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How to Have a Winning Interview

Congratulations, you survived the initial screening, completed the meeting with the head hunter, made the short-list and you are now getting prepared to interview with the company. Having sat in on thousands of client/candidate interviews over the past 20 years, I can offer the following simple advice.

One, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company and about the role. Take the time to look at their website, read their news and press releases and talk to others who know the company. Review the job description and the requirements for the role. Review the individual backgrounds of the interviewer(s). Looking for common ground will help establish rapport quickly. Showing you have taken time to prepare for the interview will demonstrate your genuine interest in the role.

Two, anticipate. Based on the job description, you should be able to anticipate some of the questions the interviewer will ask. Give some thought beforehand as to how you will best answer these questions while describing your background and how it matches what they are looking for.

Three, listen! Make sure you listen to the question being asked and then stay on topic. I can’t tell you how many times during the after interview debrief the interviewer was frustrated because the candidate did not fully answer the question or rambled off-topic.

Four, provide examples. Don’t give a “google” generic answer. A well-articulated and relevant personal example can be very powerful and develops strong rapport with the interviewer.

Five, prepare questions. Think about 4 – 6 well thought out questions you might ask about the company and about the role. You may not get a chance to ask them all, but it is wise to be prepared. Don’t underestimate this part of the interview. Quite often the most honest and candid conversations happen during the candidate question period.

Six, relax, be yourself and show your personality. The interviewer not only wants to know about your experience and career, they also want to know who you really are. Although these six suggestions may seem simple, and maybe obvious, if followed you will set yourself apart from the field.

contribution ethic

The Concept of Contribution-Ethic

In my last post titled “What Employers want in 2016” I introduced the concept of Contribution-Ethic and had a very positive response.  I defined contribution-ethic as “feeling a strong moral and professional obligation to continually add value.” To further explain I’ll compare to its closely related first cousin, work-ethic, which I looked up in a number of sources.

Here are two definitions; the principal that hard work is intrinsically virtuous and worthy of reward / an ethical principal that places the greatest value on hard work and diligence. Although both principals are tied closely together, I believe the difference is the implied focus each of these terms initially brings to mind. To me, the definition of work-ethic emphasizes inputs (hard work, diligence) and the definition of contribution-ethic emphasizes outputs (add value, results).

Dan Schwarbel, a best-selling author, speaker and managing partner of a Gen Y research and consulting firm stated … “we (millennials) believe that companies shouldn’t judge performance by tenure, age or number of hours worked but on results achieved”. Given Schwarbel’s research shows that millennials will represent 76% of the global workforce by 2025, employers will have to further develop their ability to attract, develop, challenge, promote, recognize, measure and retain employees who exhibit both tangible and intangible value add to the organization.

In 2016, Davies Park executive search will continue to add value for our clients through sourcing and identifying top leadership candidates that demonstrate a strong individual and collective contribution-ethic.

allan nelson calgary executive search

What Employers Want in 2016

It is an understatement to say that 2015 was an incredibly challenging year in the oil and gas industry. Tens of thousands of jobs were lost, many companies failed while others continue struggling to survive. We are all left asking ourselves what lays ahead as we celebrate the dawn of a new year. Will the industry start to recover or are we facing the new long-term reality? Regardless of the answer to that question, it has become more important now than ever for companies to evaluate their current talent pool, at all levels, to ensure they have the most effective team moving forward.

Over the past 12 months I have met with over 100 corporate executives who’s companies have been affected by the downturn. We spoke about the current state of the industry, predictions for the future and the caliber of talent they would need to retain and/or attract to succeed. After considering all of the answers,  I have discovered  one phrase that I think encapsulates  the most important attribute they are looking for; contribution ethic.

Today’s companies want employees, leaders and executives that feel a strong moral and professional obligation to continually add value. This is especially true in a downturn where  smaller talented teams work smarter and more effectively. At Davies Park we look forward to working closely with our clients in 2016 to identify candidates who stand out, are upgrading their skills, are branding themselves as top performers and have demonstrated a strong contribution ethic throughout their career.