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Interview Advice: 6 Tips to Help You Prepare
Can you sell yourself to potential employers? Follow this interview advice and try preparing like you would for a business meeting.
One way to prepare and perform effectively in a job interview is to think of it as a business meeting. Because that’s what it really is – you are participating in a business discussion focused on making a good hiring decision. The organization is trying to fill a gap and you are there because they think you could be the answer.
With that in mind, here is some interview advice to help you succeed:
- Understand the expectations – Most business meetings are conducted with a clear purpose and agenda. What type of interview is this? If you are on the short list, the emphasis will be less on your skills/experience and more on motivation and cultural fit. Listen carefully to the questions and answer appropriately. If the interviewer wants to understand your motivation, speak to that issue rather than restating your capabilities.
- Bring something to the table – Someone who can speak knowledgeably to the issues at hand is an asset at any meeting. Learn as much as you can about the person or panel interviewing you, the industry, and the company itself and leverage these insights during the conversation.
- Show your interest – Nobody appreciates a meeting attendee who seems disengaged and speaks only when prompted for an answer or comment. While you don’t want to appear over-eager, it’s important to show that you really want the position (if you do). It is amazing how many candidates suggest by their behaviour during the meeting that their interest in the role is lukewarm at best. So the employer picks someone else who comes across as more motivated.
- Lighten up – Allow yourself to relax and smile and let your personality show through. If the hiring manager just wanted to assess your skills, reading your resume would suffice. The meeting is also about evaluating you as a potential member of the team – how will you be to work with?
- Take your tools – It seems like a no-brainer but bring a folder/notebook with questions you want to raise and space to write down information you gather during the meeting. Most recruiters and hiring managers get nervous about a candidate who attempts to “fly blind” in the meeting and writes nothing down from the discussion. Bring a copy of your resume to refer to as needed and take a spare for each member of the interview panel.
- Drive towards a decision – The most effective meetings are results-oriented. If the opportunity presents, close with a brief summary of how you see yourself making a valuable contribution and asking for clarity on next steps and timeline. You could even go so far as asking the interviewer(s) for their reactions and impressions of you. Many won’t feel ready to share this with you but there is no harm asking. Being proactive in asking for the position could reinforce in their own minds why you would be a good hire, or even uncover a concern that needs to be addressed but may not have been expressed
Everything You Need to Know About Interviews
Answers to 7 Tough Interview Questions
Creating a 30-60-90 Day Plan to Secure the Job
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