It’s important to remember that this is a selling situation. You simply won’t get an offer if you’re too busy showing the interviewer all of your perceived flaws. Instead, you’ll want to convey to the interviewer that you are both qualified and interested.
It is, however, a two-way street. Imagine that your objective in taking an interview is to get the offer so that you’re then able to make a decision on the opportunity afterward. This mindset can take the edge off and show the interviewer that you’re confident in your abilities. And, it’s true, you do have as much say in this as the hiring manager. Making sure the job is right for you is key (even if you’re flat-broke and starting to become mildly concerned).
These imperative tips will get you on the right path and heading towards that glorious first paycheck in no time at all.
Before the Interview
Conduct thorough research on the potential employer. Check the company’s website, do an online search of newspaper and trade publication articles and/or ask the internal contact person to send background materials.
The second type of research is about the individual who will be your boss. Ask whoever is setting up the interview –
whether it’s your recruiter, an HR person or the hiring manager’s assistant–about the person’s personality, managerial
style and what you should know about him or her in advance.
Use your research to strengthen your case. Interviewers like to know that you’ve done your homework and, in fact,
expect it. They may well ask questions designed to reveal what you’ve done by way of research. If they don’t ask, you
can drop bits of research as appropriate.
Plan to arrive at the location at least 10-15 minutes early, but announce yourself on time.
Anticipate questions and prepare your responses, particularly for difficult questions.
During the Interview
Listen, observe, assess and respond; watch for facial and verbal cues about the interviewer’s style so you can both
fall into a comfortable conversational pattern.
Create chemistry, not conflict. Your goal is to get as many job offers as possible so you can control your job search.
This is an art and not an exact science.
Don’t speak poorly about previous employers or job experiences (even if you’re just dying to). You will immediately be perceived as negative.
Early in the interview
Find out any details you can on the person you are talking to – look for opportunities to relate. For example, you might ask, “What was your background before you came here?” Any nuggets of information you have on them may be the difference between you and the candidate sitting in the hallway. You may just find out that they *also* have a 3-legged dog named “Poochie”… Small. World.
The most critical question you can ask during an interview is “In your opinion, what are the key skills required to be
successful in this position?” At this point, stop talking and listen (a good rule is 2/3 listening, 1/3 talking). They will tell you everything you need to know to sell yourself for this position and everything you need to determine a good fit for you.
Make sure to relate your past experience to the directly to the position (and try not to ramble here).
Finishing the Interview
A good question to ask a potential employer: Is there any area of my experience I might further clarify for you? This
is your chance to resell and resolve any miscommunications or misunderstandings.
If you are interested in the position, tell them and explain why you are interested and why you feel that you would
be a good fit.
Be sure to get the name, title, and business card (when applicable) of the people that you interview with. Timely
“Thank you” emails or handwritten notes are highly recommended.
Wrapping up the interview, ask the interviewer what the next steps are.