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Acing the Interview


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It’s true that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Would you like to leave your next interview thinking, “I nailed it!”? Acing the Interview is an intensive workshop given by Career Transition Coach, Catherine Morgan, of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc.

Published in: Career, Technology
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Acing the Interview

  1. 1. Acing the InterviewCatherine MorganCareer Transition and Entrepreneur CoachPoint A to Point B Transitions Inc.June 20, 2013
  2. 2. Welcome to Sales 101• Wrong place? No!– Get comfortable with selling yourself
  3. 3. It comes down to chemistry• Once there is a baseline of skill sets thatwould enable you to do the job, who dothey pick?– The one they think would beeasiest to communicate with?– The one they think would beeasiest to manage?– The one they think would FITinto the corporate culture?
  4. 4. How do you know if you fit?• Gut feeling?• Common background?• Common interests?• Similar personality traits?• Similar work style?• Similar personal style?
  5. 5. Be yourself• Don’t fake it!• Six months in your real personality will comeout and you will be miserable
  6. 6. Mirror their conversational style• Short questions should yield short answers– If they want more detail, they can ask for it• More conversational questions?– Answer with a story to back up your point
  7. 7. Smart scheduling• Be professional when you are scheduling:– Anticipate going long so you don’t haveto interject your personal life, e.g., have topick up the kids– Most of the time recruiters will work with you– AND know your best times
  8. 8. Interviewing with executives• Often the higher up the food chain you go,the easier the interview is• They may just want tochat as your qualificationshave already been vetted• This is truly the “fit”interview: Will you fit?
  9. 9. How to prepare• Collect your metrics!– Improved efficiency by x percent– Boosted subscribers by x percent– Boosted conversions by x percent– Saved x amount of man hours– Saved x dollars– Generated x dollars
  10. 10. How to prepare (continued)• Research the company• Research who you will be interviewing withon Google and LinkedIn to find commonexperiences/interests (and to determinelevel and personality traits)• Knowledge is power!
  11. 11. Mindset• You are interviewing THEM as much as theyare interviewing YOU• Attitude of curiosity – be interestedand engaged• Come in with some ideasand suggestions, but don’tbe a know-it-all
  12. 12. Phone interview basics• Shower and dress comfortablybut professionally• Ensure kids and pets are elsewhere• Have your notes ready and available• Wear a headset so that your hands are free– NEVER use a speakerphone
  13. 13. Phone interview basics (continued)• Smile and breathe before you start– It will come through in your voice!• Have drink handy to avoid dry throatand coughing• Talk slower and moredeliberately thanyou normally would
  14. 14. Industry jargon can hurt you• Do not use too much industry jargon• Often first interviews are done by juniorprofessionals or by outsourced companies– They might not know much aboutyour industry or job function
  15. 15. First round questions• Can you tell me a little about yourself?(Summarize your career.)• Can you tell me about your last position?(What did you do and what did you likeabout it?)• Why did you leave your last position?(Or are you leaving…)• What are you looking for in your nextposition?
  16. 16. First round questions (continued)• What do you feel is your biggest strength?• There are a lot of qualified candidates, whyshould we pick you?• What do you feel is your biggest weakness?(Hint, pick something that you can show youare working on or have overcome in someway.)• Can you give me an example of somethingin your career that you are particularlyproud of?
  17. 17. Prepping for behavioral questions• Stories in your back pocket– Success story from most recent position– Something that went souththat you turned around– Biggest achievement/most proud of overall– Story showing strength– Story showing weakness
  18. 18. Don’t do this• Don’t badmouth a former boss/company– If it wasn’t a fit, just say that
  19. 19. Sharing personal information• Don’t talk about family, divorce, healthissues, work-life balance issues, etc.• Don’t be overly honest or overly personal– Nobody cares– Even (or especially!)about being fired• Keep it professional
  20. 20. Why should they hire you?• Why will you be able to add valuefrom the start?• Why will you be a great additionto the team?• Why are you the ideal candidate?
  21. 21. The best interviews• Use stories to illustrate your best qualities• Leave no doubt that you are a highlyqualified candidate• A great interview will:– Go off the script– Be conversational
  22. 22. Questions for them• What is the near-term (6 month) andlonger-term (18 month) strategy/vision?• What are the key skills required?• What does a day in the life look like?• What are your immediate challenges?• What are your biggest priorities?
  23. 23. Run - don’t walk - to the nearest exit• Is this a new position or will you be replacingsomeone?– Were they promoted? Did they quit? Key info!• If you find that you are the third person inthree years – RUN!
  24. 24. In-person interviews• Body language: You will read theirs,and they will read yours• Dress comfortably and don’twear anything that pinches– Adjusting clothing calls attentionto nervousness• If you find yourself rambling,pull yourself back and say,“Did that answer your question?”
  25. 25. Talking the talk• Deliberately slow your speech cadence– When you are nervous, you tend to speakquickly and babble• Remember to speak slowly– It buys you time!
  26. 26. In-person interviews• Err on the side of being professional– in speech and dress – it’s an IQ test• Show up early or at least on time• For executive positions,not wearing a suit canget you disqualified atsome companies
  27. 27. Don’t be the one• Not asking them questions can get youdisqualified• Don’t ask about money or benefits – let therecruiter volunteer that info• When asking about the interviewing processask confidently– or don’t ask at all
  28. 28. Use stories!• Biggest problem: general statements with nodetail to back up points or skills• Example: Do you know QuickBooks?– If no, say that you know asimilar program (if true)– Or use an example of howyou learned another softwareprogram in two days
  29. 29. Interviewing insider tip• Best candidates:– Ask pointed questions to determine needs– Care enough to listen at the beginning when theinterviewer describes the position, why they arelooking, what they are looking for, and whatproblems they are trying to solve– Tailor answers to point back to those needs
  30. 30. Questions?Catherine MorganCareer Transition and Entrepreneur CoachPoint A to Point B Transitions Inc.877.672.5333Catherine@PointAtoPointBTransitions.comTwitter @PointA_PointB