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Acing Your Interview. How to get the job offer. Interview Overview. Preparing for the Interview Doing a Self-Assessment Understanding Types of Questions Understanding Types of Interviews Conducting the Interview Following up after the Interview. Interview Overview.

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acing your interview

Acing Your Interview

How to get the job offer

interview overview
Interview Overview
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Understanding Types of Questions
  • Understanding Types of Interviews
  • Conducting the Interview
  • Following up after the Interview
interview overview3
Interview Overview
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Understanding Types of Questions
  • Understanding Types of Interviews
  • Conducting the Interview
  • Following up after the Interview
preparing for the interview
Preparing for the Interview
  • Know the Company
  • Gather Your Materials
  • Time the Interview Optimally
preparing for the interview know the company
Preparing for the Interview – Know the Company
  • Research company, position and your interviewer
    • Check out company web site
    • Read company’s financial and annual reports
    • Ask people you networked with about company and interviewer
    • Call company directly and request sales brochure and any company information they give out
  • Confirm interview
    • Call 1-2 days in advance and confirm time and location
    • Know how to get there and how long it takes!
preparing for the interview gather your materials
Preparing for the Interview – Gather Your Materials
  • Several copies of your resume on professional grade paper to hand to interviewers
  • Portfolio in print and digital format
  • Paper and pen
  • Business cards
  • Reference list
  • List of questions you want to ask
preparing for the interview time the interview optimally
Preparing for the Interview – Time the Interview Optimally
  • Try not to schedule on Monday. Work has piled up over the weekend and people are busy
  • Try for a late morning interview. People are more alert in the morning
  • Try to be the last person interviewed. Statistics show the last person interviewed is offered the job more often than the first
  • Plan for a day when your schedule is relaxed and flexible
interview overview8
Interview Overview
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Understanding Types of Questions
  • Understanding Types of Interviews
  • Conducting the Interview
  • Following up after the Interview
doing a self assessment
Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Purpose
  • Showcasing Skills and Achievements
  • Managing Weaknesses
  • Anticipating Common Questions
  • Navigating Tricky Questions
doing a self assessment purpose
Doing a Self Assessment – Purpose
  • A self assessment gives you a solid inventory of all your accomplishments, skills, talents, and abilities to prepare you for the interview
  • Allot about two hours of focused time a day or two before your interview to:
    • Reflect on your experience and skills
    • Brainstorm on paper highlights from your past
    • Record effective responses to common questions
doing a self assessment purpose11
Doing a Self Assessment – Purpose
  • Make sure to capture all thoughts in an organized fashion on computer
  • Choose examples most fitting for the desired job and company
  • This exercise will bring your most relevant experience to your mind in an articulate, cogent way
  • If possible, conduct a mock interview to be at ease presenting yourself
doing a self assessment purpose12
Doing a Self Assessment – Purpose
  • Create an elevator pitch: 1 – 2 minute summary of your skills and accomplishments and how your are the perfect candidate for the job
  • Review printed self assessment just prior to your interview. Seeing your answers in print will jog your memory
  • The objective is not to memorize your self-assessment, but rather to reflect on and provide a linguistic flow for your most relevant experiences
  • Sit down and describe your 5 most important accomplishments and the specific skills used to achieve them. Tailor to desired job
doing a self assessment showcasing skills and achievements
Doing a Self Assessment – Showcasing Skills and Achievements
  • Summarize your achievements and make them concrete with past experiences
    • Situation or task
      • Describe an experience you felt proud to have achieved or a problem that needed to be dealt with
      • Describe your response to the situation
      • Describe the challenges and issues you faced
    • Actions
      • Describe what you did about the situation
      • Describe the actions you took
    • Result or outcome
      • Describe the outcome
      • Describe why this experience is important to you
doing a self assessment showcasing skills and achievements14
Doing a Self Assessment – Showcasing Skills and Achievements
  • Examples illustrating how an accomplishment can be related to specific skills and abilities:
    • Increased sales by x %:
      • Developed excellent personal customer relations and trust
      • Worked closely with logistics to optimize delivery
      • Organized and held training seminars with internal customer support to increase customer satisfaction
    • Successful project manager:
      • 3 promotions in 2 years
      • Increased productivity of team by x% and reduced lead time by x days
      • Only manager to finish every project on time/budget
      • Worked very successfully work with difficult employees and clients
doing a self assessment showcasing skills and achievements15
Doing a Self Assessment – Showcasing Skills and Achievements
  • Look for examples that showcase your top selling points
  • Choose some examples that are totally positive and some that started out negatively but either ended positively or you made the best of the outcome
  • Vary your examples; don't take them all from just one area of your life, include various jobs (even private life if relevant)
  • Use fairly recent examples. Start with examples within last year
  • Try to describe examples in story form, describe the situation, your actions and the outcome
doing a self assessment managing weaknesses
Doing a Self Assessment – Managing Weaknesses
  • Describe a few weaknesses or failures and explain briefly what went wrong and why
  • List what you learned from each problem
  • Don’t go for catastrophic failures but weaknesses most employees have or that demonstrate a correlating strength
  • Show that you dealt successfully with problems and how you worked to resolve them as positively as possible
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • “Tell me about yourself …”
    • Keep it to 1 to 2 minutes maximum
    • Have a prepared answer ready but don’t make it sound memorized
    • Focus on professional information
      • Short summary of most recent entries to resume
      • Relate past accomplishments to what is required in the new position
    • Mention a personal detail or two
      • Where you grew up/lived/went to school
      • Unique hobbies, experiences, or volunteer work
    • Close with a statement like “I am looking forward to further my career in ___ and believe I can contribute greatly to the success of ___”
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions18
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • “Why did you leave your last position …”
    • Prepare a short statement that summarizes the reasons for your departure
    • Keep it short and positive, don’t ramble
      • State briefly events that affected the company and led to your departure
      • Point it out if a group of employees was affected
      • Examples: “Due to a merger between __ and __ I was one of 300 people who were released…”“Due to a restructuring at __ I have decided to resign my position as __ and search for a position that more closely matches my career goals ..”
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions19
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • “What are your strengths/weaknesses …”
    • Strength
      • List strengths that are relevant to the job
      • Give examples from past jobs to illustrate
        • E.g. creative: patents/publications/campaigns
        • E.g. leadership qualities: promoted quickly
    • Weakness
      • Talk about only one if possible
      • Mention only weaknesses not related to your core competency
      • Make sure they are minor
      • Give explanations how you overcame them
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions20
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • “What did you like most/least about your last job…”
    • Things you liked most
      • List what is most relevant to the desired job
      • Talk about things that you were good at
      • Don’t mention salary, holidays and short work hours
    • Things you liked least
      • Try to keep this as short as possible
      • Phrase carefully as not to sound negative or overly critical
      • Think of some innocuous answers
        • Long commute (unless the new commute would be longer)
        • Lack of communal feeling in the group etc.
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions21
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • “Why do you want to work for us …”
    • Don’t give too many selfish reasons
    • Flatter the company you want to work for
      • Love the work
      • Reputation of the company/product
      • Opportunity to meet new challenges
  • “Why do you believe you are a good fit for this position …”
    • State you relevant skills, experience and education
    • Give examples that relate to the job you interview for
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions22
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • “Why should we hire you …”
    • Deliver arguments in your favor to the hiring manager and take your chance to stand out
    • Make life easier for hiring manager: Supply him with all the right reasons why you are the one
    • Use your prepared summary why you are ideal for the job: deliver your elevator pitch and show what makes you the perfect fit
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions23
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • “Do you have any questions …”
    • Have about two or three questions ready to show you are prepared, engaged, and considering actively
    • Don’t ask about holidays or benefits until you are close to a job offer
    • Ask questions relating to company and job
      • Reason for job opening
      • Reporting relationships
      • Group size
      • Equipment
      • Performance expectations for 3/6/12 months
doing a self assessment anticipating common questions24
Doing a Self Assessment –Anticipating Common Questions
  • The answers to these often asked questions may seem self-evident, but write them out with examples and practice
    • When have you demonstrated initiative
    • How do you deal with pressure
    • What would your previous supervisor say about you
    • What do you know about our company
    • Are you ambitious
    • Are you willing to work overtime
    • What do you see yourself doing in five years
doing a self assessment navigating tricky questions
Doing a Self Assessment –Navigating Tricky Questions
  • “You seem over/under qualified …”
    • Overqualified (too expensive / you may not fit in and quit soon / you could be a threat to a supervisor’s job)
      • Never address money; rather stress how you always helped your previous supervisors to meet/exceed their goals
      • Show by examples that you work well with younger team members/supervisors
      • Your experience will help you do the job faster and better
    • Underqualified
      • Exploit transferable skills from other jobs or volunteer work
      • Show your flexibility, willingness, and ability to learn or gain additional training
doing a self assessment navigating tricky questions26
Doing a Self Assessment –Navigating Tricky Questions
  • “What are your salary expectations …”
    • Don’t give a fixed number
    • Say you’d like more info on the job’s duties and responsibilities before you can answer
    • Try to mention a range if pressed and ask about the company’s salary range for the job
    • To get an idea of the salary range for the job, check “salary.com” or “salary.monster.com”
doing a self assessment navigating tricky questions27
Doing a Self Assessment –Navigating Tricky Questions
  • “Why have you changed jobs so frequently…”
    • Make a negative a positive – change as promotion, development, and growth
    • Make clear that you now want a career commitment to apply all you learned
    • Stress that all changes were voluntary (if true) and your performance was always excellent
doing a self assessment navigating tricky questions28
Doing a Self Assessment –Navigating Tricky Questions
  • “Are you interviewing with other companies…”
    • Keep your answer short
    • Be pleasant but non-specific if possible
    • If pressed, tell them you are looking, but stress that this position you are interviewing for is your first choice
      • “I have a few leads, but this job is the one I’m most excited about …”
      • “I am considering a few opportunities, but …”
      • “I have just begun looking and exploring my options …”
    • Avoid giving information on specific companies you’re interviewing with if possible
interview overview29
Interview Overview
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Understanding Types of Questions
  • Understanding Types of Interviews
  • Conducting the Interview
  • Following up after the Interview
understanding types of questions explanation
Understanding Types of Questions – Explanation
  • Interviewer needs information not sufficiently explained in resume or has doubts to be clarified
  • Interviewer may want to find out about older qualifications and experiences you just touched upon in your resume
  • At this point usually the tricky questions get posed and you have the chance to explain problems in your resume
  • Typical questions
    • “Why have you changed jobs so frequently…”
    • “You seem over/under qualified …”
understanding types of questions expectation
Understanding Types of Questions – Expectation
  • Interviewer wants to clarify your expectations about the job
  • Interviewer attempts to find out whether you would actually stay at the company because it is a good fit with your expectations
  • Examples
    • “What are your salary expectations …”
    • “Do you have any questions …”
    • “Why do you want to work at our company …”
    • “Why do you believe you are a good fit for this position …”
understanding types of questions scenario
Understanding Types of Questions - Scenario
  • Interviewer may describe a job scenario and ask how you would handle it in exact steps
  • A scenario may cover a single complex problem or a situation where you have to deal with several problems
  • Scenario based interviews tend to reflect a situation that can arise in the job you want
  • You need to cover three main areas:
    • Define the situation exactly and understand what the problem is
    • Describe exactly what steps, in which order, you would take to deal with the situation and who would be involved
    • Describe the outcome you intend your actions to have. If necessary, describe how you would deal with a negative result if there is nothing you could do to remedy the situation
understanding types of questions behavioral
Understanding Types of Questions - Behavioral
  • Interviewing technique based on the idea that past behavior predicts future behavior
  • You may be asked to give an example of a specific, tricky workplace situation and how you dealt with it
  • Questions often deal with workplace situations that are critical, difficult or could shed a negative light on the applicant
  • Questions are often very specific and cannot be prepared for individually
understanding types of questions examples of behavioral questions
Understanding Types of Questions – Examples of Behavioral Questions
  • How have you demonstrated initiative
  • How did you successfully interact with a difficult boss, co-worker or other person
  • Tell me about the riskiest decision you have made
  • Describe when you or your group were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a challenge you met successfully
  • Give an example of when your persistence had the biggest payoff
  • Summarize a situation where you successfully persuaded others to do something or to see your point of view
interview overview35
Interview Overview
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Understanding Types of Questions
  • Understanding Types of Interviews
  • Conducting the Interview
  • Following up after the Interview
understanding types of interview
Understanding Types of Interview
  • Phone Interview
  • One-on-one with HR and/or Supervisor
  • Interview by One or Several Co-Workers
  • Group or Panel Interview
  • Stress Interview
understanding types of interview phone interview
Understanding Types of Interview – Phone Interview
  • Show enthusiasm with your voice but don’t overdo it
  • Hold receiver mouthpiece about 2 inches from lips. Speak a little slower than normally
  • Do not use slang and try to minimize an accent
  • Turn off background music, mobile phone, computer speaker, and front bell (if possible)
  • Keep children and pets away
  • Prepare like for any interview and keep your resume, your list with achievements and summary at hand
  • Practice a phone interview with a friend
  • Don’t smoke, chew gum or drink tea during the interview
  • Avoid salary discussions in a phone interview
  • Ask when it is convenient to meet for a face to face interview
understanding types of interview one on one with hr and or supervisor
Understanding Types of Interview–One-on-One with HR and/or Supervisor
  • Interviewer evaluates applicants’ overall potential and fit within company
  • Interviewer tries to see if applicant has experience and qualifications for job
  • Interviewer asks general questions to test applicants problem solving abilities and ability to socialize with rest of team
  • HR tends to focus more on general skills and fit, supervisor more on technical skills specific to job
  • Applicant should use previous achievements to back any facts mentioned
  • Applicant has to prove both knowledgeable and able to fit into a team
  • Applicant has likely to go through several more interviews, cannot assume that the next interviewer knows what was told to the one before
understanding types of interview interview by one or several co workers
Understanding Types of Interview – Interview by One or Several Co-Workers
  • Assesses applicants’ fit into the department and group
  • Allows in-depth interview about specific skills and accomplishment necessary for job
  • Gives applicant a chance to show they understand the nuts and bolts of the job
  • Lets applicant show willingness and ability to be team member
understanding types of interview group or panel interview
Understanding Types of Interview – Group or Panel Interview
  • Panel often consists of supervisor and one or several team members. Depending on job, can also include higher-ranking managers
  • Panel interview tests various skill at the same time
    • Dealing with stress
    • Communication with possible team mates
    • Facing the public, customers, and colleagues
    • Having the skills and knowing the job
    • Using knowledge in a discussion
  • All panel members may ask questions
  • Applicant needs to stay calm. Asking questions can buy some time to consider answers
  • Panel interviews can shorten the interviewing process considerably because less follow-up interviews are necessary
understanding types of interview stress interview
Understanding Types of Interview –Stress Interview
  • Is less common than normal interviews
    • High-stress positions like dealing with customer complaints
    • High-stress environment where quick and cool reactions are absolutely necessary like working as international oil prospector
  • Exposes applicant to unexpected circumstances to evaluate their ability to deal with stress
  • Tries to disorient and put the applicant on the defensive and elicit genuine and spontaneous reactions
  • Requires applicants to be calm, polite, and think on their feet
  • Tests an applicant’s ability to be articulate, graceful, and polite under pressure
understanding types of interview stress interview42
Understanding Types of Interview –Stress Interview
  • Real-life work-simulation
    • Applicant is asked to perform a work task in a real work environment
    • Ringing phones, conversations outside the cubicle, and other distractions evaluate the applicants concentration, ability and composure
  • Adversarial interview
    • Applicant may be surrounded by interviewers and be asked several questions simultaneously
    • Interviewer stares intently or ignores applicant and remains silent for long periods
    • Interviewer asks questions rapidly without letting applicant answer properly or keeps asking the same question without listening to the answer
    • Interviewer may be aggressive and hostile or ask strange and unrelated questions
understanding types of interview how to react to a stress interview
Understanding Types of Interview –How to React to a Stress Interview
  • Remember this is a test, nothing personal
  • Stay calm and in control whatever happens
  • Answer questions collectedly, force yourself to slow down and speak softly
  • Focus only on the question and not on the interviewer
  • Focus your answer at the interviewer who asks, not on the whole group to relieve some of the stress
  • Clarify the question and the nature of the answer desired – this can buy you some time to think
  • If you feel the interview is utterly out of hand, remember an interview is two-sided! Politely speak your mind, take control, or even end the interview.
interview overview44
Interview Overview
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Understanding Types of Questions
  • Understanding Types of Interviews
  • Conducting the Interview
  • Following up after the Interview
conducting the interview
Conducting the Interview
  • Dressing for Success
  • Arriving at the Interview
  • Opening the interview
  • Using body language
  • Interacting with the Interviewer
  • Closing the Interview
conducting the interview dressing for success
Conducting the Interview – Dressing for Success
  • Conservative, professional outfit
  • Dark or neutral colors
  • Clean, polished shoes in good repair
  • Clean, trimmed fingernails. Women may wear conservative nail-polish
  • Beards or moustaches must be neatly trimmed
  • No noticeable fragrances or distracting jewelry
  • Avoid visible piercings or tattoos
  • Better to be overdressed than underdressed
conducting the interview arriving at the interview
Conducting the Interview – Arriving at the Interview
  • Arrive 15 to 20 minutes before appointment
  • Inform the receptionist with whom you have an appointment
  • Try to engage receptionist, be scrupulously polite and friendly
    • Formally or informally, receptionists may be asked about their opinion
  • Turn off cell phone. Having your phone ring during an interview is rude
conducting the interview opening the interview
Conducting the Interview – Opening the Interview
  • Introduce yourself
  • Smile and offer firm, dry handshake at introduction
  • Make sure to remember the name(s) of your interviewer(s) and use them
  • Be prepared to answer the dreaded question “So tell me a little bit about yourself …”
conducting the interview opening the interview49
Conducting the Interview – Opening the Interview
  • Set a positive tone
    • Make short pleasant small talk if appropriate
    • Thank them for their time
    • Compliment the office/location
  • Impress the interviewer. Likability and good fit for position is often more important in hiring decisions than perfect qualifications
conducting the interview using body language
Conducting the Interview – Using Body Language
  • Make eye contact
  • Sit down in a relaxed and confident position
  • Affirm that you are listening by nodding, etc.
  • Don’t fold arms or legs
  • Accentuate your words with gestures but don’t overdo it
  • Vary voice tone, volume and inflection, don’t talk in a monotone
conducting the interview using body language51
Conducting the Interview – Using Body Language
  • Do not fidget
  • Watch your interviewer
    • When they glance away, shuffle paper etc., you lost them
    • Stop talking, ask a question, draw them back into the interview
  • Above all, be natural!!
conducting the interview interacting with the interviewer
Conducting the Interview – Interacting with the Interviewer
  • Show self-confidence but not arrogance
  • Don’t make any negative comments or mention anything negative about your last position
  • Use phrases that reinforce your good fit: “I am able/willing … ”, “I work well with others…”
  • Use strong action-verbs: “contributed”, “developed”, “managed”. Avoid weak words: “try”, “guess”, “pretty good”, “maybe”
  • Stress what you know, not what you don’t
conducting the interview interacting with the interviewer53
Conducting the Interview – Interacting with the Interviewer
  • Express your interest in the position in uncertain, strong terms
  • If you know nothing regarding a question, admit it, but follow up immediately with a complementary skill you do possess
  • React to common questions with winning responses
  • Be confident and enthusiastic
conducting the interview interacting with the interviewer54
Conducting the Interview – Interacting with the Interviewer
  • Give information
    • Don’t give yes-or-no answer, but don’t talk longer than one to two minutes
    • Ask for clarification if you’re not sure what the interviewer wants to know
    • Stress your strengths
    • De-emphasize your weaknesses
conducting the interview interacting with the interviewer55
Conducting the Interview – Interacting with the Interviewer
  • Get information by asking questions
    • What caused this position to be opened?
      • Growth, previous individual was promoted, etc.
    • Could you describe a typical day in the position?
    • To whom does this position report? Can I meet him/her?
    • What kind of support does the position receive in terms of people and resources?
    • What are the performance expectations for the first 3, 6, and 12 months?
    • What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
    • When can I expect to hear from you about the next stage in the interviewing process?
    • Avoid inquiring about salary or benefits in first interview!
conducting the interview closing the interview
Conducting the Interview –Closing the Interview
  • Summarize shortly your strengths and accomplishments as they relate to the position
  • Reaffirm interest in the job – most job seekers don’t
    • Ask for another interview or directly for the job
    • Ask for timetable for decision
  • Affirm the next step
  • Thank those you met on your way out and use individual names
interview overview57
Interview Overview
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Doing a Self-Assessment
  • Understanding Types of Questions
  • Understanding Types of Interviews
  • Conducting the Interview
  • Following up after the Interview
following up after the interview
Following Up After the Interview
  • After you leave the interview
    • Take notes: What was discussed, what wasn’t, problems etc.
    • Try to evaluate the interview from the employers’ view
  • When you get home
    • Send a hand-written thank-you note to interviewer. Preferably mail, else email
      • Thank the interviewer
      • Refer to something said in the interview to emphasize a strong point or add to an answer that was weak
      • Express interest in the job again
    • Follow up by telephone
      • Call 5 to 7 working days after interview
      • Not a push for a final decision but rather an expression of ongoing interest
interview additional resources
Interview – Additional Resources
  • http://www.resumagic.com/job_interviews.html5959
  • http://www.jobinterviewquestions.org/questions/interview-guide.asp
  • http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview-practice/Tell-Me-About-a-Time-When/home.aspx
  • http://www2.oakland.edu/careerservices/job_search_resources/Behavioral%20Interview%20Preparation-web.htm
  • http://www.careerchoiceguide.com/preparing-for-a-job-interview.html
for one on one employment coaching
For One-on-One Employment Coaching

Marrietta Reber

Executive Upgrade Consulting

[email protected]

www.executiveupgradeconsulting.com

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