How to Win an Interview Tayeb Ahmed Khan Employer’s Concerns CAN you do this job? CAN? Do you want this job? (WILL?) YOU WILL ? FIT? Why are you the best person for the job and our company? (FIT) Things to do before an Interview Research When? (date and time) Where? (do you know the place well?) Conduct a test run before the interview date if necessary. Who will take your interview? - Find out everything about them that might help you. How will they take your interview? Research Know about the company, position, salary range. Know the trends of the industry. Know what the Company wants. Know why you want to work there. Prepare your best dress in advance! - Is it really your best dress? - Will it be considered to be the best in competition? - Are you comfortable wearing them? Research Read the job advertisement, description (what you will have to do), specification/requirements (what qualifications you need to do the job), etc. repeatedly, try to read between the lines, try to figure out what they are really looking for in you. Make a list of the skills and competencies that you think the employer is looking for in you, use this list when you prepare your answers. Research Know your CV very well and how to answer questions by telling the competency stories. Practice the question answers, do your homework/rehearsal. Prepare necessary materials (copies of CV, educational documents, references, portfolio/pen, organizer, breath mints). Practice! Practice! Practice! •Obtain a list of practice interview questions and jot down short answers • Stand in front of a mirror and rehearse your answers •Give a mock interview. Get a good night’s sleep-be well rested and alert for the interview Be relaxed and be yourself! Arrive early. Never call an employer to ask for directions. Write down the address, phone numbers, name of contact person, interview date and time when they call you for the interview. Develop your own method to remember and repeat phone numbers, addresses, sentences etc. Always be sharp and quick while on the phone with a potential employer, if you are going to call, organize your questions and thoughts in advance. Never ask a silly question. Dressing for Success Dress to impress! Your best dress that gives a professional look Suit Polished shoes Solid white shirt (full sleeve, buttoned) Conservative tie Neatly groomed hair, beard, and mustache Clean shave Avoid strong colognes, earrings (men), and body piercing Art of make-up for women. In and around the premises Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during hiring decisions. Always walk confidently with a good pace, never stand anywhere blocking entrance/exit/corridor. Observe cell phone and lift manners and maintain a positive body language. Before you enter into the Interview Room Use the wash room to ‘double check’ your make-up, dress, hair, teeth, lips, nose, eyes, glasses, shine your shoes, re-check, to see if your documents are in order. Stay focused and relaxed with a clear throat and dry hand. In your mind, rehearse how you will get up when your name will be called, by which hand would be holding the file, which hand will open and close the door, how will you walk, how will you greet the interviewers. Draw a picture of the first 2 minutes in your mind and be familiar with it. Greeting & Introduction Only 1 chance to make a good 1st impression Dress appropriately Smile Maintain eye contact Firm handshake Remain poised and confident Do not sit, wait until you are asked to take a seat. Avoid shaking hands, if you have sweaty or clammy palms. Clean and dry them in scenarios, where you need to shake hands. Firm handshake always works. Although, firm handshake does not mean that you be a bone crusher! A firm handshake is a balanced handshake where it neither shows domination nor submission, but reflects poise and confidence. A handshake generally is clocked to be around 5 seconds long. But, if a person wants a lengthier or a quick and short handshake, go ahead and do that. A handshake having a thumb to thumb grip is just about perfect. But while you shake hands, let the other hand be visible and unclenched. Go through the correct up and down motion and not sideways. The movement of the hand should be from the wrist and not only fingers. Waiting till the senior initiates the handshake is one of the primary business etiquette. In a social setting, it is supposed to be ideal for a man to wait till the woman offers her hand. Body Language: What signals are you sending? Positive Signals Negative Signals Leaning forward = interest Crossed arms = defensive Smiling = friendly Fidgeting hands or tapping Nodding = attentive and feet = nervous or bored alert Lack of eye contact = Eye contact = curious and untrustworthy focused Leaning back= discomfort Types of Interview Questions Sample Questions Standard or Tell me about yourself? traditional What is your greatest strength? Weakness? targeting your Why did you choose to education, work interview with us? experiences, and What did you like most about career goals your last job? Least? What are your short and long term career goals? Types of Interview Questions Sample Questions Behavioral Questions Describe a time you had to -These focus on your make a difficult decision? actions and/or Tell me about a time you worked under a deadline? behaviors in a previous What do you do when a team setting. member is not pulling his/her -Past behavior provides weight? clues to future Think about a time you made behavior a mistake. What did you learn from it? Types of Interview Questions Sample Questions Questions asked by the interviewee What type of assignments can I expect within the first To determine if you are year? What do you like most about an appropriate fit for this company? the company and What is the biggest challenge position, prepare a list facing this department right of questions for the now? interviewer What skills are you looking for in this position? What is the next course of action? General Interview Strategies Be prepared to talk about yourself and your experiences. Master the art of storytelling. Provide specific and concrete examples of your results/accomplishments. Remain positive, enthusiastic, poised, and confident throughout the interview process. Tell me about yourself… Your personal statement summarising: Education Skills Experience Career Objective Theme: what I can do for YOUR company General Interview Strategies Remember an interview is a formal conversation--avoid filler words like “Um”, “Ah”, & “You know” Avoid indecisive phrases like: “I think,” “I guess,” “probably,” or “pretty good” Think before speaking Avoid long verbose answers--limit your response to 1-2 minutes If you do not hear or understand a question, ask them to repeat or clarify it for you General Interview Strategies Remain calm, relaxed, and be yourself Try to focus on the message you are trying to convey--NOT how well you are doing! Softly Toot Your Own Horn! Exhibit quiet confidence. Organize your thoughts and apply your knowledge, skills and abilities. Think globally! Relate “outside” experiences to demonstrate your qualifications. Your keys to RESPONDING well to these types of questions are: Be specific, not general or vague! Don’t describe how you would behave. Describe how you DID behave. If you later decided you should have behaved differently, explain this. The interviewer will see that you learned something from experience. What about Answering Questions? Your points must be CLEAR, RELEVANT AND ADEQUATE: - to enable the interviewer to understand what you are trying to say; to determine your strengths for that particular job; and to have sufficient information to make a good decision. The interviewer needs to determine if you can do the job, if you will do the job, and if you fit in. Hiring the RIGHT person is the goal. A basic formula to answer some of the question: Describe: The Situation in which it occurred The Action you took The Result What to do after the interview? Courteously thank the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to interview with the company. Consider following up with a thank you note or e-mail of appreciation to the interviewer(s) to further show your interest. Final Thoughts Remember that 85% of the success of an interview is in your control. Take some time to reflect - Overall, how well did I do? - What went well? - What steps can I take next time to improve? Use of Telephone Increasingly used as first selection method. Be prepared for call – avoid clueless response. Know where and when you’ve applied for a job. It would be a smart move to save their phone numbers, address and other key information on your cell phone. Always mention a cell phone number along with a landline. What to do when you get a call while in a noisy place? Keep pen, paper, CV, job advertisements handy. Agree on a time that suits you. Always check your phone for missed calls and sms. Practice what you are going to say if you receive a call from potential employer. Cell phone etiquette: Lower your voice when taking calls in public. Avoid personal topics when others can hear you. Avoid taking calls when you are already engaged in a face-to- face conversation. If you do take the call, ask permission of the people with you (excuse yourself). Avoid typing sms or playing with your phone during face-to- face conversations. Use a low and smooth ringer (and volume), make sure it never annoys others around you. Show your taste. Make sure that you don’t fail to answer a call under normal circumstances. Always adjust your volume according to the surroundings- restaurant, theatre, classroom, library. Don’t light up your phone’s screen in a dark theatre. Never talk on the phone while you are driving. Observe the 10-foot Proximity rule – keep a distance of at least 10 feet from the nearest person when talking o a cell phone. Be certain of the number (always double check), avoid disturbing someone unnecessarily, if you reach a wrong number, apologize before hanging up. Call only during office hours, avoid mealtimes. Give your name and reason for calling before asking for the desired person. Be careful about your tone, speak clearly and concisely. Be sharp and smart, avoid fumbling, umm… aah etc. know your questions, practice before making the call. Make sure that your conversations with busy people are as brief as possible. Use hello or Salam. If your call is not answered, do not redial immediately, wait a long while, let him/her finish the task. Interview DO’s Dress appropriately for the industry. When in doubt, go conservative. Personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable. Keep cologne or perfume to a minimum. Pay particular attention to hands and fingernails. Arrive 10 minutes early. Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, and find a restroom to freshen up. Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during the hiring process. Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by the interviewer. Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer’s name and the correct pronunciation. Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by Mr. Or Ms. And the last name, until invited to do otherwise. Maintain good eye contact during the interview. Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching. Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question; and be thorough in your responses while being concise in your wording. Use good grammar and good diction. Say “yes”, not “yeah.” Don’t fill pauses with “um,” uh” or “ah”. Don’t punctuate sentences with “you know”, “like”, “see” or “okay”. Treat the interview seriously and show interest in the employer and the opportunity presented and respond to questions in a positive manner. Watch the tone of your voice. While it might be trendy among your friends to “up speak” (end sentence with a higher tone of voice so that sentences sound like questions), this habit will kill your credibility during the interview. Answer the question and use professional experiences or descriptive information to demonstrate how you would react or respond to a situation. Make sure answers have a definite flow. In the beginning state major points you want to make; in the middle expand upon those points or ideas, and in the end reinforce your key points and end on a positive note. Evaluate the interviewer and the organization. An interview is a two-way street. Make sure you understand the employer’s next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Interview Don’ts Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions. Don’t make negative comments about previous employers or supervisors (or others). Don’t treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is insulting to the interviewer and the organization. Don’t give the impression you are only interested in salary. Don’t act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment. Don’t chew gum or smell like smoke. Don’t take cell phone calls during an interview. If you carry a cell phone, turn it off during the interview. Don’ts: Never: Make excuses, Lie, Reveal confidential information, Run down their competitors, Show arrogance while trying to show confidence, Look uninterested, No jokes No “as you can see from my CV..” Thank You!