Career Adviser

Best Interview Technique You Never Use

The more questions you ask, the more you learn about a job candidate, right? Wrong. Here’s a better strategy.

Eventually, almost every interview turns into a question-and-answer session. You ask a question. The candidate answers as you check a mental tick-box (good answer? bad answer?).

You quickly go to the next question and the next question and the next question, because you only have so much time and there’s a lot of ground to cover because you want to evaluate the candidate thoroughly. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn about the candidate.Or not.

Sometimes, instead of asking questions, the best interviewing technique is to listen slowly.

In Change-Friendly Leadership, management coach Rodger Dean Duncan describes how he learned about listening slowly from PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer:

Duncan: He urged me to ask a good question, listen attentively to the answer, and then count silently to five before asking another question. At first that suggestion seemed silly. I argued that five seconds would seem like an eternity to wait after someone responds to a question. Then it occurred to me: Of course it would seem like an eternity, because our natural tendency is to fill a void with sound, usually that of our own voice.

Lehrer: If you resist the temptation to respond too quickly to the answer, you’ll discover something almost magical. The other person will either expand on what he’s already said or he’ll go in a different direction. Either way, he’s expanding his response, and you get a clear view into his head and heart.

Duncan: Giving other people sufficient psychological breathing room seemed to work wonders. When I bridled my natural impatience to get on with it, they seemed more willing to disclose, explore, and even be a bit vulnerable. When I treated the interview more as a conversation with a purpose than as a sterile interrogation, the tone of the exchange softened. It was now just two people talking…

Listening slowly can turn a Q&A session into more of a conversation. Try listening slowly in your next interviews. (Not after every question, of course: Pausing for five seconds after a strictly factual answer will leave you both feeling really awkward.)

Just pick a few questions that give candidates room for self-analysis or introspection, and after the initial answer, pause. They’ll fill the space: with an additional example, a more detailed explanation, a completely different perspective on the question.

Once you give candidates a silent hole to fill, they’ll fill it, often in unexpected and surprising ways. A shy candidate may fill the silence by sharing positive information she wouldn’t have otherwise shared. A candidate who came prepared with “perfect” answers to typical interview questions may fill the silence with not-so-positive information he never intended to disclose.

And all candidates will open up and speak more freely when they realize you’re not just asking questions–you’re listening.


3 Defining Elements of a Biotech/Pharma Resume

What are the Defining Elements of Your Biotech/Pharma Resume?
By Anish Majumdar, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) 

Developing a new Biotech/Pharma resume can be a daunting prospect. What’s the best way to present yourself? Which elements of your career should be highlighted (and which left off)? One common misconception is that every part of your resume should be 100% original. Not only is this an incredible time-consuming approach, it has been shown, time and time again, to be ineffective. 

When recruiters and hiring agents evaluate a potential candidate, they’re primarily searching for 3-4 defining elements. The appeal of these elements are the driver behind who gets selected for interviews, and ultimately, who gets a job offer. Therefore, the main responsibility of your resume isn’t being original, but communicating these 3-4 defining elements in a variety of ways. 

Here are 3 ways to bring your defining elements to the forefront of your resume: 

1. Develop A Powerful Opening Paragraph 

A powerful resume opening “frames” the rest of the document, quickly outlining the areas where a candidate feels strongest and differentiating him or her from the competition. As a Biotech/Pharma professional, it’s your job to boil down everything you’ve accomplished to date into a list of 3-4 defining attributes. Feel free to be creative here; some candidates might wish to highlight an advanced degree or certification, while others might want to call attention to a high-level responsibility at their previous job. Keep it short and to-the-point. When executed correctly, a strong opening paragraph will consistently result in a more in-depth examination of your resume by recruiters and hiring agents. 

2. Expand Upon Your Opening Paragraph In The Work History 

Many Biotech/Pharma jobseekers make the mistake of developing their work history before tackling the opening paragraph of the resume. Going in the opposite direction is a much more effective approach, as it will enable you to filter your work history through the 3-4 defining attributes you’ve identified. When describing responsibilities for the jobs you’ve held, always highlight those related to your defining attributes first. Also, be sure to create a “Key Accomplishments” or similar section for recent jobs that highlights concrete successes related to them. Never lose sight of the focus of these edits, which is communicating a particular set of skills that will set you apart from other professionals. 

3. Keep Closing Sections Relevant 

By executing the previous 2 steps, you’ve taken control of how you’re perceived as a candidate and made a strong case for why you’re suited for the position you’re applying for. End it on a high note by only highlighting relevant education credits, professional memberships, and other details at the tail end of the resume.The days of including a “Hobbies/Interests” section are long gone. If the content doesn’t directly support your ambitions, leave it off. 

Read more biotech career tips. Find more biotech and pharma jobs by visiting the career center

About the Author 

Anish Majumdar, CPRW is a Career Expert and Owner at www.ResumeOrbit.com. 98% of clients report and increase in interviews within 30 days, and all work comes backed by a 110% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee. Submit your resume for a free critique today!

6 Ways to Prepare Yourself for a Management Job

Management Job

Many people aspire to be promoted to a managerial position as the key part of their career goals. It can be very rewarding. Many people are left pondering, “How do they get on that management track to begin with?” And, “What do I have to do to prepare?”

Both good questions, let’s outline what needs to take place to become a manager.

1. Outline your goals to your management. Get your boss in your corner to help mentor you and to give you opportunities to prove you are management material.

2. Look for opportunities to take on more. A key element to a management position is initiative. You won’t be told what to do, you have to assume responsibility and direction. Most groups have far more work than manpower to perform it all. Look for items that will create real impact to the business. Those will get you visibility which is important to your goals.

3. Find a role model. Observe the people who manage and find someone who you believe is both a great manager and is successful. Ask for them to mentor you and observe how they perform theirmanagement job. What makes them successful? You want to emulate some of that behavior.

4. Take classes and read. There are tons of management classes and books on management. Look for ones that are oriented toward the basics and beginning management as they will outline what you need to do in these early days. Higher level materials, while interesting, will assume you know these things and won’t go into much detail.

5. Ask to fill in. The boss will go on vacation or business travel. They have work to be done while they’re away and you can volunteer to cover for them or minimally to pick up some tasks of theirs. This will give you a taste of the work being performed and again demonstrate your ability to take on higher level responsibilities.

6. Seek leadership roles. A great way to get started in management is to take on the role of project management or leader to a work effort. Many of the needed management skills are used in these situations. You are facilitating a group of people to get something accomplished. To do that you will exercise such things as: planning, directing, communicating, gaining agreement, following up, and so on. Projects are a key way for business to get done and someone has to lead the effort – that can be you.

If you prepare yourself well, your first management position it can be the thing that will catapult you into higher levels and greater impact to your business. You need to make sure that at this stage you have thought through just how different this job is from what you have done before so you can shift gears to be equally awesome as a manager.


Don’t Forget to Find These When Starting a New Job!

Don't Forget These New Job


One of my hardest working job search clients got a job offer for not only a good job, but THE JOB he told me he wanted at our first or second meeting. Both of us were on top of the world – back to work!

We talked on the phone several times to ensure he was completing everything required of the employer for the hiring process:

  • Drug Screen Completed
  • Drug Screen Passed
  • Formal Application Submitted
  • Background Check Requested
  • Background Check Passed
  • References Submitted
  • References Received
  • Contract Received for Review

Everything seemed to be going along swimmingly. We met the Friday before he was to start work, bringing with him the signed contract and employment packet – 41 pages! He had downloaded it, but not yet reviewed it, planning to do so following our meeting.

No problem – all the hard work was done and he was ready to start… or so we thought! I mentioned among the 41 pages would be an I-9 documentation request or form. He would need a social security card and license or birth certificate and license or just a passport if he had that.

My client reported his passport was expired, but he had a birth certificate and his license (of course). I released him with a handshake and hearty congratulations to his new role as WORKER. We were both quite happy.

Until I got an e-mail from him later that day, “I can’t find my birth certificate and Social Security is closed. What should I do?” What can you do at that point? “Should he go to Social Security at 8:00 AM when it opens and hope he makes it to work on his first day on time (8:45 AM)?” This didn’t seem like a good plan.

I used to request I-9 information at my second client meeting – I am returning to this practice IMMEDIATELY!

The best advice I could give him was to visit MVA and see if he had enough documentation for an enhanced license, if possible. BUT, to present to work on time for his first day – the Human Resource Manager he was to meet with had doubtless had this happen a time or to before.

The client e-mailed me Saturday to let me know that his mother had his birth certificate… I hope this is true. I say this because my husband and I recently applied for a passport and what he thought was his birth certificate was actually a registration of a birth certificate.

The actual certificate was on file with the Bureau of Vital Statistics or the Health Department in the city or county of birth.

While I await an update from my client I decided it was probably a good idea to brush up on I-9 requirements and make sure my clients were as well. Here is what I found:

In short, you can either bring ONE document from List A or ONE EACH (2 total) from List B or List C:

Starting a new job is stressful enough (good stress, but stress nonetheless!) – no need to feed the fire!

In fact, you can verify yourself ahead of time through the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.

You will probably wow the socks off your new employer! That having been said, bring the documentation with you your first day. Since this is such a new service, your employer might not be familiar with it…

Be prepared to start work now and avoid the scramble to get the documentation your employer is required by law to obtain from you – a passport or authorization to work is all you need!


The top 10 salary negotiation mistakes

Avoiding the salary question landmines from employers is often a tricky part of every interview process. It is also an aspect that tends to give job seekers sleepless nights. But if you are aware of the mistakes that you are most likely to make, then you could always dodge the question effectively and turn the job in your favor. Here are top ten salary negotiations mistakes that job seekers generally tend to make.

  • Never settle for a salary which is not financially enough for you. This is where you fail to recognize your potential, thus accepting an offer which will add to your disadvantages.
  • It is never a good idea to divulge your salary expectations at the start of the interview. Review the job responsibilities, the working hours and other aspects. It is also wise if you can dodge the salary expectation question.
  • During salary negotiation, the spotlight should be on your values and not your needs. Ask yourself what value you hold to the company. You will get an answer soon.
  • Rejecting the offer soon – Never do the mistake of rejecting the job offer where you are offered a lower salary. This is where the entire act of negotiation comes into play. Ask for time and look at the pros and cons. If it is a prospective company loaded with incentives, then it would be foolish to reject the offer.
  • Handling the negotiations yourself – Never include anyone else in the negotiation process with your employer. Play it professionally and with politeness.
  • Inadequate research – There are a lot of websites today that offer advice on salary negotiation and the correct amount of pay for each position. Always do proper research prior to the interview.
  • Accepting the job quickly – Just like rejecting the offer soon, accepting the job without proper thinking could land you in serious troubles. Take your time and think it out.
  • Focus on the counteroffer – When you make the counteroffer in case of salary unhappiness, choose the battle areas wisely such as relocation expenses and incentive packages.
  • In writing – Always make sure that you ask for the complete job profile and the job offer in writing. This is to ensure that you are never cheated at any point of time.
  • Take the pleasure in waiting – Instead of pitching the salary right at the beginning, wait and then take the appropriate time to make the pitch. If you are the last candidate standing, then it couldn’t be a better time.

Bowing low to salary questions and negotiation warfare does not fit your profile. So stick to the above factors and ensure that you get what you deserve.


The New Resume Rules: What’s In and What’s Out

Fashion changes and resume styles change too. If you have solid skills and work experience but your resume isn’t getting any bites, you might need a resume makeover. Try out our Resume Builder for help creating a resume that gets results.

And check out the “what’s in, what’s out” info below to help make your resume more cutting edge.

In: A professional summary at the top of your resume. This sells you like nothing else on your resume does.

Out: An objective statement at the top of your resume. Nothing says “outdated” like an objective. “Ditch it immediately,” advises Jack Williams, vice president of national sales and recruiting for Staffing Technologies, in Atlanta. Employers don’t care what a potential hire wants to do. “They care whether they can do what the employer needs them to do,” he says.

In: Resumes that are easy on the eyes. “I don’t have time to read through each resume and search for the important points. They need to jump out at me,” says Mike Earley, vice president of resource management at MyWire, a media aggregation site. Earley says hot resumes are organized with bullet points, not paragraphs, and have enough white space to look clean and visually interesting.

Out: Resumes that are “grey,” with large chunks of unbroken text that require recruiters to slow down. Chances are they won’t take the time.

In: A customized resume. Tailor every resume you send out for the job you’re seeking.

Out: A cookie-cutter resume: same resume for every job. These were from the days before home computers, when changing a resume was a really big deal.

In: A two-to-three-page resume when you really need the space.

Out: A one-page resume when you really need two or three pages. “One-page resumes are a myth,” says Williams. “No talented person with more than five years experience can fairly summarize their experience in one page.”

In: Selling yourself. The best way to do this, Earley says, is through quantifying your accomplishments. “When describing what you did on a job, be sure to include the results. Your accomplishments are key,” says Earley. For instance, if you’re an office manager, don’t just say you “organized a system to track outside vendors.” Conclude with a real result, like “reduced operating costs by one-third.”

Out: Not being your own best marketing and sales department. “Gone are the days of just listing job titles and responsibilities,” says Leslie Sokol, co-author of Think Confident, Be Confident.

In: Including links to websites for all companies on your resume, and, if possible, a brief description of each company. “Few do this, but it is always well received,” says Williams. “Hiring managers have an interest in knowing what a company does and what your previous position there had to do with that.”

Out: Assuming hirers know your old company or don’t need to know.

In: Including your LinkedIn or other social network address in your resume’s header. Make sure it’s a custom (“vanity”) URL if it’s LinkedIn (these are free).

Out: Not being up-to-date with social networking.

Following these ins and outs will make your resume shine and help you to land your dream job. Take a Free Career Interest Inventory Test to find a job you’ll really love.

And check out our resume resource center for more on the latest resume news and trends.

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Bolg on “How Social Media Can Impact Your Job Offer”

Millions of people are broadcasting messages about themselves all around the internet without even realizing it.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites are mining details about your personal life.  What you buy, what you watch, where you shop, and sometimes the things you posted on Facebook at Twitter.   At least a few companies are making a lot of money selling that information to potential employers.

Without getting into whether this is legal, a good idea, or if the information about you being conveyed without your knowledge is accurate, the fact it’s happening can’t be denied.  While society as a whole sorts out the legalities and ethics of wide area data mining, it might be a good idea to take a look at your social media profiles and think about the message they might be sending to potential employers and take control of your public image.   With a little work you can make your public image much more appealing to prospective employers.

While you can’t control what data mining companies might be collecting about you, you can control what potential employers see on your public profiles.  Today we’re going to pretend we’re your personal PR pros and give you some ideas for brushing up your public image while you’re out looking for a job.

Start by combing through your Facebook pictures and remove the cell phone party pictures, car accidents, any pictures of you smoking, along with anything that’s illegal, dangerous or politically extreme.  Leave the family pictures, pets, outdoor adventures, or photos of volunteer activities.

Next you’ll want to go through and clean up your comments and keep some of your more colorful friends from showing up on your in your public spaces.  You don’t have to cut them off, but you do want to limit their ability to show up on your profile.  It sometimes takes a bit of digging in the privacy settings to figure out the best configuration.  Social media sites don’t make it easy to hide information.

You can’t undo everything you’ve posted on social media sites, but you can balance it out with a weight of more thoughtful information and posts related to your career field and volunteer activities.  If you don’t have any volunteer activities, then today is a good day to start.

Volunteer activities always play well with potential employers, particularly if they’re related to community service, and they help cover gaps in employment.  Volunteer on a local fire department, for instance.  If you live in a rural area and are good with computers, you might be more of an asset than you realize, particularly in helping with grant applications.  If you’re successful in helping a local fire department or other community organization get a grant or raise money, that’s an immediate gold star on your resume.

Any volunteer activities helping animals are almost always well received.  Spend a few days a week at the local animal shelter, post lots of pictures.  Salacious?  Maybe, but do you want the job or not?

Other good volunteer opportunities would include Meals On Wheels, if you have a car and can afford the gas, or something like Habitat For Humanity if you can wield a hammer.  Almost every state park needs volunteer helpers and there is a bonus if you get a uniform.

Other bonus pictures worth having are joining a public speaking group like Toastmasters and get pictures of yourself in front of a crowd.

You don’t need to turn your social media profiles into a personal commercial; you just want to minimize the negatives and promote the positives.  Two factors will work in your favor: Consistency and time.  Promote a consistent message, do it over a long time and before long the you a potential employer gets to know in an interview will be reflected in your social media presence and that’s the goal.