Are you preparing to interview for your next opportunity?
At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for 30 years. We coach our clients that the objective of interviews is to move to the next step in the process and ultimately get an offer. Your resume or network got you the interview, now it’s your turn to get an offer!
There are three stages to the interview process:
- Preparation: In some ways this is the most important stage.
- Interview: You sell your product – you – in person.
- Follow-up: Always send a “thank you” note within 24 hours.
Step 1: Preparation
Get ready for your interviews by learning as much as you can about the interview process, the position, the company and the industry. In addition, formulate a list of questions that will help you determine if the company and/or the position are right for you.
Review your accomplishments, and prepare answers to the 10 most common interview questions.
- Tell me about yourself: Summarize your work experience and education including one of your strengths and what you are looking for.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? Start with a strength that matches the interviewer’s needs. Give an example of how you have used this strength and identify how this benefited the company. Then briefly state a professional skill you have been working on improving. It isn’t necessary to give an example, but you might want to provide specifics on what you are doing to improve this weakness.
- Why did you leave (are you looking to leave) your job? State why you are unemployed or looking to leave in a positive context. Don’t put down your current or previous employer.
- What are your goals? Start with an immediate goal, and if you can, mention how this job fits with that goal.
- How would your last boss and colleague describe you? Review your performance evaluations and talk to colleagues to prepare for this answer.
- What has been your most significant achievement? Choose an achievement that shows how you positively affected your last company.
- Why do you want to work here? From your research identify why you want to work at the company and what you offer.
- Why should we hire you? Prior to the interview, plan for this question by summarizing your accomplishments and relate what makes you unique. During the interview, modify the answer to meet the company’s needs.
- What are your salary expectations? At the first interview say that you would like to focus on the job and finding out if there is a fit. If the employer continues to insist ask about the salary range and have thought through your bottom-line salary requirements. (Refer to Job Offers and Negotiations Section.)
- What did you like most and least about your current job? List the aspects that could be transferable to the position you are applying for and minimizing the aspects that you did not like.
Step 2: Interview Process
The hiring manager utilizes different groups of people to evaluate a candidate. Here is a guideline of what each group is typically looking for:
- A human resources representative evaluates your organizational fit and your motivation for taking the job. They ask questions about core professional skills, such as communication and leadership, and explore your past experience. Typically, many of the top 10 questions you prepared answers to would be asked during this interview.
- The immediate supervisor focuses on the technical skills that are needed for the specific job and behaviors or personality traits. You want to uncover the managers’ key needs and describe accomplishments that highlight the skills and behaviors needed.
- Co-workers look for fit within the department and how you might contribute to the group. You want to demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively and achieve results.
Additional types of interviews
- Virtual Interview: Prepare for this interview no differently than you would a face-to-face interview. Prepare and practice your accomplishment statements and if the interviewer hasn’t asked you about your availability you can ask, “what is the next step in the process?” Be sure to get the name and title of the interviewer so you can send a “thank you” note. Learn more tips for preparing for virtual interviews here.
- Panel or Group Interview: Occurs when you are interviewing with more than one person at the same time. Usually each interviewer has been asked to evaluate specific technical and/or professional skills. The key is to focus on the interviewer when s/he asks the question but make eye contact with the other interviewers when you answer.
- Technical Interview: Interviews for technical positions often include hand-on tests to screen potential employees.
- Behavioral Interview: Candidates are asked to recall and describe situations that demonstrate the use of job-related skills. Your accomplishment statements provide the appropriate response to these type of questions.
Closing the Interview.
At the end of and after the interview:
- Thank the interviewer for his or her time and express interest in the opportunity.
- You might ask, “What would the next step be in the process?” or;
- You could ask, “Based on what you have heard, how do my skills and experience fit with the position?”
- Follow up with a brief thank you note highlighting your discussion and how you will add value to the role and company.
Preparation is the key to doing well in interviews virtually and in-person. If you are having many interviews that are not resulting in moving to the next stage or an offer, it’s probably time to review your interviewing strategy.
At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for thirty years. Our strong reputation for consistently delivering exceptional service at value sets us apart. If you would like more information on our services please check out our website at https://www.transitionsolutions.com/ or you can contact us directly at 888-424-0003 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.