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PostHeaderIcon How to Interview to Get the Job

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Finally! After a lot of time and energy spent networking, sending resumes and contacting recruiters and hiring managers about career opportunities, you’ve received the call inviting you to interview for a fantastic job.
Preparing for the interview is vitally important, not only for you to feel prepared and confident, but it's a chance for the interviewers to see how organized and prepared you are and how well you’ll perform on the job. Here are a few key things to know:


First, you must research the company where you are interviewing. Start with visiting their website to learn basic information about them as well as read some of their press releases and articles written about them. It’s very common for an interviewer to ask, “What do you know about our company?” at the beginning of an interview. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve, as a recruiter, had candidates respond that they didn’t know much about us or hadn’t done much research at all.   With so much competition for jobs nowadays, you have to make sure the company doesn't regret selecting you for an interview. Plus, it’s always impressive to the interviewer when the candidate shares an interesting tidbit of information they noticed on a recent press release or news article about the company. You can also look up the company’s leadership team/executive bios on most websites. That's a good way to get insight into who’s running the company and possibly their leadership style.

It’s important to reach out to your network and other colleagues to see if any of them have some inside information about the company in terms of company culture, values, management style, etc. You are interviewing them as well and you want to determine if what they do is aligned with what you are looking for personally. Two websites: Indeed.com and glassdoor.com offer an inside peek at different companies.
Find out who you’ll be interviewing with, then do what you can to learn more about that person. Look up their Linkedin profile or do a google search to find out more. People want to hire people like themselves that they feel a bond with, and by learning about who you’re meeting you can find potential areas of common interest (former companies you may have worked at together, similar interests outside of work, professional organizations you both belong to, same schools attended, etc.)

Conduct mock interviews with friends, family or colleagues – and ask for feedback on what you can do better. You’d be surprised with some of the conscious and unconscious things you do that you may want to improve upon.
Go to Google and search lists of commonly asked interview questions to help you be more prepared. Also, “Behavioral Interviewing” techniques are commonly used to determine how you may react to certain situations. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior so you may be asked scenario-based questions to learn about how you handle challenges. “Tell me about a time you had someone on your team not pulling their weight. How did you handle that and what did you learn from your experience?” and “Give me an example of when you had to make a last minute change in your project plans. What did you do and what was the result?” are examples of Behavioral Interview questions – what was the situation, what was your action, and what was the result? Have a few examples in mind of how you handled difficult and stressful situations in case these pop up.
Make sure to map out the directions to the location the day before and allow plenty of time to arrive early and relax in your car if need be. Nothing will start off an interview on a bad note than showing up late.


Your day has arrived! Here are a few tips for success:
Dress professionally and err on the conservative side
Keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum
Have nice personal hygiene, and avoid wearing cologne or perfume as some people are allergic or very sensitive to scents
Check in with the receptionist about 5 minutes before our scheduled interview time (make sure to greet them with a smile and be kind as they’ll let the hiring manager know.)
Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, a smile and make eye contact
Bring multiple copies of your resume just in case (and know it in great detail!)
Have a simple notebook or portfolio with a pen to take notes
Come prepared with thoughtful job-driven questions to ask them
Make sure your cell phone is off and anything else that can distract you is put aside


Many of these upcoming tips might make you chuckle or seen like common sense, but based on my experience, these are not as obvious as you may think.
DO: dress professionally, be enthusiastic, maintain good eye contact, have good posture while sitting and don’t fidget, be direct and concise with your answers, be honest and be yourself (we can tell when you’re not!), have confidence in yourself, take notes during the interview, ask good questions relevant to the company and the job your are interviewing for, and ask for the business card of everyone with whom you meet (to send thank-you emails/notes later).
DON’T: lose eye contact, chew gum, play on your phone, dominate the conversation (remember to let the interviewer drive the conversation), get too casual with your conversation and most of all NEVER speak negatively about a former employer or people you worked with. This is the KISS OF DEATH in an interview.
It’s important to keep in mind that all of these verbal and non-verbal cues are all being taken into consideration when the interviewers create an overall impression of you. So if you’re a nervous pen-tapper, tend to slouch in your seat, or use the word “umm” consistently while you speak, do your best to be aware and refrain from those things as they will be a distraction to others being able to see all the great things you have to offer!


Want to be an expert closer like pitcher Brian Wilson of the Giants? Me too, but let’s start with nailing the “close” of your interview. Once the interviewer has concluded their questions, start by asking the employer your questions (related to the company and job specifically). Then, ask a question like “Do you see me as a good fit for this position?” or “Am I the kind of person you’re looking for?” This gives you the opportunity to immediately address and overcome any objections and concerns they may have. Finally, it’s your chance to “close” for the next step with something like” “I’m very excited about this opportunity, what is the next step?” or “Where do we go from here?” Make sure to end on a very positive and upbeat note with them while trying to lock down that next step.
Immediately afterwards, it’s helpful to take down some notes on the key points of the interview and important information that you gained to help you with your thank you notes. One of my prior articles on this site focused specifically in detail on how to write thank you notes, so I’ll briefly summarize that here. They should be sent within 24 hours of your interview to each person you met with individually (email is perfectly acceptable and in some cases preferable as it’s much faster than snail-mail). Make sure to reiterate your interest in a genuine manner. In the letter, let the interviewer know you appreciated their time, express enthusiasm for the company and position, reiterate a specific skill you bring to the table that the interviewing expressed a need for during your interview, and let them know when you’ll be following up.

In the end, interviews are the opportunity for a candidate and company to learn about each other and help determine if there is a mutual fit. BE YOURSELF and be natural, that will set the interviewer more at ease too. There’s only so much you can be prepared for, but doing what you can ahead of time will help you feel more confident and relaxed and it will show in your demeanor. Cheers to your success!--JY

Julie Youngblood has been recruiting top talent nationally for Fortune 500 companies for the last 10 years. She has been a senior recruiter for Toll Brothers Home Builders in San Ramon for the last 6 years and also enjoys individually coaching and advising people who are in a career transition and job search mode. Contact her through allnewsnoblues.com at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated (Saturday, 06 August 2011 18:47)


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