Its more important than ever right now to do well at interviews. Don’t lose your vital opportunity because you have not done your home work!
- Research as much as you can about the company – products, services, markets, competitors, trends, current activities, priorities.
- Prepare your answers for the type of questions you’ll be asked, especially, be able to say why you want the job, what your strengths are, how you’d do the job, what your best achievements are.
- Prepare good questions to ask at the interview – see the section below.
- Related to the above, request a copy of the company’s employment terms and conditions or employee handbook before the interview, in order to save time covering routine matters during the interview.
- Assemble hard evidence (make sure it’s clear and concise) of how what you’ve achieved in the past – proof will put you ahead of those who merely talk about it.
- Have at least one other interview lined up, or have a recent job offer, or the possibility of receiving one from a recent job interview, and make sure you mention it to the interviewer.
- Make sure your resume/cv is up to date, looking very good and even if already supplied to the interviewer take three with you (one for the interviewer, one for you and a spare in case the interviewer brings a colleague in to the meeting).
- Get hold of the following material and read it, and remember the relevant issues, and ask questions about the areas that relate to the organisation and the role. Obtain and research: the company’s sales brochures and literature, a trade magazine covering the company’s market sector, and a serious newspaper for the few days before the interview so you’re informed about world and national news. Also worth getting hold of: company ‘in-house’ magazines or newsletters, competitor leaflets, local or national newspaper articles featuring the company.
- Review your personal goals and be able to speak openly and honestly about them and how you plan to achieve them.
- Ensure you have two or three really good reputable and relevant references, and check they’d each be happy to be contacted.
- Adopt an enthusiastic, alert, positive mind-set. Follow the link.
- Particularly think about how to deal positively with any negative aspects – especially from the perspective of telling the truth, instead of evading or distorting facts, which rarely succeeds.
- Try to get some experience of personality tests. Discover your personality strengths and weaknesses that would be indicated by a test, and be able to answer questions positively about the results. (Do not be intimidated by personality testing – expose yourself to it and learn about yourself) More at link
- Think about what to wear. Do you know the company dress code? When in doubt wear a smart business suit!
- Some jobs invite or offer opportunity to re-define or develop the role itself. It might be a existing role or a new position. If so prepare for this. Most jobs in fact offer this potential, but sometimes it is a stated requirement.
Asking Questions to Impress the Interviewer
A key to asking great questions at your interview is to ask questions that impress the interviewer. Most candidates just ask about routine details that they think they ought to know, or which they think of on the spur of the moment, but which will probably be provided in due course anyway in documentation about terms and conditions. This is meaningless and should be avoided.
Instead focus on the job priorities and scope, on the organisation and ways to make a difference or an improvement. Try to think strategically like a manager, and for very senior positions, like the CEO. Try to adopt the mind-set of a helpful advisor who needs to ask helpful facilitative questions. Focus on the organisation not on your own needs.
Try to prepare and ask questions that make the interviewer think to themselves, “Wow, that’s a good question – this candidate has really thought about the role, and understands the sort of issues we need them to handle/the sort of responsibilities/initiatives we want them to take..”
Aim to ask questions that make the interviewer think, (depending on what the organisation and role requires), “Wow, that’s an unusual question – this candidate is special – they are demonstrating to me that they understand people/understand about communications/have great integrity/a strong value system/great humanity/maturity/a good strategic mind/etc, etc.”
Think before the interview about what the successful candidate will be like – ask yourself beforehand, what great questions would the successful candidate ask? And then be that person.
When you research the job look into the sort of challenges the organisation is facing, and think how this affects the vacant role. What does the employer need from the successful applicant? How might the role be extended to contribute more to the organisation if the job were performed by a suitably positive and capable person ? (That’s you incidentally.) The job advert or job specification might give you some clues. Do your research so that you understand as much as possible about the priorities of the job position, and the organisation and its situation, and then think about the ways that the role could be extended to provide greater support towards achieving organisational challenges.
This sort of background thinking will help you to prepare questions that will seriously impress any interviewer, whatever the role. It is possible also to think of good positive impressive questions just by using what you know of the role and the sort of issues that face modern employers. The point is, you need to think about it and prepare beforehand.
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