Approach each interview as a challenge, with the measure of success being the receipt of a position offer. Once you have an offer in hand, you can carefully decide whether the opportunity is right for you. Without the offer, you have one less available option.
There is absolutely no substitute for thorough and well-planned interview preparation. It can be the most important factor achieving your goal. The following are some thoughts to bear in mind when going through this process:
FIRST, Know as much about the Company and the interviewer as possible, before your interview.
SECOND, Know yourself and what you’re selling! Here are some basic principles of “personal” marketing.
- Know the results of your accomplishments. Sell these, and not your functional experience.
- Be selective in selling your accomplishments, making sure to demonstrate a growth pattern.
- Be factual when talking about your accomplishments, making liberal use of actual situations by means of illustrations.
- Let the interviewer value you through your illustrations of your efforts and their results.
- Maintain your best self-image, and live up to it during the interview as well as on the job. Remember, most people accept others at face value! Do not undersell yourself by letting false modesty get in your way — this is the time for gathering acceptance by presenting your highest worth. Watch your personal image! Know your accomplishments — they are your “sales tools.” Relate your illustrative accounts of your accomplishments to his needs and requirements!
THIRD, Listen to the interviewer and try to understand what he feels with respect to the job opening.
FOURTH, Be brief in your replies, answering the questions. Do not volunteer other information than that which is asked for. Prepare yourself to handle, in a positive way. any questions an interviewer might ask of you.
Note: Good preparation for the interview — have a friend role play an interview situation where he plays the part of the interviewer — tape the session — replay the tape — work on improving your responses.
FIFTH, Be positive! Do not knock your last company, or individuals in it.. Do not knock yourself! Let the interviewer know what your capabilities are — what you can do! Stay away from things you can’t or don’t like to do. LIVE UP TO THE BEST IMAGE OF YOURSELF!
SIXTH, Try to postpone salary questions until you and the Company are both satisfied that you are the right individual for the position. Try to get them to make you an offer based on the salary range established for the position, and on their evaluation of you and your achievements. If this cannot be achieved, (salary information is insisted upon), provide them with either a salary range of interest to you and/or your highest base salary.
SEVENTH, Try to center discussions on the duties of the position, its organizational setting (reporting relationship) and the short and long range goals the selected individual would be concerned with.
EIGHTH, Since you must usually survive a series of interviews before the position is offered, at the close of your interview ask your interviewer what the next course of events will be. If another interview is to be scheduled, try to set the appointment at this time. In any case, show him you are interested and even if your standing as a candidate is uncertain, ask when he’ll contact you and get his okay in calling back, at a appropriate time, to see where you stand.
NINTH, Never turn down a job before it is offered to you!
TENTH, Never fail to write a thank-you letter after each interview. This is your opportunity to reinforce the positive elements in an interview, cover thIngs you wIsh you had covered but didn’t, and overcome objections raised regarding your viability as a candidate. Remember, do not forget to thank, by letter, the person who hires you to confirm verbal agreements!
Successful “listening” (job) interviews lead to job offers. In order to evaluate such job offers and to negotiate intelligently for adequate compensation, you should have certain basic information which may not be offered voluntarily by the interviewer. A final decision to accept or reject a job may be — or should be — influenced by the answers to some of the following questions. Of course, you should select only those questions which pertain to your own situation. Some of the information should be obtained through careful research prior to the interview. Much will become evident during the interview. The remainder may require very discreet, tactful and carefully-timed questioning of the interviewer.
What are the job specifications for this position?
Are the duties and responsibilities described clearly?
Is there a clear statement of the extent of authority?
Can the job description be altered? Upgraded?
How long has this position been in existence? Open?
Who had this position until now? Why is he being replaced?
How long was he in it? Did he succeed? Or fail? What led to the success or failure?
Who are the people with whom I will Work? My immediate supervisor? My subordinates? My associates in related departments?
What are their titles, history in the Company, previous background, education, age, personality, reputation, etc.? Any helpful suggestions?
Does the company have any long range plans for this department? Growth or consolidation?
Does this department have its own budget? Who controls it?
Has this department been successful? What is its reputation in the Company?
In the opinion of the interviewer, is there sufficient staff to handle the workload? How is the morale of the staff?
Is there anyone on the staff who expected to be promoted to this position but was bypassed?
Is there more than one boss?
Are the reporting channels clear?
Where does this position fit into the Company’s organization plan?
Does the employer have an orientation program for new employees?
How do I become familiar with the Company policies, practices and “etiquette”?
Does the Company have an Executive Development Program? Other training programs? What are its facilities? What resources does it utilize?
Does the Company sponsor courses at University? At management associations or industry conferences? Are suggestions welcome?
How long has the Company been in existence? Who owns it? Family dominated?
How long has its present management been in control?
What has been its gross sales and profit (or loss) pattern during the last 10 years? 5 years? 2 years? New?
Does the Company have a growth plan? (See Annual Report)
What do the Company’s annual report and the D&B report show about its credit rating and financial history?
If the Company is “public”, what do recent stockbrokers’ reports say about its management and its prospects?
How does the Company and its products rate in its industry?
What is the economic trend of the industry?
Where can I get information on housing, cost of living, religious, social organizations, shopping, commuting, schools, libraries, educational and recreational facilities?
Does the Company encourage employees to participate in community activities?
Does the Company dominate the community? Social life?
While negotiating “basic” salary or compensation:
Does the Company offer stock options or deferred payment plans? Bonus arrangements? What is the “executive package” at top levels?
Does the Company have an Employee Benefits Plan (medical, Insurance, retirement)?
Does the Company reimburse moving expenses? Losses incurred in selling one’s house? Living and travel expenses while the employee is “commuting” and finding permanent housing for his family?
Does the Company arrange employment contracts?
What is the Company’s policy regarding vacations and sick leave?
What is the Company’s policy regarding international tax matters?
Is tax and legal advice available where “international” payments are involved?
When and how is salary usually paid?
What is the Company’s policy regarding agency fees?
Does the Company have a periodic employee appraisal or performance review?
What are the prospects for salary increases? Promotions?
Will there be opportunities for greater responsibilities and broader experience?
NOTE/CAUTION: Many of these questions are of a sensitive nature. An improper attitude or approach could antagonize your interviewers and make them think you are overly suspicious, too careful, prying, etc. The following suggestions will help you minimize the risk of offending your interviewers:
There is no good substitute for careful research prior to an interview.
Avoid self-serving questions that would tend to screen you out — be company-oriented in your thinking.
Be positive in your approach.
Remember, you’re not an “inquisitor.”
Pre-plan the wording of the questions you want to ask.
After your live interviews, be it with prospective employer or search firm, make notes immediately when you leave as to how you did:
- 1. Did you listen without interrupting, as to what the Company or boss needed?
- 2. Did you correctly read the signals?
- 3. Did you articulate your relevant talents, skills and experience?
- 4. Did you leave with an atmosphere of mutual respect and regard?
- 5. Do you feel good about how it went?
- 6. Did the interviewer like you?
- 7. Is there a plan for you to come back?
- 8. What follow-up steps do you plan?
If you feel uncomfortable about how the interview went, you may want to talk to your consultant about further training.
The real proof of-the-pudding is to be called to come back again to talk with other top people.
After an interview, it is important that you prepare a follow-up letter to the manager with whom you spoke.
The key ingredients of the letter should be:
- 1. Thank the manager for the interview.
- 2. Emphasize your interest for the position in question.
- 3. Rephrase your background and briefly explain how your experience can compliment the requirements of the position.
- 4. Indicate that you intend to follow-up the letter with a telephone call to determine if and when the interviewer wishes to see you again.
If the position for which you interviewed is not a job you desire; you should still send a follow-up letter expressing your thanks and informing the interviewer of your feeling. If you are still interested in the Company and would like to be considered for other positions which are more in line with your background and interests, let the Company know in the event a future position arises.
- Why are you leaving your present Job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What is your management philosophy/style?
- Do you feel you have top managerial potential?
- Are you a good manager? Can you give me some examples?
- What do you feel is the most difficult thing about being a manager or executive?
- What are your short and long range career objectives?
- How much money do you think you are worth? What do you feel the position should pay?
- What kind of grades did you get in school?
- How would you like to work for a woman?
- What do you like or dislike about the position we have?
- Describe what you do in a typical business day.
- Has the Peter Principle set in with you?
- What size company is ideal for you? Why?
- Do you work toward taking over your boss’s job?
- How long would you stay with one company?
- What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
- How do you work under pressure?
- Have you ever fired anyone?
- Have you ever hired anyone? What do you look for?
- How did you get along with your boss?
- How can we hire you with no experience in our industry?
- Name 3 accomplishments you are most proud of.
- How long before you will contribute to our profits?
- What are you being paid?
- What didn’t you like about your last job?
- Are you a good leader? Why?
- Describe a situation in which your work was criticized?
- Have you established any new goals for yourself lately?
- What newspapers and magazines do you read regularly?
- Are you creative? How?
- Describe your own personality?
- What do your subordinates think of you?
- What other companies are you interviewing with?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- If you could join any company, which company would it be? Which job?
- If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
- Are you analytical?
- Have you ever cheated on your income tax?
- Are you being overpaid? Underpaid?
- Do you think you have management potential? Why?
- What was your most important contribution to your firm in your last job?
- Do you usually greet people before they greet you?
- What’s unique about you?
- Do you prefer a line or a staff job? Why?
- What’s the main ingredient of success in business?
- How did you happen to come to us?
- What have you been doing during your unemployment?
- Why did you lose your last job?
- Describe yourself.
- What things do you look for in a job?
- Do you get along with minorities?
- How do you feel about smoking? Divorce?
- What do you know about our company?
- What was wrong with your last job? Company?
- Aren’t you a bit old for this job?
- What are the most significant trends in our industry?
- What was your greatest disappointment in life?
- Is your health a problem?
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