The Big Interview:
Generally speaking, interviewing helps employers know
the three things they need to know before they make a hiring decision...
Are you capable of doing the job? Do you have the
necessary skills and experience or can you be easily trained?
Are you motivated to do the job? Will you take
the trouble to do the job well, ask for guidance when appropriate,
and make the necessary effort to meet tight deadlines? Or will you
resort to excuses?
Are you a person they'll like working with? Will
you be a team player and adapt easily to the company culture? Will
you be cheerful or a complainer? Will you give or grab credit?
Resumes provide few answers to the second and third
questions and alone are not sufficient to speak to the first. The
interview process is intended to help fill in these blanks.
Interviewing potential employees is an art. Some
people have a talent for it, others don't. Regardless, it's important
that you be well prepared, make the process easier for the interviewer,
and realize that the interviewer is trying to find out (whether they do
it smoothly or awkwardly) what is not on your resume-namely, how you
will behave on the job.
But interviewing is not merely a matter of satisfying
interviewers. You also want to determine whether this is the right
company, the right job, and the right team for you. After all, you will
be committing the majority of your waking hours to the job for a year or
two, if not longer. Ideally, you want to find the work satisfying, enjoy
your colleagues, learn a lot, and position yourself to achieve your
long-term career goals.
Preparing for the
Before an interview, learn about career-related
issues in your selected field and prepare a two-minute presentation;
think through the key points you want to make in response to typical
interview questions; develop a portfolio; create a weighted list of
must-haves and nice-to-haves in a job; and choose and brief your
references. For a specific interview, there are three of levels of
preparation you can do, depending on how much you think you'll want the
Level One - Just the Basics
Learn about the company from its website, annual
report, and your networking sources.
Know what the company's products and services
Learn about the company's financial condition-is
it prosperous, pinched, in trouble?
Find out where the interview will be, obtain
clear directions, and confirm the time. If possible, make a dry run
to the location, timing how long it takes and then allowing extra
time for possible traffic delays.
Level Two - A Bit More Effort
Get information about your interviewer from your
networking resources, the person's assistant, or someone else inside
Obtain the job specification, if possible, and
think about how it relates to your own experience, education, and
Research the company's history with the products
or services that are relevant to the position you're interviewing
for. Is it an industry leader? Did it make or buy the technology?
What is the company's competitive edge?
Learn about the company's culture, if you can,
from general business or trade periodicals.
Level Three - When You Really Want That Job
competition is doing, and how the company is
faring in the marketplace.
Come up with some original ideas that could be
beneficial to the company.