Manage Your Interview Like A Sales Call

Who calls the shots in a job interview? It is a general belief among job seekers that the prospective employer controls the interview. The employer asks you in to check you over, to see if you fit in, to observe how you handle yourself.

Although it is true that the employer holds the ultimate card – a job offer – the candidate can have more control over an interview if he or she understands the function of the interview, is well prepared, and learns from each interviewing experience.

Don’t think of a job interview as a way for a prospective employer to look at you over, but as a chance for you to present your credentials to someone in need of your services. Your goal is to make sure the employer knows why you are right for the job, based on your previous education and work accomplishments.

It all begins with Preparation.

> Research the company or organization. When setting up the interview, ask the person to send you company material in advance or check the internet to see if the company has a web site.

> Read company annual reports and promotional brochures. Ask friends or previous business contacts if they have any information about the organization to help you get a better idea about its functions and needs.

> Make a list of the specific skills you have acquired in previous jobs that make you qualified for the current opening.

> Anticipate questions about your background. Every job interviewer will want to know why you want to leave your current position so decide beforehand how to handle this question. Remember to never say anything negative about a previous employer.

> Consider how to handle some common open-ended questions. Interviewers often ask, “Tell me about yourself” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Use these opportunities to bring out the points you want to make about why you are qualified for the job. Turn the question about weaknesses around to make it a positive.

> Prepare a list of questions you want to ask. The answers may often be covered by the interviewer during your conversation, but it’s a good idea to consider beforehand what you want to know about the organization.

> On the day of the interview, allow yourself plenty of time so that you arrive a few minutes early. Dress conservatively.

> When you shake hands, make it a strong handshake. Make eye contact when you greet the interviewer and during the interview.

> Speak clearly and slowly. Take your time to think about answers before speaking.

> Listen to the interviewer. Your preparation should help you to remain relaxed.

> Never discuss salary, benefits, or working hours during the first interview. As important as these factors are, they are details to be discussed in later meetings once you have sold the employer on your qualifications. If the interviewer brings up these points, listen, ask some general questions, but try to steer the conversation back to the job itself.

> Before leaving, ascertain the exact hiring procedure. Will there be a second interview? When can you expect to hear from the interviewer?

> After the interviewer, send a thank you note while the meeting is still fresh in your mind. In the note, refer specifically to points made during the interview and reiterate your qualifications.

> If you don’t hear from the employer within the time period promised, don’t be afraid to call to see if a decision has been made.

If you don’t get the job, don’t take it too hard. Review how you might have handled this one differently. The more interviews you go on, the more comfortable you’ll become with the process.