How to make any interview an easy interview! Part 2
If you’re looking for advice on how to fill out a resume then you can find copious and varied advice about how to really hit the spot. The problem is that it’s (almost) never the resume that will get you the job. The resume is purely a filtering mechanism to narrow down the people who get to the interview. This is where the battle is generally won or lost. It’s the interview that can actually get you the job yet it’s an area that people often spend far less time researching and honing than they do on their resume.
The first part is the stuff that once it’s been said, just seems like common sense, and indeed it is, however for many people interviews are a very stressful thing and sometimes the obvious can get missed under pressure. Also you have to remember that in order to get to interview stage, someone has already built a mental picture in their mind as to what to expect when you walk in the door. Obviously they like that impression or you wouldn’t be interviewed. Half the battle is just not to do anything to upset their pre conceived expectations.
6 Ways To Make Any Interview An Easy Interview (4-6)
4) Make the right noises
You should really know about 80 percent of what you’re going to say in an interview before you ever walk in the door. And this 80% should be rehearsed, out loud, until it’s smooth and polished. An interview is really a performance. You need to know your lines. Running over things in your head is never the same. We think faster than we talk so sometimes things which sound fine in the mind just don’t quite work when said out loud. Enlist the help of a willing (or if unavailable and unwilling one will do) partner to help you practice and to give you feedback on how you’re coming across. Failing that practice into a mirror or video yourself to see both how you sound and how you look.
People pay as much attention to HOW things are said as they do to what is said. It’s all too easy in an interview to get stressed and to start losing control of various body parts. Waving hands and twitching feet just don’t look good in terms of giving off an air of professional confidence.
Most interview questions are designed to try to get a feel for certain competencies that the company is looking for. These would be things like time management, teamwork, pro-activity and so on. Look again at the job advert coupled with the information you have on the company and you should be able to work out a large number of the competencies which they are looking for. You should then think about times in your career/life that you can talk about where you can clearly demonstrate that your use of that competency led to an achievement. These are the things you should be rehearsing. The key is to then listen to the questions being asked by the interviewer and identify the competency that they are looking for with that question.
At all times make sure your answers are clear and concise. Make sure you listen to the question and that your answers are relevant. Above all, practice your patter. Interviews can be stressful enough, without having to try to trawl through your entire work career for examples of things you are being asked. Do your thinking in advance and take the stress out of it.
5) Be ready with your questions
In the same way as you can make or break your interview with your first impression, the last things you say will be the taste that you are leaving the interviewer with. Almost without exception you will get hit with the “Do you have any questions” bit towards the end of your interview. Given the inevitability of this event, it is wise to prepare some questions in advance. It should really go without saying that asking what the job pays or what the holiday benefits are during a first interview situation, probably won’t leave you in the best light. But I have heard it done so let’s just get it said.
There are obviously a world of questions that you could ask however just remember that the interview isn’t over, you’re actually being assessed on what you ask. Depending on who’s interviewing you, you could ask about opportunities for advancement (obviously not such a hot idea if you’re going to have to take the job of the person interviewing you to progress!). Another good question you can try if you have built good rapport with the interviewer and you believe the interview has gone well might be something like “Are there any qualities or qualifications that you’re looking for in your ideal hire that you feel that I am lacking on?”. This could open up an opportunity to re-visit something that has been said from another angle or may highlight something that you failed to communicate well and can now clarify.
The bottom line is that there is no “right” thing to ask every time, it’s like anything to do with interviewing. It’s a mixture of a script (that mustn’t sound scripted) and improvisation. It’s important to know your own story, know your own resume, and know the message you want to convey. You want to be “improvising” like professional stage comedian. They have lots of comedy “bits” that they know backwards but can then throw into a performance when right moment presents itself. If you know your story well enough you will find you can even steer conversations to the point where you can fit in your “improvisation”.
6) Telephone Interviews
Particularly when dealing with contract work it’s entirely possible that the interview process begins with a telephone interview. The basic rules still apply with regard to knowing your story and doing your homework. The twist with phone interviews comes with the timing and availability. You will generally have a time booked for a phone interview, however sometimes they happen on the fly which makes life difficult. You need to be available at that time on a number that has been well communicated.
Ideally you should be on a land line, at worst make sure you’re somewhere with a rock solid cell signal. An interviewer will not be viewing you well if calls keep fading in and out or dropping. Avoid taking a telephone interview while driving at all costs. If they do catch you because they didn’t schedule the call then either try to re-schedule or at least make sure they know that you are driving and the implications that might have on the quality of the interview.
Also make sure that wherever you are is quiet and that you will not be disturbed. IT really will do you no justice if you have animal farm going crazy in the background or, the next nearest thing a melee of kids on a sugar rush. Sorry but a drunken mob watching the ball game and shouting in the background doesn’t cut it either. The person interviewing you needs to be able to hear you clearly, they may even be conducting the interview on speaker with others present so really, quiet is the only way. You also be able to hear them clearly so it works both ways.