Interviewing

Some people compare job hunting to dating, in most ways I would agree with that, it can be a really gut-wrenching experience.

I remember my first date with my now long-term girlfriend, at the time I was shy and nervous. I asked her out to coffee despite my nerves, of course she said yes. Luckily for me, she asked for a goodnight kiss afterwards.

At the time I was so uncertain of myself, as she told me later, she thought I wasn’t interested in her! If you expect to get the job, you have to let the interviewer know you want it, or they will not go on the second date with you.

Most people look at interviews as stressful, and in a lot of ways they are. I always thought of them as tests, or being put on the spot but you don’t have to be on the spot, prepare for them instead. You’ll be calmer, you’ll present yourself better, and in the long run you won’t worry as much afterwards.

Look at the interview not as an ordeal to survive or overcome but as a great chance for a job. The thing to remember is, if you get called back for an interview, they want to hire you. What you need to do is tell them that you can do the job and why they should hire you.

Every question in the interview is the same one asked in a different way; “Why should I hire you?”

Everything from tell me about yourself to what are your weaknesses is the same question. Keep that in mind and plan your answers in advance, do some homework on the job or the company and know what they want, then tell them that’s what you can do.

When they ask “Tell me about yourself,” they don’t want to know your pet is a cat, you’re trying to lose weight or you love candy. They want to know why they should hire you, so tell them. Talk about your skills, hard and soft, that relate to the job you applied for.

When they ask you a question, remember SAR;

Situation
Action
Result

Make it as specific as possible, and POSITIVE! Never give a negative result, that’s the last thing you want them to think about you.

When asked about a weakness, a good way to deflect that is to mention something technical and not related to the job you applied for. Whatever you answer, be honest and don’t use vague sayings like, “My weakness is in recognizing my weaknesses.” In most cases that would be considered not answering, and not answering means you either think you’re perfect or lying.

Always keep your mind focused on the job and not your personal life, that’s not the point. The interview isn’t about you, it’s about you at work or at that job.

When asked about salary, again, do homework, either find a way to turn it around so they tell you what they’ll pay or give a range that fits the position. Never say you’ll take anything, that means you don’t value yourself or your work. And never demand top dollar, you are sure not to get hired then.

Lastly when they ask if YOU have any questions, this is your chance to close the interview and the deal. Never say “No, not really,” that tells the interviewer you’re not interested in the job and they just wasted their time talking to you. You might as well have said “No thanks, don’t hire me.” Use the question to ask when they plan to fill the position, express your desire for the job, and lastly, ask if and when you can contact THEM. A good chance to ask for a card or contact information if you didn’t already have it.

Lastly, go straight home and type a short and polite thank you letter for the interview. If they said they were hiring in the next few days or week, send it off right away. If a few weeks or lots of interviews are left, wait a few days. Most people will hire the last person they talk to, make sure your name is on their mind when it’s time to hire someone.

Oh and make sure that letter is on PAPER, e-mails are ok, more so if they ask to be e-mailed but paper shows you care and took time to do it.

One more thing, remember in the thank you letter, you still want the job, saying something like “I hope to work with you,” would be an ok way to phrase it. Saying “I NEED MONEY, HELP, HELP!” or “I just gotta have this job, I really, really hope I get it,” would not. Remember you CAN do the job, at least I hope so if you made it to the interview, be confident but sincere.

Preparing for an Interview
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