By Pat Kendall, NCRW
interview is scheduled for 9 AM Friday morning... You haven't interviewed
for a job in five years and you're feeling a bit apprehensive. How can
you prepare for the interview? What should you do first?
we address these issues, I want to remind you whether you're
an accounting clerk or a CFO that you need to consider the interview
a "mutual investigation" process. In other words, the interviewer will
ask questions to determine your suitability for the job, while at the
same time, you will be determining whether the company is a good
match for you. That being said, let's look at some practical ways
to get ready.
first part of interview preparation is research. The idea is
to learn as much as possible about the organization, its philosophies,
goals, and missionplans. In almost every interview situation, the question
is asked: "What can you do for this company?" How can
you answer this question if you don't know anything about the firm or
your own suitability for the position?
you learn about the organization, you can get a much better "feel"
for how you might fit in. Then, during the interview, you can use this
information to your advantage. Are they a fast growing company? Explain how your experience working with fast-track firms would benefit
them. Are they quality-oriented? Make them aware of your personal
commitment to quality. Do they sponsor certain charitable organizations? Tell them about your volunteer experience.
goal is to show them that you are like-minded i.e., show them that you will make a good addition to their team.
benefit of research is this: By showing them that you've taken the time
to research their company, you demonstrate by example that you
are the type of person who gives 110%. Most candidates don't know anything
about the companies they interview with. They don't know their products,
their philosophy, their position in the marketplace, or anything else
them that you are different... show them that you are better than other
candidates who don't have the time or good sense to conduct some basic
research. Preparing yourself for interviews by researching prospective
employers also gives you a certain control of the situation and if you have some control, you're less likely to feel nervous or
key component of interviewing is knowing your strong points.
If an employer asked "Why should I hire you?" would
you know how to respond? Are you aware of your marketable skills? Do
you which of your skills this company might be most interested in? Can
you provide a one-minute sales pitch on yourself?
how to do it: Start with a blank sheet of paper and make a list of your
qualifications (and keyword) for the job you're interviewing for. Typical
items on this list include:
- Education, special training, course work
- Technical skills (from experience or training)
knowledge of a product, market, or customer base
track record of success
ability to learn the job quickly
In addition, this list can also include transferable skills like communication,
leadership, organization, accuracy, detail-orientation or work ethic.
If you have a job ad or a posting from the Net, review the keywords
listed in the job description, and make sure to include them on your
Refine this list further and then use this information to write a brief
"sales pitch" that describes your qualifications for the job.
Organize and prioritize your information, repeat your sales pitch out
loud, then practice it several times until you can say it naturally
and smoothly. To interview well, you must believe in yourself
and be able to verbalize your best qualifications with conviction.
let's look at the merits of being proactive. When the interviewer
asks if you have any questions, how will you respond? Here's another
situation where your research comes in handy. When asked if you have
questions, you can respond: "Well, I know from my research,
that ABC Company is planning to expand into the international market.
How might that affect my job?" If you are replacing an existing
employee, you might want to ask what your predecessor's biggest challenges
were. You could also ask about opportunities for advancement, availability
of corporate training programs, plans for expansion, etc. Develop some
relevant and intelligent questions, write them down, and be prepared
to ask them at the appropriate time.
Verbalizing Keyword Skills and Relevant Accomplishments.
Review the job posting or job description and be prepared to
discuss the specific skills needed for the job. In addition,
think about your most relevant accomplishments and be
ready to explain how your accomplishments and keyword skills
have equipped you for this job. Focus on examples that
show your ability to:
specific (job-related or technical) problems
Your Resume's Key Points.
Your resume is the potential employer's outline of your career and in most cases, the basis of questions asked during the interview.
Make sure you are prepared to provide details and expand on any
item listed in your resume.
Look the part of the position you're interviewing for (appropriate
attire, meticulous grooming, etc.). Take the time to properly
organize any paperwork you bring along (i.e., extra resume copies, letters of recommendation, references, performance evaluations,
Whatever it Takes to Arrive on Time.
Check out the address and parking facilities BEFORE the interview
Out of Your Way to be Polite not
only to the interviewer, but also to the receptionist or secretary
who greets you.
a Firm Handshake,
direct eye contact, and a friendly smile; demonstrate a sincere
interest and enthusiasm for the job.
Display Loyalty to Your Former Employers no
matter what they did (or did to you) never say anything
negative about them.
a Positive Attitude and
believe in yourself!
sending the interviewer a brief thank-you
letter or note.
Schedule Your Interview Appointment.
If possible, try to schedule your appointment so that you're not the first person being interviewed. Research
conducted by Robert Half & Associates indicates that the
first person interviewed gets the job only 17% of the time,
while the last person interviewed gets the job 55% of the time.
According to this study, you'll improve your success if you
avoid scheduling interviews late in the afternoon or on Monday.
you take the time to prepare for your interview by practicing
your personal "sales pitch" or verbalizing your answers to
common interview questions, you'll not only feel more at ease during
the interview (knowledge = power), but you're more likely to win
over your interviewer and get the job offer.
Kendall, All Rights Reserved