Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guest Blogger: David B. Wright, Author

So You've Got the Job Interview - Now What?

You've sent out dozens, or maybe even hundreds, of resumes and cover letters. You've posted your resume on all the top job boards plus the various industry-focused and niche job sites related to your type of work. You've been networking your little tail off. And you've been following all the best career advice and job search tips you've read, heard, learned, and developed. This morning the phone rang - you've got an interview! And better yet, it's for a dream job in an exciting company!

Now what? Obviously you really want the job, and to get this job, you've got to really shine in the interview. Your resume & cover letter have done their jobs, and have piqued the employer's interest - now your job is to make it as easy as possible for them to decide to offer you the job. And you know, deep inside, that the plain old boring Question & Answer interview just isn't going to work well enough - this is a great opportunity for you, and you've got to really stand out.

Part of the good news is that a lot of the other candidates for the job will probably use the same old boring approach to the job interview that they've read about in the same old books, and they're fully prepared to answer such esoteric but oh-so-crucial questions as, "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" Of course, you're going to take a different approach. Though you'll be prepared to answer questions, you'll have plenty of your own questions to ask, based on the research you've already done about that particular company, their competitors, and industry trends.

Here are some ideas that can really make your first interview different and stand out from the typical interview. They take a bit of extra work and preparation, but then again doesn’t exceptional performance require a little something extra? If you should choose to use one of these methods, and use it regularly in interviews, you may find portions that you can ‘recycle’ with different companies, but of course some degree of customization will be required. Then again, using this method may result in you not having to use it very many times as it has been known to lead to job offers in a very short time.

Treat the interview as your first day on the job
– come in prepared to show what you can do. If you are interviewing for a sales position, prepare a sales presentation targeting one of their clients or prospects; for marketing come up with a marketing plan for them. If it is a project management position, prepare a project status review presentation or the like…you get the idea.

Solve a real problem that you would be expected to face on the job
– Ask the hiring manager to spell out a real problem that she would want you to handle if you were hired, then show how you would solve the problem. Even if the solution you give isn’t perfect, it really helps you stand out because you’re going out on a limb to prove your abilities, not just saying what you can do without backing it up.

Give a presentation on what benefits you bring to the company - Especially in a group interview setting, this can be a good way to showcase your presentation skills – something often difficult to really do in a traditional interview. To prepare this, think in detail about how you can really contribute to the organization. Can you bring in new business, improve operating efficiency, reduce costs, help build the strategy that will form the company’s future? Help them better leverage partners and suppliers? More effectively analyze information that can be used to develop new product or service offerings? Help them attract and retain top talent? Protect their investment in physical or data assets? A large part of this depends on the role you are looking for, but don’t limit your thinking to a job description. Of course you can use the job description as a framework. Most of the benefits you offer to bring to the company should be focused on the requirements of the job for which you’re applying.

Structure: This is like an elaborate version of your résumé, perhaps most easily done in
PowerPoint. It, like many other presentations, is used for 2 main purposes – to inform and to sell. You are informing the company about yourself, your background, your skills, and so while proving to them that you can give a presentation or conduct a business meeting. The selling part is where you are selling yourself – you need to show them why they should invest in you and what sort of return they can expect on that investment. In it, you can highlight key accomplishments, high-profile clients or projects, significant results, pretty much anything you like that would help you stand out to the hiring committee.

Come in with an action plan for the first few months on the job. Even if it doesn’t match up exactly with the company’s plans for this position, it makes an impact and can really showcase the value you can bring to an organization. Frankly, most candidates for a job don’t do this, so it can really set you apart by showing that you’ve really put thought and effort into planning for your meeting with this company. This method is particularly effective for leadership / management positions.

With any of these techniques, of course you want to prepare the interviewer at the beginning of the meeting. And make sure it fits the time schedule you have. You don’t want to have to rush through it too much – just a few high-impact slides should do the trick. And of course you don’t want to completely control the meeting, or otherwise disregard the other person’s agenda.

At the beginning of the interview, you could say something like, “I’d like to cover a few things in our discussion today. After going through any initial questions we have for each other, I’ve put together an action plan for what I feel I can contribute during my first few months. I understand this may not be 100% reflective of all of the requirements of this position but wanted to give you an idea of what I can offer ABC Company should we reach an agreement for me to join your team.”
Using an approach like this can be very effective and will certainly set you apart from other candidates that are using the same old boring approach they’ve always used.

To your success,
David B. Wright
Author, Get A Job! Your Guide to Making Successful Career Moves

David B. Wright
Author, Get A Job! Your Guide to Making Successful Career Moves
Chief Marketing Officer, W3 Group
SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Local Search, Internet Marketing
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Unknown said...

The interview is one of the essential things to get an attractive job. A lot of people have been nervous about the interview and they did not know how to handle this situation. Your tips are so constructive to make sure that your interview is good and you can get the job that you want. said...

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