Job interviews have sometime been equated to a root canal without an anesthetic. In general they may not be that bad but it’s really hit or miss to gauge if someone can be an outstanding performer after an hour or so conversation.
The best performing interviewers are generally those with high social skills, have an outgoing positive personality and maybe have had some sales experience. This may not match with the needs of the job because the interviewer may not be well-trained and doesn’t have a good understanding of the requirements of the position.
After several job interviews, and in debriefing others who went through the interview process, you’ll find a striking similarity in the questions asked. Why, because all the interviewers tend to read the same information and incorporate the questions into the interview. Sometimes you may be asked a behavioral type question but with preparation they can be easily finessed.
With a bit of internet research you can easily come up with a 100 or more good interview questions. Now you just have to develop good positive concise answers to these possible questions. Practice your answers until they are natural and appear spontaneous.
If you are just starting your job search, or if you haven’t had a job interview in some time now would be a good time to start your interview preparation. When you get scheduled for an interview you want to have built a solid foundation of preparation. Also, you will not get pressed for time if you have a limited turn around time.
So the method to stand out in a job interview is preparation and then a bit more preparation. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Research and study how to conduct an effective job interview. Read articles and blog posts that will provide you with the goals and the possible thinking of the interviewer. Search for someone who was recently hired by the employer, or someone currently working there. They may be able to provide you will critical insights on how interviews are conducted at the company.
2. Many job applicants fail the interview because they do not ask well thought out questions. No, you do not ask how long the lunch hours are and when you get paid.
If you’ve done the proper research on the organization you should be able to come up with 3-6 thoughtful questions. And no; it isn’t cheating if you write them out and refer to them when you ask the question. Your goal is to find out as much as possible about the company and the job so you can make an informed decision if you receive a job offer.
Good questions should be about recent events impacting the company, competition, future plans, challenges facing the job, priorities involved in the position, and promotional opportunities are just a few of the productive areas to inquire about.
3. Once you understand what the three or four main needs are for the job you must develop an agenda that matches these needs. Weave these agenda items into as many answers as possible.
In addition have a prepared short summary available to close the interview. In this summary hit each agenda item. This will firmly fix in the interviewers mind a high level of assurance that you are the one for the job.
4. Don’t make the interviewer wonder if you really want the job. Be enthusiastic, and in your wrap-up of the interview, express your interest in the position. To often candidates go through the interview process and the interviewer is left with doubt the individual really wants the job.
5. A thank-you note sent through the mail right after the interview is mandatory. If your handwriting is good, send a handwritten note. Take notes of the interview as soon after as possible. If during the interview you mentioned a relevant website or other information, include it in you thank-you note. No one gets the square thank-you envelopes any more. Your thoughtfulness will stand out. Use the thank-you letter to again express a high level of interest in the job.
Following these ideas will upgrade you job interview performance and improve your abilities to communicate that you are the best applicant for the job.