DEAR JOYCE: I haven't had response to my last two job interviews and I thought I was a shoo-in for both jobs. So what do you think I should do, other than apply for more jobs? -- K.E.S.
Improve your power-closing technique at selection interviews -- not phone screening interviews. Use an employment version of a classic sales technique to draw out objections and overcome them. Do this by asking your version of these three questions as an interview heads toward the exit:
-- Do you think I'm a good fit for the company's culture?
-- Are there concerns about my ability to do this job very well?
Pay careful attention to the interviewer's answers. If there are gaps, you've got a chance to describe your experience, accomplishments, skills and attitudes that may close them. A smooth response is more likely if you rehearse salient points before the interview.
Next, lace your brief closing statement with your strongest talents/experience/skills, creating a visualized picture of you that the interviewer will remember.
Finally, never leave an interview without asking permission to contact the interviewer if you have a question, and for information on the next steps in the hiring process:
-- May I call you if I have further questions? Or do you prefer that I e-mail or text you?
-- What happens next in your hiring process, and when do you expect to make a decision?
Power closing moves won't guarantee your selection, but using them will help you sleep better when you know what to expect.
SHAMELESS PLUG. Find many more strategies and answers to common questions in my book, "Job Interviews For Dummies."
DEAR JOYCE: Is it true that your chances for getting good jobs and higher pay are better when you're tall rather than short? -- I.Y.
Multiple studies over decades agree that tall people have a definite edge in job success. (Search online for "height-success link.")
High-level jobs especially appear to be biased in favor of tall people, including such positions as corporate executives, managers, financial advisers, television newscasters, consultants and models.
But shorter people may have superior hiring luck in engineering, math, teaching, accounting, sales, information technology, office work, law, psychology, politics, movies, art, science, photography and website creation.
Theories on the reasons for height-related success are plentiful. Moreover, exceptions abound: An impressive number of famously successful entrepreneurs are on the short side, perhaps making up for what they lack in height with determination.
DEAR JOYCE: I am thinking about enrolling in a private vocational-technical school. The school says that it will place me in a good job after graduation. Sounds good, but a buddy went to another school that told him the same thing and took his tuition money, but didn't follow through. Scam alert? -- T.T.
Most private vocational-technical schools are excellent training institutions. But some are not, as your buddy discovered the hard way. Avoid being rolled by following through with these four suggestions:
1. Understand the concept of accreditation by reading "Career Colleges and Technical Schools-Choosing a School" at http://www.ed.gov
2. Understand typical ways of misleading students by reading "Choosing a Vocational School" at http://www.ftc.gov
3. Do your own private-eye work to investigate employment claims. Call potential employers (department managers or supervisors in human resource departments), identifying yourself as a possible student, and ask: "Do you hire graduates of this school? Is the training the school provides essential to be hired by your organization, or do you provide on-job training?"
4. Ask the school to give you the names and contact information for six of its recent graduates. Call them. Survey their satisfaction and ask each to refer you to two additional graduates.
Stop investigating when you feel you have a true picture of the training value offered by the school.
(Email career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org; use "Reader Question" for subject line.)
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