Interviewing skills will make you or break you! You might have read three books or more on how to put together the best resume ever written in the history of man, but there are too many people who grasp defeat from the jaws of victory due to poor interviewing skills. By far, the most important rule is rule #1!
1. Practice – Practice – Practice!
The best preparation I have ever seen was from a fellow marine captain when he was preparing to depart the service after 10 years of active duty. He was a battery commander and every weekend, he would have two or three people come over and interview him. Not only did he practice his interviewing skills, he also filmed every one and then went on and critiqued his sessions. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he had over five solid job offers and he selected Merrill Lynch. At “Mother Merrill” this person went on to build a business of over One Billion Dollars in assets managed. So make sure you do more than just practice answering potential interview questions. Take the time for the extra measures and you will assure yourself of success down the road. If you’re wondering where to get interview questions, just Google a few terms and you will have more than enough. Also, the books mentioned earlier have some good advice on interviewing.
There was an old saying in the Marine Corps – “If you’re not five minutes early, you’re late.” Make sure you arrive early for your interview. Understand that for many, time is their most precious asset and if you get to the interview late, then you are way behind the “power curve”.
3. Stay calm
During the interview, relax and stay calm. Your goal in an initial interview is to get a second interview. You will get the second interview only by staying calm and professional. Of course you will follow up on interview and increase your chances for the second interview. remember, the worst thing that can happen is that the person doesn’t hire you. So be confident and make eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the complete question before you begin answering. It might be embarrassing if you begin answering and the question turns out to be different.
4. Know the company
Before you go to attend an interview, make sure you read a bit about the company. Read the website, Google the company and check out its recent news. Most companies are impressed when they see the candidate has done their homework and it will allow for a much more dynamic conversation. A good source of company information is glassdoor.com. There you can find out what workers say about the company, interview questions, salary range, etc…
5. Bring a copy of your resume
Your resume is the second most important tool of the job interview. You are the most important element of the interview; however, you must understand that many times an interviewer hasn’t read your resume. Sometimes they might have just glanced over it or might not even have it with them. By bringing a copy, you might be helping them out of an embarrassing situation. Whenever you are appearing for an interview, you must carry it. This will let your potential employer know about your skills. This is where you will hand the interviewer a good copy of your resume with proper resume font and resume format. Not a bland text version.
6. Be Professional
Just like there should be no negativity in the resume, there should be no negativity in the interview as well. Do not talk bad about your previous employer. Though it is a well known fact that the most common reason for leaving a job is due to a bad boss, but it is best not to talk against your employer.
7. Cell phone
It’s common sense but make sure your cell phone is off during the interview. A ringing cell phone is a nuisance, and hinders the interview process.
8. Dress up
You should wear clean and conservative clothes. A dark business suit is the best option. Black, Blue or Gray present the most professional image. Try to avoid colognes or perfumes because they might be too overwhelming and send across the wrong signals.
9. Be relaxed but controlled
Always remember that you are being interviewed and not there for a personal get together. There are many different tricks that interviewers use to trip up the interviewee. There are stories of the interviewer becoming irate and throwing pencils towards the interviewee to see how they would react. There are stories of flirtation. Some real, some a trap. I even know of one candidate who thought he had an interview aced. He was the only student from his school that landed an interview with one of the Big Four accounting firms and he rolled in there well prepared and confident. Towards the end of the interview, the interviewer stated that he played on the firm’s softball team and noticed that the interviewee played softball and asked what position the interviewee played. The interviewee stated that he played 2d base. The interviewer said great and that the team needed a third baseman. The interview said that’s nice but I plan on being the new 2d baseman. Several times, the interviewer mentioned the need for a third baseman and each time the interviewee mentioned confidently that he could provide the best services at 2d base. The interviewee asked the interviewer what position he played. The interviewer said 2d base. Needless to say, the interviewee didn’t receive a call back.
10. Follow up
Make sure you thank the interviewer while leaving the office. Also let them know about your interest in the position. You can even ask questions if you have any.
Great questions to ask your interviewer:
From Laura Schneider, former About.com Guide
Many candidates never think about asking questions in an interview, but that is one thing you should always do – whether the interviewer asks if you have any questions or not. You can learn a great deal about the position, company, culture etc.. Also, when you start asking questions, many times the interviewer starts to sell the opportunity/company to you and the whole mood of the interview changes.
• How would you describe your company culture?
• What is your vision for your department over the next two to three years?
• What major challenges are you currently facing as a manager?
• What makes your company better than your competitors?
• What are the areas where your competitors are better than your company?
• Who do you consider your customers to be?
• What can you tell me about the other people in the organization I would be working with? Can I meet with any of them before accepting an offer of employment?
• What are the most important skills and attributes you are looking for in filling this position?
• What is your management style?
• What is your preferred method of communicating with your team?
• What is the organization’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department
• What are some of the skills and abilities you see as necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
• What are the attributes of the job that you’d like to see improved?
• What have you liked most about working here?
• How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
• (If this a new position) What made you decide to open up this position?
• How would you describe your own management style?
• What are the most important traits you look for in a subordinate?
• How do you like your subordinates to communicate with you?
• What personal qualities or characteristics do you most value?
• How would you describe the experience of working here?
• What happened to the person who previously held this job?
• From all I can see, I’d really like to work here, and I believe I can be a great addition to your team. What’s the next step in the selection process?
• Before I leave, is there anything else you need to know concerning my ability to do this job?
These tips for interview will help to crack the interview to grab the job you always wanted.