Archive for February, 2010

The Lost Art of Mastering a Great First Impression – Part V: The 30 Second Elevator Pitch

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Ever go to a networking event and meet someone that is unwavering in their attempt to make you hear everything they’ve done in their career and what they’re looking for in their next job? OK, I’m exaggerating here, a little. But it is true. We’ve all run across those people that think it’s important you know so much about them, or else you won’t be able to effectively help them. I’m sure even I’ve done it to someone before, and I really sympathize with them now.

Now for the controversial part of the post, so get those keyboards ready and start flexing your fingers. In an elevator pitch, I’m a firm believer that LESS IS MORE! Really, they don’t call it 30 seconds for nothing.


The Lost Art of Mastering a Great First Impression – Part IV: The Car Makes the Candidate

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Wow, am I setting myself up for the hate mail or what? I know this post will be controversial to some, and I’m the first to say, if you don’t agree with me, it’s ok, do what you want. These are only my opinions, are not set in stone, and sometimes even I go against them if I feel compelled.

That said, I do have some thoughts on how some candidates do themselves harm with their car. I was taught about five years ago by my business coach, Vance Caesar, to walk candidates to their cars after an interview. I must admit, I am not always able to do this, but I do try, especially when interviewing someone at my office. I might say something like, “I’ll walk you out” after the interview is over, and then follow them out of the building since our suite is on the first floor. As we’re making conversation, I might say, where are you parked and they’ll point in the direction so we’ll start walking towards their car.


The Lost Art of Mastering a Great First Impression – Part IIIb: How to WOO

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

If you’re an extrovert, you’ve probably never been told you lack energy or the ability to build rapport. However, when interviewing with an introverted hiring manager, it’s important for an extrovert to dial it down. Introverts want to drill down on your past responsibilities, your experiences, and your success stories. Keep it to the point. While one-word answers are almost never great in an interview, stick very closely to the question asked and don’t over communicate.


The Lost Art of Mastering a Great First Impression – Part IIIa: How to WOO

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Many of us by now have read the great book “Now Discover Your Strengths” and are familiar with the talents spelled out in detail. The one talent that some have in excess, and that serves them their entire careers, is WOO – winning others over. We can also call this topic building rapport with all the stakeholders and parties involved in you landing your dream job.

WOO’ing is not easy for all of us. My partner, Chris Bull, can walk into any room and immediately build rapport with just about any type in that room – from the cigar chomping, back slapping CEO type, to the technical R&D product developer type that’s passionate about technology but that sticks to themselves in social settings. I like to say that he can play the entire spectrum.


The Lost Art of Mastering a Great First Impression – Part II: To Dress or Not to Dress, That is the Question

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Many companies have gone casual dress these days and it’s difficult to know just how to dress for an interview. I just had lunch with a former public company CEO who visited the senior management team of a company he’s recently interviewed with for a CEO spot, and found everyone to be business casual. He was dressed to the nines with his best suit, great shirt, and great power tie (remember that line?). Immediately he felt over dressed and said to the assembled masses, “If you all don’t mind, I’d like to shed the tie and get comfortable with everyone,” at which they all said please do and he was one of the team. The point though, is that he knows how to dress and I’m sure they felt confident he can do the part in representing them to investors and analysts. And, while he dressed down by losing the tie, he still looked like a million bucks. This is a simple thing to do if you don’t know what a company hiring manager expects of your dress in your first interview. While I know I’ll probably hear a few comments about this, my feeling has always been to overdress with a company interview, and you can always say something about it so they know you can don the khakis and golf shirts just like everyone else. I have heard from hiring execs that even though their company is casual, they were put off by the candidate coming in for an interview dressed casually, at least for the first interview.


The Lost Art of Mastering a Great First Impression – Part I: Introduction

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

I’ve probably interviewed over a thousand people in the last 11 years and prior as a hiring manager, before getting into executive recruiting. (That’s less than 2 a week and many weeks, I might average over 5 so I think it’s a safe guess for this story.) It never ceases to amaze me how seemingly great candidates who are very smart, and have reached the executive level, or at least the senior part of middle management (that’s pretty concise) make a poor first impression when the interview starts. And, without trying to be sexist, men, the women have us beat here. They invariably know how to dress and how to position themselves properly in the chair or on our couch. They do however, join the men in missing on other points, which I’ll mention later.