The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

Definitive Guide to Job Hunting: 10 top tips for bagging that interview

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1.     It is not about YOU, it is about them, it’s about positioning yourself as the best candidate for the job.

Prepare for the job interview by studying the job description in detail, and be prepared to show that you match up to the requirements. Research, read and understand the mission and vision of the company. Often, the first stage in the interview process  is about eliminating candidates who represent a reasonable match. Your mission at this point is to match up as best as possible with the job description and qualifications. If you do not match up, if you appear not qualified enough or too qualified you may not be selected for the next round of interviews.

2. Do your research, but do not get stuck in analysis paralysis.

Take time to learn about the organization, understand their goals and objectives and how you can add value, if you can find out information about the interviewer, find out information about your prospective boss. Find a reason why you want to work for this company, and why they are attractive to you as a potential employer. While we like to tell ourselves that buying decisions are intellectual, the decision to buy or in this case to hire is always emotional. The person interviewing you has to feel that you are passionate about what you do, that you are focused on adding value and being part of a winning team. Differentiate yourself not simply by positioning yourself as the best candidate but by also mirroring a passion for the organisation, its values and objectives. Your mission is to understand the company, drawing out the interviewer, building rapport and affinity with questions that will position you as the best candidate and also show that you are listening to what he/she is saying.

3. Know your brand.

What are the best 3 things about you – The benefits that you bring to the table? Three things, three ways that you add value to an organization. Know them; be able to give examples of how you have accomplished them in other positions. Be prepared to give concrete examples of your successes. Develop a short but powerful narrative around your three key selling points, your brand. Your Mission: Start by determining your key success factors, strengths that have led to previous accomplishment. Past performance will predict future and this is what will get you hired, if it matches up with what the company expects you to deliver in the job.

4. Answer interview questions in a way that positions you as the best candidate

Leave the interviewer with the feeling that you are sincere, authentic and an excellent match for the job. Be prepared to answer questions on topics that range from education, work experience and history, decision making, leadership, problem solving, how you deal with conflict/stress, management skills, project management skills and personality/behavior based questions. There are a myriad of resources with questions on the internet to help you rehearse answers. Your mission: To position yourself as the best candidate. This does not mean responding in a canned or rehearsed way, it does not mean giving information that is extraneous and not relevant, it does not mean talking to much but rather saying what is important to always match you up as the ideal candidate for the job description and qualifications.

5. Reflect excellence and preparation

Come to the interview with a paper and pen, your agenda, a copy of your CV and any other marketing collaterals that are relevant, have a list of brief but important questions you want to ask and come dressed for success. Make sure you are impeccably groomed and reflect excellence in your attire and demeanor. Your mission: To reflect excellence, professionalism and authenticity in your demeanor, dress and the way you answer questions and ask questions.

6. Believe that you are the person for the job before you go into the interview.

Confidence is visible before you start speaking.You need to know all the reasons why you are the best person for this job. Have certainty without being arrogant. Your mission: Confidence that comes from inside out and is not arrogance. If you are nervous, if you are unable to visualize yourself in the job because you are stressed out, fake it until you make it. Commit to being the perfect candidate, to playing this role for this time period.

7. Anticipate questions about key strengths and weaknesses or limiting factors

Use examples of past challenges in a way that shows that you have learned from them and they have better positioned you to excel in the job you are interviewing for. Never speak negatively about previous employers or people you have worked for. If there was a problem, frame it in a way that is positive. Never bring up areas of challenge unless you are asked for them. Your Mission: Know your strengths and weaknesses, and find a way to position these to show that you learn from challenges and/or mistakes and will use them to do better in the position you are interviewing for.

8. Connect and develop rapport.

Sincerity can not be stressed too much, but mirroring body language or using the same type of language wil lcreate better rapport. Use language that mirrors the mission and vision statement of the organization and the language in the job description and qualifications. Do not talk too much, rather try to draw the interviewer out and have them ask you more questions. Try to find a common bond with the interviewer, something you share in common as it builds rapport. LISTEN! Listen to questions, try to understand why the interviewer is really asking the question and what they expect to hear. If you need to pause to think about a question, pause and reflect. Make sure to show interest in what the interviewer is saying and asking, do not regurgitate canned answers. Your mission: Affinity, authenticity, excellent communication that positions you as the best candidate because are confident that you are the right candidate for the job.

9. Remember your own intentions and objectives

The interview is not about YOU, it is about them. The interviewer only cares about discovering that you are the best candidate for the job. But you will also have to make a decision during this process. Develop rapport, position yourself as a match for the job and ask what next steps are before you leave the interview. You need to be clear about the hiring process, and if you are not selected to go to the next step you want to know why in a way that is not abrasive but will help you gain greater understanding. Your Mission: Develop rapport, and create sufficient understanding about the rest of the process, and how you feel about it

10. Ask appropriate questions.

Ask questions that will develop rapport and will also help you speak about your strengths as they relate to the job. Prepare these, about the organization and the role, before you go into the interview. You want to answer and ask questions that will help you and the interviewer conclude that you are the best candidate and that you are a great fit for the culture, role and organization. Your mission: Understand the role, the organization and what makes you the best fit for the job. Share this understanding with the interviewer through your questions and answers.


Written by Cathy Richardson

September 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

Posted in Recruitment

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