Interviewing Techniques

Interviewers and decision-makers recommend candidates based on the recognition they personally receive as a result of selecting quality candidates. Therefore, there are four basic principles that can be turned into significant assets:

Achievements – Those contributions which have been successful; the timely, efficient new ideas that have “paid off”. Start thinking achievements in everything you’ve done, both in business and personal experience.
Skills – Those tools that have been developed and fine-tuned which the employer wants to know about, but doesn’t know how to identify or the right questions needed to expose them.
Talents – Those natural abilities so necessary to success and the capacity to achieve, i.e., “the gift of gab”, logic, analytic inclination, determination, etc.
Benefits – Any mutually helpful service to the company, and/or the staff that can be measured in terms of who benefited, and how they benefited. A good practice for any candidate is to list these principles on paper next to each other as follows:

The written description is the best method of committing facts to memory and improving total recall. The hiring interview generally fits a standard procedure in which the employer, for the first few minutes, will make the candidate feel at ease while orienting him/her to the itinerary, and describing the position and how its fits into the company plans. During this orientation, the candidate’s role is to observe as well as listen. The interviewer will use specific actions to identify the more important facts, to intensify attention, or to create stress. These same actions can be used successfully by the candidate to serve the same purpose. Because they are second nature the interviewer’s subconscious will tell him to “pay attention, something important is going to happen”. These actions can be observed as follows: stronger eye contact, deliberate, slowed down spacing, hand gestures, moving closer to the candidate and closing the gap, or all of these for various reasons.

After the employer’s “at ease” speech, he/she will normally ask an open-ended question – one that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no, but requires that you explain and thus talk, i.e., “Tell me about yourself”. The candidate should never answer an open-ended question. The proper response is to turn it around for clarification; “Where would you like me to start?” – then identify your strongest asset. This is the point at which the exercise with the four basic principles will pay a large role as the candidate will have much better recall of their assets and strengths. We are more confident talking about our strengths. This technique will also force the interviewer to either accept the “playing field” that has been selected or identify one of his own. From this point on, through the balance of the interview, all questions should be answered positively and with achievements. The candidate should never “blue sky”, i.e. discuss philosophies, give dissertations, etc.

The candidate should remain comfortable and alert. Smile and laugh appropriately. Smiling people are individuals who are human and have confidence in themselves, much like the employer who is conducting the interview. Correct posture, no slumping, both feet on the floor, no smoking, using eye contact, and any of the actions discovered in the orientation.

Under no circumstances should the candidate evaluate the position during the initial interview. An evaluation at this time is usually hesitant, somewhat negative, and/or apprehensive at best and this will be evident to the employer. The time to evaluate the position is after the candidate has left the interview. There will be ample time to make up one’s mind, fill out forms, check references, medical examination etc. In fact the best time to evaluate the position is after the offer is formalized in writing.

Specific Questions –

  • Will you travel? – “Yes” – Let’s evaluate where, when, and how much after the interview.
  • Will you relocate? – “Yes” – (no ifs, preferences, etc. You can always turn down the offer after the complete job is revealed)
  • Why do you want to be a _____? – “That’s where I can contribute best.”
  • How do you know you can? – “I know because there is nothing that I have not done well.”
  • Where do you want to be five years from now? – “Based on the good job I know I can do for you, on your management team.”
  • What’s your greatest achievements? – Have a quick, relevant answer ready.
  • Do you have any questions? – “Yes”, I would like to know about you and your background, and how you got started with this company. If the employer does not ask this question, interject it at an appropriate time in the interview. It is a psychological ploy to attract the employer to you and will in turn enable you to evaluate the person for whom you may end up working.
  • How would you solve our company’s problem. – “Not being with your company, I can’t answer completely. However, in a similar situation with another company, I … etc..

Salary Discussion
This subject makes everyone nervous. A good answer is; “I will certainly consider any reasonable offer, on the assumption that such offer represents what the position is worth to the company.” In other words, “If you are fair, I will consider. Never mention a figure. Your salary requirement is always “open” and you would consider a reasonable offer.

Final Thoughts
Do not leave before demonstrating interest. Ask the employer before you leave: “Mr. Employer, based on everything I’ve seen and learned here today, I am confident I would be an asset to you and your company. Are you in a position to make a decision or what is the next step?” With this statement, you have:

  1. Asked for the job – employers like to hear that;
    2. Demonstrated you would ask for the order (sales;
    3. Show that you can make a decision without supervisors;
    4. Demonstrated that you are management material;
    5. Show that you recognize the employer as a hiring authority;
    6. Displayed the tact and finesse to allow him a door out.

The employer may say “We are looking at several people and will contact you.” You answer, “I can understand that; however, Mr. Employer, what are you looking for that I might not have?” If you pinpoint an objection, you may be able to overcome it.

“What qualifications do I meet for your opening?” “In your opinion, I am qualified for this position?” “How do I rank among the people you have interviewed?” If anything less then first, find out exactly why. This may be an objection that is easy to overcome. If an employer says he will call you or us next week, immediately respond and turn it around. “When would it be convenient to reach you, Monday or Tuesday?”, and establish a time and always follow-up by asking him/her for their business card, literature about the company including company reports, etc. Thank him/her for the interview. Confirm time, shake hands and leave.

Other Pointers

  • Dress properly for the interview. In other words, dress professionally!
  • Walk into the office as if you have something to accomplish. Shake hands firmly. Give your name immediately.
  • Leave top coats and hats in the outer office, if you have a briefcase or computer, it goes on the floor beside your chair, not on the employers desk!
  • Speak and smile to all employees in and out of the place you will be interviewing, one of those people might be the V.P. who has the final say on your candidacy.
  • Use the employer’s name throughout the interview
  • Be a good listener. Don’t volunteer a lot of unnecessary conversation.