Your resume grabbed the hiring manager’s attention. Now it is your job to seal the deal with your interviewing skills. Preparation is the key to successful interviewing. When you know your subject and properly prepare, you set yourself up for success. There are many types of interview styles used by hiring managers today. No matter the interview method, you will be asked to respond to questions during the discussion. Here are six tips to prepare for the three most important questions you will be asked to answer.
1. The beginning and end of the interview are most important
The interviewer has a list of questions to ask you during the meeting. Of these, three of the questions are especially critical to you success and likelihood of a call back. These three questions are the first question and last two questions of the interview.
2. Tell me about yourself
Get ready for the first question which sets the tone for the balance of the interview. In the beginning, the interviewer will start out with a question like this, “So, tell me about yourself.” Be ready to concisely and directly answer this question. The interviewer will begin to form an opinion of you right at the onset of your response so be sure you get off on the right foot. Answer the question using positive words and phrases. Highlight your experience and qualifications which are relevant to the position you are inquiring about. Cite results from your employment history to demonstrate past results. Provide details why you are the ideal candidate and are the right person for the open position. State your unique value proposition only you bring to this job.
3. Do you have any questions for me?
You’ll be asked a variety of other questions during the body of the interview and of course all your answers are important. At the close of the meeting, comes the second important question. You will be asked a closing question, “Do you have any questions for me?” Be prepared for this moment by doing your research ahead of time. Check the company website for press releases, news and annual reports. Research the Wall Street Journal and other business publications for news, commentary and competitor information to formulate thought provoking inquiry. During the interview, listen for points to ask for more definition or gain clarity. Look back at your notes you made during the interview for question ideas.
4. Is there anything else you want to tell me about yourself?
You are in the home stretch and can see the end of the race. Don’t let your guard down yet. There is still one more key question lurking out there. This is your chance to lay the capstone on the interview. The interview will ask, “Is there anything else you want to tell me about yourself?” Don’t let this opportunity slip past you. Here is your chance to bring up achievements and results you were not able to work into previous responses. Take this moment to summarize your best qualities and value proposition. Bring home how you will either decrease the hiring manager’s pain or increase their pleasure.
5. Say What You Mean
By preparing for these questions to come up at the interview, you will feel confident and prepared when you are asked to respond. Take the time to think about your responses to each of the queries. Write your answers down on paper and check what you wrote. Ask yourself these questions then update your answers.
- Is my answer concise or rambling?
- Am I highlighting my value proposition?
- Does my answer focus on results?
You want to tell a story and talk in flowing sentences. Capture their attention with your tale. Continue to refine your replies as needed.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
After you write your answers, read them aloud. Work on your technique by practicing with friends and family. Ask them for feedback on both content and delivery. Learn these answers so you can respond without looking at your notes.
Refine and review your three well thought out and rehearsed answers and you will make a great impression with your interviewer. Take the time to do your homework upfront including practice time. This is your chance to wow them with your sales presentation and you only get one shot at it. Don’t blow it by not being ready.This technique works both for formal job interviews and less formal informational interviews. Your prep work will give you confidence and clarity during the question and answer session. You will feel more relaxed and at ease. Practicing your public speaking skills will be helpful for both your personal and professional life. Be prepared to shine at the interview!