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career advice, Career Coaching, Job Search Consultant, Recruiters, Unemployment

Inside the Interview!

// Tips

I have prepared clients for the past two weeks for interviews! It feels good to see interviewing pick up, even a little. Interviewing is not job searching and it requires a different set of skills and mindset. You need to be sensational during the interview! I Tweet and post on my Facebook page a lot of tips for interviewing, but I don’t have them collected in one spot. Uh, well, now I have a blog post! Here are a my top 10 interview tips from the inside (the Hiring Manager’s thoughts):

1. Do your research

When I interview a candidate, if they don’t really know much about the company or firm I am representing, they are OUT. It irritates me so much that they would take up my time. So, go beyond the company website, do some Google searching, and really get to know the company. Surprise me!!

2. Tell me about yourself

When I ask you to tell me about yourself, what I am really asking is to briefly summarize your professional career thus far, and include one or two reasons why you would be a good fit here. DO NOT go into your life story and please, keep it short..like no more than 3 minutes. Otherwise, my thoughts drift…to like what’s for lunch!

3. What can you do for us?

This is purpose of the interview! Please have three strong “bullet points” prepared on what specifically you bring to the table. Leverage your assets, and show me how you are a better choice than the other 3 candidates I interviewed earlier today.

4. Dress to impress

Often overlooked is the fact that many hiring decisions are made within the first few minutes of the interview. Your appearance is important and dressing professionally gives an impression of success. I want to hire successful people, so I do judge you on your outfit. Even if you never wear a suit again in this role, be sure to respect the company enough to WOW them at the first interview.

5. Be honest

If I ask you about something on your résumé, like “How many people did you manage on this project?” give me a straight answer. If was one intern, so be it. I appreciate honesty and it is not necessarily a deal breaker if you haven’t managed 100’s. Management can always be learned; honesty cannot.

6. Practice

Please, do not show up without preparing. Get some role-playing in; have a friend, or hire a coach (shameless plug!) to ask you typical interview questions. I don’t have time for awkward pauses and rambling answers.

7. Goals

Know your career goals and how working for my company fits in, and how you can contribute to my company by working toward your goals. Just don’t tell me your goal is to become my competitor in five years!

8. Basics

A few reminders: Be on time which means not too early as well. And do not bring your cell phone into the interview. I can hear it even on buzz. I find it annoying that you couldn’t do without it for an hour or so. And, don’t wear too much cologne, or smell like cigarettes. Breath mints are good. Please.

9. Strengths and weaknesses

When I ask this, and you know I will, please have something other than “well, I am very detail oriented”…it’s not a weakness!! A weakness is “I am not very proficient at Excel”. And give me a real strength such as “My team leadership has been recognized with over five achievement awards in the past three years” by my peers.

10. Money

I don’t bring up salary in the first interview, but that’s me. Other interviewers will. Salary is super important in recessionary times, and many companies want to sort it out first. You need to know how much you’re worth, and be prepared to discuss it during the first interview. If you would like to defer it, say something like “I would prefer to discuss salary upon expressed mutual interest, but here’s my required salary range without considering the overall package”.

I hope this helps! I have noticed that interviewing has really picked up since June, and that is a very good sign. Unemployment is still WAY too high, and the competition is fierce for the few positions available. Be sure you are ready for interviewing. You can always contact me if you need help.

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About kristienigl

I am a Global Career Coach and Job Search Consultant, with a 20 year background in hiring people. I share that “insider” information with my clients and help them accelerate their career goals with career branding, social media, and networking though customized one-on-one coaching. I have hired hundreds, interviewed thousands, and reviewed 500,000 resumes, and that makes me the Career Coach With a Different Approach! Are you ready to move forward?

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Inside the Interview!

  1. I don’t like to bring up salary in the first interview, but constantly find that the HR managers DO, often to the point of rudeness over the phone, and will keep pressing you for an answer should you try to put it off.

    Here is a question for you.

    WHY do employers keep posting the same jobs again, and again, and again?

    Seems like every 3 or 4 months I see the same job posting from the same company. Do they really have a job, or are they doing something else?

    Posted by missdisplaced | August 18, 2011, 1:56 PM
    • Thanks for comment. I hear you about the salary question. It seems to be the first question asked these days. If that’s the case, have a number in mind and add 10%. You can always come down, but going up is not as easy!

      As for repeat job postings, there can be several reasons for that. One is the company is always recruiting for that position because the position is often open. Another reason is it’s a “package deal” with the job board, and it updates every 3 months. Or, they just fogot to remove it and it’s on auto update. Also, they could be preparing to hire, and want to collect resumes in advance. I wrote a blog on DailyBlogma call Memo From the HR Office that explains this in detail. Not all job postings are real, is the bottom line. I suggest you call – even if they say no calls – and ask if the position is still available before you spend an hour filling out the online application.

      Good luck!!

      Posted by kristienigl | August 18, 2011, 2:20 PM

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