Thursday, May 7, 2009


To All

At this critical juncture in our economy finding a job stands right at the top of a list of priority items. With this in mind I have posted my book Impact Interviewing for all to share. Hopefully you will find it helpful.

Good Luck.

Bill Bagley




Each year at commencement time thousands of graduating college seniors find themselves with a solid base of knowledge, fond memories of their campus life, a significant chunk of debt, and NOT THE JOB THEY DESIRE. On the other hand, there exists another group of graduates whose biggest problem is deciding which job offer to accept.
What differentiates these two groups of students? Why the significant contrast in outcomes?
This book will give you the answers to these two questions — and more — as it prepares you for success in the art of interviewing.


Before you do anything remotely related to interviewing, it is necessary that you search out opportunities for interviews. Once you have found these interviewing opportunities, you must gather background information on the organizations that are presenting the opportunities. This opening section will introduce the best methods of accomplishing both objectives.


Presenting a resume with impact is essential to interviewing success; it is also easy to develop. Learn how to get the most out of your resume by focusing on purpose, structure, and examples.


Most first-time job candidates (as well as a number of veterans of the interview circuit) view the interview as a sentence of interminable duration fraught with intense questioning. A closer look at the interview session reveals a structure which is quite brief and friendly. Understanding this structure will make it much easier for you to get comfortable with the interview itself.


In order to be successful in an interview you must be perceived by the recruiter as either being an impact player or having the potential to become one. This section of the book takes a very close look at those elements of an impact player that the recruiter will home in on:

Executive Presence
Introduction Style
Eye Contact
Communications Skills
Personal Substance
Goal Orientation

Remember, in an interview, perception is everything.


Most of us feel that we have a pretty good grasp of who we are —until the recruiter asks us to "take the next fifteen minutes and tell me about yourself." A personal inventory is provided to help you focus more intently on who you really are. The plus of this easy-to-complete exercise is that you come away feeling much better about yourself. A true confidence builder.


One hundred questions and/or probes most commonly presented to candidates by recruiters are provided for your review and thought. Answers are not provided. But reviewing the questions/probes will allow you to begin thinking and researching so you can formulate appropriate responses.


In an interview, it is equally important that you prepare several questions for the recruiter that indicate you are a person of substance. Recorded within are fifty such questions which are not only substantive in nature, but will also serve you well in finding out important issues surrounding the job.


Proper follow-up to an interview is crucial to your success in landing a job. An effective follow-up procedure is outlined for your reference.


A number of miscellaneous tips exist of which all candidates should be aware prior to heading into their first interview.


The concluding section sets forth three pleas:

Practice the Fundamentals
Reference Recommended Resources
Call Me or Write Me


Each year at commencement time on college campuses across this nation, hundreds of thousands of graduating seniors find themselves with a solid new base of knowledge, fond memories of a campus life that is rapidly coming to a close, a significant chunk of debt, and NOT THE JOB THEY DESIRE. On the flip side, there exists a smaller contingent of students, seemingly embracing the same background, academic preparation, and talent, who are looking at multiple job offers.

What is wrong here?

Certainly a competitive job market and the swollen ranks of graduating students are factors that contribute in some small way to an undesirable situation. But the real reason why the vast majority of students fail to receive a job offer of their choosing is because they fail to have a positive impact on the recruiters with whom they interview. It's that simple. Those people who have put it all together and present themselves in a professional manner, win the race. They call their own shots to a certain degree. Their biggest problem is deciding which of the outstanding job offers to accept. This is the position in which you want to find yourself.

Actually, the competition out there at the best colleges in the nation is not that stiff. Very few people offer the total package. In fact, experts within the fields of motivation, career development, and business — and recruiters representing a variety of professions — feel that only a small percentage of each college recruiting class actually embraces the skills necessary to impress a prospective employer. Most candidates searching for a job go into the recruiting process with only a basic understanding of themselves, little appreciation for the process of interviewing, and subsequently, a woeful lack of preparedness for sessions that can have a tremendous impact on them both in the present — and for the future.

How many of us would step in front of an audience and deliver a speech, sing a song, or act out a play without preparing first? Or can you imagine taking part in an organized sporting event in front of hundreds of spectators without first having practiced the fundamentals? Yet, literally thousands of college seniors each year, with a tremendous amount at stake, walk into an interview session with little more than the hope that they won't make a major gaffe in front of the recruiter; people trying to survive as opposed to having an impact.

Someone once said that the most difficult thing in the world to accomplish is to get your self and your ideas accepted by others. We spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours working towards a college degree so that we will be academically prepared for the world of work. Yet, most of us do not spend one nickel or one hour preparing for the forum where we need to meet in order to sell ourselves to the marketplace.

Enough about the problem! Let’s explore how to prepare for success here.

In essence, there exist five (5) keys to attaining success in the recruiting process. They are:

· Research
· Resume Development
· Executive Presence
· Getting an Interview
· Effective Interviewing Techniques

This publication is designed to remove the mystery that seems to surround these five keys and to provide in a very succinct manner how you can become an impact player throughout this process. The study and practice of this material should be done in the very same manner as you prepare yourself for exams that are critical to your GPA.

We are not addressing a higher plane of thinking here. The information reflected on the following pages is short, sweet, and to the point. You should find it to be quick reading and easily retained. The key is internalizing the information in a way that it becomes part of your thinking — and to practice, practice, practice the fundamentals of interviewing. Anything short of this will fail to serve you well.

In summary, I have spent a large portion of my adult life either preparing college students for the interview process — or actually interviewing them. I have worked both as a college placement director and for the last twenty-five plus years as a human resources and recruiting director within both "Big Four" and local public accounting environments. I have been directly involved in the recruiting process of thousands of students during this span of time. I know what recruiters look for in a candidate. I have made numerous interviewing related presentations, developed a variety of recruiting training programs, spent countless hours in career counseling sessions, and interviewed a multitude of students. My intent in all of these undertakings was — and is — to help everyone involved to succeed in the interview process. In this same spirit, I encourage you to take a small percentage of your time and dedicate yourself to the information contained within this book. I think you will find it to be immensely helpful. You are too valuable to yourself, to your family, to your friends, and to those of us who look to you for future leadership not to take this process seriously.


There exist two stages in the research portion of an interview. Stage one deals with locating an opportunity. Stage two is concerned with gathering information on a firm once the interview is scheduled.


Prior to doing anything in the way of interviewing it is, of course, necessary to locate an opportunity for which to interview. There exist a number of ways in which someone can locate an opportunity. Here are a few of the most popular:

College Placement Office
College Placement Bulletins
Newspaper Help Wanted Ads
Professional Search Firms
Professional Publications
Chamber of Commerce

We will spend a moment briefly exploring each one.


If you are currently a college student, then utilizing the services of your college placement office is the most obvious option. As many of you know, college placement offices arrange for employers to visit during certain times of the year in order to facilitate the first stages of the formal interview process. As well, placement offices provide a number of tools and programs in assisting students and alumni with career development. One of these tools would be a college placement bulletin which lists various current job opportunities.

For college students and alumni alike, a college placement office is a valuable resource and should be utilized early in the job search process. Do not wait until you are a senior to become familiar with the location of, and services extended by, the placement office. At least by your sophomore year you should introduce yourself to this important student services operation.


Networking may be the most valuable and most effective means of locating job opportunities. Networking is simply the process of tapping into friends, family, acquaintances, acquaintances of friends and family, and even those individuals who you may not currently know but who you should get to know. The key here is in making contact with individuals who may be in a position that could be helpful to you. Keep in mind that many employing organizations maintain an active networking system to assist with friends of the organization, as well as for those in the community who take the time and effort to make contact.

Some people refuse to network because they perceive it as doing something outside the normal system. Many feel uncomfortable with the idea that they may be leveraging off of someone else. Please do not see networking as something that is less than proper and appropriate. You are not taking advantage of others by networking through them, you are only taking advantage of those things that others are able and willing to offer you.

Networking is a tremendous way in which to find outstanding opportunities. It is a "feel good" thing for all involved.


Help wanted ads are probably the most universally recognized form of looking for a job. All major newspapers incorporate a section in their dailies which highlight various job opportunities available in a respective community. Several major newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Chicago Tribune run advertisements of a national scope. These ads are more job opportunity-related as opposed to geographic-specific.

If someone is attending college in Florida but wishes to relocate to Milwaukee upon graduation, it would be to their advantage to subscribe to a Milwaukee newspaper (normally the Sunday edition of any major newspaper is the best for covering job openings) early in their job search process. As well, a number of newspapers are carried in college libraries and public libraries, and in college placement offices.


Professional search firms can be a valuable source for locating an interview opportunity. You may view this advice with some skepticism depending upon what you have heard about search firms. A certain amount of negative thought exists about these operations, but as with everything there are a number of very professional ones and some very questionable ones. Our suggestion is that prior to using a professional search firm/agency, ask for references and then call the references to see how they were treated. Also, you can tell a lot about the organization from the initial face-to-face meeting you have with their representative(s).

You may hear agents from search firms referred to as "head hunters" or "flesh peddlers." Don't let this disturb you. For the most part, these are friendly references to the vocation. Remember this, regardless of how you refer to them, never enter into the following with a search firm:

an exclusive agreement where you are only allowed to use that search firm to locate an opportunity

an agreement where you pay them money for their services

Truly reputable firms understand that you are on an open market and that other forms of job hunting will be used by a candidate. They will work harder to locate an opportunity for you if they know other search firms are serving you as well. In the same light, reputable operations are paid a fee by the employer to find candidates. You should never as a candidate pay a fee to a search agency.


Just as there are help wanted ads in newspapers, job openings can be located in a number of professional publications. Professional publications are those periodicals that are related directly to an industry or profession. If you are interested in a career, or at least an entry-level job in marketing, finance, accounting, engineering, production, sales, human resources (and the list goes on) you can generally find a publication related directly to that field. Again, the college placement office and college and public libraries can help you target the appropriate publication(s).


Your local chamber of commerce is a storehouse of information which can be invaluable in your search for interview opportunities. Most C of C's offer published data on the major businesses in their respective area. Usually there is a small cost for this information. Although the advertisement of job openings is not the thrust of a chamber of commerce, the material you purchase from them will allow you to begin focusing on what industries are available to you, the size of the operations, contacts within, growth, etc. This is a solid springboard into your networking process.


Once you have located the opportunities that exist out there and you have pinned down an interview or two, the next step is to gather information on the organization(s) with which you are going to interview.

Again your college placement office is a valuable resource in locating background information on a number of organizations hiring entry-level personnel. College-based and public libraries also offer literature which can prove helpful in gaining some insight into an organization and their operations. As well, the respective local chamber of commerce has a number of directories that can assist in familiarizing you with an interviewing firm.

If you have access to a Dun & Bradstreet data base, this can also be useful. Professional publications, as mentioned earlier in locating opportunities, many times provide reference information on various organizations related to a specific industry. But in the final analysis, the most obvious, most valuable, and yet the most overlooked source for gathering background information on a firm is the targeted organization itself.

It just makes sense that if you are going to interview with a specific organization, you should call someone internally and ask for material related to their operation. Most people fail to do this because they are afraid that by calling directly for information indicates that they do not know about the organization and this will reflect negatively on them. This is not true. Quite the contrary is true. Direct research demonstrates interest and initiative. Furthermore, if the truth were known, the person you interview with probably will never know you directly requested information on their respective organization. They will just assume that it is your responsibility to do so, and if you don't — that is when the negative begins to show through.

Several sources can be tapped in an organization to gather relevant material for interview purposes:

Human Resources Department
Marketing Department
Public Relations Department

Various pieces of information are normally available for this purpose:

Recruiting Brochures
Internal Newsletters
Annual Report

Regardless of how you gather the information, the key is that you check the sources and make certain it contains accurate information; then go about reviewing it carefully and forcing essential elements to memory. This information is invaluable to you in preparing for the interview session itself.


Presenting a resume with impact is essential to your interviewing success. Some people may have told you at one time or another that resumes are an insignificant piece of the job search and interviewing process, and that recruiters seldom review them. DON'T BELIEVE IT. The resume, in fact, is a very important element of the job search and interviewing process. If for no other reason, an employer will use the resume to screen potential candidates out. And you certainly do not want to be screened out.

A solid resume will keep you in the hunt for an interview. After all, employers are always searching for good people, and reviewing a resume is the simplest and most cost-effective way of determining qualified candidates for an interview. Once you have been selected for an interview, the resume acts as a script, guide, or benchmark for the recruiter to use in preparing for the actual live interview. Your objective should be to provide the recruiter with a concise summarization of your experiences and achievements to date; a hit list, so to speak, of your skills and strengths — and what you can bring to the organization.

A cover letter is also needed to introduce the resume if you are contacting employers sight unseen. Some people choose to send resumes in the mail, or drop them off at a respective office with no introductory letter. These resumes usually end up in the circular file. Always, always send a cover letter with a resume when you are making contact with an employer through e-mail, snail mail, or through a third party. The only time a cover letter is not appropriate is when you are meeting someone face to face (as in an interview) and you can just hand the resume directly to them.

The focus of this chapter is to provide specifics regarding the development of a resume and the accompanying cover letter. Samples of each are provided at the back of this chapter for your review and use.



State Your Job Objective:

This is not necessary if you are leaving yourself open for a number of job possibilities. In other words, if you have, or will have, a degree in marketing but are open to jobs in public relations, marketing, sales, banking, etc., it is best not to state a specific job objective. That way you can develop one resume for all opportunities. In this case, your specific job objective must be stated in your cover letter. Resumes can be mass produced, but cover letters should be individually produced for each job for which you apply. Never use form letters for your cover letter.

Provide a Concise Summarization of Your Experiences and Achievements To-Date

Sell Yourself on Paper

Offer Personal References:

I know, you have been told not to send references with a resume. Instead, everyone chooses to state at the bottom of their resume, "References Available Upon Request." This just requires more work on the part of the employer. If after reviewing the resume the recruiter is interested in you, they are forced to contact you to request references. This takes valuable time away from the process. Just assume the recruiter will like what is on the resume and will want to review the references. Also, many times the recruiter will know a reference and that in itself helps to solidify your position for an interview (assuming the relationship between the recruiter and the reference is a healthy one).



Preferably in print bolder than the text of the resume.


E-mail address.

Permanent address (and temporary address, if applicable)…remember to include the zip code(s).

Phone Number

Permanent and temporary phone numbers if applicable.

Remember to include the area code(s).

Be certain a phone tape recorder or voice mail capability is hooked up during a job search process. And stay away from gimmicky or cute greetings. During your search for a job, you do not want to take the chance that an employer who might call you will be turned off by a unique telephone greeting.

Job Objective

As stated under Purpose earlier in this chapter, the job objective is not necessary if you are promoting it in your cover letter.

List Information by Subject and Chronologically Within
The Subject Area

Most recent information listed first.

Education information comes before Work Experience information if you have not had relevant or extensive work experience.

Work Experience information comes before Education information if you have had relevant or extensive work-related experiences.

Outside Achievements

Campus and/or community awards, military achievements, etc.

Outside Interests

Campus, community, church, fund-raising.

Personal Information


Can include a number of things but should be limited to hobbies and interests.

Grade Point Average

If the GPA does not appear on the resume, many recruiters will assume that it is low.

Some employers have an interview grade cutoff. In other words, if a candidate's GPA is below a certain level they are not eligible to interview for a position. This of course depends on the profession.

In some cases, especially if the GPA is extremely low, it is best not to include it on the resume. This has to be a personal decision, but our suggestion in the instances of low GPA's is to just leave it off. There is a chance that, based on other strengths outlined on the resume, that you will be selected to interview — and the rest is up to you. This is not a case of deceiving someone, it is just allowing yourself an opportunity to play on your strengths in the interview. Listing a low GPA almost certainly will disqualify you from the process.

Do Not Include A Photo Of Yourself

I’m not sure how or why this got started in the first place, but for the most part it disappeared in the early to mid-eighties.

Many employers discard resumes that include photos almost immediately upon receipt.

Quality Paper and Type

The resume is an extension of you, make certain you use quality bond paper in putting forth your credentials.

Professional printers or high quality word processors are your best bet for producing effective type.

Most recently, the quality of resumes reviewed are exceptionally well done, but there was a period of time not so long ago when a large number of resumes received were of average to poor quality. This immediately disqualifies someone from consideration for an interview.

Limit the Length To Three Pages

As a general rule a resume should be two to three pages long including your reference listing.

Many experts tell us that resumes should be limited to one page. The rationale behind this fallacy is that recruiters do not want to spend the time reviewing a lengthy data sheet. Recruiters are looking for top flight people — and top flight people can't put all of their skills, strengths, experiences, achievements, and references on one page.

White Space

Your resume should not look like a script for a play. Allow for a good amount of white space along the borders and between subject areas so that the text stands away from the background. It makes the resume look more professional and it is much easier to read.


Remember, a resume is a concise summarization of your experiences and achievements to-date; short, sweet, and to the point.

Related To The Job Objective

Regardless whether the job objective is stated on your resume or in the cover letter, the text of your resume should relate directly to it.

Consistent In Style

There are various presentation styles available to choose from (see examples at the back of this chapter), all of which are acceptable. However, once you select a style, make certain you remain consistent in using it throughout your resume.

No Spelling Or Typographical Errors

As unfair as it may seem, a misspelled word or a typographical error can doom your chances for any further consideration.


Some candidates try to enhance their resumes by adding achievements or experiences that are not really part of their lives. Or, they will embellish those experiences which they can claim as their own. From an integrity standpoint, this is not the way to present yourself. From a harsh reality perspective, these things will, in most instances, be uncovered in an interview session or through a background check. Don't lower yourself to this level — nor open yourself to such embarrassment. Recruiters witness everything from inflated GPA's to proclaimed graduate degrees that in reality, did not exist. In the end, the humiliation and heartbreak are not worth the initial glory one derives from the false representation of their achievements.

No Abbreviations

Abbreviations in a resume give it a sloppy, incomplete look. Stay away from them.

Watch The Acronyms

Unless they are universally understood acronyms, or acronyms related directly to the industry or profession for which you are applying, eliminate them from your resume. For instance, USMC is a universally understood acronym for the United States Marine Corps. BAP is an acronym related to the accounting profession and stands for the honor fraternity, Beta Alpha Psi. If you are unsure whether your audience will recognize an acronym associated with your achievements, spell it out.

Action Words

To lend some impact to the text of your resume, select action words to initiate sentences pertaining to your experiences (a list is provided at the back of this chapter).

Allow Recruiters Easy Access To Your Credentials

Have packets of information ready to provide to a recruiter upon their request. The information contained in these packets might be a current transcript, evaluations from past jobs, letters of reference, letters of commendation, awards, military discharge papers, certificates, samples of written proposals, goal sheets, artwork, etc. Of course, what is contained in the packet depends on what type of position you are pursuing.

Outside Proof and Critique

As with any written document it is important that after you complete the first draft of your resume that you allow it to sit and cool off, so to speak. After a day, pick it up and review it. Allow someone else to proof and critique it. Make the necessary modifications and proof it one more time before finalizing it for use.



Introduce Yourself

Identify Position of Interest and How or Where You Located Information About The Opportunity

Direct Attention To The Accompanying Resume


(Refer to examples in this chapter)

Address It Directly To An Individual As Opposed To, "To Whom It May Concern"

The only time you address a cover letter to, "To Whom It May Concern," is when you are answering a blind ad. If you are in doubt to whom the letter should be directed, call the organization and ask.

Do not address cover letters as follows: "Dear Sir/Madam;" "Dear Gentlemen;" "Dear Gentleperson;" "Dear Recruiter;" "Dear Human Resources Director;" "Dear Personnel Manager;" and so on.

Make very certain you get the correct spelling of the name.

Polite Introduction of Yourself

Identify Position of Interest and How or Where You Located Information About The Opportunity

State Your QualificationS For The Position

Keep It Short, Sweet, And To The Point

Cover letters that introduce a resume, or any other document of primary focus, should always be strong on brevity and politely constructed.

Most employers move right to the resume anyway, so why take the time to construct an elaborate cover letter. Get to the point, which is introducing the resume.

It is important that the same careful attention to detail be exercised in developing a cover letter because a typo or misspelled word can prove devastating.

Use Quality Paper and Type

Match the resume paper and type, and if that is not possible, at the very least, make certain both are professionally printed.

No Gimmicks

Floral designed cover letters, cherry pink or lime green colored paper, tri-folds, pop-outs, etc., will not gain you the attention you desire.

White, cream, or grey colored paper is about as exotic as you want to get. Most professional recruiters are used to black type on white paper.

Simple, Straight-forward Business Format (examples provided in this section)

No Errors

Assume that most employers will be unforgiving of typographical errors and/or misspelled words. They figure that if you are careless when it comes to something as important as a job search, your job performance will be reflective of even worse.


Mr. Joseph Slaughter
Director of Personnel
Harrison Marketeres, Inc.
249 Wedgewood
Ocala, Florida 49992

Dear Mr. Slaughter:

I am currently a graduate student in the MBA program at Indiana University. I will be graduating in May of this year and am responding to your recent advertisement that appeared in the Journal-Herald. In addition to my graduate studies, I have two years of experience which I feel lends to my credibility in light of your search for a marketing consultant.

Enclosed for your review is a copy of my personal resume which outlines areas of strength, relevant experience, and achievement. As well, references have been included for your follow-up.

I am certainly interested in the opportunity within your firm, and welcome the chance to discuss my qualifications for the position.

Thank you for any consideration extended to me.


Shelley K. Karras



Ms. Joanne Sommers
Human Resources
Dennison & Dennison, CPA's
705 Weltway Boulevard
Oxford, Mississippi 30951

Dear Ms. Sommers:

I am currently a junior accounting major at Tulane University. I will be graduating in May of 2000, and am interested in an entry-level position within your firm. The Career Placement Office on the Tulane campus has posted your bulletin regarding possible interviews taking place in early October.

Enclosed for your review is a copy of my resume which outlines areas of achievement and involvement. As well, references have been included for your follow-up, if you so choose.

I would appreciate your consideration of me for the October interviews.

I look forward to hearing from you.


James T. Majors


4705 Richwood Place
Kansas City, Kansas 40040
(602) 993-4404

OBJECTIVE: Searching for a position in Human Resources. A role that would draw on my interpersonal and leadership skills.

BOSTON COLLEGE, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Master of Education Degree, 1999
Education Administration GPA: 3.2

Relevant Courses:
Budget and Financial Planning Principalship
Administrative Supervision School Law
Leadership and Administrative Decision Making

BOSTON COLLEGE, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Bachelor of Arts, 1998

Relevant Courses:
Interpersonal Relationships Psychology
Modern History: 1890 to the present Sociology


• John C. Kellogg Leadership Award, 1998
• - in recognition of extracurricular activities and student leadership
• Boston College Track Team, 1996-1998
• University recruitment video spokesperson, 1997
• Awarded four year Athletic Scholarship, 1995-1999


June 1999 - SIMON & OLAFSON Cincinnati, Ohio
Aug. 1999 Office Assistant
Assisted in various human resource functions: organized employee files, generated computer reports for the Director and compiled EEO information
Exhibited excellent organizational ability


Summers WILLAMETTE SUMMER CAMP Minneola, Kansas
July-Aug. Camp Supervisor
1997 & 1998 • Supervised and managed daily operations of camp, instructors and
• Developed and implemented water-safety education program.


• Special Olympics, Summer 1998
• Festival of Friendship, Winter 1997
• Big East Athletes Care, Winter 1997


David T. Wilson G. R. Workman
Senior Executive Vice President Senior Vice President, Accounting
Johnson & Toland, Inc. Varco, Inc.
135 State Street 617 Kenner Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02110 Cincinnati, ,OH 45202
Work: 617-429-1100 Work: 513-888-1114
Home: 617-444-8800 Work: 513-672-5716

Jack E. Davis Raymond T. Schwar
President Director of Human Resources President
SHOWMOR Simon & Olafson
1015 Walnut Street 205 East Fourth Street
Cincinnati Ohio 45202 Cincinnati, Ohio 45201-5340
Work: 513-277-7777 Work: 513-779-2500
Home: 513-418-8339 Home: 513-830-9292 schwar@s&

1118 Wyoming Place
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 384-9217

Master of Business Administration, May 1999
Marketing and Human Resource Concentration GPA: 3.5

Bachelor of Science, May 1995
Accountancy GPA: 3.0

Senior Consultant
Managed engagement performance including staff performance, production of major deliverables, and preparation of budgets and client billings
Led task planning and developed work plans, proposals and presentations
Taught continuing education
Served on Business Opportunity Committee to identify business opportunities and sell engagements
Assisted with staff training, orientation and recruiting
Negotiated contracts for clients
Professional accomplishments include:

Developed a 5 year, $400 million, cost model for a Statewide Education Technology System. The model provided for capital acquisitions and on-going costs. This resulted in a master plan that was implemented by State Legislature.

Designed and implemented policies and procedures for a large HMO. Improved staffing rotations across three locations. Increased admitting quality and productivity while improving cash flow.

Major clients served: Brandco Steel Inc., Cincinnati Equity Group, Maui Memorial Hospital, Lohmeyer & Prince Company, State of Kentucky, U.S. Footwear Company

COMPUTER LOTUS 123, dBase, COBOL, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint,
SKILLS: 4Front


ACTIVITIES: Elected to Vanderbilt University, Graduate Student Conduct Council
Elected to Owen Admissions Committee
Owen Ambassador Program
Owen Management Consulting Club
Thriftway ATP Tennis Championship, Volunteer


Mr. Timothy G. Caldwell Dr. Mark J. Davidson
Partner in Charge Chairman
Management Consulting Services Owen Graduate School of Management
Ermscher & Dulane Vanderbilt University
455 East Case Street 34 Sherman Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45202 Nashville, TN 37203
(513) 555-6989 (615) 879-9876

Mr. Lewis W. Tearney Professor Brian Fletcher
Director, Human Resources Department of Accountancy
Ermscher & Dulane Miami University
455 East Case Street 24 Anderson Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45202 Oxford, OH 45440
(513) 555-6924 (513) 341-1133

Current Address: Permanent Address:
323 East Main Street 5589 Hillcrest Avenue
Richmond, Kentucky 42210 Cincinnati, Ohio 45211
(606) 555-6820 (513) 841-9955

OBJECTIVE: To obtain a position in the area of sales or customer service development in the business sector.

Bachelor of Arts, May 1999
Organizational Communications major; Business Management minor
Major GPA: 3.0

ACTIVITIES: Active member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity
• Intramural Chairman - 3 years
• Annual Philanthropic Event Organizer
• Interfraternity Council - Gamma Delegate
• Assistant Rush Chairman
• 1998 Regional Phi Kappa Tau Leadership Conference Attendee

Intramural Football, Basketball, Softball

High School Baseball
• Lettered 3 years as a pitcher
• Honorable-mention All-Conference

Present Paraprofessional
• Conducting mock interviews with students.
• Critiquing resumes and assisting in resume preparation.
• Assisting students with placement information.
• Guiding students through computer-aided programs.
• Conducting public relations activities for annual Camp Placement Day.
• Speaking to college orientation classes notifying students of placement office services and opportunities.

May 95 - CALLAN & DERMONT, CPA'S Cincinnati, OH
Aug. 97 Report and Mailroom Assistant
• Filed workpapers and reports.
• Assisted in the preparation of accounting reports.
• Delivered packages and supplies to office personnel.
• Assisted in the distribution of mail throughout the office.
• Worked four full summers.

June 95 Supervisor and Coach
• Supervised, taught, and coached grades 7 through 12.
• Hall supervisor for dormitory.
• Assisted campers in basketball fundamentals.
• Refereed games on a daily basis.
• Worked 1-2 weeks a summer for four summers.

Aug. 92 - RICHMAN BROS. Cincinnati, OH
March 93 Salesman
• Sold dress suit apparel.
• Assisted customers in their purchase of clothing.
• Ran cash register on a daily basis.
• Responsible for stocking and organizing store.

COURSES: Interpersonal Communications Interpersonal Conflict
Argumentation Training & Consulting
Public Speaking Business Management
Small Group Communications Organizational Communications

SKILLS: • Public speaking, small group communications, interpersonal and argumentative skills.
• Coaching and instructing skills.

HOBBIES: Enjoy any sports-related activities.

REFERENCES: Dr. Robert C. McCall Mr. David A. Callan
Professor Audit Partner
Eastern Kentucky University Callan & Dermont, CPA's
134 Griffin Road 104 East Fourth Street, Suite 2000
Richmond, KY 40475 Cincinnati, OH 45202
(606) 555-1545 (513) 432-7877 davidc@callan&

Ms. Susan Harrison Mr. Dick Baumgartner
Assistant Director Dick Baumgartner's Basketball Camp
Career Development & Placement Richmond, IN 43784
Eastern Kentucky University (317) 668-3080
913 Dunbar Hall
Richmond, KY 40475
(606) 555-9339 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Current Address: Permanent Address:
817 Allen Hall 1119 Arc Drive
Notre Dame, IN 46556 Cincinnati, OH 45209
(606) 671-4009 (513) 898-4900

OBJECTIVE: Searching for a position in the field of Public or Corporate Accounting in Cincinnati, Ohio.

B.B.A., Accountancy, May 1999
GPA: 3.4/4.0

COURSES: Accounting -- 26 hours
Financial Accounting Managerial Accounting
Accounting Theory and Practice Accounting Cost Analysis & Control
Quantitative Accounting Methods Federal Taxation
Accounting Information Systems Accounting Lyceum

Other Business Courses
Business Law Managerial Economics
Labor Economics Business Conditions Analysis

Night Auditor Summer 1998
Performed auditing duties, including the balancing of daily accounts.
Managed the front desk, checking in and accommodating guests, and operating the switchboard.

Lab Technician Summer 1996 and 1997
Product Research and Development in the Laundry Division
Performed full scale testing of experimental Kleen and Sudsmore brand detergents
Assisted in developing the new product line for Kleen with ColorGuard Bleach

Maintenance Summer 1995
General repairs at two building locations.


ACTIVITIES: Chair of Freshman Orientation Committee
Christmas in April Community Renovation Project - South Bend, IN
Tutoring Mason Community Center - Niles, MI

SKILLS: Computer skills include Lotus 1-2-3, Quatro, BASIC language, and word processing. Four years of precollege Spanish and received six college credits through testing.


Mr. William C. Sumner Professor Thomas C. Filmore
Brand Manager, Laundry Division Department of Accountancy
Lohmeyer & Prince Company University of Notre Dame
203 West Kline Street 662 Summit Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45202 Notre Dame, IN 46556
(513) 555-4664 (219) 467-9987

Dr. Gerald R. Smith Mr. Brian T. Laurence
Chairman, Dept. of Accountancy Accounting Manager
University of Notre Dame Jay's Night Inn
660 Summit Hall 1133 Overlook Drive
Notre Dame, IN 46556 Notre Dame, IN 46556
(219) 467-9900 (219) 455-2121









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The best definition of an interview of which I am aware goes like this: "An interpersonal exchange of information, social in nature, structured for the purpose of examining an individual for reasons other than satisfaction in the conversation itself."

Certainly there are a number of situations which call for interviewing sessions. However, for the purposes of this book I will focus on employment interviewing.

There are two types of employment interviews: the screening (or pre-selection) interview and the selection interview. Within these two specific types exist several various formats:

the behavioral interview
the directive interview
the non-directive interview
the stress interview
the telephone interview
the group interview
the panel, or board, interview

Surely other more loosely defined derivatives of these above-listed formats exist as well. For this writing I have chosen to focus on behavioral interviewing and directive interviewing as they seem to be the formats most commonly used in today's college recruiting market. I also strongly believe that if you become comfortable with the structure of these two types of interviewing styles and master those skills that will make you effective within those structures, you will also be successful in handling any of the other formats should they present themselves to you. I have been on the candidate (interviewee) side of each of the formats listed at one time or another in my life, and I can truthfully state that preparation for these two specific styles places you in good stead for the others. The stress interview may be the only possible exception because these are animals unique to the organizations or recruiters who design them. Without knowing the exact layout and thrust of a stress interview, it is difficult to prepare a specific strategy to confront it. However, by following the recommendations in this book, you will know yourself so well, as well as the primary expectations of any recruiting organization, that it would be difficult not to succeed regardless of the format or style of the interview. Trust me on this one. If at some point in your career a stress interview becomes a reality, write me for specific counsel. Until that point, don't sweat the small stuff.

Having said all of that about the interview itself, let me lend you some insights regarding the interviewers themselves.


Although the design of the behavioral and directive interview formats call for the interviewer, or recruiter, to be in complete control of the interview, a sharp interviewee, or candidate, can quietly and effectively assume control of the interview by exercising quality techniques in their interviewing manner, style, and responses (again, that's what this book is all about). Some interviewers are well-trained professional recruiters and are both very comfortable and very effective at what they do. These types of interviewers will allow you to sell yourself to them in an interview. They want you to convince them that you are the high quality individual for whom they search constantly. This is their life blood.

Others who find themselves in interviewer, or recruiting roles, are not trained in the art of interviewing beyond an annual briefing in the areas of EEO guidelines and current potential legal issues. A number of internal personnel recruited by their organization to assist in this interviewing process are not at all comfortable with the role. At times they may not have the ability to allow you to effectively sell yourself. At that point, it is essential that you take control.

Whatever case you are faced with in an interviewing situation, keep in mind that the more effective you are in presenting yourself in a positive light, the more impressed the interviewer will be. The more impressed the interviewer, the more likely your chances of being selected. It really is quite simple.

At this juncture, let's move on to the structure of a normal behavioral/directive interview session. This will allow you to see what is suppose to happen in the time allotted for you to interface with a recruiter/interviewer. The more you know about the structure, the easier it will be for you to prepare for the session. The better prepared you are, the more successful you will be at selling yourself.


As a general rule, campus interviews and the subsequent office follow-up interviews last anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, with 30 minutes being the norm. The structure of an interview session can be viewed as divided into seven (7) stages. In some cases there may be fewer stages, or the stages may tend to overlap becoming somewhat blurred.

What follows is a breakdown by stage of the interview structure, a brief description of what normally occurs in each stage, and the approximate number of minutes consumed by each:

The Greeting/Welcome 1 MINUTE

On campus, the candidates normally arrive several minutes early and wait in a student lobby of the respective placement center. A number of the recruiters interviewing on campus will bring along other representatives from their organization to act as "greeters." The role of a greeter is to spend time familiarizing the candidate with the organization, or to attempt to knock the edge off of the anxiety many candidates experience immediately prior to meeting the recruiter. In many cases, organizations will not provide greeters. It all depends on the philosophy and the budget of the hiring firm. Those organizations that are proactive in recruiting and sensitive to students almost always bring greeters to warm students up. When taking part in a follow-up office interview, candidates are normally greeted on arrival at the office by someone they have previously met in the process.

On campus, the recruiter normally walks into the student lobby of the placement office and calls out the name of the candidate. Sometimes a greeter will take the candidate back to the recruiter's interview room at a designated time. At some of the larger schools, candidates' names are called out over a public address system and they are instructed to report to a specific interview room. During office interviews, a representative of the organization will take you to a designated recruiter, or interviewer, and make the introduction.

Regardless of how the connection between candidates and the recruiter is consummated, upon meeting you the recruiter will make some very quick and important judgments about you. Several important things must happen in order for you to have an immediate positive impact on the recruiter. In the very next chapter of this book you will be introduced to the "impact player" concept. This concept reveals two stages of perception (initial perception and sustained perception) each embracing areas of focus of which students need to be aware in order to be successful in interviewing for a job, and beyond. The initial perception stage concerns itself with: (1) executive presence (dress, grooming, hygiene, and physical fitness), (2) introduction style, and (3) voice. It's at this point (The Greeting/Welcome) in the interview that initial perception makes its entrance. To start the interview off right, make certain you are fully aware of what is expected of you in the initial perception stage.

Establishing A Comfort Zone 2 Minutes

During this period of time the recruiter will engage you in small talk designed to place you more at ease. This small talk allows you to gain some familiarity with the interviewer and the interview room before the formal piece of the interview begins. Something about the weather, or how the university football team is faring, or a current event item may be mentioned here.

At this point, a shift begins to take place from the initial perception stage to the sustained perception stage (please consult the next chapter of this book regarding these stages of the "impact player" concept).

Previewing The Interview Itself 1 Minute

The recruiter should take another minute at this juncture to explain to you generally what to expect during the course of the interview.

Here's Looking At You, Kid 15-30 Minutes

This is the crux of the interview session. The recruiter will pose a number of questions to you, or present probes to see how you will respond (a listing of 100 such questions/probes are provided in Chapter VI of this book). The questions and probes tend to center around experiences, achievements, activities, goals, attitude, values, and awareness. You will also be evaluated on communications skills (including articulation of thoughts and breadth of vocabulary), mannerisms, enthusiasm, initiative, maturity, judgment, common sense, and sense of humor.

In lieu of answering a number of questions or responding to a variety of probes you may be asked to, "take the next 15 to 20 minutes and tell me about yourself." The recruiter will then sit back and allow you to sell yourself. This can be a gift or a curse depending upon how prepared you are to present yourself in a positive sense. Chapter V of this book Discovering Yourself: A Personal Inventory will provide you an opportunity to prepare fully for this type of opening.

Please pay particular attention to the Sustained Perception Stage of the "impact player" concept outlined in the next chapter (Chapter IV). This stage focuses on eye contact, posture, etiquette, communications skills, goal orientation, and the personal substance areas of academics, awareness, the ability to absorb information, acumen, self-discipline, work ethic, integrity, and attitude; essential reading if you are to have a positive impact on a recruiter.

Normally this portion of the interview session lasts 15 minutes. However, it can stretch to 30 minutes depending on the recruiting style of the organization and its recruiter, the flow of the interview, or the lack of discipline exercised by the recruiter in keeping the interview under control. At any rate, you need to be prepared to carry on for as long as is deemed necessary by the recruiter.

Interviewing The Interviewer 5 Minutes

At this point the recruiter throws the session open for you to ask questions of your own. This is your opportunity to find out more about the organization.

It is also an opportunity for you to continue to impress the recruiter. It is a good idea for you to have 3 to 4 meaningful questions prepared prior to the interview (25 such questions are provided in Chapter VII for this purpose) which will not only help you to better understand the position for which you are interviewing, but will also indicate to the recruiter that you are a person of substance.

Promoting The Organization 5 Minutes

The recruiter will take a few minutes out of the interview session to promote or sell the organization they represent. The length of time spent on this promotion depends on how strongly they feel about you as a viable candidate. The better they feel about you the more likely they are to spend a greater amount of time selling their organization.

Recruiters usually will not spend much time promoting their organization to a candidate who has had little impact on them. There are two reasons for this: (1) the recruiter does not want to create an illusion that there exists interest in the candidate coming to work for their organization thus leading to major disappointment when the reject letter appears. This type of disappointment (when a person feels they have been led on) breeds bitterness, and most recruiters attempt to avoid a bitter situation for the bad blood it can create within the campus community; (2) the recruiter does not feel compelled to spend extra time promoting to someone who has no chance of receiving a positive follow-up from their organization.

Unfortunately, there will exist some situations when you may meet with an individual who feels uncomfortable in the role of a recruiter. In those instances, the recruiter may cut the thrust of the interview short and begin talking about the organization early and go on for an inordinate amount of time. At some point in this rambling it would be your place to try to wrest control of the interview and get it back in focus; the focus, of course, being you.

Conclusion 1 Minute

The recruiter normally takes a minute, or so, to wrap up the interview. At that point, you will be advised as to the next step in the process. Normally the recruiter will state that "in a week to ten days you will hear from us regarding our decision."

The decision could mean an invitation for a second campus interview, an office visit/interview, an offer of employment, or a rejection.

If you are interviewing as part of a follow-up interview in an office setting, where there might be a series of interviews scheduled, the conclusion could be a brief "thanks for coming in, it was a pleasure meeting with you." And then, they would take you to the next interviewer.

The key for you to remember is to thank the respective recruiter for their time and to tell them that it was a pleasure meeting with them. Then, make a graceful exit.


This chapter is dedicated to specifically outlining all of those areas that you as a potential candidate need to understand and master prior to entering into the process of interviewing. If you study these areas, internalize the information, and hone the relevant skills, you will become a highly marketable commodity. Recruiters will not be able to deny your presence, nor your potential. You will find that your biggest problem will be deciding which job offer to accept.

Having stated that, let's move on to what I have termed the "impact player" concept, and the associated stages of perception which are critical to your future interviewing success.


The term "impact player" was coined some years ago by an individual whose identity has faded over the course of time into oblivion, and it's kind of a shame. The term has become synonymous with success and things positive, and it only seems right that we attribute the coinage to someone. At any rate, it is a term that is most often used in describing those individuals who are perceived as successful forces in some line of endeavor. It is most often credited to those outstanding performances in the fields of politics, athletics, and entertainment. I use it here as it applies to effectiveness in the area of interviewing.

The determining factor of who becomes an impact player is based on how that individual is perceived in a number of different situations by other people. How a recruiter sees you in an interview situation — their perception of you — will determine how successful you are in receiving a job offer.

And, what is perception? According to Roget's II the New Thesaurus, perception is, "That which exists in the mind as the product of careful mental activity."

As human beings we cannot divorce ourselves from this mental activity. Certainly our background, up-bringing, environment, varying cultural and social exposures, temperament, and maturity will have a bearing on the product that emanates from this exercise of careful mental activity — but we cannot stop the exercise from occurring. If you have sensory capability you will form judgments on other human beings based on what you perceive through your interaction with them. You cannot help it. It just happens.

My concept of becoming an "impact player" embraces two stages of perception:

Initial Perception:

How others perceive you within the first 30-60 seconds of an initial meeting, assessing you based on executive presence, introduction style, and voice.

Sustained Perception:

Your ability to sustain credibility beyond the first 30-60 seconds through executive presence, social interactive skills, personal substance, and goal orientation.

One is not more important than the other. It is necessary that each stage brings about positive responses from those individuals with whom you have contact. What follows is a close examination of both stages.


In the initial perception stage, the immediate areas of focus upon meeting are:

Executive Presence
Introduction Style

I will take each of these areas of focus and dissect them for your review and internalization.


Presence is a manner in which individuals carry themselves; their bearing, so to speak. The term executive presence has, over the years, come to mean not only how individuals carry themselves, but, also, how they look from the perspectives of dress, grooming, and physical fitness. Those at the top of an organization normally project a very fine executive presence — well tailored conservative dress, clean cut style, physically fit appearance, and a confident carriage.

Likewise, in most career settings, whether it be a job search interview or addressing top-level officials at an important meeting, it is expected that the individuals involved in these situations project a presence reflective of those in positions of management authority. Following, then, are important tips to keep in mind as you cultivate your own executive presence.


There has been so much said and implemented over the last few years related to the proper way to appear in a professional environment that most of us are somewhat confused as to what the true dress expectations really are. My objective here is to lend some clarification to the subject. The following guidelines are based on personal research of the most current publications on the subject of dress, conversations with two image consultants, discussions with a number of individuals, and some gut feelings.

The three (3) categories of dress that most often impact a professional working environment:

1) Business Professional: Formal professional business dress. Primarily for high-level meetings/presentations, conservative audiences, and/or when you are in doubt regarding with whom you will be meeting.

2) Business Appropriate: A dress-down step from business professional yet still very business-like and fashionable. In our current society this would be an acceptable mode of dress for almost all audiences. Safe, and leaves a lasting positive impression.

3) Business Casual: A significant departure from business professional dress. You need to exercise good judgment in determining your audience and your selection of wardrobe.

If you are truly confused about how to present yourself in a business casual mode, I recommend the book Casual Power by Sherry Maysonave (Bright Books Publication). You can access a personal copy via Sherry Maysonave’s web site can be accessed as well: It is the best resource I have located on the subject of business casual.

Another excellent resource on creating a professional image is Susan Bixler’s The New Professional Image (Adams Media Corporation). This publication can also be purchased through You can access Susan Bixler at

Until you have a chance to research on your own, the following might provide you with some helpful benchmarks:



· Dark or medium shade suit · Two-piece matching skirted suit or skirt with
· Long sleeve dress shirt jacket or two-piece matching pantsuit
·· White · Solid blouse
·· Solid light shade · Scarf
·· Light shade w/ white collar · Dress shoes
·· Striped · Tasteful accessories (be careful of flashy
·· French cuffs or button jewelry)
·· Variety of collars · Outerwear: Top coat/rain coat
· Dress shoes
· Socks that match color of suit (solid)
· Leather belt
· Tasteful accessories (limit jewelry and
high adventure watches)
· Outerwear: Top coat/rain coat



· Sport coat or blazer w/ dress slacks · Business dress w/jacket
· Colored or patterned shirt w/tie or business dress
· Colored or patterned shirt w/sweater or jacket w/dress slacks
· Dress Shoes · Colored or patterned blouse
· Socks that match slacks (solid or · Dress shoes
patterned) · Tasteful accessories
· Leather belt · Outerwear: Top coat/rain coat
· Tasteful accessories
· Outerwear: Top coat/rain coat



· Dress slacks, khakis, cords · Casual slacks/khakis w/blouse or sweater
· Collared shirt w/tie and sweater · Casual skirt w/vest and blouse
or sweater vest · Split skirts, skorts, or culottes and an
· Band-collared shirt appropriate blouse or sweater
· Various colors and patterns of shirts · Casual shoes
· Long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts · Outerwear: Casual jacket/coat, top coat/rain coat
· Open neck collared shirt with or without sweater (no T-shirts)
· Casual loafers, saddles, bucks
· Variety of socks from which to choose
· Outerwear: Casual jacket/coat, top coat/rain coat

· Business casual does not mean sloppy.
· Khakis, cords, skirts, casual pants should be clean, pressed, and fit properly.
· The “baggy” look is for high school.
· Shirts tucked in.
· Belts can be of a variety of material but they must exist.
· Casual shoes (rough leather loafers, bucks, saddles are to be clean and well-maintained).
· Shirts/blouses should fit and not be wrinkled.
· Stay away from shocking fluorescent fingernail polish.
· No cowboy boots, open toe shoes, athletic shoes, or sandals (with or without socks).
· No denim.
· No sleeveless shirts/blouses.
· No shorts, beachwear, athletic clothing, or tank tops.
· No T-shirts or sweatshirts.
· No leggings or stirrup pants.
· No spaghetti straps.
· No bare midriffs.
· Skirts no higher than 3 inches above the knee.
· No spandex or other tight clothing
· No baseball hats.
· Leather outer jackets are fine.

(Related to all 3 categories of dress)

· Frumpy suit.
· Wrinkled khakis.
· Unpressed shirt
· Worn shirt.
· Worn and unpolished shoes.
· Gaudy jewelry.
· Shocking fluorescent fingernail polish.
· Polo shirts that are stretched out of shape.
· Wing tips or other dress shoes with khakis or cords or other casual outfits.
· Suit pants and an open neck dress shirt as a business casual option.
· Dress slacks and dress shirt with a windbreaker or other casual coat (remain consistent with one category).

Keep in mind that the way you dress forms an immediate, strong impression about who you are; and, if you are to succeed in a career it is important to be perceived by those above you in a favorable light. You don’t have to wear a suit everyday to make your mark. A number of individuals who choose to dress in a business appropriate or business casual mode make very positive statements about who they are and where they are headed. But always be aware of your audience and of who is judging you.

In summation we would like to add some additional thoughts. First, as in most things in life, there certainly exist exceptions to the rules that have just been conveyed. It is true that there are fashion mavericks in our midst. Some of those who hold very prestigious positions in the world of work do not, and will never, conform to any dress code that is established. You may know someone who fits this description. However, in a majority of instances, if you are to succeed in a career it is important to look around you, and, especially, above you, in determining the dress expectations of an organization; and then, adopt a style that conforms and confirms. Numerous individuals have been denied jobs and/or promotions because they failed to impress people by the way they dressed.

Some individuals have stated that, "if executive presence is what may determine whether or not I get a job, then it isn't worth it." I’m here to tell you that many times that is exactly what will separate one candidate from another, especially when all other criteria appears equal.

In his book The IBM Way, F. W. "Buck" Rodgers, former Vice President of Marketing for IBM, had this to say about the manner in which people dress: "The way you dress affects the way you are perceived, and the way you are perceived is the way you are treated." In his national best-selling book, What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School, Mark H. McCormack states that, ". . . the way you dress forms an immediate, strong impression about who you are."

In a survey conducted by a nationally renowned image consultant and clothing researcher, one hundred top executives of major corporations were asked a variety of questions related to dress in the work place. The responses to two of these questions deserve particular attention:

Does your company at present turn down people who show up at job interviews improperly dressed on that basis alone? Ninety three said yes, seven said no.

Would individuals at your firm have a much better chance of getting ahead if they knew how to dress? Ninety six said yes, four said no.

Need more be said?

Recognizing that this book is not designed as a guide for investment dressing, and that more detail regarding the art of developing a professional image might be desired by you the reader, I would refer you to the two excellent publications (referenced earlier in this book) which focus their entire text on this subject.


Grooming, of course, is one of those common sense things that people feel does not really require much attention. Why, then, are there candidates who continue to show up for an interview with dirty or unkempt fingernails, poorly maintained teeth, in need of a shave or a haircut, bad breath, and/or body odor? Fortunately, for everyone involved, those individuals with poor grooming habits are in a definite minority. For the most part, people, in general, do maintain themselves well.

However, grooming is such an important element of executive presence that no matter how basic and common sensical we may perceive its components to be, it deserves, at least, a moderate amount of attention. So, for what it's worth, here are a few items that should be part of your executive presence checklist (if you are deficient in any of these areas, no one may ever tell you -- and that's exactly why you should make certain there are no deficiencies):

Hygiene- Practices that ensure physical cleanliness: daily bathing/showering; regular dental maintenance; use of deodorant; use of breath freshener; nails clean and trimmed.

Facial Hair- Clean-shaven is the rule in a majority of situations; however, in many cases a mustache is appropriate. Only in some situations is a full or partial beard acceptable. It's best to approach an interview session with a clean-shaven appearance. Once you have the job, look around you to see what might be the expectation. The real key if you choose to wear facial hair, is to keep it trimmed and well maintained. A mustache or beard can be a bit awkward in social situations that involve eating or drinking as the hair tends to either attract or catch any article that does not move directly into the mouth.

Hair- Varieties of styles, within reason, are acceptable in today's work environment. The focus here is that the hair is clean and in place. For those individuals faced with a balding pate, and who feel this might be a detriment to how they are perceived, there exist a number of methods (i.e., hair pieces, medicine, flattering hair styles) in which to effectively deal with this condition. One seemingly popular way men use in an attempt to cover a balding expanse is to grow hair extra long on one side and then comb it over the bald area. This is not an effective way in which to deal with the problem. It fools no one, if that is the intent, and when a sudden blast of air hits that particular individual, it can be embarrassing and certainly detracts from a well-groomed appearance. In fact, balding really isn't a problem at all unless it interferes significantly with a person's self-esteem, then it should be professionally addressed. Although not armed with statistics on this matter, a gut reaction is that there exist as many successful bald men in our society as there exist successful men with full heads of hair; quite possibly more.

Perfume/Cologne- Overwhelming or exotic fragrances should be avoided in interviews. Save those for evening activities. In campus interviewing situations (where the interview rooms can be as compact as 6'x 6', with no windows and a door that remains closed) some students feel that using half a container of the latest, strongest fragrance available might be an effective way of gaining the recruiter's attention. They are right, but it is not the type of attention one should pursue. Light, clean, and fresh scents are appropriate for interview sessions.

In conclusion, it might be said that because the components that comprise the element of executive presence known as grooming are so basic, any departure from the norm may have a truly harmful effect on how an individual is perceived. And, because addressing any of these same components with offenders is both awkward and can carry legal ramifications as well, most people never learn of these potentially damaging deficiencies. Each of us need be aware of the expectations up front.


Enough has been said over the last few years regarding physical fitness to fill volumes. Any place you go, or any direction you turn, you can locate a publication, seminar, video, television program, audio tape, or expert espousing the merits of proper exercise and diet. I, too, believe fervently in the things that come from a well designed program for physical fitness, and wish to spend some time sharing my thoughts with you.

As far as becoming an impact player is concerned, projecting a physically fit appearance is essential. When leaders enter a room there exists a certain charisma about them that seems to charge those around them. It's true that a significant portion of the aura that surrounds these types of people is attributable to their physical presence. They seem to energize the environment.

Certainly these types of people have personal and professional schedules laden with responsibilities, deadlines, constraints, and substantial pressures. Yet they seem to move with purpose, their faces reflecting the glow of good health, which belies any telltale signs of stress or physical weakness. No matter the hour or situation, the mind and wit remains sharp.

In quizzing them, you will find that the majority of these individuals locate some time each week, on a regular basis, to engage in some form of physical activity. As well, they tend to practice good eating habits, and get the rest that is needed to function effectively in a fast-paced environment; for they know that the solution to inner peace in times of external turmoil is rooted not in stress avoidance, but, rather, in stress management.

Stress Management - The one thing you can count on in a job search process is some degree of stress. Although the degree of intensity to which someone may experience it varies from situation to situation and from individual to individual — it will exist. And stress can eat you alive if you are not equipped to deal with it effectively. The result of mismanaged stress on an individual takes many and varied forms:

• Haggard appearance
• Depression
• Nervousness
• Stomach upset
• Headaches
• Fatigue

Not a very uplifting message. However, the good news is once you have come to recognize that stress is an ever-present force, you can go about the process of designing a lifestyle regimen to effectively manage it.

One of the very best seminars pertaining to this matter of stress management is presented on a regular basis to a number of corporate entities across the nation by Dr. Thomas Spasoff, President, Health & Lifestyle Consultants. Dr. Spasoff facilitates a presentation entitled "Health Enhancement" in which he outlines, in an eye-opening yet non-threatening manner, a program designed not only to manage the monster, stress, but also to enhance the quality of a person's lifestyle. And he should know. It wasn't too many years ago that Dr. Spasoff underwent a quadruple by-pass heart surgery. Upon recovery from the immediate effects of the surgery itself, Dr. Spasoff set forth a plan for rehabilitation and lifestyle change that culminated, in a short period of time, in a personal journey across the United States on a bicycle. He didn't stop there, either. He continues to hone his physical skills amidst a demanding professional schedule, and is finalizing plans for a second bicycle trip this year.

One of the favorite stories from the good Doctor's presentation has to do with a lady who had recently made a resolution to deal more effectively with the stress present in her own life. As fate would have it, this woman was almost immediately challenged. On a hot, humid August day during rush hour, and already late for an appointment, on a side street jammed with what seemed an endless line of cars, and after having inched her way to the intersection where the light was now turning green, her car suddenly dies. The man behind this poor woman evidently had not made a conscious decision to deal with stress in his own life, and so began honking his horn. In the meantime, the lady in the stalled car was, in an attempt to effectively deal with this somewhat stressful situation, calmly attempting to re-start her engine. After about three minutes of this incessant horn blaring from the car immediately behind her, and with nothing more than a halting grind from her own car, the woman calmly opened her car door and stepped out. She walked back to the car that contained the man who was acting as an additional stressor in her life and handing her car keys to him said (in a calm voice), "I have a good idea. Why don't you try starting my car and I'll sit back here and honk your horn."

At any rate, in addition to the several interesting and/or humorous anecdotes that are sprinkled throughout his presentations for the purpose of driving a point home, there exist a multitude of ideas for enhancing an individual's physical well-being. As our thinking along these lines run parallel to each other, I have borrowed some information from the teachings of Dr. Spasoff and integrated them with some of the practices I have used throughout the years in presenting to you some basics from which to draw as you think about your own physical well-being:

Recreation - Recreation is the refreshment of one's mind or body after labor through diverting activity; play. Having some type of physical activity or hobby aside from a regular exercise routine is essential to a healthy body and attitude. Golf, hiking, tennis, swimming, volleyball, sailing, pick-up basketball, softball, and weight lifting are all excellent examples of doing something physical but for the enjoyment of the act.

Diet - Low fat diets that are high in complex carbohydrates, and which stress chicken, fish, and vegetables are the best. Junk food should be eliminated, and liquid (excluding alcoholic beverages) intake should be substantial. More frequent smaller meals per day are more desirable than fewer larger ones. Eating immediately prior to retiring at night is not a good idea. If you enjoy having a few beers and a pizza from time to time, try to reserve their consumption for special events only.

Exercise - Improving performance in the areas of strength, endurance, flexibility, and neuromuscular coordination should be the focus of every individual. In order to improve performance capacity in these four areas it is necessary to design an exercise program which integrates formats that encourage anaerobic activities, aerobic activities, stretching, and an activity which requires agility and timing. Also, make certain to add a recreation activity to your program for fun and family involvement.


Monday and Thursday

Various stretching movements (5-10 minutes)
Stiff-legged deadlifts and shrugs (1 set of 25 reps)
Medium weight barbell presses (2 sets of 15 reps)
Heavy bench presses (2 sets of 5 reps)
Light weight dumbbell curls (2 sets of 15 reps)
Heavy barbell curls (2 sets of 5 reps)
Heavy punching bag (5-10 minutes)
Walk/run (2 miles)
Stationary bicycling (30+ minutes)

Tuesday and Saturday

Basketball, tennis, golf, biking, swimming, volleyball, racquetball, etc.


Family recreation or yard work

By following this format you address the five areas of focus mentioned earlier:

Aerobic - walking, running, cycling
Anaerobic - weight lifting
Flexibility - stretching
Agility and timing - heavy punching bag and basketball, racquetball, volleyball
Recreation – family hiking, biking, badminton, volleyball, etc.

As you well know, there exist a number of ways in which you can condition yourself. It's not so much the type of program as it is a self-disciplined approach to consistently performing the tasks outlined.

Many people enjoy going to a gym or health spa for a workout. Certainly there exist a number of these types of facilities. Some are of the basic "Y" format while others sport state-of-the-art equipment and training methods. Following the demise of the old "do not spit on the floor" gyms, where you could find a basketball game going at all times, and where weight rooms were filled with chalk dust and signs that said "no pain, no gain," I set up a workout facility in the furnace room of our basement. Nicknamed the "dungeon," I have a 100 pound heavy bag for punching, a squat rack (seldom used), bench press, a set of dumbbells, push-up racks, parallel dipping bars, jumping ropes, and plenty of iron. The neighborhood is somewhat isolated and perfect for jogging. As well, an outside basketball court is nearby.

With my schedule, I find it much more convenient to have the ability to exercise in my own home. It takes less time (no drive time involved) and is less crowded. As well, the temptation to socialize is eliminated, and I can initiate a workout on the spur of the moment. Again, regardless of the format or the arena, the important thing is that we all understand the importance of exercise and then go about following a consistent plan of attack.

Rest - There have been a number of suggestions about how best to meet the demands of a fast-paced environment and still get the amount of rest needed to function effectively in life. Some recent pundits have even recommended a strategy of sleeping 3 to 4 hours per night, then grabbing brief naps at various times during the day -- even in the stall of employer restrooms if need be! Regardless of how hard one works, there is always enough time left in the day to get 6 to 8 hours of restful sleep. If you are one who challenges this concept then something is wrong with your organizational and/or time management skills. You are not headed toward becoming an impact player -- in fact, you are headed in just the opposite direction. The only impact you will experience is when you hit the proverbial wall.

In the book Lifebalance, the authors, Richard and Linda Eyre, propose a concept which promotes priority balance: work with family with self. It's a sound concept and one which deserves thoughtful reflection. The thrust of this concept is on making certain that we are spending quality time with the three major focal points of our life -- work (school), family, self. In keeping with this thought, we cannot possibly serve any of these three adequately if we are not fully rested and able to put forth our best and most pleasant effort. It's worth thinking about.


At the beginning of this chapter presence was defined as a manner in which individuals carry themselves; their bearing, so to speak. Another term that defines presence is carriage. In the initial perception stage of an interaction between two or more people it is important that individuals carry themselves in a manner which simply says, "I am comfortable with who I am." Confident and purposeful is the proper style.
In summary then, executive presence is that area of "focus" of the initial perception stage of becoming an impact player which embodies the elements of dress, grooming, physical fitness, and carriage. Within each of these elements exist a number of supporting factors. It is this set of factors that requires concentration and cultivation on the part of individuals in moving toward enhancing appearance to the point of having an impact on people in the first moments of meeting.


We have determined to this point that in the very first seconds of meeting someone for the first time we make discriminant judgments about the other person's appearance -- their dress, grooming, physical fitness, carriage -- their executive presence, or lack thereof. It's not that we are consciously attempting to rate people against a certain expectation, it just happens. We cannot help it. It is part of our psychological response to elements of the environment.

Realizing, then, that this human reaction to our appearance takes place and that how we appear impacts on how people perceive us, it certainly behooves all of us to appear in a manner that speaks positively of us. In the same light, how we introduce ourselves to these same discriminating individuals is extremely important in successfully addressing the second area of focus in the initial perception stage.

Those who see a fashionably dressed, well groomed, physically fit individual moving toward them with a confident carriage, expect to be greeted with a solid introduction style. Anything less would be disappointing. In short, in order for the area of focus of initial perception known as introduction style to be perceived as an impact quality, the elements of smile, eye contact, handshake, and name recognition need to be apparent in their fully developed states.


Always offer a smile upon meeting someone for the first time (the second, and third times, and beyond for that matter). It goes a long way in establishing the all important "comfort zone." A smile is the ice-breaking non-verbal communication used in all effective interpersonal exchanges.


Your gaze must directly and non-threateningly target the individual to whom you are approaching. Focus on establishing a sense of self-confidence and, just as importantly, a sincere interest in the other person, or people.


A handshake must be firm, sincere, and in control. People who tend to crack others' knuckles raise questions in the minds of those whose knuckles are being cracked. Those who offer the limp fish, destroy any positive image they may have created to that point. The number of individuals who severely damage their credibility by the way they shake hands is incredibly high.

Some worry that their hands perspire or that they may appear cold and clammy -- not to worry. If the handshake is firm, sincere, and in control, the other elements matter little. In fact, if you attempt to rectify the condition of a perspiring or cold hand, you more than likely will exacerbate the condition. Sweaty palms and cold extremities are, in most instances, an outgrowth of nervousness or anxiety. The more you focus on the condition, the more anxious you will become, and the more evident becomes the condition. Often times a sweaty palm can be brushed against the thigh immediately prior to a handshake thus drying to a large degree the surface of the palm. However, a concerted effort to blow on the hand or rub your hands together briskly immediately prior to an introduction not only appears awkward but all too often focuses attention on your perceived nervousness.

And, yes, women do extend their hands during an introduction. A fallacy exists among many that if a male (or another female, for that matter) does not extend their hand to a female during a period of introduction then the action should not be initiated. Keep in mind you are attempting to become an impact player. Impact players initiate action.

Although the handshake stage of the introduction is somewhat formal, it should not be stiff and official. Someone I met at a social gathering once clicked his heels together and bowed his head upon shaking hands during the introductions. In the course of the ensuing evening events it became clear that he was a very nice fellow, but at first glance it was as though you were meeting someone from the Third Reich.

At the point of a handshake, all physical barriers should be eliminated. If you are seated behind a desk or table, rise to your feet, button your suit coat or jacket (if you are wearing one), move around the obstacle so there exists nothing between you and the other person, then extend your hand.

Last but not least, and it almost seems ludicrous to have to mention this, always shake hands with your right hand. With all that has been said regarding the importance of shaking hands over the years, there still exist adults in our society who continue to do all the wrong things when it comes to the handshake stage of an introduction -- including extending the wrong hand.


During an introduction phase it is extremely important not only that you clearly pronounce your name to those you are meeting, but that you fully recognize their names. When I say recognize, I mean that you should not only hear their name upon the introduction but associate their name with something about them which will aid in your remembering their name for future recall.

One of the best books for learning methods of name retention is The Memory Book, by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas. If you don't have a copy, make certain that you get one. Harry Lorayne, who is an expert in the area of memory development, and Jerry Lucas, former Ohio State University All-American and professional basketball star, and currently a highly regarded author on educational matters, have combined their talents to present an excellent resource on information retention. Although valuable for developing the art of name retention, the subject matter within transcends that one area; a must for your self-development library.

Until you have an opportunity to read this excellent book, refer to the following tips pertaining to remembering names:

When meeting someone make certain you hear their name clearly. If you are not sure that you did, ask them to repeat it. Then, repeat their name to yourself and try to quickly associate it with one of their physical characteristics. During the interview or an ensuing conversation, attempt to relate their name with something they discuss (hobby, political stance, interest, their job, etc.).

Make an attempt to use their name during the course of the interview.

If you have any control over the development of name tags, (that are many times worn during recruiting functions) make certain that the names are printed in large readable letters. Also, name tags should always be worn on the right side of a person's chest. Why the right side? Assuming you are shaking the individual’s right hand, your line of sight will be directed toward the right side of the other person's body. It makes reading of the name much less awkward than if the name tag was on the left side of the chest, or worse yet, on the other person's belt (which has been witnessed more than once).

Upon departing a particular setting, go through a mental exercise of picturing the faces of those people you met and attempt to remember each of their names. All of these acts combined will help you to reinforce names and faces in your mind.

Recapping the introduction area of focus we see that the elements of smile, eye contact, handshake, and name recognition are key to developing an effective style which may further enhance how others perceive you. Although one element may seem more important to establishing this credibility than the others, impact is contingent on all four being effectively executed simultaneously.


Have you ever heard a voice on a television commercial, with no face attached, that was immediately recognizable? You either spontaneously pictured the person to whom the voice belonged, or you lay awake at night trying to pair the two up. Regardless of how successful you may have been at matching voice with owner, the fact remains that it was evident that particular voice was distinguishable from most others you hear during the course of a day.

So it's true with your own voice. There exist traits of voice that distinguish individuals from each other. Some traits are effective, even magnetic, while others are bland, neutral, or annoying. Certainly there are qualities of voice which we must pay special attention to in order that we might have a positive impact on those with whom we interact.

The five elements of voice which attract the most attention when someone is introduced for the first time are accent, pitch, clarity, strength, and volume. Let's examine each of these elements in determining how they are perceived by others.


For all that's been said regarding the need to neutralize the distinct regional accents of individuals when assimilating them into high profile areas of our society such as acting, news commentating, and national leadership, I am a proponent of leaving people's accents alone. Only in cases where the accent is harsh or somewhat indecipherable would a concentrated training program to correct deficiencies be encouraged. To attempt to make people from Mississippi, Boston, Brooklyn, Texas, Minnesota, Germany, India, and England all sound alike is ludicrous. On the other hand, if someone from an isolated rural environment, or a foreign country, is going to be placed at a distinct disadvantage in the competition for opportunity, based primarily on an accent that stimulates a negative reaction on the part of others, help should be pursued.

There is no denying that the accent of an individual will cause an immediate reaction in others' perception of that individual. An Easterner's accent may be received by a number of people in the deep South, even in this age of universal mass communications integration, with a twinge of apprehension. Someone from a deeply rural station in life who reflects their background through a certain twang in their speech may be perceived by their big city brethren as not quite as quick as the norm would expect. Those from countries outside the United States, who speak English yet retain an accent representative of their roots, may evoke varying emotions from Americans depending upon the political posture of the country from which they migrated.

Nonetheless, there is something charmingly identifiable in most individual accents. Even in worst case scenarios, where people from vastly differing cultures meet and are immediately recognizable by their accents which may evoke mixed initial reactions, in time, as the other elements of initial and sustained perception begin to take hold, accent many times becomes an endearing quality of that particular individual.


As we move to the elements of voice pitch, clarity, strength, and volume, I tend to offer more critical advice to those who are entering the job search process:

An individual's voice should have a pleasing yet controlling quality about it.

If the pitch is too high a person's voice can be annoying, or, at best, illustrate a lack of leadership quality.

If someone lacks proper voice clarity, information that may be important, or persuasive, may be lost in the unclear transmission.

The lack of strength in one's voice becomes evident when meeting someone in a large social setting such as a recruiting reception.

If an individual is unable to sustain quality of voice over the din of a crowd, the opportunity to establish credibility may be lost.

A low volume voice can be very difficult to hear, frustrating a listener.

Someone who tends to allow the volume of their voice to transcend even the loudest of trumpets may come off as an arrogant or rudely aggressive individual.

If you are concerned about the quality of your voice, take the time to record it and work on smoothing out the imperfections.

Ask others around you to offer you advice and to advise you when your voice begins to take a wrong turn. Reading aloud several minutes a day will help you improve the various critical elements of your voice.

Breathing exercises and stretching exercises can expand your rib cage and strengthen your diaphragm thereby enriching your voice quality.

Concentrating on pushing your voice through your diaphragm, much as a singer or a military drill instructor does, as opposed to speaking through your nose also enhances your voice quality.

In the end, it is really a matter of practicing diligently in improving all aspects of your voice that makes a difference in whether, or not, you become an effective conveyor of words.


In summary, we can rightly assume that a number of important elements of our personal make-up will undergo close scrutiny by those individuals whom we meet for the very first time. Within the first 30-60 seconds of meeting someone, you will be judged (against some sort of benchmark in that person's mind) on how you dress, your grooming standards, how you appear physically, and on the various elements/qualities of your voice. It's not because people desire to be discriminating (although some certainly choose to be), it's just that they cannot help it. Our sensory capability coupled with cultural and social expectations have formed us into a group of discriminating social beings. This can be good and it can be bad. And I am not saying that it is right or it is wrong – I am only stating that it is reality. Those who dispute that this type of judgmental activity takes place are kidding themselves.

The fact remains that this type of behavior goes on and we must recognize that it goes on and put it to use for our own, and others', benefit. If you are aware of the expectations then you can choose whether or not you want to meet, to not meet, or attempt to exceed them. I have done my best to outline the critical areas, it is up to you to do the things that bring you to the point of meeting or exceeding these expectations.

Some people feel that it is not worth the effort to attempt to meet or exceed these types of expectations. That is fine. There is no tragedy in that outlook -- that is a personal, independent decision. The tragedy only exists when someone desires to have an impact on others but is unaware of the expectations for that to occur. You are now aware.


We understand at this point that the initial perception stage of becoming an impact player focuses on the initial 30 to 60 seconds upon meeting someone for the first time, and deals with areas of executive presence, introduction style, and voice. The sustained perception stage of becoming an impact player focuses on sustaining credibility beyond the first 30 to 60 seconds and is contingent on the degree of one's presence, interactive skills, substance, and goal orientation.

In moving forward through this chapter we will dissect the sustained perception stage and examine closely the following areas of focus: eye contact, posture, etiquette, communications skills, personal substance, and goal orientation. Recognizing that positive initial perception is instrumental in setting forth the first tenet of credibility, it is in sustained perception where recruiters delve below the surface in examining those qualities of substance which lock us into the mainstream of acceptance and leadership.

With this in mind let's find out where expectations lie.


What a unique organ the eye. Although we know much about it, the eye continues to be a somewhat mysterious component of our anatomy. When peering into someone's eyes we are looking into the receivers and generators of an individual's base of knowledge, core of emotions, and bank of recorded memory. We seem to think that we can "read" someone by interpreting the "expression" in their eyes, when, in reality, seldom do we know what is really going on in the mind of the owner.

Because it functions as the receiver of massive amounts of stimuli, the eye is responsible for keeping the brain engaged almost endlessly. Even as we sleep, our brain continues to assimilate data that the eye has received and transferred during the course of our waking hours. It is such an important element of behavior that, in almost all cases, the very first chapter of a college “principles of psychology” book is dedicated to explaining the structure and function of the eye. With all its sophisticated inner workings it is a fascinating thing to study.

Without a doubt, the eye plays a significant part in some very complex situations dealing with human behavior. In the same light, it plays a major role in a more simple arrangement that can have a tremendous effect on how one is perceived.

We first became familiar with the importance of eye contact while dissecting introduction style in the Initial Perception stage of this chapter. Eye contact is extremely important at that point of initial perception, and the degree of its importance only intensifies as we move into the sustained perception stage. Eye contact is an area of focus (no pun intended) which never changes -- it should always convey interest and sincerity. Anything less is destructive to a persons credibility.

The individual who practices effective eye contact is saying to those around them, I am sincerely interested in you, in what you are saying, and in what is happening to you. Conversely, those who practice ineffective eye contact are conveying to those around them, I am disinterested in you, I am in a hurry, I have other things on my mind, you are boring me.

Keys to remember as you go forward in your attempt to improve your own eye contact with those whom you are interacting, especially in a recruiting setting:

Give your undivided attention.

Do not yawn or demonstratively attempt to stifle a yawn.

Do not look around you while someone is speaking to you.

Resist the temptation to glance at your watch (no matter how sly the attempt to see what time it is, the other person will notice).

Do not nod or wave to others who enter a room while you are interacting with someone else.

Provide timely non-verbal feedback (nod of the head, wink of the eye, rising of an eyebrow, smile, etc.).

Be careful not to glaze over -- a glassy stare is a dead giveaway for disinterest.

Beware the hypnotic stare. Some people think that effective eye contact means that you never take your eyes off of the person with whom you are interacting. Don't do this to anyone. It is appropriate to briefly look away from someone when gathering your thoughts prior to responding to a question or statement; however, be certain to look to the left or right of the individual, or even upward to the ceiling, but never downward. A downward glance, or gaze, intimates uncertainty, embarrassment, shyness, or sense of inferiority.

Lastly, do not fall asleep. Needless to say, falling asleep during an interpersonal exchange is inexcusable. The numbers of people noticed dozing in meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. is amazingly high.


If you remember in the initial perception stage we addressed carriage as an integral element of executive presence. At that stage we expected one's posture to reflect an erect and confident carriage. In the sustained perception stage an individual can begin to relax their posture a bit.

At this point one should feel relaxed, comfortable, and still reflect attentiveness.

When standing, you should feel comfortable to alternately shift your weight to one leg. As well, to slip your hand in a pocket is acceptable.

Folding your arms across your chest is appropriate. The old rule was that folded arms across one’s chest was representative of constructing a barrier between interacting individuals. I am a firm believer that desks, tables, podiums, crossed arms, and the like, are only perceived as barriers if the interpersonal style of the individual behind the "barrier" lends itself to such.

Many feel more comfortable with some type of physical barrier between them and those with whom they are interviewing. It has something to do with "violation of personal space." Keep in mind that, no matter your personal preference, there will be times when you must interact with or without "barriers." You need to recognize this and develop an interactive style which is effective in both scenarios.

Regarding seated posture as in an interview, it is appropriate to move back fully in your chair and cross your legs to gain comfort and some sense of relaxed confidence. Sitting too straight and stiff in a chair gives the appearance of being almost robotic. It tends to restrict body movement thereby limiting animation when expressing oneself -- and body language is key to interpersonal effectiveness.

Again, whether standing or seated, once you reach the sustained perception stage of interpersonal activity, the focus should be on relaxed, comfortable, and attentive posture. It greases the skids for a much smoother interaction.


"I don't know about you, but at our house we only use one fork with which to eat."

This is how I normally open up my segment on etiquette, when addressing groups on becoming an impact player. In reality, though, as I go on to explain, etiquette -- conventional requirements as to social behavior -- and its effective execution, certainly means more than the mere act of proper utensil selection when dining formally.

There exist several excellent sources that address the multitude of expectations that revolve around proper social behavior. The one most familiar to me is:

Business Etiquette In Brief
by Ann Marie Sabath
Bob Adams, Inc. Publishers, 1993

Ann Marie Sabath's Business Etiquette In Brief provides in succinct detail the critical information necessary for effectiveness in this area. This publication is quick reading and acts as a ready reference for any rapidly approaching social function. Recognizing that social expectations intensify as one moves forward in their career, these types of publications are invaluable resources for the present and future.

In the interim, between now and the point when you have had an opportunity to reference such a source, I would offer the following thoughts related to the exercise of some basic social courtesies:

Men, Women, and Handshakes

Somewhere along the line people have been told that it is inappropriate for men and women, or women and women, to shake hands. That's ridiculous. I can't tell you the number of times I have been in a social gathering when a female has been introduced to a male, or to another female, and the two parties go through an exercise that has more faking and feinting associated with it than a college basketball game. Rules remain consistent in becoming an impact player. When you meet someone for the first time, or in a social setting a hundred times thereafter, you should extend your hand in greeting.

Doors, Chairs, Coats, and Thank You's

It is entirely appropriate to assist people with a door, their chair, and their coat. If you arrive at a door prior to someone else, hold it open for them to pass through, and then follow. If you are preparing to be seated at a table, allow the person directly next to you to be seated first -- you may even assist with their chair. It is not necessary to go to the other side of a table to assist someone with their chair, most people are capable of handling this chore. However, many times when people are seated directly next to each other it is a difficult assignment to get adjusted comfortably when all parties are attempting to be seated simultaneously.

The putting on or removing of outer wear can sometimes be awkward. It is certainly acceptable to offer to assist people with either of these acts if it looks as though they may have a struggle before them.

If someone beats you to the punch regarding any of these aforementioned courtesies, accept their kindness and say thank you -- a phrase that is sorely missing in our current interpersonal fabric -- and remember to reciprocate the courtesy (ies) in the near future.

For those of you who worry that your liberated state may be compromised by being the recipient of these small courtesies, keep in mind that some business and/or social gatherings may not be the proper forums in which to take a political stance. Resisting the extension of kindness based on philosophical rigidity can be awkward and embarrassing. Remember, you can, at once, be liberated and cordial.

Manners in General

A host of basic manners exist which should be internalized and practiced on a regular basis. Among these:

Address an individual formally unless instructed otherwise by that particular person (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Sir, Ma'am, Dr., etc.);

Keep your elbows off of a table while eating;

Chew with your mouth closed;

Do not speak loudly;

Avoid crude humor;

When alcoholic beverages are served, if you are the host or hostess, propose a toast prior to the first drink; if you are a guest and a toast is not proposed, ask the host or hostess if you may propose one;

Do not interrupt when someone is speaking;

Listen intently when others are speaking.

In summary, be polite and buy a copy of Ann Marie Sabath's Business Etiquette In Brief.


An article by Alan Deutschman entitled The Trouble with MBA's, which appeared in FORTUNE magazine, pointed out those recruiters from large firms target communications skills as their number one priority in selecting candidates for jobs. The demand for effective written and oral presentations in a work environment makes this a key factor in determining viable candidates. Yet, in the same article, it is reported that corporate recruiters are clearly disappointed that the MBA's they pursue lack the ability to speak and write with clarity and conciseness.

A survey asked a number of alums of a distinguished university (who were in their fifth year of employment at the time of the survey) what subject they would focus more intently on if they were granted the opportunity to repeat their college years. Almost to a person their response was English Composition.

Each year scores of people are passed over for promotion, millions of dollars in sales opportunities are lost, hearts are broken, otherwise outstanding political candidates are not elected, innocent victims lose court cases, needed legislation is not passed, acute social ills become chronic, creative ideas that have the potential to enhance life remain fallow in the minds of their creators, and thousands of people fail to get jobs -- simply because of someone's inability to effectively communicate.

The message is clear. The ability to effectively communicate with others is critical both to the success of the individual as well as to the success of those represented. Unfortunately, just as clear is the fact that the vast majority of people entering the world of work are poorly equipped to handle the variety of written and oral communications expectations of a sophisticated world. The situation has become so severe that many employers are forced to take on the task of teaching their employees (most of whom are graduates of reputable and expensive institutions of higher learning) how to effectively speak and write. A sad commentary at best. Many people wonder, in a nation so rich in educational resources, why we are faced with this dilemma. Although I have a very strong opinion regarding this, my objective here is not to editorialize but, rather, to provide guidance as to what job candidates must do to at least improve in the area of critical oral communications.


The stress related to interviewing and/or oral presenting rates right up there with flying and death. In fact, according to several surveys on the subject, many people would rather deal with the prospect of dying than be faced with having to make a speech or interviewing for a job. It's unfortunate that such uneasiness surrounds the act of presenting, for in order to succeed in most careers, individuals will be called upon and expected to make oral presentations; and certainly the vast majority will have to interview for a job.

What is it about interviewing and oral presenting that is so unnerving, so threatening to an individual's sense of well being? Do they put us at risk? To some degree, yes they do. That's why it is so important to understand what is expected of us prior to performing either. Once we fully understand the expectations and how best to prepare, then can we begin looking at these situations as opportunities, not as minefields.

Following are some points to keep in mind as you develop your thoughts related to oral communication, whether it be in front of a recruiter or in front of an audience:

Having the ability to present yourself effectively will:

Help you to sell your self, your skills, and your services;

Enhance your credibility and marketability;

Influence others to act in accordance with your wishes;

Help you to become a competent leader.

Our society is robbed of the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of a number of outstanding people and great ideas simply because of someone's failure to adequately communicate. Too many ideas remain fallow in the minds of their creators. Someone once said that cemeteries contain vast wealth due to the valuable ideas that are buried with their dead.

Truly great leaders throughout history were those individuals able to effectively communicate with the populace. In the same light, the ideas and works of many creative individuals with little or no ability to communicate with the populace, received recognition only after their creators passed from the face of the earth. Someone else presented for them. Remember, nothing ever happens until something is sold.

The ability to speak well is not a skill reserved for a select few. It is what experts have termed a natural life sequence - just like walking, eating, listening.

Sitting in front of a recruiter or standing before a group and presenting impacts us from a psychological perspective. We unnerve ourselves and thus cripple our ability to effectively present ourselves and our skills.

Develop a storehouse of knowledge on subjects in which you are interested, including yourself.

For every 1 minute of presentation time allotted to you, you should have 4 minutes of information stored in your mind. In an interview setting you should have 2 hours of information stored about yourself and your skills in order to be able to discuss yourself fully.

Read the great works of literature to gain an appreciation of words and style.

View the style of great presenters in modeling after them, however, do not imitate others. You are you, unique to this world -- do the best with what you have.

Be enthusiastic about what you present -- enthusiasts will not be denied in a majority of situations.

Individuals who are successful communicators have a complete understanding of the power of words. They also know how to use these words in creating messages that are clear, concise, accurate, and in many instances, dynamic. Certainly the thrust should be to enlighten or persuade others.

Practice, practice, practice.


As Earl Nightingale points out in his magnificent motivational audio tape series, Lead The Field, "Our use of our language is the one thing we cannot hide." Your effective or ineffective use of your native language determines to a great degree where you fit on the ladder of success. Your credibility to a significant extent is dependent on how effectively you are able to articulate; using language easily and fluently.

This, of course, does not mean that we should laden our conversations, interviews, oral presentations, and written correspondence with excessive, or superfluous, wording; but, rather, that we become knowledgeable regarding our language. It is important that we expand our vocabulary daily by at least one word, and that we learn to use these new words in an effective manner; having facility with words. Tests have shown that the most successful people in the world have a tremendous command of their language. Conversely, those individuals who do not achieve much in life usually have limited vocabularies.

So, before you do anything else in the way of improving your communications skills, make a vow that you will attempt to learn one new word per day. If you fully learn one new word per day, it is likely that you will pick up an additional five or six new words simply because of their association with the word on which you are focusing. In this way, you might conceivably add over two thousand words to your vocabulary each year. The knowledge gained through this exercise alone will dramatically increase your credibility and, thusly, your ability to persuade others. As well, your marketability will be significantly enhanced.


Developing and honing conversational skills should be easy; after all, most of us have been talking since the age of one. But for many people this is the most difficult of all interpersonal communications activities. There are those who perform magnificently on center stage addressing a full house, however, when forced to enter into a seemingly harmless conversation, they become anxious, disoriented, and quiet.

For those of you who experience this empty feeling when confronted with the prospect of conversing with others, I have outlined a few steps which can help you develop a comfort level for future interactions (and in the job search process this will be a frequent occurrence):

Review The Agenda - If an agenda is available (such as might be prior to an interview, meeting, workshop, reception, etc.), review it before you attend the gathering. This gives you an opportunity to prepare some thoughts that might be relevant to discussions that will take place immediately prior to the event, during any breaks, and at the conclusion.

Learn Names Beforehand - If a roster of names is available, review these names and try to learn as many as possible before an event begins. This exercise makes it much easier to remember people's names upon introduction. Also, it makes people feel much more comfortable about you and the setting when you are able to recall their name and use it during the course of an evening. Remember this, the sweetest sound to an individual is their name, unless, of course, they have children, then their children's names become the sweetest sound. And, believe me, if you can recall someone's child's name and ask them about their activities in the course of a conversation, you will rate among the top 1% of all conversationalists in the world.

Select Good Topics For Conversation - Prior to attending any function where there is expected to be conversational settings, think ahead about some interesting topics for discussion. This isn't really too difficult to do -- with all the things happening around us daily, there certainly exist a preponderance of subjects from which to choose. And prepare yourself for a potentially long and active conversational session.

Initiate - People tend to migrate to an area in a room where familiar faces reside as opposed to working a room and initiating conversation with unfamiliar others. Impact players seek out those unfamiliar others, introducing themselves and initiating conversation.

Listen Aggressively - All too many times people feel as though they are the only ones who have something interesting to talk about. A tip here is that most excellent conversationalists are those who not only articulate thoughts well, but who listen with genuine interest to what others have to say. A funny thing happens when you listen -- you learn. And if you are a very good listener people will tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Prospective clients even tell good listeners the services or products that they would like someone to sell them.

Convey Sincerity - Conveying sincerity in conversational settings is the proper way to interact with people -- and it is the only way to treat others. If you cannot do something with sincerity then it's best not to do it at all.

Empathy - As always, it is essential that you do your best to try and understand the other story. Everyone has one to tell.

Do Not Dominate - Initiate, listen aggressively, but never dominate a conversation. If you sense you are dominating a particular conversation, step back and allow someone else a chance to contribute.

Acknowledge Good Points - When someone contributes something of interest or significance, or makes a valid statement or point during the course of a conversation, it is reassuring to them and important to your role in the conversation, to acknowledge such by responding, "Well said" or "Good point."

Sense Of Humor - Display a sense of humor when interacting with others but keep it in good taste. Be prepared to summons up a courtesy laugh for those who love to tell jokes that tend to be on the stale or less than funny side.

Keep It Friendly - Stay away from heated debates -- they are divisive. Look for solutions as opposed to further inflaming a situation.

Keep It Positive - Negative conversation can't help you -- or others' perception of you -- and it certainly does not help others.


From the root word credible, which means worthy of confidence, or reliable, credibility is a state which must be attained prior to becoming successful at anything. In communications, you attain credibility through the effective manner and style in which you articulate your thoughts. A person who does not have a solid understanding of this critical element of communicating will surely fail. To prevent this from happening to you, make it part of your agenda to further your knowledge in the area of effective communication style. There exist a number of excellent publications which address this issue (a list of some are found in Chapter X of this book). As well, a number of educational consultants are making this a top priority in their seminar offerings.


Although all nine areas of focus in the two stages of perception are critical to an individual's becoming an impact player, the area of focus referred to as personal substance is the one area which can truly set you apart from all others. It is why you lead and others follow. It is the area of focus which embraces those qualities of which so many fall short. The six elements of personal substance are not listed in any particular order -- each one equally embraces significant importance.


This means being aware of those various things going on around you other than job, family, and community - specific things to which you are normally tuned. Being aware of current events happening around the world, understanding that other very interesting cultures exist, appreciating different lifestyles, and enjoying the world of sports are all important ingredients to being respected as a well-rounded individual. Because we operate in a capitalistic society, no matter what your academic major might be, it will behoove you to have an in-depth understanding of the business environment -- global awareness, state-of-the-art technology, business climate, and projected future developments. Attempting to interact with a one-dimensional person is a difficult task for even the most seasoned of recruiters.

Having the ability to understand and retain information through careful listening and effective reading habits is key to becoming a force in whatever profession you might be targeting. A college environment filled to the hilt with assignments and expectations seems to make it difficult at times to gather all the information you need to continue to grow and develop. Fortunately for all of us, there exist people in this world who make a living at capsulizing important bits of information and providing this information to us via audio tapes and radio transmission for our convenient listening. As well, publications such as THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, TIME, LIFE, CHANGING TIMES, KIPLINGER'S NEWS LETTER, NEWSWEEK, FORTUNE, INC., BUSINESS WEEK, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, et. al. all provide a weekly capsulization of the world's events for quick review. It is contingent upon each of us to take advantage of these resources in becoming as informed as possible.

Academic Excellence

Academic excellence refers to more than a person's GPA (grade point average). The reference here is as much geared to intellectual curiosity and persistence in finding the answers. Researching the tough areas and comprehending the conclusions are key ingredients; breaking beyond the normal range of answers; locating truth; understanding that only the educated are truly free.

An important point here is that some brain researchers subscribe to the hypothesis that the capability potential of the human mind may be infinite. Yet conclusive evidence demonstrates that the normal human being only utilizes somewhere between 5 to 6% of their brain power. It seems that the vast majority of the human race is content allowing others to dictate the parameters of our learning. Based on the normal model, we allow others (professors, employers, and significant others) to establish expectations for us -- and then we fail to move beyond these "established zones." Recruiters will be very interested in your intellectual curiosity as well as your academic achievements. And, they will hope that you are one of those that pushes beyond the "norm."


No one can teach you self-discipline. The military makes the best attempt at doing so. But for someone to actually become self-disciplined requires a conscious decision on their part. Once the decision has been made to discipline one's self, then a concerted effort to steel the mind must take place. It becomes a constant and focused mission. A person will be challenged often to exercise this element of personal substance -- and it is the key to overtaking the "established zones" referred to earlier. Recruiters will look for evidence of self-discipline in your background.

Work Ethic

For all that is said regarding the merits of leisure, it is in our work that we find the greatest satisfaction and rewards. Those who truly value work use their leisure time to regenerate so they can move on to bigger and more exciting challenges. It goes without saying that those who work the hardest, achieve the most -- and when it comes time for them to quit, they can't.


John F. Kennedy had this to say about integrity thirty-plus years ago, and the message still rings clear today: "We sometimes chafe at the burden of our obligations, the complexity of our decisions, the agony of our choices. But there is no comfort or security for us in evasion, no solutions in abdication, no relief in irresponsibility." The past century was filled with a number of lessons regarding integrity and its abuse. As we go forward in a new century it is contingent upon every individual to exercise integrity in all that we do -- we have a defined responsibility to do so.


Attitude is possibly the most impacting of all human qualities. Earl Nightingale, in referencing attitudes stated that our environment is like a merciless mirror of us as human beings, reflecting back to us exactly what we project outwardly to it. When somebody displays a negative approach to someone or something, everyone within reach is infected. However by taking a positive approach we can quite possibly change all of those negative forces around us into positive forces. Because of this ability of a human to change the environment by changing a state of mind, Nightingale felt that attitude might be the human race's only true god-like quality.

Certainly a positive attitude will serve you longer and more effectively than most other personal attributes. How many times have you witnessed a highly skilled athlete being dismissed or traded from a team (not enough, you're probably thinking) because of a bad attitude? In the same light, how many less skilled individuals are given second chances based on their positive attitudes? Even in a highly technical environment, an individual with average technical competence and an outstanding attitude will outlast a peer who demonstrates excellence in technical knowledge but displays a sorry attitude.

A bad attitude is, without reservation, the most detracting of all interpersonal traits. Conversely, a positive attitude is one of the most admirable of qualities. Recruiters tend to focus very closely on this characteristic. Any small indication that a poor attitude exists within a candidate spells doom for that particular opportunity.


Not only is goal orientation an area of focus of sustained perception, but it acts as a common thread which binds together all the areas of focus of both initial and sustained perception, as well. Without an ability to establish worthwhile goals, all that has been asked of you on the preceding pages would be for naught. If any of us are going to achieve anything of a substantive nature, it is essential that we understand the importance of goal-setting. In order to step fully to the top of a success pyramid, effective goal setting is imperative.

It has been said many times over by many individuals that the failing of people in the area of goals is not in the achievement -- but, rather, in the establishment. Once someone effectively establishes a worthwhile goal the chances are very, very good that they will achieve it. However, the tendency of the masses is to ineffectively establish goals. Too often the following scenarios exist:

Unrealistic goals are established
Pursuing goals not in line with interests and/or values
Long-term goals are established without considering short-term goals
Establishing too many goals at the same time
Not understanding oneself well enough to establish appropriate goals
Failing to take strides toward a goal after it is established
A failure to periodically review established goals

Following is an exercise which should help you in the goal setting process:

Take out a sheet of paper (Goal Sheet #1) and list all of the goals you would like to achieve before you die. There is no limit to this. Do not attempt to rank them at this point; just brainstorm and let them flow.
Rank them as to their importance to you.
Focus on the top three.
Transfer the top three goals to a separate sheet of paper (Goal Sheet #2), retaining Goal Sheet #1 as well.
List the benefits you will derive from each of the three goals.
List the obstacles that you may encounter as you move toward achieving each goal.
After reviewing these benefits and obstacles, does each goal still seem worthwhile?
If so, focus all of your energies on reaching one or all three of these goals.
If not, replace those that do not seem worth the effort with ones from the initial list.
Go through the review process again until you have confirmed the top three goals you will pursue.
Once you have confirmed the three goals which you will ardently pursue, transfer those three to a third sheet of paper (Goal Sheet #3). This will be your Periodic Review Goal sheet.
Review your goals on a weekly basis, at least. Make various notations as to where you are in the process -- progress-to-date, concerns, etc. Some people prefer to review their goals when they get up in the morning and prior to retiring at night. Some like to review theirs on Monday mornings when they tend to be at their lowest point in the week, and on Friday afternoon when they feel the most pumped. The Monday morning review reminds them why they must do certain things and, thus, shakes them out of their shell. The Friday afternoon review provides them focus for the weekend when they have the most leisure time to think creatively and take action toward achieving their goals.
When you achieve one of your three top goals replace it with a new one from Goal Sheet #1.

(1) All Of The Goals I Would Like (2) Priority
To Achieve Before I Die Ranking

Cultivate spiritual and mental awareness 2
Own a boat 17
Take a trip to Europe 9
Consistently golf in the 80's 16
Own a custom-built home 5
Develop self-help seminars 3
Teach at a university 10
Consult in the area of career development 6
Write a newspaper column on career
development 7
Move to Nashville, Tennessee 15
Have the freedom to travel while
relatively young 11
Stay in good physical condition 1
Scuba dive around the Bahamas 19
Deep sea fish off Key West 18
Learn to play the piano 14
Build a significant CD jazz library 13
Expand my sound system 12
Buy a motorcycle 21
Buy a sports car of some type 20
Own a career consulting business 4
Donate time to a social services function 8

(1) Top Three Goals From Sheet #1 (3) Worthwhile?

1. Stay in good physical condition yes
2. Cultivate spiritual and mental awareness yes
3. Develop self-help seminars yes

(2) Reviewing Benefits & Obstacles

1. Stay in good physical condition

Benefits Obstacles

• Feel good physically • Hard work
• Live longer to enjoy other goals • Self-discipline
• Stress reliever • Finding time
• Slow aging process
• Feel better about myself

2. Cultivate spiritual and mental awareness

Benefits Obstacles

• Enhance overall awareness • The time it takes to read & think
• Tap into internal strengths
• Add meaning to life

3. Develop self-help seminars

Benefits Obstacles

• My area of expertise • Becoming recognized
• Could lead to monetary gain • Some cost involved
• Self-satisfaction • Time consuming


Periodic Review

1. Stay in good physical condition

• Added running to my routine - 3/15/??
• Watching fat grams closely this week - 5/21/??
• Attended health enhancement seminar today - 5/30/??

2. Cultivate spiritual and mental awareness

• Read a book on the unconquerable mind 2/1/??
• Read a book on freeing the mind and spirit through meditation - 3/15/??

3. Develop / teach leadership topics

• Made a presentation at USI Midwest on ‘Becoming A Strategic Partner’-4/12/??
• Developed a leadership curriculum for major university-4/24/??
• Part-time lecturer for fall term at same university-9/28/??
You will find that a number of your lower ranked goals will be achieved as you work toward your top three goals. For instance, let's assume that someone's number one goal was to land a position in international finance and their number fifteen goal was to travel to Europe. Once the number one goal is achieved there is a very good chance that the assignment would be in Europe thereby taking care of goal number fifteen. The message here is that if you effectively focus your energies on achieving a worthwhile goal, many other excellent opportunities to achieve and enjoy life will make themselves available to you.

Keep in mind that the process of goal setting should never end. As long as you are a breathing, thinking participant in life, you should focus on establishing goals. Working towards worthwhile goals is what makes life exciting.


Becoming an impact player is a challenging proposition. No one can force you to do all of the things listed on the preceding pages in order to become one. To develop yourself into an impact player requires that you make a conscious decision to do so. All I have done is revealed the expectations that the vast majority of hiring organizations have regarding the types of people they hope will join their firms. Recruiters are trained and paid to find these "impact players."

If you want to be among this group, you can be. The guidelines have been provided. Take the time and effort to hone your skills in this direction. It will be worth the investment. Believe me.


One of the things that so many of us do poorly is to candidly focus on ourselves. A favorite interview request used by campus recruiters when interviewing candidates for positions within their respective firms is, "Tell me about yourself." Now the candidate has lying before them a tremendous opportunity in which to fully and effectively sell themselves; a span of time that should adequately allow a person to highlight their interests, talents, background, activities, achievements, credentials, values, strengths, and goals -- in essence, a chance to secure a job or, at least, to receive a follow-up interview opportunity. What many times follows this request, however, is a lengthy terror-stricken glare that gradually fades into a vacant stare. Sometimes a paling of the complexion, hints of perspiration on the forehead, or nervous laughter will accompany this empty response.

Why is this?

After all, who could possibly know us any better than us? If the typical age of a traditional campus recruit is 20+ years, surely most everyone should be able to find 20+ minutes (the average time spent in a campus interview actually focused on the candidate) of interesting commentary about themselves to pass on to a person who may be presenting them with a significant career opportunity. Unfortunately for a number of recruits, this period of time seems interminable, and the professional probing of a competent recruiter is required to deftly extract the necessary information from the candidate.

Another example of people wrestling with the idea of promoting themselves comes in the form of the employment resume or personal vita. Here, again, an individual has an excellent opportunity to market themselves, but for some reason tends to soft-pedal their assets. (Granted, one of the reasons for the inability to effectively market oneself on a resume is the lack of space created by the popular fallacy that employers require one-page resumes. I say, if it takes two pages, or more, to promote yourself, use them.) Aside from the aforementioned reasoning as to why many resumes lack scope and intensity, and recognizing that tension and stress related to the interview process may inhibit more proactive responses from a number of people, I am convinced that a more profound rationale exists for why individuals are unable to self-promote. I think, more often than not, the reason individuals are not able to more openly discuss their interests, backgrounds, values, strengths, and achievements, is that they have never taken the time to adequately focus on themselves. This is why people end up majoring in subjects for which they have little or no interest, and why they pursue career areas that bring them little satisfaction, or why they associate with individuals or projects that bring conflict into their lives.

For these reasons, and other more important related reasons, it is essential that we center down on ourselves.



(Educational) __________________________________________________________________

(Vocational) _________________________________________________________________­__

Personal Strengths:

Personal Weaknesses:


Achievements To Date:

Personal Interests:

Favorite Academic Subjects - And Why:

­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________

Least Favorite Academic Subjects - And Why:

­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________

Personal Opinion Regarding Education and Its Importance (or lack of) to You:

Role Models:

Keep in mind that in order to experience success, it is imperative that we, early on, fashion ourselves after positive role models. Following the wrong role models can be a devastating mistake in the worst case scenario, and, at best, will slow the professional growth and development process. For this reason, we must carefully select those whom we aspire to emulate.

People You Most Admire - And Why? Who are these people? What are their values, occupations, roles in life? They are who you most likely fashion yourself after - why?

­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________
­­___________________________________ Why? ___________________________________

Primary Motivators Of Working People:

A number of motivators exist in our world. If money is your primary motivator, some career areas will not be appropriate. Some jobs offer security, comfort, and professional satisfaction -- but not money, prestige, or upward mobility -- what is important to you?

• Rank these motivators as to their relative importance to you:

(1) Money (1) ____________________________
(2) Prestige (2) ____________________________
(3) Challenge (3) ____________________________
(4) Comfort (4) ____________________________
(5) Benefits (5) ____________________________
(6) Job Security (6) ____________________________
(7) Professional Atmosphere (7) ____________________________
(8) Personal Satisfaction (8) ____________________________
(9) Upward Mobility (9) ____________________________


Somewhere in our psyche we embrace a definition of success and we have a perception as to what successful individuals might be like. By completing the following exercise you begin to develop in your mind's eye a profile of the type of individual you truly wish to be -- or certainly a profile of an individual whom you admire, or would readily follow.

Please provide in this space your definition of the term success: ___________________________

When you visualize in your mind's eye what you perceive to be a successful individual, what do you see (think in terms of appearance, style, mannerisms, attitude, etc.)?


How would this person's biographical sketch read?

• Age: _________
• Occupation:
• Educational Background:
• Socio-Economic Status:
• Social Activities:
• Values:
• Interests:
• Skills:
• Strengths:
• Weaknesses:
• Achievements:
• Goals:


In the space provided below please list ten goals you would like to reach in the near future. Review these goals closely and then select the three goals that are the most important to you. After you have done this, explain what you are doing at the present time to reach these three goals.



Goal #1:

Efforts being expended to reach this goal:

Goal #2:

Efforts being expended to reach this goal:

Goal #3:

Efforts being expended to reach this goal:


Once you have concluded the preceding personal inventory take time to review your responses. If you are satisfied with the thoughts that you have crystallized on paper, begin to internalize them. Think about them and understand the background, experiences, and influences that led you to these responses. You need to reach a point where you can fully discuss yourself without hesitation. This is the only way that you can effectively sell yourself to a recruiter — or anyone else for that matter.


In an interview, the recruiter will spend somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes focusing attention directly on you. You might be asked, during this timeframe, to, "Tell me about yourself." In this case, the recruiter will expect you to carry the discussion with little or no direction from him/her. More than likely the recruiter will direct the interview by asking you a number of questions or presenting you with various probes from several key life areas. One hundred of the most commonly presented probes are provided here for your review. My suggestion is that you prepare substantive responses to each of these probes. Take some time and practice giving your responses to an interview partner in a "mock" interview session. If you can fully respond to all of the questions provided in this chapter, you will have absolutely no problem in a real-life interview session. In fact, you will be in a position to make the desired positive impact that is necessary to capture the job offer.




In your opinion what is the basic purpose of college?

What were your most enjoyable courses?

What courses provided the most challenge for you?

In what courses did you excel?

In what courses did you struggle? Why?

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your college experience? Why?

Why did you select (university)?

Why did you choose to pursue (major)?

Describe your education experience.

If you could design a business curriculum, what would it include?

How do you feel about a liberal arts program?

What are your thoughts on the humanities?

Why are courses like philosophy, history, and literature important?

Do you feel that English Composition and Oral Communication courses provide students with useful skills?

How do you feel about your GPA (grade point average)? What does it say about you/or your level of achievement?

Work Experience

How do you rate yourself as a worker?

How do you rate yourself as a supervisor?

Have you had positive, or negative, work experiences?

How do you feel about your previous employers as far as being able to work with them?

What have you learned from past work experiences that will help you in the future?

With what types of people in a work environment do you interact best? Interact worst?

In what areas of your last job did you experience the most success? The least success?

In what work-related areas do you feel you need the most improvement?

When you view yourself in a work-related situation, what do you see?

Tell me about your various work experiences.

In your opinion, why do people work?

What do you hope to gain from a position with our firm?

What have you brought to jobs in the past?

What do you offer to an employer?

Do you feel you have a solid work ethic? Explain.


Why are extracurricular activities important to an individual's development, or are they?

Are community activities important in a business environment? Why?

How do you spend the bulk of your spare time?

What are your favorite activities?

Some people feel there is too much emphasis placed on outside activities. If you do, explain why you feel this way.

What have you learned from extracurricular activities that will aid in your career?

How has your personal development been enhanced through involvement in extracurricular activities?

How do you feel about fraternities or sororities?

Are extracurricular activities a good way in which to develop leadership skills?

Is it difficult to get heavily involved with activities on this campus?

Do you value social-linked activities over community-help activities? Why or why not?

Did you feel a certain degree of pressure to become "involved" while in school?

Tell me about camaraderie and campus involvement.

Do you feel that there will be less or more emphasis placed on community involvement once you get within the work arena, as compared to the emphasis placed on campus involvement while in school?

Explain the importance of mind/body unity.


What is most important to you as an individual?

If you could implement one significant program in our society that would impact the world, what would it be?

Make a statement regarding education and its place in our world.

If you could divorce the importance of money as a determining factor in pursuing a career, what career would you pursue? Why?

What does the term "team-building" mean to you?

How important is attitude in finding success?

Define success.

Tell me your thoughts regarding ethics and our society. Ethics and this profession.

When you think of a successful person, what do you see in your mind's eye?

What does the term integrity mean to you?

From a positive perspective, what significant event in your life has influenced you the most?

From a positive perspective, who has been the most influential person on your personal development? Explain.

Are you the type of person whom others seek out to discuss confidential matters?


Define a goal.

Do you have a goal, or goals? Tell me about one.

How does one go about establishing goals? Do you have a procedure for doing so?

Do individuals normally have difficulty establishing goals? Achieving goals?

What has been one significant goal which you have achieved in your life?

What is an important personal goal currently? Are you doing all the necessary things to reach this goal? Explain.

Do you think most people have the desire to succeed? Or, is this something parceled out to a select few?

Tell me of an example of someone who has achieved a significant goal in their life.

Are you familiar with Abraham Maslow? What is he best known for?

What is meant by "self-actualization?"


What does "globalization" mean to you?

In your opinion, are oral communication skills essential to success?

Why are written communication skills important in this profession? Do you feel comfortable with your skill level in this area?

Some surveys point out that most people would rather deal with the prospect of dying than having to give a speech. How do you feel about that statement?

What does the term "soft-skills" mean to you?

Do you feel colleges do enough to prepare students in areas outside of pure academic/technical applications?

Name some of your strengths.

Do you have any deficiencies? What are they? What are you doing to correct these?

How have you changed over the last several years?

How do you feel about your confidence level?

What is one of the most difficult issues/situations you have been forced to deal with during the last several years?

What is your greatest achievement to date?

What is it about this profession that appeals to you most?

What serves as the greatest irritant to you?

How do you feel about an individual's vocabulary and what that means to their success?

In what situation do you feel most confident? Least confident?

What does "executive presence" mean to you?

Give me an example of your ability to take charge of a situation.

Using "common sense" means what?

Why are interpersonal skills so necessary in today's world?

Is there a place for marketing in this profession? Why?

Give me your thoughts as to some of the current events swirling about us.

What might be one of the most admirable of personal qualities?

What is one of the most detracting of all interpersonal traits?

Give me your thoughts regarding "attitude" and the role it plays in success.

How can individuals become more effective at what they do?

How do you handle criticism?

Why is time management a critical skill?

Do you consider yourself a "big-picture" type or a detail, task-oriented individual?

How do you feel about overtime?

In your mind what constitutes a positive and supportive work culture?

Do you consider yourself a "high energy" person?

Do you have a stress management technique that you use? Explain how it works.

Do you feel a program of exercise is important to the physical and mental well-being of an individual? What might be an ideal program of exercise for someone?

Why is mentoring an important concept in a professional work situation?


In an interview, it is expected that you will have several questions of your own to ask the recruiter. It is important that the questions you ask will indicate to the recruiter that you are a person of substance. Too many times, candidates ask questions that seem to be part of an exercise only — "I better ask something or they will think I am not interested in the job." So they present questions regarding benefits or training. These are not bad subjects to address, but there are other issues which need attention as well.

What follows are twenty-five questions which are not only substantive in nature, but will also serve you well in finding out important issues surrounding the job.

Questions You Should Ask The Recruiter:

What are the specific rewards that you experience in this occupation (personal satisfaction, goal achievement, security, prestige, financial, independence)?

Are there certain skills and strengths that are emphasized in realizing success in this profession?

What extracurricular activities do you focus on when searching for a viable candidate?

How does this profession impact on other segments of your life (social, family, spiritual)?

What personal characteristics act as assets in your field?

What led you to this career?

What keeps you here?

How is your organization a leader in the area of human resources?

Can you name a few things that are especially stimulating to you regarding your job?

What were other alternatives you considered prior to entering this field?

Has this profession changed you as a person?

What do you enjoy most about this line of work?

What are the major frustrations?

What might be your long-range goal, or goals?

What advice can you give a person entering this field?

What additional training or education is necessary to function well in your field?

Is there an emphasis on graduate level education?

What pressures and conflicts are encountered in this profession?

How can I better prepare myself to succeed in your organization?

How has "globalization" affected your firm?

Is teamwork an important element of your company's culture?

How does your firm view the work/life balance issues?

Can you give me your thoughts on the impact of women in the work force — most specifically at your firm?

How are you addressing diversity in the workplace?

How do you feel about the internal relations within your organization?

What separates your company from your competitors?

Is your firm active within the community?

Remember, it is not the quantity of something that is impressive, but rather the quality of that something. The same is true when it comes to asking recruiters questions. Select only two or three from the preceding list to use in an interview. Anything beyond that might seem a bit much —especially if this is your first interview with the employing organization.


Your follow-up to an interview is a very critical component of the recruiting process and should not be taken lightly. Recruiters are aware of the importance of follow-up and they will certainly view more favorably those candidates who extend the initial courtesy and eventual persistence of professional follow-up.

Following are the steps that should be taken:

Immediately following the interview, prepare a thank-you note. It can be hand-written or typed. Mail it that day, if at all possible. E-mail, although efficient, is too impersonal.

If you have not heard anything from that respective recruiter within the time-frame suggested, follow up with a telephone call to see where the organization stands in regards to the selection process.

Upon a positive response from a respective organization, contact the appropriate representative immediately and confirm your interest.

Upon rejection from a respective organization, send a formal letter thanking them for their consideration of you as a candidate. I know your reaction to this one is, “Why should I thank someone after a rejection?” Following is a story of mine pertaining to this very subject. Please read and take heed. “I had been recruiting for over fifteen years and had interviewed thousands of students and only two ever sent me a thank you note after receiving a letter of rejection. One of the two ended up working for our organization based on her sense of courtesy. She was an excellent candidate in the first place, but because of a limited number of openings, I was unable to extend her an offer initially. When one of the other candidates to whom we had extended an offer, declined — it was only natural that I call another candidate I felt favorably toward. Recruiters are human beings, too, and I can tell you that the image of the individual who sent me a thank-you note expressing her appreciation for having had the opportunity to meet with our firm even though she eventually received a rejection letter, immediately surfaced in my mind. I called her and asked if she might still be interested in our firm. She acknowledged that she would be. We met for a second time and I explained to her fully what had happened —and how I reached a decision to extend an offer to her. She again expressed her gratitude for the opportunity, accepted the offer, and fortunately for both of us has been a positive contributor to this day.”

Keep in mind that a very fine line is, many times, all that separates the people who receive offers and those who do not. Sending a thank-you note on the heels of receiving a rejection letter says something special about you. It certainly cannot hurt you — and, in an ideal world, it is the proper manner in which one should respond.



Mr. John L. Gregory
Gregory, Samuels, Tripp & Co.
3209 Fairlawn Avenue
Valerie, Oregon 77073

Dear Mr. Gregory:

I certainly enjoyed our meeting today. Clearly the positive work environment and challenges presented by your practice are attractive to me. In the same light, I feel I have the skills to quickly bring value to your firm.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. In the meantime, if you need additional information about me, please do not hesitate to call (631-859-2220).


Michael R. Kaye


This can be done on a note card or stationery. Never send this type of note on notebook paper.


Dear Ms. Phylish:

Thanks for the opportunity to meet with you today. I certainly enjoyed our time together. The challenges presented by your firm and the excellent professional culture are very appealing to me. I know I would do an outstanding job for you, given the chance.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. If you need anything additional, please call (789-654-9991).


Linda Mikesell


I have covered a significant amount of ground over the last eight chapters. If you follow my suggestions closely you will certainly be well armed for any and all future interviews. However, before you move on to the Conclusion of this book, I want to leave you with some final tips:

See the interview as a friendly forum. View it as a conversation which centers around you; an opportunity to promote yourself.

Get over the "humble" complex. If you are self-conscious about promoting yourself, preface any responses to questions/probes regarding your skills, strengths, contributions, achievements, etc., with the statement, "I feel somewhat awkward self-promoting here, however, I understand that is the focus of an interview, so....," and then provide a solid, truthful, and positive response. This is one of the very few times in your life when you will be provided a license to boast of your skills and accomplishments. Do so with confidence and grace, but do so. The interviewer wants you to provide this information. You are selling here.

Know the agenda. Familiarize yourself with the structure of an interview (review fully the information contained in Chapter III).

Know thyself. Complete the personal inventory exercise contained in Chapter V. Be prepared to respond to the most dreaded request in all of interview-land: "We have about 30 minutes together today, please take as much time as is necessary and tell me about yourself." Sometimes this will be the intentional focus of a stress interview format; sometimes it is the product of an inexperienced recruiter who is hopeful that you will carry the bulk of the interview; many times it is the most obvious starting point introduced by an experienced interviewer for the purpose of guiding you to significant points in your life. Regardless of its origin, this statement provides you with a tremendous opportunity to sell yourself to an individual who may have the power to make your life significantly more satisfying than it is currently. And, yet, more times than not, individuals presented with this window do not say enough about themselves to fill 3 minutes. This is unfortunate. After all, who knows you any better than you do. And after 20+ years of living, surely you have 20+ minutes of credible information to convey about yourself.

Research the firm. Prior to interviewing with a representative from any employing organization it is essential that you research that firm. A number of ways exist in which to gather information about a prospective employer (see Chapter I). Regardless of which channel you select, it is imperative to your success in the interview that you have a solid idea of what the interviewing company is all about: their products/services, structure, size, history, philosophy, reputation, etc.

Do your homework. After researching the firm with which you will be interviewing, refer back to the personal inventory exercise you completed earlier and begin to match your interests, goals, and skills with the expectations of the organization. Begin to formulate in your mind questions that may be asked of you. Develop responses that will be in concert with your focus and the firm's. Prepare several unique and insightful questions to ask the interviewer.

Once you have completed your research and analysis of the firm and you feel comfortable with the information surrounding your personal inventory and you have formulated some interesting questions to ask the interviewer, refer to Chapter III in developing a practice agenda. At that point, ask a friend or family member to function as an interviewer in a role-play situation - then practice, practice, practice. If you practice the interview process adequately you will find that, even in the most stressful of interviews, your comfort level and ability to effectively respond will remain at a high plane. You certainly would not step in front of a group of several hundred professionals to make a 30 minute presentation (we hope) without having prepared well and practiced the delivery. The same applies to an interview.

Arrive early. Planning to arrive at an interview session early will help you to accomplish several things. First, arriving early will allow you to walk into the facility gracefully without having broken a sweat. You will have time to go to the restroom, freshen up, and get a drink of water. It will also provide you the opportunity to look around you in becoming somewhat familiar with the environment - thereby allowing you to gain a degree of comfort prior to the formal meeting. In some settings, there will be a greeter, or several greeters, whose function is to help put you at ease. By arriving early, you will have some time to talk with these individuals in becoming more relaxed with the personalities associated with the recruiting firm.

Planning to arrive early also allows you a built-in time cushion in case you encounter traffic jams, experience car trouble, or get lost in an unfamiliar surrounding.

If any of these things happen to you on the way to an interview and it becomes evident that the time cushion is quickly evaporating, stop somewhere and telephone the organization and inform them of your dilemma. In almost all cases, the employer/interviewer will understand and certainly not hold the fact that you are late against you. However, if you fail to make a phone call announcing that you will be late because of some unforeseen circumstance, the employer may not be so understanding. The thought here might be that you are probably tardy in nature and not a very reliable individual.

Eat light. If your interview agenda includes a lunch, be certain to eat light. Heavy meals tend to make most people somewhat drowsy. You certainly do not want to be fighting sleep when interviewing immediately after lunch. In the same vein, if your interview begins early in the morning, be sure to eat light and cautiously the night before, avoiding spicy, rich, and gas-inducing foods. Heavy meals and those that are spicy and rich tend to interfere with normal sleep patterns, and you do not want to move into an interview session feeling tired. It makes for a very long and unproductive day.

If your interview comes at an unusual time in the day, not immediately following a meal, be certain to eat a very, very small item (piece of fruit, slice of bread, candy bar, scoop of peanut butter) immediately prior to departure for the interview. This will give you a boost of energy, calm your nerves somewhat, and silence the growling that often accompanies an empty stomach.

Bring a pen and notepad. Be sure to bring a nice pen and a letter-sized notepad enclosed in a professional binder or portfolio. It is not advisable to sit in an interview and take copious notes on what is being conveyed during the course of the session. Taking notes during an interview can be distracting, and comes off as pretentious, or even rude. However, it is advisable to have something on which to write and something with which to write in the event information of specific note is conveyed which would require you to respond at some point (such as a name, address, phone number, specific benefits information, etc.).

Look into a mirror. Upon arriving at the facility in which you will interview, immediately head for the restroom and glance into the mirror. You should comb your hair, fix your make-up, wipe any excess oil from your face, wash your hands, and look for any unwelcome particles in your teeth, nose, ears, eyes, hair, and on your shoulders. There is nothing more disheartening than to conclude an interview session, which you feel went extremely well, only to walk into a restroom, smile into the mirror to congratulate yourself on a job well done, and find that you have a strand of spinach draped across your upper incisors.

Also, while you are in private quarters, make sure that your tie is straight, your collar is not standing up, your blouse/shirt is fully buttoned, your pants/skirt are/is zipped, your fingernails are free of dirt, and your shoes are buffed. Our intention here is not to make anyone paranoid, however, if you discover any of these discrepancies during the course of interviewing, more than likely it will disrupt, to a certain degree, your train of thought and may turn a potentially positive interview into an average one.

Remain positive. You have prepared yourself well. The recruiter wants to hire you. The organization actually needs you. Keep focused on these facts. Sell yourself with grace and confidence. Be personable, polite, and positive. You will be a tremendous asset to the firm.

Follow-up. Thank all of those involved with you in the recruiting process for their time and consideration.


On the preceding pages I attempted to tell you as much as I possibly could about the recruiting process. My objective was to give you as much information pertaining to the expectations that recruiters have regarding evaluating you as a person and as a potential professional within their respective organizations. I am confident that there will be very few surprises in store for you if you become familiar with the contents of this book.

But I have only provided you with the structures, processes, exercises, concepts, and expectations. It is up to you to review the structures and processes, complete the exercises, internalize the concepts, practice the fundamentals, and hone the skills necessary to become an IMPACT candidate. You will need assistance in accomplishing this.

On the following pages I have listed a number of outstanding resources that you should reference in strengthening areas where you feel you might currently be deficient. As well, call on your college career services and placement professionals for advice and guidance. They are equipped to assist you in a number of ways.

Of course, any requests for help from readers of this book are welcome. If you have any questions, or concerns, please contact one of the following:

General Questions

Bill Bagley
HR Director
Barnes Dennig & Co.

Scott Bagley
Managing Director
Bagley Consulting, LLC

Physical Fitness Programming

John Bagley
Bagley Consulting, LLC

Personal Development Tools

Charles Hyde
Bagley Consulting, LLC



• Navigating Toward Academic and Career Success: A Career-Mapping Guidebook for Students (and Mentors)
Bill, Scott, and John Bagley

• Lead the Field (CD Series)
Earl Nightingale; Nightingale-Conant


• Civility
Stephen L. Carter; Harper Perennial


• Business Etiquette in Brief
Ann Marie Sabath: Bob Adams, Inc.


• Casual Power
Sherry Maysonave; Bright Books

• The New Professional Image
Susan Bixler; Adams Media


• Integrity
Stephen L. Carter; HarperPerennial


• Knock 'Em Dead
Martin Yate; Bob Adams, Inc.

• Sweaty Palms
Anthony Medley; Ten Speed Press


· Good to Great
Jim Collins

· The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
John C. Maxwell

· Primal Leadership
Daniel Goleman

• The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey; Covey Leadership Center


• The Memory Book
Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas; Ballantine Books


• The Exceptional Presenter
Timothy Koegel


• The Power of Positive Thinking
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale; Doubleday

• Care of the Soul
Thomas Moore


• Lead the Field (CD Series)
Earl Nightingale; Nightingale-Conant

• Psycho-Cybernetics
Dr. Maxwell Maltz


• The Platinum Rule
Tony Alessandra; Nightingale Conant

• Swim with the Sharks
Harvey Mackay; Ivy Books of Ballantine Books

• What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School
Mark H. McCormack; Bantam Books


• Living Smart, Staying Healthy
Covert Bailey; Nightingale Conant

• The Aerobics Way
Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H.; Bantam Books

• High-Intensity Training
Mike Mentzer


• In Search of Excellence
Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.; Warner Books

• Winning
Jack Welch

• Top Performance
Zig Ziglar; Berkley Books


• Future Shock
Alvin Toffler; Bantam Books

• Megatrends 2000
John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene; Morrow


• First Things First
Robert and Rebecca Merrill; Stephen Covey

• The Time Trap
Alec Mackenzie; ANACOM


• VOCAB (Audio Cassette Tape Series)
Dr. Bergen Evans

• Basic Vocabulary Builder
Eugene Ehrlich and Daniel Murphy; McGraw-Hill

• 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary
Dr. Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis; Pocket Books


• Breaking with Tradition
Felice N. Schwartz; Warner Books


• The Elements of Style
William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White; Allyn and Bacon