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Interviews


Enda Goodwin
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Senior Operative

Senior Operative

  • [1] JUNIOR ENLISTED

The day has comeYour research, networking, and perseverance have paid off. While you’ve done a lot right so far, understanding what you’re walking into and being prepared for the interview process is a must. Before you sit down for your face-to-face meeting, be ready to: 

  • Make a good first impression. 
  • Sell yourself. 
  • Avoid the traps.
     

Interview Components: What to Expect

Most interviews include:
 

  • Introductions and the interviewer’s request for you to “tell me about yourself.”
  • Your explanations of why you are looking for a job.
  • Information about the job and qualifications needed.
  • Positive and brief answers to the interviewer’s questions, with mention of your accomplishments whenever there is an opening to do so.
  • The interviewer’s answers to the questions you’ve prepared.
  • Finally, a sense of how the interviewer has responded to your qualifications and personal style.
     

Make a good first impression

It takes about 7 seconds to form an impression, and there are lots of ways you’ll be sized up. You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression, so keep the following in mind:
 

  • Arrive on time: There is nothing worse than beginning an interview by apologizing for being late. Allow extra time for traffic or transit delays. If you’re uncertain of location, make a trial run. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early so you can gather yourself before the interview starts.
     
  • Look the part: Make sure your outfit is in line with the company’s culture. When in doubt, dress on the conservative side. Be sure your grooming and hygiene are immaculate. Avoid vaping or chewing gum.
     
  • Be prepared: Have hard copies of your resume and reference list easily accessible. If you are a graphic designer or interviewing for some other creative position, have your iPad handy to show your portfolio. Keep things in a neat folder or tote. Avoid digging through a messy bag, it will make you seem disorganized.
     
  • Watch your body language: Be aware of your gestures, posture, and movements. Nonverbal cues convey as much about you and what you’re really thinking as your words do. Sit tall and show confidence.
     
  • Think about how you sound: Make sure you can be heard and be aware of the interviewer’s reactionto your voice. Do not mumble or drop your voice to a whisper toward the end of your sentences. Avoid sing-song or monotone recitations, and up-talking. Also, be careful of slang and colloquialisms like “ummm,” and “you know,” as well as grunts, hems and haws, and other verbal tics.
     
  • Be positive: Convey the appropriate amount of enthusiasm, warmth, and sincerity to suit thedynamics of your interviewer. Be positive, avoid negative topics, and don’t vent hostility. Smile!
     
  • Be present: Put your phone away. Listen intently and maintain eye contact without staring. Show you’re paying attention with nods and smiles. Don’t interruptand allow silence when thought and reflection are needed.
     
  • Communicate clearly:Mirror the style and pace of your interviewer. Answer honestly and succinctly, and stop when you’ve answered the question. Don’t overdo it with unnecessary details or anecdotes. Clarify a question if you don’t understand it, and if you don’t know something, say so.
     
  • Gather information:Get names and exact titles. Elicit company or departmental needs early inthe interview using open-ended questions. Weave in your strengths and accomplishments in response to those needs. Respond to doubts or objections positively without being defensive.
     

Sell Yourself

Now more than ever, you have to be on your A game. You are your own best advocate! Selling yourself might feel uncomfortable, but there’s a right way to do it:
 

  • Find out the employer’s needs:A good salesperson doesn’t start selling until he/she getsan idea of the customer’s needs. Before explaining how you can contribute, get the employer to talk about the job and the problems the department faces.
     
  • Show you’re a fit:The interviewer wants to hire people who will fit into the organization, complement, and grow with the team. While it might seem like the right call to hire the most qualified candidate, they will more often hire the candidate with the right personality, even if they need to develop in a few areas. So be authentic and continually offer accomplishments that showcase what you bring to the role.
     
  • Observe and help the interviewer:Is the interviewer having trouble coming up with theright question? Help by asking, “What else would you like to know about my background?” or “Are there any other job-related responsibilities we haven’t covered yet?” If the interviewer is glancing at her watch, take it as a cue to make your answers shorter.
     
  • Wrapping up:When the interviewer stands up,asks if you have any more questions, or begins to thank you for coming, she is trying to close the interviewYou will likely be relieved that it’s over, but don’t forget to ask few simple questions. Note the following closure questions, and make sure you leave enough time at the end of the interview to ask them.
     
  • What are next steps?  
  • What is the timing?  
  • How manycandidates are you planning to interview?  
  • Where am I in the interview sequence?  
  • Will there be additional rounds of interviews?  
  • When will you notify the candidates? 

Getting answers to these questions before you leave can remove some of the anxiety from the weeks following the interview.
 

Avoid the Traps

Don’t leave the interview thinking “Why did I say that?” Here are some common traps and how to avoid them:
 

  • Giving Too Much Information: Answer only the question that was asked and be brief. Avoid boring details and negative comments. It’s better to give too little information than say too much.
     
  • Promising Too Much: Interviewers quickly see through statements like, I can do anything. I’m sure I’ll have this area’s production up by 50% in no time.
     
  • Arguing with the Interviewer: Even if the interviewer is wrong, don’t argue. This person has the power to hire you or pass you on to the hiring manager.
     
  • Letting the Interviewer Ask All the Questions: You will appear to lack initiative and interest, and you will come away with most of your questions about the job unanswered.
     
  • Breaking the Silence: Do not let a period of silence encourage you to say the wrong thing. If a silence becomes uncomfortable, break it by asking a question of your own to make sure the conversation flows freely.
     
  • Asking About Salary Too Soon: Prove your own value for the position you’re applying for first and hold off on salary talk.
     
  • Answering Embarrassing Questions: Depending on the question, you may ask the interviewer to clarify what they are looking for. Sometimes they will withdraw their question. Once you understand what they are looking for, provide a brief response. Many interviewers will move on and not question you further.
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