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Interview Preparation

You want to work for the company, they've seen your credentials, and they've asked you in for an interview.  You want the job.  At Talent Resource Solutions, our executive search consultants help each candidate prepare prior to their first telephone or in-person interview.  Here are some other suggestions that will help make sure your interview goes as well as possible.

Get the Logistics Right.  Make sure you've got the time, location, interviewer's name and title, and position title.  Do you have emergency home and work numbers of your search firm recruiter and company contact?

Do Your Research. Find out as much as possible about the company: Size, scope, location of branches and offices, financial / share performance, range of products and services, etc. Have you visited their locations?  The company website and annual report are two very good sources.

Preparation Tools.  Interviews start with mental preparation and setting the stage.  Settle in at least 15 minutes before the interview to review your notes.  If it's a phone interview, be sure you're set up where there will not be any interruptions.  Bring a copy of your resume, pen and paper, company information, and a list of questions for the company.

Chemistry and Personality.
  Statistics show that companies don't always hire the most qualified candidate.  They hire based on fit in their company culture.  Enthusiasm, passion and excitement are the biggest selling points a candidate can bring to an interview.  Companies feel these traits translate directly over to an individual's performance and work ethic.

Discuss Your Accomplishments.
  Some interviewers like to ask the question, "Tell me about yourself."  They want to hear how you communicate, whether you're articulate, or whether you ramble.  The employer wants to hear about your professional qualifications.  What in your background will benefit their company? Pre-plan a 1-2 minute script outlining your education, career progression, current position, and where you want to go in your career.

Our team will also help you prepare by working with you on your specific career accomplishments and by utilizing some of our interview tools.

Ask Questions.
  It's important to let the interviewer know that you have a high interest level by asking questions.  Prepare a list of question you will ask the company during the interview.

Send a thank-you note.
  Be sure to send a brief follow up letter immediately after your interview.  E-mail is preferred.

Anticipated Questions & How to Respond

Please take these notes to the interview and practice the anticipated questions that may be asked and your answers to those questions. Be sure to practice these steps out loud to yourself before the interview.

  • What are the duties and responsibilities of the position I'm applying for? This is an excellent icebreaker question for the hiring authority and a great start to a successful interview. What percentage of my job is dedicated to administration, supervisory, and technical? (This should = 100%.)
  • What is my number one priority that has to be done before I leave each day? Why? (Priorities are personal.)
  • What are the production or sales goals? What obstacles would prevent me from reaching my goals?
  • What are the short and long term goals set for the person in this position?
  • Have questions for the hiring authority. Questions must be written out before the interview, while avoiding the topic of compensation and benefits for the first interview.
  • Salary - this is a trap question. If the question is brought up, a very good response is "My recruiter has shared the salary range of the position, and I'm comfortable that you will make me a fair offer within that range" OR "I am currently making $_____. Although I would like an increase, I don't know enough about the opportunity to answer that fairly." Be very careful that you don't short yourself. Be sure to keep in mind your base salary, bonus program, stock options, gain sharing programs, performance bonuses, benefits, etc.
  • Ask for the job! "Do you have any reservations about moving me forward to the next step? If not, can I assume I will be moving forward?" OR "Can we conclude our business today if all goes well?" OR summarize what you've done that ties in with the new position and ask, "Do I have the qualifications you're looking for?" Then remain silent for an answer. If the hiring authority says, "I'm looking at other people," you say, "How do my qualifications match the people you're considering."

(Your #1 priority is to receive an offer, if this is a position that you desire, your #2 priority is to know the next step.)

What You Should Practice:

  • Be descriptive - Don't just answer "yes" or "no" to questions.  But also avoid over-answering.  Make your answers colorful but not lengthy.
  • Sell yourself to the interviewer, but without exaggeration or telling lies.  You are there to market yourself, blow your own trumpet, and explain why you'd be right for the role.  But don't come across arrogant.
  • Avoid making negative remarks about your current employer, or past employers or colleagues.  This will only reflect on you in the interview.
  • Be determined.  Make it clear that you want to get the job, even if you are given information in the interview that sheds a new light on the role.  Be positive, and then evaluate the opportunity again when you are away from the interview.  Don't burn your bridges.
  • Have positive body language and maintain a good position.
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