Creative Interview Tips

In today’s highly competitive job market, the job candidate who knows the most may not be the one to get the offer. The prize typically goes to the candidate who interviews the best.  Sometimes this means thinking outside the box.  Here are some creative interview tips to help you gain an advantage.

Because people do not interview every day, most job seekers are pretty rusty when faced with the prospect. The job seeker needs to prepare and practice for each interview with enthusiasm and confidence.

Here are a few suggestions on how to approach the interview process:

Research the company thoroughly

The more you know about the organization, the position and the person who may be your boss, the better off you are. Match your skills and experience to the position you are seeking.

Give careful thought to your appearance

It is claimed that people form first impressions in seven seconds and those impressions can be permanent. Projecting a confident and professional image is essential.

Know the location of the interview

In addition to the location, note the time it will take you to get there in advance. Rushing around trying to find the facility will only increase your nervousness.

Know your resume

Be prepared to explain and defend every aspect of your educational and career experience.

Focus all efforts on building a strong case for being invited back

Refrain from internal discussion evaluating the job and whether you want it. This will divert your attention and dampen your enthusiasm as the interview unfolds. You’ll have plenty of time to decide if you want the job if–and only if– you are asked to return.

Develop concrete examples about your contributions to your previous employer

Most employers want to know how you made a difference. You must convince the hiring manager that you’re the answer to the company’s needs.

Look for opportunities to sell yourself in the interview

If you don’t tell the prospective employer how good you are, who will do it for you?

Be concise and do not talk too much

Most people only retain 20% of what they hear. Carefully select words and examples for the greatest impact.

Inoculate yourself against the fear of the interview

Visualize the interview experience in advance. What will you be wearing? What materials do you plan to bring with you? Think about the physical presentation, including eye contact, your body posture, and facial expressions.

Polish your listening skills

Pause briefly after each question before responding. Answer questions directly and concisely. Ask for clarification if necessary. Avoid stepping on the ends of sentences.

Develop your own questions

Remember, you are interviewing the company too. You will want to know if this is a job that you can do. Are these the kinds of people with whom you would enjoy working? How will this position help you meet your short-term and long-term career goals? Start with questions about the organization, not compensation.

Other Tips to Get You Headed in the Right Direction:

  • Make sure you record, with correct spelling, all the names and titles of the people with whom you interview.
  • Ask for annual reports, product information and other pertinent information.
  • Follow up immediately with a letter or note thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to discuss your qualifications. Give examples of how you can solve problems that were discussed during the interview.
  • Be available after the interview. If you are going to be out of town or unavailable, make sure you can be reached. If you do not have an answering machine, get one.