Job interviews are often a stressful time. It is not something we do very often (if we are fortunate) and many people have a tough time talking themselves “up” to others because they are concerned about bragging. The job interview is the one place where you must temper your modesty and present yourself and your achievements with confidence and passion.
With 9% unemployment and four generations in the workforce, experienced workers may have to update their interviewing skills to win today’s jobs. Here are a few insider secrets to help you on your next interview.
With hundreds or maybe even thousands of applicants for a single opening, HR recruiters have to narrow the field to the most qualified candidates based on the skills they “must” have and the skills it would be “nice to have”. Many larger companies and staffing agencies use an applicant tracking systems to help them find the most qualified candidates to move forward in the interview process. They enter search criteria based on the essential job “musts” for the best candidates to surface. (See the August 6 post, “Successful Online Job Search Techniques”).
- Larger corporations may have several questions online that you must answer before submitting your resume as their prescreening tool
- Other companies may have a staff member call and ask 7-10 questions related to the position.
- The trend is toward group interviews for more entry level positions. Hiring managers can observe your interpersonal skills, how you get along with others and your social skills in this format. After the group interviews, individual interviews are scheduled.
The Phone Interview:
After surviving the first round of elimination during the pre-screening, now you are ready for the phone interview. Your phone interview is Numero Uno in moving pass the gatekeepers to meet the hiring manager face-to-face. These interviews usually take place with a Human Resources recruiter. Some of their biggest complaints include candidates giving a phone number that doesn’t work or low batteries on a cell phone that disconnects mid-interview or the candidate who forgot about the interview and the recruiter heard dogs barking a blaring TV & babies crying in the background. Take the telephone interview seriously; many job-seekers take this step too lightly. Remember it is critical to securing that all important face-to-face interview.
- Project an enthusiastic tone over the telephone
- Don’t ramble on & on—keep your answers succinct and relevant
- Keep your examples current, in the last 1-4 years
- Do not mention anything age-related or make a joke about being older
- Have a three well-thought out questions ready for the interviewer
If you’ve made it this far, the job could easily be yours. As you prepare for this stage of the interview process unless you are interviewing for a position with a small business, you should expect a series of interviewers. Make sure you are well-rested and prepared for a long day (which also shows the interviewers your stamina).
- First impressions are key—err on the side of conservatism: being dressed appropriately, firm-but not overbearing handshake, maintain eye contact without have a ‘stare down’ & BE ON TIME!!
- Answer questions directly without getting distracted or going off onto a tangent
- Assure each interviewer that you meet or exceed the required criteria for the role and ask them if they would support you for the role—if not, handle any objection they mention in a non-defensive, non-hostile way
- Send a thank you e-mail to each interviewer and confirm your interest in the position and mention a line about how you will add value to the role