If you are looking for your next job opportunity, then it is very timely that you are reading this article. The takeaway for you will be to translate this advice into practical wisdom to find the right job. Before you change your approach, it's imperative that you are sure about what you want directionally from your career. Knowing what you want now and in the future is the groundwork on which you will make your choices. Being confident about this foundation empowers you to move forward without hesitation. In addition, defining what "winning" means to you gives you a criteria for success that any employment offer can be judged against. Consider having more depth for your decision-making than just receiving a job proposition, but one that also leverages your skills and the opportunity to grow your career.
Take a moment and review the questions below. Think about how you would answer if interviewed today.
Change Your Perspective
All interviewers ask the general questions listed above at some point during the process. Having a solid understanding of your career goals can change your perspective for the interview and place you on a level playing field with the recruiter and hiring manager. Knowing your career plan will minimize doubt for how to answer questions as well as what information will be important to extract during the exchange. You should be able to make an informed decision about whether this is the right situation for you, not if your answers are what they want to hear.
The Interview Defined
An interview, at the very essence, is a conversation between you and your potential employer. It is a reciprocation of information that may culminate into a partnership agreement. You should know your strengths and weaknesses, what you want and don't want in your next job, and prepared to ask the strategic questions during the interview that will aid in your decision to accept the offer. The "agreement" is only a success when both parties are transparent and forthcoming with the information each need to know. At the end of the day, it is absolutely okay to graciously decline any offer that will not meet your needs.
Of all the articles you have read and all the advice you have been given, let's focus on 7 essential tips that will take the headache out of preparing for your next interview. Remember, this approach is effective when you are building upon a solid plan for your career.
Determine what resonates with you from the list below and discover how you can enhance your interview approach.
1) Personal Board of Directors - Create a circle of your colleagues who you trust and utilize their expertise to help build your plan. From creating the perfect interview packet to providing feedback using a mock interview format, your circle of experts should support you in your goal to be polished and presentable. Contact your personal board with as much lead time as possible to engage them in your plan.
2) Research - Know as much as you can about the company you are targeting. Finding out who they are and the actions they have taken can be as simple as a Google search. From a finance perspective, if it is a publicly traded company, access filings with the SEC for their fiscal health. Arm yourself with info about who you may be going to work for and draw out the hard to find nuggets from your interviewer with questions about the company.
3) Resume - I have read hundreds of resumes and found that creating an effective resume is more challenging than you think. Contrary to popular belief, this information is not just for providing your work history, rather it is an extension of you and your capabilities. The key is to write and organize the details in a way that will capture a recruiter or hiring manager's attention. Other than your work experience, important sections such as the objective, skills, accomplishments, and community service all tell if you are a potential fit. Investing in a professional resume service can be worth the price if you need help and want something that really illustrates who you are.
4) Profile - Review your profile and make sure the message is positive and it's congruent across all social platforms. What you have in your LinkedIn profile should translate to your resume. Google yourself and know what is discoverable, mitigating the opportunity to be surprised by what you can be asked about.
5) Attire - Have you heard the advice, dress for the role you want, not the job you have today? This can be applied in a few different ways, but let's be practical about what is feasible and reasonable for you. A great percentage of the interview process is to determine if you are a match for the role (skills and culture). "Fitting in" should be important for you as it is for the hiring manager. Connect with those who can give you insight into the company's culture and couture. If you don't want to wear a tie everyday, why apply for a position where a tie is required?
6) Presentation - Never come to an interview empty handed. At a minimum, have a copy of your resume and any samples of your work. Based on your field, work samples will look different for everyone. Think of it as a tangible example of your best work. For strategic or executive roles, highlighting ways to address challenges in the area you are interviewing for can showcase your expertise. Gauging the questions asked or reaction to your work samples may also give you insight into what performance expectations may be once hired.
7) Mock Interview - The mock interview is an invaluable tool to help you prepare for the real thing. If possible, use colleagues who have experience interviewing to walk through the process with you. The session should be as realistic as possible, but the bonus is you get immediate feedback about anything that could derail your interview. Everything from eye contact, attitude, nervous behaviors, and the quality of your answers should all be observed to give you insight into where you can improve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stacey Rivers is the director of an executive portfolio management office at a large media company and a career advice blogger. In her day job she has responsibilities for defining, planning, and prioritizing initiatives to provide portfolio-level oversight for technology projects. After hours she blogs regularly on her site CareerBluprint.org. She has a Master of Science in Management with a focus on Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, and a Bachelor of Science in Technology Management. For more career advice, ideas, and suggestions, follow her on Twitter @staceyrivers13.
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