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How to Have a Winning Interview

Congratulations, you survived the initial screening, completed the meeting with the head hunter, made the short-list and you are now getting prepared to interview with the company. Having sat in on thousands of client/candidate interviews over the past 20 years, I can offer the following simple advice.

One, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company and about the role. Take the time to look at their website, read their news and press releases and talk to others who know the company. Review the job description and the requirements for the role. Review the individual backgrounds of the interviewer(s). Looking for common ground will help establish rapport quickly. Showing you have taken time to prepare for the interview will demonstrate your genuine interest in the role.

Two, anticipate. Based on the job description, you should be able to anticipate some of the questions the interviewer will ask. Give some thought beforehand as to how you will best answer these questions while describing your background and how it matches what they are looking for.

Three, listen! Make sure you listen to the question being asked and then stay on topic. I can’t tell you how many times during the after interview debrief the interviewer was frustrated because the candidate did not fully answer the question or rambled off-topic.

Four, provide examples. Don’t give a “google” generic answer. A well-articulated and relevant personal example can be very powerful and develops strong rapport with the interviewer.

Five, prepare questions. Think about 4 – 6 well thought out questions you might ask about the company and about the role. You may not get a chance to ask them all, but it is wise to be prepared. Don’t underestimate this part of the interview. Quite often the most honest and candid conversations happen during the candidate question period.

Six, relax, be yourself and show your personality. The interviewer not only wants to know about your experience and career, they also want to know who you really are. Although these six suggestions may seem simple, and maybe obvious, if followed you will set yourself apart from the field.