Please take some time to learn how to improve your next interview.

1. Know The Benefits You Bring To The Table

The interview is a selling situation. In this case, the product happens to be you. And, just like another sales situation, your buyer (the employer) needs to be able to answer the question of “What’s in it for me?” If they cannot answer this question, you will not get the offer you are looking for. To help you answer this question we recommend that you do the following:

Research the company’s industry at a macro level

  • Who are their competitors and what are their product lines?
  • What environmental factors are impacting the company?
  • How will you help the organization excel in the industry?

Research the company at a micro level

  • Read their annual report. What is their stock price?
  • Why has it increased/decreased in value?
  • Who are the key executives within the organization?
  • What things are highlighted in the annual report that the company is most proud of?
  • What is being said about the company in the news?
  • How will you help the company meet and exceed their business objectives?

Think about the position

  • What skills are important to the job?
  • What types of problems or issues will you be faced with?
  • What do you think your expectations will be for the position?
  • Why do you deserve the position?

Once you conduct your research, you will be prepared to start thinking about the skills and experiences you bring to the table that will truly be what the company needs to see in a candidate.

Sometimes it is not easy to come up with these benefits on your own, or to know what benefits are more important than others to a specific employer. It is for this reason that teaming up with a recruiter can be of tremendous benefit to your career search.

At Global Executive Solutions Group, we have intimate knowledge of our clients, and this allows us to help you understand what types of things you need to present and how you need to present them to best represent yourself to our clients.

2. Point Out Past Accomplishments

Now that you have thought about some of the benefits you will bring to your new organization, you need to be prepared to back them up with past performances that will serve as proof. You will want to construct mini-stories. Each mini-story should contain:

  • A description of the situation – This could be a problem you solved or a project you worked on.
  • A description of your behavior in that situation.
  • A description of why you behaved the way you did.
  • A description of the end result

Be sure the employer understands how the end result will translate into a benefit for them. (For example – what you learned, customer relationships you can bring to the table, knowledge of a product line).

If you are having difficulty in putting together mini-stories, ask yourself the following types of questions:

  • What have you done to increase sales, and by what amount?
  • What have you done to control costs and by what amount?
  • What problems have you solved, and how did they impact your company?
  • Have you managed people, and if so what did they accomplish under you?
  • Did you work on a problem that everyone else avoided? What was the result?
  • What special projects were you hired to work?
  • Have you met or exceeded your manager’s expectations? If so, by how much?
  • What are your greatest strengths, and how will they benefit the company you are interviewing with?
  • What are your opportunities for professional development and what is your action plan to develop these areas?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • How can you contribute to the company?
  • Where do you hope to be in 5 years, and what do you plan to do to get there?
  • What have you learned the most in your current position, and how will this benefit an employer?

Again, it is worth mentioning that teaming up with a recruiter can be of benefit in this situation. At Global Executive Solutions Group, we work with thousands of candidates a year that go through interview processes. With each candidate, we gain new insight into what works well and what does not. This expertise allows for us to help you make sure your language and style to describing yourself is consistent with what works best!

3. Typical Questions for Candidate To Ask

Your interviews should be two-way conversation. You must ask questions and take an active role in the interview. This demonstrates the importance you place on your work and your career. Asking questions gives you a chance to demonstrate your depth of knowledge in the field as well as to establish an easy flow of conversation and relaxed atmosphere between you and the interviewer. Building this kind of rapport is always a plus in an interview.

Asking questions will permit your prospective new employer to recognize several characteristics about you.

  • You are intelligent.
  • You know what information needs to be analyzed to make decisions.
  • You are interested in the opportunity.
  • You can be conversational.

Remember, you are not just there for the interviewer to determine if you are right for the position, but your questions can help you determine if this position is right for you. Some of your questions should evolve from research you’ve done on the company in preparing for the interview. Following are some guidelines for your questions as well as some examples.

Interest Questions

Why do you want someone for this job?
Force the interviewer to explain why this job can’t be done by one of his current employees. The answer may give you a valuable job description.

Job Satisfaction Questions

Ask questions that relate to the responsibilities, importance and authority of the position as well as those investigating the rewards for a job well done and the long-range career opportunities.

Past Performance Questions

Why isn’t this position being filled from within the company? You may discover there isn’t anyone in the organization that wanted this position or there is a weakness in this area.

How many people have held this job in the last five years?
Were they promoted or did they leave company?
If the turnover has been high, you have a right to suspect that the job may leave something to be desired. It could also mean that you could expect to be promoted quickly.

How did you get started in the company?

A good way to get to know the interviewer better and gain insight into the promotional path the company follows.

What are examples of the best results produced by people in this job?
Here you may discover you are overqualified or in a position to ask for considerably more money.

25 of the toughest questions clients have ever been asked by candidates.

  1. What would I see if I stood outside the front door at 5 o’clock? Would everyone be smiling? Staying late or leaving early? Would they be taking work home?
  2. What is your “learning plan” for me for my first six months?
  3. What competencies do you propose I will develop that I don’t currently have?
  4. Which individual in the department can I learn the most from?
  5. What can he or she teach me? Can I meet them?
  6. Does the company have a specific program to advance my career?
  7. What are some examples of the decisions I could make in this job without any approvals? Show me the degree of autonomy and control I will have in this position.
  8. How many hours a week do you expect the average person on your team to work? How many hours does the average person in fact work? Are there work/life programs in place to promote a healthy work/life balance?
  9. How will my performance be evaluated? What are the top criteria you use? What percent of my compensation is based on my performance? Is there a process where the employees get to assess their supervisor?
  10. If I do a great/bad job in the first 90 days, how specifically will you let me know? What are the steps you would take to help me improve?
  11. What is the first assignment you intend to give me? Where does that assignment rank in the department’s priorities?
  12. What makes this assignment a great opportunity for me at this particular point in my career?
  13. How many hours of your time can I expect to get each week for the first six months on the job? How often will we have scheduled meetings?
  14. If I were frustrated about my job what specific steps would you take to help me overcome that frustration? How about if you were frustrated with me?
  15. Can you show me examples of what you have done for others in your group in the past year to overcome any frustration?
  16. What are the “wows!” of this job? What are the worst parts? And what will you do to maximize the former and minimize the latter?
  17. If I asked the incumbent what stinks about the job, what would he or she say? Can I talk to him or her?
  18. What are the biggest problems facing this department in the next six months and one year?
  19. What key competencies have you identified that I will need to develop in the next six months to be successful?
  20. What makes this company a great place to work? What outside evidence (rankings or awards) do you have to prove this is a great place to work? What is the company going to do in the next year to make it better?
  21. What is the best/toughest question I could ask you to find out about the worst aspects of this job? How would you answer it?
  22. If you were my best friend, what would you tell me about this job that we haven’t already discussed?
  23. Can you give me some examples of the best and worst aspects of the company’s culture? When top performers leave the company why do they leave and where do they usually go?
  24. When was the last significant layoff? What criteria were used to select those to stay? What packages were offered to those that were let go?
  25. Does the company have a program to significantly reward individuals that develop patents/ great products? Is there a program to help individuals “start” their own firms or subsidiary? Will I be required to fill out non-compete agreements?

Some other watch-outs when Asking Questions

  • Be careful not to appear to be cross-examining the employer.
  • Ask questions requiring an explanation.
  • Questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no” are conversation stoppers.
  • When the employer is answering YOUR question, don’t interrupt.
  • Human Resources will usually provide company information and available benefits.

Thorough review and questions concerning benefits should be addressed after the interview. Remember, the interviewers are trying to see how you can contribute to the company. At Global Executive Solutions Group, we take the time to really get to know our candidates. The information we gather on you will be used to help you develop your list of questions. We do not want you leaving an interview without having all of the information you need to be able to make a decision.

4. Typical Questions Clients Ask

You should give complete but brief and relaxed answers to questions. When possible, use questions as a basis for developing information that you want to make sure is presented. Continue to sell yourself in a positive way. Describe jobs in terms of duties and give indicators of good performance such as raises, sales volume, and promotions. Include short stories involving problems or challenges and how you were able to solve or overcome them. Describe the results you achieved.

Typical interview questions generally fall into eight categories: Background, Personality, Motive, Job Satisfaction, Past Performance, Compensation, Tougher Questions, Behavioral Interviewing. Examples and suggested responses follow:

Background Questions

Tell me about yourself.
Answer these questions in terms of the qualifications required of the position. Keep responses concise and brief. Avoid being derogatory or negative about previous jobs and bosses.

“Tell me about yourself” means, “Tell me about your qualifications”. Prepare a one-to-two minute discussion of your qualifications. Start with education and discuss your experiences. Describe your performance (in raises, promotions, innovative designs, sales volumes, increased profits, etc.)

What are your greatest strengths?
Interviewers like to hear abstract qualities. Loyalty, willingness to work hard, eagerness, fast-learner, technical skills, politeness, and promptness, expressed in concrete terms are good examples. Avoid the simple generalization “I like people”. It’s not a good answer.

What are your greatest weaknesses?
Don’t be intimidated. The interviewer probably wants reassurance that hiring you won’t be a mistake. This is not the time to confess all your imperfections. (Do not state “not being able to go work on Mondays”, or “coming in late”, etc.). Present your weaknesses as professional strengths, (i.e., “Sometimes work too hard to make sure things are done accurately”).

Personality Questions

What do you do in your spare time?
Workaholics are not always the best employees. Present yourself as a well-rounded person. Your answer gives you dimension. Name some hobbies.

What do other people say about you?

Motive Questions

Answer motive questions enthusiastically. Show the interviewer that you are interested in the position and that you really want the job. Remember to maintain eye contact and be sincere.

How can you contribute to this company?
Be positive and sell! Strong technical skills, enthusiasm, and desire to complete projects correctly and efficiently are good responses.

Why should I hire you for this position?
Explain your qualifications and how they fit the available position. Address your interest in the job and the field and why you enjoy this style of work. Emphasize your ability to successfully perform the duties required.

Why do you want to work for our firm?
Make a compliment about what the company does, its location, or its people. Other positive remarks might be about the company’s product or service, content of the position or possibilities for growth or advancement. Research about the company is important here.

Where do you hope to be in five years?
Use conservative growth positions that clearly show you plan to be there in five years, and that their investment in you will pay. Be sure that you know what can and cannot be achieved by the ideal candidate in this position. Never tell the interviewer that you feel you will be more successful than they are, but do show a strong desire for promotions.

What interests you most about this position?
Teasing the interviewer with a truthful one or two-word answer such as, “the challenge” or “the opportunity”, will force them to ask you to explain. Here again, you have the chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the company.

How long do you plan to be with company?
As with marriage, most employers expect a till-death-do-us-part attitude, but they can be equally attracted to the candidate with ambition and candor. “As long as I continue to learn and grow in my field”, is a reasonable response.

What are your career goals?
Your answer should depend on a specific time frame:

Short term – “I want to be the best in my current position, while learning additional responsibilities. This, in itself, will assure my commitment to the firm and raise me to the next level of responsibility and promotion. I see myself wanting to stay technical but learn the necessary skills to lead people.

Long term – “After proving my abilities, I see myself in a firm with the possibility of moving into a level of management that allows me to keep my skills sharp.

What are you doing to achieve your goals?
I look at continued learning as the key to success. I continue my education, as you can see from my resume, by taking company educational courses, when offered, and college courses. I also read trade publications and magazines to keep me informed about the current and future directions in my field. When possible, I participate in professional organizations in my field.

Job Satisfaction Questions

Why did you leave your previous employer?
NEVER speak poorly about a former employer. Be pleasant, be positive and be honest. Your answer will probably be checked. Mention your desire to work for a more progressive company that offers more growth opportunities and recognition.

What did you like most about your previous position?
What did you like least about your previous position?
An employer can evaluate the type of worker you will be by the items you choose. Cite specifics. You are also providing clues about the environment that you seek. What you liked most can include a strong teamwork atmosphere, high-level of creativity, attainable deadlines. What you liked least should include any situations that you are unlikely to encounter in your new position.

Why are you looking for another position?
Again, be positive. “I have to say that I have really enjoyed my years at Corporation. There are a lot of good people over there. But I am looking for a more progressive organization with greater opportunities for growth, and recognition. I am looking for a team to join where I can make real contributions and advance my career.”

What do you think your employer’s obligations are to you?
Interviewers listen for employees who want a positive, enthusiastic company atmosphere with the opportunity to advance. Such a person, they surmise, has motivation and staying power.

Are you applying or interviewing for any other positions?
In your answer, show that your search is geared for similar positions. This demonstrates a welldefined, focused objective. Make it known that your talents are applicable to other businesses and that you have explored ways to maximize your potential and are serious about finding the perfect opportunity. Don’t give an indication that you are just shopping.

Past Performance Questions (To determine behavior based on past examples)

What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?
Again, be truthful and admit that not everything comes easily. Be careful what you do admit so as not to instantly disqualify yourself. Explain that you try to gather as much information and advice that you can to make the best decision possible.

What causes you to lose your temper?
Everybody has a low boiling point on some particular issue. Pick one of yours (something safe and reasonable). People who are late to meetings, blame shifting, broken appointments and office “back-stabbing” are suitable responses. Don’t say that you never fly off the handle. You won’t be believed.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
Be ready to recite one or two stories that demonstrate strong capabilities or achievements that will make you attractive to your new employer. A special project that you pioneered at your previous job, cutting department expenses, increasing productivity or receiving frequent promotions.

How do you feel about a younger male or female boss?
A question like this usually means that your boss will either be younger or of the opposite sex or both. Be certain that if you register any concern, you will probably not be hired. Explain that their age or sex is of no importance to you. You are only interested in their capability and what you can learn from them.

What kind of Manager are you?
Again, no one is perfect. Showing that you tackle every assignment with all of your energy and talents is admirable but mention that you also learn from your mistakes.

Salary Questions

Salary discussions should be avoided, if possible.

What type of salary do you have in mind?
Do not state a starting figure. A suitable reply: “ I am looking for the right opportunity and I am confident that if you find me to be the best candidate for this position, you will extend to me your best and most fair offer.”

What is your current salary?
Answer truthfully. Remember that “salary” includes base, bonuses, commissions, benefits, and vacations as well as sick days and personal days. Also, if you are due a raise in the next three months, state the approximate percentage you expect.

5. Dress For Success

We have all heard the cliché “You only have 30 seconds to make a great first impression.” We think it is more like 15 seconds. Uncombed hair, poorly positioned tie, stained shirt or blouse can very quickly be translated by the interviewer into thoughts about a persons interest, organization skills, attention to detail, or even questions on whether or not the person will represent the company well. We recommend that even if the environment has a business casual dress code, you should always wear traditional business attire for a first interview. You want to be sure to show respect for the position and the people you with which you are meeting.

To avoid making a wrong first impression we recommend that you take note of the following personal appearance recommendations. Some of the recommendations are obviously very detail oriented. Have fun with the list, but please recognize the importance of it.

Men

  • Wear a dark suit, white shirt with a solid or non-daring pattern tie.
  • Fingernails should be clean and manicured if possible.
  • Shoes that are black and freshly polished (including the heels) are a safe choice
  • Hair should be neatly combed and freshly trimmed. Always comb hair with your jacket off.
  • Be sure to get a good night sleep to avoid having red eyes or dark circles under your eyes.
  • Be clean-shaven. If you have a beard or mustache make sure it is neatly trimmed.
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum.
  • Avoid heavy colognes.
  • Do not take cell phones or beepers into the interview.
  • Practice giving a firm handshake.
  • Make sure you always give good eye contact. When addressing a group of people, be sure to make eye contact with everyone so no one feels left out of the conversation.
  • If your interview happens shortly after a meal, make sure your teeth are clean.
  • Be sure to sit up straight and attentive.

Women

  • Wear a navy or gray tailored suit. Avoid busy cloths. Blouses should also be tailored and color coordinated. Don’t wear big bows or ties.
  • Avoid wild hairstyles – conservative is best.
  • Check for runs in panty hose.
  • Make-up should be applied lightly, and avoid heavy perfumes.
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum.
  • Nail enamel should be conservative.
  • Be sure to get a good night sleep to avoid having red eyes or dark circles under your eyes.
  • Make sure you always give good eye contact. When addressing a group of people, be sure to make eye contact with everyone so no one feels left out of the conversation.
  • Do not take cell phones or beepers into the interview.
  • Practice giving a firm handshake.
  • Make sure you always give good eye contact. When addressing a group of people, be sure to make eye contact with everyone so no one feels left out of the conversation.
  • If your interview happens shortly after a meal, make sure your teeth are clean.
  • Be sure to sit up straight and attentive.

6. Telephone Interview

In today’s busy times, it is quite common for company’s to conduct an initial “telephone screen” with a candidate. It is important that you do not take this process lightly. Having a formal business discussion over the telephone is not natural for many people. Take the time to make sure that you properly prepare.

  • Find a quiet environment. No dogs, kids, spouses, or televisions in the background.
  • Sit in a chair that will allow for you to sit up right and attentive.
  • Pick one object in the room you are sitting in and focus on it during the interview. Looking around can cause the mind to wander and perhaps not listen well enough.
  • Talk directly into the mouthpiece.
  • Open your mouth when you talk to annunciate words more clearly.
  • Develop and refer to that list of questions.

How to pass a screening interview when it’s conducted over the phone.
By: Calvin E. Bruce & Paula W. Moore

Perhaps you’re a pro at selling yourself face-to-face. How comfortable, though, are you at interviewing over the phone?

Telephone screening interviews are becoming more commonplace as companies seek to cut hiring costs and streamline the selection process. A hiring manager can spend an hour and a half screening three candidates over the phone, then invite the most impressive one to the company for a lengthier interview.

John Young, president of First American Rehab, a health care company based in Athens, Georgia, personally interviews as many as 50 candidates a week over the phone. “Telephone prescreening is extremely cost effective,” he says, “because 75% to 80% of the people you talk to can be easily eliminated.” Mr. Young believes that more companies will make use of phone interviewing for this reason.

Given this trend, your job search may involve more telephone interviewing. Whether you are talking to headhunters or company recruiters, the more convincingly you make your case, over the phone, will determine further interest in you as a job candidate.

Phone interviewing is unique. You can’t count on visual stimuli such as good looks or power suits, eye contact or body language, to aid your presentation. Neither can you rely on visual signals to interpret the interviewer’s response. In this context, faceless conversation takes on an added dimension of importance. Both strengths and weaknesses, as conveyed by voice, are magnified through the phone. Your voice personifies everything about you.

Headhunters, in particular, listen for a relaxed style that communicates confidence, enthusiasm and intelligence. This is reflected in a smooth conversation flow devoid of clichés or verbal catchalls to stall for time as well as other negatives.

The following techniques will help you prepare for and handle any phone interview situations, especially with company officials:

Preparation is Key

The success of a telephone interview begins with mental preparation and setting the stage with the interviewer. The first order of business is to establish a clear time frame for the conversation. By mutual agreement, this should be at least thirty minutes when both parties can be free of interruptions and distractions.

If you’re currently employed, arrange for a phone interview in the evening rather than during the workday. Confidentiality and discretion may be at risk if you interview during working hours; you never know who might barge into your office unannounced or overhear something by accident. In the privacy of your home, you can be more at ease and in control of your surroundings.

Being clear on the interview format gives you an edge in preparation. Before the actual interview, it will help to know the topics to be covered, objectives to attain and the basic information regarding the position to be discussed. It helps to rehearse. Try to think as the employer, what key information is the interviewer looking for? What questions is he likely to ask? What things do you hope he doesn’t ask?

George Walther, president of TelExcel in Seattle, Washington, is a consultant and speaker on the subject on improving telephone-interviewing effectiveness. “From my experience, I would say that 98% of business executives can assess the candidate’s personality after thirteen seconds, with no visual information,” he says. “Furthermore, initial voice impression tends to be reinforced by the content of continued conversation.” In other words, you need to sound like a winner quickly to sustain the listener’s interest in you.

It’s also advisable to prepare for possible scenarios that might unfold. Hypothesize a bit; suppose the interviewer asks questions that make you make you feel uncomfortable. How do you handle that? Suppose he rambles, is easily sidetracked and doesn’t allow you to sell yourself. How do you subtly take control of the conversation and target pertinent issues? As a worst-case scenario, suppose the interviewer doesn’t call at the agreed time. If it’s an evening interview, and you have other engagements, how long should you wait by the phone? If it’s a daytime interview, should you assume the interviewer “forgot” and call him directly? Or do you await his call at some other, unspecified time?

Finally, clear a work area near the phone and keep the following tools handy to aid your fact gathering and information sharing.

  • A copy of the version of the resume you sent to the interviewer.
  • A note pad and pen.
  • Five or six carefully worded questions you’ll want to ask.
  • Company literature with pertinent sections highlighted.
  • A calendar.
  • A watch or clock.

Preparation will increase your confidence and ability to focus on the conversation during the interview as well as enabling you to make a favorable impression.

Phone Personality

The need to make a good impression on the phone cannot be overemphasized. The telephone screening interview is a make-or-break proposition, your one chance to convince the interviewer that you are worth serious consideration. The interviewer will be carefully listening carefully to determine three factors: your sincere interest in the job, how you verbalize your qualifications and how aggressively you pursue the position.

Voice reflects personality. A well-modulated, controlled voice communicates authority and heightens the verbal impact you want to make. The quality, pitch and tempo of your speech convey a certain attitude, energy level and enthusiasm. “Enthusiasm and excitement are the biggest selling points of candidates talking on the phone,” says Mr. Young of First American rehab. “This translates directly over to their performance and work ethic.”

Here are some practical tips to enhance your phone “personality” and overall presentation: Talk directly into the mouthpiece. Hold the receiver approximately three inches from the mouth, not below your chin or above your nose. Speak in a relaxed, conversational style as though the other person was in the same room, not on the other side of the plant.

Avoid sitting in a hunched position, grasping the phone in a vise-like grip. This will add a note on stress, and your voice will communicate that uneasiness. Try standing, it opens your diaphragm to a smoother airflow and imparts a feeling of liveliness. Getting up and moving around introduces an element of action, which instills a relaxed, conversational manner and reduces fatigue. A longer cord or cordless phone will maximum mobility.

Pay attention to the interviewer’s voice patterns; does he speak slowly or rapidly? Try to match the cadence so that the conversion flows smoothly. According to Mr. Walther, at TelExcel, the average person speaks at a rate of 160 minutes per minute. Adjust your speaking rate, voice volume and phrasing to be more in rhythm with the interviewer.

Sound upbeat. If you had a lousy day and came home to find your spouse and kids arguing, put it out of your mind. Genuine enthusiasm is contagious. Smile to show a sense of humor. After all, the interviewer may have had a bad day too.

Be a conversationalist. Listen carefully to get the big picture and to avoid saying something that indicates any momentary mental distraction. Allow the interviewer to complete questions without you finishing his train of thought or blurting out answers prematurely.

Handle any trick questions in stride. The interviewer may throw in several to test your alertness or mental keenness. Showing verbal adeptness is a sign of how quickly you can “think on your feet.” Be cautious: the interviewer may say something that puzzles you or that you firmly disagree with. Show enough respect to voice your thoughts in a professional manner. A defensive posture or argumentative tome is the surest way to alienate the interviewer and eliminate your candidacy.

Establishing rapport at the beginning of the phone conversation sets a favorable tone. During the first few minutes, mention something that shows commonality of interest or similarity in background. This helps both parties feel more comfortable as the conversation progresses.

Get to know the person behind the voice. Does he show a sense of humor? Is she direct and forthright in supplying information. Does his speech sound “canned”, or does it exhibit freshness of thought and expression? Just as importantly, does she listen to you, or merely wait for the chance to ask her next question? The interviewer may be a personnel officer or a hiring manager. If the individual is someone with whom you will be working, pay all the more attention to her explanation of the job and what potential it offers.

Your prepared list of questions will indicate that you have given careful thought to the prospect of joining the firm. Even though you don’t know everything about the position at this point, convey the impression that it’s something you are interested in and competent at handling.

Only in a face-to-face interview can you totally sell yourself. The purpose of the phone interview is to identify areas of mutual interest that warrant further investigation. In other words, whet their curiosity and give them good reasons for wanting to invite you to the company location.

Basically, what the interviewer needs to hear and conclude is that you can get the job done. Mentally, he is making the connection between the company’s problems and you as a problem solver. Don’t overwhelm him with facts and figures; he’s only going to remember so much.

You can best make your point by reciting memorable stories that document your ability to analyze a dilemma, weigh alternative responses and choose the appropriate action. By selectively highlighting turnaround situations you spearheaded, you are communicating a willingness to tackle similar problems for his company.

As you glance over your notes and keep an eye on the clock, there may be additional important points to cover in the pre-allotted time frame. Tactfully take control and introduce the subject mater that needs to be discussed or further elaborated. Example: “That’s a good point. Can we come back to it a little later? I have some additional thoughts on the subject we were discussing a moment ago.”

As the conversation winds down, become less talkative and give more thought to what you say. Your final words will generally have greater impact and be remembered longer. Careful word choice and voice inflections will under-score the significance of your remarks. By contrast, a machine-gun volley of words will likely put the listener on the defensive or turn him off altogether.

The Home Stretch

After 30 minutes, both parties should know how much of a “fit” there is. Provided the job interests you, express your desire to proceed to the next step: a company visit. The interviewer may extend an invitation at that point. With calendar nearby, suggest several available days and times that agree with your agenda. Should the phone interview go well but end without a specific invitation to visit the company, state your desire to investigate the opportunity further. Example: “I’d be very interested in such a challenging position. I would be available to come in for a personal interview and discuss my abilities in greater detail on (day).”

He may then mention the likelihood of an onsite interview once he confers with other officials. Your assertiveness will be remembered. If you hear nothing within 48 hours, follow up with a call.

A final concern: the interviewer may ask a salary range that you’re expecting (don’t introduce the issue yourself). It’s best to mention that at this point you are not altogether certain what the job is really worth. Example: “I would feel more comfortable discussing a salary figure after meeting the key people I would be working with and knowing more about the position.” If the interviewer continues to pressure you for a figure, specifically ask, “What salary range are you working within?” Chances are 50/50 that he will tell you.

Respond by indicating that your desired salary is in that range (if that is correct). If the dollars are a little low, don’t despair or defend what you feel you are worth. For an absolutely sterling candidate, most companies can flex the purse strings and make a very attractive offer.

On the phone, your job is to entice the buyer, not to close a sale. Salary negotiation will fall into place at the right time. End the conversation on a positive note. Thank the interviewer for the information shared. Let her know again that you look forward to visiting the company. After all, if the position discussed is not the ideal job for you, something else might be. Improved telephone interviewing techniques can really give you a competitive edge.

7. Ask For The Job

No matter what position you are interviewing for, if you want the position, “asking for the job” is one of the most important things you need to do as a candidate. Many employers view candidates that do not ask for the job as not interested. Once an employer believes that a person may not be interested in a position, they too become not interested and move on to the next candidate.

Even if you have some hesitations about accepting an offer from the company, you should ask for the job. The truth is, if the hesitations can be addressed, you will accept. Therefore, asking for the job gives you the ability to keep the door open and evaluate the opportunity not only for how it will benefit you professionally, but financially as well.

The close: Asking for the Order!

  • Asking for the Order is defined as asking for what you want to have happen next (i.e., face-to-face interview, 2nd face-to-face interview, or an offer).
  • Do not be pushy or overbearing, but be direct and enthusiastic.
  • Examples of several closes.
    • Summarize what you’ve done that ties in with the new position and asked: Do I have the qualifications you’re looking for?
    • Now that you have seen my background and had an opportunity to meet and interview me is there any thing else that you would like for me to expand on or share with you that would enhance my fit with your company and this opportunity.”
    • Recruiters Name from Global Executive Solutions Group contacted me and described the opportunity with your organization. I was interested to learn more from you about the details of this career opportunity. Now that we have had a chance to meet, I am even more enthused about what we have discussed. My background and experiences have prepared me for the role you have outlined. Is there anything you have seen in my background or in our discussions here today that would prevent us from moving forward? Excellent
    • What is your understanding of the next step in the process, and what is your time frame for making a decision?

8. Negotiating A Compensation Package

If you are working with one of our professionals at Global Executive Solutions Group, the process is simple – let them handle your compensation negotiations for you. We are skilled at being able to ensure that you are compensated according to the going rate at fair market value. Our intimate knowledge of the client’s requirements as well as your needs puts us in a better position to know what compensation package will not offend either you or the client and could run the risk of becoming a roadblock to an offer being extended.

In order to help you handle compensation discussions with an employer, we recommend the following:

      • Be confident – If you don’t think that you bring value to the table, why should the employer.
      • Be honest – If they ask you want you are currently earning, tell them. You are only confirming what we already have told them.
      • Focus on the opportunity – Be sure that the employer recognizes it is the position you are most excited about.
      • Sell the benefits you bring to the company and what benefits the company will give you.
      • Let the employer know that whatever range they are working with you are willing to entertain any offer within that range.
      • If you are working with a recruiter, let them know that “You’re sure that the recruiter and the company will come up with a number that is fair for both parties.”
      • Put the ball in the court of the employer – Let them give you a number first.

Having an answer that addresses these issues will put you in a position to receive a fair offer.

9. Writing thank you letters

E-mail messages are quick and convenient, but often they lack a personal touch. In addition to an email thank you, we recommend preparing a formal thank you note for everyone that was involved with the interview process. Whether your preference is to hand write thank you notes or type up formal thank you letters, it is our recommendation that you always sign your notes with a hand signature.

Your thank you note should be brief, but should contain a summary of the benefits that you feel make you right for the position. You should also include a few points on why you feel the position is right for you. Don’t forget to ask for the job again if appropriate.

This is a sample thank-you letter that you can adopt to fit your specifics.

Your Name May XX, 200X
Your Current Position
Your Address

Mr./Ms./Mrs. Contacts Last Name
Contacts Title
Company Address Information

Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. Contacts Last Name

Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet with you. Use this introductory paragraph to recap the highlights of the conversation and describe why you think the company and opportunity will be right for you.

To continue, as much as I feel that the opportunity is right for me, I personally feel that I am right for the opportunity. Use the second paragraph to outline a few of the benefits that you feel the employer really needs to tap into and can get from you.

Use the third paragraph to close for next steps. Set a date that you would like to here from them. Make a statement that suggests when you will reach out to them if you have not heard from them by such and such date.

Respectfully,

Your Name

10. Interview Prep Final Checklist

Research (See Performance Tip 1)

Thoroughly research the company. The Internet and the company’s web site are an excellent source of information. We will provide web site address whenever possible. Company information is typically plentiful and very available.

Question Preparation (See Performance Tip 3)

Prepare good questions and write them down.
By nature, questions should be job and value focused
Should illustrate listening during the interview, good preparation, and a probing attitude relative to the company and opportunity.

Be prepared for tough questions. (See Performance Tip 4)

Why did you leave your last employer?
Why would you consider leaving your current employer?
What do you want to do next?
Why would you want to work for our company?
What do you want to be doing in five years?
What have been your top 3 successes over the last 3 years?
What have been your top 3 disappointments over the last few years?
What are your top 3 strengths?
What are your top 3 weaknesses?
Will you relocate?

Reviewing Opportunity

How is the position an improvement over your current or past positions?
What are you looking for in your next position that you don’t have right now?

Evaluate Decision timing

Is there anything in your personal or professional life that would prevent you from resigning tomorrow and starting in a new position in two weeks?

Items to Bring to the Interview

Candidates Requirement Profile & Resume

Review thoroughly and be prepared to discuss all points.
Always bring copies identical to the ones supplied to the interviewer.
Bring along samples of your work, if possible. Never discuss or show proprietary information.

References

Use three former supervisors who are familiar with your work.
Include their name and companies as well as home and work phone numbers.
Always consult with references for their approval and to ensure that their remarks are positive.

Other items

Bring a notepad and pen to the interview to jot down notes.
Prepare and review your list of questions as well as specific responses to anticipated questions.
Bring directions to the interview location
Have Interviewer’s & recruiter’s phone number in case you are running late.

Arrival at the Interview.

Attire: Dark, formal, conservative attire. Remember, you get one chance to make a first impression.
Know the exact place and time of the interview. Be on time!!
Allow adequate time for traffic, parking, and a last minute appearance check.
Scout out the location the day before the interview to avoid any last minute issues.
Review your notes and go in with confidence.

Employment Applications

If asked, complete an application. Complete the application in full and leave no blanks.
Do not write “see resume” as a response to any application question.
Respond to “expected salary” questions as “open”
Respond to “current salary” questions accurately.
List references if requested.
Your recruiter’s name should be your response to any “referred by” questions.

Interview KILLERS.

Casual dress. You get one chance to make a first impression – make the most of it!
Overbearing, aggressive, “know it all” attitude.
Rambling, long aimless answers. Present your ideas concisely and directly
Appearing to be without purpose or goals.
Lack of interest and enthusiasm: passivity and indifference.
Low confidence or self-esteem.
Initiating discussion about compensation or benefits on the first interview.
Lack of tact, maturity, and courtesy.
Condemnation of past employers. Say nothing negative about a current or past employer.
Failure to look interviewer in the eye and engage with firm handshake.
Not asking good questions about the opportunity.
Persistent attitude of “what can you do for me?”
Lack of preparation for the interview. Information is abundant.
Profanity or off color jokes
Smoking or chewing gum including at meals even if interviewer does.

The Interview

Have the interviewer’s full name, the correct pronunciation and his or her title.
Let the interviewer set the tone of the interview
Listen: It demonstrates courtesy, confidence and learning style.
Strive for a balanced exchange of information
Show genuine enthusiasm & be positive
Be friendly and polite to everyone – You never know whose opinion is going to count
Don’t be afraid to show the company that you have researched them
Express gratitude for the opportunity to interview
Have Fun!!!! Take this time to enjoy meeting new people and learning about the company.

The Close: Asking for the Order! (See Performance Tip 7)

Asking for the Order is defined as asking for what you want to have happen next (i.e., face-to-face interview, 2nd face-to-face interview, or an offer).

30-30-30 Rule

Call your Recruiter 30 seconds or 30 steps after you have completed your discussions to debrief.

Follow-up Thank you Letter (See Performance Tip 7)

Email response same day expressing continued interest same day of interview to each interviewer.
Write a well thought out 1 page follow-up letter and mail to each interviewer.

Relocation

If relocation is involved make sure that you and your significant others have given careful consideration to the ramifications of a move.

Counter-offer (See The Counter Offer -Page)

If applicable, we will have discussed the subject of counter-offer thoroughly with you by this time. If accepting a counter-offer is a possibility on your part, then please let us know so we can reach resolution before moving on with the interview process.

As we move forward in this process, we expect you to give us your “word of honor” that a decision on your part to accept an offer from our client is final. Accepting a counter-offer after the fact has significant implications for several reasons:

It would represent a very significant breach of faith between us, and place both you and our firm in a very unprofessional light with the client.
It means either that we have done a poor job of probing relative to your reasons pursuing a career change, or you have not been forthright with us during the process – or both!
A counter-offer is typically financial, which does not address the reasons you considered leaving in the first place. If your reason for changing jobs is financial, we strongly recommend that you ask your employer for more money now before we move on in the process.
On average over 50% of those who accept counter-offers end up leaving their job within a 6 to 8 month timeframe either because of culture, strategy changes or involuntarily severance.
Current employers almost always view acceptance of a new position with another company, as an act of betrayal and things are never quite the same after acceptance of a counter-offer.

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