Interviewing Tips for the Candidate
So You Want to Get a Job Offer -
You Can by Following These Proven Techniques.
Prior preparation builds confidence. Learn to sell yourself and your
qualifications by preparing employment, education, and miscellaneous
inventory worksheets. Here's a sample of your worksheet form,
where you boldly describe your strengths and accomplishments.
- Duties and Responsibilities
- What You Did
- Starting $
- How well You Did It
- Present or Past $
Reason For Leaving
Degree and Date
% of Expenses Earned
Recreational Activities, etc.
How Well Done
2. Never Go on an Interview Without First Researching the Company
- Research from the library or the web. Standard and Poors, Dun and Bradstreet or Moody's Reference Material provides you with a background on the company's products, services, markets, sales volume, locations, and subsidiaries
- Prior planning requires you to inventory all responsibilities performed and to state how well you carried them out.
- Prepare for tough questions that focus on reasons for leaving; quality of performance.
Be brief but factual. Write out your answers, refine and memorize.
3. Tools To Bring to the Interview
- Several copies of your resume (with specific notes of achievements on it, and also lists why you changed jobs)
- List of questions to ask
- Documentation of achievements (certifications, brag book, letters of commendation)
- Pad of paper and pen
4. Dress Properly
For men: conservative suit, white shirt. contrasting tie, shoes shined, socks over calf.
For women: skirted suit. or dress with matching jacket. neutral colored hose, simple pumps. minimum make-up.
The introduction begins before you pull into the parking lot. (They may be looking out the window). Smile before you get out of the car. Give a firm handshake and solid eye contact (sincerity). Be warm but assertive, organized, and controlled. Bring your "tools" out fast - your time is limited.
6. How to Answer Questions
Answer every question in terms of your background or qualifications and the nature of the job to be filled.
Answer questions directly - don't beat around the bush, don't get tied up with lengthy, unimportant background and details. Be upbeat, positive, sincere, and enthusiastic!!
- 'Tell me about yourself" means, 'Tell me about your qualifications!' Pre-plan a five to ten minute answer, deliverable in stages, describing your education and each job in terms of accomplishment or performance indicators.
- Personality questions attempt to determine if you have qualities being sought. "What kind of manager are you?" "Are you creative?" Answer these questions in terms of the obvious answer supported by past or present experiences as proof of your claim.
- Motive questions determine if you would enjoy the job. "Describe your ideal job!" "Would you prefer to work for a large or small company?" "What did you like most/least about your last job?" Answer these questions following the question answering rule. Be specific and emphatic.
- Prove your competency by stating how well you performed in the past. Use the 1-2-3 or "S-T-A-R" mini-story technique. i.e. situation, task, action, results, wherein you state the problem, describe your solution, and emphasize the positive results.
- Anticipate some of the following questions
- Why are you interested in our Company/Industry ?
- What are your 2 year/5 year objectives ?
- Why do you like/want to sell (sales positions) ?
- Describe your present position - likes/dislikes, accomplishments with problem/solution/results approach ?
- Strengths and weaknesses (know it cold with specifics)?
- What have you done and how well have you done it ?- with proof
- Give me an example of how you solve problems.
- Describe your ideal job (be sure you can describe what you want to do) relate it to this opportunity ?
- What kind of people do you enjoy being around ?
- How do you handle interpersonal disagreements ?
- What causes stress for you - how do you handle it ?
- What has been your biggest career disappointment ?
- Define success.
- How will this job help you get what you want ?
- How did you get into this line of work ?
- Do you like to work alone or with others ?
- What part of your work do you like best/least ?
- What part of your work gives you the most difficulty ?
- How would your last employer evaluate you ?
- Why should we hire you - what can you do for us ?
- Strive to project eagerness and interest, be a conversationalist and still be yourself.
- Salary questions. When asked what you desire. say. "I'm presently earning $ _______ ." If possible, avoid answering the question until an offer is made.
7. Ask Questions - Employers Like to be Interviewed, Too!
- Have a prepared list of questions, but don't cross-examine. Make the questions job related. Ask open questions that require an explanation.
- Interest questions pertain to: the opportunity, the company, the people, its products/services (beyond the considerable background you've already gained).
- Job satisfaction questions pertain to: importance of job; responsibility and authority; recognition and career potential.
- Past performance questions concentrate on people who previously held the position. their performance and where they are today.
- Sales questions help you determine the kind of person the employer wants to hire in terms of education, experience. future performance and personality. When you understand the kind of person the employer wants to hire, you can then say, "I can do the job you want done because I've done it before and done it well." Or describe your compensating asset and/or education.
- Sample Questions You Might Ask:
- If I am successful as I plan to be, what can I expect in 3 to 5 years?
- How do I compare with the other successful people you have hired?
- What specifics about my background do you consider my greatest assets for this position ?
- What specifics about my qualifications or lack thereof do you consider a liability for this position?
- Listen carefully and probe!!
- Avoid questions relating to salary, fringes, vacations, and retirement until the job is offered and you accept.
Managers love to be closed. If you like the opportunity, make sure you ask for the job. At the conclusion, regardless of how sudden it happens, summarize your background at the risk of repeating yourself on key points that relate to the position) then make a statement of intent - I am interested in this opportunity because - supply 3 reasons (2 come from the employer side). If an offer is suggested, show an interest, even accept one on the spot if it's what you want...
You might ask,
Get the answers.
- "How do you see me fitting into your organization?"
- "What else do you need to know about me at this time ?"
- "As you can imagine, I am looking at several opportunities, but frankly this position. with you holds great promise for me. I don't want to miss out due to bad timing. When can we meet again?
9. After the Interview
Report your progress to your recruiter and communicate what transpired. Write a brief follow-up letter. If you're interested in the position, your recruiter will help you get it.
Abridged from articles originally appearing in Dossier from Management Recruiters