Basic Interviewing Techniques
Before the Interview
If you are in the market for a new job, you will inevitably find yourself attending one, if not two interviews before getting hired. Some people dread the prospect of interviewing, however, there are a few things that you can do to relieve yourself of your stress, and guarantee a successful interview.
The first thing you will want to do is obtain as much possible background information on the company itself, including the specific position requirements and competencies that the employer is trying to fill, the expected dress code, the personality of the supervisors and workers that you will be in close contact with every day, as well as any reasons as to why the position is vacant. Be sure to take note of the telephone number should an emergency arise, as well as to obtain a map from your starting point to the interview location, if possible using Google Maps.
Remember, an interview is a fact-finding mission for you and the employer, and you should handle yourself accordingly. If you do not have all the answers you need going in, use your time in the interview to ask questions. This will demonstrate interest, initiative, and provide you with an opportunity to build a rapport with the interviewer. If you fear you may forget your questions or information, bring with you a small folder with some questions written down as well as room for you to make brief notes during the course of the interview. Make sure that you have the permission of a couple individuals who will act as your references, and bring a list of them and their contact information with you to the interview.
The Day of the Interview
Find out where you are going the day before the interview, by using your map to familiarize yourself with the area and how long it should take you to get there. Listen to the weather report the night before so you know if you should get up earlier than usual. When selecting your attire for the interview, remember to dress conservatively, yet professionally. Clothing should not be revealing or lacking in neatness. Avoid wearing perfumes or lotions to the interview. Remember - just because it is a casual Friday at your office does not mean that it is casual Friday at the prospective employer’s office. It is better to be over-dressed, than underdressed. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview - it is easier to go to a coffee shop and kill time than it is to frantically run around trying to find the right building or parking. Do not arrive at the office more than 10 minutes early for an interview. The interviewer has advised you to attend at a specific time for a reason, do not show up more than 10 minutes before the interview.
At The Interview
Turn off your cell phone or pager. Better yet – disconnect the battery to make sure it is off, especially if you have customized ring tones that may offend listeners.
Make sure you are conducting yourself professionally at all times you are on the premises. Refrain from swearing or making any comments that could be taken offensively. Be on your best behavior, sit up straight, and when it comes time to shake hands with the interviewer, provide a firm handshake. Do not try to break anyone’s hand, and do not put a wet noodle out. You are interested in a job with this company, now show it. Look the interviewer in the eye, shaking their hand long enough to ascertain their eye color, smile, and let go. Maintain eye contact throughout the interview, and actively listen to what the interviewer has to say. Do not think about what you are going to say next, rather you should concentrate on what the interviewer is saying, and pause for a second before answering questions to gather your own thoughts.
Remember all of that research you did? Good – now use it to your advantage. Remember to emphasize your strengths that are similar to those required for this position, and be ready to provide real workplace experiences that demonstrate your abilities. Be enthusiastic and proud of your accomplishments and your abilities. Focus on the ways that this experience and your personal attributes would benefit the employer and be an excellent fit for this role. Remember to be assertive, not aggressive when discussing your abilities. This is an interview, and you must sell yourself no matter if you know the president of the company, or if you were told you are getting an offer today.
Never speak poorly about an employer, past or present. Taking the high road is better respected than an employee that could be a potential liability for talking bad about their past or present employer. Speaking poorly about an employer or your coworkers is a common mistake made by many jobseekers.
Be sure to ask the interviewer if he or she has any reservations as to hiring you based on your interview, and ask if there is anything that they might wish for clarification on.
Salary Negotiations and Closing the Interview
You may find yourself being asked about your current salary and your expected salary. Be prepared for this. Never overstate your current salary – you would be surprised whom the interviewer may know at your company. You should be able to justify why your current salary is below your worth, if seeking a raise, and this should be a logical increase. If you feel you are worth a $15,000 increase, you had better be able to provide reasons why any prospective employer would be willing to pay you this much.
When the time comes, be sure to thank the interviewer for his or her time and interest in your application, shake their hand again, and smile.
If all goes well, you will be getting some good news in no time!
Employers will agree that there are a number of things that prospective candidates do to separate themselves from their competition. Unfortunately, many applicants will experience rejection based on one or more of the following:
- Inadequate personality, poor attitude, lack of poise, lack of self-confidence, timid, hesitant approach, too introverted;
- Lack of goals/objectives, poorly motivated, does not know his/her interests or career plans, not interested in the type of job being offered, lack of meaningful questions;
- Inability to express himself/herself, poor speech, inability to sell himself/herself;
- Unrealistic salary demands, more interested in salary than in opportunity, unrealistic expectations, over-emphasis on management positions, unwilling to start at the bottom and work their way up;
- Poor personal appearance, lack of neatness, or careless dress, poor body language and unprofessional conduct;
- Lack of maturity, no evidence of leadership;
- Failure to get information about firm or company, lack of preparation for the interview, showing up late or unprepared in any way;
- Excessive interest in security and benefits, and;
- Inadequate preparation for the type of work – in appropriate work history/experience in their background.