Laid Off? Get a New Job Without Looking Like a Victim

Hi there good people

Wangari Maina here with another delightful serving of Esteemed talks.

Just a reminder, if you haven’t already done so, please subscribe, using the button below. You are missing out on some good stuff to set you apart in your career path and/ or business journey.

First off, thank you for all the feedback you have been giving. Today, I have taken the time to address an issue that has been raised by many listeners. How do you get a new job without looking like a victim of a layoff program?

If you are going for an interview, as part of your last-minute preparations and checks, please spare some 6 minutes to listen to the podcast ‘5 Interview hacks to get you noticed.’ Today’s podcast will be a plus in an interview and an even bigger bonus during that probation period. Most people don’t know that the probation period is part of the interview process.

So let’s get into it.

Stick to the facts

Especially for junior, mid and senior management level, always answer the questions about your layoff based on what was officially released by your former employer either to the public or through the internal memo or through the letter you received. The rumor mill in your former company and in the industry may have a more attractive, flowery version which may or may not be true. You need to remember that your interviewer or probation supervisor is not interested in what happened in your former employment. It is your loyalty or integrity under assessment. If you were laid off from an Accounting or Executive PA position, you may have sensitive information that shows the company lied about why they laid off people. It is not in your place, no matter how bitter or tempted you are, to release that information.

You were trusted and if you use it to try and get a new job, people will see without doubt that your loyalty has a price tag.

Dismantle the pain and betrayal traps

I make reference to this point in the mapping toolkit available on my website If your name was not on the director’s list, there was every chance that you could be suspended, fired, or laid off to become a victim of a retrenchment process. Do not fall into the trap of talking from a place of pain, bitterness and betrayal. Why? For starters, it will make you sound like a jilted lover who still has hang ups and does not mind going back. Secondly, it will blind you from the opportunities that present themselves by you getting a job with the potential employer. Thirdly, during the probation period, if you secure a new job, you will find it hard to adjust to the different environment and culture. This will make your learning curve steeper than it should be.

Take a deep breathe every time the negative thoughts come and say, “my former employer, no matter how good they were, do not define my present nor dictate my future. It was good while it lasted and I have moved on. My future is mine to define with today’s choices – my choices. Not corporate choices”.

Sell your value

As far as it depends on you, keep the conversation in an interview or at probation fixed on you, your work and what you can deliver. The more you allow your interviewer to focus on the weaknesses and strengths of your former employer, the more your responses border on the defensive as well as passing the buck to those who had more powers than you did. Let’s be practical. You’ve been laid off as an accountant and the conversation is that layoffs are due to mismanagement of financial resources. Your potential employer asks whether you were privy to the related information and you answer honestly “yes”. The question that follows is, “what did you do to salvage the situation?”

The most obvious and common answer, “There was nothing I could do. I simply did my job which was highlight the anomalies if I cited them and my boss and the management were responsible for how it was handled.”

The problem with that answer is that it has traces of lack of ownership, resignation, a we-vs-them mentality, and a lackluster approach to work. Here is another answer, “Many organizations such as my former employer and I believe this esteemed company as well, have systems, processes and a working culture that allows its employees to be both efficient and effective.

Mismanagement of resources is not an overnight activity, as am sure you all appreciate. It is a progressive downward slide if left unchecked. My duties included weekly reports to my section head, monthly meeting with the department heads and beyond highlighting the problem, my approach included highlighting loopholes, their short-term effect and what the future looked like if nothing was done. I am on record in the company initiating continuous improvement ideas such as requiring receipts from field staff to support their claims and having agreements with hotels to host our field staff.

The ideas would be approved and effected but the people involved in the process of implementation failed to see them through so the uptake was too little too late. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link so it doesn’t matter how good a solution is if the community does not apply it for its own good.”

The frustration in this second answer is not toward a person but toward a culture. In the same answer is an indication that this person values the company and is willing to invest more into it in form of ideas. It’s also an answer indicating that this person takes time to learn the other parts of the business.

Do your homework

If someone is taking their time to interview you, normally it means that they are willing to employ someone. It may as well be you. So, you must know why they need to fill that position. Have they just implemented a new system that you are familiar with? Have they always had their eyes on you? Are they glad your former employer retrenched because now they can afford the laid off staff? Your potential employer, if they are from the same industry will be hiring you for any number of reasons including wanting the think tank that you carry and contributed to your former employer, their competitor.

If they are from outside the industry, it may be because they have a high opinion/ value attached to the staff of your former employer. Be smart. Just like where you are coming from, they also hold the power to fire you if you don’t serve the purpose for which they are hiring you.

Know your place

The previous point got us started on this. Do not let your being laid off intimidate you to become timid and exhibit enslavement tendencies. Do not begin thinking that your new employer is doing you a favor by giving you a job after being laid off. At the same time, do not go flaunting your new job to your former colleagues and employer as if to say, “who’s laughing now?”

Knowing your place is an important reminder for you to offer the value you guaranteed at the interview and for which your new employer will be paying. In my e-book, “From Employment to Business”, I highlight that humility and teachability are priceless, unseen pearls of success. Humility is about leaving your past successes in the past and building new ones while learning from others.

That’s it for this set of talks.

Thank you for taking the time to listen in today. For feedback and questions about this conversation, please send them to

Your path is important to you and to us. So, we invite you to subscribe to this channel or our online resource centre at for relevant, regular, and actionable content to get you to that better place.



​Using the Investor’s Capital Wisely

Apart from personal funds, many times business starters seek funds from Angels (relatives or friends), investors or lending institutions such as banks, co-operative societies and such others. Angels are more forgiving and less inquisitive about the business and its nitty-gritties. Even if your idea is as bogus as they come, there is an angel who will say that they believe you can make it succeed. A venture capitalist (VC) will tell you off and they return the cheque book into their pockets until the next time they hear from you with a better idea.

The process of choosing who should fund you is not today’s conversation. Let us first discuss how to handle the resources that are put in our business by whoever sees it as a worthy investment.

Don’t get it if you don’t need it

A VC or an angel doesn’t step in to fund your dream because they have nothing else to do with the money. As a point of respect, you shouldn’t ask for it if you don’t need it. In consulting for some of our clients, we come across well prepared business plans which lose their great appeal once we go through the financials with a fine tooth-comb. Here is an example; a quick food proposal to supply fresh food by use of motorcycles is drawn up and the financials include some money to purchase a small 1 tonne truck and a small personal car. On further discussions with the entrepreneur, she says that she needs the small car for use when going to meetings with potential customers and suppliers and it will help her support the business more efficiently. On further exploration where we are tying in the financials with the business model, target customers and entire operations, it is soon clear that the business can well do without the personal car at that point and the truck can be easily substituted with a modified half tonne pick up which will overall cost less.

Remember this when you are pitching for capital: The investor has worked hard to get the money you are asking them to give you. If you don’t need it, don’t ask for it.

Use it for its intended purpose

Anything whose purpose is not known stands to be abused or misused. This is a paraphrase of what was a principle teaching of the late Dr. Myles Munroe. I would dare add a statement and say that where discipline is not applied to the management of something, its misuse and abuse is also inevitable. When an investor trusts you to execute on the plan you shared by giving you the investment capital of his time, money and other resources, valiantly fight against the temptation to veer off the script you gave. If you said the money will go into buying equipment, let it buy the equipment. Don’t divert funds to fund a superfluous lifestyle. To restate a share by one Mr. D. P. Mavia, money amplifies what is lodged within the heart. Without money, many at times, the mind is very clear on what needs to be done and achieved with the money; until it comes into the vicinity and every deliberation is now assessed through the veil of the money at hand.

Multiply it

Another truth that is shared often Mr. D.P. Mavia is that you have not multiplied money until you have it in a factor of two. Financial success cannot be attained by addition, subtraction or division. It is achieved through multiplication of what is available. Investors smile generously when they see the money they pumped into the business is growing in multiples and it is very likely that in such scenarios, they will take you seriously when you go back to them (which is unlikely if you are doing things right) for additional capital. Unlikely because a good entrepreneur will reinvest the multiplied fruit rather than use it for recurrent and/ or unprofitable expenditure. Shark Tank’s (an NBC program featuring entrepreneurs and investors) Kevin O’Leary has been quoted saying “Money is my military, each dollar a soldier. I never send my money into battle unprepared and undefended. I send it to conquer and take currency prisoner and bring it back to me.” While his approach to money is quite radical, Kevin highlights a very key component about money. Used in the right way, it can work for you in multiples and win you many battles in the business world.

Be accountable

Accountability allows you to be transparent to the investors and others who are helping you drive your venture/ idea or business forward. It allows you to know how the capital is being utilized and where to change. It also allows you the special place of showing that you have integrity and can be trusted to not only manage resources but also the relationships that are tied with your business. Mr. O’Leary has also expressed it before that, “The ultimate truth about money is that even though it doesn’t care about me or you, to make money requires us to care deeply about it.” Accountability doesn’t require a degree in finance management or certification in accounting, but it does require one to be business savvy, knowledgeable about assets and liabilities, risk conscious, have integrity and know the place of debt in business. The reward for accountability is not success, but rather more responsibility and more resources being entrusted to you.

Put first things first

When setting up a business or getting into expansion mode, an entrepreneur, should never sacrifice what is important to the vision/ mission of the business/ venture. I suppose in the order of presentation, this element should have come first, but its placement does not demean its importance. Goethe says, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” As you invite angels and VCs into the business, you must not lose sight of the whys and hows of your business. If you quit your job to start a business, you can’t lose sight of the fact that you don’t know all the ropes and that means you will need help. Losing sight of your need for help will cause you to be selfish and you will not hire the right people. In the book, The 7 habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey highlight seven habits for effectiveness: Proactivity, Beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand then to be understood, building and maintaining synergies and finally sharpening the saw. Reading through this book, one of the many takeaways is this, you should never trade your key principles of good business for money.

As you evaluate your investment options for setting up or expanding your business, don’t get into unnecessary debt. At the right time, the funding needed for your business will be fulfilled, but it needs to find you, with the right attitude and framework of mind.

July 1 marks the beginning of the 2nd half of the year and if you are at a place where your business idea or existing business needs a fresh set of eyes and ears to keep you working at it, I welcome you to a One Day Idea Clinic at Nairobi’s, UBS building, Ndemi Road, off Ngong Road. Slots are limited and participation must be confirmed before hand.
Until Tomorrow…

Starting Capital vs. Working Capital

I recently listened in on an interview of Mike Cuban (Shark Tank Investor) by Bloomberg and he said something very interesting.

He said that small businesses do not fail for lack of capital; it was for lack of effort towards working smart by the entrpreneurs. Shortly after, he went on to say that one of the challenges he has seen many entrepreneurs encounter in the initial stages of their business is that while they were doing the math of starting their business, they forgot to include a working capital.

What is the relation? Well think about it. Capital is not just money. It is also time, passion, expertise, commitment and effort. Start up capital is what you require for the business to start – for you to get the product into the market (or service). It is what you require to put in so that customers can start coming. Working capital is what you need to keep putting in until the business can support and run itself

When you are buying that initial stock, paying that first rent and that licence, that is start up. What about running the business before you receive the first revenue? If your collections by the end of the month are not sufficient to meet the monthly costs, you will be required to go back to your pocket. The following month the same might happen. Every time you go back to your pocket, what you give is the working capital.

You have to budget for it when starting the business otherwise you will begin to think there is something wrong with your business.

Businesses are like babies. At infancy, they will keep demanding everything you can give and that is why it is said that running a business is not for the faint hearted. At teen age and young adulthood, they seem they can stand on their own and give you the freedom. But that’s a fallacy. Even the most veteran of businessmen will tell you, the day you begin to see that your business can run it self. Keep close and start looking closer. There are things you will take for granted and they will be the cause of its lacklustre performance.

At maturity, just like fully grown children, businesses will definitely be standing on their own if their foundation was right and they can now get to multiply.

Start your business on the right footing. It doesn’t have to be perfect bit it must of essence be right.

July 1 marks the beginning of the 2nd half of the year and if you are at a place where your business idea or existing business needs a fresh set of eyes and ears to keep you working at it, I welcome you to a One Day Idea Clinic at Nairobi’s, UBS building, Ndemi Road, off Ngong Road. Slots are limited and participation must be confirmed before hand.

Until tomorrow…

Reverse Engineer your Business to Raise Capital

As we work towards July 1, 2017 I will be sharing a couple of anecdotes everyday starting today upto Friday.

In an economy that is struggling with maize flour issues, I was surpised to see a flood of people at the subsidized clothes expo, scrambling for qilaity wear from the Export Processing Zones in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya. From the initial one that was done, I learnt that shrewd business people were buying in bulk, storing and selling them a week later at ridiculous profits. That was ingenious!!

Any entrepreneur that is seeking to raise capital ought to pull off a stunt like that. Buy low, Sell high, raise your capital. However, many an entrepreneur don’t explore such a concept because of one simple reason. They figure that they are not sales people and they will leave that to the staff they employ. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Every entrepreneur or business owner must be a sales person. How else will one manage to convince people to join the company; to buy into the vision of the business?

Entrepreneurship and running a business is not about sitting in an office and reading reports and networking. Its about rolling up your sleeves and making sure your product/ service is delivered to the customer. By way of example, if you have the vision of running a chain of fast food restaurants, you need to spend sometime selling donuts and coffee/ tea in an urn. If you can’t make the donoughts, find someone who can avail them to you at a low price, wake up early and sell them at a marked up price.This is what I mean by suggesting that you reverse engineer your business.

When you do this reversal, you not only need extremely low capital, but you also gain invaluable knowledge and contacts in the business.

Shake off the feeling that it is a lowly job because it is not. It is your capital of effort and business class 101.

July 1 marks the beginning of the 2nd half of the year and if you are at a place where your business idea or existing business needs a fresh set of eyes and ears to keep you working at it, I welcome you to a One Day Idea Clinic at Nairobi’s, UBS building, Ndemi Road, off Ngong Road. Slots are limited and participation must be confirmed before hand.

Until tomorrow…

Transitioning Together

Hi there good people

Wangari Maina here with another delightful serving of Esteemed talks.

Just a reminder, if you haven’t already done so, please subscribe, using the button below. You are missing out on some good stuff to set you apart in your career path and/ or business journey.

Today, I speak on a subject very close to my heart. That’s because, after going through our transition phase together, my family life is stronger and more enriched. If you have a family, your transition phase is not yours alone. It will involve your spouse and children, if any. Allow me to share with you, some valuable lessons I have extracted from my own experience, not so long ago.

You are partners fighting a common enemy

Every transition has its demons and its angels. Demons operate and thrive through chaos and division resulting in painful words, actions, thoughts, and behavior. Angels safeguard. The battle is lost when you begin to see your partner as either of these two. When you see your partner as the source of all your pain and difficulty, you will never listen when he/ she is talking. When your partner is your angel, the day they drop the ball on you, even unintentionally, you will begin to evaluate them through the flawed lens of your pain and disappointment.

Either way, your venting when things are tough, will always be targeted at your partner; but when you recognize that your partner is a human being with flaws on one the one hand and value to offer on the other hand, you begin to see their strategic presence behind you because they have you covered in your weak areas.

Just like in the military circles, dissension between partners is a sure sign of defeat in the transition.

Be honest with your kids

This is really critical especially if you are coming from a high paying stable job into the more unpredictable world of business and self-employment. Kids know more and are smarter than we give them credit for. I remember for my husband and I, we got to a place where our first born was asking for the same things she was used to while we were working – pizza, KFC fries, holidays at exclusive places, visits to fun parks and the best we could tell her was “not today”. One day when we were out of milk, she cornered us while we were trying to budget the little we had in hand and she asked, “Mum, dad, why is it that we don’t have food to eat in the house?”

My husband and I looked at each other and realized that this was where we had never wanted to get to, with a sigh, I slowly began explaining the situation, what we were doing about it and how she could help. Today, she is our accountability partner asking us every day if we have achieved 50,000 dollars.

Trust me, if you want a relentless accountability person, look no further than your children.

Intimacy is neither currency nor a favor or gift item

Sexual intimacy increases oneness – physically, emotionally, spiritually (the sources of many soul ties). It’s also one of the commonly abused yet critical components of a successful transition. Yes, it’s difficult to get it on when you’ve both had an unfruitful day. Then the day turns into a week and into 21 days and then a month. Soon enough it becomes a case of “we don’t know where the rain started beating us.” Unfortunately, when some respond to the difficulty in transition phases, it is by converting that intimacy to currency by only offering it in exchange for something they want done or as a thank you.

When husband and wife neglect each other, it is not uncommon to hear statements like, “he doesn’t listen any more”, “you are never there for me”, “you would rather be out there with others” and to some extremes, ”I found someone who cares”. The pleasures of the marriage bed, I believe, are a freely God-given neutralizer of some of the acidity found in transition phases.

Be each other’s safe havens

Transitions are by nature very lonely. Close friends tend to disappear, you avoid extended family and the places you can run to for solace, understanding and celebration for the small wins are few and far between. In my own experience, it was only my husband who initially gave me the feedback I needed to know if I was still on track. While today there are many who give me feedback, he remains my only confidant. Your spouse not only needs to know, but must also experience you as the best choice for fanning dreams, an accountability partner, a shoulder to cry on, or a celebration partner to pop open the champagne bottle. Being each other’s safe havens is about honesty, trust and confidence. These are tenets that are built and sustained one day at a time.

Take stock and reorder your steps together

My husband and I have found a precious gem in stopping to take stock of our journey in life. Those moments are intentionally sought because with kids and business, every moment of every day is going to be occupied with something more important than spending time together, assessing where we are against our plans. It doesn’t have to be costly; (well, it’s great to have weekend retreats especially to exotic places, but when finances are lean, that option is off the table).

So we schedule to go for long walks and we end up on a bench with nothing but a note book, a pen and a bottle of water.

Taking stock allows you to reorder your steps. We tend to apply the Mapping Toolkit available on my website (it’s free to download by the way); and if you are reading the transcript of this podcast, then here is the direct link to the kit.

Re-ordering happens because of many reasons – including achieving your goals earlier than anticipated, experiences you have had, reallocation, of resources, failure of an idea and so much more.

That’s it for this set of talks. I have to stop there otherwise we will have a long, long talk.

Thank you for taking the time to listen in today. For feedback and questions about this conversation, please send them to

Your path is important to you and to us. So, we invite you to subscribe to this channel or our online resource centre at for relevant, regular, and actionable content to get you to that better place.

Christianity & Business

Hi there good people

Wangari Maina here with another delightful serving of Esteemed talks.

Just a reminder, if you haven’t already done so, please subscribe, using the button below. You are missing out on some good stuff to set you apart in your career path and/ or business journey.

Today, I would like to share on Christianity and business. It might not be a very attractive subject for those who ascribe to other religious affiliations but I have also discovered that sometimes gems are hidden in places where many do not like to venture. So here goes.


The marketplace/ business environment is spiritual

If you are a Christian seeking to succeed in business, you need to be a student of the Jews in business. The most fundamental part of their business models is knowing the place of God, YAHWEH, in business. Besides the favour that comes with their alignment to Abraham, they have engrained spirituality in their business models. They don’t leave God to do it all for them, but they also don’t treat God like a messenger or an employee. That said, have you as a Christian ever wondered about the commitment that most Islamic, Asian and Oriental business people have toward their spiritual inclinations? In my observation, Christians have a head-start in financial and business success compared to all other religious groupings.

Unfortunately, they don’t know how to adopt it into their businesses. Allow me to recommend a chapter read in Perry Stone’s book, “Breaking the Jewish Code: 12 Secrets that will transform your Life, Family, Health & Finances”. It’s a great book but relating to this podcast is Chapter 10, “The Spiritual Principles of Wealth & Prosperity”

Jesus did not engage in hope marketing

He was quite strategic. He knew what would get Him attention; He knew His audience. He knew his market well. He knew when to apply which strategy. He knew how to cause a stir in Jerusalem at the right time. He knew the pain points of those who He worked and interacted with. How else would a carpenter’s son have gotten a tax collector and a fisherman to believe His message, strategy, and agenda enough to leave their livelihoods for a worldwide movement, known today as Christianity?

Christians need to understand one simple thing. Hope marketing is for the sluggard. You don’t set up a shop and hope people will come. You don’t write a book and hope people will buy it. You don’t call for a book or album launch and hope people will come. You need to go to where people are, as Graham Cooke says in one of his prophetic soakings, “your blessings/ success is not where you are, you need to go out and seek it”. Stop hoping and start hopping strategically!

Going into business is not always the answer to provision

God made people uniquely and yet put them to live in communities. Communities are a perfect environment for reciprocity. Reciprocity means that today I will have and I will extend my hand to those who don’t have. It means that I recognize my strengths and weaknesses, then I accept to trade my strengths to those who can pay value for them. Where I am weak, I let those who are better go on without me feeling that I could be better than them. It is okay to be an employee if that is the best way your calling can be effective. It is also okay to be in business.

A community celebrates and respects differences. It is only then that reciprocity can be a building block of success at both individual and community basis.

Waiting on God can never be a substitute for foolishness and laziness

The old priests in Jerusalem were patient. Including people like Moses and Joshua. They moved on the basis of waiting on God. They had learnt the art and skill of hearing God; and God would speak enough for them to hear. Fast forward to the disciples who were set on fire to start a global movement based on Christ’s teachings. Those ones were so inclined to movement that they did not wait. They had to be withstood by the Spirit of God.

In the 21st century, many Christians are borrowing the priestly model of waiting but applying it falsely and wrongly, ending up with bad results.

Your business is failing with all the indicators at red and you are still waiting on God to tell you it’s over?

You stay clinging desperately onto a job where you have not been paid for three months and you are still waiting on God? Please define foolishness!

How do you hold seed and fail to plant in the planting season, saying you are waiting on God to show you direction and the perfect time to plant?

I am by no means down playing the importance of waiting on God. It comes in handy in those moments where you need a cloud by day and fire by night; but surely, with knowledge and understanding at our disposal, wisdom must be applied to allow us to separate waiting, foolishness, and laziness.

That’s it for this set of talks.

Thank you for taking the time to listen in today. For feedback and questions about this conversation, please send them to

Your path is important to you and to us. So, we invite you to subscribe to this channel or our online resource centre at for relevant, regular, and actionable content to get you to that better place.


​A safe landing for victims of layoff programs

The other day I visited some office and at the reception, there was another lady waiting to see someone. She had a large duffel bag and her large handbag looked quite packed. I had arrived early for my meeting and my host was held up in a meeting so I had to wait for about 20 minutes.

In these times of high security alerts, I was abit puzzled why a lady looking so smart in an African wear of black, white and red was doing carrying such a large bag.

Shortly, whoever she was waiting for came and they started talking. About 5 minutes into the conversation, she opened her handbag, removed a brown plastic bag from which she removed a folded fabric. From where I sat, I could see it was an animal print African batik. Her host wiggled excitedly in her seat with a big smile and soon she was unwrapping it and feeling its texture. As they continued in conversation, more batiks seemed to emerge from the large duffel bag and now, the host had welcomed a couple of other staff members.

After a short while, money changed hands but I also saw people consult their phones and I concluded that it was a mobile money payment transaction taking place. The lady packed what she had sold and the small gathering dispersed.

Given my current pursuit of preparing a course on Starting a Business in 7 Days, I wondered about that little scenario as far as laid off people are concerned.

My research for building this course led me to Shopify. It’s a great tool which I have come to believe offers a safe landing for many who are feeling like victims of layoff programs and job losses or even for those who have sought for employment without any success.

The discovery I also have made is that they are offering a FREE video course on how to start and do good business on Shopify.

Time waits for no man and some opportunities are just too good to be passed over for any reason.

Send me a message or leave a comment against this post if you’d like more details and I will be glad to share the information.

Finally, as a preamble to the course I mentioned above, you can click here or visit my website to sign up for a FREE 4-weeks e-mail course, Journeying to Achieve. One of the handy tools you will receive is The Mapping Toolkit© – Starter Kit Version to help you deal more strategically with the demands that come with a lay off or state of unemployment.

5 Interview Hacks to Get You Noticed

Hi there good people

Wangari Maina here with another delightful serving of Esteemed talks.

Just a reminder, if you haven’t already done so, please subscribe, You are missing out on some good stuff to set you apart in your career path and/ or business journey.

Today, I would like to share with you 5 interview hacks that will leave your interviewer eager enough to see you as part of the team they are hiring for.

We will work our way from 5 to 1.

  1. Design your CV and application

The biggest blunder you can make is to prepare your CV or application letter with the mindset of an employee seeking a job. You need to stop and think like the section head on the hiring panel. The primary question to ask is this, “If I was hiring for this position, what would I be looking for compared to the advert that has been issued?” Consider yourself a salesperson selling product YOU with nothing but a brochure. Why will your customer pick that brochure among a gazillion others when they are limited on time and they are tired?

Your application should be so well designed and thought through that if it were the 873rd out of a pile of 1,000, it will re-energize the interviewer enough to want to call you to book an interview date.

  1. Sell Achievements, not experience

At an interview session limited by time, you don’t want to be the farmer who went to the market to sell how he grew tomatoes instead of selling the tomatoes.

If you are interviewing for a sales position, your achievements will include how your sales impacted the revenues of your department. If you are a pharmacist, your experience is how many years you have dispensed medicine while your achievement is how your customer interaction led to 80% of customer retention. There is a world of difference between saying, “I have handled the marketing docket for five years” and, “In the five years I have handled the marketing docket, I have been able to save the company up to 10% of the marketing budget without compromising on the effectiveness of planned campaigns and without short changing the suppliers.”

Achievements are your tomatoes. Experience is the process of growing the tomatoes

  1. Deploy the competencies

This is just a full topic that cannot be exhausted in such a short podcast, but I will try to do it justice. Job adverts will by and large tell you the kind of person that an organization is looking for.

Having sat through my fair share of interviews, a lot of people fall short because they fail to deploy the main competencies desired by the potential employer.

Imagine you are interviewing as a manager and you are asked to explain a trend in the industry. Then you start to fumble with the numbers, until the panel is confused. You have just scored a zero for clarity and effective business communication which is required of any manager.

Let me ask you, what kind of score do you think will make if you went into an interview where no one told you how long it will take and you said something like, “Before we start, I would appreciate if you could tell me how long the interview will take. Not because I am going anywhere else but because I would like to answer the questions you have as exhaustively as possible while still respecting your time.” And of course, you say it with a smile!

  1. Negotiate your terms

When it comes to discussing compensation, a lot of people subconsciously become employees at the mercy of their employers. They quickly forget that they are selling a quality product for which an equivalent compensation should be given. YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. A direct question in an interview deserves a direct answer. When the interviewer asks about salary, your answer should be clear. Don’t mellow or be intimidated. In fact, as a socio-culturalist, author David Paul Mavia once advised me, avoid quoting from your point of need. Needs have a way of minimizing your worth.

  1. Interview the interviewer

If successful, you will be spending 8 to 12 hours with the employer. It therefore doesn’t hurt to know a little more about them. And that is the 2nd most important part of an interview. To know who you want to work for. To put a face to what the website and social handles say. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “what success paths would you chart for me in such a position?” or, “Is this a newly created position or an existing one?”

Depending on the answer, you can prod further with questions like, “what impact do you expect this position to have on the overall company strategy?” or “what happened to the previous office holder?”

Such questions are very forward, I must admit. But do you remember hacks number 2, 3 and 4? Such questions are the perfect bow to you as a packaged gift for the organization. Your questions are a pointer to your competencies; you are able to set the rules as you show how your achievements and experience can help them achieve their overall strategy; and you actually support your asking price with evidence that you understand your role and contribution.

That’s it for this set of talks.

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