So EVERYONE and I do mean EVERYONE has their opinion about child support. The majority of friends say I should file because Jordan’s dad should support her and I should make him pay. I’ll be honest the thought has crossed my mind several times,especially when I am paying something for which I have no clue where the money is going to come from.
BUT…. here is MY reasoning as to why I will not file.
First of all, my biological father was ordered to pay child support which was $15.00 a week and he never paid a dime. I remember even making a deal with my father when I was an adult to pay $100.00 monthly until I graduated. I only got 200.00 (the initial payment). Now with that being said any and everything that i wanted or participated in my mom made sure it was taken care of.
It wasn’t fair that the cost all fell on my mom but it’s what she had to do as a mom with a responsibility. I was, and still am (because of current situations) my mom’s responsibility. My mom made it happen and I am going to take a page from her put-your-big-girl-draws-on-and-make-it-happen-book.
Jordan’s father made it clear that when I confirmed pregnancy that he did not want another child(he has 3 other children). So with that clear stance I still tried to involve him but I wasn’t surprised (hurt but not surprised) when my attempts would fall on deaf ears. As adults we all have the right to do what we want to do whether it be right or wrong. Jordan’s father made a choice and I have to respect his decision. I don’t have to agree with it but I will respect it.
With that being said, I’m not going to file child support. Jordan wants for nothing and never will. At this point all Jordan knows is the love she receives from family and friends and that is all she will ever know. I don’t hate her father and I don’t care to involve more people in our situation. Is it hard raising and caring for Jordan financially with one income, HELL YES, but that is a burden I will wear with pride like a scarlet letter just to see my baby smile.
I’ve heard all of the reasons why I should but the same people who are telling me I should are going through their own child support woes. I don’t need anything that is going to take away time that I value. My father didn’t pay and I turned out just fine and so will Jordan!
Words that I absolutely hate to hear is…I GOTCHU’. These words are the equivalent of spitting in my face or talking about my momma. I got chu’ is a bunch of bullshit. I gotchu’ is the easiest way for people to keep you on their time and their time is Never-uary! I completely understand EVERYONE’S money is funny, but don’t put me on hold with empty promises. My mom used to always tell me “don’t count money you don’t have,” and although some situations are the exception this should be the norm.
I recently became a Pure Romance consultant. What attracted me to the company and the product was the flexibility, the benefits, and best of all there was no cap on the amount of income you can make. In the beginning I was completely gun ho but after dealing with friends, not so much. I threw my “coming out” party recently and out of 30 people I invited only 6 people showed, 2 of which were guests of invitees. I was truly grateful for all that showed because everyone did supported my business. Now here comes the rant….
For someone to open their home to others is HUGE, because your home is your peace of mind. Home is the one place I can be me and not be judge and for me to invite someone into my peace means a lot to ME. Secondly if I invite you and you say you are coming then I am going to go above and beyond to be the hostess of all hostesses. So out of 30 people only 10 responded and out of the 10 on 6 were present. I was crushed because it is big to step out on faith and try something new, especially when you have someone counting on you.
After having Jordan I wanted to go to work for the health care and the pay but then I would miss out on her growth. Pure Romance gives me the opportunity to make money, have health care and watch my daughter grow up BUT I can’t pay creditors with I gotchu’. If you don’t have it, then contact me when you do. I’ve learned the hard way that people will make time and find the money to do what they want and if you don’t want to support me then say so. My feelings can’t be hurt from the truth but to string someone along until you get good and good doggone ready is hurting my business.
For those that are interested in Pure Romance products please check out my website www.jannronnbradford.pureromance.com, or email email@example.com
So today my Jojo is 3 months old and who is Jojo you might ask…Jordan aka Jojo is my daughter. So much has happened since my last post (which was almost a year to the day by the way). Shortly after my last post I found out I was pregnant and my life forever changed.
Jojo is truly a blessing. Everyday I look at her and see if she really does look like me, cause everyone says she does. I love that little girl to death, even when she is cranky and has hollered 6 hours straight. So let’s talk about how life changed… First when your friends who are parents tell you it’s no longer about you, BELIEVE THEM! When I was working it was nothing to go and get whatever I wanted when I wanted it. Now my life is baby orajel, teething rings, diapers, and trying to remember the last bowel movement (for me included,TMI but just keeping it real)
I made a promise to God that if she came into this world I would do whatever it took to protect this precious gift that he blessed me with. Jojo was born at 11:55pm Sunday October 14th. I was in labor for 53 and a half hours and all I wanted to do was sleep and eat at the same damn time. She came into this world screaming while I was trying to get a nap.
Jojo consumes my life and even starting school and looking for work, everything revolves around this little girl. If I thought I knew what insomnia was before I had no idea. During the early days I didn’t know if I was coming or going, I’m just now starting to get a routine. Balancing work (looking for a job so if you know anyone hiring keep me in mind), life, love (still single) and school is going to be an interest trick but I am up for the challenge. I can’t expect Jojo to go to college if I don’t finish my degree.
I am truly thankful for all the mom support I have gotten from friends and especially family. Thank you for keeping me sane, your “been there done that” stories, and honestly showing me what a mom is supposed to be. I owe everything to my mom because she gives me “me time” even if it’s to run an errand for her. She will take Jordan so I can eat, wash bottles, and even shower. Bradford is awesome because being a Bibi (grandmother in Swahili) is one thing but she still wears her mom hat with me and keeps me grounded.
I can honestly say that I went back and forth about having Jojo and even after she was here I wondered did I make the right decision because of my financial situation but when she smiles and giggles or slobbers on me because she’s teething makes the doubt go away. I will give my daughter everything my mom gave me and then some (you have to believe what I type because it’s on the internet) but this isn’t just an empty promise. So let the adventures in motherhood begin…
Ps. I’m BACK!!!!!
So in my tireless search for a job, I had a friend who suggested this salon WilliamDavid. I’ll be honest I have never heard of the salon prior to the suggestion, so I did what I always do and research. I learned that they had two locations one in Buckhead and the original location in Alpharetta. I figured it had to be successful because the locations are in areas where the tax bracket is above my pay grade (for now anyway).
Now let’s fast forward…
I got the job, it was one day a week and the pay was meager but I was thankful for a job so I was going to treat it like I had a fortune 500 CEO salary. My first day of training was a rainy day in Georgia so I had class in the morning and then I went to training. I was amped because two people who I’ve worked with before were my immediate superiors. I wasn’t even in the salon 10 minutes before I felt unwelcome. I was scolded for a dress code violation but instead of the owner, who by the way was there my first day, speaking to me directly he had the director of operations call and reprimand my immediate boss.
First impressions are crucial so if you make a wrong one people develop their opinions about you without even trying to get to know you. Any who I came in and worked my day always with a smile and positive attitude because any job is better than no job. Nothing I ever did met the owners standards but instead of saying something directly it was always told to me through third party. I couldn’t understand how an owner and director of operations couldn’t call or speak to me directly.
Here’s where the story gets interesting.
The director of operations used to be my boss when I was an independent contractor at Spa 29, before the heart attack. So this is why I was surprised when she wouldn’t converse with me about my performance or lack there of. This is the same woman who called and checked on my while in the hospital and got all my information to send flowers, that never came, so her track record was far from stellar but hey who’s counting.
December 17th was the last day that I worked because the business was closing which is always a bittersweet roller coaster of emotions. Pay day was supposed to be the Friday before Christmas but instead we were informed (the 25th hour) that we wouldn’t be paid. We didn’t get checks but the owner still enjoyed his holiday while leaving his employees who dependent upon the monies earned to make a way out of no way.
It was a hard pill to swallow to not get paid but to add insult to injury with no explanation or empathy was an even bigger pill. The director contacted everyone via text that she had our checks, a week later. She also included in the text that we were paid for two weeks, which is what we should have been paid for. I’m not the one to get excited for what’s rightfully mine. I received my check, which i was grateful because the bills I owed could finally be paid.
Nope the check was short, and when I contacted the director she tried to throw another co-worker under the bus. We then corresponded back and forth via text for a week. I explained whit great detail what days I worked and the hours that I should be paid for and the response I got was generic and insulting. While the director was posting pictures whit her family during the holidays in Savannah, I didn’t have gas to go do the street and you want to insult my intelligence.
After a few weeks, and contacting the Georgia Department of Labor I finally got my money but I learned a few valuable lessons. The first lesson learned is loyalty, you are as loyal to an employer as they are loyal to you. People no longer give 20 and 30 years to a company because companies won’t give their employees 20 or 30 minutes. If I wasn’t able to do the job then WilliamDavidSalon could have fired me. Georgia is an at will state which means that either party can break the relationship with no liability. I worked the hours given with pride and never complained.
The second lesson was one that I’ve known for a while now, when one door closes another will open. Since the location has closed I have had several job opportunities open up and I look forward to the next job opportunity. I’ll admit when i thought about writing this blog I wanted to name names, and I was pissed off. I wanted to shout from the roof top how I was wronged and the ball was dropped but the anger I had in me would make me no better than the wrongdoer. I received my money and the relationship has severed.
That which does not kill you can only make you stronger.
Two thousand five hundred twenty dollars and forty four cents, this is the amount that is standing between me and Spring semester. I’m at my wits end. I have not consistently worked since May 2010, my hopes of getting disability have been shattered, and i’m still looking everyday for work.
I thought finishing my education since high school graduation in 1996 would be the one things I could look forward to in 2012 and I am 3 days away from having even that glimmer of hope taking away from me. I know everyone’s situation is different but i’m too close to finishing and close just isn’t good enough to finish this race.
The funny part is I used to be the very student who didn’t care about classes, assignments, and exams when I first started college. I took school as a joke and my grades reflected as such, I was put on academic probation. Probation still didn’t straighten my act out because then I just applied to other schools in the area. I can’t say the exact moment when I got my act together but I did and not if I don’t come up with $2520.44 before the start of school then no school, no degree, no graduation.
I can’t wrap my mind around coming this far and for it to be snatched away from me in an instant. This semester was unlike an other just because I had a crazy summer. I moved, went to school, looked for jobs, still battling health problems all before fall semester. I made a promise that fall semester would be one of my best just because of all of the stuff i went through the following months. Unemployment limits your choices in leisure time activities so i was either in books for school , online looking for jobs or seeking spiritual guidance at church.
I finished the fall semester with two A+’s (one in a class that was a complete shock), one A, and one B. Maybe it’s a little too late but I felt proud of my accomplishment. I mean when you’re unemployed you have no other choice but to excel in other areas and my only other area was school. I suffered from insomnia, chest pains, and insanity to say the least. There were many a day when I would call close friends and tell them I am ready to quit.
It’s one thing to make the decision to quit but when your hand is being forced it’s completely different. We live in a society where if you don’t have further education you will eventually hit the glass ceiling. Education is everything, but it is everything to those who can afford it. Student loans will only take you so far and with the rising costs of education loan amounts won’t be enough to cover a college year. If you are fortunate enough to have family or friends pay out of pocket they are experiencing financial strains as well.
School is my Plan B and if I don’t come up with a new plan in the next 72 hours then I will be s.o.l. My feelings are hurt more than anything because I’ve come this far and for it to all be for nothing will just be the straw that broke this camel’s back. Sucks that my first post in months and in the new year is so depressing.
So it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and somethings in my life have gone really right and others have just gone. This post is in no particular order just because I need to write before I explode.
Okay first and foremost I’m ready to quit school. Yes, I know I am in my last year and only have a few more classes before graduation but with everything else going on in my life school is the last thing I am thinking about. My classes aren’t difficult but I’m tired of having a smile on my face when on the inside i’m screaming bloody murder because my heart is not longer in it. School is no longer fun for me, it’s become a chore. A chore that just drains the life out of me just thinking about it.
Love life, what is that. The more time I am single the more and more I realize that when I used to joke about my husband was aborted because his mother had too many children just might not have been a joke. I want a relationship but then again I don’t. Most men see me as one of the guy’s and I can recall a time when my mother thought I was gay because my hair was short. I’ll never forget that awkward moment when she asked me was I gay. I didn’t know if I wanted to punch the shit out of her for even asking me a dumb ass question like that or cry because my mother thought I was gay. Nothing wrong with being gay but I am far from it. I don’t have one good example in my life of successful marriages or relationships. I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like but I have had my fair share of cheaters, abusers, and just plain ole assholes in my life.
My relationship with God is on the rocks. I know you are supposed to have a mustard seed of faith but for the last couple of weeks I have cussed God up one side and down the other. I think God keeping me in this hell hole of a life is a cruel joke to which I never found funny. I remember after my heart attack I used to pray for death and then I stopped because I felt that there was a reason I was still here. A little over a year later I have no idea what that reason is and if another heart attack comes I will not do anything to stop or save my life.
I have not worked a job in over a year, I’ve have applied to hundreds of places with maybe one or two phone interviews. I think the interviews go great but apparently I’m a bad judge of character because i’m still unemployed. It’s quite dehumanizing when your mother has to help you provide the bare necessities for yourself. I feel like a “non-motherfucking factor bitch.” I walk around with a smile on my face daily and put up a front because nobody would even begin to understand my situation.
I’m not saying that my situation is no better or worse than the next man or woman, but I’ve been through more than the average person. I was molested as a teenager. I think I was 13 or 14, not really sure which because it is something that is never talked about. Shortly after the molestation I became sexually active. I gave my virginity away to someone who could care less about me. It was a joke to him, and afterwards I felt so dirty. I was a rebellious teen and my mother did the best she could, i.e. private school. I was a ungrateful teen. I was. Then I grew up and became an ungrateful adult and several times my mom and I have bumped heads but I guess that what unconditional love is all about because she hasn’t given up on me yet.
I hate my father, and every man in my life after him. My biologically father has never down anything for me but provide the sperm that created me. Sorry bastard. Am I bitter, hell yeah, I am very bitter. I wouldn’t spit on that man if he was on fire. If he dies I could care less because he did nothing. I think if he would have help my mother in some way that she might not have had to work as hard as she did to take care of us. My mother used to go without so that I could have. The sad part is his child support order was $15.00 a week. I’ve never seen a dime. He has been re-married for the past 15 years and did more for his step-son than he did for his own flesh and blood. Then my mother’s second husband gave me my name (well my name was already JannRonn but the way I spell it is because of him). When he cheated on my mother with his wife to whom he is still married to today, I didn’t know what cheating was I just knew daddy wasn’t coming back. I saw my mother crying and I remember her being so hurt one day that she and I cried together. Needless to say he and I lost contact. My mother got married again when I was 18 to a great dude Bill. Bill didn’t try to be my dad, and for that I will always have respect for him. Bill died of a blood clot back in 1999 and that was the last time I had a father in my life. Now, the second husnbad has popped back in my life the 1st time was in my mid-twenties. We were supposed to get together for Christmas but instead I opted for money because money was tight.
I got broken promises and so one day in my reckless mid-twenty i don’t give a fuck fashion I called him on his work voicemail and went off. Instead of saying something to me he called my mother and she understood my anger but she explained to me that there was a better way to handle the situation. With that said, communication ceased. Well it amazes me how tragedy or traumatic situations will bring out the compassion in people. So this past summer second husband found out about my heart attack and on my birthday called to apologize and tell me how much he loved me.
The little girl longing for a father was elated but the 33 year old woman who had grown up without a father all this time wasn’t impressed. We hung out this summer, but at the end of the day trying to repair a 20 something year old wound was not a good idea. It’s all to be disappointed by the parent who has always had my back but to be hyped up and disappointed by a man who probably is only around because of a near death experience is just him trying to make a wrong right. Or at least it is in my opinion.
I have become socially anti-social. My once optimistic attitude is replaced by pessimism. I always expect the worse and when I’m right I don’t feel bad. I’ve lost my faith in God, family, friends, career, love, and most importantly self.
Okay so I read an article on The Huffington Post. Here’s the link (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/11/bert-and-ernie-gay-marriage-no_n_924808.html) The story is basically saying that the LGBT community want Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie to get married. They want them married to help teach and raise awareness of LGBT among Sesame Street.
Here’s my two cents(no, you didn’t ask for it but who would I be if I didn’t supply it):
I grew up on Sesame Street. I can vividly recall sitting in front of the television and watching Sesame Street. Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Snuffleupagus,and Count. I mean I did not even know that gay had other meanings besides happy. I was a gay kid when Sesame Street was on. I had my juice, a snack and a smile. For as long as I can remember Bert and Ernie were best friends who lived together. Nothing more, nothing less.
I can honestly say it wasn’t until the article that I even thought of Bert and Ernie being gay. Now, don’t get my wrong I have LGBT friends, so I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be awareness. I mean the bullying, hate and suicides have gone beyond, out of control. People should be able to love who they love without ANY of us judging. Who are we? Our rules, have a set of rules, and then we have rules to check those rules. It’s a never ending cycle of rules because “we are the land of the free and home of the brave,”and God forbid we offend anyone.
Let’s face it we offend EVERYONE especially ourselves.
And this whole Bert and Ernie is just another offence on our long list of royal fuck ups. Bert and Ernie? Really?? Like, Sesame Street is one of the last few shows that generations can share with one another. I pray that I have kids before they decide to pull the kill switch. I would love to relive the moments, Bradford once had. I think the marriage or even adding an LGBT puppet thing is taking it a little too far. I truly believe that awareness is needed but not on Sesame Street.
Now, let me play Devil’s Advocate. Why not Sesame Street? It’s a kids show that reach millions of children. You could raise awareness and try and thwart the “possible” hate. I say possible because not everyone hates the LGBT community, some don’t want to be bother because they have their own lives to live. Then you have those advocates that will catch a case. Now if we raise awareness about LGBT, will we have to have an KKK member, or a what about a Muslim puppet. Honestly, when will it end? We have gotten away from what Jim Henson originally was hired to do. SN: I read the bio on Jim Henson. Very interesting.
Some things should just be sacred. As far as I am concerned Sesame Street is on that list. Submit a script for a positive show that raises awareness. Or with social media today, you can create a vlog, or a tv show and upload the video on your own site. There are a plethora of alternates, so please leave Sesame Street alone.
Again, my two cents.
So even after an awesome service at church yesterday and the help of my mother today I still feel like slush. I have been unemployed for over a year, and not for a lack of trying. Atlanta has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Disability tells me that although I have a life threatening disease that I’m well enough to return to the workforce, but don’t do too much cause they don’t want me to drop dead. School is one of the few positives I have going and even then I’ve stumbled upon a road block. Tuition is increasing yet, again but the class sizes and the classes being offered are shrinking. I run the risk of not being able to take classes this fall because all the class I need to take for my major are full. When people ask me how am I doing I often lie just because the truth isn’t what anyone wants to hear. The truth is, I’m blessed to have survived a heart attack with just a stent in my heart. I’m grateful every morning I wake up but I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day. I don’t go anywhere because that requires money, which I don’t have, and gas that I need to use sparingly. It is depressing everyday not to be able to sustain your basic necessities and have to depend on someone else for everything. There is nothing more demeaning then having to depend on someone to take care of your basic needs. I completely get how older people eat cat food because that’s all they can afford. Then on top of all that trying to keep a positive attitude it is a difficult and draining task. Having faith that things are going to work out for the better isn’t as easy as it once was. I can recall being able to pay my bills and if I had nothing left over then at least my bills were paid. Now I’m thankful don’t get me wrong because i have a roof over my head and a family that loves me but I want to be able to take care of them and not the other way around.
So Bradford used to always tell me “that a dog that will carry a bone will bring a bone.” When she first said it I swear I had no clue what the hell she was talking about but I nodded and kept it in the “things mommy says file.” It wasn’t until later in life that I somewhat understood.
I’ve always been able to make friends, it comes along with being a military brat. Moving around a lot meant friends come and go, but now my judgement in those said friends is a different story. I always try to see the good in everyone but just because I choose to walk around with rose colored glasses doesn’t mean it always work in my favor.
I’ve had some friends betray my friendship and despite the betrayal and the bad judge of character I still stay true to self. I’m not going to change who I am because people don’t follow the same principles, ethics, or morals that my mother taught me.
I value all of my friendships, even those that are nonexistent. If Judas can betray Jesus, what makes you think someone won’t betray you. I’m no saint by any means but treating others as I’d like to be treated is a big deal to me. I want my friends to know that the can rely on me and vice versa.
Now, everyone is NOT your friend and maybe you will realize that a little too late but that’s the joy about life lessons you can learn and grow from them. Life is all about growth and you are never too old to grow. If I held onto all of the deceit against me I would be no better than the dog that brought the bone.
Hatred in your heart makes it impossible to let love in. If you have people in and around your life that you don’t want to EVER be like, keep those people around. Keep them at a distance but keep them around. Those people will be a constant reminder of why you make sacrifices to better yourself. Use them to your advantage just like they think they are using you to theirs. You don’t have to stoop to their level but at least you know what that level looks like and where you don’t want to end up.
Don’t be the dog that carries and brings the bone, be the dog that carries and buries the bone.
A friend of mine sent this in an email and I thought it was good to share because we all know someone who is looking for a job these days.
Interview Cheat Sheet
In the Days Before the Interview
- Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left side, make a bulleted list of what the employer is looking for based on the job posting. On the right side, make a bulleted list of the qualities you possess that fit those requirements.
- Research the company, industry and the competition.
- Prepare your 60-second personal statement.
- Write at least five success stories to answer behavioral interview questions (“Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of a time…”).
- List five questions to ask the interviewer about the job, the company and the industry.
- Research salaries to determine your worth.
- Determine your salary needs based on your living expenses.
- Get permission from your references to use their names.
Prepare Your Interview Answers
Be ready to answer common interview questions such as these:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why did you leave your last position, or why are you leaving your current position?
- What do you know about this company?
- What are your goals?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What has been your most significant achievement?
- How would your last boss and colleagues describe you?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your salary expectations?
Before You Go to the Interview
Do you look professional? Check yourself in the mirror; part of your confidence will come from looking good.
Carry these items to the interview:
- Several copies of your resume on quality paper.
- A copy of your references.
- A pad of paper on which to take notes, though notes are optional.
- Directions to the interview site.
- Arrive early — enter the building 10 minutes before your appointment.
- Review your prepared stories and answers.
- Go to the restroom and check your appearance one last time.
- Announce yourself to the receptionist in a professional manner.
- Stand and greet your interviewer with a hearty — not bone-crushing — handshake.
- Smile and maintain eye contact.
During the Interview
- Try to focus on the points you have prepared without sounding rehearsed or stiff.
- Relax and enjoy the conversation.
- Learn what you can about the company.
- Ask questions and listen; read between the lines.
- At the conclusion, thank the interviewer, and determine the next steps.
- Ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can send a follow-up letter.
After the Interview
- As soon as possible, write down what you are thinking and feeling.
- Later in the day, review what you wrote and assess how you did.
- Write an interview thank-you letter, reminding the interviewer of your qualities.
What are your strengths and weakness?
Assessing Your Strengths
Assess your skills, and you will identify your strengths. This is an exercise worth doing before any interview. Make a list of your skills, dividing them into three categories:
- Knowledge-Based Skills: Acquired from education and experience (e.g., computer skills, languages, degrees, training and technical ability).
- Transferable Skills: Your portable skills that you take from job to job (e.g., communication and people skills, analytical problem solving and planning skills)
- Personal Traits: Your unique qualities (e.g., dependable, flexible, friendly, hard working, expressive, formal, punctual and being a team player).
When you complete this list, choose three to five of those strengths that match what the employer is seeking in the job posting. Make sure you can give specific examples to demonstrate why you say that is your strength if probed further.
Assessing Your Weaknesses
This is probably the most dreaded part of the question. Everyone has weaknesses, but who wants to admit to them, especially in an interview?
The best way to handle this question is to minimize the trait and emphasize the positive. Select a trait and come up with a solution to overcome your weakness. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate more on professional traits. For example: “I pride myself on being a ‘big picture’ guy. I have to admit I sometimes miss small details, but I always make sure I have someone who is detail-oriented on my team.”
Scripting Your Answers
Write a positive statement you can say with confidence:
“My strength is my flexibility to handle change. As customer service manager at my last job, I was able to turn around a negative working environment and develop a very supportive team. As far as weaknesses, I feel that my management skills could be stronger, and I am constantly working to improve them.”
When confronted with this question, remember the interviewer is looking for a fit. She is forming a picture of you based on your answers. A single answer will probably not keep you from getting the job, unless, of course, it is something blatant. Put your energy into your strengths statement — what you have to offer. Then let the interviewer know that although you may not be perfect, you are working on any shortcomings you have.
Why should we hire you?
The Wrong Track
Spencer answers by saying, “Because I need and want a job.” That’s nice, but the bottom line here is, “What can you do for us?”
Mariana says, “I’m a hard worker and really want to work for this company.” The majority of people think of themselves as hard workers — and why this company?
The Right Track
Tom’s answer to this question is, “Because I’m a good fit for the position.” Getting warmer, but more details, please.
Sharon answers, “I have what it takes to solve problems and do the job.” This is the best answer so far. Expand on this, and you’ve got it.
Develop a Sales Statement
The more detail you give, the better your answer will be. This is not a time to talk about what you want. Rather, it is a time to summarize your accomplishments and relate what makes you unique.
Product Inventory Exercise
The bottom line of this question is, “What can you do for this company?”
Start by looking at the job description or posting. What is the employer stressing as requirements of the job? What will it take to get the job done? Make a list of those requirements.
Next, do an inventory to determine what you have to offer as a fit for those requirements. Think of two or three key qualities you have to offer that match those the employer is seeking. Don’t underestimate personal traits that make you unique; your energy, personality type, working style and people skills are all very relevant to any job.
The Sales Pitch: You Are the Solution
From the list of requirements, match what you have to offer and merge the two into a summary statement. This is your sales pitch. It should be no more than two minutes long and should stress the traits that make you unique and a good match for the job.
Example: “From our conversations, it sounds as if you’re looking for someone to come in and take charge immediately. It also sounds like you are experiencing problems with some of your database systems. With my seven years of experience working with financial databases, I have saved companies thousands of dollars by streamlining systems. My high energy and quick learning style enable me to hit the ground and size up problems rapidly. My colleagues would tell you I’m a team player who maintains a positive attitude and outlook. I have the ability to stay focused in stressful situations and can be counted on when the going gets tough. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.”
What Makes You Unique?
Completing an exercise around this question will allow you to concentrate on your unique qualities. Like snowflakes, no two people are alike. Take some time to think about what sets you apart from others.
- “Never miss deadlines.”
- “Bring order to chaos.”
- “Good sense of humor.”
- “Great attention to detail.”
Let the interviewer know that you have been listening to the problem and have what it takes to do the job — that you are the solution to the problem.
You Can Survive the Behavioral Interview
When asked a traditional question like, “What would you do if you had a customer who wasn’t interested in buying the product?” you can make up a story. But when you’re asked behavioral questions, the interviewer is listening for specific examples of how you have handled situations or problems in the past.
When presented with interview questions beginning with phrases like “tell me about a time when” or “give me an example of” the interviewer wants to hear your real-life examples. When interviewers ask such behavioral interview questions, they are listening for examples of how you handled situations similar to the ones you may handle for this company. This is your chance to talk about your accomplishments. If you can demonstrate through examples (preferably recent ones) that you’ve succeeded in certain areas of interest, you’ll likely be considered a strong candidate for the position. After all, if you did it somewhere else yesterday, you can do it for this company tomorrow.
Your success stories should include the situation, the action you took and the result. Here is an example if you were interviewing for a sales position:
- The Situation: I had a customer who did not want to hear about the features of my merchandise because of a prior interaction with my company.
- The Action: I listened to her story and made sure I heard her complaint. I then explained how I would have handled the situation differently and how I can offer her better service. I showed her some facts that changed her mind about dealing with the company again.
- The Result: She not only bought the merchandise, but also complimented how I handled her account. She is now one of my best customers.
One way to prepare for behavioral interview questions is by writing out your stories before the interview. Determine what stories you have that would be appropriate for the position based on its job description. If the job requires dependability, write your story about a time when your dependability was recognized or made a difference with a customer.
You can use the stories you prepare even when the interviewer does not ask behavioral questions. If you are asked a traditional question, use your prepared story and preface it with, “I can give you an example of a time when I used that skill on a previous job.”
By preparing for the interview ahead of time and recalling your past successes, you will be able to have examples in mind and will not be caught off guard. There is no way you can predict what the interviewer is going to ask you, but you can prepare what you want him to know about your past as a predictor of your future performance.
What Are Your Long-Term Goals?
Open-ended interview questions such as “What are your long-term goals?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” throw most candidates off balance. Interviewers ask this question to gain insight into your self-awareness and communication skills.
Dan, a staffing manager, is about to interview Phil, Shawna and Marsha, for a project manager position. He is looking for someone with planning skills and long-range vision. He asks each of them, “What are your long-term goals?”
“To be a marketing manager within five years and have a hand-picked team reporting to me,” replies Phil. This is a very specific and narrow goal, which may not be an option at this company. The “hand-picked” team reference demonstrates a lack of flexibility. It’s best to stay away from too specific a goal.
“I have been so busy with my responsibilities and achieving company goals that I have not focused on personal long-term goals,” answers Shawna. While a strong work ethic is certainly desirable, this answer does not demonstrate vision or planning.
Marsha answers the question with: “I plan to return to school to earn my MBA and have my own consulting business one day.” While it pays to be honest, this answer could turn the interview in the wrong direction very quickly. The employer is looking for someone to stick around for the long run, not to stop over on the way to a new career.
So how could these candidates provide better answers?
If you are the type of person who prefers an organized way of life, you may find this question a piece of cake to answer. But if you’re among the majority of people who let life happen as it comes along, you will probably not have a smooth answer without some forethought.
What are your goals? Think about what you really want. Most successful business people will tell you that a key success factor is the ability to set and achieve goals.
Begin by setting short-term goals. Right now your goal may be to get a job. But what kind of job? And where do you go from there?
Be employer-centered. The employer is looking for someone to come in and solve problems. Since planning is a key factor in this job, think of examples where your planning has affected the results.
After giving some thought as to where you want to go and how you can help the employer achieve results, try scripting your answer. Here’s an example:
“I have learned that long-term goals are best achieved when I break them into shorter goals. My short-term goal is to find a position that will put me in a forward-moving company with solid performance and future projections. As part of a team, I want to add value and continue to grow the company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. My plan is to move into a position of responsibility where I can lead a team.”
No one can tell you exactly how to answer this question, since your response will come from what is important to you. However, the more focused and employer-centered you can be about your goal, the better your chances will be of steering the interview in the right direction.
Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
There are many reasons you might have left your last job, and not all of them are rosy. Perhaps you worked for a toxic boss or you met obstacles on your way up the ladder. Or maybe you were just plain bored with your work.
Interviewers generally ask why you left your former company so they can “understand your motives and gain insight as to how [you] handle work relationships,” says Duncan Mathison, author of Unlock the Hidden Job Market: 6 Steps to a Successful Search When Times are Tough. “In particular they are asking themselves, ‘Will they leave us in the lurch if they become dissatisfied?’ or ‘Is there some dirt here?’” In short, asking “Why did you leave your last job?” is one way for the interviewer to ensure you’re a person of integrity.
How to Answer Interview Questions Like This
The best strategy for effectively answering this tough interview question is to prepare for it. Here’s how to be ready and how to recover when you’re not.
Do: Focus on results: Make a list of things you accomplished in your last position and focus on those, ending with something like, “‘Having successfully done that, I’m ready for another challenge,’” suggests Stephen Balzac, president of 7 Steps Ahead, a business consulting firm in Stow, Massachusetts. “Now what you’re saying to the interviewer is: ‘You can count on me to get results and stay here until I do.’”
Don’t: Answer in a way that doesn’t reassure the interviewer. “Answers such as, ‘I wasn’t being challenged’, ‘The work was no longer interesting’ or ‘The pay was too low’ all say the same thing to the interviewer: that you might leave at any time if things aren’t to your liking,” says Balzac.
Recover: If you give a bland answer, circle back to it quickly. And if you can’t, revisit why you left your last job just before you end the interview. This allows you to leave the interviewer with your previous accomplishments top of mind.
Do: Remember that employers run the show and can act as they see fit, according to Mathison. “Yet at the same time, make it clear that the organization you seek has the qualities to perform at a higher level,” he says. An example: “We all know that sometimes promises exceed reality. Our CEO was comfortable, as many are, with pushing the limits. But I feel that lasting business partnerships and profitability are built on my ability to deliver on my promises, so I’m looking for that type of company.”
Don’t: Badmouth the boss or the company. “That implies you may be difficult to manage,” Mathison says.
Recover: Acknowledge you were hard on your previous employer and restate your answer like this: “That might be a little harsh. I know that my former company is trying to do its best under the circumstances. I’m looking for a company that’s a better fit for me.” This also shows that you’re self-aware and have decent manners.
One Final Tip for the Interview
Don’t dwell too long on your previous employer — the interview is about you, after all. “Always bring the conversation back to your results and reliability,” Balzac notes.
Tell Me About Yourself
It’s one of the most frequently asked interview questions: Tell me about yourself. Your response to this request will set the tone for the rest of the interview. For some, this is the most challenging question to answer, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include.
Eleanor dreaded this question. When it was the first one asked at her interview, she fumbled her way through a vague answer, not focusing on what she could bring to the job.
“I’m happily married and originally from Denver,” she began. “My husband was transferred here three months ago, and I’ve been getting us settled in our new home. I’m now ready to go back to work. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, usually customer service-related. I’m looking for a company that offers growth opportunities.”
The interview went downhill after that. She had started with personal information and gave the interviewer reason to doubt whether she was an employee who would stay for very long.
- She’s married, and when her husband gets transferred that means she has to leave; she did it once and can do it again.
- She has some work experience with customers but didn’t emphasize what she did.
- She is looking to grow. What about the job she is applying for? Will she stay content for long?
The secret to responding to this free-form request successfully is to focus, script and practice. You cannot afford to wing this answer, as it will affect the rest of the interview. Begin to think about what you want the interviewer to know about you.
List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills, etc.). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave?
Eleanor is strong in communications and connecting with people. She has a strong background and proven success with customer relationships. Her real strength is her follow-through. She prides herself on her reputation for meeting deadlines.
Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success:
“I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales in a matter of months.”
Next, mention your strengths and abilities:
“My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time.”
Conclude with a statement about your current situation:
“What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales.”
Practice with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn’t memorize it — you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational.
Even if you are not asked this type of question to begin the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product — you — the better chance you will have at selling it.