P.O. Box 1059
Van Alstyne, TX 75495
Phone:  903.482.1362





Barcus Associates offers the following interview and offer/resignation tips from our Outplacement Workshop, “Achieving Successful Career Changes.” The workshop is based on the book, Be Your Own Headhunter by Carolyn Barcus.

Telephone Interviews

Interviewing is usually a multi-step process. Frequently the initial step will be a telephone interview. About half of all telephone interviews lead to a face-to-face interview. A little preparation can weight the odds in your favor.

Prepare an interview folder to keep near the phone you will use for your interviews. Include in the folder your resume and additional career details, a notepad, any available information on the company and position, and a list of questions you would like to ask. Keep several pens or pencils tied to the folder or phone.

Make notes throughout the conversation on problem questions, and comments made by the interviewer. Ask for clarification on any points you are unsure of. Review problem questions and your answers after you are off the phone.

Rephrase and ask for additional information on at least one comment made by the interviewer to indicate you are listening.

Improve your telephone voice by sitting or standing straight, breathing properly, and smiling as you speak. Talk directly into the phone, not over or under it. Modulate your voice; don’t deliver your spiel in a monotone. Nothing could be worse than having to wake the caller up to say good-by. Speak a little more slowly than you would in a face-to-face conversation.

Favorite words and phrases have a way of becoming intensified on the telephone. If you have a habit of introducing your responses with “Let me say this . . .” or “Honestly . . .” or other pet phrase, the person on the other end of the line may well stop listening and begin counting the number of times you repeat the phrase. Ask a family member or friend (teenagers are very good at this) to identify your pet phrases if you don’t think you have any.

Ask for feedback at the end of the conversation. Indicate you are interested in the opportunity and would like to move to the next step. Ask about timing. If they say the role does not appear to be a good fit, ask about other positions within the company.

Pre-Interview Preparation

There are a number of things you can do before your interviews to improve your chances of being asked to join the company team. Here are a few . . .

Call personal contacts you may have within the company or industry, and visit the company web site again. Ask about corporate culture. Talk to a potential or current customer of the company—passing on favorable customer comments can boost your rating.

Review what you know about the position. List the requirements on the left side of the sheet of paper. Write your credentials and achievements on the right side. How do they match up? Why would they want to hire you? What important short-term contribution could you make? Long term? Why are you interested in this company and opportunity in particular?

Develop your own questions. Prepare for your interview as if you already had the job and were meeting with your manager to establish and meet your goals. What would you need to know to do the job?

Face-to-Face Interviews

Once through the door and in the reception area, your competition has been reduced to a mere handful. However, there are probably at least two other contenders for the position. Again, there are a few ways to improve your chances of receiving the offer.

Elementary rules for interviewing are so simple it is surprising how many extremely professional individuals forget them: Smile—initially and often. Offer a firm handshake to each person you meet. Maintain good eye contact with the interviewer. Follow each interviewer’s lead in formality.

Good business practice indicates you should ask for a business card from everyone with whom you interview (you will use this information for “thank you” letters). Carry several copies of your resume for managers who do not already have a copy.

Answer questions briefly and honestly. Watch the interviewer’s body language to determine if they are satisfied with your answer or may require additional information. If in doubt, ask.

At the conclusion of each meeting ask if there appear to be any obstacles in your ability to do the job. Many times the “reason” a candidate does not receive an offer involves issues not discussed during the interview. Ask what the next step is, where you rank among other candidates for the role, and how you might improve your standing. Say you want to pursue the opportunity.

You may be asked similar questions by several different people. While your answers should be basically the same (they do compare notes) try to tailor your presentation to the personality and background of each individual.

Honesty is the only policy. Present information in a positive format whenever possible, but do not lie. You do not need to volunteer unsolicited information of a negative nature, but if you are asked direct questions about an uncomfortable subject, answer them briefly and truthfully without hedging. Make a note of questions you are uncomfortable with, and work on your answers.

Use information gathered in one meeting to formulate questions or comments in another one: “So-and-so mentioned that a problem area seems to be . . . I’ve been thinking about that and wonder if a solution might be . . .” or “”I understand the company is doing some work in the area of . . . could you tell me a little more about that?”

Ask for the job! Ask at least once—several times if possible without groveling. Let each person you meet with know you would like to work for the company. Tell them you would enjoy being a part of their team and are looking forward to working with them.


Recognize that there is a great deal of trauma involved in changing jobs. It is rated nearly as high in stress-level as divorce. I suspect this is why so many high-tier managers like to hire their old subordinates at the new company—that way they “have custody of the children.”

Be prepared for a rush of feelings. Expect to doubt your decision. Before you turn in your notice, take the time to write down the benefits of the new job and the reasons you are dissatisfied with your current position.

Do not resign or stop looking at other opportunities before you have received the written offer.

Written resignations remove much of the emotion. We suggest the following:

Dear (Your Manager):

This is my formal resignation, giving my professional
two weeks notice. My last working day for (present company)
will be (date). It is my intention to help in every way possible
during this time to ensure a smooth transition.

I wish you and the company success, and hope to maintain cordial
and professional communication with all concerned.


(Your Name)

Do not tell them why you are leaving, or where you are going. Simply say, “I am leaving because I have a great opportunity.” If you say anything different to any of your co-workers, it will get back to your manager.

Expect an emotional response from your manager. It is not your family or feelings he or she cares about, but their own, and how your resignation may affect their objectives and bonuses.

Counteroffers are counterproductive for both you and the employer. Companies with integrity don’t make them; resignees with integrity don’t accept them. Statistics indicate most employees who do accept counteroffers are gone in less than a year. While money may be a motivating factor, there are always other reasons involved in career decisions. Those dissatisfactions are not changed over the long-term by counteroffers.

Your resignation will affect your company. Ask yourself how, (vacation schedules, morale, missed objectives, disgruntled customers, replacement difficulties and expense, ramp-up time for the new employee) and you will realize the desperate motivation behind their offers to belatedly recognize your worth to the company and department.

In the final analysis, only you can decide whether to accept or decline an offer. You can ask the advice of friends, relatives, employment counselors, pray for an answer, or flip a coin—but you are the one who must implement and live with the decision. Consider the implications and ramifications carefully, play it through your mind a day or two as though already done, and see how you feel. Consider the opposite decision in the same light.

If you are relocating to North Texas or need a Realtor referral anywhere in the nation, please contact our real estate affiliate at Van Alstyne Homes where you can do map based searches for homes in any area.

Good luck! And once you are settled at your new opportunity, drop us a business card—we would like to know how to contact you!


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