best show. The employer seemed impressed until he asked my client several questions about the report which my client couldn't answer. You'll want to make sure that they are easy to use and that you understand them thoroughly. This experience shows how important it is to cover all your bases when interviewing even if you're not sold on the job 100%. Afterwards.In my letter I stated the following: "This position is an excellent opportunity for me. I also assumed she might have a hard time making it to work. Being able to use my business management and computer skills combined with my teaching and motivational skills will provide me with a tremendous amount of job satisfaction." I wouldn't have been hired if I hadn't rescued my interview with that thank-you letter. As a result. They begin rambling. Letters of recommendation. Each of these reasons can be turned into a selling point during your interviews and can be used to convince an employer to hire you. The articles I took into my interview with Dunhill Temps were a prop. I would like to accept this position if I am selected and will be available in two weeks. Use Props Another great selling tool to use in an interview is what I call a prop or visual aid. For example." is an open ended question.

hard work and rehearsal. 10 Common Questions Now let's go through some of the most common interview questions. Angie replied firmly but pleasantly. What are your three greatest strengths? When answering this question. Watching award winning actors we often forget how much work they've put into being so polished and convincing.Strategies That Increase Salaries 26 . As a result. It requires someone who has good problem solving skills and is confident. 1. Ask yourself what kind of assumptions the employer will make about you based on each answer you give. to the point." in a snooty tone of voice. However. Make sure the assumptions made about you match the image you want to present just as you did when writing your resume. While some interviewers may want to know about your personal history. their talent is in large part. Angie came back from an interview feeling rather miffed. Keep your answer short. "You seem a little too confident and qualified for this position. These are three of my greatest strengths. Below each question. just the type of environment I thrive on. consider a machinist deciding to apply for a customer service position. and related to the position you are applying for. so it's important to keep your answers short. and related to the position you are applying for. we marvel at their talent." When she went back to her second interview she was told she had answered that question very well. "No ma'am. most employers want to know about your skills and experience. The employer was looking for someone who could think on his or her feet and handle tough situations. provide answers that match your strengths to the skills or abilities needed for the job you want. I enjoy a fast-paced environment and like a challenge. my qualifications match this position. using my hands to make things. Spend one to two minutes answering this question. and solving problems to make my designs work. You'll want to come across as smoothly and confidently as possible." Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . Write answers that sell you and your unique skills. If they don't then change your answers. Angie presented a confident image and was hired. Use them as an opportunity to sell your professional skills and abilities rather than talk about your hobbies or where you're from. I've included effective answers but they are given only as a guideline. Having anticipated a similar question. Your office seems busy and challenging. Stress Interviews Another problem area can be stress interviews. She said the person interviewing her had said. Answer: "I have over five years experience in office administration which includes bookkeeping and supervision of clerical personnel. "I like designing mechanical parts.Open Ended Questions To answer open ended questions effectively it's important that you're prepared for them. That's another reason why it's important to have anticipated the questions you'll be asked and to have practiced your answers. and these are two of my strongest skills. to the point. As you answer each question your ability to communicate and think on your feet will be judged." 2. Many employers interview dozens of people in a day. Tell me about yourself. For example. Answering this question he says. Having a variety of duties to perform each day such as coordinating projects and solving problems makes a job fun for me. Be creative.

As a result. The interviewer will probably assume the machinist prefers working alone and with objects rather than with people. Make sure you present an image that you will be happy in this position for quite some time. This position also required someone with excellent attendance and reliability. If the person leans forward during your interview and seems more interested in a particular skill be sure to talk about that skill when answering this question. Pick a weakness that you're not embarrassed to talk about and then explain how you deal with it effectively.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . This is a good example of how to answer this question: Answer: "I tend to be creative and used to get sidetracked coming up with new ideas rather than sticking with systems that were already in place. Answer: "It seems you need someone who is reliable and trustworthy in this position. Here's an example of how to answer this question when applying for a customer service position. What is your greatest weakness? When answering this question be sure to select a weakness that you can talk about confidently and can turn into a selling point. requires that I be patient and enjoy working with customers. Be sure to give answers that illustrate how your strengths match the job you are interviewing for. he probably wouldn't get hired for the customer service job. Handling up to $10. or I can see how improving it will increase productivity or profitability.This answer would be fine if the machinist were continuing in his line of work. If the interviewer seems overly concerned about the habits. skills or traits he desires in an employee then be sure to give an answer that demonstrates how your skills and abilities meet those needs. All three are strengths that have contributed to my being promoted in customer service positions. but this response isn't effective in selling him for a customer service position because his answer doesn't match the employer's needs. While working at XYZ Company I demonstrated these traits. Many people feel guilty if they don't pick their worst weakness. which conflicts with the needs of many employers. Based on my proven abilities I believe I fit what you are looking for in an employee." 4." 3. Unless something is causing a problem. Why should I hire you over other candidates? As you watch the person interviewing you be aware of subtle buying signals. Now I actually enjoy seeing if I can continually improve the quantity and quality of my daily production." 5. Where would you like to be with this company in a year? Keep your answer tied to the position you are interviewing for. Don't fall into that trap. Many people make the mistake of saying they want rapid growth and promotion. 27 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . I'm a good listener and problem solver with the ability to put people at ease and diffuse tense situations.000 a day in sales and receipts I consistently balanced each till to the penny. I've learned not to waste time trying to improve it. Answer: "Dealing with up to 200 customers per day.

Avoid the temptation. Why are you looking for a new position? This question causes many people to fall into the great interviewing pit. it's a good idea to gather information on each company before your interview. I noticed that your office seems to be relaxed yet very busy and your employees seem to be happy and interact well. Let him know that after a substantial period of time in that position. Answer: "Having been with XYZ Company for over two years I wasn't actively seeking a new position. After a substantial period of proving my abilities I would then like to be considered for growth opportunities as they become available. if it's a small company you may not be able to find literature at the library.Most employers want to count on new employees to stay in the position they are hired for." 8. However. then you won't have a problem between what your mouth is saying and what your body is doing. This position seems to be a perfect match for my career goals. So. You may say pleasant things but if your foot begins to twitch or you get an irritated look on your face the employer's intuition will kick in and a warning signal may go off in his or her mind about you." 6. Answer: "I am very interested in working for XYZ company because the accounting position will utilize and expand my cost accounting and contract administration experience. Also. If you can't get information about the company then describe the job requirements that make you want the position you're applying for. It's tempting for many people to unload how dissatisfied they are with their current employer. but do so without showing anger or irritation. for a good length of time. My goal is to grow within this position for as long as possible. How would you describe your last supervisor? Never say anything negative about your supervisor. Answer: "I am very interested in this position and plan to achieve top sales as an Account Manager. not the employer. It's important to let the employer know you will do your best to excel in the position you're applying for. Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . Find something positive to say about your supervisor that you actually believe. Avoid painting a negative picture of any of your employers because most interviewers will assume you are the problem. However. Instead say that you feel the position you are interviewing for is a growth opportunity and sounds challenging." 7. ask the receptionist if you can look over the company's brochures as you wait for your interview. this makes the position and your company very attractive to me. that you would like to be considered for promotion and growth. Pick out information that will help you sound knowledgeable. If you believe it. Altogether. and after you have proven yourself. Why are you interested in our company? If you're asked this question and you haven't done any research then you will feel very foolish. If you had a poor relationship with your supervisor or thought he or she was incompetent be aware of your body language as you answer this question.Strategies That Increase Salaries 28 . In this instance. a friend gave me your advertisement and your ad intrigued me. If the company you are leaving is experiencing turnover or isn't stable mention these facts.

Don't mention any of these reasons if you can avoid it.Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . After 6 months. I usually spend from 1 to 3 hours preparing for interviews. Be honest. Since leaving that company I have completed a two year college program and have three letters of recommendation with me (you pull them out) from my instructors. no problems had occurred and she received an excellent letter of recommendation from the director. I learned a lot by working with her. use action words. During this time I missed only one class. been fired. Two of the firms I worked for went out of business so I had no control over leaving them. If you prepare for each phase of the interviewing cycle and the questions it may generate. and give examples of what you have accomplished. 29 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . No matter why you were fired." More Interview Questions On the following page. It may be that you've gotten bored.000. embarrassed or sad when answering this question. Even though it's stressful and makes me feel anxious I do it. Role-play until you have an answer that presents you as reliable. She was then able to share her letter of recommendation with prospective employers. Be honest yet slant your answers so that they put you in the best light. the more time I spend preparing. To project a dynamic image be sure to quantify your achievements. Why were you fired? Don't become defensive. My clients also report very high hire rates when they prepare thoroughly for each phase of the interviewing cycle. Would you like to read my recommendation letters?" 10. The more nervous or concerned I am about my qualifications. Answer: "Relocating here. I achieved a 100% interview and hire rate for the last three jobs I held by using these strategies. She was fired and the case was taken to court but she was not convicted due to lack of evidence. using them to build a case for your qualifications. role play answering this question until you can do so confidently and give examples that show how you have overcome the problem as the example below illustrates. or had car problems. you'll be amazed at how much more confident you will feel before and during your interviews.Answer: "My last supervisor has excellent organizational skills. One student I worked with had been accused of stealing $30. If you exclude them. Why have you held so many jobs? If you have had a sporadic work history be ready for this question. I have left only one company by choice over the last five years. She plans ahead and has an innate ability to delegate projects to the right employee for each job." 9. Role-play answering each one until you can do so confidently and smoothly. Practice your questions and answers until they seem to be second nature to you. Our staff was convinced that she had not taken the money and left her in charge of the front office where she handled money being paid by new students. Read through the list and pick out at least ten more that you feel you will be asked. Answer: "I was let go for poor attendance. If you worked while going to school then be sure to point this out. you'll find a list of additional questions that you may wish to practice answering. yet have answers prepared that put you in the best light. I accepted my first position out of financial necessity but moved to a higher position in only three months. If you left one job for another one say that you were offered a position with better pay or better growth opportunities. Keep your answers short and to the point.

and at a moment's notice. What do you find most frustrating in a job? 11. 12. with a friend or by yourself. Why do you want to change fields? 5. Rate your answers and the image you present by using the graph of the bottom of the next page. identifying potential questions and writing answers that sell your best skills. each question until you can say your answers smoothly and confidently. How long do you plan on staying with our company? 7. Describe your ability to handle stress. To guide you through each phase of the interviewing cycle I've provided the checklist that starts below. What are your long-term career goals? 3. why not? What has your attendance on the job been like? How do you feel about working overtime? Are you willing to take work home if needed? When changes are needed how do you react? Thoroughly Preparing for Interviews Finally. take a notepad and use several pieces of paper to prepare questions and answers for each phase of the interviewing cycle. 13. friendly handshake? • Have you prepared enough so that you feel confident and ready to answer any question you're asked? Phase II: Questions Generated From Your Resume • Have you reviewed each statement in your resume to anticipate any questions it may generate? Questions To Judge Your Skill and Experience • Have you compiled between 5 to 10 ads or job descriptions for the jobs you want? • Have you made a list of the job requirements necessary for the positions you want? • Have you made a list of questions employers may ask along with appropriate answers regarding each requirement? Questions About Your Bottom Line Contributions • Have you identified each employer's bottom line needs and questions they may ask about them? • Have you prepared answers that demonstrate how you can contribute to profitability and productivity? • Have you created a list of questions you can ask that allow you to market your bottom line contributions and skills? Do Not Duplicate © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . What will previous employers tell me about you? 2. Remember. you've landed an interview for your dream job.Strategies That Increase Salaries 30 . 14. 16. 15. the more preparation and anticipation you put into pre-interview practice will pay off big in landing more second interviews and better job offers. Before you begin. What type of people do you dislike working with? What do you think makes a good employee? Do you feel you are a good employee? Why? How can you contribute to our company? How would you handle a problem with a co-worker? Can I contact your references? If not. 10. 19. 18. Describe your problem solving skills. 8. Describe your organizational skills for me. Why have you been unemployed for so long? 6. Then role play. Improve any answers that make you appear overqualified or underqualified. Then go through the checklist step by step. 9. 17. Good luck! Interviewing Checklist Phase I: Introductions and First Impressions • Does your clothing and accessories present an image appropriate to the position and salary you are seeking? • Are you ready to maintain confident eye contact and a firm. 20.1. Describe your perfect job. 4. On the first page tape several ads or job descriptions for the job(s) you want.

Strategies That Increase Salaries Do Not Duplicate . Ability to Work Independently and Be a Team Player 9 Can Handle Level of Stressful or Demanding Situations Occurring in the Job 10 Has the Mental Capacity or Alertness Demanded by the Job 11 Educational Background Is Close To or Matches Job Requirements 12 Reviewing These Factors. Increasing Profitability and Productivity 6 Past Work History and Current Demeanor Demonstrate Reliability.Questions About Personality. values and coping style? • Have you prepared answers that you can use in response to such questions? Questions About Your Work History • Have you reviewed your work history and created a list of questions it may generate? • Have you prepared answers that present your background in the best possible light? Questions About Your Education and Extracurricular Activities • Have you made a list of questions that you are likely to be asked about your education? • Have you assessed the skills gained from your education or extracurricular activities? • Can you explain how your education or activities have provided skills that match the job you? Questions About Your References • Have you asked your references for permission to use them? Did you prepare a reference sheet? • Have you prepared a list of questions you may be asked about your references? • Have you developed answers that present you in the best light? Questions About Your Salary History and Current Salary Requirements • Do you know the average pay rate for the job you want? • Have you role played how you will answer or delay salary questions? • Do you know your minimum salary requirement? Phase IV: Interview Closure • Have you practiced how you will close your interviews and what you will say? • Are you prepared to ask if you are a top candidate? • Are you prepared to ask when second interviews will be conducted? Rate How You'll Be Perceived by Employers 1 Appearance and Dress is Appropriate for Work Environment and Level of Position Being Sought 2 Presents Self Confidently and Can Communicate Effectively 3 Demonstrates A Thorough Understanding of The Job and Ability to Perform The Job 4 Possesses Primary. Personal Traits and Perceived Productivity To Determine If They Justify the Salary Being Offered or Negotiated For 31 © Regina Pontow: Proven Resumes . Skills. Employers Assess How Quickly You Will Be Productive on The Job and The Level of Such Productiveness 13 Employers Assess Combination of Experience. Secondary and Supportive Skills Needed For The Job 5 Can Make Bottom Line Contributions Such as Cutting Costs. Values and Coping Style • Have you written at least nine questions you will be asked about your personality. Trustworthiness 7 Past Behavior Indicates Candidate Will Be Successful In Job 8 Has Proven History of Initiative.