web analytics


Via Forbes : If You Want To Fail A Job Interview, Just Say The Words ‘You’ And ‘They’

Did you know that in job interviews, high performers actually speak differently than low performers? In a research study called “Words That Cost You The Job Interview” we discovered that interview answers rated poorly by hiring managers contain very different words than interview answers rated highly. For example, bad interview answers use the word “you” almost 400% more than good interview answers, and “they” 90% more.

Textual analysis is still considered “rocket science” in much of the corporate world, but as early adopters of this fascinating science, we’ve analyzed the language and grammar of hundreds of thousands of real-life candidates responding to interview questions to assess the differences in language usage between high and low performers.

As a result, we know things like whether high performers primarily use the past or future tense in their answers, what kinds of pronouns and adverbs low performers choose, and so much more. The following are just a few of our ‘Holy Cow!’ findings regarding two of the big textual categories: Pronouns and Tense.


• First Person Pronouns: High performer answers contain roughly 60% more first-person pronouns (e.g. I, me, we) than answers given by the low performer answers (the ones in the Warning Signs category).

• Second Person Pronouns: Low performer answers contain about 400% more second person pronouns (e.g. you, your) than high performer answers.

• Third Person Pronouns: Low performer answers use about 90% more third person pronouns (e.g. he, she, they) than high performer answers.

• Neuter Pronouns: Low performer answers use 70% more neuter pronouns (e.g. it, itself) than high performer answers.

The data here clearly shows that high performers talk about themselves using first-person pronouns a lot more than low performers do. High performers might say something like: “I called the customer on Tuesday and I asked them to share their concerns…” Whereas a low performer might say: “Customers need to be contacted so they can express themselves…” or: “You should always call the customer and ask them to share…”

The reason high performers talk about themselves is that they’ve got lots of great experiences to draw from. But low performers don’t have those great experiences, and thus are more likely to give abstract or hypothetical answers that merely describe what “you” should do. Research has also found that when people lie, they often use more second and third person pronouns because they’re subconsciously disassociating themselves from the lie.

The lesson here is to listen very carefully to whether candidates are talking about “I” and “me” — which is good — or if they’re talking about “you,” “he” and “it” — which is not so good.


• Past Tense: Answers from high performers use 40% more past tense than answers from low performers.

• Present Tense: Answers from low performers use 120% more present tense than answers from high performers.

• Future Tense: Answers from low performers use 70% more future tense than answers from high performers.

Our research shows that when you ask high performers to tell you about a past experience, they will actually tell you about that past experience. And, quite logically, they will use the past tense to do it. By contrast, low performers will answer your request to describe a past experience with lots of wonderfully spun tales about what they are (present tense) doing, or what they will (future tense) do. Unlike high performers, they can’t tell you about all those wonderful past experiences because they simply don’t have them.

So, for instance, when asked to describe a difficult customer situation, high performers will respond with an example stated in the past tense. Something like: “I had a customer who was having issues with her server and was about to miss her deadline.” By contrast, low performers are more likely to express their response in the present or future tense. Something like: “When a customer is upset the number one rule is to never admit you don’t know the answer” or “I would calm an irrational person by making it clear I know more than they do.”

It’s also interesting to note that much of the time, present and future tenses are accompanied by second and third person pronouns (“you, he, she, they, did…”), whereas the past tense is linked to the first person pronoun (“I, me, we, did…”).

As we know from our Hiring For Attitude research, 89% of hiring failures come from attitude rather than from technical skills. And where does attitude manifest itself in a job interview? In the language that candidates use.

Textual analysis is truly a revolutionary idea that allows us to listen to candidates’ language and assess whether they’re headed towards the high or low performer camps.

Via Forbes : Can’t Get Job Interviews? Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong

Dear Liz,

I didn’t expect to be job-hunting in 2017 because I only started my current job in late 2015.

However, my company is selling off business units left and right.

I don’t want to sit around and wait for the day my job gets eliminated, so I’m job-hunting at night and on the weekends.

I can’t get an interview to save my life and it’s weird because I’ve always gotten interviews pretty easily before.

I’m not sure why my job search efforts aren’t working yet, but it’s frustrating.

I must have filled out 40 online job applications so far, but I haven’t had one interview.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks Liz –



Dear McCoy,

You are employed. That makes you a favored job candidate for a lot of employers, so it is strange that you aren’t getting interviews.

One of these two things isn’t working properly:

1. Your branding (resume and LinkedIn profile) might be holding you back, and/or

2. Your approach to employers may be less than optimal.

There are only two elements in your initial approach to employers.

The first element is your brand.

Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are positioning you correctly for the jobs you want. Get a friend to read both documents and help you tell your story more powerfully.

The second element is the channel you employ — that is, the way you introduce yourself to the organization you want to work for — and the other element is your message.

Your message is your brand. When you apply for a job, your goal is to send the message “I can perform this job with no problem. In fact, my perspective and my experience make me a top candidate for the job!”

If you are applying for jobs online but doing nothing else to reach employers, you are relying on the weakest possible job search channel.

Filling out online job applications is the worst way to get a new job, because so many other applicants are in the same pipeline with you and because employers use keyword-searching technology to find people to interview.

Keyword-searching algorithms are a horrible way to hire people, but also the most common process used by medium-sized and large employers.

You can’t afford to pin your job-search hopes on Black Hole recruiting portals where resumes go to die.

You can write directly to your own hiring manager — your possible future boss — using a Pain Letter.

Here are four other job search channels to consider:

1. Recruiters

2. Networking

3. Alumni groups

4. Consulting

If you have always snagged new jobs easily before, you may have a recruiter-friendly resume of the type that search consultants would like to have.

You can find local recruiters in your area of expertise by searching LinkedIn, asking your contacts and attending local business networking events where you will either meet recruiters or meet people who can recommend a search partner for you.

Networking is an excellent, long-term job search channel because networking doesn’t work instantly. Since you have a job, you have time to re-establish old relationships and cultivate new ones, but you have to invest time and energy into the networking channel for it to bear fruit.

Your college alumni association may be a great job search channel too, whether you live in the area of your alma mater or many time zones away.

Finally, you can get business cards and begin networking as a consultant, rather than a job-seeker.

This is especially important because you currently employed. You can take on small consulting projects on your off-work hours, and use that channel to enlarge your network — and perhaps consult your way into your next job!

All the best —


Via Business Insider : 6 smart questions you’re probably forgetting to ask in a job interview

It’s crucial to ask questions during job interviews.

If you shrug and tell the hiring manager that you don’t have any questions at the end of your conversation, they’re bound to think that you’re just not that interested.

That being said, you can’t just throw out any random query that floats to the top of your mind.

It’s important to ask thoughtful questions that get at important points and demonstrate you’re a viable candidate.

Here are six smart questions you don’t want to forget to ask during interviews:

1. ‘Why is this position available?’

The job interview isn’t just about impressing hiring managers and coming across as competent and enthusiastic.

You’ve also got to vet the opportunity and the organization that you’re considering. This question will help you figure out if things are truly going well at the organization.

“It’s helpful to know if the last person quit, if the business is growing, or if there’s some other driver at play,” Angela Copeland, career coach at Copeland Coaching, tells Business Insider.

2. ‘What makes people stay at this company?’

April Boykin-Huchko, HR manager at marketing firm Affect, tells Business Insider that it’s always a good idea to get a sense of the company’s culture.

In this day and age, most organizations advertise their values and their company culture online. So, rather than directly asking about culture and values, try to figure out how exactly the company’s environment impacts employees.

3. ‘If hired, what are the three most important things you’d like me to accomplish in the first six to 12 months at the company?’

“Think of every open position as a problem or pain point the company is hoping to solve with the right hire,” Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert for TopResume, tells Business Insider. “The more you know about the hiring manager’s expectations and metrics for success, the easier it will be for you to tailor the conversation to demonstrate your fit for the role.”

4. ‘What will make someone successful in the role?’

Copeland recommends asking this question to make sure you’re “hitting the mark” when it comes to the hiring manager’s goals for the role.

5. ‘Is there anything I’ve said that makes you doubt I would be a great fit for this position?’

“If you can find the courage to put your interviewer on the spot, it can help you get a quick read on the situation, provide you with valuable feedback on your candidacy, and give you the opportunity to address any objections the hiring manager may have while you still have that person’s full attention,” Augustine says.

6. ‘What is your timeline for making a decision? May I call or email you to follow up on my candidacy?’

Don’t bungle the follow-up.

“This question is a must, yet many career-savvy job candidates forget to ask it at the end of the interview,” Augustine says. “Never leave an interview without finding out the company’s timeline for making a decision and determining when and how you should follow up afterwards about your candidacy.”

Via GQ Magazine : Expert interview tips and techniques to get you that job

Step up your interview game with expert interview tips and techniques from Rehearse It!

It’s 11am on a Friday and in a regal room in London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, I’m having a fake job interview with a fake job interviewer. Again and again. A film director is observing me, telling me after each dry run what I’m doing wrong. I’ve been asked to pretend this room is a lobby where I’ve just met my fake interviewer and we’re walking towards a nonexistent interview room. I’ve been told to make small talk and as I ask my fake potential employer about the statues in front of us she improvises back, reeling off some false history, gesticulating.

“OK, stop,” says the director. “That was good, but you weren’t mirroring enough. Let’s try it again and be more overt with your arm movements.” We go again and I swing my arms around in line with my interviewer’s as she talks. I feel ridiculous, but the director is happy. This, apparently, will help me get a job.

This is the mission at Rehearse It! (their exclamation mark): getting people hired. Since the company launched in March 2016, it says it has had 96 per cent success. It won’t get Joe Schmo into Nasa, but if you’re qualified and keep crashing down at interview hurdles, the people here can help. At one-day group workshops, you’ll be given a primer in the behavioural science that underlies what they teach, then undertake practical rehearsals that deconstruct the interview process and help you to become a shining star.

“Our performance is way more important than the content of what we’re saying,” says Rehearse It!’s erudite founder, Robin Roberts. “A powerful actor can say some lame things and come across as being a man of great gravitas and insight. Another guy can say cleverthings, but say them in a rubbish way and be judged as not knowing much.”

He speaks proudly of a 25-year-old client who was failing in his quest to become an asset manager because he found the interviews too stressful. After being put through his paces at Rehearse It!, he landed a corker.

Before setting up the company last year, Roberts spent two decades at an executive search firm, where he was a senior partner. There, he saw many board candidates “totally screw up their interviews”. Feedback would be that these candidates were hopeless; he knew that they were not. Intrigued, he began to research why it was happening, and began thinking about what he could do to help.

Back in my fake job interview, I’ve made it to the fake office. My interviewer, sitting opposite me, asks about my journey in. I was genuinely late thanks to a slew of delayed trains. She tells me she rather likes train delays as it gives her more time to sit and think before getting to work. I disagree (the delay had made me rather grumpy), but after cutting us off, the director tells me I shouldn’t have. Negative grumbling isn’t going to do me any favours, he says – I need to find some positive agreement to start forming that bond. We go again.

“I’m a zoologist by training,” explains Roberts of Rehearse It!’s behavioural science. At the workshop I attend, there’s much talk of research gathered from university psychology departments. “I’m really interested in the science in animal behaviour,” continues Roberts. “So I did a deep-dive literature review of the research about it, about how people come to judgements about other people. Influencing behaviour. And then I realised, of course, we are homo sapiens, we are animals. We are a highly social species and we respond in a very predictable way to certain behaviours in front of us.”

This information is presented to us at the workshop, where we’re told how crucial first impressions are. Research from Princeton in 2006 found that people judge us on our looks in one tenth of a second. In half a second, they’ve judged us on our looks and voice together. After 15 minutes in our company, major decisions are made. These are deep-rooted instincts, says Roberts. Frankly, it is a bit depressing. You’d hope powerful people in the position of hiring potentially powerful people would know better than to succumb to such primal reflexes. Surely Roberts finds these statistics dispiriting?

“Well, yes and no,” he laughs. “I’m not suggesting for a minute that anyone makes a hiring decision in a tenth of a second. But I am saying we can deploy things and nudge an interviewer in our favour. Say there’s a hiring manager – let’s call her Sarah – and recognise that because Sarah is human, she cannot avoid extrapolating a huge amount of information from hands. She is human because of that. For her species, hands are the most important tool. She’s also a member of the ultimate social species. And so for her it is life and death to choose a member of her team who is useful and competent. Hands have nothing to do with the complex job you’re going for, but it’s well proven that, albeit in a subconscious way, she will extrapolate a lot of good things about you if you show her your hands. So if you want the job, don’t sit on your hands. Show them to her!”

This body language, says Roberts, is vital. In my fake job interview, I’m told to relax more into my chair – don’t slouch, but don’t lean forward nervously, which I wasn’t aware I was doing. The man giving me these suggestions is Adam Batchelor, a young film director hired by Rehearse It! to train enrollees. After collating his research for Rehearse It!, Roberts had “a great epiphany” to headhunt and form a team of performing arts specialists to work with his science and help to polish performances.

“I told them, ‘All we’re going to do is teach what the science says works. It’s not a drama class,'” he says. “And that was genius, because the combination of the science and the performing arts has given us such a high success rate.” Batchelor is one of a handful of teachers, which also includes casting directors Michele Leach and Janey Fothergill, and actor Felicity Montagu, aka Alan Partridge’s long-suffering assistant, Lynn, who can’t join us today, presumably stuck in a traffic jam on the Chiswick Roundabout.

The first thing the Rehearse It! team do with recruits is give us our own starring role. Their version of “shock of capture” has them videoing us going through all the motions of a job interview, from sitting in reception, to walking to the room, doing the interview, then leaving. We’re shown one they made earlier: before and after videos of a Rehearse It! attendee, the first as he started the day, the second at the end, after his training. The former video shows the suited man behaving perfectly naturally and normally – no great disaster. The second, though, puts it in perspective – now, his confidence shines, his small talk is charming, his presentation as he reels off his achievements clear and digestible.

“The military have done huge studies into this,” Roberts explains to me later. “They use shock of capture to train airmen how to deal with being captured. It’s this massive physiological thing: we go small, blood pressure rises, digestion stops and we begin to lose the ability to think, because we are in genuine physical jeopardy. And the same physiological effects happen when we’re in a job interview, but in a milder way. We’re obviously not in physical jeopardy – the jeopardy is that we will get a no and that causes us stress because it will have a negative impact on our professional future.”

It can certainly seem like life or death, sometimes. “Exactly. I don’t claim that a client pitch meeting is the equivalent of being kidnapped. But the same physiological effects are happening and it’s the way we respond that causes our counterpart to choose someone else.”

I began my day at Rehearse It! feeling relatively confident, perfectly capable of handling myself in the right job interview. And while I did feel like a bit of a donkey with the physical mirroring and the sycophantic small talk, I left a few hours later with extra skills and reminders of how important it is to carry yourself; how subtle, seemingly unimportant demeanours and gestures can make a world of difference.

Top ten interview tips

Standing in reception
Don’t: Project swagger. Your masculinity really is not that impressive.
Do: Project positivity and confidence.

Sitting in reception
Don’t: Slouch with your legs spread. It suggests arrogance.
Do: Sit upright, with a level gaze. It shows you’re interested.

Your personal information
Don’t: Assume that they’ve read all of your CV.
Do: Offer to give a concise rundown of your CV, presented in digestible chunks.

What to do with your thumbs
Don’t: Hide or clasp your thumbs in your palms – it makes you look nervous.
Do: Keep your thumbs visible – this denotes confidence.

What to do with your hands
Don’t: Rub your face during an interview. It shows you’re stressed.
Do: Keep your hands on the desk – it helps the interviewer to engage.

Walking to the interview room
Don’t: Walk in silence – their judgement has already begun.
Do: Make small talk – make it comfortable for your interviewer.

Sitting in the interview
Don’t: Lean forward. This means you’re nervous.
Do: Sit up straight – relaxed but attentive.

First impressions
“You don’t have to do too much for too long to have a positive impact,” says Rehearse It!’s Robin Roberts. “First impressions really do count”.

Performance anxiety
Nervous body language can reflect badly on you during an interview.

Ending well
Don’t check your phone when the interview’s over, keep the process going. It’s not over until you’re out of sight.

Via Forbes : How To Schedule Job Interviews When You’re Working Full-Time

Dear Liz,

I’m working full-time but I have to get a better job.

I put out the word that I’m looking and I’ve heard from several recruiters, but I’m running into a snag.

The recruiters get impatient with me when I tell them I can’t interview between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. I leave my job at 5:00 so I don’t want to schedule any job interviews before 5:30.

I have to be careful. I can’t afford to lose my job before I get a new one.

As it is, I’ll have to go into the ladies room at Starbucks and put on makeup before an interview because my supervisor will be suspicious if she sees me looking like I have somewhere special to go.

One recruiter said “Why don’t you take a sick day?” I only get four sick days a year. Why would I take a day off work to go to a one-hour interview?

Another recruiter told me that her clients will not schedule any interviews after five p.m. She said her client told her “It’s the candidate’s problem to solve, not ours.”

Don’t employers understand that people who are working full-time have to interview after hours?

Thanks Liz –


Dear Grace,

One of the ironic things about recruiting is that employers talk about how much they love candidates who are already employed, but then they get affronted when a candidate says “I have a job — I can’t interview during working hours!”

Of course you can’t call in sick every time you have a job interview. You would soon be out of sick days if you did that, and your employer would soon lose patience with you.

Anyway, employers need to understand that you already have a job. You can’t come to an interview at ten a.m. or two in the afternoon.

If they can’t understand that, they are not good business people. You deserve to work for smarter people!

I was an HR leader for millennia. I interviewed gazillions of people after hours. I traveled cross-country to meet candidates. I met them at odd hours and in random places, because that is what a recruiting job requires.

One time a candidate told me “I want to learn more about the job opening at your company, but I can’t sneak out of work and after work, I have to help my wife with the kids.”

The guy had baby twins. I had baby twins myself at the time, so I knew what he was talking about. I said “What time and place would be convenient for you?”

He said “Seriously, the best time for me would be midnight, but nothing is open then except Denny’s.”

I said “Cool — Denny’s at midnight it is.” I met the guy at Denny’s at midnight and we had pancakes, and we hired him for a software development job.

Recruiting is a sales and marketing job, but some employers don’t understand that.

If they like your resume but they don’t want to be flexible about scheduling your interview, walk away. They don’t deserve you. They wouldn’t appreciate their own employees calling in sick to go interview somewhere else.

Any HR Manager, hiring manager or recruiter can meet you a 5:45 or 6 p.m.

If they are put out by that request, drop out of the recruiting pipeline.

Over the long run, companies that understand the importance of talent will prosper and companies that don’t will limp along or go out of business.

You can only afford to work for the first kind!

All the best,