Monday, March 31, 2014

Positive Thoughts

I’m sure you have heard of Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law, in short, is the belief that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong.  Have you ever been so nervous or worried about dropping a tray in the cafeteria that it actually happens? Murphy’s Law? I don’t think so. After reading a few books on positive thinking, I am suggesting a change to the theory: if you think something can go wrong, it will go wrong. On the flip side, if you think positive, good things will happen.

Before becoming a career coach, I didn’t really believe this. I thought that the world was just the world. What I think does not control the outcome. I’ve worked with several other coaches and clients on positive thinking and have since changed my position. Positive thinking and reinforcement really does work. Although I’ve read the books, I still don’t know or understand much on neuroplasticity. After reading The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge MD, what I do know is the power of the mind is amazing. There is so much that we don’t yet know about the human brain. I have seen positive thinking work for me, other coaches and many clients.

If you are skeptical in positive thinking, what is the downside to testing it on your own? How can you change the way you think to remove negative thoughts? Who can help you with positive thinking and affirmations? How can you help others with positive thinking?

To learn more about career coach Kate Kibler, go to

Monday, March 24, 2014

Managing Multiple Job Options

If you are actively looking for new opportunities you might find yourself in a situation where you are interviewing with more than one employer at a time.   This is a good situation to be in if you manage the process with integrity.

It is best to be completely candid when an employer or agency recruiter asks you if you have other options you are considering.  For example…”I have had a phone interview and they are scheduling an on-site.”  or “They have told me they are preparing an offer.”    If you need to keep the brand confidential you should honor that, otherwise it is completely fine to share brand and position.

In our experience, after a candidate has shared that s/he is considering multiple opportunities, the employer will continue to pursue the candidate.  In fact, they usually move more quickly.  The reason being both parties have the opportunity to evaluate each other and the competition.

The objective of sharing your options is not to leverage one against another, or to push salary, but rather provide all companies the opportunity to get you through the process with no surprises along the way.  In your advantage you have the opportunity to review multiple options and select the one that is the best overall situation for you. 

Once you accept an offer, it is import to follow up with the other potential employers.  If a potential employer has ever told you “we went with someone else.” with no feedback you will understand why this is important.  You should be honest with the employer you did not select.  “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pursue the position.  It was a difficult decision, but I have decided to accept another option.”  Be honest about the reasons for your decision. Some reasons we hear are: preferred location, preferred culture, more desirable job content and greater long term growth potential. 

This follow up is courteous, professional and gives the other employer closure while potentially leaving the door open for future consideration.  Blind siding employers with news you withheld throughout the process and lack of follow up can cause employers to not reconsider you as a candidate in the future.

Have you ever interviewed for more than one job at a time?  Were you asked if you were pursuing other options?  Have you ever lost a candidate you wanted to hire to another company? 

We are happy to share what career opportunities we are working on at Apparel Resource.  Email me at

Monday, March 17, 2014

Behavioral interviews

If you are not prepared, behavioral interviews can be incredibly challenging. This is where an interviewer will ask a candidate very specific questions and look for very specific answers. For example, “tell me about a time when you failed to complete a project on time.” Or perhaps: “what is the best example of when you acted as a leader?” This is where a candidate is expected to pick a specific example of when s/he acted as a leader. For example: “When my boss left the company, I noticed things weren’t functioning smoothly any longer. Our team started to miss calendar deadlines and the communication suffered. I decided that I needed to step up. Until our new boss joins the team, I have called regular team meetings to clear up communication and discuss upcoming deliverables. As a result, our team is back on track, we are 10% above sales goals, and my new boss is starting next week. Although it was a challenge in the beginning, I realized what needed to be done and stepped up as a leader.” What the interviewer does not want to hear is “I really lead the team. I have great leadership skills. People listen to me.” There is a clear difference between the two answers. One tells the interviewer you have leadership skills, the other tells the interviewer you think you have leadership skills.

While this is a great way for an interviewer to learn more about a candidate, it can really throw off a candidate if the candidate is not prepared. How can you prepare when you don’t have any idea what someone is going to ask?

What do you believe the company will ask?  Research behavioral interview questions. There are many examples online. Determine 5-10 major themes. Think about things like leadership, values, how you handle disagreements, communication, learning (how you learn from mistakes), ability to influence, determination, etc. Connect these with your work history. Think about a disagreement you may have had with your boss. How did you handle it? Write it down.

Behavioral questions tend to focus more on who you are rather than what you have done. What have you learned from your mistakes? If you made a mistake a year ago and encountered the same challenge, how did you adjust and learn from what happened a year ago? How do your answers fit with the company culture? Once you have the hang of it, behavioral interviewing gets easier.
What can you do to prepare for an interview? Even if the interviewer does not ask behavioral questions, how can you slip in some of your answers to give yourself a leg up on other candidates?

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, March 10, 2014

Turning Obstacles into advantages.

We often have candidates run into hurdles during the interview process.  We have seen candidates turn these hurdles into an advantage. 
Last week we had a candidate flying to interview with a large corporate employer.  She made it but her luggage did not.  There was no time to shop other than at a 24 hour store.  She sent a very calm and cheerful email to us and the employer late evening. Explaining that her luggage had not made it to her destination.  She informed the employer that she would be interviewing in a bit more casual apparel than she had intended to.  She then went to Walmart and purchased new make-up and essentials.

She arrived at her interview poised and confident with a smile.  She nailed her interviews all day.  Because she had explained in advance she did not spend precious interview time describing her dilemma.  The hiring team that met with her was impressed with her positive attitude and focus.  Candidates in similar situations who panic and leave frantic voice messages and spend precious interview time talking about the horrible travel experience often miss their one window to share their skills and their ability to handle random obstacles.

We have had candidates who have slipped and bloodied their hands prior to an interview…trains that are late requiring candidates sprint quite a distance to make it for their first meeting.  With the weather this winter across the country travel delays were a given.

What is the worst thing that has happened to you prior to an interview?  What are some planning steps you could take to avoid troubles with travel and luggage.  A few tips from us.   

Always allow for extra time in the event of unplanned delays.

When flying, we always carry on our make-up, essential toiletries and one extra set of clothes that is appropriate for most any situation. 

Have the contact numbers of the people you are meeting in your phone so if something goes haywire you can let them know about your situation in advance.

In most cases a good sense of humor, a positive attitude and the ability to roll with unplanned obstacles can turn a challenging situation into a very successful one.
To see what openings we are currently arranging interviews for check out our website at

Monday, March 3, 2014

Do the research

Landing an interview at your dream company can be a feat in unto itself. So you were able to bypass the black hole of online resume submission. The work you did on your resume got you noticed from a sea of other candidates. In this industry, the question I hear most is: what do I wear on the interview? Yes, that is very important in fashion, but it is only part of the equation. How can you best prepare before walking into an interview? How can you stand out from other candidates?

Obviously you need to have the skills and qualifications for the job. Assuming you have that, what is the next most important thing employers look for in a candidate? Cultural fit. How will you fit into the company? Of course, this is a legitimate concern. If you have ever worked for a company where you did not fit the culture, you know how painful it can be for both parties. No level of technical skill can help you overcome a bad cultural fit.

How can you learn more about a company culture before you go on your interview? Research. If you really want the job, spend as much time as you can researching the company. Who is in charge? What is their background? What does it say on their website about mission and vision? What key words do they repeat on their website, advertising, etc? What does the media say about the company? What does their latest earnings report talk about (may seem boring to you design candidates, but you can skim through the boring stuff to pick up some good nuggets of information.) How long has the company been in business? What transitions have they gone through? What are their plans for the future?

Once you are an expert in the company, how do you fit in? What special skills do you have to contribute to get this company where they want to go?

Many times you only have one shot to make a great impression.

To learn more about career coaching, go to