Dear J.T. & Dale: I’ve been out of work for 10 months. Until recently, I was getting job interviews but did not do well, and, of course, I never got the jobs. As time passes, I am less able to articulate the answers to situations presented. I was a very talented professional but maybe do not have the skills to interview. I already know I am going to go from a six-figure income to well below. – Gretchen
J.T.: You are experiencing the worst sort of crisis of confidence, one that has you playing out in your head a sad ending to your career story. To reverse that mind-set, go spend some time with former colleagues, ones who know your value. Go to lunch or meet them for coffee, and spend time talking about “victories” you had together. It’s fun to relive those days, and it will serve to remind you that you are a skilled and accomplished individual.
DALE: Then there are those pesky job interviews. Interviewing is a separate skill and can be rapidly improved with practice. Ask some of those former colleagues to role-play interviews with you.
J.T.: As you do, don’t think of interviews as “make-or-break” moments. When I coach my clients, I tell them that potential employers are just customers who need exceptional service. Instead of focusing on saying the right things, recognize that good customer service comes from listening, being positive, and doing your best to make the client feel heard, respected, and well taken care of.
DALE: Yes, go in determined to figure out ways you can help the company and the hiring manager. You demonstrate that thinking by making the interview a conversation, and that means spending more of your prep time working on your questions than on your answers.
Here is a good place to start, an absolute killer question to ask in any interview: “What kind of people do best here?” This identifies you as someone who wants to be a star employee without resorting to boasting.
J.T.: Don’t give up, Gretchen! Change your approach, and believe a new, better chapter in your career story is waiting for you.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at [email protected] or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Career confidence image from Bigstock