Corrections or additions?
These articles were prepared for the December 5, 2001
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. A change in name spelling was made
December 13, 2006. All rights reserved.
How to Ace a Job Interview
The times they are changing, especially for job seekers.
With the country now saddled with its highest unemployment rate in
years, and at a time when the phrase "corporate downsizing"
has become as much a part of every day speech as "groovy"
was in the 1970s, job seekers are being forced to redefine themselves
and refine their skills to a razor’s edge.
Gone are the days of simply typing up a resume and letter, sending
it to the human resource manager, and sitting back to wait for the
phone to ring. While it is just as essential as ever to have a strong
resume, the tight job market has made it necessary for job seekers
to think and act in new creative ways in order to get a step up on
"As a result of more mergers and more competition in today’s
world, everyone needs to be sharper than ever when it comes
to their communication skills," says Victoria Chorbajian,
an authority on public speaking, presentation skills, and media
Chorbajian will speak on "Effective Job Search/Interviewing Skills
in a Down Economy" on Thursday, December 6, at 1 p.m. at Saddle
Brook. Cost: $149. Call 201-263-0202. (VictoriaTheCoach@aol.com)
Based in Paramus, Chorbajian often works with corporate executives
to help them become more comfortable, dynamic, and effective as
in everything from informal talks to media interviews. She also gives
workshops customized to specific audiences, teaching presentation
skills, sales techniques, as well as particular skills such as how
to run an effective meeting.
The goal of the seminar is essentially to help people become as
as possible in a job interview. While most people are intimidated,
at least a little bit, in an interview situation, there are specific
techniques that job seekers can learn in order to increase their
of landing the job they want. "We work with everything," says
Chorbajian. "What do you say, when do you say it, why do you say
it, and how do you say it."
This extends not just to the need for an interviewee to choose the
right words, but also to such public speaking tools as effective
maintaining proper eye contact, the need to vary the pace of words
in order to build up momentum about an exciting project, and then
slowing your pace down to keep a sense of control and to convey
After graduating as a political science major from Drew University,
Chorbajian worked for 12 years in the financial industry. But she
always kept her sights on someday running her own business, and she
knew that it would somehow focus on public speaking. "I always
knew that I had a natural talent for speaking in front of any size
group, in fact, the larger size group the better," she says.
also knew that I was adept at putting together effective training
She has been operating her company full time for the past two years.
She is also the author of "Public Speaking & You: The #1
an audio tape that helps allay anxieties over the often-dreaded
assignments that come up in life.
"I tell my clients that it is important to look at every job
as an opportunity," she says. "Even if you know going into
an interview that it might not be for the job that you ultimately
want, it’s always an opportunity to meet people, network, and perhaps
be pointed in the right direction. You never know, sometimes an
may know of a position opening up in another department or even in
another company in the industry."
Although interviewing for a job is certainly one of life’s more
events, proper preparation can help empower job seekers, allowing
them to relax a bit, and enhance their chances of landing the job.
Chorbajian offers some tips.
potential employer is to learn as much as possible about the company
before going into the interview. Are there recent mergers or
into other countries? LexisNexis, software that is available through
many public libraries, is one of the best sources of company news.
Also, the reference librarian at any local library can point the way
to a variety of directories that are packed with information
differently from everyone else? Job search techniques aren’t written
in stone. "Despite what they may say in books, there aren’t just
10 ways to look for a job," says Chorbajian. "If you have
an idea, try it out. If doesn’t work, or if you think it can work
more effectively some other way, do it differently next time. By being
creative you increase the chances that you’re going to catch someone’s
do this, and it actually worked for me," says Chorbajian.
seven years ago I obtained an interview in an industry that I had
no experience with. I made up a marketing flier for myself and sent
it to the chairman of the company. I then followed it up with about
five phone calls over a two-month period, and they finally said `okay,
you can come in for an interview.’"
job seekers need to be aware that they are being judged from the
they walk through the door. It is important to exude an aura of
from the initial handshakes straight through to the drive out of the
parking lot. Remember that perception is everything.
difficult questions that may raise their defense shields, such as
the reasons why they left a particular job. "It is important to
maintain a poker face," says Chorbajian. "Keep your emotions
off of your face, pause before you speak, and then speak in a calmly
job, even in this tight economy it is possible to increase the odds
a bit in one’s favor. A solid resume, strong preparation, professional
presentation, the ability to convey a sense of competence, as well
as maintaining a willingness to learn from one’s mistakes, all can
certainly help make the eventual success more likely.
— Jack Florek
Green or gold? Red or blue? It can make all the
in leadership style. Shoya Zichy sorts leaders into personality
type, and assigns each group a color. Zichy herself, head of
Zichy Associates, an executive coaching and consulting firm, is a
green. Greens comprise 17 percent of the population and tend to be
charismatic, enthusiastic spokespersons for their organizations, with
an ability to sweep others into their causes. Famous greens include
Oprah Winfrey, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Ghandi.
Zichy has devised a personality toolkit based on the work of Carl
Jung, the Myers-Briggs family, and David Keirsey, author of the
Sorter and the Personality Sorter (available online at
Knowing and understanding personality type, she says, provides
in work relationships, career choices, money management, and
Zichy speaks on a panel addressing "Business Leadership in
Times" at a joint meeting of the Human Resources Management
and the Institute of Management Consultants-Princeton on Monday,
10, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency. Other speakers are Sarajane
Mackenzie, vice president of human resources, Orchid BioSciences;
and William J.H. Foster, Foster Coaching/Consulting Group.
Zichy, author of Women and the Leadership Q, finds golds are the
of business life. Making up 46 percent of the population, they value
procedures, respect the chain of command, and "have finely tuned
systems for everything from raising children to running large
Famous golds include George and Barbara Bush, Dan Rather, and Queen
Providing the spark in corporate corridors are the reds, who are
spontaneous, and impulsive. Work must be fun for these free spirits.
They resist schedules and hierarchies and aren’t too big on planning,
but they excel at handling crises. Famous reds include former Governor
Christie Whitman, Bill Clinton, and Madonna.
It is the blues who see the big picture. Theoretical, competitive,
and always driven to acquire more knowledge, they seek learning for
its own sake, and are driven to challenge and test ideas and
Blues are visionary and do best in positions requiring strategic
In her book, Zichy provides self-assessment tools along with
of a number of individuals in each personality group. In this excerpt,
she writes about personality features, cutting across type, that limit
the maximization of leadership potential:
PEOPLE ARE OFTEN UNAWARE of what can be termed "sag
factors," which cause motivation to droop and languish. We may
think of the leadership profiles as having a stainless-steel quality,
with leaders who are undaunted, consistent, self-disciplined, and
highly motivated. What you need to remember is that these are
of highly developed examples of particular leadership types. In your
quest to develop your own leadership style, you may need to work
some sag factors while maintaining a vision of your peak performance.
There are different degrees of sag factors. Often people are unaware
that they are projecting their inner landscapes onto the outer world.
Many people can be highly functional and still be limited by these
traits. Insight is the first step toward positive change. Keeping
an open mind about the relevance of some of these sag factors in your
life will give you an opportunity for growth. To help you further,
this discussion culminates in a spot-check survey that will allow
you to determine the extent to which your sag factors need to be
mood? Many highly functional people do not realize their thinking
is tainted by depression or by anxiety and its close relative, fear.
This does not fit the self-image of a confident and self-reliant
yet to a certain degree and in some circumstances many people are
afflicted by doubt, negativity, and fear.
For our ancestors, fear was associated with survival. The modern
of fear is worry. Perhaps that is why it is often a very strong
For many people, however, the worry and anxiety to which they are
subject far outweigh their usefulness. In fact, they hinder decision
making and engender ambivalence and stress after decisions are made.
Anxiety is experienced as "the dread that something bad will
whether to one’s plans, one’s children, one’s money, or the world
at large. Some people even believe that worrying prevents bad
At its worst a person beset by anxiety may be unable to act in the
midst of uncertainty or ambiguity. A worried leader can create a
of worry that inhibits optimism and the belief in the creative
of others that is necessary for effective leadership. This rules out
the possibility of the leader giving people the benefit of the doubt,
trusting and empowering them to show initiative.
the view you harbor of yourself: bright, dull, pretty, fat, competent,
don’t have what it takes. It’s not that these terms are at the surface
of your mind but that they subconsciously form a collective
of your assets and liabilities. Self-esteem is inextricably linked
to how you perceive yourself in comparison to others. It’s important
to remember that a sense of self-esteem has different degrees of
Some people always come out higher when they compare themselves to
others; there is no one they would rather be than themselves. This
is a measure of high self-esteem and becomes an automatic trigger
for self-confidence and initiative.
decision, determine a strategy, and request and obtain the resources
necessary to get results. A leader is a doer as well as a planner.
Part of the drag on some leadership decisions occurs when the leader
has not resolved her predecision stresses. This is related to the
ability to set specific goals as opposed to remaining ambivalent.
If ambivalence continues after a decision is made or a goal is set,
it interferes with the leader’s strength of purpose. Decision making
is a way to resolve ambiguity. An effective leader is able to contain,
for herself and others, the anxiety and confusion engendered by the
decision-making process. She is not threatened by the finality of
you, how you characteristically respond to emotional challenges, the
"approach, avoid, attack" framework can be instructive. There
is a level of automatic response that people often bring to
However, this is not as simple as it appears. You can be physically
there and feel and look like you are in the approach mode but still
retain huge elements of avoid and attack motivation.
For effective leadership, the approach mode is essential. Behaviors
associated with this mode are those of encouraging, cooperating, and
guiding as well as setting protective limits. A person who can
is confident that problems can be solved. She crosses bridges when
she comes to them. She is not disposed to be guarded or suspicious.
She is calm and open.
The avoid reaction, which can be hidden, is compounded of anger and
fear. Rejection, withdrawal, and manipulation are all avoidance
The anger involved in avoidance can shade into attack. Retaliation,
threats, and coercion appear in the attack mode.
Be aware of how complex your characteristic responses may be. This
framework of approach, avoid, attack is used by Dr. Steven Stosny
to train compassionate parents. It is no accident that many of the
problems you have to deal with in the workplace have deep elements
of the reenactment of family dynamics.
in a positive way is a critical leadership quality. No matter what
cards are dealt, the leader holds her own and plays the hand as well
as she can. Her optimism and self-esteem buoy her ability to create
new opportunities and move on. This scrappy, "can’t be
quality allows the leader to find steppingstones and new directions
where others would give up.
Many of the leaders described situations in their lives where they
assessed that they could not win. They were able to make plans to
move on. Change is not easy, and the sag factor here is that many
people stay in ruts, deny the reality of the situation, and are more
afraid of the risk of change than of stagnation. Leaders can move.
What is important here is that both of these factors have to do with
conquering fear and anxiety while maintaining a positive
sag factor is not being able to meet setbacks in an effective manner.
a pat on the back for taking the time to learn about leadership and
perhaps commit yourself to lifelong growth as a value. Many small
steps consistently taken over time are the way to significant change.
It’s your life. Take ownership of it.
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