The Interview: Part Two

Image credit: Pixabay

By: Marie Donlon

Finally, the Interview

You have met a few people as you are ushered through parts of the building and into a conference room. It is time for you to sell yourself.

Begin by greeting those you are interviewing with by smiling and with a firm handshake. Be polite throughout the interview saying thank you when appropriate.

Ask questions. This will signal to the interviewer that you are in fact interested in the company and what it does. This is also a great time to insert any company knowledge you have picked up with your Google Alerts and other research.

Assess your body language. Are you sitting up straight and practicing good posture? Are you making consistent eye-contact? Are you fidgeting or playing with your hair? These nonverbal behaviors send negative messages to the interviewer.

One of the most important and agreed-upon interview failures is bad mouthing your former (or current) employer. Typically, questions will arise about current or past work experiences. Do not reflect on the negative. Keep your tone light and positive. The questions about your former (or hope-to-be former) employer are a trap. Avoid it.

Additional questions will require detailed answers from you. Be prepared with both measured and thoughtful answers. In particular, in your preparation, you might have jotted down some notes. However, instead of reading notes, turn your answers into stories. Make them both relevant and as interesting as you can.

The most common question that you can expect in an interview is the one asking you to assess your greatest weakness. Like any questions about your former employer, treat this question as a trap. An employer or hiring manager doesn’t want to hear about how your biggest weakness is that you are too punctual or that you are too organized. They hear that answer all of the time. Answer this question as authentically as you can, but make sure to include steps you are taking to remedy your greatest weakness. For instance: I have trouble with follow through, but I have been making notes and setting calendar alerts as reminders to check in with people. A potential employer will appreciate your candor and that you are self-aware.

The interview is the time to sell yourself to an employer. This company is trying to solve a problem through hiring someone for this position. Make it clear to the employer that you are the solution to that problem.

Post Interview

You’ve left the interview now with assurances that you will be hearing from the hiring manager or employer one way or the other. How should you pass the time?

Although it seems redundant because you forced a bunch of thank-yous on the interviewers as you left the building, it never hurts to send along a thank you in the form of a note. It is a great way to let the person, or people, know that you enjoyed meeting with them and offers you another chance to re-establish your interest in both the position and in the company. This act also makes you stand out a bit more than the other people they are interviewing for the position. However, a word of caution: Limit your correspondence to a note. Don’t go and send a fruit basket, which could be misinterpreted as a bribe for the position or flowers, which might be looked on as a romantic gesture. If you feel your correspondence might be entering into stalker territory, you should consider backing off.