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What to Expect in a Job Interview

What to Expect in a Job Interview



This is the extended version of my "Do's and Don'ts of a Job Interview". Presented to college students at various institutions.

This is the extended version of my "Do's and Don'ts of a Job Interview". Presented to college students at various institutions.



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    What to Expect in a Job Interview What to Expect in a Job Interview Presentation Transcript

    • What to Expect in a Job Interview Do’s and Don’t of a Job Interview www.thesocialtrex.com
    • Get Their Attention
      • A young student wanted to get into a University that had very stringent standards and was known for its 'creative' students. He was taken into the interview room and met by a gentleman sitting behind a large newspaper. With no eye-contact whatsoever the interviewer said "You have exactly 30 seconds to get my attention" and continued to read his outstretched paper.
      • !
    • ...he passed the interview
    • 7 Second Impression
      • Confidence!
      • Firm Handshake
      • Eye Contact – look them directly in the eye
      • Direct and simple introduction:
        • “ Hello, my name is ____, it is great to meet you!
    • 29 Minute 53 Seconds
      • Knowledgeable:  Do your homework and know more about the person and company than what is on their website.
      • 3 degrees:  reach out to somebody that knows somebody and pick their brain!  Do more than visit a static website!
      • Honest & Transparent:  Tell the truth about your resume, don’t make excuses for shortcomings, but offer solutions.
      • Don’t Be a Bad Date:  Be interesting, offer stories that are short, to the point and highlight successes and mistakes you learned from.
      • Engage in the conversation:  Just like above, it is a two-way conversation.  Don’t just ask questions about sales volume, benefits etc.  Instead, discuss how your long-term goals match with the company’s strategy.
    • Key Categories
      • Personality
      • Experience
      • Relationship
      • Communication
      • Long Term Outlook
    • Personality
      • Attitude
      • Appearance
      • Confidence
      • Approachability
      • Professionalism
    • Attitude
      • Always be honest
      • Enthusiasm & Passion.
      • Expressing your passion = interest.
      • Don’t be nervous – you already have a good chance since your in the interview!
    • Appearance
      • Maintain positive body language
        • Be on the lookout for certain gestures that communicate negative messages, such as poor eye contact, hurried nodding or crossing your arms.
      • Posture and body language, and manners are still at the top of the list.
      • Differentiate yourself from others, find a way to make an immediate impact (this does not mean wear a crazy tie)
      • Social network clean-up (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc…).
      • “ Go Search Yourself” Google yourself and see what employers will find, trust me they are doing the same thing.
    • Appearance
      • Basic presentation issues:
        • no heavy cologne/perfume/powder odor
        • no ornate jewelry
        • no chewing gum/mints/cough drop
        • turn off (not to vibrate) your cell phone
        • don’t bring water bottle to interview
        • have a professional email (nothing like [email_address] )
        • Bring a notebook/portfolio & pen
      • Image is a paramount consideration for any interview.
        • no visible piercing along with the usual; clean hair cut (do), clean teeth, fresh breath, nails, nose
    • Confidence
      • Be a listener and engage in a two-way conversation
      • Eye contact
      • Sit up straight, lean slightly forward with hands on table
      • Firm handshake, if you miss the shake, ok to say “hey, let’s try that again”
      • Never take a defensive stance on a question (honest answers)
      • Don’t complain about workloads, hours worked, your boss etc…
      • Do not speak negatively about anyone.
      • DO NOT compare yourself to other people, be your own person.
    • Approachability
      • Smile for 5 seconds when you enter a room & say “nice to meet you”
      • Make eye contact for two extra seconds when being introduced (and saying goodbye) to someone new. One-one-thousand…two-one-thousand…
      • Develop an unforgettable answer to a few common questions.
      • Sit with toes pointed AT the speaker (away signifies resistance)
      • Discover the CPI, or Common Point of Interest, between you and any new friend as soon as possible. Ask creative, unique, interesting, thought-provoking and challenging questions like, “Can you describe the best day you had at work last year?”
      • Keep your hands away from your nose or mouth while talking, it is a display of dishonesty.
    • Professionalism
      • Arrive 15 minutes early
      • Make sure you understand the employer’s next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next.
      • Know what the next actions/steps are: and DO IT!
      • Back everything up by solid, detailed scenarios or experience.
      • Personal thank you’s and not just an email.
      • LinkedIn profiles need to match up with their current resume.
    • Experience
      • Jobs
      • Initiative
      • Education
    • Story: Experience is in the Eye of the Beholder
      • Several years ago, I was hiring a talent acquisition assistant and interviewed 20+ people but could not find the organizational skills and personality I was seeking.  I then interviewed a young lady, right out of school with a great personality.  She had me in the first 7 seconds (personality, confidence, solid handshake)!  Then we discussed her upcoming wedding and HOW she was planning for her nuptial bliss.  I invited her in for an interview and requested she bring her wedding planner (folder) that she poured months into!  It was phenomenal, I hired her and today she is a Human Resource Manager for a major global organization!
    • The Job
      • Know the job role and be able to address how/why you fit the role.
      • Be honest about your skills
      • Communicate how your skills transfer into the job role
      • Have a prepared list of references from previous employers (co-op’s, internships, professors and managers) that will address your skills (e.g.  she is highly organized because ____)
      • Describe what you like most about previous positions and also be prepared to describe what you like least
      • Know your resume; you should never need to “refer” to it during the interview (you wrote it and did it, right?)
      • Be prepared to discuss your plan to achieve career goals.
      • Be realistic; many skills transfer, however I am a marketing major involved in Talent Acquisition –  I AM NOT AN ENGINEER, some skills will not transfer.
    • Initiative
      • Interviews: always have tangible information prepared for the interview (portfolio, www.visualcv.com website print-outs with annotations highlights etc…) this WILL set you apart.
      • Ask for a business card and respect the card.
      • Discuss projects or work assignments where you identified issues and suggested a solution that was implemented.
      • Define what motivates you professionally and personally.
      • Definition of initiative is: an introductory act or step; leading action!  Take some initiative!!
    • Education
      • Clearly show all education, continuous learning and training
      • Education, continuous learning and training should match your goals, highlight how they match your goals (even if your degree is not in line with your field, find a connection).
      • Address GPA concerns directly; explain low GPA’s and never shy away from the discussion. 
      • Bottom-line; be honest and address these concerns up front.
    • Relationship
      • Knowledge
      • Real World Experience
      • Business Acumen
    • Make a Connection
      • I look for 3 keys items;
        • knowledge (what do we know about each other)
        • experiences (relating “real world" experience to each other)
        • business acumen (understanding the mutual business insights of each other).
      • MKS Story:
        • Knowledge of our industry
        • Related her experiences to some of my personal experiences when I was in that role.
        • Her insight into business was clearly expressed. 
        • She did her research on me & I was blown away by how much she knew about me professionally, our company and the position we were hiring. 
        • She got the job!
    • Knowledge
      • Static Research : know what they do, company size, locations, a little about their operational methodology!
      • Dynamic Research : LinkedIn , Google , Facebook , Glassdoor.com
      • Know about the role for which they’re being interviewed:
        • regular tasks
        • typical goals
        • key accountabilities
        • expected deliverables (week 1, month 1, 6 months, 1 year)
        • Be able to demonstrate how you can perform these initiative and provide clear examples from your past. 
        • Past actions predict future behavior!
    • Real World Experience
      • Relate your professional experiences to the goals and objectives of the company. 
        • What can you do for them vs. what can they do for me!
      • Chances are the hiring manager has performed your role, the more you know about them, the better you can relate your experiences to some of their past experiences.
      • Discuss your career transitions and how you handled them;
        • i.e.  When you left home for college is a great example.
    • Business Acumen
      • All employers want to know that you understand how business in general works:
        • Metrics driven resume = metrics driven employee
        • See the big picture, it is about the company not you
      • Be able to talk to your interviewer about recent company results, products, projects, mergers, acquisitions and share performance. 
        • Be prepared to share an opinion on these items
      • Answer questions with specifics and numbers (“Data entry made up 60% of my summer internship” or “I input 2500 client files into our database”)
    • Communication
      • Written
      • Verbal
      • Body Language
      • Q&A
      • Ability to listen
    • Communication: First Impression
      • Interviewers will judge your communication on more than just verbal (how well you translate your thoughts), they will also rank:
        • Written (your resume, application, paperwork etc…)
        • Body Language (what are you really thinking vs what you say)
        • Questions & Answers (how well thought out, relevancy to the interview – i.e. not canned)
        • Ability to Listen (indicates how you will take direction)
      • Let’s pick these apart….
    • Written
      • All paperwork (resume, application, forms) must be well written, neat, clean and complete. 
        • Employers relate this to what type of employee you will be.
      • Writers are readers, how many blogs, books, articles have you read about interviewing?
      • Size matters; when you write something go back and try to make it shorter with the same or more impact
      • Read your resume / thank you notes out loud, make sure they flow and sound memorable.
    • Verbal
      • Leave a lasting impression; make sure the interviewer knows what they need to about you.
      • Don’t start your conversation with
        • “ I was just going to say…”
        • “ I’m not sure if I’m right, but…”
        • “ I don’t know if…”
        • “ This is probably a stupid question…”
      • Use self-disclosure openings as conversation starters, they ease communication apprehension.
      • Be ready to offer insight into you and appeal to the inherent helpful nature of other people. Examples include:
        • This is my first interview (if it is)
        • I am really excited to learn more about your company (this will open them up to state, “well what do you know”), then tell them!
    • Body Language
      • Interviewing is like dating, be engaged in the conversation and the person!
      • Connect with the interviewer, they should feel as if you are an old friend and you’re catching up!
      • Research positive body language for interviews, a few tips include;
        • smile when entering the room
        • firm handshake (if you miss simply state “hey, let’s try that again), this shows confidence.
        • DO NOT fold your arms
        • MEN:  Never, ever, ever CROSS YOUR LEGS.
        • DO NOT put your elbows on the table
        • DO NOT clench your fist (indicates anger)
        • Sit down after the interviewer
    • Questions & Answers
      • Always ask GOOD questions about the company AND the person(s) conducting the interview.
      • Start with an introduction, followed by a question like:  “What else can I tell you about myself?”
      • Ask questions throughout, be conversational, but precise.
      • End with a good question:  “Was there anything you were looking for that we haven’t discuss?”
    • Ability to Listen
      • Don’t talk yourself out of a job, relax, be confident and professional.
      • Pay attention to verbal and non verbal cues.
      • Prepare responses to “standard” questions with 30 – 120 second responses that drive home a point. 
      • Repeat back key points from the interview and address them in your response.
      • Above all LISTEN!!!
    • Long Term Outlook
      • Leadership
      • Goals
    • Leadership
      • You must communicate to employers that you have the ability to lead in some capacity!
      • Discuss your involvement as a leader, no matter the roles (no role is too small);
        • sorority/fraternity
        • charities
        • intramural sports
        • church activities
        • clubs/organizations
        • projects
      • Leadership and management are two completely different things
        • Leadership:  to go before or with to show the way, to conduct by holding and guiding, to influence or induce, to guide in direction, course, action, opinion, etc
        • Management: The act, manner, or practice of supervision.
      • How do you influence outcomes that are in the best interest of employers?
    • Goals
      • Discuss your short and long-term goals; be ready to explain your plan of achievement.
        • If your goal is management (common response), then discuss the steps you are taking; i.e. reading books (give title of book), taking classes, volunteering to manage projects etc…
      • Clearly communicate your professional and personal goals
        • Professional first; discuss your previous career path and key milestones.
        • Discuss why you chose previous employers or positions that tied in to your professional road map.
        • Have a professional road map!
      • Achievements
        • Discuss recent goals you have achieved and how you achieved.
        • Don’t be shy, you are in an interview to sell yourself, but don’t be arrogant/blow hard!
    • General
      • Do’s
      • Don’ts
      • Always
    • Common Questions
      • Tell me about yourself?
      • What is your greatest accomplishment?
      • What is your greatest strength?
      • What is your weakness?
      • How do you handle stress?
      • What is the toughest problem you have faced and how did you overcome?
      • Why do you want this position?
      • Why are you the best person for this job?
    • Any Last Questions?
      • Often the interviewer's last question is, "Do you have any questions for me?"
      • Not having questions indicates a lack of initiative. It also gives the impression that you have minimal interest in the position.
    • Prepare Your Questions
      • Prepare your questions in advance.
      • Relate them to the company or its accomplishments/challenges (your research of the company will show and further impress the interviewer).
      • Don't ask any question that indicate a lack of research about the company.
    • Ask The Interviewer
      • What do you enjoy most about working here?
      • Is there anything I've mentioned that makes you think I'm not the best candidate for this job?
      • When do you expect to make your final decision?
    • Phone Screen Tips
      • N ever be caught unprepared. 
      • A lways prepare like it is an in person interview. 
      • I nterview in a quiet place with limited NO distractions! 
      • L and line. 
      • I nitiate request for in person interview and open the door for more information about yourself. 
      • T alk with confidence. 
      • Alex Putman
      • www.thesocialtrex.com
      • Twitter:
      • @ alexputman
      • Facebook Page: www. facebook.com/thesocialTrex
      • Go to blog and search “interview” for applicable articles on interview, questions employers ask and topics covered in more detail