JOB INTERVIEW PREPARATION,
TECHNIQUES & TIPS
THE CAREER PLAYBOOK GUIDE
9. PREPARE FOR THE JOB INTERVIEW:
Your value is what makes an employer want to
hire you. Nothing impresses an interviewer more
than showing how you can add value and profit
to their bottom line by: increasing sales, saving
them money, obtaining more new customers while
retaining existing ones, etc. Prove this during
your interview and the job is yours.
The Selection Process
You might be one of hundreds of people who respond to a
job opening. However, most of the people who respond won't
get interviewed. They'll get screened out through a process
of elimination by an individual or committee which will
determine the final candidates. In essence, here's how the
screening process works. Generally, between 5 to 10 candidates
are invited to a preliminary interview out of every 100
resumes a company receives for a job opening. Then, only
those candidates with the highest "score" will
qualify for second interviews. This continues throughout
subsequent interviews until the list is whittled down to
about three final candidates. When you reach this point
you can count on having at least two, or as many as five
interviews, before a final candidate is chosen.
Typically, this is how you'll be scored during interviews:
50%... Good chemistry. Can you "fit" into the organization?
30%... Competence and ability. Can you do the job?
20%... Willingness and enthusiasm. Will you do the job?
Here is an example of how you are evaluated under each
of the three categories:
50%... Good chemistry -- Can you "fit"
into the organization:
- Grooming/General appearance: Does candidate fit our
- Social fit: Communicates and listens well, good fit
with co-workers, customers, management
- Shared Values: Personal interests and beliefs consistent
with the company's goals and objectives
- Present/Future/Leadership potential: Honest, mature,
stable, likable, relates well to others
- Attitude: Positive and upbeat with a can-do attitude,
follows directions, accepts criticism
30%... Competence and ability -- Can you do the job:
- Technical Fit: Has the skills, talents and ability to
do the job
- Expertise: Has the background and experience to do the
- Education: Has the required knowledge to do the job
20%... Willingness and enthusiasm -- Will you
do the job:
- Ambition: Has the desire to learn, grow and excel
- Intelligent/Energetic/Motivated/Team Player: comprehends
and adapts quickly, achievement oriented
Tips For A Winning Interview
- Understand the employer's perspective
- Make a good first impression
- Communicate interest and enthusiasm
- Focus on what you can do for the company
- Prove that your skills, talents and abilities match
the employer's needs
- Show that you can quickly contribute value and profit
to the organization
- Have a list of questions to ask that were not found
when researching the company
- Never bring up salary, perks or benefits unless a job
- When interview concludes, say "I've enjoyed our
time together, where do we go from here?"
- After the interview, make notes of what you did well
and what you need to improve upon
- Always send a thank you letter/note within 24 hours
of your interview
Why the Best-Qualified Candidates Usually DON'T Get
Research indicates that about 65% of the time, the hired
employee meets fewer than 50% of the job qualifications.
How can this be?
The reason is because job offers are given most frequently
to those candidates who, regardless of formal qualifications,
sell themselves best, intimidate least and listen the most.
All About Interviewing
Practice interviewing with a friend or loved one. Better
yet, videotape the entire interview. Have a friend or career
coach act the part of interviewer by asking you selected
questions based on the type of job you're interviewing for.
Use the Tough Interview
Questions as a guide.
Plan your interviews. Take the Interview Worksheets with
you to your interview. Make sure to place them on top of
your note pad for a quick reference should you need them.
By listing your top 3 or 4 achievements and having written
down the questions you want to ask the interviewer, you'll
be focused, organized and ready for your interviews.
Keep in mind what employers want to know about you and
Your References: Make sure you send each one of your references
an updated version of your resume and also provide them
with a list of your skills, talents, and abilities. Also,
make sure you notify them of the companies that may call.
Always remember that to hire and train a new employee
is a "big ticket" purchase for the employer costing
between $10,000 to $30,000. For this reason the employer
will attempt to get the best value for their money. Therefore,
it is not uncommon to undergo three screening interviews
and two selection interviews before a final candidate is
Types Of Interviews
There are basically two types of interviews: the Screening
Interview, and the Selection Interview. However, both of
these interviews come in a variety of altered types and
A screening interview is used to determine if you have the
necessary qualifications to continue to the next step. Typically
conducted by human resources in larger companies or the
hiring manager in smaller firms, these tend to be done very
quickly. The goal is to screen out as many job applicants
as possible. Making it through to the next step will be
determined by the candidate's attitude, intelligence, interests
and "fit". The latter is the most important determinant
in this initial process. The question that the interviewer
will have in the back of their mind is, "Will the candidate
'fit' within our organization?" (Refer
to "50%... Good chemistry" above)
Your goal: To be invited back for
a follow-up interview.
The Internet has created a global reach making it possible
for employers to broadcast their job listings all over the
world. Telephone screening interviews serve as a very efficient
and low cost way to quickly evaluate a candidate's viability
for the open position.
The purpose of this interview is to draw out more information
than is shown on your resume and cover letter. Don't attempt
to establish rapport with the screener as this person's
primary task is to establish whether you meet the basic
requirements for the position. Do not smoke or eat while
taking this call. Focus on the caller: avoid distractions
and minimize background noises.
Some interviewers may not call you to set up a telephone
appointment. Because of this, you should have your resume,
your list of questions, and a pen and note pad - conveniently
placed near your telephone - ready for their call.
Always remember that body language is eliminated from this
setting so you must: take a moment to organize your thoughts,
give clear and concise answers to questions -- and smile
-- to make sure your voice reflects enthusiasm and a
In closing the interview: thank the interviewer for his
or her time, write down the correct spelling of their name
and confirm their mailing address to help in sending them
a thank you letter.
Your goal: To be invited to an in-person