Tips on how to interview so you get the jo
By Dan Moran
The goal of everyone job searching is to get a chance to sit down face-to-face with a decision–maker of a company. All the time you expend on planning who and how to contact, what direction you should go in, all drive toward that great event – the interview. Below are tips that will help you learn what to do and what not to do to prepare for a job interview.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
Before you begin interviewing, you should always focus on preparation. Preparing for an interview requires that you create an inventory of your skills, strengths, qualifications and, of course, weaknesses, so you can be ready to communicate them with confidence. It is also necessary to understand the questions that make you feel uncomfortable and work on your answers.
I use a tool and process in my business when I help coach people in interviewing called the Strategic Interview Planner (SIP)©. This process identifies your personality factors that may impact how effectively you interview, documents your skills, strengths, qualifications and weaknesses, identifies tough and critical questions and includes role-playing. Many of my clients have told me they lost their fear of interviewing and were ready to ace the interview.
So you have an interview scheduled, please don’t blow it. And yes, it does happen.
Through my experience, and with input from others who interview and hire, there are certain things you can do to blow the interview and ruin your chances for that great job.
DON’T show up late – ever!
There is never an excuse for this. Showing up late is perceived as irresponsible and will certainly be a deal killer. Plan your travel itinerary – leave in plenty of time (plus some) and arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time. Get crystal clear directions on where to go once you arrive so you don’t wander around lost.
What if something happens on the way? It can, so be sure to have with you the name and phone number of the person you are to meet and call right away if there is an unforeseen accident or other occurrence.
DO your homework
I cannot tell you the number of times I have interviewed people who didn’t know anything about the company or any of the history. There is no excuse for this and it is viewed as lack of interest and preparedness. You don’t have to recite the annual report, but you should know:
• The product or service provided
• When the company started
• Most recent news on the company
• Information on the industry the company is associated with
• How you think you would align to the company in terms of interests
With web research capabilities, your preparation will be quick and very effective. You should review the information and have a 60-second review of what you have learned practiced and ready to present.
DON’T answer questions
like a politician
In many interviews, you will hear politicians dance around a question and give indirect or non-committal answers. Never do this in an interview – be direct in your answers. If you are asked the same question twice, pause – think – then answer, as it’s likely that you didn’t give a clear answer the first time.
DON’T ramble on
If you see the interviewer fidgeting in their chair or looking at their watch or computer screen, you are losing connection with then. Tighten up your answers and be careful not to ramble on.
DON’T be flip
Have a direct, business-like answer to the question, “Why are you interested in this position?” Saying “It sounds like fun,” will be perceived as a flip answer. Know why you want to do the job you are being interviewed for and state your intention clearly. I recall one time when I posed this question to an interviewee, and he responded, “Why do you think I would want this job?” Not a way to answer for sure; he didn’t get the job or a second interview.
DON’T appear confused
Showing up for an interview and not remembering the name of the person you are to interview with is a fatal mistake. Worse yet, showing up at the wrong time or even the wrong day, are deal killers. This is perceived as lack of attention and focus. When scheduling an interview, take careful note of the name of the person you are interviewing with, where they are located (important if the company has more that one location), the date and time the interview will occur and any other arrangements that may be important.
DON’T assume the dress code
Unless you are specifically told how to dress for the interview, assume that you are to show up in your best interview wardrobe. You really cannot overdress, but you can certainly underdress.
Acing an interview is all about preparation and having confidence in yourself. Not every interview will be great; some may be for jobs that you don’t want and some with companies you don’t feel good about. Approach every interview as “the one” – prepare, be confident and win!
Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. He specializes in helping people make career choices and seek new jobs. He is also a Certified Facilitator for Get Hired Now! and Get Clients Now! Programs, which help those in career transition and companies get results. You can reach him at 641.8968 or email@example.com or visit www.next-act.com.