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Interviewing

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									Interviewing

Interviews at a Glance Interviewing Interviewing Techniques Tough Interview Questions Questions to ask Resignations (Example) Counter Offers Your Career Interviews at a Glance The interview is the single most important element in getting a job offer. Communicating your skills, abilities and achievements during the interview is a key factor to securing a good position! While interviewing comes naturally to some, most people have to work at interviewing. It is a skill that can be learned and refined. Key factors for successful interviewing: 1. Researching the Organization. It is very important to research and identify as much information as possible about the selected organization and the desired position. Obtain as much corporate literature including job descriptions and even an organizational chart to help in the preparation process. Information is power and the more information you have, the more powerful you can be in the interview. 2. Reviewing Anticipated Questions. To prepare yourself for any possible questions you may encounter during an interview, check out the list provided on this web site. This exercise will help you organize your thoughts and develop appropriate responses that will

communicate enthusiasm and show the interviewer your interest in the position. Get "psyched up" for the interview, not “psyched out” and feel comfortable with your answers. 3. Body Language and Presentation. In addition to having good responses to questions, you need to be aware of such things as posture and the non-verbal aspect of your presentation. This generally relates to your preparation for the interview. If you are well prepared your body language will show your degree of confidence in what you have to offer. If you are ill prepared your body language and thought process for handling the interview will be severely compromised leading to a failure to proceed to the next round of interviews. Simply put, correct preparation for interview is absolutely critical to your success. Elements you should incorporate into your interview techniques: Maintain good eye contact Always smile and be congenial Be positive about yourself, past employers and the future Make sure the interviewer knows you are excited about the position and the organization Some things you should avoid in an interview: Answers that are too short More detail or information than is necessary Becoming frustrated or uneasy when asked stressful questions Making derogatory or negative statements about former employers or positions Discussions regarding politics, religion, company problems, and (during the first interview) salary information or benefits. Interviewing Interviewing with confidence is key to your success. Very often a good portion of the information exchanged in the

course of the job interview process has very little to do with the actual position for which a candidate has applied. Generally it is how someone communicates and responds to the person with whom he or she is meeting, creates an impression that will determine whether there will be a second interview or not. If the first interview is with HR, the candidate remains at the subjective mercy of the interviewer. The opinions, judgments and impressions formed by the first interviewer may ultimately decide the progression or not to the next phase of interviews. Be aware these opinions may be based on observing such non-technical, non-verbal characteristics, such as the candidate’s consistency in maintaining eye contact, how well the candidate projects his/her voice and the degree of nervousness detected from the candidate’s body language. The bottom line is that in many interviews minor details are blown out of proportion and not much acknowledgement is granted to the fact that this all-important face-toface face-off is “only “ an interview. The real work, the challenges of developing a program, of configuring a router, of rolling out a network, of creating a means for two different platforms to talk with one another, or managing all of the above can only be evaluated after this first interview stage when the candidate meets the Hiring Authority/ Decision Maker for the post. In order to beat the odds and the competition, and ultimately receive an official job offer from a desirable company, a candidate needs to redefine, to redesign, what is actually transpiring in each interview attended. This is more easily achieved when working with a Search Consultant or Head-Hunter. In this case however it is imperative that the advice and counsel provided by the consultant in concern with any position for which they are

submitting you is treated with the utmost importance. Any proposed interview approaches or requirements suggested by the consultant should be considered as the make or break advantage a candidate may have over other candidates. Listen to your consultant’s advice. Good Search Consultants will know enough about their clients to prepare you for what to expect through every step of the interview procedure. In other words, your HeadHunter will teach you the special rules to help you successfully interview when you meet with a particular company. Interviewing Techniques Improve your interview techniques for a much higher success rate in getting second interviews and better roles. Some suggestions that might be considered new conceptions of proven strategies. Whether you have one year or three decades of experience under your belt, each of the following tips are worth keeping in mind: 1. Smile. Companies like to hire happy people. 2. Start off with a firm handshake. The actual measurement of one’s strength of character and professional determination may not be able to be perceived by the interviewer grasping your palm, but a soft hand-shake will instantly put the interviewer on guard as to whether you can handle the responsibilities of the job. 3. Maintain eye contact. By looking the interviewer straight in the eye you demonstrate that you are listening and that you are interested in what the interviewer is saying. The very act of looking at another person’s eyes in the course of conversation keeps you focused and alert - attributes the interviewer will then likely perceive in you. 4. Be a good listener. Give the interviewer time to

communicate but be prepared to speak. While he/she is communicating, make mental notes of what the interviewer is stating and how your skills and experience reflect the needs of the company. When you do respond, make sure you express these mental notes, communicating how your background connects with the job description. 5. During the interview, show an interest in the job. Even if you are initially unsure about the opportunity, as the interview progresses you may learn that this is the perfect job for you. If you do not demonstrate enthusiasm upfront, you may blow your chance altogether. Sometimes you may not realize that this is the right opportunity until the second or third interview. Remember, ultimately you are in the driver’s seat. After weighing the pros and cons of the job, you can always turn down an offer. But to reach the goal of receiving an offer, you have to present yourself as a person who is ardently pursuing the job for which you are interviewing. 6. Prepare for the technical aspects of the interview. Your headhunter can either read the job description to you or send you a copy. Companies typically state what skills are mandatory and which are plusses. Reread your textbooks, your manuals, and any documentation that you use regularly. You want to be on top of your skills, even if some of the questions, which you are asked, have nothing to do with the daily routine of the job. 7. Treat each stage of the interview process, whether it is the first or the fourth meeting, as if it is the first interview. Each new person who speaks with you is looking for a confident, friendly individual that likes his/her job and wants to utilize his/her skills to help the company thrive.

Treat each meeting as another hurdle. Remember that you will only reach the finish line when you receive a job offer. 8. At the end of the interview, summarize in a few sentences how your background will fulfill the company’s needs and restate your interest in the job. Ask the interviewer for a business card if this part of the process hasn’t been completed at the initial stages of the meeting. When you say good-by, look the interviewer in the eye and give another firm handshake, at this stage it is also a good idea to pose the interviewer with the following question. “Is there any further information that you require to help my progress to the next phase of interviews for this position?” Many interviewers will be either sufficiently impressed by this question that they may arrange the second interview for you there and then. The less experienced non decision makers for the post may start to hum and haw at this question due to the challenge they now face to either rebut or commit to you in some way. So it is important that the question is posed in the correct tone, body language, with a touch of identifying with the interviewer on a personal/ we’re in this together manner. HR will probably fob you off. However you will have established a subconscious degree of control over their next action on your behalf by posing this question. You have made them aware that you will pro-actively pursue this role with or without them and that they had better be aware of you. 9. Within 24 hours, using the information on the business card, send the interviewer a follow-up letter, email or a brief call to keep your application at the fore front of their

candidate short or long lists without coming across as being pushy. professional at all times. DO NOT GET TOO BUDDY BUDDY, at any stage of the process as this will most definitely decrease your chances of getting the job. To successfully complete the interview process, you need to understand the agenda of the interviewers. Each interviewer in the process will have different goals and objectives that they wish to achieve from meeting with you. Your goal is simple. Receive an offer. What you do with that offer and its accompanying responsibilities is up to you. Tough Interview Questions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. present or last job? In your career so far? 10. How long would it take you to make a contribution to our firm? 11. How long would you stay with us? 12. What is your biggest strength? Weakness? 13. If you could start again, what would you do differently? 14. Are you creative? Give an example. 15. Are you a good manager? Give an example. 16. How would you describe your personality? 17. Have you helped increase sales? How? 18. Have you helped reduce costs? How? 19. What do your subordinates think of you? 20. Have you fired people before? 21. Have you hired people before? What do you look for? 22. How do you feel about people from minority groups? 23. Why do you want to work for us? 24. What other types of jobs are you considering? What companies? What are your short-range objectives? What are your long-range objectives? Why are you leaving your present position? What can you do for us that someone else cannot do? Why should we hire you? What is your philosophy of management? Do you prefer staff or line work? Why? What kind of salary are you worth? What are your five biggest accomplishments in your Proof the mail before you send it, be

25. Tell us about yourself. The Killer question! “Why do you feel that you will be more successful with our company as opposed to your old company or one of our competitors?” These are yours to answer, think carefully and construct your responses well before your interview. Questions to ask 1. Now that we have talked about my qualifications, do you have any concerns about me fulfilling the responsibilities of this position? 2. As my direct report in this position, what are the three top priorities you would first like to see accomplished? 3. In what area could your team use a little polishing? 4. Why did you join this Company? 5. Is there any further information that you require to help my progress to the next interview phase for this position? Resignations Sooner or later, most of us face the resignation blues. Resigning is never easy, especially when you've worked at a position for several years, and have become part of a team. Some employers and co-workers take it personally and accuse you of abandoning ship. However, handling your resignation as professionally and thoughtfully as you handle your search for a new job can help make your resignation relatively smooth and amicable. MAKE UP YOUR MIND Before you submit your resignation, you must be clearly committed to leaving. Have you already pursued all avenues for advancement within your firm? Visit with your boss and other

key personnel to learn where your career stands and what plans are in place for you. Give your firm every consideration. This will help you commit to your new opportunity once you decide to leave. KEEP RESIGNATIONS SHORT, SIMPLE AND POSITIVE Leave your employer on a positive note. Your moving on does not have to be a time for long faces. After all, you have just won an opportunity to advance, an opportunity for which you owe your employer sincere thanks. Thank your colleagues, too, for their help in preparing you to move onward and upward. If you have given your best to the job, you will be missed, especially by those inconvenienced by your leaving! Let them know that you intend to assist them in whatever ways you can. By showing your boss and firm due respect, you encourage future support you may someday need. When you resign, keep your conversations simple and concise. The more you say, the more questions you may have to answer. Avoid lengthy discussion about your new opportunity with your old employer. Typically, your resignation creates extra work for others. Chances are, your boss will be caught offguard by your resignation, and will not be able to listen clearly to your explanations due to concerns about the sudden challenge your leaving presents. Because your boss is losing a valued employee, he or she may express negative opinions about your new firm or position. This will only confuse you. You may find yourself having to justify your personal goals and decisions or absorb the personal frustrations of others. If you’re dealing with volatile or vindictive personalities, it may be best to avoid revealing where you will be going. If

you feel you may face a hostile atmosphere, resign at the end of your work day so that you are no longer on company time and are in control of your schedule. Try to schedule any discussions for the following morning when everyone can face your departure after time to absorb and reflect on the news. If you have to defend yourself at this first meeting, or if things begin to get out of control, ask to reschedule the meeting for a more appropriate time. THE ORAL RESIGNATION Resigning orally may place you in the compromising position of having to explain your decision on the spot. Words are powerfully charged when you reveal a decision which has such an impact on your organization. Choose your words with care. Your boss may want to probe for factors which led to your decision. You may be asked who or what is the reason for your leaving, or may be invited to offer suggestions to help make the organization more effective. If you have had a close relationship with your boss, you may feel obliged to answer candidly. Do not fall for this trap! Use your head and discuss personal, heartfelt matters outside the office. Remember, you interrogator is still your boss. Whatever you say will be viewed as biased, after all, you have severed your relationship with your organization, and may eventually be used against you. At this point you are no longer considered a team player, nor viewed as having the company’s best interest at heart. Too often, resigning employees come to regret their comments when they are misinterpreted or exaggerated in the retelling. Constructive criticism is no longer your responsibility, and

carries a high cost which could jeopardize your good references. Instead, offer sincere praise for the firm and those with whom you worked. Prepare yourself before-hand by focusing on several positive aspects of your workplace, and mention them liberally when the opportunity arises. Even if favorite aspects were, say, the great lunches, or humorous stories told over coffee, better to mention such things than to harp on disappointments or shortcomings. (These, you are addressing by moving on to greener pastures.) You want to be perceived as a positive, constructive individual in forward motion. People will remember your last impression. Make it your best performance. You may want to tell your boss something like: “I need to discuss something with you if you have a moment. I’ve been made an exceptional offer by another firm, and I’ve decided to accept it. My wife and I have given this opportunity a lot of thought. As much as I’d like to advance within this company, we feel the new opportunity is in our best long-term interest. We deeply appreciate all you and the firm have done for me here. I don’t think I would have been presented this exceptional opportunity if not for your support and leadership. I want to thank you. I hope I can leave with your good wishes. You’ve been a friend as well as a boss.” If probed for more information, you may want to claim that there is nothing else to say right now. Simply communicate that you are leaving a good opportunity for an even better one which suits your aspirations. THE WRITTEN RESIGNATION Written resignations give you the time to effectively prepare what you wish to communicate, and give you greater control over your delivery of the message. You can’t be thrown

off-track by an unexpected remark as can happen during a confrontational conversation. A written resignation also reinforces the fact that you are really leaving and are not simply threatening in order to renegotiate your position. Also, there is something permanent about the written word which often circumvents interrogation. Under no circumstance should you state any dissatisfactions with the firm or individuals. Not only is it good manners to stress the positive when leaving, but items in your personnel file may long outlast the individuals and circumstances responsible for your dissatisfaction. You never know when your path will cross those of your former colleagues. To keep your resignation short, simple, and positive, you may want to write something like: Boss, Title, Company, Address, Date: Dear Boss, I want to thank you for all you have done for me here at [Company]. It has been a pleasure working with you, and representing the company as your [job title]. I have accepted an offer with another firm and have decided to tender my resignation as of today. This decision has nothing to do with the exceptional opportunity you have provided for me here. You and the company have been more than fair with me, and I genuinely appreciate all your support. I wish [Company] continued success, and I want to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your team. Please feel free to contact me at any time if I can be of further assistance in helping with a smooth

transition.” Yours sincerely, Name Letters get filed and passed around to explain what happened, reducing the call for endless orations on the same subject. They also dispel any perceived ambivalence in your behavior during this delicate time. LEAVE ON THE RIGHT NOTE Before leaving the firm, take time to speak with each of your support staff, peers, executive personnel, and others with whom you’ve worked. To the extent practical, clear up any unfinished business. Be sensitive to others’ reactions and keep your conversations positive and constructive. Some people may naturally express their own discontentment, and may egg you on to agree with them. Don't! Instead, express your appreciation and tell your colleagues you’ll miss them. A little time spent nurturing relationships before leaving for your new job will go a long way to build support for your future. Also keep in mind that it is professional courtesy to give your employer ample notice to help them prepare for your departure, typically, 2-4 weeks. However, you should try to get out as soon as possible to avoid recurring invitations to tell your story, and to avoid having to deal with the frustrations and pressures at the job as the firm adjusts to your leaving. Counter Offers Surveys show that eight out of ten employees who accept counteroffers don’t complete the following year with their employer.

Why shun counteroffers? The factors that caused you to seek or entertain a better offer are likely to remain in force. Your current employer will probably lose trust in your loyalty. Accepting a counteroffer may permanently damage your reputation with your would-be-employer. Your prospective new colleagues may conclude that you were merely using them to gain leverage, you weren’t in earnest as a candidate. Never underestimate the value of your perceived integrity in this situation. If your current firm denied you advancement before you secured an outside offer, it will probably thwart you next time you feel ready to advance. What's more, your firm may start looking to replace you the day you accept the counteroffer. Your plans for leaving may not be forgotten! The best response to a counteroffer is to listen politely, perhaps even sleep on it, but decline. Your Career Take control of your Own career! 2002, the year upon which most of the World's Industries are facing their biggest challenges. Yet, I am amazed at the number of people who limit themselves by thinking of their career future in terms of their career past. There is nothing wrong with that as long as what you have been doing is what you want to continue to do. But given the increased opportunities in today’s fast-paced, ever changing, knowledge-based world of work, why limit oneself? Common to the old model of work was people working at one career, and often for one employer. Those days are long gone. And I for one think it is for the better. Today’s workers can

count on working for several employers, perhaps including themselves. They may also have a few career changes along the way. So why not take advantage of the designed or forced career decisions to do some quality reflection regarding career aspirations and take control of your destiny. To quote the title of the book by Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherman, which focuses on the transformation that Jack Welch spearheaded at General Electric…"Take Control of Your Career…or Someone Else Will!" In taking control of your career destiny, the place to start is to look inward. Rather than think of your career as a linear projection of the past, you need to think about what you are really good at, what excites you, and what is important to you in a work setting. Life is too short to spend much time working in situations that do not require you to continually learn and grow regarding things that excite you. Life is also too short to spend time in work environments where you do not respect the organisation and its leaders, do not appreciate the way the work is done, or do not enjoy working with the people you have to deal with. So rather than think about accumulated experiences and skills in charting future career choices, look inward. In so doing, take advantage of your work experiences to help you do some quality reflecting. Specifically, to identify your talents (“what am I really good at?”); passions (“what really excites me?”); and values (“what are my key beliefs as they relate to work?”). From here you can take your life where you want it to go. Kieran O' Mullan Business Consulting Manager QUESCO Systems Limited.

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