10 Quick and Important Tips for Any Interview

Whether you’re having a telephone interview or a simulation interview, your goal as a candidate is to communicate your ability to help make the organization more efficient, productive, and profitable. It’s all about conveying value! Here are 10 Quick and Important Tips for Any Interview:

  • Value: Know your value. Remember your value. Convey your value. Value, above all else, is the key to being confident, calm, and centered.
  • End in mind: Take a lesson from Stephen Covey—“begin with the end in mind.” What are your goals for the interview What key message about your background do you want the interviewer to be absolutely clear about? What do you want to know about the interviewer/company? What ultimately do you want from the interviewer? In most cases, it will be a good relationship, a subsequent interview and, eventually, a job offer.
  • Clued-in: Be a clued-in candidate (being the opposite, a clueless candidate,won’t win you any points). Clued-in candidates are thoroughly prepared and practiced. They know the company’s TOP issues (Trends, Opportunities, Projects/Problems) and who the key players are inside the company and in the industry. And, they have rehearsed many times over their SMART Stories™ in anticipation of various interview questions.
  • Props and “plops”: Bring your file on the company, a notepad with questions you’ll want to ask, extra copies of your resume, and a portfolio/brag book. The latter can contain work samples, a writing example, spreadsheet analysis, photographs of you in action, an especially impressive letter of recommendation, an “attaboy” letter from a satisfied boss or client, and other material that will help make your case. Master the use of the “plop,” a term coined by Dr. John Sullivan, a respected recruiting consultant to Fortune 500 companies.Plops are documents or artifacts that you can plop down on the interviewer’s desk to help illustrate your point. These might be one of the traditional items that are part of your portfolio. They can also be unusual items, such as a small bag of M&Ms to explain to interviewers that you have both the Mechanics (skills) and the Mindset (attitude) to excel in the job.
  • Image: Dress on par or a notch above the interviewer. Be squeaky clean. Visit the dry cleaners so that interview suits are crisp and spotless; shoes should be polished with no tatty heels. See that you have a fresh haircut/shave, very subtle scents (if any), tasteful makeup and jewelry, and so on. And, it should go without saying: Show up early, thank the interviewer for seeing you, be mindful of manners, send a thank you/ follow-up note within 24 hours, and so on.
  • Connection: It’s easy for interviewers to determine whether you have the hard skills (competencies) to do the job. Hard skills are technical proficiency, knowledge, and so on. What’s more elusive to determine is whether you have the soft skills (chemistry) to excel in the job and be a good fit with the organization. Do everything in your power to enhance the chemistry. Pay attention to both your and the interviewer’s body language and eye contact. Stand and sit tall. Let your voice be warm, energetic, and similar to the interviewer’s pace.
  • Deliverables: Focus on learning what is most important to the employer. What is in their inbox that isn’t getting done? What is getting done but not done well? What are the priorities they’d like to see accomplished in the next 6 to 12 months?
  • Demonstration: Once you are clear on the deliverables, don’t just describe your ability to do them, demonstrate it. Collaborate with the employer on how they want the job done, how you’ve approached it in the past, and what you would do in the future. Let them see you in action!
  • The 3 P’s: Filter every word that passes from your lips through the 3 P’s—positive, pertinent, and precise. Positive—put a positive spin on everything. Pertinent—choose the most relevant story or information and resist any urge to elaborate on non essentials, tell tales, or bare your soul. Precise—be brief, succinct, and specific, always backing up SMART Stories™ with numbers, numbers, numbers!
  • SOS attitude: Enter the interview with a Solve Or Serve (SOS) attitude. Focus on making the employer’s life easier, your boss-to-be look good, and the organization’s bottom line more profitable. It’s about them, not you.
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