Sunday, October 18, 2009

The 4 P’s of a Successful Interview (Part 2 of 4)

You found the job lead, you secured an interview; you do not want to blow it now. It is important to thoroughly understand the interview process to be successful.

In Part 1, we reviewed the steps that must be completed before you are ready for an interview. We also reviewed the 1st P: Purpose and that in fact there are two distinct purposes for the interview – the employer’s purpose and yours.

In Part 2, we will cover the second P: Preparation.

Practice, practice, practice! An invaluable way to prepare for an interview is to practice interviewing and solicit feedback. Many job networking groups offer interview workshops. Having the practice interview filmed by a job search coach will allow you to see how you come off in the interview. How is your body language? Do you forget to smile out of nervousness? Do you move your hands about while talking to a point of distraction? Do you talk too much? It is better to find out when a job is not on the line.

Network into the company. Even though you have the interview scheduled, it is not too late to use your contacts and Linked In network to network into the company. It will help you stand out if people in the company approach the hiring manager and say they heard she is interviewing you and that they know and are impressed with you. That will help you stand out from the other candidates.

Get inside information. Conduct informational interviews with current and past employees to understand the best aspects and the not so great aspects of working for the company and the hiring manager.

Research the company. You need to know everything that is on the company’s web site and you need to know more than that. Check out the company’s financials. Check out the company’s competition and check out all of the news articles that have been published about the company. You may also want to check out the blogs to see what is being said about the company by disgruntled customers and former employees.

Your questions. Develop a list of questions you need answered. During your aptitude assessments and inventories you determined what environment you need to flourish. You determined what style of manager you work best with. Ask questions about the company, the department, the position, the manager, and how the current economy has impacted the company.

Study your STARs. You inventoried and documented your previous accomplishments. Review that list so they are embedded in your memory. You will want to have these stories at the ready for the behavioral interview questions (“Tell me about a time….”).

Drive there. Unless you are very familiar with the location, drive there ahead of time. Doing so will let you know if there is anything unexpected about the route like construction and give you the layout of the property and parking so that does not add to your stress the day of the interview.
Do’s and Don’ts. Another part of the preparation is to review the interview do’s and don’ts (included in part 4).

Pray. The best preparation you can do is to pray. Pray for peace and calm. Pray for wisdom and that if the job is not right for you, doors will be closed.

If you prepare well for the interview, you will be more confident during the actual interview.

Part 3 – Performance
In the next installment of the 4 P’s of a Successful Interview series, we will discuss performance - the actual interview itself.

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