Guide Youre Hired:Making the Best of Job Interviews

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Bring blank paper and a pen so you can take notes as well.

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Make sure all of this paperwork is neat not crumpled in your pocket, for example and nicely organized. In general, the goals of an interview are to get to know candidates, determine their skills, figure out if they are a culture fit and assess the benefit they can provide to an organization.

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Answering questions in the form of a story will help your interviewer get to know you and will allow them to walk out of the interview having a good sense of who you are. It will also give them concrete examples of how you work, solve problems, interact with others, etc. Thorough, interesting answers will engage your interviewers and set you apart from the crowd.

I like to lead projects and aspire to be in management in the next few years. Recently I got asked to join a team to work on wellness initiatives. Everyone was very busy so I stepped up and started organizing meetings for the team to get together. I made sure the meetings were very productive by providing short pre-reads, agendas and then following up with decisions and action-items after the meeting.

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I sent out reminders to group members to make sure everyone was working on their piece of the project and in a few cases I was able to help team members with problems they were having. I kept the group organized with a shared Excel document outlining our goals, progress and deadlines and I created a SharePoint site for our shared documents. I thought the wellness initiatives were really exciting so I was happy to lead and I think the group was relieved that I was there to keep things moving.

Arriving late to an interview is the best way to convince your interviewers you are unreliable.

Make sure you look up the location of the interview and know which building you will be going to. On the day of the interview, allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview location; if you end up arriving too early, you can review your notes, the job description and your resume before going in. For a phone interview, make sure you are sitting by your phone at the scheduled time. Act respectfully and professionally throughout the entire process whether you are speaking with the receptionist or the hiring manager and thank everyone for their time.

Dress up for your interview and make sure you look put together. For most companies, men should wear a suit and tie and women should wear a business suit.

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Another important consideration to keep in mind is the culture of the company you are going to work for. What kind of place is it?

2. Questions and answers

Is it a suit and tie sort of place or are employees allowed to be a little more casual? Now what? Are there further steps that need to be completed? Now that we have the categories outlined, we can start really drilling down with these questions to ask the interviewer. Yes, we sort of roughed out quite a few when we described the categories, but those are general questions.

The questions you want to ask are going to be specific…researched…and tailored! But you just gave me seven categories! Nobody wants to hire an idiot! First off, take a deep breath and relax. How do I know which questions are the right questions to be asking? Ahh, so glad you asked!

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The easiest way to figure out which questions to ask at an interview is to start out by asking them before you get to the interview. Remember too that the best questions are the ones that lead to discussion and back and forth between you and the interviewer. This is an opportunity to mine for knowledge, not show off or make the hiring manager feel stupid or confused. To keep going back to the dating analogy, you want to ask questions that get you both talking…and give you the opportunity to learn.

You should prepare at least four to five solid questions …more is great of course, but less can lead you down a dark path. Before you run off and begin writing down your questions, remember…tailor, tailor, tailor! How do you do this? The same way you do for traditional and behavioral questions. Do your research.

Find Qualities, and infuse them into your questions to ask. What are the main responsibilities I would have that would require an elite level of leadership and could you see my past experience as a team leader benefiting me? If I were a hiring manager, I would be blown away by this question. Keep that in mind…and again, use your best judgement! Remember…go the extra mile! This is a great way to make sure there are no nasty surprises waiting for you when you start. Having the day laid out for you from beginning to end is a smart way to get a quick overview of what is expected of you outside the job description.

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I was hired for a job once where all the employees were expected to participate in a group physical activity before starting our day. Had I not asked about a typical day I would have been completely unprepared for my first day and unable to participate.

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Not a great way to start out a new job! This is a great question to ask…especially if you are concerned about your ability to do the job. With the right training, an employee can quickly be brought up to company speed. Training could be as simple as watching a video or reading a brochure or it could be a much more thorough and in-depth process. The point is, you want to know before you go. This is a two part question…but knowledge is power and the more you have, the better off you are!

You want to make sure you and your employer establish early on what they expect from you performance wise and not just for the immediate future. If this is a job you plan on sticking with for a period of time, make sure early on that you know what they want you to do and if that will change over time. Again, a two part question but this information is absolutely critical…especially if the results of those reviews impacts your ability to advance either your career or your position within the company.

This question is important because not only will it give you a sense of how stable your job might be, but the job you take today should always be in line with your long term career goals. Finding out early on where the company is headed in the long term can help you plan your own trajectory.

This question can give you a solid idea of the mobility within the company. This question is a MUST! This is information you need to know! This is a question that is going to not only give you a good heads up on what you are potentially walking into as far as atmosphere goes, but also lets you know what the expectations are for your own performance. Brownie points!

So there you have it…not only do you now know why you should have good questions to ask during an interview, you also know how to ask them and what to ask them. By Mike Simpson Have you ever been on a horrible date where the person you are out with spent the whole time talking about themselves without ever asking you a single question?