Good Interviews – Get Down to the Basics

According to Tribune Media Services: “Good interviews aren’t always based on basics – less obvious action can help raise your profile.”  To comment:

When interviewing for a job, it’s important to speak clearly and to be honest about your past

and potential. It’s also essential to research the company beforehand so you’ll be able to successfully navigate the interviewer’s specific questions about the company’s industry. But not all jobs are won or lost by following the most obvious of interview rules. Here are five secrets of a successful interview:

1. Don’t turn down a glass of water or cup of coffee if offered. It puts you on a more personal level with your interviewer and gives you a minute or two to scope out the office for possible clues on talking points, as well as a chance to regain your composure. Also, the cup or glass will give you something to do with your hands during awkward quiet moments. And, you will be able to attack that dry-mouth more effectively if a drink is nearby.

2. Ask questions, but don’t insult the interviewer. In other words, you won’t need to tell your interviewer the obvious with thinly veiled questions like, “Why are there so many open positions?” Questions about the company’s performance should be handled Carefully, as well. Consider asking, “How will this new hire be able to contribute to the company’s future growth?” is more subtle and effective than, “Are you guys still losing money?”

3. Whenever possible, give specific examples of the ways the company or company’s product already has impacted your life or how it will impact it in the future. If you’re interviewing for a position with a grocery store or department store chain (WawaTarget, Walmart, etc.), mention your weekly trips to one of their store locations. If you’re courting a furniture company, mention how you’re looking forward to decorating your new home with a specific couch or table. (Get the idea? Work your personal experiences into the interview – but do NOT overdo it.)

4. Don’t rush. Most interviewers block out at least an hour of time for each person they speak with. Don’t feel the need to tell your life story in the first 10 minutes. Instead, find ways to attach important pieces of information about yourself with various answers. You won’t lose points by taking your interviewer on occasional detours. In fact, he/she may be more interested in your explanation of how you learned the importance of personal responsibility when you worked your way through college than your routine answer as to whether or not you prefer to work in a team setting or alone.

5. Give your interviewer something to remember you by. At this point in the candidate selection process, most job seekers are fairly similar, considering they’ve all been called in for an interview based on separate resumes. Your interview is your chance to stand out. Mention something exciting you did over the weekend or ask about a photo or object on your interviewer’s desk. Aside from striking a personal note, you’ll be able to reference this in your Thank-You Letter — something as simple as, “Hope you’re able to catch another large-mouth bass this weekend.” This gives your interviewer something to remember you by, hopefully further separating you from the others that he interviewed for the job.