The Best Applicant Interview Tips Part 3

  • If you are driving, determine parking locations and cost. If taking the bus, get clear on the route, where you will board and have the right bus fare with you for both legs of the trip.
  • Prepare your information for the interview with the company’s environment in mind. For example, if you research the job and learn the company is strong on customer service, highlight your customer service-related skills. Or if you find that the company conducts several “mystery shops” a year, focus on your results in this area.
  • Get a good night’s sleep

During Interview

  • Build rapport with a few appropriate comments not related to the job.
  • Try to “match and mirror” the person interviewing you in terms of body language, vocal tone, etc. People like people like themselves. This doesn’t mean be phoney, just aware of your surroundings.
  • Listen carefully to everything said to insure you are addressing what they are really asking. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Speak clearly and confidently. Talk conversationally.
  • Take part in the interview. Be an active, enthusiastic participant — which also illustrates that you would be a good addition to the company. Ask key questions (see below).
  • Talk about your skills, but don’t just repeat your resume. Offer stories that illustrate your accomplishments. Show that you can think on your feet.
  • Don’t respond negatively to a question. This includes any comments about a former employer. If you haven’t done something requested, mention what you’ve done that is similar in scope or skills required. Remember this axiom: negative stops; positive persuades. If you must speak about the former employer, do so factually, without extraneous story or drama.
  • Be sure to mention that you are interested in the position and how you can help the company.
  • Ask about the next steps following the interview. You need to know what to expect in the days/weeks ahead.
  • Try to maintain your peace of mind. Relax and enjoy the process.

 

After the Interview

  • Congratulate yourself for giving it your best.
  • Take yourself out to lunch or dinner.
  • Write a note (handwritten preferred, but at least e-mail) expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to interview and how you believe you can do a great job for the company.

 

Questions

Asking questions during the interview illustrates your confidence and professionalism. You don’t just want this job, you want a job that suits you. Ask questions to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

  • Is this a new position? If not, what didn’t work well with the last person who held it? What could be done differently?
  • What are the main objectives of this position? What is the most important one? The most time-critical one?
  • What problems would you face in this position?  What staff would assist you? What other resources would you bring to bear?
  • What kind of budget would you have?
  • Who do you work for? How will your performance be measured?
  • What kind of autonomy would you have for developing new ideas, procedures, scheduling, etc.
  • What advancement opportunities are possible? After what length of time?
  • What has been the company’s biggest success? Why? How?
  • What are their plans for growing to the next level?
  • What changes lie on the horizon?

 

This looks like a lot of information to consider, but much of it boils down to commonsense. Treat your future employer like you would a friend or family member, and you’re that much closer to your first paycheck with that company.

 

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Jimmy Gardner

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