Interview Preparation Primer
Do you feel lost in a recovering economy career-wise? Are there things you feel you need to do now to recast your average career path into an extraordinary career path? Would you like some kind of basic interview career strategy and thought process that you can use today? In 20+ years of working with top performers and career focused people here are five strategic ways to view your career and career path that have worked for many executives in career transition.
Know Your Audience and Research
– If you do not have a proper foundation for your house, almost anything can knock it down. The same goes for a career strategy. At the very least, a potential employer will easily separate the champions from the chumps. Even if the job market is inching upward in 2015 no company or organization wants to hire an average person who is neutral about what they want to do, who they want to do it for and why they want to transition. They want the best. So what should you do to prepare, foundationally? Know everything about the company, their values, their brand, their products, their competition, and your value proposition. Talk to the people who work there or have worked there. Talk to people who do business with them. Study there PR, videos and training materials. Perform and pay for extensive research on the company if you need to do it.
Use Military Precision in Interview Preparation
– If you were entering today’s high-tech and treacherous battlefield you would want to own every available advantage. The many military clients over the years know what I mean. Not paying attention to detail can be fatal. We find out from our transitioning military personnel that you can’t control everything but you must control what you can. Do not underestimate the level of preparation needed to master every interview phase. Ignoring these types of interview situation can hurt you: Telephone Screening, Panel, Stress, Behavioral, Skype, Video (You Recorded Live and You Submit Tape), Group, Simulation, Situational, Mobile. Lack of interview preparation may kill your candidacy. But you must prepare for screenings, one on one, panel, group, video conference, lunch, dinner and, today, the video phone screen. That’s right. Every person should be ready to be interviewed in almost every conceivable situation, including answering your iPhone or Android device and being asked to go through an interview.
Creatively Prepare and Rehearse for Every Type of Interview
– Do you really need to know the kinds of phone screening questions a human resources person might ask? Does it matter if you really master the structured in-person interview? What if you have an unstructured one-on-one interview? Have you ever experienced or would you know how to handle a Stress, Situational, Panel, Committee or Group interview? They are all different. You need preparation for each and you need to rehearse like an actor. That means standing up, sitting down, on the phone, on the go, in front of your mirror, in front of your computer, with friends, taped and live.
Embrace the Unusual
– One of our clients was asked to write a white paper in three days about how he would benefit a future employer. Another client was asked to answer video interview questions as a preliminary step to their in-person interview. Another client was asked to schedule a panel interview that would be conducted through Skype. Another client was asked to write a case study about employment and solving the company’s current problems. Another client offered to edit his own potential job description during the interview process. There are other ideas and things that we have coached our clients to do. You may have some interesting interview impression ideas too. Late in the interview stage one of our clients was asked to write a 10-page business plan for a company even before they were hired. They did these things and each was offered the job. Going the extra mile makes sense during the courting or interview phase. Embrace it!
Go to Sound Bite Level
– “I don’t need to memorize my interview answers,” said one job seeker we interviewed. “I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants and it has worked before.” Flying by the seat of one’s pants has interesting implications for the interview but we never recommend making it a part of your method to be hired. He’s right. You should not memorize answers you see in a book or read online about your interview. But you need to be well versed, rehearsed and trained about how you will handle certain questions. If you have not practiced your script, gone off your script, as they say, and if you cannot improvise effectively through the interview process then you are not ready. You need help.
If a 30-second Hollywood commercial production takes a week to shoot, how much more time should you dedicate to practicing the sale of yourself for your next career move, your next life move and your next move toward your work-life mission? It’s important.