Monday, June 16, 2014

359- The Perfect Interview: How to Make It Go Your Way

Getting to the interview stage is tough. Tough enough that you want every interview to count. You make an interview 'perfect' by a little planning in advance. Here's a three step plan to the 'perfect interview.'

The Perfect Interview: How to Make It Go Your Way

If interviewing were as simple as 1-2-3 everyone would have their dream job. But hold on, because interviewing can be almost that easy.

Step 1 to a Perfect Interview: Don't interview for just any job. It's tempting if you are out of work to interview for any and all jobs you can. But that is a waste of time for you and the interviewer.

Hint: A good rule of thumb for knowing if you are a good fit for the job is answering the following: Do you like the company? Is the job along a possible path toward your perfect job? Do you know anyone at or who previously worked for the company?

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Here's why you should ask yourself these three questions. If you like the company, it means that you know something about the company. Knowing something about the company will make for a smooth interview. If you can articulate a reason that this job matches your career path, then you can clearly state why you want the job. Knowing a contact who works for the company or who did work for the company means that you know how things work at this company.

Step 2 to a Perfect Interview: Do you know who is interviewing you? What is her title? What is her role? Is she the decision maker? A good way to find out about an interviewer is to read their profile on LinkedIn. Check to see if you have any mutual contacts. Check for their level of expertise and specialties. A second method is to ask about the interviewer. The reason that you want to understand the interviewer's role is that you want to understand the type of questions they will ask and the type of answers they want to hear. An HR (human resources) person will usually ask questions that can determine if you are a team player or a good fit for the team dynamics. But a technical expert will ask technical questions. A manager may be interested in your level of responsibility.

Hint: When you prepare for the interview try to guess the five most important questions this interviewer will ask. Prepare answers for these questions that clearly are tied to your résumé.

Step 3 to a Perfect Interview: Get the interviewer to ask the questions that you want them to ask. Obviously, the perfect interview is only perfect if you can easily and smoothly answer questions. And just as clearly, the interview is perfect only if you are asked questions which prove that you are the perfect candidate. How do you get asked the 'right' questions? First of all set up your coverletter and résumé to lead the interviewer to ask them. Place your most relevant experience at the top of your résumé. Have the most qualifications under that first job entry. Make sure that your qualifications are stated to show off your best traits. If you are responsible, then state something like, "Responsible for the mission-crucial Delta project."

Second, consider interviewing the interviewer. Ask the interviewer what they like best about their job. Or ask about the challenges that they face. Now point out a similar point about a past job you've held, "I'm glad you mentioned that. I've always thrived in the fast environments like the one that you described."

Third, if all else fails ask the interviewer the question, "What are you looking for in the perfect candidate for this job?" Now you have an opportunity to say, "I have many of those qualities." You can point out places on your résumé that demonstrate key skills.

Your perfect interview can be just three simple preparation steps away.

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