8 Steps to a Winning Interview
Do you want to ace the interview? Here are 8 simple steps you can take that can put you on the fast track to a winning job interview.
1. Research the company beforehand. Even before you apply for a job at any company, you should investigate them. Is this a company you would want to work for? Know exactly why it is. If not, then why are you there? Research also reduces the possibility of embarrassing questions on your part. Learn the company's products or services, their size and annual revenues (if they are a public company).
Go to their website and check out their current press releases. You can extract some good nuggets here by finding out what products they've just introduced, what success stories they're promoting and their most recent stock performance and growth projections. Many challenges the company may be faced with could be couched in these little releases and it's good for you to use this to your advantage during the interview. You want to present yourself as informed and prepared.
2. Have answers ready for these 5 questions: Every interviewer is going to want answers to these 5 questions in order to pass the interview. They are often asked differently, but your answers are what matters most. a. Why are you here? b. What can you do for us? c. Will you get along with our values and culture here? d. What makes you different from everyone else that we've talked with, i.e., will you go that extra mile? e. How much will you cost us? (Save your answer for this one at the time of an actual job offer. Never talk salary at your first interview unless they press you and then be general.)
3. Have your "stories" in your head, ready to go. A company wants to find out what kind of employee you would be. The best way for you to show them is to take the initiative and have several personal stories that you can tell, taking maybe a 30 to 90 seconds each. Develop stories around specific examples of your career. For instance, discuss how you either made money or saved money for your current or previous company, how you faced a crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it, and how you contributed to the team to complete a crucial project or company goal. Your stories should all piece together as answers to the questions above.
4. Have a list of questions YOU want answered. A word of caution (see #1 above) in that you don't ask questions you should already have answers to. However, you do want to demonstrate interest by having a few questions for the interviewer that are more specific about the job, the projects, the immediate needs and challenges the person filling this job might be facing.
5. Dress for an interview. See John Molloy's Dress for Success. It's dated but still the best there is. If you're not sure, call ahead to either your interviewer or the HR department and ask. When in doubt, dress more conservatively. You want to fit in and not feel self conscious about your clothing choice during the interview.
6. Watch your body language. Don't fidget, play with your pen or keep adjusting your collar or your hair. Remember, body language sends a strong signal to others about your inner feelings, your intentions and thoughts. Bad body language usually stems from nerves or low confidence. You can reduce your jitters and raise your confidence by preparing well in advance of your interview.
7. End the interview with an answer to this question "what is our next step?" The purpose of the interview is to get to the next step, be it a job offer or a second meeting. You most likely will not be offered a job at this interview, however, you can and should ask what the next action step will be.
8. Send an Interview Thank You letter. Do this within the first 12 to 24 hours of your interview. A handwritten note will really separate you from everyone else who is interviewing for this position.
Since you have been preparing weeks ahead of time for this moment, much of this work has already been completed. Keeping track of all eight steps for each interview will greatly increase the chances in your favor of walking out a winner and one very large step closer to landing the job you really want.
Copyright 2006 Joseph Turner
Joe Turner, the "Job Search Guy", makes it easy to quickly land that next job. To claim your free 6-part Recruiter Secrets Minicourse, visit www.jobchangesecrets.com/Free_Job_Search_Tips.html
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