New Canaan CaTS

Career Transition Support Group

New Canaan CaTS © 2016  |  All Rights Reserved

111 & 178 Oenoke New Canaan CT 06840 US              +1.203-952-4084  

Your Interviewing

Vince Lombardi once said “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”  And there is nowhere that statement applies more than in the job interview.  So review below the steps you can take before, during and after to interview effectively.  And prepare to get lucky.

Before The Interview

Think of the interview as your opportunity to demonstrate how you can help the interviewer and her / his organization during a give and take discussion.

Accept an interview opportunity whenever one is offered.  Your objective is to get an offer.  You can always reject an offer once it is in hand, but in the meantime, you have had the chance to polish your interviewing skills and your ability to showcase yourself.
Research, research, research!  The more you know about the position and the hiring organization, the more confident and prepared to handle the interviewer’s questions you will be.
Areas you should dig into include:

Job description

  • What are the key responsibilities and qualifications?
  • Build a specific case proving that you are a perfect fit for the position
  • Cite your strengths, core competencies, and how you add value to organizations

Hiring organization

  • Understand the business it is in--  how does it make a profit?
  • What problems does the organization face, and how can you help solve them?
  • What problems does the department face, and how can you help solve them?

Industry in which the company competes

  • Understand the industry in which the organization competes
  • What are the challenges?
  • What are the opportunities?

Sources of information:

  • Job description--  as it appears in the newspaper, on the job boards, or as provided by the recruiter
  • Company web site--  a great way to understand the hiring organization, but remember, all the information has been crafted to reflect favorably on the company
  • Competitors’ web sites--  these help you think about how the company can compete more successfully
  • Internet search engines like “Google”--  the items retrieved can be extremely helpful in understanding “the straight scoop” about the company and industry

Take notes.  Writing down the findings of your due diligence will help you remember them, and provide you with a convenient summary document you can review just prior to the interview.

If you think it will help you state your case that you are a perfect fit for the position, bring examples of past work that you have done that is salient to the opportunity at hand.

Get a list of the names and titles with whom you will be interviewing.  It will help you anticipate questions and address thank-you notes after the interview.  Bring an extra copy of your resume for each person, just in case one or more have not had the chance to review it.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview.  You do not want to be late under any circumstances!

As one adage suggests, "Dress for success."  Dress professionally.  If you do not know the dress code of the hiring company, always wear appropriate business attire--   tasteful dress or suit for the ladies (no open-toed shoes, short skits, or cleavage, please), suit and tie for the gentlemen (avoid jeans and tennis shoes).  It never hurts to be overdressed, but it can be very embarrassing to be under-dressed.  In fact, it can make for a negative first impression, which is often the kiss of death!

During The Interview

  • Be relaxed.
  • Smile frequently.
  • Maintain direct eye contact but please no fixed, open-eyed stares that bore into your interviewers skull.
  • Project a professional demeanor.
  • Be honest.
  • Be positive:
  • Never criticize a former boss or company, or complain about your past experiences.  
  • Never allude to your weaknesses.
  • Portray past mistakes or failures in a positive manner.
  • Use the questions you are asked to state your case that you are a perfect fit for the position.
  • Use your opportunity to ask questions to better understand:
  • The company’s challenges, opportunities, and culture
  • The interviewer’s management style, how she / he deals with people
  • Take notes.  As a courtesy before doing so, you may want to ask for permission from your interviewer.
  • Be observant.  You can garner many cues about how an organization operates, what its culture is, and what it would be like to work there just by observing your surroundings during the interview.
  • Ask for the job.
  • From the interviewer, understand next steps and timing--  that is, how soon you can expect some feedback?

After The Interview

As soon as possible, find a quiet spot and do a written “data dump” of the interview.  List absolutely everything you can recall that was said, or that you observed.  If you wait, you will forget much of what you experienced.  These notes will be helpful to review should you be called upon for a second interview, or should you receive a job offer.

Within 24 hours, send thank you notes to everyone you interviewed.  E-mail is acceptable, but each note should be worded slightly differently.  Write the equivalent of a business memo moving the discussion forward with new topics, agendas, and ideas, and ask for time to follow through in deeper discussions. Thank each individual for the time extended, and close by stating that you are a good fit and very interested in the job.

If you receive no feedback within the time frame promised, contact the company and politely ask fir a status update.