Interview Tips – by Johanna Chandler

Last week we mentioned how to prepare for an interview. Once you are there, how do you bond with the interviewer, express your uniqueness, leave a lasting impression and get to the next step?

I am sure you have read all the articles regarding interview questions and answers.  If so, you can list your three strengths and weaknesses.  Also, you can spin your weaknesses and turn them into assets.  You know what to wear and to send a thank you note after the interview.

All of this is great but you risk coming across just like any other candidate.  Where is your uniqueness?  What can help you stand out and make a lasting impression?  Here are a few tips you can use:

1.       Find Common Ground

This is an old networking tip.  Find out what a person is really passionate about and see where there are commonalities. A clever idea is to check out their name on the web for a LinkedIn profile and other profiles and check out any interests and hobbies.  If possible, find out some information about your interviewer prior to your appointment. If you are interviewing in their office, look around for pictures, sports memorabilia, etc.    The point is that the interviewer will remember sharing personal information with you and your meeting will be far more unique to the others.

2.      What is in it for me (WIIFM)?

Instead of going on about what you want out of the position and how much money you are looking for – try tuning in to what is in it for the interviewer.  Ask about what were the successes of someone who holds or held the position and then present your plan as to how you would be able to achieve the same successes or improve upon them.  Let’s say you are interviewing for a sales position. Present a detailed plan of how much money you would be able to bring in over 3, 6, and 12 months.  This is what they want to hear; now you have their full attention as you could be the factor that secures their bonus.

3.      Tell it in a Story

Real life stories not only put the interviewer’s imagination to work but become more memorable.  Think of your strengths and weaknesses and put them in a story format. How did you deal with conflict?  How did you increase productivity?  All of the stories talk about how you encountered a challenge.  You then put your unique skills to work and solved the issue while achieving great results.

4.      Close the Deal

At the end of the interview, DO NOT just shake hands, say thank you, and leave the building at the end of the interview.  How memorable is that?  You MUST get feedback right there and then.  Ask the interviewer at the end what their thoughts might be of the interview.  What they liked and did not like.  Ask what is the next step in the process and if you have made it to the next step.  You now come across as someone who is truly interested and fully engaged in the process.  The best part is that you know where you stand right away.  Now you are better prepared to write your thank you note highlighting what they liked and clarifying what they did not like.

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