Phase 4, Step 15 - Refine Your Interviewing Skills
Step 15: Brush up on your interviewing skills. This step covers telephone interviews, behavioral interviews and negotiating the offer. To successfully interview for a professional position you will want to brush up on the latest interviewing techniques and be very well prepared for any question that may be asked of you. You’ll have to decide how important each position is and the level of preparation and planning that you’ll need to do. It is better to be over prepared than under prepared. Recruiters and hiring managers tell us that they are always impressed with candidates who research the company and can verbalize how they add value. They are never impressed with people who ask questions that can easily be found on their website.
You’ve completed this step when you secure your dream job!
- It takes 90 seconds to make a first impression. What kind of first impression do you make?
- Have you researched the company’s financial statements? Have you considered their competitors? What’s happening in their industry? What was the content of last three press releases? How can you capitalize on these recent events if you were to be offered the position?
- Have you Map-Quested the location and calculated the time it takes to drive, park, get stuck in traffic, wait and still arrive 10 minutes early?
- Have you looked at what people wear on their website photos? Have you asked the recruiter what to wear? Are you suitably dressed for an MBA level interview? Most recruiters and hiring managers will expect you to wear a suit as an MBA candidate even when the typical dress for work is casual. There are rare exceptions to this rule which is why you should always ask.
- Have you practiced your ‘Tell me about yourself’ opening statement?
- Do you have 3 bullets prepared that you want the interviewer to remember about you?
- Have you developed and practiced at least 9 stories that can be used for multiple behavioral interviews?
- Have you prepared a Case Interview? These are becoming more and more popular. If you haven’t, check in with your coach and schedule a practice.
- Did you ask what is the next step? Did you express your interest in the position? Don’t leave the interview without completing these questions.
- Did you send a hand-written thank you note within 24 hours?
- Review the qualifications for the job and design 9 stories that can be used to demonstrate that you have the qualifications for the job. Behavioral interviews start with, ‘Tell me about a time when…”. Seek to get a specific example of a time in your past when you demonstrated competency in a particular area. The answer should be in the following structure: PAR, Problem, Action, Result. Each bullet in your resume should also reflect the PAR principle so reviewing your resume should be an easy way to come up with stories. Remember, the “problem’ is the situation you are in, action is what ‘you’ did (not we) and the result or key learning from that experience. Practice answering typical questions using Optimal Resume’s interviewing feature.
- Practice your story. Be ready to answer the question “Tell me about yourself and your interest in this position”. This answer should be no more than 2 minutes long and quickly draw the connection between the qualifications for the job and what value you will bring to the employer. Tape yourself using the video resume feature in Optimal Resume.
- Develop 3 bullet points that you want the employer to remember about you. Try weaving these three items into the opening, then into the stories and restate them at the end. Three times a charm! If you forget a key point, put it in your thank you note.
- Research the company and develop 5 questions that you are curious about that you can NOT find the answer to on the web.
- Ask for business cards from each of the panelists that you meet so you have the addresses and correct spelling of their names for thank you notes.
- Research salaries for the position you’re applying for. Be prepared for the question about what salary you want. (See Step 16 before you interview!)
Deliverable for GSM5108:
Complete the Behavioral Interviewing Grid and bring to class. Your grid should have at least 9 stories formatted in the Problem-Action-Result (PAR) format. Be prepared to practice these.
After Class: Practice your answers to lots of different interview questions with your PCA, your Career Coach and peers to get feedback for improvement.
Why this is important:
One of the top reasons employers do not select candidates is due to insufficient answers by a candidate in an interview. By preparing your work examples/stories in advance you will be more confident and have the ability to provide thorough answers.