Nail That Interview

Over the last 25 years, I have interviewed thousands of job applicants. While many candidates had the skills to qualify for a particular position, their lack of preparation or thoughtfulness often resulted in a thumbs-down hiring decision.

So, here are the three simple preparation techniques that I often see missing at interviews. Whenever a candidate delivers on these, it greatly increases the likelihood that I will offer them a job.

1) Research the company before you interview and be clear (with yourself) that you are interested in working there.

If you are interested in working for an organization, you should have a pretty good idea about what they do and how they do it. This will also help you to not waste your time and theirs on an interview if you know it is not a fit. Internet research, articles, press releases, talking to contacts familiar with the company, trying products or services and reviewing financial statements are all good ways to gather information. This knowledge will also help you to formulate good questions you can ask during the interview.

2) Make it easy for the interviewer: Show them how you MATCH UP to their needs.

Go to the interview knowing as much as possible how you specifically match up compared to what the employer needs. You can get a pretty good idea about this by reading the job description along with the job requirements. Emphasize those areas where you are a terrific fit.

For example, the job posting reads:  Assist in implementing and drafting strategic marketing plans. Write, research and contribute to web content…..

Your goal is find a way to talk about how you have successfully drafted and implemented strategic plans in the past, and how you love to write and research, etc. If you don’t have the EXACT experience required, think about your similar or transferable experience and talk about those projects and skills. “My past job was 25% writing and editing press releases and business documents – and I did a lot of research to make them accurate and effective.”

Please note: I am not suggesting that you ever fabricate anything! However, when you do match up, take the opportunity to share.

3) Know and be able to clearly articulate why you want to work for this organization in this position.

Be able to share an authentic reason that you believe in when asked why you are interviewing with a particular organization for a specific position.”Your company sells beauty products and I think beauty is really fun,” is a shallow answer and makes me think that this candidate doesn’t have a clue what they are getting into.

On the other hand, when you are genuine, informed and passionate about your reasons for interviewing for a particular job, your intelligence and enthusiasm come shining through.

Like this: “I’m excited about working here because I’ve noticed a great deal of positive press about your company lately. It appears to be well-run and well positioned for growth – and the position itself would allow me to use my strategic planning and writing skills – two things that I really enjoy doing!”

An authentic and well-considered answer on this question will help you to stand out from the crowd. As an employer, and as a business associate, I want excited, intelligent and well prepared people to work with me – how about you?

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Date: Thursday, 5. November 2009 3:08
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