18 November 2010
An Interview is the best opportunity you will have to gather information and market yourself to a prospective employer. Invest a few minutes in reviewing these tips for a successful interview outcome.
- You're on stage from the moment you get in the parking lot. From this point on, anyone whom you run into, smile, look them in the eye, and be pleasant. Be nice to the receptionist/secretary and be courteous to everyone, even if you're in a rush. Don't be short ...you'd be surprised how much influence they can have in the hiring process.
- You are interviewing them too. Not only do you want to identify 2 or 3 three qualifications in your background to bring forward, but you also need 2 or 3 things that are important to you about the potential working environment. Spend 15-20 minutes prior to the interview to plan your questions.
- Don't assume they have done a thorough review of your resume/background. Be sure to bring several copies of your resume with you. It's your job to convey your strengths. Choose 3 things that match up well with their environment and convey those on the interview. If things turn out to be different than you expected, you need to be flexible.
- You will be asked about your short and long term goals. Keep your goals realistic and along the lines of the things they're looking for. For example, if you want to own your own company, you might not want to mention that on the interview. Make your goals pertinent to the interview and the work environment.
- Try to draw comparisons to previous work experiences. A good way to answer questions is with real world experience. For example, take a project you've recently completed and apply the experience to the company's current challenges.
- Think before you answer. Always be sure you understand the question before you begin to answer. If you're unsure about what they're trying to ask you - which happens a lot in technology because it's so complex - check for understanding by asking them to explain what they're looking for.
- Rating questions are tricky. When you are asked to rate yourself, don't give yourself the highest rating. Say "I feel good about my skills but there is always something new to learn - I'm sure I could learn something from you." Always qualify your example with real world experiences.
- Body language is vital to the interview and accounts for over 50% of the message. A firm handshake, positive body alignment, and good eye contact are vital for a successful interview. You've probably talked to someone who will not look you in the eye or show an active interest in the conversation; they make you uncomfortable and you wonder what they are hiding.
- Personal questions - don't ask any! If they ask you (where you live, etc)...it is professional business etiquette to answer the question, as you will be building rapport, but always let the interviewer open the door first.
- In closing, before you leave, ask them "Based upon our interview, is there anything lacking in my background that would prevent me from getting this position?" Or, "Is there anything you're not comfortable with in terms of my background for this position?" This gives you one last chance to overcome any issues - no one can explain it better than you. Plus, it gives you a chance to turn a negative into a positive.
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