Focus On Their Objectives: Make note of specific job requirements both before and during the interview.  Then use story telling to relate specific accomplishments, including results, that testify to the fact that you have the skill, knowledge, experience, and character needed.  You can also use demonstrated behaviors, such as going the extra mile, change agent, etc. based on performance and results from past assignments.

Also, early in the interview, especially if the type of person they are looking for is not clear, ask what kind of an individual they desire for the job.  Now you are armed with specifics about the candidate they are looking for and should take every advantage of emphasizing your proven qualities against those requirements using examples from your past career.  Remember, sometimes it’s easy to forget the purpose of the interview given the dynamics of the interaction.   Stick with their objectives and your achievements and communicate that you are the most qualified candidate for the job.

This tip was provided by James Simak, a coach here at with over 20 years experience as a recruiter and hiring manager.  Find out more about James and schedule an appointment with him on his Coach’s Profile.

We wrote last time about the need to use your nervous energy before a job interview in preparation, studying the company and yourself (view that post here).  In this second part, we’ll focus more on tips for the interview itself.

iStock 000006916859XSmall 300x199 Six Job Interview Tips To Apply During The InterviewDuring the Interview

Listen for hints – The questions and comments from the interviewer will likely give you clues about their preferred traits. Without resorting to flattery, target your answers and questions to these highlighted areas. You may want to have a way to take notes during the interview to help.

Give examples – After giving a stellar answer to an interviewer’s question, there is nothing quite so powerful as giving a past example of how you followed your own advice/value/prioritization/approach. Be sure and have several examples in mind so you can easily pick the best few.

Ask questions – When I hired in the past, the most impressive candidates were those who asked intelligent, open-ended questions about my organization. This showed an interest as well as preparation. It also showed someone who was willing to think (a great addition to any team). I was never attracted to a passive interviewee who simply waited for the interview time to expire.

Ask for a tour of your potential work area if appropriate – This is a simple request but can yield several positive things. First, you get more first-hand, personal education about the company. Second, you can ask more questions to build trust with someone already employed by the company. Third, you show a genuine interest in the organization and how it runs. Fourth, you will pick up valuable culture clues to either encourage your job quest with the company or alternatively scare you away.

At the end of the interview, ask a clean-up question – Here are two examples to get you started.

  • “Do you have any other questions about my background?”
  • “Do you have any concerns about my background that I could address now?”

Say “thank you” – It amazes me how little this two-word phrase is heard. Use good manners before, during and after the interview. Assume EVERYBODY you meet in or near the company setting has a say in the hiring decision and treat them accordingly. It is impossible to always predict pockets of informal power.

There you have it, 6 tips to utilize during the job interview.  Would you have any others to add?  Please take a minute and share your thoughts in the comments below.

This post was written by Michael Friesen, a coach at He is the author of Expected End: What Culture Is, Why It Matters and How to Improve It. He is leadership coach and a former CFO and Budget Director for the U.S. government. You can schedule an interview with Michael on his coach page.

Photo iStockPhoto © James Tutor

There’s an interesting post over at USA Today Workforce titled Offbeat Interview Questions Asked to Make You Think. The article gives several examples of questions that are designed to see how you think. Many of the examples are pretty extreme. If you have a moment, click over to the post and check it out.

Have you ever been asked any questions like these? Share some of the questions and your job interview experiences below and help others on the job search. And Thanks!

Interviewing with any company can be intimidating but preparation will help chase away some of the butterflies. Remember it is unusual for a company to hire a candidate who fits the job description 100%. View the position advertisement as a dream sheet. You should have a majority of the traits but just because you’re missing a few parts of the experience does not necessarily knock you out of contention.

Without trying to be too traditional, here are some interview thoughts gleaned from hands-on experience.

iStock 000004966817XSmall 300x194 Job Interview PreparationBefore the Interview

Learn all you can about the company – This is much easier in our era of mega-search engines. Look for names, facts, figures, news, anything, etc.

  • What are the recent big news items?
  • What are the company’s major services or products?
  • What are their guarantees?
  • What are the approximate revenues?
  • What are the customer service trends?
  • Who are the big names?
  • How do competitor companies look at your interviewing company?
  • If you know somebody at the company, quiz them about the organization.
  • If appropriate, see if you can make an appointment with someone at the company for your educational purposes (be careful with this one).

Play stump the dummy – Nothing personal … but prepare a list of the toughest questions you can create based on your intimate knowledge of your own profile. The idea is to train hard to make the actual interview seem easier. Be as tough as you can on yourself during the preparation and you will find yourself more confident at the real event. Here are a few starter questions and you can think of more.

  • What is your core message related to the position?
  • What are your top 3-5 strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses? How do you manage around or offset them?
  • What will be the most difficult areas of the new job for you?
  • Why are you unique?
  • How would you interview yourself if you wanted to paint the most complete picture?
  • How will you make up any shortfalls in your experience as it relates to the ideal job description?
  • What will you do if you are not selected for the position?
  • Do you like the company enough to apply for more positions?
  • How will you respond if salary comes up early?

In a future post, we’ll talk more about how to maximize your time during the interview.  To summarize, focus any nervous energy you have on preparation. Write it, say it, and think it (or any combination thereof). This will help with the actual interview and keep anxiety in check. Remember too that a little nervousness will help you be sharper in the interview as well. All the best!

And if you have any thoughts or ideas, take a minute and share your best ideas or experiences in the comments below.

This post was written by Michael Friesen, a coach at  He is the author of Expected End: What Culture Is, Why It Matters and How to Improve It.  He is a leadership coach and a former CFO and Budget Director for the U.S. government.  You can schedule an interview with Michael on his coach page.

Photo iStockPhoto © Ken Kan