Tips on Interviews

Promote Yourself without Being Self-Promotional

Explaining why someone should hire you, or introduce you to a friend who is hiring, can be uncomfortable. You need to sell yourself, but you don’t want to sound like a salesperson. Instead of detailing what’s so great about you, tell a story that covers the following:

•             Situation. Explain the problem or situation that you, your unit, or your company faced.

•             Tasks. Outline what your responsibility was in solving the problem.

•             Achievements. Make clear what you did to meet your responsibility.

•             Results. What happened as a result of your achievements? Did revenues increase? Did customer satisfaction improve? Use specific examples to pique your audience’s interest.

Three Tips for Acing an Interview

During a job interview, it’s important to explain what you can do for the company, but it is just as imperative to build trust with the person interviewing you. Here are three ways to align yourself with the interviewer:

•             Mirror body language. Even if you aren’t comfortable, portray yourself as poised and friendly. When the interviewer uses open body language — leaning in toward you or keeping her arms open — do the same.

•             Find common interests. Look for ways that the interviewer and you are alike. These may be shared interests or experiences. Ideally they are work-related; for example, you may both have a passion for solving tough problems.

•             Tell stories with a moral. Every anecdote you tell should have a point. Well-shaped stories with a purpose can convey your most desirable qualities — loyalty, work ethic, or trustworthiness.

How to Talk About Your Weaknesses in an Interview

One of the most hated, yet frequently asked, interview questions is, “What is your greatest weakness?” We all have faults, but the last place we want to talk about them is in a job interview. Next time you are up for a job, take these three steps to prepare for this dreaded question:

•             Prepare an answer. Yes, you need one. Make it brief, honest, trivial, and not a fault. If possible, use something out of your control. For example, “My biggest weakness is that my professional network is in Boston, but I’m looking to relocate to Los Angeles.”

•             Get input. Run your answer by a few friends and colleagues to make sure it sounds reasonable.

•             Ask a question back. In the interview, deflect the attention away from you by ending your response with a question for the interviewer.

Evaluate Your Future Manager

Almost every job interview ends with an opportunity for you, the candidate, to ask questions. Don’t treat this time as another chance to impress. Instead, use this time to assess your future boss. Ask your potential manager about a past project. This should give you a sense of how she works. Inquire about customers or colleagues. Her attitude toward others may reveal how she treats people. Watch how she answers the questions. Does she talk about herself a lot? Does he take credit for accomplishments? This data can help you better understand the manager you are getting along with the job offer.

Three Tips for Conducting an Internal Interview

Internal interviews are often thought of as something to simply check off on a hiring to-do list. Yet, these interviews can be a valuable source of information and the key to helping you make the right hiring decision. Here are three tips for getting these interviews right:

•             Dig deeper. Even if you already know the candidate, you can learn more. Ask about experience outside of the company, either in previous jobs or through volunteer work.

•             Assess role readiness. Because the candidate will be moving into a role she is already familiar with, ask specific questions about what she plans to do with the role.

•             Make it real. Too often, internal interviews are done out of courtesy. If you aren’t serious about the candidate, don’t bother with the interview.

Sources: Harvard Business Review


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