A career change is considered by many a “major life decision,” and as such requires an investment of time and effort to identify, apply, interview and land the opportunity that is best for you.
Remember, your “best fit” opportunities are those that will capitalize on your strengths and offer more of the responsibilities and tasks that you enjoy, which creates a strong sense of contribution and job satisfaction.
INTERVIEW FOR SUCCESS
An interview is a meeting between professionals to exchange information in order to make an informed decision whether to continue in the process, or graciously walk away.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW:
Start by compiling a written list of 10-20 business-related questions. These questions should reflect your interest in developing a thorough understanding of how your knowledge, skillset, and experience will apply to the position and complement the organization; as well as how the company can help you achieve your career goals and aspirations.
- What are the characteristics or traits of the person who you will hire for this position?
- How does the company measure success for the position, and what obstacles would prevent me from reaching them?
- Where will this position take me in the company?
DURING THE INTERVIEW:
Be prepared for a variety of questions.
These questions are asked to determine your mental ability; do you have the education, experience and skill set required to be successful in this position?
- How has your education and employment prepared you for this position?
- Why should we hire you?
- Describe your managerial (sales, engineering, etc.) skills.
- What are the things you are most proud of in your personal and/or professional life?
- What are your greatest strengths and “areas for improvement?”
- Why are you looking?
It is important to possess the technical skills required for the job; however, it is equally important that you are able to work well with others or in a given environment. These questions are used to determine cultural fit.
- What would your supervisor tell me about you?
- Are you a formulator or an implementer?
- What motivates your best work?
- How would your peers describe you?
Companies view hiring as an investment in their organization. Candidates that are committed, passionate and motivated to succeed are more likely to deliver a return and are therefore a better investment.
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What aspects of this position would you find to be the most difficult?
- If you had to choose a school or major again, what would you change?
- When responding to any of these types of questions; be honest, correlate your knowledge, experience and skill set as it applies to the position, and support with examples whenever possible.
These questions are powerful because they identify past behaviors which are indicative of future performance. These questions typically have multiple parts and require you to share specific examples/situations as part of your answer.
- Which of your past jobs has been most demanding in terms of having to handle a variety of tasks at once?
- What competing demands did you have to deal with?
- How did you decide what to do first?
- How did it turn out?
- Describe the last time you disagreed with one of your bosses or co-workers.
- What was the reason?
- How did you express your disagreement?
- What was the person’s reaction?
- What was the outcome?
When responding to these types of questions, we recommend the following technique (PAR), which is extremely effective in delivering a tremendous amount of information in a clear and concise format.
Problem: Clearly state the problem.
Action: Discuss the action that was taken.
Result: What was the result of your action? (If possible, include tangible numbers, i.e. “decreased spending by 20 %” or “increased efficiency by 53 %.”)
Be prepared to ask questions:
Many of your questions will be answered during the interview. Refer to the list of questions you formulated before the interview and ask any questions that remain on that list that are critical to your decision-making process.
END OF INTERVIEW:
The interviewer will be interested in your initial thoughts and reactions to the interview. If you have determined this is a “good fit” opportunity, make sure to express your interest, and ask for the next step. Before hanging up, thank the interviewer for his/her time and let him/her know you are looking forward to hearing back.
Apply Fundamental Principles for the Face-to-Face Interview:
- Don’t be late! Allow ample time to arrive safely and have your interviewers contact information with you in the event of an emergency or unforeseen delay.
- Take a professional planner/portfolio, paper, and pen, 2 copies of your resume and a typed list of 3 professional references with you.
- Dress for Success – we recommend a conservative, clean appearance with limited use of cologne or perfume.
- Greet everyone with a firm handshake and make consistent eye contact.
- Speak clearly with a professional yet conversational tone.
- Listen proactively and never interrupt the interviewer.
- Build rapport with the interviewer; statistics show that the decision to hire is typically made in the first 15 minutes of the interview, with the remaining time spent justifying that decision. Your “technical qualifications” validate the reason for the interview, your personality and cultural fit will determine the success of the interview.
- Relax and enjoy the experience