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Over the last 25 plus years, I have worked with hundreds of managers and executives, helping them find qualified technical personnel to augment their existing workforce. I have never had a "bad" placement. In fact, many of the people I have helped get hired have gone on to management and senior executive positions in their respective companies.
Working on the front lines of personnel recruitment, I have seen many technically competent candidates lose jobs they were ideally suited for because they gave poor interviews.
This guide was written to provide you, the prospective job candidate, with information on how to conduct a successful job interview. It is based on my personal experience as a personnel recruiter, and the experiences of thousands of the job seekers who have come before you.
The material contained in the guide is not intended to help you get a job that you are truly not suited or qualified for. People who get hired for a job they can't do eventually realize they have done a disservice to themselves as well as well as their employer.
What you will find in the following pages, are tips and recommendations on how to get the job that you really want, and know you will do well.
I hope you find the information here of some value. It has helped many people over the years. Please use it well.
A job interview is basically a sales situation; you're selling, they're buying; they're selling, you're buying.
Successful sales people will tell you that "knowing the motivation of the buyer" is one of the key factors in being able to sell a product or service. It is equivalent of understanding a prospect's hot-buttons, their true thoughts, feelings or ideas about the subject at hand. Sales people use hot-buttons to gain familiarity and create empathy with their prospects. In doing so, they are in a better position to show the buyer how the product or service they are selling can be of help.
In the case of a job interview, the "motivation" you are seeking is to know what problem your potential employer is trying to solve. Do they want to increase efficiency? Are they having difficulty getting product to market? Whatever the situation, your "job" in a job interview is to show the employer that you are the solution to that problem.back to top
Pre-interview preparation is the foundation of a successful job interview. Finding out about the company you will be visiting, arriving at the interview with all the necessary information, even knowing something about the person you will be talking to, will give you greater certainty on what you want accomplish in the interview, as well as strengthen you overall presentation.
Basic Job Interview Preparation Steps
You always want to be on-time to a job interview, and getting lost on your way there is no excuse for being late. If you're not completely sure of where the meeting is taking place, arrive early.
Find out where the meeting will take place and how to get there well in advance.
Make sure you have the correct name of the person you will be meeting with, and can pronounce it correctly.back to top
If you've ever been on an interview, you know that the interviewer can ask any number of questions, some directly related to the job you're seeking and some seemingly unrelated. Keep in mind that every question the interviewer asks has the purpose of finding out something about you that will either qualify or disqualify you for the job. Below is a list of questions you should be prepared to answer. Work them out on paper ahead of time if you need to.
Remember when answering questions to maintain good eye contact, give direct and clear responses, and be confident.back to top
If education and technical skill were all an employer was looking for, job seekers would never have to go to an interview. They would simply send out their resume and wait by the phone to find out whether or not they'd been hired.
Job interviews take place so that employers can determine, qualifications aside, whether or not you are "right" for the job. Generally speaking, an employer is looking for someone that can:
How do you demonstrate these abilities during an interview? You begin with good manners, a pleasant attitude toward the interviewer and good listening skills.
At some point the manager will ask you about your background. Now is your chance to shine. Tell the interviewer about yourself in three to five minutes, giving examples of the work you've done.
After you've finished briefing the interviewer on your background, ask him if there is anything he'd like to discuss in more detail.After you've finished briefing the interviewer on your background, ask him if there is anything he'd like to discuss in more detail.
Once you've covered your background, ask him more specific questions about the job or project he wants you to do. Then, go over the parts of your background relevant to his needs.back to top
Sometimes interviewers will withhold concerns they have about your employment background or job qualifications.
Have you ever walked out of an interview feeling confident about your meeting, only to find out later you didn't get the job?
You can avoid this kind of a situation by asking the interviewer questions aimed at surfacing any unfavorable opinions.
Sometimes, you may even notice a specific point during the interview when the interviewer's interest in you seems to fade. Perhaps they've started wrapping up the interview much sooner that you expected, or they appear to be paying less attention to what you're saying.
If this occurs, it would be a good idea to ask the interviewer directly if there's anything about your background or qualifications that he or she is unclear about or would like to go over in more detail. By giving the interviewer an opportunity to say what's on his or her mind, you can flush out and discuss any concerns or objections the interviewer might have.back to top
The important thing to remember is that a manager will hire someone who is enthusiastic and whom they feel will accept the position. So, you have to show them you're interested. How do you do that? By saying, "Mr. Manager, this job is ideally suited to what I want to do because (why this job is right for you).
Avoid any discussions of salary at this time! Your main focus right now is getting the interviewer to want you for the job.back to top
As you're about to wrap up, you need to find out how you did.
Ask "Mr. Manager, I'm really interested in this position because (why you want the job) and I feel comfortable I can do the job because (what you have to offer). Tell me, is there any part of my background you would like to explore further?"
If the Manager says "no", you're okay and you can proceed to thank him for his or her time. But if he says "yes", then you may have a potential problem. It needs to be address. Then, whatever the weakness is, outweigh it with all of your strengths.back to top
Always have three references ready for the employer. One should be your current (if they know you're looking) or past supervisor. The second should be a peer who knows your work habits. The third should be a customer or end-user who can attest to your interpersonal skills. References to avoid: personal references such as Boy Scout leader, Chaplain, family doctor, etc.back to top
Working with an employment agency can be helpful because they generally know where jobs exist, specifically ones that are not advertised. In fact, many of the best jobs are created and filled without the outside world ever hearing about them.
Some general rules about dealing with recruiters are:
Pick a recruiter whom you like and trust. Ask your friends who have recently changed jobs.
Pick a recruiter who has a track record in the city you want to live. Be wary of fly-by-night agencies that come into town when the market is "hot" and blow out just as readily. Amongst other things, they typically don't have the long term relationship with managers.
Never allow two agencies to represent you to the same job opening. The client will disregard your resume in such a case.
Never allow an agency to submit your resume without your approval.
Never allow yourself to be bullied or intimidated by a recruiter.back to top