According to some researchers, ninety-five percent of all employers require one or more employment interviews before extending a job offer, resulting in as many as 150 million employment interviews being conducted annually. The employer’s purpose – to verify information on the resume, explore additional issues, get some indication of the probable chemistry between the applicant and the organization. The job applicant – gleans important information about the organization, decides about the culture of the organization. Consider the employment interview as a sales presentation.
You will be better prepared for interview questions if you have a clear picture of the industry from your research in the field.
If you have already sent a letter and resume, you can follow up with a phone call asking about a meeting to discuss future possibilities.
Employers hire people, not general qualifications, and an interview’s purpose is to evaluate the candidate from the company’s point of view. Arrive a few minutes early. Go to the interview with a positive attitude. Project enthusiasm, positiveness, and friendliness. Create the impression of someone who would both be able to do the job and fit into the company’s culture.
Interview questions can be closed, open-ended, probing, or a combination of these types.
Three basic types of interview are the structured, unstructured, and stress interview.
Interviews may be conducted by a computer, be videotaped, or be broadcast by satellite.
RESEARCHING THE ORGANIZATION
Learn as much as you can about the organization – your possible future employer. Study different sources for current product information, profitability, plans for the future, and the like. Learn about the company’s products and services, its history, the names of its officers, its financial health, corporate structure, and the like. Relate what you discover about the individual company to what you’ve learned about competing companies and about the industry in general. Avoid “showing off” your knowledge of the organization.
PRACTICING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Interview questions provide the interviewer with important clues about the applicant’s qualifications, personality, communication skills, etc. The interviewer is interested not only in the content of your responses but also in how you react to the questions themselves and how you communicate your thoughts and ideas. Before going for your interview, practice your response to typical interview questions:
· Tell me about yourself.
· What do you take real pride in?
· How does your education or experience relate to the job you apply for?
· Why would you like to work for out organization?
· What are your long-range career objectives?
Sometimes interviewers pose more difficult questions and even try to create a stressful situation by interrupting, showing disbelief, etc. answer each question honestly, but in a way that highlights your qualifications. You can also ask the interviewer to be more specific or to rephrase the questions. Be aware of the nonverbal signals you are communicating when answering some challenging questions (e.g., Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses; What position do you expect to hold in five years?; etc.). How you respond to difficult questions may be as important as what you say.
PREPARING YOUR OWN QUESTIONS
An interview is a two-way conversation, so you can pose relevant questions at appropriate moments, and you should prepare those questions beforehand. For example, you may ask:
· What are your expectations of new employees?
· What types of training are available?
· How is an employee evaluated and promoted?
· What are the organization’s plans for future?
In preparing for your interview, read all the lists of questions available, ask other people what questions they have been asked. Read articles about current interview techniques, because trends develop over time.
· Education questions.
· Experience questions.
· Activities and honors questions.
· Personal qualities questions.
· Follow-up questions.
Each of these questions sends a positive nonverbal message to the interviewer that you are interested in this position as a long-term commitment. Do not, however, ask too many questions. Plan useful questions for each company. Finally, avoid asking about salary and fringe benefits during the initial interview. You should know ahead of time the market value of the position for which you’re applying. On the other hand, if you want to negotiate salary successfully, you need to know two figures: the minimum you will accept and the maximum you think the company will offer. You should wait to discuss salary until the company makes you a job offer. Delay stating a figure until the employer has named one. You should be aware of benefits offered to employees in your field.
Here are some pointers on post-offer salary negotiation:
Ø Do your research. Find out what the market is paying for jobs like the one you are considering.
Ø Have your bottom line. Do some intense personal assessment and line what you want to make and how much you’ll settle for – a rock-bottom figure.
Ø Be patient. Don’t ask about salary. Let them bring it up.
Ø Be cool. Don’t let disappointment creep into your voice, stay positive and professional.
Ø Go for what you can get. Indicate that you’d like to discuss the offer again and come to an agreement. Ask about further reconsideration of the salary and about bonuses you can expect.
DRESSING FOR SUCCESS
One study has shown that 75% of the interviewees who made a good impression during the first five minutes of the interview received a job offer, whereas only 10% of the interviewees who made a bad impression during the first five minutes received a job offer. The most effective strategy for making a good impression is to pay careful attention to your dress, grooming, and posture.