Regardless of your initial impression of the job opportunity, your main objective is to obtain a JOB OFFER by outshining the competition. It is impossible to properly evaluate a position before a bona fide offer has been extended.
Although you may not have been actively seeking a new position, the impression you want to convey is that you are vigorously pursuing the position. The posture you must assume is that of an active job seeker.
Do not inform business associates of companies, locations, and positions for which you are interviewing. You only create competition for yourself.
Following are some tips for going on a job interview. Also included are samples of commonly asked questions and some suggested answers.
(1) No sport jackets for men.
1. Shake hands firmly.
1. Never apologize.
PROOF OF COMPETENCE
1. Describe job in terms of duties and responsibilities.
IN ESSENCE, IT'S NOT WHAT YOUR EMPLOYER CAN DO FOR YOU.
Most job hunters make two devastating mistakes when they are being questioned in an interview. First, they fail to listen carefully to the question. They annoy the interviewer either by answering a question that wasn't asked or by giving out a lot of superfluous nonsense.
Second and most important, they attempt to answer questions with virtually no preparation. The glibbest person on earth, even the most skilled debater, cannot answer questions off the cuff without damaging his chances of success. ITT's Harold Geneen used to tell job hunters, "I'm not asking questions, I'm waiting for answers!" You can have these answers if you take the trouble to anticipate the questions and prepare your responses.
What follows is a number of questions that various surveys have indicated are asked most often, regardless of the of the job classification. Study all of these questions carefully, develop strong responses, and your candidacy will receive prime consideration.
1. "TELL-ME-ABOUT-YOURSELF" QUESTIONS (Asked to explore background)
-(Q) "How do you feel about your progress to date?" (A) "I think you'll agree, I've accomplished quite a bit in the last five years, (concisely summarize your past accomplishments)."
-(Q) "What are your greatest accomplishments?" Deliver one or two short heroic mini-stories.
-(Q) "What training/qualifications do you have for a job like this?" Don't rehash your resume; deliver a short, fact-filled summary of a few of the most important qualifications you have.
2. "YOUR-PERSONALITY" QUESTIONS (Asked to determine whether you have the qualifications needed)
-(Q) "Have you done the best work of which you are capable?" Use some degree of self-effacement. (A) "I'm sure there were times when I could have worked harder or longer, but over the years I've tried to do my best and I believe I have succeeded."
-(Q) "What causes you to lose your temper?" Pick something safe and reasonable like (A) "...people who are late to meetings."
-(Q) "What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?" Don't disqualify yourself and be careful what you admit. (A) "I find it difficult to decide which of two good people must be let go."
3. "YOUR-MOTIVES" QUESTIONS (Asked to determine whether you would enjoy the job)
-(Q) "Why do you want to work here?" Do you homework on the company and know exactly why you want to work there. Organize your reasons, use facts, not puffery. (A) "You make the best product on the market today. You've got a sales force that is aggressive and imaginative. Your management is farsighted enough to reinvest profits so that soon you will be the leader in your category."
-(Q) "Would you like to have your boss's job?" By all means, yes! Ambitious people are always preferred over those willing to settle for a safe routine. If you sense this answer may be too arrogant or threatens your interviewer's security, you might add: (A) "When I am judged qualified," or (A) "should an opening develop in several years."
-(Q) "How long will you stay with the company?" Employers want committed, long-term employees. A reasonable answer is (A) "As long as I continue to learn and grow in my field."
-(Q) "What would you like to be doing five years from now?" Make sure you know exactly what can and cannot be achieved by the ideal candidate in your shoes. Too many candidates butcher this question because they have not done their homework and have no idea where their career will lead them.
-(Q) "Why should I hire you?" The interviewer does not want a lengthy regurgitation of your resume, or a barrage of facts and figures. He is interested in testing your poise, confidence and motivation. Give a short, generalized summary. (A) "I have the qualifications to do the job and my track record proves it. I know that this is the job for me and that I will be successful." Or if you are less experienced, (A) "I am capable of quickly learning what you have to teach me, I can be productive in a short time period."
4. "SALARY" QUESTIONS
5. OTHER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
-(Q) "Are you willing to travel and/or relocate?" If your answer is no, you will probably not be hired.
-(Q) "Do you have any health problems?" Tell the truth and summarize everything in one sentence. If he needs to know more, he'll ask.
-(Q) "Whom can we check as references?" Be ready with a neatly typed list of four or five individuals who are willing to recommend you highly.
MOST CANDIDATES ARE NOT EFFECTIVE DURING AN INTERVIEW
1. "INTEREST" QUESTIONS
-(Q) "What are the company's future plans and goals?" Ask this to show interest in the company and to see if you picture yourself working there years later from now.
-(Q) "Would you describe for me a typical day on the job?" This answer will help you decide if the daily routine will suit you.
-(Q) "What management philosophy is in this department?"
-(Q) "What is your philosophy and the company's about training and development?"
-(Q) "Where does this department fit into the organizational hierarchy at your company?" The answers to these questions may help you be aware of the company's management style or hierarchy.
-(Q) "Where do you see the major growth potential for this company during the next two to five years. Ask this to show interest and to see how important of a role your position or department will play in the growth of the company.
2. "JOB SATISFACTION" QUESTIONS
-(Q) "What do I have to do to be promoted?" If this question makes your interviewer nervous or uneasy, it is reasonable to expect that he has little desire to promote somebody. On the other hand, if he explains, take careful notes. This information could be useful before and after you are hired.
-(Q) "When I perform to your expectations, how will I be evaluated?" This answer should tell how often they review and evaluate their employees.
-(Q) "What do you like most about your company? Least?" Someone in the personnel department will give you a relatively worthless answer, but anyone else in the company is well worth listening to.
3. "PAST PERFORMANCE" QUESTIONS
-(Q) "How many people held this job in the last five years?" The answer to this question could mean that you can expect to be promoted quickly or if the turnover has been high, you have a right to suspect that the job may leave something to be desired.
-(Q) "Why isn't this job being filled by someone within the company?" You may discover that nobody in his company would accept it or that your future fellow employees are a weak lot.
-(Q) "What are some examples of the best results produced by people in this job?" Here you may discover you are over qualified or in a position to ask for considerably more money.
-(Q) "What has led to your company's/department's success and how do you expect to maintain that?" The answer to this may tell you which positions and departments play the key role in the company.
-(Q) "Has the company experienced downsizing over the past two years, and how does the company handle that?" This answer may tell you what happened to the previous person who held the position you are interviewing for.
4. "SALES" QUESTIONS
-(Q) "Why do you want someone for this job?" Force your interviewer to explain why this job can't be done by one of his current employees. This will give you a valuable job description.
-(Q) "What qualifications are you looking for in the person you need?" And (Q)"What are the responsibilities of the position?"
These questions give you the chance to sell yourself and remember if you lack a desired asset, sell a compensating asset you possess.
-(Q) "What exactly would you like to have me accomplish in this position?" This question can also be used as a Job Satisfaction question, by finding out if your interviewer is being realistic or is he describing an eighteen-hour-a-day job that will lead you straight into divorce court? If this question is used for a Sales question, again, this is the chance to sell yourself and describe your past accomplishments and how you are a quick achiever.
5. OTHER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
-(Q) "Will you be asking me to relocate out of town?" If the interviewer does not bring this up, you should ask to be sure.
-(Q) "Do you have any questions about my qualification?" Here is your chance to clear up any misunderstandings and come to terms with any reservations your interviewer may have.
-(Q) "How soon will you decide if you want to hire me?" This question can save you a lot of anxiety and also gently nudge your interviewer into making a quicker decision.
What you say at the conclusion of the interview is critical. The number one reason why people don't get the job is because they don't ask for it!!! At the end of the interview:
-(Q) "Based on our conversation, I know I can be an asset to you and the department. Is there anything else you need answered in order to hire me?" (LISTEN) If they say nothing, ask for a start date. "I want this opportunity, what is the next step?"
-(Q) "I can perform the job you want. I've done it before and I've done it well."
-(Q) "How do you see me performing in this position?"
-(Q) "In your opinion, what makes me right or wrong for this position?"
YOU DO NOT HAVE A DECISION TO MAKE
Note: Career oriented people are more interested in gaining valuable experience, advancement opportunities, and an enhanced working environment rather than immediate salary increase. A lateral salary move though rare, should always be considered based on career potential.
MOST CANDIDATES ARE NOT EFFECTIVE DURING AN INTERVIEW