Job interviews and how to win them

Realising the interviewer has more to worry about than you have and how to get him on your side by helping him ask the right questions.

Most people go into an interview, nervous of the outcome and thinking they have a mountain to climb before they achieve the result of the job offer. What they need is a confidence boost.

Going in to an interview puts you more than half way up the mountain, you wouldn’t be in the interview if they didn’t think you could do the job.

You aren’t going into an interrogation, you’re meeting with another human being who is just trying to find out three things
   – can you do the job
   – will you do the job
   – will they be able to get on with you and vice versa.

The interviewer has some serious thinking to do. Not only does he have to remember which questions to ask you, he also has to remember your answers and, some time later, choose the best person for his needs from you and other candidates.  Is he worried? Of course he is.  Can he afford to make a mistake?  What happens if he chooses the wrong person?

Your task in the interview is to have the job offered to you.  The work you have done so far, in researching the company and the job, will stand you in good stead. The stories you have prepared, in relation to the job advert and anything else you have found out about the job, have grabbed attention and the interviewer will be asking you to add  flesh to the bones.

You will find lists of “tough interview questions” and “good answers” on other pages but you still might be faced with a question which did not appear on any of those lists.

Learning the technique of how to answer questions can help you past these  obstacles.

Very rarely will you be asked a question which demands either a “yes” on “no” answer (a closed question), most will be asked in an open way which allows you to add detail. The trick is to add the right detail and just enough of it not to bore the interviewer.  One way is to set the scene and ask for direction.

Take the very common question, “Tell me about yourself?”
An opportunity to rattle on for ages, but what does the interviewer want to hear?
How about  answering with a question.
“I’ve worked for ABC Ltd now for more than eight years, the last three of which I was in charge of the main branch on the other side of town.
I’d guess you might be more interested in hearing about that or will I start with my earlier jobs?”

This gives the interviewer a chance to choose which he wants to hear about first and automatically tunes his brain into the information he’s going to receive.

You then respond to his choice, incidentally having had time to mentally take a breath and get your thoughts in order.

When you have finished telling the story say, “That just about covers that subject, would  you like me to add more detail or move on to something different?” and keep quiet until the interviewer has had a chance to mull over what you’ve said and choose his next question.

Also it gives you a chance, if the interviewer hasn’t asked you about something you think is particularly relevant, to tag on at the end of your answer, “Might you be interested in hearing my experience in reducing losses due to waste?”

Another chance to introduce this would be at the end of the interview when the final question, “Is there anything else you’d like to ask us?”, is posed.

Ask if they’d like to hear something new, ask a question or say you don’t have any questions at that moment.  Whichever direction you choose do it after a moment of thought.

Is the interview over when it’s finished?

No.  As soon as possible send a thank you and follow up letter, expressing your keen interest in the company and the job and asking when you might hear the result of the interview if you haven’t been told when to expect it during your conversation.

There is also the possibility that you might, as a result of this letter, tip the balance in you favour.

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