Ever participate in an interview when you wish you were somewhere else? Let me suggest four types of nightmare interviews and what to do about it.
The Sphinx Interviewer: This can be one of the most challenging interviews. Sometimes the interviewer is creating a void for you to fill. Be careful you don’t ramble on. Other times the interviewer is uncomfortable in the role of interviewer. In this case, find a common area of interest from the position description and attempt to initiate a discussion about a problem needing a solution. If successful, you will be seen as a problem solver or at the least, an alternative generator toward solutions.
The Group or Panel Interview: Companies are using group or panel interviews because it saves time and money. It also puts you in touch with individuals that you will be working with as a group, if hired. Prepare in three ways: Research the company’s history, products, competition, financials and anything else you can lay your hands on. Learn as much as you can. Ask for the names and titles of each member of the interviewing group beforehand, then look them up in Google. Check for key information that will help you connect to each one. During the interview, respond to each question based on that member’s function.
The Chatterbox Interviewer: Some interviewers talk on and on and don’t give you a chance to say much. This type interviewer is trying to “sell” you on the job rather than finding out about your experiences. Nod your head to indicate that you understand the comments. Wait for an opening to relate a similar story, so you’re sharing a common experience. Usually at the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask, “Is there anything else you would like to discuss?” This is your opportunity to summarize your background in parallel with the key requirements of the job. Make it focused, crisp and use metrics.
The Never-ending Interview Cycle: A candidate can anticipate anywhere between two to five interviews before a decision is made by the company. I use the words “by the company” because the hiring manager usually isn’t the foot-dragger. It could be the boss’s boss, HR, or the need for a unanimous group decision. If it’s more than 3 interviews (one by telephone and two in-person) think about how actual work group decisions will be made. Is this the right place for you? How much latitude will you have to perform?
Remember: Never let your guard down, even when you’re comfortable with an interviewer. Their job is to not only find the things that will make you successful, but also find holes in your background. If your interviewing for a total of 6 or 7 hours, these “holes” become bigger. Keep your energy and enthusiasm at a high level. All of these interviews take work time for you to travel to your destination, plus meetings. Make them count.
Every interview is uniquely different. Be prepared.
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