Your interview preparation consists of three elements. Be prepared to:
1. Research the company, industry, competitors, and so on
2. Approach your interview with a strategy based on the position description
3. Plan and practice to engage different kinds of interviewers
This last element of preparation for different kinds of interviewers is usually the one that trips up most candidates. Expecting one kind of interviewer only to be confronted with another can affect your results. Here are some examples of interviewers:
UNPREPARED: This interviewer may be seeing your resume for the first time, doesn’t know your name, or thinks you’re someone else. If it’s your potential boss I’d be concerned. Take the lead and review the highlights of your past results that parallel the stated needs defined in the position description. Market yourself to the unprepared interviewer so you’ll be remembered.
SPHINX: This interviewer doesn’t talk much but will ask key questions, then listens. Answer t the question as crisply and focused as you can. Always insert a positive result that positions you as understanding the issues with potential solutions.
MACHINE GUN: This interview will fire off questions even though you haven’t finished answering the prior question. Be succinct using bullet point answers. If they want more information they will ask. Usually their questions are looking for specific things that can be answered in 10 words or less. DO NOT TRY TO BE CHATTY. It won’t work.
OFF THE WALL: This interviewer may jump around to different subjects or ask questions outside of the position description. If they jump around, jump around with them. Show that you can flip from subject to subject smoothly. If asked an “out of bounds” question, ask your own question, “How does it relate to the job?”. That usually stops the inappropriate questions.
THE YAPPER: Even though they talk a lot, be friendly. Smile while nodding your head to indicate that you hear and understand what they are saying. This interviewer needs to be the center and in control. Encourage them by inserting comments like, “Interesting point”, “Good approach”, “Nice to know”, and “Very helpful”. You may learn more about the interviewer than they learn about you.
TYPICAL: This interviewer has a set pattern – 1-Let me tell you about the company (This is where you listen and ask few if any questions)… 2-Tell me about your past experiences (This is where you focus on the results that parallel what they are looking for)… 3- Let me tell you about the position… (This is where you ask a great deal of questions about short-term issues and longer-term strategies and insert the things you have accomplished).
Interviewing is a success skill that can be learned. You need to be flexible and adapt to the interviewers and their needs. When done well, the interviewer will see themselves in you.
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