Thursday, July 10, 2008

Both Sides Of The Interview: Interviewee

Interviews are a two-way street. To see how the interviewer is steering, take a look at the previous blog. If you're on the other side, let’s level the playing field and put you in the driver’s seat.

The key rule of the road is that all interviews have six degrees of connection ...

1. Preparing

Nothing beats preparation … answer potential questions in advance and on video

Compile all the available information you can get on the position. Then prepare a series of questions that address the relevant experience, responsibilities and duties. Determine the skills and accomplishments of the ideal candidate, the desirable strengths and the potentially derailing weaknesses. Incorporate these into your responses.

Videotaping immensely improves your interviewing skills. Use a coach or objective friend/colleague to ask you questions and critique your responses, body language, distracting movements, etc. It’s time well spent and a dress rehearsal for the real show.

2. Interacting

Establish good chemistry immediately

Many interviewers subconsciously make up their minds about a candidate in the first few minutes. It’s up to you to set the tone early and help put them at ease with a warm smile and a solid but not vise-like handshake. Very brief banter about anything from the day’s weather to the photographs on the interviewer’s bookshelf is a time-tested icebreaker.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

3. Understanding the Job

You may have a wealth of experience, but only certain aspects may be applicable to the position you’re interviewing for. The interviewer is looking for the best fit, making it critical for you to know what the job specifics are as early on in the interview as possible so you can tailor your responses.

Before you answer, ask:

---What are the goals and objectives of the position?
---What skills and experiences are considered most relevant?
---What behaviors and traits are required for success?

By getting this information out at the start, the interview becomes a more productive use of yours and the interviewer’s time. You’ll both be focused on the needs of the job.

4. Questioning the Interviewer

Sprinkle in your questions at opportune times

Don’t wait for the interviewer to ask if you have any questions. That’s not what an interview is about – that’s an interrogation.

The most successful interviews flow smoothly when important and valuable information is being freely exchanged. There’s a dialogue. Make certain you have the standard questions ready about the company’s culture, performance metrics, success criteria, etc. and ask them at the right times. Make it a give and take meeting.

Listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions, but don’t jump to answer them all. There are some that require a thoughtful pause and, if possible, a question that either clarifies or expands upon them.

5. Summarizing & Selling

Always close with reviewing the key components of the position and making a pitch for yourself. You want to ensure that you understand the job and that the interviewer understands you.

A simple statement/question like “ Let me make sure my impressions are correct. You’re looking for someone who can do X, Y and Z … is there anything I’ve left out?” continues the dialogue and conveys thought and involvement on your part.

Following up with: “As we’ve discussed, my experiences in A, B and C match your needs and my successes in D, E and F are examples of what I can do in this job” helps the interviewer visualize you in the position.

6. Following up

At close, ask, “What’s the next step?” and follow up accordingly. Always send a thank-you note or email.

If you make these six connections, the odds are high that your interview is on the right track.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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