How to “Read” the Interviewer

So often in life we are given clues as to what people need to hear from us…if we just know how to listen.  Interviews are very important and we need to make every effort to make others comfortable with us.   We are all in sales these days and an important part of sales is understanding your audience…in this case the interviewer.

We spoke about this in my networking group a few weeks ago.  We don’t want to change ourselves completely but to be most effective we should manage our behavior while dealing with different people.  Here are some tips for reading a person’s behavioral style.  (I’m using the DISC or the Career Navigator Behavioral Types).     


1) Interviewer:  Lion or D Style (Task Oriented) (Looking for Results)

Behavior:  Fast, always in a hurry, multi-tasking, direct, firm handshake, eye contact, power suits, all business.  Office decor-status conscious, trophies, cliff notes, business books. 

What they need:  Wait for them to make small talk.  Do not lead with personal info-let them lead, you follow.  Get right to the point.  They want the results not the details-no long winded stories.  They will ask hard questions.  Be direct, be confident.


2) Interviewer: Peacock or I Style (People Oriented) (Looking for the Experience, Connection)

Behavior:  Friendly, eye contact, smile, fashionable flashy clothes, small talk, big gestures, talks a lot, may answer more questions than asks. 

What they need:  Be friendly, personal, take time.  Make a connection if you can.  Get all of your points across and make sure that the questions are answered.  You may need to gently keep this person on topic and on point.


3) Interviewer: Owl or S Style (People Oriented) (Looking for Security)

 Behavior: Relaxed, no hurry, professional, friendly but not overly, office may have family photos.  Small gestures. poker faced, small gestures. 

 What they need:  Consistent, calm and steady behavior from you, show sincerity, do not be overly aggressive, slow, logical answers, facts not story, don’t try to control.


4) Interviewer: Lamb or C Style (Task Oriented) (Looking for Information)

Behavior:  Very reserved, little or no gestures, traditional attire, straight laced, may avoid eye contact, very professional, probably no small talk.

What they need:   information, data, facts, be patient, slow, no personal talk, don’t be “pushy”.

Good luck and happy sales.


Ageism; not an urban legend. What you can do about it in your job search.

Fact #1)Ageism; not an urban legend.  It does exist. 

I wish it didn’t.   I’ve never had a manager discriminate because of age in my recruiting career that I’m aware of, but I know it is out there.   I’m not suggesting that every time you don’t get the job (if over 50) that you are being discriminated against, but I recognize that ageism is an issue.

Fact #2)It isn’t fair. 

With age comes wisdom;  you are intelligent, have great experience, can come up to speed quickly, can help mentor others, etc.  I know.  Many Hiring Managers value experience in a more “seasoned” individual.  

Fact #3)There are certain steps that you can take to combat it, but you can’t control it. 

What can you do?  Be Relevant, Current, Active, Engaged.

1) Be relevant.  Get current, stay current in your field.  You become more valuable the more you know.   If your field/job is going away make sure that your skills are transferrable.  There is more information on-line for research and reading than ever before.  Go find what is applicable to your career.  Get some training (free webinars online), take a class…learn something new and keep learning.

2) Does your attitude age you?   Are you stuck in a rut?  How open are you to new ideas, new people, new experiences?  I wouldn’t hire anyone at any age who isn’t constantly learning and growing.

3) Does your wardrobe or hairstyle age you?  If yes then update.  Ask someone with a classic style to help you.   Pick up a magazine, ask salespeople at stores to help you.  You don’t have to be trendy, but you should present well.  Yes, money may be tight but there are ways; their are consignment shops out there, you can borrow something for an interview, etc.

4) Be visible; social media.  Learn about the latest and greatest tools that are free. Notice the word *FREE*.   This is valuable experience that will benefit your next employer.  It shows that you can “teach the old dog new tricks.”

5) Resume.  Make sure that college graduations dates are not listed unless recent, that any job experience older than 20 years is listed under the heading “Earlier Experience” or “Background In”. 

6) Adjust salary expectations…sorry I hate this one as well.  Don’t bankrupt yourself, but flexible is good.

7) Have a great answer for the question “What have you been doing since you were laid off?”  If looking for a job is your answer it probably won’t be enough.  Get out there and get involved and put the experience on your resumé. 

I hope that this helps and I wish you the best of luck in your job search.

Wondering what trends in Social Media are for 2010? Check this out.

Here are some trends in Social Media in 140 characters.  Trendspotting 2010

Thou Shall Not Be Snarky-Are you complaining or part of the solution?

Hey, you there lurking on the outskirts of chat rooms, blog posts, Twitter and Facebook.  I see you.  Repeat after me:  “I will not be snarky online.  I will not be vile online.  I will not pollute the airwaves thinking that I am invisible and therefore able to comment and post any bs complaint pointing the finger at others when the issue may just be me.    I will count to 200 or 2 million when ever I feel like the victim.  I will show the world the best of me, no matter what.” 

You will intelligently state your case, be courteous, have an idea how to solve the challenge instead of just complaining and of course NOT BE Snarky, ever! 

Thank you.  The rest of us really appreciate it.

Who are the “experts” that you are listening to?

In this age of doing more with less resources (money, people, time), and all of the great information floating around on the Web…who are the experts that you are listening to?  We all want to help each other learn;  I share what I know and benefit from great online friends and sources of information.  It’s the Wild Wild West on the World Wide Web right now.  We all can use some help, but what happens when someone sets themselves up as the “expert” without the experience? 

What I’ve seen happen is along with the good information exchanged;  bad or incomplete advice is out there from someone who has the confidence to give advice without the experience to test it and back it up.   The Subject Matter Expert that I want to follow has been there and done that.   They’ve succeeded, failed and learned through it all and can give me lessons learned and advice based on experience, not theory.

In today’s world most of us are students and that will only continue as the world changes at a record pace.  Let me clearly state that I love the exchange of information; I just want the self-proclaimed “experts” to have the knowledge and experience to back it up.  I am a student in many areas and an instructor in a few…most of us are.  I don’t know everything…but then I’m not an “expert”:).

Social Media Tools; Distraction, Fad or New Skill Set?

In my recent “time off” I’ve brushed up on my social media skills.  That’s right folks I have this blog (, have become more connected on Facebook and LinkedIn and am tada…on Twitter (Dotyj). 

I know that news recently came out that on Twitter alone more than 40% of the messages are irrelevant.  That makes 60% relevant and I’m ok with that.  I don’t do quizzes on Facebook and I love you but I don’t want to see tweets about what you had for breakfast, that you are tired or that the sun is out unless you are really descriptive or funny.    There are plenty of articles about what is the best use of your time.   From CNN:, (thanks Bill Griffin).  Check it out; it’s good information to apply to any social media tool.

I’ve enjoyed all of this thoroughly.  I have to state (maybe obviously) that I am not an early adopter by nature.  When Twitter first became popular I said to friends and family “No one needs to know where I am at every second of the day, seriously.”  I changed my mind soon thereafter but just jumped on the Twitter bandwagon 100% about 2 weeks ago.  Why did I wait so long?   Fear of the unknown, doing it wrong, another thing on my to do list…and probably more than a little perfectionist tendency that I unwittingly apply to anything new.  That perfectionist trait can be managed folks…no worries.

Over the last 8 months I’ve been giving my social media speech to friends, family and anyone else I think it can help.  The reasons to know about these tools in depth and participate are:

  1. To be seen, to be relevant.
  2. Your competition is doing it.
  3. To be a Subject Matter Expert or at least a player in your field.
  4. To become involved today so that tomorrow doesn’t completely overwhelm you. 

I would caution all of the skeptics out there…go ahead and believe what you will.  When the smoke surrounding Social Media clears one of us is going to have a reason to feel a little smug and say I told you so; and I promise to try to say it quietly:).  Yup folks…Twitter may become tomorrow’s pet rock…but something similar or even more dynamic will take its place and I want to be in on the fun.  I’m moving forward with these tools because I expect them to morph into something new and I want to understand it today so tomorrow I don’t get bowled over. 

Now that my Social Media lecture is over…”Has this helped my job search today?” you ask.  Well it has a little bit, but you don’t start classes for your MBA on Monday expecting that these classes will help you on Wednesday.  My focus is studying and learning today to become more successful today and especially tomorrow.  I think this makes me a good Recruiter today and whomever I morph into tomorrow.  See you around the computer.

Dorothy Johnson is a Technical Recruiter with 10+ years of success.  By providing the right resources I enable candidates and companies to succeed.


Think Life Right Now is an Uphill Climb?

Think Life Right Now is an Uphill Climb?

Recently life looking for work and pursuing business opportunities has sometimes seemed like an uphill climb. Some of the things that I’m interested in are Adventure sports and Mountain Climbing and the reasons people participate. I am not an adrenaline junkie myself but I do like to see how/why people push themselves to reach their goals. A few years ago I went to hear Alison Levine speak. She led one of the first groups of American women to climb Mt Everest. This is a very petite woman who had two major heart surgeries before 30, and didn’t start climbing until 31 years old. Her speech was on the climb and what she learned.  Points in her talk apply not only to a job search or new business venture…but to every area of life. I hope these help you. I know they’ve helped me.

Progress is Not Directional.
When starting a climb, mountain climbers have to adjust and acclimatize to increasingly higher altitudes. To do this they don’t just hang out where they are and then climb straight up the mountain. People climb from base camp to the first camp and then back down to base camp. Then they climb to the second camp and then all the way back down. And then the third camp and then back down. Can you imagine what climbing up and then back down AGAIN feels like? Snow, ice, blizzards, sub zero temperatures… and then they do it again tomorrow. This is how they reach their goal. Take that analogy and apply it to life. If our setbacks and “failures” are just another return to base camp, helping us “acclimatize” and prepare for our progress forward…isn’t that great? Doesn’t that take the pressure to be perfect off? Progress is not directional; we don’t usually go straight up. At times when it seems you’ve seen this route before and feel frustrated by failure, as long as you are learning you are moving and there is progress.

Fear Is Ok –It is Complacency which will kill you.
1) Allison spoke of a huge ice fall that is in constant motion that must be crossed. The climbers use what looked like aluminum ladders tied together to cross over these huge plunging ravines. The most dangerous thing here is staying where you are because the ice shifts and falls. (And believe me only the fear of death could get me to cross that ravine!)
2) When a climber is close to the top of the mountain (the goal) at 26,000 feet his/her body starts to die. The blood flows away from the extremities to theheart, lungs etc to keep him alive. He takes 5 to 10 breathes for every step. They have to keep going or die.

The point of these two examples is being in intelligent action even when you are afraid. You can stay still to learn, de-stress, breathe, rest, but don’t stay complacent. Get moving towards your goal/s. We all have had moments of feeling defeated and not knowing what step to take.

The Power of Partnering
On Everest if your team is struggling or needs help make sure that the other teams know who you are and feel the need to assist. This is a “survival of the fittest” type of environment. The point is that in our lives it is our responsibility to proactively work and build relationships.

So progress is not directional, complacency will kill you (be in action) and learn to develop partnerships. I believe that these three points will assist anyone in all areas of life

Recruiters…Friend or Frienemey? You Decide.

I’ve heard from many people that Recruiters  are there to screen out…the whole “Black hole” description. We are not the enemy.  A recruiter can be Friend or Frienemy…you decide.

Recruiters/HR are there to find the right candidate based on limited criteria/resources given to them.   This post is based on my years as a recruiter for a third party consulting company (our consultants would work mostly on contract at client sites).  I also have a year of corporate recruiting experience.

Repeat after me:  You love Recruiters.  Most people who have held the role for longer than a minute know that they need to treat you well and they want to with the limited time constraints that they have.  Most recruiters are balancing the wants and needs of 4 entities:  you, the company that they work for, the hiring manager and themselves.  The good ones can dance with all 4.   

Things to think about while working with 3rd party Recruiters (and HR):

1)  Most don’t have time to chat.  We do want to get to know people whom we think we can help.  Appreciate our time and we will love working with you. 

2) Know yourself.  What do you want to do?  What don’t you want to do?  What are your strengths, skills you want to learn.  What benefits do you need and are most important?  What are your realistic salary expectations?   Oh yeah…money:)!!!  At a certain point early on (usually) we will ask about money and we should to not waste anyone’s time.  Give a range, have a conversation but this is information that we need to know.  Ask about benefits and job duties/responsibilities.   Ask what the role is budgeted for, or what the salary range is.  And know what you want and need.

3) What a Recruiter can do for you:  We can get you a job using current skills.

a)     A job using your current skills with a career stretch of 10 to 15%. 

b)    A similar job with a different environment, better pay, new industry.

c)     A job which gives you new skills and experience by leveraging your present skills.

d)     And in this economy I have to mention; we can get you a job.

Your job as a candidate is to make our job easy so that we can market your skills effectively to the Hiring Manager.  Tell us why you are perfect for the role. Make sure your resume and references speak to these skills.  Be interested, positive and truthful about your skills. 

4) Recruiters are often slow with feedback because Managers are slow with feedback…it is the circle of life.  And yes it frustrates us as well as your 15 phone calls a day asking us for said feedback:).  Most of us like people and we want to help.  There is a fine line between stalking and being really interested.  Find the line and stay behind it.

5)  Job Descriptions are limited information likely to change at any time…including mid interview.  Sometimes they change because the Hiring Manager likes your skills, or got wind of a new project, or lost funding.  Be flexible.  Don’t be surprised. 

6)  You won’t always get feedback.  Sometimes the recruiter doesn’t know.  Also the recruiter can’t tell you that the hiring manager picked his second cousin over you the more qualified candidate, or that the hiring manager is a raving lunatic who didn’t like your answer to behavioral question number 89.  Sometimes it is just sorry you didn’t get the role, thanks for playing.

The ideal criteria to pick a recruiter:  you like them, they spend time getting to know you, they have amazing contacts, have a niche recruiting in your field, are honest, ethical, and direct.  Or they just have a job that you want.  Don’t play your cards close to the vest-the recruiter can’t help you if we don’t know what you want and your motivation. 

There is a certain amount of haze in the recruiting process at most companies.  Get used to it.  No matter how much process, standardization is in place…requirements change, hiring managers relate differently to candidates and skills, corporate politics exist and time marches slowly when waiting for feedback.

The right Recruiting relationship can be interesting, fun and profitable for all involved. 

It’s a Brave New World-Welcome to Your Job Search

You’ve been laid off.   Bummer.  Now What?  Most of us need to find a new job, win the lottery or start our own business.   I’m holding out for the job as lottery winner…bought a ticket…that is a start:).


Welcome to the first day of the rest of your job search.  Your new full time job:  Job Hunter.   This can be an amazing time for us.  It may be difficult, and challenging.  Most of us will have to come out of our comfort zone and grow.  There will be networking, meetings, elevator speeches, interviews, rejection (ugh!).  You will be a different person and it will most likely take you to places that you would not have pushed yourself voluntarily.  Make this time a time to grow professionally and personally.  How many of us have had this opportunity to grow?


Set up a Space for Your Search; Physically and Mentally.



Set up a space away from the TV, distractions of any kind. 

You will need a computer, internet access, a printer, a fax machine.

Office supplies; paper, pens, stapler, clock, calendar, whiteboard.

Setup a separate email account for employment contact and resumes, especially if your present email address sounds less than professional.



Set up a schedule for your search.  Between networking, informational meetings and interviews you will be Very busy.  I joke that I need a job…this looking is a lot more work! 

Set up a Routine:  What time are you getting up?   

Don’t become the spouse who does all of the errands during the day…that will Not help you get a job.  This is time to focus on your search, what you want to do, what you want to learn. 

Do have a Support Network.  If you don’t have one find one.   Realize how many people are going through the same thing.  There are days when I feel depressed or like not doing anything…I tell myself  “suck it up princess..let’s get on with it.”


Resume (I will cover more in depth at later posting)

Update resume;  this is a work in progress.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It does have to be professional and spell out how your skills fit the role which you are applying for.

Print resumes

Design cover letter template


Networking develop Master Contact list with person, email and phone


Online Presence:

Update Linked in.  If you aren’t using it start now.  Update your profile with what your next step will be.

Setup or update other online Social Groups


Print Free Business cards: or  

Vistaprint gives more cards but Marketsplash doesn’t make you pay for shipping.   They each have their logo imprinted on the back.

What should be on the card:  Name, email address, phone number, Title of Job you want, perhaps tag line if it is professional.

More later.