Candidate Interview Preparation
Take a minute to get a pen and paper, since you’ll be receiving a lot of important information. It’s important to understand that most people are not “professional” interviewers. The preparation we do today will help you to be confident and demonstrate your competence. It will also help to insure that you present your qualifications to the interviewing manager(s) in the best possible way.
Some principles to consider
Smile! Charming people get job offers!
Use Mirroring Techniques – Active listening techniques
You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them in that ratio
Humor! Laugh a little, it helps to break the tension
Have a strong reason for leaving, but be positive-“I wasn’t looking-recruiter called me”.
Don’t ever say anything negative about a past employer. It will only reflect negatively towards you.
1.) When asked “Tell me about yourself,” spend 2 to 3 minutes on your background, education, and skills. Be prepared to highlight any special projects you’ve undertaken or special strengths that you have. When you can, Be prepared to discuss your accomplishments and achievements. Use this format to describe your accomplishments and achievements
A) Describe a challenge you had-why it is an accomplishment.
B) Describe what action you took to solve the problem.
C) Describe the results = tell them what happened
D) Tell them the value to the company-use statistics, % increases in sales or customers, money saved or made for the company, new customers added
Be certain to ask the interviewer(s) “From your perspective, what do you require for a [NAME OF POSITION, OR JOB TITLE] to do? Please tell be about the duties and responsibilities.” You may also want to ask what a typical day/week/month is like. Questions such as these will allow you to find out what the company needs, then present your experience relating most specifically to those areas.
2.) Ask: A)”What is the number one priority in this position?” Expand on this point by relating your applicable experience. And talking about one of your accomplishments, this will let you talk to them about something positive.
B)“What will be my biggest challenge in this position?” This will expose current problems and you can define how you would solve them.
C)“How do you define success?”
3.) Ask: A)”What are the first year’s goals/expectations in this position?”
B) “What obstacles do you see (internal or external to the company) that could stop me from meeting these goals?” Expand on your background to support how you have overcome similar obstacles.
4.) Other good probing interview questions:
a) Do some research on the specific company before the interview(s). Be prepared to ask some specific, appropriate questions.
b) What type of company is this? Tell me about the company culture.
c) What type of employer(s)/interviewer(s)/manager(s) style?
d) Who else will I be interfacing with?
e) What kind of projects (past, present, and future) have you worked on/are you presently working on/will you be working on?
f) What kinds of new products is the company working on? Where are the key products in their life cycle?
g) Ask the interviewer(s) What brought him or her to the company? What keeps him or her with the company?
h) What sort of training program do you have for new employees?
i) What is your sales process like?
j) Where and how much will I Travel in this position?
k) What does your company do to differentiate themselves from their competitors?
5.) IMPORTANT! Do not begin a discussion of salary! Should you be asked some variation of “What’s it going to take for you to come on board,” or “Tell me about your salary requirements.” or if you are directly asked about your current compensation (or past compensation), give accurate, honest answers. But whatever you do, do not commit to a minimum or maximum figure that you would accept; doing so will weaken our negotiating position. Let me do the delicate negotiating.
You can ask them what value their company would place on your qualifications and experience.
Please don’t talk about how many vacation days you will need, special benefits, or any preexisting medical condition.
6.) Summarize and review-Make a summary statement about the interview, then move on to a strong closing question like: “Do I have the qualifications (or skill set) you are looking for?”
a) If the response is “Yes,” respond “Can we set up the next step now?”
b) If the response is “I’m not sure,” respond “What concerns do you have about my abilities?” Address each one.
c) If the response is “No,” respond “Why not?” Probe for issues or areas of concern, and address each one.
7.) Remember: Always be enthusiastic about the opportunity (even if you know from the get go that it’s not for you). If you decide to decline it, let me bow out gracefully for you.(You may want to work with the company in the future, so it’s in everyone’s interest to ‘keep the door open.’)
8.) Call me as soon as you can to tell me how your interview(s) went! I want to be the first person to talk to you after you leave. Call me at 408-448-4700.