Interview strategy in a recession

BlogBreak contributor and vice-president of Chandra Fox discussed her recommended strategy for having a successful job interview:

You’ve landed two interviews, what can you expect? If you review the information listed below you should be armed with all the information you need to make the interview more comfortable and land your dream job.

Be prepared
Obviously, you will need to bring your resume. Even if you already know the company has your resume because you e-mailed it directly to the person you’ll be interviewing with, bring copies anyway. Other people within the organization may sit in on the interview, so don’t assume that all interviewers will have your resume. Not having additional copies can be an awkward and negative start to any interview. With this in mind always take at least three to five formatted copies of your resume along with a list of references.

Know challenges you’ve overcome
Throughout your career in each role, know your greatest challenges and how you overcame them. This or a similar question is almost ALWAYS asked. Be sure you have one example for each position you’ve held. You never know which job will catch the interviewer’s attention.

Create your own story so you are ready for anything
An excellent idea is to create your own story. This way when the interviewer asks questions of you, then you are prepared. You just mentally reference “your story”. That will make it easier for you to answer questions of the interviewer. They may ask questions in many varieties. You cannot prepare for the exact question, but if you have developed your own story, it will make the task of answering the questions a breeze.

Your mental personal story would be similar to: My name is Bob Jones. For the last 15 years I’ve worked for Coca-Cola in sales, business development and management. I have held three different progressive positions. I started in sales. My role in sales was to meet with Franchisees and ensure that they were satisfied with their relationship with Coca-Cola and ensure they renewed their contracts with Coca-Cola. My goal was to build strong relations with clients and really get to know their business to create marketing promotions/signage to increase beverage sales for the location. I successfully obtained my goals and objectives and each year increased by at least 10%. Before this position, I worked with … (and the story continues)

Research the company
Hoovers is amazing for researching any company you’ll be interviewing with. At the end of every interview, there will be a question from the interviewer – “Do you have any questions?” You think to yourself, “Not really, pretty self-explanatory. I just want the job.” Obviously, that is not the answer to give. Not asking questions can be a fatal move. This is your time to demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, the company and get additional information about the position. You should ask questions. Here are a few examples:

Good questions to ask (just pick 3 or so):
My favorite: What attracted you (the interviewer) to this organization?
What kind of turnover rate does the company have?
What happened to the person that held this position before? Was he promoted?
What projects and assignments will I be working on?
What are the current problems facing the company (or my department)?
Describe the work environment.
Why do you enjoy working for this company?
Describe the typical responsibilities of the position.
What are the most challenging aspects of the position?
Will I receive any formal training?
Are there opportunities for advancement within the organization?

ALWAYS CLOSE WITH: When can I expect to hear from you?

Close the sale
Any salesperson will tell you, “You know that you cannot make a sale if you don’t ask for the sale.” If you’re interested in the position that you are interviewing for, let the interviewer know this by stating, “I am very interested in this position. Is there anything that prevents you from offering me this position right now?”

Follow Up Letter
Be sure to send a thank you letter. It should mainly reiterate your interest in the position and mention specific things that were brought up in the interview and how you’d be a perfect match for the position. For example, if the interviewer kept mentioning the company’s commitment to customer service then you may want to add in your thank you letter: “Throughout my career I have worked in many environments where customer service was key. I have been able to work with numerous clients and have had many referrals due to your professionalism and ability to connect with the customer. I am confident that I can bring your ability to build customer relationships and utilize this ability to the benefit of the XYZ Company team.”

Now you have an outline of things to prepare and review for the interview. With preparation it should be difficult for the interviewer to throw you off track. You should be confident and ready to tackle any challenging questions that may come up and get hired!

Do you have any other job interview advice to share?

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