Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How to Prepare for Job Interview. Interview Do’s and Don’ts. How to handle the classic interview questions.

How to Prepare for Job Interview
What happens when you get an actual job interview?
1) Be prepared to point out your achievements,
2) show enthusiasm for the organization and the job opportunity, and
3) ask relevant questions that let them know how interested you are.

Interview Don’ts
 Don’t complain about anything.
 Don’t criticize anyone.
 Don’t interrupt.
 Don’t give long, confusing answers. A good rule of thumb is that no answer should be longer than a minute. If they want to know more, they’ll ask.
 Don’t be vague or evasive.
 Don’t exaggerate or stretch the truth.
 Don’t discuss any personal problems.

Important Interview Do’s
 Be early or on time.
 Relax.
 Research the company.
 Be a good listener.
 Talk accomplishments and results.
 Look and act like a professional.
 Prepare questions and answers in advance.
 Always be positive. Even with failure experiences, talk about ‘‘ lessons learned’’ and how useful the experience was to you in subsequent similar situations.

Here’s how to handle the classic interview questions:
 ‘‘Tell me about yourself.’’ Interviewers don’t want to know your life history. They don’t care how many brothers or sisters you have or what your hobbies are. This is your chance to give an ‘‘elevator pitch.’’ That’s a thirty-second summary of what makes you so special. It’s as if you were talking to someone on an elevator between floors. Hit them hard and fast with what’s special about you and your work experience.

 ‘‘What interests you in this job?’’ Here’s where you have to make a connection between this opportunity and your career plans. Let them know why it’s the next logical step for you. Or give a more general response about how the job will represent a real challenge for you and why you’re ready for it.

 ‘‘What interests you in this company?’’ Give a prepared response based on the research you’ve done about the company. Tell them about the growth history and the company’s outstanding reputation. Use specifics that you have memorized from the website.

 ‘‘Why should we hire you?’’ There are few times where bragging is the right thing to do. This is one of them. Describe your best qualities and give specific examples of the significant things you’ve been able to do. Say something like, ‘‘I know this company is interested in creative, hardworking people. I’d like to think I fit into that category because I’ve been able to. . . .’’

 ‘‘Why are you looking to leave your current company?’’ Although you might be tempted to rip apart your manager and the fools who are driving the business into the ground, don’t do it. Talk about how you feel it’s time to move on, how opportunity is very limited where you work now and you’re looking for a new challenge. One of the top reasons people don’t get the job is that they come across as complainers. Don’t fall into that trap.

 ‘‘What do you like most about your current job?’’ In answering this question, make sure that you keep in mind what the job is that you’re applying for. Be truthful and talk about the kinds of things you enjoy doing, but always keep it relevant to the job you are applying for.

 ‘‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’’ The first part is a softball-question. Succinctly describe the things you do well and be prepared to give examples of accomplishments. You have to be careful on the second part, however. You have to say something. It would be a worst-case scenario if you said, ‘‘I have no weaknesses.’’ So, offer up a weakness that isn’t really a weakness. For example, you could say, ‘‘I sometimes get impatient with people who don’t follow through on their commitments.’’ A good interviewer will ask you for a recent example of how you handled that type of situation. Be ready to describe what you did and how there was a successful outcome. The ‘‘strengths and weaknesses’’ question is a cat-and-mouse game. Don’t disclose anything that can be used to reject you. If you want to mention a technical weakness, that’s fine as long as you talk about what you are doing to get up to speed in that area or it’s something that isn’t required in the job for which you’re applying.

 ‘‘Do you have experience in . . . ?’’ If you do, describe clearly and succinctly what your experience has been. Never give a ‘‘no’’ answer to this question. Instead, say something like, ‘‘I have done a considerable amount of work in . . . .’’ Then stress how similar that is to what they’re asking about and how easily your skills can be transferred. In short, talk about what you have done rather than what you haven’t done.

 ‘‘What are your salary expectations?’’ This is another tricky question that can be used to eliminate you if you’re not careful. If there was a stated salary range, you can repeat that back to the interviewer. If not, you can respond with what you’re currently earning. A safe response is, ‘‘I’m looking to advance my career, and salary would be only one consideration.’’ In general, the less you say on this subject early in the interview process, the better. Once they’ve decided they want you, then you can start to negotiate compensation.

Interviewing is a lot like selling a product, except, in this case, the product is you! Rehearse what you’ll say, role-play with others, and video yourself for playback and critique. If you’re like most people, you’re probably not as well prepared as you should be to present yourself in the best possible light. You want to maximize your chances of getting the job you want.



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