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Booktalking "Winning Job Interviews" by Paul Powers


If you are not getting many interviews, you may need to improve your resume, cover letter, and networking skills.

If you getting interviews, but few or no job offers, you need to work on your interviewing skills. This book helps job seekers with just that skill.

Salary negotiation is also covered, as well as roadblocks to the success of job searching, characteristics common to job searchers and more.

This is by far one of the most interesting books that I have read on job searching, and one of the most comprehensive and intriguing books that I have read on interviewing.

Winning Job Interviews by Dr. Paul Powers, 2010

There can be many obstacles to effective job searching, including the following: lack of a clear career goal, people waiting to start the job search until they are fired or laid off, being inexperienced at job searching, facing a lot of rejection, the unstructured nature of the job hunt, the isolation of the job search, feelings of entitlement, emotional baggage, not wanting to ask for help, and the myth of the perfect candidate. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but people will make themselves miserable if they incorrectly think that the recruiters will find someone who is perfect in every way. If job seekers work hard at job searching, they will find something; however, no one can tell the person exactly when.

Job hunting can feel like marketing and salesperson work. It helps if job searchers can have a positive attitude towards rejection. Salespeople figure that one more no is simply getting them closer to yes. In order to obtain interviews, job searchers must be proactive and take the initiative with networking and other strategies.

Doors to jobs, a study of the organization of the labor market in California., Digital ID 1108167, New York Public LibraryDr. Paul Power's #1 Rule of Successful Job Hunting:

"The most effective job hunter will get the most interviews, and the most effective interviewee will get the most and the best job offers."

Power of the Reference Librarian

According to Dr. Paul Powers, your very best new friend may be the reference librarian at the local library. He or she can help point you in the direction of job searching resources, such as books, databases, web sites, job searching classes, and career counselors. Please do your homework before you go to the library. Have a clear career goal, if you can, and have copies of your resume, if you have one. The librarian can point you to resources, but he or she cannot do your job searching for you, and he or she is not a career counselor.

Network for Interviews!

The four avenues to jobs are networking (the most effective), responding to posted openings (including online), using recruiters (headhunters), and cold calling potential employers. Use all job searching methods in combination with each other for maximum effectiveness.

Do not set yourself up for failure or unnecessary elongate your job search by putting all of your eggs in one basket. Even if you are extremely excited about a particular job, it may not pan out, so continue looking. In this way, you may generate numerous offers at once. If this is the case, you have a choice. Also, if you get a job offer and you have interviewed with other people, you can contact the people that you interviewed with and let them know that you are interested in their job, but that you have an offer. Are they willing to speed up their process? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Please do not lie to a potential employer about having a job offer because they may simply wish you the best of luck and happiness in your new job.

A good interviewing strategy is to exude confidence and good communication. Do not be either overly aggressive or passive. Approach it with the attitude that this is a great opportunity for both you and the recruiter. Go to the interview well-prepared. Think of questions that they may possibly ask, and prepare answers to those questions. Your goal at the interview is to both evaluate the job and to win an offer of the job. One guy showed up to an interview reeking of petroleum fumes because he spilled gas on his shoes while he was at the gas station on his way to the interview. Wear a suit to the interview, no matter what the job is. The people on the bus may be dressed casually, but you need to get on the bus. Those people already have jobs. One of the most popular questions asked at interviews is the following, and it is important to have a dynamic answer: "Why do you want this job?"

[Precision tool making, worker is making close adjustments before pushing the piece against the lathe], Digital ID 464558, New York Public Library


References are most often checked when an employer is ready to make a job offer. Do not overuse them; wait until asked to provide them. Choose references carefully; they should be familiar with your work, not personal friends of yours. Give your references the heads up on the details of particular jobs when you provide recruiters with their information.

The author provides a list of questions that interviewers might ask when they are about to offer a position. Job seekers should prepare individually for each interview. However, the job seekers do not run the interview; the recruiter does. You can ask the following questions, "Is there any reason that my candidacy for this position would not progress further?" If the recruiter expresses any objections, the job seeker needs to allay his or her concerns. At the close of the interview, ask for the job by saying that you hope to hear good news and that you think it is a good fit for your skills.

Negotiating Job Offers

If you get a job offer, sound pleased but do not immediately accept because you do not know what the offer is yet (salary and other compensation). Negotiating is making a compromise, not brow-beating the recruiter into anything. When negotiating a job offer, an in-person meeting is best so that you can be attuned to the recruiter's body language. You are evaluating the job and the compensation. Say something nice about what you like about the job and what you will accomplish, and then ask what the compensation offer is. If it is not up to your standards, ask for some flexibility in compensation. If possible, do not ask for a specific number, since it makes you look inflexible. For example, say the "low 50s," etc. Beforehand, think seriously about what the lowest salary that you are willing to accept is and also evaluate the job in order to determine if it fits well with your experience, interest, and skills. 

[Girl drawing two zebras, using charcoal and easel], Digital ID 439936, New York Public LibraryThe author, a psychologist, states that everyone knows that job hunting sucks. Job hunting can be discouraging due to the inordinate amount of rejection involved. However, I actually enjoy the process. I think that job searching, especially interviewing, can be quite flattering since the potential employers are interested in learning about your skills. It can also be a good networking experience; I learn a lot about what activities different managers are undertaking due to talking with them about their libraries at interviews. It helps me learn about trends in an organization and a field of work.

The author advises using a current supervisor as a reference if he or she really wants you to succeed in your career. I disagree vehemently. It is a conflict of interest for a current supervisor to help you get a job elsewhere when that means he or she would lose you. In fact, I made this error myself once, and I will never do it again. I believe that the supervisor was hurt that I would try to obtain her help when she may not have been aware that I was attempting to find another job. Not surprisingly, she did not respond to my email request.

Job Search Central

Job Searching Databases available through NYPL

Books About Job Interviewing


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