Job Interviews

HOW TO: From Willie Loman to George Clooney in Interviews

Dear J.T. & Dale: I was laid off as a sales manager in October of last year, so I've passed the one-year mark. I've had many interviews, including being passed over after second and third interviews by six companies. I've been an award-winning performer, but my confidence is taking a beating. Any recommendations? — Kevin Dale: What a grim day that must be, passing that one-year anniversary — we won't offer up smiley-face pep talks. Still, this much we know about you: If you're getting second and third interviews, you're a skilled interviewee. You're good. You're a contender. Now, how do you break through and get the offer? J.T.: You start by spending some time analyzing those six companies where you were passed over. You need to get feedback, and career expert Rob Taub has developed a Rejection Response Letter as a way to solicit feedback that can help you fine-tune your approach. You can find the article at Dale: When the feedback doesn't happen — and I say it won't (because managers are too busy to become your penpal or coach) — then you're going to put more and more pressure on yourself to be a better salesman; you might even read books on being a "closer."No. That only will lessen your chances. What you need is less pressure, not more. So, broaden your search till you get an offer from a lesser company, and then go to all those you really want to work for and say, "I have another offer, but I want to talk to you first." You're no longer the poor little candidate begging for a job; you are, instead, the candidate others want, the one "in play." It's catnip to companies, and as for your morale, that won't be Willie Loman in the mirror, that'll be George Clooney. jt-dale-logoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.