by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
Once you land a job interview, you may feel the hard work is done. You might even allow your enthusiasm to melt your inhibitions during the meeting. Don’t let your excitement rob you of a chance for the job you’ve been waiting for. Arm yourself with these key interview strategies that include practicing restraint as well as excellent preparation.
Don’t ask about salary.
• This question shifts the focus to what you want for yourself as opposed to the value you will provide to the company.
Don’t ask about the timeframe for hiring decisions.
• Every candidate wants to know the answer to this question but asking it can make you seem desperate or anxious for results. Most companies look for candidates able to separate personal from professional demands.
Don’t ask what the company does.
• Conducting research on corporate initiatives is easily accomplished online. Do your homework to impress hiring managers.
Don’t ask about typical promotion policies.
• Rushing ahead to promotions may make the interviewer question your judgment and understanding of appropriate business interactions.
Don’t ask about on-the-job training for basic skills.
• Emphasize the skills you bring, not the deficits about which you are concerned.
Don’t speak ill of former employers.
• Talking about how much you hated your former workplace or employer is a top interview “don’t!”
Don’t forget basic manners.
• Offer a handshake to “seal the deal” when you leave. Thank the interviewer for their time and express your pleasure in meeting him or her.
Do debrief after the interview.
• Take a few minutes to review on your own what went well and what could be improved. If appropriate, include additional clarification about your skills in a follow-up thank-you note.
Do express interest in the company’s initiatives.
• Show off what you’ve researched about this company prior to the interview by linking your skills and work history to corporate projects.
Do speak positively about prior workplaces.
• It can be tempting to bring up negative attributes about employers or co-workers, but this is not the time to identify that as your reason for leaving. Focus on more positive reasons for leaving which might include a need to reach your full potential or to seek out new opportunities for growth.
Do use every phone or email contact as if it were part of the interview.
• Essentially every contact is part of the screening process. Practice what you want to say so you are prepared for the unexpected call. For some people, it helps to stand while talking to convey a greater presence or sense of personal power.
Do prepare for the interview.
• Compile a number of job history anecdotes that exemplify your strengths and help you respond readily to interview questions.
Do end the interview on a positive note.
• Say something like, “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today. My talents and experience represent an asset to your organization and I would be a committed member of your team.”
Solid preparation for the interview will help you avoid asking ridiculous questions. Feeling too comfortable in an interview almost never produces good results. Practice how you want to perform in the job interview just as you would for an important sports event and you will find yourself in the winner’s circle!