We all know that the high point of any job search marketing campaign is the job interview. Yet, we all know what a stressful situation this can be. Will you say the right thing? Will you look appropriate? Will the interviewer like you and be impressed with your qualifications? Will you trip over your own two feet walking in the door?
RELAX! Take a deep breath, remind yourself of your career success to date and appreciate the fact that you are a talented individual. The interview just doesn't go one way. Although the interviewer is evaluating you and your credentials to join his/her company, you are also interviewing to determine if you like the company and feel as though it would be a "good fit." All too often job search candidates lose sight of the fact that they are as much the interviewer as the interviewee.
Now, onto the specifics for interviewing success. There are three critical ground rules for job interviews. You must:
1. Respond to the objectives and needs of both you and your interviewer. Not one or the other.
2. Listen intently to the interviewer.
3. Retain control throughout the interview.
Job interviews can be a trap. Your objective is to get a job; the interviewer's objective is solve a problem (namely, find a qualified candidate). Immediately, there is a complete diversity of objectives. You must transition yourself across that boundary and demonstrate to the interviewer that you understand and can solve their problem.
In order to achieve this objective, you must not only tell your interviewer your qualifications, but outline how they directly relate to the company at hand and the company's specific needs. Don't say:
"I increased sales revenues by 45% for the ABC Company."
"I understand that you need to expand your sales activity within the physician market. I was successful in doing just that with the ABC Company where, through my personal client development activities, I increased sales by 45%. As such, I have an extensive network of contacts throughout the marketplace that I'm sure will also be quite beneficial to your company."
Remember, the only purpose of the first job interview is to get the second interview. That's it!.
Guidelines for the first interview include:
Punctuality. Don't arrive on time, arrive early. No matter how sympathetic your interviewer may be to the fact that there was an accident on the highway, it is virtually impossible to overcome a negative first impression.
Dress and presentation. Dress conservatively - you can't lose. You can establish your uniqueness through conversation, demeanor and your response to interview questions.
Listen. Don't just hear what your interviewer is saying, listen to what they are saying. Then, when the time arrives to answer questions, you'll understand the specific needs and objectives of the interviewer and the company. As such, you can frame your answers to directly respond to identified needs.
Remember, it's at the second (and subsequent) interviews that you will attempt to "close" the sale.
It's at that time that questions will be more specific, you will have the
opportunity to speak with numerous individuals throughout the company, and you will be given the chance to ask your questions. Let the interview process proceed at the normal pace. Don't rush it along. Being overly anxious does not work.
Essential to any successful job interview are the following characteristics:
Substitute strengths for weaknesses. Don't tell your interview you have no experience with a specific accounting software program. Instead, tell them that your experience with accounting software includes AccPac, Lotus and One Write, each of which you were easily able to learn and attained quick proficiency. Transition the negative into a positive.
Attitude and demeanor matter as much as your response to questions. Be professional and focused, yet friendly and personable. Remember, you need to fit into the workplace. No one wants to hire an individual with no personality, no matter the qualifications.
Be brief, but thorough in your communication style. Long-winded, endless responses to questions are not the answer. You'll lose the interest of the interviewer and can get "lost" in your response.
Be enthusiastic. People love to hire individuals excited about their company. Be professional, yet demonstrate your interest and energy.
In each and every interview situation, there are common questions that will be asked. Don't wait until the interview to decide your response. Be prepared and think through your answers before you arrive. Some of these questions include:
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. What are your salary expectations?
3. How did you like your last job and why did you leave?
4. How did you get along with your former boss and co-workers?
5. If you had the last 10 years of your life to live over again, what would you do differently?
6. What are your career goals for the next 5 years? The next 10 years?
7. What are some of your strengths? Some of your weaknesses?
8. Aren't you a little young (old) for this position?
9. What is your personal life situation?
10. If we make an offer, how long do you plan to stay with the company?
11. Are you interested in promotional opportunities?
12. How do you work with others? Are you a leader ... a follower?
13. What is your ideal position and career path?
14. Is there anything you would like to say
to close the interview?