Eight Easy Steps to a Winning Job Interview
Job interviews can be cause for all types of "jitters" arising from everything from performance anxiety to traffic jams. You can greatly minimize your anxieties and increase your chances for a winning interview by realizing that all job interviews really come down to only a few basics. Here is a quick checklist of the eight most important elements that you need to have covered. (And number eight is after the interview).
1. Research before you go (before you even apply). Well before your first job interview, before the phone screen, before you even call or send a resume, ask this question: Is this a company you would want to work for? Know exactly why it is. If not, then why are you there? This also reduces the possibility of stupid and embarrassing phone screen or job interview questions on your part. You should already know what products or services the company is in the business of providing, their size and their annual revenues (if they are a public company). You should also go to their website and check out their current press
releases. Granted, most of this is PR fluff, but you can extract some good nuggets here by finding out what products they've just introduced, what success stories they're promoting and their most recent stock performance and growth projections. Many challenges the company may be faced with are couched in these little releases and it's good for you to know and use this to your advantage during the interview.
2. Make sure you can and do answer these 5 job interview questions:
a. Why are you here?
b. What can you do for us?
c. Will you get along with our values and culture here?
d. What makes you different from everyone else that we've talked with, i.e., will you go that extra mile?
e. How much will you cost us? (Save your answer for this one at the time of an actual job offer. Never talk salary at your first interview unless they press you and then be general at most.)
3. Have your "stories" in your head, ready to go. At the job interview,the company wants to find out what kind of employee you would be. The best way for you to show them is to take the initiative and have several personal stories that you can tell, taking maybe a half-minute
to 90 seconds each during the job interview to tell. By this I mean, you'll develop stories around specific examples of your career. For instance tell how you either made money or saved money for your current or previous company, how you faced a crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it, how you contributed to the team to complete a crucial project or company goal. Your stories should all piece together as answers to the questions above.
4. Have a list of questions YOU want answered beforehand. See #1 above. At the job interview don't ask questions you should already have answers for, however, you DO want to demonstrate interest by having a few questions for the interviewer that are more specific about the job, the projects, the immediate needs and the challenges the person filling this job might be facing.
5. Dress for a job interview not a date. See John Molloy's Dress for Success. It's dated but still the best book there is. If you're not sure, call ahead to either your interviewer or the HR department and ask what to wear. When in doubt, dress more conservatively. You want to fit in and not feel self conscious about your clothing choice during the interview.
6. Watch your body language. Don't fidget, play with your pen or keep adjusting your collar or your hair. Remember body language sends a strong signal to others about your inner feelings, your intentions and thoughts. Bad body language usually stems from nerves or low confidence. You can reduce your jitters and raise your confidence by preparing well in advance of your job interview.
7. End the job interview with an answer to this question "what is our next step?" You've gone this far, you have a right to know exactly what is going to happen as a reult of this meeting. You need to take responsibility for asking this simple question at the conclusion of the meeting. Don't wait for the interviewer. You deserve an answer before you leave the room.
8. Send an Interview Thank You letter. Do this within the first 24 hours of your interview if at all possible. A handwritten note will really separate you from everyone else that's interviewing for this position.
You become more effective by having only eight simple job interview actions to keep track of. Since you have been preparing weeks ahead of time for this moment, much of this work has already been completed. Keeping track of these eight small steps for your job interview will greatly increase the chances in your favor of walking out a winner and one very large step closer to landing the job you really want.