Paper, Planes & Pinot

In Other Words… Stationery, Travel, and All Else that Matters

Interviewing Tips

A couple months back, I posted some Job Hunting tips. For me, The Job Hunt was one tough hurdle. Then, actually getting contacted by a company and interviewing proved to be another set of hurdles to overcome. For this post, I would like to give you some interviewing tips that I hope you will find useful!

interview

Now I have been on both sides of the table on this one.   I have interviewed for jobs and been the interviewer for candidates looking for jobs.

When being an interviewer, I learned an important lesson: There is no secret formula that is going to get you a job. One candidate may get an offer over you because happen to talk the talk better. Another candidate may have had a recommendation from a higher up to help set them apart from the rest of the candidates. There are going to be interviews that you literally blow out of the water, but the person that interviews you, may just not be all there. On the other side of the spectrum, there will be times that you know that you blew a phone interview, but then you get a call back for an in-person interview.  You may also go through an interview that you felt off about afterwards, but then find that you receive an offer.  So again – no secret formula.

To avoid frustration I always told myself to try my hardest and hope for the best!

So here we go – a few tips from yours truly to assist you with trying your hardest …

Do Your Research

Now this goes back to my Job Hunting tips post: only apply for jobs that you are qualified for. You may be able to fudge your qualifications on paper, but there is no way you are going to make it through an interview fudging it … ESPECIALLY if you are looking for a senior position.

If you are in a very specific field, review the basics. Go back to the job requisition and review every qualification required. Then, think of an example of how you have experience with that requirement. It may seem excessive, but this will boost your confidence. You will remember exactly why you applied for that job and why you are the perfect candidate to fill it.

Do your research in the company where you are applying. Check out the website. Take notes on things that you think are interesting.  Start a list of questions you think of while browsing the website.  See what ‘current events’ are going on in the company. Be informed. How do you see yourself fitting into the culture? Are there any benefits that you feel like you can take advantage of?  When surfing the website you should find things to slip into the interview to show that you did your research.

Prepare Questions

What questions do you have? Now is your time to ask! I write out questions that I come up with prior to the interview, so that I have them ready to go.  When applying for jobs I usually have questions based on the req, but I also have a few general questions that I ask in just about every interview.

  • Is this a new position or will I be backfilling someone?  This question can spark some conversation. If it is a new position, you should inquire if the position was created to accomodate growth in the company. If you are backfilling someone, you can follow it up by asking how rigid the expectations are OR if you can mold the position into your own.
  • What will training be like? You can use this question to gauge if you will be receiving one-on-one training, company training, attending out of town training, or a mixture of these.
  • What is a normal day for the employee filling this position? You will find out if you will have normal business rhythms or if each day is different.

Now, I am a very upfront person. This is last question may be uncomfortable to ask for some people, BUT personally I would not want to work for someone who could not give me constructive criticism. Usually during interviews I will ask something along the lines of Are there any concerns that you have with making me an offer or Is there anything that you are looking for in a candidate that I have not yet spoken about.’  This question may be a little blunt, or can come off as arrogant.  But then again, if the person I will be working for cannot handle that, I probably should not be working for them.  Our personalities would clash.  I personally go into interviews with the intent to leave everything on the table. I want to make sure that my interviewer has all the information they need to decide if they want to hire me or not. This is just me personally though – if you don’t feel comfortable asking questions that you could receive negative feedback on then don’t ask.

As an interviewer I was always impressed with the questions that candidates came up with. It showed me that they had taken the time to do their research, and made me excited about the talent we were bringing into the company.

Showcase List

I also have a separate page in my pad-folio of things that I WANT to get across to my interviewer. Yes, you may have spent a ton of time on your cover letter AND a ton of time on your resume, but you owe it to yourself to make sure that you get your qualifications across.

When preparing for my interview, I write down at least 10 things that I want to mention about myself. They are usually experiences/scenarios, but sometimes they are characteristics about myself. I try not to leave interviews without saying all of these points.

Think of questions that an interviewer may ask how you can incorporate your Showcase List into the interview.  I will literally sit in my room and practice answering hypothetical questions out loud.  This makes me feel more comfortable with verbalizing my accomplishments.

I have left interviews thinking to myself “I wish I said …”  – Since I have started keeping a list of points that I want to get across, I have yet to leave an interview with that thought in my mind.

Be Personable

This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes this is harder to achieve than you think. Your nerves may try to get the best of you.

Remember that you are trying to get a job from the person that is interviewing you… MAKE THEM LIKE YOU. Qualifications get you far, but if it is between you and one other person with similar qualifications, you want them to pick YOU. Stand out in that sea of ordinary! Find ways to relate to the person interviewing you. This not only gets them to like you, but it will hopefully relax you a bit.

If you are looking for a job, I really hope these 4 points help you out! I hope that you feel confident going into your interview after preparing (dressing professionally will make you feel confident at as well). Remember, you know your stuff!

Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at paperplanesandpinot@gmail.com if you want some more of my interviewing babble. Good luck out there!

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This entry was posted on October 1, 2014 by in Pinot and tagged , , , , .
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