Many think that some people are natural interviewees and that those with outgoing personalities will surely do better in an interview. But with practice everyone can learn how to interview effectively. Here are some quick interview tips for creating a more powerful interview strategy.
1. Your interview starts the moment you walk into the building; anyone you meet may be connected with the hiring manager or the hiring team.
2. Be nice to everyone you meet from the receptionist up to the senior-level executives; everyone's opinion counts.
3. Your elevator pitch is a quick overview of who you are and the value you can bring to an organization.
4. Craft one pitch you could deliver riding up to the 50th floor of the elevator and another for a ride up to the fifth floor.
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5. Practice your elevator pitch by calling your voice mail and recording your spiel; play back the message to determine what needs editing.
6. When asked why you are in job search, say something positive about the current or past employer first, then explain your reason for looking.
7. If you were downsized, explain the business reason why you were let go. Don't personalize the situation -- it wasn't about you.
8. If interviewing with several people at the same time, give everyone equal attention; you never know who the real decision maker is.
9. When participating in a phone interview always use a land line and don't put your phone on speaker.
10. Answer interview questions by communicating strong stories of success; prove what makes you unique rather than just explaining what you did.
11. Try to ask questions throughout the interview; it should be a conversation not an interrogation.
12. Asking questions during the interview helps you uncover key issues and better prepares you to answer questions throughout the interview.
13. Be sure to ask what the next steps in the interview process are so you can prepare an appropriate follow-up strategy.
14. Create a brief and visually interesting presentation about your skills and achievements to give to the hiring manager during the interview.
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15. When asked questions about mistakes you have made, be authentic, explain what you learned from the experience, and don't get defensive.
16. If asked about your weaknesses, don't spin weaknesses into strengths; it's not credible and who wants to hire someone they don't trust?
17. Ask big-picture questions about the company and how the department you are interviewing with fits into the company's long-term goals.
18. People think they should talk in general terms about career successes, but you build trust with interviewers by talking about specifics.
19. If recruiters ask you to "walk them through your background," focus on your core message of value, not the five positions you held pre-1985.
20. Interviewees are a risk to hiring managers because they don't know you. Prove success that can be duplicated in their company to earn trust.
21. A good interviewee is also a good listener. The questions asked provide clues to what the hiring manager needs and expects.
22. If you are the No. 2 candidate for a job, stay in contact with the company; many follow their "silver medalists" and recruit them later on.
23. Hang out in the company lobby the day before your interview to see how people dress; then dress at least one level up from that.
24. For lunch interviews, pass on the alcohol, garlic, and messy foods; and don't order the most expensive item on the menu.
25. For women, avoid heavy perfume, makeup, and jewelry on interviews. For men, go for a clean-shaven look, short hair, and polished shoes.
26. For men and women, cover up any tattoos and remove body piercings before interviews (other than earrings for women).
27. Before the interview, turn off your cell phone, take loose change out of your pocket, and don't show up with your own coffee from Starbucks.
28. Be memorable for what you say during an interview, not for what you wear.
29. On phone interviews, sit in front of a mirror to make you feel like you are in front of someone -- even if that someone is yourself.
30. During a phone interview, the only tool you have to communicate enthusiasm is your voice; vary your tone to communicate fit and interest.
31. Phone interviews are like open-book tests; keep any necessary notes handy so you can refer to them during the call.
32. During group interviews, ask for each person's business card and lay the cards out in front of you to help you remember everyone's name.
33. While waiting for your interview, check out the surroundings. Do people look frazzled or happy? These are clues into the department culture.
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