When entering into an interview, there should be two objectives that you should always have in mind:
1. To get a job offer: You always want to get a job offer, even if you are unsure if you want the job. It is good practice for you to go after an offer and it also serves as a confidence booster.
2. To get information about the job and the company: You want to make sure that you get adequate information about the job, company, and about your potential employer. Without this information, it will be difficult for you to make a sound decision about the position.
Keynote to remember: You are not just being interviewed; you are also interviewing your prospective boss.
Preparation for the Interview:
Preparation for the interview is one of the most crucial parts of the interview process. Here is a list of helpful techniques when preparing for the interview:
- Know the exact time and place of your interview.
- Know the interviewer’s full name (including correct pronunciation) and his/her title.
- Get specific facts about the company, location of properties and its growth to date and potential growth.
- Have detailed facts about your current employer.
- Prepare a list of questions that you wish to ask during the interview.
Reading the Prospective Employer’s Mind:
In most interviews, the majority of employers are only trying to find out three main questions:
- Do you have the ability to do the job?
- Do you really want to do this job?
- Will you “fit in” and be part of the team and make me look good?
Employers want to know what makes you stand out from the other applicants that they may be interviewing. They want an employee that will be motivated and excited about the job and be able to motive co-workers as well. And of course, every employer wants employees that make him or her look good. Therefore, each of your answers should be another way of saying, “I do have the ability to do this job well, I very much want to do this job, and/or I will have no problem fitting in with your team.”
You should always anticipate tough questions to arise during the course of an interview; the key to success during this time is being well prepared. The trick to handling these questions is to answer in such a way that the positive immediately replaces the negative.
Here are some tough questions you might be faced with during an interview:
- What are your major strengths and weaknesses?
- I am unsure that you have the experience to handle this job. Do you?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What are your long term goals?
- Why are you not with your last employer?
- What makes you qualified to work for this company?
Controlling the Interview:
Employers are looking for upbeat, energetic individuals. Most often than not, they are not looking for someone that will let an interview go by without having input. Always remember that you are the salesperson and you have to “make the sell”. Take control of the interview by asking questions, and by asking the right questions, you can steer the conversation in the direction that you wish it to go.
The more questions that you ask, the more control you will have. Choose your questions carefully, and always use open ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
Closing the Interview:
When the interview comes to an end, remember:
- If you are interested in the position, make it clear to the employer that you are.
- Inquire about second interview schedule if appropriate.
- If you are offered the position and you want it, accept it then and there.
- Set a definite date to oet back with them if you are not comfortable in accepting the position at that time.
- Do not be discouraged if no definite offer is made on your first interview.
- Do not let discouragement show if you have the feeling that the interview did not go well.
- Thank the interviewer for his time and then exit the office.
- Always follow up with a letter.
After the Interview:
It is very important that you contact the consultant who referred you to the position to advise them on your thoughts of how the interview went. Your consultant will be able to convey your feedback to the interviewer if you are interested in progressing further.
Key Points to Remember:
- Arrive on time or a few minutes early.
- Find out the office environment before arriving (casual dress/formal dress).
- Have a copy of your resume on hand and be prepared to present.
- Shake hands firmly.
- Sit upright in your chair.
- Maintain eye contact when you are talking and listening.
- Remember to listen as well as talk.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
- Do not lie. All questions should be answered truthfully and as to the point as possible.
Your Tool Kit:
Every time you go out on an interview, you will take your tool kit with you. The tool kit consists of:
- Your resume
- Samples of projects
- Performance appraisals
- Background information
- Documentation of accomplishments
These items are not to be used to cover the interviewer with paper but, if you are asked for specific items or examples of your accomplishments, you have them in your tool kit to reinforce the points you need to make.
YOU WILL NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION!!!!!
Some Last Words on Interviewing:
Most Frequent Complaints About Interviewees:
- Poor communication: talks too little, talks too much, rambles, is evasive, is nervous
- Poor preparation: asks no questions, has no information about company
- Vague interests: lacks career goals, is unsure of job goals
- Unrealistic expectations: is too concerned about salary, is immature, is inflexible
Most Frequent Complaints About Interviewers:
- Poor communication: talks too much, is unclear, rambles, is evasive
- Poor preparation: didn’t read resume, manages time poorly
- Judgmental attitude: draws conclusions or makes statements that are inaccurate or unfair
- Negative attitude: spends too much time talking about negative aspects of the job
- Irrelevant questions: asks questions that don’t relate to the position
Acknowledgements and Resources
The 1986 What Color is Your Parachute?
by Richard Nelson Bolles
Job Search The Total System
by Kenneth M. Dawson and Sheryl N. Dawson
The 40+ Job Hunting Guide
by E. Patricia Birsner
by Dorothy Leeds
How to Survive and Market Yourself in Management
by Andrew Pleninger
The Professional Job Changing System
by Robert J. Jameson