Be sure to do the self-assessments recommended, as a new Self-Recruiter®, when preparing your resume and other promotional materials in order to improve your odds of getting seen –over the other candidates that you are competing against.
Once your interview is scheduled, be sure to do everything that you can do to continue to improved your odds of success. Remember, it IS a competition, and there’s nothing wrong with that, so approach it as such.
Your INTERVIEW can take place as an unexpected, unscheduled phone call; a scheduled phone interview; or as an in-person meeting. Being prepared for as many possibilities as possible will help you shine at your brightest.
Key Points to Consider while preparing for Your INTERVIEW:
You could receive an Unscheduled Phone Call
At some point, a company will reach out to you over the telephone, and you may not be expecting the call. They may intend to use this conversation to set up a scheduled call, or they may intend to pre-screen you for the position during this first call. Always answer the phone in a professional, business manor when you do not know who may be calling you. The first impression you make starts right on this call. But that does not mean that you have to take the call, or continue on the call –if the company wants to move right into pre-screen questions. After all, you did not have a scheduled meeting set up with them. Thank them for reaching out to you and express your interest in the company and the position. Let them know that you have another scheduled meeting, but that you would like set a time/day for the call. That way you can be fully prepared and increase your odds of success.
The Scheduled Phone Interview
Congrats! You have a scheduled phone interview! Now be prepared by fully reviewing the Self-Recruiter® INTERVIEW CHECKLIST. But, keep in mind that the largest mistake that individuals make during a phone interview… is forgetting that it’s over-the-telephone! Sound strange? What I mean is that most individuals simply ‘do’ this interview ‘cold’, rather than strategically and properly preparing all of their support materials that can help them be seen as a stand-out on the call. Be sure to be in a place where you control the environment, not the other way around. Watch out for distractions like small children at home, etc. Be somewhere that you can fully focus. If you do not have a home office with a large desk, I recommend your kitchen or the kitchen table.
Gather all of the important support documents that can help you: your Resume; your Cover Letter; your Company Research, including their Press Releases that you may want to reference during the conversation; the Job Description; the Notes that you have made during your research; and a Bullet-Point List of what you want to communicate during the call that answers the question as to why you are the Very Best Choice for the role. Now spread all of that out so that you can look over all of it at once and have easy access to any piece of that information at any time during the call. My recommendation is always to do your phone interview STANDING up, and that is also why the kitchen would be my first choice as it typically has taller counters. By standing, we release and have better control over our diaphragm, and that gives us more power and presence on the call. Do not use a speakerphone (even if they do), as you will seem ‘disconnected’ and it will be much more difficult to build chemistry. By all means, if you have a headset available, do use it, as that will free your hands to take notes and handle your support materials that you have prepared.
The In-Person Interview
Here’s your real chance to shine. No one really ever gets hired over the telephone, so when you get your in-person interview scheduled, be sure to do all of the work necessary to increase your chances of success.
The Self-Recruiter® INTERVIEW CHECKLIST:
1. Complete Your RESEARCH
The largest single mistake candidates make when interviewing for a position is to fail to do the proper research ahead of time. That research can help you shine, and be seen, as an outstanding individual to consider for the role by helping you to communicate that you are looking for this job, not just any job. It will help you to better convey what you will bring to this role and how your addition to the team will help the company reach its goals. Proper research also allows you to show through your conversation and discussions that you are already thinking about how you will add value to the company –when they choose to hire you.
- The Job
Your clear understanding of the position for which you are interviewing is crucial to your interview’s success. Re-read the job listing / job posting. Take a sheet of paper and write down the title of this position. Then write down everything that YOU think is part of this position’s day-to-day activities, based on your experience and knowledge. Be sure to be visualizing the day-to-day activities of this role. This understanding will help you to give better answers. It will also give you discussion points for use during your conversation (better known as an interview).
- The Company
Show them that you ARE potentially the right choice –by conveying your knowledge and excitement about the company. Check out, and fully read, the company’s Website; Press Releases; and do a News and Google search for additional information that may be available. Be sure to print out and highlight areas, and names, in the press releases / web pages that you may want to reference and talk about during your phone meeting.
- Company Culture
During the interview process, it’s your job to evaluate the ‘company culture’ in order to decide if it’s a fit for your needs. Many things factor in to what constitutes ‘company culture’, Part if it is the “What’s it like there?” factor. That will be one of the items for you to take note of on your visit to the company. Where did many of the company’s employees work for before joining the company? Part of company culture is also the accumulated personalities and backgrounds that the current employees have brought with them from other companies as they joined this employer. While company culture is a difficult aspect to define when considering a new employer, it is still very important to consider if you are to find someplace that can become a home for your career.
2. Do a ‘Needs Analysis’ Early in Your Meeting
Remember, an interview is just a meeting. Try, if possible, to keep the meeting in a conversational style, rather than as ‘20 Questions/20 Answers’, though you may only have so much control over that. This will help you in your goal of doing what is known as a ‘Needs Analysis’. Your goal is simply to uncover, through conversation, all that you can about what their true ‘need’ is –and why they are ‘really’ hiring for this position. It’s not just because the position is ‘open’, as that’s just a symptom of the problem(s). The problems are the ‘real pain’ that the organization is feeling because of this opening. What major projects are being left untended? What has fallen off the radar or been sidelined because of this position being vacant? Understanding their real pain will help you to improve your answers to their questions, right during your interview! Give answers showing how your experience can help to solve that pain that they are experiencing. That’s one of the surest ways to end up near the top of their list.
3. Oh Behave! Your Body Language is Speaking Volumes
Perception is Reality. Be sure your body langua
ge is on the same page as you are. You need to be engaging and energetic, without being overwhelming. Look folks in the eye when you meet them, shake their hands, and as you converse during your meeting. But remember the goal is to make it a comfortable environment for discussions, so eye contact, yes, but not to the point ‘eye-balling’ or staring. Keep your body posture in check and professional at all times. And remember that this is their normal workplace: if they were to get a phone call during your meeting, as an example, and suddenly throw their feet up on the desk and to raise their voice in discussion with whomever is on the telephone –be sure to keep your posture under control and professional –as every moment of your meeting is part of the audition (interview) process for you. An extra tip if wearing a jacket: be sure to sit, just a little, on the tail of your jacket, as that will ensure you look as sharp as possible during your meeting by keeping your jacket from riding up. It’s the small differences that distinguish someone exceptional, from someone who is only very good. Exceptional people get hired much more quickly when looking for their next career challenge.
4. Dress Like You ARE A Success!
Imagine the very best-of-the-best that you will be competing against for this position. Part of how you will beat them, and get the offer, is to be a stand-out in every way. Make sure the ‘visual’ meets that goal too! You know, you really do only get one chance for a first impression. How would you like them to think of you? No matter the position that you are after, or what the typical person in that role might wear during their normal day-to-day activities, you should look your very best when interviewing. I always recommend looking like ‘a million bucks’. Haircut and groomed, shoes polished and dressed appropriately. What’s appropriate? Ladies: business suit/skirt or very dressy outfit (but not ‘evening’ wear). Men: suit and tie, almost without exception. That’s a dark suit, light shirt, sharp tie. You have one chance to look better, and more professional, than the next person interviewing for this role, look in the mirror and be sure your choice matches up to that challenge.
5. Are You Listening?
While you may have a lot to say and a desire to share it all with your interviewer, you should also be there to hear why they may be the right place for your next career home. In a perfect world, you would speak 40% of the time, which also means they should be doing most of the talking.
6. Ask, Not.. But Do Sell Yourself
Be ready to let them know how it will benefit them –if they were to hire you. What talent and expertise do you have that will help the team or the company grow, or be more effective?
Always be speaking in a way to convey your value to them, as it will help them visualize how it may be the right choice to hire you.
7. Don’t Talk About Money! –Getting the Best Offer
If you want the best offer, you must avoid any discussion (whatsoever) about money. The sooner they begin to visualize a ‘number and you’, the more difficult it becomes to change (or raise) that number when they move toward the offer stage. Build your value in discussions with them before they begin to visualize that number –and then your number will usually be higher.
8. Time to Get it Right
When is that? Early, but not too early . Arrive in the area about 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment, so that you can be using the time to collect and organize your thoughts for the interview. Be sharp and ready as you only have one chance to win each interview, so be ready to be your best. But don’t arrive in the office earlier than between 5 and 10 minutes before your scheduled time, otherwise it communicates that you aren’t concerned with their schedule.
9. Next Stop: Opportunity
Though you will also be assessing the company and the job to determine if they are a fit for your needs and desires during the interview process, you must never let that part show. What should show through at all times, is your desire and interest in the position, in assisting the manager’s team and in helping the overall company’s performance. Hiring individuals remember the candidates that truly show interest and show themselves to already be thinking about how they can add to the company. Careful about any comments about your past employers (Don’t bad-mouth past employers!), as they will be visualizing what you might say about them in the future –if they were to hire you for this opportunity.
10. Ask, Ask, Ask for the Job!
If you never ask, you may never get. Candidates wrongly assume that ‘just because I’m here interviewing, they must know that I want this job’. That is an incorrect assumption. You may go on a number of interviews, before you find the opportunity and employer that you are really interested in. Did all of the interviewers assume that you were interested in those jobs too? Let them know how enthused and excited you are about the possibility of joining their team and their company.
For more downloads and to see resume samples, go to http://www.selfrecruiter.com/.
Self-Recruiter® Career Advice Blog: INTERVIEW CHECKLIST Copyright © 2009 by Provident Resource, Inc.
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