How to win an interview at all times
Getting invitation for an interview must have squeeze out quality effort, in terms of submitting CV to multiple companies and even follow-ups, the greatest value at every interview is to win. And with the right interview skills, they will help you get hired.
Here are some tips and strategies for effective interviewing from preparation through delivery. Let’s start with an overview of the keys to positive interviewing.
Little Things That Make A Difference
1) Study The Company
Gathering background information on a prospective employer is crucial to successfully prepare for an interview.
Make sure you’ve done your homework. There is certain factual information you should be expected to possess. This is one of the best ways to ensure a successful interview. Investigate the company before your interview (size, product-line, major problems, programs, needs, etc.).
This will gain you credibility. For example, if you are seeking a position with a major hardware manufacturer, discover how the product is sold locally. If asked, you will be able to make tactful comments regarding displays, sales approaches, advertising, etc. If not asked, bring it into the conversation to let the interviewer know that you’ve done some study on the subject.
In a small company, the top people will usually control the hiring procedures. Use your network to gather as much information as possible about these key decision makers and their role in the company.
Decide if you will contact Human Resources or the person directly responsible for the hiring. “If possible” Learn the correct name and exact title and discover the person’s background with the company, education, interests, etc.
Review the employer’s website, especially the About Us section and don’t be afraid to request details on the position you are interviewing.
When you demonstrate your knowledge about the organization it shows genuine interest, which is what interviewers want to see. Research the company’s history, its position in the market and new developments, particularly recent or planned changes that could affect your role.
Envision Yourself in the Role
If you believe your qualifications and the job requirements are the perfect match, don’t be shy about envisioning yourself in that role. When asked, be prepared to comment on what you can accomplish in your first 60 or 90 days on the job; however, don’t come across as a know-it-all whose mission is all about change.
Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions.
Doing so will help you analyze your background and qualifications for the position. Ask a close friend or mentor to conduct a mock interview with you — someone with insight about recruiting and hiring processes is ideal! Record the mock interview and review it to see how well you answer questions.
2) Dress Rehearsal
Try on your interview attire — make sure it fits and that you feel comfortable. Practice your interview responses so you’re comfortable enough to deliver answers with confidence. Don’t wait until the last minute to get directions to the interview location and estimate your travel time. Give yourself enough time to arrive several minutes early so you have time to decompress and relax before your meeting.
The most important non-verbal communication you make about yourself is your appearance and grooming. In the first few minutes the person with whom you are talking will form an impression of you which will affect his/her opinion.
Dressing for success means dressing appropriately for the environment for which you are interviewing. By wearing the quality and style of clothing you would wear if hired, you help the interviewer visualize you on the job. Your appearance should make the interviewer think, “This person will fit in well.”
You should be mentally prepared to describe briefly specific personal accomplishments you want the interviewer to remember.
Plan to be on time. In fact, it is good to be early. Check out the situation in terms of location before the appointment.
3) Get clear on the details
Don’t be shy about asking the person arranging your interview(s) about the plans for the day. Will you be doing a series of interviews? Will there be a panel interview involved? How long should you anticipate being there? The more you know, the better prepared you will be. (Helpful hint: if they’ve scheduled you for a long day, bring a couple of high-energy snacks or other foods you can quickly pop into your mouth. You will likely need the additional boost to remain on top of your game.)
4) Do a dry run
It is always a good idea to prepare by doing a dry run. Drive by the company a couple of days ahead of time about the same time of day as your actual interview. That way you will know the route and be able to anticipate the traffic patterns you are likely to face.
On the actual day, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of time so that you can relax and focus your thoughts.
5) Gather together and bring:
A professional looking portfolio (the kind with a pad of paper on one side and a pocket on the other). Taking brief notes during the interview demonstrates organization and interest in the job. It also gives you something to do with your hands so you don’t inadvertently cross your arms. But remember to always first ask permission, as some topics of discussion might be proprietary.
Information on the company and contact numbers. In case there’s an accident or some other delay and you’re running late, you can call to let them know.
Several copies of your resume to hand out to interviewers. A surprising number of interviewers are unprepared and may not have even seen your resume. This way you’ll hand them a clean copy that’s neatly printed on bond paper.
Special Tip: Create a copy of your resume for yourself! After you open up your portfolio, have it available for you to refer to quickly and easily. During the questioning, it’s fine for you to glance down from time to time. But here’s the super secret — write keywords in the margins of your resume that will jog your memory as to examples of your accomplishments that you want to be sure to discuss. Then, even if you get a bit nervous and your mind goes temporarily blank, you’ve got the answers in front of you! Your “cheat sheet” will help you feel better prepared and far more relaxed.
Any sample work that will demonstrate your skills and ability to perform your job well.
A list of questions about the position and the company that show you’ve done your homework and are a well-prepared, knowledgeable and enthusiastic candidate.
A calendar/smart phone to schedule additional interviews.
With a little foresight and extra planning, you will know that you are thoroughly prepared to present yourself with confidence and poise. And remember that an experienced candidate with the right attitude and skill sets is hard to beat. So anticipate a favorable outcome … you just might land that great new job!
6) Predict the future. You can anticipate 90 per cent of the interview questions you’re going to get. It’s an easy list to generate. “Why do you want this job?” “What’s a tough problem you’ve solved?” If you can’t think of any, Google “most common interview questions.” Write down the top 20 questions you think you’ll get.
7) Have a backup plan. Actually, for every question, write down three answers. Why three? You need to have a different, equally good answer for every question because the first interviewer might not like your story. You want the next interviewer to hear a different story. That way they can become your advocate.
8) Prove yourself. Every question should be answered with a story that proves you can do what you’re being asked about. “How do you lead?” should be answered with “I’m a collaborative/decisive/whatever leader. Let me tell you about the time I ….” Always tell a story or have facts to prove you are what you say you are. More on how to construct and tell these stories in a future article.
9) Read the room. All that brainpower you’re not using to desperately come up with answers to questions? Look around. Focus on the interviewer. In the first 10 seconds, is there anything in their office, or about them, you can notice and use to forge a connection? A book on a shelf? A family photo? A painting? Read the interviewer: is their body language open or closed? Are they tired and should you try to pep them up? Do they like your answer or should you veer in another direction?
10) Prepare and Practice (PP). The interviewer’s task is to find out just how effective you might be in a specific job. Prepare answers for the following questions in as clear a manner as possible. Make your responses upbeat and positive. Make sure you’ve done your research on this company, and it will pay off. Also, always remember that an interview is a “two-way street.” You are entitled to ask the interviewer questions in order to determine whether or not you want the job.
An easy formula to remember is Q = A + P, which simply means “Q” (the interviewer’s question) = “A” (your answer) + “P” (probe — in other words, you now ask a question). For example, suppose the interviewer were to ask you, “Are you free to travel?” You might answer, “Yes,” but then follow up your answer with the question, “How much travel does the job require?” Q = A + P. The interviewer’s answer to your question could certainly have some bearing on whether or not you want the job.
Typical Interview Questions
Here are some questions you’re likely to be asked in an interview, along with some suggested responses.
Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. Pre-plan your answer to this question, it’s usually the first one asked. Talk about your work experience, skills, and accomplishments, not personal statistics such as where or when you were born, or whether or not you are married. Keep it brief.
Q. What do you know about this company?
A. Be prepared with as much information about the company as possible, especially its products or services. Do some homework on the company’s web site, in the research department of your local library, or talk with friends who may work for =or have knowledge of the company.
Q. Why do you want to work for this company?
A. If you’ve done some research, this should be easy. Refer to the company’s fine reputation, growth opportunities, etc.
Q. What kind of benefits are you looking for?
A. Answer this question honestly, otherwise you’ll be unhappy and less than productive.
Q. Describe your value to your past (or current) employer.
A. Refer to your resume and your accomplishments.
Q. You’ve changed jobs frequently. Why?
A. Unless you’ve been a victim of layoffs, talk about better opportunities and more money.
Q. Have you ever been fired?
A. This can be checked, so be truthful. If the answer is yes, you might want to describe the circumstances, and your side of it. Whatever you do, don’t bad mouth your boss or the company.
Q. What did you like best in your last (or current) job?
A. Pre-plan your answer because this question is often asked.
Q. What direct supervisory experience have you had?
A. Refer to your resume.
Types of Questions to Ask in the Interview
When it is appropriate, ask questions during the interview.
The following questions are guidelines only. Use them when and if it is comfortable for you.
- Do you have a job description available?
- With whom would I be working if I accepted a position here?
- What is the most important qualification for this position?
- To whom would I be responsible?
- When will you be making a decision regarding this position?
When the interview comes to an end, be sure to leave in a professional manner
- Thank them for their time.
- Shake hands, look them in the eyes and smile.
- Ask for a business card (from them or the secretary).
- Ask them when they will make their decision.
- Tell them you will call at that time to hear their plans.
After leaving, write a short thank you letter. Thank them for seeing you. Restate your interest in the position and tell them why you feel qualified for it. Tell them you look forward to talking with them again and will call on the agreed upon date.