Interviewing Essentials

The interview process can be one of the most daunting aspects of finding a job, particularly in the job hunting climate we have nowadays. There’s so many qualified candidates for a job, it’s important that you set yourself apart from the pack, should you secure that all-important interview.

First impressions are everything. Put your best foot forward by dressing appropriately for your interview. In addition, silence your cell phone before going into the interview.

There’s several ways to prepare for your interview- you can do it independently or even through professional interview training. Either way you choose to do it, just make sure you ARE prepared. Being unprepared for an interview is a guaranteed recipe for disaster!

Some interview coaching services recommend memorizing your answers to interview questions. While, I agree that it’s good to rehearse what you might say if asked a specific question, perhaps memorizing the exact words may be going a bit too far. After all, you want to sound at ease and, if you memorize your interview responses, it may come off sounding more robotic than natural.

When being asked a question by the interviewer, make sure you listen to what it is they are asking, exactly. Take time to pause after the question is asked to gather a thoughtful, intelligent response. Don’t think it’s necessary to jump in immediately with any old answer. Interview training with a coach can help you gauge the appropriate response time for a question.

Many interview training services will advise you to use the STAR model when structuring your response to interview questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results. For example, describe a situation from your previous employment experience, what you needed to achieve in that situation, the action you took (always keep the focus on YOU) and, finally, the results you achieved. This approach helps the interviewer gain a clear picture about specific capabilities that you possess related to the job you are interviewing for.

During your interview, you may be tempted to give far too much information than what the interviewer is seeking. Make sure you keep your answers brief and to the point. If an interviewer wants additional information, he or she will ask you for more details. And, if they do, limit your responses to two to three minutes per question. You can prepare yourself by taping your responses to see how long it takes to answer a question.

Make sure that you speak in concrete facts, not generalities. You can do this by citing measurable results and by pointing out specific accomplishments as you discuss your strengths. If you are able, make sure that you choose example results and accomplishments that would enhance your value to the interviewer.

Often times, individuals are reluctant to discuss their strengths. The interview is not the time to be a wallflower. Confidently and comfortably articulate your strengths as they relate to the position and how the company would benefit by hiring you. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself!

During the interview, try to put yourself in the role of one of the team members. Explain how you would add value to their team and place yourself “already in” by using the company name and identifying yourself as a team player.

When interviewing, make sure you keep a flow to the interview- like a conversation as opposed to a question and answer session. To better prepare yourself to be able to speak off-the-cuff, make sure you research the company, their goals, their achievements and any other important data that you can draw from during the interview.

And lastly, when you wrap up the interview, make sure you thank your interviewer politely for his or her time, firmly shake their hand while maintaining eye contact and smile. Let them know that it truly has been an enjoyable experience to meet with them!

If you feel your interview skills aren’t up to par and you need more than just a few tips to land that job, an interview training service may be exactly what you’re looking for! Not too expensive and worth their weight in gold, that one investment may provide you with rewards a hundred-fold!

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