Preparing for Your Face to Face Interview
Be Prepared, Be Concerned
Your professional future may depend upon how you handle your upcoming interview. Many candidates fail to obtain positions for which
they are well qualified simply because they treat the interview lightly. As in sports, a failure to prepare can result in disappointing performance and
unpleasant surprises. If you are poorly prepared you can hardly hope to inspire much interest on the part of the interviewer. As a result, you may
never be shown the full extent of the job opportunity, let alone be offered the job.
On the other hand, being well prepared, mentally alert and enthusiastic
can result in a greater opportunity than you anticipate. Who knows what may unfold during an interview. While an employer may be trying to fill a
position having certain specifications, he or she may also be willing to expand the job ...and the salary ...if the right person comes along.
No matter what your professional qualifications, the success of the
interview depends on your ability to show a sincere interest, to answer questions intelligently and to exhibit an ability to make a real contribution to the company.
The interview process is an opportunity to discuss what you are all about.
You need to be very cognizant of who you are, what you want to do with your career, what your career goals are, what your abilities and limitations are. You need to be prepared and you need to be rehearsed so
that the answers to any questions that may come up can rollout with confidence.
The interview is also a time to find out and determine if the company and
the opportunity is compatible with who you are and what you want. Portray yourself honestly and accurately and you will have a successful dialog.
During interviews, you will be asked many questions, only a fraction of
which will focus on your qualifications in a direct, objective way. Some or all of the following questions, whatever the wording, are likely to be asked
in an effort to understand more about you. These questions are probably the hardest "chemistry" questions you will encounter.
Remember, not everyone who interviews you will be skilled in the art and
they may be as nervous as you. You are not on trial, so relax and help to make the interview a mutually pleasant process.
How to Prepare
Take advantage of these surprising facts:
- Well-prepared candidates often get offers that better qualified competitors do not.
- Few candidates --about one in a hundred --bother researching a
company prior to a job interview. Take advantage of the Internet. Most companies now have web sites that offer information about what they do and who their key players are, as well as information
about the business location itself. Ask your consultant for the web page address of the company if they do not give it to you.
- It is a "rare bird" that is prepared to ask questions about the job or
the company. Only one out of two dozen candidates displays such concern and interest.
- Only one out of ten works at selling him/herself.
- Very few candidates follow up with a courtesy note to the hiring authority.
- And incredibly, even the most enthusiastic candidates neglect to ask for the job. Recognize that an interview is a classic sale
situation, and all good salesmen ask for the order. Why should you do any less?
- Know yourself and communicate that knowledge effectively.
Prepare an inventory of your skills and accomplishments. Show the employer you are the kind of person who can make an immediate contribution. Employers want to know how you will
make a difference in their company. They are less interested in how they might make you a better person or further your career.
- Bring extra copies of your resume with you.
- Know the location of the interview by doing a “test run” the night
before if possible. Arrive at least 5 or 10 minutes early.
- Make the interview work for you. Establish a relationship with the interviewer that permits a relaxed exchange of information. Be
friendly and interested in what the interviewer has to say. Do this by extending a warm greeting and a firm handshake, while maintaining eye contact. Imagine the interviewer to be an old
friend. Strive to show eagerness and interest throughout the interview. Maintain a high level of self-esteem at all times, but don't dominate the conversation. Listen carefully. Strike a balance
between listening and talking. Here are a few tips that will help you with your interview:
- Dress conservatively and businesslike. If in doubt about the
appropriateness of an item of clothing, leave it at home.
- You should get a business card from each person that you meet. If
they don't have a card, write down their name and phone number (as well as title).
- Anticipate the "tough" questions employers ask and have your
answers ready. Prepare some key questions of your own.
- Be ready to discuss how you have performed in the past,
particularly in situations similar to those in this company. Remember that the company is interested in how well you can help them with their problems.
- Any questions regarding salary, bonuses or fringes are better left
for the final stages of the employment process. If you are asked about your salary requirements, respond by giving your current salary .Say that you would expect an increase, but the specific
amount should be up to the company, based upon their assessment of your worth to them. (DON’T pad your salary!)
- Please visit the next page for Interview Questions and more ideas to help you prepare.
What to Do at the Close of the Interview
At the close of the interview, ask for the job if you are interested. A typical pitch might be: Thank you for the interview, Mr. /Ms./Mrs. XXXXXX.
I like your company and I've enjoyed talking with you. I'd like to work for you, and I am eager to start as soon as you can use me. If you feel I have
the qualifications, when may I expect to hear from you, or would you prefer I call you in a few days?
Asking for the job leaves no doubt in the employer's mind that you are
interested in the opportunities they offer. Your objective is to generate an offer; expressing your interest is a key element in getting an offer.
- If you have decided that the position fails to meet your needs, be
polite and continue to maintain a degree of interest.
- Avoid any commitment until you can talk with your executive
recruiter. You may be misreading the situation.