By Brent Bates.
Searching for a job can be one of the most frustrating activities that a person can do. Nearly all job applications are met by a large mass of competition, particularly within large employers that have a good reputation. Merely meeting the job requirements as being “qualified” is usually not enough to get a job offer. You will need to demonstrate that you are the “best” and the “least risk” candidate available!
Here are the top 3 most important tips for job interviewing:
1) Consultative approach
Whether you’re interviewing for a consultant role or not, you still need to use a consultative approach. Why?… Because you’re attempting to sell your professional services to a company through an employment relationship. That makes every job seeker a salesperson, whether they like it or not! So, everyone needs to learn at least the basics of sales.
The core essence of “selling” is fulfilling your customer’s needs, which means… First, you need to identify, as early in the process as possible, what the customer/employer needs. Ask questions to find out exactly what type of problem they are trying to solve or what type of opportunity they want to capitalize on, and the requirements to meet that need.
For example, ask the Recruiter and Hiring Manager (to confirm/gain details) something like this:
“What are the top 3 most important characteristics or qualifications you’re looking for in a candidate for this role and WHY?
Once you understand the business needs fully, then it is possible to focus your interview question responses to successfully highlight the aspects of your background and the value you can provide to fill those needs better than anyone else!
If you are not confident in your own ability to successfully fill the role for the employer, it will show. Nerves will get the best of you and tell-tale signs will trigger the interviewer to feel nervous about hiring you too! Verbally stumbling to answer a question, avoidance of eye contact, rambling off topic, excessive perspiration, fidgeting, poor body posture, and sometimes even a cracking voice. Those are all natural human responses to stress from nervousness, though some are better at hiding them than others.
The biggest thing that I’ve found to avoid feeling nervous is to be fanatically prepared. Think of and research possible questions that could be asked related to the job, and think of examples from your work history ahead of time. Then, write those examples down including results and how it impacted your previous employer’s bottom-line profits, either directly (money, $) or indirectly (time saved, % efficiency increases, company reputation). When you write them down, you’ll remember them more, especially after you practice and rehearse them a few times. Include some on your resume or even have them outlined on a piece of paper in front of you during the interview for quick reference to “jog your memory.” Obviously, make sure that they are true and that you can elaborate or back them up with evidence, if asked.
Also, do your homework to research the company, division, department, hiring manager, and role. Most information can be found online, but talking to other industry colleagues can help too.
These days, most interviewers will use a behavioral interviewing style, which means you’ll get a lot of questions asking for actual examples from your past work history and how you handled them. “Tell me about a time when you…” The idea is that past performance is the strongest indicator of future success. In order to fully answer behavioral interview questions concisely, try remembering to address each topic from the following acronym:
STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Results
By following the STAR format, it allows you to most efficiently tell a story, hitting the important points, without straying off topic (rambling). Scientific memory studies have proven that “story-telling” links together the information communicated in a connected chain to be stored more effectively long-term, which allows you to be memorable to the hiring team. Typically, after a hiring team interviews a batch of several candidates, they all start to blend together, so all that is left is scattered memories and interviewing notes taken during the conversation. That is, unless you stood out and really impressed the hiring team with solid examples that stuck in their memory.
Now that you’ve read this, be sure to review, my colleague, Gary Markell’s related blog post on 10 Things “Never To Do” in an Interview.
Brent Bates is currently a Technical Sourcing Recruiter for IBM GBS (Global Business Services) in the USA. As a seasoned Recruiter and HR professional, his scope of hiring experience spans across a wide range of industries, professions, and career levels, globally. If you’d like to receive updates on Brent’s current hiring needs, please feel free to connect on social media by clicking on these links: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.