But a chapter in one 10-year-old book, Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job! by Tony Beshara, is worth re-reading. It lists essential interview tips that can lead to job offers.
Here are 14 of them:
1. Sell yourself hard. Contrary to what many career experts say, interviews are not a “two-way street,” says Beshara. Don’t waste time trying to figure out what a company can do for you. Sell yourself hard by concentrating on your strengths and skills. It ought to be done quickly and efficiently. You must leave the interviewer with the feeling that you are far better than your competition. Don’t expect the interviewer to figure that out for himself.
2. The most qualified candidate doesn’t always get the job. Many naive candidates believe the myth that great qualifications always win out. Not so. Candidates who sell themselves the best in the interview process get the job.
3. Do your homework. This is basic, essential advice that is driven home repeatedly by HR people and career writers. Yet most candidates don’t go the proverbial extra mile when researching the company they’re interviewing with. It doesn’t mean just knowing what the company does and its general history, it’s understanding how you fit into the picture and can make a difference.
4. Bring questions. Chances are, you won’t need them, but it’s good to have them just in case communication between you and interviewer falters.
5. Time is your enemy. Time kills deals, asserts Beshara. “The longer the period of time between interviews, the less likely you are to get hired,” he says. You must keep the interviewing process going rapidly and with a sense of urgency.
6. Take notes. Jotting down important points makes you look bright, astute and alert. It’s impossible to remember important interview points and sell yourself at the same time.
7. First impressions are critical. Most people don’t like hearing it, but countless studies have proven that interviewers form an opinion about candidates in the first 15 to 20 seconds of the interview. Unfortunately, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Make sure your first impression is a great one.
8. Watch your body language. There is nothing complicated about it, says the author. Keep your feet planted on the floor; arms open, at your side or on the arms of the chair; sit up straight and lean forward enough to make good eye contact with the interviewer.
9. Delivery should be enthusiastic, focused and confident. Even if you’re scared, try to communicate enthusiasm and conviction.
10. Don’t talk too much or too little. The two biggest mistakes interviewees make is talking too much or not saying enough. Practice answering questions tersely, simply and completely.
11. Close for the next interview. Never leave an interview without asking for the support of the person you have interviewed with. The idea is to leave the interview intent on moving to the next step — another interview — so you’re further along in the job-conquering process.
12. Focus on the interview process. Do not focus on the result of getting a job offer, just focus on the next step. If you concentrate on the process, the result will take care of itself, says Beshara. And that’s a job offer after two or three interviews.
13. You have no control over the outcome. All you can do is concentrate all your energy on performing well on every interview. That means putting your heart and soul into selling yourself. Beshara says that 25 per cent of the time, companies can’t decide, and don’t hire anyone for positions.
14. Tell stories. Stories are powerful, stresses Beshara. “They remove people from their personal prejudices and get them to mentally and emotionally focus on what you are saying,” he says. Come to interviews with relevant stories about yourself. They must be specific to the job you’re applying for, driving home repeatedly that you’re the most qualified candidate on the planet for the job.
Dana Wilson is a freelance writer.