Candidate Interview Tools
Preparing For The Job Interview
According to a Harvard Business Review study, 90% of hires are based solely upon the interview. In fact, 63% of hiring decisions are made within the first 4.3 minutes of the interview (courtesy SHRM). So, the interview is probably the most important part of the hiring process. And that's why you need to spend time with your personal recruiter to better understand whom you are interviewing with and the issues that you will be talking about during the interview.
None of this is rocket science, and you've probably heard it all before, but most candidates agree it is a good refresher on basic skills, since most of us don't interview often enough to keep our skills sharp.
Before the Interview
- Get a fresh, crisp original résumé.
- NO NEGATIVES ABOUT PAST JOBS OR EMPLOYERS
- Do your homework - Review the company’s website and make a list of 10 questions (five regarding the position, five regarding the company).
- Appearance: 1) Wear a dark, professional suit; men, have your shoes shined and wear solid socks. Get a fresh haircut, and remember, a beard is a high-risk factor. 2) If flying to the interview: Pack an extra shirt, tie, and blouse. Bring an energy bar.
During the Interview - You Must Market Yourself!
- Be prepared for behavior-based questions (see below)
- How to be marketable:
- Education, including Continuing Education and Certifications.
- Appearance and personality
- Professional track record and accomplishments
- Attitude is everything! Smile a lot, but don't be phony. Be enthusiastic.
- Behavior: Mention his/her name often.
- Compensation question: I am currently making ____. I have done my homework; I understand what others are paying for this role and trust that you will put together a fair and equitable offer commensurate with my experience.
For Telephone Interviews:
- Walk around, don't sit, you can hear it in your voice projection
- Give interviewer a warm feeling, tell him or her:
- I fit in..."; "I didn't know that about you...";
- "I'm very impressed with..."; "It sounds to me like...";
- "I really like the scope of responsibility (or area, warm climate, new technologies, customer base, etc.)"
- When introduced, make sure you are on the same page:
- Expectations for the conversation;
- Problems that need to be solved in this position;
- Expected challenges in the hired person coming up to speed?
- Make a written list of all Hiring Authority's problems: Respond to each problem by weaving in your experiences throughout the conversation
- Interview must solve the company's problems, or fill a void. Use achievements and accomplishments to prove beyond a doubt you can solve their problems
- Collect business card from each party you meet with
Pre-Close: 5 Step Close
- Sing the praises of the company
- Sing the praises for a win-win opportunity
- Sing the praises of good chemistry between you and Hiring Authority (why it's good for you, for them).
- Ask whether they have any concerns moving forward in the process. Let them tell you what their concerns are, and then address them. Often the concerns are unfounded, and can be addressed and resolved immediately, using a real life example of a time you didn't have all of the skills, but you learned them and still delivered on time, under budget, etc. If you do not ask about their concerns, you may not move to the next step in the process because the employer does not understand all of your capabilities. Plus, they will appreciate the fact that you are proactively handling their concerns.
- Ask for the job.
ALWAYS SEND A FOLLOW-UP LETTER A.S.A.P.
Sample Behavior-Based Questions
Questions that Revolve Around Leadership:
- Tell me about a time when you accomplished something significant that wouldn't have happened if you had not been there to make it happen.
- Tell me about a time when you were able to step into a situation, take charge, muster support and achieve good results.
- Describe for me a time when you may have been disappointed in your behavior.
- Tell me about a time when you had to discipline or fire a friend.
- Tell me about a time when you've had to develop leaders under you.
Questions that Revolve Around Initiative and Follow-through:
- Give me an example of a situation where you had to overcome major obstacles to achieve your objectives.
- Tell me about a goal that you set that took a long time to achieve or that you are still working towards.
- Tell me about a time when you won (or lost) an important contract.
- Tell me about a time when you used your political savvy to push a program through that you really believed in.
- Tell me about a situation that you had significant impact on because of your follow-through.
Questions that Revolve Around Thinking and Problem Solving:
- Tell me about a time when you had to analyze facts quickly, define key issues, and respond immediately or develop a plan that produced good results.
- If you had to do that activity over again, how would you do it differently?
- Describe for me a situation where you may have missed an obvious solution to a problem.
- Tell me about a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures.
- Tell me about a time when you surmounted a major obstacle.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Communication:
- Tell me about a time when you had to present a proposal to a person in authority and were able to do this successfully.
- Tell me about a situation where you had to be persuasive and sell your idea to someone else.
- Describe for me a situation where you persuaded team members to do things your way. What was the effect?
- Tell me about a time when you were tolerant of an opinion that was different from yours.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Working Effectively with Others:
- Give me an example that would show that you've been able to develop and maintain productive relations with others, though there were differing points of view.
- Tell me about a time when you were able to motivate others to get the desired results.
- Tell me about a difficult situation with a co-worker, and how you handled it.
- Tell me about a time when you played an integral role in getting a team (or work group) back on track.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Work Quality:
- Tell me about a time when you wrote a report that was well received. What do you attribute that to?
- Tell me about a time when you wrote a report that was not well received. What do you attribute that to?
- Tell me about a specific project or program that you were involved with that resulted in improvement in a major work area.
- Tell me about a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Creativity and Innovation:
- Tell me about a situation in which you were able to find a new and better way of doing something significant.
- Tell me about a time when you were creative in solving a problem.
- Describe a time when you were able to come up with new ideas that were key to the success of some activity or project.
- Tell me about a time when you had to bring out the creativity in others.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Priority Setting:
- Tell me about a time when you had to balance competing priorities and did so successfully.
- Tell me about a time when you had to pick out the most important things in some activity and make sure those got done.
- Tell me about a time that you prioritized the elements of a complicated project.
- Tell me about a time when you got bogged down in the details of a project.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Decision Making:
- Describe for me a time when you had to make an important decision with limited facts.
- Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- Describe for me a time when you had to adapt to a difficult situation. What did you do?
- Tell me about a time when you made a bad decision
- Tell me about a time when you hired (or fired) the wrong person.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Ability to Work in Varying Work Conditions (stress, changing deadlines, etc.):
- Tell me about a time when you worked effectively under pressure.
- Tell me about a time when you were unable to complete a project on time.
- Tell me about a time when you had to change work mid-stream because of changing organizational priorities.
- Describe for me what you do to handle stressful situations.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Delegation:
- Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
- Tell me about a time when you did a poor job of delegating.
- Describe for me a time when you had to delegate to a person with a full workload, and how you went about doing it.
Questions For Behaviors that Revolve Around Customer Service:
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate customer.
- Tell me about one or two customer-service related programs that you've done that you're particularly proud of.
- Tell me about a time when you made a lasting, positive impression on a customer.
Sample Interview Thank You Letter
- Thank you for taking the time to...
- Touch on company hot buttons and how you can solve their problems or help achieve their goals.
- Confirm next step (e.g.- next interview, next phone contact, etc.)
- Be brief and to the point
- Use your spelling proof reader and grammar checking program
- Email Thank You letter A.S.A.P. after interview
- Use hiring authority's business card to properly address letter