Impressing and Imprinting At—and After—the Interview
If you make it to the job interview stage, your resume had to have impressed a prospective employer. In addition to the boost this should give your confidence level going into the interview, it means that you have put yourself in a great position to seal the deal. Here are some tips about applying the Jerry Rice Separation Strategy to the interview.
First, find out as much as you can about what to expect in order to prepare to confront it.
Will you be interviewed by one person? A panel? By more than one person sequentially? Will a meal be part of the interview? You need to prepare somewhat differently for each of these scenarios. If you find yourself in front of a panel of interlocutors, make sure you (1) determine who is the panel leader, and (2) make eye contact with each panelist when responding to or posing questions. If you will be interviewed sequentially, have something different to say to each interrogator. If you will be eating with your interviewer(s), don’t order soup or anything “glopy.”
Where will the interview take place? Are there travel and logistical problems you might encounter on your way to the interview? Do you need to make a trial run to the interview site to familiarize yourself with its location and how to get there in a timely manner? Put any logistic issues to rest before you travel to the actual interview.
What kind of preparation do you need to do? Where should you go to get information on the job, the employer, the interviewer? With whom can you role-play? What personal “quirks” do you need to work on: Interrupting? Eye contact? Verbal crutches, such as “ah,” “umm,” “you know?” “like,” “right?” “You know what I’m saying?” “Are you with me?” Speaking in a monotone? Slouching? Poor or negative body language? Practice makes perfect.
Have you practiced answering the tough questions that may be asked? And not wasted prep time answering the questions you know you can knock out of the park? Focus on the questions likely to make you squirm.
Have you prepared great questions to ask of the interviewer(s). Try to incorporate your background as well as knowledge of the prospective employer into your questions.
What will you wear to the interview? Dress “to the nines” regardless of the nature of the employer or its dress code. Look your very best.
During the Interview
Remember that the interview begins when you walk into the office and has already begun while you are sitting in the reception area waiting to be interviewed. Many employers ask their receptionist how you conducted yourself while you were waiting, and what you talked about.
Exude confidence, energy and enthusiasm without going overboard.
Answer the interviewer’s questions with specific examples from your background.
Have ready your mental list of great questions to ask the interviewer.
Close the interview by reiterating your interest in position (unless the interview has turned you off to the job), determining the next step in hiring process, and thanking the interviewer(s).
Following the Interview
The interview is not over when you walk out of the office. There is follow-up involved. Write a thank-you note or email to the interviewer, in which you also reaffirm your interest.
“De-brief” yourself in writing, being as critical as you can of your interview performance while the interview is still fresh in your mind. Such a debriefing will be of immense value to you during any succeeding interviews. Be brutal. You need to be your own harshest critic.
Each one of these precepts is a means of putting some distance between you and other job candidates.