Job interview tactics can set you ahead. Acing a job interview begins long before you arrive at the hiring manager’s office. In today’s competitive job market, the most diligent candidates take extra steps to distinguish themselves from the competition by planning ahead. Here are some tactics to help you stand out in a crowd:
Research the company
Find out as much as you can about the organization before the interview. You may want to check out the firm’s web site for its mission statement and goals, as well as the company’s past financial performance. You can also read analyst ratings, scan the company’s annual report or search for media coverage. If possible, talk to someone who currently works at the organization or has worked there in the past. Consider doing some information interviews.
Prepare intelligent questions
Once you’ve done your research, come up with some questions of your own to ask about the company, the department and the job responsibilities. Ask the interviewer to describe the firm’s long-term goals and its position as compared to competitors. When appropriate, add your own insight based on what you’ve learned through your research. Try to formulate open-ended questions that will provide you with deeper insight about the business.
Pay close attention to the person interviewing you. To be a good listener, you need to focus your full attention on the speaker and try to avoid thinking about what you will say next. Maintain eye contact and use nonverbal cues, such as nodding, to show interest in what he or she is saying. Ask for clarification when anything is unclear, and paraphrase to ensure that you understand what was said.
Keep your answers brief
Your responses should be focused and concise. It’s okay to think for a moment before answering questions; in fact, a moment of silence can make your response seem more thoughtful. After you have finished answering a question, avoid the urge to fill in the silence with “chatter”. Natural pauses allow the interviewer to absorb what you have said.
Go easy on the “charm”
Although you want to appear personable, don’t overdo it. Concentrate on demonstrating that you have the skills and attributes the job requires. If you focus to heavily on “winning over” the interviewer, you may come across as insincere. However, if you are honest and enthusiastic, the rapport between you two will develop more naturally.
Let your personality shine through during the interview. If you’ve got a quirky side (and you won’t appear too “kooky”), don’t suppress it entirely — your interviewer wants to get to know you. Additionally, you’ll feel more comfortable because you aren’t putting on an act.
Make an offer
If the interview goes well and you know you’d like the position, you might offer to solve a problem, provide additional samples of your work or spend a day on the job for free (if you are able to). You may get turned down, but your offer will show initiative and enthusiasm.
Ask for what you want
If you like the job description but the salary or benefits don’t fit your needs, find out if these aspects are negotiable. Perhaps you could ask for more vacation time or another benefit such as flex-time.
Leave something behind
Take something to the interview that you can leave with the hiring manager to help her remember you. It might be a piece from your portfolio, a work sample from your previous company or even a project from college that is relevant to the job.
A little diplomacy, research and innovation will impress your interviewer and put you a step ahead of the competition. In the process, you’ll be that much closer to landing the job of your dreams. Good luck!
Robert Half International Inc. was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Accountemps and Robert Half Management Resources, for full-time, temporary and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at www.rhi.com.