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Career Survival Skills: The Clock is Ticking

by Michael Mayher


When you find yourself having to interview for a job, you’ll have a limited window of time within which you need to make the most of the event. The first interview should be about their learning more about you beyond your resume and you should learn more about the job beyond the woefully basic job post you likely responded to.

A typical first face-to-face interview is generally brief, sometimes as short as 30 minutes, and occasionally longer but rarely more than an hour. Regardless, time is limited and finite -- if you want to get all you can from the meeting. I remember when my daughter was a competitive swimmer and it wasn’t so much about the others in the pool as it was a race against the clock. Well, this is no different.

I have witnessed many persons aimlessly squander precious interview time instead of thinking strategically and getting the most out of the event as they possibly could.

One tip that can be most immediately and directly useful is the point at which, early in the interview, they ask you to tell them about yourself. In my estimation, a lot of time is unnecessarily wasted during this segment of the interview meeting. Often people will give their life’s story or they will randomly bounce around until suddenly, they’re down to the final minutes. By the time it’s all over, you recognize you didn’t learn very much but they probably have a pretty good picture of you. If you depart knowing little more about the job than you did when you arrived – you’ve messed up.

When you do describe and recite your experience as it relates to your suitability for the job, keep it short and to the point. You can elaborate in response to their questions if they want more details. Furthermore, it’s primarily the last 10 years that has any real relevance to today.

Once you think you have satisfied their interest, try to shift the discussion to being more about the job so you can learn something, and walk out with significantly more information than you had when you arrived.


About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.)

 
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