Job Interview Advice that Works!
Get ready for some hard hitting job interview advice! Even the most seasoned professionals need
to be reminded of how the job search process should work...
Your preparation for a job interview should actually start the day you begin thinking about
finding a new opportunity.
As a recruiter, there's nothing more annoying than hearing your two year old on your voice
mail. You would be amazed at how many serious job seekers don't stop to think about the
impression they're creating.
Who was it that said you only get one chance to make a first impression?? So, pay attention
to these quick first impression guidelines:
Whether you're leaving your home phone or your cell phone number as your point
of contact on your resume, make sure that your voice mail message is professional. This is critical
job interview advice out of the gate! Your two year old is not cute to me...instead, it makes me
question whether I even want to start a conversation with you.
Another piece of critical job interview advice for the social networking
crowd (Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)...Employers in today's market will check you out on
these networks. Make sure that you take down anything that might reflect poorly on
you BEFORE you start your job search!
Researching the Company
You should be preparing for a job interview with equal diligence whether you're
interviewing with a recruiter or with the direct hiring company. You want to come
to the interview prepared with background information on the company.
Find out about:
- Public or private ownership. If the company is publicly traded, view their annual
report on line. It's a wealth of information!
- Revenues. What have the trends been over the past few years?
- Number of employees.
- What are some of the company's major divisions, and what do they do?
- Locations, both domestic and international.
- In the news. Check out recent press releases to find out what's been happening at the company.
- Industry. What are the latest hot buttons in the industry for this prospective employer? What are the
prospects for their industry?
- Competition. Who are the company's leading competitors and what are the key differentiators in the
- Website. The corporate website speaks volumes! Is the website current? Does it look like the company spends
money investing in their brand?
Resources You Can Use in Preparing for an Interview
Where can you go to find out about these things? Here's our job interview advice for great resources
to tap as you look for a new opportunity.
One of the best, yet most overlooked resources around is your local library. Once there, you can use their internet
resources to get comprehensive information on virtually any company you're interested in. Public libraries often
subscribe to data resources that you might not want to subscribe to as an individual.
For example, Hoovers is an excellent source of information. Some of it is free. But, most of what's available
is reserved for their paying clients. Your library just might have a subscription!
Trade and professional associations can also be good informational resources. Research what associations are
connected to the industry you're interested in (Google query: industry and associations) - or again, head
to the library and look for the Encyclopedia of Associations.
Other tools include OneSource, Corporate Affiliations, D & B, Harris Info, Vault. The list is endless.
You don't need to memorize the numbers here...what you're trying to do is get enough background information
on the company and their industry to be knowledgeable in the interview.
You don't want to ask the company in the interview what they do. If you don't already know, I can
guarantee you won't be invited back for another round! And, don't forget to check out the corporate website.
When we get to the Questions to Ask part of our discussion, you don't
want to just rehash what you could have found on the company website!
The Practical Pre-Interview Checklist
Here's a checklist of some of the things you need to think about before you arrive for your interview.
Take our job interview advice. While some of these items may seem elementary, they are compiled from practical
experience interviewing hundreds of senior level candidates! Don't be caught short. Be prepared!
- Have a pen and something to write on, preferably in a briefcase or a nice leather portfolio.
And, make sure that whatever you bring is professional. Clean it out. You don't want stray papers
flying around while you're interviewing!
- Bring several copies of your resume. Even though you know the company has a copy, you can't be
sure who you'll be interviewing with (even if you think you know!) and how prepared that person will be.
- Have your references ready. I have a recommended format for references
that's sure to impress the most sophisticated hiring managers. Check it out in our
References section. A quick preview...hiring managers are interested in professional references,
not personal references. You'll want to include at least two former managers, two peers and two people
who have reported to you. For sales positions, also include a few customer references.
- Make sure that you know who you're interviewing with (names/titles/departments - how they
connect to the position you're interviewing for) and where you're going. That's right...where you're going.
Don't take for granted that the hiring manager is located at company headquarters. Know where you're supposed
to be and how to get there without getting lost.
- Anticipate commonly asked questions and think about how you'll respond.
- Plan how you'll deal with the salary requirement question. See our Salary Negotiation
section for some tips.
- Think about your key accomplishments and how they relate to the position you're applying for.
- And for Sales professionals, your interview preparation needs to go a little further:
Know your numbers. I have never interviewed a top sales performer who did not know their numbers.
- Performance against quota.
- Sales last year.
- Sales this year to date.
- New business vs. repeat business from existing customers.
- Customer retention.
You know the drill. If you need to look it up, or can't remember, you're history! This is critical job interview
advice for sales professionals!
You'll find more job interview advice throughout the DerrJones website. Browse through all of our topics for some good,
practical interviewing tips and techniques.