Friday, 15 April 2011

5 Tips for Improving your Interview Chances by 50%

The truth is most people dont Interview well.
I've Interviewed thousands of people over the last few years and its amazing how potentially great people screw it up!
I dont know what happens to people, they take leave of their senses and if they were standing back watching themselves they would be amazed.
There are quite a few books on the subject and numerous articles but most of them focus on the basics of getting to the interview or body language.
I want to de-mystify what really goes on in the real world.
Firstly the text books make an assumption that the person Interviewing you Interviews by the book. They dont.
The Interviewer is generally too busy to get prepared. Have you ever been to an Interview where the person Interviewing you has just picked up your CV on the way to the meeting.
Here are 5 tips for Improving your chances by 50%
1. Research like crazy.
Research everything you can, the company their annual report for signs of what the strategy is and where they might be going, and research the person you are going to see and find out what they have done, what they like, using Google, Linkedin or through your Network, then make sure you keep linking back to it in the Interview. If you find someone you know that is linked the the interviewer try and break the ice by mentioning them.
2. Be confident but not arrogant and believe you will get the role
People smell blood, don't be weak at an interview, be confident in what you do, think of the language you use, avoid saying we did this and we did that, sounds like you didn't do anything someone else did.
Dont be arrogant, but hold your own, look someone in the eye, believe you are going to get the role. Look if you're good at doing this job, then they would be mad not to hire you, and if you've done the research upfront this will re-enforce you know what to do and how to do it to yourself
3. Dress the part
I dont care what people say, you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression, its all part of the package. Avoid being too trendy
4. Think through and plan the answers to the questions they will ask you
But Gary, I dont know what they are going to ask. Want a bet, most Interviewers ask the same questions they are sometimes wrapped up differently. Also, the interviewers job is to gain evidence, so make sure you keep the conversation focussed on giving evidence without rambling on
These are some of questions you need an answer to:
What would you do if you got the job in the first 90 days
Whats the most difficult thing you have had to do
Give me examples where your project failed, what did you do how would you handle it differently
Why should they give you the job versus someone else, feel free to blow your trumpet but as you have planned this give them real examples of where you have done it before, or what you would do
At some point in the Interview they are going to ask the question that phases most people. It may be disguissed but its coming and you need to plan an answer
What are your strengths and weaknesses.
The strengths are easy but the weakness question is the one that kills people.
In my experience when I ask this question, people are normally very honest, only the other day someone told me he was unorganised and lacked focus, which was a bit of a challenge for a project management role.
You need to give something away but not the thing thats going to kill you.
I suggested to a sales person recently to say
"Im very driven, thats not everyone's cup of tea"
5. Ask a meaningful question at the beginning and the end
Before you launch into boring people about your life story, ask a well planned question at the beginning that lets the interviewer know that you know what youre about, like
"is this area serious for the whole company, what's the plan for the next 12 months, and how will you know its been successful"
At the end of the Interview finish with another well planned question.
Hope some of these ideas are helpful, wishing you every success

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