No. 78 – Job Interviewing is a Two-Way Street

Posted on June 24th, 2016 by in Speaking Professionally

Often when job interviewing you focus on getting across your qualifications in technical expertise. From talking with hundreds of executives actually doing the interviewing, this is what they tell me they are really interested in:

-Is he lazy?
-Does she have common sense?
-Does he have fire in the belly?
-Is she qualified?
-Is he lying?
-Will she fit in?
-Will he embarrass me?

While they are trying to figure that out about you, you should be trying to figure out about the company and the job:

-Is the company worth joining?
-Do they have good products or services?
-Do they have workable plans for the future?
-Will I have a qualified, competent boss?
-Will they support my growth and development?
-Will they reward my efforts?
-Will I be proud to work for them?

When you get home from the interview, debrief yourself on what you learned and what you still need to find out.

And ask yourself: Did people laugh and kid during your interview? Did people seem to like each other? Was there an air of secrecy or openness? Was anyone happily working late?

Remember, you are there to check them out as much as you let them check you out.


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 77 – Basic Life Advice That Matters

Posted on June 20th, 2016 by in Speaking Professionally

My grandniece is four, and she and I were talking about her future. (Just kidding. I was thinking about her future in her presence.) In case I’m not around to give her advice when she might be willing to listen, I decided to write it down now.

With over thirty years as an executive coach which has enabled me to be around some highly successful-in-life people, I found some simple truths that will help in her personal life as well as work-life.

1. It’s easier to make a living than find someone to do it for you. Do not partner up (or marry) anyone for money, power, or position in society. It’s easier, longer lasting, and more meaningful to you if you earn it for yourself.

2. Marry only if the person makes you laugh every day and helps you get better in whatever you want to get better in. With that kind of supportive partner, you won’t need or look for approval from any other source. Give it back to your partner, similarly.

3. Be wise to be happy. Foolish and dumb people aren’t happy. So get to know yourself. Know humanity. Understand basic human psychology. Appreciate that life is not always fair, clean, happy, or fun — but it beats the alternative.

4. Find something you love to do, and then get really, really, really good at it. You can always find a way to make a living doing most anything if you work hard to truly excel in it.

By the time she’s ready to hear it my list might be longer, but I think this will serve my grandniece — and your loved ones — well for now.

~ Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 76 – The Real Reasons for Networking

The Wall Street Journal reports that 94 percent of successful job searches happen through networking.

Networking with people in and around your industry is also the best way to:

  • Gain perspective on yourself and your career.
  • Learn about new or unpublished job opportunities.
  • Keep up to date with industry trends.
  • Meet and get to know your industry’s key players.
  • Learn about the problems in your industry, and the solutions people are developing.
  • Find out about the competition for the best job openings.
  • Learn about the new training you may need.
  • Discover ways to help others (who may someday be able to help you).

Those are the the real reasons for networking, in addition to helping in your job hunt.


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 75 – Choose Carefully, as Your Words Brand You

I’m really sorry to have to write this caution, but be very, very careful what you say. Anyone can be offended by absolutely anything today.

You can present a six-hour workshop and say one word (and not even a bad word), and lose a portion of your audience because they disapprove of the word. You can have a fourteen-year friendship, and say one comment that causes the person to never speak to you again. I know, I’ve done both.

Whose fault is this need to walk on eggshells with your words? Yours for saying it, or them for being overly-sensitive and judgmental. Both, I believe.

I take full responsibility when the wrong thing slips out of my mouth. I try to immediately apologize and rectify the situation. And I try not to repeat my mistake. Still, I’ve made a mistake yesterday and I’ll likely make one today.

But I also try to rein in judgment when someone says something I dislike or disapprove of. I try to balance out how many good and “right” things they’ve said and done against the few missteps. And if it really is egregious and bothers me, I ask about it.

“Yesterday you said ______ and I’ve been wondering what was behind that comment?” is what I’d ask. I’d ask sooner rather than later. And if the person glosses over the answer unsatisfactorily or is unclear I’ll ask again. “Not sure if I fully understand, tell me more,” and a third time if necessary, “I just want to understand you’re thinking behind it.”

By bringing up the elephant in the room you get it cleared up (hopefully). And without giving them some of their own medicine, you let them know something bothered you enough to bring up and clear up.

The thing you should not do is keep it inside, gunny sack it, hold it against them, shut down your listening, or turn off the relationship. It’s a waste for both of you.

~ Debra

P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 74 – How to Increase Your Value Today


People who are intellectually curious and constantly learning have greater economic value to themselves and their organizations. So learn a little (at least) about everything that you can. Take advantage of every opportunity your supervisor offers (and ask for more). But most importantly, make learning your responsibility.

Those who make a habit of learning things they need to know as well as things not directly related to them:

· Tend to be more imaginative, creative, and innovative

· Can do more things more quickly and effectively

· Have more to offer their teammates and colleagues

· Are able to make more of their productive abilities

· Are likely flexible, versatile, and forward-looking

· Can respond promptly to shifts in customer/superivor needs and preferences

Constantly learning new things isn’t just nice to do; it’s a must-do for anyone seeking lasting success. A good nighttime exercise is to jot down at least one thing new that you learned today. If you can’t, you have to come up with two tomorrow!


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.


Photo: Got Credit

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