This month I have been trying to get you in a new state of mind. I’ve talked about new markets, new resumes, new cover letters, new targets, and new networking strategies. For the last post in January, let’s focus on the new interviews.
If you have a good resume and cover letter and you use those with effective networking, I can almost guarantee you’ll get interviews. These techniques will raise you above the average job seeker and give you the visibility you need to be noticed. Then, it will be up to you to use your interviewing skills to move to the next stage.
If you click on Interviewing in the Tag Cloud to the right of this post, you’ll find seven previous posts on interviewing. One of my favorites is Becoming Scheherazade… from just over a year ago. Each of the posts provides some insight in how to make your interviews more successful, but for you impatient ones…
- Be prepared – go online and find lists of the interview questions. Then write out your answers to those questions. Then practice saying those answers aloud. Be prepared to answer behaviorally based questions (back to Scheherazade).
- Know who you are and what you want – spend some time (before the interview) really thinking about what you want out of your next job and what you can give. This will drive your elevator speech (last week) but it will also let you answer those questions about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Get off on the right foot – be on time, well dressed and groomed, look the interviewer in the eye, offer a firm handshake, etc. You need to make a good first impression.
- Answer the questions you’re asked – don’t talk about unrelated subjects, don’t volunteer information they don’t need to know, don’t vent about how your former employer fired you or about how bad your old boss was at managing.
- Ask questions – use your opportunity to ask questions to show what you know about this company (things you learned while developing your target list, networking, or through research). Asking questions shows that you are interested and want to learn more. Asking intelligent questions really gets the interviewer’s attention.
- Be polite – enough said.
Losing one a job and finding another can be a challenging, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding process. For the most part the techniques are not rocket-science, but for many they are not common sense either. I hope that these new posts in January have given you the foundation to understand the process and be successful.
If you want more advice on how to write a resume, how to, network or just how to find a job, check out I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. Click here for more details.
You remember Scheherazade, right? The legendary storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights? Go read Wikipedia.
Anyway, if you haven’t had an interview lately, you may find that the process has changed some. Good interviewers use Behavioral Interviewing and while no longer revolutionary, it’s still state-of-the-art.
The theory is that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. If you ask a candidate how they would handle a certain situation (for example – talking with an angry customer) they’ll tell you what they think you want to hear. But, if you ask them to tell you a story about the last time they handled an angry customer, they are more likely to reveal their true stripes.
As the applicant, you need to be ready to tell the story. Search the web for interview questions then think about them and write out your answer. Practice them until you can tell a story. Include all the color and excitement. Rehearse them out loud so you feel comfortable with the answer. You may not be asked that specific question, but having a back pocket full of stories will build your self-confidence and you’ll be surprised how you can weave one story into many different questions.
Here are some of my favorite questions just to get you started and Google can find you thousands more.
- Tell me about a time when you were a member of a team that had a difficult goal to achieve. What was your role on the team and how did you help influence the success of the group?
- Tell me about a time you had an employee who was not being successful. How did you manage that process and either help the employee become successful or transition out of the organization?
- Tell me about a time when you were in a fast-paced environment and you had multiple and possibly conflicting priorities. How did you prioritize your work? What techniques did you use to keep yourself organized and avoid missing deadlines?
So, be ready when a recruiter says “Tell me about a time when … “ and become Scheherazade.