Guidelines for Interviewing

Congratulations!  You did it!  You got the interview.  This is the beginning of the second phase of the process.  Be prepared for multiple interviews.  The hiring process never goes as quickly as anyone wants.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

RESEARCH!  Employers only hire people them like.  Who do they like?  People who prepare for meetings.  So learn everything you can about the employer.  Devour their website.  Google them.  Sooner or later you will be asked the question, Why do you want to work here?  That is your opportunity to show off your research skills.  So show them off.  Don’t tell them what a great researcher you are and how well you prepare for meeting, show them!

But researching the company is not enough.  Employers only hire people they like.  Who do they like?  People with whom they share something in common.  So research the interviewers.  Google them.  Look at their LinkedIn profiles.  Learn what you can, and if possible, find a connection and subtly bring it up.

And don’t forget to research the company’s employees.  Do a “Company” search on LinkedIn and read the profiles of the employees.  This will give you an idea of the type of people they hire.  Let them know that you will fit in.

ARRIVE early.  There is never any excuse for being late.  Period.  Dress conservatively.  And absolutely no cologne or perfume.  The interview will not last long if the interviewer can literally not bear to be in the same room with you!

GREET the receptionist with a handshake.  Most people ignore the receptionist.  Don’t.  Be polite and engaging, and most importantly, professional.  A receptionist can kill a candidacy.  If she is not busy, engage her in polite conversation about her job and why she likes working at the company.

When the person you are meeting greets you, give a firm handshake, smile, thank them for inviting you for the interview and, as soon as possible, mention that your aim is to learn how you will be able to make their life easier.  That will frame the discussion around your candidacy.  You see your job as making the employer’s life easier.

MODESTY may be the best policy, but not during an interview.  But you don’t want to come across as pompous.  So, at the very beginning, when you are talking about your success, note that you recognize that you were lucky enough to be part of a team but, for present purposes, you are going to be focusing on what you personally accomplished.

ASK FOR THE JOB, but be subtle about it.  At the end, thank the interviewer again and, if you are interested, tell them that you are interested in the position and want to know what the next step is in the process.

THE THANK-YOU LETTER is your next step in the process.  As soon as you get home, prepare an e-mail.  The purpose of the thank-you is to show that you can write a professional letter, to express interest in the position, to clarify any statements you made in the interview, and to make any corrections.  In the letter you must relate to some of the major points the interviewer raised.  It cannot read like a generic thank-you.  Moreover, proofread it – at least three times.  If you can’t find someone to proofread it for you, make sure you wait a good 20 minutes before your send it.  A poorly worded letter, or one with multiple errors, can and will cost you an offer.

But the e-mail is not enough.  Mail a hand-written thank-you note.  It’s a nice touch and it’s unexpected.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T FORGET, THE ONLY PERSON THE EMPLOYER CARES ABOUT IS HIS OR HER SELF.  SO FOCUS ON THE NEEDS OF THE EMPLOYER, NOT ON WHAT YOU WANT.  WHAT YOU WANT IS IMPORTANT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE PROCESS, BUT YOU WON’T REACH A SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION UNLESS  YOU FOCUS ON THE EMPLOYER.

GOOD LUCK!

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