There are no excuses not to be prepared for an interview. Here are some ideas that can make the difference between getting the job and going home to continue the search.
1. Provide Specific Examples
Take time to write down why you were better, faster or more efficient than others who have your experience. Write down what you did and more importantly the impact of your actions on past employers. Some of the best examples should show how you either saved your company time, money, increased revenues or profits.
If your interviewing for an advertised position, write down the key words used in the advertisement. Next to each keyword, list specific examples where you demonstrated these skills. Always keep in mind that your job during an interview is to have the hiring authority begin to envision you as the best fit for their opportunity.
2. Role Play Interview Questions
There are questions that are almost always asked during the interview process. You need to role play your answers with anyone willing to role play with you. It’s amazing how many job seekers are eliminated from consideration when they can’t answer “Tell me about yourself?” I once had an interviewee not be able to answer the question “What motivates you to be successful?” The person looked like they had never been asked that before.
Keep in mind that the interviewer is going to hire the individual who will provide the greatest return on their investment (your compensation package). They will also determine who fits in best with their current team and company culture.
Never forget the interviewer will only pass you on to the next step in the process or extend a job offer if you focus on their WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). They must be confident you have the credentials needed, possess a high level of interest and are confident in your abilities.
3. Conduct Thorough Research
Your competition will review the employers’ website. You need to conduct much more thorough research including reading all the press and media about the employer. You gain great insight by reading what others are saying about an employer. When you understand current challenges being faced by a potential employer, you can position yourself as part of the solution.
4. Research the Industry or Profession
You need to read what employers in your industry or profession are reading to stay abreast of trends. Subscribe to Trade Publications and review the websites of the Professional Associations of your target market. It is their job to keep members informed of trends. If possible, attend association events as a guest to keep your knowledge and network current.
5. Prepare Questions in Advance
When you are being asked questions, the interviewer is in control of the interview process. When you ask questions, you are in control and have the ability to turn around an interview that may not be going well.
It is your job to uncover what is most important to each person in the interview process by asking questions like:
- “What is most important to you in the person you hire?”
- “What is the greatest challenge the person you hire will face?”
- “If you could have improved the performance of the last person who held this position, what would you have improved?”
6. Dress Appropriately
If possible, go to the employer and observe how their employees are dressed and dress one level better. Interviewers assume that the best you will look is when you arrive for an interview.
7. Master your Thirty Second Pitch and Handshake
You only have a few seconds to make a great first impression.
8. Eliminate other Distractions
Once you have conducted your research you will have insight in to the company culture, values, and core competencies. The dress code in an advertising agency is much different from that in a bank.
9. Remember to ask for the Job
Hiring authorities will react positively to someone who shows a high level of enthusiasm and interest. Obviously, you need to also possess the required credentials.
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