Maybe you have decided that you deserve more money than you are currently being paid or maybe you have decided that not having a job and not being paid anything must come to an end. You may be looking for a new position in the company you are in or you may be looking to jump companies and possibly even industries all together. Whatever you situation is, you must face the inevitable…The Job Interview.
Why so many people have given this process a negative connotation, is because they do not know the proper steps to take to interview like a champion. Being a champion interviewer like any other skill takes practice. When you were a kid and first learned how to ride a bike, chances are you fell off a few times before you were burning rubber on your first two wheeler. The same goes for interviewing like a champion, your first interview ever may have a few flaws, but after going on a couple of interviews and reading the remainder of this article, you will be an interviewing powerhouse.
First you must establish what kind of job you want. In order to do this I like to say, what do you love to do? If money was not an object, what would you do for a living? Maybe you would help out in a hospital, teach children, or maybe you enjoy the roller coaster ride of a salesperson, manager or work in human resources. What ever it is that you enjoy, you can increase your chances of being happy on the job is you are working in a job that you enjoy. In addition to the kind of job, you must enjoy the atmosphere of your working environment and industry.
So you know what you like, now are you really able to perform this type of job? If you are five foot two and weigh 250 pounds, you probably shouldn’t expect a job in the NBA. Finding what you love and what you are qualified for really takes some soul searching and should not be rushed. Take a look at what you do in your free time, are you doing something you love? If money wasn’t an object what would you be doing? Is it possible to take these two and find a job in this area? If you enjoy traveling, would a job in travel interest you? If you enjoy building things, would a job in construction interest you?
Once you have figured out what you enjoy, it is time decide what job you believe you qualify for that is in your area of interest. It is best to choose at least three different companies in this industry that suit your needs. You don’t have to necessarily choose an industry if it is just the position that you enjoy, but why not obtain a position in an industry that you really enjoy. Working in an industry that you enjoy as well as having the position that you enjoy will add to your day to day happiness on the job. If you believe you have found the company and are working in it already, you have one foot in the door and are a step ahead of those coming in from the outside. Do not get to comfortable though, because the prize always goes to the person who wants it the most…this is true for everything in life, not just interviewing.
You have picked the industry and narrowed your choices down to your top three companies in that industry. Hopefully you have done this by looking at many things such as the size of the company, the location of the company (how long is the commute from home), the companies reputation in the industry and many other things that you can imagine you would need to look at in working for this company.
Next you must look at the position available in that company. Is the position available (if it is not today, it does not mean that you can’t earn that position, it just may take some real champion interviewing), what are the requirements for that position, who would you be reporting to, what is the working environment like and of course how much can you make at this position. These are just some of the many things you will want to consider when deciding on a job.
You have narrowed down you choices and have your top 3 companies in mind that are aligned with your values and are ready for the interview…or are you? Sure if you believe you are, but like the master craftsman - measure twice…cut once. Why have you picked these three companies to work for? List as many reasons as you can possibly list for each company on paper…yes on paper. This will allow you to go back to this list before your interview to study so you can have an answer when asked the question “Why do you want to work here?”
Get ready because the follow up question to the preceding question is “Why should we choose you for this position? What do you have to offer to us that someone else doesn’t?” Am I suggesting that you have answers to these questions already scripted out before the interview…yes! In fact, you should know the answers to these questions even before you make your first contact to set up the interview.
Now it is time to set up the interview. Hopefully when you were contacting the companies to ask questions about the positions available and about the company itself, you were friendly and built rapport with everyone you talked to (for more on rapport, please read my articles on building rapport). As you are setting up the interview it is a great idea to befriend some workers in the company to get the “inside scoop” on the job, the company and the person(s) interviewing you. These will be good contact to have to prep you for the interview, especially because today interviews are becoming more and more complex.
It is best to find out the appropriate way to apply for the job, not all of us are fortunate enough to be drinking a cup of Joe in a run down cafe next to a successful movie producer like in the movie “Sullivan’s Travels.” If dad owns the company, you can promise to wash his car and mow the lawn, but chances are good that someone in human resources or the hiring manager will give you their companies’ process of landing that dream job.
I believe in The Top Down Theory, where you go right to the top of the company and they refer you to the person responsible for the hiring decision. How does a referral from Bill Gates sound to you, that is if you can get a hold of the person at the top. If not a simple phone call, personal letter, fax or e-mail should do. When setting up the interview do not sell them on hiring you on the phone, your main concern should be booking the interview, who knows who or what is on the other end of the phone. The in person interview is where the true champion thrives past the unprepared person.
You have the interview booked, now what? What are you strengths and weaknesses, define them, yes on paper, and ask others who know you to define them for you as well. This will really give you an opportunity see if you see yourself the way that others see you. Get to know what kind of questions will be asked in the interview and role play with people, remember sloppy practice equals sloppy play and outstanding practice equals outstanding play. What questions would you ask someone hiring for the positions. Know the questions, know and believe your answers because you can see trepidation when someone does not believe in what they are saying.
Interview day, this is where the champion shines. I will not get into appearance in this article (if you would like to know more about appearance, check out my article Dress For Success), but needless to say you should look the part of a successful employee in the position you are interviewing for whatever the attire calls for wear it, and groom yourself accordingly. Review you notes about the company, yourself and why you are their best choice. Visualize the interview and imagine any questions that may be asked of you and have answers for them.
Unless you are applying for a job as a mafia hit man, I would suggest smiling at everyone. Nothing is more becoming than someone who brightens a room with a beautiful smile. Not only is it contagious, but people will want to be around you because you must be smiling about something good about yourself. This may even have the interviewer wondering what is so great about you that you are smiling and you may even be offered the job. In addition to your smile, please be friendly to everyone, yes everyone. You never know who is who in the office. The CEO may have just decided to take a seat for a moment in the lobby, wouldn’t that be great if you were smiling and acting friendly.
Here comes the interviewer. With a friendly warm smile shake hands and let them lead you to where the interview will take place. Please shake hands like you want the job, the dead fish handshake really is a turn off (for more on handshakes, check out my article (Who You Are Is Speaking So Loud That I Can’t Hear What You Are Saying). The person giving the interview will probably take the lead and let you know that the interview will probably look something like this (This is how the most common interview is structured, for more on unique interviews check out my article Now That’s An Interview). First they will ask you questions about yourself, they will tell you about the company and position, and then ask why you are a fit. You will master that question because of all your outstanding practice. Finally they will ask if you have any questions. You should have at least one if not several. The one you should have is if you can have the job. This will show confidence and that you mean business, if you are this powerful in the interview, the interviewer will think that you will be just as powerful in the job. Confidence is the most important thing to have on an interview, if you are not confident about yourself, why should the person conducting the interview be confident about you? (For more on confidence, check out my article Confidence…Fake It Till You Make It.)
In regards to questions, you should also ask them to clear up anything that you did not understand when they were giving you information about the company and position. You should also ask anything else that you want to know about anything. It is said that the quality of your performance is judged by the quality of your questions. Outstanding questions get outstanding answers…and people who ask outstanding questions, must be outstanding…wouldn’t you agree?
If you are not offered the job on the spot, kindly thank the interviewer for their time and when you get home, send a thank you letter or e-mail for their time. This shows that you respect them and their time. What if they had to decide to hire you or someone else and you were both even for the job, but the other person didn’t send a thank you card, who do you think they would hire?
You should be contacted in a week or two and if not, follow up with a phone call inquiring about the job. If you got the job great (check out my article First Day On The Job), if not you should have two other employers getting back to you if not at least two more interviews to go on.
Louis Lautman, he is a business consultant, life coach and peak performance expert. He is the president of International Sales University, a sales training company based in Miami FL. He runs extraordinary public and private seminars to create breakthroughs and transform your life. Louis can be contacted at 813-380-7467 or louis@InternationalSalesU.com. Check his website at www.InternationalSalesU.com and www.LouisLautman.com.
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