Whether it’s a face-to-face job interview or a telephone interview, how you prepare for a job interview is the most influential aspect of whether you actually do well in the job interview, or just do ‘okay.’ Control the outcome. Don’
t leave any of it to chance. Study. Prepare. Anticipate. Your confidence will rise and your nervousness will lessen if you are fully prepared by having pre-fabricated answers for critical questions that you know will be asked during the job interview. Be ready for your next job interview, and the outcome might surprise you.
First of all, research the company. If the next job you seek is meant to be a career position, then you need to know all you can about the employer, and about the specific job that you are pursuing. Those notes will tell you and help lead you to understand the sort of skills and know-how the employer will be seeking.
Too often, job seekers go into a job interview with an idea that sounds something like this: “Just get me in front of the person who does the hiring and I’ll impress them;” huge mistake. More often than not, what you believe to be important about your skills and experience is not exactly matched to what the employer needs to solve their immediate problems – in other words, your idea of what is impressive or important doesn’t fit the employer’s. Thusly, you are seen as a weak or secondary candidate for that job.
The best way to approach any sort of job interview is to know in advance, through research, what problems the employer is trying to solve in their business by hiring for the position you seek. Once you answer the “employer’s problems” question, the primary skills and experiences the interviewer will discuss with you will become evident, and you can prepare to answer them thoroughly. Your thorough answers will cause you to be seen as the leading job candidate. Truth be told, much of that information regarding “employer problem’s” should have been gathered when you customized your resume for that same employer. Each resume you present should be customized to each individual employer and organized to match their individual needs. A generic resume seldom garners great results, as such a resume does not address employers’ individual needs. Same holds true for generic job interview answers.
For example, a carpet retailer may advertise for an “In-Store Salesperson.” And on the surface, it looks like any retail carpet sales person with some experience might have a good chance of getting that job. But what the job ad won’t likely detail is that the employer is seeking a sales person who can talk the language of their younger demographic customer prospects – someone who can focus on twenty-something sales prospects. And before you scream “Age Discrimination,” it doesn’t mean the employer won’t hire a mature individual, it just means they want someone who can identify with that particular sales group, who can relate to their slang, their customs, dress, technology, etc… Whether the sales person is seen as a youthful peer or honored mentor doesn’t matter to the employer, both entities can generate sales. The key factor is that employers typically seek specific attributes in new employees that are often not mentioned in job ads. Knowing those attributes makes the difference between having a good job interview and having a “GREAT” job interview.
Where do you get that detailed job attribute information? Research it. Call into the company. Ask to speak to the hiring agent directly. Ask them what sort of specific, unadvertised attributes they seek in a job candidate, what sort of topics they cover in the job interview that may not be mentioned in the job ad. If you can’t reach that hiring authority, ask their assistant, or ask another individual who works in that same general area of their business. Typically, folks employed in the same area of a company will know what sort of specific attributes are preferred. Don’t be afraid to ask what sort of specific questions will be asked in the job interview. I’ve had job candidates who, when interviewing for regional level job titles, called managers in the same company with that same title in other regions just to ask them what sort of topics were addressed in their job interview when they were hired with the company; further, to ask advice on how to prepare to do well in the upcoming job interview. Sound crazy to be that thorough? Sound like you may be overstepping the bounds of good career manners? Not if you want to get a specific career level job title. Prepare well and you will do “GREAT” in your next job interview. Don’t be rude or insistent, as you gather your information, and employers will see your efforts in these areas as proactive and inventive, not demanding. The hundreds of times we’ve had our own job candidates perform such pre-interview activities, we’ve never had an employer complain. Mostly, if comments are made, it’s surprise at the thoroughness, and they make the observation that they’d never previously had anyone do that much prep-work for an interview.
Follow these few simple steps to anticipate and prepare for your next job interview. The steps go to the heart of determining what problems an employer is trying to solve by hiring a new employee. Once you identify those needs, you will know how to best present your credentials and experiences so they fulfill those requirements. Do that, and you will stand heads and tails above all other job applicants, as you will likely be the only one who has not rambled on about miscellaneous aspects of your background and experiences that do not relate directly to the job at hand.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR JOB SEARCH!
Mark Baber is a 20 year Executive Search specialist and Recruit Consultant, and advisor to http://www.JobNewsRadio.com – where Job Seekers access free job search tutorials that organize the job search, teach you how to ID employers, set job interviews and “ace” them, how to get the best job offers, and much more – with a GUARANTEE that you will get a job offer.
Employers can reach Mark Baber directly at his Executive Search firm: http://www.mcbaber.com