Your resume and networking activities worked...you got the interview! Now is the “make or break” point of your candidacy. Whether a screening call or in-person interview, preparation is the key to making the next round.

 

Interview preparation is more than just researching a firm and arriving on time. If you’re having limited to no success, and things seem to hit a wall, read on for strategies and steps you should seriously consider.

Strategies and Steps:

Know Thy Strategy

 

Many people don’t look at the interview process as a strategic one—where you can actually improve your chances by deploying strategies instead of just steps.

 

  • Interviewing the employer instead of just selling yourself in an interview (The “fit” goes both ways.)
  • Structuring a solid follow-up system before the interview.
  • Practicing succinct answers to behavioral questions.
  • Responding to questions about employment gaps or reasons for leaving a job.
  • Having “power” questions ready that get you the info you need.
  • Handling potential objections that may surface.
  • Leveraging your network
    for anyone that may be able
    to influence the decision.
  • Being persistent but not overly aggressive with your follow-up.
  • Burning your bridges when receiving a rejection—don’t! Send a thank you note instead.

 

Know Thy Audience

 

Research the company, industry and competitors. Review the job description again—thoroughly. Identify who you’re speaking to on the call or in-person interview in advance.

Know Thy Self

 

Get your relevant work stories and accomplishments ready—ones that clearly convey your “fit” for the role and company. Back-up your resume with specific examples of how you’re going to contribute and get the job done. Focus on your relevant attributes and practice the dreaded behavioral questions:

 

  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell me about yourself...
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time when you...

 

Know Thy Format

 

The different types of interview formats include: unstructured, behavioral, group panel, competency, and web-based. The successful candidate will adapt his/her approach and strategies for each.

 

Know Thy Questions

 

Your approach and questions should differ depending on the interviewer.

  • Headhunter / Staffing Agency
  • Human Resources Representative
  • Hiring Manager
  • Senior Leader at Company
  • Panel / Group Interview (Members are not likely to have same interviewing style.)

 

 

These different audiences will have varying perspectives and levels of understanding about the role you’re applying for. Their experience and purpose in the interview process will also differ. Have targeted questions ready for whoever you’re interviewing with.

 

Know Thy Etiquette

 

Don’t underestimate the importance of this topic! Differentiation is crucial for career transitioners and an etiquette mistake could negatively impact your candidacy.

 

Remember... prior to an interview the only impression an employer has about you is from an Internet search, a LinkedIn profile,  resume, or through a referral. Some areas to consider:

 

  • When should you ask questions?
  • How much information is
    enough vs. too much—when answering questions?
  • Is note-taking OK?
  • How does etiquette differ with an interview panel vs. one-on-one?
  • Is it OK to refer to your resume when discussing your background?
  • Is it taboo to reach out to other company employees during the interview process?

Now that we’ve shared some strategies and tips with you, how much would you benefit from honing your interview skills and techniques? Has it been a long time since you’ve interviewed? Are you getting first round interviews—but no call backs?

 

If any of these apply to you, interview preparation / coaching can help. Contact us today.

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