Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Succeed at a Job Interview

by Mara Stan

When confronted with the scrutiny of selection interviews, many of us feel threatened, embarrassed, uptight, overwhelmed by emotion and totally uncomfortable. It’s not easy to accept a perfect stranger dig intrusively in the world of your experience, aspirations and dreams, even if it’s meant to be just a neuter discussion about career issues.
However, it’s good to know that butterflies in the stomach are not a pre-requisite to a hiring interview. Here are some tips & tricks to avoid recruitment traps and turn a ghastly encounter in a friendly chat.

Show Positivity and Drive

Enthusiasm, optimism and motivation to join the team are the catalyst for the interviewer to shape a strongly positive opinion upfront. A jovial sense of humor is also welcome, because laughter is an effective ice-breaker that brings people closer and creates a sense of complicity and shared togetherness. Nonetheless, don’t overdo it and stick to benign humor: Don’t crack jokes at the expense of others, avoid irony, sarcasm or long satirical anecdotes that divert from the objective of the meeting.

Do Your Homework Before the Interview

A selection interview FAQ is “What do you know about us?” The successful candidate must prove that he/she is reasonably informed about the organization and the targeted position. Be sure to gather relevant info beforehand,
Google down the company facts & figures, find out about the number of employees, main locations and headquarters, branches of activity, stock exchange value, profitability, turnover and forecast. It’s always useful to visit a forum about employees’ rating of the company. Refrain from gossip, rumors, controversies, criticizing former employers and other delicate subjects that tend to generate resentment and defensiveness

Add a Name to the Face

Inquire beforehand about the name and position of your recruiter. When you schedule the appointment, usually during the phone conversation, make sure to ask for contact details for the assessor you are going to meet: their department, and whether they are a manager or a specialist. Of course, you won’t either need or gain access to the abridged biography; still some background data can help you anticipate the direction of the discussion and the standing point at stake for your partner. For instance, when interviewed for an HR specialist position by a training manager, you will focus more on, say, soft skills, while when you meet a payroll manager, probably the dialogue will evolve in a stricter manner, on topics such as fiscal or legal issues.

Answer in Full Sentences

Pay attention to phrasing and coherence of speech when you express your opinions. Avoid monosyllabic answers, especially starting phrases with “no”. Be aware of the fact that, however shallow it may seem, what you say is sometimes less important than how you say it, in terms of message impact. When accurately modulated, not too loud nor too whispery, your voice is your brand, so use it wisely.

Be Proud of Your Accomplishments, Aware of Your Shortcomings

Be ready to give an example of achievement, as well as one when you failed to rise up to your own or the others’ expectations. Be sincere and promote your talent and interests without fake modesty. This is often discarded as either manipulation attempt, or under-rated self-esteem. When you acknowledge your vulnerabilities, you are one step closer to overcoming and converting them in strengths.

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