Why You’re Not Getting a Second Interview, with Will Thomson

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 126:

Why You’re Not Getting a Second Interview, with Will Thomson

Airdate: February 14, 2018

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Hi, this is Mac, of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

 

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List.

 

I’m joined by my co-hosts, Ben Forstag, Becky Thomas, and Jessica Black, from the Mac’s List team.

 

This week we’re talking about why you’re not getting a second interview.

 

You have an interview for a job you want. Several weeks go by; An email arrives from the employer, but instead of offering a second interview, the message says you’re no longer a candidate. This week’s guest expert is recruiter Will Thomson. He says many candidates make a few common mistakes that disqualify them in a first interview. Will and I talk about these deal-breakers later in the show.

 

There are some questions you should never ask in a job interview, no matter whether it’s your first or final conversation. Ben has found a list of eleven of these questions. He’ll tell us more in a moment.

 

How do you describe your skills and qualifications from a past job in ways that will excite and attract future employers? That’s our question of the week. It comes from listener Rick Bella in Medford, Oregon. Becky shares her advice in a moment.

 

As always, let’s first check in with the Mac’s List team.

 

First up is Ben Forstag, who is out there every week searching the nooks and crannies of the Internet. He’s looking for tools, books, websites, and other resources you can use in your job search and your career. Ben, what have you uncovered for our listeners this week?

 

Ben Forstag:

 

From the nooks and crannies of the Internet…

 

Mac Prichard:

 

The dark recesses.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

…I bring you…

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Steady, Ben.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

I bring you a resource from FastCompany.com. This is an article entitled Never Say These 11 Things During A Job Interview Unless You Don’t Want A Job. No, I’m not going to read all eleven things you shouldn’t say but instead I thought I’d turn this into a little bit of a game.

 

I’m going to say one of the things you shouldn’t say and I want the staff here to tell me why this is not a good thing to say. You savvy?

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Okay.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Alright.

 

Jessica Black:

 

Sure, let’s play.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Alright, lean in.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Okay, so number one, this is an easy one. You should never say, “I don’t have any questions for you.”

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Yeah, I mean that’s a no brainer, you have to have questions prepared.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

But why?

 

Jessica Black:

 

Yeah, that shows you’ve done your research and that you’re interested in the job. That you’re a quick, on-your-toes thinker.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

It’s your opportunity to fill in the gaps of the questions that they asked you. It gives you the opportunity to speak to one of your key skills that you really want them to know about. It gives you the opportunity in that job interview to start a two way dialogue. There’s so many good things about it; that’s my favorite part of the interview.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Every candidate wants to stand out, but this is one thing you don’t want to stand out for, is you don’t want to be the only candidate who doesn’t ask a question.

 

Jessica Black:

 

That’s right, it’s really important.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

All the competitors will be doing it.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

It looks lazy.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Yeah.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Okay, great job, guys.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Keep us moving, Ben. Keep us moving.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

One that’s a little tougher, don’t say this, “My last boss was terrible.”

 

Jessica Black:

 

Well, another no-brainer. Number one, you don’t want to burn any bridges because maybe this current employer knows that past employer. Also, number two, it makes you look really negative, like you have a hard time getting along with people, or it brings the focus back onto you rather than… There’s just no reason to say it.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

In a negative way.

 

Jessica Black:

 

You can talk about…phrase it in a different way of, “We had differences of opinion…”, blah, blah, blah, but always bring it back to a positive however you need to.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

If you say that to a potential employer, they’re going to imagine you saying that about them to someone.

 

Jessica Black:

 

Absolutely.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

They don’t want to hear somebody trash talking them, of course. It’s just a bad idea.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Yeah, it’s a dealbreaker. This will instantly disqualify you with most employers.

 

Jessica Black:

 

It also makes you sound gossipy, like you’re just stirring up trouble.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Okay, so you hit the first two out of the park, the third one is the curve ball though. You ready?  Don’t ever say this, “That’s a really nice watch you have on.”

 

Jessica Black:

 

Oh, that’s not hard.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Why? What if it is a nice watch? What if it’s a cute watch? I love complimenting people on their jewels and things.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

But the question is, why shouldn’t you?

 

Becky Thomas:

 

I know, but I don’t know.

 

Jessica Black:

 

Well, I get what both of you are saying. I understand that it’s nice to compliment people but I also see the reason why I assume it’s on this list: that it looks like you are talking about the financial aspect of things. Like, “Oh, can’t you afford this really nice watch,” digging into that part. That’s what I assume.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Like a subtle “You must make a lot of money.”

 

Jessica Black:

 

Or a subtle, bringing the financial part up.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Or, “That’s a really nice Swatch you got on there.”

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Swatch.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

“You must make no money at all.” Mac, any thoughts?

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I instinctively shy away from any comments about people’s clothing and personal appearance in a professional setting.

 

Jessica Black:

 

Is that because you’re a man?

 

Mac Prichard:

 

It might be.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Might be.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Let’s explore that.

 

Jessica Black:

 

I was just curious. I wasn’t trying to bring that into the fold, but I think that women, that’s ingrained into us, to comment on other people’s jewelry, or their scarf, or whatever. I think that it’s not as acceptable for men to do that and it’s also not as ingrained in what you’ve been brought up to do.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

That’s probably true, yeah.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Yeah. I try to always use a gender neutral approach. I never say mom or dad, I always say parent.

 

Jessica Black:

 

Sure.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I just instinctively… I haven’t been formally trained in this but I think it’s always a good idea to concentrate on the work and not someone’s physical appearance.

 

Jessica Black:

 

Sure, I agree.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Yeah, I think the authors of this article all basically say the same thing. Without the gender issue inserted into it. Their take is, you shouldn’t be overly…

 

Jessica Black:

 

Focused on the material.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Yeah, you shouldn’t be flattering people overly because people get that you’re just doing that to make a good impression. But I think probably behind that is also, you want to avoid some of these, physical appearance obviously, but also like attire, how people dress, how people act, things like that. Keep it slightly within the framework of the job at hand here, not the person you’re talking to, for example.

 

Jessica Black:


I know we have to wrap up, Ben, but I want to ask, about the, “That’s a great question” remark. Can we talk about why that’s bad? Because I feel like that’s an acceptable way of allowing yourself to have a pause to think about things. I don’t know if they’re ordered in any sort of way, but that’s number one on this list of…

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Yeah it’s the first question.

 

Jessica Black:


It says, “That’s a great question.” That you should never say that. I know that I have said that multiple times.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I’ve said that a lot, Jessica.

 

Jessica Black:


Always, it’s a good way for me to process.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

It’s a way to buy time.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

That’s how I use it. To buy time.

 

Jessica Black:


Absolutely, so I’m wondering why that’s bad. Maybe you don’t have an answer, but let’s talk about it.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Maybe that’s because the employer knows you’re just trying to buy time?

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Yeah, I mean, I think… First of all, let me say this, just about every article written on the internet, most of them are opinion pieces, and people are sharing their opinions. Some opinions are empirically more true than others, I guess that’s a nice way to say it.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Like ours?

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Exactly.

 

This is one where I wouldn’t agree necessarily that it’s an awful thing to say. I think that if you need a second to think about things, it’s probably better to say, “Give me a second to think about that”, rather than, “That’s a great question.” Because “That’s a great question”, is flattery that buys you time rather than just being direct about it. Even so, I don’t think it’s an awful crime.

 

Jessica Black:


I do too, and not to use that as a crutch, because you could say that after every question and that becomes kind of annoying. In Toastmasters, they tell you to repeat the question back as a way to process, rather than saying, “That’s a great question.”

 

Becky Thomas:

 

I like that.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Yeah, and there’s another here on this list that I wouldn’t actually include if I had written it. Which is, “I don’t know.”

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

I actually think there’s a lot of power in saying, “I don’t know” to a question.

 

Jessica Black:


Instead of making something up.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

It’s better to say, “I don’t know, but give me a day and I’ll get back to you with an answer on that. Let me do some research and figure out the information I don’t know so I can tell you.” Obviously, you have to be strategic about how you say that, but I think it’s so much better to admit you don’t know something up front and give a time frame for getting an answer, than just making something up.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, and I like your focus on using that in a way that, you don’t know the answer right now, but you’re going to. You’re actionary in that, and not just, “Eh, I don’t know”, and move on, let me off the hook kind of a thing. That’s probably what they mean in this context of, don’t just say I don’t know.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Sure. If you want to see the full list of eleven things you shouldn’t say and measure them against your own sense of empirical wisdom and truth with a capital T, you can do so. It’s on fastcompany.com.  

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Alright, good list. Now let’s turn to Becky, but before we do that, please remember that if you’ve got a question for Ben, he would love to hear from you. His address is ben@macslist.org. We’d love to share your idea on the show.

 

Let’s turn back to you, our listeners, and  Becky, you’ve got a question for us in the Mac’s List mailbag this week. Tell us, what is it?

 

Becky Thomas:

 

This week’s question comes from Rick Bella of Medford, Oregon. It’s a quick one, but it’s a little complicated. He writes:

 

“How do I translate my qualifications and experience from the jargon of the last job to something a prospective employer can appreciate?”

 

I relate to this, I work in marketing, there’s a lot of crazy titles and different understandings of what someone’s job title is varies a lot depending on where you’re working, what industry you’re in, all kinds of different things.

 

If you’re in a job, wherever you’re working, and you’ve got three different things that you do, and you’ve got a unique title that doesn’t exist anywhere else, how do you translate all that work and all of those skills that you have to something that a new employer, a new person who has never worked with you before, has never heard of your current job title, how do you tell them what you do in a succinct way that also speaks to their needs?

 

Jessica Black:


Especially some of those forward-thinking organizations like Airbnb or places like that that have really fun sounding titles.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Yeah, like, Customer Delight Officers.

 

Jessica Black:


It’s like, what exactly does that mean and how do you translate that? That’s a good question.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I heard a great job title today, someone who works with TEDxPortland and their colleague was saying that they work with the chief curator of TEDxPortland.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, TEDx has a lot of really fun names.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I know you’re involved in TEDxMtHood.

 

Jessica Black:


I am. Yes. Fun titles, which is always good, but also, “Chief Curator”, someone from the outside doesn’t know what that means.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Yeah, I think there are two things to think about here.

 

One is what your professional brand is and how you communicate that just in general, whether you’re looking for a specific job. You have to be clear about who you are and what you do, so if somebody stumbles upon you on LinkedIn, or your personal website or something, that they can understand what you do.

 

The other part is, if you are looking to apply for a specific job, looking at a specific company and trying to figure out if you can translate your experience to this new job title, this new company…I think for both of those pieces, it’s really important to focus on what you can do, and the value that you add, no matter what you’re employer is. I think that when you think about how you describe your experience and your qualifications, you’re going to want to use examples and show the actions that you’ve taken, the projects you’ve been able to complete, the progress that you’ve made for your past employer. Show the tactical skills that you have. Then that will make it easier for a prospective employer to understand you.

 

It’s part of that transferable skills piece, but here, I think it’s more about using clear language and using examples.

 

Jessica Black:


Absolutely. That’s exactly what I was going to say, is boil it down to the essence of exactly what you do, and don’t get caught up in the jargon.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Yeah, try remove as much jargon as you can.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, and you can use that if you are in an industry where the jargon is going to be relatable, but for anything else, boil it down and explain it as if you’re explaining it to a five-year-old. Make it as easy as possible to for anyone who’s not in the industry, especially if you’re coming from a highly technical job or industry. You want to make sure you are explaining exactly what you do, and can do, in the most approachable and clear way. I think that that’s great advice.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Yeah, really being able to define yourself as a professional, talk about your value, talk about the things that you’ve done for past employers, and how you’ve been able to do them. Then when you do find a job that you want to apply for, look at that employer’s problems, read through their job description, try to understand what they need, and then take those basic parts of your skills and experience, and apply those to the prospective employer’s needs. Customize to that. Hopefully that helps, do you guys have any other thoughts?

 

Jessica Black:


No, no other thoughts on my side.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

No, I think you nailed it.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, that’s great.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I really like your emphasis on thinking about the employer’s needs, and going back to the job posting because that gives you insights into their thoughts, and that’s how they think.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

I remember we had a guest a couple months ago who talked about how you can describe what you do to others, and one of her pieces of advice was, start with, “You know when x does y?”

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, it was Christina Canters, wasn’t it?

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Maybe.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I think it was.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Basically, it was, give people a very concrete example of the problem they would find in the real world, then describe what your role in fixing that is.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Super relatable.

 

Ben Forstag:

 

Yeah, and that’s not the greatest piece of advice for translating your skills on a resume, per se, but I think it’s a good way of thinking about how you could talk about your skill set. Especially if you’ve got really esoteric, or niche, skills to begin with.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Yeah, that’s a good point.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up, because Christina’s topic, and correct me if I have it wrong Jessica, I think it was, how to explain what you do for a living.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, I think it was.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Ah, cool.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, she did a great job of explaining it in a very clear way as well.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Yeah, she’s a great coach on that and other topics.

 

Well thanks for the excellent advice, and thank you, Rick, for your question. If you’ve got a question for Becky, please send her an email. Her address is: becky@macslist.org. You can also call our listener line; that number is area-code 716-JOB-TALK, or send us a message on the the Mac’s List Facebook page.  

 

If we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

 

We’ll be back in just a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert, Will Thomson, about why you’re not getting that second interview.

 

We’ve been making Find Your Dream Job for more than two years now and it’s about time we got to know you, our listeners, even better. I really want to know, what do you like about our show, what do you think we should change, and what’s the one topic that you wish we’d cover? Our first ever listener’s survey is live now through February 28th, 2018. You can take it at macslist.org/podcastsurvey. It’ll take you less than five minutes to complete and you’ll be entered to win one of three $50 Amazon gift cards. Take a few minutes, right now, to complete our survey. Go to macslist.org/podcastsurvey. Thank you.

 

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Will Thomson.

 

Will Thomson is the founder and president of Bulls Eye Recruiting.  His agency’s clients have included Dell, eBay, and Rosetta Stone.

 

Will has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs and organizations grow their sales teams. He also blogs regularly about careers and his company’s website has received 20 international awards. He joins us today from Austin, Texas.

 

Will, thanks for being on the show.

 

Will Thomson:

 

Thanks for having me, Mac. I appreciate it.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Well, it’s a pleasure and this week’s topic is one I think we’ve all had to deal with, and I’m talking, Will, about second interviews. We’ve all been there, where we’ve gone in, we’ve had a great conversation with the hiring manager, we’re excited, we go home, and we’re waiting for that call or email inviting us to come back. Then we get that note saying, “Sorry, we’re moving on with other candidates.”

 

Will, you work so often with both candidates and companies. What are the common mistakes that you see people make in that first interview that might lead them to not getting a call back or to continue the conversation?

 

Will Thomson:

 

One of the things that happens the most frequently is when people did not do their research on the company and the role. In 2017, and going into 2018, it is very much a candidate’s’ marketplace. You have to remember that as much as you are evaluating them, they have multiple interviews as well, and they are interviewing you. People forget that because there’s so many opportunities out there, that you’re actually thinking that they should be jumping all over you. One thing I want you to think about, and I don’t remember the song… I’m going to date myself a little bit here, Mac, but I Want You To Want Me, by Cheap Trick. That’s something you have to realize, is that you have to walk out of there thinking, “I want you to want me.”

 

I think that a lot of people don’t think about things like, asking them basic questions, like, “What is your latest round of funding?”, and knowing information about that. Or knowing about the newest product release or understanding the leadership within the organization. Understanding what their Glass Door ranking is, ask them questions around that. Knowing about competition, knowing about the role and how you could impact the position that they’re trying to fill. That’s really important.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

First, let me just say, I do remember Cheap Trick and I did have the album, Live at Budokan, so I know exactly what you’re talking about. I don’t think you’re dating yourself at all, though I think I am probably dating myself. I love your emphasis, Will, on research. Do you have a rule of thumb? If somebody’s going into that first interview, say you’ve been asked to set aside thirty minutes for a conversation with the hiring manager. How much time do you generally  recommend that a candidate invest in that interview? How much homework should they do? An hour? Two hours?

 

Will Thomson:

 

However much it takes. You could be sitting on your coach scrolling through Netflix and it could be an hour, two hours, depending on how interested you are in the role. You really have to sell yourself, so going and Googling this kind of information is important. If you don’t do this research, they’re going to feel like you’re not interested in them at all. I would say it’s important to spend at least an hour of research, even if it’s just a thirty minute call. That way, you are as prepared as you possibly can be.

 

Be prepared with questions. People like talking about themselves and about the company, and if you can get them talking about their company, then it makes the interview go a heck of a lot easier.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I’m sure you’ve heard this as well, I’ve read books about conversation where the author will advise you to ask lots of questions, whether it’s a mixer or a business meeting. People will often say, who are on the receiving end of those questions later, “Gosh, he or she was such a brilliant conversationalist”, and they say that because you’re asking questions about them and their interests. As you say, people love to have the limelight focused on them.

 

Will Thomson:

 

They’ve invested their time and effort in the company so they want to make sure that you have the same passion for the role, as they have passion for the company. It’s important to sell yourself.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I know you’ve identified some other common errors out there. One of them is inflexibility. Tell us more about that, Will.

 

Will Thomson:

 

I was telling this story the other day, but when I was right out of college, in my first job, I remember I was working for a recruiting agency called Arrow Tech and I made a low salary and I wore a pressed white shirt, a tie, and a jacket every single day to work. That, I get it, and I did it happily because that’s what I wanted to do to make money and advance my career. As you get older, throughout your career, you become more and more inflexible in what you will and what you will not do. Sometimes, you’re going to have to do things that you don’t want to do. I wouldn’t want to go put on a tie or wear a jacket every single day, but if it would help me get a hair ahead in my career, then I would.

 

Some things people say, like, “I have to work from home. That is absolutely the bottom line, I have a wife at home.” Maybe they’ll look at you and think that’s the only thing you’ll do, or maybe other people will work in the office, so you’re going to eliminate yourself. Or, “I need to make ninety thousand a year.” Remember you have to be flexible in your salary expectations, especially if you’ve been outside of the workforce for a while and you’re trying to rejoin the workforce. You may have to take a step back to go ahead. In sales, I hear a lot of things like, “I want to only be an accountant manager. I don’t really want to sell.” For a sales recruiter, and that’s what you do, that’s disheartening, because everyone sells. If you’re a lawyer, if you’re a dentist, or a chiropractor, you can’t just manage. If you’re saying, “I just want to be a manager in general.” Well, it takes a little while to be a manager.

 

You have to think about those things, and not be so inflexible. Things like, “I won’t relocate.” Maybe, for the perfect opportunity, it’d be good for you and your family to at least look at those things or have those conversations. But that inflexibility really causes a problem when you’re in the interview process.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

I agree with you about the importance of flexibility. We all have a list; for some, it might be longer or shorter than others, of things that are non negotiable. How do you recommend, Will, that people get clear about that though, when they say, “No, I don’t want to do this”, it’s really for something that matters and they leave the door open for things that they’re maybe not crazy about doing, but they might have to do because it’s a job. How do you see candidates sort that out?

 

Will Thomson:

 

Well, one thing I always did was make a list of things that I will and will not do and things I will maybe do. There are certain things that I won’t do, but there are some things that I don’t want to do but I will do. Once you have that outlined, what kind of jobs you’re going to go after, then you’ll know that when you go after certain jobs, some of these jobs that you want might have stuff in the maybe column. Talk it over with your spouse or significant other. If it’s just you then go and spend some time, but really try to decide what those maybes are and then keep an open mind about it.

 

If there’s certain things that you just can’t do and won’t do, that’s okay. It depends on where you are in your career and what you’re able to accomplish.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Again, I’m hearing you return to the theme of preparation and homework and having covered some basics before you either pick up that phone for that phone screener or walk in the room for that first interview.

 

Will Thomson:

 

That’s correct, you have to be prepared. You have to be ready to interview. A lot of people will call me and say, “I want a job. I’ve been out of work for a while.” I’ll ask them, “Well what do you want to do?”, and they really don’t even know where to begin. I think doing your homework on what kind of industries, and what kind of jobs you’re looking to do, is very important before you even go and talk to an employer or prospective employer because you’re really wasting their time and yours if you don’t have an idea.  So research before.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

What about employment gaps, Will? I know in our conversation before the show, you identified this as an area where candidates trip up. Why is this a concern in first interviews and how should candidates prepare to talk about those?

 

Will Thomson:

 

In 2018, there are going to be gaps in your employment, it’s not a matter of if there are going to be gaps. It’s a matter of when. I talked to a guy today actually, and he said, “Will, I never thought this would happen to me. Lo and behold, I was part of a layoff.” There’s downsizing or a lot of people take jobs that are startups that maybe do not get the next round of funding. These things happen. It’s a matter of how you combat that. If you’ve been laid off and you need extra education, go after a secondary degree or go after a certification, say project management. Maybe you go after a P&P. These things are really important when you get laid off.

 

Then the great thing about 2018 is that consultant is not a bad word or an evil word. More and more people are becoming self-employed, and that’s just the way it is today. In a gap on your resume, you could always say you were a consultant. Talk about the projects you’ve worked on.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Yeah, don’t leave it for the interview to come up with an explanation. Have a story ready, both on your resume and in your interview conversation, that explains what you were doing between formal periods of employment.

 

Will Thomson:

 

That’s correct and it could be even a year. These things happen as you get older in your career, but it’s how you explain it, and how you prepare, and the positive attitude that you have when you go into that interview.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

One thing that surprised me when I was preparing for this interview and reading your materials on this topic, Will, was you singled out that sometimes people get tripped up because they’re not able to do the skills that they describe on their resume. That surprised me. Do you find as a recruiter and in your work with employers that candidates will put things on their resume that they actually can’t do?

 

Will Thomson:

 

Yes. Because of keywords, and because of the way recruiters recruit today, it is not uncommon for someone to put a technical skill that they may know little about on their resume. My suggestion to you is, don’t falsify any information. If it is a technical skill, they’re going to have a test and it’s going to trip you up. Make sure that what you do is something that you are able to do and that you’ve done.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Sometimes people leave a job because they’re unhappy or they had an unhappy experience. They may be tempted to talk about that in the first interview or in later conversations that are part of the hiring process. Why isn’t that a good idea, Will?

 

Will Thomson:

 

Never bad mouth your employer. Somewhere, down the line, you are going to run into people again. Your career is a journey, so you’re going to be with one job for a period of time, then you’re going to do something else. So, never burn a bridge. If you do it correctly, you will never have to look for a job again, because the people in your network and the people you’ve influenced, you’ve been mentoring or people who have mentored you, they will help you out again. In today’s world, it is all about networking, and who do you know? It’s not about if you can do the job, it’s “how can this person connect you to this job?” It is so much easier to do that than to go through a black hole and find a job posting on Indeed, I promise you.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Well, the black hole is a theme that comes up a lot on this show and in our meetings with job seekers. Maybe one day we’ll have you back to talk about how to navigate that black hole.

 

Will Thomson:

 

Sure, it’s real, and there are also great jobs out there that are not posted, the hidden job market is what they call it. I love representing companies for those types of roles.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

That’s one of our favorite topics, too. Well we’re drawing to a close, and I do want to hear, Will, what’s coming up next for you?

 

Will Thomson:

 

Sure. Bulls Eye Recruiting is a recruiting agency. We were formed in 2012 as a blog and we did receive some notoriety for what we wrote and then in 2015 we turned it into a recruiting agency. We focus on finding top tier sales people throughout the US and the globe. We also find marketing and IT individuals. Next year, and the year beyond, we anticipate Bulls Eye growing quite a bit, and if you’re looking to grow your sales staff or to find that dream job, reach out to me because I have found the job that I love and I never thought that I would be a recruiter, but twenty-three years later I am. I would love to help you grow your organization or help you as an individual find that dream job.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Well that’s a generous offer. I know your website is bullseye recruiting.net. In our earlier conversation before the show, I know you encourage people to connect with you on LinkedIn, so they can find you there. Will, thanks for being on the show today.

 

Will Thomson:

 

Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

It’s been a pleasure, take care.

 

Will Thomson:

 

Alright, goodbye.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio, after my conversation with Will Thomson. What are your thoughts, teammates? What did you think?

 

Becky Thomas:

 

I really liked a lot of his advice and I think that it’s really useful to hear from a recruiter who’s worked with lots of candidates and heard from employers, and like, “Why we chose these people for the second interview versus these people who didn’t make the cut.” I think it’s important to remember that it’s not always enough to just do okay in the first interview. Like, “Oh it went fine, I’m expecting to get that second interview.” You do need to go beyond the baseline in order to stand out and earn that second interview.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah and be one hundred percent prepared.

 

Becky Thomas:

 

Yeah.

 

Jessica Black:


We talk about that all the time, even at the beginning of this episode, be prepared. Like you said, Becky, it was good to hear it from someone who does this on a regular basis, how actually really important it is.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

It’s a big part of the reason why I wanted Will on the show, because often, as candidates, we don’t get a lot of feedback. The recruiter though, gets a call from the employer and the employers says, “This is what I liked about her, this is what I liked about him.” It’s a gift to get that kind of feedback. Sadly, we often don’t get that from employers, so even getting it second hand through somebody like Will who has those conversations all the time is valuable.

 

Jessica Black:


I think that maybe not everyone is as optimistic as I am, but I always go into it thinking, “Oh yeah, I did great, and there’s only a couple other people interviewing”, but in actuality there are so many other people that are going for the same job. It’s not just a…you could be the best that you could be but you’ve got to be the best out of your peers as well. Which is stressful but you have to find the right fit for you.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

But through preparation and homework, you can make a difference.

 

Jessica Black:


Yeah, absolutely.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Ben, what are your thoughts?

 

Ben Forstag:

 

I think that’s a lovely watch you have on, Mac.

 

Jessica Black:


That’s a great question.

 

Mac Prichard:

 

Okay, well on that note, thank you all. Thank you, Will, for joining us this week as our guest expert. Thank you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

 

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Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

 

When you don’t make it to the second round after a decent first interview, you might be wondering what went wrong. On this episode, we talk to a seasoned recruiter, Will Thomson, about common mistakes applicants make in the first interview and how to avoid them in the future to get more second interviews, and more job offers.

About Our Guest: Will Thomson

Will ThomsonWill Thomson is the founder and president of Bulls Eye Recruiting.  He has worked with organizations including Dell, eBay, and Rosetta Stone. Will has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs and organizations grow their sales teams. He also blogs regularly about careers and his company’s website has received 20 international awards.

Resources from this Episode