An interview is a business transaction wherein the objective of the hiring manager (the person who has the authority to hire) is to make a selection among job candidates called in for an interview. A candidate has two challenges: first, to convince the hiring manager that he is the ideal candidate for the position, and second, to outshine the others (i.e., the competition for the job). Following are several suggestions to improve your interview skills.
First, prepare for the interview by working with a seasoned career coach. A career coach can practice with you certain mock-interviewing techniques, thereby helping you to not only answer difficult interview questions but also recognize traps and avoid saying the wrong things. As a career coach, I need no less than five hours to get someone ready for the big test. If the result is to get the job, then the fee paid for such a service is merely a drop in the bucket.
Second, prepare your SARBs: situation/action/result/benefit. These are short vignettes about your experience, describing for the interviewer how you solved problems on the job and the results and benefits to employers. They are the tools you bring with you to the interview. If presented well, the examples will convince the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.
Third, research the company. Spend some time in the public library investigating as much as you can about the company. You cannot overdo this aspect of the job search, and neither should you underestimate the importance of showing the interviewer you understand–on either a macro- or micro-level–the issues the company faces.
Fourth, use your personal connections via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to discover as much information as you can about the people you’re going to interview with. While doing that, attempt to find something in common with them. This is very important, because people are known to hire candidates with whom they can build a relationship even during the interview process.
And fifth and last but not less important, make sure the position you’re interviewing for aligns with your own needs and desires. Consider your skills and attributes and traits. Evaluate the organization’s work environment, the commute, the compensation, and the benefits. Pay attention to your gut feeling. If it feels good, make sure you clearly show your enthusiasm.
by Alex Freund