How Best To Handle An Interview - 10 Tips to Help You Nail Your Interview:

  1. The Interview Begins… I always ask my clients this question: When does your interview begin? When your name is called? When you sit in front of the interviewer or panel? Neither. Your interview begins when you arrive on the company’s property.  Remember – You NEVER know who is watching.  You are walking across the parking lot on your cell phone, using foul language because your significant other didn’t do___.  You are telling detailed personal information to your BFF about your date as you walk in the building.  Meanwhile, a director or VP or even worse the HR Manager is walking behind you or standing outside in the smoking area. The decision’s been made before you walk in the door. A friend of mine who owned her own company was interviewing a young lady for a position. While she was waiting for her to arrive, she happened to be looking out the office window enjoying the beautiful day.  She saw the interviewee pull into the parking lot. She said “Evelyn, by the time she got to the door, I knew I wasn’t going to hire her.”
  2. Do Your Homework… With the technology and data that is available today, there is no reason not to know about the company you are interviewing with. And, you should be able to weave that into the interview.

  3. Prepare for a panel interview… Have you ever walked into a room thinking you are interviewing with one person and it turns out 2 or more are there. Sometimes you are given a heads up about panel interviews, sometimes you are not. It could be a way to see how flexible you are. I always tell clients prepare for a panel interview. Make sure you have extra copies of resumes and references. If it turns out it’s just one person, it’s a piece of cake!  Also prepare for more than one interview. You may impress them so much it causes them to want you to speak with someone else in the organization.
  4. Have your 30 Second Commercial Prepared… Also known as your Elevator Speech.   In 30-45 seconds you should be able to share your strengths, skills and accomplishments. You should be able to sell yourself. Make sure they tie to the position you are applying for. If you don’t have one, I can help you with that!
  5. Take notes… There’s nothing wrong with having a note pad and jotting down some notes during the interview. You can jot down things you want to make sure you mention before you close the interview, things you want to mention in your thank you letter/email or reminders for later.
  6. Practice… Another way to prepare is to have a friend conduct a mock interview with you.  That way you can prepare your answers to typical questions that may be asked and know that you are clear and concise and don’t talk to fast.
  7. Ask power questions! Don’t settle for the routine explanation of what your duties would be if you were accepted for this position. Ask the interviewer(s) for detailed information on your future job tasks and how they relate to the company’s day to day operations and overall success. Showing real interest and asking pertinent questions will help get you onto the short list all that much quicker!
  8. Ask for the Job… Just like a good salesperson asks for the business, ask for the job!  Be the closer!
  9. Follow-up with a thank-you letter… Don’t discount the power of a follow-up letter or email.  There was a medical practice manager who interviewed two great candidates.  On paper they were strong and they both interviewed strong. She was torn as to who to hire. So, who did she go with? Only one of the two sent a thank you letter. That’s who she hired.
  10. Other Basics…  Most people should know these, but it doesn’t hurt to have a refresher:

    • Dress appropriately/Conservative for the part you are applying for. Make sure your personal grooming and cleanliness is impeccable.
    • Be on time – actually a little early so you can freshen up when you get there.  Conduct a test drive the weekend or day before if you need to.
    • Treat all the people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Janitors talk just as much as managers.
    • Give a firm handshake, make eye contact and have a friendly expression.
    • Avoid fidgeting/slouching.
    • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question.
    • Be thorough and concise in your answers.
    • Have a positive attitude.

In next week’s blog, I will go over the things that you want to make sure NOT to do at the interview.  Stay tuned!