Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Best Interview Advice

A common, possibly tough, interview question often asked, in one way or another, is

"Can you describe how you handled a difficult problem?"

How would you rate the following answers? Which answer do you think is the best?

Answer #1
"As a member of research team, after we had conducted thousands of experiments on a certain project without solving the problem, one of my associates, after we had conducted the crowning experiment and it had proved a failure, expressed discouragement and disgust over our having failed to find out anything. I cheerily assured him that we had learned something. For we had learned for a certainty that the thing couldn't be done that way, and that we would have to try some other way. He was encouraged by my attitude and went back to work with renewed enthusiasm. Ultimately we discovered the best material to use and increased the longevity of the product from 13 hours to over 1200 hours."

Answer #2
"Once I had to work as part of a research team. The other members of the team did not seem to know what they were doing and kept on asking me questions. They complained a lot and were not very helpful. I kept on trying different things to see what would work best, but everyone else, including my bosses, were not very supportive. After I put in a lot of long hours, I got the project done okay."

Answer #3
"We had to make this thing. It was hard, and took a lot of time, and a lot of work, but we did a really, really good job of it."

Answer #4
"As an inventor, I and my co-workers created many products and devices that involved extensive experimentation and often did not have easy solutions. And my over twenty years of that kind of experience makes me ideally qualified, the best candidate and a perfect fit for your open position. I am confident that I can handle any difficult situation that might occur."

My money is on Answer #1.

Because it is not so much what story you tell, but all about HOW you tell it. The words you use and how you deliver the story are most important.

If you disagree, I want to know. Please comment below and/or email me at

By the way, I wrote all four answers with Thomas Edison's invention of the light bulb in mind. And most of Answer #1 is directly quoted from Edison himself.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Best Way to Hunt for a Job

According to the 2012 edition of Richard Bolles' What Color Is Your Parachute?, the best way to hunt for a job is Doing An Inventory of Yourself.

That way is successful about 86% of the time!

Another way to put it is if 100 job seekers used this approach, 86 of them would find their next job.

This inventory of yourself is thinking about WHAT you enjoy doing most, WHERE you would enjoy doing what you enjoy doing most and HOW to get there.

First, find the particular jobs that fit this bill.

Second, find the specific places where you can do those jobs.

Third, find the person(s) who have the power or influence over hiring.

This way works because, accordingly to Bolles, you more precisely identify your true target(s); you can help others help you with clear, direct and doable requests; you are better prepared than the competition because you can present to an employer your unique features and benefits.

However, one factor about this approach discourages most job seekers.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" Thomas A. Edison

Having to think about who you are, what you want, where you want to go and how you plan to get there takes some effort. Most job seekers just want the job and do not see the need to do the work.

Another reason why this method has an 86% success rate is probably because those who choose to do it are, by definition, hard workers.

"The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work." Harry Golden

Helping hands to make this hard work doable and success possible are here at JVS.

Visit us at

And you can always email me at


Monday, August 15, 2011

What's the Problem?

How you behave in your job search often is seen by others as an indicator of how you will behave on the job.

For example, how someone deals with problems during unemployment or a job change might indicate how that person handles problems at work.

Of course, employers do not want to hire people who create problems. But what about people who may not create the problem, but make problems into bigger problems? Or people who dwell on the problem without offering any help in solving it?

Companies seek employees who minimize or eliminate problems. Problem solving is a highly valued skill in the work world.

How would you rate your problem solving skills?

Do you appreciate, maybe even seek out, problems or challenges as opportunities to apply your problem solving skills?

Do you approach problems as experiences to learn new ways of doing things?

If you get frustrated or angry with a problem, maybe even quit trying, is that how you are going to handle problems on the job?

Do you fixate, obsess about the problem without moving forward, without seeking a solution? Do you complain about the problem repeatedly to anyone and everyone you meet?

Does the problem become so much a part of you that others start to see you as the problem?

"We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems." John W. Gardner

If you show that you can deal with, can seek solutions to the problems that come with unemployment and job change, you send a message to prospective employers about how you will handle problems on the job before you make them the employer's problems.

And that's a good thing.

We at JVS can help you with your problems.

Check us out at

And you can email me with your problems, questions, concerns and needs at