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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Career Survival Week 4/5 - How To Rock An Interview

This post is the fourth of five in a series on this blog called "Career Survival Week." See the end of this post for links to the others.

In a previous role, I used to interview at least one person per week to handle overload and grow our team at a large ad agency in Sydney. Though I don't do much hiring personally in my role now, many of the lessons have stayed with me. Aside from the obvious advice of looking your interviewer in the eye and being friendly, for this fourth post of Career Survival Week I thought I would include a checklist of things that most successful candidates are able to do in a job interview:

  1. Live up to your promised skills. Chances are, you got an interview because someone already thought you had the skills they were looking for. So the challenge in the interview isn't to outline all the things you can do or list them out verbally, it's to give as much proof as you can about all the things you said you could do and prove that you were not just exaggerating.
  2. Be part of the culture. The most important part of any interview is usually what you could call a "chemistry check." It's no surprise that people hire others that they like and feel they (or their teams) can work with. So do your best to understand their culture and show authentic ways that you might fit in - because ultimately, you'll likely be hired based on far more than your skills alone.
  3. Have ideas about their business. Nothing is worse than interviewing someone who has no idea what a business does, or what their products are. Don't make that mistake and do your homework. Walk in with ideas about their business, but be careful not to cross the line and give an impression that you think you know more about their business than they do.
  4. Demonstrate you'll contribute quickly. No one wants to hire someone who will take 3 months to learn the business before doing anything - especially in this environment. However you can do it, you need to show the ways that you can hit the ground running and make an immediate impact.
  5. Make your hirer look smart. Anytime you are hired, the person who does it puts their personal reputation behind you. So you need to make them comfortable that they will look smart within their company for hiring you
  6. Leave them with something shareable. If you managed to impress your interviewer enough for them to consider you seriously for the job, the first thing they will usually need to do is convince several others within the organization to either bring you back for a second interview, or hire you right away. So be sure to point them to a website or a blog or some sort of content online that introduce you to those you didn't meet, and reinforce your interviewers view that you may be good for the job.

Career Survival Week On Influential Marketing Blog (links to every post below):
What To Do When You Lose Your Job
| Using Social Media To Keep Your Job | Job Seeking 2.0 | How To Rock An Interview
  |  Find Your Inner Entrepreneur

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Comments

Spot on with #5. If the hirer is taking a risk by hiring you, you don't want to let them down.

A good list. Listen to the interview questions carefully and try to understand what the interviewer is trying to know. Decoding interview questions is quite an art. Found an interesting article about it at:
http://info.shine.com/Career-Advice-Articles/Interviews-Advice/Decoding-interview-questions/2048/cid26.aspx
Have a look, you may find it useful. And yes, do not forget to thank the interviewer after the interview. best of luck!

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