Job interviewing is the key to getting the all important job offer. You can write a powerful resume, your cover letter could win awards, you have a long list of relevant accomplishments but if you blow the job interview all the previous hard work goes down the drain.
Business executives and politicians spend thousands to media consultants to help them in presenting their agenda. The smallest details are securitized. How you sit in a chair, how to handle the most difficult questions, the color of your tie or scarf, and possible bad personal habits are critically reviewed and corrected.
The goal is to effectively communicate their agenda and not allow some relatively minor and easily fixed actions detract from the message. The same approach should be applied to the job interview. Your goal is to present yourself in the most positive way possible and to communicate your message so the employer is motivated to make you a job offer.
With competition for many jobs to be at a high level, the top candidates will be very close in skills level and qualifications. So the winning approach that will put you ahead of the competition is proper job interview preparation.
First, job interview preparation does not start when you get a call and are scheduled for the interview. Interview preparation should start when you begin your job hunt.
Waiting until the interview is scheduled will normally not give you enough time to polish your presentation. Being short of time means you'll have to cram the information, you're likely to miss critical aspects of the interview and your stress level will be at an all time high; all factors that are not conducive for you to be on top of your game.
Here are some steps to take in building your job interview skills:
1. Prepare great answers for questions. Interviewing means you will be asked questions. You can begin by researching and compiling the best list of tough questions you can find. Place the questions on one side of a card with your best answers on the other side.
As you do more interviewing research you answers will get better, will become more positive and more concise. Working and improving the tough question list should be an ongoing project.
2. Organize your interviewing. Break the question list into sections. Have a friend interview you and tape the interview. If you think its necessary, get professional help to coach you in best interviewing practices.
Critically study your performance and watch for distracting habits; like little eye contact, "oohs" and "ahs" during pauses, repeating "you know," and other things that will work against you. Do each section until your delivery is positive, smooth and you effectively communicates your agenda.
Learn useful interviewing tips by studying individuals answering question on various TV programs. If sitting in a chair watch how they appear engaged by sitting on the front third of the chair. At the end of the interview do you know what their agenda was? How well was it communicated? What could they have done better and why?
3. You have questions too. The best interviews are conversations. To make this happen you have to research the employer and if possible who you might be interviewing with. What are the latest developments in the company? Will they impact the job?
Study possible questions to ask so you are provided information to determine if the employer would be a good fit for you.
Take notes and create a system so you can quickly research an employer and custom build a number of relevant questions. This planning will be helpful when you are scheduled for a job interview on short notice.
4. Have a strong summary close. In closing out the interview you want to thank the interviewer for their time, and express your strong interest in the job. Practice the summary close in your mock interview sessions. Does it sound natural? Is there the appropriate level of enthusiasm for the job?
Depending on the information you receive in response to your questions, you should highlight how your accomplishments match up to the needs of the job. Your summary close will be a bit different in each interview, but as long as you plan to tailor the close to the requirements of the job you should be able to end the interview on a high note.
In summary, interview preparation starts at the beginning of your job hunt. Research not only possible questions, but make sure your answers are positive, concise and address the employer's needs. Adjust the questions you will be asking based on research of the company and the interviewer. End the interview with a strong summary demonstrating why you would be a good fit for the job.
Now you have a winning job interview performance that you can credit was possible because of a well planned program of job interview preparation.