Wednesday, October 30, 2013

4 Steps to a Successful Interview


Most transitioning military personnel have never had to interview for a position. In the military, natural career progression and a demonstrated record of performance have dictated the particular jobs you have secured. Corporate America is different. In order to secure the position you are targeting, you must be able to convince an interviewer that your military experience and demonstrated track record of performance are a strong fit for their organization. The candidate who can best relate his or her background and strengths to an interviewer will be the one who gets the job. 

In order to prepare for an interview, break it down into four parts and prepare for each section:

The First 5 Minutes - Introduction

Like the introduction to a paper, an introduction to an interview is critical. During the first five minutes, you will set the tone for your interview. Make a good first impression. Look sharp and present a professional image. Relax, smile, and remember your plan. Your resume got your foot in the door, now you must effectively show the interviewer why you are a fit for the position. 

The Next 30 Minutes (The Body)

During the body of your interview, the interviewer will typically ask you a series of questions focusing on your qualifications, for approximately 20-30 minutes. Some questions are behavioral (looking for specific examples when you demonstrated a particular behavior), others may be company oriented to get a feel of how much you know about the position and industry. Your answers should highlight your qualifications, personality, and interest in the position you are interviewing for. 

Wrapping it Up (The Conclusion)

You have just completed answering a series of questions focusing on your qualifications, and now it is time to wrap up the interview. At this point, the interviewer is going to give you the opportunity to ask some questions. You must ask questions. Questions equal interest in the minds of an interviewer, and are a critical component of your interview. Formulate three to five well-thought-out questions that show that you are prepared, demonstrate genuine interest in the position, and set you up for your close. 

Closing the Interview

“The Close” is a term used to describe the process of gaining some form of commitment from the prospective customer. In this case, the interviewer is the customer. By paying attention and asking the appropriate questions, you should uncover the employer’s needs. The needs that you are able to satisfy, through the use of your talent, become potential benefits to the employer. Focus on those needs during your close.

To learn more about interviewing, click here. And stay tuned next week for advice on Interview Etiquette.

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