Monday, June 15, 2015

How To Leave A Winning Impression At A Job Interview

There are many factors that leave a good impression in a job interview but it's foolish to think if we have the experience and skills, we've landed the job.  Of course it's important but there are other things that are considered. How you present is everything.  You can look good on paper (resume), but if you're lacking in presentation, personality or character, you won't be leaving the best impression at all.  In recruiter's terms we call these "soft skills".  Of course you have to sell yourself and your unique skills.  However,  it's super important how you conduct yourself during the interview.  You can't change your personality but you can always brush up on proper interview etiquette. 

Interview Etiquette Tips (for starters):

  • Never keep an interviewer waiting (sets a bad tone)
  • Don't smoke just before the interview.  Lots of people are offended by the smell of smoke
  • Turn smart phone off 
  • Don't be more than 10 minutes early for an interview.  An interview is scheduled at a specific time for a reason
  •  Always bring a resume even if it was sent electronically (bring an extra one in case another person is called into the interview unexpectedly)
  • Dress appropriately (see earlier post, "Dress For Success")
  • Send thank you email within 24 hours
I'll cover much more on the "etiquette" topic in future posts.  This is just food for thought.

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

Laura Rivchun

PS - This is just a partial list of "do's" and "don'ts" at an interview.  If you'd like to find out about some others, contact me at


Sunday, August 31, 2014

How Being Proactive Will Help You Get Hired

Are you one of those people that always makes assumptions?  Rather than know the reality of a situation, do you make a wild guess and base your decision making on that alone?  If you're one of those people (and I can be too), you may be doing yourself more harm than you know.

It can be emotionally costly to make assumptions particularly when it comes to one's professional life.  It's really the lazy way out of something by making an assumption rather than being proactive and finding out the real deal.

I contacted a career development director at a university a few weeks ago to see if she was interested in contracting my coaching services.  I received a promising email back that she was waiting to find out about the fiscal budget and if she'd then have the money to hire me.  When I didn't hear back from her, I ASSUMED it was either bad news or she forgot about me completely.  Needless to say, I got myself worked up, felt disappointed and ruined my own day.  On what basis did I have to make this assumption?  Absolutely none.  I made a calculated guess based on pure emotion.  It had nothing to do  with reality.  So, I decided to be proactive and email her.  She genuinely seemed glad to hear from me and said she was still waiting on an answer but thanked me for following up.  Not only did I get an answer, but I also looked professional in the process.

If you're looking for a job, please don't be hard headed like me and make assumptions.  It will get you nowhere except frustrated and discouraged.  Being PROACTIVE will help get you hired.  And…you'll feel like you're in control.

"I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it's proactive and there is positive intent behind it."
~ Michael J. Fox

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

Laura Rivchun

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Is This Job The Right Fit?

Looking for a job is a job in itself.  There's research, networking, resume posting, interviewing, follow up, waiting for an offer, more follow up, negotiating the offer, blah blah blah.  It's exhausting just thinking about the whole process.  Does this sound familiar to you?  If you're one of those people who has had one job your entire career, you've been spared what some consider hair raising.

If you're offered a job and done your due diligence, you'll ask yourself (before you accept) if this is an environment you can see yourself spending 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week.  Can you relate to the people you'll be working with or do they seem like aliens from another planet?  Will you be comfortable in a business suit when you're used to dressing in jeans?  Will the style of management be conducive to you being productive or will you work for someone who is disrespectful or a raging lunatic?

Company culture is VERY important when considering a position.  Ask yourself if you'll be out of your element or does this feel like a comfortable shoe that "fits".  If it doesn't feel comfortable, find yourself another pair of shoes.

"A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers."
~ Plato

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

Laura Rivchun

PS - If you feel undecided about your next career move, contact me at so I can help point you in the right direction.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Job Is Great So Why Am I Uninspired?

Does this sound like you?  "I'm well compensated, respected and valued at my job so why do I feel discontented and disconnected?"  This is a recent concern coming from one of my coaching clients.  He's been working at the same company for 7 years and knows "he has it made"  but feels an inexplicable unrest.  The company is solid so he's not working in an unstable environment.

Do you have similar feelings about your job and reflect on the same question, "My job is great so why am I uninspired?"  Perhaps it's time to take a hard look at what's really going on.

I'm a firm believer that even though we may be well compensated at work, if we're not challenged or inspired, it might be time to re-evaluate what's important and make a change.  If you're like me, you thrive when you're motivated and have opportunity to use your skills and talents.  Isn't this one of the reasons you spent a zillion dollars in getting a degree so you could develop an expertise, gain  knowledge and put it to use?  And if you never got your degree, more than likely you've tried to position yourself to acquire a certain skill set.  Either way, you've paid your dues in some form and want to reap the emotional benefits.

Being true to ourselves requires honesty, courage and kindness.  If we want our professional lives to be fulfilling, we just might have to step out of our comfort zone…

"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment."
~ Hilaire Belloc

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

Laura Rivchun

PS - If you're feeling uninspired with your career or job, contact me at to learn about my program to help get you "unstuck."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Big No-No At Networking Events

Many of us know how important networking can be particularly if you're in career transition, job search or want to develop new business relationships.  There are so many ways today we can connect on a professional level with others since social media has become all the rage but networking remains one of the best ways to meet other professionals who just might be in a position to help you and vice versa.  Meeting others face to face can be the most effective way to leave a lasting impression (I'm referring to a good lasting impression).  This was not my experience the other night when I went to  a professional networking event.

I attended an event in a club where there were about 50 people scattered around in groups talking to one another while sipping their drinks - very social and "network friendly", right?  What surprised me was the number of people who were by themselves talking/texting on their smartphones.  Is this a new form of networking I'm not familiar with?  Maybe they were talking to someone across the room but were too shy or lazy to meet face to face?  Have you experienced this at professional networking events and did you have the same response as me?  Do you find this a professional "no-no" and a turnoff?

How can we expect someone to want to engage with us if we appear disengaged?  What kind of message are we sending out?  Networking can be challenging and uncomfortable but it gets easier with practice particularly IF YOU TALK TO PEOPLE AND PUT AWAY THE DISTRACTIONS!!!!

People are more likely to want to connect with you if your lasting impression was a positive one….

"Many believe effective networking is done face-to-face, building a rapport with someone by looking at them in the eye, leading to a solid connection and foundational trust.,"
~ Raymond Arroyo

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

Laura Rivchun

PS - If you need some tips on how to become a better networker, please email me at and I can give you some pointers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Interview Tip: Know Your Value & Personal Brand

How many interview tips have you stored in your memory only to forget them during an interview?  There's so much information out there about interviewing it can be overwhelming and confusing.
Not to mention that one career expert often contradicts another.  Have you experienced this?  When I was a recruiter, my candidates would complain about this constantly.

The best question to ask is this: "If I were interviewing a potential employee, what would be important to me when hiring?  What would I like to see conveyed in the interview?"

INTERVIEW TIP 101 - Know Your Value & Personal Brand

If you don't know why you should be hired over the next guy, don't expect the interviewer to know either.  If you convey one thing only in a job interview, know what makes you unique and how you can add to their bottom line.  It's no longer good enough to say, "you want to hire me because I'm hardworking."  Truth is, you're expected to be hardworking when you're getting paid to do a job.  Nowadays, you have to stand out (see blog: "Common Job Interview Pitfalls")

So, next interview be prepared to answer the "Why Hire You?" question.  A good way to do this is to:
  • convey your unique traits, strengths, talents
  • talk about your work accomplishments
  • back everything up with specific measurables
Knowing your value is something you should be prepared to discuss without pause and with total conviction.

"Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are."
~ Malcolm Forbes

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

Laura Rivchun

PS - If you're having trouble figuring out your special uniqueness, please email at, and I can help point you in the right direction.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What Does An Employer Really Want to Know In A Job Interview?

In today's competitive job market, it's no longer good enough to just show up at a job interview looking spiffy with a nicely written resume and an enthusiastic attitude.  Actually, that was never good enough.  Most of us liked to fool ourselves into thinking it was (or maybe I did).  In the small window of opportunity of the average interview, we have to demonstrate how we're more unique than the 100 people who are waiting to be interviewed for the same job.

Ask yourself, "what does an employer really want to know about me"?  In my previous posts I've talked about the importance of knowing one's accomplishments, transferrable skills and how you can add to a potential employers' bottom line.  Obviously, one has to  convey that during the interview (even if not asked!).  A job interview is not the best place to be shy about tooting your own horn (of course don't be obnoxious either.  That could be another post).

So, where am I going with all this?  While it's crucial to know your unique value, you also have to be prepared for some classic (and unoriginal) questions that will be hurled your way.  As a former recruiter, I've heard of interviews that went south because the most basic questions were poorly or inappropriately answered.  The question in question is, "why are you interested in this position"?  I have typically heard, "I'm interested in this position because it's an opportunity to learn a new skill and I enjoy learning."  No one ever got hired because they enjoy learning.  They get hired because of what they can bring to the table from day one with the transferrable skills they have developed.  Of course it's important to be interested in learning.  You don't keep your job or get promoted if you don't learn.  But it's not enough reason for a potential employer to hire you.

The next time you're asked the obligatory question, "why are you interested in this position"? the answer that's likely to impress is, "this position seems to be aligned with my capabilities and it gives me opportunity to utilize the skills I've developed in an impactful way."

No one ever said the interview process was easy but it's less likely to be intimidating the better you're prepared.

"Fortune favors the prepared mind."
- Louis Pasteur

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

Laura Rivchun