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The interview is probably the most critical aspect of determining whether you get the job. Although your resume may tell the hiring manager much about your history, the interview is key in making an impression that you are the right fit for the open job. Below are tips on how to prepare for questions prior to the actual interview, how your behavior can impact the interview and how to follow up after the interview is concluded.
Entrance: The entrance is very important. It can set the tone of your meeting.
Opening: This is when you start talking and begin to build rapport with the interviewer. This is when the employer will decide if he or she is going to like you or not. Most researchers suggest the first impression happens within the first three seconds. The opening is when you have the first opportunity to disclose who you are and what you do. The interviewer may first share something personal, such as his or her kid’s last soccer game. This is just a way to help you feel comfortable. If you choose to share something personal it is purely up to you. It could be a way to find common ground or interests.
Background: This is where you begin to share your work history or educational background. A very common question is, “So John, tell me about yourself…..” Try to keep your responses to your professional experience. The interviewer doesn’t need to know you are a deacon in your church. You may want to start with a brief overview of where you attended college, then begin to show the progression of your career. The key word is brief.
Communication Exchange: Ideally this is where the interviewer asks questions and you answer them. You then ask questions and they answer them. This part of the interview helps you build the bridge between your work history and skills to the open job. Show them how your past experiences apply to this job. You may experience behavioral style questions during this segment. The basis of behavior questioning is past performance predicts future performance. One way to convey your answers during a behavior exchange is to think of STAR: situation, task, action, result.
When handling interview questions:
Questions to ask the interviewer:
Wrap Up: This is where the interviewer may ask if you have any final questions or anything else to add. Remember that he or she is looking for the best person for the job. What differentiates you from the others and why should the company hire you? This will be your final time to relay that message to them.
When you don’t hear back from a recruiter, a hiring manager or a company after submitting a resume, it may be difficult to accept that you didn’t get an opportunity for that particular job. Maybe you hear back after an interview that you didn’t get that job, or you receive an e-mail or a letter in the mail stating that you didn’t get the job. If you get feedback that may make your next interview stronger, use it in a positive way. Don’t replay multiple times the negative thoughts or what you could have done or said better. Focus on what you can control – talk to yourself like a winner.
If you find yourself stuck on the negative rather than focusing on what you can control, please consider finding a coach, mentor or other advisor to help set you back on track.