Tag Archives: Interviewing skills

How to Improve Your Interviewing Skills

Practicing interviewing skills

Practicing interviewing skills

Interviewing Skills

Interviewing skills is a business transaction wherein the objective of the hiring manager (the person who has the authority to hire) is to make a selection among job candidates called in for interviews. A candidate has two challenges: first, to convince the hiring manager that he is the ideal candidate for the position, and second, to outshine the others (i.e., the competition for the job). Following are several suggestions.

First, prepare for the interview by working with a seasoned career coach. A career coach can practice with you certain mock-interviewing techniques, thereby helping you to not only answer difficult interview questions but also recognize traps and avoid saying the wrong things. As a career coach, I need no less than five hours to get someone ready for the big test. If the result is to get the job, then the fee paid for such a service is merely a drop in the bucket.

Second, prepare your SARBs: situation/action/result/benefit. These are short vignettes about your experience, describing for the interviewer how you solved problems on the job and the results and benefits to employers. They are the tools you bring with you to the interview. If presented well, the examples will convince the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.

Third, research the company. Spend some time in the public library investigating as much as you can about the company. You cannot overdo this aspect of the job search, and neither should you underestimate the importance of showing the interviewer you understand–on either a macro- or microlevel–the issues the company faces.

Fourth, use your personal connections via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to discover as much information as you can about the people you’re going to interview with. While doing that, attempt to find something in common with them. This is very important, because people are known to hire candidates with whom they can build a relationship even during the interview process.

And fifth and last but not less important, make sure the position you’re interviewing for aligns with your own needs and desires. Consider your skills and attributes and traits. Evaluate the organization’s work environment, the commute, the compensation, and the benefits. Pay attention to your gut feeling. If it feels good, make sure you clearly show your enthusiasm. This is what the hiring manager wants to “buy.”

 

The Interview: Why Wasn’t I Chosen!

The interview

The interview is about availability and choice

The Interview

From the interviewer’s vantage point, the selection process is about availability and choices. That principle applies to many things the rest of us do, too, throughout the day. For instance, isn’t it interesting that when a group of people dine together in a restaurant, some of them make their menu decisions within a few seconds, yet for others it takes an embarrassingly long time—and they’re still not perfectly happy with their decisions. The same principle applies to interviewers: I remember being interviewed years ago for 20 minutes and receiving the job offer on the spot; that was unusual at the corporate director level. At the other extreme, I heard of a person who was interviewed for a secretarial position by seven people over two months’ time—after the candidate had already worked in that department for three months as a temporary employee.

Predicting the outcome of the interview

To sum up, it is impossible to predict the outcome of a job interview because we simply don’t know what the interviewer’s decision-making process is. How often has a job candidate walked away glowing from an interview, with that feeling of having aced it, and yet the job offer never came.

At times candidates speculate about the best time of day to schedule a job interview—if given a choice. Early morning—before the pressure of the day builds up—might be good, but the interviewer might not be fully awake yet. Maybe just before lunch. But then, maybe after lunch would be better. How ’bout near the end of the day? There are no clear-cut answers because each case is individual and unique.

The interview outcome is relative to others

A recent National Public Radio program interviewed Wharton and Harvard business school professors who discussed the results of a large, 9,000-subject, 10-year study of interviewing. The investigators concluded that what matters is the candidate’s performance relative to those interviewed earlier. In their analysis, they also talked about a phenomenon called the gambler’s fallacy—a theory that says there is a mistaken notion that assumes that the odds of something with a fixed probability increase or decrease depending on recent occurrences. In other words, if you interview after two or three inferior candidates, your chances are better. This also works in reverse.

From my vantage point as an interview coach, I know that the only way to beat the odds is to prepare well and practice mock interviewing. Practice makes perfect.

How to Improve Your Interviewing Skills

47046radwp3g3moAn interview is a business transaction wherein the objective of the hiring manager (the person who has the authority to hire) is to make a selection among job candidates called in for interviews. A candidate has two challenges: first, to convince the hiring manager that he is the ideal candidate for the position, and second, to outshine the others (i.e., the competition for the job). Following are several suggestions.

First, prepare for the interview by working with a seasoned career coach. A career coach can practice with you certain mock-interviewing techniques, thereby helping you to not only answer difficult interview questions but also recognize traps and avoid saying the wrong things. As a career coach, I need no less than five hours to get someone ready for the big test. If the result is to get the job, then the fee paid for such a service is merely a drop in the bucket.

Second, prepare your SARBs: situation/action/result/benefit. These are short vignettes about your experience, describing for the interviewer how you solved problems on the job and the results and benefits to employers. They are the tools you bring with you to the interview. If presented well, the examples will convince the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.

Third, research the company. Spend some time in the public library investigating as much as you can about the company. You cannot overdo this aspect of the job search, and neither should you underestimate the importance of showing the interviewer you understand–on either a macro- or microlevel–the issues the company faces.

Fourth, use your personal connections via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to discover as much information as you can about the people you’re going to interview with. While doing that, attempt to find something in common with them. This is very important, because people are known to hire candidates with whom they can build a relationship even during the interview process.

And fifth and last but not less important, make sure the position you’re interviewing for aligns with your own needs and desires. Consider your skills and attributes and traits. Evaluate the organization’s work environment, the commute, the compensation, and the benefits. Pay attention to your gut feeling. If it feels good, make sure you clearly show your enthusiasm. This is what the hiring manager wants to “buy.”