PREPARATION, CAREER GOALS, FIRST IMPRESSIONS
PREPARATION: Assume you were one of 100 people applying for a job. After the initial resume screening, you are one of the five candidates being interviewed. Your qualifications and experience meet the criteria the company is looking for. What will make the difference between you and the other qualified candidates? Your attitude and presentation. Do your homework. Learn as much about the company as you can. Review their Annual Report. Ready any industry-specific material you can obtain. Learn the company’s position in the marketplace. Determine what skills and experience would be best suited to this particular position. Because you are using the services of Premier Solutions, much of this information will be provided to you. Review your background and work history.
CAREER GOALS: Be prepared to discuss in detail the skills, responsibilities and achievements for each of your former positions. Be able to verbalize your short and long term goals and what you have accomplished so far to reach them. Be sure to have a career path in mind. Emphasize your strengths and be able to back them up with achievements. Let your weaknesses work for you. If you feel it necessary to mention a weakness, include a statement of what measures you are taking to overcome it. Practice your responses and have all the facts at your fingertips. It will relax you and give you additional confidence before meeting the interviewer face-to-face.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: First impressions are lasting impressions. Therefore, your professional appearance and pleasant manner will set the tone for the interview. Business attire should be worn and the rules are the same for both men and women. A dark suit, conservative accessories and neat, trimmed, simply styled hair are appropriate. Be polite, alert and calm. If there is a handshake, make it a firm one. Maintain eye contact and answer all questions asked with a brief, to the point statement. Body language is a tell-tale sign, so sit up straight, lean into the conversation as opposed to sitting back and slouching. Most of all, be enthusiastic, it’s contagious.
INTERVIEWING FOR SUCCESS, LASTING IMPRESSIONS, FOLLOW UP
INTERVIEWING FOR SUCCESS: Initially, your interviewer will ask you a few questions designed to put you at ease and then move into the fact finding session. The interviewers goals here are twofold. The first will be to obtain information to determine if your background, skills, achievements and attitude will fit the open position. The second goal is to see how well you handle yourself. You will be asked questions designed to elicit detailed responses, not “Yes” or “No” answers. Take your time, gather your thoughts and give thorough, but not lengthy answers. Be positive with regard to former work experiences, supervisors and co-workers. If you are resentful for any reason, it will show. If you qualify for the position, the one thing that will set you apart from other candidates is your attitude. Your positive approach, desire for growth and self confidence may be just the ticket that will tip the scales in your favor.
LASTING IMPRESSIONS: The interview will come to a close when the interviewer has all the necessary information. this will usually be signaled to you by asking if you have any additional questions. If you do, ask them. If not, do not try to prolong the session. You should not be the one that asks questions about salary, bonuses, company benefits packages, etc. That topic will come up in subsequent interviews. Don’t be the one to initiate those questions. At the conclusion of the interview, summarize your strengths and make sure you express your interest in the position. Don’t leave without knowing what the next step will be. Ask for the job. If you don’t ask, it may be interpreted as a lack of interest. Your goal should be to obtain a job offer or a follow-up interview.
FOLLOW UP: Send a thank you note. This allows you to thank the interviewer for his or her time, recap your strengths for the position and again express your interest in the job. The employment interview is your opportunity to sell your experience, skills and knowledge to the interviewer. The more confident, interested and prepared you are, the more opportunities you will create.