March 12 , 2008
How to nail that job interview
Regardless of age or circumstance, we are involved in the interviewing process during a significant part of our lives, being evaluated and conducting our own assessments. So, what are some effective ways to capitalize on such opportunities?
Having conducted career counseling sessions, usually one-on-one, primarily with senior executives for 27 years, our consulting organization has received lots of constructive critique.
Here are five essential interviewing behaviors:
- Know something relevant about the other person.
- Incorporate real-time observations - adapting seamlessly.
- Ask appropriate questions
- Follow-up - sooner rather than later - saying thank you and asking for help in how best to remain in contact. So, what additional actions might enhance interviewing-impact to secure a position, a promotion, or make a sale?
Having recently been invited to join Marc Rosen's team of volunteers at Alisal High School's Career Center for "mock" interviews for graduating seniors, my interview skills were improved. Mr. Rosen and his colleagues have structured an impressive disciplined process that includes volunteer orientation and focused interview-feedback interaction with open discussion.
The observable impact on student-participants was remarkable. Young people sit face-to-face with successful community leaders, presenting their credentials, asking for a job offer and then absorbing specific recommendations on how to improve their interviewing skills. In addition to the direct interaction, students are encouraged to follow up, after the session, individually.
These mock interviews, according to Mr. Rosen, are life-changing. Certainly, participating in the process is its own reward. In my case, whatever contribution made was greatly outweighed by what was received. Below are 13 tips for effective interviewing:
- Remember, you are "on stage" the moment you approach the interview - clothing, grooming, posture, resume, letter of introduction
- Never exaggerate experience or knowledge; simply report the facts, objectively.
- Enunciate, be clear and avoid slang (like totally, dude, cool, etc. - for sure)
- Be on time, even a little early, to show respect.
- Take notes, communicating an interest in the ideas of others.
- Make eye contact, allowing those with whom you meet to feel a connection.
- Listen carefully and actively, seeking to understand more than being understood.
- Focus on the positive, personal assets and opportunities that might arise.
- Speak no ill of previous employers, (avoid bad-mouthing about anything).
- Do your homework on the organization and its values and people.
- Be prepared to ask questions that are job and organization specific.
- Be present. Stay focused on what is being discussed and don't let your mind wander.
- Shut off cell phones and pagers, minimizing distractions.
To help Alisal seniors fine-tune their interviewing skills, contact Marc Rosen: (831) 796-7650 and volunteer a few hours of your time.