Presenting Yourself Well at a Job Interview
Read the previous article, "Interview Strategies, Preparation Before the Interview."
Presentation at the Interview
First Impressions Count: It is here that all of your advance preparation will pay off. Your appearance, handshake, eye contact, confidence and ability to both answer and ask questions will set the tone for a successful interview.
Arrive early, but not too early. Look over company publications while waiting. Use the restroom facilities to check on your appearance.
When you meet your interviewer, stand, smile and greet him or her with a firm handshake. It is at this moment that your evaluation has begun. An air of self-confidence will help convince the interviewer that you can handle the stress of this first meeting. Be observant, and try to establish a good rapport.
Listen Carefully and Be Responsive: Listen more than you talk during the interview. Get as much information as possible about the interviewer's needs and desires before asking or answering questions. The interviewer should be selling you on the opportunity. The old adage that we have one mouth and two ears, so therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak, is a good one to apply here!
When asked a question you don't understand, seek clarification and respond accordingly. The skills in your "personal inventory"—the responses that you prepared prior to the interview—will help you to answer with confidence and sincerity.
Remember, your interview may be short, so you must get your point across quickly and concisely. Be both factual and sincere when stressing your achievements. While each interview situation is different, there are some questions that you are almost certain to be asked. Your potential employer may want to know more about your education and previous work history, why you are considering a change, how you'd carry out the duties of the position or how willing you'd be to relocate.
Sometimes, broad questions may be asked. Focus your answers on specifics. It will make your responses much more meaningful and the interview more successful. For example:
Q: What can you do for this company?
A: Ask about the company’s plans over the next six months, its most pressing issues, what would it like you to accomplish, etc. Then share similar experiences in your background that relate directly to the company’s needs.
Q: Tell me about your background.
A: Relate your professional experience and employment history, most recent first. Concentrate on accomplishments rather than areas of responsibility.
Be Positive and Professional: Interviewers are likely to ask pointed or potentially negative questions, such as why you left your prior companies. Answer honestly, but try to respond positively. For example, if asked why you had changed jobs three times in five years, you might explain that each position offered a higher degree of challenge and fulfillment, and cite the accomplishments in each of the positions.
Do not be critical of your current or previous employers. To do so suggests disloyalty and unprofessionalism. Your entire demeanor throughout the interview should be positive and professional. It is possible to be assertive, yet remain tactful.
Body language and eye contact are important, but don't overdo it. Sell yourself by concentrating on what you can do for the interviewer, not what the potential employer can do for you. Benefits of employment with the firm will become apparent. If you are successful in this position, the rewards will come.
Treat each interview as though it were the only one. You will undoubtedly meet several different company representatives during the interview process. All are of equal importance to you in the interview process. Do not stop asking questions just because they have been answered previously. Asking questions of all parties involved
• shows your interest in the company and the position to each and every interviewer
• gives you the opportunity to sell yourself to each interviewer
• allows you to get different perspectives from different current employees
Closing the Interview: Before the conclusion of the interview, express your understanding of the position. Enthusiastically indicate your interest in the position and ask what the next step is. If you are uncertain about the opportunity, you may want to pursue an additional interview to adequately form an opinion about the company and your prospects with it. Close the interview just as it began…with a smile and a handshake. Thank the interviewers for their time and consideration.
The Final Word: How FPC Can Help
Immediately following the interview, you must call your FPC recruiter. It is important that your recruiter has your reaction in order to effectively represent you wishes when speaking with the hiring manager. This is your opportunity to discuss both positive items and concerns.
At this time, the recruiter may suggest a phone call or short note to the company restating your attributes and expressing your interest.
If you anticipate an offer, your FPC recruiter will help you carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages. In fact, your recruiter will be of help throughout the process to secure a position and compensation package that's right for you.