Interview for Success

In sports, athletes have trainers and coaches who guide help teach them the correct way to compete in different scenarios. As a job seeker, you are no different. There are definite rules on how to job interview that can help you make a great impression. Do you have a coach or a trainer? Have you invested any time in developing your interviewing skills just as an athlete would train and practice?

The job interview is the key moment of the job search process. The whole reason you go through the resume process is to get to this point. It is your chance to have a one-on-one discussion with the potential employer and tell them why they should hire you. If you are not prepared, it does not matter how great your resume is. The resume is only there to get you to this point. Once you get the interview, the resume has done its job.

Consider this article to be your personal job interview coach or trainer. You need to learn how to make yourself stand out in the interview process and to come across as confident and qualified. A big part of the interview process is your interpersonal skills—that is, how you carry yourself and interact with others. Do you come across as friendly, do you smile, do you make good eye contact or stare at the table, do you offer a firm handshake, do you have enthusiasm and energy in your voice when you speak?

Rule 1. Do Your Research Before the Job Interview

You have been invited to meet your potential employer. Congratulations! Aren’t you excited? You should be, you made the cut! Now the hard work for you begins. You need to learn about the company and the challenges it faces and any recent news about them. Take an hour or two and research them on the Internet. Take notes on the most important issues. Do they relate to the position you are applying for at all?

Now, dig a little deeper. LinkedIn is a great tool for finding information about companies and the people who work for them. You may be able to find profiles on the people who might interview you. Read about what they have done at the company.

After you gather all of this information, compare it with your background and experience. How can you draw comparisons? How can you make your experience relevant to their needs. What stories or examples can you tell in your interview? More and more companies are using behavioral interviewing techniques and want you to share lots of examples in answering their job interview questions. Be prepared, it will help your confidence in the actual interview.

Rule 2. Know How to Answer Interview Questions

This is what people fear the most. What will interviewers ask and how should I respond? The short answer is, there is no way to know. You must prepare for all scenarios. Have answers ready to the most common interview questions. I also mentioned about behavioral interviewing, so have lots of examples that you can talk about how you handled specific types of situations or accomplished certain tasks relevant to the job you to which you are applying.

Again, you need a coach. You need to learn how to answer these questions the right way. And there is a right way. You need to practice so you are confident and clear in your answers. The table below lists the top answers to interview questions resources I have found. I know that any one of them will help you excel and serve as that coach you need to prepare.

Top 4 Job Interview Question Resources

1 Ultimate Guide to Interview Answers Learn 137 modern, trust-building, faith-generating, totally persuasive Job Interview Answers designed for today’s Hiring Managers and complex business world.  These are the techniques used by the top 2% of Job Interviewers to get hired.
2 Pass The Job Interview Do you want to know the hidden secrets for getting a new job and passing the interview? Michael Kingston shows you everything you need to know to ace your next job interview. No matter what the interviewer asks you, you have a great answer for them that will knock their socks off and ensure you are their best and only candidate to hire!
3 Carole Martin’s Interview Coach Carole Martin is an expert on the subject of interviewing. She will provide you with interview coaching and honest, straightforward feedback and encouragement. She will help you focus and find your ACE – that is the strength that makes you unique. In today’s tight job market, it is essential to be able to set yourself apart from the “pack” to beat out the competition. Your coach will work with you to make sure that you are sending the “right” message about what you have to offer, and teach you how to tell your “stories.” You and your coach will work together on a strategy to show the interviewer that you are the best person for the job and highlight what skills you have to offer.
4 Killer Interview Secrets Killer Interview Secrets is written by Robert Lawrence, a professional job recruiter who has interviewed hundreds of people for multiple Fortune 500 companies over the last 10 years. There are certain proven interview strategies that work every single time and he reveals them all to you in his system. In the Killer Interview Secrets, Robert walks you through the most important interview questions. You can download the audio files to your computer and listen to them over and over before you go on your next interview! It’s like having a personal interview coach with you at all times.

Rule 3. Your Key Selling Points

Part of your preparation for the interview is to figure out what are the key points you want to leave your interviewers. What is it that will set you apart from the other candidates they are interviewing. Remember that the best qualified candidate is not always the one that is hired.

I recommend you make a list of about 3 key selling points about yourself that you believe will make you stand above the others. Consider these a “theme.” They are the message you want your interviewers to remember about you. Try to work these in throughout your interview as the opportunities present themselves. Just like a political candidate presents their “talking points,” you—the job interview candidate—need to have your own key points. Consider these carefully and know them well before you head to your interview.

Rule 4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Any good coach or trainer is going to work you hard. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a personal interviewing coach or trainer that is going to push us to prepare. But you need to if you want to appear confident at your interview. Practice, practice, practice. And then, practice some more.

How you practice is up to you, but you must do it. Whether you video record yourself, sit in front of a mirror, or practice with a friend or family member, you must practice. Only in this way can you identify and correct some common interview actions and responses that could seal your fate. Learn what they are and deal with them now. Some common things to look for include:

  • Not making good eye contact with the interviewer(s). I have always been told to pretend there was a dot on everyone’s forehead and to look at that as you speak to them.
  • Nervous twitches or actions, such as shaking leg, tapping foot or pen/pencil, licking lips, scratching head, sighs or deep breaths, etc. If you have these, keep them under control and be aware of them.
  • Over use of hand gestures or facial expressions. These are good tools to show energy and excitement, but do not overuse them to a point where they become a distraction.
  • Slouching or relaxing too much.
  • Not being able to quickly and confidently form a great response to a question. Look for long pauses before answering, saying “Um” or other delaying tactics. These are confidence killers. Create opportunities to work in your key selling points.
  • Speaking too softly or, more commonly, too quickly. Find a nice volume and pace to speak so you are clearly understood.
  • No enthusiasm or excitement. Avoid monotone speaking. You are talking about what you know best—you! Sell yourself to them and make them excited about what you have accomplished and what you can bring to their company. Tell interesting and exciting stories in response to their questions. Give lots of examples of similar things you have done to answer their questions.

The Final Word

Congratulations on getting the job interview! That is a great accomplishment. It means of all the applications, you were at the top of the list – you made the cut. Now the work begins. You need to prepare for your job interview so you go in confident and prepared to answer even their toughest questions. You are ready to tell stories about your experience and demonstrate to them how you have handled similar situations before. Remember, your resume got you this far. Now you need to close the deal. Be enthusiastic, energetic and confident. You can do it and you will do great if you are fully prepared.