I N T E R V I E
W T I P S
I Actual Interview I Closing
I Saving an Interview
So you would like to get a job offer, relax. You
by using these proven techniques and suggestions about how to handle
yourself during the interview. Remember an interviewer has just one
objective: TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO MAKE YOU A JOB OFFER.
While the interviewer will examine your work
history and educational background, your strengths and accomplishments
will also be important criterion. He/she is also interested in
evaluating your level of motivation, values, attitude and personality.
In other words an assessment is needed to be done in order to find out
if you are the right person for the job, what your potential for
promotion is and whether or not you will "fit" into the
While it is true that an interview is an important
screening tool for companies, it also allows you to learn those things
that you need to know about the position and the company so that you
are able to make an intelligent decision about the opportunity. It is
a two way street – you are also interviewing the hiring manager!
Your main focus, however, is to approach the interview with one
objective in mind: To Get The Job Offer!
The first key to success is
PREPARATION. With a
competitive job market, you are probably not the only qualified
candidate responding to the search assignment. The deciding factor
may simply be the way you present yourself, your skills and
qualifications relevant to the position. Preparation will increase
your confidence and ability to focus on the interview as well as
enabling you to make a favorable impression. Information about the
interview gives you an edge in preparation. Before the actual
interview, it will be helpful to know what topics will be covered,
objectives to be attained, and the basic information regarding the
position to be discussed.
Never Interview without First Researching the Company.
Surfing the Internet will enable you to know the company’s
products and services, markets, sales volumes, locations, and
subsidiaries. Another option is to spend time in the library
utilizing Standard and Poors, Dun and Bradstreet, Moody’s
Reference Materials, trade magazines, or any other relevant source
that will give you the much needed information.
Prior planning requires you to inventory all responsibilities
performed and to state how well you carried them out. Be
prepared for tough questions. Anticipate what they will be. Two
questions most likely to be addressed are your reasons for
leaving current and past positions and your quality of
performance in various situations. Write out your answers,
refine and memorize them.
Your Executive Recruiter has a list of potential questions to
ask the interviewer so be sure to ask him/her for a copy of
them. Their job is to prepare you to get the job!
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Arrive no earlier than fifteen minutes and no
later than five minutes prior to the interview.
Allow adequate time for traffic, parking and a last minute
appearance check. If possible, scout the location the day
before to avoid any last minute problems. If asked,
complete an application. Your Executive Recruiter’s name along
Group should be the response to any "Referred By" questions.
Have names and phone numbers of references with you so you can list them if requested.
Respond to "Expected Salary" questions as "Open" and
"Current Salary" questions truthfully (see below for
additional salary questions during the interview).
Arrive professionally dressed. Men should wear a conservative
suit, contrasting tie, and shoes shined with socks over calf.
Women should wear a business suit or dress with coordinating
jacket, neutral panty hose, basic pump shoes, minimal amount of
make up, jewelry and perfume and lightly colored nail polish.
There has never been a better first impression than to greet the
interviewer with a firm handshake. Wait until you are offered a
chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look
interested at all times. Body language speaks, so sit assertively.
Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Maintain good eye
contact with the prospective employer. Smile. Don’t smoke or
chew gum (even if it is offered to you) and don’t drink coffee
(so it can’t be spilled accidentally).
Don’t lie or distort answers. Be as truthful as possible and
make sure to get your points across in a factual, sincere manner.
Never answer with a simple "yes" or "no".
Explain whenever possible, but don’t "over-answer"
them – try not to say any more than is necessary. Try to keep
answers to 1 to 2 minutes.
SOUND UPBEAT! Strive to project eagerness and interest. Be a
conversationalist by being yourself.
Never make derogatory remarks about your present or past
Statistics show that 75% of all positions filled are filled by
candidates that are only 60% qualified because of the chemistry
between the hiring authority and prospective employee. You must
establish chemistry right away in the interview. People hire
people they like and who are similar to them. Looking around the
room to see if there are any common interests (photograph, book,
or trinket) is a great ice-breaker. (Ex: That is an impressive
marlin up on the wall there. I caught one almost as big in the
Florida Keys last summer!)
Be sure your Executive Recruiter gives you some background
information on the hiring authority. As soon as the interview has
started, you must qualify the hiring authority by asking,
"What characteristics are you looking for in the candidate
you want to hire?" Then, go through your own credentials and
show why you match up. For example, "I can do the job you
want done because I have done it before and have done it well
by…………(follow the PAR guidelines below)".
In each interview, you are expected to explain how you work,
what results you obtained, how those results affected your current
employer, who you have managed, how your subordinates responded to
your style, etc. To keep your thoughts logical, clear and concise,
remember the following acronym technique: PAR
- State the problem
- Describe the action taken
towards reaching the solution
- Emphasize the positive results
obtained through your actions
The question-answering rule says; Answer every question in
terms of your background or qualifications or in terms of the
search assignment to be filled. "Tell me about
yourself" really means "Tell me about your
qualifications". Personality questions try to determine if
you have the qualities being sought, i.e. "What kind of
manager are you?" or "Are you creative?" Motive
questions attempt to show if you would really like the position or
not, i.e. "Describe your ideal job" or "Would you
prefer to work for a large or small company?" or "What
did you like most/least about your last position?"
Try to avoid the issue of salary, bonuses, benefits, vacations etc.
if at all possible. Never state a starting figure when prompted for a
desired salary. If pressed for an answer with regards to compensation
state, "I am here for the challenge and opportunity. I am confident
that if you feel I’m the best candidate for this position, you will extend
me your best and fairest offer". Keep in mind that current income includes base
salary, bonuses, commissions, benefits, stock options, company car or allowance,
cell phone reimbursement, vacations, mortgage interest savings program, and any
other perks you may have. Furthermore, if you are due a raise within 3 months, state
the approximate percentage you expect. The best thing is to avoid this area and
let your Executive Recruiter handle it. Many times, the hiring authority at some point
during the interview process will volunteer information on this topic.
Ask questions. The hiring authority likes to be interviewed too,
just don’t cross-examine him/her. Always find out how they will
measure success for the position (this way you can determine what
their expectations are and whether you are experienced enough to
meet and exceed those expectations). Don’t be afraid to ask
where the position will take you in the corporation since this
will give you an idea of what the career path will be like and it
will show them you are interested in long term career objectives
rather than a short term job to fill an immediate gap.
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The final key to success is to CLOSE THE WINNING INTERVIEW.
Keep in mind the first interview is a get-acquainted time. You are
building a relationship and the employer is trying to determine how
he feels about you. The second and third interviews are when you
will get down to the "nitty-gritty". Even though it takes
several interviews to get a decision, you are to start to
close at the onset of the first meeting. Another objective
of the first interview is to position yourself as a professional,
not a buddy, in the mind of the hiring authority. He/she must view
you as his number one candidate by the time the interview is over.
The close of the interview is extremely important. Most
interviews end somewhat like this, "We appreciate you coming
by. We are looking at several people at this time and will be in
touch with you in a few days". When this happens, it is time to
ask yourself an important question: "Based on the information I
have gathered during the questioning, is this the type of company
and the type of opportunity I am looking for"? If all the
pluses are there and you do want the job, you must go for it! Even
if you are not 100% sure, you should still ask for the job! There is
alot happening during the interview process. Later on when you have
time to dissect the meeting and put all of your thoughts together in
an orderly fashion and decide you would like to pursue the
opportunity, you don’t want to look back and regret that you
Remember close the interviewer just as you would if you were
selling a service or product. By the way, you are selling
the greatest product in the world, YOU!!
In some instances, the hiring authority might have concerns. It
is imperative you find out what their concerns are, if any, so you
may address them right then and there. Before the interview ends,
qualify the hiring authority by saying, "You mentioned you
were looking for someone who can…….. (at this point name the
most important points that he gave as the job characteristics,
such as an extensive network of contacts and relationships,
significant management experience, substantial profits made for
your division and so on). I feel that I match what you are looking
for. Do you have any concerns about my ability to be successful in
this job position?" Listen carefully, and decide how to
If the concern is not a real concern, then explain why it should
not be a concern and get agreement that it is no longer a concern.
If the concern is a real concern, then try to minimize it and
stress your strengths and compensating factors.
If he/she insists that there is no concern, then ASK FOR THE
Here is how to handle the close. Express thanks for the
interviewer’s time and consideration of you. Tell him/her that
you are impressed with the prospective hiring authority, the
opportunity, and the organization. Let the interviewer know you
will work hard to be successful. Look him/her straight in the eye
and convey to him/her that you can do everything that has been
defined in the job description (i.e. name the three or four most
important points that he mentioned during the process, such as
knowing the product or service, territory experience, having a
portfolio and rolodex full of contacts on hand, fee income or
revenue made for your current employer, and any specific
accomplishments or achievements) and you want the job. All
you need to say is "I want this job. When can I come to work
for you?" Then be silent and wait for the hiring authority
to speak. Although you may not get an offer on the spot, you can
rest assured that every other candidate that is interviewing for the
same opportunity will be compared and measured by you and you will stand head-and-shoulders above the rest because your
determination will be unparalleled and remembered.
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How to Save
a Job Interview
If you get the impression that the interview is not
going well, don’t let your discouragement show. Once in awhile an
interviewer who is genuinely interested in you may seem to discourage
you in order to test your reaction. If you feel your chances of
landing this opportunity are going down the tubes, don’t give up. It
is possible to salvage a job interview that is not going well.
See the following examples.
Analyze what is going wrong – perhaps you are stressing the
wrong skills to the interviewer. Try to change the focus of
discussion. If the interviewer has missed your strongest points,
work them in yourself. (Ex: By the way, I have a strong background
in business development. Let me tell you what I have done….….)
If the hiring authority seems rushed or preoccupied, offer to
return when things have calmed down.
Go back to a previous question that you may have fumbled and add
more insight. (Ex: If you don’t mind, I have some more thoughts
to add to my earlier answer to your question about……..)
To sum up, in order to get the job offer, present a
professional image, ask questions, position yourself as number one and
most importantly CLOSE!
Don’t forget to contact your Executive Recruiter
immediately after the interview. It is crucial to get feedback as
soon as possible so we can keep the process moving along smoothly.
The Executive Recruiter will help you get the job. Finally, it is
equally important that you follow up by sending a thank you letter
without delay because it shows a high degree of professionalism and
once more puts your name in front of the hiring authority.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS are handled slightly different because you
don't have the face-to-face edge as you do in person. For those cases
where a telephone interview is necessary, contact your Executive
Recruiter for additional information and tips in dealing with this
type of interview.
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