Interview Success: Just Get Me in the Door

A large part of my coaching practice involves interview preparation with my clients. There are usually two groups of candidates with which I coach. The first group are often nervous or fearful of interviews, and this anxiousness can come across as low self-esteem or self-confidence. We work to increase the confidence through preparation. The job seeker must be able to confidently and believably prove their value and capabilities to the interviewing company.

The second group are those that have extensive work experience. They have interviewed and have been interviewed many times. They are usually being sought by other companies as senior professionals and executives, and have an impressive reputation because they are good at what they do. They truly understand preparation is key and use our coaching time together to make sure they have accurately prepared and are at the top of their game for the particular position they are interviewing for.

A third group, which I don’t work with on interview preparation as much, are those that just need to get their foot in the door. They assure me that they can always “nail the interview” once they get in the door. We work on resume and LinkedIn profile development, or other types of coaching but they are very confident in their interviewing abilities. I sometimes ask a few questions to make sure they are indeed ready for their interview. A few things come to mind for this third group to consider:

ARE YOU RIGHT FOR THE JOB? Of course you want to impress the interviewers. And if you don’t toot your own horn who will? But it is important to take a realistic approach to your bravado. Make sure you have what it takes to successfully manage the job and that your skills and experience fit what they are looking for. Hiring and even interviewing is timely and expensive for companies and you, make sure you sell them what you have, not just what they are looking for.

IS THE JOB RIGHT FOR YOU? It is exciting when a company calls you in and shows interest in you for a position. Be careful not to sell yourself just to land the job. Do your due diligence prior to the interview and ask questions to make sure you know what the position will ask of you. Determine if it really offers what you’re looking for now, and if it fits with your short- and long-term goals.

HAVE YOU PREPARED FOR THE INTERVIEW? Don’t overestimate your personality. While first impressions and “fit” play a key role in getting hired, preparation can make or break the job offer. Even having the right qualifications isn’t sometimes enough to land your next job. Take the time to understand the company, industry and position you are interviewing for. Learn what is going on in their world and how you can help and add value. And ask yourself again, if it aligns with your career goals.

In the past week I’ve heard back from 3 different clients who are in the interview process. We discussed the overall interview and reviewed the questions that were asked. All three clients said they were asked what they knew about the interviewing company and how they could add value to the company. Other questions were also asked that pulled in both the industry / company understanding, and the skill set and experience of the client. Remember to do your homework on the company, because they will be expecting you to.

Be confident and prepared for the best results!

6 Interview Tips To Help You Get the Job

Are you trying to get ready for a job interview? If so, you should know some basic tips to get ready in an effective manner. This will help you alleviate a bit of the stress. You will be more likely to succeed if you are well prepared. Below are 6 tips that you may want to consider.

1. Practice

First of all, you should do your research to know the answers of common interview questions. Aside from this, you should look for solid examples that you can use in order to describe your skills.

An easy way to do this is to put together a list of the requirements of the job and then match the requirements to your experience. Besides, don’t forget to make a list of important questions that you should ask the employer.

2. Read up on the Company

The employer will most likely ask you about what you know about the company. Therefore, you should do your homework and read up on the employer as well as the industry. When giving answers to important questions, make sure you relate the information you have about the employer and the company. Make sure you know the name of the interviewer as well. If you build your rapport with the interview, you will be more likely to get hired.

3. Get Ready

It’s not a good idea to choose an outfit at the time of leaving for the interview. What you need to do is get all the required stuff ready a day or two before the big day. Just make sure that the outfit you are going to put on is neat and clean. Aside from this, the outfit should be the right choice for the company you are going to work for. Also, it’s a good idea to prepare some extra copies of the important documents, such as your resume. For note taking, you should keep a pen and paper.

4. Be On Time

Don’t be late for the interview. Ideally, you should be outside the interview room a few minutes earlier. Make sure you reach the destination at least half an hour earlier. Actually, what you need to do is give yourself a while to check your outfit, calm your nerves and visit the washroom.

5. Stay Calm

This is very important. During the interview, make sure you are calm. Keep in mind that the interviewer will notice your body language while you are answering questions. With proper preparation, you can build your confidence. It’s also a good idea to look into the eyes of the interview while you are asking/answering questions. Before answering, make sure that you listen to the question.

6. Follow Up

It’s a good idea to follow-up with a brief “Thank-you” note to reiterate your interest in the job. Aside from this, you can add some details as well. Ideally, you may want to send the “Thank-you” note within a few hours of the interview.

So, these 6 tips can help you land your first job.

5 Tips to Become a Great Interviewer

Most people get nervous during an interview. Interviewees spend a good deal of time reading up on the company and getting ready for questions that will be asked during the interview. Like the interviewee, the interviewer also plays a great role. Their job is to weed out unsuitable candidates and select the most suitable ones. The interviewer should not be too businesslike or cold as it can intimidate the candidates. Given below are 5 tips to become a great interviewer.

1. Get Ready
Getting ready is the best way of becoming a great interviewer. What you need to do is tailor your questions so that they fit the job you are going to fill. It can be hard, especially if you work for a company where you have to conduct many interviews per week.

Also, you may want to review the information provided by each candidate. It’s a great idea to go through their resume as well as cover letters.

2. Ask open-ended questions
It’s important to ask closed-ended questions, but you may also want to prepare some open-ended questions as well. As a matter of fact, asking questions that will let the candidate give examples is important, as this will give you a pretty good idea of the capabilities of the candidate. Aside from this, these questions will let the candidate showcase their experience and skills.

3. Get ready to get off the route
While getting ready is important, you may want to be flexible. For instance, if you want to ask a specific question to a candidate, you may not want to stick to your original questions list. But you can do this as long as you think it may help you make the right choice.

4. Create a comfortable environment
Conducting interviews is not an easy job. Even the most confident candidates may get nervous. While it’s the job of the interviewee to impress you, you may want to make them feel comfortable, as this can allow them to perform better and you will know a lot about their abilities. What you need to do is let the candidates know the duration of the interview and the type of question that you will ask. Moreover, it’s a good idea to have a small talk with the candidates to make them feel more comfortable.

5. Don’t Ask inappropriate questions
Some questions can make the interviewee feel uncomfortable. While it is a good idea to see how the interviewee acts when he is under pressure, throwing hard questions at them is not a good idea.

Apart from this, if you intend to unnerve the candidate during the interview, you may not get a chance to get a feel of how much they can do. Moreover, it’s not a good thing to ask inappropriate questions.

For instance, you may want to avoid asking questions related to race, marital status, beliefs, age or sexual orientation, just to name a few.

So, these are 5 tips that can help you become a great interviewer.

6 Top Tips for Winning an Interview

You just received a call from your would be employer that you have been shortlisted and therefore scheduled for a job interview. As is expected, mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety get into you as you ponder on the next step of action. Here are a six successful tips that might just give you the job you have been longing for.

Tip #1: Do a Thorough Scrutiny of the Company’s Website

Doing research about the company will give you a mouthful of information about the company’s history, location, its current management, production trends and its competitive advantage. Having such, vital information will help you identify the gaps in the company besides preparing you with a list of questions that you might want to ask your prospect employer. Quality questions from interview candidates usually score them highly against other candidates who never ask questions.

Tip #2: Evaluate Your Skills Against the Job Requirements Needed

Now that you have been shortlisted for an interview, you might want to ignore this important tip. However, before you even think about it, understand that matching your skills against the job requirements will put you in better position to explain why you are the best option for the company in that particular position. Your skills need not to appear on the job requirements list word by word for you to secure the job. Of more essence is the fact that your skill base will give you the capacity to handle the position before you sufficiently.

Tip #3: Check Your Body Language

Your body language speaks volume even without your tongue. When preparing for an interview, ensure you have enough rest the night before to avoid dangerous yawns in front of the panel members. More so, make sure you eat enough breakfast to hold you up for the day in the event of a face-to-face interview that may well extend into the afternoon. If you love your bottle of whiskey, better is safe than sorry. Avoid it at all cost on the day before and the interview day. This will allow you to be fresh of mind, be sober and have clear thinking during the interview. Project a confident body language by maintaining eye contact and giving a firm handshake while smiling to your panel members. Lastly, during the job interview, sit straight on the chair without slouching or leaning on the table.

Tip #4: Prepare and Have the Right Outfit for the Interview With You

Most interview outfits are formal with black, brown, blue or white colours. For men, a suit or a well-ironed shirt and trouser with well-polished black shoes will do. Ladies can dress in suits too or official trousers. Still a decent solid colour scout and blouse will do. Ladies should avoid too much jewelry and make up that might create unnecessary attention during the interview. Avoid seductive dressing at all cost as this might work against you by portraying you as a disrespectful person to the panelists and the occasion at hand.

Tip #5: Rehearse Interview Questions and Answers With a Friend

Overconfidence can be dangerous. You are a perfect match to the job requirements, you know more about the company like the back of your hand and you feel you have what it takes to get the job. However, rehearsing for the job interview could just be the thin line that will make a difference between you and the other qualified candidate. Rehearsing for an interview helps you find answers to common interview questions asked. It will also help you relate your previous work experiences with the job you are trying to win. More importantly, it will help you listen to your own voice thus giving you more confidence.

Tip #6: Carry Essentials

Like a lawyer carrying documented evidence to court against the defendant, a candidate for an interview also needs to carry with him documents that will prove his or her skills are what he or she says during the job interview. Your academic and professional certificates, testimonials and other crucial documents cannot afford to miss in your briefcase or handbag. Remember also to carry a notebook and a pen; you might want to use it to write down important points during the interview. A bottle of water to prevent dry coughs and thirst is also important.

Job interviews usually come and go. Some last for a day and some may take more than one day. The most important thing to remember is that, as an individual you have what it takes to pass that particular interview. By the fact that you were shortlisted means that you had a lot of potential that the other candidates did not have. As such, as a candidate for an interview, always maintain the image you project in your application documents, follow the rules, be a good student of life and there! You have your job.