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.
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 360JobInterview.com. 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 360JobInterview.com coach page.
Photo iStockPhoto © James Tutor