Job Interview Fundamentals

Posted on August 28, 2012. Filed under: Interviews, Job Search Tips, Personal Branding | Tags: , , , , , |

By Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

Interviewing

In a prior post, we talked about the importance of effectively communicating your personal brand message during an interview (Personal Branding and the Interview: Closing the Loop). This post, however, focuses on some of the fundamentals of an interview that people can’t seem to grasp. If they do, they simply have a difficult time putting the skills into practice.

The Basics

The purpose of the interview for most employers is generally two-fold.

  1. Employers want to confirm that the person they meet matches the one depicted in the resume.
  2. Employers want to get a glimpse into the personality, communication skills, confidence, character, and other traits beyond a candidate’s experience and education (i.e., things not evident in a resume).

Every question an interviewer asks will help shed light on the latter. Questions targeted to a candidate’s experience and achievements are meant to identify back-tracking or hedging. When a candidate back-pedals regarding information in the resume, the interviewer takes that as a sign that it didn’t really happen or that the candidate’s contribution was embellished.

Interview Signals

I mentioned that every response a candidate provides offers a glimpse into their personality, character, etc. Many factors contribute to how the interviewer receives the candidate: favorably or unfavorably. Candidates can prepare for interviews and work on how they will be perceived. Some of the key factors include:

  • Attire
  • Posture
  • Eye Contact
  • Tone of Voice
  • Vocal Clarity
  • Body Language (including nervous habits, arm/hand motions, etc.)
  • Length of Responses

The ITtechExec Way

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4 Responses to “Job Interview Fundamentals”

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[Chris] I had a reputation outside of MS before I interviewed, but that almost didn’t matter. If I hadn’t done well during the interview, I would not have been offered the job. When in doubt, a team generally prefers to turn away a good candidate rather than to risk taking on a bad one, so if there’s anything wrong, team fit, technical ability, role fit, etc., a candidate won’t get an offer.

Good post, Stephen. I’d like to add to it by saying that the fundamental interview factors you provide (attire, posture, eye contact, et cetera) aren’t just important for in-person interviews; they’re also essential in video interviewing. Video interviewing in the hiring process will continue to rise as professionals involved in the hiring process continue to accumulate more responsibilities, thereby having less time to interview in person.

Great post Stephen!

I might also add:

1) a firm handshake
2) at the end of the interview confidently state to the panel, or last interview member in the room, “Thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I want the job”. A lot of people refuse to do a soft close. It’s a good tool.

Thanks, Keith! Those are great suggestions as well.


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