Tag Archives: Job interview tips

The Interview: You Are Onstage

The Interview: You Are Onstage

How do you answer difficult questions?

The job seeker is very much like an actor.  There are many potential candidates vying for the same role. Both desire to beat the competition winning that coveted position along with a fat paycheck. But oftentimes, the approach each takes to the interview is very different.

Consider that there are similarities how one wins the role. Directors are seeking a very specific individual who fulfills the requirements and connects with him. For actors, this is achieved through one’s portfolio and a casting call. For the job seeker, it is through the resume and an interview.

It is your job to convey you are the “total package” perfect for that position. Alex Freund, The Landing Expert, will teach you how to adjust your behaviors and responses strategically. You will examine the intent behind specific interview questions and identify success tactics that will position you more favorably.

Additional value will be gained in comparing techniques actors use to prepare and learning how to leverage these for your own interviews. Increased confidence in your body and answers are just a few of the benefits of attending this session. You will also learn how to provide powerful answers to common interview questions ensuring you become the shining star who lands the role.

Participants will:

  • Identify new methods preparing for an interview
  • How to make a great impression
  • Get behind the true meaning of popular questions hiring managers ask
  • Triumph in spite of your nervousness
  • Confidently present the “best you” possible

Interviewing is Emotional and Logical

Interviewing is a combination of art and science

Interviewing is a combination of art and science

Interviewing is a combination of art and science thus it has a part which is emotional yet another part which is logical. It very much reminds me a game of Chess. While the interview is typically amicable the “players” are adversaries. One is the seller yet the other person is the buyer who is merely doing his due diligence.   And the buyer knows that making the mistake of hiring bad people is very costly.

The interview process is a challenge for both the interviewer and the candidate because interviewing is not well understood by either party. On one hand, the interviewer knows that several preselected qualified candidates have to be interviewed in order to anticipate and decide which one will perform best for the organization in the future. On the other hand, the candidate knows he is onstage and has to be at his best in every respect because he is in a tough competition for a single opening. A good interviewer should review the candidate based on four different aspects: communication skills, competency via specific skills, organizational fit, and motivation which is exhibited by ability to show passion and excitement. Those are the most crucial areas, even if there are of course several other relevant aspects to explore.

When exploring the candidate’s communications skills, I always start with the request, “Tell me about yourself.” The request serves as an opener for me, the interviewer, in an attempt to get a first impression of the candidate as a way of assessing communication skills. It is a baseline reading against which I will compare the rest of the interview questions. If answered well, all future answers will be viewed through a positive prism. But if the answer to that first question is not viewed favorably, the candidate will have a difficult time convincing me to reverse my opinion.

A good answer should:

  • Be intriguing and memorable
  • Include an example of an impressive accomplishment
  • Be responsive, informative, brief, and succinct
  • Engage the interviewer via a question in turn about the interviewer’s own priorities or challenges

A poor answer is:

  • Lengthy and recites chronologically the candidate’s career
  • Unfocused or rambling
  • Boring
  • Challenging to the interviewer because of regional or foreign accent or speech impediments

When trying to assess the candidate’s competency for certain specific skills crucial to the job, I request an answer to following: “Tell me about one of your major accomplishments and its outcome.” By that, I can test the candidate’s specific competency in an area where in my mind he has to show experience and strength. I’m looking for hard skills and wanting to hear how they were deployed in the past.

A good answer should:

  • Show the candidate’s ability to recite an example that gives a brief background overview
  • Include a specific example that highlights a required skill and that resulted in a successful outcome
  • Tell the actions the candidate took
  • Be cited as recognized by others—such as supervisors, peers, and customers—for credibility

A poor answer is:

  • General and nonimpressive
  • Not focused on specific skills
  • Lacking in a specific example of accomplishment achieved via the skill
  • Blatantly self-praising but without evidence

Then comes my follow-up: “Tell me about a specific, work-related problem and how you went about resolving it.” Here I am drilling down to details and anticipating hearing the step-by-step approach the candidate took to resolve the problem.

The next area I explore is the candidate’s cultural fit into our organization. Cultural fit could be subjective and influenced by prejudice. It is heavily influenced by the top leadership. It includes such elements as values, attitudes, office language, tone of communication, the team or individual decision-making process, and daily work practices, often made up of unspoken and unwritten rules of behavior.

Via this question I’m looking to ascertain whether the candidate will blend in naturally and become a welcome contributor to the team. I’m also paying attention to the applicant’s past behavior. Here are a few questions as examples. “What do you know about our company?” That one tests whether the candidate has done his homework and is well prepared or really interested. “What is your management style?” Here I’m listening to hear whether he says only the obvious and whether he’ll be able to adapt to the company’s needs. I am looking for maturity, competency, and how he handles relationships with others.

The last area I explore is motivation. Typical questions would be, “Why are you interested in this position?” Then I watch to see whether he talks about self or company needs, whether he understands challenges, how he envisions contribution to organization, whether he clearly demonstrates passion and excitement, and whether he’s just plain likable. Other questions whose answers reveal motivation might be: “Why do you want to leave [or did you leave] this position? What would be your perfect job? What would you do in the first 90 days after being hired? What are your interests outside work? People who do a lot outside work are also motivated at work.

Most people need to prepare extensively for upcoming interviews in order to feel good about themselves – otherwise is showing. Some people seem to have a knack for interviewing and here two people come to my mind: Presidents Bill Clinton and Barak Obama. They make interviewing on camera seem so simple.


Best Interview Tips

Best interview tips

Smiling during an interview is 50% success

Interview Tips

Congratulations! You and just a few others have been selected from among many, many applicants to be called in for the second part of a selection process known as the interview. The process is tortuous because all of those selected are outstanding applicants who, potentially, could do the job well. So, what should you do to outshine your competition in this contest? Here are a few tips to follow.

Make the best impression

Based on the theories of Albert Mehrabian, UCLA professor emeritus of psychology, the interviewer is judging the candidate 55% on visual appearance, 38% on voice, and 7% on words. The hiring decision is made on the impression the candidate leaves behind and is based primarily on the interviewer’s gut feelings. Unfortunately, such decision making is certainly not science.

Present facts and not your opinion

The interviewer knows the candidate is there to sell himself, but the interviewer is not ready to buy everything the candidate wants to sell—except when the candidate recites facts and gives evidence about career background and ability to do the job and when he uses adjectives or other kinds of self-descriptions in sentences that begin in the third person—that is, when the otherwise self-descriptions were actually given by others.

Practice mock interviewing

Interviewing is like dancing: it cannot be learned from a book but only from practice. The more one practices, the better one becomes. Additionally, practicing builds confidence, which is picked up instantaneously by the interviewer.

Understand the interviewer

Interviews are counterintuitive: they’re not about the candidate; they’re about the candidate’s skills and experience as they relate to ability to solve the interviewer’s problems. The interviewer is listening, but his hearing is selective: that is, when the candidate talks about himself, the interviewer barely hears it; when the candidate talks about how he can solve the company’s problems, the interviewer becomes more interested and attentive and is thinking, “Louder, louder!”

Be ready to recite success stories

To be most credible in a job interview situation, the candidate has to provide facts via success stories from past jobs. Say often the words for example, and then describe briefly a situation and the actions you took, ending with a description of the results and the benefits to your team or employer. Every time you provide an interview answer, ask yourself the question “So what?” which will force you to recall and recount significant and meaningful examples.