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Interviewing and Resume Questions

Advisor

Tom D Dayton, OH

Greetings, everyone!

I recently decided to retire from the military, after 21 years of service, and joined the ACP mentorship program (still awaiting my mentor assignment). I have about 10 months left until I'm available and I'm all about planning, preparation, and over-planning to be prepared - it's the life I've lived over the past many years to ensure mission success and keeping everyone safe.

With that said, I have two questions:

1. If an interview feels like it went well, and I really want a job, will ending the interview asking the hiring manager "So, after everything we discussed, do I get the job?" really make a positive impression and have a major impact towards getting a job I want? I read about that tactic in "What Color is Your Parachute?."

2. What's the standard preferred length for a resume? I'm hearing one page, two pages, all experience on one page and then employment history and education on the second page, etc...

Thanks in advance for the assistance! I'll be asking more questions on here throughout the year. I'm looking forward to this transition.

Sincerely,
Tom

13 August 2016 23 replies Interviews

Answers

Veteran

James Sipprell White Pine, TN

You have gotten some good advise from previous listings. My experience as an employer for 25+ years is skip the cute questions and ask how soon your interviewer expects to come to a decision and what are the next steps. Do not show your hand at any time in the process. A page and a half is enough for a the first shot knowing that scores of resume`s are competing for attention. Tying in experience with actual work responsibilities that relate to the industry and position is far more interesting to a future employer. Knowing if your interviewer has had exposure to the military or not is valuable. You are an officer and don't be afraid to show it. Best of success. J. Sipprell x-Navy Spook

5 November 2016 Helpful answer

Advisor

Sara Bagby New York, NY

Tom -

Congratulations on retirement! Some great advice above, I'll just add two thoughts -

1. I wouldn't put the interviewer in a potentially awkward position for two reasons - a) it's rarely a one person decision, they really don't know. b) you're also judging the company, and the more people you meet the better. Unless it's a very small company, you should feel comfortable asking to meet more than one person. I think the best way to end a great interview is to clarify your interest ("This feels like a great fit, and I've really enjoyed talking with you") and your readiness to move forward, in a neutral way ("What are the next steps in your process, and can I provide any other information or references in the meantime?") This is friendlier, and leaves the door open to ongoing communication between interviews (providing references, following up on things you discussed) that other candidates may not benefit from.

2. I'd recommend absolutely having a one-page summary resume with the highlights and lots of skill-based key words (automated recruiting scanning will look for key words on LinkedIn or the first page of a resume that match the job description). Depending on the industry and company, having a two page 'extended' resume is something you can provide after an initial email exchange, when you know a human will actually see it.

Best of luck with the interviews!!

19 August 2016 Helpful answer

Advisor

William Smith Suffern, NY

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your service. I am a career consultant working with several veteran groups assisting vets who are transitioning into the civilian workforce.

Regarding question one. I would not ask this question, in most cases there will need to be follow up discussions, in some cases with staff members who were not at the meeting, before a final hiring decision is made.
Question 2 the length of the resume depends on how much meaningfull information related to your background that relates to the position in question that is available. I believe you should keep it to no more than 2 pages.

Statistics show that the average hiring manager spends less than 30 seconds looking at each resume. Therefore you need to grab the readers attention quickly in pointing to the aspects of your background that make you a good fit for the job in question.

I would be happy to review your resume if you like.

Best of luck.

Bill Smith

14 August 2016 Helpful answer

Advisor

Matt Saylors Knoxville, TN

Hi Lieutenant Dahlinghaus, I also would like to thank you for your 21 years of service. On the first question, I agree that it varies with the industry, but it also depends on the size of the company. A Fortune 500 company is going to have a more strenuous interview process than a smaller company. Therefore, more people will have to give approval for your employment. I wouldn't put them on the spot by asking them if they are going to hire you. If you need to know how the interview went, ask them questions like, "How many applicants are interviewing for the position." or "Have they hired retired military personal before?". Figure out the questions you are going to ask before the interview. Know the company's interview process. Each company is different. You won't get a "We are going to hire you," but you should get some level of interest.
With your resume, I have always been told to keep it one page. Since you are coming out of the military I would use the chronological format. You don't have to put all the positions you have had since you enlisted, just the last ten years or so. It is totally up to you on how far back you go. I would list experiences that would be relevant to the position you are applying. It is important to always include a cover letter. One page cover letter and one page resume. The cover letter includes who you are and why you are the right person for the job. There are several websites with examples of cover letters. I think is very important for retired military because a lot of times your experience doesn't directly relate to the private sector.

Hope this helped and good luck,
Matt

14 August 2016 Helpful answer

Advisor

Sid Raza Ann Arbor, MI

Hello Lieutenant Dahlinghaus -

Congratulations on a wonderful career and putting your life and sacrifice on the line for us. My partner served in the USAF so I understand a little bit of the military world. To answer your question...

1. I think it really depends on the industry that you may interview in. These days, no one person makes hiring decisions and specially if that position is higher up the flag pole. Having said that, you can try this tactic in hardcore industries: banking, trading, law enforcement, etc. I would refrain from using this tactic if you are dealing with civilians who are not used to being put on the spot or folks that are not in the habit of making split second decisions.

2. Again, it depends on your experience. If you have over 10 years of experience, you can use two pages as long as the second page work experience directly supports the position for which you are applying for. You may also want to think of which industry are you headed towards and do you have direct past experience in that industry. Or the industry you are headed to is more closely aligned to your education. If it's the first case, go with a functional resume. If it's the later than use a chronological resume putting your education first.

Hope this help. Happy to look over anything if you email it to me.

Best,
Sid

14 August 2016 Helpful answer

Advisor

Stevie Ray Burnsville, MN

Hello sir:
Beyond the great advice offered so far, I would recommend sending a hand-written thank you card after the interview. My wife is a high-level director in a hospital and recently was recruited "up the ladder." Even though the process involved three group interviews, she sent a thank-you to every individual.
These days, every little thing you do can distinguish you from other applicants, and this gesture demonstrates that you understand business etiquette can make the difference.
I wish you luck and success.

Advisor

Jim Rohrbach Evanston, IL

Hi Tom!

If you're still interviewing, here are some interview questions for you to ask the interviewer(s). You can print this out, bring it to an interview:

Interview Questions
Date:
Participants:

Tell me a bit about your role in the company. How did you decide to get into this career/business? What do you enjoy most about working here?

What are your goals for your department in the next 3 - 5 years?

How does the job I’m interviewing for fit in with your department/company's goals?

Is this a newly created position? Or, What happened to the previous person?

What are the skills that are most important for succeeding in this job?

What specifically would be my responsibilities? Who else would I be working with?

What are some of the challenges will I face in this position?

What does the company do to contribute to its employees’ professional development?

How does a person progress in the company? What is a typical career path in this organization?

If you were to decide to put me in this position, what would you need to have seen over the course of the first three to six months to KNOW you had made the right decision?

What's the next step? Can we set a time to speak?

Hope that's useful --

Jim "Da Coach"

Advisor

Jennifer Polhemus Santa Monica, CA

Two extra suggestions: 1) treat the receptionist like he/she is interviewing you as well, and 2) try to laugh at least once during the interview, or find another way to show your good humor. Keep up the good work!

Advisor

David Leibowitz Short Hills, NJ

Tom- Usually, there are several steps in the interviewing process- HR, immediate manager, section head, group head, etc. I would not ask anyone if you got the job. You can however, express your desire, excitement and willingness to do the job. You'll know soon enough if you're in the running. You can always check in to find your status, but usually, no news is bad news in the interviewing process.

As for you resume, I would not hesitate to make it 2 pages long if you have pertinent items to list.

Best of luck,

David

Advisor

Donn LeVie Jr. Austin, TX

Tom:
I agree with other responders...don't put the interviewer/hiring manager in a spot by trying to pin him/her down. You can ask leading questions of the interviewer that have an "air" of presumption, such as "What would be your highest priority project I would be working on from Day 1?" It shows assertiveness and is tinged with the assumption you have the job. Another question to ask: "How do you see my contributing to the team from the start?" You're planting the seeds in the hiring manager's mind that you are the candidate they need.

Hiring managers spend 10 seconds scanning the upper 2/3 of page 1 of your resume. If they see something that grabs their attention, then they will do a more care view of your entire resume. Therefore, you must put your best information (information that hiring managers deem important) up front on page 1. That includes your contact info (best email and phone only, not necessary for physical address yet), a Professional Summary, Accomplishments (be sure you understand the difference among a bona fide accomplishment, task completion, and duty/responsibility), then your work history. Same rule of thumb applies to resume length: no longer than 2 pages. Be sure EVERY word attests to your professionalism. Remove any extraneous wording (edit ruthlessly).

Advisor

michael convey Longboat Key, FL

Thanks for your service to our country. I am a fairly aggressive guy and like the thought of asking for the job, but I think it could be done in another way that would be more productive. I would reflect on the requirements of the job, your experience and what you enjoy doing. Taking this information, I would think about how your education, experience and drive would make you an ideal candidate. Develop closing remarks that demonstrate your interest, the reasons you would be a good candidate and state that your employment could be mutually rewarding for those reasons. Subsequently, I would send an email and/or follow-up letter reiterating the reasons why you would be a terrific candidate for the job.

Advisor

Dave Ramanauskas Cheshire, CT

Hi Tom- thanks for your service and all the best for a happy retirement.
Regarding your question about your resume, what if you considered the content and audience of your resume, versus it's length? Depending on the opportunities that you're pursuing, you may end up with multiple versions of your resume which are customized and tailored for the opportunity you're pursuing. It's all about target marketing and "branding" in this job market. I've hired a lot of people in my career and I've hired people with 1 page resumes and people with 5 page resumes. The key point is that they had a resume which addressed my needs and that resume got them the interview. Their performance on the interview got them the job offer.
Regarding your question on how to close the interview, I have used this myself and I have had candidates ask this as well: " What do you see as next steps at this point?" It is open ended and non-confrontational enough that allows your interviewer to either state that they are very interested, or send a different message, like "we'll get back to you".
I hope that helps and best wishes !

Advisor

Eric Deets Huntsville, AL

Tom - I've done hundreds of interviews to fill technical and management positions on my programs. I would not want someone to put me on the spot with that type of question. There is still a fair amount of work with HR and others before a commitment can be make. I would rather hear 'given what we have discussed, can I make a signifiant contribution to this organization?' Or words to that effect.
On the resume side, the one page resume is preferred. You need to make your case in that one page. Absolutely ensure that spelling and grammar are correct. And it needs to be posted to social media, such as LinkedIn.

Eric

Advisor

John Ervin

I would recommend creating a career portfolio. I did it when I left the Army. It's very professionally done with Velo binding from Kinkos. I update and add to it as needed. It mirrors my resume format. I think it definitely differentiates you from others. Remember, you are the best of the best. Your leadership, values and organizational skills have been carefully refined for over 20 years, so make sure an employer understands this.
Anyone can write a resume that looks good, but can they back it up. When you are interviewing someone, the first thing a hiring manager things about is "do I like this person". Another thing is "can I trust this person" and did they actually do half the stuff on the resume.

You should always use a soft close at every interview. You should ask if you are moving on to the next interview. Always follow up with anyone who you interview with and stay in touch. There are new jobs created every day and this is your chance to shine and then develop long term business contacts. An interview is not a one time transaction. It is a foot in the door to develop a long term relationship with a company representative.
Any salesperson will tell you that it takes 7-9 touch points to make a sale. Think about this when you are "selling yourself". The decision not to hire someone is should a group decision and if one person does not like you, you could be out. But there could be others who like you and would consider you for a job.

I never worry about resume length. The most important thing is that "your" resume "resonates who you are". Not who you think you are. it must be concrete and easily understandable by anyone. It should include your strengths and accomplishments that you have succeeded in during you lifetime and career. if you were a college athlete for example, it should be on your resume.

John

Advisor

Paul Trejo Austin, TX

Greetings, Tom, and thanks for your years of service.

Here are my two responses to your two questions:

1.0. Times have changed, IMHO, so most interviews will not be with the hiring manager alone -- but you will more often be subjected to a modern Day-Long Interview Team, covering several people in several departments.

1.1. Along with a good technical fit, the Team is looking for a good personal fit.

1.2. If you're looking for strategies to improve your odds, then here are some new strategies for the 21st century.

1.2.1. Never complain. Ever. That means to never complain about past jobs,
past events, past-coworkers, past bosses or past anything. Everybody you ever worked with was useful for *something*. All your experiences were *learning* experiences. Never complain.

1.2.2. Never confess. Ever. Nobody wants to hear the excuses or "reasons" for this or that failed project. Nobody really wants to hear about a failed project, either. This is a job interview -- everything is "up". You never need to explain any gaps in your resume. Everything is a positive learning experience.

1.2.3. Answer in short anecdotes about your wins; your successes. Short. Two sentences maximum. These anecdotes are always about (a) a problem you encountered; and (b) the positive way you solved the problem. Always. No other themes.

1.2.3.1. Comprise a list of one dozen (minimum) anecdotes in which you solved a business problem.

1.2.3.2. Whenever you are asked about any issue or theme -- always answer with one of your anecdotes.

1.2.3.3. Never answer any question with a dry, "yes" or "no" answer. They want to hear all about YOU.

1.2.3.4. And they don't want to hear your complaints.

1.2.3.5. And they don't want to hear your confessions of failure, or excuses.

1.2.3.6. They only want to hear that you are a PROBLEM SOLVER.

1.2.3.7. Hiring Teams hire Problem Solvers.

2.0. The best resume length is one page -- even if it's front and back.

2.1. The Hiring Team is SO BUSY and if you can't tell all about yourself in two pages maximum, then you don't know the power of the English language and so will waste their valuable time.

2.2. Use your best Technical Terms freely, so that the (nontechnical) headhunters know which way to sort your resume.

2.3. There is not enough room on any professional resume for hobbies and outside interests. OMIT THESE.

2.4. What is your HOBBY? To make your Employer successful.

2.5. What are your Outside Interests? Ways to make your Employer wealthy.

2.6. What are your weaknesses? You sacrifice everything for your Employer.

Get ready for the 21st Century Interview Teams, Tom! Welcome aboard!

All best,
--Paul

Advisor

Tom D Dayton, OH

Wow...thanks a ton for all of your assistance! ACP has truly exceeded my expectations due to all of your support (and support from others).

I sincerely appreciate it!
Tom

Advisor

Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

'coupla thoughts for you . . . .

First, as a practicing vocational counselor and employer's recruiter for many years, "What Color Is Your Parachute" is required reading for my clients. The advice in that book, dealing with resume writing, is as good as it gets.

Second, In theme, I suggest that when you end the interview session - assuming, of course that you do want the job - you do so with something like, "I think it only fair to tell you that if I am offered this job, I will take it." That question, "Will s/he take the job if I offer it to him/her?" always lurks in the mind of the recruiter/hiring manager. Letting him/her know where YOU stand will, make you stand out and could put you to the front of the pack - easily! I have seen that simple tactic work many times.

Third, it is a mature and attractive candidate who will focus on his/her TALENTS and value those over his/her experiences. As an employer, I can always teach the skills necessary to do the job - IF you have the inherent talent. Something about trying to "teach a pig to sing."

Feel free to contact me off this line if you would like to ask a question that is less public. hlstevens@att.net or visit my website at hrqa.com

Regards!

Advisor

Andrew Woodland Orlando, FL

Hi Tom

Thank you for your service. Congratulations on your retirement from the military. I think you’ve had some great advice, it is always pleasing to see so much help being offered.
I did 22 years in the Royal Air Force and 16 years in the commercial world (defence related) and have interviewed many military personnel. So let me give you my answers from the interviewer perspective.

1. I’ve had this type of questioned ask to me many times and as the guys have indicated in the responses below you will most probably NOT get the answer you are looking for. All my interviews were conducted with HR personnel at the interview as well, and you are not permitted to give any direct feedback at the interview. So I would avoid asking the direct question.

2. There is no real exact answer to this question. I have had resumes from one page to about eight pages. I would recommend about 2 pages with about 10 years of history and experience. Try and understand the role you are applying for and write a short summary as to why you would be ideal for this role.

I always review resumes at home in my study with a coffee in the evening. The work place can be distracting. I noticed a few comments below as to how long someone would look at a resume. I do a very quick scan through the resume (say 30 to 40 seconds) to ensure it meets all the criteria I am looking for. I then place them on one of two piles, NO or POSSIBLE. I then go through all the possible resumes with an average time of about 3 to 4 minutes. I will then end up with a short list.

I then conduct telephones interviews and I noticed someone mentioned this in the comments below. This is where you can get so much more information, understanding the personality of the person, other qualities such as confidence and general background, family, other interest (like golf). The bottom line is you are looking for a person that is going to fit in with the team and the company. Finally, we have two face to face interviews before we make the selection.

Good luck in the future. Don’t get discouraged it may take a few interviews before you get that perfect job.

Advisor

Jim Williams Minneapolis, MN

LT,

I retired from the Navy about a year ago after 27 years. Like you I started early in making preparations, and I am glad I did because it really helped. Few take away I learned along the way that I am sure you have heard as well in some fashion. First and most important, know to a certain degree what it is you want to do. I targeted four areas I felt were my wrong suit and developed a general purpose resume I could hand out at job fairs, during networking events and when I was asked. My resume I kept to 2 pages and this seemed to work fine. When applying to a position most applications were online and in most cases required me enter information from my resume so in this case what was important was how I responded to the questions. I must have applied for 60-70 positions, got called in for maybe 12 interviews and ended up landing a job in the federal government. During my interviews, I always asked what the next steps were and what is the best way to make contact at the end of the interview. This seem to set well with the interviewer/s and provided me an opportunity for a follow up call/email. In addition, I would always send a thank you email to the interviewer/s. Finally, I can't tell you how important it is to network at every opportunity. I networked extensively through ACP and made allot of great connections all over the U.S., I also networked at my local VFW; state sponsored workforce centers and through LinkedIn which really helped to let people know I was in the job market.

Good luck on the transition. Feel free to reach out anytime.

R/
Jim

Advisor

Deborah Meyer Columbus, OH

Lots of great advice here Tom, I know I'm chiming in very late...but recommend NOT asking someone if they have any concerns about hiring you (they may think - what did I miss????). Instead for question 1 - If you asked - After our discussion I am even more excited about this opportunity, I'm ready to start... date. However, could you advise what the next steps might be?

For resume - I used to think (up to 5 months previously) that resumes should be limited to 2 pages with cover letter), now that I recruit within IT - I have found that the 3-5 page resumes which show specific skills and technology used are appropriate. Length of resume really depends upon the industry/position for which you are applying and your own experience. Great examples above about providing a "meaningful" response!

(Ask 6 recruiters about a resume and you will receive 6 different answers!)
Sincerely,
Deborah

Advisor

Beth Ward Laramie, WY

Thanks for your service and care Tom. Because the people typically don't know in the moment if they want to hire you, but are either feeling positive or not, you could ask "...based on our conversation and how you're feeling today, what concerns would you have as you think about hiring me?" This answer will help you understand their point of view, it shows that you aren't afraid of looking at what isn't being addressed/could be improved (self-awareness), and it could help them get more clear about how they're feeling. It's a very honest and helpful conversation for everyone.

I would try to keep your resume as short as possible - one page preferred but 2 max. Employers will be looking for their key words from their job description and need your qualifications and highlights for this job to pop out. Good luck!

Advisor

Pat Godfrey Saint Louis, MO

I really love the book, Guerilla Marketing for job hunters. Remember your resume is only the ticket in the door. A 3-4min scan is all you get before going in the call or no-call stack so, to the point and grab attention. The phone interview is where you begin getting deeper into you.

And the advice above it on target.

Good luck. Thanks for you service. You are appreciated.

Advisor

Tom D Dayton, OH

Everyone,

I really appreciate the quick responses. Definitely helpful info that I've taken onboard!

Sincerely,
Tom

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