Don’t freak out! Even if you haven’t interviewed for a job in years, there are plenty of things you can do to show a potential employer that you are THE best candidate for the job. While the application/hiring process has grown into a more technical event, the way employers interview executive-level candidates has not. Here are a few tips to help you nail the interview and get to the next step – being offered the job!
Get Your Ducks in a Row…
The HR Manager scheduled the interview, so you know the timeframe you’re working with to be fully prepared to knock their socks off at the interview. Keyword: prepared.
What are Your Ducks…
Map out your trip to the company and know how long it will take you to get there. If it should take you 20 minutes, allow yourself at least 30. Don’t forget about construction, trains, etc.-if you show up late, the interview will be over before it even started.
Spend some time researching the company. Know its product, customers, culture, mission, and financials. Being able to speak the company’s language is key in letting the hiring manager know that you really want to be their newest team member. Check out their social media presence as well. If they found you on LinkedIn, then they probably have a company profile set up on the site as well. View it, know it.
Plan your attire before the day of the interview. Do you need a suit? Or will a tie and dress pants suffice? Leave the dangely jewelry and smelly perfume/cologne at home. You don’t want to set of an asthma attack in the interview room, or even worse make them to have to fumigate the place when you leave-that just would not sit well.
Practice makes perfect….or at least may help! Review your resume and be able to speak in detail when talking about your career history. Research some common interview questions and be prepared to answer THE big question, “Why should we hire you for this position?” Be prepared to share concrete examples of business you’ve won, sales goals achieved, obstacles that have challenged you, and even things you’ve failed at and how you overcame those failures (just not too many of these…). Do you even know what your selling points are? Bottom line – know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to speak candidly about both during the interview.
Have your own list of questions for the interview committee, because you know you will be asked if you have any. Try to stick with questions related directly to job/company information and steer clear of asking about salary levels or benefits…save those for after they give you the job offer.
Supporting Documentation to Have on Hand…
Your Resume: Have enough copies of your resume ready to pass out to the people interviewing you. It is very common to have 4-5+ people interviewing you at the same time for a high-level position.
References/Recommendations: Have copies of your reference page and any letters of recommendations you have received. You may not be asked for them, but if you are-you will be ready.
Presentations: In today’s tech-savvy world, it would not be unheard of to have candidates using some type of media presentation to market their skills and expertise. At your level, financial achievements may speak louder than words, so including charts, graphs, etc. would paint a clear picture of the impact you’ve made during your career.
The Big Day is Finally Here…
Arrive for your interview 10-15 minutes early. Give yourself a quick pep talk in the car, check your teeth for spare remnants of your last meal, dry the sweat from your palms (baby powder works), and head into your interview. As an executive, you are expected to be calm, cool, and collected in any situation.
Greet the receptionist with a smile and be personable. First impressions are still important.
Smile when you are introduced to each person on the interview committee and remember, a firm handshake shows confidence.
Keep your hands on your lap or folded on a table to avoid tapping or appearing jittery. Make eye contact with the person asking you each question and try to look at the entire interview committee a little as you are answering a person’s question.
Preparing for your interview, bringing the right supporting documentation, and showing that you are confident in your abilities while speaking to individual members of the interview committee will help you to show them that they have picked the most qualified and deserving candidate for the job – YOU.
There comes a point in good interviews where the job applicant is asked, “do you have any questions for me?” This is a tipping point that can go in your favor if you show that you have researched the company and care about the job itself more than the paycheck or benefits. It doesn’t have to be scary, deer-in-the-headlight feeling, though. Here are three questions you can ask that will make you feel more confident during the Q&A part of the interview: Ask a question that shows you know their mission statement. The company’s mission statement has usually been the result of a lot of research and debate. If they care about community service, for example, ask how they invest in the local community and are expected of volunteers. If they care about the environment, ask how they go about reducing their carbon footprint or the recycling program. Ask a question that shows you care about results. What goals do you have for this job? What are the benchmarks and deadlines? What qualities would you say are important to filling this position successfully? The answers you get should be on your list of “make-sure-to-do-it” once you are hired, because you know that is what will be considered in your job performance review. Ask a question that shows you want to understand their company culture. Does the company observe holidays with special traditions? Are there regular contests, like decorating competitions between departments? Does this company have any fun quirks that make it unique in workplaces? Every business will have its own culture and traditions, and it’s a good idea to find out if you’ll fit in, if possible. It also can be a good conversation item that puts you in a favorable light. Interview questions are really important, and it’s a good idea to be prepared for all the possibilities that you could encounter during your job search. Both asking and answering questions is the bulk of what happens in a job interview. If you feel unprepared for what that will entail, consider one of our coaching services for individual help with interview skills. That job is worth it!
When you sit down for that job interview, the last thing you want to be worried about is what you are wearing. That choice should have been made a few days beforehand, if possible, to give you time to put together an “interview outfit” that gives confidence.
The idea that you must “dress for success” never goes out of style because people see your clothing as part of your initial impression. Here are a few tips to work on now, so you will be ready to go the morning of your all-important interview:
Plan one or two “interview outfits” and keep them ready to wear (c’mon ladies, we have at least that many outfits ready for a night out!) That means they are clean, mended, and fit comfortably.
Get dressed in the entire outfit and have a friend take your picture from the back, side and front. Look at those photos and decide what needs to change. (You can’t change your body in two days, but you can pick a better shirt or shoes.)
Do your research and know what is appropriate for this interview. Go conservative if you have doubts.
Figure out the entire outfit, from shoes, socks and underwear to tie and jewelry. Have it all laid out the night before so you know it’s ready.
Have a backup in case you spill something on yourself. It’s been done!
Shine your shoes, give yourself a manicure (and pedicure if you’re wearing peep-toe shoes) and plan your grooming schedule. This is not the place for that just-stepped-out-of-the-shower-wet look.
When you have planned your outfit and know you look your best, you have confidence. Preparing ahead of time helps you focus on the interview instead of that button that popped off your shirt before you left home. Part of your job search includes dressing for success, so get ready to shine!
How To Answer "Do You Have Questions For Me?" Like A Pro
When you are finished with your interview, it is not uncommon for the interviewer to ask you one final question, “Do you have any questions for me?”This is one of the most dreaded questions an applicant may be asked. There is a war that goes on inside most peoples’ heads when this question is asked: “If I don’t ask any questions, will they be offended because I don’t want more information?” or “If I ask too many questions, will it seem like I wasn’t paying enough attention?”
These are not uncommon thoughts that may be running through an applicant’s mind. Hopefully, by the end of this post you will have a better idea of how to handle when this question is thrown to you, and you will be able to answer it like a pro.
Be Honest: If you truly do have questions, then go ahead and ask. If your interviewer didn’t want to know your questions, then they wouldn’t honestly ask. Employers expect that you will have questions. Do your homework before your interview and have a few questions prepared.
Be Appropriate: Don’t ask inappropriate questions or questions that are silly or funny. It will annoy your interviewer and can make them feel like you are wasting their time.
Don’t Repeat: Pay attention and don’t ask questions that have already been answered. It will only make you seem incompetent and like you don’t pay attention. If the only questions you’ve prepared have already been addressed, you can go into more detail, or just let the interviewer know that any questions you had coming in to the interview have been addressed.
These are some good guidelines for answering questions. However, if you don’t have any honest and relevant questions, then you can always simply tell them that you have no further questions and look forward to hearing from them. This is a perfectly acceptable way to end the interview and leave the interviewer with a impressive picture of the value you would offer as an employee.
Job interviews are a tricky thing to master, if you don’t know what you are doing. You want to show off your skills and accomplishments as well as showing your personality, however, that can work against you if you don’t go about it the right way. You need to make sure that you don’t come off as entitled. Even if you feel that way. If you put off the attitude that you expect the job to be handed to you, you are not going to get the job and you will make a fool out of yourself. So how do you do it? How do you show off your accomplishments and skills without coming off that you feel entitled to the job? That is what I hope to help you with.
Be polite: The best thing you can do is use proper manners. Don’t interrupt and be polite and respectful. This will go a long way in your interview.
Make it about the employer: Don’t praise yourself. Instead praise the company and your potential employer and emphasize (don’t praise) your skills that could help you work well in the company.
Look like you care: It is simple enough, but people often forget this. You need to look like you care about the company, the job, and most importantly, the interviewer and their time. Dress professionally, sit up straight, and give eye contact. This will all show that you care more about them than yourself. Which is always a desirable trait employers will look for.
If you follow these simple guidelines you will avoid coming off as entitled. Have the right attitude and you will succeed in your interview.
Job interviews can be terrifying.It is one of the few times when you know without a doubt that you are being judged. Without judging you, how can potential employers know if you are a good fit or not? They can’t. They will go over everything in your resume and your work history with a fine tooth comb. They will call your references and they will make sure that you are worth their time and effort. Because of this, you need to be careful. You need to make sure that you don’t have anything in your past that could come back to haunt you and cause you to lose future job opportunities. This means that no matter what stage of life you are in or where you are in your career you need to be thinking ahead. Think about what effect the things you are doing today might have on your future. Here are some things that are obvious to avoid: bad talking your boss or superiors, being late, being unprofessional, etc. Those are things almost everyone knows to avoid, but there are some things people might not know, such as: talking about coworkers or superiors on Facebook or other social networking sites, posting vulgar or obscene things on your profile(s), or lying on your resume. All these things can be found out by future employers and harm your ability to keep your job and get a new job in the future. If you simply think ahead before you do anything, then you should be able to avoid doing something that could harm you later in the road and you won’t have to live up to it in an interview. Remember, you are being judged. Don’t give your potential employers anything they can judge badly.
Going to an interview can be the most stressful part of the job search process.It is difficult not to get stressed or feel anxiety before the interview-you know there is a lot riding on the interview and how you perform during it can get you an offer or shown to the door. Being successful during a job interview is all about being impressive to your potential employer and keeping your cool.
So how do you keep your cool? With so much pressure to impress and get the job, how do you keep calm and ensure your answers effectively tell the employer why you are the best candidate for the job? While controlling your nerves during an interview may seem impossible, have no fear. We offer some tips and tricks that you can try:
Schedule a practice interview: have friends or family set up a mock interview for you to practice, or you can go to a career counseling or career services center and see if they do mock interviews. If you have an idea of what is going to happen, you will feel more calm and will come off confident instead of nervous.
Take deep breaths before going into your interview: It seems simple, but if you take deep breaths and focus on your breathing, then it will help slow down your heart rate and help keep your mind from racing. This will help you remain cool, calm, and collected.
Smile: Smiling does a few things. It will show your interviewer confidence, help them feel more at ease, and if you do it long enough smiling can actually change how you are feeling so you are happier and more at ease during the interview.
While these strategies will help, there is nothing more important than reviewing your resume and making sure that your content is factual and that you are prepared to speak easily about your expertise and achievements. If you have been called for an interview, there is something in your resume that impressed the employer. Keep your cool, be honest and forthcoming in your answers, and clearly communicate to the employer the value you will be able to offer the company.
You’ll do great!
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