Organizations use job interviews to weed out obvious non-contenders whose resumes look great but whose presence lacks credibility. The candidate the interviewer can't eliminate gets the job. If more than one candidate survives, the interview becomes the tie-breaking factor.
Interviewers seldom possess good interviewing skills. They wrongly assume that because they are managers, they can interview. Frequently, interviewers have no idea how to obtain necessary vital information from you. You need to treat the interview as a sales call. Find an opportunity to take charge of the interview (more below) and make sure your story gets told.
What information are interviewers looking for? Is this a new position or are you backfilling someone? Why did the previous person leave? Do you know the organization or unit in which you may work? What key knowledge, skills and abilities will you need in the new position? Know the answers to these questions before the interview.
Interviews are a two-way street. You are there to interview the organization as well as to be interviewed. If you ask a couple well planned questions before the formal interview start, you have an opportunity to tailor your answers to the interests of the panel.
- You will encounter at least one of several possible interview scenarios: single interviewer; interview panel; series of interviews; demonstration of skill or ability; hostile interview; case study; reaction to outside event. Just recognize the type of interview and adjust your role accordingly. If they treat you shabby, do you really want to work there?
- Pace -- some interviewers ask pre-prepared questions. If so, they will likely read the question fast. When you hear a question, pause a couple of seconds. A quick answer looks canned. A more deliberate answer looks thoughtful; even if it is canned. Never start to answer before the interviewer finishes the question.
- Respond directly to the interviewer asking the question.
After making solid eye contact with the questioner, then spread your eye contact to other panel members. Keep eye contact but don't stare.
- Answer all questions with a specific answer. Give specific
examples. If you don't understand a question, say so and ask for it in another context. If you still don't know, admit it and offer to get back to the questioner within a short, specific period of time.
- The second most important question is the first question. Sometimes it does not come out as a question but you will hear something to the extent of: "Tell us about yourself." This is not the time to discuss your baseball card collection. Discuss your experience only as it applies to the knowledge, skills and abilities of this position. Look very qualified, but not overqualified. Make sure to give specific examples. If the interviewer starts to squirm, you have gone on too long.
- The last question is the most important question. You will be asked something like: "Is there anything else you want to tell (or ask) the panel?" Most interviewees are so happy for this signal that the interview is about over that they mumble something to the extent that no, the panel covered everything. The lost opportunity is that you have a specific message you want to get across. This is the time to be crystal clear. Modesty goes out the window. Prepare (about) four specific points you want the panel to consider. You may have mentioned these points in the interview but now you want the points organized to your advantage. Tell the panel that you have four points, they will write each on their note-taking sheet even if they took no other notes during the interview. By stating that you have four points, the panel knows you won't go on forever. This response assures that you leave the interview having made your most important points. You also had the opportunity to take charge of the interview. The ending is in your hands, not the interviewer's. No matter how the interview went, at least it ends on a positive note. As with entertainment, the ending is the part the audience remembers most.
- Practice interview several times with someone before the interview. Encourage them to ask off-the-wall questions. The questions will differ from those in the interview however the mind games you play, out loud, will prepare you for most questions you may face. Take opportunities to interview for positions even if you are not really interested in the position. The practice experience will prepare you for the interview when you really want the position.
Today's Top7Business was submitted by Dan Knapp, Personal & Business Coach. See Dan's web page at www.danknapp.com for the schedule of his FREE BUSINESS SEMINAR TELECLASSES, to sign up for two FREE weeks of coaching, for his FREE monthly "Tips from the Coach" newsletter, and download FREE mini-courses and other good