Key Interview Strategies

Increase your chances to become a finalist candidate by using these strategies.  They may get you a shot as the top candidate, or certainly get you closer than you would have before.

Before the interview begins, ask the casual question: “Just out of curiosity, what was the key item on my resume that caught your attention?”  If answered, you’ll have a valuable piece of information no one else will have:  The most important short term issue of the hiring manager.

Here are some interview strategies geared to move you up the ladder:

  1. Research the industry, segment and company to find out what are the important issues
  2. Identify key words and phrases from the company literature or job description
  3. Parallel your results with the position description requirements
  4. Identify compatible measures from your results to each key element of the position
  5. Ask insightful questions about the business or function
  6. Discuss your adaptability to fit the culture of the new organization
  7. Play back the interviewer’s words and concepts to show you understand their meaning
  8. Use positive reinforcement to show your values are compatible with the company
  9. Market your abilities through prior results, paralleling the open position
  10. 10.  Rather than saying “I don’t know” to a question, it’s better to respond, “I’m not sure, but it’s something that I would research and bring recommendations to you”

You can differentiate yourself from all the other candidates by the quality of questions you ask.  Insightful, business-oriented results-focused questions will move you up the ladder.

At the end of your interview, there are questions you can ask that will provide you with information no other candidate will have available to them.  Questions like:

1. What are the immediate issues that this position needs to resolve?

2. What are the expected results for this position within the first 12 months?

3. How would you describe the culture of your organization and how to best fit in?

These questions position you as a businessperson interested in results, not activities.

When summarizing at the end of the interview, define what the hiring manager is looking for and what you believe you can bring to the position.  End the interview with two questions:

  1. “When will you know if there will be a second interview?”
  2. “What’s the date by which you want the position filled?”

Make sure you thank the interviewer for their quality time and information.  You never know how much a positive social interaction will affect the final decision.

Contact Bill Kaufmann with questions or comments:

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