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Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? – No BS Job Search Advice

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter discusses how to answer this tricky interview question.

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I want to talk with you today about one of those tough interview questions that are designed to help you hang yourself. The question is, “why did you leave your last job?” And as they asked the question they try to make it seem like you should tell them intimate details of your life that are completely inappropriate to talk about an interview. They act like they want you to confess.

Playing on that, there are two scenarios. The first is, if you got laid off, you you are not obviously going to say, “I was the least productive person in my organization so that was easy for them to choose me.” Obviously that’s not the right answer from your vantage point; from there’s they respond by saying, “okay. Thank you very much.”

In that situation, you talk about an organization was struggling financially and across-the-board cuts and, unfortunately, based upon seniority you are either (A) the least experienced person amongst your peers or (B) one of the more expensive people in the department and they decided, quality of work be damned, they could take out one person and save the money out of that department or three people and they opted for the one. That’s one approach.

Again, if you got laid off to you the most junior, that’s easy. They took a seniority approach. “I was the most junior person in the organization. You is not an issue or my work because all my reviews were terrific. Ultimately they chose me.”

If you are in a situation where you were not laid off, where you had a choice, this is a subtle one.

As you listen to this, remember, I believe in acting over the course of an interview. Thus, you want to act like you are agonizing and going back in time to think about it. You then say something along the lines of, “this was not an easy decision for me. I have gotten frustrated because they saw me as someone who could run this department, be very good as a programmer… Whatever it is… I didn’t want to sit in the same job for the next 20 years of my life. It became real clear to me that that was going to be the case where was. So, after speaking with my manager and he being very clear that this was the plan for me, I decided that, although I like my job, although I like the work I was doing and like the people, I had to think longer term. I start to go out on interviews and organizations saw me very differently. They saw me as someone who had a huge upside. It wasn’t that I was going to come in and do the same thing repetitively, organizations spoke about how they would do career development for me to help with my growth.” That becomes a different approach.

The second scenario is when you were let go, when you had a rough situation he decided to look at other opportunities.

Using myself as an example, I left a firm at one point where I was a top performer. I came to realize I wasn’t getting the support that I wanted or needed to do what I do. Management kept reducing tools and I kept reaching into my own pocket to pay for things. Eventually, I paused and asked myself, “if I’m going to keep doing that, why, if I’m going to be paying for this stuff myself, why am I giving management such a large percentage? If I’m going to do that, why give management such a large percentage of each sale that I do?” So I decide to hang my own shingle up.”

Did you notice what I was doing? I was painting a situation with the story so that it is understandable from the audience’s standpoint.I’m not acting bitter in any way. I’m not speaking harshly; I just decide to explain it in a very forthright way.

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Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Did the Firm You Interned With Offer a Job to You?

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter answers one of those tough interview questions, “I see you interned with a firm. Did they offer you a full-time position at graduation? If not, why not?”

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I have another one of those tough interview questions, this one geared toward fairly recent grads.

“I see he interned for (fill in the blank). Did they offer you a full-time position after graduation and, if not, why not?”

The correct way to answer this is to say, “Yes, I interned for them and did a great job for them. On graduation, I’m sure you realize that the economy has cratered and decide to cut back very dramatically on their internship hires. So, no, I wasn’t offered a position but no one else was offered a full-time position with them. I’m sure have great references from them and if you like I can put you in touch with firm you to verify that.”

That’s really is complicated as you need to be. Acknowledge that you did intern there, that you weren’t there for a position, as a matter of fact no one was offered a position there, that you great references and that you be happy put them together with them at the right time.

[/spp-transcript]

Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

The Two Doors Brainteaser

Jeff Altman, The. Big Game Hunter offers an answer to the classic brainteaser. “You have two doors  and two people that you can ask questions of. One always tells the truth.  One always lies. You can only ask one question of one of the people. What’s the question you ask?

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I have one of those hedge fund brainteaser questions for today – – the two doors brainteaser.Here’s how it goes.

There are two doors. Behind one door is a job offer. Behind the other door is all the pain and suffering in the world. There are two people outside them. One is someone who always tells the truth; one is someone who always lies. You can only ask one question of one of them. What is the question you should ask to figure out what door it is that has the job behind it?

So what you do is pick one of the guys and ask, “what with the other guy say is the correct door to go to?”

If the other person is the liar, he would tell you the wrong door. If he is the truth teller he’s going to tell you the correct door.

If the person you asked the question of is the honest one, he will point you to the wrong door (after all, he’s talking about the liar). If that person is the liar, your point you to the wrong door.

When you evaluate the choices, whatever door they pointed to, choose the opposite one.

[/spp-transcript]

Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruite

rs—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Describe a Database in 3 Sentences

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains how to answer one of those tough interview questions: describe a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old niece or nephew.

 

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Is one of those tough interview questions, because I think it has some validity in testing whether you can break down a relatively complex idea into something simple.

So the question is, “Describe a database to your eight-year-old niece or nephew in three sentences.”

Got that? In three sentences you have to describe a database.

The way I would answer that question is by relating it to something they already know and are familiar with.

A database is like a closet. Instead of clothes and toys, it stores information in the database. People store information in a database like you would put toys or clothes in a closet.

What that does is relate the image to something they already know, they describe what is being put there (it’s not close you toys, it’s information) and uses the analogy of the closet.

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Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Describe Yourself in One Word

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter prepares you with the best way to answer this question.

 

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SUMMARY

Here’s today’s tough interview question. It’s the one that’s designed to make you say, “Huh! That’s tougher than it sounds.”

The question for today is, “pick one word that you can use to describe yourself.”

Boing!

Some people might choose hard-working. Some might choose successful or leader. There’s no one right way to answer that question. The idea very simply as what are the qualities that this firm might look for in hiring someone for this job?

For example, if your mathematician using their computer science as part of your work, you might think of meticulous or thorough as being the right word. If you are going for an executive position address this question, you might use the word leader.

The idea is to think of the attributes in advance that someone might prefer in an individual in the role the true interviewing for.

If you’re an administrative assistant, would leader fit? I don’t know. You know the kind of role the trip going for with that really describe what a firm is looking for? For and administrative assistant to the executive in your organization, it might be the right word. If you’re part of an office pool, it probably isn’t.

Again, think of the qualities that are necessary for the work that you do and for the organization that you are working for in the kind of position that your interviewing for. That’s the key to answering a question like this correctly.

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Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Why Are You Interviewing for This Job???

On this show, I explain how to answer this question in a way that allows you to hit a home run with the interviewer.

 

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Today I will do one of those tough interview questions there designed to make you quaking your boots… Stammer out an answer… And generally look foolish.

These questions are so difficult. They just require a few seconds of thought.

This is a fun one and gives you a great opportunity to sell yourself hard… Unless you’re unprepared in which case you will sell like a dope.

So today’s question is, “why are you interviewing for this job?” Or, “why did you apply for this job?”

These translate into, “why are you sitting in my office and why am I talking to you?”

This is a great opportunity to sell yourself into the role. Speaking in a crisp sort of way because people associate that style of speech with self-confidence. You can’t speak as though you’ve never given it any thought or have no degree of certainty. You really have to sounds certain with your answer because, remember, part of what an employer is looking for is someone who can inspire confidence that they are to the solution to a need.

The ability to speak with certainty is critical when answering this question.

The answer the question, said with certainty is, “I understand the position is for such and such. What I understand your organization is about is that it’s a leader in its field or an organization with great adaptability or a place where people with talent in advance…” You have four or five different criteria in quick succession.

You continue, “that’s exactly what I’m looking for. You see my background with such and such would fit in nicely with what you are looking for. From the standpoint of what I bring to your organization, I bring a lot of driving passion for what I do, a determination to be successful, I play well with others but not to the point of subjugating a good idea and not trying to advance the idea.”

“I work well with others but not to the point of letting myself be pushed around. Ultimately what you will have is an individual with a strong belief in themselves, a determination to excel. I work well with others but not to the point where I push them around or let myself be pushed around will work hard to make you look good.”

So the idea, again, is to give yourself a commercial for why you are fit for the role and how you ever tried to be successful, your passion for what you do (you demonstrated to how you answer the question) because it’s not just what you say that counts is how you tell your story that will come out in the interview.

And you can really bang this one out of the park if you take a few minutes to think in advance as to how you’d answer the question.

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Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

If an Apple Costs 20 Cents . . .

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter answers this tricky interview question, “If an Apple cost $.40, a banana costs $.60, and a grapefruit $.80, how much does a pear cost?”

Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Have a question you want me to answer? Contact me through PrestoExperts

If You Were an Animal, What Would You Be?

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter answers one of those tricky interview questions that are designed to trip you up and disqualify yourself.

Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Have a question you want me to answer? Contact me through PrestoExperts