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How To Be Successful At Interviews


How To Be Successful At Interviews


How To Be Successful At Interviews

No-nonsense rules that work
By John Shreeve
Plain Words PR Consultant
The job marketplace is full of advice on what you should and shouldn t do at interviews. Some of it is
good advice; much of it is trite reminding you to wash and to refrain from wearing your Viking
helmet (yes, I know they love it down the pub but are you sure it will help you get that technical
writing job?). I m not going to do that. I m just going to concentrate on a few simple rules that
work. They won t get you every job you interview for. But they will help you to sell your skills in
interview situations more effectively, which will considerably up the odds of getting hired.
I m also going to assume that you have the wherewithal to turn up at the interview on time, polish
your shoes, wear good-looking clothes (smart or casual, depending on the company s dress code),
and to go to the toilet before the interview.
Okay, let s look at rule number one

Rule #1: Tell em what s in it for them

The first rule of being successful at interviews comes from a well-established maxim of the
advertising world: Tell em what s in it for them and keep telling them until they buy.
Translated to the job interview, this entails telling the employer exactly how you will use your skills
to make more profit for their company. You need to be specific about this. Research the company in
depth and isolate the problems and challenges they currently face.
See the Articles page for a list of search tools to help research the companies you will be interviewing with
Could you use your skills to help them solve one of them?
They might want to set up a programming application that is generally considered highly complex.
But maybe you could do it? If so, list in detail how you would do it. It takes time and effort. But
believe me, it s a sure fire way of getting a job. (In fact, I know someone who did solve a complex
programming problem and got themselves a great job).
By focusing on the problems a company needs solving, you swing the emphasis of the interview
firmly on your work skills now not on what you ve done in the past. While your past
accomplishments are relevant (they got you where you are today), they aren t as tangible to a
prospective employer as actually showing them how you can make their company more effective and

Rule #2: Tell em you want the job

If you attend an interview for a job, it s obvious you want the job, right? Well, it ought to be. But
statistics from head-hunting agencies suggest otherwise. Apparently, many job candidates fail to get
hired because the employer isn t convinced the candidate actually wants the job!
Although that sounds crazy, I think I understand what is going on here. I m an ad man by trade and
a rule of advertising is you need to ask your prospect (customer) to buy. You need to close the sale
that you ve carefully prepared for. So you look the prospect directly in the eye and say: Would you
like to buy our fantastic widget carpet cleaner? A lot of salesmen do everything to avoid the close of
the sale. And with good reason it s embarrassing and uncomfortable. But to succeed in sales, it has
to be done. The customer needs to be asked whether they want to buy or not.

Rule #3: Be yourself don t be a zombie
A lot of people who attend job interviews read all the how to succeed at interviews guide books.
Most people would say it is good to be prepared and to get the right advice. And, yes, I d go along
with that. But I d also add this proviso: Be careful who you get your advice from: bad advice will get you
Think on this: three company owners of my acquaintance, all in the IT business, each said
something along the following lines to me: I can always tell the job candidate who has read the
book on interviewing. You get the bone-crushing handshake, the zombie-like eye contact, the
contrived body language, and the rehearsed model answers to every question. They stand out a

Attending the interview
Take along the completed Pre Interview Questionnaire sent to you by us.
Don t forget your list of points for discussion, list of questions, copies of your
CV, samples, references, directions, and research notes on the company.

Travel expenses
Companies rarely offer to cover travel expenses to the interview not as a
matter of course, anyway. But it s not a problem to ask politely if there is any
provision for reimbursing expenses.

Successful At Interviews



An interview is an exchange of information. It allows the employer to evaluate your personality, communication skills, attitudes, values, motivation, interests, and technical skills.
The interview also enables you to obtain information about the organization in order to make an informed decision.
An interview is a discussion between equals.
Although you need to treat the interviewer(s) with respect, there is no need to be overly deferential.
A successful interview is one in which both the interviewer and interviewee receive accurate information and can make an informed decision about the fit between the job and the applicant's personality and skills .


Job Interview Types:

There are different types of job interviews you may participate in during the hiring process. Here are the major ones and tips on how to handle them.

Stress Interview:

Stress interviews are a deliberate attempt to see how you handle yourself. The interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting. Expect this to happen and, when it does,
don't take it personally.
Calmly answer each question as it comes. Ask for clarification if you need it and never rush into an answer.
The interviewer may also lapse into silence at some point during the questioning. Recognize this as an attempt to unnerve you. Sit silently until the interviewer resumes the questions. If a minute
goes by, ask if he or she needs clarification of your last comments.

One-On-One Interview:

In a one-on-one interview, it has been established that you have the skills and education necessary for the position.
The interviewer wants to see if you will fit in with the company, and how your skills will complement the rest of the department. Your goal in a one-on-one interview is to establish rapport with the interviewer and show him or her that your qualifications will benefit the company.

Screening Interview:

A screening interview is meant to weed out unqualified candidates. Providing facts about your skills is more important than establishing rapport. Interviewers will work from an outline of points they want to cover, looking for inconsistencies in your resume and challenging your qualifications.
Provide answers to Interviewers questions, and never volunteer any additional information. That information could work against you. One type of screening interview is the telephone interview.

Lunch Interview:

The same rules apply in lunch interviews as in those held at the office. The setting may be more casual, but remember it is a business lunch and you are being watched carefully.
Use the lunch interview to develop common ground with your interviewer. Follow his or her lead in both selection of food and in etiquette.

Committee Interview:

Committee interviews are a common practice. You will face several members of the company who have a say in whether you are hired.
When answering questions from several people, speak directly to the person asking the question; it is not necessary to answer to the group
In some committee interviews, you may be asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. The committee will outline a situation and ask you to formulate a plan that deals with the problem.
You don't have to come up with the ultimate solution. The interviewers are looking for how you apply your knowledge and skills to a real-life situation.

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