Monday, February 14, 2011

Do's and Don't for a Strong Job Interview

Job interviewing isn't easy. Most of us get nervous and leave with the feeling we could have done better to present ourselves. In this interview, author Lavie Margolin gives us some do's and don'ts that might save the day in your next job interview.

What is the single most important tip for creating a strong job search strategy?
Create a marketing message for every job that you apply to. Remember that one size does not fit all. If you send the same cover letter and resume, your response rate will be low. For every job that you apply to, make sure your message is targeted specifically to that employer. If there are aspects of your background that would be especially appealing for that job, make sure to emphasize them. With recruiters giving your resume an initial once-over for less than 30 seconds, you need to have a targeted message in order to stand out.

What interview mistake is most common among job seekers, and how can they avoid making that mistake?
People often interview to “get it over with.” The interview is the time to sell your skills, experience and abilities relative to the position. You have to maximize that time.

People often interview by providing general answers but they must think about what would be most appealing to that employer. For example: What are the strengths necessary for this job? What types of challenges would the employer want to know you have overcome?

Job seekers allow the interview to become an interrogation. An interview should not be similar to your favorite police drama. An interview should be a professional conversation. The employer asks a question, you respond and then ask an intelligent follow-up question. It is an excellent opportunity to show you have done your research and you are knowledgeable about the position and the industry.

Interviewees often do not send thank you notes or follow up effectively. When an interview is wrapping up, make sure to express your interest in the next steps in the process. Ask if you may take their card and when would be a good time to follow up. Make sure to send a thank you note and again reinforce your interest in the position. Wait until the time frame the employer has given you regarding hearing from them has passed before contacting again. For example, if they say you will hear by Thursday, contact on Friday. I would suggest sending a follow-up email at that point. Wait a few days and then follow up with a phone call. After leaving one phone message, do not leave additional ones. You can try back again after a few days. If you get the answering machine again, just try back later.

Lavie Margolin is the author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. His blog is Lion Cub Job Search.

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