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Preparing for an Interview and Landing the Job

So now you’ve put together the most amazing resume ever and this masterpiece will surely speak for itself with hiring managers – they will likely break their fingers trying to get in touch with you to hire you, right?  The truth is that no matter how stellar the resume appears, how beautifully crafted it is, you have to WIN the job once the interview takes place.

Winning The InterviewYour recruiter calls and lets you know that the client company has interest in interviewing you for the position for which you were presented.  An experienced recruiter will already have outlined the position for you – you will have a good idea of the skills necessary for the position. Now comes the fine tuning.

Do Your Homework

At this point you will want to know everything you can about the organization with which you are interviewing.  It is important to know something about their industry (at least general knowledge, even though you may not be involved in their client-facing activities), about the organization itself (recent successes, market presence, products or services provided) and about their culture – your recruiter will be your best source of knowledge on this point, you should also research the company website, read their “about us” section and be prepared to demonstrate knowledge of the company.

Winning The Interview - Step By Step

Once you’re satisfied that you will be able to discuss the company with a good degree of knowledge, you’ll want to strategize with respect to how you will “win” this job:

  • Make sure that you draw on experience and identify some key points as to your qualifications for the top skills for the role; in other words, these are your “deal-makers.”
  • If there are missing skills or any other negatives with regard to your resume and/or experience, you have already discussed these with your recruiter (if they’re good) and have worked on addressing these with the hiring manager.  My recommendation is to rehearse these; ask someone to question you until you are perfectly comfortable discussing, and a very important piece to this is to remain POSITIVE. Never appear bitter or that you’re complaining.
  • If you’ve interviewed more than one time in your life, you know that there are common questions that are the “standards.”  Be prepared to give new life or a new spin on your responses – the key here is to BE MEMORABLE.
  • Along with the interviewer’s questions, YOU should have several questions about the position and the organization for the interviewer.  It is my feeling that one of the best ways to assist in “winning” the interview is to explain something along the lines of, “I’ve had an opportunity to carefully read the job description and have discussed it with my recruiter, but I’d really like to get your ‘take’ on the position…”  Bingo – active interviewing at its best.
  • Did I mention that you should rehearse?  Very few people ace interviews; preparation is 90% of the battle, don’t go into battle without having done all you can to prepare.
  • First impressions… the old adage is true; not only the business suit and attitude, but the “wow factor” can greatly assist in getting the job.  For example, as you’re shaking hands with the interviewer, tell them how much you’ve, “been looking forward to the meeting, as I’m so impressed with what XYZ has done as far as corporate giving and volunteering at the local food banks over the last few years…”  They’re proud of their company – give them an opportunity to bask in that pride.
  • Be assertive, NOT aggressive; BIG difference.  Don’t “sell,” demonstrate that you’re the best candidate for this job.  Confident, not cocky.
  • I think one of the things that make a candidate stand out is their ability, as mentioned before, to be memorable.  Nowhere during the interview is this more important than when the inevitable question, “…tell me more about yourself…” comes up.  I find that this is a great time to show your personality; marry the skills to your experience, also give them a taste of WHO you are, not just where you’ve been and what you’ve done.  Remember, it is extremely costly to hire someone, even more costly to hire the WRONG  person; make sure they know you’re the one.
  • Always get a business card; an immediate thank you note is still the best thing to do.  Restate the position title, a bullet or sentence about your “fit,” and thank them for their time.

Upon leaving the interview, contact your recruiter, give honest feedback and let them know if you have questions, concerns, etc.  This will allow collaboration on next steps, how to address any possible concerns that may have arisen, and the best way to play things.

I don’t have any “bury the statue upside down” or other mystical methods, but setting out to win the job is probably the best way to prepare for the interview.  This is real life, but if you can think of it as a kind of competition or game, it may allow you to look at things from a different perspective and give a new spin on the interview process.

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