You’re going to have interviews coming up and you want to put your best foot forward! The purpose of an interview is to provide information about you as a person, which cannot be gained by reviewing your credentials. Even the most impression resume can’t compensate for an ill-prepared interview. Just as any good salesperson would go into a sales presentation prepared, you need to go into an interview prepared to discuss YOU! We are going to cover three main parts to an interview today. Preparing for the interview: what research is necessary, frequently asked questions, and what to bring with you. The actual interview: tips for first impressions and how to sell yourself, and questions to ask the interviewer. Follow-up after the interview: correspondence, self-evaluation and what to do if you don’t get the job
Learn as much as you can about the company and position you are applying for. It is important that you tailor your approach to each job so that the interviewer sees if your skills match the position and if you are a match for the company. It is important for you to take some time to consider your strengths, special aptitudes, short and long-term goals. It is vital that you identify and feel comfortable talking about these prior to the interview since much of what will be discussed during the interview is related to the contributions you have made and can make.
Here are some common personal attributes that an interviewer will be looking for. Are these strengths for you or are some in need of improvement and fine tuning?
There are several types of interviews that you may encounter in your job search. Two types with examples here are general questions and situational/behavioral. At Target we use behavioral interviewing. In this type of interview the interviewer asks you for specific examples of how you have reacted in a particular situation. This information is proven to be a more accurate representation of your behavior than answers to a general question.
If you do not prepare for situational questions it can be very hard to come up with examples of the spot. Here are some ideas of ways to prepare.
Consider these frequently asked questions and think about how you would respond to them.
- On an average, an interviewer makes a decision about a candidate in less than 4 minutes. In 90% of cases, the decision made in the first few minutes did not change by the end of the interview. Interviewers seek information to substantiate their initial impressions and many selection decisions are based on early impressions of the candidate. - There are a number of things you can do to make an impactful first impression both verbally and non-verbally. Verbal impressions come from things like your tone of voice, choice of words, enunciation, rate of speech, enthusiasm in voice, using humor appropriately. Non-verbal impressions come from things like overall appearance (clothing/hair), posture, handshake, facial expressions, and gestures. Nervousness is expected in an interview. Try to keep your nervousness internal. To build your confidence keep these thoughts in mind. An interview is centered on the subject you know best – YOU! Don’t over verbalize – be brief and to the point. Be positive! Preparation is the key to overcoming nervousness – let your preparation show! In order to relax mentally, you must first relax your body (get plenty of sleep the night before the interview). - Once use make a good first impression, make sure that good impression is carried through the actual interview conversation. There are a couple of things to remember: Listen carefully – use your active listening skills throughout the interview to demonstrate that you are engaged. Remember eye contact, head nods, sitting forward, asking questions and using pauses before answering questions. Use direct and succinct responses – answer each question head on and stay within the confines of what was asked. Make sure your strong points are communicated without being verbose. Control the content – the interviewer controls the flow of the interview, but you can control much of the content. While answering each question reinforce or add information that works in your favor.
Keep the interviewers attention – vary the tone of your voice and the speed at which you speak. Avoid cliché or pat answers – be specific and provide examples. Ask appropriate questions – it’s good to have prepared questions but ask them in a spontaneous way. Display interest and enthusiasm – it is not just enough to say you’re interested, you must support it with actions as well. Sell yourself! In an interview, the product you are selling is YOU. The assets of your product are your experience, skills and personality. Show the interviewers all the preparation you’ve done. Keep in the mind the following: show your interest in the position, communicate your interest to the interviewer – tell him/her why you want the job, show interest in the interview, as an event in itself, think positive – believe that you are going to win, convey a positive attitude (no one owes you the job), selling yourself happens primarily through enthusiasm, sincerity, tact, courtesy. Some food for thought: In a close race, the offer will invariably go to the most enthusiastic candidate; Enthusiasm is contagious and compliments the hiring manager, who may already be doing the work you are excited about.
The interviewer is not the only person who asks questions at the interview. You should be prepared to ask questions that are important to you and the situation.
- Thank you notes should be sent after every interview the same day or the next morning at the latest. You can send it via personal note, email, fax or a phone call. It should be concise and contain the following ingredients: identify the position and date of the interview and thank the interviewer for his or her time; address a topic of importance to the interviewer (problems or projects) and offer additional information about your expertise; address a second topic of significance to the interviewer – introduce any additional information on your experience that may have been omitted; conclude with positive statements of interest in and a commitment to the opportunity. Leave the door open to initiate further verbal contact. - Post interview evaluation – while the interview is still fresh in your mind answer a couple of questions. Names/titles of people you met with; what does the job entail- what would be the biggest challenges; why are you qualified for the job; what things about yourself did the interviewer react favorably to; what did you say that did not seem to make a favorable impression; what appealed to you about the job, area and organization; what did you hear that was not appealing; your overall impression of the interview; what was the interviewer’s overall impression seem to be; what would you do differently if you could do the interview over. This recap will help prepare you for additional interviews in the future. - A Northwestern University survey of 405 well known firms found these reasons why a interview does not lead to a job offer: PERSONALITY: poor personality and manner, lack of poise, poor presentation of self, lack of self confidence, hesitant approach, arrogance and conceit; GOALS: lack of goals and ambition, does not show interest, uncertainty and indecision about his/her purpose or career; ENTHUSIASM: lack of enthusiasm and interest, no evidence of initiative; APPEARANCE: poor personal appearance and careless dress; EXPRESSION: inability to express self well, poor speech habits; MATURITY: lack of maturity, no leadership potential; PREPARATION: lack of preparation for the interview , failure to get information about the position therefore unable to ask intelligent questions; ATTITUDE: attitude of “what can you do for me”, etc.. - What if you don’t get the job? Remember that you can be considered more than once; your name may be passed on to other colleagues who might need someone with your skills; obtain feedback from your interviewers on their impressions and suggestions for improvement if possible; do a self-analysis and determine how to make necessary changes the next time; try some mock interviews; don’t get defensive or blame others; establish an action plan.
Interviewing Skills Presentation
How To Be Interviewed… It is not moving mountains Gregory J. Victory Founder and Principal Consultant Leading2Victory [email_address]
Agenda <ul><li>Preparing For The Interview </li></ul><ul><li>The Actual Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up After The Interview </li></ul>
Preparation <ul><li>Research the company and the position </li></ul><ul><li>Research yourself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Education and Training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work Experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal strengths, special abilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities and interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short and long-term goals </li></ul></ul>
Personal Factors <ul><li>Attitude – Outlook in general </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance – Physical appearance, neatness, posture, dress </li></ul><ul><li>Maturity – social behavior and emotional stability </li></ul><ul><li>Sociability – ability to work and get along with others, warmth </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Expression – ability to express thoughts clearly, concisely, effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation – initiative, drive, enthusiasm, energy, desire to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence – mental ability, judgement, organization of thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>Persuasiveness – ability to influence others </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Confidence and Poise – at ease, self-assurance </li></ul><ul><li>Interest – indication of sincere interest in the company and position </li></ul><ul><li>Potential – ability to progress </li></ul><ul><li>Overall – overall evaluation of applicant </li></ul>
Interview Types <ul><li>General Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you deal with conflict? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Situational/Behavioral Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell me about a time when you were in conflict with a peer; what was the situation and how did you deal with it, including a timeline of the course of events, </li></ul></ul>
How To Prepare <ul><li>Generate a list of topics you think might help answer situational questions (i.e. conflict, teamwork, communication). List both situations that did and did not go well. </li></ul><ul><li>When researching the company find out if there are key attributes that they look for in their employees. Then, focus on situations relating to those attributes. </li></ul>
Frequently Asked Questions <ul><li>Tell me about a time you were most effective in persuading someone to do something. </li></ul><ul><li>What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why? </li></ul><ul><li>What personal characteristics do you believe are necessary for success? </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me about the most recent assignment you tackled – who gave it to you? How long did it take? </li></ul><ul><li>Tell me, if I were to sit down with your current supervisor, what would s/he tell me are your three strengths? Opportunities? </li></ul>
What To Bring <ul><li>Resume – ingredients for a powerful resume </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a summary. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Omit personal information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give specific accomplishments, not just duties and responsibilities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write in clear, concise terms. Use active words. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure it is free of errors! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tailor it to the company/position you are applying for. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not include salary requirements or references. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limit to one page! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t forget student organizations, teams and community service activities. </li></ul></ul>
The Interview <ul><li>Initial Impression </li></ul><ul><ul><li>4 minute rule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Verbal and Non-Verbal Impressions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Confidence </li></ul><ul><li>The Interview Conversation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listen carefully </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use direct and succinct responses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control the content </li></ul></ul>
The Interview Cont… <ul><li>The Interview Conversation Cont… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep the interviewer’s attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid cliché or pat answers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask appropriate questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Display interest and enthusiasm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Selling yourself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enthusiasm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sincerity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Courtesy </li></ul></ul>
Interviewing the Interviewer <ul><li>Some suggestions are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What specific skills or personal characteristics do you believe are important for successful performance in this position? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(If interviewing for a supervisory position) How many team members will I be supervising? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What type of training program can I expect? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How often will my performance be evaluated? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe a “typical day” on the job. What kinds of daily dilemmas might I expect? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the career path for this position? </li></ul></ul>
Post Interview <ul><li>Follow-up correspondence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal note, e-mail, fax or phone call </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Post Interview Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Reasons Why Interviews Don’t Lead to Offers </li></ul><ul><li>If You Don’t Get The Job </li></ul>
Questions?? Gregory J. Victory Founder and Principal Consultant Leading2Victory [email_address]