Win the Job: The Best Kept Secret to Job Search Success

Interview with Fred Coon Author of the book "Ready Aim Hired"

1. Your book comes with audio and video supplements. How do you think using the media in this way assist's readers?

People fall into several categories of learning and absorption of data and information. I tried to cover all bases and to reach all types of readers. The video and audio files I use on the CD and the Website help to break the monotony of reading page after page. My next book will also be on the web and in print and will include some open forums and chat space as well.

2. Can you give an example of a common search mistake?

There are so many mistakes that people make; I am not sure where to begin. Here are two. The first mistake is thinking that they can use a 'canned' resume format provided by Microsoft and that will compel hiring authorities to call them. However, before one can even begin the resume, there must be serious thinking about who they are and why someone would wish to hire them. Let's face the truth. Companies hire someone because they think they can make money off the sweat of their brow (my dad's saying). How true that is. Therefore, if you want to secure and interview, you must have enough substance to compel someone to pick up the phone and call you. Otherwise, you are simply fooling yourself and wasting other people's time. Companies also hire you because they think you can bring value to their top or bottom line. Therefore, it is critical that you clearly state your accomplishments in quantifiable and measurable terms. Not only state what you did but also how well you did it. This may the biggest mistake made by people who try to write their own resumes. Hire a nationally certified professional resume writer to package and brand you. It will be the best investment you can make in the job search process.

3. You talk about balance in Chapter 2. How do you envision someone who has achieved this?

They sleep well at night, are invigorated by the thought of going to work when they get up in the morning, are seeking the challenges of work and play and enjoying life around them. Too ideal? Not really. Balance is tough to achieve. The stress of everyday life is hard enough but add work into the mix, well, that requires meditation, clear thinking, setting objectives, making an actionable plan, working that plan, adapting and modifying as necessary and remembering that you are in control of your situation or you are out of control. Balance is knowing the relationship between how to manage and balance the discord and harmony that we encounter daily. Can we always achieve that? No, because we are all human. Can we try? Absolutely, because if we don't, we become unpleasant to others around us and merely survive in an unhealthy existence. No one wants to live like that do they?

4. What is one way that a job seeker can convey what they bring to the firm without bragging?

There is a vast difference between bragging and stating facts. Facts are the important thing here. Bragging is when you indicate the company would have folded without you. Stating the facts would sound much different, For example: Sales increased 25% annually through implementing etc. etc. The point here is related to question 2 of this interview. Quantifiable, measurable events that are succinctly stated. This is not bragging, it is stating the facts. It is those facts that secure interviews, facilitate successful negotiations and yield desirable results.

5. What drives you nuts when you see it in a resume?

Misspellings. Canned resume formats. No facts. Wasted space. Idiotic and 'cutsey' fonts. Poor organization.

6. How might a job candidate inadvertently display their ignorance of technology?

Writing their resume in Word Pad or some other format. Incorrect use of technical terminology or trying to indicate their prowess in the tech area and when the interview comes, blowing it and being found out.

7. Give an example of a job seeker's tactic to control the interview.

Let's begin with a basic understanding. Each client is a product. Like any product, they must be sold, either passively or actively. An interview is the active form of sales. Some of your readers are now cringing and saying, 'I hate sales'. So do I. However, like it or not, each of us is a sum total of our work history and our experiences in life.

Our ability to present this in such a way as to get the interviewer to confirm that particular skill or ability is interview control. How is this done? Active listening and confirmation of need. For example, if the job description calls for a particular skill or ability, make sure you have a short story (no more than 45 seconds in length) to tell about how you accomplished that skill or demonstrated that ability at a previous position. ALSO, one must confirm that the listener understood the story and how it fits the need they have so the best way to do that is to ask them the following question. 'Is that the skill you were seeking?' Any variation of that question will do. The thing to remember is to make sure that at the end of the interview you review, in summary form, each skill that they had agreed you had and that they needed. I guarantee that any job seeker's competition won't be doing this and that is why our clients at Stewart, Cooper & Coon not only get interviews but also receive significant offers. It is more complex than we have time to explain in this interview but you get the basic concept. Just remember, interviewing is not about interviewing. It is about eliminating the competition. They don't hire two people for the same job so you had better use tactics that will leave you as the last person standing in the arena of job search.

8. What is one good question the job seeker can ask during the interview in order to make the best decision?

The question does not have a simple answer. It's much more complex than this. It begins with what the job seeker is seeking in both short and long term objectives. The last thing to do is ask about benefits in the first interview. The job seeker should be concerned with what they bring to the company and is that a good fit for the company and what the company has to offer them in both personal satisfaction and job responsibilities and whether or not these two are a match. The decision to continue to the second or third interview is based upon two-way communications between the job seeker and the company. It through this iterative process and a specific list of questions that one discovers whether or not the match is made in Heaven.

9. Is there a point where a job seeker messes things up during the negotiation process? Where does it most likely occur?

Absolutely. Mostly it is two areas. First, they cannot effectively communicate what they bring to the table. Most sit there, ask a few questions, answer the company questions, smile, be nice and leave the interview not knowing where they stand. The second area is the mention of money. The question is basic instinct for HR types. They ask: 'What did you make last year?' They may ask the question in a variety of ways: 'What did your W-2 show last year' or they may ask the killer question, 'What are you looking for salary wise?' Most job seekers answer this right away, in their quest to be seen as cooperative and a 'team' player. This is the worst thing you can do. What if you were currently making ,000, they were willing to pay ,000 and you told them ,000? By the same token, if they were willing to pay less salary but more commission and you overstated the requirement, you lose as well. First you must determine that there is a match. Second, you must establish your credentials and demonstrate them in such a way that you create excess value in their eyes. Only then can you ask for more money and have them agree to your asking price for your 'product'.

10. What is the best thing you can do the day before you begin your new job?

Sit down and write everyone you were in touch with during your campaign a thank you note. Thank them for their support and assistance. Let them know how excited you are about your new job. THEN, on a periodic basis keep them posted on your progress. NOW, you have a network so that when you are on the streets again, you have people who will be current with you, remember you as a considerate and organized person and who knows, they might even know of a job you can apply for. Networking is critical to the long-term success of any employee. Second, make a list of questions you wish to ask your new boss. Make sure that you sit with them the first day or not later than the end of the first week and secure a list of their expectations for you and for your performance.

11. You have had years of experience helping people find great jobs. Is there anything else you would want to add to help the readers of this website?

Do not let a day go by without some sort of meaningful, planned and well-executed activity in a job search. Whether that is writing letters, making calls, improving the resume, researching, or whatever - EVERY DAY make something happen. Why? Beyond the obvious in that it helps secure results, it also wards of the greatest job search killer - depression. I see so many job seekers who start their job search with a bang and then about six weeks into the process nothing has happened and they find other things to do so that they can feel they have accomplished something. Not long after all the fun stuff has been done, they sit at home and wonder why they are not getting calls from recruiters ( another topic of discussion altogether) or no job offers. To enjoy activity you must first make something happen. then, you must repeat the process over and over again trying new and different methods. Meaningful activity is the only antidote to job search depression.

Stewart Cooper Coon
Tip: Organize your Job Search.