We recently covered resume tips for those who may be entering or re-entering job search mode.  Presuming you’ve thoroughly worked your network of contacts, you are ready for the interview stage. (If you still think you’ll get a job via newspapers or online postings, think again.)

According to www.dictionary.com, the definition of interview includes “to have a glimpse of.” Interviews help you get a glimpse into the employer and the employer into you. Relax. It’s a mutual information sharing meeting.

After a deep breath, consider these steps to a successful interview:

Practice. Practice. Practice. Write your responses to these possible interview questions. Then read your responses aloud at least three times. Practice being the interviewee with your spouse, a friend or 10-year-old. Get comfortable answering questions about yourself with clarity, focus and impact.

  • What do you know about us? What questions do you have about us?
  • What makes you a good fit for us? What can you do for our bottom line?
  • Tell me about a time you weren’t successful.
  • Tell me about a time where you helped someone do something that wasn’t your job.
  • If you look at your life (or work life), what would you change? What would you keep the same?
  • Describe a situation where you handled conflict.
  • How do your experiences fit with the job you are applying for? Please explain.

Research. Research. Research. Review the prospective employer’s website. Google it. Check recent news releases and news stories. What’s going on? Is the news about it consistent with its mission and vision? Your personal mission and vision? Does its stated values align with your own? Is it growing…or not? What’s its next big opportunity?

Dress up, not down. A few days before your interview, check your attire. Use the rule of thumb: Dress one level above your audience. For example, if you are interviewing for a store clerk position, don’t wear jeans. Wear dressy pants and a collared shirt. If you’re interviewing for an executive position, wear your best business suit (or better yet, buy a new one). No tuxes, please, unless you’re interviewing for a butler, maitre d’ or penguin job.

Know your mantra. Answer the question: What three positive things do I want my interviewer to say about me to others after the interview. For example: “She was confident, competent and fun.”

Examine your distortions. Robert Pagliarini blogged about the psychological “tells” that many interviewees display. These cognitive distortions are habits of thinking that are not in keeping with reality. One example is polarized thinking, when you view situations as “black or white, no shades of gray.” Obviously, potential new employers can easily pick up on this and may be put off. For more cognitive distortions, check out his blog post at CBS MoneyWatch.

Have fun. We don’t recommend answering questions this way, but it might make you smile while you interview: During job interviews, when they ask: ‘What is your worst quality?’ I always say: ‘Flatulence’. That way I get my own office.” Courtesy of Dan Thompson.

Ready to get back into the interview pool? Dip in your toe, then dive right in. Good luck!


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