introduction • You are faced with the task of convincing a total stranger to invest company money and time in you. • Someone who can contribute to the bottom line from day one • Someone who is self-managing, versatile, confident, not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. • To a certain degree, you need to take charge of the interview by asking questions • Really, there are only 4 main questions you have to prepare yourself for: • Can you do the job? (are you specifically qualified?) • Will you do the job (better than the other people I'm interviewing?)...how hungry are you? • Even if you are perfectly qualified and highly motivated, do I think you will fit in with the rest of the group (chemistry)? • Will you make me, the interviewer, look like a genius for recommending or hiring you?
introduction • Asking questions shows you're interested, engaged and assertive. • Questions should be clear, concise, targeted and well crafted. • Ask if you are free to ask questions at any time during the interview? • Do not wait for them to ask if you have any questions. You need to be more assertive and ask questions during the regular part of the interview.
introduction • Ask questions early and often • Asking questions turns the interview into more of a conversation rather than a typical Q&A format. That way you can actually form a chemistry • Ask insightful questions at the end of the interview. "One memorable candidate asked James what PwC was doing about revenue streams as IFRS was wrapping up and that indicated that he understood the firm’s business. That really made him stand out in James’ mind and helped him get the job.“ • Speak like Mitt Romney (or Obama, Clinton) speaks.
introduction • Communicate your knowledge, skills, accomplishments, and fit for the position. • Subtly take control of the interview, build a strong rapport with your interviewer, and present your most notable accomplishments as they relate to that company’s needs. • It’s about positioning yourself as someone who takes control of a situation, solves problems, and delivers results. • You assess the employer and the employer assesses you to decide whether or not you want to work together. • The goal of the first interview is to get a second interview. And the goal of the third is to get the job offer.
introduction • The interviewer’s goal is probably to eliminate you from a second interview or job offer. The interviewer wants to know why he or she should not hire you. • The interviewer tries to do this by identifying your weaknesses. • You must counter by communicating your strengths to lessen the interviewer’s fears of hiring you. • You must raise the interviewer’s expectations of you.
Interview checklist • Review your notes • Acclimate to your environment • Have your script well-rehearsed and rehearse your delivery. Repeat it till it rolls off your tongue • Greet the interviewer properly • Hone your handshake • Ask questions
Interview checklist • Don’t address the interviewer by his or her first name • Assess the interviewer’s style • Recognize the 4 basic personality types • Align with the interviewer • “Mirror” the interviewer’s body language, facial expressions, eye movement, rate of speech, tone of voice, and rate of breathing.
Interview checklist • Use insider language • Use the action vocabulary/winner’s word list and incorporate into your script • Don’t use trite phrases and tired cliches • Withhold your resume • Use the “tie-down” techniques (Ch. 7 of Follow Up Method)
Interview checklist • Find an area of agreement, and lead slowly and carefully to the offer • Be honest, not modest • Say positive things about your present (former) employer • Admire the achievements of the prospective employer • Be observant
Interview TIPS • Table Talk: mealtime interviews are tricky. Your eating (and drinking) habits tell a lot about you, without you even being aware of it. • Mirror your host’s manners and choices. • Eat sensibly: don’t select the most expensive or cheapest item on the menu: choose foods that are healthy but not too healthy • If possible, follow the lead of your host. But select items that are not difficult to handle or chew or are too messy.
Interview TIPS • Need to develop chemistry or rapport during interview • Have a strong interview performance • Need to seem like a good fit • Some interviewers are not good interviewers and might make the wrong decision and decide not to hire you so don’t take it too personally if it doesn’t happen
Interview TIPS • Show you are knowledgeable about the company, job, industry etc. • Shape your question to the position: when you ask questions about any aspect of the industry, company, department, or job, make sure they are couched in terms of the requirements of the specific job you're seeking, and the goals of the particular company at which you hope to be hired. • Know what to ask when of whom: as you go past the first interview, the questions you ask should become more specific.
Interview TIPS • Get the interviewer talking: Ask open-ended questions. Who, what, when, where, how, why? • Match your style to the interviewer's: laid back or not. • Watch the interviewers body language. • Be concise and to the point. • Assume the position: use "we", "our" and "my". • Don't ask questions that show your ignorance or bias. • Don't make an interviewer obviously uncomfortable: like asking questions that are too personal. • Don't introduce negativity into the interviewer's mind.
Interview TIPS • Don't tell a joke: smile, be at ease, you can make a humorous comment if it seems in keeping with the rest of the conversation. • Don't let them see you sweat: don't show your desperation. • Remember it's a two-way street: attempt to redefine the job so it fits your qualifications.
Interview TIPS • When it just isn’t working out: if the interview isn’t working out, take a break (to use the washroom or get some water). Give yourself a pep talk. And then go back to try to salvage the interview. There might be other jobs at the company. Your very attempt to salve the situation may result in a surprising reaction by the interviewer.
Interview TIPS • Exude confidence in your ability to perform. It is this strength in personality, energy, and vitality that will attract a company to you and entice them to bring you aboard. Remind yourself that you are the best candidate for the position. • Be ready to discuss values, character, culture and more.
Interview TIPS • Taking notes: ask if you can take notes. Make jot dot notes, and maintain eye contact. Write down key points, issues, challenges, hiring criteria, etc. • Be a good listener: so that you can talk about what has been said in a meaningful way. To show you were listening and you understand. Repeat critical information. • “hire for attitude...train for skills”: skills can be learned, attitude cannot.
Interview TIPS • If you make a mistake during interview: you can recover from it. Acknowledge the error, apologize if appropriate, and move on. If you deal with the mistake well, it demonstrates an ability to handle stressful situations. • If you do not have an answer: ask if you can think about it and get back to that question later (try to avoid this).
Interview TIPS • Know what you want: know why you want the job, what you want in life. It shouldn’t be just about money. It’s about the right job and the right fit. Know yourself, your truths, motivations and pleasures in order to find the right position with the right company. • Interaction: make every interaction/exchange positive to leave a good impression.
Interview TIPS • Develop rapport : with your interviewer, engage him or her, share the knowledge you have learned about the company, ask great questions and you will immediately distinguish yourself from all the other candidates. Then leave the interview knowing that you have planted in the interviewer’s mind the idea that you can do the job and that you are the #1 candidate.
Interview TIPS More on Rapport: • Be prepared: you can build good rapport when you are well prepared for the interview. • Be authentic: don’t just provide the answers you think they want to hear. Be honest and direct. Answer the questions with meaning, not simply grasping at straws for an answer.
Interview TIPS • Be able to communicate your capabilities in an interesting and enticing way, without telling everything. • Endorsements and References: endorsement must be in the form of letters. For references, the bigger the better. If you can get them from bosses and peers. They can help tip the scales in your favour. • Remember: you are marketing yourself!
Interview TIPS • Sell yourself: tell them information about the value and expertise you bring to that company. Highlight your success stories in a non-arrogant manner and present yourself as a winner. • Be overdressed for the interview: you can always apologize later if you are overdressed. • Know the company and the position: you can never do enough research. The more prepared you are, the more impressed they will be
Interview TIPS • Know what the company wants from you: have a clear understanding of the specific skills and knowledge the company is seeking. Devote a great deal of time highlighting your qualifications during interview. • Sometimes it’s okay to tell the interviewer you are nervous: it can help break the ice. But don’t do it if it’s for an executive-level position.
Interview TIPS • Find common ground: projects, people, places and companies that you both know. Companies like to know you are knowledgeable and well connected. • Ask good questions: ask intelligent, though-provoking , and on-target questions. • Ask challenging questions: for example: of the top three competitors, you rank third. Why?”
Interview TIPS • Overcome problems and challenges: if they ask you about a problem or challenge you faced in the past, use it as an opportunity. Tell them what the situation was, what you did and what you learned. Communicate that you will never get into that situation again and that you know the signs to look for to avoid having the same problem. Show you are a winner by highlighting how you overcame a problem in the past and succeeded.
Interview TIPS • Never talk negatively about anything – no matter how bad the situation: always have something good to say about your past employers, bosses, and co-workers. • Pay attention to your body language: it can vary between cultures. Smile, make direct eye contact, and have a great handshake. If they are animated, mirror their body language and look alive.
Interview TIPS • Positively frame your job search: you were traveling, took some classes, or volunteered and now it is time to get serious about getting back to work. Don’t frame it like “I’ve been looking for a job for the past six months”. • Ask for the job at the end of the interview: you can say, “this position sounds perfect for me. If given the opportunity, I can guarantee you that I will shine.” Perhaps use closing questions as well.
Interview TIPS • Be Yourself: represent yourself truthfully and you will be much more likely to find the right job with the right company. • Take control: although you don’t want your interviewer to notice that it is happening, you want to take subtle control of the interview so that you are certain to communicate what you have established as your agenda – your skills, achievements, projects, and more that are of most interest and value to that company.
Interview TIPS • A balancing act between two parties with two different agendas: your challenge is to find the right place where you can balance the interview between focusing on your strengths, qualifications, skills, and experiences with your ability to solve the company’s problems. • Use the right language and keywords: by using keywords and phrases appropriate to the position and the industry, you will be perceived as someone who already knows what is going on, understands the business, and can acclimate to the new organization.
Interview TIPS • Use the “big-to-little” strategy to answer questions: suppose your interviewer asks about your experience negotiating mergers and acquisitions. Begin your response with the big answer: “For more than 15 years, I have led M&A activities for IBM’s international division...” Then follow up with little examples – specific mergers and acquisitions that you have negotiated, transacted, and managed. The big-to-little strategy is particularly effective because you can use the same structure and thought process to respond to so many different questions.
Interview TIPS • Be positive about everything you say: never utter a negative word – about a company, a person, a project, a customer or whatever. An interview is the time to be upbeat and enthusiastic, share successes, discuss challenges, and more. It is not the time to badmouth anything or anyone. • Save the salary discussion for the very end: refer to chapter 7 of Insider’s Guide for more details on negotiating salary.
Interview TIPS • Don’t forget to write a thank you letter after the interview: they can have tremendous value in moving your candidacy forward and positioning you above the competition. Use it as a tool to close the deal. • Re-state your interest in the position and highlight any particularly noteworthy points made in your conversation or anything you wish to further clarify. • Overcome the interviewer’s objections. Demonstrate that it is not an obstacle, but rather an opportunity and that you are fully prepared to meet the challenge. • Reiterate your specific expertise as it relates to a company’s specific challenges: in bullet point format. • Highlight your core professional competencies and successes that are directly related to that company’s needs: outline how you meet or exceed each of those qualifications with headings and bullets.
Interview TIPS • Prompt the interviewer to contact you again for another interview or offer. • Close the letter by mentioning you will call in a few days to inquire about the employer’s decision. If you call and the employer has not yet made a decision, follow through with another phone call in a few days. Send any additional information which may enhance your application. • You might also want to ask one of your references to call the employer to further recommend you for the position – especially if this individual knows the employer well. However, don’t engage in overkill by making yourself a pest. • You want to tactfully communicate two things to the employer at this point: (1) you are interested in the job, and (2) you will do a good job. • Make it 1-2 pages.
Interview TIPS • BRING A BRIEFCASE WITH YOU TO THE INTERVIEW: • include interview information (time, location, interviewer’s name, etc). • Business cards, extra copies of resume, cover letter, list of references, reference letters • Work samples: perhaps a college research paper • Transcript • Certificates • Materials related to the company: for example: annual report and questions related to the materials. • Notepad, pens, pencils.
Interview TIPS • BRING A BRIEFCASE WITH YOU TO THE INTERVIEW: • Facial tissues, pain killers, breath mints or gum Keep it organized. You can include file folders if you like.
Interview TIPS • Appear Likable: honesty, credibility, intelligence, competence, enthusiasm, spontaneity, friendliness, and likability.
Interview TIPS • Have a 30 second commercial: • Highlight your strengths, how they are transferable to the role, why you made the choices you made, and how that has helped you to grow and achieve your goals. • What do you want them to remember about you? • Describe who you are. Use key words. • Explain what you do. State your value to the organization in terms of key results or impact. Come up with a tag line that allows the listener to understand how you can contribute to their team. • Describe why you are unique. Tell the interviewer what you do that is different or better than others.
Interview TIPS • Cont’d... • Define your immediate goal. This is where it should be readily apparent what you are asking of them. • Do not memorize this and recite it like a speech. It should be conversational. • Be confident in your achievements. You are where you are because you have had some significant accomplishments. Share them and have fun doing so.
The most common mistakes • Not preparing enough: this is the biggest mistake. Ask yourself “why am I here?”. Learn as much as you can about the company and position as you can. When you are well prepared, you will exude confidence. • Not knowing your greatest selling points: write down and review your 10-12 greatest selling points. Provide examples.
The most common mistakes • Not asking the right questions: candidates must ask hiring managers the right questions in the interview, things such as key responsibilities of the position, key performance objectives, lines of reporting responsibility, performance measurement processes, success factors, and more.
The most common mistakes When the job seeker asks these types of specific questions, he or she is able to determine what is important to the interviewer and then use that knowledge to determine which skills, accomplishments, responsibilities , and more are most on target. By customizing answers to each company’s specific needs, job seekers will be able to more favorably position themselves against other candidates and get the offer.
The most common mistakes • Not asking for the job: when the interview is nearing its end, the most important thing that any job seekers can do is to ask for the position and inquire as to the next step in the interviewing process. As this point, each job seeker’s goal is to schedule the next interview and move the process along (closing questions, but don’t be too aggressive).
The most common mistakes • Asking about salary: if it is the first or second interview, it’s too early to ask about salary. • Appears somewhat incoherent and unfocused: tends to offer incomplete thoughts, loses focus, and jumps around to unrelated ideas. • Inarticulate: speaks poorly, from sound of voice and diction to grammar, vocalized pauses, and jargon. Uses lots of “you know”, “ah”, “like”, “okay” and “well: fillers. Expresses a low-class street language – “cool”, “damn”, “man”. Not a good candidate for using the telephone or interacting with clients. Appears verbally illiterate. Writing is probably similar.
The most common mistakes • Gives short and incomplete answers to questions: “yes, no may, or I’m not sure” instead of offering in-depth answers. Appears shallow and indicates a lack of substance, initiative, interest, and enthusiasm. • Lacks a sense of direction: appears to have no goals or apparent objectives. Just looking for a paycheck rather than pursuing a passion. • Lacks confidence and self esteem: seems unsure of self, nervous and ill at ease. Lacks decisiveness in making decisions. Communicates uncertainly with such comments as “I don’t know”, “maybe”, “I’m not sure”, “hadn’t really thought of that, “interesting question”, “I’ll have to think about that”, or redirects with a question “well, what do you think?” • Shows little enthusiasm, drive or initiative: appears to be just looking for a paycheck. Tends to be passive and indifferent. No evidence of being a self starter who takes initiative and solves problems on their own. Nut sure what motivates this person.
The most common mistakes • Appears too eager or hungry for the job: is overly enthusiastic, engages in extreme flattery, and appears suspiciously nervous. • Communicates dishonesty or deception: uses canned interview language, skirts probing questions, and appears disingenuous. • Feels too smooth and superficial: does everything right but when asked more substantive “what if” and behaviour-based questions, they seem to be caught off balance and stumble with incomplete answers. • Shows little interest in the company • Fails to talk about accomplishments: don’t just explain duties and responsibilities. Give examples of at least 5 major accomplishments and supporting evidence. • Appears self-centered rather than employer-centered: focus on benefits to interviewer (company). Don’t say “I” too frequently. Try to say “we” and “you”. For example: instead of saying “what would I be making on this job?”, say “what do you normally pay for someone with my qualifications?”. Or instead of saying, “what would I be doing in this position?”, say “what do you see us achieving over the next six months?”.
What they want to see and hear What to look for: the initial greeting, confidence, poise and social grace. • Did the candidate grip your hand firmly, avoiding the “bone-crusher” and the wet fish” approach? • Did the candidate shake your hand wtih a sense of purpose? • Did the candidate hold the shake for an appropriate period – neither too short nor too long? (three shakes is sufficient)
What they want to see and hear • Did the candidate use one hand? (a two-handed shake is usually regarded as a sign of over-familiarity at the outset of the first meeting, though there are some regional/cultural exceptions to this rule). • Did the candidate look you in the eye? • Did the candidate smile? • Did the candidate use your name when greeting you? • Voice: try to convey interest and enthusiasm through your vocal inflections. Your tone of voice can say a lot about you and how interested you are in the interviewer and organization.