Proven tips and strategies to secure that next great position!
PRE INTERVIEW- Steps to prepare before the big day.
1. Research, Research, Research!
Knowledge is power and when you can walk in to an interview completely prepared to answer the question: “What do you know about our company?” then you have the competitive advantage over other applicants. Use the power of the Internet to do your research carefully. Here are some potential questions to ask your self when doing research:
∙ What do you know about the company and their founding?
∙ Who are their competitors?
∙ Have you been on their website or reviewed the company profile on LinkedIn.com
∙ What are their products or services?
∙ How many people do they employ?
∙ What is their financial structure and outlook?
∙ What specialty services do they offer?
∙ Are they a public or private company?
∙ Are they for profit or not for profit?
∙ Have you reviewed profiles of members of their team you could potentially be working with or for on LinkedIn.com? LinkedIn.com has a wealth of information about potentially peers or superiors.
2. Prepare a set of written questions and take them on a notepad with you to the interview.
Prepare no less than 7-10 Questions! Preparing a notepad with written questions will show that you are a critical thinker, have done your homework and have a genuine interest in pursuing the opportunity. It obviously also helps you to stay on track and discover the little gems and details of the position that can make a huge difference in knowing whether the position, culture, management style etc. is a good match for you.
Some example questions you may want to ask (in your own words) might be:
What characteristics do you look for in a successful employee working in your department?
What is a typical day like in this position? OR Walk me through a day in the life of this position.
What are some of the productivity expectations?
What are some of the goals you are hoping to achieve in hiring someone new for this position?
What type of training do you offer and what sort of resources would be offered to me to go to if I need guidance on day-to-day issues (i.e. will I have someone to mentor me)?
What attracted you to the company and to your position?
DO NOT ASK ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT SALARY OR BENEFITS OFFERED!
If you are questioned about what specific salary you are looking for, simply respond: “I am confident that whatever is being offered for this position will be competitive”
Any specific discussion of salary figures in an interview will greatly diminish your ability to negotiate your salary when a job offer is presented. Employers must see the value you can bring into the organization. This simply cannot be properly assessed until the entire consideration process is complete including additional screening, reference checking etc. Additionally, talking specific salary numbers in an interview could quite possibly lock you into a salary that is less than the company budget or what the market bears for the position and duties required.
DAY OF THE INTERVIEW
1. Arrive to the interview site no earlier than ten minutes prior to the interview time and never arrive late.
There is no acceptable excuse for a late arrival. Do a trial run and drive to the office the day before if necessary. Have the company’s main reception telephone number for further directions if needed.
2. Have a smile on your face! Your enthusiasm and professionalism should beam at the prospect of an employment affiliation with the company.
3. Dress to impress, but be realistic.
You certainly want to look your best! But certain situations may require some discretion. Always dress nicer for the interview than how you might dress for day-to-day work. If you’re comfortable interviewing in a business suit then go for it! Your dress is a direct reflection of your personality and professionalism. Use your best judgment and if you question if something is inappropriate to wear, it probably is!
4. Leave your cell phone in the car!
Even moving it to vibrate mode can still cause a major disruption. The impression it leaves if it rings in the interview can be devastating. Instinctively, the interviewer will think that other things are more important than concentrating on the interview. Even if other things are more important in your eyes, you must leave the impression that the interviewer is your sole focus! This can be a major deal killer!
5. Be prepared to answer specific questions about your experience and work demeanor/ethics.
“What is your background?” and “Describe your specific work accomplishments?” or “What are your strengths or areas of needed improvement?”
6. Be prepared to answer behavioral based interview questions.
Such questions explore how you would act in certain situations such as: “Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult client. What was the situation and how did you resolve the issue?” OR “Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a peer/co-worker. What was the situation and how did you resolve the issue?”
7. Always let the interviewer control the momentum of the interview.
You will get your chance to ask your questions. Your interviewer has a specific goal for information they need to collect about you in order to make their hiring decision. If you monopolize the time by giving too much information or getting off on tangents you will take them off target and this could be detrimental. You may be the most qualified person for the job, but the way you allow them to conduct the interview will directly affect the outcome. Bottom line, sometimes people simply talk too much in interviews! To avoid this temptation keep it simple when answering questions. Don’t answer questions with a simple yes or no, but don’t feel like you have to over elaborate your answers. Sometimes when people do this, they tend to open up topics that are not relevant to the interview. Overkill is never a good thing. Watch for specific body language or non-verbal communication cues from the person conducting the interview to determine if it is time to bring your comments to an end. Never talk about your personal life, religion, politics and other sensitive issues. Stick to the interview!
8. Make constant eye contact with the interviewer.
This is in essence a display of trust, honesty and that you are sincere about what you are communicating to them.
9. Keep positive even on sensitive questions. Never talk negatively about former jobs, supervisors, or companies.
When explaining reasons for leaving a company, limit your comments to those needed to communicate your reasons for leaving. But always end on a positive note, such as “It was the best move for me at the time to explore new and challenging career opportunities”.
10. Remember the 70/30 rule.
70% of the interview should be listening, learning, and discovering more about the company, position, requirements and most importantly the management style of the person you would be interacting with if you are offered and accept the job. 30% should be discussion of your qualities and why you are the best fit for the requirements. Don’t let things become mechanical. Your discussion should be an easy flowing dialogue. In short, BE AN ATTENTIVE LISTENER!
11. Close with a Confidence Statement!
You are in the best position to sell yourself and ask for the job at the close of the interview. Do not display your disinterest to them at the time, but if you know you can do the job and want the job, the confidence statement is the single best way to convey this. This Confidence Statement conveys your absolute certainty and conviction in your abilities to do the job and make a valuable contribution to their team. What is the single most effective way of obtaining the job offer? Leaving them wondering how they would be able to function without you on their team! Your confidence statement could go something like this: “Mr. Smith, thank you so much for your time today. This seems like a great company and a tremendous opportunity. I know that with my experience and knowledge, that given an opportunity to work for you, I would be able to exceed all of your expectations!” It’s that easy! No used car sales pitch needed! Now certainly this needs to be customized to your own personality and situation but at the core, the giving a confidence statement will enhance an already well-conducted interview.
12. Final step, ask the interviewer: “What is the next step in the process?”
This hopefully will set the expectation on when a hiring decision will be made and asks for their commitment to complete the process, whether they feel you are a fit for the position or not. In other words, it grants closure to the process so you are not left feeling lead on. If possible, get a business card and follow up the interview with a thank you note or email thanking them for their consideration.