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Interview Tips

I know it may sound so elementary, but I send out a “Basic Tips” list to all my candidates when they interview to cover a few basics. Hopefully you will find some of the tips below helpful. No doubt some will be obvious, but just the act of restating them brings them fresh back to mind.

Review and call me if you have any questions.

OBJECTIVE: The main objective of a 1:1 interview is to move to the next step in the Process! I don’t think it’s a bad idea that while there and at the appropriate time Express your interest to Work Here…. and “Ask What Action is needed next?”.

1. Have 3-4 copies of your resume with you.

2. I would think through some of your career high points and be ready to answer questions like, top 3 greatest career accomplishments, Best projects and why, Worst projects and why, Top 2-3 people on earth who you admired the most and why, Examples of good Sales, examples of bad Sales, Projects that went south and why, Projects that were success stories, etc., etc.

3. Review your thoughts on how you fit in a position like this. Without it appearing to scripted…. organize your thoughts….. anticipate the traditional questions and prepare some of your answers in advance….

4. I know you will, but I would convey a Positive, up beat, outlook during your interview. These guys run at a relatively high pace and like to see similar high energy people. In addition, these guys like a highly positive, “can do” attitude. Not one that is “Fake” but rather a genuine Positive Outlook on the situation. This will get you alot in the interview.

5. Have a couple of questions ready to ask if the conversation slows down. Questions serve several purposes. First, they obviously obtain answers for the issue you ask about. Second, they give a signal to the interviewers that you are interested. Remember to keep it loose and not push it to get the questioned answered because they are in control of the interview. The main objective with these questions is to SHOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE POSITION.

6. SHOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE POSITION. This may be hard since you don’t have enough information to truly evaluate, however, a potential employer likes a positive, highly interested candidate.

7. Not that you would, but DON’T get into questions or issues about Compensation or Benefits. As I’m sure you would, you want to exhibit an attitude of thinking of what their needs/interest are first. Compensation & Benefits are very important, but timing is everything.

8. Be Confident, but not overly confident. There are big land mines here. As you know, in general Humility (not false humility, but true humility) gets you a long ways here.

9. Be Yourself.

10. Not that you would, but I would be careful speaking negatively about my previous employer(s). Please take those things you dislike about your employer(s), position and spin them carefully to not reflect too negatively. Rather turn them to a positive.

11. Use Much (EXTRA EXTRA) Discretion…. … REMEMBER you are still in an interview. Be careful what you say. Do not get on topics of Controversial Issues, you never know the opinion of the interviewer. Steer Clear of anything that would build Walls with the client… Also be careful on sharing Strong Opinions. You are often able to share your viewpoints, but if you remember… use the term…. From My experience….. it can be received easier by the listener.

12. The client likes to see someone who is a good listener. This is really hard because on one side is the “be quite and listen perspective” and on the other side is “I’ve got to tell my story, because no one else will and I have only a few minutes to do it”. This tension is not easily solved. However, it will be very important for you to realize the tension does exist and don’t get caught at either extreme. Interviewing is like a good game of tennis! …

13. As it sounds like you already have, do some homework on the client. I’ll be glad to back fill with any data I have.

14. Dress. I recommend business suit… Don’t forget the “Little Things” that make a “Big Difference” shoes shined, little to No Jewelry, fresh haircut, ideally no facial hair, clean nails, fresh pressed dark suit, simple, thin portfolio for notes and resume, Conservative Tie (simple, small geometric red tie),

15. The interviewer will be interested in Your Results and the Results of Your Team…. Be alert to when it was you, speak to you, … when it was “us” speak to “us”. Sometimes people are looking for “What you did, and it gets confusing”. Don’t forget to refresh on your past several years of data, …. i.e….sales %, increases, # of orders, comparisons, etc. Their line of questioning often tries to center around what actions did you take to reach that results. They will try and determine the process of your actions that yielded that result vs. “gut feel”, seat of the britches management style, etc. Be ready to explain…. what your metrics were…. what ‘Actions ” you took to achieve those metrics….

Also be aware of the following…. There is a TIGHTROPE between being too boastful and not boastful enough. Be careful here, it is fraught with land mines……

16. REMEMBER to build good CHEMISTRY with the interviewers. Your ability to enjoy them and learn about their story will go a long ways…. … long ways….. did I say “a long ways”…..

17. Article from Careerbuilder Hiring Managers Reveal Top Five Biggest Mistakes Candidates Make During Job Interviews In CareerBuilder.com Survey

CHICAGO, January 21, 2004 – What is the biggest mistake you ever made during a job interview? Show up late? Insult the interviewer? How about eat a snack? In its survey of more than 400 hiring managers completed in December 2003, CareerBuilder.com asked respondents to share the most memorable blunders that caused them to pass on a particular candidate.

“Job interviews are intimidating and even the most practiced job seeker can sometimes forget proper interview etiquette,” said Kirk Scott, Senior Career Advisor for CareerBuilder.com. “To help job seekers gain insights into the minds of potential employers, CareerBuilder.com asked hiring managers nationwide to identify interview pitfalls that should be avoided. Most interview blunders fell under five key categories: communication, performance, attitude, appearance and honesty.”

#1 – COMMUNICATION
Hiring managers report concerns with some candidates’ abilities to communicate effectively, citing poor language skills and a tendency to reveal too much or too little information.

Examples:
– “The candidate said he had days he could not give 100 percent.”
– “She kept telling me about her personal problems.”
– “He spoke to me as if he was in prison
– very bad grammar and manners.”

Scott’s Tip: Choose your words wisely and listen closely. Hiring managers look for candidates who pay attention, think quickly on their feet and effectively communicate why their skills and accomplishments are the best fit for the job.

#2 – PERFORMANCE
The candidate’s professionalism throughout the interview process plays an important role in the hiring decision. Hiring managers say candidates who are unprepared, distracted or a little too comfortable are not considered for recruitment.

Examples:
– “The candidate kept looking around the room and knew nothing about the job being offered.”
– “The woman answered her cell phone during the interview.”
– “One guy ate a sandwich.”

Scott’s Tip: Maintain eye contact and do your homework. Research the company, its industry and competitors prior to your arrival. Make sure to eat a solid meal beforehand to keep up your energy and leave your cell phone or pager at home.

#3 – ATTITUDE
Candidates who display bored or arrogant attitudes during the interview are also a turn-off for these hiring managers.

Examples:
– “He asked me to speed up the interview because he had a lunch date.”
– “He told me the only reason he was here was because his mother wanted him to get a job. He was 37.”
– “The candidate used profanity when describing something negative about a previous boss.”

Scott’s Tip: Keep positive. Avoid saying anything negative about a previous employer. Show enthusiasm when speaking and being spoken to and let the employer know that you are really interested in the opportunity.

#4 – APPEARANCE
For hiring managers, proper dress is always required – a lesson they feel some job seekers have not yet grasped.

Examples:
– “One candidate did not wear shoes to the interview.”
– “A woman came in with open toe shoes and a slit on her dress up to her backside.”
– “He showed up in jeans and a t-shirt with dirty fingernails and looked like he just woke up. He also smelled of alcohol.”

Scott’s Tip: Leave the Levi’s at home. Even if the company dress is casual, you don’t want to seem casual about the job opportunity. Wear a business suit or other appropriate attire. Groom properly and change out of last night’s clubbing clothes.

#5 – HONESTY
Hiring managers state that candidates who lie or give the impression that they are dishonest in any way are dismissed.

Examples:
– “One guy mentioned his arrest during the interview after stating on his application that he had never been arrested.”

– “One guy asked if we drug-tested and if we gave advance notice (we are a drug treatment facility).”

Scott’s Tip: Honesty is always the best policy and think before you speak. Even the most innocent question, if not worded properly, can give the wrong impression.

18. Very Important – Call me after the interview to debrief.

Again, the main objective of a 1:1 interview is to move to the next step in the Process!

Call me to discuss if you like…

Break a leg.

Dave