Removing the Word “Interview” From Your Vocabulary!

By Gary Markell.

Plan AheadThis simply means I want you to change your perspective concerning preparing for the commonly called, “Interview”.  There has always been a stigma regarding interviewing.  It is customary to consider that the bulk of the responsibility of how an interview will go is up to the interviewer and the candidate’s role by and large is to be reactive.

When I have prepped candidates in the past regarding getting ready for an interview, I would tell them to throw the word “Interview” right out the window, and replace it with “Presentation.” At the least, call it an “Interview Presentation.” This would get their attention regarding leading up to this very essential, and plausible concept. “Preparation is the key to any presentation.”

Just like a business owner does when it is time to take a product to market, you need to invest in some prep time. Never just go in simply answering all their questions and then leave hoping for the best. To incite some urgency, start to think in terms of being intentional about getting ready to “present” yourself.

Here’re some planning suggestions of what to do to be effective at presenting yourself.

1) Be ready to answer the typical questions. Practice answering the conventional and most common questions.

2) Research and learn about the company. Know their history, their services and products prior to meeting with hiring managers. There are many resources for research available these days.

3) Be prepared to ask questions. Write out questions ahead of time. If you don’t ask questions, you will send the wrong message. Do NOT memorize your list of questions. Take your list with you, and place it on the table in front of you. It is OK for the hiring manager to see that you have some pre-written questions; In fact it shows that you are proactive and sincere about this position. Regarding phone interviews, simply mention that you have prepared a few questions.

There are three reasons to ask questions.

  1. It shows conviction and that you are not just kicking tires.
  2. You will gain valuable information that will help you determine if this is right for you as well.
  3. You will uncover insightful information that can ultimately help you secure the job.

What type questions should you ask?

  • Questions about the company. (Growth, Goals, Achievements, Products/Services, etc.)
  • Questions about the position. (Duties, Projects, Timelines, and Expectations)
  • Questions regarding the people/culture.

Plan Prepare Practice4) Review your strengths during your preparation time. Ask yourself; “What have I done in the past that made an impact, impressed a client or my boss, increased revenues, saved man hours, increased efficiency or solved a problem. A great way to convey this is to practice giving a narrative about a successful accomplishment. Tell three things succinctly,

  1. What you did
  2. How you accomplished it
  3. How it benefited the company or client

Prepare one or more accomplishment statements and get ready to present them. Write them out. Practice reading them a few times beforehand. Don’t ramble. Be concise.

5) Be prepared to confirm your interest at the end and ask for confirmation. Example: Confirm by stating why you are interested in moving forward.  Then ask for a confirmation in reverse.  “Do you see me as a going to the next step?”  Or “Do you feel I have what it takes to fill your need in this role?”  Or my favorite, “So far is there anything about my background or experience that would prevent me from attaining this position.”

6) Don’t get lost driving to the interview presentation. Map it ahead of time. Be 15 minutes early.

It has never been my goal when helping to prep a candidate, to teach them how to win the job.  It has always been for the purpose of helping them realize that this is a vital presentation, and not just an interview. My goal is for them to genuinely convey who they are and for them to authenticate the rational value they can bring to a prospective company.

For more detail regarding any questions surrounding this topic, please just ask in the blog.

Prepare well. Never wing it! What is the most important part of any interview presentation?  The time you spend preparing for it.

*** This posting solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of IBM. ***


About the Author

gary-markellGary Markell is a senior recruiter with IBM working within GBS, Global Business Services division. With over 20 years experience starting his recruiting career in 1993, Gary Markell has been a full life cycle recruiter, Account Manager, Director of financial Services Recruiting, and in past owned his own recruiting agency for over six years. Gary Markell has served as trainer, mentor many times. Father of eight, he resides in Southeast Michigan with his wife Cristita and three youngest children, C.J., Anna and Timothy. He is active in church, as part of the choir and worship team, and has served in mission work in his past. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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