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How to get Past the First Round of Interviews

Posted by Elaine Varelas  February 12, 2014 10:00 AM

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Q. It's been over a year and two months that I have been looking for work in higher ed/hospital administration. I get invited for interviews, but I don't get the jobs. I get reasons like internal candidates and recently was told my references were not right which didn't make any sense. I know it's super competitive and I know how to carry on a conversation and what to say. Still no luck in those areas. Are these two fields super competitive? Not sure what else I could do.

A. The job market continues to be competitive and finding opportunities and being selected to receive an offer is taking much longer than most people anticipate. With so many hospitals, colleges and universities in the area, you have a large number of organizations to approach to find an administrative role. You may also want to consider adding private schools and non profit organizations to your target.

There is some good news in your job search activity, you are getting interviews! This suggests that your resume is strong and getting you past the screening process. Continue to send your resume, apply online and network to be included in the interview process.

Review the feedback you have received. If your references arenít right, find out what the situation is. Call the references you provided and discuss the questions they were asked; identify any concerns expressed. Are your references selling you and your skills the way they need to be? When you ask people about being a reference, the best approach is to ask, ĒCan you be a great reference for me?Ē If you sense hesitation, move on. Find a person who can sell your skills, contributions and value to the organization. Make sure you provide these great references with your resume and several key points about the job you are interviewing for as well as your qualifications. You need to do this for each job you give references for. Ask these contacts to call you each time they are called to let you know about any issues you may need to address.

I am sure you know how to have a conversation, but an interview is more than that. An interview is an opportunity to bring your resume and background to life. Interviews give you a chance to tell potential employers about your background and history; a chance to showcase the contributions you have made and what you can do for them. Be positive about your former employers. Donít bad mouth them, your former managers or colleagues. Close the interview expressing your interest in the job and ask if they have any concerns about your ability to do the job. This may get you closer to the offer stage.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Meet the Jobs Docs

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.

Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.

Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.

Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.

Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.

Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.