Three Essentials to a Successful Job Interview Preparation

One of the signs that a job hunt is going well is getting calls for interview. When you first submit a job application, you don’t hope for nothing more than getting an interview. That’s why your résumé and cover letter must be written with that objective in mind. Now when you do receive a call for an interview, you are working toward your next goal which is getting the job. Getting the job is the purpose of the job interview. That is why you must carefully prepare your job interview so it does its job-getting you the job. In this article, I go over three things that I consider absolutely essential in preparing a successful job interview. Remember, a successful job interview is one that gets you the job.

The first thing you need to do in preparation for your job interview is to have a good understanding of the position you are going to interview for. There is nothing worse than giving your interviewers the impression that you don’t understand the position for which you have applied and are seeking to be hired. This did happened to me once. After I sent out many applications, I received a call for an interview for the very next day. Because of a combination of both excitement and stress, I only asked for the address where the interview was going to take place and the time. Nothing more. I also failed to go through all my applications to figure out which job I am scheduled to interview for. I can tell you that when I showed up for the interview, my confusion was obvious. It became clear immediately to my interviewers that I was not sure why I was there. The interview did not last very long and it certainly did not go over very well.

Once you are scheduled for a job interview, take time to review the job description. Do it carefully. Pay close attention especially to the tasks and responsibilities involved. Visit the company or the organization’s website, if it has one. Read its mission’s statement, vision as well as core values. Try to have a sense of what it is like to work in that environment and be associated with that company or organization. And as much as it is possible for you, present yourself as someone already working there. For example, try to dress the way you think employees are expected to dress there. Get into the mindset of the place. Having said all this however, never try to put on a persona that is definitely not you. Remember, the job interview is not a drama. It is a real and genuine conversation with real people.

The second essential to a successful job interview preparation is to anticipate the questions you will be asked and think of your answers ahead of time. Based on the company and the job you applied for, you may be able to think of the kinds of questions you will most likely be asked. Write down these questions as well as your answers to them. Do that carefully. As you may already know, some questions are almost always asked during job interviews. For example, there will almost always be a question asking you to introduce yourself. Be sure to rehearse your answer to that question. Also, most often than not, you will be asked why you want to work for the company or organization in question. Again, make sure you have a solid answer to that question. Also make sure that your answer reflects how you will be a great fit for the position. Again, remember to be genuine and honest.

The third thing to consider during the preparation of your job interview is to plan to be on time. You already know how important a good first impression is. You can be certain that you will not make a good first impression if you are late for your job interview. To avoid being late for your job interview, double-check the address and the time. Make sure you know very well how long it will take you to get there. If it is possible, take a trip to the area where the interview will take place ahead of time. That way, you will be sure that you are not mistaken about the address and you certainly know how to get there. On top of all that, on the day of the interview, plan to arrive about 15 minutes earlier. This will allow you the time to get relaxed and maybe briefly meet and have a casual chat with someone before the interview.

Being invited for a job interview is a great opportunity. It must not be wasted. It means that your résumé and cover letter are among those which stood out. The job interview is your turn to stand out as an individual. Your job is to prove the impression already made by your résumé and cover letter. Plan not to disappoint your interviewers. Do not take it for granted. A good job interview is one that is carefully prepared. And a successful job interview preparation hast three essentials: being acquainted to the job for which you will be interviewed, anticipating the questions you will be asked and planning how you will answer them, and planning to be on time.

Having Peace of Mind, Before, During, and After Your Job Interview

A job interview is a process that involves a potential employee and a potential employer having a discussion to see if there is compatibility, a match, and mutual interest. It’s not much different than courting or even a first date. If there is a connection, you know it and when there are differences, you know that too.

The interview usually involves meeting with a hiring manager and or panel who will ask a series of questions. The interview might also involve completing a skills test. Some employers request subsequent interviews before a final selection is made; while others do not. Nevertheless, most people complete the process and await the outcome. Others have a more difficult time adjusting.

Before the interview, they might experience a range of emotions and real physical symptoms such as stomach cramps, sweaty palms, and anxiety. The process becomes sheer torment that takes its toll mentally and physically.

Why do job interviews cause people to panic?

A pending job interview can cause a person to experience a variety of physical and mental symptoms. However, the question is why? Why do people freak out when having to be interviewed? There are a number of reasons but after doing a bit of research and thinking about my own past experiences, I’ve listed the top five.

1. Fear of exposure and lack of confidence.

Everyone experiences fear at some point in time and most people encounter situations where their confidence is tested. Most people who fear being interviewed are dealing with something deeper. An interview can be a very intimate dissecting of a person’s professional anatomy. People who are shy or introverted will feel the pressure even more. Suddenly they have all of this attention; they are at the center and must open up to totally strangers.

The questions can get personal because employers realize they are getting a whole person. For example, a person who has been unemployed due to a family issue might have to touch upon the gap in their employment history. A person who is dealing with confidence issues will feel a heightened sense of awareness of every little insecurity and inconsistency.

2. Lack of preparation

When you go to an interview without any type of preparation, you are leaving your fate to the wind. I realize that some interviews can occur on the spot; however, most people are given a window of opportunity to prepare. So, why don’t people properly prepare for their interview? Well, some people don’t know how. While others simply do not think it is important. They will go days and even a week before even thinking about the interview. Then the day before, they will print out copies of their resume, iron their clothes and call it day. Doing the prep work can be the difference between having a successful interview or realizing you are at the wrong building and your interview was an hour ago across town.

3. Exaggerated accomplishments or avoidance of questions

Some people feel anxious and even fearful because they have not been forthcoming on their employment application. They get to the interview and hear the distant chant of “liar, liar, pants on fire”. But why do people lie? I personally believe that people lie for a variety of reasons, and if it’s the job of their dreams, they might feel that they cannot afford to let this chance slip away. People lie because they feel the employer simply won’t understand their circumstances. These days, job applications are usually straightforward. They simply want to know, do you or don’t you have to do the job. What positions have you held? Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

If you did not, you cannot claim it. We might call it exaggerating, but it’s basically lying when you claim to have held a job or accomplished a task when you did not do it. There is nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward. But please do not lie. With technology, background checks, and so many resources, your employer can find out the truth. Remember, people have been hired and then fired because of lying on a job application or during an interview.

4. Unrealistic expectations

Unrealistic expectations can cause a person to become anxious. A person’s expectations consist of the ideas and views that create a perceived outcome. Having a realistic view your situation, the job, your experience and your objectives can help alleviate many concerns and give you a proper perspective. For example, you are interviewing for an Executive Assistant with a salary scale between $55,000 and $70,000. You are expecting to be offered something in the middle. You are offered $57,000 based on your three years of experience. Keeping realistic expectations are necessary when entering an interview before, during, and after.

5. Not really committed to the job

Everybody needs a job. However, finding the job that you love is harder said than done. If you interview and you are not really committed to doing your best or perhaps not really interested, it will show during the interview. Managers want employees who will bring not only their skills but enthusiastic attitude to the environment. Employers want your commitment. They want you to want to be a part of their company.

Let’s face it, no one likes being scrutinized and judged; however, this is a part of a job interview. The interviewer(s) must select the candidate they believe is the right fit. Each interviewer has a different set of criteria, so there is no 100% guarantee of the outcome. Even when you think you did your worse, you can get hired because the intervener saw something they such as that infectious smile or that can do attitude. Interviews go beyond what is written in your CV or resume. Interviews even go beyond interviews.

Here are some further tips to help you ease the anxiety, focus and develop a winning attitude that will last long after the interview is over.

Tips for finding success before, during, and after the interview

1. Come prepared. Have the latest version of your resume or CV. Bring copies, if possible and give yourself enough time to review your information. You might want to ask a friend or relative to help review the information with you and then ask you some questions.

2. Dress for success. Dress as professional as possible. Put yourself in your potential employers’ shoes, would you want you to represent the company? Like your mother always told you, mind your manners. It does not matter what environment you could be working in a first impression can go a long way.

3. Check your personal hygiene. When you are nervous, you perspire more. Brush your teeth, carry mints or gum but do not use excessive perfume or cologne. Comb your hair. If you have long braids or long hair, consider putting your hair up or tied back so your employers can see your beautiful/handsome face.

4. If you get nervous and dry mouth, consider carrying a bottle of water. Take a sip while you wait and then right before the interview.

5. If you find yourself sitting with other candidates, do not be alarmed. Stay focused on you. Do not worry about how they look, what they are wearing or what they might say. Do not, I repeat, don’t you dare compare yourself to someone else. If you engage in a friendly conversation, keep it light. Remember, it is okay to focus on yourself and not engage in a lengthy conversation with other candidates.

6. Be honest about your experience and job duties. Do not exaggerate about what you can or cannot do. If you have been convicted of a crime, your interview is the perfect chance for your to elaborate on the circumstances. Be honest about your past jobs and your roles. Remember, people have been fired from a job because of a lying. You do not want to ruin your reputation or future chances with the company.

7. Remember, panelists are people too. Chances are your hiring manager or panelists have sat where you are sitting. Remember, you were chosen to be here. You got the call so you must be doing something right.

8. Keep your mind focus on the positive things that you have to offer. Think of at least two or three positive things about yourself. If you cannot think of any, remember, you are a hard worker and you want a chance to do something you love. You are not like everyone else and have something unique to share with the company. You have earned the right to be here, you belong in the interview and you have nothing more to prove.

9. Please, don’t put much into facial expressions. People make faces all the time. You don’t know what is going on with each panelist. They could be having a horrible day, gas, and hunger pains. People put on poker faces to hide many different things and they are not always negative.

10. Give yourself some credit; remember you are also conducting and interview. These are the people you could be working with. When given a chance to ask questions, pick someone and ask why they choose their career or to work at the company.

11. Take a deep breathe before you respond to each question. Do not rush or force an answer. Listen thoroughly and respond carefully. Take notes and do not be afraid to ask that the question be repeated or elaborated upon.

12. Be yourself. If you had an English accent when you arrived, please have it when you leave. Seriously, be honest, be fair, and be professional.

13. Say thank you. Remember to always thank the panelist or interviewer for this time and the opportunity.

14. If you didn’t get the job. Let’s do it again. Practice, practice, practice. Apply for another, take notes of what worked during your last interview and where you could be stronger. If you can record yourself while a friend or family member does a mock interview, that can you review your tone, body language, and responses.

15. Building confidence. Confidence is one of those things that can be developed. As long as you do your homework, you are more than good enough and deserve to be where you want to be. Remember employers can pick up on how you feel about yourself even when you think you are hiding your feelings.

Finally, did you know that no one can control how you feel and what you do? You are not the first person to get nervous, make a mistake, or question your choices. But you are the only person who can take control and choose to develop peace of mind before, during, and after the interview.

Best Prep Questions

As professional recruiters, we have learned over the years there one question we can ask of almost any job candidate prospect to determine their level of willingness to cooperate with the hiring process, and their ability to adapt their preconceptions of the hiring process to the practical aspects of a professional job search. Everyone answers that one question pretty much the same. The question: “Who can present your credentials best, you – the person who actually lived your experiences, or me?” Well the obvious answer is “you,” the person who lived your experiences. But that is the wrong answer. Which illustrates why so many folks have difficulties with job interviews, often wondering later why things didn’t turn out better. Why would your recruiter be a better person to present your credentials than yourself? Because a recruiter will organize your credentials so they appear as a solution to the employer’s needs. Typically, when job candidates present their own resume and supporting credentials in an interview, they present their background in a way that is the most flattering, not necessarily the most effective or logical for getting the job at hand. This article reviews how a job candidate can organize and present their credentials in a job interview so it is to their best advantage. The best way to prepare for a job interview is by learning which questions will likely arise in a job interview, and having some predetermined answers for those questions – answers that both illustrate your skills and successes and present your experiences as the solution to the job you seek.

Often, face to face interviews are preceded by a telephone screening, whereby a key Human Resources or other representative contacts the job candidate directly by phone to ask some basic questions. While the strategies described herein apply to phone and on-site job interviews, the objectives differ. In the telephone interview, the objective should be to quickly illustrate your interest in the job and skills you bring to bear so as to generate a job interview. With the face to face interview, the objective should be to lead to a job offer. Attempting to get a job offer differs from actually getting the job. A job candidate who asks for the job offer by selling themselves to the company as the best fit and most motivated candidate, will likely leave the job interview with an offer in hand.



It is important you arrive at the interview 20-30 minutes early. Obviously, being late sends a negative message about you to the interviewer. Many interviewers don’t meet with candidates who arrive late. Plan ahead. Investigate traffic patterns relative to the time of your job interview. Don’t expect the interviewer will be sensitive to delays caused by traffic congestion or an unexpected traffic accident. They expect you will allow for those eventualities, just like they do.


Women: A skirt, dress or dress-suit or pant-suit are the most appropriate for the female candidate. Make sure your clothes are neat, clean and well pressed and make sense. Avoid controversial garb, anything too revealing or too trendy. You want to look professional, not like you are there to get a date or express a fashion statement.

Men: A dress suit, shirt and tie is the most appropriate clothing for the male candidate. Make sure your clothes are neat, clean and well pressed. Avoid flashy colors, jeans, T-shirts or tennis shoes. Wear your hair neat (including facial hair), clean and well groomed.

Oh yeah, and please cover tattoos and body piercings. While your private friends may enjoy the current fad of body art, most likely, a new employer isn’t impressed, in fact, may look upon those expressions as somewhat immature – regardless of how you may feel about them. If such corporate attitudes are uncomfortable for you, find another prospective employer who is more open to such un-requested expressions of personality. Otherwise, be professional, dress professional, behave professionally.


Have a pen, notepad and extra copy of your resume and references with you. Make notes of questions you want to ask that relate to the job and company. Put those items in a place that will be easy for you to get to when you need them in the interview. If you currently use a daily/weekly planner, bring that with you too. You should try to arrive at your interview well rested, with a clear mind and a plan for presenting your credentials and supporting materials like references.


Smile, be friendly, not nervous, offer a solid handshake and say something friendly, like: “Good morning, pleasure to meet you, and thank you for the opportunity to visit with you today.” Show your enthusiasm about the opportunity to work for their company. Remember, they are interviewing you for a job that requires specific skills and genuine enthusiasm — if you don’t express that at the interview, they many not be convinced you have the stamina required for the job.


For the job interviewer, it is all about filling the job with the right person. Believe me, most job interviewers don’t want to hear about your antique tin can collection, or how you landed that elk last year on your vacation. An interviewer wants your undivided attention on their job needs. Your personal habits distract from that focus. Such personal comments may include topics like: smoking, chewing gum, nervous finger or feet movement, tapping a pencil or a fork, humming, whistling, stretching, cleaning finger nails, clearing your throat, excessive “ums” in conversation, or focusing too much time on unrelated topics. Don’t make negative remarks about your past or present employers or workmates. Negative remarks will not help your cause, and will seem as though you are blaming others for poor results.


Learn as much as you can about the company and the duties of the job position which interests you, like income range and associated benefits. Family and friends are sometimes sources of information about the company you seek for employment. But don’t rely on hearsay, try to talk to someone in the company about the requirement and expectations of the job you seek. And utilize more than one source of comments about the company you are considering. Any positive things you learn about the company, make sure you mention them to the interviewer as a way to express your long term interest in the job you seek. Be prepared to answer questions about why you want to work for their company, offering sensible reasons that are practical in results.


You don’t want to confuse the interviewer with too many questions. Remember, they are interviewing you, so be prepared to answer all their questions smartly. But challenge the interviewer with some of your own questions – determine those questions before you arrive to the job interview. Keep good eye contact when you ask your questions. Don’t get into lengthy discussions. The idea is to engage the interviewer, to show them you can take charge when required and get the information you need. You should strive to create a list of questions that go to the heart of the job you seek.


Be confident and knowledgeable and you will express a good attitude. But don’t seem over confident in your abilities. Remain relaxed, answer questions sincerely. Be interested in the job and the company. Lighten up some and use a little humor! Your job interviewer should be made to feel you really want the job and their company. Show serious interest so that you will be considered a serious candidate. Do not mention offers of interviews with other companies, unless asked.


When answering questions that have a pre-determined answer, remember to offer a straight forward and immediate answer, and keep it simple. Avoid yes/no answers, unless you are offering an example to illustrate your answer. In fact, as much as possible, try and offer your key answers in a format of : Strategy-then-example. In that sense, if you were to discuss aspects of how to build a team of your workmates, you could answer with a short comment about your overall strategy of how to build a team, then follow that up with a quick real-time example of how you recently utilized that strategy and the results you got. Something like – “I build a team by making sure everyone involved understands our mutual goals, the timing, and their influence on those goals. When I did that last Spring, as we were introducing a new product, the goal was to sell more product by training team members to up-sell the new product to existing customers – we increased sales over 20-percent in one month.”


Most people feel their personal lives are important, so when this question is asked they talk about everything from their children to their wives to their religion and even their favorite hobby or television show. Job interviewers want to hear some of that, or they don’t feel they did a proper interview. But, the truth is, the job interviewer is more interested in getting the right skills and experience for the job. So keep your personal comments superficial, and in answering those personal questions, spin your answers in a manner that your answer reflects the skills and knowledge required for the job. After all, you are interviewing for the job, not a hobby partner.


This is your primary time to express how your experience and skills match up to the requirements and needs of the job you seek. Be specific, but don’t spend an hour. Keep your words simple. Write out as many of the answers as possible before the interview, so you can be comfortable when you explain your skills. Again, be brief and use examples.


Mature thinkers tend to know their weaknesses. That is why most job interviewers ask this question. Will you admit you have weaknesses, and if so, how do you manage those? Is the weakness too major to allow you to be successful in the job you seek? Meaning to say, know in advance how you will answer this question. For instance, many hard workers are accused of working to many hours. Sometimes it’s to do with the workload, sometimes it’s just a matter of poor time-management. So if you say you are accused of being a “workaholic,” temper that answer by admitting you do work hard, but that you always maintain a reasonable workload for you and your team, so you and your team (if there is one) are active, but you are not really behind in your work. So admit a weakness or two, but express how your results don’t suffer.


If you are seeking a management oriented position, describe your management style. Is it more hands-on? Is it analysis based? Do you delegate and verify results? Whatever your style, describe it specifically, not generically. Don’t offer hourly-wage answers, offer management oriented answers; hourly wage answers include comments like: “I’m always to work on time; I always get my work done; I get along with others;” and such. Those are the attributes a manager expects of the people who report to them. Make your answers relative to management. Describe your ability and success when you delegate; your success with smart, accurate analysis and reporting and how those reports lead your activities; outline strategies you use to motivate or influence team members. Be detailed, but in short answers.


There is nothing wrong with leaving one job for a better one. Make sure the interviewer sees you as being in that mind-set. If there are serious issues afoot in your current or recent job, don’t spend time discussing those, keep the focus on how you are a good match for the job at hand, and how you are motivated to improve and advance. A good response might be something like: ” I am always looking to better myself. I heard positive things about your company and this job in particular, so I wanted to explore my options”.


This isn’t a trick question, like most people believe, having two sides: 1) To show how ambitious are you. 2) Are you loyal. It’s okay to say you want to advance, if that is the case. But do it politely, a good generic response may be something like: “I want to be a better manager than I am now.” Or, “I would be actively working towards promotions in this company.”


Obviously, there are too many hiring scenarios to try and cover all pertinent job interview questions here. But, there are some basic questions that may likely arise, and for which you should generate pre-fabbed answers, so you can offer an intelligent and job related response if such questions come up in conversation. Write out your answers to each of these questions.

How will you be an asset to our company (good opportunity to mention prior achievements, without being boastful.)

Why did you pick this industry?

Describe a unrelated leadership role that you held.

What has been your greatest challenge in your career?

Give me an example of a problem that arose in your job, and how you solved it.

Tell me about a project you initiated and the results.

What types of situations put you under pressure and how did you deal with it?

Give me a situation in which you failed, how did you deal with it?

How do you work with difficult people?

What was your greatest accomplishment?

What challenges are you looking for in a position?

What motivates you?

If I asked people who know you to describe you, what three words would they use?

Describe a situation where you had to work with someone who was difficult. How did you handle it?

What traits are most important for a good manager?

Tell me a about a team project of which your are particularly proud of. What was your contribution?

What type of environment appeals to you the most?

What characteristics are most important in a good manager? How have you displayed one of them?

What makes someone a good leader?

What are your expectations of a good employer?

What do you do in your spare time?

The whole idea here is to leave nothing to chance. Literally write out your answers in advance. Most job candidates do not follow this good advice, believing they already know how best to present their credentials. Don’t make that mistake. Organize your answers in advance, put them in perspective of how your skills and know-how best fit the job for which you are interviewing. By organizing these simple tasks to prepare for your job interview, you will greatly increase your odds of getting hired. Don’t leave your next great job to chance. Prepare for it now.

Top 10 Job Interview Strategies That Guarantee Success in Your Interviews

Job interviews can be a mystery. But you can find success if you follow the right job interview strategies. The following 10 tips are the best job interview strategies to follow if you want to ace your next interview.

10 Best Job Interview Strategies

1. Study the company

One of the best job interview strategies that most candidates ignore is to study the current events of the company. Knowing what the current events of the company is important so that you can ask pertinent questions. Doing so will show the interviewer that you have done your homework, and also have a genuine interest in the company. This strategy will definitely help your job interview.

2. Know your resume

As a candidate, you should be very familiar with your resume. In any job interview, anything on your resume is at the interviewer’s disposal. Implementing this job interview strategy will help build credibility with your interviewer. Speaking intelligently about each of your previous positions will help do this, and is one of the best job interview strategies to follow.

3. Prepare an interview emergency kit

Many candidates don’t properly prepare for a job interview. Getting together a “job interview kit” is a great job interview strategy to follow. Suggested items for the kit include extra copies of your resume, directions to the office, a bottle of water, eye drops, pens, and notepad. But you should only bring the extra copies of your resume into the office with you, preferably in a portfolio.

4. Study job description

After landing an interview, you need to study the job description to truly understand what the interviewer is looking for. If the description calls for attentiveness to detail, you will want to tailor the discussion accordingly. Knowing this, you can navigate the interview and discuss examples from previous jobs that will exemplify this trait. Do this for all significant traits or qualities that you identify in the job description. This is one of the best job interview strategies I have used, and know that it can bring you success.

5. Build rapport

You know the saying, “There’s never a second chance to make a first impression/” That holds very true in the case of job interviews. That is why building rapport is such an important job interview strategy. Shake hands, make eye contact, and smile. Put those three together when you first meet your interviewer and it will set a positive tone for the rest of the interview.

6. Make eye contact

Making positive eye contact is one of the best job interview strategies to follow. Eye contact is one of the strongest forms of nonverbal communication. A person’s qualities and personality can be detected simply based on eye contact. Making direct eye contact communicates confidence and high self-esteem, two key qualities employers look for in candidates.

Thus, it is very important that you make eye contact when you first meet interviewer and shake hands. And during the interview, it is important to make eye contact, not only when you talk, but also as you listen. Simply doing this job interview strategy will greatly help your chances of success in an interview.

7. Body language

Just as eye contact speaks volumes about you, so does your body language. Proper body language conveys confidence and high self-esteem. During the interview, things like sitting up straight with your chest out and keeping a pleasant demeanor on your face will project confidence. The interviewer will be aware of this, and it will help you stand out in his/her mind.

8. Display your skills with concrete examples

When it comes to discussing their skills, many candidates make the mistake of “telling” instead of “showing.” One of the best job interview strategies is to use concrete examples to demonstrate their skills to the interviewer. For example, if one of your skills is successfully handling multiple tasks at once, providing an example of how you do that will help paint a picture for the interviewer. It also gives the interviewer something to “hold on to” once the interview is over, and helps him/her remember you when it comes to decision time.

9. Be yourself

A common mistake that many candidates make is not being themselves. Some feel that they need to fit a certain mold and act accordingly. This will only end up hurting both parties in the end when your “true” personality comes out. You will be surprised how easy it is to detect insincerity during an interview. Thus, it is important to be professional, but also maintain your true essence. When you do this, your sincerity will be picked up by the interviewer. This is one of the best job interview strategies to implement, and will go a long way in determining your success.

10. Follow up quickly

After the job interview, send a thank you note to the interview. These days, an email is fine, but traditionally a handwritten card is sent. Whatever method you choose, do it promptly after the interview. The correspondence should be sent the next day after the interview. Many hiring decisions are made quickly these days, so timeliness is very important.

You now have 10 of the best job interview strategies to follow. There are many aspects of a successful job interview, but if you implement these 10 best job interview strategies listed above, your chances of success will skyrocket!

How to Be Prepared For All Types of Job Interviews

Types of Job Interviews

There are several type of job interviews that the job seeker faces in the job search. Here are some of the interview types that you may face: phone interviews, group interviews, and multi-tiered interviews.

Group Interviews

Ever been to a group interview type with several other job candidates and a small roster of interviewers? These are cream of the crop situations where the best of the best must rise above the rest. What that means: there are several positions available but too many best matches for the positions available, or there one to two positions available and the competition is steep. What it all boils down to is how do you handle stressful situations? Then there is the interview type where the job seeker is faced with more than one interviewer. Congratulations, you are the cream of the crop and half the battle is already done.

This type of interview is a collaborative process that not only defines your flexibility in a stressful situation, but shows whether or not you are truly the best match for the company. Don’t let this type of situation stress you out. You, the jobseeker, are also looking for a company that best matches you.

Multiple Interviews

Then there is the multi-tiered interview process. Sometimes, this type of interview is done in two steps or three steps. Whichever interview type you encounter, there are multiple doors you must open before the final meeting. Your first interview maybe a group interview or a personal face-to-face interview. Either way this is the sorting process, where once again they sort out the best of the best.

The interviewers at this type of interview either generally sift through the obviously mistaken at the interview, or relay to the hiring manager who they should “keep an eye out for”. Then you get to the second interview, which is usually one on one. This interview means the company expresses a unique interest in hiring you. At the second interview, the job seeker will face questions that are more technically inclined towards the position that you applied, your goals within the company if hired, and the character of your personality.

Basically are you, the job seeker, truly fit for this position, the best match for the company, and should I alert the big hiring boss that we have found a winner? Strangely, you’re called back for a third interview. This is the last step in the multi-tiered interview process. You, the job seeker, have finally made it to the hiring manager. The hiring manager is the catch all in the process. They catch anything that their human resources team may have missed, and decide during that interview whether or not they want to work with you.

Now that you have reached the end of this article, remember that this type of interview process can start with a phone interview. Use the career advice below to pass the elusive phone interview and find useful tips on a face to face interview.

Phone Interviews

Before the face-to-face interviews, you may have a telephone interview. Here are some tips to ensure a successful telephone interview:

o Schedule the interview period for a time when you won’t be distracted.
o Control your environment. Keep the dog chained in the backyard. Make sure the kids have a babysitter. Turn off TVs and radios. Ensure all distractions are kept to a minimum. Better yet, eliminate all distractions.
o Use a landline if one is available.
o Have a glass of water nearby, in case you get dry mouth.
o Have your interview notes and resume in front of you. Highlight those areas you believe are most important.
o Vary your pitch and response time. Don’t rush. Calculate your responses.
o Do not multi-task. Pay careful attention to the process. Having to ask the interviewer to repeat a question or comment indicates inattention.

Face-to-Face Interviews

Once you have gotten past the phone interview, here are some strategies designed to ensure a smooth, in-person interview process:

1. Sell it, Don’t Tell it

The interview is the time to “Sell” you. For example: You might be asked how many people you managed in your last position. You might be inclined to answer “35”. That’s “Telling.”

The “Selling” approach should be: “I managed a staff of 35, including both professionals and support personnel. Not only did I manage those individuals, I directed all recruitment and hiring activities, set salaries, designed and implemented bonus plans, facilitated annual performance reviews, and projected long-term staffing requirements. Additionally, my team increased sales by more than 35% in one year while reducing expenses by 10%”.
When presented in this fashion you have “Sold” your achievements and not just “Told” what you did.

2. Spin a Negative into a Positive

Suppose you’re asked about your experience having managed people and you’ve never before done that. Your instinctive response might be to respond that you have no supervisory experience. Never answer “No”, “Never”, or “I don’t know”. Alternatively, use related experience to answer the question and illustrate your specific skills. For example, you might respond with “My background includes experience coordinating workload distribution among a team of 50+ personnel and responding to their specific inquiries about job assignments, deadlines, and resources”. This approach is honest (you never said you supervised anyone), and you’ve positioned yourself positively.

3. Use “Big” to highlight the “Little”

Suppose someone asks you if you have any experience with mergers and acquisitions. To organize your thoughts, make your response flow seamlessly, and make it easy for your interviewer to understand your specific experience in that area, use the “big-to-little” strategy. Start “big” with an overview of your experience in M&A transactions; just a few sentences to describe your overall scope and depth of experience. Then, follow up with 2- 4 specific, “little” achievements, projects, or highlights that are directly related. You might talk about your involvement in due diligence, negotiations, transactions, and/or acquisition integration. In essence, you’re communicating, “This is what I know and this is how well I’ve done it.”

4. Remember: You’ve passed the First Test…

Before you enter the interview remember you have passed the first test – You’ve been invited to the interview based upon your stellar resume, reputation, and performance based upon a telephone pre-interview. If you are meeting with top executives of the company they’re already interested in you. Their time is valuable. They wouldn’t be meeting with you if they weren’t interested. Approach the interview knowing you’ve got them hooked. Don’t be cocky, but use this knowledge to relax and present your best self. Be confident, poised, and work with the objective that you are there to “close the deal”.

5. Take the Initiative

It is likely that something within your resume, skills or experiences, may have been overlooked. Perhaps it was your experience with Supply Chain Management or Mergers and Acquisitions. It is your responsibility to introduce this information into the conversation before the interview concludes.

You might comment “before we end the interview I’d like to share some more information about myself as it relates to the position and your company”. Proceed with the information, making certain it is pertinent to the conversation and that you communicate all information that has value. It is important to produce this information whether or not the interviewer addresses a particular topic.

Understandably, the interview process is a stressful and difficult situation. Keep in mind your professional life is on the line. Remember to walk into each interview with an agenda of your desired outcome, and work towards that goal. Demonstrate and illustrate your qualifications and experience. Quietly control the interview process and paint a picture that positions you as being the ideal candidate for the job.

With that in mind, some people look great on paper… but miserably fail when presented with the opportunity of the interview. Here are some tips to keep in mind when approaching your interview:

o The Handshake

Keep the handshake firm, not too tight, and certainly not loose. It should last no more than 3 seconds. Maintain eye contact during the handshake and remember to smile.

o Talking too much

Don’t talk too much. Certainly engage in conversation with the interviewer, but let them set the pace. Speak slowly and deliberately. Maintain eye contact, but don’t glare.

Be comfortable with “uncomfortable silence”. You may be asked a question to which you respond, and the interviewer sits there as if they’re waiting for more. This may be a test of your patience and confidence. If you’ve answered the question to the best of your ability remain silent, yet poised for the next question. If it appears that the interviewer isn’t wavering you might inquire if your response was satisfactory, and whether they desire a more elaborate response.

o Previous Employers

Never bad-mouth your previous employers. Even if your last boss was a mean- spirited dictator, never present your true feelings about him/her. No matter how reasonable your complaints… you come out the loser. When faced with the challenge of describing your previous employers remember to focus on the positives. Certainly there were some admirable traits you recognized in your previous employers (He/She was diligent in overcoming any obstacles to completing a project. He/She showed no favoritism, treating everyone equally.)

o Show up on time

Never arrive earlier than 10 minutes before the scheduled start of your interview. Anything earlier than 10 minutes is a giveaway that you’ve too much time on your hands. Act as though your time is as valuable as theirs.
Never, ever, arrive late for an interview. Anticipate traffic delays or a flat tire. If an emergency causes you to be late telephone the company, explain your predicament, remind them you appreciate how valuable their time is, and inquire if they desire to proceed with the interview or reschedule.

o Be polite to the Receptionist

The Receptionist often is the first person you will meet at the company, and will be the first person for which a good impression should be made. Be polite, and not overly talkative. The Receptionist has the power to present you to the interviewer in a positive or negative light. Never underestimate the power of the receptionist.

o Pay, Benefits, and Vacation time

Never discuss pay, benefits, or vacation time during the initial interview. This meeting is to determine if you are a candidate for the position and if the employer is a candidate for you. Your objective is to receive an offer of employment.

A second interview is the time to discuss pay, benefits, and vacations. At this point you are assured that your experience and skills are valuable to the employer, and discussions about pay and benefits can be presented.

o Prepare for the interview

Find out how people at the particular company are attired. Dress the part. Dress as if you could start work right now.
Anticipate which questions the interviewer may present. Be prepared to answer any question that might be presented.
Prepare questions for the interviewer as it relates to the position and the company. Consider asking questions to which you already know the answers. Ask questions that are out of the ordinary. If the company has been involved in a large project, make an inquiry. This signals the interviewer that you’ve done your research and genuinely are interested in the position and not looking for just another “job”.

o Certain questions you might consider asking:

o What are the company’s plans for the next five years, and how does this position contribute to achieving those objectives?

o How will my performance be measured, and how often?

o What are the day-to-day core responsibilities for this position?

o Can you describe the company’s management style and culture?

You want to be armed with from 5-10 solid questions… ask questions that otherwise you couldn’t find answers to on the Internet.

Don’t ask:

o What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition?

You should prepare, in advance, to identify what those strengths and weaknesses are, and how your skills and experience will contribute.

Remember; demonstrate to the interviewer that you’ve done your homework, that you have the initiative to seek out answers.

o Communication styles:

o Everyone has a different communication style. Focus on how the interviewer communicates, and mirror his approach.

o If the interviewer seems all business, don’t shake things up by telling jokes or anecdotes. Be succinct and businesslike.

o If the interviewer is personable, respond in kind. Identify common interests. Scan his/her office for items that might be a topic for conversation. Keep it short, and not too personal.

o Respond to direct questions directly. Consider following up on a question by inquiring if your answer was sufficient or if it requires further elaboration.

The internet has become a main source of information for job candidates. The internet, being an extremely popular source, makes competition for getting that job highly competitive. Get started with My Online Career Space and let that prospective employer know you are the primary candidate for them. With your own personalized career space you will rise above the rest of the job seekers on the internet.

10 Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid

If you’ve read one or several of the countless publications about job job interviews and how to avoid messing up the interview, you may have some good tips and suggestions.

Most of that information may be just fine, however here are 10 common mistakes made in one fashion or the other. Consider these just the “cliff notes” version.

Avoid These 10 Mistakes

1. Arriving late for your job interview. The one thing you avoid at all costs is being late for your interview. If you’re hired you’ll be expected to be on time and your ability to be on time for the interview is often a judgement of whether you’ll be late if you’re hired.

Some suggestions to prevent tardiness are:

Obtaining through directions to the interview location from the recruiter or hiring manager or the HR representative. When possible inquire further about just how much time to allow to either drive (or use public transportation) to your job interview location from wherever you’ll be coming. When it’s a big organization or plant setting, find out which building your interview will take place in. Don’t forget to ask about parking your car and if the parking is free or paid.

Get phone numbers of the interviewer just in case you need them during your trip to the interview, or should you need to reschedule your interview date/time (illness, family emergency, current work conflicts, etc.)
If at all feasible make a trial trip, by driving to the location for the interview. This includes driving to that location at about the same time during the day that your job job interview is planned. This provides you with the best idea of just how much time to allow to get to the interview. This is a good time to also scout out the parking arrangement.

Permit yourself a minimum of a 10-15-minute safety net. It’s much better to be early, instead of being late.
When you are running late despite all your planning and best efforts (traffic jam, flat tire, inclement weather, etc.) phone the interviewer so that you can notify her or him that you’ll be a little late and include the causes for your delay. See whether you can still be interviewed or if you need to reschedule.

2. Overlooking a last minute personal grooming check. By arriving early ask for the nearest restroom and look in the mirror so that you can make certain your grooming is still appropriate. Make certain your clothes are strait and neat and comb your hair if needed and if you’ve eaten recently check your teeth to be sure that you don’t have food lodged in your teeth. Remember this is a good time to also take that “pit stop” so you won’t have to ask to use the restroom in the middle of interviews.

3. Dressing inappropriately. No mater what level of job you’re interviewing for, your clothes must clean and neat.. For professional positions, men and women must dress professionally and what that means may vary from company to company. For many jobs, well put together business informal clothing will be all you need. This isn’t right time or place for jewelry or clothing that is flamboyant. You wouldn’t want anything to draw attention away from focus from your qualifications to do the job. It’s best to inquire about proper dress code when setting up the interview appointment. And just in case, it’s always best to err on the side of being a little over dressed, vs. under dressed.

4. Being trapped into making casual conversation. Numerous interviews start with a casual conversation to place the two you at ease. No matter what, stay away from topics such as politics and religion. Acceptable subjects for casual discussion include sport or the weather,regardless and if you needed any assistance locating the company facility for the job interview. Making comments about photos or other things at place of work is generally effective. Nevertheless, be sure you are in the actual interviewer’s office, instead of in a office just being used for the job interview, before you discuss workplace items.

5. Being unable to communicate effectively about your current and prior work background. Many interviewers are certainly not really experienced and often a few of the more knowledgeable ones will use your resume as a guideline during job interview. Be ready to discuss everything in-depth that you’ve listed on your resume. If you can, rehearse having an interview with an associate or friend. Your practice may not be optimal, but it will sure help you increase your interviewing ability all of which will place you ahead of many of your competitors.

6. Being unfamiliar with the job you are being interviewed for. The more knowledge you get regarding the job and the organization, more probable it is you’ll be able to represent yourself as the solution to meet the employer’s needs. When you’re in a major job hunt, you ought to have completed considerable company research prior to getting the interview.

Information sources for could be:

The Internet. Both the company’s website and/or websites focussing on the profession or industry.
The library. Industry magazines or publications like the Occupational Outlook Handbook tend to be helpful.
Networking. Talk to individuals who are acquainted with the actual job or business. Linkedin is a great resource for this. In case you do not know a person with the knowledge you seek, you probably know somebody who knows somebody who has that information. Networking begins with asking them questions, so you shouldn’t be reluctant to ask others for information and facts.

7. Failing to pay attention for hints in relation to requirements from the company. Numerous interviewers begin the job interview by supplying you with an understanding of the business and its needs. Treat these details as a treasure. As soon as you’ve acquired these details, you’ll be able to customize your replies to how you are able to assist them fulfill those needs. The company is trying to find somebody to solve their challenges and, if you are able to persuade them that you are capable of doing so, you will end up significantly ahead of your competition.

8. Failing to recognize when to quit speaking. When you have practiced your interviewing, you will definitely have the ability to plainly and briefly answer their questions and explain your accomplishments. Avoid rambling replies that will move away from subject of the job interview. Use the SMART method for structuring your answers. This should be a one to three minute initial response in most cases.

S = Specific

M = measureable

A = Action oriented

R =Results oriented

T = Time specific

Don’t be frightened of silence during the interview and don’t try to fill in lulls in the conversation. If you’re unsure whether or not the job interviewer has gotten adequate details from your answer, ask them if your response was sufficient, i.e. “have I given you enough information, or would you like more detail?”

9. Failing to ask insightful questions. Usually, at the conclusion of the job interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions. Avoid using these times to inquire about benefits or when you might take your very first holiday. The questions you ask need to display your desire for the job. You might want to ask questions like:

The most important long term plans for your company? The most important plans for the position you’re interviewing for?
Exactly what do you believe are the most crucial skills needed for this job?
How will you evaluate my progress and my accomplishments in this job?
May I answer any questions for you before I leave?
10. Failing to remember to always use a thank-you / follow-up response. Attempt to get business cards from every person you interview with and make at least one key note about what you talked with during interview with that person (use the back of the card), then include a comment about that point in your thank you letter. Emails are OK to use. The interviewer’s email should be on the business card.

A thank you correspondence has a number of excellent points.

It’s going to help remind the interviewer of both you and your qualifications. Very few people really send this sort of correspondence and submitting one should cause you to differentiate yourself.
You can use it add to the responses you presented during your interview.

You could strengthen areas in places you thought you failed to thoroughly explain during your interview.
It is possible to add more details – the points you “wish you’d have stated” during the job interview. This could even include a document or white paper or a link on the web that points to what you’ve done.
All through the job interview process, remember that the process is actually a competition. Its not necessary to be perfect, just superior to the competition. By eliminating these ten ways to mess up a job interview, you will have a high probability of beating your competitors.