THE Interview ~ The Moment of You’ve Been Waiting For!
You’ve finally landed the in-person interview. This is your opportunity to shine. Before the first question is asked, greet your interviewer with eye contact, extend a firm handshake, use his or her last name, and smile.
The interview is your chance to stand out and showcase your strengths and to highlight your skills and experience that are applicable to the position you’re interviewing for. We like to tackle in-person interviews by using the 6 BEs of Effective Interviewing. We addressed the first BE (BE Prepared) earlier. The other 5 are essential to successfully navigating your interview.
BE a Good Listener
Listen carefully. One of the worst offenses you can commit during an interview is to constantly interrupt the interviewer. Not only does this demonstrate your lack of listening skills, it also causes the interviewer to question your ability to manage a team and communicate with others. Bring a notepad with you to take notes and write down your questions as they arise. Before asking a question, determine whether it’s the most appropriate time. With some patience, perhaps the interviewer will answer the question before you ask it. Finally, eliminate distractions by leaving your cell phone in the car.
This is one of the most obvious components of an effective interview, yet it’s often underutilized. An in-person interview provides you with an opportunity to discuss the true substance of the position. This is your chance to ask questions about the company’s culture, the long-term prospects for growth, the day-to-day activities, the hiring manager’s expectations, the manager’s work ethic and work style, and the makeup and tenure of the department. Without asking the proper questions, much of this substance remains a mystery… and the worst time to solve that mystery is after you start working for the company! You should have already developed a list of questions such as these during your Mock Interview process.
BE Specific & Cite Real Examples
The current trend in screening talent is behavioral or situational interviewing. This style of interviewing challenges you by asking about specific situations such as “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of a situation in which you…” or “How did you handle a situation with a difficult…” The most effective way to demonstrate your experience and showcase your talents is to provide specific examples of your accomplishments. Once again, this can’t be accomplished without properly preparing for the interview. Ideally, the examples you cited on your resume are the same examples you’ll use during the interview process. Be sure to outline your role in each accomplishment, the reason you were involved in the situation, the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Most importantly, describe the outcome and how it benefited the team, department, and company. A word of caution: don’t take credit for other people’s successes. At some point during the process, your exaggerations will be discovered!
BE Energetic & Enthusiastic
A positive attitude and an enthusiastic demeanor won’t single-handedly secure a job for which you’re unqualified. On the flip side, you’ll almost certainly lose a job that you are qualified for if you fail to demonstrate your interest and excitement during the interview. Throughout the screening process, the hiring manager will spend a great deal of time evaluating your culture fit in addition to your technical fit. Whether the department is high energy or low key, the hiring manager wants to hire someone who’s passionate about the work he or she will be doing. Remember to smile, use open body language, nod in agreement, ask follow-on questions, maintain eye contact, and show emotion in your responses. Caution: This is not an invitation to be disingenuous or annoyingly “peppy.” If you’re unable to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm in the position, perhaps it’s not for you.
Finally, but most important of all, be yourself! The only way to avoid a mismatched placement is to provide the interviewer with a genuine picture of your approach, style and skills. (Note: this includes the presentation of a truthful resume.) While there’s always some degree of “selling” during the interview process, you’ll avoid surprises and misaligned expectations if and only if you discuss your work style and work ethic in an honest fashion from the very beginning. A recent survey conducted by Leadership IQ indicated that 46% of new hires fail within 18 months…with nearly 89% leaving their position due to a lack of culture fit.
The process of Interviewing can seem overwhelming, exhausting and nerve-racking if you’re not prepared. However, by adhering to these guidelines, you’ll greatly enhance your success rate and gain a competitive edge.
Get your handy copy of the Memorable Interviewing – The Bes of Effective Interviewing