In many interviewing situations, whether one-
on-one or group, you can gain cues from the
interviewer how the interview is going.
When this happens it doesn’t mean you
should change anything. It might suggest
however, that you may may be invited to the
next level of screening.
Look for these suggestive indicators:
- Were you asked difficult questions? Were
you able to respond coherently and appropriately?
- Were you invited to meet all the interviewers,
and then several other workers, managers, and
perhaps higher ups? [there are some other
people who you will be introduced to
- Did the interview with the hiring manager
go longer and have the conversation flow smoothly.
- In later interviews, after earlier interviews
“sized you up” as a good match, did you feel as
though people spoke of the excitement and
benefits working there? [trying to sell you on the
- Were you asked about when you might be
able to start? Who else are you interviewing for?
What are your salary expectations?
However, in an interview also keep notice for
the following. These may indicate either
modifying your approach or clarifying any
apparent issues, including:
- what else the interviewer is doing? Does
she take phone calls during the interview?
Is he interrupted by less important business?
Is she taking notes, fully engaged or is she
distracted by other things.
- Was the conversation back and forth?
Was it forced? Did the interviewer seem
prepared? Did the interviewer wish to pursue
specific details? Did you meet them
- Were you given a chance to explore and
ask questions of interest to you?
- Did you sense any negative words, body
language, unexpected facial gestures when
you were speaking?
In the whole process,
show excitement of your invitation to
interview and chance for the job
connect to the position and working
for the company (purpose)
demonstrate your interest in and
ability to work on teams for the company’s
The time that an interviewee expresses he
is not interested in the job is best after an
offer is extended.
Almost thought about skipping “strategic” in the title.
But it is essential in the context of career planning
and career management.
The following is a consulting interaction with V.
How are things progressing for you?
Have you considered a “back-up plan” for your career?
If it involved a post-doc, think seriously of looking
out five years to where you wish to be in your career.
The post-doc is a path to help you get there.
This is similar for temporary employement. In
some cases, if you are restricted to limited
locations, ‘temping’ is appropriate to get your
foot in the door.
Let me know how I might be able to help.
It is very nice to see your email.
Thanks for inquiring about my job situation.
I am now seriously working on getting a
postdoctoral position. There is a very well
know Professor in the Analytical Chemistry …
And he is known for his work in Mass
Spectrometry. I came to know that he has
an opening for a Physical Chemist.
So I have sent my Curriculum Vitae to him.
I want to work in instrument development and
this is what ……….. is good at. I am also
planning to go to Purdue and meet him
…There are two other Professors whom I
will be sending my CV soon for a postdoc.
I hope things are fine at your end and that
you are in the best of your health.
EXPLORING CAREER ALTERNATIVES– Medzilla
PUBLIC RELATIONS DOCUMENTS
Madeline Kowall authored a nice piece
|“What I Look For When I Evaluate an
on 6figurejobs.com (the link is too long…)
It nicely describes resume features that
1. Clearly define for the reader areas of
2. At the top of the resume, point out business,
3. Describe the “footprint” you left in your
4. If you have certifications, how did you use
Mostly, these touch on multidisciplinary roles,
Peter Fiske, who I met several years ago,
writes a Science column and conducts
workshops authored a recent column about
obtaining an MBA ’Opportunities: More
school’. It offers a thoughtful comparison
of pros and cons.
My experience with dozens of people who
have gone on and obtained MBAs from Wharton,
Harvard, Worcester Polytech, and other New
England business schools relates different
- desire to manage technology evolution
- like to work with people to get the
‘juices flowing’– convince and sell ideas, solve
problems, develop ideas
- learn to ask critical business
- desire to assume larger
- enjoy assembling numerical
information and project scenarios
- willing to change more frequently
than experimental scientists
- learn from imperfect case
studies and apply to new situations
Further, there are special 13 week programs
at top rated schools that are shorter routes to
obtaining the MBA cachet that fast-track
scientists have completed to get everything
the MBA offers and unique recognition. In
many of these cases the programs have a
strong international flavor
If there are people interested in these programs
please express the interest.
On the train to New York last week
I perchance sat next to a recruiter who
was visiting one of his clients in Boston
for the day.
One thing led to another and we spoke
about what each was doing. In the
process of sharing information, he
volunteered to review my information
on how chemists, scientiists,
technicians and managers can
beneficially work with recruiters.
David had some excellent information
In addition to noting that certain fields
are strongly served by specialized
recruiters who develop relationships
with a host of possible clients, he
noted the following:
1. when a recruiter contacts you, it
is more than polite, but professional
to respond and be responsive. Find
out the niche they serve– geographic,
or field, or sub-discipline, or particular
2. help the recruiter determine if you
fit their search needs. They more
than likely will be working for a client
to find possible people to bring in for
interviews. If you are not the right fit
now, you may be if you help her(im)
fill the position.
She(he) may contact your again if
the interaction was favorable and it
may help you.
3. In some instances it can be useful
to have someone who works with
recruiters to introduce you to the
recruiter. A cold call may not work for
you, an introduction by someone they
4. rejection or imperfect match is
possible. Don’t take rejection personally.
5. if you have an ongoing relationship
with a recruiter, a simple email contact
to find out if things are available, might
just be the right level of interaction for
It was a fun ride with David. He had
Don’t you agree?
One of the clear questions each person who
goes into a job interview MUST be able to
know what their response elements are is:
Why should we hire you?
Each interviewee should have thought this
through and be able to state what they offer
whether the individual is a recent grad, in
mid-career or mature.
The guidance we often provide is that the
interview is two-sided. The company, or
department, wishes to learn
ability to do the job
motivation to provide needed elements to
excel in the role
communicates effectively and manages
displays a positive attitude that fits in with
understands and can adapt to various
team environments to be a strong member
of a team.
The individual is looking for a position and
role that matches her/his core values and
needs. Additionally, we indicate that it involves
responsibilities that will be interesting and
Thus, knowing what each party in the interview
wants to learn and assess helps us have the
necessary information to reinforce first impressions
or elements listed in the resume that support
your candidacy. As important as these, one
might also trim the message down to match the
clear desires of the company with not only your
key attributes, but also specific examples where
you get things done or solve problems.
This is so important that it is worth considering
answering the question out loud or even
“taped” to see that you can state it
Recently, I had the privilege to meet a group
at Columbia University. They richly welcomed
me and taught me things from their questions.
One of the topics was how do we find out
positions to apply for locally. This is a common
question for many
The standard responses are internet (viewing
key websites that have been mentioned in
recent blogs), networking (contacting everyone
that can put you in contact with decision makers
who can invite you to submit a resume), and
all the traditional media containing ads.
The first two have a common trait that we pointed
out at Columbia: Look for NODES or key sites
(Internet) or centers of information (networking).
While the information may be originating in
outlying sources, nodes are aggregators of
the needed information.
In networking for general purposes, we look
for NODES that are CENTERS OF
COMMUNICATION in the job search mode
and CENTERS OF INFORMATION, ACTION,
or INFLUENCE in the business mode.
So, when one conceives of their networks, a key
feature are the nodes. Files might be developed
on members of your networks who are NODES
and reliable sources of communication,
information, action and influence. Quite often,
it is helpful to use networks to verify
information. In our highly connected, interactive
world this is a useful feature to recognize and
There is no question about it. The frequency
of use is growing, but equally more important,
people are becoming more successful finding
Sarah Needleman wrote another tips-filled
article that I wish to point you to: “How to
sharpen your aim when job hunting on line.”
Three tips I wish to underscore:
1. Use the ACS Careercenter for posting
your resume. Consider posting more than
one, if your ‘target companies’ are in different
segments (perhaps this can’t be done, try
alternating one week at a time…). Ms.
Needleman wisely points out, many specific
area firms (like chemistry, polymers, etc.)
will look at ‘niche sites’ first to find
candidates to bring in.
2. Find a connection or common ground with
the person who is the contact, hiring suervisor
or department manager. Not that this, generally,
is new, but the example she cites is
thoughtful…use social networks to locate
people (i.e., linkedin.com), search journals,
business articles. Cite the common ground
in the cover letter.
3. Register to receive email alerts and RSS
feeds. (Consider creating a separate email
address for such automated contacts as you
may be flooded with email that will be hard to
separate. You can then forward the top line
items to your “regular” email account.)
There are several other suggestions in this
don’t miss article.
Recently, I was involved in the NESACS Career
Fair and conducted three mock interviews.
What I still remember are the stories, graphical
in nature, that were part of the responses the
Have you ever had to do a very repetitive job
that was essential yet quite boring and tedious?
was one question. The volunteer interviewee, “L”
offered that one of the projects she was involved
with required her to place a metal probe in each
of hundreds of sample pieces. She described how
she started out doing it, how she bundled this
activity and created a sample holder so that she
would do many at one time and do it repeatably.
It was important that she bundled the activity for
it bothered others in the lab. She then could do
this safely when few were around. She then quipped
that now that she is finished, mates commented
that they don’t have to hear her banging those
polymer samples any longer…
It was a short meaningful story that people could
remember and it demonstrated several things
about how she organized and carried out her work.
We need to remember that for certain questions,
we will be expected to relate information in stories.
In fact, it is a wise practice to prepare stories for
each item one places on their resume. Think about
the categories where you might interject memorable
stories. A good story is interesting and full of action.
Give the interviewer something to remember you
by and reveal your personality and character. Where
you can bring a small piece or device of that you
made or a picture of what you work on or with,
it helps portray in realistic terms what you have done.
> Thank you very much for your comments and
suggestions on my resume. I have made a revised
version based on your inputs. Could you please
help me and review this one?
> I have read through articles on the blog and
checked the “transferable skills”. I learned a lot
of things from those resources. While I still
have a few questions and hope it will not take
you too much time:
>1. Based on one article there, most job
positions are not posted online. Is that a good
way to call companies directly to check the
job vacancy there?
Is that good to use job agency to look for
>2. I am going to graduate in this Fall Semester,
is that true that most companies don’t recruit
people in summer? Should I wait until
September to see more vacancies?
> Appreciate your help.
> Best regards,
Read an insightful book this weekend by
Ken Dychtwald, T. Ericson and R. Morrison,
about the “Workforce Crisis.” (2006) Harvard
The authors’ thesis is that a “shortage of
key skills will precede a shortage of workers”
in short order as “babyboomers” transition
to their next life phase.
They define 3 age groups:
- younger <35
- mid-career 35 - 55
- mature >55
Thus, the new title of a section on Mature workers.
They graph responsibility vs. age, showing a
peak at 55 and three downsides after 55:
- gradual - called sustaining or adjusting
- mirror image of the upward earlier years
- called downshifting
- abrupt - called traditional early retirement.
Concerning ’sustaining careers’, the authors
point to mature workers being a
“competitive advantage” in the face of the
“crisis” due to
- (Patience, savvy) willingness to stay longer,
- (customer friendly, willing to take time) very
- role models for younger employees
- demonstrate key performance factors with
Be interested in hearing about others’
perspectives on this topic.
Penelope Strunk developed a nice topic
on time management at her blog, entitled
“10 tips for time management in a multitasking
The “possibly related posts” mostly applaud
the MIT’s (that is most important tasks),
prioritizing, and email tips. I like them, as well.
The idea I wish to convey, and they might be
similar to yours, in that several important
notions might also fit, if not trump some
items on the ‘time management list.’
- “volitional intent”- doggedly pursue important
tasks. Calling for less multi-tasking, more focus
- you work for a boss: Understand what is on his
radar screen that is urgent and important, classify
others on the scale for priority setting
- plan based on achieving your personal long
term goals. Do things that will create benefit–
develop, improve, or maintain critical skills
what will it take for you to achieve competency?
should you partner with someone?
how can you create win-win outcomes?
- organize communications, using audience analysis,
impact design, and appropriate forms
- on critical issues develop back-up plans.
Thus, stating do MITs and prioritize without context
is less satisfying to me.
Dale Kurow developed an insightful instrument
to help you evaluate your relationship with your
supervisor. 25 statements that you score YES
One of the neat things about a blog is what you
learn from others– hrere’s a case in point. On
the topic of finding “hidden jobs,” was forwarded
an article by D. Feldman, entitled “Nine hidden
job market secrets.”
In the normal course of presentations, several of
the nine are commonly mentioned, for example,
- define your goals and values (focus your search on
specific employers that match up for you)
- be able to identify your skills and abilities that match
key performance factors companies seek (what are
you expert in?)
- network (purposefully)
- information interview to explore careers, companies,
industries, localities and what it is really like doing a
What separates this article and makes it worth studying
are the following items
1. Define your value proposition
- what are your best qualifications that match needs
- customize a clear message that you are the candidate
the employer seeks or should seek
- understand how your skills should be compensated
2. Personally meet with hiring authorities at employers
where you wish to work
- use valued personal referrals, friendly recommendations
and inside leads
- create a pleasant, creative, memorable message that
keeps you on the radar screen so that even when you are not
actively pursuing you may be in the loop
Consider looking at Feldman’s article.
Is there a topic under which severance is a
logical subheading? Beats me… It is something
that should be aired in today’s more rapidly
changing job situation.
In exploring “niche job sites” provided in an article,
one rose above the rest in providing content,
Surfing the site, beamed me to a place
with a neat article about severances by Kirk Nemer,
|The 8 Biggest Severance Package Mistakes|
|“Americans who are offered a severance
package, a retirement package, or a buyout
offer from companies leave dollars, benefits,
and many other incentives on the table as
they walk out a company’s doors. Most
people don’t realize they can negotiate for
extended pay, more benefits and other terms
of their employment departure.
Employees also are too quick to sign the
The article provides insights a lawyer representing