Are You Preparing for a Job Interview ? Get Expert Advice
Because interviews are so predictable, they’re controllable. Only the places and faces change — not the words. And you can have them all embedded in your subconscious, ready for instant replay at the drop of an interesting job lead.
I know — you think background, qualifications, or experience have something to do with getting hired. You’re right — not about the job, though. About interviewing! The director only knows what you show. That’s why the actor factor is so critical.
Unlike your conscious mind, which understands, judges, and controls (thinks), your subconscious mind stores information. If you give it the right input (images and cues), the output (words and actions) will be right, too.
The input about interviewing that is now stored back there in your subconscious is probably based on a few random encounters when you were looking for a job.
You were nervous, unprepared, and probably don’t even consciously re¬member how you reflexively responded. In fact, applicants forget 90 percent of the dialogue within hours after leaving an interviewer’s office! Some are lucky if they even remember their own names when they leave.
This is no way to learn how to respond to something so predictable as an interview. There’s no positive reinforcement—no disciplined practice, either. How unfortunate when your livelihood and personhood are on the line.
People who interview well are better employees, too. That’s because they’ve learned how to interact on the job — to sell themselves and their ideas to others.
They aren’t enslaved because they know they can always find another job. They’re working because they want to. They’re the ones who succeed in their careers.
Positive interaction gets people hired, promoted, and recruited for better opportunities. They develop a loyal fan club, which follows them to the top.
You’ll feel great about yourself when you know you can knock any interview cold. You should. You have lifetime unemployment insurance and a su¬percharged career.
1. Read the questions and answers to yourself once.
2. Customize the questions where necessary to apply to your background and target job.
3. Customize the answers where necessary to your vocabulary, background, and target job. (Just don’t change them radically; each answer is carefully designed and tested to score the most points. The further you deviate from it, the more you risk.)
4. Prepare a cassette for yourself containing the most difficult questions for you to answer, leaving spaces on the tape to read your answers aloud. (You can stop the tape occasionally to rehearse a particular response, but it is important to simulate an interview where the dialogue continues.)
5. Then, play the cassette at least three times a week for the next two weeks, sitting in front of a full-length mirror. Try to simulate an interview as closely as possible by us¬ing a table for a desk and adding other props. Don’t stop the tape. Pay attention to your facial expressions, hand movements, and body language. Smile. Look the interviewer (you) in the eye. Try not to speak with your hands. Lean forward to make a point.
6. Use your driving, riding, or walking time to listen to the cassette and answer the questions. (You can just think the answers, but talking aloud to your imaginary friend will rivet your attention. Engaging your mouth when your brain is in gear is good practice.)
If you want to come out of a job interview with an offer on the table, then for you the interview should begin as far in advance of the date and time of your appointment as possible.
For starters you’ll want to find out as much as you can prior to the big day about the company and the position you’re applying for.
And you’ll need to find out what’s considered appropriate dress and deportment at the company. These issues are not as clear-cut as they once were.
Traditionally, stan¬dards had been set, which no one questioned. Both men and women were expected to dress conservatively (suits and ties for men and business suits or dresses for women).
As to personal conduct, the standard advice was to be reserved and re¬spectful and let the interviewer control the interview.
Today abiding by these standards certainly will stand you in good stead in many situations and professions; when you’re in doubt, they can and should be considered your fallback po¬sition.
But since the early 1980s, there is no single response to how to dress and behave in a job interview.
In particular since the Internet has come into widespread use, with the concomi-tant explosion of e-commerce, job applicants may find themselves face to face with break-all-the-rules entrepreneurs as well as traditional business people — sometimes in the same day—who want and expect different things from job candi¬dates.
More than ever applicants must prepare themselves by researching the firms and people with positions to fill. Let’s begin by discussing the importance of learning all you can about the company you’ll be interviewing with.
Unless you know someone at the company where you’ll be in¬terviewing, someone who can and is willing to share with you insider information, you have to reverse the adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
To be confident going into an interview (which is a primary ingredient in making a good impression), you need to find out as much as you can about the company—and ideally the person or people — you’ll be inter¬viewing with. Fortunately, this has never been easier.
Thanks to the Internet, and more specifically the World Wide Web, you can find out valuable information about most companies worldwide.
No longer do you have to make difficult, sometimes embarrassing phone calls to receptionists or assistants and try to eke out any piece of information that might give you a leg up on the interview.
No longer do you have to go to the library and track down articles in periodicals or newspapers in search of recent news on a company or person. Just log on to the Internet, and the business world is at your finger tips — literally.
Since the 1980s, dress in the workplace has become almost universally more casual (with a few exceptions, such as the legal and investment brokerage professions); even doctors wear jeans or chinos under their lab coats (which aren’t even always white anymore).
What started as casual Fridays have become casual all days in many organizations. Perhaps prompted by the rapid and wide-spread emergence of high-tech companies, many of whose founding entrepreneurs con-sidered themselves to be rebels against the tight-laced, suit-and-tie corporate world, the old rules of suits for men and dresses for women have, by and large, fallen by the way¬side.
Today most companies, large and small, have loosened their dress codes. To the job candidate, this raises difficult questions about how to dress for an interview.
Do you dress the old-fashioned way, meant to show respect and to impress, or do you show your willingness to fit in by dressing as others in the company do? The answer is: It depends.
As important (perhaps even more so) as the clothes you wear is how you carry yourself and behave—your deportment. Probably the best way to tell you what to do is by telling you what not to do:
• Don’t chew gum or smoke; don’t bring food or a beverage (even water). If you’re asked if you’d like something to drink, accept if you want, but don’t presume it’s all right to bring refreshments with you.
• When your interviewer extends his or her hand to shake in greeting, don’t limp-fish your grip; make it firm, full of self-confidence. Make solid eye contact with each person you meet.
• Don’t sit down until invited to do so. Then, sit upright; don’t slouch or sprawl.
• Don’t give in to the tendency to talk with your hands if you, like many other people, do this when you’re nervous. Hold your hands in your lap if you have to, but don’t wave them around as punctuation to your remarks. Your interviewer will focus on your hands, not on what you’re saying.
• As much as possible, refrain from interjecting your com¬ments with uhs, you knows, um, and the like. It’s no sin to pause and say nothing while gathering your thoughts.
• Don’t take the ball and run with it, which means don’t talk so much that you dominate the interview. Don’t anticipate what the interviewer is going to say or ask, and most important, don’t interrupt. Likewise, don’t try to demonstrate you know more than the person interviewing you! Remember this is a conversation between people, not a soapbox from which you are expected to recite your knowledge and capabilities.
• If you’re being interviewed by more than one person, fo¬cus on whoever is speaking or directing a question. Do not look only at the person you know to be in charge. Employers want to be assured that you are comfortable dealing with employees at all levels of the company. Treat everyone as your client or customer.