One of the sure-fire ways NOT to get a job is to create the illusion in your potential employer’s mind that you are using the position as a stepping stone toward a more meaningful position with another firm. No one wants to put the time, effort, and money into training someone only to have that person take off at the first opportunity.
While it may be true that you have your sights set on a lofty position much higher up the corporate totem pole, your interviewer can’t see you as a threat to his position or as a quick change artist. The key to navigating through this mine field is RESEARCH.
Learn about the company.
1. What products does the company make?
I once interviewed a potential employee and asked her, “What do we do here?” She had no clue but wanted a J-O-B. Didn’t get one.
2. What does the community think about the company and the people who work there?
What a great answer to have to the question, “Why do you want to work here?” “People in this community believe this is a great place to work. People are treated fairly and the company does so much for their kids. I want to be a part of it.”
3. How long has the company been in existence?
“This organization has been making thing-a-ma-jigs for 87 years. It plans to be around for many more years to come. I want to be a part of that future.” or “This organization has been making thing-a-ma-jigs for three years. I believe that it will have a bright future and I want to be a part of that.”
Be confident, not arrogant. Be eager, not desperate. Be kind and understanding, not condescending.
Remember---You only get one chance to make a first impression.
P.S. Got a question or a problem, email me. If I can help you out, I will. I will maintain your confidentiality.
From the Author:
I am a life long learner, with decades of experience and wisdom to share. I am here to help, field questions and stimulate discussion. Comment on my posts and I will reply promptly.
-Thomas C. Barry
Career and Education Correspondent for CareerSearchToday.com
It’s great news when you’re called in for an interview. Your resume made the cut and you’re ready to move on to the next step. You’re halfway there. One major problem is that people think if you’re called in for an interview, you’re as good as hired. Be aware that you might be interviewed along with dozens of other candidates.
So don’t act like you’ve got the job when you sit down to interview. You’ve still got a lot of selling to do. In fact, overconfidence can actually work against you. Overconfidence can actually come off as indifference: it shows a lack of eagerness and enthusiasm, two traits enormously important for potential candidates.
The key to a good interview is one of balance: you must be confident but not overconfident, relaxed but not to the point of being unprofessional, practiced but not mundane, informative but concise. Think you can handle all that? There’s a reason that people don’t long to enter the interview process. It can be difficult to straddle all those lines.
In addition, no one really likes to be judged in real life, but that is exactly what happens in each and every interview. If you make a mistake, this will be noted. It can cause any potential candidate to have a fit of nerves. Perhaps the best advice to give regarding the interview process is this: you are bound to make a mistake or two. Obviously, you want to try not to, but nobody’s perfect. So long as you have a realistic perception of your capabilities, you won’t get too flustered when you do make a mistake, perhaps digging yourself a deeper hole.
In some sense, the interview depends a lot on the interviewer. You don’t expect to get along perfectly with each and every person you meet, the same goes for a job interview. In some interviews, there will be an instant chemistry with the interviewer. In another interview, it will be more like pulling teeth. In some cases, a bad interview might not even be your fault—you pulled out everything from your bag of tricks and still didn’t get a good response.
Expect this: some interviews will just not go as well as you’d like, even with ample preparation. If you feel like an interview is steering off course, change your tactics. Just because something worked in an interview yesterday, does not mean it will work in an interview today. You must be able to read the tendencies of your interviewer. Perhaps he wants to talk about your future goals more than your past experience. Perhaps he responds well to flattery, or not at all.
Each interview is a totally new experience and should be approached as such. A good job interviewee adapts to each interview, rather than bringing the same game plan to each interview. While you should most definitely prepare for each interview—preparing answers to common questions and researching the business—you should also be expected to change your plan midstream according to the personality of the interviewer. If you do, you will be much more likely to nail the interview.
Strangely enough, many prospective employees don’t prepare for job interviews with the same diligence that they put together a resume. In many respects the interview is even more important than the resume. Certainly, you won’t even get to the interview without a good resume, but a good interview is what ultimately makes or breaks you getting the job.
Just as you’ve gone through your resume and summarized the most salient points from your job history, you should have a clear idea of what you want to express in an interview. Go through your resume again and decide the most important points that you want to cover in an interview.
An interview needs to be as concise as a resume. If you don’t have a clear idea about what you want to say ahead of time, nerves may get a hold of you and you’ll be in danger of incoherence. Worse case scenario, of course, but it is vitally important to speak with confidence and forcefulness. Having a basic script before you enter an interview is a sure fire way to make this possible.
One way to do this is to write a short essay about your work experience. At first this can be a general assessment of your skills, talent, and experience. Later you can cater this to each individual interview—covering topics that are directly related to the job. Writing out potential interview answers is good practice for the interview. If you’re not comfortable writing an extended assessment of yourself, then speak into a tape recorder. Another method is to act out an interview with someone close to you.
These tactics are mainly useful if you are just beginning to enter the workforce. After a series of interviews, you’re likely to get the hang of it. Like anything, good interviewing takes practice. However, you should never stop preparing for an interview. Every company is different so you should have answers that specifically address the job you’re applying for.
There are some issues that can only partially be prepared for in advance. For instance, you have to be able to read your interviewer, and this can only be done once you get to the interviewer. Some interviews will have a good chemistry, some will not: that’s a fact of life. But there are ways to make the most out of an interview even if it doesn’t seem to be going well.
You must be able to adapt to the personality of the interviewer. If your original game plan doesn’t seem to be working, change tactics. You should have a few different answers for the same question. Some interviewers may not want a laundry list of experience and former responsibilities. Some interviewers may be more generally goal-oriented—what you hope to achieve, what you want out of life, rather than how many words you can type a minute. Your interview must correspond to the interviewers personality type.
Some other things you can do to prepare for an interview: iron your clothes, look presentable, and shine those shoes. The last one can actually be very important. Believe it or not, some interviewers take a lot from the state of a person’s shoes. Finally, turn off your cell phone. It can be rude and unprofessional to have a cell phone go off in the middle of an interview.