Interview to get an offer - even if you have determined early in the interview process that this is not an opportunity you would be interested in. If you are able to obtain offers this is a strong indicator that you are doing a good job of selling yourself and your credentials. OFFERS CAN BE TURNED DOWN – THE TEST IS WHETHER YOU CAN OBTAIN OFFERS.

From the moment you arrive in the employer’s parking lot, until you drive off of it, you are on the interview. You never know what part the people you may meet play in the interview process.

If you are asked to fill out an application, do so completely and thoroughly. Fill in every blank – if not applicable, put N/A. For many employers, this is their first indication of your ability to follow directions, level of attention to detail, etc. If asked for salary desired, respond with “open”, “negotiable”, or “market competitive”.

Use a good, strong handshake before and after your interview with each person (indicates confidence).

Smile – people like to meet and hire happy people

Use good eye contact with everyone, even if one person seems to control the interview.

Don’t ask questions that will elicit just “yes or no” answers. Ask open-ended questions that will engage the person(s) in meaningful conversation. This will indicate that you have a sincere interest in the company/department for which you are interviewing. Listen carefully, as the information you gather from these conversations will assist you in formulating your responses. Don’t interrupt or feel compelled to generate conversation during the entire interview …. periods of silence are good to reflect on answers and to formulate questions. Examples of open-ended questions:
What is the makeup of your current department?
What would you like to be done differently by me should you bring me into this role?
What qualities or attributes (technical subjective, etc.) do you feel are critical in order for me to effectively interact with the existing team and bring value to your department?
What is most pressing? What would you like me to accomplish within 1) the first 3-6 months 2) 6-12 months?
What are some of the longer-term objectives that you would like me to accomplish?
What changes do you foresee for 1) your department 2) your company 3) your industry in the future?

Speak and mirror the language of the employer.

Indicate interest and understanding with comments such as; “I see”, “I understand”, “that’s interesting”. A simple nod of the head will work.

Always verify your answers with “real life” examples. For instance: If the employer asks you if you have leadership abilities, relate an instance from your past employment/community/professional organization experiences that would demonstrate leadership attributes.

Do not discuss salary and benefits on a first interview. You do not want to give the employer the impression that this is your only interest in obtaining the position. The objective of the first interview is for you to demonstrate how you can bring value to the organization/department and to determine if the opportunity is one that will allow you to further facilitate your career. Until a mutual interest is established, discussing salary and benefits is a moot point.

At the close of the interview, express your interest and desire for the position. In today’s market place this will often give you the competitive edge. Example:
Based on what I have learned about your organization and the opportunity, I feel I would be a valuable asset to your team. I am very interested in proceeding to the next step in your interview process.

 

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