I have the Interview, now what?

by Rich DeMatteo on January 20, 2011 · 14 comments

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Today’s guest post is from David Graziano.  David has 25 years experience as a Social Recruiting Strategist and Full Life Cycle Talent Acquisition Specialist in the Contract, Sourcing, Permanent, Staff Augmentation and Corporate Recruiting space, including extensive experience in Virtual Talent Acquisition and Web 2.0 technologies. David is available for consulting, speaking and training engagements.  Check out David’s blog, connect with him on Twitter, and friend him on Facebook.


We all know how difficult it is to secure an interview in the transactional nature of the employment market today. We also know what a rush it is to have one scheduled. I would like to share with you a strategy that will maximize your chances of succeeding on the interview.

The interviewer in asking him or herself while interviewing you:

  • Do I like this person?
  • What makes them tick?
  • Can this person do the job?

Keeping those questions in mind here are my suggestions for what you need to do.

1.  Research the company. Not just the financial information, but where people worked before they worked at the company. Research the name(s) of the interviewers. Use LinkedIn, Google and other Social Media tools. It is amazing to me how little this done, but yet everyone discusses this all of the time.

2.  Bring your own structure to the interview. This is where the fun starts. Many interviewees I work with often tell me that the interviewer “asks the questions” during the interview. Cool, why can’t you also? An interview is a structured conversation and you will feel much less anxious about it if you participate in the structure by having prepared questions.

3.  Upon entering the office of where the interview will take place, be aware of any personal photographs, art, models (ships, cars, planes) and ask a question of interest. This is very powerful in establishing rapport and demonstrating how comfortable you are in your own skin!

Here are specific questions that you can ask your interviewer:

  • What are the specific day to day tasks that I will be performing?
  • What touch points, KPIs or goals are there in the first year?
  • In your experience, what makes some one successful in this role?
  • What specific skills or experience do you see in my background that you would like me to elaborate on?
  • What specific challenges are you facing now? (This one will open the door for you to demonstrate how you can be a problem solver.)

These questions do not have to be asked in order. I have found that they are used most effectively at the appropriate time in the interview. It is very important for you to match the pace and tone of the interviewer also. If he or she has high energy, match that. If the interviewer is more somber, match that or know you do not want to work there anyway!

“Tell me about yourself?”  is a question that drives candidates crazy. My suggestion is to be very specific in your answer and to focus on one or two personal interests and then have a succinct statement about your career.

“Why do you want to work here?” is of the same ilk. This is where your research pays dividends. You will know about products and services the company provides and you can communicate your excitement about being part of a culture that provides those.

These techniques are just the beginning, but if you accept responsibility for executing and hold yourself accountable you will be surprised by the results. In closing, always dress professionally for the interview and delete all embarrassing content from any Social Media sites.

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11 comments
1pageproposal
1pageproposal

You nailed all three points! Terrific article! Coming in with the proposal (created out of research about the company, their problems and their goals) is a great way to show a interviewer you have already thought about the challenges, the reason you are the right person to solve their problems and a understanding of the market conditions. It is a way to incorporate all that you have said above... except #3! Which I love! It is the secret of great sales people, and it is the secret to showing anyone your commitment to understanding them. "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." Thanks for a fabulous post!

Sheree Van Vreede
Sheree Van Vreede

Great points, David. I also like Kirk's comments. It all goes to the point that being a true professional is not something you turn on and off like the flip of a switch. You either are or you aren't in all aspects of how you prepare to meet with a potential employer, dress, and treat others.

Kirk Baumann
Kirk Baumann

Good article, Rich. Thanks for sharing. I'd like to add a point - the interview starts before you actually walk into that person's office, conference room, etc. It starts when the assistant calls you to set up a time. If you answer the phone all stressed out in a panic and are rude to the person on the other end, believe me, it will get back to the hiring manager ASAP. It starts when you're sitting in the lobby. Be nice and courteous to the "little people". Hiring managers often ask their assistants, the front desk person, even the janitor what they thought about you. So, the best advice would be to be nice. Be nice to everyone. Be sincere. Don't kiss their butt, but be nice. There's a difference. Great article. Keep up the good work! Kirk Baumann www.campus-to.career.com

Lindsey
Lindsey

Excellent information, definitely makes me feel better about my existing interview strategies!

Ellyn
Ellyn

Hi David, Great timing on this post. I have an interview next Wednesday and will use your tips.

Sochi
Sochi

I find this very useful information. Thank you, David.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Sheree - Thanks for leaving your comment! I love the idea that a "true professional" has no on and off switch!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Kirk - Thanks for the comment. You leave a great point. Really, any communication having to do with your job search is when it starts for sure. Excellent advice.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Lindsey - Glad David's post helped! Let's catch up soon!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Ellyn - thanks for your comment on this! Let us know how it goes on Wednesday!