Interviewing Strategies for Job Seekers: The Two Key Steps

  • Research: Six Important Sources of Helpful Information
  • Web Pages: Start by checking the company’s webpage.
  • Online Searches: Most online services have business reference sections where applicants can download reams of information about a company’s history, product line and profits.
  • The Public Library: Don’t neglect your public library which may have annual reports, company histories, biographies of its founders, corporate rankings in sales and profits and other important information.
  • Stockbrokers: If the company you’re interested in is publicly traded, your stock broker will also have copies of a company’s annual report and other important filings with the government.
  • Networking: Network with friends and colleagues in similar positions and fields to learn the job security and salary growth prospects.
  • Trade Associations: Talk to professional associations, a valuable resource because they conduct salary surveys of their members and can tell you the high and low salaries for the job you want.
  • Assess your own skills: Recruiters complain that many people applying for jobs don’t take the time to think about their accomplishments and how to best communicate them in the interview.
  • Recruiter questions: Make a list of questions you may be asked and practice answering them so your thought are organized when you walk in for the interview.
  • Your own questions: Based on your research, draw up and memorize a list of questions you’d like to ask the interviewer that display your understanding of the company.
  • Determine your ideal and minimum salary requirements: Ask yourself what you’d like to earn and what you’d settle for if the job is offered (don’t limit yourself to thinking about only the salary, it’s the whole package that counts).

The Actual Interview: Selling Yourself

 
  • First impressions are crucial: Be well groomed and look professional.
  • Confident and body language: Appear confident and relaxed during the interview and use humor where appropriate, especially to defuse inappropriate or touchy questions.
  • The pace: Let the interviewer establish the pace, don’t interrupt or ask questions (you don’t want to come across overly aggressive).
  • Be enthusiastic: Enthusiasm is often the significant factor in hiring; they want team players, but also someone who comes in with new ideas and eagerness.
  • Talking money: While salary may be uppermost in your mind, remember the cardinal rule of negotiating: Never, ever bring up money until they do. If the interview is drawing to a close and money hasn’t yet been mentioned, it’s OK to say “Can you give me some idea of what the salary range might be?” If the employer names a low figure, explain that you know people in your profession are paid from X to Y and that with your skills and experience, you would, of course, want to be paid near the top of that scale.
  • Repeat, restate, reiterate: As you shake hands goodbye, restate the key message that you want the job. One good approach is to say, “Steve, you’ve given me a great picture of ABC Company and it just confirms in my mind that ABC Company remains my first choice. Working for you is something I’d really like to do. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. If there’s any other information you need, please give me a call.”
  • Closing the deal: If you reach the point in the interview where you’ve agree on money, don’t walk out so starry-eyed that you forget to get it in writing.
  • Interview follow-up: Send a short thank-you card after the interview, even if you don’t get the job to remind the recruiter of your availability.
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