So you’re a little nervous. Okay, you’re very nervous. That’s to be expected. Fortunately, there’s plenty of preparation you can do before the interview to boost your self-confidence and ensure you make the best first impression possible. Keep in mind that a good interview is a win-win. Your goals are to learn more about the company, job and culture to see if they are a good fit for you, and to persuade the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. The interviewer’s goals are to promote the company and gather information about you. Everyone has something to gain from a good interview. The following tips will help make your interviews a success.Nail Down the DetailsDouble-check the interview time, location and the interviewer’s name and title. Scout out the address and parking options in advance.Dress for SuccessPlan to dress formally, in clean, properly-fitting business clothes. If you can, investigate acceptable business attire at the company and dress accordingly. Style your hair neatly. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished. Wear a watch and be conservative with your jewelry.Do Your HomeworkConduct research about the company and the position you are interested in. Check the company’s website and annual report. Prepare questions you’d like to ask the interviewer about the company’s philosophy, aspects of the job you are applying for and what the company requires of its employees.Prepare Your AnswersGive yourself a competitive edge by being able to provide well-organized, confident answers in the interview. You can prepare for many of the interview questions in advance by:Reviewing your own experience and employers.Reviewing your technical skills, so you can answer specific technical questions about your expertise. Assessing your strengths. Make a list of your strengths by category: Knowledge-based skills from education and experience; communication skills and other transferable skills you take to each job; and your unique personal attributes. Memorize several from each category based on the strengths your employer will need.Examining your weaknesses. Make a list of your areas for improvement. Practice answers that minimize the area and focus on ways you handle that weakness.Preparing your “elevator speech.” Have a short, concise response ready about reasons you want the job, and ways you can make a difference at the companyDemonstrating your “fit” with short stories about your accomplishments.Anticipate Positive/Negative and Neutral QuestionsPractice listening carefully to whether a question prompts an automatic positive or negative response. Turn the negative and neutral questions into positive examples.Positive QuestionsWhat are your strengths?What can you contribute to our company?What are your most significant accomplishments?Why do you think you are qualified for this position?Why have you been successful?Describe the ideal position for you.Tell me about a situation in which you felt very effective on the job.In what type of business environment do you function best?Negative QuestionsWhat are your weaknesses?Tell me about a work situation where you felt ineffective.What didn’t you like about your last position (manager) (company)?What is the biggest mistake you have made in your career?Tell me how you have handled a difficult peer (manager) (subordinate).What criticisms have supervisors had about your work style?What type of business environment makes it most difficult for you to function?Why did you leave your last position? (Be brief, consistent, and stick to a pre-determined, positive reason for leaving).Neutral QuestionsTell me about yourself.How do you communicate with managers/peers/subordinates?How do you handle pressure?What are your salary requirements and expectations? (Give a range, not a specific figure. Leave room to negotiate after the position is offered. Make it clear that salary is not the main reason you are interested.)Why are you interested in this position?What is important for me to know about you?What is the key thing you have learned in your management career?How do you set priorities?What NOT to AskDemonstrate your professionalism during the interview by avoiding:Personal questions about your interviewers, such as how they got their job, or what they think of the company.The interviewer’s opinion of a former employee.Politics or religion, unless the position is of a political or religious nature.Wait to ask about company retirement plans, vacations, bonuses and holidays until you have received an offer or are in the process of negotiating an offer.
Preparing for the Interview
5 Things Not To Say In a Job Interview
What you don't say in a job interview is just as important as what you do say. Follow these interviewing tips to ensure you stand out for the right reasons.In a job interview, what you don't say to a potential employer could have as big an impact on your prospects as what you do say. Strengthen you approach by avoiding these common errors in your next job interview."I'm not familiar with your company, what do you do?" Do your homework so you can ask intelligent questions about the job. This shows potential employers that you are prepared and proactive. If you're truly interested in the job, you'll be a much better employee and more likely to get hired. Plus, researching the company before you show up for the interview shows that you have initiative.Anything negative about your last boss or job.If you sound overly critical of your previous employer, your interviewer will wonder what you'll have to say about his company when you leave. Even if what you say is true, keep it positive, or least keep a neutral tone in the interview. Try to find a way to turn negative experiences at previous jobs into a positive for the interview or simply respond that the new position aligns with your career goals and presented an opportunity you couldn't pass up."It's on my resume." If an interviewer asks you about an experience that is on your resume, they want you to elaborate. Instead of saying “it's on the resume,” which sounds flippant, go into more detail about the job they are asking about. Tell the interview what you did, how you did it, and the impact you had on the employer you were working for. The more you are able to integrate measurable results and real-world professional examples, the better your chances of landing the position."My only professional weakness is I care too much." Everyone has weaknesses, potential employers do not expect you to be perfect. This question is intended to uncover your level of self-awareness and your ability to tackle problems. You'll impress your interviewer more if you're honest about what you're working on, and outline the proactive steps you're taking to close the gap. Turn your weaknesses into a positive, but don't gloss over them."I'm an out-of-the-box thinker." This is a cliché. Even if it's true, it will make you sound boring and uncreative. Your interviewer is looking for what sets you apart from other job candidates. You might as well drop every cliché you're thinking about saying in a job interview. The rule: Don't state it, demonstrate it with real-world examples of your professional achievements. This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Acing the Interview
30 seconds is all you have to make an excellent first impression. Why not make the most of that time by being mentally prepared before you walk through the door?Make a Strong StartBe sure to arrive 10 minutes early, and park in a location that won’t limit your interview time. Turn off your cell phone. Treat everyone you meet with respect, starting with the receptionist and others you encounter. Have positive body language and good posture. Maintain eye contact.It’s GO timeGreet your interviewer with a warm smile and a firm handshake. This is your opportunity to market yourself, so focus on your strengths and attributes without sounding boastful or arrogant. Be confident and clear that you want the job, and the reasons why you are a strong fit for the position and the company. Show your interest in the company by asking questions about the position, the culture and management style. The homework you do ahead of time should help direct the questions you ask. Be positive, even if you discover that the role is different than your expectations. Continue with the interview, and re-evaluate when it is over.Conquer the CloseYou’ve asked all the right questions, and provided strong answers. Now it’s time to conclude the interview like a professional:Reiterate your interest in the position and the companySummarize your strengths and competencies in relation to the job requirementsAsk for the job, or for the next step depending on what seems appropriateAsk for your interviewer’s business card.Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration. Be sure to smile and give a firm handshake.After the interview is over, dive right into your follow up, which presents additional opportunities to market yourself and secure that job.
Interview Follow Up
Move Closer to the Job OfferToday’s interview follow up is more than a thank you note. Think of it as a process that keeps you in contact with your potential employer. Through this ongoing contact, you have additional opportunities to demonstrate your strengths and your value to the company.The LetterThe first step is a follow-up letter, sent within 24-48 hours of your interview. Send an individual letter to each interviewer. You can use a similar letter, but find a way to personalize each one. Address each interviewer by name and title. Use the medium — email or regular mail — that is most appropriate for that company. If you use regular mail, choose a high-quality paper and envelope.Some tips to make an impact with your message:Start the letter by thanking the interviewer for his/her time.Review the important points of your conversation to bring your interview back into focus for the interviewer and to show you were attentive.Summarize your strengths, skills and the ways you can add value to the company.Express enthusiasm for the company and your desire for the position.Ask for the job, if appropriate.Keep your letter concise, upbeat, and of course, free from spelling or grammatical errors.Next StepsIf you provided references to your interviewer, make a point of contacting each person to alert them to a potential call from the company. After 10 days, follow up with a phone call to ask where the interviewer is in the process, and if you can provide any additional information. Take this opportunity to remind the interviewer of some unique quality or strength you can bring to the job. Finally, continue your job search.If You Don’t Get the OfferIf you are not offered the position, turn a negative into a positive by asking the interviewer if you can bring him/her into your network. Ask for referrals to other contacts. Your proactive steps demonstrate your networking skills and may earn you some insight into another job opening.