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Is the Job Interview Hanging You Up? JFCS Workshop Can Help

[by Bob Tiell]
Career Services Director
Jewish Family and Career Services

Mark is in his early 50s, married, has kids in college and must support his family. He has had a long, successful career in mass media. However, Mark was downsized several months ago. He quickly mounted an employment search, actively pursued opportunities, but nothing materialized.

It had been many years since Mark had to seek new employment, so Mark felt like a fish out of water. Among other things, he was uncomfortable with interviewing, sensing that this process had changed much since he last sought employment. He got some job interviews, but selling himself at the interview stage was a challenge, and he received no follow-up interest, much less any job offers. For Mark, things seem to break down at the interview level. What could he do?

Mark’s story is not unique. Since the economic meltdown in 2008, many folks have lost employment. Although unemployment rates have steadily improved since 2008, they are still unacceptably high, currently 7.7 percent nationally. It remains an employer’s market, and employers are often highly selective.

For many positions, there are several more applicants than openings. Some sources suggest that this ratio is as high as 40 to 1. For job seekers, this dynamic places much additional burden on the interview process, particularly the current trend of the first and even second interviews being via telephone. As a result, the interview typically arouses considerable angst and pressure for the job seeker.

Interviewing Dynamics

The employment interview is often infused with both excitement and dread. At its best, the interview represents for the applicant an opportunity for useful dialogue, a successful outcome and ultimately a win-win for both parties. At its worst, the applicant reads the interview as a disappointment and defeat.

The reality is that some folks are better prepared to deliver a solid job interview than are others. Managing the interview for maximum effect should be the goal for every job applicant. Techniques and resources exist that can allow this to occur. Improving one’s interview skills and preparedness can go far toward promoting a confident, knowledgeable air, thereby generating more job offers and successful interview outcomes.

Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) offers “From Strengths to Storytelling – Nailing the Job Interview,” a unique, innovative approach that helps participants identify pertinent strengths and values. The workshop helps participants convert this material into a compelling message that goes much farther toward creating a powerful impact, and in turn, increasing job offers. It can be of great benefit to job seekers. If you check out “Seven Steps to Satisfying Employment” at the JFCS website, www.jfcslouisville.org, you will see that steps 1, 2, and 4 all focus on the importance of interviewing.

“This workshop opened my eyes to these techniques, giving me confidence and a more positive outlook. … My own experience combined with the understanding of my strengths, along with my story gave me a much greater sense of interviewing preparedness.” As you can see, Mark and many other successful job seekers clearly gained value and benefited from the workshop.

As the community’s preferred career services provider, JFCS will offer a series of interviewing workshops throughout 2013. The first four-hour workshop is scheduled for Monday, February 18, and Wednesday, February 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at JFCS.

For workshop information and registration, please contact Janet Poole, 452-6341, ext. 222 or jpoole@jfcslouisville.org.

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