These top ten job interview tips deal with the most important issues that job interview applicants need to get right for a successful interview.
Job Interview Tip #1: Your Job Interview Is A Sales Appointment
Those that are best at selling themselves will get the sale, in this case, the job.
Some people say, well I’m not a salesperson and I don’t want to be one.
If you want to be successful in a job interview, you do need to learn the basics of selling yourself. This is one of the most important pieces of job interview advice for success in interviews.
So what makes a good salesperson!
Firstly, they understand that the basis of any successful sale is understanding the customer’s needs [in this case, the employers needs].
To get the sale they must understand what the needs or problems of the employer are, and how they can help solve those problems.
In other words, in what way can I improve the profitability of this organization, make it more efficient, or in other ways improve some aspect of the organization.
From an employer’s perspective, if you are unable to do any of these things, why should they be employing you?
I’m not saying this to make life difficult for you, simply to help you understand the mindset of the employer.
If you can get inside the mind of your employer and understand exactly what they hope to achieve by taking on another employee, then you will be miles ahead of the other job applicants who will be walking in the door after you.
They are in business, and perhaps this appointment will cost them $50,000 per annum.
Like any other expenditure, they have to be able to justify it to themselves and perhaps to a board of directors.
They will be asking the question, will this money be well spent?
Your job is to convince them that not only will it be money well spent, but it will be a fantastic investment.
Secondly, good salespeople know their product or service well [you are the product]. How well do you know yourself in regards to your own natural inborn job skills and can you match these with the needs of the employer.
If you honestly want to achieve fulfillment and satisfaction in your career, you will need to know your inborn job skills very well.
And you’ll need to know how these fit with the needs of the employer.
This is one of those job interview tips that are central to successfully gaining a job.
There is no other way to achieve career fulfillment other than using the skills that you are most gifted in and passionate about.
Thirdly, good salespeople are good communicators.
Before they enter the interview, they know what the key needs of the employer are, and they communicate these solutions in a proactive manner and in response to job interview questions asked by the employer.
(Here is a list of job interview answers relating to the above questions)
Job Interview Tip #2: Do You Really Want the Job?
A good bit of job interview advice is to obtain good information about whether what you have to offer them, and what the employer is seeking, actually match.
In other words, does the position fundamentally involve using skills that you are good at and passionate about.
An important point to remember is that many employers don’t know how to conduct interviews in a way to match up to their needs with your skills.
But the good news is that you can match your skills to their needs without them being overtly aware of it.
Of course, your circumstances might dictate that you need to get a job fast and take any position you can get your hands on.
That’s understandable if it’s a stopgap measure.
So long as you realize that if you are accepting a position which does not use your innate job skills [i.e. the skills that you are most motivated to use and are best at], then you are unlikely to gain genuine satisfaction and fulfillment from that position.
So although these type of job interview tips are applicable to every job seeker, they are more pertinent to those who are looking for a long-term, fulfilling the position.
Research has suggested that one of the most important considerations in making a new appointment is if the employer likes you and not whether you have the best skill match for the position. The interview is a two-way exchange.
You are finding out more about them.
They are finding out more about you.
And if after this exchange, both parties can see a good match between what is required and what can be offered, we may have a deal.
But if in the midst of this communication, you discover that it is unlikely you can use your inborn job skills in the job, then do you really want it.
If you are changing jobs because of an element of frustration in your last job, then all you are doing is setting yourself up for a similar frustrating situation.
When I provide career change advice to clients, I noticed that a lot of people struggle to keep this foundation right.
And without the foundation of, the building will eventually fall.
This is why it is critical for you to know very precisely what your natural gifts and motivations are when it comes to the world of work.
If you are not 100% sure of what yours are, I recommend you complete the inborn job skills assessment.
Job Interview Tip #3: What Do Employers Want
Other than a good match between your skills and their organizational needs, employers are seeking some very specific personal character traits.
Be Careful What Job You Apply For
There was a man in Britain some years ago whose interview appeared in the newspaper.
He couldn’t read or write, so he applied for a job as a janitor.
“you’re very suitable, just sign your name on this application form.”
But he said,
“I can’t sign my name, I don’t know how to write.”
So they refused to give him the job
Having been turned down as a janitor, he started to sell cigars.
He was so successful in his cigar selling venture, that he became a millionaire.
The man interviewing him said, “isn’t that remarkable?
You can’t even sign your own name and yet you became a millionaire.
Why, think what you would have been if you could sign your name!”
To that, the man replied “I’d be a janitor!”
Research conducted by Cedarville University found that 92% of responding employers ranked honesty and integrity as one of the top two characteristics they sort when employing new personnel.
Notwithstanding what is written above about your best skills, the importance of good old-fashioned character traits like honesty, integrity, loyalty, and humility should never be underestimated.
Other than your ability to do the job, employers desperately want someone who’s going to get along with people and probably add something to the interrelationship side of the organization, an aspect of most organizations that can always do with some improvement.
Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless classic and well worth the read when it comes to learning how to be liked within an organization.
This book has sold millions of copies and been translated into almost every known language. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
It is true that to a large extent skills can be taught to new employees, but character traits are much more difficult.
We have seen in recent years with various corporate scandals [Enron, Bernie Madoff, etc.], what happens when issues like honesty and integrity are missing.
One of the attractions to employers in hiring someone through the hidden job market is that they usually come from some type of networked third-party person that the employer knows personally.
(The hidden job market is simply all the jobs that are obtained by workers without the jobs ever being advertised or widely known about)
In the normal job application process, employers will seek to assess a prospective employee’s character through the application and by the job interview answers provided. But more importantly through previous employer reference checks.
One of the key questions employers will often ask while conducting a reference check is “Would you employ this person again?”
The answer to that question can be quite telling.
So what does this all mean for you in the interview?
Firstly, be aware that employers are assessing you from a character perspective in everything you say and do.
Secondly, be aware that if you offer referees contact details, it is likely that character traits will be probed.
Make sure that your referees will be people that will speak highly of you in regards to your character.
Job Interview Tip #4: Employers Love Detailed Evidence Of Past Achievements
Employers like to see evidence of why you think you would be good for them. This is one of the most overlooked job interview tips.
If you have a certain skill or ability to bring to the organization, show them in great detail by providing previous examples of how you have used these skills.
“In my previous position, the one thing that I did that I loved was help accident victims overcome their often depressed state and assist them in looking forward to the best possible future despite their difficult circumstances.
My personal goal was to do absolutely everything possible to ensure they could see some positives in life ahead and to take some small steps of action that would help them on the road to recovery.
Because of this my employer always gave me difficult cases including most brain injury clients.”
You will be ahead of many of the other candidates in the job application process if you do this, simply because not many other candidates do it.
One of the big problems employers have when conducting an interview for a position is to determine how accurate the information is that is being presented to them.
By providing specific, verifiable examples of your previous achievements that are relevant to this position, you provide them with some very good reasons why they should employ you.
Job Interview Tip #5: Know Exactly What You Are Good At
In a couple of sentences, could you tell me what you are really good at?
In other words, what are your core motivated abilities?
This really is the key to finding a satisfying career and one of those job interview tips that are so often ignored.
Each person has inborn into them, core abilities that when utilized, bring tremendous fulfillment in their life.
Most people don’t know what theirs are and/or aren’t using them. And this is a key reason why there is so much frustration in the world of work.
You will struggle with your career objectives if you are not crystal clear on what your inborn job skills are.
If you don’t know what yours are, you should complete the Dream Career Finder assessment.
This assessment will give you a tremendous advantage over other applicants in the job interview, as it probes deeply into the core of your individual inborn job skills and motivated abilities.
And if you know what these are and can utilize them well in a job interview, your success rate will skyrocket.
Completing an assessment like this is an important piece of job interview advice that will serve you well for the future.
Job Interview Tip #6: If You Don’t Have This, Your Interview Will Be a Disaster
There is one overriding influence that will dictate the success or failure of your interview.
If you don’t possess this attribute your chances of a successful interview are almost zero.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Enthusiasm for the work you would like to do and for what the organization stands for is an essential ingredient in every job interview.
Enthusiasm is contagious.
The person who exudes it will become compellingly attractive to other people, Including employers interviewing for a job.
But genuine enthusiasm is not something we can turn on and turn off just to suit a prospective employer in a job interview.
It is more a natural byproduct of the realization that this job can offer fulfillment, meaning, and joy.
That it offers me the opportunity to use the skills that I love most to use.
When you are genuinely excited about a job, an employer will pick it up.
Conversely, if you try to exhibit a fake enthusiasm and it is not a natural result of your yearning for this type of work, the employer will also pick it up.
So how do you get enthusiasm if you don’t already have it?
You find out what your inborn job skills are, and apply for jobs where these can be used.
The enthusiasm you exude for your work influences to a large degree, the employer’s personal attraction to you.
And we know from research that one of the key hiring factors for employers is if they like you as a person like.
This is one of those job interview tips that are so applicable to other areas of life as well.
Job Interview Tip #7: How Much Information Do I Give
This is one of those pieces of job interview advice where getting the balance right can be quite critical.
Generally speaking, you will gain more respect from a prospective employer by volunteering additional information that would not necessarily be required in answering a job interview question.
Having said that, many job applicants have got themselves into trouble by giving too much information.
For this reason, having pre-planned your thoughts and answers to job interview questions is critical.
If you provide fairly clinical and structured job interview answers, you can lose points in the all-important relationship building with the employer.
Remember, if you are going to be successful, they need to like you – a lot.
And a way of helping to get people to like you is to make your self just a little bit vulnerable, but just a little bit.
When you do this, you are signaling to the employer that you are willing to be real with them and not hide behind a facade.
An example of this could be when an employer asks you what your weaknesses are.
I have had job applicants say to me in an interview that they don’t think they have many weaknesses.
This is not the type of answer you should provide.
This is the type of question that you need to have thought about prior to the job interview.
You would want to be providing the employer with a very real weakness that you do have.
However, you would not want this weakness to be a critical component of the responsibilities of the job.
My job interview advice here is to encourage you to write out your answers to common job interview questions prior to an interview.
Why write them out?
Because when you write them, you are forced to think comprehensively about the type of answer that would be best.
Also, when you write out your answers you greatly increase the chances of remembering them, simply by the act of committing your thoughts to paper.
The brain experts tell us that memory retention dramatically increases when things are written down.
This is another one of those job interview tips that can help in other areas of life as well.
Job Interview Tip #8: Employers Are Nervous Too You Know!
We all know how nerve-racking a job interview can be for an applicant.
But have you ever thought about how nervous the employer can be?
I have owned businesses since I was 23 years old and have conducted many job interviews over the years.
I would have to say that I am usually nervous when interviewing a prospective employee.
What are employers nervous about?
Employers fear that you may not like them or that they will ask you the wrong questions and be made to look incompetent or inadequate.
Much the same sort of fears as you have!
The greatest fear of an employee, however, is that of making a hiring mistake.
Either for not hiring you when they should have.
Or worse, hiring you only to find out you don’t fit in or can’t do the job well.
Part of the interview process from your perspective involves alleviating these fears of the employer.
Smile and be jovial but not unprofessional.
Talk the right amount. We know from research that the best ratio of talking and listening in a job interview is about 50-50.
You certainly don’t want to talk too much and dominate the interview, but at the same time, you need to be communicating fully and with enthusiasm and joy.
Do what you can during the interview and also prior to the interview to make yourself like the interviewer.
So the next job interview that you have, remember she’s nervous too, one of those job interview tips you probably would not have thought much about.
If you can help her relax, this will help build rapport and add to the success of the job interview.
Job Interview Tip # 9: Research Your Employer
You need to gain information on your prospective employer for a number of reasons:
- To find out if this is the type of organization you would like to work for.
To find out if what the organization stands for in regards to the product or services it produces, is something that you could align yourself with.
- To find out more precisely if your inborn job skills and motivated abilities could be genuinely utilized in this organization.
- When it becomes clear during the interview that you know a lot about the organization [it will usually become clear to the interviewer that you do or do not know much about the organization] you will win the heart of the person interviewing you.
This is one of those job interview tips that is often ignored by job seekers.
For sure it involves more work, but that’s one of the reasons why it will bring you success.
Because people are normally looking for the easy way to get a job.
Anything you do that most people are not prepared to do dramatically increases your chances of success because there is no competition in that area of the job search.
There is perhaps no greater way to show respect for a person or organization than to find out about them before your interview.
Good speakers find out about the audience before they talk; sales representatives find out about a prospective customer before calling, and good job seekers find out about the hiring organization before the interview.
People and organizations love to be loved.
in your research you should find out about the:
- marketing plans
- what the philosophy or mission statement is
You should try to get your hands on everything they post online and in print – brochures, copies of mission statements, annual reports [if available], email blasts [including back issues] industry features, etc.
Read every page on their website.
A visit to the public or college or university library could be worthwhile here.
Explain to the library and that you want to find information about this particular organization.
Frequently they will be able to access an appropriate database that is not available to the public online.
Many libraries have specialist business research personnel who can uncover a lot of quality information very quickly.
Depending on the organization, you could simply phone them up and tell him you are preparing for an interview with the company and you wanted to obtain some information in the form of printed literature, etc. that would help you get to know them better.
This type of request will normally work in your favor.
It is likely that a prospective employee wanting to find out more about the company before a job interview, would be seen as a somebody showing initiative and would usually be regarded as a positive thing.
The types of questions you need answers to may include:
- Do they have any written material explaining their business activities or any other printed matter that may be useful
- How long has this organization been Operating?
Who founded it?
- Do they export/import products/equipment?
- What products or services do they specialize in?
- What is the most sought after product or service?
- What type of people/organizations buys their products/services?
- Do they have a company mission statement or business purpose statement?
- What other organizations sell similar products or services as they do?
- What would they say is the most sought after attribute for someone contemplating a job as a [state the job] in their industry/organization?
- How would they describe growth within the industry [listen carefully for the answer, it may reflect the state of the organization or it may reflect the state of the industry]
Job Interview Tip # 10: Prepare Intelligent Questions to Ask
Why do you need to ask good questions in a job interview?
When you ask a good question, you demonstrate to them that you have been doing some deep thinking about the position and the organization and how you might fit.
This displays enthusiasm for the job and it shows them the planned and thoughtful manner in which you approach things.
Any of these job interview tips you use demonstrates to the employer how you might go about your work.
One result of doing good research on the organization is that you will be in a good position to ask intelligent questions at the job interview.
More information equals the ability to ask more intelligent questions.
What is an intelligent question?
A question that firstly demonstrates you already know quite a bit about the organization and/or the position being offered and your question is seeking to clarify or deepen this understanding.
You should not ask questions where the answer can be easily obtained from a source other than the interview.
If it is obvious that the answer to your question can be easily obtained elsewhere, the employer may see this as laziness or incompetence.
Of course, you also need to be able to ask intelligent questions that result from the live discussion during the interview.
So not all questions need to be or should be prepared beforehand.
If you implement all or most of these job interview tips, you will dramatically increase your chances of success in finding a job you will love.