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More Interview Tips

Image of Sharlene Cassius
Sharlene Cassius

YOU’VE equipped yourself with extra resumes, a pen and notepad, dressed for success, came in early and already made a good first impression by being cordial to the employees you’ve met even before meeting your interviewer. Following is a continuation of the last installment, which will provide more valuable tips for interviewing for a job.

Tell me a little about yourself.
People are generally egotistical beings who enjoy talking about themselves, but in the context of an interview, understand that this common question often serves the key purpose of initially gaging whether a person’s background would make them a right fit for the vacancy being filled. So, though you love speaking about your awesome kids, your church, or that life changing trip you made to a highly impoverished country, chances are, your prospective employer would rather if you skipped those details. While these may be interesting subjects for conversation at a friend’s cocktail party, understand that these details may not be suitable for an interview, unless they have any relevance to the position being applied for. Instead, opt to provide information about your job/professional history or volunteer experiences that highlight any transferable and useful skills for the position of interest. Also, be sure to mention pertinent awards that indicate your potential to be an excellent addition to the company.

Keep your answers short and sweet.
Nervousness during an interview may cause some to become tightlipped, but for others it may cause a severe case of verbal diarrhea. Resist the urge to develop the latter condition. While it is important to adequately and articulately address the questions asked during an interview, extended responses may evolve into unnecessary revelations that may hurt a candidate’s chance of getting hired. Try to concisely address relevant information.

Act professionally
Granted, dressing professionally makes a good first impression for job interviews; however, acting professionally, regardless of the tone set by the interviewer may make or break your chance to be respected by the employer. Recently, I had a conversation with Vilan Edward, who has not only served as Financial Comptroller but also served as a hiring manager for The Voice for over twenty years. His feedback indicated that while mode of dress is crucial, an interviewee’s ability to consistently maintain a formal conversation, and his/her general demeanor or posture can make an important statement about how professional a given candidate would be. Edward admitted that at times, he creates an interview environment that is more relaxed to determine a candidate’s ability to get too comfortable on the job. This is a trap that some candidates fall into by reverting from formal last name referrals to informal uses of first names, or by keeping postures that are totally inappropriate for interviews. So act professionally throughout your interview. Your interviewer may be testing you and taking notes.

Ask thoughtful questions
Prepare thoughtful questions beforehand that may not be readily answered by simple preliminary research. Think of your questioning as an extension of your research, to determine if the company is a good fit for you. Find out key information about the company, because while you’d like to be presented with an offer, you may also be choosing the company you would like to work for.

Further, by asking clever questions a candidate may make a good impression. For instance, finding out about opportunities for growth and promotion in the company versus simply asking about the salary may indicate ambition or a desire for growth and longevity in a given company. While an interviewee should probably avoid badgering the interviewer with an unreasonably long list of questions (bearing in mind that the interviewer has a job to do aside from interviewing), don’t ever show up to an interview without any questions. An applicant does his/herself a huge disservice by failing to do so.

Know your worth.
Be aware of your worth in order to market yourself as a valuable asset to the company you interview with. This involves more than just researching the usual salary for a given position, but a clearly contemplating your skills. In the aforementioned conversation with Edward, he also noted that after interviewees have demonstrated that they have “touched all the bases in terms of what the scope of the work is” and proven that they satisfy the job description, candidates may market themselves by explaining what special expertise that they bring to the table. This may require some preplanning to evaluate the special skills you’ve learned over the years. When you have contemplated those skills beforehand, you can confidently express why you’re the perfect candidate for a job with strong evidence of performance and can confidently negotiate the salary you deserve.

Make the best of your interview experience and thoroughly prepare with these tips. Good luck with your next interview.

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