Blog Entries 

Interviewing Mindset

Possted 07-30-2020

Let’s say that you are prepared for your interview. You have researched the company, looked up the interviewer(s) on LinkedIn. Now you know if you have any common connections, backgrounds, interests, etc. You have crafted (true) examples of scenarios to demonstrate what you have done, how effective your effort was and the resulting benefit to the company for each scenario. Additionally, you have researched the company website and looked into reviews for other information on sites like Glassdoor. You believe you are ready. But are you?


One of the first questions to ask the interviewer is: “I have (or perhaps you do not) the job description, but would you mind sharing what you are really looking for with this position?” The interviewer usually shares more information. Perhaps it is oriented around a project or goal. Perhaps it is a new position or maybe replacing someone and this is an opportunity to shift some responsibilities. When you ask this question, you may discover what the interviewer wants. This allows you to focus your answers to support the alignment between your experience and responsiveness to contribute to the hiring manager’s team.


Think about this. If you know what the interviewer wants, then you can show how you have excelled doing similar work! This identifies you as a leader in the lineup of interview candidates. Anyone can answer questions. What if you are answering questions with examples of solutions that fit what the team needs? Now you are a contender! When you get the mindset of being a leading contributor who can handle situations well, you give yourself the edge. Interviewers love it when they interview a candidate that nails it. Your confidence shines and they become confident about you.


There are myriad resources for “top” interview questions. Go through any of them and think about your questions ahead of your interviews. (We will cover how to structure your responses in another posting.) Create you answers ahead of time. Why? It enables you to answer with well thought out answers. Have your resume in front of you to jog your memory and aid you in identifying jobs from where your examples may come. If there is a wild card question, between your preparedness and possessing an understanding of what the interviewer really wants, you can field these questions well on the fly. Just remember, tailor your answers to support what the need is.


Remember, allow for pauses. Let it sink in. It is ok to not have constant conversation. Let your confidence shine. Now you are ready.


Good Luck!

bperceptive • bsmart • bsuccessful

Note: This post is for recruiters specifically.

Stay on PAR and make a difference!

Posted 06-11-2020

Stay on P.A.R.:




What exactly does that mean and why should you do it as a recruiter? What separates you from other recruiters? What gives you the edge?

As you build your business of recruiting resources, how do you maintain relationships with each person? With Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), you can find candidates. Use the technology to schedule contacting the especially great candidates you have. Keep them close and build a relationship with them. How do you do that? Touch base with them periodically. See if they have an updated resume or how their assignment is going and when it ends. How are they? Hence, P.A. R.


It is very easy to slide into days where you are simply reacting to the fires and deadlines of the day. Learn to work smarter and invest in the talent for which you spend so much time searching. Maintain the relationships. As you contact candidates, start to build rapport, trust and loyalty with them. When you have a great fit for them, if the timing is right, it can be a great placement with a candidate that you know will be an excellent match.


If that candidate gets several calls or emails from recruiters about a position in addition to you, whom do you want the candidate to reach out to about the position? Look, every recruiter has their own method and approach. Try a methodical approach to break it down and make it manageable to accomplish the P.A.R. approach. Every day has its own challenges and plan. Make sure your plan allows for reaching out to several candidates in addition to your current candidate searches.


Just think about this for a minute. If you reach out to 5-10 candidates per day and restart the cycle / list every 2-3 months, look at how many candidates with which you can keep in touch. Just an email or text takes very little time and effort. Use your reminders to incorporate this activity into your activities. For example, a simple email to say hello, update status, inquire about new certifications, degrees and / or skill sets benefits everyone involved. You can also update your candidate with possible positions you have or that are pending. Build upon your last conversation. Get to know your candidates. It doesn’t take much time, but can mean so much. Be yourself, but work smarter than your peers. Gain the edge. Take time for this and you will see a difference in your talent resource pool simply from your relationship building. A candidate will appreciate the effort you take to get to know him or her. It makes it easy for a candidate to reach out exclusively to you when he or she is looking for his or her next engagement.


With this approach, you can accomplish day-to-day tasks and priorities while building a great talent pool of your own. Creating a bankable database of qualified and accomplished talent resources familiar and loyal to you is a plus that benefits everyone involved. If your manager likes metrics, this will make your contact goals not only easier to achieve, but more meaningful and productive for you. That also translates to bankable bottom line for you.


Good Luck!

bperceptive • bsmart • bsuccessful

Arrogance v. Confidence

Reposted on 05-29-2020

Arrogance v. Confidence – Make sure your candidates understand the difference.


We know there is a fine line that separates arrogance and confidence.  Yes, they can be worlds apart, but sometimes they are very close.  Does your candidate know where to draw that line?  When a candidate is “in the moment” discussing his or her accomplishments, it is easy to step over that line. 


Cover this.  Address it with your candidate.  It comes down to one point.  We are all on a team.  There are two primary issues for a candidate to keep in mind regarding this issue.

  • What did you do to contribute to the team? 

  • What were the benefits you delivered to the team/project?

Yes, your candidate needs to toot his or her own horn.  Have him or her drill down some details. Not too many, but enough.  For example, ask two people what they did this morning prior to their commute.   One might say “I got up, took a shower, got ready and caught the train just in time after grabbing a cup of coffee.”  The other one might say “I got up, made the bed, took a shower, shaved (or did my makeup), selected what to wear, got dressed, loaded the dishwasher, and collected my things I needed for the day.  Then I stopped for coffee, still allowing time to get a great seat on the train.”  See the difference?  Some people see a grouping of actions as one where others will itemize. 


A candidate needs to understand that they do not need to mention everything they do.  There is a need to provide details and sort the critical from the superfluous.  What may be standard procedure at one company may not be at another.  What is critical and what is not?  Your candidate will benefit from some preparation.  Utilize your expertise and insight.  Have him or her think about personal contribution v. benefit to a team or project. 


In the example above, which person seems busier and which seems like he or she contributed more?  Which one demonstrated some planning by stopping for coffee and allowing time to get a great seat on the train? 


Go through some scenarios and see how he or she does.  Go with your instincts.  If your reaction to answers provided is not good, help him or her see how to fine tune how the information is conveyed.  Better yet, ask your candidate to outline contributions including the resulting benefits.  A little preparation on your candidate’s part can make the difference.  Once you get your candidate to really think through his or her accomplishments, pertinent points will become clearer.  Once the significant details of contribution and benefits are identified, then the appropriate tone is formed.  There is no need to ramble on with extraneous details.  Confidence is revealed naturally and any arrogance can fade away by allowing the facts to speak on merit.  Your candidate, with a little forethought on his or her part, will be ready to master this portion of the interview. 


Good Luck!

bperceptive • bsmart • bsuccessful

Interviewing is a mindset.

What is the key to interviewing?


What is the key to interviewing? The key is being prepared and having the appropriate mindset. Most job hunters know to research the company and its competitors. They know to have a professional look and to review their experience. What catapults one past the others? Composure, Confidence, Manners, Positive Attitude, Appearance, Poise and Total Presentation are all components of what you need to master to have a good interview. What else is needed? The right mindset.


Why it is necessary? If you get your head in the right frame of mind, you can field general questions with confidence and ease. Let’s face it, you know your core skills or at least you should. If you do not, take the time to brush up on details. Get focused and be in a mindset of knowing how your skills and personality can compliment and support your manager’s team and best enhance the company’s goals and bottom line. Examine how you have been and will be a great fit and how you performed in the past. Look at how you will do so with this new opportunity. There is no crystal ball to look into the future, but understand how you can best contribute. Evaluate the question and assess your fit and what your role would or should require. If it is within your capabilities to perform well within and exceeding these parameters, then it is up to you to bring it to light.


Right before your interview, you must push out all extraneous distractions. This means forget the commute, parking, bus or train ride if in person or forget the set up process for a phone or virtual interview. Distractions like these will only undermine your focus. Get your head in the game. Review your notes and start thinking about your fit in the big picture. Go through the 2 Minute Drill. What is it that the manager is really looking for with a new team member? It may not be in the job description. Maybe your recruiter shared this with you or perhaps you ask the manager at the beginning of the interview. Once you have clarity on this point, it will assist you in tweaking your answers to show how you can support this goal. Part of the job is being the employee your new manager and company wants. The other part is to use your expertise and skills. Demonstrate that you understand this.


Focus! Stick to the facts. Showcase your proven abilities. Match your skills with those in the job description and what the manager shares with you regarding his or her “ideal hire”. Put your best foot forward. Stay positive. Put a positive spin on anything negative. You can do it!


Good Luck! 


 bperceptive • bsmart • bsuccessful

To Coach Or Not To Coach?

Reposted on 05-28-2020

Even the best sports teams have a coach.


Is it really a question to consider? Is your candidate more qualified than others…or just better at interviewing?


I recently read an opinion of a recruiter who does not believe in interview coaching. His perspective was that candidates should not be coached because he believes it is really about “job performance”. He believes that he just needs to find a candidate that performs well on the job. I have worked with many candidates that are very good at what they do, but are not very proficient with soft skills or “people skills”. Maybe interviewing just makes them anxious. Candidates are sometimes very good at their core skill set, but their communication skills are not always as well honed. So, what can you do? Prepare them! Coach them

Coaching is not about providing answers to candidates so they can get the job they seek. It is about getting them to:

  • prepare.
  • think about examples of great work they have done in the past.
  • present their thoughts in a cohesive and positive manner.
  • look the part.

If they do this, then they can:

  • be confident they will be able to handle questions asked of them.
  • convey their experience in the best light possible with the great examples of their work.
  • disclose their experience in a well thought out and professional manner appropriate for almost any situation they may encounter during their employment.
  • present the best image for a great first impression.

This is about enabling candidates to showcase their skills and experience so they can be successful when they interview. They will have to put some effort into the preparation phase to see a good return. It may take more than one interview to become comfortable with the idea of how to approach the interview in these terms. As they say, practice makes perfect! The goal is to have successful interviews and get the job…only then can anyone have “job performance”.

Coaching is not about providing answers to candidates so they can get the job they seek. It is about getting them to:
think about examples of great work they have done in the past.
present their thoughts in a cohesive and positive manner.
look the part.

Good Luck! 

bperceptive • bsmart • bsuccessful

Politicians v. Your Candidates

Reposted on 05-25-2020

(Note:  This blog posting was written with Recruiters in mind, but the message is the same for Canidates.)

Master the “spin”.


You cannot escape sound bytes of political campaigning these days.  Politicians can campaign for months. Take a lesson from the master manipulators, recruiters!  The politicians are accomplished individuals.  Most of them are from Corporate America or serve our Communities or Government.  What does that mean?  They are very politically savvy.  So, why do they still need coaching and advisors to support them?  They look to professionals to find experts in what they need to get an edge over the competition.  For example:

  • Politicians have someone else write speeches for them to perfect the message they want to project.

  • Politicians are coached on what to wear (and what not to wear) and even what color tie to support the correct emotional response from the people with which they are meeting.

  • Politicians are advised what not to address and how to avoid admitting past mistakes or diverting attention from the failure and bringing light to the lesson learned and how that was ultimately a “win”.

What does this have to do with recruiting? Take a lesson from the big dogs.  Your Candidates can learn from them.  For example:

  • Your Candidates need to learn how to address questions that are routine, but difficult interview questions. They are experts in their field, sure, but if they understand how to portray themselves correctly with the basics, then these are not so difficult.

  • Your Candidates must know what to wear and what not to wear.

  • Your Candidates must know how to put themselves in the best light possible and demonstrate that they are capable, show good judgment and will ultimately be the best person for the position.

What does that mean?  It means that you must help them.  Help them present their “best” self.  Be the advocate they need.  If a CEO of a large corporation needs advisement, don’t you believe your candidate could also benefit from an expert like you?  Take the time to share your knowledge. 

Good Luck! 

bperceptive • bsmart • bsuccessful

Contact:  barbara@bperceptive.com