Monday, April 14, 2008

Guest Article: Six Interview Tips

By Michael R. Neece, CEO of Interview Mastery

1. Interrogation versus Interview:
Most candidates expect they will be interrogated. An interrogation is when one person asks all the questions and the other gives the answers. An interview is a business conversation where both people ask and respond to questions. Too many job seekers believe an interview is an interrogation. With this attitude, candidates do not ask questions and hence do not make their best impression. You need to ask questions throughout the interview. If you don't, you force the interview to be an interrogation.

2. Making a Positive out of a Weakness:
Unskilled interviewers frequently ask candidates "What are your weaknesses?" Conventional interview advice recommends you highlight a weakness like "I'm a perfectionist" and turn it into a positive. Interviewers are not fooled. If you are asked this question a highlight skill that you wish to improve upon and (most importantly) describe what you are proactively doing to enhance your skill in this area. Interviewers don't care what your weaknesses are. They want to see how you handle the question and what your answer indicates about you.

3. No Questions:
Every interview concludes with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. The worst thing to say is you have no questions. Having no questions prepared indicates you are not interested and not prepared. Interviewers are more impressed by the questions you ask than the selling points you try to make. Before each interview make a list of 5 questions you will ask.

4. Only Researching the Company, What about You?
Candidates intellectually prepare by researching the company. Most job seekers do not research themselves by taking inventory of their experience, knowledge and skills. Formulating a talent inventory prepares you to immediately respond to any question about your experience. You must be prepared to discuss any part of your background. Creating a your talent inventory refreshes your memory and helps you immediately remember experiences you would otherwise have forgotten during the interview. Interview Mastery gives you a talent inventory template and many other job search downloads.

5. Leaving Cell Phone On:
We may live in a wired, always available society, but a ringing cell phone is not appropriate for an interview. Turn it off before you enter the company.

6. Waiting for a Call:
Time is your enemy after the interview. After you send a thank you email and note to every interviewer, follow-up a couple days later with either a question or additional information. Contact the person who can hire you, not HR (Human Resources). HR is famous for not returning calls. Additional information can be details about your talents, a recent competitor's press release or industry trends. Your intention is to keep their memory of your fresh.

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