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Interview tips beyond the usual

  • Stephanie Clark

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Proactive Interview Conversations

Posted by Stephanie on February 3, 2012

An interview should be a conversation, a two-way discussion, bouncing back and forth, with questions asked and interest shown on both sides.

As an interview coach I would say that interviews are not always balanced. Sometimes the interviewer/recruiter is not skilled and hides that lack behind a formidable or authoritative demeanour. Sometimes the interviewee is so desperate for the job offer that he or she quakes in fear of taking a wrong step and thus interviews without presence, passion or good impression.

An interview doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be productive. Keep in mind that most employers are looking for three things: that you can do the job, that you fit the team dynamics and corporate culture, and that you will take the money offerred.

Doing the job involves more than existing skills; fitting the team is about more than personality; taking the money oftentimes goes beyond the salary. Here are a few tips on how to augment your answers and conversation with important information that reveals more about who you are, how you work, and what can be expected.

  • We should all have an idea of how we wish to be perceived. Do you want to develop a reputation for a level of quality unsurpassed by peers? for staying ahead of the game with extra training, leading edge ideation? for thought leadership? for being recognized as the person who loves to pitch in and help out others? Develop your ability to articulate this critical aspect of “you,” and share it during the interview.
  • Fitting in is all about emotional intelligence, or “playing nice in the sandbox,” so the speak. Share instances of where you smoothed over tensions, tell the interview team about the course you took in mediation to learn how to de-escalate tensions, name a book or two that you’ve read on this subject – prove that you have an interest in fitting in and contributing to others’ well-being (and by extention, to the company’s productivity).
  • Demonstrate your commitment to your own well-being! Being physically and emotionally healthy has an impact on your productivity. This plays a dual role: it demonstrates that you will be a highly functional employee, but also subtly communicates that you value your own health and down-time.

Remember, you have a responsibility to contribute to the interview’s mood and outcome. It is not entirely in the interviewer’s court!

How will you keep up to date with current trends? What do you want to be recognized for? How will you contribute to make others feel they belong here? What are your A)short and b) long term goals? How do your values match with the future goals of our company? Where is the place of social networking within a workplace? How will you manage stress from the workplace in the next year?

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