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What can you expect in a job interview?

So you’ve finally obtained that hard-to-get interview – congratulations!  But now what do you do?  What can you expect in the interview?

First and foremost, you must realize that in the job interview you’re a sales representative and the product you’re selling is….you!  This means you have to be ready to sell your skills and experiences as they apply specifically to the position for which you’re being interviewed.

Let me say that again: “you have to be ready to sell your skills and experiences as they apply specifically to the position for which you’re being interviewed”.  This is critically important that and I’ll go into greater detail in a subsequent post.
Also, bear in mind that the interview is about more than just your experience and qualifications.  Yes, you were invited to interview because of what was in your resume.  And while you’ll almost certainly be asked questions in the interview about your skills and experience, you must also be able to give examples of accomplishments to prove you been able to successfully apply those skills.
Additionally, the Hiring Manager wants to get a feel for your personality, particularly to determine if you’re “likeable”, which is of course completely subjective.

In fact, Hiring Managers don’t necessarily always offer the job to the most qualified candidate.  What they frequently do is offer the job to the candidate that is both qualified and likable.  This means that a pleasant personality, the ability to project an air of enthusiasm, and good communication and interpersonal skills count heavily, assuming of course that you’re also highly qualified.

As if all this isn’t enough, you also have to dress appropriately, thoroughly research the company, anticipate and have well prepared answers to common interview questions, along with many other details, all before you even you step through the door for the interview.
Unfortunately, many job applicants believe the interview starts when you first sit down to face the interviewers.  This is dead wrong.  In actuality, the interview begins as soon as you’re told what day and time to come in.  That’s when you need to begin your preparation.
Please believe me when I tell you that preparation is the number one thing that distinguishes great candidates from merely good ones.  And in today’s tough job market, you must be a great candidate to get that job offer.

Consequently, my next several posts will be about how you can properly prepare for any interview situation, focusing on areas such as:
•    Company Research
•    Preparing your “Marketing Message”
•    Why you need anecdotes
•    How to answer both common and difficult questions (and why you need to prepare questions of your own to ask).

At the end of this series, you will know how to be one of the most, if not the most, well prepared candidate in the eyes of any Hiring Manager.

1 Comment

  1. Josh

    I’m never sure how to dress for a job interview. Of course you want to look professional, but I feel that I’ve been overdressed for several interviews, and that makes me feel uncomfortable also. I think it’s most important to try to match the company culture with what you wear to an interview, but how are you supposed to know that before you show up the first time?

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